Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Week 72: What percentage of your mission is little awkward moments?

One hundred percent, sir.
Best question ever.
Other awkward question from our youth fireside last night: Are you less attracted to guys now that you're missionaries?
I just love the youth.

Alma 59:1-2 When we experience joy, we naturally want to share it with others! Captain Moroni is one of my heroes. He's an expert planner, follows the Spirit, and loves to share the gospel!

Andy was baptized on Saturday! It was amazing to see all of his friends and family members attend. There were powerful messages about Christ and the importance of daily habits.

"Our habits determine who we will become." -President Hollingshead
"God is bilingual." -Hermana Dickson when I was on exchanges in the Spanish program for the day! Yes, I survived because everyone would start talking English when they saw me haha :) But I got some good Spanish practice that day.

Alma 58:11 is a wonderful verse about the Lord giving us peace in the hardest of trials.

This week, I simply want to bear my testimony of God's promises. They are sure. One of the best feelings in the world is to do everything within my power, ask for His help, and then step back and watch Him make everything work. There are no coincidences. Ever. His hand is in every moment of our lives, if we will just look for it.

I know that the blessings He promises will always come to pass. We simply need to do what He asks us to do. In Preach My Gospel we read, "When you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself. You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you."
We can feel that power every single day as armor up, prepare for the daily battle against Satan, and rely on His strength. This week has been a week of giving everything I could but it not being very much with various problems of being sick. And yet, as Sister Soelberg and I have given everything possible, the Lord has placed us in people's paths. We have two new families to teach. We have a less-active man who wants to come back to church. We have a woman who came to church on her own for the first time even though she felt sick. We have ward mission leaders finding people for us to teach. It's incredible.

This is the Lord's work! I know it is true. I know that as we ask specifically for the answers we seek, Heavenly Father will be specific with us. He loves you. He wants to pour out blessings upon you. Ask for His help, and He will run to give it.

I love you all. Thank you for your prayers and support. It has meant so much, especially the past few weeks. There is strengthening power in prayer. Keep smiling and look for those miracles!

Sister Holbrook

Our district! Elders Siebert, Perkis, Bishop, Smith, Sisters Sammartano, Armstrong, Soelberg, Cox, Stratton, and me :)

Exchanges with Sister Fluegel. Love that girl. We were trying to get the horse in the picture, too, but epically failed. Oh well. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 71: Yearnings and Diligence

Migraines are basically the worst things ever.
I love Chik-Fil-A peppermint shakes.
Missionary variety shows are the greatest inventions ever.

Alma 57 talks about how the army of Helaman was doing everything they could to prepare to go to battle to take back one of the cities they had lost to their enemy. Amazingly, while they were preparing, the people in that city just left and the city fell back to the army of Helaman.

If we will do everything within our power, Heavenly Father will pour out blessings upon us. Often times they can be pretty big ones that just fall into our laps.

On Wednesday we got a text from a Bishop asking about a baptism in his ward the coming Saturday. After many texts and phone calls, we found out about Andy, a sixteen year old kid who lives in our area who's been taught by the Elders in a neighboring stake. He will be baptized this coming Saturday!

Sister Soelberg and I have been working and praying to be able to see miracles in this stake, and we have. Every single day. It has been amazing to see the fulfillment of the promise in my favorite scripture, Doctrine & Covenants 123:17:

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power. And then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed."

As we work and pray our hardest for those yearnings of our heart, we see miracles. I know that is true. 

I love my mission for the clarity of an eternal perspective. Everything makes sense. Of course we should pray and read our scriptures. Of course we need to go to the temple. Of course baptism is important. Of course we should open our mouths to share our testimonies with others. I am so grateful to have this time where the distractions of reality can fade to the outside for a bit. To focus on the things that matter most is something I will forever treasure. I hope that perspective can stay with me for the rest of my life, that the distractions and clouds of Satan won't bind me down.

I love serving the Lord. I love being in this mission. I love being a missionary! I love opening my mouth. I love teaching. I love acting on the Spirit. I love being with these people and feeling Heavenly Father's love for them. This is a time I will forever treasure. I am so grateful Heavenly Father has let me stick around on earth at least long enough to have served His children during this time.

I just want to share Alma 29:9 in closing.

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

I love you all! Remember to smile :) Thank you so much for your prayers, letters, and general awesomeness. I have the best people in the world surrounding me. Thank you for being those people!

Sister Holbrook

In the ER getting a CT scan to check for blood clots - btw it came back clear :)

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!! Our ward mission leader brought us the cutest cookies ever :)

AMAZING THINGS. Hopefully you can follow the chart. That's been the topic of every meeting for the last 2-3 months: faith, obedience, and diligence (notice the emphasis on yearnings)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Week 70: New mission president and responding

Mom asked a bunch of questions and since I only have a few random things to share, I'm going to respond to those questions at this time.

 Any interesting people in those lessons to tell us about?  Are they all to less-active or new members or who?
Well, they all are interesting. Most of them are to less-active members. We have one couple who was married in September and they want to work towards going to the temple! They are amazing. Then we have a bunch of newer people that we're teaching in the Bountiful stake. One family, the mom is so excited to be coming back to church! She invited us over last week when her kids were blessed. That was such a sweet experience. We have a government-subsidized housing complex where we're working with a bunch of less-actives. That's always an adventure. We have a few new investigators this week, and one solid girl who is so excited about learning about the gospel!

How are the new members doing - the 2 young women and the one boy?
Amazing. The boy is teaching us the new member lessons, and his mom is starting to be more involved which is amazing! The young women are so good. They made us cookies during the last lesson. Their mom has been so touched by the Spirit the past several visits. 

Do you ever dance around aimlessly for exercise (Nathan's question)?
Um.... possibly... :)

How do you train the sisters? Do you get inspired about what they need and have a class with them or is it all done during splits in an informal 
kind of experience? How many splits do you do each week?
So splits are with active members in our area, but we do exchanges with each companionship of Sisters. We have one or two exchanges each week. That's usually when we talk about struggles and how we can continue to improve. We meet with them all pretty regularly and talk to them via phone almost daily. We do receive a lot of revelation on what will best help the Sisters, and we work a lot with the zone leaders in deciding the direction we want our zone to go in. We use district and zone meetings as our priority training meetings with exchanges and other visits as secondary opportunities for training.
We are on splits with members multiple times per day. We have too many people to see

Sleep - how many hours of quality sleep do you get per night?  (Nathan says quality sleep begins before midnight)
Um probably 60 minutes... since we go to bed at 10:30 and I still take forever to fall asleep.

We liked the pic of your district - when do you have those meetings? 
Every Thursday at 1:30pm. Zone meetings are every first Thursday.

Who always drives the car? 
Usually me. If we're on exchanges or if Sister Soelberg wants to get to know the area better then she'll drive.

Since you are over 2 stakes, do you have 2 correlation meetings per week?  
Yep! Every Sunday at 6:45 am and every Wednesday from 7-9pm.

Is the 1st counselor who is currently taking over for Pres Hansen a local man - anything about him? 
Not sure. He might live in Salt Lake? We're currently on hold for the new mission president coming at the end of the month. President Hansen is still our acting mission president.

You must get time on the computer to do family history and to find the links you send to us.... Is that all on P-Day or do you have other times you get to do things like that?
Typically we get paper copies for trainings or for personal study. Then I just find the link on to send it to you.

Our sister missionaries are always showing videos on their ipads.  Do you ever show videos and know all the great ones that are out there - do you just borrow the computer of the people you are with or how do you do that?  In my day, we used to bring a filmstrip projector and find a spot on their blue walls - it gave a cool background:)
YES! We love the videos that are out there. We just ask for an iPad or computer to show a video on. We typically use the Because of Him and Origin videos. We also use them for dinner appointments, lessons, youth events, and trainings with missionaries.

We will be getting a new mission president! 
President and Sister Spendlove are from Texas, have five kids, two of whom are 16 and 13 years old. Sister Spendlove grew up in Beaverton which is pretty fantastic. They should be coming at the end of the month. 

I have been treasuring every moment we have with President Hansen. I love being able to go to all the extra leadership meetings where he continues to teach and encourage all of us. He gave us incredible training on the spirit world this past week, and the power of living righteously in order to have our covenants sealed in heaven as well as on earth.

Desire leads us to action, but as our desires grow into stronger yearnings of our soul, that will lead us to diligently act for the rest of our lives.

I love you all! Keep on smiling. Life is good. The gospel is true!

Sister Holbrook

Me, Sister Soelberg, and then our zone leaders with President Hansen! Love that man.
Also I don't have any other pictures... working on it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 69: Family History, are you doing it?

From Renee - 
I have been worried about how Lauren is doing after losing Sis Hansen. 
She says “I'm ok. Promise. The peace has been incredible. The gospel is true! Through and through.  It's just amazing how the Lord gives us exactly what we need. The hardest part will be saying goodbye to both President and Sister Hansen. But all will work out. It really will and I really believe that.“
Then some other cute things she included in a note to me:
We had almost 40 lessons this week:)  We had a baptism postponed this week. Yup. 
I heard about the snow this morning by a nice lady at Target! My mission has scarred me from ever going to Walmart ever again by choice. You should be proud :) 
It is totally crazy how time flies. All these kids have been saying they're 14 and 18 and I'm like wait... that's how old my siblings are. Weird. I'll send Megan a bday note today! 
Thank you for teaching me organization - we're working on that with Sister Soelberg :) 
Actually, I figured out yours and dad's secret to life success: you're expert planners. It's that simple. I love you too :) You're just the cutest :)

Lauren's email
Lots of coordinating emails today, so I'm just going to share a brief testimony and procedural information about family history work!

Family history is what we do when we are researching the information and stories of our ancestors. It has the power to link us together, to bring us closer together, and to invite the Spirit into our homes even more strongly than before. Most people are interested in talking about families. As we focus on the family, the Lord will help us find even more people who are prepared to receive the restored gospel.

Temple work is made possible through the Priesthood, the power and authority of God on the earth given to man to bless His children. We research our ancestors, find their stories, learn of their struggles, all so that we can help them have the opportunity to choose to accept the gospel. We take the names we find to the temple, so that acting as proxy, we can perform the ordinances for them to ultimately go to the celestial kingdom and to be eternal families.

That is the power of family history. It opens hearts, strengthens bonds, and invites the Spirit to testify of the truth of the restoration of the gospel!

Some resources to check out once you're on
  • Pandora's Hope Chest - available through Google Chrome, allows you to easily find those people who are ready to have their names taken to the temple or those who need more information.
  • - you can view the descendancy easily to see where work needs to be done
  • - View where your ancestry comes from and see who else is from those areas
Challenge for this week: Get on familysearch and feel of the power that comes as you work on finding your ancestors. I know that the Spirit will touch your heart. The joy of the gospel will fill your heart! You will gain a better understanding of what it means for us to be eternal families. Our Heavenly Father's plan will take on new meaning. 

What an amazing gift from our Heavenly Father.

I love you all! The gospel is true! Miracles happen! Our Savior, Jesus Christ, lives and loves us. He will always help us. As we live worthy, the Spirit will lead and guide us in every aspect of our daily lives. As we follow those promptings, we will always know that we are doing what God needs us to do.

Sister Holbrook
This is an amazing talk by President Hinckley about the importance of our role as members in sharing the gospel.

PICTURES!! Your favorite part :)

Our fantastic district: Sisters Goormastic, Sammartano, me, and Soelberg. Elders Isufaj, Brown, Chang, Siebert, Clark, and Bishop.

Making Pho (Vietnamese soup) with the Pham's, Sharp's, and Bradley's! Best dinner ever.