Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 16: I Believe in Cookie Jars

We are not sure what her title has to do with anything :) there is no mention of cookie jars anywhere else. But she did add this in a note to mom:
Oh also just FYI - we're having FHE tonight. With Bishop Eyring's family. And yes, he invited his dad. Who just so happens to be President Eyring.
I'm freaking out. And I'm so excited :) I am beyond blessed to be here. Seriously. 
This was another wonderful, crazy, interesting, productive, and slightly weird week. 
Also my alarm clock died. Good thing Sister Juarez's did not... maybe that's not so good. Still deciding.
Love the mission life :)

Happy birthday to Steven, Brad, Emily, and Jeff! You're all one year older and wiser, too :) 
Thank you to mi familia, Rachel, Sister Eyre, Melanie, and Elder Watkins for some fantastic letters this week!

A simple request: send some notes and cards and letters to Sister Juarez! She needs a little extra love :) Our address is 2008 S 1200 E Bountiful, UT 84010.

We've been switching off with some sick days this week - Sister Juarez adjusting to the amount of food and the business of mission life, and me with a sick stomach and an almost flu-bug that went away thank goodness! I'm learning about soy-free food quite a lot with Sister Juarez :) But we were both up and kicking very soon!! And we have seen some awesome miracles!

We spent a lot of time with the youth this week. We taught a priests quorum - well, two of them - the Restoration lesson, and we led a discussion about hastening the work with a young women group the following night. These youth are so prepared, so excited, and so willing to reach out. We are seeing hearts soften and new people to teach as the youth have been reaching out and inviting their friends. I absolutely love them!

I had a visit to an orthodontist this week to fix a permanent retainer... I love being over a stake and knowing literally every single person I would ever need to know to get something fixed while on my mission.

Thursday was an incredible day!! We had interviews with President Hansen - I absolutely LOVE that man. I am so grateful to work so closely with him while I am on my mission. Then we did some service for a sister in our stake. 
We had an awesome Book of Mormon reading with Marilyn!! She is slowly considering coming back to Church!! We had dinner with our ward mission leader who's wife just applied to be a Church photographer. Which meant she had us model for a few pictures. Gotta love the mission life :) Everyone loves us! 
Then an amazing lesson with one of our investigators where one of the members came with us. We were praying so hard as to how we could help this sister understand the importance of coming to Church, and at the end of the lesson the member bore very powerful testimony and said exactly what that sister needed to hear. I love the members here!!
We were running late we were so busy that night! We headed off to our next investigator lesson where we talked about beliefs and how the world doesn't share religion very much. She prayed at the end and the Spirit was so strong! She started crying during the prayer as she thanked Heavenly Father for having us be willing to talk about our faith. 

We have been meeting with Bishops and Ward Mission Leaders, and let me tell you, great things are happening here! The youth are being prepared, we're doing visiting teaching with Relief Society sisters, and we seem to just have people given to us. The Lord truly is hastening His work!

Saturday we had a Relief Society expo with everyone in the stake! It was incredible! I wish I could just give you all my notes from studies and workshops and Sunday meetings. Basically, there were some amazing things that I learned, and I was so grateful that we were able to be there. Plus we had this awesome display (see attached picture) and had several sisters sign up to teach with us! 

Matthew 17:20
2 Nephi 3 and 4 are amazing!
This is pretty much the coolest song ever.

Miracles happen every single day. I am so grateful to be in this incredible place at this amazing time in the history of the world, and the history of the Church. I am so thankful to all of you for your love, letters, and support. I would not be the person I am today without all of your love and prayers. I am so incredibly blessed, and I just want to help others recognize how much the gospel gives to us. I love being a missionary, and that's because I love this gospel.

I know this to be the true gospel on the earth today. I know that through the Book of Mormon, we can feel the Spirit in greater abundance and draw closer to our Savior. As we come closer to Christ, we can become like our Heavenly Father, and that's our ultimate goal. More than anything, I want others to know just how much Heavenly Father loves them. As a missionary, we get to glimpse a very small part of that. I cannot even imagine just how much He loves each individual. You are His child, and He will do all within His power to bring us joy in this life and in the eternity to come.

I have one invitation. For those of you who read these and are not members of the Church, ask to meet with the missionaries, if for no other reason than to come to understand our beliefs. All we want to do is to invite others to come unto Christ and to feel of His love in their lives. Please do not be afraid to ask questions - it's our job to answer them :)

I love you all. Look for the miracles in every day of your life! Keep smiling, and remember that you are loved! A whole lot :)

Sister Holbrook

The coolest balloon creation ever - an Elder!!!!!
This is one of the most amazing paintings ever. It's by Ann Marie Oborn (who lives in our stake) and it's called "The Gentle Army of the Magnificent Priesthood." 
The three boys in the front are a deacon from the ward, the old Bishop's son who is now a priest, and then Kelon - a boy who joined the Church when he was a senior in high school and then went on to serve a mission in Paraguay. His last baptism was his mom when he got home just this past May! We love their family!! 
In the back row, the first two people are President David Beck's sons, then we have Brother Merrill who is an older man in the ward who is just incredible. They have served several missions and are just the sweetest people. The hymn book is in reference to a verse in 2 Chronicles about how those who were victorious sang :)
So cool.
Our awesome board for a Relief Society event!
the balloon fish someone gave to us... we've named him Bubbles.
P-day activity being twins :)
Board (again)
Mom asked about some of the miracles she has experienced:
The fact that we had so many scheduled lessons. That Tia and Ann came to Church. That Ann is no longer sick and can finally talk to us! That the Bishops here are inspired as to how to reach out to those in their wards. That the youth leaders are inviting us into lessons. That the youth are just wanting to be a part of it all. That I read a certain scripture or got a letter or talked with someone that was exactly what I needed to hear. That Sister Juarez is so ready and raring to go. That 12 Week training is for me just as much as it is for her. That the members tell us about their friends and are inviting them to take the lessons. That people's hearts are being softened, both members and not. There's a lot.

Quote from Bishop Belnap: "The youth have 300 days in the youth program. 300 Sundays and 300 activities. They can no longer be squandered."
Love that man. We are planning this awesome missionary experience for the priests and laurels. It's going to be incredible!





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