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

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