Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years

Wow! Time sure flies when you are having fun! Missionary work really is so much fun. Sometimes I dread leaving the house (ONLY because I seriously HATE not being able to speak Tagalog) but once we are working I chastise myself for thinking that, because it really is so much fun! :)
It's weird because things that used to be normal seem weird now. Like I was doing my make-up the other day (which was for the first time since I left the MTC) and my eye literally freaked me out. Why? Because it was blue. Seriously. It's so weird to me when I look in the mirror because I do not expect to see anything like me anymore. Which explains all the weird/awkward stares I get. It's fun though. :)
Also the idea of just eating with a fork kind of sounds really hard to me now. In the Philippines, they eat with a spoon in the right hand and a fork in the left (Or my favorite.. no utensils). And i think the other day I tried to eat with just a fork and it was the hardest thing in the whole entire world. So now normal is weird, and weird is normal. Which is a sign to me that I am starting to adjust and the Philippines is starting to feel like home!
Since it's been so busy with the holidays, we werent able to teach much on Christmas Eve or Christmas..soooo we literally just tied ribbons on some Book of Mormons (In Kapampangan, the dialect here) and gave them our as Christmas presents! I hope that will open some doors for us in the future. :) It was really good though.
In one of our areas, we have mostly just a lot of recent converts there. One of the members there was in need of a priesthood blessing really badly and her husband is not a member. The only Melchizedek priesthood holder there is a somewhat recent convert and had never given a blessing before. So guess what we did? We had to teach him how to give a priesthood blessing!! Man, I sure am grateful that I have a dad who holds the priesthood because if not, I would have had no idea how to teach him. We got all the important wording from the white handbook, and we came with him to give the blessing. And he stumbled through the wording a little bit, but once he got into the blessing part, I could feel the spirit so strongly. The power of the priesthood is real. It's from our loving Heavenly Father to help bless His children. And it doesn't just bless the men who hold it, it blesses everyone.
I'm so grateful to be here and I'm so happy for all of the uncomfratble stretching that I'm going though right now. If there are trials in your life now, I encourage you to ponder what you are learning for them. Even though it's hard in the moment, the result will be better than we could ever imagine. We become so much more with our Savior's help than we could on our own.
Mahal ko kayo!!!
Sister Holmes

Monday, December 23, 2013

December pictures


 Christmas Zone Conference Sister Holmes and Sister Ginancial- She looks like a 5'4 Giant!
 Possibly the best Donuts on earth place?
 I thought Callie was pale skinned =)
 On her way to one of the areas they go to
 Local area
 A view from the loft.  I am thinking they had sink problems.
 Cant turn this around.... Side view of finishing Jesus the Christ. =)
The Christmas Miracle- Two months to read Jesus the Christ 
Improvised Christmas tree

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Maligayang Pasko!!

First off Merry Christmas Adam!! (Because Adam comes before Eve!) The time is literally flying and I hear that it just gets faster so I don't know how I feel about that! I had a lot of really good experiences this week.

First off, last week during personal study I was able to finish the book of Mormon again. I LOVE the Book of Mormon. It really does help us now today. I definitely see that. Anyway. After I finished I just really felt like I should read Joseph Smith's testimony. I felt like I had never really read it, so I should. Later that night, one of our recent converts had a question about where the gold plates were and unless I had read Joseph Smith's testimony, there is no way I would've remembered. And at the time, I didnt realize that reading it was a prompting from the Spirit, but it definitely was. Wow. 

We also found a new investigator this week, Sister Kris! She's super nice. Her husband is a member and they are expecting their first child in a couple of months. She really has a lot of potential, but we will see where things go. We found her a one of the neighborhoods that we don't usually visit, Gawad Kalinga. It's a colorful little place. I like it there. I really do love all of our areas. In Northville, there's this bakery and it literally has the best donuts in the world. Yum. 

Anyway. This week was also our ward Christmas Party. Let's just say Filipinos know how to throw a good ward party. The different auxiliaries performed different dances and some of the neighborhood areas. Sooo funny.  Then we ate SO MUCH food. And it was all sooo good. One of the members got a plate for me, and literally it was bending in half there was so much food. And I really do like a majority of the food here (and dad, you'll be happy to know I had tuna this week and I even liked it). That's not to say I haven't eaten weird things, because that has happened, but I like a lot of what I eat. Also during the ward Christmas, the bishopric was just throwing candy at everyone. So that was way sweet. (Haaa get it?)

This week we also had a multi-zone Christmas conference so I was able to see a lot of my friends from the MTC! And we even had fake snow. Lots of fun performances from the different zones, and as always, really good food! We also had a zone activity today where we played volleyball and had a barbecue at a member's house! :) 

Another highlight of the week..... I FINISHED JESUS THE CHRIST. Literally, Christmas miracle. It's such a wonderful book about the life of our Savior. As I have been pondering about its overall message, I decided for me, it's that He lives! yes, He died and He died for us, but He is also living for us now. He is a man, but He is much more than that. If we will let Him work miracles in our lives, we will see them, if we have the faith. Christ performed many miracles while He was here on the Earth, but the biggest miracle of all is the miracle of the Atonement... that there is a way for us to become clean and perfect in Him so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven. There are two main parts to the Atonement, there is the redemptive and cleansing part, but there is also a strengthening and enabling part. I can say that I've really learned for myself that power and strength that is available to all through the Atonement. December is a month of miracles! Let His biggest miracle work in your life! 

Mahal na mahal ko kayo lahat!! 
Maligayang Pasko!! 

xoxo Sister Holmes

Monday, December 16, 2013

Adobo, pancit, mango, them all

This week has been so good!! I'm so so happy about all the things that are going on in our area! The thing is though... is sometimes I kind of feel like a celebrity here. Every body is always staring, especially in our furthest area because there aren't many forgieners there. But all the little kids know how to say "what's your name" in English so I hear that quite a bit. There was one cute girl who literally just came up in front of my and was just staring up at me and smiling. Her mom came out of the house and asked if we were Mormons. We found out that she was a less active and she stopped going to church shortly after the missionaries who baptized her left the area. All she could remember was her favorite hymn was Count Your Blessings. So we just whipped out our hymnbooks and sang her the first verse. Right in the middle of the street. And we all know how confident I am in my singing abilities. But there's something about being a missionary that makes things that you wouldn't normally do easier. 
We are having a really difficult time finding new investigators to teach. We have four ares now! (Technically, we have more, but we are currently visiting four. We just visit the safe ones.) There are Fiesta, Xevera (said like Savera), Northville, and Casmor. I don't really know how big they are because we haven't really visited all the parts of it, but it takes a good twenty minutes to walk to some of the further houses in Northville and Xevera. I'll try and get some pictures so you can see what they are like.
 We really technically only have about four investigators right now. We found someone who we might be able to teach this week, Nanay Rita. She's maybe n her 60s and even complicated my very bad Tagalog. (not necessarily bad, but just konti lang.) We are also teaching Sister Christina, and her two kids,  Albert and Christie. But the Brother doesn't want them to join. :( 
And we have Nanay Edith, who will be visiting family until the second week of January.  So we won't be able to teach her. And potentially we have Sister Rose, she's 20 as well! And she's living with a member. So that's really exciting. And of course we regularly teach all of our wonderful recent converts!! 
 When we OYM, my new job is to introduce us and the name of the Church and we were talking to a lady, and her jaw dropped a little when I started speaking Tagalog. But then she was just smiling. :) Yay. 
Anyway, I can really understand a lot of Tagalog, but the speaking part.... not so much. Patience though. That's the number one thing that I am learning right now. 
But I'm really loving the Philippines. I'm so so grateful that I am here. And a lot of times I think it would just be so much easier to be English speaking, but I know this is what I need to be doing and it brings me so much comfort and strength. Also, in case you are wondering what my favorite Filipino food is.. I don't know because there are too many! but I really have found some favorites... Adobo, pancit, mango, and mamon! Yum. 
Well I love you all! The Church is true!! :) 
xoxo Sister Holmes!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

 A ring ( I think to hold her CTR ring on)
 A Typical Meal at the MTC-YUM
 Idaho Elders in the Helaman District
 Birthdays at the MTC CAKE!
Amazing Sisters!

Variety of pictures

 Elder and Sister Jackson MTC Teachers
 Heleman District- Trainers
Room in Mabalacat 
 The Kitchen
Front Room area

Jeepney Perfection!

Soooo my new p-day is monday!! Yayy. I'm assigned in the Mabalacat area just north of Angeles city. It's considered a city area. My nanay (it means mom, but it's the word we use for trainer) is Sister Ganancial (like financial, but with a g). She's from Iloilo and had been out for almost ten months. Shes an amazing teacher and an even better person and missionary. :) We have a lot of fun together. Yesterday I taught her how to say cray (instead of crazy) and she taught me spag strap (spaghetti strap.) Soo exciting. We are over three nieghborhoods... I guess that's what you would call them. One thing that I have come to realize besides the fact that I know literally no Tagalog, is that missionary work is hard. But I have honestly have never felt so happy in my entire life. It's so fulfilling. The bishop and all the members are just amazing!!! And I can honestly say I'm never hungry because they feed us so well. The weirdest thing I've tried so far was some shrimp paste, and let's just say I don't recommend it :) :)
Well the Philippines. It's so hot, but we have fans in our rooms to keep us cool. My new favortie thing though is when we ride the jeepneys and now I'm brave enough to say bayad po and para po all on my own. When you ride a jeepney, you pay by saying bayad po and passing your money toward the driver. Don't worry though, it's perfectly safe when he gets your change as he is driving. :) And para po is just when you want to stop. I'm a pro at jeepney riding if nothing else. We dont do a whole lot of walking because it is too dangerous in the city areas. We mostly just have been teaching a lot of recent converts and less actives. We have a few investigators, but the hardest thing is that a lot of them have husbands that dont want them to join the church. Sad face. 
I don't really know what else to except I love eating rice for every meal every day. 
Oh man. Also I wish all of you could come visit a mall in the Philippines. They're insane. 
Well mahal ko kayo!!!
xoxo, Sister Holmes

Sunday, December 8, 2013

New experiences/ Mission President Welcome

Sister Holmes left the MTC.  We have not heard from her yet,  We are thinking her P-Day has changed.  Hopefully soon we will get an email.  We ended up getting a couple pictures from the Mission President.

Sister Holmes and her New Kasama. 
President and Sister Martino

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Goodbye MTC Hello Angeles

This week was absolutely incredible. I am so so happy and GRATEFUL to be here in the Philippines MTC!! This is such a wonderful place. I'm grateful I have been able to have natvie speakers as my teachers, to adjust to the weather, and the food before heading out into the field. Speaking of which, I head out to the mission home on Wednesday bright and early!! :) Sooo exciting. This week we had another proselyting activity. We were supposed to do the same thing as last time where we went with some in-field missionaries to their appointments, pero Quezon City mission cancelled (which had never happened before). We were all a little bummed that we weren't able to go proselyting, but most of teachers live in the same ward just 15 minutes from the MTC. So they split us up into groups and we went street contacting!! It was so scary, especially because we didn't really have anyone that with us who knew the language. We made the record for the most referrals in that mission. But it's not about the numbers, it's about the lives of the people that we contacted. All those numbers are lives that can be changed for good through the gospel. Sister Nielson and I went to a laundromat and taught a lesson the the owner and his wife. Very scary, but it turned out pretty well despite the fact that I've been studying Tagalog for only a month. We ended up talking to lots of people, placing a couple of Book of Mormons, but I really feel like at least 2 or 3 of the people we talked to could be ready to accept the gospel. It was a really coll experience, but I had to rely so much on the Lord. That's one lesson missionary work had taught me- on our own we are nothing, but with the Lord, we can do anything. (See Alma 26:12) Other than that, the MTC has been the same old thing. Last night, our teacher was sick though and we had a substitute, and she ended up being the ivestigator that we were supposed to teach as well, but it was hard because we weren't expecting to have to teach another first lesson. So we kind of went in there not prepared with anything, but it's amazing how well it went anyway. There are so many little things that make me smile everyday and I'm so grateful for my district, for my kasama, and just for everything I have been blessed with in my life. I don't know why or how I got so blessed to be a part of this work at this time, but I'm grateful for the experiences I am having! Mahal ko kayo! :) :) Sister Holmes

Friday, November 22, 2013

Maraming Adventures

Dear Anyone and Everyone :)
 Oh man This week has been absolutely incredible. The time is just flying by faster than what I know what to do with. (PS my grammar is just going to be bad. So instead of at least knowing one language well, I'm bad at two). On Friday, I ran into Elder Josh Johnson, who was in my Youth Making a Difference group. It was a miracle I ran into him. We were both in the distribution center here and he was being re-assigned the next morning. But he was talking about the language and it just helped me feel a lot better. It was really nice to see a familiar face. Another elder in our district asked me how I was doing with the language, and I said, well I'm doing okay. And he said don't worry. The language will find you, the language will hunt you down, and the language will say "I'm HERE!" Which was funny, pero it also helped me realize that I shouldn't expect myself to be amazing at Tagalog yet, but that it will come over time. And the little I do know, I know a lot. :) Another little blessing was that we taught former investigator last Saturday. They are volunteers that come in to be taught by missionaries. We were teaching the Restoration and guess what?! I said it all in Tagalog even! :) what. I didn't even know I could do that. And now, for the most exciting part... proselyting. We went to a zone in the Manila mission, and basically went on splits. My temporary kasama was Sister T'oa from Tonga. She had only been in the field for three months, and her tagalog was really good. Sister Marila, my teacher, came with us though just in case .Basically I just bore my testimony.  We first taught a nine year old, CJ about the Holy Ghost. I think he just got baptized but had to wait until this Sunday to get confirmed. Then we taught another lady and her friend about the Restoration (couldn't remember the Tagalog then. Seriously the language they were speaking was NOT Tagalog). Apparently, she was a member, but never went and literally doesn't understand anything about the Church because when she was converted, she only agreed because she liked the missionaries. Sad, but I guess it's pretty common. Anyway, it was a very humbling experience. They were very crowded in their houses, but they seem content with their lives. Plus we got to ride a jeepney, so that was real exciting. When someone new gets in, they pay and they say "bayad po" so that you will pass the money up to the driver. But my kasama said, many service opportunites. :) Anyway, I love the Philippines. I love the people, and I love you all! :)
 xoxo-Sister Callie

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Miracles in the storm

It's amazing how many good things can from such a bad thing. As you probably know, all of the missionaries from the Tacloban mission are here at the Manila MTC. We never really see them because they stay in the temple patron housing next door, but they eat meals here. they will all be reassigned to missions around Manila, possibly Angeles. On tuesday night, when the first wave of them were arriving, we were asked if we could donate some of our clothes because all of them had only the clothes that we were wearing. Don't be mad mom, but I ended up donating a couple skirts a dress and a few shirts. Sometimes we see them wearing the clothes we donated and it's cool. But we went to take our clothes down to where they were collecting them and there was SO MUCH stuff. I was amazed and as we were coming up the stairs there was a line of elders carrying the donations and singing called to serve. Just thinking about it now touches my heart. This gospel is so incredible. The support we can find in it is so incredible. We were able to hear some of the stories. One elder we were talking to said that he was trying to cut a whole in the roof of his house because the water was rising too fast and the machete slipped and it cut him all the way across his fingers, and two of his middle fingers wont move anymore. there was some elders who had to hold a kitchen table up for three hours to keep their roof from collapsing on them. There are so many stories of all the horrible things they saw and experienced, and I expected them to be so tired and exhausted and drained emotionally, and physically. But you know what? they were still smiling. What amazing examples. It was a wake up call for me. I'm progressing how I should be with Tagalog,but I can't help but feel like I'm not doing enough and not learning fast enough, and it has been somewhat of a challenge for me. But seeing these missionaries still smiling after what they had gone through made me realize that I should be thankful for the trials that I do have. Anyway, on to the next matter of business. As language training missionaries, we do a proselyting activity twice before we leave. Can we talk about how nervous I am because our first one is on Wednesday and I don't even know Tagalog. Excuse me while I go throw up. I'm so so nervous. But I've heard good things about it, and besides I will have a kasama who has been out in the field for awhile. I cant wait to tell you all about it though! Our investigators are progressing well. I don't remember how much I have told you about them, but there is Sister Janeth and Brother Rodney. Brother Rodney has a word of wisdom problem, but wants to be baptized so he can be a better father to his children. Sister Janeth also likes our church and feels like it's true, but her mom is very against the church and she wants to maintain a relationship with her mom. Both hard situations. But Sister Nielson and I are getting very good at teaching more by the Spirit than by relying on our wonderful little tagalog cheat books.. :) Anyway, I love the MTC and I'm doing well. I miss you all SO MUCH and mahal ko kayo!
PS Letters take 3 weeks to get there.  If you are writing Callie send the letters for now to the mission home. Callie although positive, needs a bit of uplift and letters would be appreciated.  She mentioned how thankful she is for the love and support from so many. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm Alive and Well!

They are letting spend a couple minutes during our language study time to email home and just let you know that I'm doing okay. The storm was really horrible in the Southern Philippines, but all that we hear is what our teachers tell us. My teacher Sister Marila has family that she cant get in contact with because there is no power, so it's really hard for a lot of people. PLEASE keep the people of the Philippines in your prayers. Keep the missionaries serving in those areas in your prayers. Pray that those who have lost their loved ones will someday find comfort in the Plan of Salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm so grateful I have the gospel, and I'm grateful I have such an amazing and supportive family. It's amazing how the needs of my investigator are my needs. We all can e more converted, araw-araw.

I want to share my simple testimony in Tagalog.Alam ko po na mahalaga po ang mga pamilya at ang ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo. Alam ko po na totoo po ang Aklat ni Mormon. Buhay po and Diyos at si Jesucristo. Alam ko po na mahal po tayo ng Diyos. Alam ko po na tinutulungan po ng Diyos and Kayang mga anak dito sa mundo at will help Kanyang mga anak dito sa Philippines.

Mahal ko kayo!!
Sister Holmes  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Helamen District.
 They celebrate birthdays every two weeks....This means Pizza and Spaghetti Dinners!  She was pretty excited she said despite what the picture looked like.
President and Sister Beck. Sister Gonzalaz,, Sister J, Sister Neilson and Sister Holmes outside the MTC

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm not the Baby at the MTC anymore! :)

Dear darling everyone,

It's official. My district is not the baby batch anymore! A new batch came in today. I haven't really got the chance to meet them. We've been very busy today with all of our P-day things. It's amazing, you wouldn't think that P-day would be so scheduled, but it totally is, down to the hour. But at least I get everything that I need to done.

Let's see, well we eat fish about every other day. I'm not gonna lie, I'm struggling a little bit with it. There was some fried squid that I wasn't brave enough to try yet. But they feed us really well. We usually have rice, some tye of vegetable dish, and then some kind of meat. Then usually a fuit or dessert and soup/salad! Lots of options. I really like most of it.So this typhoon business. I guess it is hitting the south the worst, but here at the MTC it has just been really rainy all day. I'm thinking it will probably rain some more, but basically for us it means that it's extra humid. Please keep the people and missionaries in the Philippines in your prayers. They are the sweetest people in the whole entire world. All the Filipino missionaries here are always so kind. No fail they say hi and ask you how you are when you pass them.

we've been teaching a couple different investigators while we've been here. AKA our teachers. We also had a less active to teach, which was super difficult. My Tagalog is coming along, but I need all the help I can get. We are learning so much, I just wish I could remember it all. One of the coolest thing that happened to me this week was when we were teaching our investigator, I felt prompted to share an experience with him. I couldn't really say it in Tagalog, but I did my best and the Spirit was so strong. I think he could feel it as well, and he was able to open up to us, which really helps us to better understand their needs so that we can teach them a meaningful lesson.

My district is so funny. We are just like a little Helaman family. We tease each other a lot and have lots of fun. Elder Paea and Elder Loto'aniu are so funny. Elder Loto'aniu will always high five or grab Elder Paea's shoulders and Elder Paea will always some up with something like " I swear on my journals name (on this computer, on my dog's name, etc) if you ever touch me again, i will give you a big........ NGITI (smile)." It kills me every single time. So funny.

But basically, most of our day we are in the classroom, and every night we teach an investigator. It's a lot of work, but I have never grown more in my entire life.Know that I'm missing and thinking of you!

Mahal ko kayo!!! :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

 Sister Holmes and her Roommates

 Sister Holmes and Sister Gonzalez
Sister Holmes and Sister Nielson, her companion
Week one Down, Five to go....

This week has been so very busy and I hope I can fit in everything that I want to say! :) First of all, in case you were wondering, it is so hard to sleep on the planes. The flight was long, but I got a good chunk of the way through Jesus the Christ (hear that, Aunt Kris?) Anyway, we finally got to Manila and we "slept" at this little hotel right there. We left early the next morning for the MTC and now we are here! My companion is cute Sister Nielson. She is 21 and she's from Cane Beds, Arizona, which is just over the Utah border. She is super sweet and has an amazing singing voice. We have lots of fun, but don't worry, we are getting a lot of work done.
We are in the Helaman District here in the MTC, and we are the only sisters in our district. There is Elder Jensen (District leader) and his companion Elder Loy, Elder Callister and Elder Bartel (both from Idaho), and Elder Lotoaniu and Elder Paia from Tonga. I absolutely love our district. Everyone is so spiritually in tune and we just help each other out.
Let's see, you'll be proud to know that I have definitely tried shrimp (on the plane) and some fish stuff here at the MTC. We have fish about two or three times a week from what I hear. We really do eat rice for every meal, even breakfast. But the food is pretty good and I'm eating well. The mango here by the way is absolutely the best!! We had just plain mango today and a couple days ago we had mango tapioca, yum.
Anyway, we have two teachers, Sister Marila and Brother Comenta (I think). But only Sister Marila has been teaching us this week, because we have been teaching Borther Comenta as an investigator, Brother Kevin. Our second day here, we ended up teaching a lesson in Tagalog. But we really weren't able to teach that much because we hardly knew anything. We taught him five times this week, and it actually went really well. The language is hard, but I'm learning a lot. I can't believe that we have learned as much as we have in just one week. Magaling!
You are probably wondering about my dear friend, Sister Poki Gonzalez from Oakcrest! She is my roommate, although we are in separate districts. Its been wonderful to have her here and has definitely helped me a lot not to feel as homesick. But we are so busy and focus on the work, so that helps a lot too.
On Tuesday night, we got to meet Elder Neil L. Anderson from the Quorum of the Twelve. He came and shook everyone's hands and talked to everyone at the Philippines MTC. He talked a lot about being patient with ourselves and it was like he was speaking right to me. I learning really well, but I keep wanting to lkearn more and probably faster than I should, so it was like he was speaking right to me. So I need to keep reminding myself of that, but I think it's also a good reminder for everyone. Be patient with yourself. Things will work out. The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect, He only expects us to do our best.
We have gym time everyday, and I have now discovered my new favorite sport is badminton. It is SO much fun. We either do that, play ping pong, or I watch Sister Nielson play basketball. I'm really enjoying the Philippines MTC, I feel like I am learning a lot more than I would if I were in Provo. AND there is even this stuff that is kind of like chocolate milk. But not really. But close. It's actually kind of gross, but it works. About every other day, we get to have soft serve ice cream so that makes up for it. I will try to send as many pictures as I can but I can only take picture for about half an hour a week, just on P days. This Morning, we were able to go to the Manila temple, its absolutely beautiful!! I love the celestial room, and it's so small, about 20 people or less per session. But it's fun.
Anyway, I love you all and I miss you!
Sister Holmes

Friday, October 25, 2013

 Just outside the MTC in Manila.  The new missionaries wait to enter. This brings us comfort knowing we see plenty of suitcases. I  Love seeing this army of missionaries. You can also see the Manila Temple in the background. Absolutely beautiful.
 This kind sweet man.  Brother Santos works for the church in the Philippines, Aunt Lavon who communicates with him for work, mentioned to him that  Sister Holmes was going to be entering the MTC this day.  Came to greet her.  How sweet and kind of him.
This young man is Brother Santos nephew.  He was also entering the MTC today. Brother Santos brought Sister Holmes some beautiful roses to greet her.  From this picture also we find that Sister Holmes has not lost her passport (WOOHOOO!!!) and she knows we love her.  ( She is wearing a necklace we gave her) These pictures made my day!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A whole new Firsts... Oct 24,2013
We just received word from Callie.  Thought we would share it with you.
Well, it's been an exciting journey of firsts! First time in the Philippines, first cold shower, and first missionary experience actually as a missionary (In the McDonald's at the Detroit airport!!) We are able to write a short message and let you know that we made it safely, FINALLY. It was the longest flight of my life. We stayed at this hotel last night and then woke up really early this morning to arrive on time at the MTC. My P-day is Thursday, so I will probably get to write a longer e-mail then. Manila reminds me of India kind of, so I love that! Anyways I love all of you and am so excited to share my experiences with you!!
Sister Holmes

Sunday, October 20, 2013

And So It Begins..

It's crazy to me that in just a couple of days, I will be in Philippines! I feel like I have had to wait forever and now it's finally here! Don't ask me how nervous I am though because I will probably throw up on you (sorry, was that too much?).

I guess it never hurts to write a little something about myself. Right? 
Well the biggest question I have gotten besides "are you excited to eat dog?" is why I decided to serve a mission. I think about the age of 16 I decided that I was going to go on a mission if the timing was right. When the age announcement came out that I was able to serve when I was 19, I was excited, but I was also conflicted.
 If you know anything about me, you know I like to have a plan. And at that moment, my plan was to finish school, get my degree, and then go on a mission. I would be 21 when I finished and everything would work out perfectly. So at first I thought, well sisters can still go when they are 21 right? I'll just stick with my plan and everything will be perfect! Nope.  
So I signed up for housing for fall semester with some friends. Well, the time to register for fall classes came around and my schedule would just not work out and I was getting so frustrated. I wasn't terribly excited about the place I was living and I just felt kind of stuck.
 And then it dawned on me, I wasn't feeling great about my plans because those are the plans that I had for myself. I should have realized sooner that the Lord's timing is perfect, while mine is not. And maybe I had to experience that to realize that I need to trust more fully in the plan that Heavenly Father has for me, because it is far better than anything I have planned for myself. I may not know exactly why I got called to the Philippines Angeles Mission, but I am sure that over the next 18 months, I will find out. 
It's amazing all the little things that have made me feel like I'm supposed to go to the Philippines. So many tender mercies for me. I was so excited to have a camper this summer (I worked at Oakcrest LDS Girls Camp) who had a dad from the Philippines! She taught me a few phrases in Tagalog. It was a blessing and continues to be a blessing to have another counselor from Oakcrest with the same mission call as me. She is a wonderful person and such a spiritual strength to me. I love that Floresa Thruston is from an area in my mission! I loved talking to her about the Philippines and she even made me a Filipino meal! Yum. No dog even ;) Many different experiences have helped me to know that I am supposed to go to the Philippines. That's where the Lord needs me, and I am beyond happy to serve there. 

Here is the address for the mission home and also some instructions for pouch mail! I would not be offended if you wrote me or sent me a package. I will do my best to reply! :) 

Mission Office Address: (this is also where you send packages!)
Sister Callie Marie Holmes
Philippines Angeles Mission
F. Tanedo Street
Barangay San Nicholas
Tarlac City, Tarlac 2300
(Include phone number if you are mailing a package)
Phone: 63 045-491-0587

OR: You can use pouch mail!! Exciting stuff. 
Pouch mail leaves Church Headquarters every Friday. Only postcards or one page correspondences written on one side of the page can be sent.
 Instructions: Lay the letter blank side down. Fold into thirds and secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends. In the top left corner write your name and complete address. Attach postage in top right corner and address as follows:
Sister Callie Marie Holmes
Philippines Angeles Mission
POB 30150

Salt Lake City UT 84130-0150