Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week 77: #BecauseHeLives

Sounds mind is to have common sense, which is the less common of all the senses.
Quote courtesy of our ward mission leader.

Also this one:
"Take your pirate shirt and go away."

I love people and the funny things they say :)

We had a very slow week with another one ahead. Everyone and their dog is out of town for spring break, and every school has a different week for spring break. So it's been rough trying to see people or contact new people. BUT the Lord has a plan, and Sister Hay and I have been growing in ways that haven't been stretched before.

This area is causing me to literally grasp at straws, to use everything I've learned these past several months, to pray more than I ever have before. I am so grateful for that. It's a mountain to climb, but I know it's forcing me to become even more of who Heavenly Father needs me to become. And that's what this work is all about: becoming like Him.

I know Heavenly Father answers each of our prayers. It's not always in the way we are expecting, but He does answer. I know He will always be by our side, no matter what we go through. 

If you haven't seen the video yet, go watch it.
I just want to add my testimony that our Savior, Jesus Christ lives! I know that to be true. Because He lives, we all will be able to live again. We have the opportunity to become perfected if we will repent, change, and strive to be like Him. Because of His sacrifice, we can have confidence that He understands every pain, sorrow, trial, joy, and light that we will ever experience. Because I know He lives, I want to help others gain that testimony for themselves. This is the center point of all hope: the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that as we turn to Him in faith, we can feel of His power in our lives.

The Stake Vision
We were able to meet with our stake president this past week and understand a little more of his vision for the stake: to improve the three-hour meeting block. And it all starts with talks in sacrament meeting and the lessons taught during the other two hours. Here are just some key points from some of the training he and his wife have given us:
  • Ask inspired questions. No one wants to listen to a lecture. As we engage through the right kinds of questions, others share testimony, and all are uplifted and edified.
  • It all starts before the meeting. We must give ourselves time for the Holy Ghost to tell us what needs to be shared. That comes as we prepare to the best of our ability, using every resource the Lord has given to us.
  • This isn't about you. The Holy Ghost is the only one who can carry the message to the hearts of the people (2 Nephi 33:1). Our job is to create an environment where the Holy Ghost can testify and teach.
  • Remember: people usually come hoping to gain something. Some people may be giving church one last chance. If we will ask our Father in Heaven what His children need to know, He will help us to give the lesson that He would have us give. 
I love you all! I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today! I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that as we read from it daily and ask God if it is true, we will become more deeply converted disciples of Jesus Christ. I know Heavenly Father wants each of His children to come back to Him - that's why we share the gospel, why we gain our own testimonies, why we teach each other each week. This is a work of love. He loves each one of you. As we shepherd people to the baptismal font, to the sacrament table, and to the temple, the Holy Ghost will fill our hearts and homes, and we will feel just a taste of the joy our Father in Heaven feels in the soul that comes back to Him (Doctrine & Covenants 18:15-16).

Remember to smile! Miracles happen - we just need to take the time to look for them.

Sister Holbrook

PS It's spring break and the family history center is open for less time, sorry I couldn't respond to everyone!

PICTURES! Your favorite part, I know :)

I love my Texan companion :)

General Women's Meeting with Sisters Hamblin and Johnson!

I <3 my companion!

Flowers just for mom :)

I love the temple so much.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Week 76: Break-Ins and Full Circles

Mom's Note:
We have been out of town in Hawaii for Spring Break, so sorry this letter is late.  
Tia, who Lauren mentions in her letter is a woman Lauren started teaching back in November 2013 when she arrived in her very first area.  Tia was baptized in March of 2014, so it is really exciting that she has now gone through the temple and that Lauren and her 1st companion (Candice) were able to be there with Tia.
She comes home in 23 days!!!!

Lauren's Letter:
Once upon a time, two sister missionaries were planning for the next day when they heard someone banging on their basement window well cover.
Naturally, these two poor missionaries thought that someone was trying to break in.
Lock the doors. Turn all the lights on.
Sister Hay looks out the window and sees three men. 
So we call our district leader to ask if they're outside. 
But the men start laughing, so I open the door in frustration.
And there stood three BYU friends to drop off a package and say hi.
I know the best and craziest people in this world.

Two topics for this week: temple and sacrament.

Saturday was one of the happiest days of my life. 
Tia went to the temple to receive her endowment.
Walking into the celestial room, giving her a big hug, and seeing all of the members from her ward.
That was the best moment.
I was bursting with joy! To see all of these people I love in the best place possible. 
I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I know we can repent, change, and become clean. I know the temple is His house on the earth. I know we can be families for eternity because of the power of the Priesthood and because of the ordinances of the temple. I know this is His work. I know He loves us. Heavenly Father has done everything possible for us to return to live with Him. He only asks that we keep His commandments. 

We had a fireside with one of our wards last night. 
President Beck, the General Young Men's President, and his wife spoke.
They gave us the assignment to share this video on the sacrament. 
In 3 Nephi 18:7-12, Christ instituted the sacrament among the people in the Americas.
It was one of the last things He did before He was crucified.
It was one of the first things He did after He was resurrected.
How important is the sacrament to the Savior?
How important is the sacrament to you?
How will you always remember Him? 
I am so grateful for the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us. For you. For me. I know that as we strive to always remember Him, we can feel of His strength at all times. 

What places have become holy in your life because of your labor there?
Each of these areas has become a holy place for me. I love these people.

I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today! I know He lives! I know His plan for us is perfect, even if we don't always understand it. I know He answers every prayer.

I love you all. Remember to smile, and go out and be the answer to someone's prayer!

Sister Holbrook

Candice, Tia, me, and Sister Moore and Sister Wilson at the temple! Best day ever.

Me and my sweet companion after a very long day.

The wall of sand-dirt in our basement. Sister Skaggs and her mom have collected dirt from all over the world.
Kind of cool.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Week 75: Hay Ho!

The North Canyon stake has been absolutely amazing! There is so much work to be done here. It's been awesome to see how the experiences the Lord has given me this past year or so are helping me to have all sorts of things to apply here now. I absolutely love this stake and can't wait to see the miracles that lie ahead!

Sister Hay is absolutely incredible. She acts like she's been out forever when she's really only been here for six weeks. She loves this area, too, and she's so excited to see the miracles that the Lord has in store for this stake. She works her hardest and is always trying to find ways to be better. She's just an angel. I love her to pieces. She's from Dallas, Texas and loves it there - as any true Texan would :) She has a gorgeous voice and loves piano. She's the youngest of four (three girls and a boy) and just loves the gospel!

We are currently teaching the Myers - they are a middle-aged couple who have lived in the stake for several years. They sought out the missionaries to learn more about the church, and they just eat everything up. Sister Myers is from Spain, so we had a little connection on speaking Spanish (mine is awful by the way). They love learning and coming closer to Christ. Brother Myers needs to quit smoking, but they are so prepared and want to be baptized! 

This area has shown my mission coming full circle. 
I'm currently serving in the stake just south of my first area. As in if we go too far down one street, we're in my first area. Pretty cool. Same view of the temple, too :)

We had a lesson with the Vita family. Their kids, Wes and Emma, were baptized 3 weeks ago. The mom has started coming back to church and went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead last week. They are absolutely amazing! We were visiting with the mom and Emma while we waited for the boys to come in, and here comes Wes with his friend, Garrett. As soon as they walked in, I recognized the two boys.

Garrett's mom was not active for a long time, and we had been teaching her and her family to help Garrett prepare to be baptized. This was a year ago in my first area. Garrett, being the awesome missionary he is, had invited his friend to join in on the lessons with his family. That friend was Wes. Now here we are, over a year later, and both boys have been baptized and are helping their families become more active in the Church. It was incredible.

Garrett didn't remember me at first, but Wes remembered us teaching them how to pray using the prayer sandwich. Then Garrett remembered that delicious lesson :) 

The Lord is aware of His children - including you. I know He will always put people in our path who will touch us forever. I love this gospel. I know His plan for us is perfect, though we may not always understand it. I know He will always give what's best for us. I know trials are the way we can truly come to know our Savior. How grateful I am for those mountains to climb. I love my Father in Heaven. I love my Savior. I know They live!

Remember to smile!
Sister Holbrook

Me and Sister Hay on our first day together!

Us with the Vita family and their friends after our lesson. Wes is on the far left and Garrett is on the right. I love those boys and their families.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 74: Change is a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ

Just when you think you've mastered change.

President Spendlove called us Saturday night with transfer information.
Sister Soelberg is going to Tooele North Stake.
I'm going to the Bountiful North Canyon Stake to finish training Sister Hay.
Sisters Poppleton and Armstrong will be whitewashing our area.

Bittersweet transfer. 
Centerville South and Bountiful North have become my home. Leaving these people will be one of the hardest things. They're my family now. But there's comfort in knowing that this is Heavenly Father's work. He will take care of these people more than I ever could.

At least I'll see them in a few months, right?
Time flies far too quickly.

New address:
967 Chelsea Drive, Bountiful UT

Joshua 3-4
The children of Israel had seen miracles and had been wandering in the wilderness for years. They saw Moses part the Red Sea. And here they are faced with crossing the river Jordan.
However, this wasn't the miracle they expected. The river didn't part on its own. We learn that they had to get the soles of their feet wet before the water stopped coming, before they were able to pass through on dry ground.

What kind of faith do we have? Do we wait around for miracles? Or do we go out and get our feet wet? Do we show Heavenly Father that we will do everything we possibly can before we expect His help? 

What can you do to get your feet wet?

The amazing thing in this area has been seeing people choose to get their feet wet.

For example, the Alan family. 
Sister Alan is absolutely amazing. We stopped by a few months ago, and since then, she's been coming to church, bringing her boys, and doing everything within her power to get to the temple. She called us the other day to tell us about how she's working towards receiving her patriarchal blessing and her next step is to go to the temple. Her husband isn't too supportive. But she will do anything and everything within her power to live the gospel of Jesus Christ every single day. 

Her faith is incredible. And because she got her feet wet, miracles are happening.

I love this gospel! I love this work! I know it is His. We wouldn't be able to do it otherwise. I love you all so much. Sorry this is short - time is short. Just know that I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I wish I could share all that I've learned and experienced here. I love the Lord and I know He will always help us. He loves each one of you so much. He answers every prayer. 

Remember to smile!

Sister Holbrook


Matthew 19:20 Ask Christ for your next step in changing, but be willing to make that change and give your whole self to Him.

Me and Sister Soelberg with Tom! He is just the best. He was [in]active for a long time and has been coming to church for almost a year now! We're helping him to keep building his faith.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Week 73: My fro wasn't big enough, so they didn't send me to Africa

Title courtesy of Rachel (see picture below).

Our new mission president is officially here! 
We'll meet him tomorrow for the first time.

Headaches resolved: it's a sinus infection.
So grateful it's nothing major.
Antibiotic power now.

We did a lot this week, and I'm really struggling to remember it all.

One of the most frustrating things is when you know you've done everything you possibly could have done, and people still won't keep their commitments. We've been coordinating with members, showing up at doors, and inviting and texting and calling to get our investigators to come to church. The only thing we haven't done is take away their agency which we can't do. It's frustrating, but mostly heartbreaking. You know how much it will bless their life if they will just do it! It takes faith to put aside everything and go to church, but the Lord always gives us tenfold for the sacrifices we make for Him.

It's interesting to see how hard Satan works on these people, how much he will throw at them so they won't keep these commitments and feel of that joy. We have to be out daily, finding them, helping them, texting them, sending members to visit them. They need that daily contact to build up an armor against all the temptations that are in the world today. Heavenly Father's power and love is so much stronger than anything else - we need to help them feel that constantly.

President Eyring's last General Conference talk about continuing revelation really struck me this morning. I love his comments about "confirming revelation." We need to ask for and receive that witness from the Holy Ghost that the direction from our leaders is what God needs us to do. I know that as we listen and follow the words of the prophet and apostles, as well as our leaders in the Church and at home, we will feel our Heavenly Father's love and His Spirit in our hearts and in our homes.

Zone Conference this week was incredible. Saying goodbye to President Hansen was hard, but I know that the new mission president has been called of God to help us at this time. Heavenly Father directs us as we seek His help in planning for all we do. As we work with members and leaders more effectively, more of His children will be able to experience all the gospel has to offer. This is about helping all of God's children get to the temple to be able to experience all the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It's not something to just check off a list - this is the eternal salvation of the children of God.

I love you all! I testify that Heavenly Father is aware of each of His children. He knows them individually and perfectly. If we ask for His help in those opportunities to teach, serve, and love, He will lead us to them. I know this gospel is the greatest source of joy! 

Sister Holbrook

Dinner with the Stenquist's!!

Me and Rachel!! She's getting ready for her mission in Louisiana! She leaves April 22nd. Crazy, right? Anyway, she's our adopted third companion and is just the best.