Week 57: Happy Halloween & the Promise of the Atonement

It was a busy week -- Not sure where it went.

So many wonderful things happen in a weeks time. I always find it challenging to wrap it up.

We had three exchanges this week. So out of 5 proselyting days I was with my companion 2 days. For district meeting and also weekly planning. It is so funny... we barley work together if seems like. But Sister Castelo is the best supportive companion I could ask for. She takes great care of me and is so patient with me. It was Sister Castelo's 21st birthday on Thursday  and I decorated very spontaneously for her cause that's all I could do. It was an awesome birthday though. 

Monday we taught FHE at the YSA ward and it was super awesome. We showed the Bible Video of Jesus Christ and the Rich Young Ruler and talked about "What Lack I Yet?" and What can we sacrifice in our lives in order to fully follow our Savior? And Can we do it? 

Tuesday we had a wonderful lesson with G and M who are recent converts. They are wonderful and I dearly love them. We are started the Book of Mormon over with them... I don't know if I have already told you that. 

Wednesday I was on exchanges with Hermana D and it was awesome! Almost everyone answered their doors and we talked to soooo many people. It was awesome! We got a return appointment with a former and passed off some investigators we had. We think that they would learn better with Spanish speaking missionaries. Even though I had no idea what they were saying I felt the Spirit so strong that they were prepared. And They were!! 

Thursday I was on an exchange with Sister Crane! My old/last companion. It was so fun to be with her again. She has grown and changed so much just in the last 5 weeks! I couldn't believe it was actually her! I was a proud momma that day! We got to teach a lady named Dorthoy. She is very old and probably didn't remember a word we taught her but it felt good so thats awesome!! She also showed us her rock collection and we each got to take a couple rocks home so we would remember her. How sweet huh?? 

Friday we had our ward halloween party! Halloween is a VERY serious holiday up here in the desert of California. They had this crazy huge party with a haunted house and everything in  some rooms in the church. This thing was crazy, it didn't even look like the church once you walked in. There were soooo many projectors and it looked like a ride at Disneyland (the line was big enough to be hahaha.) We got to cut in line since we were late for exchanges. So they let us pass through. #fastpass #missionaryperks

Saturday I was on another exchange with Sister Carter! She is a wonderful sister and we were able to do so much that day. We met so many people as well...  Hopefully some seeds were planted!! 

Sunday was full of meetings. I don't know if I have mentioned how much church we have but for your information I am at church from 7 am to 4 pm. It is wild. But i actually love it.

Church was wonderful. So many good inspiring talks. We had a wonderful discussion of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the last hour of YSA ward. The main point that we often miss sometimes is that the Atonement isn't just for healing or forgiveness. The Atonement provides us the strength we need to be able to heal and to be forgiven. Or even the strength we need to be able to ASK for forgiveness. We should never be afraid to ask or confess. Our Heavenly Father is loving. He would never reject us. He wants us to find peace and joy here on earth. Why would he reject us or be mad at us for our mistakes? Why would He send down His Only Begotten Son for us if he was just going to reject us in the end? NO. Jesus Christ's life would be pointless if that was the case. 

I promise you all that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can provide the strength, the courage, the willingness to be able to CHANGE! To be able to repent and turn our lives for the better. I am a walking example of that change that my Savior Jesus Christ provided for me. I know it works and I know it is real. And we would be foolish to not partake of that gift every single day. 

I love the work of the Lord and the trust He has in me to be here! This work is changing me every single day!! 

Stay safe and Happy Halloween!! 
Sister Holt 

Exchanges with the Hermana's -- Sister D  (curly hair) is from New Caledonia

Exchanges with Sister Crane and Wagner! Met @ Frozen Yogurt to
celebrate Sister Castelo's birthday! 

Exchange with Sister Carter


Week 56: Good Week & Good Words

AND it is Monday again.....  

Last Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with a part member family that we have been working with. R is catholic and his wife is an inactive member. They really have a desire to know truth and they want it for their family. R agrees with all of the beliefs and doctrines of the gospel. Except in Catholicism they believe in the Trinity. That will be the one thing he will have a hard time letting go of but it is possible. We were able to teach the restoration of the gospel on Tuesday and discussed the Book of Mormon and the first vision of Joseph Smith. Basically it all comes down to.... either it happened or it didn't happen. Really? YES! And we can know. If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith is a prophet called upon by God and Jesus Christ and if that is true then the First Vision is an actual event where we are revealed that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate glorified beings. 

Wednesday we collected our friends from the YSA and went out scouting out all the YSA - it was fun! Stuff is finally getting organized for us in this ward and we are taking it and running with it. It's fun! 

Thursday I was on exchanges with Sister Pierce. She is from Utah and is just darling. Her favorite thing about being a missionary is testifying. She loves being able to have opportunities every day to testify of Heavenly Fathers love. We had a fun day together to be able to get to know each other and serve together. Something that I learned from her was that obedience to the  morning schedule provides the opportunity for us to gain the companionship of the Spirit and if we have the spirit we will be able to teach with power and authority. The morning schedule for a missionary is very sacred time. It is inspired! (FYI I have always followed the schedule... but the Spirit teaches us and expounds on the things we already know when we teach them to others) 

Saturday I was on another exchange with Hermana Quiroz. I was in the spanish area. It was so fun even though I had no idea what people were saying. Languages are amazing to me. It was their Halloween party for the primary kids and oh my goodness Latinos go ALL OUT!!! Everyone was head to toe costumes and the rooms were decorated floor to ceiling. Like we were in a whole new world... like Disneyland. SO AMAZING! Yes they brought the Sister Missionaries costumes to wear. I made Hermana wear the more embarrassing one... lol  She looked better as Cleopatra anyways... cause I'm too white for that. So I was Princess Fiona from Shrek. LOL!

Anyways - we had an amazing lesson that night with a family that wants to come back to church. We read the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar with them and talked about who Jesus Christ is to us. They all said Strength and I think that is so true. He is our strength!! Without Him coming to earth and taking upon himself the pains of the flesh, he would not know how to strengthen or heal us. HOW grateful are we? I was grateful for the opportunity I had to bear my testimony of who Jesus Christ is for me and all that I see him doing in my life. It was a powerful moment for me. He is more than just a name to me. He is truly my best friend and my SAVIOR. My life-saver if you will. 

Recently, I have been pondering a thought... I feel like we either as members or non members we "water-down" all of the tools and the blessings we receive from God. And by water down I mean take for granted. Let me explain... 

There are certain phrases we say on a day to day basis like... "God loves you" or "Jesus Christ's Atonement", or "Charity is the pure love of Christ." But do we really understand, comprehend, or value those words. If I really dig deeper and think about what does it means FOR ME that "God loves me" -- it can heal and cure so much confusion, heart ache, and stress. We have to change our perspectives to an eternal perspective. When we are thinking temporally... these phrases just sounds like words... in one ear and out the other and they don't leave us satisfied or healed. 

It is sad to go around and try to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people and the minute they hear the words, church, teach, or Jesus Christ. It is an automatic , "No". Why is that??
Because everything in this world has been "watered-down"  and God and Jesus Christ have been taken out of  our priorities. 

Lets get back to the basics and the pure foundation of allllll this! Let us not overlook the simple wonders we speak of. Let us be conscious of the words we use and let us use them with the most respect, love, and value. 

I am trying! That is all he asks of us. Is to try!! How wonderful!? :) 

xoxo Keep safe and warm! 
Sister Holt 

Apple Valley

Halloween Party --- I am Princess Fiona from Shrek!

As Sisters in Zion -- :-)


Week 55: What you are willing to sacrifice?

Hola Buenos Dias!  

This week was awesome!! I am so happy everyday. 

This Tuesday we had zone meeting. Sister Castelo and I were asked to give a training on Asking Direct Questions and Promising Blessings. We related these two topics back to the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew Chapter 19. The ruler asks Jesus how he can gain eternal life. Jesus replies and says, "Keep all the commandments". The ruler replies, " I have already done that all my life, what lack I yet?" And Jesus tells him to sacrifice all that he possess and come and follow Him. And the ruler walked away. 

Are we willing to sacrifice all that we have to follow the Savior? The Lord will always ask us to do something or ask something of us for eternity. Asking questions and promising blessings is an eternal principle. If the Lord was sitting in front of you and asked you to do something.... what would He ask you to do? And would you do it? We know the blessings that are promised. Eternal life with eternal happiness! But are we willing to do what is required to get there? 

We found two new investigators this week. Sister Castelo and I were walking one night trying to find an address we needed for a member in the ward. A car pulled into the drive way  and a bunch of people got out of it. I ran up to them and asked if they knew where the address was that we were looking for but they didn't know where it was... They had recently moved into the area. So we started walking away..... (so stupid I know... I didn't say anything.... so ashamed! I don't know what I was thinking) BUT THE LORD CAME THROUGH! A second later the young man, Ed, said "Are you girls lost?" So we turned around in shame saying, "Yeeeeeeeessssssssssss.!!!!" So he helped us and I pounced on this opportunity to redeem myself. We started getting to know him and talked about his religious upbringing. They recently moved into the neighborhood and haven't been to church in a long time but their family ancestry is a catholic line. We both testified of God's love and shared our purpose as missionaries. We asked him we could come back and teach him. He went and got his mom to ask and she came out to us. We introduced ourselves and bore our testimonies and asked if she would like to learn more about Jesus Christ and she said, "YES!"  We scheduled an appointment to meet with her family this coming Wednesday. They are Hispanic and would prefer spanish. So we have to do a pass off lesson with the Hermana's. But it was such an amazing lesson and moment for me. I had to share! 

I went on two exchanges this week. One with Sister Lamb. She is from Meridian, Idaho!!! WOW COOL!!! She is a sweetie and totally worked at the Cold Stone on the Eagle Rd. My next exchange was on Saturday with Sister Raines. I got to go up to Wrightwood which is a little town up in the mountains that is identical to McCall, Idaho. I was in heaven. The people are wonderful there. I had such a good time! 

I really really really love my Savior, Jesus Christ and I know that He loves me so much. I want to do all that I can to make him happy and spread His wonderful word. It is all because of Him that I can be here doing what I am doing. Just being in the Spirit of His service and His hands changes a person from who they were on their way to becoming to who God has designed us to be. Nothing but gratitude from me. But it is my job to never FORGET what he has done for me and who he is! As I remember that everyday, that is when I can progress. That is why the sacrament is so important. It causes us to REMEMBER and to always have His spirit to be with us. Let us not forget! 

I love you all and I know God and His son, Jesus Christ loves you too. 
We all have such a divine purpose here. 

Sister Holt 

Sister Lamb (from Idaho) and me

Wrightwood, CA

Sister Raines and me


Week 54: One Year and Loving All of It

This week was a whirlwind, as usual, Am I right?! But I loved it! It has officially been one year since I left home as a set a part missionary, representative of Jesus Christ. And I can honestly truly say that it has been the best and most fulfilling year I have lived. I have learned and evolved so much! I am so grateful for this experience. To be where I am and doing what I am doing. I love the work so much and I know that it is the Lord's work. I rely on him more than ever out here in the mission field and it is preparing me to know how to rely on him once I am home. The MTC prepares us for these 2 years or 18 months but these 18 months prepare me for the rest of my life here on earth. All the principles taught and learned from Preach My Gospel are applicable to our life back home. The Lord asks us to give him a crumb and in return we get a whole loaf of bread. HOW INCREDIBLE!?!  

This week I was able to go on two exchanges.  One with my dear Sister Hernandez and with Sister Day. Sister Hernandez was my first greenie that I trained and we got the privledge to be companions for a day once again! It was so much fun to be with her. I learn so much from her and I love teaching and sharing the gospel with her. We have such a good teaching flow! 

On Saturday I was with Sister Day for the day :) She is awesome!! She has a true desire to improve. Sometimes the mission gets hard and sometimes our areas aren't going the way we think they should but learning how to rely on the Lord and find joy in the work is such a huge lesson to learn!! We had a whole day of unanswered doors and I could tell it was very discouraging but right before we could a break to eat some dinner... we went to try a former named Kelly. We walked up and down this street looking for an address that didn't seem to exist. She supposedly lived in an apt #2 so we went to the closest address we could find and chose door #2.  We ended up talking to a guy named Gus. His mother just passed away and he was looking for something to uplift him. We gave him a Restoration pamphlet and he said he would be interested in us coming back to study with him!! HUGE MIRACLE!! The whole  day turned around... The Lord wanted us to endure to the very end and at the end there is was a little piece of gold. Even if it doesn't turn into a baptism for us or them... it was about the principle that the Lord wanted to teach us. And It just feels good to talk to people!! ;) 

We had MLC this week. Which is Missionary Leadership Council. This is where all the sister training leaders and zone leaders meet with President and Sister Taylor and the AP's to discuss our months goals and train on the principles to be taught and learned this month. It was my first time being there and it was amazing!!! So many different times to learn something from the Spirit. This month is about keeping commitments. Something that I took away from the meeting was that we are always going to be asked to do something by God and our Savior. there is always going to be something to be strengthen in ourselves and we strengthen those things by keeping our commitments to them. We learn by showing faith. We learn by taking action!! 

I love serving the Lord!! 
Sister Holt
Sister Herandez and I Reunited  and it Feels so Good.

The Sisters in the Missionary Leadership Training

Flowers that were left on our Doorstep --- So sweet!


Week 53: Busy Area --- Here in the Desert

Let me think..... honestly my brain is mush. I love to be positive and happy about everything but lets be real. This week was THE MOST mentally exhausting week I have had. My prayers are a lot longer lately because I have a lot more to say now. My faith has been tested. I mainly learned that everything doesn't just get better by the flip of a switch. It takes constant and diligent prayer, seeking peace, and studying for answers. The Lord was very gracious because it only took about 3 days for me to feel normal again.  

I am not saying all this negatively at all, but more in gratitude. I am grateful that the Lord puts me in challenging situations for me to stretch myself and to learn the most from my time here. He has put a lot of trust in me as he has brought up so much change for me. SO really just the adjustments were the hard part. BUT I am adjusted now and I am at peace. SO much peace!! It is amazing how the Lord has truly given me the strength that I need and the energy I need that I didn't think I had. Also He has stabilized my emotions so that this peaceful feeling doesn't go away as long as I am doing what I am supposed to. I just can truly feel him with me. It is so real!!

MY companion and I are Whitewashing (that's when two new missionaries are put into an area) two wards.  First, Mojave Narrows = AMAZING WARD. These members know their people and they love their missionaries. We were welcomed with open arms into everyone's home. Plus they were so helpful and gave us information overload to help us out. The ward is teeny tiny; everybody knows everybody - they are all up in each others business. But that is just the way it goes here. I have had two very busy areas in my mission so far but this area tops those two in business by a long shot. The desert just has it going on!!!!!! We have appointments with everyone, everyone wants to talk to the missionaries! It is awesome!! 

Ridgecrest YSA is a different story. YSA = Whoa ! I probably just look like deer in the head lights the whole time at all the activities because being around young people my age as a missionary is just odd to say the least. BUT ALL THE KIDS ARE SO KIND! Seriously they are so cute and so happy. They actually want to be friends with the missionaries and they want to be share the gospel with their friends! It is going to be so fun to serve in this ward. :) 

Sister Castelo and I have 22 sisters that we are over... we cover the entire high desert of sister missionaries so that means we get to travel all over to go on exchanges with them. Wahoo! 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVEDDDDD conference!!! It was amazing. Didn't ya think so?! 
I just felt sooo much LOVE from all the speakers. They truly love us! They want the best for us because our loving Heavenly Father wants the best for us! We must NEVER FORGET where and who we come from. Our Heavenly Heritage. Elder Rasband hit home for me. We have to see the theme that reoccurred this conference. The Restoration and the Plan of Salvation are the basics that we need to go back to. We shouldn't forget those either. So the spiritual experiences we have throughout our lives need to be laid on our foundation for us to go back to. 

I feel so strongly that that wraps up everything we need. We need to REMEMBER what we have in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! 

Thank you for all your support and your love and prayers.

Sister Holt

I promise I will  be better at pictures this week!!! :) 

Sister Castello and I -- new companion

Squash Farm