Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 7: Ya Eh Na Pa Doh

Note: Ya Eh Na Pa Doh (yah enna pah dough) means "I love you very much" in a Burmese dialect called Karen (kur ren) that Sister LeSueur is now teaching me. Good times.

Very little time again this week, so enjoy the scatterbrained email from today :)

P-day is actually on Thanksgiving this week. And we have three dinner appointments that day. It's so awesome how nice everyone is here.

Transfers are NEXT WEEK! So please send all mail to the mission office address! I should be staying, but there are no guarantees.

MarLeice and Mike are getting married on FRIDAY!!! In my area. Just saying.
Seriously though, CONGRATULATIONS to you two. 

Happy 50th Birthday Shauna!!! Tomorrow's going to be a good day :) It's also Sister Beeton's birthday so if anyone wants to send a birthday card to my fantastic companion... Just a thought :)

Dad, you were the greatest Bishop EVER. I am so grateful for your example to me and for all the blessings and miracles I was able to see because of your service. Mom, enjoy the extra bajilion hours with your husband home :)

Lots of good stuff this week. We had an AMAZING Temple Square tour with our investigator Russ last night. The Joseph Smith movie is seriously the best movie on the face of the planet. We've built up our teaching pool a bit with lots of less-active members in the area. It's amazing how this gospel truly is simple - going back to the basics to build testimonies is what we get to do as missionaries and I LOVE IT!

On Sunday, President Eyring bore his testimony in his ward conference we were attending. I feel so blessed and honored to be surrounded by so many General Authorities in this area, and especially to have been able to hear two prophets of God testify of Christ in the past two weeks. This Church is true, and those men are each called of God to serve and testify. 

I got to go on exchanges this week with my big sister, Sis. Schrock!!
Note on mission family trees: your mom is your trainer, your dad is your district leader. Therefore, the other Sisters that my trainer has trained are my sisters, etc.
She is so sweet. so fun, and we had a blast in this area visiting people and meeting with the ward mission leaders at correlation!

Mission life is so fun. It's really really hard... but it's also a lot of fun.

"When I consider the tremendous consequences of little things, a chance word, a tap on the shoulder, the wink of an eye - I am tempted to think there are no little things." -Emily Dickinson
It is through the small things - daily obedience, knocking on a door, planning your day - that the Lord allows miracles to happen. It is truly amazing to see those little things happen every day that bring about great miracles in the lives of the people here.

"Our mission is to preach the doctrines of salvation in plainness and complicity as they are revealed in the scriptures." -Joseph Fielding Smith
This gospel is SO SIMPLE! Always stay true to the simple basics of the gospel, and your testimony will grow each day, and you will be able to see your heart changed by the Atonement.

Brother Rubow - I met President Dietrich!! He used to be the Stake President years ago over in Buffalo Grove and he said to tell you hello! So, hello from President (now Elder) Dietrich! He's working in the church office building and we ran into him during lunch in Salt Lake.

The youth "Come Follow Me" program is such good mission prep!! How often are you youth teaching for that? We get to teach a lesson on December 1st - any suggestions?

We have really been trying to reach out to the youth here. They are so incredible! One night this week we were able to have dinner with the priests' quorum in a ward, then we taught them the first lesson - the Restoration. The Spirit was so powerful there! I had a good discussion with one of the priests afterwards about getting ready to go out on his mission. It was an amazing experience for us and for the youth in helping them get excited about missionary work! 

Mueller Park has become a sacred place for me. I seriously love the people here and the place is just beautiful. I hope I get to stay here for forever. Obviously that won't happen, but I want to make the most of every second I have here. The people are so loving and kind and willing to reach out. I love it, and I wouldn't change this experience for anything else.

Heavenly Father loves you. Each one of you. It's amazing to feel of that love that He has for each person as you serve a mission. It breaks your heart when someone rejects the message of the gospel, because all of this is done out of love. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ here on the earth today. Joseph Smith truly was called of God and restored the fullness of the gospel back to the earth. This gospel is true. I know it, and I can never deny it. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and He lives! He loves us, and He is the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father. I pray that each of us will turn to Him more fully and rely on Him.

I love you all! Stay amazing, keep smiling, and look for the miracles!


Sister Lauren Holbrook

Alma 26:37

Notes from Elder Bednar's visit 2 weeks ago

Act in faith. He shared how Joseph Smith didn't just ask what church was right - he asked which church to JOIN. When we ask with the expectation of acting, miracles happen!

Agency. We are agents, we are not to be acted upon. That goes for our investigators as well. We can study in faith and take action because of our study. And so on. 

Ether 12:6 Sometimes the trial of our faith is something as small as having the courage to take action.

Get yourself out of the way of the Lord. This work is not about me. It's about the people here. It's about Heavenly Father and His children and the love He has for them. It's been a humbling and wonderful lesson to learn these past few weeks. Basically, Elder Bednar told us to get over ourselves and let the Spirit teach.

Prayer is a privilege. Elder Bednar asked us if we were walking into a room to be introduced to and talk with President Monson, how would we feel? With prayer, we are essentially doing the same thing - we get to go talk with our Heavenly Father. And we get to do it multiple times a day. Prayer is a privilege, and I am so grateful to know that He answers every single prayer. 

Line upon line. This keeps coming up on my mission, so it must be important :) He talked about how everything is line upon line - understanding, improving, developing faith. Take it one step at a time!

Understanding comes with the heart. Knowledge comes with the mind.

Let your mission completely change you. He asked: will you let your mission go through you, or will you go through your mission? If Elder Bednar came and talked to you after you came home and you answered that it felt like you never left, then you never really did. If he came and asked you six years later and you responded that it still felt weird, well then you let your mission change you in the best way possible.
I want my mission to completely change my life - I want to be a LIFETIME not just a full-time missionary. 

D&C 88:122 Teaching pattern This is basically how Elder Bednar taught us - he asked us questions, we asked him questions, we all came prepared, and the Spirit taught everyone. It was incredible.

FAITH: acting in accordance with God's will. That is acting with power. Faith is expecting everything will work out, then taking action to see if it really will. That's what we get to do every day and it's the best.

D&C 59:21 Look for God's hand in your life. Do it.

You are called to serve as a missionary; you are assigned to serve in a place. There's a saying "You are not called to serve in a place; you are called to serve in place of the Savior." Elder Bednar basically backed up that saying. The assignment can change by revelation, but the calling is to be a full-time missionary and bear witness of the Restoration of the gospel and Jesus Christ. 

LOOK TO THE TEMPLE. In the waters of baptism, we should always be looking to the temple. Baptism isn't the end goal - the celestial kingdom is. And there's still a lot to do between baptism and that point. 

Repentance is a turn to Christ. Sin is a turn to self. Repentance is a wonderful, beautiful gift from the Savior, not a scary thing. As we choose to turn and align ourselves more fully with the Savior, that is repentance.

How the Lord sees us: He sees us both today and in 30 years from now. He knows our potential. Specifically, Elder Bednar said: "The Lord sees you as a man and a woman sealed in the temple happy at home." It really is that simple.

Representative agency. Something really interesting Elder Bednar talked about was how our agency becomes representative agency when we choose to take upon us the name of Christ. Every action we take is now done as though Christ himself were doing that. That thought really made me think about all that I do and making sure that it is in line with the Savior and His work. Always representing Christ is far more important than anything you want.

Ether 12:27 talks about weakness, not weaknesses. We each have the same weakness to overcome: the natural man. Just an interesting thought to point out.

Our testimonies should be spiritual exclamation points! Declare what you know to be true and always testify of Christ.

Time is a concept specific to mortality. Therefore, as eternal beings, time is really awkward for all of us. The closer you get to eternity, time recedes into the background and seems to pass by in an instant. That explanation made it so clear how the time I spend at the temple, in Church, and here on the mission seem to go by far too quickly. 

"We can only teach what you are prepared to receive." He shared how he and President Packer were teaching a group of Stake Presidents, but they couldn't share all that they had prepared because the group wasn't prepared. Before the meeting, Elder Bednar gave us 4 talks to study in preparation for the meeting. That experience has inspired me to more fully prepare for any meeting, lesson, appointment, etc. that I ever attend. We all could gain so much more if we would prepare our spirits more fully to be taught, not just our minds.

I've noticed I'm already becoming awkward as a missionary. Which is totally fine by me. I'm ok with being weird the rest of my life - Elder Bednar told me it was all good :) Just kidding. 

It was such an incredible experience to have been spiritually prepared for the meeting and have the Spirit teach each of us exactly what we needed. He truly is called of God. At the end of the meeting, Elder Bednar blessed us with the gift of submissiveness, then bore his testimony of the Savior. The Spirit was so powerful. You could tell that he knows that every last bit of this gospel is true and that Jesus Christ lives. 

The shelf of wedding announcements - The Shelf of Shattered Dreams
We are very happy for you all :)

The biggest bowl of soup I have ever seen 

This is Bryan. He is the son of one of our Ward Mission Leaders. And he plays tuba in the band with RACHEL. So yeah. That was awesome to meet him. And get an update on Rachel :)

Cucumbers from the Zone Leaders 

Salt Lake Temple

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 6: Back to the Basics

From Renee - Lauren just goes around lighting up the world.  Last week I received a phone call from a woman who had just served Lauren and her companions dinner.  She said “your daughter is beautiful and was so delightful and so fun to talk to.  Thanks for sharing her with us.”  Then today I got a letter from another woman who had sat in on a discussion with the sisters, had them participate in a Relief Society day of service activity, and heard her bear her testimony.  She wrote “She looks very happy and it is obvious she loves the Gospel.  Her manner is gentle, calm and peaceful.  She seems like she has been doing this forever!  It just seems to come so naturally for her.  Thanks for sending such a sweet girl to us.”  I am grateful that people take the time to let us know she is doing well and making a difference. 
In her hand-written letter, Lauren talked of the 12 week study program they have so she can finish learning how to be a missionary.  Since their time is shorter in the MTC, their first companions finish training them.  This is in addition to their personal study and companionship study time.  They seem to find opportunities for service – this week they took dead grapevines off a neighbor’s fence. 
Six years ago, this week, Lauren had her third heart transplant. It is such a miracle that she is able to do this!!!!!
Lauren's Letter:
I have literally ZERO time this week.
We had a Sisters' P-day which was just a blast! We went and took a Church history tour (which you all should do at some point) and then had lunch and just hung out at the mission home for a bit. So much fun! 
BUT it took out most of our day... and I had to go to the hospital this morning so that eliminated time, too. Don't worry - everything looks fantastic and it was a regular check up :) No visits until February! It was an adventure for my companions for sure, though haha

THANK YOU for letters Brooke C and Greg and Wendy and family!! Sister Eyre your early package was much appreciated :)
Just a few thoughts:
"On your knees or on your feet, but never ever on your seat." words of wisdom courtesy of Sister George :)
"There's nothing tall about you dear. You're short." another great quote from Sis. George. Love her.
Strive to see everyone three times in white: at baptism, in the temple, and after this life. See them as Heavenly Father sees them!
Be nice to your missionaries, even if they are Elders! We Sister missionaries are amazing, BUT SO ARE ELDERS. Be nice to your Elders because they need some love as well. Let's try to get rid of this attitude that Sisters are way better, because we're not. The Elders are just as powerful!
Look up a Sister Sarah Ralph who is serving in the Philippines. Her mom posted on a missionary blog her story of surviving the typhoon. Keep those incredible people in your prayers. As well as those missionaries!! I am so blessed to be here in this beautiful place, safely tucked into the mountains. We have been counting our blessings quite a bit these past few days.
Friday was a spiritually exhausting and uplifting day - we were able to spend three hours with Elder Bednar! He came to speak to our entire mission and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Just a few key points to highlight (I wish I could share a million times more but that will wait for next week):
- "We can only teach what you are prepared to receive." For two weeks before Elder Bednar came, we had been studying three or four of his talks as a mission during our personal study. Speaking of which, read "Ask in Faith" from General Conference a few years back. Amazing talk about acting in faith. That preparation helped us to truly have our hearts open to receive revelation and listen to what the Spirit taught us through Elder Bednar. My challenge to you all: prepare for your Sunday meetings, for Conference, etc. It makes a huge difference!
- The Lord sees you both today and in thirty years at the same time. Here's the direct quote: "The Lord sees you as a man and woman, sealed in the temple, happy at home." It's that simple. Heavenly Father wants us to be HAPPY for eternity!! And He has provided a way for us to attain that through the gospel of Jesus Christ!
- Everything we do should be done as though we are acting for Christ. As members of the Church we promise we are willing to take His name upon us; therefore, each action we take must be done as He would. That thought made me want to consider everything I do and say as though Christ were standing right with me.
- Look for the hand of God in all things. He is there, guiding and helping us. And He blesses us with a beautiful sunset every night and a glorious sunrise in the morning :)
One thing that stood out to me this week is how simple this gospel truly is. As a missionary, we teach the basics: faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. It is that simple! And these simple principles are the guiding principles for our entire lives. The basics are what help us to gain our testimonies and become truly converted unto the Lord. 
Keep up the great work with all of the challenges I keep giving to all of you!!! I want to hear all about the great missionary miracles that are happening wherever you are!
This gospel is true! Our Savior lives! How blessed we are! I love this gospel!

Sister Lauren Holbrook
D&C 78:17-18
1 Nephi 14:14
The best missionary scripture EVER: Alma 8:19
Bountiful Temple - GORGEOUS!!! 
Companions at a Zone lunch 
With Sister Beeton 
The BEAUTIFUL Mountains 
Temple with the mountains 
Hospital Visit - YAY!!!!!
Church History Tour 
Sister Hansen is the greatest!! 
With Sister Fluegel
With Sister Jacobson (from her MTC zone)
With Sister LeSueur 
Companions at the hospital

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 5: Plan, Pray, Pass Out

I figured out why Mondays are set aside for P-day. 
Sundays are crazy. And we're all so exhausted by the end of the day, we can't even think for planning the next day. Therefore, Monday is P-day. 

This week's General Authority: Sister Linda S. Reeves. She is AMAZING. I was able to talk with her for a few minutes and she gave me the biggest hug. Love her. Go read her talk from the last Relief Society Meeting. What an incredible woman!

We discovered the 7 P's of a Missionary's Night: Pray, Plan, Pray, Prep, Pray, Pray, Pass Out. Repeat every single night over the course of an hour. It's the greatest.

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who sent me letters this week:
Jeff and Carly's family, every single member of my family, Elder Watkins, Sister Wolfgramm, Brooke C., Val D., Susan E., Grandma and Grandpa Hyde, Bro. Kitchen, Sis. Sowders, and any others that I can't remember at this moment. I am feeling very well-loved :)

No recap of the past week to share, but I have this list in my planner of random things to tell you about. Hopefully you enjoy! And can follow my scatter-brained bits :)

Primary Program's are the greatest invention of this Church. I love the testimonies of sweet little kids as they sing and stand at the microphone for the first time.

When someone's in danger, remember CPR: Church, pray, read. Back to the basics.

Great scriptures from study this week: 
Joshua 3:5, 14:8-12
Moroni 9:25-26
Helaman 5:30, 47
Alma 5... the heart transplant chapter :)
Alma 48:17-18

We had a crazy Stake Missionary Correlation meeting that lasted for 2.5 hours and left us with at least fifty people to go visit. Good stuff.

Mom - we've started singing hymns before our companion study!! Especially the Christmas ones :)

Funny quote from weekly planning: first aid equals surgery.

We have been really building our relationships with the members and the leadership this past week. It is really only through the members that missionaries can be successful in inviting others to come unto Christ. Reach out to the recent converts in your area, befriend the less-active, and love everyone all the time. Be involved with your missionaries!! It helps us so much when the members are excited to go on visits with us.

What I really want to share is something one of our Bishops shared in sacrament meeting yesterday. Challenge: do these 5 small and simple things to bring yourself and others closer to Christ as the Christmas season approaches.
1. Say your personal prayers every morning and night.
2. Read (or listen to) the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY. Even if it's just one verse.
3. Read (or listen to) the words of the latter-day prophets EVERY DAY. Go for one paragraph of a Conference talk.
4. Attend the temple as regularly as possible.
5. Do one simple act of service EVERY DAY.

I know that doing these things will bring us closer to the Savior because I have been doing them as much as possible!

I came across this AMAZING quote in my personal study the other day:
"In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you must remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. " - Elder Holland
WOW. That is a powerful promise right there.

That quote comes from the talk "For Times of Trouble" by Elder Holland which I recommend you all read. It comes from the story in 2 Kings 6. But especially read verses 15-17. Such an incredible promise and blessing right there.

CHALLENGE: I want all of you to accept Elder Ballard's challenge from this past conference. 
"We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just “one” between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior."
I want you all to write that person's name down and pray for them every day. If you want, you can send me their name and we'll also pray for them and for YOU. Reach out to someone you love, and strive to help bring them closer to Christ. I can't think of a better Christmas gift.

I love you all so much. Continue being the the amazing people you are! Pray for missionary opportunities every day and the Lord will help you to find them. 

I know this gospel is true. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He loves us. I have felt of His love for me and for so many others as I have been serving. It is a remarkable blessing to be able to share that love with others. I know the Book of Mormon is true! I love that book and read it every day. I know that it has brought me closer to Christ. Read it every single day!!

Love you!

Sister Lauren Holbrook
I got lots of letters this week! :) 
Sister George (the lady I live with) is just the best. Best quote: "I love being old. I can do whatever I want!"

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 4: Priesthood, Snow, and President Eyring

It's that wonderful time of the week again!! How are all of my wonderful friends and family? Finding lots of missionary opportunities?? I have lots of challenges for you all, and I expect reports back on how you all do!
Today I was studying in Alma 2 and Alma is just amazing. It led me to studying the Christlike Attributes chapter of PMG (so fantastic), and especially focusing on faith. Read the Bible Dictionary entry about faith - it's absolutely amazing what we can do when we have faith! It was an awesome study session this morning.
Read Elder Ballard's and Elder Nielsen's talks from General Conference. Then be excited to work with your missionaries, and be as amazing to them as the members here are to us sisters!
We're just going to take this week day by day. Enjoy.

After emailing you all, we made an awesome program insert (our picture with a short testimony for all the ward mission leaders to hand out with the program on Sundays), then headed to Walmart to grab some necessities. Then it was back to work! 
We went to contact a referral, and it was a very rough experience for each of us. Read Alma 30 and there you have the person we were talking with. We were all pretty shaken, and some of us were in tears. We called the district leader for a Priesthood blessing. What an amazing experience. He and his companion gave each of us exactly the blessings we needed to hear. I am so thankful for the Priesthood, and more importantly, for worthy Priesthood holders who are willing to serve at a moment's notice. 
Another tender mercy of the day was our dinner appointment. We just talked about the joys of the gospel. And their living room had several pictures that I've seen in my home, then a beautiful piano. It just felt like home right when I needed it.
And then we went to visit one of our investigators, Val. We were talking about what was going on with her, and I finally asked what health problems she was having. I could completely relate to her, and so I shared my experiences with her and then D&C 121:1-9. The Spirit was so strong! It was just a beautiful lesson that we had with her, and it strengthened our faith yet again after the rough experiences of the day. I love this gospel!

Best thing ever: we went to an assisted living center and sang and played piano for an hour. It was heaven on earth to play piano and talk with these wonderful sisters. Service is the greatest. Challenge: go visit a nursing home this holiday season and just talk with the people there!
We visited members and referrals, then headed to the Scout Celebration for hot dogs since we had no dinner appointment. But it was all good because we saw several less-actives there. Lastly a new member lesson with Sam to wrap up a wonderful day.

More contacting referrals, visiting members and ward mission leaders, and lots of phone calls!
We had dinner up on the mountain with this awesome family! 
We had a meeting scheduled with our Stake President. That man is amazing. President T shared his vision for the area with us, and we shared ours. The stake now has a direction and some specific goals in getting the members involved with us. I cannot wait! Miracles are happening already in this area, and even more will happen as the members exercise their faith and reach out to those around them!! 
Then we went to the Fall Festival and saw lots of adorable little kids in adorable little kid costumes. So fun. 

Our P-day for the week!! We couldn't be out trick-or-treating that night, so President Hansen decided that not only would Halloween be our P-day for the week, but we also got to go to the Bountiful Temple!!! That temple is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. I love the temple so much!! Challenge: make the temple a priority in your life. Please. Go every week, or as often as you can. We wish we were able to go far more often than we do. Enjoy the Spirit and the blessings that are there!
Lunch, car wash, free ice cream at Coldstone (seriously, everything here has a missionary discount or someone just pays for you. so cool), then off to a zone activity! Soccer, swings, letters, and ninja. 'Twas fun. Our zone is amazing, and our zone leaders are just the best.
We had a short time to visit a Bishop and then we were inside for the night!  We cleaned out the area book and visited with Sister G (the awesome woman we live with) and learned all about her life. She's pretty incredible. And she knows EVERYONE. Perfect missionary contact right there.

District Meeting and weekly planning! Planning is such a great time. We set goals then make plans based on those goals. Challenge: set a goal for how you can reach out to someone this week, whether by serving them or telling them about the Church. You decide. Anyway. We also have an awesome district leader, Elder B. He's the Best. 
After planning, we invited Kate along to go on splits with us. Which means that while Sister Beeton and Sister LeSueur were off contacting referrals, Kate and I were teaching one of our investigators the Plan of Salvation!! Craziness! It was an amazing lesson, and Kate is going to be an incredible missionary - she heads out in January. Our investigator asked great questions, and the Spirit was so strong. Whenever the Spirit leaves, I have found the best way to bring it back is to bear testimony or read a verse about the Atonement. Jesus Christ is our Savior! He understands our pains and trials completely. Through Him, we can change and become more like our Heavenly Father every single day. Repentance is a beautiful thing. Read the Bible Dictionary about that, too. It denotes a willingness to change, and through the Atonement we can completely change ourselves. How incredible is that?! Repenting is a daily process, and I am so grateful to be able to change and improve each day.

Another wonderful day in the mission field.
We spent about 3 hours in the morning raking leaves and picking apples at some less-active and members' homes. It was a blast! But we're all pretty sore now haha. Lots of phone calls, a meeting with our amazing stake Relief Society President, then off to a BAPTISM!!
Ricky is this adorable little 8 year old we've been teaching just to help him understand what he's committing to do when he is baptized. I've never seen any kid so ready to be baptized; he's absolutely brilliant, and his testimony is amazing. The Spirit at his baptism was so strong! I know that he knows he made the right decision in choosing to follow the example of Jesus Christ and take His name upon himself. Ricky is going to do great things!
We had another amazing experience with the Priesthood; Val came over to the Ward Mission Leader's home for dinner, and afterwards, she received a blessing. It was a beautiful blessing, and the peace of the Spirit was just wonderful. We are praying that she will soon accept the gospel and want to be baptized as well! 


Probably the greatest day of the week. We got an extra hour of sleep, and were up an hour earlier so that we could attend stake council! President T is amazing and really wants to get the stake excited about member missionary work and working with us. Great things are happening in this stake, and it's awesome that we get to be here to start seeing miracles happen!!
AND it SNOWED!! SO EXCITED for Christmas to come!!
We had three more ward meetings after that to talk with the Bishops, Ward Mission Leaders, and Relief Society Presidents. They are so excited and so willing to learn.
Great idea from yesterday: we're going to have a night in one ward where we have dinner with all the priest age young men, then we're splitting up into groups and helping them learn to teach the first lesson about the Restoration. I cannot wait for that!!
Since it was Fast Sunday, we were able to bear our testimonies in the two wards we visited. The first ward's theme was all about missionary work (which was totally ok with us and their ward mission leader), and the second ward was all about the love of our Savior and the power of the Atonement. Both incredible meetings. We went with our investigator to the second meeting which was so cool.
Oh, the second ward was President Eyring's ward.
And since we had an investigator, we totally got to meet him. 
I met a prophet of God yesterday. How incredible is that?!
Plus he was so cute to watch as he was sitting on the stand. He even nodded off at one point... Dad you're not alone!
Challenge: go to Church like President Eyring was sitting on the stand watching you. Because that was definitely an interesting experience. Most well behaved ward I'd ever seen haha :)
Our dinner appointment was fantastic. The family invited over a non-member family and we had a short lesson with them. I also got to speak spanish with the family's grandma who spoke no English. Good times.
Final thoughts:
HAPPY ALWAYS, CONTENT NEVER. We can be a happy and joyful people, but there is always work to be done! We cannot be content with the way things are. Keep on changing, improving, serving, and reaching out to others!
Do your duty - be Diligent Under The Yoke. LOVE that. Thanks Megan! (from stake conference)
Look up "Dan Jones Taiwan mission" on Youtube. Our ward mission leader's son is serving there, and it's a pretty cool video.
"Just eat chocolate cake for breakfast." -Sister G. Love her.
Rubows, Cooks, and Embrees - the Hileman's say hello! They lived out in Long Grove like 8 years ago and still remember all of you!
Mom - I forgot to tell you that I decided I will never have a dog that sheds. We cleaned over at an investigator's home and there was dog hair EVERYWHERE. Thanks for teaching me to clean! You're the best :)
My last Sunday at the MTC our zone sang the EFY Medley for the musical number in sacrament meeting. Talk about a powerful meeting; 10 Elders and 4 Sisters singing that song was amazing. And a dream come true :)
I know this Church is true and that Christ is that the head of it. Miracles happen every single day!! Challenge: write down a miracle you see every single day. They are there - I promise you that. Then share them with others and testify of the hand of God in your life! 

The Atonement is real, and it's power can heal and change us every day! I love my Savior, and I am so grateful for all that He experienced for us. He loves you. It is amazing to be able to feel of that love as we teach and work with people here. Challenge: Look every single day for how the Atonement has blessed your life.
It is the season of Thanksgiving. Share your gratitude with the Savior always! We are so blessed to be here on the earth at this marvelous time! The work is hastening! 

I love you all, and so does Heavenly Father! Keep smliing!
Sister Lauren Holbrook
Moroni 7:33
PMG Chapter 6

PS Christmas packages are to be sent to the mission office address! Thanks :)
PPS The actual address I live at is great for letters.
PPPS Look up paintings by the Oburn's. They are LDS artists who live in our area, and their home is AMAZING. It's covered in paintings they have done. So cool.