Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 19: If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough.

This week's title comes from the family motto for the McKinlay's. I thought it was pretty fantastic.

Well it feels like it's been an eternity since I talked to y'all! And it's only been one extra day. Time flies. And drags. And time is just weird. 

Also transfers are already next week. I know, crazy right? So just be aware of that. 
I'm not leaving. It's not happening.
I won't know for sure until next week though.
Oh, and happy Olympics everyone!! Too bad I can't watch the only sporting event I care about. 
Mission life is better anyway.

Other great quotes from the week:
"Tell people I love you because life is short. But shout it at them in German because life is also scary and confusing." Ich liebedich. (I don't know how to spell it, but I can say it!)
"Life is great... if you don't blow it." Brother Smith, our ward mission leader.

A quick request for my aunts and others who are fantastic bakers (you know who you are): if you could send me a bread recipe, I have a Sister in the mission who is gluten and soy and everything allergic. So homemade bread is basically what she can eat. And gluten free bread is disgusting. Thanks a million :)

This week has been interesting. Poor Sister Juarez was sick. A lot. And then I was just exhausted. But I'm fine now :) So we've spent some time with various doctors and a bit of time out teaching and visiting!!

Thank you to everyone for your packages and letters!! I love you all :)

MIRACLE OF THE WEEK: We now have 3 people committed to a day to be baptized in the month of March!!! It's going to be a wonderful month :)

And you know how we found those people? Members told us about them.
Be a good member like everyone here in Mueller Park and tell the missionaries to go teach your friends. Be a good missionary and go meet all the members. And make them cookies :)
This really is not a separate work. The work of salvation is all of us coming together to help bring the gospel to others and invite everyone to come unto Christ. Reach out to the missionaries in your area and see what you can do to be more united with them. You will see miracles happen as you do so.

So this week was Valentine's day. And we had zone meeting about talking to more people. That was about it. And the activity day girls brought us the cutest poster full of hearts and origami. We are so spoiled here. I love it. Other than that, Valentine's day was uneventful. 

My appreciation for my family has grown exponentially over the past four months. Yes, it's been four months. Crazy. I still don't miss you all too bad :) BUT I am so grateful for your examples, for everything you have taught me, for always having a smile and keeping laughter in the house, and for just being awesome. I love you all! I pray for each one of you every day. Hope life is going well :)

We had an incredible district study on Thursday about the attributes of Christ. It is amazing to see how everything is so completely connected together - faith, charity, obedience, diligence, patience, etc. Challenge: do the exercise at the end of chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. What an amazing tool to see how we can continually become more like the Savior. After sharing our thoughts, we had a mini-testimony meeting. The Spirit was so strong. I love being a missionary, and I love being able to share and learn from other missionaries. 

I also started reading "The Infinite Atonement" (which is approved for our mission) thanks to mom sending me her copy (THANK YOU MOM!!). The Atonement is at the center of everything. In the opening, Robert L. Millet (this awesome scriptorian who teaches at BYU) said, "Everything we do and everything we teach should somehow be anchored in the Atonement." I have found the easiest way to invite the Spirit into a home is to testify of Christ and His atoning sacrifice for each of us. I love Alma 7:11-13. Read it. I love my Savior, and I am so grateful for His willingness to provide the Atonement for each of us so that every single act and event in life has a purpose and direction.

Yesterday was my 2nd heart transplant anniversary!! woo hoo!! I cannot believe it has already been/only been 9 years since that crazy time of life... way back when I was an awkward teenager. (Note from the family: If it feels like we just celebrated a heart transplant anniversary, you're right - her first was August 25, 1994, second February 17, 2005, and third was November 26, 2007 - it is worth celebrating when you've experienced that many and are still alive today, don't you think?) I am so blessed to be able to serve a mission. I've come so far since that day, and I am forever grateful to the sweet family who allowed me to receive their daughter's heart. I know I would not be here today without their sacrifice. My heart was just full of so much gratitude yesterday as I was pondering, and this morning as we were at the temple, for just how much my Heavenly Father loves me and just how big His plans are for each one of us. We are eternal sons and daughters of God with a divine destiny. It truly is amazing. 

Also you all should read the story, "You Are Special" by Max Lucado. Rachel can find it for you if you cannot locate a copy. That really touched my heart this week, too.

I love the temple. Everyone needs to go there. That is our goal as missionaries - not just to get to baptism, but to the temple and ultimately to the celestial kingdom. 

"Because all of us have made covenants... our greatest need is to remember." -Spencer W. Kimball. 

Pay attention to how much everyone (the people, the prophets, Heavenly Father, etc.) remember in the Book of Mormon. I absolutely LOVE that Book and invite each one of you who reads this to go and read the Book of Mormon every single day. I promise you that you will see greater spiritual strength in your life because of that simple act. 

Lots of great studies this week. Especially on obedience without even meaning to. Doctrine & Covenants 58 is an incredible section about all of that. And about missionary work :) 
Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles. Why? Because exact obedience is an especially big act of faith, and as we know from the Book of Mormon, miracles happen because of faith (see Mormon 9:19-21, 2 Nephi 27:23). Also prayer and fasting combined is powerful. 

The Priesthood power is literally the power of God given to worthy men today who can then act in His name to bless His children. I love seeing the Priesthood work in my life, and I am so blessed to be around so many incredible examples of worthy Priesthood holders. A new Bishop was called in one of our wards, and it truly is amazing to see that mantle move from one man to another as the Lord qualifies whom He has called. 

I love the gospel and I know it to be true. This life is so very short, and I pray I can make the most of every single second. Jesus Christ lives. He loves us. The Atonement is a very real and literal power that can change our very selves if we are willing to let it. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and I love that book. Please please please read it. Even if it's just a verse a day, do it. There's a reason the prophets have asked us to do so.

I love you all so very much! Look for miracles, and remember to smile!

Sister Holbrook

The craziness of being a missionary :) With Momma Pratt. Love her.

With Sister Howell and Sister Pratt - they've been with me since I came out on my mission! Love the two of them so much.

Our wonderful district :)

Valentine's day gift from the 4th ward Activity Day girls! So adorable. 

Me and Lauren Tingey! Love that family. Also it's Law-ren, not Low-ren. #sayittherightway

Temple day!! Oh how I love the temple.

At the temple with my sweet companion :)

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