Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Week 2 in Oliver BC

P-Day, Sis Larsen and me visiting a horse named Cass
 at a member's ranch
Tickleberry's Ice Cream

Weird sign (get it?) down by the river

It's cold here.  Makes door-knocking a little chilly.

Beautiful Osoyoos Lake

Not the smoking sign!
The other signs are the real bummer.

Our town is named after
John Oliver, Premier of BC
Service project today...walking dogs.  Fun!
So hi.

Oliver is fantastic! We have two new investigators. I'm excited to teach them! Sadly though, we had to drop two (a married couple) because they didn't want to hear our message anymore. They are Indian so we have a huge language barrier. After Sis L and I left we just laughed because we had no idea what had happened...just so much jibberish. Oh well. Heavenly Father will help them understand the gospel in their own language eventually!

Tracting is interesting up here. It gets dark around 4:30pm, so we have to go as soon as we can! We tract in everything, even -7 degrees celsius [ 19.4° F ]. It's miserable but it's what we came out here to do. Last week, I had my first door knock. I wasn't scared until the man opened the door and told us he was a Jehovah's Witness and then argued with us for about 10 minutes. So...at least I got that over with. Ha. I also gave out my first Book of Mormon, which also turned out badly. He turned out to be an accused rapist. So there's that. Everyone needs the gospel, right?

Apparently my companion's mom thinks I'm Swedish. So there's that. I'm so grateful to be in a first world country! I'm sorry this is so random. I don't have very much time to write! I'm so grateful for all of you emails though! I try and reply to as many as I can, so give me some slack! This has been the best month of my life. No joke. I can't wait for the next 17.

Remember that Heavenly Father is there for each and every one of us, even the people who are mean and slam the door in your face. They are His children too and I can't wait to teach them in Heaven! I invite you all to pray for someone you normally wouldn't. I promise it will bless you.

Tune in next week, until then,

xoxo A

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Canada Eh?

Off to BC!

Tim Hortons...Canadian Food
At the Osoyoos BC Branch 
Sister Holm & Sister Larsen

November 19, 2013

Dearest friends and family,
I'm a missionary. Can you believe it? It's unreal. I'm serving in the Osoyoos area, which is in the Kelowna zone, which is in the Okanagan Valley. A little recap on my crazy week!

Wednesday: Left the MTC and took a bus, train, AND plane to get to Vancouver. There were 16 of us total. We had to wait 3 hours in Canadian customs. I loved traveling with my zone though! I sat by Sister Jones who had never flown before and that made the flight much more interesting. After we arrived we met President Tilleman and had an orientation meeting at the mission home.

Thursday: I met my wonderful companion Sister Larsen! She is from Murray Utah, graduated in 2012, and did a year at Snow College. She's been out for 3 months. I'm so grateful to have her as my trainer! We get along so well and have a lot in common :)

Friday: We are assigned to the Osoyoos area (pronounced "O-su-yoos"). We cover two towns, Oliver and Osoyoos. We're the only missionaries out here. It took a 7-hour bus ride from Vancouver to get here, but it wasn't too bad. I found a new love for Greyhound buses! Oliver and Osoyoos are very similar, they are small touristy towns right on the [US] border. We can see the US mountains. There are a lot of wineries here, and I don't just mean a lot. Like A TON. The vineyards are beautiful! There is also a lake in Osoyoos.  It's amazing to drive by! After we finally got here, I had time to settle in and unpack... which was needed. Our apartment is the perfect size and it a lot nicer than I was expecting! It already feels like home.

Saturday: My first real day as a missionary. I met some of the members, who I already love! We see a recent convert, R, almost every other day. He has been trying to quit smoking. After going back and forth with him I finally just asked if I could buy the pack from him. It didn't seem like a dumb idea until we were walking away and I was $6 poorer and my coat smelled like cigs from the pack in my pocket. Oh well. At least he knew how serious we were. Then we saw Sis B, who I love! She is so sweet and faithful, but also has a smoking problem (most people around here do). We're trying to help her as best we can. It really is up to her and The Lord. She has a granddaughter who she watched, K. K is sooo funny! She makes the silliest comments and loves to pray. Her prayers are always "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the visit from our missionaries, in Jesus's name amen." SO CUTE. I also met the M [Martino] family who already feel like my second family! They were baptized a few years ago and have been strong ever since. They take care of the missionaries. Sis M adds our parents on FB and sends them pictures and videos of us! I'm so grateful that my mom had someone to talk to. Sis M is an angel!

Sunday: Very eventful! My first Sunday at the branch! Our branch is small, around 30 members. Most of them are elderly and hearing impaired. Some of them wear these massive headphones during sacrament just so they can hear what's going on. Luckily I worked at CaptionCall for 3 months and had to talk to old people on the phone...so I'm used to yelling. God has a wonderful sense of humor! Our chapel used to be a funeral home. Ironic, I know. An investigator, JJ, always comes to church with his dog Annie (ha. ha. ha.) He sits and talks to her. It's the cutest thing! FYI she's a good dog. That's why they let her attend church. The branch president had me get up and bear my testimony. I said "I'm so grateful that I get to hang out with all of you!".... yeah I'm an idiot. Missionaries don't say 'hang out'. Oh well. I'm just being me. Every third Sunday is potluck. I've become a less picky eater because usually I'm so freaking hungry that I'll eat anything. I tried something called a Perogie, which is like a Hungarian dumpling. It's amazing! Go try it! I'm also speaking next sunday so pray for me. After potluck we went out tracting. My first door-knock was a Jehovah's Witness (we call them J-dubs). I was so freaked out. He argued with us for a while and we held our ground, but it was still pretty terrifying. The rest of the door knocks were okay after that though! We also started talking with J, who was walking to his friends house. We walked with him for like a mile and a half (he's old so it took a while) and chatted about religion. He's had a very hard life and has been living in a motel for the past 5 years. I'm excited to see how he turns out! That night Sister Larsen and I were so tired that after we finished daily planning, we grabbed some frozen yogurt and sat on the floor and watched The District from our tiny DVD player. It's like our reality show. Hahaha oh well! We do the best with what we have!

Monday: P-day is boring. Enough said.

Thank you for all the emails! I loved hearing from everyone! I'll try to email when I can! If you want to write letter, my address is:

PO BOX 1337
Oliver, BC V0H IT0 (yes those are zeros)

Go read D&C 6:34. It's my new favorite! I love and miss you!

xoxo A

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Email from the MTC - November 12

[ Editor's note: Annie leaves the MTC for Vancouver BC on Wednesday morning, Nov 13.  She's on Delta Airlines 11 AM flight, Terminal 2 at SLC Airport. ]

From Annie 

Hi Holmies,

Thank for you all the packages! I really appreciate you taking the time to send them!

So, some fun stories...
- I threw up all of Sunday, we think it's because of stress. But it was terrible.
- My teeth KILL. I have another appointment with the oral surgeon today just to make sure everything is okay before I go to Canada
- I had to teach the law of chastity lesson in a role play during class... and I failed miserably. I was trying SO hard and nothing came out right! I freaking quoted [ the movie ] 'Mean Girls' (do not have sex, you will get pregnant and you WILL die). My teachers had to leave the room because they were laughing so hard! I'm a pretty good missionary I guess.
-  My THUGGIE arrived! [ editors note:  a Thuggie is a knee+ length hoodie ]  Whoop Whooop! I wore it around the residence hall and got some pretty strange looks, but I was happy so that's all that matters! My roomies locked me out of my room for a while (we are quite the jokesters) and I look like an idiot banging on the door in an oversized hoodie.
- Dad, everyone is envious of my headlamp.

Overall though I am doing a lot better than I was a couple of days ago.   Anyway, everything turned out alright but it's definitely been a growing experience for me. I learned the things I need to work on and hopefully I'll develop them during my mission. Our Elders (going to Colorado) left yesterday and we miss them terribly! Our class/district is now down to 4 sisters. The lessons are better, but I will miss their immature side comments and sassy comebacks!

I'm SO OVER the MTC. It's been great but I've come to realize that speaking English is truly a blessing. Thank you for the love and support, it helped me get through this rough patch. I'll write when I can in Canada!

xoxo A

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Email from the MTC - November 6

Waddup Holmies!

I'll give you a brief overview of my last week here at the MTC.  It's hard to remember everything because I'm so busy. 

Wednesday: Day 1 [Oct 30]
I met my companion Sister Settle, who is from Minnesota and graduated high school this year; she’s extremely knowledgeable in the gospel and makes up for what I lack.  Although we are complete opposites, which you will see in the pictures [editor: pictures have yet to arrive], we compliment each other.  I'm grateful for her strengths because they are helping me to overcome my weaknesses.  She makes me feel good about myself.  We have classes literally every freaking second and they last for hours.  The only thing that gets me through is my district.  There are 3 sets of Elders and another set of Sisters (who are also in our room and going to CAN VAN).  The Elders will be serving in the Colorado Denver North Mission and leave this coming Monday.  They will be missed.  FYI I didn't even cry the first day so HOLLA.

Thursday: Day 2
It's extremely hard to get up at 6am.  I should have started a routine or something. Staying out late at Sig [Sigma Chi] is something I now regret.  It's annoying not having a moment to yourself.  The only time I'm alone is either in the bathroom or when I fall asleep in class (often).  On a spiritual note, I feel the spirit 24/7 here.  It's like heavenly Ecstasy.  Everyone loves each other and it's easily felt.  We had interviews with the branch president and his wife came and gave us all hugs.  It was so nice to finally have someone who was sympathetic to my situation hug me.  It felt like my mom was hugging me.  I can tell I'm learning a lot and trying to soak in whatever I can.  I'm very stubborn so I'm trying my best to just roll with things.  Every once in a while I will have a realization that I'm actually a missionary and that I will be doing this for 18 whole months.  Like...what the heck.  It's scary.  I get choked up when I think about it.  During our branch meeting I kept trying to hold my tears back, but the tears weren't for me.  Elder Gates is a convert and he told us about his conversion story.  It's similar to Dad's, so I asked Elder Gates to write it down and I'll send a copy.  It helped me realize why missionaries are so important.  Okay…I guess I'll just say it.  I finally broke down.  Sister Settle had to take me outside so I could cry freely.  When we got back to our room, all the sisters started comforting me (Sister Neubert, S.  Jones, S.  Sanders, S, Dexter).  My group of sisters feels comparable to DG.  We've only known each other a couple of days but we all love each other so much.  As least I do.  My reasons for crying are difficult to explain.  It's overwhelming, uncomfortable, and intimidating here.  The MTC is a nice place full of nice people, but it's also the scariest place I've ever been.  I'm out of my element. 

Friday: Day 3
Finally showered, gross...ya whatever.  I’ve decided that Sister Settle and I are like 21 Jump Street.  Just think about it.  We each taught mini lessons today during district studying.  Sis Settle and I taught it on Enduring to the End.  I learned that we shouldn't just endure, but [that] we should press forward with a purpose.  My heart didn't ache as much today... so hopefully it will be less tomorrow.  We taught our first investigator, Jeremiah.  We learned a little about him and explained our purpose as missionaries.  Sis Settle did really well on using appropriate pauses and I did well on just keeping the conversation going.  I could really feel the spirit as we taught.  We also had gym time...SO FREAK YA.  I run a mile every day and play basketball with the Elders.  I'm trying to help Sis Settle work on her shot so that she can play with us.  It felt good to be myself again.  I felt like Annie, not Sister Holm.  I also finally got letters, so thank you to everyone that wrote me.  It means the world to me and literally brightens my day!!  P.S.: I drank a Redbull today and it was awesome.

Saturday: Day 4
I still love the gym.  Class was bloody hard.

Sunday: Day 5
HALLELUJAH is the best way to put it.  It was so chill.  We had sacrament meeting and other meetings.  It was so laid back.  I had a nice interview with the Branch President and he gave me lots of advice on how to ignore the Elders flirting with me (apparently he noticed it was becoming a problem hahaha) whatever.  As a zone, we went on a temple walk and it was so nice to get out.  I feel better about teaching and I know I can do this.  The Lord is on my side.  I'm here for a reason.

Monday: Day 6
To answer all of your questions about the food....  it's nasty.  N A S T Y.  It's killing me.  I had to leave class early because I was throwing up.  Sorry…TMI.  Luckily I had a doctor’s appt set up for my ear/toothache.  Poor Sis Jones and Sis Sanders are throwing up too.  We are miserable.  We also taught out first TRC investigator…I don't know what that means, so sorry.  Her name is Kitty and she's attending BYU.  She came all the way from China and is very interested in the church.  Missionaries always say that the spirit just pours out of them when they teach, and I can testify of that!  It was crazy.  I just kept testifying to Kitty about how much God loves her.  Our other lesson, with Jeremiah, didn't go as well.  I didn't feel the spirit because I was sick.  My emotions are getting better.  The DearElder [letters] help SO much.  It's nice to hear about everyday things.  I still love the gym.  My testimony is growing so much and I can't want to see where it is at the end of my mission.

Tuesday: Day 7
I had to go to the Oral Surgeon today.  My wisdom teeth area or whatever is infected.  No bueno.  I also saw Gabe Cowely today on the way to the devotional.  The picture didn't turn out great…but oh well!

Wednesday: Day 8
P-DAY YO!  HOLLA FOR A DOLLA!!  We did laundry and just chilled.  We also went to the temple and I ran into Christine Cole!!  It was so nice to do an endowment session with her.  We held hands the whole time.  Mom, I told her to send you pictures that she took on her phone.

I miss you all and am so grateful for your love and support.  I'll try to write hand written letters ASAP.  I fly out Wednesday Nov 13 at like 6am [editor: actual time turns out to be 11 AM].  Thanks again!  The church is true and the book is blue!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

First letter home from the MTC

Annie’s first letter - Oct 30, 2013 (from Provo MTC)
Dad's note:  Annie reported to the MTC at 1:00 PM on Oct 30 ]


Dear Family,

What’s up Holmies!!  Sorry.  I’m writing this in the dark.  Today was crazy.  So after I left you at the curb, I went and had to do all of this registration.  I felt like I was lost in the French airport again.  I wrote a couple of things down about today, but they are random so forgive me.

My companion: Sister Settle, from Minnesota (however you spell it).  She sings really louds, chatters her teeth, and tells stories.  You’ll laugh at some of our pictures, but I love her.  She’s easy to get along with.  We wear our CTR rings on the same finger.

Neat Facts:  600+ missionaries went in today.  All the new missionaries had a meeting and they had everyone stand up like at different times depending on the country they’re from.  The MTC president said, “Today will be like trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant.”  Oh, I accidentally said “shiz” today and I felt really bad.  Oh well.  I really think debate helped with all of this, especially public forum.  Having to take notes and whisper to my companion.  We have to teach investigators today with a group of about 50 “mish” and we would just raise our hands to say something and guess what…I raised my hand!  I’m a baller! 

LIBBY:  One of the investigators brought up the Shaytards…I was laughing so hard!

RANDOM: Sister Settle and I went to the bookstore and I guess our cards didn’t have money yet…so a hot Elder stepped in a paid for us!  HOLLA!   I was way nice.  I’m in a room with 5 other sisters going to CAN-VAN, so that’s dope.  My P-day is next Wednesday, so I’ll email you then.   Sorry my handwriting/spelling suck right now.  Oh!  The elders in my district are 18 and ADD. Ugh.  Tell Neela I wore my scrunchie on my wrist all day.

On a spiritual note, it’s crazy strong here.  Everything just clicks.   It didn’t hit me until I looked down at my tag @ meeting and realized “I’m a missionary”.  I love it here.  I really do.  I love and miss you guys, but I’ll be okay here.   Put this on my blog.  I’ll try to write you soon – I’m so busy.

Love always,
Sister Holm
Annie, your Holm Girl!

Please Write Me!