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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Week #8--Still Waiting for this to "Pass!"


I'm currently in San Pedro Sula aka the most dangerous city in the entire world, and I don't really have time to write this week.

BUT....I've been feeling a lot better and don't think I have my kidney stone anymore.  BUT.....we'll know for sure later today.

So I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I'm still alive, and I'll for sure write more next week.

Love you all!  Remember that you can do hard things.

Hermana Holdaway

Week #7--Kidney Stone--A Really HARD Thing!

Buenas, amigos.

Well.  I finally found out what's wrong with me: I have a kidney stone.

I could go into a lot of detail about the pain and how terrible it's been and how terrible the hospitals are in Honduras, but I think you've all heard that kidney stone pain is either comparable or worse than child birth.  So I'm a little scared. 

I guess the scariest part is the anticipation of this whole thing.  My pain comes in waves, so one minute I'll only have some mild discomfort, but the next minute I won't be able to walk.  So I never know when it's gonna hit.  And it's scary not knowing.  But my doctor said that it should pass in 15-20 days.  

My motto on my mission so far has been, "I can do hard things!"  Hermana Odekirk and I would say it to each other all the time.  And the other day I just looked at her and was like, "I can pee hard things."  And this is now my motto.

My mission president moved me closer to the mission office.  It was actually a big mess of a transfer.  Right now, my official area is in Olanchito, which is the zone farthest from the mission office.  By bus, it takes 6 or 7 hours to get to San Pedro from Olanchito.  And Olanchito is really small and janky, so the hospital and medical clincs there aren't the best.  And with my condition, I never know when I'm going to be in really bad pain, or I never know when I'm going to need medical attention, so President Klein moved me closer.  So right now, I'm staying with some Hermanas in La Paz.  I'm in the same area as the mission nurse, and only 30 minutes away from President Klein, so whoohooo!  But it's weird.  Cause I'm not really a missionary right now.  I mean, I am, but I have to stay home most of the time and rest and drink bastante amounts of water.  Idk.  It's a weird feeling.

And then my new companion that I'm going to take back to Olanchito with me after I pee my marble, didn't know that she had transfers.  So she was super confused at the transfer meeting yesterday and didn't have any of her luggage and it was just a mess.  But everything's worked out now, and we're just waiting for me to pee my kidney stone.  Oh, the anticipation.

The lives of the sister missionaries here are so different compared to what it's like in Olanchito.  It's crazy.  It's like they're serving a different mission!  LIKE THERE ARE PIZZA RESTAURANTS HERE.  It's just a bigger town and there's more money and the people are more educated and it's safer.  Like these hermanas haven't seen dead bodies on the street like I have.  But it's all good because I'm gonna come back home super masiso.  Cause I will have survived Olanchito and peed a kidney stone.  

It's sometimes hard to understand why certain things happen in our lives at certain times.  It's been hard for me to understand why I've gotten so sick while I'm serving my mission.  But I've been doing a lot of thinking the past couple of days.  And I need to remember that Heavenly Father knows everything.  He has the eternal perspective that it's oftentimes so hard for us to have.  He guides our lives, and He gives us the trials and problems that will help us grow and learn.  He gives us the experiences that will help us become people that He wants us to become.  He leads us to people who will help us, and He leads us to people that we can help.  

If we trust in the Lord with all our hearts, He promises us that He will guide and direct our paths.  And when life seems too difficult to bear or when we feel like we've fallen more times than we have the strength to stand back up, just remember who we have on our side.  Our loving Father in Heaven sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for our pain, our sorrow, our grief.  Christ understands what we're going through.  He understands perfectly.  So really, even though at times we feel like we're alone, we're never alone.  He is always there.  He is there to give us strength when our own is not enough.  He is there to comfort us in times of pain.  He is always there.

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you.”
I can pee hard things.
Hermana Holdaway

Week #6--Kidney Pain, Yet Another "Hard Thing"

This was a really long and hard week.  I've been having a lot of really terrible health issues.  Lots of pain and throwing up and yeah...it hasn't been fun.  And the hospital that I went to this morning wasn't sanitary.  Like at all.  It was actually really scary.  But hopefully we figured out my problem, I'll get better in the next couple of days, and I didn't get AIDS from the hospital.  But we'll just have to wait and see.

And right now I'm not feeling very well, so I have to cut this email short.

Until next week!  Or maybe Wednesday.  We'll see.


Hermana Holdaway

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week #5--It's Raining, it's Pouring but Missionaries are Working, not Snoring!

With Sister Alejandro

The river at Pacura
"Happy" in Honduras

Walking with a bunch of Cows! (Nope, not talking about the Elders!)

Swollen finger after falling off the mountain!

Main Street in Olanchito

Eating Wendy's with President Klein


So yesterday I had the craziest P-Day of my life and I basically almost died.  Multiple times.  A bunch of the missionaries in my district were like, "Let's go climb this mountain!" And I wasn't that excited to go climb a mountain cause I'm me and hiking isn't really my thing and I like to sleep and eat food but I was like, "Whatever, I'll go." (Translation: I have to go because my companion is going and I'm a missionary and always have to be with my companion and I'm the junior companion so it basically doesn't matter what I think cause I just have to do whatever Hermana Alejandro does so I'll just pretend to be excited to climb this mountain even though I would rather spend my P-Day in my bed.)  So anyway, we met up with the other missionaries at 6 AM and left together to go climb the mountain, Pacura.  

And everything that could go wrong....went wrong.  First we had to cross two waist-deep rivers.  The first river had a bunch of rocks that we used to cross over, but I'm pretty clumsy and stuff so of course I slipped and jammed my finger.  And now it's huge and swollen and probably the biggest finger I've ever seen.  And this morning it's all green and purple and so yeahhhhhhh.  That was fun.  And then we had to cross another river, but this one didn't have any rocks so we all just walked across in the waist-deep water.  Adventures in Honduras.

Then we got lost.  Our guide kinda just ran off and we were like, "Okay, I guess we'll just go this way."  And we ended up going the wrong way and getting lost and having to scale the side of this super deep mountain.  We literally were going hard-core Bear Grylls.  But it was so scary.  Cause it was super steep and there wasn't a path because we were lost and we were literally climbing up on our hands and knees.  The dirt was all slippery and I couldn't use my right hand because my finger was jammed and it hurt to bend it so I was literally praying so hard all day that I wouldn't fall and die.  I just don't like climbing mountains where there's literally a death drop two feet away.  But I mean, I'm alive so that's good.  We made it.  Lol, I did fall on the way down though.  We were walking back down and we were almost at the bottom of the mountain and my foot slipped so I fell and rolled down the mountain for a little bit and then I just laid there and was like, "Why are we at this freaking mountain."  But it was funny.  Because I fell.  And at first I was laughing really hard while I was laying there but then I wanted to cry.  But once again, I'm alive and okay so everything's good.  Adventures in Honduras.

Honduras has the craziest rain ever.  Tuesday it rained so hard for over 24 hours without stopping.  And then we didn't have running water or power for five days.  And the streets were rivers.  But we went out and walked, and walked, and walked, and walked.  And we got all wet.  And it was a party.  Adventures in Honduras.

The chickens here sleep in trees.  Hermana Alejandro and I were teaching a lesson and I look over and there are like 15 chickens in a tree and I was like wait what.  Oh!  And I held a baby duck!  It was so cute.  I want it.

So yeah.  Those were the highlights of my week.  And I thought that I would summarize what I do every day for those of you who don't know.  It's a partyyyyyyy.

6:30 AM:  Wake up and get ready and eat breakfast.
8:00 AM:  Personal study (read the scriptures, church history books, conference talks, fun stuff like that)
9:00 AM:  Companionship study (read the scriptures together, practice teaching, plan our lessons for our investigators, etc.)
10:00 AM:  Language study (Español, hombre)
11:00 AM:  Leave our house and go to work! (teach lessons to our investigators, meet and talk with new people, share gospel messages, give service, visit members of the church, etc.)
12:00 PM:  Eat lunch (aka get fat.  Hermana Alejandro is always like, "A las 12:00 vamos a engordar.  La verdad.)
1:00-7:00 PM:  Work, work, work, work.  We'll usually teach 5-7 lessons a day.  Each lesson lasts for about an hour cause we always talk for a little bit before.  Then we start with a hymn and a prayer and teach the gospel, answer questions, and all that good stuff.  
7:00 PM:  Return to our house early for safety reasons cause we don't really have enough time in our schedule to get murdered.  Ain't nobody got time for that.  And then we're usually pretty bored in the night time but life goes on.

"Remember the Lord has called you to succeed, not to fail.  Sometimes it may seem terribly hard, but He wants you to grow.  He will not abandon you.  He inspired your call.  He knows who you are.  He knows what you need.  He knows what He wants you to become, and this mission experience is an opportunity He has given you to discover things about yourself you never knew; capacities you never knew you had, strength beyond what you felt you had, and the capacity to love and serve which will sustain you throughout the rest of your life.  Remember, you have been called and He will fit the task to your capabilities.- Richard G. Scott

At times I feel like I can't do this.  Missionary work is hard.  I'm working all day, every day to bring the light of the gospel into people's lives.  I'm working all day, every day to help people grow closer to their Heavenly Father.  I'm working all day, every day to give people the happiness and the hope that the gospel of Jesus Christ has given me.  And it's heart breaking to see people reject it.  People who I've grown to know and love.  People who know that this church is true.  But they reject it only because they don't want to change.  As of right now, I haven't seen very much success with my investigators.  And at times I wonder, "What's the point?  Why am I out here every day doing something that's so hard if I'm not even doing what I came out here to do?"  And these past five weeks have been the hardest and scariest of my life.  But this quote made me remember that I have the Lord on my side.  I'm stronger than I think I am.  I can do hard things.

Until next time,

Hermana Holdaway

PS- I miss having first world problems.  I'm having lots of problems down here in Honduras, but I'm for sure not having first world ones.  Triste.


- Picture 1: Hermana Alejandro and I!
- Picture 2: PACURA.  We climbed up to the peak.  Literally the very highest point on that mountain that you see in that picture.  Remember that there's always going to be another mountain.  You're always going to want to make it move.  It's always going to be an uphill battle.  And sometimes you're going to have to lose.  But it's not about how fast you get there.  It not about what's waiting on the other side.  It's the climb.
-Picture 3: Crossing the river at Pacura.

Week #4--The Sound...of Pigs Dying!

Que pasa, mis amigos.

I went to the beach today!  We had to wake up at 3 AM to take some janky buses for a couple hours to a city called Trujillo.  There we met up with some more elders from our zone and partied at the beach all morning.  And by partied I mean we put our feet in the water because missionaries aren't allowed to swim.  But I did find some pretty shells!  And wrote my name in the sand.  And took some pictures that you guys won't be able to see because the Internet in Honduras is tow up.  I guess you guys will have to wait until I get home to see them.  Que basura.  

QUE BASURA.  That's basically my district's slogan.  Today we started saying "Que garbage" though.  Lol, I love teaching the Latinos English.  It's the funniest.  Latinos are the best.  The elders in my district are the best.  The mission is the best (for the most part).

On Monday I heard a pig die.  We were eating dinner and all of a sudden we hear this crazy squealing and I just look over at Hermana Odekirk and she was like, "Yup, you just heard a pig die."  And then we went out and watched it get gutted and stuff.  What a party.  And then Hermana Alejandro and I took a picture with the pig head.  So I'm basically going all "Lord of the Flies" over here in Olanchito.  I guess you guys will have to wait for that picture too.  DUDE AND I FOUND SOME CONCH SHELLS ON THE BEACH TODAY I AM LITERALLY LIVING LORD OF THE FLIES.  HOW COOL, HOW COOL.  Muy very cool.

And on Tuesday I made tamales!  So now I'm basically Mexican.  Except I'm in Honduras.  So I don't know how that works.  And I got a cow named after me.  So that's going on my resume for sure.  What an accomplishment.  

A couple days ago Hermana Alejandro and I were taking a taxi home.  There was another person in the back so I sat in the front, and Hermana Alejandro sat in the back with the other guy.  The taxi driver dropped the other guy off first and then us.  And when we were in our house, Hermana Alejandro was like, "Hermana."  So I turned around and she was holding up a plastic baggy with 6 bullets in it.  She was like, "The guy that we dropped off before us left these in the back of the taxi.  He could've killed six people with these."  And I'm like "WHAT THE HECK, HERMANA.  WHY DID YOU TAKE THE FREAKING BULLETS AHHHALSÑDKFJASÑLKFJASÑLDKF."  But yeah.  So we found some bullets in the back of a taxi and who knows what that guy was gonna do with them.  We're just gonna assume he was gonna kill some pigs or something.  But here they kill pigs by hitting them with a metal pole.  Very kind and humane.

All I want is a brownie or some chocolate chip cookies or a cinnamon roll or some pizza.  But alas, rice and beans and fried bananas.

"Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne has now become my theme song for life.  And I think that's an accurate description of my current emotional standing.  

Also crying in the shower just isn't the same when you shower with buckets.  But alas, I keep holding on.


Hermana Holdaway

"Be patient in thine afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days."  D&C 24:8
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