| Sister Emma Lynn Holdaway | Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission | October 2013-May 2015 |

Monday, December 30, 2013

Week #3--Murders, Robberies and Miracles

Hello everyone!

My third week in Honduras was really, really, reallyyyyyyyy crazy.  It's probably been the craziest week of my entire life.  Let me just say that I am very grateful and happy to be alive right now.

So let's get right to it!


I started off my Christmas morning by attending a funeral.  A funeral for a 20 year old guy that was murdered in the street at 4 AM.  A street that is conveniently located only three minutes from my house!  A street that I happen to walk on every day.  So as you can imagine, I now feel really safe.  I can sleep really well at night knowing that people are casually being murdered right outside my house!  I definitely live in a family-friendly neighborhood.  Everyone should come move to La Mirranda in Olanchito, Honduras!  It's the perfect place to raise a family.  Anyway, when I say that this guy was murdered, I mean that he was really murdered.  Like they took out one of his eyes, basically cut his head in half, and cut off a few of his limbs.  So yeah.  I almost saw the body.  But then Hermana Alejandro told me not to go in the house.  I'm glad she told me not to because honestly, I think I would've thrown up. 

Also I saw a dead body in the street on that same day.  And at first I thought it was in my head because I was a little freaked out from this other murder, but then I asked Hermana Alejandro if she saw it too, and she did.  So yeah.  Dead bodies in the street.  And apparently that's a normal thing????  A few days ago I thought it was weird to see a dead pig on the side of the road.  But no.  That's completely normal.  And apparently it's just as normal to see dead human bodies in the road as well.  Merry Christmas from Honduras!


I was robbed on Saturday night.  That was a really fun experience!  Actually it wasn't.  It was actualy really scary.  It was 5:30 at night and Hermana Alejandro and I were walking to an appointment.  The sun had just barely gone down, and it had just gotten dark.  All of a sudden, this motor cycle turns the corner and starts heading right towards us.  At first I was like, "What the heck is going on?  Why is this guy driving right towards us when he has the whole other side of the street?"  But then he slowed down and stopped and was like, "Give me your cell phone."  Obviously this was all in Spanish cause I'm in Honduras, but yeah.  And Hermana Alejandro was like, "We don't have a cell phone" (and we actually don't!  Hermanas don't have cell phones for exactly this purpose.  They don't want us getting robbed.  But oh well).  And he had his hand under his shirt like he was holding a gun or something, but I'm pretty sure that he didn't have anything.  But he did say, "Las voy a matar."  Which in English translates to, "I'm going to kill you."  And then he took both of our bags and drove off.  And I was so sad because my beautiful Spanish scriptures were in my bag.  And my money.  And some pictures and stuff.  And Hermana Alejandro's camera was in her bag.  And we lost it all.  I was mostly upset about my scriptures, but ugh.  Getting robbed isn't very fun.

Oh yeah.  And this random guy now has the keys to our house as well.  So now I actually can't sleep at night because what happens if this guy finds out where we live and comes and kills us in the night.  We're changing the locks today I think.  Hopefully.

But yeah.  So basically now I don't feel safe here at all.  But we're going to leave and work earlier in the morning so that we can be in our house at 6:30 in the night.  So hopefully that will help us stay safe.  


 Even though lots of bad, scary things happened to me this week, I did have lots of miracles.  Most of them are just little things, but something did happen yesterday that I consider to be a miracle.  A real miracle.

Like I said earlier, when I was robbed, I was mostly upset about losing my scriptures.  As a missionary, your scriptures are your most prized possession, and my Spanish scriptures were so pretty!  And they were in a scripture case that I'd gotten from Mexico.  I was so sad to have lost them.  But the next morning at church, a man came up to the front of our church building with............MY SCRIPTURES.  He had found them in the street!  I don't know where, and I don't know how he knew to bring them to the church, but I have my scriptures!  It was a miracle.  And if I'm being honest, it probably is a big part of the reason why I'm still here.  Because after everything that happened this week, I was really considering going home.  This is hard.  It's hard to not speak the language, it's hard to live in a third world country, it's hard to be a missionary.  And it's even harder when you don't feel safe.  And after this week, I don't feel safe.  And I was really thinking about whether or not I should go home.  But then I got my scriptures back.  And when that happened, I felt peace in my heart that's very difficult to describe.  I'm soooo happy to have my scriptures back, but this miracle means more than that.  It wasn't that random man who gave me my scriptures back, it was my Heavenly Father.  And in that moment, I knew that I'm supposed to be in Honduras.  Heavenly Father knows that it's hard.  He knows that I'm scared.  But He's watching over me.  He's protecting me.  And I know that.  And I know that with Him and His protection, I can do this.  I can serve a mission.

Now onto my little miracles!

- I dreamed in Spanish for the first time!  I'm very proud of myself.
- I got to Skype with my family on Christmas!  It was so good to see them!  It made me a little homesick, but it was still the perfect pick-me-up.  I love my family!
- I'm teaching Hermana Alejandro English and it's hilarious because I'm teaching her how to be sassy.  So she says "whatever" all the time with a little hair toss and eye roll and IT'S THE FUNNIEST THING EVER.
- As of today, I've officially been on my mission for 2 months!  Only 16 more to go. 
- Hermana Alejandro and I ate ice cream, the Honduras version of Hostess, and Doritos for dinner the other night.  And it was one of the best meals I've had in my entire life.
- I GOT TO TAKE A REAL SHOWER THIS WEEK.  We stayed over at the other hermana's house for a night and they have a real shower.  They still don't have hot water, but still.  I DIDN'T NEED TO USE A BUCKET.  It was so amazing.
- I got to play a real piano at a devotional with our mission president.  A real piano!  Ahhhhhhhh!
- I ATE WENDY'S.  My mission president took me and three other hermanas out to lunch at Wendy's on Saturday.  AMERICA.  HAMBURGER.  FRENCH FRIES.  FROSTY.  It was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life.

Thank you all for your support.  I'm pushing on.  I can do hard things!

Until next P-Day,

Hermana Holdaway

"Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.  Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.  Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."  D&C 6:33-34, 36 

Week #2--Cow legs, Geckos and Christmas in Honduras!

Christmas Time!


I'm just gonna come right out and say it: missions are hard.  This past week has been the hardest week of my life.  I know I've probably said that about every week of my mission so far, but this week I really mean it.  Adjusting to living in a third world country has been a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be.  Obviously before coming to Honduras I knew that it was going to be a whole different way of life, but it's an entirely different thing to actually live it!  It's been a big adjustment.  I really miss the things that I used to take for granted...like showers, flushing toilets, clean dishes, washing machines....we're honestly so blessed to live in America.  And living in Honduras for these past two weeks has really made me realize that.  There are people here who literally have nothing.  They live in shacks with no electricity, dirt floors, no water, not even chairs to sit on.  My heart breaks to see the living conditions here.  

On a happier note, I understand a lot more Spanish than I did two weeks ago!  It's nice to actually see my progress in the language improve.  But it's still hard.  The Spanish here is so crazy!  The hardest part for me is not being able to connect and express my love for the people I'm teaching.  It's honestly crazy how much I love these people!  And it's frustrating to not be able to talk to them or really get to know them.  But I know that that will all come with time.  I have to be patient with myself.  This is a crazy thing that I'm doing, and I shouldn't be as hard on myself as I am.  But that's always been hard for me.  I just want to be perfect at the language right now!  Waiting is hard.  But all things come "poco a poco."  That's what Hermana Alejandro always says.

The rain here is so crazy.  I love it.  I love the sound of rain, and down here, I get to listen to it basically every day!  It's the best.  And the stars.  Oh my gosh, the sky here is the prettiest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.  At night, all I want to do is lay down and watch the stars.  It's hard though, because when we're walking I want to look at the stars, but I can't because I have to watch the road.  If you're not careful while you're walking, you'll walk in a pile of cow poop or you'll fall into a hole.  Oh, Honduras.

For Christmas, all of the Elders and Hermanas in my district are doing a gift exchange!  We each drew a name and have to buy a gift for that person.  So we're gonna have a little Christmas party on Wednesday!  So that will be fun.  And our zone leader called us last night and told me that I have a letter!!!!!!!!!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  I'm so excited.  I don't know who it's from, but I'll get it on Wednesday.  What a happy Christmas gift.  And today I had 32 emails from you all!  That's the most I've ever gotten!  I felt so loved and happy.  Thank you all for taking the time to keep in touch with me.  It really means a lot!  And it's what I look forward to the most during the week.

Here are some quick little bullet points about my week:

**Hermana Alejandro and I went to teach one our recent converts.  We walked to their backyard, and a    woman was casually skinning cow legs.  There were literally cow legs all over the lawn.  I almost died.

**Honduras has these wonderful chips that are basically like twisty Doritos and they're the best thing that's ever happened to me.  Well, that's a lie, because Nutella is the best thing that's ever happened to me, so yeah.

**Speaking of Nutella, we taught a guy who works for Nutella last week.  If that's not proof that I'm supposed to be in Honduras, then I don't know what is.

**There are geckos living in my house.  

**I'm going to learn how to make tortillas and tamales tomorrow!

**People stare at me all the time here.  Like I'll be walking down the street with Hermana Alejandro and people will just stare.  It makes me a little uncomfortable LIKE LEAVE ME ALONE I KNOW I'M AMERICAN AND HAVE BLUE EYES BUT WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT.  But actually sometimes it's really scary.  Cause people will cat call at me and stuff and ahhhh.  I don't wanna die.  But I'll be okay.  Hermana Alejandro is really good at making sure that I'm safe.

**I don't know how I'm going to eat beans, rice, and fried bananas every day for 18 months.  Cause I already want to die, and it's only been two weeks.

**Crocs are the best thing that have ever happened to me.

Well, merry Christmas to you all!  I hope you have a wonderful time with your families.  And enjoy the snow for me!  Cause there's definitely no snow down here in Honduras.  And always remember the true meaning of Christmas!  I want to share a quick scripture with you all before I end this email.  It's in The Book of Mormon, Helaman 5:12: "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Christ is a constant in our lives.  When everything else seems to fall apart, He will always be there.  My mission has really taught me how to rely on Christ.  And whenever I feel like I'm not strong enough, or whenever I think that this is too hard for me to do, I just remember that I have Christ on my side.  And if I build my life upon that foundation, upon Christ, then I will not fall.  Not only that, but I cannot fall.  What an amazing promise.  This Christmas season, I encourage all of you to remember your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Strengthen your relationship with Him so that you have someone to rely on when life gets hard.

I love you all!  Merry Christmas!


Hermana Holdaway

Emma in Honduras--Week 1

Emma's House

Selfie Outside

Emma and her companion Hermana Alejandro!

Hello, everyone!

I'm in Honduras!  It's still so crazy to me.  Hermana Alejandro and I will be walking down the street, and I'll look around, and it'll hit me: I'm really here.  
I love being a missionary!  It's honestly been one of the best, if not the best, experiences of my life.  I've only been here for a week, but I already love the people so, so much.  I just love them more and more with each new day because of how amazing they are.  Honduras is a very poor country, and the people here having almost nothing.  It's been a very humbling experience to go in the houses of some of the people here and to see the conditions that they live in.  But though they have so little, their hearts and spirits are big, and they're so kind and giving.

And by giving I mean that they give you a lot of food.  Like a lot.  They feed you, and boy do they feed you well.  But it's all been pretty good so far!  Nothing's been super gross so that's good.  Lots of rice and beans and tortillas and stuff.  And fried bananas.  Always fried bananas.  I'm not the hugest fan of bananas, so I was worried at first, but these are actually really good!  They don't taste like bananas at all.  I want to dip them in ketchup, lol.  Anyway, when they feed you they always give you HUGE portions.  Like so much rice.  And so many fried bananas.  And so many tortillas.  And you can't say no or leave food on your plate because then you offend them.  So yeah.  My plan to lose weight on my mission is down the drain.  But está bien.  Partying in Honduras.  And there's this weird banana pop down here, like calm down with the bananas, Honduras for real.

I can't understand the Honduran's Spanish.  I can when we're talking about gospel related things, because I know all of those words.  But when we're talking about day to day life, it just goes all over my head.  I feel like my ability to understand Spanish is like a roller coaster ride.  There are times when I can understand super well, and then other times when I have absolutely no idea what's going on.  I'm super grateful that I can understand my companion though.  Because it would be super rough if I couldn't.  And I know that I know a lot more than I did last week.  So that's good!  I just wish that I could understand right now.

I love teaching the people!  It's always such a spiritual experience.  There have been a couple times that I've teared up in the lessons because I've felt the Spirit so strongly.  We were teaching this one family and one of the kids is mentally handicapped.  We sang an opening hymn, and the daughter (the mentally handicapped one) started crying.  She can't talk, can barely walk, but I know she was crying because she could feel our Heavenly Father's love for her.  It was amazing.  

This week, Hermana Alejandro and I got 12 new investigators!  12!  In three days!  We're en fuego!  And we had three investigators come to church with us, and we have 2 with a baptismal date!  Casually converting all the people in Olanchito, nbd.

This morning we played soccer with all the missionaries in our zone.  I actually played!  And I wasn't that bad.  I mean, I'm not good, but I wasn't the worst.  It was fun!  We're going to play soccer with them every p-day. 

I'm going to send some pictures of my house!  You all know the drill already.  I can only send one or two pictures per email, so get ready to be spammed.

Love always!

Hermana Holdaway

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Emma Arrives in San Pedro Sula!

Emma arrived with 29 other Missionaries today!

They are here!
All 30 of our newly arrived missionaries are spending the day with us here in San Pedro Sula.  We are learning many new things about the mission, eating yummy food, playing Preach My Gospel games and getting to know one another.

Thank you for sharing your missionary with us.  We love them very much already and we are so grateful for their service.  We know they will each be wonderful missionaries and bless the lives of many people here in Honduras as well as their families at home.

Best wishes always,

Hna. Klein

Monday, December 9, 2013

Final Day in the Mexico MTC!

Emma getting ready to leave the Mexico MTC!

Emma with her favorite teacher Hermana Montoya

Goodbye Mexico!

Hello, everyone!

Today is my last day in the CCM!  It's crazy how fast these six weeks flew by, but I'm so happy that it's over.  I finally get to go to Honduras and teach real people!  I can't wait.  I leave tomorrow at 6:30 in the morning.  Less than 24 hours away!

As usual, it's hard to say goodbye to everyone.  You all know how bad I am at goodbyes.  I actually haven't cried that much though!  So be proud of me.  I only cried a little bit while we were singing "God be with you till we meet again."  But how can you not cry during that song, for real.

My district and I had to do a musical number during church on Sunday.  We sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount."  We actually did pretty well!  I was happy with us.  And I made it through the MTC without having to give a talk in church!  SO I PUT MY HANDS UP THEY'RE PLAYING MY SONG THE BUTTERFLIES FLY AWAY.

And from now on, I'm going to be emailing on Mondays.  So you should all send me emails by Mondays now instead of Tuesdays.  Thank you!!!!   

I don't really have anything else to say.  Sorry I'm lame.  But I'll have lots more to say after I get to Honduras!

I love you all!

Love always,

Hermana Holdaway

Week 5!!

Mexico Scripture Bags

Final Pictures of the Sisters in Emma's District

Emma with her Companion

Hello, everyone!

Well here I am done with week 5!  Only 73 more to go.  I'm making progress!

This week was a lot easier than last week.  In my last email I told you guys about how the elders in my district were picking on me and making fun of me and stuff like that.  Anyway, I kind of just broke down one day last week.  Like I just started crying in class and stuff and it wasn't good.  So my teacher, Hermana Montoya (who is one of the best people in the world), took me out of class to ask me what was wrong.  So I just broke down and told her everything and she gave me a hug and she's this cute little Mexican and I love her.  Anyway, then I came back to class and blah, blah, blah.  Then class ended and I was walking to lunch and one of the hermanas in my district was like, "Elder Welch stood up for you today."  And I was like, "What do you mean?"  And apparently when I left the room, he stood up and told the elders to stop giving me a hard time.  I'm so grateful that he did.  He stood up for me when I was too scared to stand up for myself.  And after that some of the elders came and apologized.  Elder Welch is the best though.  He's definitely one of my best friends and I'm so happy that I was able to meet him.

I only have five more days left in the CCM!  It's crazy how quickly these weeks have flown by.  If my whole mission goes by this quickly, I'll be home in no time!  I found out that I'm leaving the CCM at 5 am Tuesday morning to be at the airport for my 10:30 flight.  I'm going to Honduras!  I'm a little nervous.  Actually I'm a lot nervous.  But it will be okay.  I'm mainly worried for the Spanish.  I'm pretty confident with my Spanish and I can communicate basically anything that I want to say, but when I get out to Honduras, it's going to be completely different.  I'm going to have to learn a completely new dialect and everyone is going to be speaking really, really fast, and AHHHH.  It will be okay.  And one of the other hermanas going to Honduras told me that we're probably going to have native companions most of the time because it's not safe for two white girls to go walking around Honduras together.  I hope my companion likes me!  It will be weird to live with a Latino.  But hopefully I'll adjust quickly.  I'm taking advantage of possibly my last week with running water and washing machines and stuff like that.  Because who knows what life's gonna be like in Honduras!

Super funny thing happened this week.  I don't know how many of you guys know this, but I kind of dated this guy named Colton for a month at the beginning of fall semester last year.  Anyway, when he met me he was still dating this girl named Kayci, but then he broke up with her to date me.  ANYWAY, long story short, Kayci (or Sister Monsen) is here at the CCM.  And she's in my branch.  My branch got a new district this week, so my district and I went to their classroom to meet them a couple of nights ago.  And as soon as we walked in, I saw her and I was like OH NO THIS IS NOT GOOD.  We've never actually met in person, but I knew it was her because obviously I've Facebook stalked her.  Anyway, I was freaking out because I was like, "She's gonna hate me.  She already hates me.  AHHHH."  And I knew that she knew who I was because as soon as she saw me she leaned over to her companion and whispered to her and kept looking at me and stuff.  Anywayyyyyyyyyyy, it's actually all okay.  We talked the other night and I was like, "Yeah, you dated Colton and I dated Colton and I was worried that you were gonna hate me."  And she was like, "Never!  Colton's a huge jerk!"  And I was like, "I know!"  So then we took a picture together and we emailed it to Colton.  Small world!

I also had to teach language class to another district this week.  One of my teachers, Hermano Osorio, was like, "Hermana Holdaway!  Tomorrow you're teaching Spanish to a different district!"  And I was like UGH WHY ME.  But it was actually really fun!  So I just taught them about ser and stuff for an hour.  And it was great!  I love teaching.

I also bought some Mexican scripture cases from the store at the temple today!  I'll attach a picture of them.  I'm basically Latino now.  Except not really.  Like not at all.  I'm pretty white.  YO SOY UN GRINGO.

I love you all lots and lots!  The church is true, The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and Jesus Christ lives and loves each of us so much more than we can ever imagine.

God be with you always.


Hermana Holdaway

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Week 4 in Mexico--Happy Thanksgiving!

An inside joke for our family!  The only Portuguese we know!

Love our Emma!

Hello, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm jealous of all of you that are in America right now.  Because I'm in Mexico.  And I'm not looking forward to having Mexican food for Thanksgiving.  Maybe they'll surprise us and give us mashed potatoes or something.  That would honestly make my whole day.  But I give you all permission to eat double portions of turkey and mashed potatoes and pie to make up for me.  And I'll eat double tacos for you.  Win, win.

Well, like always, this was a really hard week.  Mostly because of the elders in my district.  They make fun of me a lot.  I'm by far the best at Spanish in my class, and they give me crap about it all the time.  I'm not saying that to be all, "I'M THE BEST EVERYONE CLAP FOR ME," but I'm just trying to set up the situation and stuff.  Anyway, I was nervous that they weren't going to like me because I was better than them.  They're always like, "I'm Emma, and I know everything.  I'm Emma, and I know so much more than any of you.  I'm Emma, I'm Emma, I'm Emma."  And they call me Hermana Hermione.  They were like, "Except you're first year Hermione.  You're super annoying and think you're the best.  Only difference is, we don't become friends at the end."  And I just have to sit there and take it.  Because I'm too scared to say anything to them because I'm worried that they'll all gang up on me.  It's just hard to sit there day after day knowing that these guys hate me.  It's hard.

Anyway, on a happier note, we got to eat authentic Mexican tamales yesterday!  They were super yummy.  TAMALES, TAMALES.  And a couple of nights ago everyone in our district just burst out in the National Anthem.  All of the Latinos walking around were probably wondering what the heck was going on, but we all just miss America lots and lots.  Except I haven't been there since July!  I miss me some America.  

Also the irons here are possessed.  I burnt a hole in one of my skirts.  I was so mad.  After it happened I was like, "THAT'S IT.  I'M GOING HOME."  It's a joke that the hermanas and I say whenever something bad or stupid happens.  But really!  I have a limited amount of skirts, so I was sad when I burnt it.  It's not that big of a hole, and I can still wear the skirt and stuff but like.

Even though my mission is hard, it's worth it.  I've met some of my best friends here.  And only 11 more days until I go to Honduras!  I'm so nervous.  AHHHHHHH.

I love you all, and happy turkey day!

Love always,

Hermana Holdaway

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 3 in Mexico MTC

¡Buenas tardes!


Anyway, just like last week, this week was hard.  Sometimes it gets so hard that I ask myself why I'm even doing this.  But then it hits me: I'm doing this because this is the truth.  I know it with 100% of my heart.  There's no way that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't true.  There's no way that The Book of Mormon isn't true.  I know that it's true.  I can feel it in my heart.  There are currently over 80,000 missionaries serving for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  All of these 18-20 year old kids wouldn't sacrifice everything and leave their lives behind if it wasn't true.  They just wouldn't.  So when I stop and think about that, it makes all the hard times worth it.  Because I'm out here for The Lord: I'm out here for the truth. 

I got my Mexico soccer jersey!  I'll attach a picture so you can all see.  It's pretty much the best thing ever and it really makes me want to be an athletic person.

That's a joke, I never want to be an athletic person.

So I ate "enchiladas con mole" for lunch today.  So I ate some mole.  Who even knows what they feed us sometimes.  But usually the food is pretty good.  The hermanas and I have gotten pretty crafty with our Nutella though.  And the best way to eat it is with frosted flakes.  Seriously.  Slap some Nutella in the bottom of your cereal bowl, put some frosted flakes in it, pour some milk up in there, and eat it.  It will honestly change your life, I promise.

I've gotten sick which has been a major, major party.  I forgot what it feels like to be able to breathe.  And I cry all the time which just clogs my system up even more so that's been great.

I literally can't even remember what happened this week.  So this is gonna be a pretty boring email.  Oh yeah!  The hot water in our casa was broken so I had to take an ice cold shower ten nights in a row.  Okay, maybe not ten, but it felt like ten.  

I'm a really boring missionary.  LO SIENTO NO LO SIENTO.  I'll try and remember some interesting stuff to tell you guys next week.

I've only been in the MTC for three weeks and I'm already over halfway done with The Book of Mormon!  I have less than ten chapters left in Alma, and then it's smooth sailing from there on out.  These war chapters are gonna be the death of me though.

I love you all!


Hermana Holdaway

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Emma's Week Two in the MTC!

All the Sister Missionaries in Emma's District!

Hermana Porter, Hermana Baker, Hermana HOLDAWAY and Hermana Hope

Crazy Elders in Emma's District!

Hello, everyone!

I'm trying to think about what to say.  This definitely isn't going to be as long of an email as last week, and you're probably all pretty happy about that because who wants to listen to me rant on and on for forever.  

We've settled down into a routine now.  Wake up at 5:50, get ready, go to class, teach investigators, go back to class, suck at Spanish, and then go to bed.  Well that's kinda a lie because I don't really suck at Spanish.  It's actually coming really easily for me.  So I'm very grateful for that.  You all know how much a perfectionist I am, so I still don't feel like I'm very good, but I know that I have it a lot easier than some of the other people in my district.  And I feel bad about that.  I don't like watching people struggle.  I just want to help them!  So that's been hard.  But I know that I'm in this district to help them learn Spanish.  So it's kinda cool to have that responsibility.  PERO MI ESPAÑOL ES MUY, MUY, MUY MAL.  Pero, está bien.

If I'm being completely honest, this was a really hard week.  This past week was the first time that I really felt like I wanted to go home.  It sucked.  It was just a lot of personal issues that I would rather not throw out there for the whole world to see, but they were really weighing me down.  But the scriptures are amazing.  Honestly.  Go read them.  If you're having any kind of problem in your life with school, stress, family, friends, not feeling good enough, whatever, just let me know.  You don't have to spill all the details to me, but I promise you that I will find you a scripture that will give you comfort.  You have no idea how much they can help.  Especially the Book of Mormon.  READ IT!

So on a different note, the CCM has the best tacos I've ever had in my entire life.  BUT THERE IS STILL NO GUACAMOLE SO I'M PRETTY MAD ABOUT THAT LIKE OKAY MEXICO YOU CAN GET IT TOGETHER AT ANY TIME NOW.  I'M WAITING.  And they have really good rice too.  Like super good.  Like I could eat so much rice.  But I also am really missing Panda Express so like some Chinese food would be nice.  I LIKE CHINESE FOOD.  YOU KNOW THAT I DO.  I LIKE FRIED RICE.  I LIKE NOODLES.  I LIKE CHOW MEIN CHOW MUH-MUH-MUH-MUH MEIN.

I ordered an authentic Mexican soccer jersey with my last name on the back!  It was $480 pesos, which is like $40 American dollars or something like that.  BASICALLY A SUPER GOOD DEAL.  Especially for a personalized jersey.  I get it tomorrow!  So I will for sure send you all pictures next week!

I am now in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.  I'm gonna finish before I leave the MTC!  I can do it.  I think I'm on page 175 or something.  It's been so cool to go back and read it again, especially since I'm really taking the time to study it.

Well, obviously today is p-day, and that means that I get to wear jeans!  I love it.  So to all of you that don't have to wear a skirt or dress every day, be grateful.  I miss pants.  I feel like I'm in church all day every day.  Which I guess I kinda am......but yeah.  Pants are amazing.  Especially since it's freaking freezing here.  I didn't bring any warm clothes because I'm going to Honduras and it's never cold there.  So I am dying over here.  And like, it's Mexico.  So why is this happening to me.  It's not fair.

I've been able to play piano for a little bit every Sunday!  So that's been amazing.  I miss piano so much, and I wish I would've brought more music.  But hymns are still always the best.  

Last week I bore my testimony to you all in English.  And this week, I would like to do it in Spanish.  :)

Yo sé que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Últimos Días es verdadera.  Yo sé que Jesucristo es mi Salvador y mi Redentor.  Yo sé que Él me ama, y yo estoy muy agradecida for este conocimiento.  Yo sé que José Smith fue una profeta de Dios, y yo sé que él vi Dios y Jesucristo.  Yo sé que El Libro de Mormón es la palabra de Dios, y cuando nosotros leemos este libro, nosotros podemos estar cerca de Dios.  Yo sé que El Espíritu Santo puede ayudarnos sentir el amor de Dios y Jesucristo.  Yo sé que la Expiación de Jesucristo es muy importante por todas las personas en el mundo.  Por medio de la Expianción de Jesucrist, nosotros podemos vivir con Dios y recibir el perdón de todos nuestros pecados.  Yo sé que esta iglesia puede bendicir todas sus vidas.  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.

For all of you that speak Spanish, sorry if I made mistakes.  I tried my best!  I'm not the best at spelling and accent marks, but yeah.  It's actually cool to be able to say everything that I wanted to say in Spanish.  It just shows me how far I've actually come.

Also!  My goal is to memorize all the Articles of Faith in Spanish before I leave the MTC.  I already have the first four memorized!  Only 9 more to go!  I've also memorized the first vision, the invitation to be baptized, and the missionary purpose in Spanish.  I'M ON A ROLEEEEEEEEEEEE, BOYS.

So oops that this email ended up being pretty long as well SORRY DON'T HATE ME.

I love you all and thank you so much for wanting to hear from me.  It really does mean a lot.  Even if you don't respond and just read, thank you so much.  It's nice to feel like I have people back home who are rooting for me.  I love you.

Also!  You guys should send me letters.  They take a little while to get here, but está bien.  Here's my address!

Sister Emma Holdaway
Carretera Tenayuca - Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustaro A
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

Also go check out dearelder and my dear missionary.  I think some of the services they have there are free and stuff, so send me things and tell me about your lives!  I would really love to hear from you all.  And then I'll send you a letter back, and what's better than that.

God be with you till we meet again.

Love always,

Hermana Holdaway

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hermana Holdaway--First Week at the MTC

Emma's District at the MTC

Emma's Official Missionary Name Tag!

The Sisters in Emma's District

Hermana Holdaway and Hermana Hope at the Mexico City Temple

Hola, amigos!  

Before I get started, I just want to define a couple of words for my beautiful non-Mormon readers.  That way you guys will know what the heck I'm talking about and you'll be able to follow along a little better.

CCM = The MTC or missionary training center where I will be spending the next five weeks learning how to
teach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Spanish.  What a party.  

Hermana/Elder = Hermana is sister in Spanish and is what all the girl missionaries are referred to.  Elder is what all the guy missionaries are referred to.  

District = the group of hermanas and elders that I spend basically all day, every day with.  I have class with them and they're all amazing.  I'll tell you a little more about them in a bit.

Companion = another missionary that is assigned to be with you 24-7.  I'll have multiple companions during my mission cause you get a new one every couple of months, but yeah.   

Investigator = someone who wants to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

Testimony = something that you know to be true.  

Okay so now you guys know some Mormon terms YAY.  And now I wanna tell you guys a little bit about my district.  There are four hermanas in my district (including me) and six elders.  They are hilarious.  I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my entire life. Meet the crew:  

Hermana Holdaway = me......duh.  
Hermana Hope =AKA Hermana Esperanza.  She's my companion, is serving her mission in El Salvador, and is such a sweetheart.  
Hermana Mansfield = She can literally quote any Youtube video that you could ever think of.  
Hermana Astil = One of the nicest girls I've met in my entire life.  She is able to find the good in everyone, and I've learned so much from her.  
Elder Sudlow = From Hawaii, and he has the best laugh you have ever heard.  When he laughs, I laugh.  
Elder Mortenson = I can never tell if he's being sarcastic or not sooooo yeah.  
Elder Day =who even knows.  
Elder Welch = HILARIOUS.  Literally one of the funniest guys I've ever met.  Elder Welch is actually legally blind even with contacts and glasses, and he's such a hard worker and is truly and inspiration to me.  
Elder Woods = The food here didn't really go well with his digestive system and you can imagine what
happened next.  He also ran into the white board and fell down.  He's a goof.  
Elder Barlow = He has such a strong testimony and he has come a long way to get to where he is now.  
So yeah!  That's my district.  They're the best.  I couldn't have asked to spend 6 weeks with more amazing people. 

I wake up every day at 6:00 AM to get out the door by 6:55.  Most of the missionaries here at the CCM are in casas with four or five rooms in them.  Each room has four missionaries.  So it's super nice to have a lot of space and our own bathroom and stuff like that.  I'm also super grateful to have running water, a toilet, and a shower for the next month, because who knows what it's going to be like down in Honduras.  At 7, my district
and I are in our classroom where we study and read the scriptures for the next hour.  I want to re-read the whole Book of Mormon before I leave the CCM.  I'm already on page 70-ish, and I figured I have to read about 15 pages a day to finish.  I'm reading in English, because when I read my scriptures in Spanish it takes me like 403921083 hours to read one chapter.  At 8, we go to breakfast in the comedor.  The food here hasn't been that bad, and I've been super good at portion control and I think I've lost weight already so I'm obvi gonna be
coming back super hot (hashtag praying for a parasite, hashtag kidding, hashtag kinda.)  AND THEY HAVE NUTELLA.  So I'm basically in heaven.  After breakfast we have three hours of Spanish class, then lunch, then more Spanish class.  And then in the afternoon, we practice teaching an investigator.  Completely in Spanish. 
So my companion and I plan 30 minute lessons that we go in and teach a practice investigator.  His name was Ignacio.  He was actually the best.  The first time Hermana Hope and I went in there we were kind of a mess because we don't know any Spanish at all, but by our third time teaching, we were killing it.  Then we have dinner, and more Spanish class.  And then it's lights out by 10:30.  And it starts all over again the next day. 

Some pretty hilarious things have happened here.  Some of our elders were talking about how their first time teaching went.  Apparently there was a five minute awkward silence where no one said anything, so in the middle of the lesson, one elder was like "CUAL ES TU NOMBRE."  (even though they had already introduced themselves).  The Latinos here are so great, and they love to practice their English with us.  I have my favorite group of Latino elders that I always talk to, and yesterday, they came up to me and one of them said, "You have beautiful eyes."  Except his super heavy Mexican accent made it sound like he said "eggs."  So I have beautiful eggs.  Best compliment I've ever gotten, that's for sure.  And one of the Latinos came up to me and said, "You are beautiful like Rebecca from the Bible."  That made my heart melt.  I love everyone so much,
ahhh!  Also, when Elder Mortenson was teaching Ignacio, he accidentally said, "Jesus suffered for all of our pescados."  Which is fish.  He meant to say "pecados," which is sins, but yeah.  Spanish is hard.  But I'm getting it really well!  I can understand everything our investigator and our teachers say!  I should probably be in an intermediate class, but I love my district too much, so I'll be sad if I get moved up. 

I guess I don't really know what else to say, sorry if this is super lame.  I'm going to attach some pictures so you guys can see what's going on!  Today we got to go to the Mexico City Temple and it was gorgeous and I loved it and I cried. But I've cried every day that I've been here so what else is new.

I love you all, and I miss you sooooooo, sooooooo much.  One week down, 77 more to go!  But before I go, I just want to bear my testimony to you guys.  (NEW PARAGRAPH.)  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.  I can say that without a doubt in my mind.  Every day that I've been here, that knowledge has only been strengthened.  I know in my mind and in my heart that Jesus Christ suffered for my sins, that He loves me, and that He is my Redeemer.  I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I wouldn't be giving up 18 months of my life if I didn't know that it was true.  I encourage all of you to read at least a little bit of The Book of Mormon.  Find out for yourself that it's true.  I promise you that it will bless your life in more ways than you can imagine.  It's blessed mine and has made me a far better person that I could have ever been without it.  I love this church, I love being a missionary, and I love all of you.  

Always, Hermana Holdaway

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