Dear Sister Holcomb:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Utah Salt Lake City mission . . .
September 23, 2015- March 2017 <3
Missionary (noun): Someone who
leaves their family for a short period of time so that others may be with their families for eternity.
I left my journal at the apartment so this one is going to be kinda short! First week as a missionary is finally complete! It's been interesting but I've already grown so much. So far it's been a very humbling experience and I've learned how to have charity and see people through God's eyes, to see them as my brothers and sisters in heaven. The people here are so kind and have taken me in like family. The wards are not what I was expecting! They're smaller than I thought and I think I saw a teenager only once! We are slowly but surely finding people to teach. It's more difficult than I thought to find people that can get baptized since so many people here have addictions. We live in "the bad part of town". But we remind them that the Holy Ghost will help them recover through anything so hopefully we will continue to progress. We just keep trying to remind them of how baptism is essential to gain eternal life. Since coming on the mission, I feel more like how the sons of Mosiah felt. That they could not bear that any human soul should perish. I'm starting to understand how that feels. Every person we meet I feel a sense of desperation for them to know the gospel. But that's part of the reason why it's been hard. We try to meet as many as the referrals as we can but it's difficult. Many of them have moved, or aren't interested. And we only have one or two progressing investigators. Some days I feel like I'm not doing enough and it's hard to not let the negative thoughts take over, but I've been praying and studying a lot. And I know all the right answers, forget myself and go to work, God doesn't bless you in ways you anticipate, stuff like that. But it's still hard sometimes. But I'm trying my very best to stay positive. I started making a list of blessings I saw each day and that helps. My companion and I are getting along fine. No problems or conflicts or anything. She's very quite but she made it her goal to talk more and she asked for my help for her to accomplish that so it's been getting better. Each day get's better and I keep my purpose in my mind and try my very hardest to fulfill it. I will go and do! I miss you all so much. Please email me! I'd love to hear from all of you!
I'm very tired but feel so awake at the same time. I've learned so much already! I think the most important thing I've learned is letting the Spirit teach. It makes all the difference. Also letting the spirit help you hear. I never really thought about it but it is sooo important to truly listen to the investigator! Don't just start talking. Let the spirit translate their words to you, so that you can recognize what they need to hear. We taught 3 different people today and doing what I just said made all the difference. The 3rd lesson was great. We were all so tuned in to the spirit. But the first two were frustrating because no one was really listening to the investigator. They immediately started spouting generic missionary lessons, when that's not what the spirit needed them to hear. Over all, it's been a great day. I'm paired with Sister Ashley Keoppel. She is great. She is so good at listening to the spirit and she helps me a lot. We work well together. We are roommates with Sister Mya James and Sister Mercedes Boswell. I love the MTC so far. I'm so excited to see what's next.
Wow. Each day here at the MTC feels like a month. We've done and learned so much today. So fun thing, I ran into Elder Jared Russell today! He's from Bainbridge Island. It was funny because we forgot to call each other by Elder and Sister. He was like "Sydney??? I mean Sister Holcomb???" but oh well haha. It's so hard to get used to that. Also, I missed the first few classes of the day because my companion wasn't feeling well. We went to the clinic and found out she has strep throat!! We got to go outside the MTC to the BYU student clinic to pick up her meds so that was a fun little adventure. We shared out testimonies at a branch meeting tonight and the spirit was definitely there. I cried for the first time here at the MTC during the testimonies. Home sickness is for sure settling in. I miss my mom and dad so much. But I know I have a great work to do here. Also, my companion and I were called as Sister Training Leaders for our zone!! It's super neat because usually the sisters don't have a lot of opportunity for leadership positions. Again, today was filled with testimony building experiences and so much happens in 1 day here. End of day 2 and I already have had my testimony increased on prayer, my purpose, why I'm going to Salt Lake for a reason and also that I was paired with Sister Keoppel for a reason. She is so kind and loving and truly embodies Christ's love. We really bring out each others strengths and work so well together. It makes me so excited to get out into the real worlds. I just know someone out there is desperately seeking God's gospel. It makes it so hard to be in the MTC when you know that!
Today has been an emotional roller coaster. The beginning of the day was great. We did a service project (cleaning the bathrooms lol) and went to the gym. I love how Sister Keoppel is like my own personal trainer. She is helping me stay dedicated to being in shape. I feel myself becoming stronger, both physically and spiritually. But today was very difficult as well. We taught our first "investigator" here in the MTC. My companion and I were so excited because we felt we had prepared well. When we did give the lesson, we still felt it went really well. Even though we made a planned and detailed outline of the lesson, we ended up just teaching by the spirit and sort of ignored some parts we planned because we were feeling prompted to stick with a particular subject in our lesson. Which was that God is our loving Heavenly Father, prayer, and how to feel and recognize the Holy Ghost and his importance. We felt that the lesson went really well and that the spirit was definitely there. But when we got back to class, a teacher (who hadn't even seen the lesson) told us we did it completely wrong. Which I don't think is possible if you're teaching by the spirit. She just kept saying we needed to teach the doctrine. Which we did...so I don't really understand how we didn't do it right. We are supposed to teach the people, not the lesson. Our investigator was personally struggling with loneliness so we taught how he could feel God's love. We were treating him as a person and were sincere about how the gospel could help him in his trials. I think we could have included more doctrine but we didn't do NOTHING right, like the teacher was telling us. It was hard for me to feel so confident and happy and filled with the spirit to be told I didn't do it right. A lot of tears were shed today. But I know all things will work out. And I will continue to learn and grow and listen to the promptings of the spirit. Our district is super awesome. There's us girls, then Elder Giles, Elder Sandstrom, Elder Clifford, and Elder McPherson. I feel bad for Elder Sandstrom though because his companion is really disobedient and it's making it really hard for our district to progress. But I will continue to pray that that can change, and that we could all still have a good MTC experience as well. Besides that, the MTC hasn't been so bad. I'm tired like ALL the time. 16 hours of learning is hard haha. But it's easy to work through it because I know it will be worth it.
Later in the week:
I didn't get a chance to write last night. I got back to the residency at around 9:30, so I was already completely tired and I couldn't stop crying. An Elder in our district was feeling overpowered by satan and he felt like he just couldn't shake him off. And It was so hard because we aren't supposed to offer advice to the Elders, but it was hard to see him suffering because I saw my brothers in him. And I wish I could've helped. I miss my brothers so much and am so afraid for them because I know how terrible high school is and how hard it is. Satan is real and knows us perfectly, just as Christ does. But Satan uses our weaknesses against us and tries everything he can think of to knock us down. I'm scared for my brothers because I know how hard Satan tries to stop Christ's work. And my brothers are going to be such great soldiers in God's army, if they remain worthy. I wish I could be there with them to protect them from the world, but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be so all I can do is continue to pray for them. I just love and miss them so much. I cant wait until Wednesday so that I can write them and tell them that and about all that I've learned. I can only hope that they can take what I've leaned and apply it to their lives as well. They have so much potential. Yesterday was overall just a very physically and emotionally exhausting day. So much stress and lack of sleep and homesickness just finally reached a breaking point. But today was a lot better. For the first time in so long, I really paid attention to the sacrament and what it meant. I t was also fast and testimony meeting. All the testimnonies were so strong and so powerful.I haven't felt the spirit so strongly in a long time. I fasted for almost every person in my district and I felt like it helped a ton. Today we just great. I've felt so much more peace and happiness since coming here to the MTC. It still is hard but I will continue to trust in Him. I know that the MTC is teaching me so much and that in the end, I will be grateful for my experience here. Each day is a new start and a new day for me to grow. It's crazy to think I've only been here for 5 days. Each day drags on like a week but there's no place I'd rather be. I love my companion and my roommates and my teachers and my district. They each individually teach me so much and have already helped me grow more into the person I want to be. 9 more days till i'm really out there! I can't wait.
Even later in the week:
So much has happened! I got to view Richard G Scott's funeral (an apostle of the church) here at the MTC and i loved it. He sounded like such a christ-like loving person. I wish I would've paid more attention to his talks during conference. My companion and I continued to teach our investigators, Lance and Sydney. My nerves don't get the best of me anymore and I get better each lesson we teach. We watched conference today and I took a LOT of notes. There were so many great talks. Letting the Holy Ghost guide you really stood out to me. Also, Hollands talk about motherhood. I've always had a deep appreciation of not only my mother, but of many other mothers. Being able to be a mom is an amazing blessing and gift from God. Honestly, I'm scared out of my mind to be a mother one day but luckily I have a couple more years till I have to worry about that haha. My companion and I are still getting along fine and sister Boswell and I have been bonding a lot. I got two packages and a letter in the mail!! Finally I got something haha. Thank you family and David and Geeta Fyffe! I got Lindsay's wedding announcement!! So exciting. I hope the wedding planning is going well! I'm so sad that I will miss the wedding but Missionary work is way more important (; My district is so funny and they all have such strong testimonies of the gospel. I hope I can stay friends with them and see them after the mish! Lol we have plans to go to Disney world (Sister Keoppel works there) but IDK if that will happen haha. I got into BYU-I so now I have to make my decision. I'm gunna pray about it a lot.
NOTE FROM THE RELIEF SOCIETY CONFERENCE: NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST, MY STORY CAN HAVE A HAPPY ENDING
Don't let the past dictate your future. Because of Christ, we can be forgiven from our sins and be cleansed.
Latttttter in the week:
It's finally hitting me that tomorrow is my last full day here at the MTC. It's odd because I want to leave so badly, but I will miss the people a lot. I've learned so much here at the MTC but also have realized that I have so much more to learn. You never stop growing. Tbh, I wish I would've prepared more before the mission. I'm going to read the Book of Mormon again and strengthen my knowledge of the scriptures. I loved President Monson's (the Prophet of the church) talk this morning. IT was amazing. But towards the end he started to lean on the pulpit and he could barely finish a sentence. You can tell he was out of breath and week. It hurt me so much to watch him. I know the Holy Ghost is giving him extra strength. His time on earth is not up yet. He is such an amazing prophet and I know he's been called of God. We are all so blessed to have Him and his apostles on the earth to help guide us towards God and eternal life. How grateful I am for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and a modern prophet. "Come what may, and love it." Not matter how difficult my mission may be, I will strive to remain faithful, hopeful, and happy, because I know how important it is for everyohne to know the truth. That God loves them, that he's provided a way for us all the return to him, through the atonement. That he's given us the Book of Mormon and a prophet to guide us home. I love the gospel and I will continue to grow and become closer to Him.
I'M LEAVING THE MTC TODAY! Off the Salt Lake City I go. I am so excited and nervous all over again. The sister's from our district received blessings last night from our Elders and the spirit in the room was so strong. It was exactly what we all needed. We are ready to go serve the people and bring God's children to the Kingdom of Heaven.