Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Go For The Gold!

I would like to start off this week by thanking everyone for all of the suppport that you have shown thus far in my mission. It really means a lot to me, and i sure can feel the power of all the prayers that have been offered in my behalf. And also i want to congradulate my cousin elise and her husband andy on the new baby! he is absolutely adorable, and i hope that everything goes well for you three as you are starting your precious family!!

Well this week for me was a very eventful week with all of the activities that were going on in the new church building and with all of our ward. On friday there was a social event for all of the members of our ward and the other ward that shares the capilla with us. We just played with the jovenes and everyone brought a bunch of food to have a really nice dinner.  Then on Saturday morning, all of the young men and women from the stake got together for three hours to do a big proselyting activity. Also all of the missionaries from our zone were there so it was about 22 missionaries and 200 youth with their parents! It was a really good experience but also a little scary at first when i had to teach all of them how to make contacts, and invite people to listen to the missionaries. If you think talking in front of about 200 youth and their parents is tough in english, you should try it in spanish! haha. But it went extremely well, and by the end, my comp and i had all of them laughing and excited to go out and talk with everyone. The purpose of the activity was to invite the people to an open house at the church at 5 o clock in the tarde. The activity with the young men and young women went extremely well, and we sang them a song at the end (all of
the missionaries) which left a bunch of the people crying! The bummer of all of this was that for the open house in the afternoon the weather was really crappy and so i think that is a big reason why not too many people came. Those who did come seemed to really like it, and we were able to get a couple of really good references from them. I will send some pictures along of the activity. Actually, in the morning when we were teaching all of the youth we did a practice in front of all of them of what a contact should look like and what we need to say. I was acting as the investigator in the practice and when they asked me my name, i responded that my name was "nacho" (the most mexican name you can get! haha).  Everyone started to laugh, and now all of the youth in the stake call me Elder Nacho. hahaha. I was in a different capilla yesterday to do some baptismal interviews and all the youth were calling out "Elder Nacho, Elder Nacho"!

Sunday was the first time in all my mission that a bishop has invited me to
confirm someone a member of the church. I was able to confirm Alejandro and was a little bit nervous because they didn't tell me until i was up there in front of everyone! I messed up a little at the start but it was also a great
experience for me! They all were confirmed today and so that was great!

Well so those are the activities that went on this week in the church, and they were all really spiritual and uplifting experiences for me. On sunday adrian, mayra and their daughters came to church again! They are sooo awesome and we love them so much! They are progressing really well and they are scheduled to get baptized this sunday if everything goes well with them getting married on friday. Actually i want to tell a little story about something that happened with them yesterday in the lesson that we had with them. We got to their house and mayra wasn't really sure if she wanted to get married, and she felt like it might be a little too rushed. We had one of the most spiritual lessons with them last night though!! I was able to bear testimony about my family and what my parents had done for me. I told them that the best knowledge someone can have in this life is the knowledge that they will live with their families for all eternity. It brought tears to my eyes just talking about the family that the Lordblessed me with and how i know that i will live with them forever. Of course they all teared up when we sang a hymn to them, and committed her and her husband to get married this friday! It was a really beautiful experience and i am so grateful for the family that i have. I have heard so many times people say
that isn't it good enough to just believe in god and Jesus Christ? Why does it
matter what religion we are? I know that all of the religions work hard to help people come unto christ, but i also know that the only church on this earth where we can receive salvation, and go onto live with our families forever, is the church that Christ himself established: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. I have always been a competitive person, and i always hated how in primary they would give everyone a blue ribbon and tell us always that we were all winners. We all knew that was a bunch of junk! haha. I know that God, in our final judgement, won't just give to everyone a blue ribbon and call them all winners. He is a God of order and a god who has placed the fulness of his gospel on the earth to guide us back to return to live with him someday. We can either follow his gospel plan and join ourselves with his church to win the gold, or we can justify what we are doing by saying that everyone is a winner, and end up with something much less than what we hoped.  I know that God lives and loves us all. I know that his son Jesus Christ paid for our sins! I hope this letter motivates you all to work your hardest so that we can obtain the gold medal that awaits us!

Love you all,

Elder Holmes

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Mission Can't Be Replaced by Anything!

Well so this week was pretty sick, I am not going to lie. It was the first time that I have ever really been a part of opening a new church and being with a ward that had been in a casa de oracion for four years,  and now they have their own church building. It was a really awesome day,  and all of the members of the ward were really emotional and pumped up to be in the new beautiful church building. It is a one of a kind design for the churches here in mexico,  and all of the people who aren't members are really curious about it and they always give us comments. So to open up the new church,  doris and alejandro got baptized, as well as two other little 8 year old kids who are from families that we reactivated, and they were able to get baptized yesterday, as well. It felt pretty awesome to see this whole family reactivated and in the church. I will send a long a couple of photos at the end of my email so that you guys can see how everything went. 

It was also an awesome day because we brought two new families to the church. They both have a goal to be baptized in about 2 weeks and one of the families is extremely special. It is a lady named Mayra and her husband Adrian. They have two really cute little kids and they all absolutely loved the church. Actually after the church they also invited us over to the house to eat with them,  and they always are super nice. I hope that they can progress in these next couple of weeks because they are a really beautiful family. They just need to get married,  and so we will be looking into that this week. The other family that we found is an older couple with a daughter who is 20 years old. The dad of the family is really sick,  and so we were able to talk to him and the whole family about the plan of salvation and the perfect plan that the lord has for him in this life. The parents are a little more stuck in their ways,  but the daughter seems really excited,  and I think that she will be getting baptized here soon.  

Well to answer some of the questions that I have received:  President was just in the church this last week to see the opening services and to see the baptisms that we had. We have 22 missionaries in our zone,  and the zone is made up of 3 districts and in my district, every companionship has someone from my generation, so that is pretty crazy. There are 4 of us in the same district. I still havent seen my comp, elder watson, since we left the mtc. Actually I guess that is kind of a lie because I have seen him once or twice in the offices. 

My testimony has sure grown a lot in the time that I have been on my mission. I have witnessed many miracles,  and I know that the church is true. I can say that with 100% assurety. I don't have a doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Lord and that I was called to this mission for a really specific purpose. The people I have met have changed my life,  and I wouldn't rather be in any other place in my life than here. Of  course, I miss the family,  school,  friends,  sports,  etc. but the mission can't be replaced by anything. I have experienced true joy,  and I believe that is why we are here on this earth. The gospel of Jesus Christ is eternal happiness. I hope that everything is going just great for all of you and that you keep me in your prayers. I love you so much and miss you all!  

Love, Elder holmes  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A New Week in Tepozatlan!

Hi Everyone! Well happy birthday to my cousins Chris Marler and Will Cassity, both this wednesday the 8th, and also a birthday shout out to my little brother Lee (who I guess really isn't that little anymore!) I cant believe that you are already 17 years old bro. I hope you have a awesome birthday. Well I wanted to tell you guys that I did hear about that crazy guy who went to the Batman premier in Colorado. It was actually kind of crazy how I heard. I entered into a papeleria to teach some lady when all of a sudden I heard on the radio that she was listening to the words "Denver colorado". Obviously I tried to start paying more attention to the radio and the next words I heard were the guys name, but I only heard his last name "Holmes"! I was freaking out because I couldn't really hear the rest of what they were saying. Gotta say I was a little worried but then that night someone from the ward told me everything that had happened! I thought that was a pretty big coincidence with the name and the location, but relieved that it wasn't my family! Ok so this week was a little rough because we found a bunch of awesome people to teach, but none of them came to church on Sunday, besides the two who should be getting baptized on saturday, Dorris and alex. We are going to be the first ones to baptize in the new church, and actually this little 8 year old girl here in the ward will also be baptized and she asked me to baptize her. So that will also be fun. Everyone was really excited this week in the casa de oracion because it was the last week that they will have the little house to hold church in. We sure take for granted a lot of time the church buildings that we have always had! What a blessing they are. This week was also pretty fun because we had the zone leader conference. I was able to see all of the other zone leaders and some of the friends that I had in my other areas and I was able to see my 'papa' for the last time before he heads home from the mission. He is doing good and his home is actually in my zone so I will still see him even when he goes home! That will be kinda different! I actually met his sister the other day in one of the churches in our zone. In the zone that I am in right now I have two elders who were with me in the mtc, Elder Baker and Elder Son. It has been fun to see them again. They are great kids. Also, I have really been liking the new calling that they gave me. However, I feel like my spanish has kind of gone down hill for some reason. I don't feel like I have as much confidence as I used to have. Maybe it is because this is only my second mexican comp really, from the time that I got here with Elder Castillo, so it is back to spanish 24 7. I know that is a really good thing and I am sure learning a bunch from him. I feel like my spanish should be pretty dang good after the time with him. Well that is about it. I know that the church is true and that this is the work of the Lord. I love you so much and I love the opportunity I have to serve the Lord. Elder Holmes