Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 29: All of the Magic

Missionary time and missionary life is a very funny thing. It lasts for forever and yet it flies by so quickly, you can't believe that you're a third of the way through your mission in downtown Salt Lake City. Crazy stuff. 

We're going to take this week day by day. 

Monday after our P-day adventures of Walmart and ultimate frisbee at the park, we made some phone calls then went to a regular family home evening where we helped sweet Sister F fold laundry. She's nine months pregnant :) Then we had a great visit with the Alvar family - they had some really rough news this past week, and so we brought some of the service missionaries in the area with us to provide some additional guidance. It was a powerful lesson, and they definitely felt the love of our Heavenly Father for them.

Little side note: I am SO GRATEFUL for all of the service missionaries in this stake. We work so closely with them and they are lifesavers with some of the people we work with. I absolutely adore each one of them. They're basically my grandparents while I'm here :)

Tuesday we had a wonderful lunch with Sister LeSueur/Candice!! Old mission companions can take us out to lunch - don't worry :) We had an amazing and much needed visit with her. And we even did a role-play while she was there!! We all love and miss her a lot. 

The rest of the day was an adventure. Sister Bill was having stomach pain, so we ended up taking her to the doctor to make sure all was okay. We ended up spending the rest of the evening there and then coming home and going to bed early. 

Wednesday We had interviews with President Hansen. I love that man! He is so inspired as to what each of the missionaries in this mission need, and he really does all in his power to do the will of the Lord to help each of us progress. The counsel he gave to help our companionship and area was amazing, and I look forward to going forth and applying it all! We have a goal of getting at least one person (returned member or recent convert) to the temple this transfer. We're going to do it for sure.

Thursday was Sister Bill's one-year mark!! Woo hoo!! We celebrated with a sick day and going to a few appointments we had that evening. This sweet Korean woman in the retirement branch we're over gave us literally everything she had for our dinner. We were all in shock at this woman's faith and willingness to give us so much because she believed in the blessings the Lord would give to her. There are people like her all around in this stake, and I am so grateful for their examples to me as I am learning to go forth and really apply my faith in every single day. 

Friday was district meeting and weekly planning!! Party time! Thank you to the Kurihara's and the BG1st ward for your AWESOME packages!!! That chocolate helps a lot ;) 

We had fantastically effective planning, then halfway through district meeting Sister Tucker became sick! Which means another few hours at the same Instacare in the same room as before (the ironies of missionary work). 

She's just fine, and so we went off to dinner where we had a sweet lesson with this amazing family! Charlie is preparing to be baptized in June, and so we are sharing the missionary lessons with them so he can be more prepared and also so that his dad, who is not a member, can also have missionary lessons :) They are incredible. We then went to another spaghetti dinner for a ward party, met lots of people, talked in Spanish with some of them (I really need to practice my spanish more), and then met with that ward's Bishop who is amazing. I mentioned that the people here are incredibly full of faith, right? 

Saturday was incredible productive!! For Sister Bill's language study (she's fro Montreal Canada where they speak French) we watched some church movies and had a blast with them. Again, amazing examples of faith in the early history of the church.

We went on splits and I was lucky enough to go off with Sister L in one of the north wards. We saw a few less-active members in the ward and she was AWESOME at boldly inviting them to come to church!! We then visited Anna who is one of those amazing examples who I will always love. Her husband was just released from the hospital for major alcohol poisoning. She has a sweet little boy who is four. And she just wants to get back into the gospel. She has been reading the Book of Mormon, though she doesn't always understand it, and she prays constantly. She loves the ward, and she loves being a part of the church. With all that has been going on, she really wants to get back in the habit of going to church and we are going to help her get to the temple. Despite everything that has been going on (and we don't even know half of it all), she still remains faithful. I love her dearly. And I am so grateful for the time we spent with her that night.
Our wonderful ward mission leaders came to correlation! I love this stake and am so grateful for the inspired leadership here. 

Sunday was insane. Always is. But especially this Sunday. Three ward councils beginning at 7:30, and then church meetings until 5. I love it :) But by the end of the day, we were ready for our P-day. We were able to speak in one of the wards about the Apostasy and the Restoration. It is so cool to see how this stake is really catching the vision of sharing the gospel! They really need strength in their members, and we are doing all that we can to help them. We met with another amazing ward mission leader before heading home.

We're all completely exhausted and will probably spend most of today sleeping. But you want to know the best part? We get to do it all again this week!! I am so excited! Missionary work is extremely tiring simply because it taxes you physically, mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually. BUT the miracles you see as people choose to change their lives make every little bit worth it.

Some scriptures and thoughts from the week:
Hymn 248 the old mission theme (that you all should learn to play on piano so you're never taken by surprise)
Isaiah 13 is all about US as missionaries and members of the Church bringing the gospel to all the world! It's so cool to find yourself in the scriptures.
Preach My Gospel chapter 1, pages 6-8 about the message of the Restoration and it's importance in sharing the gospel. I love the sentence on page 2 that says, "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase."
Proverbs 29:18 What is our vision for ourselves? For helping others? For our families? We need a vision in order to set goals and make plans to reach that ultimate vision we have.
Meaningful prayer. Study it. 

Following up: how is Preach My Gospel study? Were you able to share the Because of Him video? If not, you definitely should.

I love you all so so much!! The gospel is true! Heavenly Father loves each one of you!!! 


Sister Holbrook

Our delicious Easter turkey dinner

THANK YOU to my awesome home ward :)

The coolest ward bulletin board ever!!! Missionary power.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 28: Welcome to Liberty!

HELLO friends and family!!!!
We've had some major plot twists this week.
Plot twist: I'm in a trio.
Plot twist: With my older "sister" (in missionary terms)
Plot twist: We cover the whole stake.
Plot twist: We're not in Bountiful anymore, Toto.

And that's basically my week in a paragraph.

Monday we had some fun activities, then met with a sweet family who's daughter is not a member. There are some really rough family situations here, and it makes me so grateful for the family that I have. We also had a lesson with a woman who just had brain surgery that a member family invited over. She is pretty interesting, and we're still trying to figure her out haha. BUT she committed to read the Book of Mormon!!

Tuesday we had dinner with an amazing woman who wants to go on splits with us all the time! Love these people. Then we visited a less-active sister and shared a wonderful message about how much Heavenly Father loves her. The Spirit was so strong, and she really wants to have her testimony strengthened. We found out one of our recent converts was nowhere to be found and I had a slight panic attack as we tried to figure out where she was. We finally said a prayer and we all felt at peace. 

Wednesday we visited with a few Relief Society presidents who are super excited to have us here to help out with visits and finding less-active sisters who need help. This area is so different from Bountiful :) 

But the highlight of the day was our little district lunch at the church building. Sister Hansen had to go home for a few months because she needs to have surgery on her knee. So we helped her pack up everything and handed her off to her parents, then our new companionship was created to be over the whole stake!! 

So now I'm with Sister Bill and we are co-training Sister Tucker. And I love them both so much. I haven't laughed this much in a very long time. We have a blast together, and they are both such powerful missionaries. 

We had some logistical things happen that made working out schedules a little difficult, but it's all going smoothly now :) The stake just needs to adjust to having the three of us over the whole stake. 

Thursday we were all just physically and mentally exhausted from the commotions of the past few days, so we had some nap time after a lunch up in Salt Lake with one of our ward missionaries. We had some fantastic visits, several appointments cancelled on us, but all in all it was a good day. 

Friday we had a combined district meeting up at the Capitol Hills church building. Awesome training about the importance of church tours. You all should be doing those. And great weekly planning trying to combine people from both sides of the stake. Fabulous dinner, wonderful visit with the cutest eighty-year-old woman ever who wants to be baptized, and then a miracle lesson with this couple who really are interested in the gospel and in changing their lives. Miracles everywhere.

Saturday we started moving stuff from our disgusting apartment downstairs to Sister Bill's apartment that those Elders actually left spotless. We helped out a young family with packing up dishes since they will be moving soon. Lots of people not home. Or ignoring us. One or the other.

Crazy things in Liberty: a fuzzy pink moustache on the front of a Jeep, a man walking around the parking lot in his robe, cats and dogs barking at you from before they can see you and after, and so many other things I can't even begin to describe.

Sunday was Easter Sunday. We spoke in a sacrament meeting, met two potential investigators, had Polynesian curry for dinner, added a new investigator who is totally going to be baptized soon, and had a turkey dinner with three less-actives who love doing missionary work. We sang in a ward choir, too, and talked with a million other people throughout the day.

Oh, how I love Easter. Usually I either watch this video or read this talk, Sunday Will Come, by Elder Wirthlin. One of my favorites. Easter Sunday is the perfect time of year to celebrate the hope that the Atonement of Jesus Christ gives to us. Think about how much our Heavenly Father must love us to send Jesus Christ to provide the Atonement, and then think about how much Christ must love us to actually follow through with that plan. I love Alma 7:11-13. I love how every single page of the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Every single page. It's amazing. I know Jesus Christ lives. I know He loves us. I know that through His Atonement, we can be healed, strengthened, and forgiven. I know this Church to be His. I know that He is at the head of this incredible work. I consider myself so blessed to have even a small part in it all.

There is so much I want to share with you all. So much happened this past week. I want you all to know that serving a mission is the best decision I have ever made in my life. I thought I had a strong testimony before I left. Now, as I continually see other children of our Heavenly Father - my brothers and sisters - really choose to rely on Christ and turn to Him and change their lives completely, my testimony is unshakable. The things that we see happen - people overcoming drug addictions, choosing to leave their families for Christ, turning aside a whole different way of life to keep the commandments - are things that the world would deem completely impossible and illogical. But because of the Atonement, it is possible. Because of the Atonement, we can become perfect like our Heavenly Father. Because of the Atonement, we can feel His love in every single moment of our lives.

I love this gospel. I know it is true. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am forever grateful for what He did for us. He loves us - you, me, and every single person we pass on the street. I love being a missionary and focusing on the gospel every second of every day. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. I know it. And I want to share it with everyone! I know that through the gospel we can experience true joy here in this life - not just temporary happiness, but real, eternal joy. And that is possible through the Atonement.

I love you all. So so much. Thank you for all you do for me, your families, your friends, and the random person you met in the elevator this morning. 

Expect miracles. Remember to smile.

Sister Holbrook

2 Nephi 5:16, 27 We can live after the manner of happiness as we continually keep our covenants!

I want to hear what you all are learning from Preach My Gospel this next week!!! I keep giving challenges but hear nothing. Here I am following up the best I can. Let me know how it's going and I'll let you know, too :)

Our fantastic district. We miss you Sister Hansen!!! Yes, that really is our entire district.
The wonderful trio on Easter. Happy Easter everyone!!! Go to and watch the video there. So powerful. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 27: I haven't even known you for a week...

This has been a week for the history books.
Seriously. Last Monday feels like a century ago.
There is so much to share, so many events and thoughts and people. I'm not entirely sure where to begin. So we'll just start with the information my mom asked for :)

Monday I found out I was being transferred, so we did some errands and then it was off to pack and go to two zone activities and a district activity and saying goodbyes to all of my Mueller Park people. Oh how I miss them all, BUT the new area is wonderful, too.

Tuesday we got everything finished up, then off to the transfer building. Got Sister Juarez and Sister Fluegel together, then it was off to the new missionary training meeting. Had some trainings and lunch, and then I found out my new companion is Sister Tucker from North Carolina who came pre-trained. So excited :) She just knows how to do missionary work because she went out with the sister missionaries a lot back home, so she knows how to work.

We got our car, packed up everything, and headed to our new apartment which the Elders had left a disaster. Most of the day was spent unpacking, tracking down some TP, and doing some major cleaning. On our way to Walmart, we got a phone call and found out that we had a baptismal interview that night (what?!) and we were late... so we went right over to meet Lisa and we had an awesome lesson with her!! Then we met our ward mission leader. He had lost a lot of hope in his ward in seeing missionary success there, and as we were talking and committed to go out and do the work he asked us to do, you could see the missionary fire just light up his face again. Love that family.

The rest of the week has been a blur of meeting with leadership, finding people, cleaning, unpacking, talking to more people, following up, planning what we can, and more.

We are in the north half of the Wells Stake - Sister Bill and Sister Hansen cover the south half, and Elder Flores and Elder Farias cover the whole stake for Spanish speaking. That's our whole district. I love it - we're already a family and just have a blast together! We live in a four-plex house of sorts. Our apartment isn't that big, but it's cleaner now :) We have our own apartment. The other sisters live right below us in the same building. The Elders live a block away. President Hansen didn't really tell us much about the area - actually, he told me nothing. But I love it with all my heart :) It is so different from Bountiful, but I am so grateful to be here. If you want to stalk the area on Google maps, go through the LDS maps. It goes from about 1700 S to 1300 S and then from 700 E (mission border... haha) to just past I-15. Small and awesome.

We've had so many people tell us they are so grateful to have sisters in the area. These wards have had Elders the past several years, and a few of the wards haven't had a baptism in over 4 years. We're totally changing that. Right now, we just love the area, do what our ward mission leaders tell us to do, and everyone just adores us already.

Last logistical thing: just send mail to the mission office. Don't worry about sending anything to me directly. 1535 S Edison St. Salt Lake City, UT 84115. It's in my area anyway :)
Physically I am feeling great! My foot's been super swollen the past little while, but otherwise I'm good :)

I love you all! The gospel is true! Remember to smile in all you do. Go forth in faith.
And don't forget to do all those awesome things we were asked to do during Conference.

Sister Holbrook

Totally forgot to mention... We had two baptisms on Saturday!!!! I went back to Mueller Park for Autum's baptism. This sweet 9 year old girl and her family have been coming back to Church and been reading and praying every single day. I am so excited for them to continue progressing in the gospel.
We had a baptism in our area as well for Lisa. She is incredible. Life has thrown every possible challenge at her, and yet she is staying true to what she knows is right. Attending her baptism was a privilege that I will never forget.

It's really hard to say goodbye when you can't give hugs :)

Only in Utah will you find a BYU - Utah colored hydrant :)

Happy to be a missionary

Going to General Conference

(We have nothing to say about this, we just find it hilarious)

Happy to be in the snow

The flowers at Temple Square

The district in Bountiful

Me and Sister Tucker, a brand new missionary from North Carolina who is so ready to be a missionary!!!

The apartment when we arrived ...

On a street in our area

Autum, Sister Madrid, and myself :) I LOVE this family so much.

With Sister Fluegel and Sister Juarez - I am leaving Mueller Park in good hands :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 26: General Conference and Transfers

Transfer news:
I'm going to Liberty Park and whitewash training!! (aka both missionaries will be new to the area)
This transfer is going to be a blast :)
Now to do absolutely everything I need to do today... yikes.

In other news this is going to be a super short email because Sister Holbrook has to pack up her life today.

Lots of thoughts to share.
First off,
Conference was AMAZING!!!
You all should watch President Eyring, Elder Andersen, and Sister Reeves' talks from the Saturday morning session again. So fantastic. 
As we went through conference, I decided to write down not only a few notes, but also applications from each talk. It will be cool to see how applying the principles taught will help me become a better missionary.
Also according to Elder Ballard, we all should be studying Preach My Gospel. Get one. I'll follow up on it next week :)

President Hansen has given us the challenge to read the Book of Mormon looking for passages about faith and prayer. It is a really interesting and revelatory experience to look for specific topics in the Book of Mormon and see what comes out of the stories as you listen to the Spirit.

We saw lots of people this week. Did family mission plans with a ton of people - I LOVE seeing all of the members starting to catch the vision of missionary work! Especially the youth :) The leadership here are amazing. I love these people with all my heart.

I'm excited for the new adventures the Lord has in store for me! I will miss Mueller Park as much as I miss my own family (probably even a little more), but I know the Lord's plans are far greater than anything I could ever plan for myself.

I love this work. I love the gospel. I love you all!!
Have a wonderful week of miracles :)

Sister Holbrook