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 pĂșmped 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