Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Miracles!

Hi everyone. We had a wonderful phone call with Scott yesterday. He says he has put on 20 pounds -- but he looked great. He's the same old funny, happy Scott! He has not lost his sense of humor - or his sweet spirit. Gotta love the kid! Sounds like he had a great Christmas. The baptism he talks about in his e-mail is the couple he had helped get married a month or so ago. The children had been baptized this past month w/other family members (cousins/aunt). He sure appreciates all the love and support he gets from each of you. Thanks to all. Sure love you. Happy Holidays. ......Carolann

Well I just talked to you all on the phone, which was an amazing experience for me, and i want to tell you all how much i love you! I hope it was as much fun for you as it was for me, and i want you all to know how much i missed you. I do have to say, though, that my christmas here was a pretty sweet one as well!

Well i will just give a brief little summary of what we did here, for all of the people i didnt get to talk to! On Christmas Eve we went to the Castillos house to eat dinner and to open presents and what not. They got me a sick Cruz Azul soccer jersey that i just love! After dinner, i made cookies to take to our various investigators and recent converts that didnt have too much money. We customized little stockings for all of the kids and bought them all little gifts that were all cutely wrapped. I gotta admit i got pretty creative with them! haha. We also took a whole dinner over to a recent convert's house who doesnt really have any money, and they really appreciated it as well. The spirit i felt was really amazing and it was a Christmas i will never forget!

Well then on Christmas Sunday the miracles continued. We baptized Jazmin and Antonio and the were so happy. It was so awesome to see how far their relationship has come along. They truly are happy and so grateful for all of the blessings that have come from being baptized. They were then confirmed in church and it was amazing. I guess you could say it was a "white" christmas after all! And then i got to talk to the family back home! It was really a great Christmas, and i wish every one of you a merry christmas and happy new year. I hope that everything is perfect for you all. Mexico is dope and i am loving it. We had changes a few days ago and I willl be staying here in Queretaro for at least another change, which is probably a good thing because i have tons of investigators that i need to prepare to enter the temple in a year! Well, I hope that Santa brought everything that you all wanted! He sure brought me the happiness i was waiting for!!!! I love you all so much!

Elder Holmes

P.S. Here are some photos, most of them are pretty self explanatory, so i will only explain a few:

The Santa photo, and the group photo, are when we went Christmas caroling to Jazmin, Antonio and their family, with the Castillos.

The one with me and justin bieber is in the houses of some of our investigators. They love justin so much and i always joke around with everyone how i am a bieber boy and have the bieber fever! SO one of the families actually gave me Bieber's christmas cd, which i obviously cant listen to, so i regifted it to them and they almost peed their pants they were so happy! haha.

And the final pic is of the baptism which was great! Hope you like them!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feliz Navidad a mis Queridos!

Well hi everyone. Man I am so sorry to hear about what happened to Nicky Chilton! I hope that everthing is ok and please send my love his way!

This week was pretty great! Yeah, israel did get baptized and it was another great experience. After the baptism, he was telling me how he was thinking of going on a mission after he has been a member for a year. That kind of stuff makes me feel so amazing. There is NOTHING like seeing the church absolutely change peoples lives!! So that was good. Another highlight of our week was a family that came to church with us yesterday. The Dad is always drinking and smoking when we teach him and is quite the character, but his family is really legit. All of the fam came to church, but then only the mom and the 17 year old son stayed for the rest of the meetings. Each Sunday we always have to report all our numbers and what not, so after about 30 minutes of that, I went to the gospel principles class where the mom was. I found out that they didn't have a teacher for the class. The only people that were in there were Jazmin, Ruth, and Yolanda. They said "don't worry elder holmes. We have been having a good talk about how the church has changed our lives. We have shared our testimonies with her, and she really wants to get baptized!" Amazing! I was like WOW there is always a reason for the way things happen, and this was an answer to our prayers. Sara, the mom, felt so good in the church, and my three most recent converts were our best fellowshippers! haha. So after i heard this, we pulled sara and her son into another room and set a baptismal date for the first of january! It will be a little tough to bring up the palabra de sabiduria with them, but they love having us in the house and they loved going to church, so we will see how they progress.

Jazmin and Antonio are still planning on getting baptized this sunday, so that will be another amazing experience. Well cambios are coming up and i am in that time period where i could definitely be leaving, but i get the feeling that i will stay one more change. The people here in the ward are really awesome and they are always giving us different things and are just so nice to us. On friday, we had the ward christmas party and it was also a pretty good success. Except for the fact that it was a little bit different from the ones we have back home.

Well that is about it. Anything else that needs to be said, i will just tell you next week over the phone, which is just awesome! I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! I will for sure miss you all and the great traditions and fun things we do during the holidays, but I think we will have an amazing Christmas. Love you all!

Elder Holmes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Everything is Just Dandy!

What is up family!!

Well so everything is going just dandy for me down here in Mexico! To start off, feliz cumpleanos a Marisa hoy!! Espero que su dia sea perfecto!! Te quiero Marisa. I thought i would put that in spanish as i know she always loved trying to speak spanish to me even when i didn't understand! haha. Also happy birthday to Auntie Susan. Sure do miss the dinners up at your house! Miguel as well on wednesday! and big Anthony Winters on friday! I sure do love you all and miss you all a bunch!!

Also dad i have to say that i still haven't sent the package! the castillo family had some problems sending it and we tried to go today but they didn't know where it was, so i will try my hardest to get it out this week and send it express even though it might be a little pricy! haha. Also mom, well as you know i am cleansing the stomach but you only sent me enough supplies for half of the cleansing process, so i dont know when you could send me the other half! Everything still itches like crazy and i am pretty sure that i still have little worms all up in my stomach!!

Well this week turned out much better than it seemed like it was going to. As you know, we had the confirmations on Sunday of the four who got baptized. Well satan worked really hard on our recent converts. On Thursday night we went over to Sandra and Kendra's house to find out that someone had hit Sandra with their car as she was walking!! Not surprising at all though as they are the worst drivers ever!! haha. And then Ruth got in a huge fight with everyone and left with her kids to go live with her mom! Then Geovana is pregnant and has been getting sick a lot! But some how we got all 4 of them confirmed on Sunday! We haven't been finding too many new people except for this one 18 year old kid named israel, who was my little miracle of the week. We met with him on tuesday and his first question was, what do i need to do to be a member of the church! I was like well i can fill up the font real fast if you want! haha. But seriously, things with him have really been progressing perfectly and he should get baptized this Sunday. His mom isn't a member and isn't too good with the idea, but I know that he will surely be rewarded for his faith!

So today we went downtown as a zone because elder Gleave is going home this week! I am sure going to miss him! He was an awesome guy and a great friend! He hooked me up with a bunch of sick ties! haha. Oh yeah and today is the Dia de Guadalupe. Everyone goes nuts carrying all of their virgin statues down the street and lighting off these really annoying fireworks like every ten seconds! you have got to love that!

And mom, as for your question, we are going to Walmart today and we are going to buy 2 or 3 big dinners for 3 families in the ward. The dinner has like everything and one of the ladies in the ward Hermana Meza gave us this idea. One is for a recent convert who is named Silvia, who has a bunch of little kids and don't have much, but they are always so nice to us. Then there are two young people named Eduardo and Guadalupe who are about to lose there house because they have no money, and the castillo family. They never show it but i guess that they are really struggling. They are always so nice to us and i love them so much. We are in the process of buying little presents for all of them as well! it should be an amazing christmas. As for the phone call, we are going to be in the Mezas house to call and they have skype so it will be awesome. They said it is free to call a home so i will just hit you guys up on christmas. i dont know what time but get excited! haha. Our mission numbers aren't looking great but our area is looking awesome! I love the work and am receiving so many blessings it isn't even funny. We had entrevistas with presidente this week as well, which was really good, and he gave us all some good advice!

Well not much else! love you all!

Elder Holmes

Another Great Week for Baptisms!

(This is Scott's letter from December 5th.) Well I have a lot to write and a little time as usual. The week was another great one for baptisms, but it was really tough during the week in finding new investigators and what not. We baptized Yovana, Sandra, Kenia, and Ruth. Jazmine and Antonio have a baptismal date for Christmas so I hope that they will progress towards that. I will send pictures of the baptisms. I had the opportunity to baptize Ruth and Sandra and my comp baptized Kenia and then a member baptized Yovana so that was also way fun. We had a bunch of people there for the baptism, which was awesome.

Anyways, I had an amazing experience this week with the scriptures. On monday i had some really frustrating feelings and thoughts going through my mind. It was a really rough time and I really didn’t know what to do. So Tuesday morning for my personal study, I sat down and said a little prayer. In the prayer I put all my faith in my Heavenly Father and told him that I was going to set my Book of Mormon on the table and let it fall open to one of the pages. I then said in my prayer that I was only going to read the left page and then apply whatever it told me into my life. Well it was amazing. I found something that talked really direct and I received my answer from God. What I was able to take out of it was that I needed to talk to someone to ask for advice. I ended up talking to President just over the phone and he gave me so much comfort and helped me resolve all my negative thoughts and feelings. I knew this was a direct answer from my Heavenly Father. I have never felt more free in my thoughts, or felt so good about what i am doing. I know that the scriptures have this amazing power and the only thing that we need to do is read them and then apply what they say. If we only read and forget to apply, we won’t receive the blessings from the Lord, like many of my investigators I have seen!

So like I said it, was a little bit tough this week in finding people! We worked our tails off trying to find people but we found nothing. We had two that were supposed to come to church, but they bailed on us Sunday morning, so that was a little tough, as well. My comp and I are having a lot of fun though mom opening the little presents that you sent to us. And about the call on Christmas. I talked to one of the sisters in our ward and she said that we could go to her house and use the phone there. So that’s what we will be doing. Also thanks a lot for the stomach stuff. I have officially started my cleansing process! haha. And Raul loved the candies and already ate all of them! I am having so much fun with the people here and they are all extremely nice to me. RIght now i am pretty pumped up. What could be better in my life? This is the only true church on the face of this earth and i have the opportunity to share a message that has completely changed my life with all of the people here in Mexico. I Love my Father in Heaven and I know that he will give us the help we need as long as we are doing the right things and praying!! I hope the week went well for everyone!!
Elder Holmes

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm So Happy to be Here in the Mission!

Well to start off, I want to tell the Padua family that i have been thinking a lot about them and the burial service this last week. I love you all so much! My mom told me all about it and it sounds like it was really great. Also happy birthday to Blake this next sunday! Man you're going to be 20! Let me tell you, twenty is a weird age. You're like not even a kid anymore! haha. And finally, thanks to Uncle Lee and Tammy, Clairabell and the Paduas for the money you all gave me for my birthday! THAT was way nice of you guys. Sorry it's taken so long to thank you! Oh yeah btws the word "way" down here is actually a bad word and so whenever i speak english, I have to be carefull to not say it because people will think i have a potty mouth! haha. It is hard though, because we use that word alll the time.

Well to start off, i am glad that you all had a bunch of fun on this thanksgiving. I would have totally forgotten about thanksgiving, but that day we had intercambios de companeros, i dont know the direct translation into english, but i worked with elder coley (from my district in my mtc) the whole day and slept at his house. We had a nice thanksgiving feast. I will send the pics later because he still has them. It consisted of microwavable pizza, french fries and ice cream! haha. Not quite the traditional feast, but it was a lot of fun and some good american food for once. And i am trying to send the christmas package and one of the members is helping me find the fedex that i need to go to so dad, i will use that number so i dont have to pay! haha.

Well yesterday we didn't have any baptisms but we still had a pretty good day in church. If everything works out well, we should have another 5 baptisms this next week. Actually that will be if everything works out perfectly! We are teaching Yolanda's sister and daughter, Kenia, and they both have a date for next week. Jazmin and Ruth are both working hard and have dropped the habit of smoking! If they can keep that up, then they will be baptized this next week too. Then there is a lady named Yovana who is married to a member and is pretty excited about her baptism this sunday! SO things right now in our area are way good and we are seeing a lot of miracles come from our hard work and obedience. My new comp, elder Ostergaard, is very obedient, which i really like about him, and we are getting along well. Sometimes it is hard with the people understanding us but i think it is going pretty well.

I really love our ward and i get along well with everyone here, but it is hard to get the help of the members in this ward. It is a little bit unorganized and no one is too excited about the work, which i don't understand because we are bringing a ridiculous amount of new members into the church. We are trying to work hard with all of them and trying to get their help with the work. Some of our investigadors and Yolanda's family gave us a mini christmas tree, lights and ornaments and everything so the house is looking pretty dang festive! haha. i will send some pictures of that. I sure do miss you all. Holidays are a really strange thing here on the mission. It just feels like another normal day and we still work just the same. Christmas will be a little sad without the barricade and the real tree, but i know that the best gift i can give anyone is the gospel, and i am so happy to be here in the mission! Honestly, one of the best feelings is watching my converts be active in the church, like Yolanda's kids received the Priesthood and were passing the sacrament yesterday. They are going to go to the temple in december with the ward in order to do baptisms for their dad who passed away. Man i was so happy to hear and see that. There really isn't a better feeling! Well we are going to go bowling again today! i love you all!

Elder Holmes

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanks to Everyone!

Well Hey there everyone!

This week was a little bit harder than the others, but still turned out ok! On Sunday we baptized the four kids of ruth, antonio and jazmine. That's why my email is entitled not so white!! haha. The parents had actually been having some troubles dropping the habit of smoking so we are going to continue to work with them on that and hopefully the next month they will get baptized as well!! It sure was a special sight to see all of their kids setting the example for their parents to follow. Also, we confirmed mario and lourdes yesterday with their 2 kids, so you could say it was a pretty successful sunday. We also brought one new lady to the church that i think should progress really well.

So the first week with my new gringo companion was a lot different. I am now talking a ton more, which is a good thing, but sometimes i think the people struggle to understand us! haha. But we did have some pretty good success. The hardest part is just everyone talking about how much they miss Elder Castillo and stuff, and i think it has kind of been tough on my new comp, as well. But he is a great guy and is exactly obedient, which i really like to see. We will definitely see the miracles come from our obedience.

So today i am writing a bit late because we went and toured like all of Queretaro with the Castillo family!! It was a ton of fun and i took lots of pictures. I will try to send some of those along your way today. We went into a bunch of different catholic churches and stuff, and by doing this, we got a couple contacts from people who were interested in what the heck two gringos were doing in a catholic church!! The Castillo family is extremely fun and it is always a great time when we are with them. OK so I finished up all of my christmas shopping for the family! Dad they tell me there is a fed ex here so i will try to send it this next week on your account. I have a gift for everyone in the family so dont you worry, but i also have no money!! haha.

Well for some reason i cant really think of anything else to say1 I worked a lot with our district leaders and zone leaders this week with our big families, which was a great learning experience for me. Oh yeah, and I've decided I am going to be a great stay at home dad! I am wicked good at ironing and you should see my sewing jobs that i have done. And btws mom, i received your christmas packages like 2 weeks ago, and i am dying to just open them already, but dont you worry, i still haven't!!

Well love you all and hope all is well with each of you. I hope that the thanksgiving break is great. I want to give thanks at this time to everyone that is praying for me and supporting me down here in mexico. It isn't always easy and i have felt the power of your prayers. Thanks, mom and dad, for being the two best parents a kid could ask for! And finally, for my 4 best friends in my life! The Bros. I miss you guys like crazy and want you to know i am thinking of you! Just so you know, I am sending some of the sickest gifts you have seen your way so i hope i see the same!! haha.

Love to all,
Elder Holmes

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Beautiful Experience!

Hola everyone! So i am pretty pumped up right now!! We had our baptisms yesterday of Mario, Lourdes and their 2 kids! It was another beautiful experience and i will attach pictures again on that! Everyone in the other family (of Jazmin and Antonio) came to church, as well, so they, along with Ruth and her two kids, will be getting baptized this next sunday! When we had the baptism of mario and lourdes, the others were all like "why cant we be baptized right now!" haha. They are all really excited, it seems, for their baptism this next week! We need to work extremely hard so everything will go well. So, as you can tell, right now our area is booming! We are experiencing so much success and it is awesome. It is completely amazing to see the people who have been so prepared by our Father in Heaven!

Ok so yeah, Elder Castillo left this morning at around 8 in the morning, and my new comp is named Elder Ostergard. He is a gringo from Heber, Utah. He really looks a lot like me! Blonde hair, blue eyes and tall. He has been in the mish for 16 months. Our investigators are going to freak because we look so much a like! haha. He seems nice, but i am not sure how great his spanish is. He sounds pretty white! haha. But we haven't taught anyone yet so we will see when it comes to that time, i guess! It was hard to say bye to Castillo! I grew to really love the guy! Towards the end, we were having a ton of fun together and with our investigators. We were always happy and joking around with jazmin, antonio, ruth and their families. The only bummer is that all of them are always like "Holmes, you are baptizing me. I want you to baptize me!" haha. I hope my companion can show them his love, as well. So next week when i send the photo, there will be 9 people dressed in white! how beautiful will that be!! My new comp has a lot to live up to! Everyone really loved castillo and we really brought energy into the lives of the people here. The families of jazmin, antonio y ruth told our bishop when we had a lesson all together that our visits are the best part of their day. Their kids all just wait at the window, looking for us to come. I am loving it here! I have learned to be myself even with my spanish that isn’t that great. I was so glad that i didn’t leave. You don't even know the kind of happiness that i am experiencing! Well i guess maybe you do, if you also served a mission! haha.

So this week the highlight was definitely the baptism, and then we had our missionary rally on saturday, which i will also send pics of! Elder castillo and i did an activity that was based on the atonement. We bought donuts for everyone and then we would offer them to the people in the room. If they took the donut, Elder castillo or i would have to do a bunch of exercises. The more people that took the donuts, the more exercise we would do! We then related this to Christ and how he has paid for all of our sins, but when we do the wrong things, we add to that suffering. It was a powerful message and everyone really liked it. It is hard to explain but just trust me. It was sweet. We also had four other stations and we had a ton of our investigators there. Then we all ate chimichangas! Hermana Meza, the Relief Society Pres, makes the best chimis ever! She always makes them for me because she knows how amazing I think they are!!!

We also got some new investigators out of the activity. If you can't tell, I am doing just awesome and the spanish is coming along! I am at least at the point where i have the people dying laughing! I don’t know if it is because of my gringo accent or what! haha. I am happy! I love you all! The gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives! I have seen it in the lives of the people i have taught, and also in my own!!! Well, peace!!

Love you all,

Elder holmes

Monday, November 7, 2011

Things are Still Looking Good!

Well i want to start off by responding to some things from last week! Way to go Christian on winning that award! Your paper was way awesome and i cried a little bit while i was reading it! so good job bud! And yeah Uncle Lee, you really are a hero for all of our family! i love you tons!

Well as for this week, it was pretty good! not great, but pretty good. Not too much new happened during the week, except for Saturday. That day we went to another town like three hours away and helped Jazmin and Antonio get married! It was a really fun experience and they were really happy, you could tell! The next day, we went to their house to pick them up for church and none of them were ready. Jazmin was sick in bed so none of them came to church with us, which was a big bummer and a little bit of a downer, but i think that things are still looking good for them! As for the other family, they are progressing along better than i expected! They drove to church by themselves yesterday with their two kids! It is hard to get a read on them because they are really quiet, but they are definitely starting to warm up to us, and we have fun when we are with them, as well! There baptisms are set for this Sunday, so i hope all goes well there. Their names are Mario and Lourdes.

Also, as for Yolanda and her family, they were all confirmed yesterday in church and Yolanda is so awesome! We had her give the family home evening the other day to all of her family and she did a great job. I will attach pictures of the family home evening and of the marriage of Antonio and Jazmin. We also have some good opportunities within Yolanda’s family, like her sister, so we are working on that as well!

Today as it was p-day, we went to the center and shopped in the little shops and what not! it was really fun! I had fun getting a few Christmas gifts! I don’t really know if i should even try to send a package home, because people say they get lost, but i guess i will try.

Well, so i know i am not supposed to like eat off the street, but you can’t really avoid it, but don’t worry, i always look to make sure they have a water spout so they can wash their stuff! I also avoid all lettuce and what not! My area is the nicest in the mission and really clean so i don’t know what is up with me? Dad, we don’t eat at anyone’s homes that are super sketch! All the houses here are really nice!

This Wednesday will be sweet, as i am going to the Mexico City temple with our whole mission! It will be my first session in spanish! This is going to be rough! haha. Should be awesome.

Well not much else! all is good! love you all! Adios peeps! hasta luego!

Elder Holmes

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blessings Come After the Trial of our Faith

This week was so insanely awesome! I can now share my testimony that i know blessings come after the trial of our faith! We baptized Yolanda, her two twins, and two of her nieces! it was a beautiful experience to see all of them in white!! I led the baptismal service and got to baptize the three boys! This also has opened up some great teaching oportunities with Yolanda's sister and her son as well! Don't worry. I will send all the pictures today! hopefully! oh yeah and we had 15 people in the church! how nuts huh? 14 of the 15 with baptismal dates! i know i was EXTREMELY blessed this week and I know it was because of our persistence in doing the Lord's work. Heavenly Father sure blesses his children!

SO the new people are 3 different families, and then the sister of yolanda and her son. We received a reference form our district leader about one family that had talked to the missionaries and everything before! We went to check it out and when we got there, two families were living in this house and they are all so legit!! The first day they said they wanted to have a family home evening with us (which we are going to have tonight.) They have a few challenges, like in the one family, they are still not married but have three kids, so we are planning on going to marry them on friday!! They are so excited and the 6 kids loved church yesterday. The parents enjoyed it too, but seemed a little bored! The primary program was yesterday and it was kind of a doozy! haha! Nothing like ours, but the spirit works in mysterious ways, because all of them still enjoyed church! gosh i have so much to say and so little time! that is why this email is all over the place.

The other family is a mom and dad with three kids as well. They are a little reserved, but really sweet people who have a desire to change their lives! Well all of them have dates for baptism on the 13th of november, and we are going to work our hardest to help them overcome everything that lies ahead!! But yeah i am freaking púmped out of my mind! if every week of the mission was like this, i would literally jump out of my bed in the mornings! haha.

SO also we had a family home evening with Yolanda and her family about prophets and it went really well! We played the pig snorting game dad, and they all loved it! We had tons of fun! Also, it was really cool to see all of their testimonies grow. Glenda, the niece of Yolanda, bore an awesome testimony to her mom when we were asking for permision to baptize her! Really powerfull stuff here! Oh yeah mom, the packages came and all of the food and candy is already gone! Not only was i pounding it, but i shared it with a lot of people. "American candy" and they all loved it. But there is one request for the son of Yolanda. He wants zours, the candy! They stopped selling them here and he is ticked! haha.

So today we played soccer again and it was so much fun! All of the mexicans are like "who knew that gringos could play soccer?" I think my team lost once, so we were on the court the whole time for about ten games! I had two of the sickest backward header goals for game winners! haha. Not that it is that important, but it was legit! haha. I literally right now am smilling from ear to ear and we are owning!!

That's so awesome that Uncle Lee came over to help C-Bear celebrate his big win! Congrats Christian. You're the best! And Uncle Lee, you rank right up there as one of my hero's too!

Finally, thanks so much to Bishop Willardsen, and everyone in the ward, who is going to be fasting for the missionaries! I sure need all the prayers and help that i can get and it's way cool to think that everyone back home will be dedicating their fast to this great work. It is truly the work of the Lord!! My testimony has grown so much and i know that when we do all we can, and have the right desires in our hearts and minds, the Lord will bless us. They might not come as fast as we want, but they will come!

I love you all
Elder Holmes

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Not all Kicks and Giggles Out Here!

Well this week was the hardest and worst week i have had since i have been on my mission. It started with us going down to the city, which i thought was going to be an awesome experience, but i got sick... again! It was the exact same thing as always. I always know when i am going to get sick. So i worked with one of the zone leaders and just felt like crap. I threw up a couple of times in one of the houses of some recent converts in his ward! (impressive!) My companion and I then returned to Queretaro and hadn't worked at all in our area, and hadnt seen Andres all week. We had a cita set up with him on thursday night and he didnt show up. We called him and he was like 'yeah, i need to talk to you guys. I dont want anything to do with the church anymore and i dont even want to talk to you guys anymore'. I felt like i just got hit by a bus (actually, i felt like walking into the street and getting hit by a bus, as well) haha. I was so sad. The guy was our miracle. He was literally perfect. He had bought a wedding ring and everything for his member girlfriend, and now, because of the last minute push by satan, he is a single 27 year old, no fiance, and not a member. I was so sad for him. I have to really push myself to stay positive though. Yolanda and her 2 kids and 2 nephews are progressing great. i hope this is the blessing and the end to all of the trials that i have been having.

Well then it was my birthday. Mom i got the little package but still not the birthday one. I only got the one with the halloween stuff in it, which i loved, so thanks so much for that. Supposedly my other package is in one of the other buildings here in queretaro and i will get it tomorrow when we have a junta with president and our zone. On friday night, we went to the Castillos home and they had a cake for me and they gave me a sweet mexico jersey (i will send pics!) They are so nice and so awesome to me. And then on the actual birthday, one of the families here took us out for carnitas in another city that is famous for carnitas, and they also gave me a nice birthday gift. the people in the ward are so awesome to me and it was really nice. Other than that, it didnt really feel like a birthday. No breakfast in bed, and i had to work all day! haha.

Well the adversary is working extremely hard not only on me, but also on our investigators. Everything that has happened makes me just get mad and not want to work as hard, but i am not going to let that happen! I promise. I am going to work even harder and put all my faith in the lord. I do know that the blessings come after the trials of our faith, and i hope that i will be able to write next week and bear testimony of that! well, love you all and keep me in your prayers, because every single tuesday i get sick! (what's up with that?) i think i have something growing inside of me! haha. Anyway, keep your fingers crossed that i dont get sick tomorrow.

Love you all,
Elder holmes
(Sorry that this letter was a little down, but hey it isn´t all kicks and giggles out here. it is the hardest thing i have ever done, but worth it, at the same time.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Birthday.....To ME!

Hey guys!

Well just want to start off this leter as i usually do with saying whose birthday it is. oh yeah, that is right. it is mine!! happy birthday to me!! haha. and also to Jimmy wonnacott on friday, because he is one of the only other birthdays i know because it is so close to mine! oh and the ford girls, of course!! hope the day is awesome for you guys as well. Well we are going to be eating with some members and they are making me a special birthday feast! then the castillo family, who is way awesome, wants us to stop by in the night to party. ok, well not party but maybe have some cake or something. haha. i still havent got my package, but i will be down there tomorow because my comp is going to the temple with some converts, and i am working in the city so that should be fun and hopefully it is there. OH and for christmas - i would love some more ear plugs! i sleep with them every night and it is way nice. haha. the crickets are so loud!!

So today was another awesome p day. I think it is because of our new zone leader, elder gleave. he is way fun and loves to do stuff. SO this morning our whole zone got together and went to ihop to have all you can eat pancakes for 40 pesos and then after that we went bowling. i know i am supposed to be humble and all that but i smashed them all in bowling! it wasn't my best game but i bowled a 180! not bad. I dont have my cord to download pics so another day i will send those. remember this is my fun paragraph and funny experiences, so.... There is this kid that we see all the time and he always calls me elmer because he is a little confused with the elder. He is just some kid on the street and always is yelling elmer at me! haha. Well the other day he and his bud came up and offered me some marijuana! i have never been offered drugs in my whole life and i even went to the "drug school" haha. and now i am a missionary and i got offered them!! i thought that was pretty funny. Oh also you know how people down here have names that you would never see in the u.s., like "jesus" or "savior" and stuff like that? well the other day this lady's name was, no joke, Evangelio de dios! haha. "Oh hi! my name is 'gospel of god'"!! i thought that that was a little bit funny. her parents must have really loved her!!!

ok well now to the goods! we had 7 people in church yesterday. it was awesome! Andreas is a freaking stud and he is going to be baptized this next sunday. I am so happy! and then yolanda not only came to church, but brought two of her kids and two nephews. so we are going to be meeting with her whole family this next week. Yolanda has a date for baptism on the 30th of october, so things are looking up. we had two awesome lessons with her this week with other members in the ward. Working with the members is definitely the way to go. SO mom, dad, nick and lee, make sure you are open whenever the members need your help teaching and what not. Also this kid named Bizmar came to church (bizmar by the way is a freaking sweet name, don't ya think? i might have to name one of my kids that! he would go by biz! so dope! haha.). We set a baptismal date with him as well for the 30th. This week i did have 10 contacts or more every day and i have been working my butt off. We are trying to work more with the members so that is our goal for this week. but like i said, i will be down in the city tomorrow so we won't have too much time to work in our district. I think my spanish is doing a lot better, but i still get down on myself sometimes. gosh it can just be so hard and i sound like a total newb sometimes.

Well i love my ward! the people are way nice. The Castillo family is always giving us stuff and feeding us and even doing our laundry! She knit me the other day this way sweet thing with my name on it. i will send a pic of it next week. Also, there are a couple people in our ward who like to practice their english with me. Andreas speaks good english actually and we have become pretty close. He is a way nice guy. Well i think that is it for me! wow i can't believe that i am going to be 20! that is way too crazy! I am way old Huh! well, mom have fun in d.c. this week and show christian the awesome time that you showed me and the rest of all the boys! i love you all and hope that everything is going well back home!

Love elder Holmes!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Messi in Mexico!

Well hey there!

Well as you can tell from the title of my email i finally got to play soccer today with some of the guys in my zone. And yeah you guessed it. I looked a lot like messi on the court! haha. It was really fun that we actually got to do stuff with our zone and on a p`day! Well to answer some questions: things with my companion are going pretty good. i will go into more detail later on that. And Margartita wasn't home this week to visit, so it looks like she has kind of fallen away, which is really too sad. My new district leader is elder far and yeah he is an awesome missionary and extremely obedient, which is a good thing.

Ok so i have decided that the people here might be a little bit racist. In the stores they sell this donut that is really good but it is called the Negrito. And on the package, sure enough, is a little black guy with a fro! it is a big joke with all of the american elders and the negritos really are delicious! haha. Oh and also last monday i ate a freaking torta on the street and it messed me up real bad! haha. i was sick for the next 2 days and one night didnt sleep at all.

Well now to the serious part! This week we had a zone conference on tuesday and it made me realize that i am not putting enough effort into each day. For the first part of the mission, i have only contacted about 5 people a day or less, because i was afraid of my spanish at time,s and the people are sometimes rude. Well since i was sick in the beginning of the week, i really didnt feeel like contacting at all. But all of a sudden, i had the urge to just start contacting. I was like 'might as well start now', because sometimes i would say 'oh well, i will do better tomorrow'. but you know how that works out? Well long story short, the first lady i contacted was super excited and was like 'yeah come to my house. i want my whole family to hear!' So we met with them and she told us how she was walking that day on the street wondering how she was going to fix her family problems, when i contacted her and told her we had a message about eternal families. I know that the spirit works in many different ways, and a lot of times in ways we dont even realize. Since then i have had at least 10 or more contacts everyday and the lord also blessed us with another miracle this week. His name is Andreas. HE is golden. He is going to be baptized in two sundays. So long story short, i know that when we do all that we can do, we are blessed with the guidance and promise of the lord.

We also taught this mother and daughter this week. It is so sad. They don't talk to each other at all, and the daughter won't forgive her mom and all this stuff. We had to teach them separately because they won't even sit in the same room. The daughter is 16 and has a baby that is already 1 year old. so yeah, I would say the mom had a little bit of a reason to get mad, but it has gotten worse, i guess. It made me realize how lucky i am to have a mom like you, mom! You're the best and i love you so much. i'm realizing that so many times we don't see the blessings in our life until we are exposed to the exact opposite. We are still working with them but it is way tough!

Well it sounds like all is going way well! Everyone here is way nice. hopefully someone will remember that it's my birthday next week and treat me real nice! keep up all the good work! love you all and miss you sometimes! haha.

Love elder holmes

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conference was so Legit!

Ok well i am going to try to fly because i just found out that we actually only have 45 minutes on the computer instead of an hour so that is just awesome. SO Thanks dad for sending me those object lessons. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ellen Lewis. I dont know if you read my letters ellen but i hope you have an awesome birthday tomorrow.

Welll this week was pretty sweet! can you believe that today is the first transfers of my mission? I lose my district leader elder mcleary and one other missionary. I will miss them. They were way good elders. so on tuesday of this week one of the APs came and worked with us for the day, which was pretty sweet. He helped me out a lot because he spoke english and i was able to tell him some of my concerns, so he could help me fix them with my comp. He really stressed working with the members, which i agree that it is one of the most important things. Well then after he left we had some great success during the week and met people that i thought were golden. They accepted all of their commitments, but again, all of them had different excuses for conference yesterday and we only had one of them come with us to priesthood and one came to the session on sunday.

Wow what a conference huh? I really enjoyed listening to it. All of the american elders and some others who spoke english watched it in a different room. I wanted to be able to listen to it in spanish, but i got a ton more out of it by listening to it in english. I called it "el salon para los gringos!" haha. Wow elder holland's talk in priesthood was so legit. actually all of priesthood was legit. and i enjoyed all the sessions and took tons of notes on how i can be a better missionary.

On wednesday we went to a member's house for lunch, but i had eaten 10 tacos with one of our investigators like 2 hours before, so i was already pretty full. haha. When we got there, she served us the nastiest soup i have ever smelled and tasted. I literally almost threw it back up into the bowl about 3 times. (mom i hope that you aren't editing my letters for the general public.) haha. Ok so then after that she fed us straight rice. plain. a whole plate! Then fish with the biggest mound of zuccini and cactus and corn. Rebecca jensen would have been so proud of me because i pounded all of it! Sorry rebecca that i never ate your zuccini! haha. Needless to say i was feeling so sick. We left in a hurry and ran to a member's house and all i could say to him was "Puedo vomitar en su Baño?" haha.

Well dad to answer your question, i am in the bario fresnos and i attend church in satelite. I was pretty bummed yesterday because for three weeks now none of our investigators have been keeping their commitments to come to church. I sat down with my district leader and we listed the things that i need to do in my companionship. We concluded that i needed to start taking the lead and not letting him control everything, like the length of our lessons. But i couldn't be too sad because conference was just way legit. We did have such a spiritual experience with margarita the other day. She had a dream how she was at the gates of heaven and the guy said 'you cant enter yet. you arent ready'. And then we showed up at her door and started teaching her exactly what she needed to be ready. I felt the promptings of the spirit to read 2 nephi 31, the last verse that says how this is the only path and the only way we can enter into the presence of god and it's the true word of god. We then sang her a hymn and she was crying. It was a way spiritual experience. The next day when we went back to her house, her daughter had shown her a bunch of anti mormon literature on line and she is now "all confused". well we figured out that she had read the book of mormon and asked to know if it is true. Without that sure witness, anyone will fall to the junk that is put out there on the internet. I asked her if she would rather read the words of god found in the book of mormon, or read the words of uneducated prideful people. We are going to meet with her today, so i dont know, but it isnt looking so great.

Right now we are getting our butts kicked and satan is working hard on the people, but we need to be more like elder holland. I need to stop worrying about my spanish and just talk!! well i hope that all is well!

Sure love you all!

Elder Holmes

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Rollercoaster of a Week!

Well so this week was kind of a rollercoaster. Last sunday as i said was kind of a bummer because we had no one in the church and my district leader said do everything you can and you will be blessed this next week. Well On tuesday morning in our district meeting, they told me that i had to go down to the city to sign my visas and what not. So i went down on a bus all by myself and arrived at about 11 o clock at night and met up with some of the other guys in my generation. I talked with elder watson for a couple hours and we just shared stories and everything and it made me realize how much i already love my mission and all of the stories i already have! well the next day we went to sign our papers and they had problems with ours, so we have to go back down in a week or so, but i dont mind because we got burgerking!! haha. It tasted so freaking good. It was like that first meal we always have after our high adventure! it always tastes like five times better! haha

When I got back, i had another interesting experience. So i had given 60 dollars to this guy to exchange for me at a bank, because i heard that was the easiest way to do it. so the other day i went to collect my money. this guy speaks english so that is why i gave it to him in the first place. when i got there the guy said "well i have to tell you something about your money." Me: "ok what happened to it." him: "well i spent it because my family hasnt had food in a week and they are all really hungry. I am so sorry but i am going up to the states this week and i will send you the money back to my sister for you" blah blah blah. I thought that this might just be the guy making an excuse and he really just used it for something else, so i told my companion, "will you ask his sister (who is the member) if she was really able to buy food with my money?" And my companion said "well she asked me the other day where this money came from and i told her that you had given it to him so he could travel to the us!!!!" i was so mad! i told him i gave it to him to exchange. "why do you think i would just give it to him!!!" haha. he didnt even ask me! he just thought i was real nice. SO now i have about 50 pesos for this week. haha. But the good thing is that i helped feed a starving mexican family, and like christ, sometimes we have to forgive our debtors! This can be my birthday present, I guess. i don't think i will ever see the money again. haha.

Ok so like my district leader said, i worked so hard this week and on thursday, friday and saturday we found 13 new investigators, committed two to baptism and to come to church. We were feeling pretty good because we knocked tons of doors and talked to everyone. i really felt good about the work that we did. come sunday, though, everyone bailed on us again!!!! Gosh it is so hard sometimes. Margarita had to go visit her brother again but we met with her last night. She is soooooo legit. All her family is giving her tons of junk about us and our religion but she always stands up for us and told us last night how amazing she always feels when we are in her home and when she comes to church. We just need her to come to church again. her brother is super sick, but this sunday she said she is definitely coming to conference with us.

So i am doing well. I am fatter then i have ever been but i feel the spirit and feel amazing. I am not joking! the other day i ate 5 times. They feed me so freaking much here it isnt even funny! I need to lay off, but i cant when they just dish up these huge servings for me and i just pound the whole thing! oh and i almost forgot to tell you. i decided this week that i was going to serve my companion and not look at faults, but at what he is good at. I made him pancakes two mornings, have done all the dishes this week while he is in the shower and i try to make his bed in the mornings for him. It really has changed my attitude about him and the work!

Well i had great spiritual experiences this week and i know the success willl come. I read our search for happiness this week and i literally couldn't put it down. I finished it all in like 5 days. well i sure love you all!

elder holmes

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feliz Dia de Independencia!

¡Hola! Well to start off happy birthday Amberlee!!!! I hope that it is just a great day for you and the fam! Also if i am correct i forgot to mention Emily Chilton last week in my letter. i am so sorry but i hope the birthday for you was awesome as well! Also way to go Chris poppin the question on London Bridges!!!! haha. I am way happy for you guys. you two are an awesome couple and will be way happy!

Well Dad this week in your email to me you told me how you wanted me to take one time a month or so to write more and tell you more than i do, but the problem is that i have 45 minutes to write not only you guys but also my mission president! so just like the mtc, i kind of have to cram and type really fast and then that is all i can do for the whole week. And i dont receive mail so yeah it is kind of hard to keep you guys updated on everything that is going on. Other mission specific rules are that we can't wear watches (i can't get my wicked sweet watch tan line that i wanted, so i am a little ticked about that!) and we cant drink coke because some of the members take offense when the missionaries drink coke. haha. and no i still havent found out how to mail letters. but i havent received any either so i dont really have anything to respond to haha.

Well It sounds like the week went pretty well for you guys. i was riding in a taxi this week dad, and supertramp came on the radio. I thought that you and i were the only people in the world that liked supertramp! I had some hard core flash backs of being with you at Lake Powell and just all the fun times we had together. Man you are the best dad ever and i love you so much. You really are the best. And obviously you are too, momma dawg.

Well this week we had the Dia de Independencia down here in Mexico. It was a pretty crazy day and the president had us get home early and then we had to leave late the next day because everyone just parties real hard. There is a cop in our ward and he was explaining to us how none of the cops carry a gun on this day because there is no law on this day! they can literally do whatever they want! haha. So that night we went over to the Castillos house and had a little party with a bunch of other people from the ward. I'm attaching a few pictures of that little get together. It was really fun and they had a lot of good mexican food. One of the sisters made chimichangas and they were so bomb. She said she will make them again for me when we go to her house this week for lunch! haha. So since it was their independence day i had a bunch of people yelling stuff at me, groserias or cuss words and crap, but i really have no clue what they are saying so i always just smile and wave. my comp is like yeah they are swearing at you. haha. I guess sometimes not knowing the language is a good thing! Also i feel like a celebrity down here because wherever i go people just stare at me. LIke when i get on the bus, literally everyone just looks at me. Its like have you never seen a white guy before? I always want to use dads line, "take a picture it lasts longer!" haha.

Oh we finally got our light back this week. We had one of the guys we know come over and break the thing with a hammer and get us our light back. I think we went 16 days without light, so i officially have more days here in mexico without light than with! We paid and everything, they just never came!

Well this week was a bit rough. I was a little bit down yesterday when none of the people we had been working with came to church. That lady that elder mcleary and i contacted is named margarita and she is golden. She is so nice to us and really wants to get baptized. This week, though, her brother was really sick and she had to go to a different city to help him. We went to her house last night though and all was good. Hopefully she will be baptized next Sunday. Right now we are kind of getting our butts kicked. Its no lie that missionary work is really tough. I think we are the only people that work every single day of the year! Even christmas. haha. But it is so satisfying and it makes me so happy when i see people who actually want to change their lives and come closer to their Heavenly Father. This week i am just going to work my butt off because the goal for the mission is 5 baptisms in october and we only have one lined up, maybe 2, so we need to get out there. I know that when we put in our best effort, the lord always blesses us.

Well other than that, nothing much is too new. The spanish is coming along slowly, but it is still really hard to sit there and not be able to really respond to the doubts of our investigators. I am trying my hardest to be a help to my comp, but at times, i dont even understand the people still. I just want to be able to talk and be a sick missionary so bad!!! haha. Well i love you all.

Love you guys,
Elder holmes

Monday, September 12, 2011

You're Lucky I'm Alive!

Hey Everyone. This is a pic of me eating the "Nacho Libre Corn"! Pretty sick, huh? It actually wasn't that good though! haha.

Anyway, i just wanted to start off by saying happy belated birthday to Eric whose birthday was yesterday! I hope that you had a fantastic day, bud. Also BIg joey's birthday tomorrow! And i am thinking of Uncle Bobby as it would be his birthday today, as well. I sure love you guys.

Also Congratulations mom and dad on the 27 years of marriage. You guys are such an amazing example to me and to all of those around you. There was a quote that i liked from President Monson last conference that says "Choose your love. Love your choice." I love both of your choices! you guys are literally perfect! i hope you did something fun to celebrate those 27 awesome years of marriage!

Well I am not going to lie. after i wrote to you on monday and for the next four days, i had some of the hardest days of my life, i think. Tuesday morning i woke up to a lot of throwup in the toilet and i just felt miserable. I went for 2 days just feeling so weak, with a screaming headache that felt like i was going to literally explode. Wednesday night i went to bed with a temperature of 104 degrees and was literally on fire. I went to the doctor the next day and i started to feel a lot better, but didn´t even really use the medicine they gave me. You know how they are down here, when you even cough, they think you are about going to die. haha. Every single house i went to they were like "you look terrible. take this and that and go to the hospital" and all this. haha. The good news is that i feel a lot better right now!

You are just very lucky that i am even alive right now to be writing you this email, after the experience i had yesterday with lighting the boiler. It was my first time and my companion didn´t really explain it that well, or maybe he did but it was just in spanish! so i go to light the boiler and it wont light and the match burns my finger so i drop that match, and am going to get the second one to light with my face right next to the opening, when a huge ball of fire just shoots out of the opening and literally fried all of my hair! I have the eyelashes on one of my eyes and the left side of my head has shorter hair than the right. haha. It was so scary. I literally could have died! haha

Well as for the rest of my week. I had an awesome day on monday when i went on splits with my district leader, elder Mcleary. He and i ran into a lady knocking doors and committed her to baptism right there and she came to church on sunday. That was the best lesson i have given, because he would actually pause and let me talk and actually went with the lesson plan. It was a cool experience for me. I don´t know why it was just much easier to actually teach with him. Everyone says that my spanish is like way good for the amount of time and stuff that i have here, but i think its terrible still! haha. There are times when i will understand everything, and then other times that i won´t even get one word out of it! haha.

The rest of the week was super hard because i was so sick and we only had one of our investigators in church on sunday, so that was a little rough. Man this is hard! But it is worth it. I can feel myself coming closer to my Heavenly Father, that's for sure. I like this quote from Elder Uchtdorf when he said, " dont let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the spirit". This is not just for me but for everyone reading this. I hope that all is going just great and you arent missing me too much! yeah right! haha. I love you all!!

Elder Holmes

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Best Day of My LIfe!

Hey Family!

First off "Way to go Jimmer! it is about time! haha. Congratulations! i am so happy for the both of you!"

So dad it is no wonder that andrew never answered all of your questions! you ask like 700 of them in one paragraph, but i will try and do my best! Well this week we had some different trials and challenges put into our path. last tuesday as we were coming out of a members house, this like 17 year old kid starts yelling at us and saying all these different cuss words, which i obviously didnt understand at all. he then comes up and just kicks my companion and wants to fight him! i was just standing there like 'what in the heck is going on with the guy!' it was a good thing the kids girlfriend was there to hold him back. we just continued walking and all of a sudden his 4 friends came out and started yelling at us, but we were already too far away! that same day the electric company cut all the power to our house because the missionaries hadn't paid the bill for 7 or 8 months or something like that! we are still without power and i don't know when they are going to come and turn it back on. Also, a lot of our appointments fell through and it was just pretty tough. but i gotta say, we were significantly rewarded yesterday!

It was one of the best days of my life! Xochitl did get baptized and i was even able to do the baptizing! it was such a cool experience, as that was my first one, not only in spanish, but my first one ever! Way cool experience and she seemed really excited! i will send the picture today of it. also yesterday was fast and testimony meeting, so of course i bore my testimony, and that was scary but a good experience. all of the people in the ward are extremely nice and i am pretty sure i am still putting on weight because i literally eat at EVERY single house we walk into. during the thrid hour of church we had two investigators there and we pulled them into another room and talked to them about how they were liking it, and had a lesson with one of the members. At the end of the lesson, we committed both of them to baptism in two weeks. then later in the day, it was pouring rain and we felt prompted to go all the way to this one ladies house who lives way far away. she was awesome! you should have seen her face when we talked to her about the book of mormon. she was so interested and just thought it was amazing! we then commited her to be baptized the first week in october! I really hope we can continue to work with these three and that they will excercise their faith and take that final step! So to sum it up, i bore my testimony, brought someone into the kingdom of god, and committed three more people to do the same. Can you get a day better than that? well i guess i will find out. haha.

So my spanish is still pretty rough. It's hard to talk but i can understand more of what people are saying! if you have any ideas of how i can learn faster, shoot them on over to me! I just put my faith in the lord and work my hardest. i still am trying to find enough words to ask either my companion or someone else around here how in the heck to mail a letter to the us, and where to do that, so if you guys know, then please let me know. haha. sorry for those family and friends who have been writing! I will try my hardest! i haven't received any mail here yet so that is also why i haven't really written anyone! haha.

So we have started running in the morning! it's going pretty good but my stomach isn't sure about it!! imagine eating really hot food and beans every single meal and then shaken it around on a run or in the buses here! yeah not that fun at all. They are the worst drivers here! haha. Well anyways i am doing pretty great and i hope the same is for all of you guys! love you all and thanks for the support! keep me and my spanish in your prayers!

Elder Holmes

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Letter from Mexico!

Well Hey family!
So it has been a full week here in Mexico!  As you have probably figured out by now, mondays are my p days, but it definitely doesnt feel like a pday thus far.  So i have been assigned to the city of queretaro, which is the furthest away from the mission home and offices. so yeah i dont receive mail until someone from the office brings it up here, which sounds like that happens only about once in a blue moon (3 months to be exact!)  so it doesnt sound like i will get too much, but if anyone does want to write, i would suggest dear elders because supposedly those come every week to the office and then they just hold them until someone comes to queretaro!

Ok I want to start off by saying happy birthday to humongous Lee and to Cbear! btw’s sweet arm christian! way to go you tool!  Make sure all of the girls take really good care of you though! haha.  I hope you both have a great bday on wednesday.
Alright so i arrived here on monday and we went right to the presidents house for interviews and dinner!  they are great people and all went well there.  the next day we went over to the church and had a little training and then received our new companions.  mine is named elder castillo.  yes he is a native.  and yes it has been a pretty quiet week for me! haha. there were four natives in the group and 9 other americans and i ended up with one of the natives!  i guess the lord knew it would be good for me, huh?  so we then took a three hour bus ride up to our mission and got to our house.  On the way up my companion was telling me how nice our house is and what not and then when i got there i was like really this is considered nice?  haha.  but i think it is pretty nice, i mean the bathroom sink has been ripped off the wall and i have killed at least one cockroach everday so that is real nice.  the first thing i saw when i came in was a cockroach running over all the food! that was really comforting! haha. 

We went out tracting that night and we met some really nice people and what not.  The people here are way nice and literally every single house feeds us.  we are definitely not going hungry and i am probably gaining even more weight. so this last week we were supposed to have 8 investigators at church and we had set 2 new baptismal dates for these two awesome people that we ran into.  but come sunday, we only had 1 person in church.  at least it was our baptism that we have lined up for next week.  the goal of the mission is to baptize someone every week and have 3 new baptismal dates and 3 new people attending church everyweek.  it is definitely possible but you need to work really hard,  that is for sure. 

Well this week sure has been a pretty tough adjustment.  i feel like the awkward missionary who just kind of creeps in the corner because i literally have no idea what they are talking about like half of the time!  I just want to talk so bad sometimes but i dont know how.  i feel that my spanish is coming along though.  I study with one of the ladies who is in our ward who also speaks english.  She is a pretty good help for me but there are so many stinking words in spanish and so many rules! haha. 
This was my letter to the president where i explain some of the things we did. I’ll include it so i dont have to type it twice: "Well this week has been quite the adjustment but i have had a good time with our investigators and teaching people (well as much as i can at least).  I was able to extend the commitment for a baptism this week with two of our new investigators and they seemed like they were just golden.  We called them on saturday night and they had read everything we told them and said they were going to be ready for us to pick them up the next morning.  the next morning when we went to pick them up, however, the mom was with her mom, who was sick in another town.  I hope that is the truth because they seemed really interested and i knew they felt the spirit.  We also have been teaching a lady named Xotchitl who is way awesome and is going to be baptized this upcoming sunday.  I was able to share testimony with her about Christ and also share some scriptures with her.  My contacting is coming along as well!  I have contacted a lot of people and most of them have said we could come share a message with them!  we are doing well but we need to figure why most of our investigators didnt come to church!"

While we were in the MTC, we watched a video by elder bednar, who told a story of some missionaries who came to his house and stayed there for almost two hours, and then at the end asked for references.  Bednar said, "i would never give my references to you missionaries".  he then went on to explain how they weren’t obedient and are spending way to much time in the members houses.  he closed by saying you need to always ask yourself "how is this adding to your purpose as a missionary".  i decided then that i would never be that missionary, that i would be focused and do what i am here to do.  i just know that when you are exactly obedient, then miracles will come. 

Well it has been hard but a good kind of hard.  i feel awkward and cant really talk at all, but i try, and i am happy, so i guess thats all you can ask for.  without the lord's help i wouldnt be able to do this work.  the gospel literally changes peoples lives!
and yeah my stomach will never be normal again! The food is pretty dang good though. We are in like a rich city i think!  i love you guys a lot and i sure do miss everyone!  i need all the prayers i can get for my spanish so keep me in your prayers each night! haha.

elder holmes

Monday, August 22, 2011


Many of you have asked when Scott leaves for Mexico.......Just to let you know, he flew to Mexico this morning at 9:50. He was able to call his family from the airport and it was great to talk with him. He sounded so good. He was his happy self and very ready to start his new life as a missionary in the Mexico City North mission. Scott wanted me to let you all know how much he has appreciated the letters and goodies that you have sent his way! He is so grateful for the love and friendship that you have all shared with him. It will take a bit longer for letters to reach him now, but please know that he will appreciate your letters now more than ever. I have updated his blog with his current address. He sure loves you all. From Scott, and from all of us......thanks for your love and support, and for everything you do to help and encourage him to be his best.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pretty Pumped up and Ready to Go!

Hola familia!

Well so to start things off, we have still not gone up to the consulate to get our visa's and we were supposed to go up today but they rescheduled it for tomorrow, which sounds like it will definitely happen then. We got our flight plans last week and it has us scheduled leaving the mtc at 6 in the morning on monday, with a 9 or 10 o'clock flight out of utah, with a direct flight to mexico city. I don't know if that will still be the case since we are getting our visas so late, but if that is, then I will be calling you monday morning anywhere from 7-9, i guess. If not then, it will kind of be a surprise call sometime next week, because i have no idea when they are going to reschedule my flight! Maybe i will have to stay longer. Who knows! But hopefully, i am rolling on monday, because i am pretty pumped up and ready to get out of here, for sure.

Well i have put on 10 freaking pounds since i have been here! 10 pounds! I was outside playing soccer for the past two weeks and then this week, i went into the gym to weight myself and i have packed on 10 pounds. I mean, how am i gaining weight. All i do is sit in the same place for 10 hours everyday! For breakfast i have a bunch of sugar coated cereal. For lunch it's usually just a hamburger with some ice cream and cookies and chocolate milk, and for dinner it's more meat or pizza with a bit more ice cream and cookies! I don't get it! haha. I actually broke one of the waist bands in my pants the other day so that was flippen awesome! I had to take those in to get fixed! Elder Pinho, the guy from Brazil in my district, calls the fat that hangs over your pants, your fanny pack, so we tease about that all the time! Don't worry though, i will just find a worm or something to eat down in Mexico that will eat all the food for me in my stomach! I will surely lose some weight that way! haha.

Well this week has been a pretty fun week! The guys in my district are the best and we all have an awesome time together! I have continued my dominance on the soccer field with a hat trick the other day out there on the field! And the dominance in my lessons has started to come a bit this week. After that terrible lesson i told you about last week, i worked really, really hard and studied hard for my next lesson. The next day we taught that same teach again and he told us that is was one of the best lessons that he had had since has been in the MTC! That was a nice little pick me up! I feel like it is coming along, but i still just throw around unconjugated words like it is nobodies business. We have had some awesome firesides from some people in the 70, and have had some great testimony builders for me! Most of the talks have been on faith! That really is the first principle of the gospel, and with faith, we can do anything!

Well sounds like everyone is doing just swell! Hopefully the next time i write, i will in in MEXICO baby!!

Love you all,
Elder Holmes

Friday, August 12, 2011

Putting My Ear Plugs In!

Hey Guys!

Well I would like to start off with a big Happy Birthday to Little Lee Holmes! Man the big 16 is huge! Watch out girls he is now on the market for the hot dates! Make sure your first date is mom though! Let me know how the day goes for you! It sounds like you had quite the party last night with rob!

Well To start by answering some questions! About the consolate, no i haven't been up to it yet! I am starting to get a little nervous because the two elders in our district that are going to tanners mission went up like 2 weeks ago but we haven't yet. I talked to this one kid who said that they didn't go till like their last week because one of the guys in their district turned in there papers late so they were waiting till the last possible moment to bring them up waiting for that guys visa to come in! I sure hope we did everthing ok though and its not mine they are having a problem with! haha. And also no, that kid with the broken collarbone didn't have to go home. he is just in this crazy contraption for like 6 weeks!

Well i had a little bit tougher week this week! I taught one of the WORST lessons the other day! And the thing is is that i thought i had prepared for it and was ready but when i got in there i just couldn't remember anything in spanish and i was just a total newb! It was so frustrating and really got me pretty upset because i study hard. Well after that i went to the store and bought some ear plugs and put them in and haven't really talked too much to anyone since! Just trying to pound it in my brain i guess! I don't really have the best brain for this stuff! My companion has the kind of memory where he looks up a word once in the dictionary and he has it memorized forever, where i will look up the same word about 6 times and still not know what it means when i see it! But i guess all i can do is ask the lord for help and work even harder!

We got to host the new missionaries yesterday which was really fun! I didn't have any new friends come in but i met a couple of really nice new elders as i was welcoming them in! It feels like yesterday that that was me coming into the mtc! Man time has really flown here and before you know it, i will be in Mexico having even less of an idea of what the people are saying, but it will be awesome!

Well There were so many emails that i had to read today so i didn't get too much time to write but i hope that all is well at home! I will write you a letter dad and let you know what i think about your talk if that is ok! Well what the heck are the brothers doing! I only have like a week left in here to recieve mail and then i get to mexico where it could take 3 months to get! haha. I only have one p day left!! crazy stuff!! well I had some great spiritual experiences this week reading the scriptures, and we had a great talk by cecil o samuelson, the pres of byu, about being a good example even when we aren't being watched! The Lord is always watching and knows each one of us personally! Keep having fun without me!! haha.

Elder holmes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Awesome, as Always!"

Hey fam!

Well it sounds like everything is going just great for all of you guys and i am jealous that you have gotten to take the boat out a couple more times! And with Jimmer! that is pretty legit! That stinks so bad that the camera fell into the water! I bet it is getting pretty tempting to just whip mine out from storage isn't it! haha.

Well mom thanks for the package you sent. The family reunion shirt is so sweet! I have already worn it like 3 times!

Well this week has been awesome, as always! I have seen Brother and Sister Lawson a couple times already and probably will see them a couple more, because they don't leave till monday! That was fun to see them. i have also seen Lauren Cochran's grandparents in here a couple times which is way fun, but it brought some big flash backs of the old BYU days and going there for dinner and games! They are way nice and they are going to the same mission as Elder Neuberger! I saw him today for the first time, because he just got in here yesterday! He seems to be doing awesome and is on the same floor as my buddy Elder Maguett! Good guys! Also one of the classrooms next to me is Elder Prete who was on my hall at Byu so i see him a bunch.

Well as i was out tearing it up on the soccer field this week, of course with all of the recruiting agencies there watching from the sidelines! (haha) the other Elder Holmes broke this kids clavicle! For some dumb reason we can't use our heads when we play, so it is way more dangerous! The kid was the goalie and elder holmes went up to hit it with his chest and just leveled the kid! It looked wicked painful! The only good news about this whole thing was that while he was rolling on the ground, i did get the goal!! haha. It reminded me of the movie Kicking and Screaming where Will Ferrell gets all of the kids together and on three they all say "break some clavicles!"!!

Well the studying gets extremely long some days and by the time night comes i am just so dead and exhausted! The days go by a little slow but the weeks seem to go by really fast! They just started a new curriculum on wednesday for all of the elders, which seems to be pretty rigorous. Instead of just teaching 2 to 3 times a week, we are going to be teaching every single day! That should definitely help out my spanish progress for sure.

As to answer some questions, Elder Neeley went to fresno california and elder kofford went to salt lake city, so i won't be seeing either of them, well at least for 2 years! I have been receiving lots of nice letters! I enjoyed reading a nice letter from Janice this week and also from the Stutz family! Thanks for keeping me updated on elder stutz and elder cassity, mom. it sounds like they are both doing such amazing things!

Well, Things are way awesome here and my testimony is strengthened Everyday! I love reading about Joseph Smith! He did see God the Father And Jesus Christ! I love you all and i hope this next week is a good one for you all!

Love Elder Holmes

Friday, July 29, 2011

Saying Goodbye to "My Twin"

Hey Everyone!

Well it sure sounds like the family reunion was just a blast and the pictures that you all sent me were so awesome! I can't believe all the stuff you guys crammed into that one week! I loved the story about uncle lee in the tighties! haha. Man i wish i could have seen that! Shout out to Auntie Jane again! This time for your birthday! Hope you have an awesome day. I love you!

Well so this week i said goodbye to Elder Neeley and Elder Kofford my old zone leaders. If there is one person that i have ever met that is my twin it would be elder Neeley! We don't look alike but i swear that we are the exact same person. It has been way fun getting to know him and it was sad to see them go. Elder Kofford was an awesome piano player! one of the best i have ever seen. He can play by ear, so any song he has heard, he could play for you! we would go over to the main building after planning and just yell out songs for him to play and listen to him for a while. He can play any church hymn without the book and make them even better! And then on top of that, he could play any songs like the one from inception, styx (that's funny what you said about their concert, but that sounds like it was way fun, mom and dad!), pirates, and a bunch of other way sweet songs! Man it was fun to here music, because here in the mtc we can't listen to any music or anything!

Well now that they are gone i have made some other fun friends that are way nice! Our new zone leaders are really great! Oh btw dad, Elder Johnson was made the new district leader of our district and he is a great guy! Mom, no we don't have any sisters in our zone, which is kind of a good thing because the food here gives you a little gas, if you know what i mean! haha. But you have got to love it!

Well you guys are always wondering how the spanish is going and i guess it is going ok! I need to crack down really hard these last couple weeks here because i still don't feel too comfortable! I am sure that it will be ok though. I have faith that the lord will help me out every step of the way. Our teachers are really great, but just yesterday we had a substitute and the guy was amazing! He taught us all these things that really helped him on his mission, and then he talked about mexico for a while, because he served there as well. It got me so pumped up! I mean, i like this place but i can't wait to get out and go to the field!

The firesides and everything that we have are just awesome here and they really get you excited to serve. They are usually given by people that have been in the quorum of the 70 but are no longer serving. And at the firesides we have sung "Called to serve" a couple times, and i don't think there is anything more powerful than that! 2500 missionaries singing that song will get you feeling the spirit. That is for sure!!

So every week we teach lessons to our teachers as progressive investigators, so we give them a different lesson every time in spanish, and then we also teach in the TRC, which is where volunteers will come in and we teach them as if they are investigators. It is really tough sometimes because my spanish isn't great, but it's fun. Sometimes they will ask me a question and i won't really know what they said and am just like "si, si!" haha. Then it's a little awkward and i figure out that they actually asked me a question! haha. so yeah, i have to come along a lot these next couple weeks so i don't just look like a total newb out there!

I am so glad that i ended up with Elder Holmes and Sonntag in my room! We are always just laughing and have a good time talking with each other. I might go a little bit crazy if i couldn't laugh like i have been! It makes me not miss home, or even have time to think about how hard it can get here sometimes! They are great guys and my companion is awesome, as well! His spanish is actually very good so i have him make me quizzes a lot and i feel like he has helped my spanish out a lot. All the rest of the guys in my district are pretty boss as well! I am having a great time with all of them!

Well this church is true! I know that without a single doubt in my mind. Jesus Christ loves us just as much as he loved the people in the bible, and therefore, has given us a prophet in our day, to lead Christ's church on the earth today! Through the Book of Mormon we can receive the answers to ALL of our questions! Christ lives!

I love You all

Elder holmes

P.S I love getting letters and that is something that i won't have the luxury of much longer!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Everything's Great!

Hey Family,

Well to start it off i would just like to say that I am SO glad that Jane is doing ok! You are in my prayers auntie Jane and i Love you so much! Also i would like to give a shout out to Mike winters for his First save as a firefighter! That is so freaking legit and i am way proud of you! I am missing the rest of the family as you guys are all up in telluride having the time of your life! That trip sounds like so much fun and i only wish i was there to whoop up on you guys in Mafia! Haha. Man I have so many fond memories of our last family reunion up in Minnesota! Those were some of the best times and i love our Family!

I am glad to hear that dad is still able to gimp around and do everything! And i am so glad that you and Andy finally got to do some bonding with your weird passion for fly fishing. Haha. I am glad there is someone now in the family with that same interest!

Well everything here is going just great and i am still coming along every day with my spanish skills. I am starting to teach a lot of lessons in spanish and i feel like it is actually coming really good. However my conversational spanish isn't that great and the subjunctive just has so many FREAKing rules to it! haha.

SO I was wicked pumped to hear that Jimmer won the ESPY. Tell him that is just way awesome and congrats! I am glad he beat out cam newton! haha. I am meeting some awesome people over here in my district and outside of it! Elder Pinho in my district is an awesome guy from Brazil! He and i this last week put together a legit volleyball team that was just poning every other team on the court! My zone leaders Elder Neeley and Elder Kofford are so Sweet! We have become way good friends and we joke around all the time. Another guy in their district Elder Heaps is an awesome elder! Gosh i love those guys so much but the sad thing is is that they leave this next monday so i am going to have to make some new friends i guess! which i am really bad at that! haha.

I am going to be released as district leader on sunday which is kind of sad because i have enjoyed getting to know all of the guys in our district personally and leading the discussions after firesides and for district meetings! It will be nice to have another district leader that i can just help out instead of nagging all of them to brush their teeth on time and stuff like that! haha. They are terrible at that! haha.

Well i am just doing great and to everyone that wrote i will try to write back! I loved the letter from Elise and it made my day! I will be writing your own individualized letter today! And Andy would be happy to know that i have quite the tie collection and people want my ties! haha.

I love you all so much and i continue to get faster at emailing so i think my letters are getting longer but maybe not! Haha. I think that is all for now! have fun up in telluride!

Elder Holmes

Friday, July 15, 2011

Messi & Dollhauser at the MTC

Hey, Family and friends!

Hey thanks so much for all the Emails and letters i have received this week! I would like to start by saying Happy Birthday to The big Grandad!! Big 82 that is way legit! I love you so much Grandad! Well the pictures you guys sent me made me a little bit jealous, i am not going to lie! That cliff that you guys jumped looked so sweet! It came out perfectly over the water and it looks like the spot you parked the house boat was way cool! And also, thanks for the pictures of lee's eagle project! Lee i am so proud of you, and it looks like you had such an awesome turn out. You did such a fantastic job with that and i hope you feel really proud of what you just did! You're the man. I am not going to lie, my soccer game is coming along pretty well here in the MTC. I have looked a little like Messi out on the field. scoring all the time and what not! i mean its an "nbd just a huge bd" -Tony Smith haha.

Dad i am so glad that you listened to mom on this one! man that is scary but i am glad Heavenly Father is watching out for you! And i am way glad that you are starting to see some good progression with your recovery. I am praying for you. We need you to stay healthy pops! Mom the answer to your question, i would like some of those like propel/gatorade/kool aid packets if you wouldn't mind! It was tough to see ELder stutz, Smith, Sonne, and Messner leave this week! It was way fun having those guys in here to see them and play sports with them everyday! I am meeting a ton of new people though, and am having a blast. Two of our missionaries in our district left for the peru MTC this week so we are down to just 10 missionaries. It was sad to see them go but we are still having so much fun as a district! the guys are way tight.

Hey no one ever told me how the draft went with all of my clothes and shoes! Maybe Nick could write me and tell me, since i haven't heard from him yet! And thanks for the little package you sent me from Powell with all of those fun letters, and thanks mom for that nice dearelder package you sent me. My Spanish is coming slowly but surely! I get a little frustrated with myself when i can't remember things that i just learned! Spanish is hard and i am working harder then ever! All we do here is study! but i am loving it and can feel myself slowly getting better. it is just a little slower than i wish it was. i have been trying to roll my r's but it is so stinkin hard! My teachers are way nice and they seem pretty good with their spanish. They invite the spirit and do a good job keeping it there with us in class.

The temple is now closed so we won't be able to go until the last week of the month! That kind of stinks! We heard this amazing talk given by elder holland. he gave it here at the mtc many years ago and it just gets you so pumped for a mission! you guys will have to try to find it! its like an hour long but it is so good! I don't really know what its called though, that's the only thing, but its on missionary work of course!

Well i had a good indicator of how much fun i am having here at the MTC when i played volleyball. I was my old self yelling at everyone and jumping all in the sand for the volleyball! haha. And of course, i won. You could call me the MTC Dollhauser (that is a professional volleyball player btw). haha. Well everything is good for me and I hope all is well back home or wherever everyone is!

Love you all,
Elder Holmes