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