Sunday, March 30, 2014

Snow's not so bad after all

Okay. So I'm officially going to say I miss the snow. IT IS SO HOT HERE. Literally, I feel like dying sometimes. It wouldn't be bad if there was AirCon (Air conditioning), but there's definitely not any. Only at the Church. Do you think they would mind if I moved in there? Sister Hamor always jokes that my husband will be really handsome because I don't use an umbrella when I walk. Here, they use umbrellas in the sun, and so it's just like a joke in the mission or something.
Anyway, probably the reason it's so hot is because our work is on fire!! We are finding lots of new people to teach, and sometimes, even if they don't progress, we never know the seeds we are planting. There's quite a few that we have that definitely have a lot of potential, and even if it's not their time yet, I know that someday it will be. There's not any specific amazing experiences from this week, but it was just a the little moments that made this week so good. I guess that's the way life is. Yes, there are big moments that are happy, but the little things are really what makes continuing worth it.
One good thing about this week is I think I'm finally used to the cold showers... but now that I think about it, it is probably just because it's hot. But before I would literally hyperventilate the whole time. Well... they were quick showers that's for sure.
This week we found out our oven actually works. So bummer I didn't take advantage of that sooner. But we did make brownies and they tasted kind of good.... so that was good :)
Anyway, I know this is kind of short, but I'm so excited to see what's in store as transfers are coming up! :)
I love you all!!!
Sister Holmes

Monday, March 24, 2014

"AWAKE You sleeping Giant of Mablacat!"

Ang bilis yung oras! I can't believe almost five months already! I'm so grateful for all the support that has been shown to me, my family- parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc :) and friends. I read all the letters you send me all the time, and even if I can't reply back, I'm so grateful for the time you put into them. So one big thank you to all of you.

I have a lot of adventures here in the Philippines. It's really different from America and so different things happen. 

First of all we hiked a huge mountain/volcano thing today so that was cool. I kind of feel like my legs are going to fall off. It was literally vertical and a way good work out. It was super fun though and so beautiful. I'm grateful to be in such a beautiful country!

Another thing is that chastisement is a regular part of the sacrament meetings here. Which is fine because they do it lovingly and I think it's important for us to improve, but sometimes it's hard not to laugh. For example, this week one of the members of the bishopric was talking about this area will split if the attendance is regularly high. And he was like "AWAKE,  YOU SLEEPING GIANT OF MABALACAT!" And it woke up all the old people. And it was really funny :) 

We also had an investigator and we taught her about the plan of salvation. We got to the part about where we go after we die. We told her about each kingdom, the Celestial and how that's where we can live with our families forever, the Terrestrial Kingdom, where good people go who don't receive the gospel, and the Telestial for the wicked people. We asked her where she wanted to go and she launched into this story about how this is her second life and in a dream she had in between her two lives, she knew she would go to the Telestial Kingdom.... So we didn't really know what to do. We emphasized it was a choice based on her actions, but she's pretty set on the Telestial Kingdom. 

Our work is good. We found an investigator this week. I taught her once before when I was new in the mission, but she wasn't really interested. We were able to teach her again and she said that she feels that she is ready and this is the plan God has for her life at this time. She prayed and broke down and said that when she prayed she felt that first the first time Heavenly Father was listening. She's one of the people Heavenly Father was getting ready, but it taught me we need to be patient. 

Anyway, mahal ko kayong lahat! :) Salamat sa mga halimbawa nyo sa akin! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

3-17-14 Pictures


Don't Worry mom I am fine now?!!!!!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! They don't have that here... but probably I will eat some corned beef later. That's pretty much super normal here though. Let's see....
Okay so we taught this one investigator and her kids. But her kids had probably all of their friends over when we taught them. Which I was scared for because I thought they were going to be way noisy, but they listened so that was good. 

So then, Sunday comes around and we get to the church and bishop tells us, "Well, you have some people here." And we go upstairs to the sacrament hall.... and there are EIGHT children waiting for us. Let's just say it was probably the most stressful sacrament of my whole life. Because I was trying to dissolve small fights about who got to sit next to me and over the hymn books. 

I learned to lessons here. The children here are so cute! (Sometimes they're bad though), but the biggest thing I learned was about becoming like little children. If all of us good be as teachable and as humble as all these little kids are, life would be a whole lot better. They have so much trust and so much love. So as stressful as it was, I'm grateful for my experience. 
Afterwards one of them said, "Should we be baptized in this church?" and it was comforting to know that I could say with complete faith that they should. And it's not just because I am a missionary or a member, it's because I have seen it bless my life and my family's life. I know that there is absolutely nothing on earth that can bring us more happiness.

So I had another interesting experience this week... (Don't worry mom...I'm fine now). On Thursday, we went to zone conference and I was doing great. I was so excited to see other missionaries and learn from President. Afterwards, on the way home, I felt so so sick. I got home, took my temperature, and I had a pretty bad fever. I would say I was pretty much out of it. But the wonderful things about Filipinos is how absolutely caring and wonderful they are. Sister Hamor and Sister Cayman took such good care of me! I'm grateful to be in a country where the people have so wonderful hearts... and I was better in no time! 

Anyway... I love you all. I'm grateful for each of you back at home!!! :) 
Sister Holmes

Sunday, March 9, 2014

At Home away from home.

This week was so good! I can't believe how fast the time is going. I'm really starting to feel at home in the Philippines. Of course, I still have a long ways to go with the language and with my teaching skills, but I'm grateful that I was assigned here in this mission.

This past week, we had one day where a lot of the people that we teach, less actives and recent converts went to a stake activity. Appointment after appointment, no one was home. I began to feel discouraged and like I didn't know where else we could try. We tried a further area, and one of the investigators we have wasn't home as well. So, in a desperate attempt, we decided to visit a potential investigator, someone we had OYMed just a few days before. They willingly accepted us in to our home, and I felt the Spirit so strongly during the lesson. From this experience I leaned that sometimes we have to try everything and sometimes Heavenly Father allows  us to feel disappointment in order for us to really appreciate the good times and the true joy that comes from missionary work. It reminded me of the scripture in Ether that says "ye receive
 no witness until after the trial of your faith."

I'm so grateful for all the ways I'm growing here on my mission. I am not the same person I was when I left. I realized that before I had a strong testimony, but here on my mission I am truly becoming converted, and I'm learning to act on the things that I believe. As I have been here, I have never learned more about the Savior and the role He plays in my life. He is truly the reason for everything and I'm grateful for my opportunity to learn something new about Him everyday.
I love you all!
Sister Holmes

Sunday, March 2, 2014

1st Transfer- Drum Roll please

Soooo.... Drum roll please! We had transfers this week! I have a cute, cute new companion, Sister Hamor! She's been here in the mission for six months. She's super happy all the time, really friendly, and super fun! We've been working hard the past couple of days, so we are excited to see the miracles the Lord has in store for us. She doesn't really speak English... which is fine because I usually understand what she is saying. Mostly... but it will be really good for my Tagalog I'm sure.
As for Sister Ganancial, I miss her, but I'm so excited for her! She is now a Sister Training Leader in Cabanatuan (I'm not sure how to spell that...)! I sure am blessed I had a great trainer. :)
It's been interesting being in charge of the area... I'm literally the only one on the whole planet that knows this part of the Lord's vineyard and so it's a lot of pressure sometimes. Especially if we get punted... I sometimes don't know where to go but it's helping me to learn to rely on the Spirit. And of course, Sister Hamor is just great at helping me.
Ahh. So one thing that I don't really like is that I stick out SO much here. So we were walking through Northville and there's this kid on a bike. And he's kind of swerving back and forth right? All of the sudden, he sees me, does a double take..... and crashes into the wall. I was trying not to laugh because it was hilarious. Sometimes I just wish i could fit in. Although some people have asked if I'm half Filipino. Sister Hamor said I could look Filipino because my nose isn't as pointy as most Americans...? Which I guess is true.
But the work is happy here in Mabalacat! I have learned so much and I know that we are never alone! :)
Love you all!
Sister Holmes

Mission President letter First transfer

Dear Brother and Sister Holmes:
Recently, your daughter, Sister Callie Marie Holmes, was appointed to serve as a Senior Companion in the Philippines Angeles Mission. Accordingly, we wanted to extend our gratitude to you for sending such a wonderful young woman to our mission.  Sister Holmes is a great asset to us because of her obedience and dedication to the work.
Thank you for raising Sister Holmes to be the kind of young woman she is.  You can be proud of her and the work that she is doing here.