Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Big Changes in the Mission!

Hi Everyone.  Well maybe you guys have heard this annnouncement from some of the other missions in the world, but on Friday we went to a junta with the president and all of our zone, and they announced to us that we are no longer allowed to knock doors!! They also told us that we are not to make contacts unless we feel inspired to do it!  It is a pretty huge change in the mission, because throughout my whole mission it has been 140 contacts weekly, and when an appointment falls through, it has been right to knocking doors. Before they told us this announcement, they gave us a huge spiel on security and all that jazz. Because of increased dangers, none of the missionaries in Mexico can knock doors or make contacts. Our main job now is to just teach the members, rescue the non-members, work with references of the members, etc. So we will see how it all goes for us here in these next months.

In this last week we found a man that has been studying with the Testigos de Jehova for the past 2 years, and he has a lot of doubts. He accpeted a baptismal date, and he went to church with us yesterday, but I'm not sure whether he really liked it or no. He is kind of an anti-social kind of guy, and he doesn't really like being around people! haha. But we are going to work with him this week and we will see if he can progress. The funny thing about him is that we found him this week knocking doors!  I guess that he will be the last person I will find on my mission knocking doors, so we will see if he gets baptized. Anyway, that was really the only success that we had in this last week. 

The time seems to be passing by so quickly, and I dont really remember what even happened during the weeks anymore. This last week, like I said, we had the junta with President Call and his wife and we talked about how to work with members. It is our job to teach them the gospel, and to help them in their "missionary work". That is now the difference. It is not the work of the missionaries anymore, but it is the work of every member. SO if you are reading this, PLEASE help out the missionaries that are in your ward right now! haha. It's the only way we will have success as a church, and the only way we will grow the lord's kingdom here on the earth.

Well yesterday I got permission from president to call some of my converts on the phone. I talked with hermana Reina, and she is doing SO AWESOME! She told me that yesterday was the first time she was able to give a class to all of the women in the relief society! Everything is going great for her, and her son gerardo (my convert as well) just had a baby boy on Saturday! Exciting stuff. I also asked permision to go and visit her, so i think I will do that in a couple weeks. Also speaking of converts, Mayra was called as the second counselor in the young women's program and Marlen (the daughter of Felicitas, who is 21!) is the secretary of the young womens. They are also both really excited, and doing great in the church! That is the best feeling! Knowing that your converts are progressing in the gospel! Well that is about it from me!  I love you all!


Elder Holmes

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Birthday Wishes!

Hi everyone.  Just a short birthday e-mail from Elder Holmes this week.  Crazy kid!  Sorry I'm so late on getting this out.  He had a good day and maybe next week he'll write more about his actual week!  We miss him and appreciate all of you who continue to offer your support to him.  He - and we - certainly appreciate it.    xoxo - Carolann  

Well just want to give a birthday shotout to Elder Holmes this week! haha! Wow can you believe that I am now 21 years old. Most of the teenagers in our country are waiting on hands and knees to turn 21, but for me it isnt that big of a deal! I guess it would be different if i weren't a member of the church! I do feel like i am growing up way too fast! As I am writing, I'm also passing my 16 month mark point in the mission!  Hard to believe.

Well Just to tell you how pumped i was about my SOOOOOOCCCCKKKKSSSS! Wow I dont think I could have been any more excited haha. THe problem with the package was that when the ap´s gave me the package on Wednesday, they wanted me to open it with them, and my comp went right for his gift. He ripped open the one that said Elder Marquez but found the Broncos shirt that mom had sent for me!  SO there went that surprise.  haha (btw, my comp loved his jersey, and it fits him nice and tight just as he likes it! ). SO then i only had the package from christian left to open. I saw that it had his name on it, so I knew it had to be something super cool. So today in the morning as I was super excited to open my gift, the only thing i opened was a package of socks!!! haha. As my comp was wetting his pants laughing I continued to look in betwween every pair of socks to see if there was money or SOMETHING, but nothing but some sick socks! haha. My comp thought that was pretty funny!

So today we went to play soccer with some of the guys from the zone and they had a really nice surprise for me waiting at the end of the game. They lined everyone up in a spanking machine (about 12 missionaries and some other hermanos) and I had to pass through all of them. When i got to the point where I couldn't feel my backside anymore, I laid down on the ground and suddenly someone smacked me right in the head. I immediately thought "well that was unnecessary"!  Then felt some slimy stuff sliding down my face, and to my surprise, they all started to egg me and dump flour on me! What a great way to say happy birthday! NOT!  20 eggs and a bag of flour! I left there saying that I hated birthdays. haha.

After that fun celebration, I came back to shower and then took 9 other missionaries and an hermano from our ward to eat at Chilis!  Let me tell you, it was great! I haven't eaten a steak like that in over a year, and the hermano rafa told them it was my birthday so they gave me some dumb birthday hat and sang to me! I hate when they sing to me and the whole restaurant looks over at you! I am now getting back and we are going to work, and maybe stop by with Mayra towards the end of the day. So that is about it for the birthday celebration. It was a fun one, and all of the missionaries that I took to Chili's thought that they had died and gone to heaven!

The rest of the week was a little rough. Claudia couldn't come to church with us, but another younger girl came with one of the jovenes from the ward, and she accepted a fecha, so I will let you know how it goes there. I cast my ballot for the president today online. 

I love you all.

Elder Holmes

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tough Week

Hey well I want to start off by congratulating my cousin Miguel on receiving his eagle scout award! That is so amazing buddy, and I am really proud of you. That award will surely help you as you continue to grow in life!

I really liked the new paint job of the house! I think that it looks a lot better than the green that we used to have on the house! Just kidding ya mommy! I dont know if I will even be able to recognize the house when I get home from my mission. 

Well like the subject line of my letter says, these last couple of weeks have been pretty tough, and my companion and I really haven't been seeing the success in our area that I would like.  It still looks like as a zone we are doing well. We have been working hard, but I think that we have to work even harder. We have been trying to focus more on working with members, and we have kind of lost the focus on doing our 10 contacts daily. It might seem like a small thing, but I know that the Lord blesses us as we show him our full diligence and obedience!!  That is amazing that Peter Jensen is already home from his mission! I want to congratulate him for all of his hard work in the service of the Lord. It made me think today if I would be ready to go home today. I know that I still have so much more that I need to do here, and the time seems to be passing by a little too quickly. Sometimes it scares me how fast time has passed, and how I am now just about 8 months away from finishing this wonderful journey. That, though, only motivates me to work even harder in the time that I do have!!  As for companion, he finishes his mission in March.  He is really great and definitely one of my best friends here.  

Well we did recieve a great blessing from the Lord this week with this lady named Claudia! She lives extremely far away from our house and where we usually work, but the other day we went to eat in this pueblo that is far away, and we found her contacting. She gave us her direction and we set up a cita for the next day. We went the next day, and taught her everything and she accepted everything, including a baptismal date.  She was so prepared to hear the Lord's message. And on Sunday she came to church and I think she really liked it. She had to leave early from the church, but she told us that she would be coming back next week as well. It was about the only good news of the week!!! haha.

Today we cleaned our house, and it took us about 5 hours, but it is now probably the cleanest and best smelling house in the mission! haha. I don't know how Ana (the cleaning lady) does that every day. My back is killing me, and it wasn't that much fun! haha. But at least it is now a much better place to feel the spirit. And what's this about Lee skipping the Columbine game!! Even if they are horrible, it is a rivalry game.  That is like the Utah quarterback just saying that he is going to sit out against BYU because they are bad! Get better Lee so you can play!!!

I had commented to dad that I wanted to use my birthday money to take the whole zone out to eat or to go bowling, but the problem is is that they still aren't allowing us to get together as a zone. I told dad that I would rather spend my birthday money on the missionaries than on stuff for me, because you all know how much I love bonding! haha. It might just end up being a couple of companeros of the zone. I will let you know how it goes in my next letter home!

I Love you all,
elder holmes

Friday, October 12, 2012

What a Great Conference!

These are photos of the two baptisms we had this week.  Mia (the friend of Mayra) and Maria.  They were both amazing!  The other photo is of Elder Son, Elder Watson and me.  Watson was my comp in the MTC and Elder Son was in our District there.  They are both now Zone Leaders, as well.

Hey family,

Wow what a great conference that we had, and the great oportunity that we had to listen to the voice of the prophet and his 12 apostles!  Everyone was extremely surprised on the new announcement of the age that the new missionaries can now leave. I have been a witness, though of the missionaries who leave at 18 years old here in mexico, and it is true what President Monson said about their maturity level and their desire to serve. What a great push in the direction of the missionary work for the church. I would believe that the number of missionaries will go up by at least 10 or 20 thousand with that new report. But I was thinking about it, and how all of the girls back home are going to be peacin' out for their missions now! haha. I guess I will just have to wait for them!  

I love the messages that they gave us this week, and it was another amazing experience to receive the answers to my prayers. I had a couple of questions in my mind as I entered this year's conference, and it always amazes me that the talks are exactly related to the needs that I have. It is a great testimony builder to me that the prophet and the leaders of the church receive directly from God, the things that we need to hear. I was blown away by a couple of the talks, and the great spirit that I felt. This really is the Lord's church, and the leaders of the church are 100% inspired with the words of our Heavenly Father.

My companion and I kind of had a tough week here. We faced a little bit of a trial of our faith, but this week should be a lot better. Although we invited everyone to the church to hear the voice of the prophet, we just had a bit of success. It was tough to find and even harder to committ the people to coming to church this week. I know that this week will be better, as I apply all of the things that we learned in the conference. One upside of this week was the different capacitationes that we had. We had one with all of the zone leaders, and then on Wednesday, we were able to teach the zone everything we had learned. We learned some great things on how to work with the members. The mission is really taking a turn, and focusing more on references and lessons with members. They say that one day we won't even be able to contact or knock doors. It's a good thing that we are preparing now, and everyone knows that when we work with the members, we will have a lot more success.

Ok well another trip to Lake Powell without me! SWEET! haha. I loved seeing all of the pictures, but I am not going to lie, I was a little bit more jealous of the pictures I saw of all you guys together at the conference center! I would have loved to have been there to watch the prophet and listen to him speak in english! I was only able to watch the priesthood session in english. I hope that there isn't another Lake Powell trip planned, or any other trip for that matter, before i get home! haha. I think you can wait 8 months, can´t you! And then we will party!

love you all,
Elder Holmes

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thanks for Making Me Sad!

Hi family.  Here is Scott's e-mail that we received today.  Just a little background on his first paragraph......we learned a few days ago that our dog Abby has an inoperable cancerous tumor in her head.  We are already seeing significant signs of her deterioration and the vet says that this type of cancer is fast and furious.  Scott has always been really close with our pup and we knew that this news would make him very sad.  On a happier note......I am including a photo and a message that one of the ward members posted to my facebook page this week.  The photo captured her feelings perfectly and we are so glad that Scott continues to find such great joy in serving his Heavenly Father.  Can't ya just feel it?????  

Have a great week -- Carolann

Well I am here writing you but I kind of just lost all of the excitement in writing when I read about Abby. My comp started laughing at me because I care so much about my dog. I really almost started to cry because I started to reflect on all of the great times we have had together. This might sound weird because I am talking about a dog, but I love Abby. It's like watching the movie Marley and Me all over again! :(

I do, though, want to wish my cousin Ellen Lewis a happy birthday this week, and I hope you have an excellent day! I cant believe that I only have a couple weeks left until my birthday! And that this week we are going to be able to listen to the words of the prophets. I am pumped out of my mind, and I hope that you all are able to watch all of the sessions. Make sure that you have a couple questions in mind, because I know that the words of the prophets are always inspired and they always talk about something that we need in our lives. I am pumped but I think I will watch it again in spanish. I really wanted to watch it in english because it really isn't the same feeling when it is being translated. But at least I can understand everything this time! My spanish is pretty good now that I have been with my mexican comps for a while!

So this week was a pretty fantastic week, and just like I told you last week, I will now fill you all in on the couple of baptisms that we had! One of our converts is named Mia. She is one of the best friends of my converts Mayra! She is about 30 years old, a single mother with a son named Emiliano, and has now experienced the miracle of forgiveness. She has been through a lot of things in her life, and has made a few large errors in her life, but she has now changed so much and is really solid in the church. It makes me reflect on the talk that Elder Holland gave in the last conference when he talked about the "obreros de la viƱa". And how it doesn't matter what time we get there, as long as we find our way back to the Lord's path. Mia is doing so great and it has been a great experience for us to teach people with the Hermana Mayra as well. Speaking of Mayra, this week was the primary program in the ward and her kids just killed it! (Laura and Karla). They looked like members who have been in the church their whole lives. They memorized their parts, and they knew all of the words to the songs! it almost made me cry! !

Ok now on to the baptism that we had yesterday! The hermana Maria! She is family of some of the members in the ward, and she is the one who came to church all by herself a few weeks ago. She has grown a lot, and yesterday was a very special day for her and for us! She is a very humble lady, and very sweet. It was a great miracle in my life to spend this past week with her. She won't be confirmed for another two weeks because conference is this upcoming week!

Well so that is about it for my week!  Today was a really fun p-day. We went to play soccer really early in the morning on some sick fields that are close to our house. Then after that we went bowling and my team just trashed everyone! haha. I love you all.

Elder Holmes

Message that accompanied the following photo was:  Hermana......on this occasion my family took the elders to look for an address that was very far away and we got caught in a terrible rainstorm.  Even with the rainstorm, the elders never lost their joy and happiness of serving the Lord.