Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Choosing this path-as difficult as it was-has made all the difference." ~Robert Frost

Bueno. I didn't ever think this time would come.  Where this life is coming to an end and a new unknown life is not so far in the future.  Waking up every morning at 6:30 running around to try and wake myself up and clear my head...preparing myself for another day of the unexpected.  (PS literally every morning!)  I only have one more week of that but Hermana Holland doesn't really believe that haha!  Yesterday was my last testimony meeting and it opened my eyes to the reality of what is happening and the family I have developed here.

As I bore my testimony for the last time I was looking out and felt so at these people mean the world to me.  Serving people really does make you Love them.  I feel more than blessed...Heavenly Father has been so good to me.  Yesterday, one of the Hermanas who was baptized in December got up and bore her testimony for the first time. (The Mexican version of Mom :)) Her Sister shared her testimony as well and how grateful she is that her Sister is now here with her at church and soon...there families will be there with them. 

Another one of the woman baptized in December also shared her testimony for the first time.  I remember when we sat on her couch the first time she had been to church and seen a testimony meeting, she told do these people know these things?  How do they sometimes cry?  "I just can't see myself ever doing that."  As she bore her testimony yesterday, with a tear rolling down her cheek, she said, " I know that this church is true.  I can feel it in my heart."  That is what this is all about.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ changes people.  It has changed me even though I sometimes have a hard time seeing that.  I know that I trust Him more than I ever did before.  I know how important it is to listen to what the spirit is telling you to do...the gut feeling...what you just know you have to do. 

A little boy who was baptized last summer with all his brothers was at church and passed the sacrament!

I have worked my heart out these last 9 months here in El Paso, and the Lord has made things happen in ways I never thought possible.  The English ward we are working for along with the Spanish is now getting its own set of missionaries due to the success they have had and the increased member involvement.  It is an incredible thing! 

After church I received a call from a man I hardly know.  He seemed quiet and emotional and I couldn't figure out why he was calling.  He just wanted to say goodbye and thank me for the work I had done in the ward.  Moments like that make me realize this is what it is all about.  Service.  Service brings the greatest joy anyone could ever ask for.  Something a lot of these Mexicanos have figured out.  The coolest family ever I have just fallen in love with...we stopped in on them as they were frying fish.  Like the whole fish eyeballs included.  After sharing our message they invited us to join them.  They threw the whole thing on the plate and some tortillas on the table and there we went enjoying some of the best fish and bones I ever had....this family has practically nothing.  Most of the family just came from Juarez.  They cook and heat their home with a wood burning stove and have no sink.  They all sleep in one room and their kitchen is in the other.  That night they weren't expecting us so they had to go run out for some more fish for the rest of the family.  But they wanted to show their love and trust by feeding us.  We must of really showed how much we loved it because they got together with their neighbors to do another fish fry off outside on Sat and invited us to come.  haha...and sent us home with chile rellenos to top it off.  These people with practically nothing just love to give.  And now I know why.  Because it brings the Spirit of Christ into their home and family...and it makes them happy.  The father told us about how this last week he came home with an agua in hand instead of a beer.  Little Karina came with us across town to a baptism.  She wants to be baptized!  All in the Lord's time.  There is an incredible work happening here and I know it is all in the hands of the Lord.

I can't thank you all enough for your love and support.  It means the world to me.  I don't know how I got so lucky to have such incredible family and friends and to have opportunity in my life.  Mom and Dad more than anything I thank you for teaching me the simple principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ since I was little.  It has made all the difference.  I know the Savior lives.  I know that even though I am not perfect He still loves me.  And I know that our family will be together forever.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the gift that keeps giving and I can't wait to discover its healing power more in my life.  I struggle every day and will continue to struggle every day, but I don't doubt that the Lord is right there with me through it all because in reality He is.  He knows how it feels and He loves me.  I know Jesus Christ has and is healing the hearts of the few I've had the opportunity to know and grown to love like hermanas y hermanos.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Church of Jesus Christ.  He is at the head.  His Priesthood was restored to the earth by a Prophet.  I know that. 

The way is simple.  It is Jesus Christ.

Los quiero mucho.  Se que esta obra es real y se que ha cambiado mi vida y las suyas también.  Se que el señor nos puede sanar.  No hay otro camino que conduce a la vida eterna.  Y la meta mí la vida eterna con mi familia.  Se que por vivir los principios sencillos del evangelio de Jesucristo lo podemos lograr.

Seguire adelante...y perserverare hasta el fin.

Con mucho amor la ultima vez de Horizon City, TX~

La Hermana Rachael Holland   

Attached is Rosy and her daughter (the one who bore her testimony yesterday for the 1st time)  that was after a day of El Paso dust storms which our out of control...try it in a skirt.  Hilarious!  So looking a little dirty but thats ok.

And the beautiful El Paso sunsets.

Hasta Luego.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Milagros en el Servicio del Senor

Familia mia! Ojala que esten bien~ yo estoy muy bien :)  Dios nos esta bendiciendo muchisimo.

This week has been INCREDIBLE! all started Tuesday.  We were sitting in the church teaching a lesson to a young couple and Obispo came over and said there are 3 families who he wants us to teach...asked if we could come meet them.  We went to his office to find 3 woman each from a different family.  The next day we visited them and were able to get to know them a little better....and the story unfolds. 

Irma.  She is a single mother of 2 young kids.  Her husband died in Juarez 4-5 years ago.  She hasn't ever been religous, her Sister is Mormon but not active in the church.  We were planning on sharing with her the message of the Restoration.  As we started talking to her I felt like we needed to teach the Plan of Salvation.  They didn't know how they could live with their Dad/Husband again.  A spark of hope entered into Irma's eyes as we told her about the possibility of eternal families.  The Plan God has for families is unbelievable.  It just makes sense.  This woman has so much faith but does not know where to direct it.  That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does so simply and shows us how to direct our faith. To ACT and then feel and see the blessings in our lives.

Barbarita.  She lives in a tiny little trailor.  When you walk in you feel a little like your inside a tiny little Mexican cottage.  We shared with her our message alongside a recent convert which reinforced in me the importance of having a member teaching with you.  Someone who can relate in life experience as a single mother and also in formerly being a member of another faith. 

Jazmine.  A mother who just lost her work.  She never has been religious and her Children know hardly anything about God.  She wants to learn.  She listens every moment she has that is not interupted by one of her young boys making some annoying noise or asking her for something.  

The other day we had a talk to every single person in our path.  This has been a goal I've had my whole mission.  However, this day we literally talked to EVERYONE in our path.  That includes crashing man pachangas(fiestas).  It turned out to be quite the successful day.  We were driving to visit someone I saw a trailor on the corner out of the corner of my eye with a young Mom standing int he door frame holding her baby.  Something called my attention.  STOP!  So we got out walked over and introduced ourselves.  Christina.  A struggling mother of 4...with a husband who drinks a lot and isn't to keen on discussing religion (He let us know that very clearly).  I remember as I promised her that his would bless her family I remember her saying something like, I know I need it.

We also found ourselves putting on a little show for a group of kids on the dirt lot of a family fixing up their trailer to make it livelable.  Tons of kids were out playing including Jose the young boy baptized in December...we got them all together and were teaching them how to pray.  Hna Coles is AWESOME with kids.  She has a bag full of games, puzzles, name it.  By the time we were done there was a big group of kids sitting in the dirt listening and laughing.  One of those priceless moments you never ever want to forget.

La familia Chavez.  A new family who lives in a half-finished house on the lot of a member.  We've taught this family a few times this week and yesterday the whole family showed up to Stake Conference!  Getting the head of the household to offer a kneeling prayer can be quite the challenge.  The other night I asked the father to say the prayer before we left.  He tried to act like he was to shy...he couldn't do it.  But as we asked sincerely he said he would.  He kneeled down with his family and probably for the first time in a really long time or ever who knows...he offered an incredible prayer for his family.  It was so cool.   

Most people when we ask them to pray after a lesson either try to make one of their kids do it, or just say I'll do it next time..I'll pray later.  2 Ne 32: 8-9 WORKS.  Read it.  It got a man with a 666 tattoo on his eyebrow who NEVER prayed out loud before to say a prayer in front of us and his wife!  That was a miracle in itself if I ever saw one :)  

I know God is blessing the work here in Horizon beyond what I thought possible a couple of weeks ago.  Really good things are happening.  When you keep working hard even when it seems rough but you keep going...miracles happen. 

Our mission has been reading the Book of Mormon beginning to end highlighting the attributes, words, doctrine and names of Christ.  He is truly on every page.  The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  I know that is true.  I know Christ lives and by reading this testament of Him here in the American continent I have learned more about the Savior.  It is amazing how many times the people in the Book of Mormon forget the Lord and begin to rely on themselves.  But the Lord is always there to lift them up again.  He asks simple things...Repent and come unto me.  The Book of Mormon is teaching me how to become a Disciple of Christ...a process that will continue the rest of my life.  But I know this is all something so special.  I know that if people read and pray with the intention to know and obey whatever answer is given.  He will give it in His way and in His time.  Read it.  Por favor.  Hna Coles always says...everyone has at least 60 seconds a day to read 1 verse :)

So much more has happened and I don't have time to explain it all but...just know.  The Lord is in charge here.  And that is the most comforting thing in the world.

Yo se que yo estoy tratando de enfocarme bien en lo que es importante.  La caridad nunca ha tenido mas significado para mi. 
La caridad es amor. Jesucristo es amor y entonces...nadie puede llegar a ser como Jesucristo sin la caridad.  Esta leccion es una que voy a llevar conmigo toda mi vida.  En el servicio de los demas...podemos encontrar nostros mismos y entender el proposito del porque del Evangelio de Jesucristo.

Los quiero mucho!
Gracias por todo que hacen.

Hermana Holland

Soy Discipulo de Jesucristo

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." ~3 Ne 5:13

Que significa ser discipulo de Cristo?  Yesterday I gave a talk on how my perspective of Missionary work has changed.  It was interesting to think back to the beginning of all this, when I worked so hard and felt so weak.  That part hasn't changed.  I still work hard and I still feel weak but the difference is the weakness isn't debilitating like it used to be because I am learning how to rely on Jesus Christ.  I still have a lot to learn but i've come to realize that I am a lot quicker to give it to the Lord than I used to be.  It is so cool.  It is a miracle.  It is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  My perspective on Missionary work has changed dramatically.  I've come to realize how important this work is to Heavenly Father.  If it is that important to Him and I really do love Him, than I have to help Him the very best that I can. The true test of that will be when I no longer have my badge and I have the demands of life weighing on me again.  As I examined the course of my mission from the beginning I realized the key ingredient to success in this work has been the support and involvement of the members.  As soon as my focus changed to how could I get them could I get a member or recent convert out with us at every lesson...that is when the work began to change and people truly started to come unto Christ.  It is interesting that sometimes the lessons we teach touch the member who is with us more than the investigator we are there to teach.  But the Lord has a way of doing everything a lot better than we do so learning to become an instrument in His hands has been my goal.

This week we found lots of new investigators.  Vanessa.  19/20 year old mother of 3 boys.  Como? no se...pero se que ella tiene mucha responsabilidad y es tan joven.  Erik and Jennifer.  19 year old couple about to have their first baby.  No work.  No direction.  Trying to help them all see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will give them hope as a family.  We are teaching a young man with crazy tattoos all over his face and neck..incluso a 666 above his eyebrow.  He hasn't fully opened up about his past but it seems there was some pretty dark stuff involved.  He said he go those tattoos to see how people would react to him.  If they would judge him.  But there are consequences for every decision...because now he is trying to get a job...and that makes it a little hard.  The lesson of~every decision has consequences has rung clear throughout my entire mission.  I don't know how I got so lucky to be taught since chiquita...the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of bad decisions.  More than anything, knowing that through Jesus Christ there are always 2nd chances and He is SO willing to help when making important decisions.  

By the way I had one of the best Valentine's Days of MY LIFE!  Feliz dia de san valentin!!! En serio.  We found the cutest less-active family...seriously a treasure.  They live in this little farm town that is part of the Elder's area.  A member sent us over there.  It is this little Chilean lady and her Mexican husband.  She got in an accident that left her with back and neck problems so she can't work or do much..but she is an incredible cook and has a heart of gold.  She makes and sells tamales and sweet bread that is oh so delicious and never fails to send us with some sort of incredible baked good.  When we arrived for dinner on valentine's day we were just planning on getting to know them.  As we got to the door La hermana met us and said holding the close your eyes and step up.  She guided us in and as I entered I could smell the scent of burning candles.  She had set up the cutest candlelight dinner for us.  With Chilean empenadas and un pastel de fresas...Strawberry cake.  Next to each of our plates was a valentines day card.  It was the sweetest thing!  Plus she is planning to move back to Chile and says I can come stay with her :)  Totally taking her up on that if it happens.  Anyways they came to church on Sunday also for the first time ever since I've been here that I know of!!  I love these people so much.  They are my family of El Paso.  No quiero dejarles.

Se que el señor nos bendice en maneras que no puedo explicar.  El ser un discípulo de Cristo no es fácil...probablamente la cosa mas difícil he hecho en mi vida.  Pero se que es lo mas importante.  Para llegar a ser como Jesucristo en este mundo no es fácil.  Pero nos da lo mas gozo que existe.  Los quiero mucho a todos.  Abuelo gracias por tu carta.  Tu siempre has sido un gran ejemplo de un discípulo de Cristo.  Voy a seguir tratando de seguir este ejemplo toda mi vida.  

Ps..this photo is back with Hna Wagner of la Hna Favela..she makes the most incredible pan(bread) every week for the Sacrament...she also sells empenadas de calabazas with her bread and likes to give them to us free.  She is a gem.  Love her so much.  Sorry Holls don't have any more recent photos but you know how much I love old is one of my favorites of Horizon.

Los quiero MUCHO!

Hermana Holland

Monday, February 13, 2012

Las Oraciones son Contestadas

Buenas tardes!  Esta semana ha sido interesante.  We have officially entered dust storm season here in El Paso I believe I am going to need some goggles to see my way through at some point.  That is what they say at least...we will see.  It is pretty nasty!  Quick story~ the other day we were visiting a member and referral out in the middle of NOWHERE.  They live in a trailor with a big property with horses and tons of tierra(dirt).  So when we got there there was so much wind it turned into a bit of a sand storm.  As we were trying to get out of the truck without being slammed back companion who is seriously HILARIOUS starts making her way through the dust  to the door and yells~ LIKE REAL MISSIONARIES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was laughing so hard I could hardly keep going.  You know me..random things make me laugh. hard. 

As for the people here...still as amazing as ever.  We are trying to get things going again here in Horizon so this week we focused A LOT on finding!  The most exciting part.  So we had a couple days where our apointments all fell through and no one was home...and the wind was real bad.  But once again the Lord came through in the end.  When we got to the ward party that night one of the members had brought her sister who is not a member even though her kids have been baptized.  We became friends right away.  But this is an interesting family.  The Mother only speaks Spanish but the kids like English better so she takes them to the English ward.  So the poor Mom has come to church faithfully for many years not understanding hardly anything!  What a trooper.  She knows how crucial it is for her daughters all being teenagers.  So this woman's sister doesn't speak English either but came to the English Ward with her Sister.  So I had the honors of being her translator.  We had a blast.  I think she will get baptized even though I don't know her all that well yet.  She is a lot of fun.  It really works praying and fasting that Heavenly Father will bring those who are prepared to listen to church.  It is super cool.  So that was the miracle of the week.  And it came after much hard work and rejection.  We had 2 investigators who we went back to teach with a member, and before we could really say anything they told us they did not believe in the Book of Mormon and they gave it back to us.  But funny how this week I also have gained a stronger testimony than I ever have had of the Book of Mormon.  I feel like my whole life and especially my whole mission I have looked for that one time answer where you KNOW the Book of Mormon is true... putting Moroni's promise to the test...that when you read the Book of Mormon sincerely and ask God in the name of Jesus Christ if these things are true he will tell you through the power of the Holy Ghost.  So I've asked many times and what always entered my mind was "ya sabes" You already know...I would think back to the many times i've just opened the Book of Mormon and started to read finding answers to my prayers.  Continual acts of faith build my testimony a little bit at a time.  Then the other night our leaders asked us to put this promise to the test and pray as long and as hard as we needed to get an answer if the Book of Mormon is true or not.  So I did it the other night and it was like the accumulation of all the studying praying testifying and teaching came into one simple clear thought and answer.  That is what it is all about.  God answers in his own time, in his own way, and after we have done all we can do.  Small acts of faith lead to a perfect knowledge...and that knowledge comes from God.  God lives and He does answer our prayers.

Yo se que el senor nos ha dado muchas bendiciones y mucha ayuda para que podamos vivir una vida feliz.  No importa quien somos todos nostros podemos sentir el amor del senor.  Como dice la escritura 1 Nefi 21:14-16 Una madre no puede olvidar de sus hijos tal como nuestro Padre Celestial nunca va a olvidar de sus hijos aqui en la tierra.  Se que las promesas del senor se van a cumplir.  

Can I just say...the members here are incredible.  Just now a young dad and his daughter dropped by to pick up a Book of Mormon to give to a man he met this afternoon.  I am learning so much from these people and I hope to be missionaries like them for the rest of my life.  If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is on your mind all won't be able to keep from sharing it with someone! :) 

I love you all so much.  Happy Valentines Day!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Holland

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nuevas Aventuras

Buenas tardes.  Aquí estoy de nuevo escribiéndoles de los milagros de la semana.  Había muchos.  Primeramente quisiera hablar de mi nueva companera.  Hermanita Coles.  She is from Washington D.C. and was studying at BYU-I.  She has just been here 3 months or so.  We had a great week.  She is incredible.  You know what, she reminds me a little bit of Grandpa Goertzen.  Always positive, ready to go, always happy...I am so grateful.  

I am coming to realize what a blessing it is to stay in this area for so long.   I have seen incredible things.  Recent Converts getting their patriarchal blessings.  New members coming out and teaching with us~suddenly switching roles.  We had a really cool experience this weekend.  We went to teach a woman who is going through Breast Cancer treatment very similar to what Mom had...and she happens to be in the middle of building a new house!  We took with us Rebecca who was just baptized in Dec...and let me tell you for someone who didn't like to have any strangers in her house...that was a big step to come out and do visits with us.  So, this woman we were visiting opened the door.  Her face red from the radiation her eyebrows and eye lashes gone with a scarf around her head...I could just see my Mom.  We went in and began to talk to her...get to know her and this woman amazed me.  She has so much faith.  The Lord gives us trials because he trusts we can handle them and he knows they will make us stronger.  I am seeing that over and over again.  As we talked to this woman it brought back a flood of memories...she talked about how there is a time for everything.  How she is beginning to recognize the blessings of having to go through this trial. I was reminded of what Mom always said about how much stronger our family became and how she stopped worrying so much about the little things and started focusing on the important things.  I also remember my own personal reliance on the Savior during that time.  I remember praying that his will would be done and that our family would be at peace.  I remember how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ helped me and us as a family...I hope as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays she will see it from that perspective.  It was amazing to have sitting by my side while teaching a woman who just 2 months ago was in the investigators shoes..and to see how she has changed through faith in Jesus Christ.  This work is absolutely incredible.

The elders in our wards had 2 baptisms this week and we helped put them on.  I am coming to realize that part of my mission has been using my singing voice.  I used to be afraid to sing as Mom knows..jaja.  Now we pull off a song after practicing maybe once if there is time.  I miss having companions that like to sing.  Our District leader is a good singer so we've been keeping the musical numbers going.  During the baptism of a young couple on Sat we sang by request Be Still My Soul...right after Claudia was baptized.  We stood by to hand her her towel as she came out of the baptismal font and she just stood there with her towel tears coming down her face almost speechless.  She couldn't explain how she felt~she was so happy.  She said, that song was so beautiful, I've never felt like this before...something like..this is the best feeling.  Music brings the spirit.  It opens hearts.  It is a gift.  Also, one of our investigators came to the baptism...MIRACLE!

I have been reading the Book of Mormon highlighting the attributes and names of Christ and it is really cool...the whole book is about Christ and full of his name.  Specifically as a district we are focusing on virtue and most recently knowledge.  Virtue is power.  Knowledge helps develop virtue.  I've been reading in Helaman and it talks about how a life centered on Christ will keep us from falling when problems and trials come.  It also talks about how we should pray for strength from the Lord so that we can come off conqueror.  I was promised somewhere in the beginning of this long journey that if I trusted the Lord I would come off Conqueror with my Savior at my side.  That promise is being fulfilled.  I can see it.  I see the changes in those around me and myself through Jesus Christ.  A lesson I will hold on to forever.

Se que el señor me esta ensenando y fortaleciendo cada día.  El me esta ayudando en cada momento.  Tengo tanto que hacer y no tengo mucho tiempo...entonces hasta luego :)  

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Holland

Monday, January 30, 2012

Milagros que Vienen Del Senor

Hoy es la empieza de mi ultimo traslado.  Mañana voy a recibir una nueva companera y todavía no se quien es.  Entiende Mama???!

So mi querida familia como están?  It has been another beautiful week here in Horizon.  Teaching up a storm in the dusty, tumble weed filled streets of El Paso.  I would just like to tell you about my new best friends... 

 Trinidad and her incredible daughters.  So Wednesday we were driving to visit an investigator way out in the "aguas" when a member called us.  I picked up and she said she had a friend at her house who needed some help and was interested in learning more.  I told her we would be right there.  We turned around and headed over.  We arrived at her home to find a young mother with somewhat of a desperate look on her face and her two young boys.  By the way this is all in I am on my own.  I asked her what was wrong.  She sort of started to cry and tell us her husband was taken by immigration in December and she is doing all she can to find work, but cannot.  She has 6 children and is having trouble supporting them.  Her friend had told her about Hna Carillo (the member who called) so she decided to just show up at her door and see if she could help her.  I just love it when that happens.  Those who are prepared just fall right into your lap sometimes...and that teaches me over and over, this is the Lord's work.  I found myself talking to her purely about Jesus Christ and his love for His Gospel had been restored and how the Book of Mormon can help her find peace.  The next day we arrived at her house to find her reading the Book of Mormon.  She explained how she just felt the need to go to Church not really knowing why.  Then the few days before church all the distractions and added stress set in.  One night we arrived to find Trinidad making a HUGE pile of Chile Rellenos to sell.  We invited her girls to New Beginnings the Young Womans Program.  All three came and were so cute....there something special about this family.   You can just tell when you walk into their house.

Remember Hermana Batchkoff.  When she started her Mission here she found and taught a woman named Lucy who was pretty close to getting baptized...I had gone back with Hna Wagner to see her and after that visit we lost contact.  But every time we would pass by I would just feel like we needed to go see her again.  There was just something about it hanging on in my mind.  So we walked over there this week and had a talk with her.  I was completely honest....You are probably wondering why in the world we are here.  Honestly, I don't even know, all I know is you've been on my mind and I've felt like we should come by.  She was like...Well I am really glad you did.  I've been thinking about you too.  She is so lost and confused right now...She needs this.  But she is afraid of the changes she will have to make I think...we will see what we can do.  She is probably the sweetest lady i've ever met.  An accountant...which makes it even better!

I found out I am staying here in Horizon to finish out my mission.  It feels like I have a family here now.  As I reflect back.  There have just been so many miracles and so many changed lives.  There have been many frustrations and concerns.  But every experience is refining.  I feel a little like a mission is a cycle of breaking one down and building him or her back up even stronger. It is a matter of figuring out how to stop thinking about yourself.  As soon as I started to figure that out, I started to be happy and figure out who I really was.  This transfer has made it a little hard to not go backwards in that aspect but I have done my best to stay focused or shall I say compartmentalize...and just be positive.  The Lord truly has a plan for everything especially in His work.  

Se que hay milliones de personas que pasamos todos los dias y quisiera hablar con todos sobre este mensaje de felicidad.  Este traslado quiero enfocarme en como yo puedo tener mas caridad.  Como yo puedo mostrarla.  Siento el amor de Dios hacia todos.  Eso es un don de mi Padre Celestial.  Se que el Senor nos ama y nos quiere dar otra oportunidad todos los dias.  Y es posible solo por la expiacion de Jesucristo.  Hay familias aqui que siempre estan dispuestas al ayudar.  Son ejemplos para mi.  Quiero llegar a ser como ellos un dia.  Si el Senor y su evangelio es central en mi vida eso es lo que lograremos.  

Les quiero mucho.  Que tengan una buena semana!

Hermana Holland

Monday, January 23, 2012

Arriba y Abajo

Sige adelante. Las palabras que trato de repetir en mi mente. This week was what encompasses a missionary's experience.  The highest of highs and the lowest of lows...all in the same day.

Miracle of the week...the Bergener family.  Two little boys I've been teaching since I got here this summer have been ready to get baptized for so long.  This week their family became a part of it.  After the father returned from Iraq we had heard he was the reason the family wasn't coming to church.  We were wrong.  Right when he got back from Iraq I remember asking him what his thoughts were about all of this.  He said he supported the boys but he didn't want to discuss his beliefs or views because he didn't want to change what his boys believed.  We left it at that and kept visiting them until it became clear it was a matter of the family supporting these boys and bringing them to church.  We left it alone for a couple months.  This transfer we found ourselves by their house and decided to stop by.  We set up another time to come by with Bishop so the Mom's brother a recovering alcoholic could get a blessing.  One of the Elders happened to be there and during the lesson thought of a quote by Winston Churchill, wrote it down and left it with the Dad.  

The quote reads, " To every man there comes that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talents.  What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which could be his finest hour." ~Winston Churchill

 Ever since then we have seen a huge change in this family but mostly the Dad.  He made sure everyone came to church.  He welcomed us and thanked us every time we stopped by...he started participating in the lessons and showing a huge support to his boys in learning and understanding about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  At the boys baptism on Saturday he stood and bore his testimony.  He shared how he didn't believe he had a testimony.  He had fallen away from what he grew up being taught.  Until he returned from his deployment and saw that the boys were answering questions he didn't even know himself.  He began to learn with the boys.  He talked about how now he has found his testimony, and his new goal is to prepare himself to enter the temple and be sealed to his family.  Hna Gomez had come from her area to see the baptism and while he was talking I remember just looking over to her with my jaw practically dropped.  Is he really saying this....this!!  And after all that we had pull it together and seeing the infamous ukalele number "I am a Child of God."  It was probably one of the coolest baptisms I have ever seen.  Another family changed in the Lord's time.  

That same day we stopped by a recent convert who we hadn't been able to contact in a while.  She was offended and frustrated with the people, and told us that is why she isn't going to church.  It broke my heart to see her going backwards after she had climbed out of so much bad stuff.  She was so happy.  It is the simple transition from relying on yourself to learning how to rely on the Lord and give the burden to him.  She is beginning to rely on herself again...I find myself moving that direction sometimes and have to stop it.  It broke my heart to hear and say that.  But I cannot force anything or choose for someone.  I am learning sometimes all you can do is let someone know you love them and you are there for them.  Help them remember what is important.  Talk about ups and downs in one day.

One day this week Maricela a recent convert from this summer came out to do some visits with us.  It was incredible how each person we taught was prepared to hear the testimony of Maricela, a single mother who was living in a little room with her mother and 2 children for 3 years.  Found the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Began to live it...and saw a huge flood of blessings.  The first woman we taught was an older Pentecostal lady.  Maricela was Pentecostal before she was baptized.  She shared with her how the Restored Gospel has blessed her life, and changed her life.  The lady in the beginning was somewhat negative about our message and kept redirecting everything to the Bible trying to discredit The Book of Mormon as Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  Maricela bore her testimony like I had never heard before.  She felt it, she knew it.  It was so cool to see this woman who once was in the investigators shoes bearing testimony sincerely with us of the truthfulness of what we were teaching.  It was a joy I cannot explain that comes from doing the Lord's work.  I commented to Maricela how much her testimony has grown since the beginning...and she said, you know what...It is because I actually started reading.  I don't like to read.  But I do it.  And it makes a difference.

Rosie Olivas another recent convert from just a couple of months ago received her Patriarchal Blessing last night...these people are doing incredible things.  They are learning in ways they never have before.  Understanding the simplicity and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And so am I.

I know the Savior lives.  I know without a doubt this is His work.  I know I make many mistakes but His work still gets accomplished because I am doing my very best.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through a Prophet.  I love to teach about the Restoration.  It makes sense.  It answers questions.  It changes lives.

Se que el Senor vive.  Se que estamos haciendo su obra.  Se que yo tengo muchas debilidades pero mi Padre Celestial todavia me ama lo mismo.  Nunca voy a olvidar los milagros he visto aqui en que hay mucha gente que nos esta esperando.  Por eso...yo sigo adelante.  Estoy aqui  para para ser amada.

Les quiero MUCHO!
Hermana Holland