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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week #47--It's like a symphony...just keep listening

Hey everyone!

Sorry for not writing on Monday.  I'm sure you were all dying of anticipation and worry and everything.  But actually probably not because no one even cares about me anymore because I've been away for so long.  But I mean, whatever, guys, whatever.  #missionaryproblems.

But anyway, I didn't write on Monday because I was super stressed/worried waiting for transfer calls.

And then transfer calls came.

And my zone leader was like, "LOL HERMANA HOLDAWAY YOU HAVE TRANSFERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  And then I cried because I hate saying goodbye more than anything in the entire world.  And I especially hated saying goodbye to Ceiba.  It was super hard.  But I did it because I can do hard things.

So here I am in my new area...Mesapa!  It's a small pueblecito that's about an hour outside of Progreso.  I've only been here for about an hour, but I already love it from what I've seen so far.  It seems to be super tranquilo, and it reminds me a lot of Olanchito.  And I love Olanchito.  So I have no complaints.  :)  

Now I'm excited to go out, get to work, and find out why the Lord wants me here!

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my two transfers with Hermana Tito these past couple of days.  I learned a lot from her.  At times, it was hard.  Before she came I remember thinking, "Wow!  My marriage is obviously going to be all perfect and happy all the time because I've never fought with any of my companions and each and every one of them have literally been my soul mate."  And then Hermana T came along.  And it's not like we fought and hated each other and didn't get along, because that's absolutely not the case.  Because I love that little Peruana with all of my heart.  But with her, it was a little bit different.  It was hard at first.  And it's because she showed me my weaknesses.  She wasn't afraid to point out my imperfections with blunt, sharp language, haha.  I laugh thinking about it now.  Hermana T can be a little sassy!  And it was a little hard to swallow sometimes.  I had to learn to be humble.  To close my mouth and turn the other cheek.  And I'm not claiming to be perfect or anything like that, because I know that I'm the farthest thing from perfect there is.  Sometimes I feel so unworthy of all of the blessings that the Lord has given me, and I ask myself, "How is it possible that the Lord continues to bless me when I continue to make mistakes?  When I continue to be imperfect?  When I can never do things right?"  

I was just going to continue by saying, "I guess I just don't understand how the Savior can love me when I continue to fall down....when I can never seem to give my all or do my best."  And right when I was going to type that, a thought came to my mind...  I thought of all of my investigators, of my converts, of the less active members that I've visited during my mission.  Of all of the wonderful people that I've met and grown to know and love.  Are they perfect?  Of course not.  They make mistakes.  There were times when they didn't read the Book of Mormon, when they didn't come to church, or when they drank just that one more little cup of coffee.  And did I stop loving them just because they aren't perfect?  Of course not.  If anything, their imperfections made me love them even more.  Seeing them fall made me want to help them even more. 

And I guess it's exactly the same with Christ and us.  Isn't it?

I've been trying my whole mission to understand more profoundly the love that Christ has for me.  I've often asked myself, "What more can I do?  What scriptures can I read?  How can I understand?"  And the answer has been right in front of me the whole time, and I just haven't realized it: Do what Christ did.  Serve others.  Love others.  And then you'll grow to understand.  

And I've loved others.  Really.  I can't look you in the eyes and say that I've been a perfect missionary because I haven't.  It would be a lie.  I can't say that I haven't had my days where I just want to quit and go home.  Because it would be a lie.  I can't say that I've always been a perfect companion because it would be a lie.  But there is one thing I can say without a single doubt in my mind: I've loved.  I've loved a lot.  I developed charity, the pure love of Christ.  It's a gift that I didn't have before my mission.  But now, it's a gift that I can't contain within me, even with the extra pounds that Honduras has graciously given me.  I honestly cannot even begin to express the amount of love that I have for the people that I've met on my mission.  The thought of leaving and having to say goodbye honestly breaks my heart.  I could spend the rest of my life as a missionary and be perfectly and completely happy.  :)

So I guess I do understand why Christ loves me despite my imperfections.  And I understand because I have a small portion of that love for those around me.  

I feel all happy inside now!  The Church is super true.

It's funny how God answers our prayers sometimes, isn't it?  My whole mission I've had this question, this desire to understand Christ's love.  And God answered me right now.  With a thought that came to my mind as I sat in a small internet cafe in Mesapa, Honduras, writing my weekly email.  It's a testimony that God really does here and answer our prayers.  And even though sometimes our answers come when we least expect it, they always come.



Hermana Holdaway

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week #46--The longest email you will ever read

I am still here in Honduras.  It is still really hot.

I'm in a trio again.  With Hermana Garcia from Mexico.  I don't think she likes us very much, but I mean, whatever.  She'll be with us for a week until transfers come.

This week was hard, but trials help us learn and grow, so it's okay.

I love you all.  And sorry that I'm super lame and don't want to write anything this week, but whatever.

Oh yeah.  One of our investigators made us eat sting ray so that was my fun experience of the week.

Sting ray isn't very good.  But #honduras.

Week #45--I'm where I'm supposed to be

I was doing a lot of thinking as Hermana Tito and I were sitting in church yesterday....alone.  Not one of our investigators was able to come.  (And let me just go on a little side note right now...you all think you know what stress is, but let me tell you, stress on Sunday mornings in the mission field is a whole new level.  Cause we wake up and we call everyone in the entire world to remind them about church and then we run around our entire area going to pick people up, and we get to their houses, and then they're like, "Lol, hermanas, we're not going to church."  And it's like, " Your mom.  It's super hot and I'm super sweaty and you just made me run all over La Ceiba to come pick you up so we could go to church and be nourished together by the strengthening power of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and now you're saying that you're not going even though you promised me throughout this whole week that you would, and I'm actually a little annoyed with you right now, but you're a child of God and I'm a missionary so I'll just smile and pretend I still like you.")  

Anyway.  That was my little side note.  But basically, it sucks when no one comes to church.  It's like the feeling you get when you're the last one to get picked for the kickball team during gym class or when the vending machine is all out of Snickers bars or that guy that you like doesn't ever, ever, EVER text you first.  We were just sitting there like, "Wow.  No one loves us and we don't have any friends."    Like a moment of complete and total rejection.

Anyway, so this is turning out to be a really big venting session, but I promise I'm getting to the "AWWW LIFE IS THE BEST" part.

So as I was sitting in church thinking and pondering about the many things that missionaries think about, I was just like, "Wow, I'm actually really blessed."  God has given me far more than I deserve, starting with my family and ending with my mission.  He's led me to where He wants me to be.  And right now, He wants me to be here in Honduras.  And even though it's hard, I know that right now I'm becoming someone that I couldn't become in any other way.  And it's true, there will be hard moments.  There will be Sundays when I'll sit at church alone.  But as I looked around at the members of my ward that I love so much, as I walk down the streets of my area trying to avoid the crazy, drunk men (Lol, Mom, don't freak out.  Those drunk men don't got nothing on me cause I workout so I'm super strong and can take anyone on.  KEEP SLAMMING THOSE TRAILS HARDCORE PARKOUR), as I eat greasy Honduran fried chicken, and as I preach the gospel that I know and love, I know I'm where I'm supposed to be.  And yesterday was one of those moments where it all just hit me.  Like wow.  God knows me.  And He's guided me.  And maybe I don't fully understand all the reasons why I'm here, little by little, I'm getting there.


On the list of cool and casual things that happened this week there is a dead cockroach in my apartment and Hermana Tito ate it.

I mean.  Just kidding.  But whatever.

I LUV U ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hermana Holdaway

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Week #44--Why I'm a Missionary

When he came out in his baptismal clothing he was like, "I work for NASA.  I'm going to the moon really quick.  I'll be right back.  Just call me Neil Armstrong!"  I was laughing so hard.  He's the funniest grandpa ever.

I hope you all had the opportunity to watch or listen to General Conference this past weekend.  General Conference is honestly amazing!  What a blessing it is in our lives to be able to listen to the words of our living prophets and apostles.  Conference weekends are the best weekends.  I definitely give them a 5 star rating.  

I especially loved Elder Bednar's talk from the Sunday afternoon session.  He addressed his talk specifically to those people who aren't members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (in other words, Mormon Muggles).  He said, "I know a lot of you must have this question in your minds: 'Why are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so eager to tell me about what they believe?  And why do they always invite me to learn more about their church?' "  His question made me laugh as I thought about us 88,000 full-time missionaries serving around the world.  I'm sure this is a question that more than one person has had as they meet and interact with us Mormon missionaries.

Mormon missionaries: all day, every day, we knock on doors, talk with people on the streets, and invite people to learn more about our church.  But why?  Surely we, a bunch of 18-25 year olds, have better things we could be doing with these 18 months or 2 years.  We could be in college, we could be working, we could be living a normal, young adult's life.  But we're not.  We're working hard from 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM seven days a week.  We live in other countries, eat weird food, speak different languages.  We get laughed at and mocked at, get rained upon and sunned upon.  Sometimes we get robbed or get kidney stones or have some weird fungus growing in our ear.  But it doesn't matter.  Because we laugh, and we cry.  We learn, and we grow.  And we serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.  And even though it's hard, we keep marching on, day after day, week after week, month after month.  And some of you might say, "But why?"  And it's a good question.  If serving a mission is such a sacrifice, we do we do it?

Elder Bednar's question to the Mormon Muggles made me ask myself that very same thing.  Why am I a missionary?  Why am I here?  Why do I do what I do?

I do what I do because I have a testimony of this church.  I have an unexplicable knowledge deep within my heart that this is the truth.  I don't doubt.  I don't even have the capacity to doubt.  Because I know that this is true.  I know that it's true because this gospel has made me who I am today.  It's changed me.  It's made me a far better person than I could ever be without it.  I so wish that each of you could see the change in me.  Maybe it's not huge or drastic, but it's real.  I know it's real.  Because I've seen it in myself.  Okay, let's get one thing clear, I'm not just referring to the terrible and visible physical changes (aka the grey hairs and the weight gain) that have happened these past 11 months, if not the changes of my very being BECAUSE IT'S THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS OKAY.

So anyway.  I'm not the same judgmental, self-critical, negative, perfectionist that I was before.  I'm happy.  And I love everyone.  And I'm not perfect.  But I'm okay with that.  And each day I'm working to become the person that God wants me to become.  

I know that The Book of Mormon is true.  It's the word of God.  We will grow closer to God by reading and abiding to the principles in The Book of Mormon than by any other book on Earth.  I invite each and every one of you to read The Book of Mormon and see if your life will not change.  And I promise you that it will.      

I'm a missionary because I love my Savior and my Redeemer, even Jesus Christ.  I'm a missionary because I know that He lives and I know that He loves me.  Sometimes I can't belive it, but He loves me.  Isn't it amazing that the most perfect being, the being who died for each one of us, loves me personally?  Despite my imperfections, despite my sins, despite my shortcomings, despite what the world says about me, He loves me.  And He loves you as well.  And if you don't believe me, get down on your knees and ask.  Pray, ask, and see if your life will not change.  And I promise you that it will.

I'm a missionary because God has given me everything that I have.  And even though I'll never be able to fully pay Him back, I can at least try.

Week #43--It's Worth It!

My Honduran dress! 
I made it all by myself.  Mom and Madison should be very proud of me.

 I am a Disney Princess

Roberto came to the activity!  

I know I've probably said this before, but missions are the best.  Really.  They're hard.  They stretch you to your limits.  They make you cry.  They make you want to go home and sleep in your own bed and eat 15 bags of microwave popcorn while watching Disney Channel on Netflix, but they're worth it.  They're worth it because for every 100 people who slam the door in your face, there's one person who will listen.  They're worth it because for every appointment that falls through, God will lead you to one person who is waiting and praying for guidance.  They're worth it because for every tear that you shed, God will give you a miracle in return.

And God gave me a miracle this week.

And that miracle is named Roberto.

Hermana Tito and I met Roberto on August 25.  It was a Monday.  He's the funniest abuelo that I've ever met.  We talked for a while, getting to know him, shared a short scripture with him, and invited him to church that Sunday.  And he actually came!  We tried going back multiple times during the next week to teach him again, but he was never home.  Hermana Tito and I were a bit sad that we weren't able to find him, but to our surprise, he came to church again the next week!  All by himself!  We set up an appointment to return that Tuesday, and from then on out, things went flying.  And by flying, I mean that our favorite grandpa, Roberto, got baptized this Saturday.  

We went to a stake activity this past Friday night.  It was a Honduran culture night!  So there was a bunch of food, games, and activities from all the different parts of Honduras.  A member in my ward here helped my sew a typical Honduran dress, and Hermana Tito and I went to the activity 100% Catratchas.  Everyone was obsessed with us and was taking pictures and so now I think I know what it feels like to be a princess in Disney World.  But it was super fun.  I LOVE YOU, HONDURAS.

And it's transfer week.  Again!  I'm finishing up my 7th transfer.  Only 5 more to go!  But anyway, I've been having this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach all this week which makes me feel like I'm going to be leaving Ceiba and going to a different area.  I'm really sad.  I hope I don't leave.  I love the people here so much.  :(  But we should know within the next couple hours.  But it's crazy how fast time is flying by, I almost can't believe it.

Here in Honduras there is a dead cat outside my apartment, it is really, really hot, and the hand dryer in the bathroom at church was made in Livonia, Michigan.  I don't think I've ever been so excited like ever.  LIKE MICHIGAN.  LIKE THAT'S MY HOUSE.  LIKE FARMINGTON ROAD.  LIKE NORTHVILLE.  HOME.  Hermana Tito didn't really understand me, but all my fellow Michiganders can fangirl with me, right?  Right.  

K.  I love you guys.  Talk to you next week.


Hermana Holdaway
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