Friday, January 31, 2014

Slams, Shells, and Sacrament

 It took me a while to come up with that subject line, but it is an accurate description of our week!

Although I've only been out for almost three months (I know, I know.  It feels like 2 days) I've accumulated so much!  This week while tracting, a Pentecostal woman didn't want to hear our message, but liked us enough to give us some Moon Snail Shells.  Say that fast, I dare you.  She said they are found on the island and she gathers them every year!  They are pretty large…so I'm not sure how I'm going to haul that around with me for another 15 months.  Some of our members gave some shells too…but it was more like their garbage because they had had escargot the night before (you know who you are...Sis M).  But they are still cool and we are going to beg Sis B to give us some of her [ stick-on ] googlie eyes so we can make our own renditions of Marcel The Shell.  We were also given some painted rocks by one of our investigators!  He is First Nations.  Sis L got the one with the wolf on it, but because I'm weird…I ended up with the goat one. 

On a slightly different note, we've had some super odd/wonderful things happen this week!  We've been screamed at in different languages, been told what we believe, and the best a DOUBLE DOOR SLAM!  The guy tried to slam it but it didn't he had to do it again as we were STILL standing there.  He just really needs the gospel.

On to the miracles!  We were talking to this woman (20's) at her door and suddenly some guy walked up to the door and said "who are you?" and we said "missionaries" and he started to slam the door...BUT the woman fought him and for like a solid 30 seconds.  Sister L and I just stood there watching them go back and forth trying to slam then open the door.  After it finally slammed...we yelled "have a nice day!" and she yelled back through the door..."you too!"

We were bummed because we had felt a strong spirit when talking to her.  Then after like 5 minutes, we hear "HEY LADIES!!  WAIT!!!" So we whip around and see the woman running after us!  She came and said something like she felt good talking to us and loves God (it was all such a blur).  Then she went on to tell us that she had almost been sent to prison earlier that day because she used to be a heavy drug user.  She told us that she had seen God's hand in her life and knew that she was able to go free because of Him.  So…of course we made her a new investigator!  In order to do that though, you have to set up a return appointment and say a prayer.  So, as Sister Larsen went to offer the prayer…the woman lit up a cigarette and grabbed our hands. the middle of the dark street we all held hands and prayed while she had a cig in her mouth.  I've never felt the spirit so strong or laughed so hard in my life.  What a moment.  This gospel is so true.  People are willing to chase us down in order to have it.  I love this woman with all my heart and I know that this is exactly what she needs to continue turning her life around!  I'll keep you updated!

Now for the final bit...sacrament.  Sis L and I usually sit in the back (with the hope that new investigators will show up and sit with us).  While the sacrament [bread] was being passed, Sis L got her piece and accidently dropped one on her lap.  So, being the great companion I am...I just ate the one off her lap. made us both start giggling.  One family a couple rows up turned their heads and just shook them at us.  So that was fun.

As members of this church, we truly have the Pearl of Great Price.  As missionaries, we have the privilege to share that beautiful knowledge with souls who are prepared to hear it.  It's not always going to be easy, but we just have to keep moving forward.  D&C 100:12 "Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end."  Dory [ from Finding Nemo ] might have said it in her own way...”Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”  :)

Other highlights of the week:
  • Man with an axe in subway (typical Canadians)
  • Interview with President Tilleman up in Kelowna and being able to see 4 baptisms!
  • Drunk Man Withers...the scary guy who walks by our apartment.  One time he was drunk running down the street with a bottle in his hand and waving his arms.  So we call him, ‘drunk man withers’.
  • While tracting, we knocked a door with some glass.  We could clearly see the man watching we rang the doorbell thinking he couldn't hear us.  He didn't move.  So Sis L waved.  Still no movement.  Clearly he was ignoring us.  But it's okay.  We'll laugh about it with him someday.
  • There was a cricket in the washroom this morning and sis L had to come in and kill it for me because I was preoccupied
  • SHOUTOUT TO EMMA TIERNAN, ELIZA ALVEY, and BAILEY PASSEY for the wonderful Christmas tree!  Thank you for helping out with that!  I loved it :)
  • We talked to a Hispanic fellow who had an 1983 book of Mormon signed by the missionary who gave it to him
Thank you for all your support and letters!  I really do appreciate it!  God is good!

xoxo, A

My collection.
Our sweet first nations rocks. 
Tucelnuit Lake is still frozen.  Brrr.
My one true Holmie!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Shout out to my SEAHAWKS

Found a dead bird last week!
The white tailless cat was on our porch during studies! He lives!
Sis L is the cutest... isn't she?
Another one of our investigators cornrowed my hair. She's going to
hair school and practices on me. I think I can really pull it off

I know I shouldn't be concerned with worldly matters, but the Seahawks don't count!  I am SO proud of the Seahawks for making it to the Super Bowl!  It's been years since they've been and they deserve it!  My dad has been keeping me updated (along with other fans here in Canada) and they have had a great season!  My prayers have been answered!  I literally wore my Seahawks shirt every night just to bring them some luck!  Ah…this is so amazing.  God is good.  So I just had to give them a shout out!

Also, gotta give a shout out to my little sassmaster!  Libby!  I am so proud of you (she got into the U and Utah state)!  Either way, you'll be getting a phenomenal education and having a great college experience!  You are so smart and I can't wait to hear where you decide to go!  :)

Anyway, back to life as a missionary.

I don't know what my deal is but I've been freezing up at doors lately.  Especially when they are atheist.  We start with the normal..."Hi, we are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we are going around sharing a message about how much God loves you and wants you to live with Him again.", and then they say "Oh, there is no God."  And I'm literally petrified and don't know what to say.  In my head I'm like...“well he still loves you, even if you don't think he's there.”  But that just doesn't come out of my mouth.  So my BFF/sidekick saves me and starts talking.  It's something I really need to work on!  Also, while out finding we saw an American flag (rare - they don't really like the US here) and immediately knocked on the door!  We met Amy who is a schoolteacher down in Oroville, which is right across the [ USA – Canada ] border.  She wasn't interested in our message, but it was so nice to talk to an American.  Amy the American.

Even though I've been freezing up at doors, Heavenly Father has blessed me with some guts!  I've chased people down and hollered at people sitting on their decks.  This week some guy was sitting in his car having a smoke (super typical here) and I tapped on the window and we introduced ourselves.  Long story short...he is a new investigator!  As missionaries we truly need to talk to EVERYONE.  This is people's salvation on the line.  We are sent to declare glad tidings of great joy to everyone we meet!  It's what we are sent here and sign up to do it!  We had our lesson with the guy I told you about last week (who Sis L flipped the car around just to go talk to).  It went really well!  We had some of the younger members from the Penticton ward come out with us.  Members are amazing to have at lessons.  They are able to answer questions that we can't.  He had come into a lot of Anti [Mormon] stuff, so the members were able to clear most of that up.  I would really encourage going out with the missionaries to teach lessons!  It will not only help them, but it will help you too!

We have goals for each week, or "key indicators." These are to help push us and hasten the work.  Last week our mission as a whole found 1,085 New Investigators all over the province.  That is INCREDIBLE!  As a mission we have also set a goal for 2,014 baptisms in 2014.  If we keep finding people like's bound to happen!  We need to have the faith that all things are possible with God.  Even God has goals...Moses 1:39.  He wants to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.  As missionaries we are working with Heavenly Father to fulfill his goals.  I am so grateful for the privilege to be out here in British Columbia sharing the gospel.  Even though the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days it is the best decision I've made in my life.  I thank The Lord every day for allowing me to be serving in this pivotal time.  The work is hastening!

[ Editor's note: For more details see Annie's companion's blog at ]


xoxo, A

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Silver Lining


 Fun fact, unicorns are mentioned in the Bible!  Deuteronomy 33:17.  So clearly they are real.  It's been a fun week, as always.  Sister Larsen and I still get along (it's a miracle, I know!) Just kidding.  I'll cherish whatever time we have left before she leaves, even though I pray every night that she'll stay for just one more transfer!  I need her!  She is the yin to my yang!  The wind beneath my wings!  In other news, we got dropped by not just one but five of our investigators.  We were devastated.  But every cloud has a silver lining and we found four New Investigators! 

Heavenly Father really does prepare people to hear his gospel and we were able to have an incredible lesson with one of them today!  She is a hard-core Christian and is looking for a church.  She wants to read the BOM and is open to learning more.  It was the best lesson I've had since being out here.  God blessed us to know how to answer her questions.  Missionaries are truly instruments in the Lords hands.  Another one of our new investigators was found outside of our chapel.  A couple of weeks ago we were having our correlation meeting with our branch mission leaders and were talking about how we haven't talk to anyone in a while (meaning people who actually wanted to talk to us)...then I saw a guy walk by the window…and the spirit literally picked me up out of my seat and I opened the door and ran after him.  Sister Larsen ran after me because we always have to be in sight and sound…haha.  We talked to him and gave him our number and card.  He seemed interested and was in a hurry.  A couple weeks later we saw him AGAIN.  We yelled his name and had a phenomenal conversation with him.  He became a new investigator and we're seeing him next Sunday.  God is Good. 

Another miracle happened, mostly with Sister Larsen.  We were driving on the main road and out of nowhere she flipped the car around and started driving the other way.  She said "there is a man on the side of the road with a walking stick and he needs to hear the gospel."  I was like “what the heck, but okay, whatever you need to do”.  So we pulled over and got out to talk to him.  Turns out he's read the BOM and studied it extensively.  We'll call him Ronald.  He said it says, "and it came to pass" 1200 times.  Like…Who is this guy?!  So we have an amazing quality gospel conversation with him and give him our info.  We were bummed he didn't become a new investigator, but Sister Larsen followed the spirit anyway.  So…a couple days later we had just got a text from someone saying they didn't want to meet with us anymore.  Not a stellar start to P-day.  Then we noticed we had a voicemail (our flip phone is suuuper ghetto and doesn't know how to do anything right) from a random number.  No one ever calls from the cards we hand out…so being the unfaithful missionaries we shouldn't have been…we figured it was from someone who hated us and was going to say mean things.  To our utter astonishment it was Ronald saying he loved our little chat and wanted us to come over for tea next week!  Tea is big here in Canada for some reason, maybe English influence.  Anyway, we called him back and set up a meeting.  Sister Larsen and I pray for miracles every single night and the Lord continually blesses us with them.

On a funnier note, one of our investigators (who tend to be old men) was mad that he couldn't hug us so he kissed our hands.  So, there's that.  While tracting we had a convo with a lady who said she was "in love with Jesus," and boy did she mean it.  Super uncomfortable.

The white, tailless cat now has a name…Sir Galihath.  We've seen him a few times and finally got a picture with him in it!

I've been thinking a lot about what I wish someone would have said to me right before I left on my mission.  So, here are my thoughts.  Be humble.  Remember that what you are doing isn't for or about you or your needs.  You are doing HIS will and serving HIS children.  Even though people will be mean or won't want to hear your message, they are all still children of God.  3 Nephi 12:45, "for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good." Love everyone.  Love your companion, your leaders (they are inspired of God 100%), love the people, and love the Lord.  Lean on Him.  Proverbs 3:5-6.  It's overwhelming, but just embrace the change and let the Lord shape you into what He needs you to be.  Don't be afraid of being dorky or not knowing something…who cares.  Everyone is here to learn and become disciples of Christ.  Look up 5 scriptures that define you.  Keep those in your heart always and don't forget who you are.  He called you to your specific mission for a purpose, even just to touch one person’s heart.  Alma 26: 30, "our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some." Every soul is precious to God.  Don't focus on numbers.  Missions are really hard, but it's only a taste of what our Savior went through in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross.  He knows all of your pains.  Enjoy this adventure.  It's the best decision you will ever make. 

I know this gospel is true.  I'm so grateful for the privilege to share it was every single person I meet.  Talk to everyone.  Trust the Lord with all your heart.  Build your testimony upon the rock, which is our Redeemer.  Go out there and kill it.

xoxo A

My great companion and me.  We love each other.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events

[ Editor:  We've reversed the format this week better to match Annie's narrative to the photos that follow.  Apologies for the late post; a business trip got in the way.  ]

Well...this week is a joke. See for yourself:

Tuesday: Hospital hopping. I do not love the Canadian health care system. I felt like a black person during the times of segregation, or even Mary and Joseph trying to get in the flipping Inn.  I love America.  On the bright side, we saw some kids playing hockey on the frozen lake. If that doesn't say Canada I don't know what does.  #canucks  We had pizza that my wonderful Dad ordered for us as our new year's feast.  It was delicious!  Thanks Papa Holm Boi!

Wednesday: Happy New Year!  NOT. Our car broke down on the way to district meeting. We had to call OnStar and Sister Larsen was like "Well.. I don't know how to start this conversation, but we're missionaries..." to the OnStar lady. What an idiot.  But I love her.  We've gone to the dark side and don't know how to start a conversation any other way.  Pray for us.  Anyway, OnStar is a joke and handed us off to about 6 different people (they didn't like us because our car was bought in the US but we were driving it in Canada, like who cares?) So finally we just hung up on them and the mission office called us a tow truck...TWO HOURS LATER. We had some food and our scriptures to keep us motivated (not) and alive (barely).  It was cold to say the least.  Then one of our member's husband (he's a non-member) drove by and stopped to help us.  Big shout out to GINO MARTINO!  We were slowly freezing to death when we saw a man through our foggy window.  We literally screamed with heavenly joy "GINOOOO!!!" and got out and gave him a excited handshake!  Love that man. Then we got the car towed home by a very nice man named Ken who has a nephew who served a mission. Sister Martino came and got us and drove us home. Shout out to her too.  After we got home, one of our formers randomly texted us and we set up a meeting with him.  So that just goes to show that everything happens in the Lord's timing...whether we like it or not.

Thursday: (It gets better) It was Sister Larsen's 20th Birthday!!!  HOLLA HOLLA DOLLA BILL YO!  (inside comp joke) Her mom sent me some decorations and because we're always together...I couldn't find a time to put them I just decided to go in the bathroom and decorate that because it's was the only time I could be alone.  We are extremely obedient missionaries, ya know?  Heavenly Father gave Sis L the gift of the car being fixed.  We got our oil changed a couple of weeks ago and I guess the guy didn't screw the radiator cap back on properly.. so that's why the car overheated and ruined our new years.

Friday: We went on exchanges with the Penticton sisters. Sister Foley came down to Oliver with me!  We sang Saturday's Warrior (Line-upon-line is my new favourite) all the way back!  Sister Foley and I have the exact same birthday!  Aug 2 1994!  Pretty cool.  She is from Liberty Missouri.  We found 2 new investigators together and had a successful day!

Saturday: We found out one of our members has a crush on another one of our members.  Ugh, so much drama.  Hahaha just kidding.

Sunday: Fast Sunday is hard.  We both get very thangry (tired, hungry, and angry).

Monday: Amazing p-day!  We started a new tradition to get Jampee's Thai Kitchen every Monday!  She amazing.  If you live in Oliver (not likely) go get some of her mini spring rolls and curry chicken!  To die for. We made up a song about her because we love her that much.  While tracting that night we came upon a rare ASIAN!  Maybe 1 out of 10 in Oliver.  We also talked to a random guy who couldn't really explain what religion he was...but he said he was definitely not Muslim.  So…sorry Neela and Neena...he doesn't like you.  But I love you so that's all that matters. We also get a lot of encouragement from strangers who say things like..."No, I don't want a card, but you girls sure are troopers!  Stay warm honey!"...and..."We really admire what you two are doing, but no thanks."  We take what we can get.  We also found a less active who we had never heard of.   Like What?

Tuesday: Ahh...what a great day. We drove to Penticton for zone meeting. While driving I like to relax, so my seat was laid all the way back. We were talking about all the things we wanted to work on and being better missionaries. Then a bird hit the side of our car and died.  So there's that.  I sat up and we both freaked out for a second...but we couldn't turn around because we had to go to zone meeting.  Somehow that was a sign from God...but we don't know if it was good or bad.  Sorry He had to sacrifice that dumb bird to tell us something.  At Zone meeting Elders sit on one side and Sisters on the other. I don't know why I’m telling you that.. but I think it's weird. Whatever. It was a great meeting nonetheless. I accidently used slang (something I’m working on) and said "yeah we just gotta kill it!" I looked like an idiot. Oh well. Sis L and I love making funny comments to each other during those meetings. Don't know what I’m going to do without her!  Miracle time!!!  <--- kill me. But we really did have some miracles!  We took our lunch in Penticton and went to Wal-Mart. As we were leaving...some man shouted to us "Hey are you the missionaries from the LDS church?" and we were like "yeah. hi" and then we walked over to his car and had a conversation with him. Apparently he's a less active in the Penticton ward and is struggling with his faith.  We invited him to call the local missionaries and go to church on Sunday.  As we were walking's like The Lord Himself was there and flipped me around and I walked back to him and started testifying about the gospel.  I was literally an instrument in the Lord's hands.  Then we said a prayer with him and drove back.  It was bizarre and amazing.

What a week.

The church is true!  I pinky promise.

xoxo A 

OnStar "hold" music...not appropriate for missionaries.

Message to anyone passing by.

We read scriptures while we waited for the tow truck.

The tow truck.  A welcome site.  Sort of.

The white tailless cat.  It doesn't show up in pictures
because it's magic.

It's paw print!

Osoyoos Lake.  Canada is beautiful.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The White Tailless Cat

Christmas Morning.
 Cool socks from Sis L.

Haul of fuzzy socks, hand sanitizer, chapstick, and pony tails.

Hi All,

Sorry this is so short.. I've had the flu, so nothing interesting has happened this week! Most of our branch has been in the hospital this week. Most are doing well, but others aren't looking so good. We spent a good portion of 2 days at the hospital visiting our beloved members. Not gonna lie...Christmas was hard. We had Subway [ sandwiches ] for Christmas eve dinner. Yeah, what a joke.  Sister Larsen gave me some socks, so that was exciting!  Thank you to everyone who sent me gifts,  I truly enjoyed them and will put them to good use!  Thanks family, for the lovely towel set, bathrobe, and slippers. They keep me warm up here in the great white north!

So. The white, tailless cat.  It wanders around by our apartment everyday.  We used to yell at it and just not be nice...because it's weird looking. (we've repented).  But everytime we would see the cat, we would have a good day!  Well...this past week was absolutely terrible.  We couldn't figure out what was going on...but last night we saw the cat!!  It clicked.  That weird little thing brings us good luck!  So now we wave at it and sing praise (not really) whenever we see it. The moral of the story is...white, tailless cats are magic. Yep.

Love you all, thanks for your support!

xoxo A