Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 3: Mueller Park; Heaven on Earth

Hello dear friends and family!

Before I get into all that is happening in the field, I want to say THANK YOU for being amazing and for all the prayers and love and support! I love you all SO MUCH!
Quick notes: send packages to the mission home (especially Christmas packages) and letters to the Bountiful address please!
Happy birthday Jen and Sierra!! WOO HOO!! And congratulations to Steven for earning the title of first letter in the mission field! Thanks so much for that!!

Last week at the MTC:
Wednesday after I emailed you all and finished laundry, we had a zone temple trip! I love the temple. So much. Especially the Provo Temple. We took some group pictures afterwards (see attached) and just enjoyed the time we had to spend there.

We spent an entire day up at Main Campus for what's called "In Field Training." It was fantastic! And I saw Elder Clarin there!
Our last night at the MTC was one of the most spiritual times of my life. The Elders in our district gave the Sisters blessings, then we had a testimony meeting. I know, without a doubt, that this Church is true. This is Christ's gospel, and it is the only way we can be with our Heavenly Father again someday. Each one of those Elders and Sisters is making miracles happen in the areas they have been assigned to. I love them so much.
We left around 8 on Tuesday morning, with about 4 from Main Campus and 28 from West Campus. Total of 32 new missionaries. We took the FrontRunner to Murray then piled in vans and trucks to get to a church building where we did training. We had interviews, wrote letters, and took pictures before lunch, then went and visited Temple Square before they gave us our companion assignments. It was a crazy day! Oh and Sister Hansen got me on the piano to play prelude... before Elder Williams thankfully took over for the opening hymn. Good times.
President and Sister Hansen are incredible. I absolutely adore them, and I can't wait to get to know them better and work with them more.

Mom - can you send us a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD? You could even burn some favorites on to a CD to send. We just have one Mo Tab disc to listen to in the car, so we would love to have some other songs to listen to! 

Mueller Park Stake

The Stake President, Pres. Taylor, gave us PRO rings: Pray, Read, Obey EVERY DAY. Do it. It's an awesome program the Stake has going!
We share miracles at dinner appointments which is fantastic!
I saw President Eyring go visit his grandkids. That was pretty awesome.

Sunday: We attended three sacrament meetings, one Sunday School class, listened to the Stake President speak twice, had meetings with two Bishops and Ward Mission Leaders, and got to know at least 50 ward members. All before 3:00 pm. Then we were contacting some referrals, had a dinner appointment, visited a recent convert, taught a lesson to a family, made phone calls, and visited a member's home. Busiest day of the week right there.
The first ward we went to had their Primary Program. One of the boys looks like a little Brother Ellsworth and another looked like a little Elder Watkins. Love Primary kids. And they're so talented!! We had a violin duet, a violin and cello duet, and a recorder solo. It was so great.
My companions are Sister LeSueur and Sister Beeton. Sister LeSueur is from Mesa, Arizona and has two transfers left. She'll probably be training me for the rest of her mission! Sister Beeton is from Farmington, Utah and this is her last transfer! I am so blessed to be with both of these incredible sisters. I learn so much from them every single day! We have a car which is great, because we're way up in the mountains. I'm seriously in heaven: mountains, fall weather, and gorgeous views. Life is just beautiful.
The members here are so involved and so willing to help. Everyone needs to have the attitude of missionary work applying to them. The hastening of the work is happening NOW and we all need to be a part of it!! Look for missionary opportunities - talk to people, be friends, show them, use family history. The options are endless.
For the family: the food is great haha. We have dinner appointments every night except on P-day. If we don't have a dinner appointment, then we just call up one of the ward or stake leaders and they're more than wiling to feed us or pay for us at Kneader's :) They're so incredible. Breakfast and lunch we're on our own, but we have cereal and sandwich options at Sister George's.
This stake has one other program: the Search and Rescue mission. President Eyring a while ago said that the enthusiasm of the youth to do baptisms has been so amazing, that they are running out of temple names. So the Mueller Park Stake has a goal of finding 1000 names and then doing the work for each of the people. So cool!! Get involved with Family History - it's as addictive as Facebook and so much more rewarding! Plus it brings protection against Satan. What's not to love about family history?!

Nathan - how's family history going for you? Have you been able to do those family names yet?
Well, that's everything for this week. Next week I'll tell you more about the incredible people we are teaching! I love this gospel, I love this work, and I love all of you!! Keep smiling, rely on the Lord, and always remember that Heavenly Father loves you!


Sister Holbrook

The Big MTC Map 

 Lunch with her new companions

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Week 2: The End of the MTC Already?

This email is much less cryptic than the first email we received from Lauren. :)
Hello my dear friends and family!

We received permission from our Zone Leaders for me to send out a quick message to you all today. Monday I'll have more time to email, so I just had a few things to talk about this time.
THANK YOU to Jen and to Sister Eyre for the AWESOME packages!! The district also loved the treats :)
Mom I received your DearElder and hopefully I'll be able to respond to that on Monday.
Dad - can you send me the Joseph Holbrook conversion story with the Book of Mormon? And maybe a few Wisps and toothbrushes for companions. Thanks!
The new address here is:
2008 N 1200 E
Bountiful, UT 84010
We're living with this awesome older sister, Sister George, who LOVES chocolate and her kids. (Side note for family: If you have a fun Hershey gift on hand to send her way, that would be awesome!)
My new companions are Sister LeSueur and Sister Beeton. I'm in a TRIO!! WOO HOO!! It's the greatest. And Bountiful is just heaven on earth. We're over the Mueller Park Stake here. We have been crazy busy for the last two days I've been here, and today is no different.
Guess who lives in our stake??
And we definitely saw their houses yesterday. This is going to be a good time :)

Oh, Sister Oscarson taught Relief Society two weeks ago - first Sunday at the MTC. Totally forgot about that one.  It was FANTASTIC!
We got off the train at Murray to be dropped off, and I hear someone call out "SISTER HOLBROOK!!" Guess who was there?! Elder Sam Williams!!! And then at training yesterday, I talked with Elder Brandon Colton for a while. Craziness! The Provo 119th Ward is taking Salt Lake by storm. Watch out everyone.
(Nathan - can you tag Elder Colton and Elder Williams in the post on facebook? Thanks!)
All right. There's about all the details for the field I'll give right now. Enjoy the two pictures I attached - new companions and then Elder Colton and Elder Williams agreed to a picture... sort of haha
The last night at the MTC was bittersweet. The Elders gave each of us Sisters in the district blessings. We all received Hawaiian names, courtesy of Elder Clark :) And we had a testimony meeting. So powerful. I miss each one of them SO MUCH.
All right, we have to head out. How's Zachary doing? How are all the family members? How's BYU treating everyone?

I love you all so so much! Keep smiling, and look for missionary opportunites!

Sister Holbrook

PS I'll send temple pictures on Monday!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 1: More Details

The Final Days in pictures

Packing up :( 

All ready 

Before getting set apart as a missionary :) 

 The drive in

The final shot

Here are some excerpts from Lauren's handwritten letters that give us a lot more information on her experiences in the MTC.

Hi Mom and Dad!!                                                                                                               Wed Oct 9th
Basically, the MTC is the greatest place on the planet.  I’m at the West campus, so I’m living in Building 25 of Wyview apartments and classroom time is over at Raintree.  After Dad, Rachel and Courtney dropped me off at the curb, I walked with this cute sister to some building where I got a packet, had my nametag (AHHHH!) put on, got an ID card and schedule, then met up with my sister host.  Since I was going to Wyview, she handed me over to an elder who took my luggage to a truck.  I got on a bus and chatted with a new sister going to Seattle.  All the newbies have a red sticker on their nametag which we affectionately call the “dork dot.” Then another sister host got my bags with me, walked me to my apartment, had me grab my scriptures and then it was off to the classroom to meet my district.  My classroom is just the back bedroom of a basement apartment.  So much fun – the closet doors are covered in mirrors, which makes for some funny moments.  My district is amazing!
We have 4 elders and 4 sisters in our district – they are from Hawaii, Portland-Or, North Carolina, Michigan, Maui, Orlando and Ohio.  So, we got to know the district members, had some gym orientation and then boarded a bus to a chapel for the MTC Presidency welcome.  Then to dinner and then another bus back to the chapel for our group teaching experience.  We had a group of 70 missionaries and went to 3 rooms – which were the “homes” of potential investigators. It was such a neat experience to just watch and listen (I opted out for observation this time) to the elders and sisters who chose to teach even on their 1st day at the MTC.  We are truly teaching people not lessons. We took a bus back, met our zone leaders and sister training leaders, then just had a bit of time to unpack, journal, write and go to bed.  Crazy day and I’m still in shock that I’m actually here.
                                                                                                                                           Thurs Oct 10th
There is lots of time for personal study and classroom instruction – like 8 hours.  It all takes place in our tiny classroom.  That little room is heaven on earth.  We had an MTC overview, People and Purpose Workshop and meetings with the Branch Presidency. 
I love the MTC – it is essentially EFY on super steroids, except we’re running our personal EFY.  It is the greatest feeling in the world to ask for guidance and then as you study, find exactly what you were needing.  Anytime we plan a lesson, we consider what we want the investigator to KNOW, FEEL and Do because of the lesson.   I love being here and I am so thankful to be here right now.  I know this is where Heavenly Father needs me to be.  I know Heavenly Father loves each of us perfectly.  He sees us for who and what we can become.  I’ve been able to catch a small glimpse of that vision just in the short time I’ve been here.  The Book of Mormon is true. 
I miss you SO MUCH!!  I love you tons too.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Week 1

First letter from the MTC!! October 16, 2013

HELLO Family and Friends!!

The MTC is incredible!

Highlights of the week: I listened to an apostle speak, I rode in the back of a police car, I ate only one brownie for dinner one time, my investigator fell asleep during the lesson, I dominated at four square, and have loved every single second of it. And I made the Elders cry.

Letters are seriously like Christmas. 

So quickly, highlights. 
Our teachers are Brother Ellsworth and Brother Baker. They are incredible. Part of the training is they both play an investigator they taught on their missions for us to teach. Brother Ellsworth plays Dale, and let me tell you, I LOVE Dale. He is absolutely awesome and I hope we can get him to whole-heartedly commit to baptism this week. It's crazy how they are two totally separate people. The coolest part is that as we role-play with each other, NOTHING is fake. The prayers, the Spirit, it's all completely real. It is such an incredible way to teach and learn.

The devotional last night was Elder Dallin H. Oaks!! SO AWESOME!!

I was called as Sister Training Leader with my companion, Sister Silva. Which means a few adventures up to main campus to train the new districts arriving today. We're the last english-speaking people on the west campus so it's kind of cool. 

My nickname here is Sister Mama Bear. They love me, clearly.

Our purpose is quite literally God's purpose. WOW.

Quote of the week:

"That deserves a firm handshake" -everyone

We have some fun here on the west campus.

Family - I want to hear all about life. It's only been a week and it seriously feels like forever (is just a heartbeat away). Megan, how's APUSH and Econ? Did your tests go well? Nathan, how's the musical practice going? Having fun in jazz band? Rachel, any fun stories to share? How was having Dad around? Mom, you miss me much yet? :) I miss you all tons, but I LOVE YOU ALL!! And I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

I love you all so so much! I LOVE this gospel! I know my Savior lives, and I know our Heavenly Father loves us so perfectly. I know that as we seek for it, He will give us revelation and answers to our prayers. I know that as we invite others to come unto Christ, as we truly help them to see how much we love them, they will accept our invitations. Prayer is amazing. Pray always. Don't ever stop praying!! Exact obedience brings miracles. If there is one thing I have learned here, it is that Heavenly Father loves us all and will help us to accomplish all that we ask His help for, if we have faith.  

Love to all of you,

Sister Holbrook

Sis. Silva, Lauren, Sis. Weber, Sis. Jacobson

Pretty Canyon view

Sunday, October 6, 2013

this is not easy

"I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience...

"If your missionaries wonder why this isn't easy, they should remember they are not the first ones to ask that. someone a lot greater and a lot better asked it a long time ago...

"If the missionaries can come to love and appreciate it, the Atonement will carry them, perhaps more importantly than it will carry their investigators... when they struggle, when they are rejected, when they're spit upon and cast out, and made a hiss and a byword, they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect missionary that ever lived."

Missionary work is not easy. Not one bit.
But every moment will be completely worth the tears, prayers, and sweat.