Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mabalacat prospers

Oh sige. :) I'm so exciteddddd!! We had a lot of good things happen this week. I think one story tops off all my stories so far though.
Let me set this up a little bit though: 
So the truth is... our area is a little bit broken :) When I got here, the work was DEAD. Only two investigators and only two areas that the missionaries were visiting. Now we are visiting five plus areas and have quite a few investigators. So, we were used to our numbers being a bit low (keep in mind, they aren't just numbers to me...these are people!). We have had a really hard time helping our investigators come to church. 
Pero, yesterday.... oh man. Not only did we have one of our recent converts bless the sacrament.... not only did we have the less active I told you about last week sustained as first counselor in the bishopric... but we had FIVE investigators at church. FIVE. the average for us before is just one or two! Oh my. It was literally one of the happiest Sundays of my life. And it was amazing to see everyone sustain the no longer less active brother in the bishopric. And everything was just so amazing!
We found some new investigators that are really promising and I hope to see some baptisms by the end of March! And by hope I mean, I have faith that I will see some baptisms by the end of March. And if not, it's all in the Lord's plan. 
As far as other things are concerned, this week we were teaching one of our other less actives. She has this way cute daughter who is like 2 or 3 maybe. So we are in the middle of praying... and all of the sudden, I feel something wet on my nose, and cute little Ching Wah (nickname haha) is saying... obviously in Tagalog, but this smells good and is literally putting her hand on my nose. Her whole hand. But apparently, she had found Sister Ganancial's hand sanitizer during the prayer. I was trying so hard not to laugh. 
Anyway, I'm so excited to see all the things the Lord has in store for Mabalacat!! :) 
Remember I love you all and I always pray for you back at home! 
Mahal na mahal po kayo! At mahal na mahal po kayo ng ating Ama sa Langit. :) 

Monday, February 17, 2014

PICTURES 2-16-14


BYU PRIDE X2 Sister Rose
 Nap time! So much cooler on the floor!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

1st transfer week coming up

Hello po!! :)
So, next week is tranfsers and I am freaking out a little bit because I'm going to lead the area (which I have basically been doing anyway), but mostly I will just miss my nanay (trainer). But that means this is my last full week with her in Mabalacat! Sad. But I'm excited for a new companion, although I will seriously miss Sister Ganancial. I'm really blessed to have such a good relationship with my trainer. :) 

So, I can see why people say this is one of the happiest times in your life. We have this one less active family that we teach and you can tell that the brother really has such a strong testimony, but they are having a lot of trials. We started teaching them like two months ago and the first time we taught him, Brother said na "Maybe you will be the ones to help me come back to church." And guess what? He came! I felt so much joy. He had a calling extended to him and everything and I know that this will change his family. Sister still has some reservations, but she's close. But it's interesting because we were asking directions from someone in an area different from where this family lives and we asked him if he had met Mormons before and he told us his brother was a member... Guess who? The brother we taught that just returned! So crazy. But the Lord's hand is constantly in the work! 

I have one person to tell you about. Nanay Primitiva. She is 83 years old and she is half paralyzed and is not able to attend church because she lives far. But she loves us coming. She so cute though. We ask her how she is and she will always answer.. basically translated still beautiful. :) But she is an amazing example. She reads from the Book of Mormon for an hour plus every day and she's just amazing. I feel like I learn more from her than she does from us. She has really good English and likes me to teach her in English (relief for me sometimes). One time Sister Ganancial asked her if Tagalog was okay and she told her that she doesn't understand Tagalog. But she's an amazing example and Iearn so much from her. I think one thing we can all learn from her though is that no matter what your circumstance is, no matter what trials you have that you can do good in the world, even if it's just small. 

Anyway, I love you all and I'm grateful for your examples to me!!!
Sister Holmes

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Mablacat Sunset

Summer time is coming

So basically it got really hot this week. Like REALLY hot and I'm a little bit not okay with it. Summer is starting here in the Philippines. I thought I wouldn't miss the snow at all... but it doesn't seem like a bad idea to me right now. My biggest problem is (sorry this is gross) I didn't know I could sweat this much. Seriously it's disgusting. Like, I don't smell bad or anything... at least Sister Ganancial says I don't and I trust her because Filipinos are very honest. For example, one of our recent converts told me I'm getting fatter. (sad face.) Anyway, it wouldn't be bad if we had AirCon, but we don't... All I care about is that I can sleep at night. :) Apparently, this is just the start of summer. When real summer happens, maybe you won't hear from me because I will be melted. :)

Yesterday we had a missionary fireside for the members in our ward to help teach them the importance of the members in our work. We had a guest speaker, and he talked about how the Savior asked Peter if he loved Him, and then told him to feed His sheep. And he raised the question that if Peter failed to do this duty... what would the other Apostles do? They would fail as well. So it's up to the leaders to be the example of missionary work. And I started thinking about what it means to feed sheep. Feeding sheep is not just bringing the gospel to those who have heard it... although that is a very important part of it. Feeding sheep is helping nourish others with the word of God, it's fellowshipping, it's rescuing the one, it's strengthening families. So many things and so many ways for us to help our Savior in His work. But the fireside was super successful. :) Yay for Mabalacat ward! 

This week Sister Rose and I decided to have an American meal!! So we made chicken alfredo and it was probably the best thing I've had ever. Not really... I think I might actually like Filipino food better. :) Plus I eat fresh mangoes for breakfast a few times a week so life really can't get much better. 

As for my Tagalog, ayos lang siya. :) Pangit ang accent ko. Haha. Sometimes I have this problem where I will be thinking, but I feel this need to translate all of my thoughts into really horrible incorrect Tagalog. The grammar is coming along.... But Sister Ganancial said something like "You have to love Tagalog, you have to court her. And if she will sa yes, then you can have her." Super funny, but she really has a point. I need to learn to really love Tagalog. Sometimes I feel like I have a love-hate relationship, where I want to learn it, but I just get frustrated. So ang goal ni Sister Holmes, learn to love, really love Tagalog. 

Anyway, mahal ko kayooo!!! :) Ingat po kayo haa?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Tagalog progress.....

So maybe this week was really good. On Tuesday, we had ten lessons in one day! And maybe I have never been more tired in my life than I was that day. That's soo many lessons. Our normal is maybe six or seven. But it was basically a miracle that all of the people we taught were available. In the Philippines, we don't really set up appointments with people, but we just kind of stop by and hope that they are home, if not, we will have to find someone else to teach. It's good, but sometimes stressful if you have a lot at the same time that aren't available.
I had some really good experiences this week though. I can see that my Tagalog is progressing finally!! We went to a store to look around (hopefully also to OYM) and I bought something and I asked the woman how much it was, and she was literally so shocked that I could speak Tagalog (even if it was so so simple). Most foreigners here (Angeles is famous for foreigners.. it's the Las Vegas of the Philippines) don't bother to learn Tagalog because you could maybe get along... alrightish in English. But it means a lot to them and they are so patient with me, I'm so grateful for the Filipino people- so kind and so hospitable.
There was also a woman who said something to the effect of "wow, an American, I want to get to know her" as we passed and then we turned and OYMed her. There was a group of kids listening to us there and one of the members there asked the children to ask me questions in tagalog. so she asked me what my name was and I told her and asked her what her name was, and they were all so amazed. So cute. And thenn they were trying to get me to speak in English to them, but I told them that I only spoke Tagalog and they were just laughing. So cuteeee :) :)
There were some other kids also that asked me if I was American and I told them that I was Filipino, but I dont think they believed me ;) But they asked me if I was white American... and then when I said no they asked me if I was orange american??? What even is an orange American?
Anyway, the investigators that we have that's super ready to be baptized is moving to Angeles mismo. :( So we won't be able to teach her anymore and I'm pretty sad about it, but Heavenly Father has an individual plan for her, and I need to trust that, and I do. But we have other investigators who are progressing well. I'm especially excited about a mother and daughter that we are teaching, we are REALLY seeing changes in them. It's amazing the change that the gospel can bring in our lives, if we will let it. I've been pondering that a lot lately. The experiences (positive or negative) that we have are opportunities given to us by a very loving Father in Heaven allow us to change, to become more like our Savior. Which should be our goal right?
More than anything, I've learned that He is MY Savior, that He lives, and that He knows what we are going through. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I know that each of CAN become more like Him, and as we do so, we will find increasing peace and happiness in our lives. And even when we make mistakes, those things can be corrected because of Him.
Mahal ko kayo! :) And ingat kayo!!! :)
Love, Sister Mga Tahanan (haha aka homes)