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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Week #34--Egyptian Plagues

Can we all just stop and freak out for a minute because Wednesday is my nine-month anniversary in the mission.

Like nine months.

Like that's half my mission.

Like what.


Today President and Hermana Klein came to Ceiba to spend P-Day with our zone!  We went to hike a mountain.  Because that's all there is to do here.  And because there are weird people in this world who actually like physical activity like climbing mountains and stuff.  But anyway, we went to see what was supposed to be this really pretty waterfall but it ended up being super small and un-exciting (is that a word?).  Like pouring water out of a cup and watching it fall would probably be more exciting than watching this waterfall, but there we were.


Zone Conference this week was the best thing ever.  As a zone, we made these three goals:

1.  Pray for your investigators specifically by name every day before you leave the house.  Also pray for your area in general.  Pray for guidance to be led to those who are prepared to accept the gospel.
2.  Challenge everyone to repent and be baptized!
3.  Talk with everyone.

Hermana Calpa and I have been working really hard this week to do these three things, and we've seen miracles!

For example, Lina finally came to church!  Lina is our golden investigator who's had a few problems getting to the chapel on Sundays.  But yesterday she finally came.  And all during church she was like, "This is great.  I'm getting baptized.  This church is so true."  Amen, Lina.

Tuesday night, as we were leaving one of our investigator's houses, a guy on a bicycle pulled up to us and was like, "Where's your guy's church?  I want to go this Sunday."  We told him where the church is and we also asked him if he was interested in listening to the lessons.  And he said yes!  (Um, he didn't actually come to church on Sunday, but we're gonna hunt him down this week, no worries.)

Hermana Calpa and I have been challenging everyone to get baptized this week.  Sometimes it's a little scary to pop the question, "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who holds the priesthood authority of God?"  Cause it's like, "OH NO WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF ME."  It's kind of ironic, no?  Like I'm here to help people make sacred covenants with God but asking them to do it is the scariest part of my job.  Well, that's a lie.  Avoiding the scary people in the streets and trying not to get shot and die every day is probably the scariest part of my job.  But challenging people to be baptized is a close second.

But anyway, Hermana Calpa and I conquered our fear!  And now we have five investigators with a baptismal date.  Praying that they'll all come through!  

And we also tried really hard to talk with everyone this week.  We talked to these people who were sitting outside a bar on Wednesday morning and I was like, "You guys should probably change your lives."

What?  It's the truth...

It rained so much this week.  And I love it!  Rain is the best thing ever.  Or at least I thought it was....until literally ten thousand termites came out to play after the rain stopped.  It was disgusting.  They were flying around everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  A million of them.  I was running through the streets freaking out because EW.  It was like the Egyptian plagues.  Holy crap, Honduras is full of Egyptian plagues.  Like the toads here are ridiculous and HUGE.  And one time this toad jumped on my foot and I screamed like the world was ending.  I hate toads.  And termites.  EWWWWWWWWW.  It makes me all itchy just thinking about it.


Okay, tipos.  That's all I have time for because right now Hermana Calpa and I are going to go get ready for a family home evening that we're going to have with President Klein!

I'll talk with you all next week!

Just a few parting words of wisdom from one of our investigators: "You should always eat all your dinner.  Because you never know if you're going to die in the night."

So just eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow you might die.

Bueno.  Nos vemos muy pronto!

Con amor,

La Gringa


I only have one picture this week because the internet is really slow today and I don't have time because I'm really popular and important and have lots of other things to do!

So enjoy this picture of me and bagged chocolate milk.  Everything in Honduras is bagged.  So yeah.  Baggy.



Insta-mission (lots of pictures!)

HEY GUYZ OHMIGOSH THIS IS MY LYF3 RECENTLY ACCORDING TO MY IPHONEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1. "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever."  #scripturepower #nephi #lamanites #alma #thebrotherofjared #zarahemla #theboatwastightlikeuntoadish #andtheangelsaiduntomelookandilooked #thebookofmormon
2. Honduras is super #hipster. 
3. "Ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto the angels of God." - D&C 42:6 #companions #hermanacalpa #neverbealone #alwaysbewithinsightandhearing #privacyisnotathingwhenyoureamissionary #butilovehermanacalpasoitsokay #missionaryhandbook
4. Crazy and wild Saturday nights with my Liahona and my dirty fan.
5. You haven't really lived your life until you've done really dumb things with your hair (for example dying it while you're in Honduras!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
6. We bought 15 coconuts because #YOLO.  But for real, if opening coconuts was an Olympic sport I would obviously take gold.  And I don't even need a machete to do it.
7. #catratchos
8. Crab soup. #sabastian 
9. #nailart gracias a #hermanacalpa. #cats
10. I didn't believe in love at first sight and then I saw this umbrella and everything changed. #cats

DISCLAIMER: I actually don't have an iPhone because in case you guys didn't know I'm serving in Honduras where the missionaries aren't spoiled like they are in the States!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  But I love you, state side missionaries so it's okay.














Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week #33: Dear Diary...

HEY GUYS.

I brought my journal with me this week to help me remember what happened and stuff but now I'm really lazy and don't feel like thinking because thinking is a dangerous past time (bonus points if you can tell me what movie I'm referencing).

I just really like run-on sentences because it's like I'm completely rebeling against Mr. Cronin and I love it.

So anyway.  Here we go:

Tuesday July 15, 2014

Today we went over to teach Angela, a reference from Hermana Delsa, the super loud and independent black woman in our ward.  We started teaching her the Plan of Salvation but then she was like "ACTUALLY I WANNA TELL YOU GUYS ALL MY MARRIAGE PROBLEMS."  But listening to Angela's marriage problems just made me want to get married and have the best marriage ever.  And if my marriage goes as well as each of my companionships in my mission have gone so far, then it will be the best thing ever.

Cause apparently it's a thing that your future husband or wife is gonna have characteristics of your mission companions.  A saber.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.  But I want to be able to laugh with my husband the way that I laughed with Hermana Alejandro.  I want to be best friends with my husband the way that Hermana Muñoz and I are best friends.  I want to be able to talk and be open with my feelings the way that Hermana Urresta and I were.  And I want to have the crazy mind connection thing that Hermana Calpa and I've got going on.  And then I'll be happy.

BAGGY.  BAGGY.  BAGGY.  BAGGY.  BAGGY.  BAGGY.

Wednesday July 16, 2014

Today we had a really, really good lesson with Jose Alexis, a less active member.  He's 18, and he lives in the house right in front of our apartments.  He's the nephew of Hermano Carias, my dad's companion from his mission!  Anyway, before today, I'd never had a lesson with Jose Alexis.  I always thought that he was just some punk kid who cared more about his friends and his girlfriend than going to church.  I didn't think that he had a legit reason for not going and stuff like that.  I just thought he was lazy.

But anyway, he really opened up to us today.  And I was able to learn why he is the way he is.  He told us a lot about what's been going on in his life and about the problems that he's been having.  It was really sad to hear some of the things that he's had to go through, but I know that the gospel can help him get his life back on track.  He also told us about the goals that he has for his future, and he promised us that he would go to church on Sunday!

Thursday July 17, 2014

Today we had divisions with the sister training leaders.  I stayed here in my area and worked with Hermana Sherman.  She's from Washington and has been here in the mission for 13 months.

We had a good day!  We visited our converts, some investigators, and had missionary correlacion.

And then the power went out.  But only in our neighborhood.  And it sucks when the power goes out because then our apartment doesn't have water and all I wanted to do was take a shower.  But nope.  So here we are writing in our journals by candlelight.

Friday July 18, 2014

Today we went over to visit Los Mosquitos.  And they gave us lunch.  And by lunch I mean that their dad who works in a fishing boat in the ocean brought home a huge sack of fish and so Suesi, the mom, fried us up some fish with the eyes and the teeth and everything still intact, like thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But it was gross cause when Suesi was eating she just dug her finger right into the eye socket, popped that sucker out, and ate it.  And I'm like, ew.

Today we also taught Lina the Word of Wisdom.  Lina is our golden investigator.  She's the one who told us that she'd been praying for guidance from God when we knocked on her door!  Anyway, she's been progressing really well ever since then.  She has a testimony of the Restoration and she knows that the world should have a prophet today.  The only challenge with Lina is that she hasn't been able to come to church yet.  Every Sunday she swears that she's going to go, but something always comes up that keeps her from going.  Satan's working really hard to keep her from getting baptized because he knows that Lina's going to be an amazing member of the church.  But I have faith that Lina will keep pushing forward!

Saturday July 19, 2014

This morning Hermana Calpa and I woke up with bad stomach aches.  We're pretty sure that it's from the fish that Suesi gave us.  Hopefully we don't die.

This afternoon we had a really great lesson with a new investigator, Abel.  He's a cousin of Darsy, an inactive that we just recently started working with.  He's not going to any church right now, but he told us that he wants to change his life and work on strengthening his relationship with God.

We were talking with him a little bit before starting the lesson, and he seemed super sincere and interested.  Anyway, when we went to start the lesson, Hermana Calpa and I were both looking for a hymn to sing.  And we both picked #50, Más Cerca Dios de Ti.  Hermana Calpa and I are always super connected like that.  We're always thinking the same things.  And if I wanna eat, she wants to eat.  So I mean, it's pretty great.

Anyway, our lesson with him was great!  The Spirit was really strong.  We talked about faith and repentance and how the gospel can really help us change our lives.  Abel understood everything and had really great comments and questions.  He's super prepared to hear the gospel.

But he did tell us that he was in jail for three months in Texas.  So like, k.  But we think it's probably because he went to the States illegally.  We're not exactly sure.  Cause I was a little uncomfortable being like, "OMG TELL ME MORE WHY WERE YOU IN JAIL?!?!?!??!?!"  So like........yeah.

And today there were a bunch of crazies in the street and I felt like Pac Man trying to avoid them all.

Sunday July 20, 2014

Lina didn't come to church today.  Again.  And you wanna know why?  It's pretty ironic actually.  We called her in the afternoon to ask her what happened and she was like, "Hermanas.  I'm not going to lie.  I didn't come to church today because I drank a couple beers last night."  Like what the heck, Lina.  It's ironic because we just taught her the Word of Wisdom on Friday.  And she told us that she didn't have any problems with any of it, and that she was willing to give up everything for the Lord.  And she was like, "And I haven't even drank for three months so it's all good!  And when I do drink, I just like one or two beers and then I'm done."  

Ugh, Satan, you suck.

But guess who did go to church?!  JOSE ALEXIS.  And he had an interview with the stake president and afterwards he couldn't stop talking about serving a mission!  What a miracle.  Because before he didn't even want to talk about serving a mission.  But now everything's changed!  What a miracle.

Also apparently some spirit is stalking me but that's a long story.


AND YUP.  That was my week.

I LOVE HONDURAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Xoxo,

Hermana Holdaway

Friday, July 25, 2014

Week #32: I don't even know, okay. (hard week)

Que hay.

Sometimes it's hard to write weekly emails.  Like today.  Today it's really hard.  Because it's hot and my stomach is full of the two lunches that I was forced to eat and my thoughts are literally all over the place and I have no idea what to say or where to begin.

Sometimes it's like...blah, everyone can wait to hear about my mission until I get home.

Home.

But anyway.

This week was weird.  Lots of things happened.  

For example, one of our investigators who came to church on Sunday asked us if we use Coke for the sacrament.


Like no.


I also had an investigator ask me why we can't go visit God in an airplane.  

Um, because you're not Chuck Norris.


Throwback to that one time that I was being super sweet and service-y and washing dishes at this one lady's house and she was like "OHMYGOSH.  GRINGOS KNOW HOW TO WASH DISHES?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?"

Like plesae.  I lived through the ages of dial up internet.  I can do anything.


Women here are way too comfortable about nursing their babies at any time or in any place or in front of anyone.

Like, cough cough, now I know you way better than I ever wanted to.


Sacrament meeting has gone over 30 minutes for the past two Sundays and I'm thinking about writing President Monson to complain.


Hermana Calpa painted little cats on my nails so I guess I like cats now.


Um, yeah.

Keep it real.

Hermana Holdaway

Week #31 Part 2: The Sequel

Hey.

Here I am again.  With Part 2 of Week #31.  The best sequel ever.  Like even better than Harry Potter 7 Part 2, or Breaking Dawn Part 2, or Toy Story 2, or whatever.  You guys are all just really, really lucky to get a double dose of Hermana Holdaway this week.

But anyway.

Hermana Calpa and I didn't have changes!  So here we are happy to have six more weeks together.  Hermana Calpa is only my second companion that I've had for more than one transfer, and after getting switched around and around and around, I'm happy that I can relax and not worry about getting used to a new companion.

Especially because things are hard right now.  Hermana Calpa and I have been trying to find new investigators who will progress, but as of now, no such luck.  We've been doing a ton of contacting, and have met a lot of new people, but nobody's progressing!  It's terrible.  Sometimes I feel like I'm not making any difference at all here in La Ceiba.  It's hard.  And this week I was an emotional wreck.  I've never wanted to go home so much in my life.  Normally I'm super motivated to go out and work and improve and be a better missionary each day, but this week I just didn't want to do anything.  I was sulking and walking around in the streets with a bad attitude like OMG POOR ME THE WHITE GIRL ALL ALONE IN HONDURAS WAHHH.

But yesterday, after casually drinking my papaya smoothie that I bought from the little shop close to our house, I just decided to change my attitude.  I was just like, "Shut up, Emma, you're dumb.  Just be happy!" 

And it worked!  And then I was back to my normal, happy self, laughing and joking with Hermana Calpa and eating all the food everywhere because food >>>>>>

And that's how I learned that we're really in charge of our attitudes.  We always like to blame someone or something else for our behavior, when really we're completely responsible for our actions.  Sure, sometimes life sucks, but that doesn't mean that we have to walk around like an angry elf our entire lives.  We should just be happy and smile and sing and eat and love and dance and laugh and live because life is beautiful.

And that's the end of my sequel.

I'm Emma Holdaway.  Yesterday I got yelled at by a black guy on drugs and almost peed my skirt because I was so scared.  I'm really craving some Reese's right now.  And I'm a Mormon.

And there's also a 30% chance it's already raining.

Until next time,

Hermana Holdaway



Zona La Ceiba!

Hermana Alfaro and I drinking mango juice out of plastic baggies because Honduras is super classy and sophisticated. 




Week #31: Las Hermanas sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked

I'm pretty sure that Hermana Calpa and I walked practically as much as the pioneers this week.  Like we walked all day, every day.  Cause no one wanted to let us in.  So there we were, wandering around all alone in the streets of La Ceiba, walking around in circles, passing everyone twenty times, rejected and cast out.  Being like, "I'M ALL ALONE.  THERE'S NO ONE THERE BESIDE MEEEEEEEEEEEE."

But you gotta have friends.

Anyway, there was a gecko chilling in my shower this week and I've basically been showering in terror for the past couple days because I swear this gecko is going to transform into Godzilla at any moment and rise up and kill me.

But it's okay because I can take him down cause I'm working out every morning so I'm really strong.

This week we went to a restaurant called AQUI SOP


A and it was actually pretty good.  We got this shrimp soup.  And I mean, I'm still alive and parasite free, so here I am counting my blessings.  AQUI SOPA isn't Panera or anything, but close enough, right?

I'm also super natural because I drink coconut water.  

My mind is everywhere right now.  But it's cause it's transfer week.  And transfer week is always crazy.  Right now we're still waiting for the call to find out who has changes.  I know that I don't, but we don't know if Hermana Calpa will be staying or leaving.  Fingers crossed that she stays!  We should know within the next couple of hours.

Star Wars is in the Bible so Star Wars is true.

"And Manasseh had in Issachar and in Asher Beth-shean and her towns, and Ibleam and her towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and her towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and her towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns, even three countries."


Amen.

Nothing else really happened this week so yup.  

Update on my life I really, really, really miss Pinterest.

And all I wanna do is sleep.  This week was really hard, but it's okay because we're gonna keep pressing forward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all.

Love,

Hermana Holdaway








Week #30: This week I met Hitler and held a tarantula

This week a bird pooped on me while we were walking.  I don't know why I have all the luck in the world, like it's really unfair to everyone else.  Especially cause this is the second time that a bird has pooped on me during my mission.  But for real dude, three strikes and I'm out.  The next time this happens, I'm on the next flight out of this country.

...............Just kidding.  Because I love my mission.  A bird could poop on me every day and I would still love my mission...probably (brb knocking on all the wood in La Ceiba).  BUT GUYS GUESS WHAT.  *drumroll* TODAY IS MY 8 MONTH MARK!

I know I say this all the time, but time is honestly going by so quickly.  I remember my first transfer when it felt like time was moving slower than dial up internet or the lines in the secretary of state offices.  I thought I was going to be in Honduras literally my entire life.  But here I am today!  With only 10 months more to go.  The days and weeks are flying by, and before I know it, I'll be in the land of the free and the home of the brave drinking root beer and chocolate milk shakes and eating dozens and dozens of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Speaking of the land of the free and the home of the brave, the Fourth of July is this week.  The first Fourth of July that I'll celebrate outside of the United States.  How sad!  I don't know what I'm gonna do without potato salad and popsicles and fireworks and bug spray and America.  Sigh.  I guess I'll have to be satisfied with wearing red, white, and blue and singing the national anthem in my head all day long.  I'll probably also shove a couple hamburgers from Burger King in my face and then call it a day.

Speaking of America, here are a few excerpts from some emails that I received today that made me laugh:

"I was studying the Restoration in PMG and I found the following sentence:
 "Joseph Smith lived in the United States, which was probably the only country to enjoy religious freedom at the time." Put your hands up if you love America!!!" - Hermana Odekirk

"Also, we sang "my country tis of thee" and it made me cry." - my mom


There's nothing like living in another country to inspire some good, old patriotism in a person.

Anyway, this past Tuesday we had a multizone conference with Elder Adrian Ochoa of the Seventy.  He talked to us about the importance of faith, not only in missionary work, but also in our day to day lives.  Faith is the first principle of the gospel, and it's a principle that's fundamental and absolutely necessary.  Without faith, we're nothing.  Because we're human, we don't have a perfect knowledge or the way things are now, let alone the way things are going to be in the future.  And sometimes it's scary.  It's scary not knowing what's going to happen tomorrow.  But we have a marvelous gift: we can trust in someone who does know.  We can trust in a God who knows the past, the present, and the future.  And when we trust in Him, we have faith in Him.  We can press forward with a firm hope that things will get better.  If we try our best to follow God, everything's going to be okay in the end.  That's the promise He's given us.  And if we're at a point in our lives when things still aren't okay, it's simply because it's not the end.  Have faith.  Move forward.  You can do it.

But in order to progress in this life, we constantly need to increase and strengthen our faith.  But how?  The answer's simple: through prayer, the study of the scriptures, and obedience.  

This week I started re-reading the Book of Mormon.  I love the Book of Mormon.  It's honestly my favorite book on earth (yes, even including Harry Potter).  And the very beginning of the Book of Mormon is my absolute favorite.  1st and 2nd Nephi are the best.  Nephi's a rockstar.  Literally all the basic doctrine of salvation can be found in the first 120 pages of the Book of Mormon.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm, there's some juicy stuff in there.  But don't take my word for it.  Go and read it for yourselves!  And as an official representative of Jesus Christ, I promise that if you really read and ponder the first 120 pages of the Book of Mormon, your life will change.  Something will stir within your heart and you will feel something that you've never felt before.  And you, just like me and the other 15 million members of the church, will know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.


"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdome in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

Moroni 10:3-5


Hermana Calpa and I were contacting Saturday because all of our appointments fell throuh.  After getting rejected house after house for about an hour, Hermana Calpa was like, "That's it.  I'm not contacting any more."  We started walking down the street, passing the last house on the corner.  And I was like, "Just one more house.  The worst they can say is no."  So we went up to the gate, yelled ''Buenas!" and a man came out.  We introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and asked if we could share a short message with him.  And he was like, "Sure!"  At first I was a little freaked out cause he kept looking at me and smiling and I was like, smh at this creepy man.  So I was like, "Let's sit outside to have the lesson!"  Cause lol no way am I going into this guy's house when he's staring at me like he's never seen a gringa before.  And we were like, "What's your name?"  And he was like, "Adolfo Hitler."  And I was like, "FREAK HERMANA LET'S GET OUT OF HERE."  But then he was like, "Lolllllllllllll jokes, my last name's Martinez."  So yeah, then we shared a short message about the Plan of Salvation and asked him when we could come back to visit again.  And he was like, "You guys want to come back?"  And we were like, "....yeah."  And he was like, "Okay, but first do you want me to tell you the story of Joseph Smith from the very beginning?"

It turns out that Adolfo (Hitler) Martinez is a member of the Church.  He was baptized 25 years ago but went inactive a year after his baptism.  He then told me that I remind him of one of the sister missionaries that taught him way back then.  "Seeing you has brought back all of my memories from that time," he told me.  And in that moment, my heart was like, "OMG YAY THIS GUY'S NOT STARING AND SMILING AT ME CAUSE HE WANTS TO KIDNAP ME HE'S JUST REMINISCING ON THE GOOD OLD TIMES WITH THE SISTER MISSIONARIES."  It was one of those moments when I felt like this is where I'm supposed to be.  The Lord has called me to Honduras to help these people.  I have a work to do here that no one else can do: only the gringa, Hermana Holdaway.  And it's an amazing feeling to find the people that I was sent here to help.  And I know that good old Hitler is one of them.

I walked away from that lesson like this:



Here are some pictures of me holding HUGE bugs and a tarantula from this museum that we went to this morning.

K now I'm actually done like whoops long email this week but you all love me so it's okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love,

Hermana Holdaway






Week #29: It's been one week since you've looked at me

Hey, sinners.

I think it's funny how as humans, we think that we're powerful, that we're capable, that we can do everything by ourselves.  I know sometimes I think that way.  Because sometimes life is easy.  Sometimes everything goes our way.  Sometimes we're lucky.  And when we're lucky, when everything goes our way, and when life is easy, we think that we know best.  But the moment always arrives when we have to learn to be humble,when we have to learn that maybe we're not always right.  That's just the way life is.  And that's the way the mission is too.  Cause if life's a roller coaster, the mission is the fastest roller coaster in the world, with twice the number of ups,downs, hills, drops, and loops.  But it's all good.  Cause I love roller coasters.  And the faster and wilder, the better.

Hermana Calpa and I had a really good week!  Monday was P-Day, so we went to lunch at Wendy's because Frostys >>>>>>>>>.

Tuesday was zone meeting, where all the missionaries in our zone (La Ceiba) meet together to receive training and practice teaching and stuff like that.  Our zone is full of elders.  Like boys, boys, boys.  In the 30 or so missionaries in our zone, there are only 4 hermanas.  But I mean, it's okay.

Wednesday everyone was like, "Give me your passport!"  And I'm just like, "Give me ice cream and then we'll talk." 

Thursday we had a special conference with President Klein.  It was a conference just for the hermanas.  We talked about exercise, eating healthy, dressing modestly, and stuff like that.  But I love President Klein.  He's the best.  I've never met anyone as happy, outgoing, and positive as him.  His smile literally lights up the whole room.  I couldn't ask for a better mission president.

Thursday night my dreams of one day becoming a loud, confident black woman were shattered.  Sometimes we as missionaries do crazy things in order to gain the trust and confidence of our investigators.  For example, sometimes we say, "YEAH LET'S DO IT" when one of our investigators offers to braid our hair.  And I don't mean like normal braids.  I mean like hard core black girl cornrow braids.  So that happened...  Black girls can rock it and stuff, but I can't.  Even though I'm from Detroit.  Smh.  I ended up looking like an alien or something.  And it hurt.  Like I thought kidney stones were painful and stuff, but then I got my hair practically pulled out.  My head felt like it was on fire.  I took those thangs straight out Friday morning.  Because ain't nobody got time for that, nuuuuuuuuuuuuhuhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Friday was theeeeeeeeeee best.  Hermana Calpa and I were on our way to visit one of our less active members when we felt like we should contact this one house.  So we yelled, "Buenaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssss!" because that's what people do here, and this lady was like, "Come on in!"  So we were like, "Si hombreeeeee, someone's gonna listen to us!  Finally!"  And we went in and started talking with this woman named Lina. We talked about the importance of this life and how we have to use our time here to prepare for the eternities.  We gave her a pamphlet of The Plan of Salvation to read for our next lesson, and she was like, "This is exactly what I need!  The Plan of Salvation!  Que bello!"  And then she told us that she had been praying that day for spiritual guidance from God.  "And then you two came to my house," she said.  "I know that this is the truth."  What a miracle.

Saturday morning I was reading in the Old Testament during my personal study.  One of my goals is to finish the Old Testament in the next couple of months, so I'm trying to read at least ten pages every day.  Sometimes the Old Testament is weird and stuff, but I mean, I'm all about killing sheep and splattering blood everywhere so it's all good.  Anyway, that morning I read a verse that I really loved in Deuteronomy 31:6: "Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."  Like, awwwwww, super tender.  That afternoon we went to visit one of our investigators, Fernando, and I felt like I should share that scripture with him.  After I finished reading, he was like, "Hermana, I've been looking for that scripture for days now.  I read it last week, but couldn't remember where it was in the Bible.  Thank you so much for sharing it with me today."  What an amazing moment!  I learned that as missionaries, our personal study time is so important.  It's the time that we have to strengthen our testimonies, become more deeply converted, and learn to be more powerful and influential teachers of the gospel.  And when we study, the Spirit will help us "bring all things to our remembrance" (John 14:26).  As a missionary, I'm the Lord's hands here on earth.  And it's amazing to see Him work through me in order to bless the lives of the people here in Honduras.  I love being a missionary!   

Sunday it rained oceans.  Literally.  (See attached photos)

And remember how I was like, "Wahhhhhhhh, I don't have any clothes" and then Hermana Calpa did some hardcore thrift store shopping and now I have like twenty skirts.  Oops.

But I love you all!  Keep pressing on and choose the right.  

Con amor,

La Gringa


Pictures:



 Reunited with Hermana Urresta at la conferencia por las hermanas!

 President Klein.  The best.

 My little best friend and forever my favorite companion

 The worst decision we've ever made

I told you it rained oceans.  Literally the whole street was flooded.  Parties!!!!

Week #28: We're all the same

I've been sitting here for a while thinking about what I want to say.  I guess I don't have the words to describe everything that I'm thinking and feeling.  Even less because right now feels like one of those moments when life isn't really real...one of those moments when everything feels like a dream...or a movie.  Have you ever felt that way?  Like you're in a movie?  It's a weird feeling.  And it's what I feel right now.  And I don't know how to describe it.

I've seen a lot of things that have changed me during my seven months here in Honduras.  A lot of things that have made me realize how truly blessed I am.  A lot of things that have made me realize how wonderful it is to live, to see, to walk, to breathe.  A lot of things that have made me realize that God truly does exist.

We're human, and, because of that, we're imperfect.  We're imperfect, and we're selfish and egotistical and uncharitable.  And it's sad.  It's sad that we walk around judging others, thinking that we're better than them, when really, we're not.  God created all of us, and God loves all of us.  And of all the things that I've learned on my mission, this is the greatest of all: we're all the same.

I've been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of people's lives, to listen to people's stories, to see who they really are.  And it's life changing.  It's life changing to see the light that the gospel brings to someone's life.  It's life changing to see someone smile or to listen to their laugh.  It's life changing to really know and grow to love someone.

I can tell you these people's stories.  I can tell you the moments I've had that've made me laugh.  I can tell you the moments I've had that've made me cry.  But through it all, there's only one thing that I've really learned: God lives.

God lives.  And if you don't believe it, get down on your knees and pray.  Ask Him if He's really there.  Ask Him if He knows your name.  Ask Him if He really cares about you.  And after you've asked, stop and listen.  And I promise you that you'll get an answer.  You'll feel something stir within your heart.  I promise you.  You'll know, just like I do, that it's true.  I can't really explain how I know that God exists, how I know that this Church is true, how I know that all of this is true.  Because I don't know how to describe it.  People have asked me how I know and I can never find the words to answer them.  All I can say is that it's true.  I know it with all of my heart.  And that's why I'm here.  That's why I'm in Honduras, far away from my family, my friends, and the life that I've known for 19 years.  Because it's true.  Trust me, if this Church wasn't true, I wouldn't be here in a third world country, dodging bullets in the streets and taking bucket showers.  I would be in my bed in my sweatpants eating microwave popcorn and watching The Bachelor.  But here I am.  Giving the little that I have to the Lord that has given me everything. 


Ew, lol, sorry for the mushy gushy email.  Emotions are weird sometimes.  But I love you all.  Really I do.  You're always in my thoughts and in my prayers.  

And not to brag or anything but I just finished reading The Book of Mormon in Spanish, so I mean, I'm really cool and stuff, but anyway.

Lol so yup.  Hasta luego, losers.

Love,

Hermana Holdaway  
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