Hi everyone! Just wanted to share our final blog entry with each of you, and thank you for your love and support these past two years. Our extended family was happy to welcome Elder Holmes home last Wednesday, and as you can see, it was a great moment! May our Heavenly Father bless each of you with similar joys in your lives.
Click the following and Enjoy! (A great big thanks to Scott's cousin for filming our reunion!)
WELCOME HOME, ELDER HOLMES!
Love you all.....
Carolann, Scott & Family
Monday, June 24, 2013
Short and sweet - yet wonderful - this week from Elder Holmes. He is truly finding great joy in serving His Lord up until the last minute! This woman he speaks about was a convert he had in his first area. How thrilling. She has been so great to her "Elder Holmes" throughout his mission! We look forward to welcoming him home on Wednesday! YAY!
Thanks for all your interest and support throughout his 2-year mission! It has all been appreciated more than you will ever know.
We love you.
I wanted to give you guys a nice surprise this week on my last P-day of the mission!! REINA WENT THROUGH THE TEMPLE!!! I am completeing 2 years today, andit was definitely one of the most special days I have had in the mission! I Attached are the pics of this great day! Ammon (the ward mission leader that we had in that area), his wife, Elder Rojas (who was my companion when we baptized Reina), Elders Hyde and Dove all went with us! Wow this is truly what a missionary lives for!! I am so pumped right now! I love you all and will for sure tell you all about it on Wednesday!! As for my special requests for food that day, ICKY STICKY sure sounds good!
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Well I want to start by wishing a Happy Father's Day to all of those dads that are reading this email! I am so grateful for my dad, and everything that he has done for me. I love you so much dad, and I hope that it is an awesome day for you, and the rest of the dads that are reading this. I loved the video that you sent me, dad! What impacted me the most was that dad out in the rain changing the tire. I have so many memories of road trips, and different difficulties that we have had on some of those trips, and it reminded me of the attitude that you always have, and how you are always just trying to make us happy! I also wanted to send you a video, but I couldn't download it, so for all the dads out there, go to mormon channel and go where it says mormon messages and watch the one that is called: "Earthly Father Heavenly Father!" (I guess you could just google that title, too!) I love that movie. Anyway, also a FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS to David Lewis and Janice Savage!! I hope that you both have great birthday celebrations. I sure do miss you all, but I guess I will be seeing you pretty soon!
So this week was kind of the same with all of the interviews. It was another crazy week that we really haven`t had any time in our area to work. We have just worked a couple hours like last week, but it has sure been a great experience to be in those interviews. We give the same Training every single time, so I am getting pretty good at it after my 8th time! haha. It has definitely been a blessing because i have learned and strengthed so much my testimony on the law of chastity and the blessings that come from living it. In the talk that Elder Bednar gave in the last conference, he talked all about our potential as children of God, and then explained the blessings that we lose by breaking this very sacred commandment. He promised us that by keeping this commandment, not only will we see God, but that we will be comfortable in His presence! I love that blessing, because it is one thing to SEE him, but a whole different thing to feel comfortable when we are with Him.
I was sure glad to hear about the Book of Mormon challenge that you guys are all doing as a family! I was sure grateful, because it also got me to echar mas ganas in my reading!!! I had kind of slowed down there for a little, but this week I finished Alma and I am now into Helaman. I loved the scripture Alma 44:4 where he is talking about the warriors in times of battle. It is something that I actually sent in a card to all of the leaders of the mission. The scripture says that the only way that they would lose the battle would be if they disobeyed the Lord and denied the Faith. I related this scripture to us as missionaries. The only way that we won't accomplish our goals of the months is through disobedience and denying our faith. I love the testimony that those young men had in the Lord and the great faith they always exercised.
So in the interviews with President, the Hermana Call has been serving hot dogs to every zone! What does that mean?? NINE days of hot dogs for Elder Holmes!! I am going to get off the plane looking like TOMMY BOY! haha. I will need some gym buddies when I get back. Today we went to bowl, and I didn't play too great but I still trashed these two companions of mine! (they are reading this as I write!) Well that is about it for the week! I will write you guys next week for my very last time! i can't believe that!!!! I love you all so much, but I am realizing that the hardest thing for me will be taking off my tag! Being a representative of Jesus Christ is the most special thing I have done in all of my life, and I still don't want to think of the day when they are going to take off my tag!
I Love you all,
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
So here are some pics for you guys!
And then another pic of when i was working in Hidalgo! Everyone has sheep there.
That's the stereotypical mexican pueblo!
The before and after pics of the baptism!
I am so stinkin big that I am covering up the hermana on the day of her baptism! haha.
Happy birthday to Aunt Jill today!! And also to my little brother Nick on the 11th. And Nick Chilton on the 13th. I hope that you guys have excellent birthdays! Elder Holmes is thinking about you guys, and I sure love you a lot.
I was extremely happy to hear about the family goal to read the whole Book of Mormon before I get home!! I hope that you guys are all keeping up with me! haha. Actually this last week was EXTREMELY busy, and I almost didn't have time, but you just motivated me even more to finish the Book of Mormon. I am excited to see us all complete that awesome goal. What an awesome mom that we have!! I love the Book of Mormon, and like Joseph Smith said, "It is the most correct book upon the face of the earth and it will bring us closer to God than ANY other book on this earth"! What a great promise, and a promise that I really have seen in my life!
Alright so this last week we almost saw a big surprise here in the offices!! The other new assistant came in so that he can be trained before the big split! IT IS ELDER DOVE!! He has also been one of my best friends here on the mission. I am sure that you remember hearing his name in some of my letters home! He is a great kid, and it sure is a fun time with him and Elder Hyde here. So with that change of having one more assistant, President didn't have enough missionaries in the field and he was thinking about just sending me out to the field for my last 3 weeks. I wouldn't have been too sad because he was going to send me back to my old area of Lomas! But Elder Hyde and Elder Dove felt like they still need a lot of help and training so... I stayed here in the offices. It would have been a little hard to leave this area and everything just for the last couple of weeks!
But speaking of LOMAS... Last sunday NATALIA got baptized!!! I am sure you don't remember who she is, but I baptized her daughter named CARMEN about a year ago! She, the mom (Natalia), could never get baptized because she wasn't married, but then just this last month, she got married and then baptized! I remember contacting her in the street as if it were yesterday! Well last Sunday was stake conference, so i got to be at the baptism of the Hermana Natalia and even directed the baptismal service!! It was a super special experience for me, where a lot of tears were shed. I will send you guys some pictures today, and maybe you will recognize them from a year ago. I love them a lot, and I am so glad that they have progressed soooo well!
This week like I said was an extremely busy week, and we haven't worked even 1 minute in our area! This afternoon is the first time that we will work in the ward.
On Monday we had our meeting with President like always, and then we had to plan the presentation for the interviews and the trainings that we are giving. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday we were up in Queretaro for training and interviews. We stayed the night up there with Elder Hurst and Elder Smith. Then we went to Hidalgo for the next two days, and we just got home last night in time to plan and go to bed! I am pretty tired because of all the traveling, and whenever we travel we have to stay in the houses of the elders. Here in the mission the houses only have two sets of sheets, two pillows, and two blankets (for the missionaries who live there)! So what do I get when i go on divisiones with them?? Usually a really awesome mattress! not! Actually its usually a sweatshirt that i can use to cover myself up with if it gets cold. And if i want a pillow, then i can use my white shirt from that day!! haha. So you can imagine that I always sleep really well! haha. I am pretty tired today, but I will get over it. Next week we will be here in the state, so I will be able to sleep in my own bed! YES!!
Its been really weird saying goodbye to all of the elders in the training meetings, because this will be the last time that I see all of them! I can't believe how fast the time has flown by!! I love you all a lot, and I dont want to think about it, but I will see you in 2 and a half weeks!!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
I would like to start off my letter wishing Happy Birthday to my cousin Alex Holmes this next wednesday! I hope that it is a awesome day for you! Know that I am thinking of you on your special day!
This week was another extremely busy week, and I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT IT IS ALREADY THE 1ST OF JUNE! I have said this a million times, but the time is just going by way too fast for me here! This week we had consejo with all of the zone leaders (my last one) and yesterday we had an awesome surprise from president. All of our zone got to go to the BALLET of the church school that is in the DF that is called the Benemerito de las Americas! We were the only ones that got to go because the theatre was in our zone! I will explain a little bit more further on in the letter!
So I didn't think the day would ever come that I would give my "last testimony" in front of all the zone leaders and president in the consejo. I have been to that meeting for the last year every month and have watched missionaries give their last testimonies, and this time it was my turn. It was a very emotional moment for me and all the zone leaders from my generation. It's weird though because i feel like I still have a lot of time left in the mission. SO that was also the last junta I prepared for all of the zone leaders, and I feel like it was a great success.
While we were planning the junta with president, a thought came to my head when we talked about prayer. We talked about giving our whole heart to God, and leaving the little things behind that prevent us from having the success that we want in our missions. In that moment I thought of the "VIEJO" that we do every year at our new year's party. I thought about what a fun tradition that is, and so i looked in my old emails and found the pictures of the viejo that you guys did this last year. So immediately I put the picture in the powerpoint that we were putting together so that I could share the idea with all the zone leaders. Obviously I wasn't going to make a viejo and light him on fire in the house of president, haha, but I wanted to do something similar by talking about leaving our bad habits behind and committiing ourselves to be 100% obedient. So In the junta, the picture of the viejo came up, and i started to explain what we do as a family every new year. Many of them got a good chuckle out of it, but then we told them that we were going to do something similar. We all went to different places in the house of president to pray, in order to ask our father in heaven what each one of us could do better, and in the same prayer, commit ourselves to being better with that one thing and leaving our weaknesses behind. They all wrote the thing they wanted to leave behind on a piece of paper, and as they came back, I told them to all throw it in the trash (because it would have been a little to extreme to burn them!) But the hermana Call insisted that we take them out back to burn them!! I told her to ask president because i was afraid to ask him to burn stuff on his back yard! haha. SO what the Hermana Call says goes, and we ended up burning them! haha. It was a great moment, and the spirit was felt really strong by everyone, as each one of us bowed down and prayed. I think everyone really liked it, and it also helped me achieve one of the goals that I have been working on. I will send you the pictures that the Hermana Call sent all of us!
So now on to the story of the BALLET!! It was AWESOME!! I will be sure to send you guys some pictures, and maybe a couple of the videos that I took. The pictures didn't turn out too great because it was really dark in there. The Benemerito has a great dance program, and they put on a great show of all of the traditional dances of Mexico. One of the dances (my favorite of the night) had all of the girls dancing with a glass bottle on their heads, and the guys with machette´s! The whole night was filled with awesome traditional clothing and famous songs. I was kind of surprised that president let us go, but it looked like he also enjoyed himself a lot. The Benemerito is closing down, so it is the last performance that they are going to ever do! It was sad for a lot of people, but I was glad that I had the opportunity of seeing them in person! It was a fun little gift from president! Also, I saw a ton of people that I know, because the theatre that it was held in is one of the biggest ones in Mexico, so everyone went to see the last show! Super fun stuff!!
SO it looks like my last weeks in the mission will be spent going to different capacitacions! President is going to be having interviews with all of the missionaries, since the mission will be splitting, and this time he invited us to go with him, so that we could give the training while he is doing all of the interviews. That means 9 different days of training because of the 9 zones that we have in the mission. I am pretty excited though, and surprised because I didn't think that president would want us to come. He usually just goes and does them himself. SO we are pretty excited, but it looks like I will be traveling a lot in these next couple weeks to finish my mission. Hopefully we get a couple days in to tract but it will be tough.
Well that's about all that is new with me! I love you all so much. I know that this is the true church on the earth. As I bore my testimony the other day in consejo, I reflected upon all the things I have learned in these two short years, and the most important thing is that this is HIS work and the ONLY true church on the face of the earth!
Sorry that I am on so late today, but I thought that I would give you guys some time to write today because everyone always gets mad at me for getting on too early! Looks like you guys are having a great time in Steamboat. I think i would need the hands and feet in everyone in the family to count how many family vacations that you have done WITHOUT me! haha. I can't believe that Elder Stutz gets home today!! That is so exciting, and I am sure that he did amazing things! I know that he was just a total stud as a missionary and that everyone just LOVED him. Congrats T stutz!
As for me, today we went to visit some of the converts of Elder Hyde in one of his old areas. It went well, but it was a pretty busy day. In the morning, I cleaned the whole house, so it has been a busy day with no rest time! This week didn't have too much excitement besides the baptism of Regina! Her brother got home from the mission on Tuesday at about 9 o clock at night. We asked president for permision to stay and at least be able to see the baptism of Regina. Right when he got there it was right to the water for the baptism. It was a really special moment for all of the family, and there were definitely some tears shed! The spirit was felt really strongly, and I hope that it helps the family return completely to the church. They are a great family, but have had some different challenges within the church. But that is pretty normal for every great family. We just have to stay strong, and lean on our testimony of the true church on the earth today.
Other than that, nothing really else went on this week. We went up to Queretaro on Thursday to do some inter-cambios with some elders. President wants Elder Hyde to be really familiar with the areas in Queretaro so that when the new mission is made, he will be able to help out the new president with everything. While we were up there, we also ate with Elder Hurst (my old comp) and Elder Smith (one of my other best friends here in the mission) at a place called Pampas. It is a place really similar to
Tucanos!! It is sooooo boss, and some of the best meat that I have ever eaten here in Mexico! They bring all the food to your table on swords just like they do in Tucanos. I will send you guys some pics of everything that happened this week!
To finish, I will answer some of the questions that I received in your emails:
- How did the elders in the mission take the changes last week?
- All the missionaries are taking the changes well with the new mission, but it has been super hard for President and the Hermana Call because they now have 2 years in the mission, and all the missionaries that are here, arrive with them as their mission president.
- Will the President visit those zones to say goodbye to those missionaries placed in the new missions?
- I think this next month he will be doing interviews with all of the mission, so I think that he will just take advantage there to say his good-byes.
- Were you asked to extend? For how many weeks?
- I was, but he understands that I am going to be THE BEST MAN! He knows I have a bunch going on. It would have been for just 2 weeks.
- Are things really ramping up with the split of the mission? Is that happening June 1st or July 1st?
- They have been making adjustments and everything for the new mission, which will take place July 1st. They are building new offices and everything for the new Queretaro mission.
- And how is your back.....
- The doctor here ran a test and said that it looks like I may have some calcium build up and that I should just drink a ton of water. This hermana gave me some weird tea stuff that has seemed to be helping me. I have also been pounding water though. I have to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes but I guess that's a good thing! It gives me pena to go into the hermanas bathrooms every rato. haha. (That was some good spanglish! Let's see if you can figure it out, because thats how I am going to talk when I get home!) haha.
Love you guys a ton,
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sorry I've missed posting Scott's last few letters. We had a GREAT Skype with him on Mother's Day. He's doing great - no surprise! His very best friend in the mission was just called to be his comp - again - and Scott is thrilled! They are both just loving life together!
Thanks, as always, for your love and support. xoxo - Carolann
May 18, 2013......
I have a bunch of Happy Birthday shout outs to give today!!! Happy Birthday to Chris Cassity today, MY DAD tomorrow, Mike Winters on tuesday, MY BRO andrew on wednesday and Uncle Mitch on Friday! It is sure a busy week of birthdays! I hope that you guys all have special days! I love you sooo much!
SO this week was a CRAZY week! We had tons of things going on, and i only slept in my house like once! This wednesday a bunch of the missionaries went home, and whenever they go home, we have to sleep here in the offices and they don't even want to go to bed because it is their last night in the mission! SO it is always hard to sleep, and it was also fun to talk with Elder Messner before he went home. He has been a great friend to me, and I am excited to go back and study with him at BYU, as well. I will send you guys some pictures today of us with his parents! SO his parents came for him, as well as the family of an elder named Elder Tebow. Let's just say that I am the most AWKWARD person ever now. I think that I almost kissed their dads right on the lips because the hug down here is to the right instead of the left!! haha. I don't know what I am going to do when I get home! SO everyone that is reading this email, just know that most likely I will hug you with my head to the right, and it will probably be the most awkward hug of your whole life!! haha.
So then after all that, Elder Hyde and I didn't have a single day that we were alone. We did get to work a little bit in our area, and we got some good references from the hermanas in the activity we had on Wednesday for all of the moms, so we hope to see some more success. I am so grateful for the first-hand knowledge I have received of the wonderful blessings that a mission brings!
This next week we are going to have the baptism of Regina, the daughter of the hermano that I told you guys about last week on skype! She is super excited about it, and I am super happy for her and her family! Her brother gets home from his mission on Wednesday night, and he is going to baptize her the same night before being released. It will be a really special night for them. She has been waiting forever to get baptized, and is just the cutest little girl! I will send you all the pictures next week!
Everything is going great for me, and I am really enjoying my time with Elder Hyde, and in this area. My back definitely is feeling ready to go home, but I will keep working hard until the end. You guys will probably have to pick me up in an ambulance, like Elder Holland said, but it is worth it! I have felt really bad pains in my back, but its not like a sore back kind of pain! I don't really know what it is, but one of the doctors who is in my ward told me to drink more water, so now I am just pounding water!
I love you all so much,