Sunday, July 14, 2013

May 7, 2013


I am doing well today. We went to a place named Mico's and it is a waterfall. They were selling hammocks really cheap so I decided to buy one. Well I guess today has been a day of sovenuir buying because I also bought an obsidian shark tooth looking stone.
 
This past week was pretty hard for me, all of our lessons kept on falling through day after day. But the exciting thing is that we have a baptism this week and it will be the first one that we have and the first in our 2 changes here in the Lomas de Vergel Ward.

Life is pretty awesome as a missionary, the only down side is that I am eating too much and don't have the time I usually had to exercise, and the food here is really good and at times doesn't feel filling untill you've eaten too much. I have learned from my mistakes and am now trying to not become fat, which I guess is my fear that I have on my misión. Other missionaries have said that its just going to happen and that we will have time to get back into shape when we get back home. Hopefully I won't have to but we will see what happens.
 
Sundays are always amazing. This Sunday was fast sunday and one of our investigator's children bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was very powerful. It is amazing how people can change their lives and receive so much power through Christ.
 
I hope everyone is doing well and that everyone is having fun and is staying safe.
 
Keep strong and know He is with you,
 
Love,
 
Elder Holladay

Waterfall at Mico's

Sunset while walking

Thursday, May 2, 2013

April 29, 2013


I am doing very well today. The work is very tiring and sometimes all our plans fall through for the day and we end up walking for hours on end and stopping every so often to teach a quick lesson to members and refilling our water bottles. It is like a party of salvation, literally. :) 

The work in our area is going slowly but surely. The temptations of Satan are very strong when it comes to investigators, because if they falter even the slightest bit they will become confused and start to lose balance as if they are on the small tip of a butter knife. The other hard thing is that at times the members of the church aren't the best examples and are the reason why so many people here have become less active and at times is hard to teach and testify that this is the true church, but this just strenghtens my testimony and want to become a better person and example for others.

The youth in our ward are truly amazing. Elder Dominguez and I are trying to incorporate the youth in our missionary work and they are a blessing to have. One of our investigators has been befriended by one of these youths and is continuing down the path to Eternal Life.

Scripture: 3 Nephi 18 - "Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up..." We need to be worthy to hold up His light for others to see.

I love you and thank you all for your support and love.

Love,

Elder Holladay



I love sunsets for some reason. They remind me of my childhood.

A drawing made by one of the children we are teaching.

April 22, 2013


I am doing fantastic. In the misión we are focusing on less actives with children who aren't baptized yet so that they will come back and bring their children into the fold as well.
 
The people in Mexico are truly amazing and loving, kind, and humble. They are also very patient, especially with me and my Spanish. I can speak well, but sometimes my grammer is off or I have to explain something the long way because I don't know the correct word for it. It's fun stuff. All of our teaching has been very spiritual, but sometimes our investigators forget to do the small and simple things to bring them to Christ, and in return they become confused and don't want to do anything with the church until they receive physical evidence of the correctness. This is sometimes hard to deal with, but every time this happens the spirit testifies and is strong as we explain the doctrine, testify, and make promises with them.

We need to do those things that will strenghten our testimonies, because if we falter even a little we will be barraged with waves of temptation. That is why we need to know how the spirit works in our lives so we can continue to learn and grow spiritually until the seed of faith has grown into the tree of life.

My favorite lesson to teach is the second when we teach about the plan of salvation and our oppurtunity to live with God again. The spirit is also very powerful during the first visión with new investigators.

My clothing is holding up okay. The only reason I have requested some new things around next year is because of a suggestion by other missionaries here. Their shirts became a little bit yellow. I am saving a few shirts, pants, garments and socks for my halfway point.
 
My companion was in the CCM of Mexico and he is truly amazing. He is a hard worker and a rule keeper, which I like.
 
To my friends and extended family: Please feel free to send letters through DearElder.com since I don't have much time on the internet. Thank you!
 
Thanks for everything and have a great week!
 
Love,
 
Elder Holladay
 


Picture of our area.

Sunset while walking.

April 15, 2013


This week has been one of the hardest working and tiring weeks we have had so far. The sun was unrelenting and the shade was sparse. I have earned the nickname of ´´fresa´´ by some of the members because of the sun. The Lord will make it seem hard so that it will be worth it in the end. Our time here is short and we need these trials so we can learn and grow. This week was the best one yet.

Some scriptures I have been reading and taking notes from this week have been from the last chapters of Alma and the first chapters of Helaman.

Notes:
- If we are strict to remember God and do everything He commands us to do we will prosper and be blessed.
- Stand fast for liberty and remind those who have forgotten. Strengthen them in the Lord.
- God does not dwell in unholy temples, we must be obedient and keep all the commandments and we will receive protection and strength.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Holladay



How a pineapple grows.

Sunset in our area.

April 8, 2013


I loved General Conference. My companion, Elder Dominguez, suggested that I write a few personal questions I had, and so I did. They were answered one by one. They also helped me stay focused throughout all the sessions of conference. Maybe the family can try it next time and see what happens.
 
Thank you for your notes you have taken. I have basicly taken notes of the same things with addition to that we need not fear for God is always near, and that we need to be worthy to hold up Christ so that we can be a light unto all in this stormy time with darkness all around.
 
I never go hungry, so I believe I get enough to eat. Here they eat with forks and spoons as well but always have tortillas on the side. Sometimes the people we visit will give us fruit for our journey. For cereals I buy something that is similar to frosted flakes and cheerios; I cut a whole banana up and eat it with my cereal. All cereal is already prepared and boxed and some of the companies, like kelloggs, etc. are here as well. I believe bananas are grown here, as well as many other fruits and vegetables that are sold in the market daily here. 

For study time on preparation days, it depends on what the zone has planned for us. If we are to meet early in the day instead of later in the day, we don't have as much time to study, but we have enough to read a good amount in the Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel.
 
The best place to send me mail is to the mission office because the addresses here are crazy and it is sometimes impossible to find contacts here. If sent to the mission office, the mail will be sent to the zone leader and then to me when they get a chance.
 
The best gospel discussion I had this last week was with my companion when we were teaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it applies to our lives. Faith is not only a belief, it is an action. If we act and want to be better people, we will repent and become more like Christ. In order to become like Christ we need to follow in his footsteps and be baptized. Once we are baptized we will receive the Holy Ghost and have guidance throughout this life. With the Holy Ghost we will test the doctrine and know it is true through our faith, and it is a repeating cycle to endure to the end so we can receive Eternal Life, the greatest gift of God.
 
While reading the scriptures this week I was reading in Alma chapters 44 - 49. The notes I took from them:
-If we call upon God in our trials He will strengthen us. We need to cry upon Him every day so He will be fast to hear our prayers.
-Be like Moroni and raise your Title of Liberty (Beliefs) and stand up for them. Dont be afraid to defend them and never forget the Lord your God.
-Always reapair and rebuild your fortifications against Satan daily (Moroni built and repaired city walls to protect the people from the Laminites) through scripture study and sincire prayer. Be prepared to battle temptations.
 
Keep safe and know that God loves you, and I do as well.
 
Love,
 
Elder Holladay

April 1, 2013


Easter day was amazing. I love Sundays. This Sunday was amazing because Elder Domínguez and I were able to talk to the ward about missionary work and how the members can help us. It is actually better for members to help recent converts because the missionaries will not always be here and lessons without missionaries and giving them assingments so they feel important. Also, I decided I needed to start fasting more for my desires to come to pass, just like Ammon and other missionaries who fasted much and prayed much. When reading in Alma the other day, that after many days of fasting and prayer the Lord answered the prayers of Ammon according to his desires, I desired to do the same.
 
Typical day:
6:30 - Awake & exercise
7:00 - Get Ready -Eat breakfast & boil water for shower. ( Bowl of cereal with banana)
7:30 - Shower
8:00 - Start personal study
9:00 - Start companion study
11:00 - Start language study
12:00 - Leave and start proselyting
2:00 - Lunch break with member
3:00 - Start proselyting again
9:00 - In apartment preparing to report numbers, updating the área book, planning for the next day
9:30 - Report numbers and finish up planning
10:00 - Finish everything, grab something to eat if we have time, prepare for bed and write in our journals
10:30 - Sleep
 
We walk all the time except when we need to go to Tampaya and there is a bus that is going there. If not, we will walk there as well. If we are late for an appoinment or carrying a lot of things that we bought from the store we will take a taxi (at least once a week).

The other week it was about 104° F and it was like a party running in the sunlight and walking in the shade. Also when riding buses it reminds me of when I was a little kid riding the bus to school.
 
As for food, I will attach a picture of some food we learned to make at a members house, but usually we have no time to make food.
 
My most spiritual moment this week was when I was rereading my partriarchial blessing and thinking of some of my friends who were part of the church but have fallen away and that I am here to help the friends of other  people and bringing them back into the fold. Also, whenever I testify of something the Lord always fills my mouth with fluidity and I am able to say the things of my heart.
 
Sincerely,
 
Elder Holladay
 


Food we learned to make at a member's house.

March 25, 2013


This week was an interesting one. Since we went to Tampico for training it took a big chunk out of our schedule for teaching and planning, but I beleive it was worth it.  I am not sure how to explain how or what it was, but essentially it was a meeting of how we can become better missionaries, and if we had any questions we had a chance to ask. Then we reveiw of the misión rules.  I am not sure of the mileage we travelled to get there. Only the new missionaries and their trainers came this time.
 
To update you on where exactly I am, I am in an entirely different state, in San Luis Potosi in Ciudad Valles, and my área is called Lomas de Vergel. We work around Col. Centro and it is the center of our área.
 
And to update you on how I am going to hear Genereal Conference, I am going to go to the church on April 6 & 7 and listen to the conferences there. They have a room set up especially for English speakers, which is nice. My companion, Elder Domínguez, will be joining me because he knows a little English and wants to learn more during Conference.
 
Sounds like everyone is having a great missionary month! The only sisters I have seen here so far have been natives to Mexico. This might change with the increase of missionaries, but I have no idea at this moment.
 
Thank you for your spiritual notes and sending them to me. They make my day brighter.
I would like to share a few experiences I have had in the last week. This week's personal study has taken me through the first 20 chapters in Alma. A few things that have stuck with me and those that I have written down are:
1) Alma 11 - Never deny Christ, especially for worldly gain.
2) Alma 13:28-30 - A good way to endure to the end.
3) Always try more try more than once to touch the hearts of the people you love with the gospel. It will take time.
4) Always stand up for what you believe in, fear God more than Man, God will protect you and/or give you strength.
 
Thank you for the support and the love!
 
I love you and pray for you always, Have a great week!
 
Sincerely,
 
Elder Holladay

March 18, 2013


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GARRETT!!!
We love you and send birthday greetings and lots of hugs!
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Thank you for sending me tips to improve my Spanish. I will try them out.
 
I understand everything being said to me, but to respond the way I want is hard at times.
 
Yesterday I had the oppurtunity to speak to the congregation. Through the gift of tongues I was able to talk about the doctrine of Christ and talk about how to apply it and share it in our lives.
 
I am now legal, and to get legal I had to take a 3 hour bus ride to Tampico. The road is really rocky so I had a fun time trying to keep my insides in place.
 
We meet with members, less actives, and investigators daily, or try to. Our focus has been more on less actives and recent converts.
 
We have access to the Liahona, but not the updated one since we are far from the materials center. We might receive the one for March when we head to Tampico for training this week.

My favorite scripture is my mission scripture: D&C 58:64. It motivates me and reminds me of why I am here when times get rough.

"For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth--the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe."

My favorite hymn is "If You Could Hie to Kolob." It has a special meaning behind each word and the tune is fun to sing.
 
As for Genereal Conference, all I have heard was that it will be over the internet. I am not sure of anything else.
 
Thank you for everything and I hope the family is doing well. I will try the things you have suggestted and return and report.
 
Keep up the good work!
 
Love,
 
Elder Holladay
 


Sunset while walking to our next appointment.

March 11, 2013


I am still really slow in understanding written Spanish and feel a little relieved when I see English. The fastest way to learn a language is to speak it and I need to do a better job of that myself because personally I usually don't say a lot unless I need to, but here I need to be like Abinadi and preach with all my strength, but I am not able to do that yet. Hopefully one day.
 
Our ward meets at 1:00 and is suposed to start at that time but usually starts 10 minutes later. Here time is sometimes a suggestion which is hard for me to understand, but something I must accept. We greet the Bishop every week and give him weekly updates for the Ward Council, but we haven't sat down with them and discussed anything. The ward has weekly mutual activities, I am not sure what day or what time though because we are usually busy teaching people.
 
Elder Dominguez loves Hymns and we sing them before companion study and while we walk around. It brings the spirit more stronger throughout the day. Elder Dominguez has a stereo with music in a flashdrive that we listen to every so often, but usually I like the peace and quiet after a hard day's work.
 
This past week has been interesting. Our plans for a better and higher teaching rate feel through when we received a call for me to go and sign more papers to make sure I was legal. It has been cloudy some days and others pure sun and heat. No rain so far, which is strange. I apply sunscreen most days but the last couple days I didn't need any. At the moment it is lasting. I looked at the nearby pharmacies and the lowest they sell is around 100fps which is crazy and little expensive. If you do send packages please send some more please, and also a quick note, garments and white shirts might be nice around my next birthday the last year I am here in Mexico.
 
Strangely, I have not seen any preparations for any holidays. If there has been I haven't noticed because the culture here is literaly a celebrating culture, parties every Friday and Saturday night.
 
Thank you for your support and your love. I hope everyone is doing well and has a great week!
 
Love,
 
Elder Holladay
 


Espaguetis verde with garlic bread, fried chicken in chipotle sauce, mashed potatoes, agua de oranges.
Lunch with one of the members in the ward. I got the recipe from her and will try to make it when I get home.

Parakeets at an investigator's house.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Zona Valles - March 4, 2013

lunes, el 4 de marzo, 2013


Dear Mom,
 
Thanks for continuing to send emails, it is nice to hear from you and from others as well.  Hermana Holladay and I might have had the chance to see each other if we didn't receive our visas, and that would have been a good experience. Sounds like Hermana Holladay is having a good time at the MTC, she will be amazing.
 
Along with trials to make us stronger, God also makes us humble so we come unto Him and literally have to rely on Him to make it through the next day. He does it because He loves us. There is a good Mormon Message about this, not sure of the correct name but it is about the gardener and the bush. 

I receive and send emails at a local internet cafe place. We rent computers and depening on how much time we spend we pay that much. It is really cheap, but we need to keep our time here short.
 
With letters, I found out that I can send letters and it will take about 1-3 weeks to get to the US and then regular time from then on. I am going to try and write a letter home once a month about spiritual experiences and other things I feel like I should add.
 
I write everything I need, want, or have prayed about either in my journal or in my schedule. I should probably have one place where I right it all down, thank you for the reminder.
 
I would like to take time and answer these questions because they are connected with this week:
 
What tender mercies have you experienced this week?
-I have literaly seen the hand of the Lord in His work. This week we received many investigators that have been prepared by the Lord. The night of 26 February 2013 I had a dream where I was at home and waiting for dinner. There was tons of food and I had no idea why. All of a sudden, people I did not know by name but looked familiar started coming into the room. We all ate, talked and then they went their ways. The last person who I saw leave was the first investigator who we had that next day. To sum it up, she is coming closer to our Savior and following his example.

What things are difficult for you right now, and how do you overcome them?
-Many things are difficult. My body is tired from working, there are times where food does not satisfy hunger and water thirst. There are times my feet cramp up and times I can't sleep at night. But I know that God supports his servants and will not let them fail. Through Him anything is possible.
 
Some items from my personal study last week:
I was reading in Mosiah 3, 4 and 5 and they are truly amazing. I beleive all of them are King Benjamin speaking to his people to stay humble, obedient, and worthy to be in the kingdom of God. In Omni, we need to preserve our genology so that our next generations may know that we believed in Christ and that they will know by more than one testimony that these things are true. Jacob 5 - Mosiah 5 are quality scriptures, even though some people forgot to stay obedient and humble.

Things from last week I forgot to mention:
1) I drank water from a coconut from the tree that I took a picture of.
2) At around 6:30 it gets dark around here and the moon is bright enough to guide us
3) We helped a man move a washing machine and he wanted to know about our church so we gave him a Book of Mormon.
 
Have an amazing week!

Thank you for your support, your love and examples. Keep up the good work!
 
Love,
Elder Holladay

A type of chili pepper flower growing on the tree 
The area of my District leader during our exchange

Zona Valles - February 25, 2013

lunes, el 25 de febrero, 2013


Dear Mom,

Today has been pretty amazing. We met as a zone, talked about goals and how we are doing and how we can better ourselves, then had a giant water ballon toss with towels.

This week has been one of my hardest weeks, but I love it. The last three days (Friday to Sunday) our appointments were dropped, or the people who we were supposed to teach and meet with either weren't there or didn't want to meet with us. It gave us the oppurtunity to search out inactive members and contact references and that is what we did. It was hard work and our feet hurt after the day but our spirits were full of joy.

My companion is from Chihuahua Mexico, a little North of Mexico City near the border.
  
Our new area is directly West from Tampico. Its a city area and around it are lots of heat stricken trees, bushes and lakes, and as the name suggests, it is hilly. I love it, it gives us a good workout all the day long. It reminds me of Pennsylvannia if you turn up the degrees a little.

Our last area in Miramar Tampico we lived in a two story house above another family who wasn't from the church but loved the missionaries. Here we are the front house of a bunch of houses squished together.
We do not have hot water, but to get some we boil water on the stove and then use the cold water and put both into a big bucket to cool it down enough to use to have a bird bath. It is pretty awesome. Almost reminds me of when I used to take baths when I was little.

For food, we buy enough food for a week, have lunch at members homes and then depending on who we visit they will either give us dinner or we will go home and eat. We usually do the latter because everyone has dinner around 9.

We have a washing machine here and we have the sun and a clothes line to dry. Personally I think that is the best way because if you hang your clothes correctly you can decrease the amount you have to iron.
Our teaching experiences from this week have been pretty amazing. One experience I will share is we met with a person who usually doesn't pray and doesn't want to come to church. She talked with us about how we should worship Mary and other saints from the Catholic church. We essentailly stated that we don't worship other people because God commanded us to worship one God, and we bore testimony that God is the only one who answers our prayers and sends the Holy Ghost to answer our prayers. She prayed with us and asked to feel the Holy Ghost like we talked about, and it was strong.

During this week's personaly study, I was reading in 2 Nephi 31 & 32 and I really liked it because it had a special spirit to it. It is litereally the Doctrine of Christ and why we should follow it. It is the only way back to live with God again.

I pray for everyone and hope they feel the Lord's love and see His hand in their lives.

I love everyone and hope everyone has a great week!

Sincerely,
Elder Holladay


Meal from members: beans, rice, meat, and cucumbers 

A coconut tree by the house of one of the members

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From Tampico (Miramar) to Zona Valles (Lomas de Vergel)


martes, el 19 de febrero, 2013

Hey Everybody,

I have a few minutes today to send a quick email to update everyone where I am and who I am with in my new area.

I am with Elder Dominguez and we are in the Lomas de Vergel area in the Zona Valles.  We are assigned to the central part of this city, and it is pretty awesome.

Oh, and to update on Dad's question of new things, I forgot to say that there are crocodiles, iguanas, parrots and really loud roosters.

Here are some pictures. If you want a specific picture of something, I will try and take one and send it when I can.

Have a great week!
Sincerely,
Elder Holladay


Elder Holladay near the Tampico Mexico Temple

Native vegetation
































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lunes, el 18 de febrero, 2013

Dear Family,

My first week in Mexico was truly amazing. The weather is warm during the day, moderate in the afternoon and can sometimes get really cold during the night. Yesterday was the only day that it rained but it has been cloudy the other days. It started raining yesterday starting at 5:10. It wasn't a hard rain, but it was a nice sprinkling to keep the dust down band not too much to get too muddy. It almost feels like North Carolina humidity-wise and temperature-wise.

Church is amazing here. It is a little bit different but I love it. Missionaries get the opportunity to teach the Principles of the Gospel class and I was able to talk about when we should pray and with whom in Español. It was truly a miracle.

I have seen a lot of the city and some of the outlyng parts as well. We live in Miramar but other than that I have no idea where all the other parts of the city are.

There are many different types of architecture here, and the bridge does have a European look to it. There are many lakes around but we don't go near any of them because the warning signs of crocodiles. There are a lot of different plants here, I need to take more pictures of them and send them to you. As for the animals, the only difference from America is that there are a lot of strays. There are also many horses just wondering around the city eating plants and such.The fruit here is fresh daily and when they aren't used that day they are made in agua. I found out that there is a difference from agua and fresca, agua is water and is usually combined with fruit juice for concentrate that makes really a good tasting drink. With fresca, it literally is soda bought from the store.

This week I have been working with Elder Oliveros and Elder Vargas and they are truly amazing. I have been teaching them English and they have been helping me with my Español, but I still need a lot of work. I understand most of the words being said but when attempting to conjugate and put them into a sentence so I can understand what they are saying I get confused, which is good. I need to be confused to learn better and to push me to become the best I can.

I am being transfered today, not sure where and with whom, but I will keep you updated as much as I can.

Hope everyone is doing well. 

Sincerely, 
Elder Holladay

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tampico Mexico - February 11, 2013

Hey Mom,

Mexico is very different from Utah, but I feel at home here even though I do not understand everything that everyone is talking about. I can pick up words here and there and express myself here and there, but for the most part I am having a party trying to figure out what everyone is saying.

The culture here is amazing and the people are all so humble, loving and kind. They also help me with my Spanish when trying to speak it. The children here are fun to talk to because they will laugh at what you say and then correct you while you are laughing because you know what you said wasn't correct.

When getting off the plane in Tampico it was pretty amazing. Instead of going into a terminal right away there were people there with step ladders for us to get off, and we went straight into the imigration office to get everything settled paperwork-wise. We were then met by the Mission President and his wife, and they took us home to a great meal of tortillas, meat, lemons, cilontro, green salsa, red salsa, and pineapple.

I am having fun and working hard. We are not allowed to track so all our work is with members, less-actives, and investigators. We try not to have any lessons without any members present so the investigators have friends to come to church with.

I hope everything is going well and that everyone is healthy and safe.

Love,
Elder Holladay

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Elder Holladay arrived in Tampico

Elder Holladay, pictured here with his mission president and his wife, arrived in Tampico Mexico Friday night, February 8, 2013.

He will stay in Tampico for about a week until transfers take place next week.

We look forward to receiving an email from him tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On his way to Mexico -- February 8, 2013!

el 7 de febrero 2013

Hey Mom,

We went to the Mexican Consulate yesterday and we received our visas today and we are going to Mexico tomorrow morning at 9:30am to the airport. I will try to call when I get there, we shall see.

We gave out our first Book of Mormon to a man who missed one of his stops on the track system and he decided to talk to us. We got to know him and he wanted to know more about our church so we told him of the Book of Mormon and how it is another testament of Jesus Christ. He wanted to know where to get one, so we gave one to him, asked if he wanted missionaries to meet with him and now have his information for the missionaries in Utah so they can do their job. 
It was truly amazing.

Love you all and I hope you have a great week,

Sincerely,
Elder Holladay

Final Week at the MTC

el 5 de febrero 2013 (email)

Hey Mom,
I have a quick moment to email people and to say that we are going to the consulate tomorrow to sign our visas tomorrow and probably going to Mexico the following week if it is the will of God.

Have an amazing day,
Elder Holladay

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el 4 de febrero 2013 (email)

Hey Mom,
So with our district, there are three Elders going to another mission and two others and I are going to Tampico, or that is our assigned mission. The other three were put into reassignments but we were not. Those Elders leave this week and our names were put into the Mexican Consulate so we can get our visas. Depending on how everything works out, we will either stay here until we get our visas or be put into reassignments until we get our visas. Either way, or another way, it is the will of God and everything will work out in the end.
Personally, I believe we are in the MTC to help someone or we are waiting till our investigators are being spiritually prepared or something else the Lord has in mind for us.
A few quick thoughts before I disperse for a while:
We need to look for the gospel of Jesus Christ in everything. The weather here last week was pretty awesome.
Saturday morning it was foggy and you couldn't see 50ft in front of you, you saw enough to take another step after another step. It is exactly like revelation most of the time, God gives us enough sight to follow the path He has put us on so that we wil rely on Him for further light and knowledge.
The evening it started to rain. This has two symbolisims; He is sad when we go off the path and choose wrongly. It is also repentance as it clears up our fears, worries, and pains.
Lastly, it snowed that night. He is happy when we become humble enough to repent and come to Him.
I hope everyone is doing well and having fun,
Love,
Elder Holladay

January 2013 Update

el 31 de enero 2013 (email)

Hey Mom,
We are not being reassinged because they forget to put our names in but our names are being put into the consulate probably next week. I will keep you updated
Love,
Elder Holladay

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el 28 de enero 2013 - 5:09pm (email)

Dear Mom,

We receive our reassignments Thursday and then we will leave either 6 hours from then or sometime the next week.

Have a great week!

love,
Elder Holladay

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el 28 de enero 2013 - 10:10am (email)

Dear Family,
I am not heading out for Mexico today because our district did not receive visas and in fact no one is going to Mexico  because of visa problems. We are receiving reassingments this Thursday and I will have a chance to call to update you then.
Thank you dad for sending me the steripen. It will be a blessing not drinking or using water that is non-potable.
We had some fun weather here the past few days. On Saturday there was a dense fog here and you couldn't see 50ft in front of you, that was when we were running to the gym. After gym the fog lifted a little bit so you could see 100ft. Yesterday it was a little foggy in the morning and then it started to rain. We thought it was going to get warmer because the snow was melting as well. After dinner though it started snowing and hasn't stopped yet. It sounds like the weather over there is pretty exciting as well.
The stomache flu has started here again and we are not allowed to shake hands again, which is fine with me. I liked using my elbows during the first sickness and it's almost a habit now. Lots of people from our zone were sick but they have since recovered.
Since we were supposed to be leaving today we have been realesed as zone leaders. I'm guessing the Hermanas at the Peru CCM are probably in the field doing missionary work, which is awesome. At the moment there are 3 districts in our zone, we are receiving another one this week and two elders are moving in with us. There is almost no room in the MTC for new missionaries, its crazy how many come in each week.
This Sunday our district sang "Oh how lovely was the morning" starting out in English and then switching to Spanish every other verse. The first verse started with me singing, then after a phrase another elder, and then another until after 6 phrases all of us sang together. After that I switched to bass to give it variety and then went from there increasing and decreasing volume depending on the verse. The last one needed to be the loudest because it had the most powerful message, especially in Español.
Hope everyone is doing alright and having fun.
Keep up the good work!
Love,
Elder Holladay

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el 25 de diciembre 2012, el 7 de enero 2013, el 14 de enero 2013 (letter)

Spanish is coming pretty well. I can teach investigators basic things and bear my testimony, which is good. My tongue is so lazy I can only vibrate it. I'm sure it will come some day when I can roll my R's.

The Hermanas dispersed to Peru last week on Tuesday. We received a new district last Wednesday and receive another one this Wednesday as well. As for choir, our schedule only allows us to sing on Sunday during practice, which is fine for us. We have class during their practice on Tuesdays.

The way to get Mexican visas has changed and we re-signed our visa paperwork three weeks ago, so we are hoping they come soon. I have been fasting every Sunday and this Wednesday we are fasting as a District.

Hope everything is going well.

Love,
Elder Holladay

Monday, January 7, 2013

MTC week #6

el 7 de enero de 2013

Dear Mom,

This last week I feel ill to the Flu I believe with a mix of food poisoning. I am better now, but this trial has shown me that I am nothing without God and with God I can do anything.

Since I don't have tons of time anymore to write letters, I would like to thank the following people through the blog or by other means:
Elder Bartschi's Parents & Family for: Pound of Reese's Cups, a pink HotWheels car, chocolate coins, Beef Jerkey, a shoe horn, mints, candy cane, lint brush and a Mexican Flag.
Grandma & Grandpa Wells for: Summer Sausage, cheese, crackers, and Christmas card.
Winsor's for: Christmas Card
Holladay's for: Gloves, Jolly Rancher Cane, Hershey Snap-apart snowman, mini lint rollers, cookies, Mint Chocolate M&M's, Hershey Santa, Reese's Christmas Tree, and a bag for a stocking.
Grandma Holladay and Great-Grandma Honey for: supporting my mission.

I would like to challenge everyone to have a testimony of Joseph Smith and what he and the pioneers have done for us.  If it wasn't for them and their perserverance we wouldn't be here.

Also, I want to challenge everyone to be aware of casualness in the church. There was a study out that said if we take things serious we act more formal. We need to be formal in our church callings and activities. It is a problem even with missionaries. Sometimes we forget to do the small and simple things and the spirit isn't as strong and we start to be less obedient. So my challenge is to remember to do the small and simple things. Small things bring to pass great things.

I hope everyone had great Holidays!

Stay strong and remember the small and simple things.

Love,
Elder Holladay

New Year's Eve

el 31 de diciembre de 2012

Hello Mom,

This week has thrown me off.  I received no letter Monday or Tuesday so I couldn't write or send letters so no one was able to receive any letters.  We were allowed to send a short email for Christmas though.  

I no longer know what to write in my journal.  Everything goes by so fast and I have no time to recollect my thoughts before I head to bed.  Hopefully I will come up with something.

I am now no longer a District Leader.  We switch leadership positions every three weeks.  Elder Bartschi and I are now Zone Leaders and we have a lot on our plate at the moment.  We know that God will help us though, so its all good.

Keep up the good work!
Elder Holladay

Updates from December 2012

el 25 de diciembre de 2012 (email)

Hello Mom,
We have been challenged to keep the Christmas Spirit year long and I am tyring to amplify the feeling now so I can help others feel it as well.
A hat would be nice.  It is a bit chilly when walking around the Temple.
Im glad everyone is doing alright and having a fun Christmas.
I will leave you with a testimony that I know this church is true and that if we keep the spirit of Christmas year round we will bless the lives of others and ours in turn.
Have fun today and have a Happy New Year.
Love,
Elder Holladay


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el 17 de diciembre de 2012 (letter)

Dear Mom,

Thank you for sending letters. It is nice to hear the words of others and hear their voices through the words that are written.

Spanish is coming slowly but surely. When we teach investigators there is so much that we would liek to say but we do not know enough words to say it the way we want.

My happiest moments are usually after low moments here. One day, though, Elder Bartschi received a 3-foot Christmas tree. We decorated it with lights, beads, and ornaments. We then placed it on top of our dresser for all to see when they walked by our room, and so it shone its light to the whole room. Every time you look at it, it melts away your worries and fears and fills you with peace and joy. That is why I especially enjoyed the talk you sent me by Elder Holland.

I have made friends within our zone and they have either left or are leaving soon. As for friends before the MTC, I saw my first semester BYU-I roommate the first week I was here. He already left for Texas, I believe. Then Hermana Hamson was in my ROTC class and she cam in two weeks after I cam in. She is going to Spain. Then there are people who have the same time as us for gym, and we have gotten to know them pretty well.

Everything that the gentleman said on the airplane ride (from Chicago to SLC) has helped me at the MTC. Yesterday I tried out the leftover table and it was awesome.

Thank you for your support and the stories you have shared. How is the family and what are they doing?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Love Elder Holladay

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el 10 de diciembre de 2012 (letter)

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for supporting me while on my mission with letters, it means a lot. I am sorry I don't answer all your letters quickly, I just don't have tons of time to write on P-Days and I feel a little rushed to write the letters, but I will write what I can.

I was able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional on Sunday. It was amazing and would be great for FHE.

Thank you for the scriptures and stories, they are full of the spirit and bring happiness when read.

It is good to hear the family serving in the stake. Service combined with Charity is a powerful combination of pure love and upliftness. Tell Sister Greco "Thanks for the tips," please. She told me about her son's mission to Tampico and also showed some pictures of his mission.

In our district, we have four Sisters and six Elders. The Sisters leave a little early to go to the Peru MTC in a week and they are ecstatic.

On P-Days we get to go to the temple in the morning and we usually do endowments. The temple will be closed for a few weeks, though, so we will probably do our Temple walks on Sunday just to the gate and back.

The teachers here at the MTC are truly amazing. We learn so much every day! Besides the physical teachers that we have, there is a grand total of three main teachers and three roaming teachers. One of them is the Holy Ghost, he is our main teacher. There is also Hermano Ridge who teaches us every day and Hermana Hunter, who was our first investigator, who will be starting to teach us shortly in congruence with Hermano Ridge.

I get physical exercise about five to six days a week where I run on the track inside for forty-five minutes, so you could say that I am getting sufficient exercise. I believe I have lost five pounds so far! The food here is good and filling, but you have to run it off or you will expand a little.

Keep up the good work and I love you. Keep smiling, stay strong.

Love,
Elder Holladay

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el 3 de diciembre de 2012 (letter)

Dear Family,

I know this Church is true -- not because of the service we do or the good feelings we feel. It is true because I have prayed about gospel principles and have received witness of their truth. I know that through strict obedience following the commandments and the laws of the land bring miracles. I challenge you that if you will pray about things you are struggling with the Lord will strengthen you and bless you. He has blessings waiting for you, and all you have to do is to pray to Him. I know the Church to be true. I know the Book of Mormon to be true and that the Prophet Joseph Smith, who restored the gospel on the earth for these latter days, was inspired and translated it correctly. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us each individually and the plan of salvation was made for us. I know the plan of salvation was for then, too. Jesus atoned for our sins not because he had to, but because he wanted to because he loves us and wants to see us again with our Heavenly Father. I leave you these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thank you for your support and I will see you in about twenty-four moons. See you then!

Sincerely,
Elder Holladay