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.