Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lots of happenings

FUN FACT: The nasty apartment we moved into has bed bugs and my whole
body has been attacked! I have at least 10 bug bites. Yay. Hopefully
that gets taken care of ASAP.
UPDATE: Ok might not be bed bugs. I have no idea. But I have no other
place to sleep lol. So I'll just have to deal with it tonight and get
someone to check the bites out tomorrow. And the bed just in case.

So since I forgot my journal last week, this will be an update for the
past 2 weeks. I'm sorry it is so long! I promise it won't be for next
week! I hope you read it all though!!

Oh! & I forgot to mention, when I was at the MTC, Vocal Point gave a
devotional and sang a couple of hymns and oh my goodness it was so
beautiful. I got to shake all their hands after too. I was like "Oh
come on. They're bringing a bunch of attractive guys with amazing
voices to a bunch of missionaries?? That just ain't fair." I kid, I
kid. Half of them were married anyways but for reals tho. The music
was amazing. Look up Nearer My God to Thee by Vocal Point.
October 6:
Well, today's the day! We're going to Salt Lake City, baby! I'm
nervous all over again but am so excited to teach real investigators!
Last night, the elders in our district were able to give us sisters
blessings. Elder Giles gave me a blessing of confidence and a love for
those I teach & that helped a lot. I've been so nervous & felt so
unqualified, but I know the Sprit will guide me & will provide a way
for the people to hear what they need.

Later in the day when I arrived in Salt Lake City:
I'm now at the mission presidents house! So when we first arrived
here, we got interviewed by the pres, then we got a tour of temple
square! The beauty of it blows me away every time I go. Its so amazing
that I'll be able to bring people there all the time. We had the best
taco salads for dinner too. AND they brought out frosted animal cookie
ice cream! Did you know that was a thing?? I didn't! But it is soooo
good. Day one and they're already trying to make me fat! The mission
pres lives across the street from President Monson (not his appt in
the city but his original house, he still goes there but it's got 24/7
security)! I touched the Prophets fence!!! Hahaha I was so excited.
Pres Monson still attends the ward there and the mission pres son has
passed sacrament to him. Super bummed it's in the Salt Lake City East
mission :( over all I'm just bursting with excitement. I can't wait to
meet my trainer tomorrow. I'm so excited to teach. On the train ride
to SLC, my comp and I tried to teach but most people were already
Mormon. The mission pres has already challenged us to give out a Book
of Mormon tomorrow and have someone on date for baptism by the end of
the week. I'm so pumped.

October 7:
I'm in Liberty Stake and my companion and I cover 5 wards. We just
moved into a new apartment and oh my goodness. 
It's is filthy (thanks Elders who lived here before us
-___-). I was definitely shocked to find out that Salt Lake has a
ghetto part of town. Most of the time I forgot that I'm even in Salt
Lake City. It's kinda scary. Missionaries stuff gets stolen a lot here
so yay. And I'm afraid to's too dirty haha. It's definitely
not home, but I'm adjusting. But all the people are super nice. Tony
is homeless but he is sooooo funny. He comes to church every Sunday
but can't get baptized till he's sober. Same with Ali. He has to quite
smoking. He was on date for baptism last week but now has to start
over. My companion is good. Her name is Sister Sauers and she is from
South America. A small country called Guyana. It's right above Brazil.
She's very quite but is hard working. It's hard to feel comfortable
here but I'm getting there. I know I came to this area for a reason
and that God has prepared SOMEONE here to receive the gospel. It's
definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone but I know it's helping
me grow and become a better person. I miss my district from the MTC.
And normal human interaction. Since my companion doesn't talk much.
But I know sacrifices are necessary for this. I heard a quote today
that went like this, "I wouldn't say that the mission was the best 18
months of my life, but I will say that it was the best 18 months FOR
my life". That's definitely true. I know that as long as I'm obedient
and work hard that I will be blessed. I just need to forget myself and
go to work. I just needed tonight to write about the hard stuff but
now I'm good. Tomorrow is a new day and it will be great.

My companion-Sister Sauers
October 10:
I feel like yesterday was the answer to my prayers. First, we went to
a district meeting, and Elder Haight, the district leader, gave the
best talk. He said, "The Lord does not bless us THROUGH the work we
do, but BECAUSE of the work we do." He also said, "He, the Lord, does
not always bless us in the ways we anticipate." And he ended with
saying, "Work through the hard times. Be patient with the Lord & His
work. That really hit home to me. It was exactly what I needed to
hear. When I got out here I was expecting immediate results and when
things weren't going the way I planned, I was being a baby. Then later
that day we found a family for 7 to teach! They are the Deschines. How
awesome is that? I'm super excited to teach them. Then later that
night something amazing happened. So there's a lot of homeless people
where I am. And a lot of the time, I'm scared to talk to them. To be
honest, a lot of them grossed me out and I wasn't being Christ-like at
all. So like I was saying, later that night there was this homeless
man sitting in the grass, and my companion who is so open to all
people, walked over and say by him and started to talk. Of course I
then had to follow. We let him tell us his story. How he was a good
man who made some bad decisions. He was ashamed of his past and felt
like he couldn't move on from his past. My companion showed him a
video of a man who had a similar story to his. He was in and out of
prison and struggled with drug abuse and suicidal thoughts. But the
man in the video was able to find Christ and turn his life around.
During the video, the homeless man we were teaching began to cry. And
when I saw that, I started to cry because I had judged him and not
seem him through the eyes of the Savior and our loving Heavenly
Father. I didn't see him as my brother & how he needed the Gospel of
Jesus Christ just as much as anyone else did. It was a very humbling
experience. I bore him my testimony of God's love and of Jesus
Christ's atonement. And then I read him Mosiah 4:15-20. We are all
beggars, asking for God's mercy. I am no better than him. It
completely changed my perspective of the area we are in and of the
people I am serving and teaching. Before, I sort of gave up or didn't
want to try with the people we met. They all smoked or were
alcoholics, we even met women on the streets who were trying to sell
themselves. I'd see them and think to myself, "They are too hard to
help. What is the point?" & meeting David, the homeless man, really
changed my view on all of it. Like I said before, this area is such a
humbling experience. These people NEED the gospel and NEED to know
they are loved. We have a message that will change their lives. I'm
starting to see people through God's eyes and as my brothers and
sisters in heaven. Im starting to truly understand what Charity means.
Yesterday was just amazing and really helped motivate me and strive to
be a better and more loving person. It helped me understand my purpose
better. Today was good as well. We helped clean a new converts house
and taught several messages. We put Ali on date for baptism too! He's
from Iraq. As long as he continues not to smoke, he will be baptized
October 24! It's very exciting. Oh and yesterday we had dinner with a
member and her son invited his friend who was interested in the church
and we ended up teaching him and inviting him to read the Book of
Mormon. It was an amazing unexpected lesson. Overall the past 2 days
have been amazing. My companion and I get a long fine but sometimes I
feel really lonely since she doesn't talk much. Sometimes it is
difficult to teach together, we don't always flow very well but we
continue to get better! Just takes practice!

One week later!

October 17:
Today was a lot of fun! We started the day of with the Deschine
family. The dad is a member of the church but no one else is and they
have 5 kids. We only taught the mom this morning but we are hoping
that next week all the kids will join us for the lesson. They have a 7
year old, 9 year old, 12 year old, 17 year old, and a 19 year old. I'm
super excited to teach them. They just moved here 3 weeks ago, but the
mom is so prepared for the gospel. She was so open to everything we
had to teach her. She said that she goes to the temple all the time to
feel peace and comfort and I was just like "Dude!!!! That's the Holy
Ghost!!" Im so excited for the next lesson. We are going to invite her
to be baptized and I have a really good feeling about her. The middle
of the day was kinda slow. It was rainy all day and I was so tired but
we kept pushing haha. We had dinner with this women named Sister
Stringer and she is 60 years old and is sooo funny. The whole hour she
just told us her whole life story and about her new finance and how
the way they met must've been from God planning it because it's a
crazy story and it just all worked out. Totes was meant to be :P it
was so cute. Then we took a recent convert to see Meet the Mormons in
the Joseph Smith memorial building. I love that movie!!! This was my
first time watching it but I thought it was AWESOME! (Btw it's on
Netflix, everyone check it out!) It was funny and cute and moving and
yeah. Just awesome. Also I've really missed watching football,
especially around this time of the year so it was nice to see a bit in
the movie haha. Temple square and the whole city is so beautiful at
night. I can't wait to go during the winter time when all the lights
are up.

October 18:
Sunday's are soooo hard! 7 hours of church and 5 different wards is a
lot to deal with! AND I had to give my first talk as a missionary!
They asked us to speak just yesterday so even though I could've gone
to bed a half hour early, I had to stay up and write. But I was
feeling inspired and couldn't wait till morning to write it. It was on
Elder Renlund's talk called "Through God's Eyes" and charity (thanks
Dad for the email you sent me earlier this week that gave me
inspiration and scriptures to use). I'll send the talk in a separate
email. I think I did alright. But I was very nervous and didn't have
my computer to type and edit it so it looked kinda like a mess on the
paper haha. I have to give another talk in a different ward next week!
Haha I'm hoping I can just re read the same talk. So good news is that
Ali is still on date for baptism! He is doing so good with not
smoking. I'm so excited for him and so happy with the progress he is
making. His baptism is on Saturday. I'll make sure to take lots of
pictures. Today at church one of our less active members came and his
name is Edward. He had the best thing to tell me!! So last
week we stopped by his house to teach him but he had forgot that we
were coming and was working on his car. He hadn't been able to get it
to start and it was just giving him a lot of trouble so he asked us to
stop by later in the week. So we said ok but that we were going to
leave a short message with him. So as a joke, I read him Ether 12:27
about God making your weaknesses become strong and compared it to his
car and said that if he prayed for help that God would help him. So
when we left him with a closing prayer, I prayed for his car and that
he'd have a way to get to where he needed to go. So when we saw him
today he ran up to me and said that the prayer had been answered!! You
won't even believe what happened. Someone just showed up at his house
and gave him a new car with the title and everything!! He couldn't
even really remember the guy that brought it but apparently a long
time ago he was supposed to get the car. Isn't that crazy?! I was like
"Holy cow! I didn't expect for the prayer to be answered in that way!"
He was like "Hallelujah, God is real and answers prayers. This is a
miracle!" It was the craziest thing ever! I'm tellin ya people, TRUST
IN GOD AND THINGS WILL WORK OUT!  Tonight we had the best dinner EVER.
Stuffed cheesy bread, bacon wrapped chicken, salad, and stuffed squash
with sausage and cheese. Ya. I'm gunna get fat out here. Oh well. Then
after dinner we taught Michael. He's 9 and is a recent convert. His
dad is a member but has been inactive for a long time but he became
active about a year ago when the missionaries started teaching his
son. He's now active and a worthy priesthood holder. This was the last
after baptism lesson we have to teach Michael, but we are still going
to stop by and make sure him and his dad are doing ok. His mom passed
away a couple of years ago but was baptized so tonight we left them
with the invitation to endure to the end and to prepare to enter the
temple so that he and Michael can be sealed to the mother. I felt the
spirit so strongly and you could tell how happy it made the father to
hear that he could still be sealed to his wife. It was a great way to
end the evening. 

Here's my address:
Utah Salt Lake City Mission
1535 S Edison St
Salt Lake City,  UT 84115

Looking forward to letters from everyone!

Sister Holcomb

Quick update

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!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


My district! :)
Day one at the Missionary Training Center:
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.

Day two:
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! 

Day three:
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 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. 

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. 
I'll write again next week! Love you all!

Sister Holcomb