Wednesday, February 19, 2014

He Lives

Hi :)

So last Saturday we (us, our branch mission leader, recent convert & true friend to Jim, and Jim) all drove the two hours up to West Kelowna so that we could watch two little children be baptized and so that Jim could have his interview.  We all went to dinner before the baptism and boy was that a treat!!  Sitting in a restaurant with a few of the people you adore was a blessing in itself.  Just imagine Sister Larsen and I sitting there with 4 people over the age of 65 and laughing till it hurts.  It was a sight to see and they truly are some of the greatest homies!  I can't wait any longer...Jim passed his baptismal interview with President Tilleman!  What a miracle!  He will be baptized this coming Saturday, February 22 in Penticton!  I am sooooo excited for Jim to make these sacred covenants with our Heavenly Father!  It's been a long time coming for him and I know that this decision is one that he will reflect on throughout the eternities.

We spent a not-so-romantic Valentine's Day out tracting and had dinner with a less active family.  They took us out to a place in Osoyoos and while we were eating a man came in and sat in a booth by himself.  His glasses were kind of weird, one lens was black and the other clear.  So I’m not sure what the deal is.  Anyway, I started feeling really bad for him.  No one should be alone on Valentine's Day!  Sister L and I couldn't go sit with him (against the rules) so I made Sis L run out to the car with me so we could grab him a cupcake that we had made for someone else.  We came back in and I set it in his table and said “We made this for someone special and that's you.  Happy Valentine's Day!”  Then we sat back down.  The point is this: A lonely pirate was my valentine. 

During one of our lessons this week we watched "Finding Faith in Christ".  That movie is so powerful.  I want to bear my testimony that Jesus Christ is truly our Savior and Redeemer.  He is the light.  At General Conference in April of 1985, Bruce R. McConkie (10 days before he died) gave a talk called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane."  In it, he talks about the Savior's life and ultimate sacrifice.  He bears his testimony, one that I admire and aspire to have.  He said:

“He is our Lord, our God, and our King.  This I know of myself independent of any other person.

I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.

I know that my Savior lives.  I know that He is the bread of life and through Him we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.  He died for each and every one of our sins.  Mosiah 14:5 - "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." This scripture is perfect.  Through missionary work we are able help God’s children fully access the atonement.  We are literally declaring tidings of great joy!  1 Nephi 13:37 - “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.”

I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity teach Jim and help prepare him for baptism.  In Jeffrey R.  Holland’s [ October 2012 general ] conference talk “The First Great Commandment” he tells about what Christ might have said to Peter, “What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever.  I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs.  I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith.  I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do.  Ours is not a feeble message.  It is not a fleeting task.  It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history.  It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world.”

I thank Heavenly Father everyday that I am worthy and able to be out here serving Him and His wandering sheep.  I can't wait to tell you all about Jim's miraculous baptism!  It really is a miracle. 

xoxo A

It's finally gotten a little sunny here!
Finally biffed it on some ice and bruised my elbow.
My MTC companion, Sister Settle, is finally in the Kelowna Zone!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

“Wo men shi chian jiao shi!"

Ni Hao! 

We stayed with the Richmond Chinese sisters for one night while in Vancouver for transfer meeting/mission council and they taught me how to say, "Hi, we are missionaries!" (subject line above) and "Sister Holm."  So, ever since we got back to Osoyoos I've been practicing non stop in case they transfer me down there, which isn't likely.  My terrible white girl attempt at Chinese is driving Sis L crazy.  Oh well.  She can practice being patient.

We spent a good portion of the week down in the lower mainland.  Wednesday - Saturday.  On Tuesday we caught the greyhound bus from Penticton to Langley and stayed with the Surrey North sisters.

Thursday was transfer meeting.  We weren't getting transferred but we did have to go down to pick up a vacuum and have interview with President.  So we had the privilege of attending transfer meeting, okay?  Haha.  We had some inspiring training for President and Sister Tilleman, the senior office couples, and the assistants.  The assistants training were about when Nephi was told to go and build a boat.  Nephi didn't just say "okay God, give me some tools.." he asked where he could find materials to make the tools.  I loved that because as missionaries, we can't just say "okay God, give us some baptisms.." we have to ask where we should go in order to find those who He has prepared.  Anyway, that night we stayed with the Port Moody sisters. 

On Friday we were blessed to be able to attend Mission Council, which is when all the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and mission presidency discuss how the mission is doing and ways we can improve.  It was an HONOR to be there.  President had told us a couple days earlier that we would be going, but we had no idea how inspiring it would be.  It went from 8am to 6pm and the spirit was there the entire time.  I'm so grateful for our leaders out here in the Canada Vancouver Mission.  They are truly called of God.  Sis L and I were in awe at the types of concerns and solutions that were brought up.  I guess I just forgot that there was more to BC than just little old Oliver/Osoyoos!

It's also amazing to see how the work is hastening in the entire province.  I know that the Lord is blessing our mission because of the counsel of President Tilleman, "Work hard.  Love the people.  Be exactly obedient." I testify that the last one is extremely true!  I've seen it change our area and bless us with more miracles!  Sister Larsen and I then had interviews with President.  Ah...  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful that went!  That night we stayed with the Richmond Chinese sisters, which was a hoot!  They had to take us to the bus at 5 am the next morning..  poor things.  Bless them.  The bus ride was nasty, but Sis L and I just  passed out.  It's rare we time to just sit back and sleep.  We already stick out pretty bad (skirts, tags), but carrying around a vacuum tube didn't help.  After the 7-hour bus ride, we had to wait for our branch mission leader to pick us up and take us to our car.  So..  being the losers we are..  we pretended to be ghost busters for the 20 mins we were waiting.  I wouldn't say my mission has changed me...  but it's definitely made me care a lot less about what I look like in public.

I am so grateful to be out here.  It's challenging, frustrating, and tiring..  but anything worth it in this life usually is.  I'm so grateful for my Savior and the sacrifice he willingly made for all of us.  I know that it is only through baptism that we can truly access the atonement.  I'm so grateful for the example that Christ is, especially His humility.  He was willing to come down here, suffer for our sins, and STILL give the glory to our Father in Heaven.  Incredible.  I know that this gospel is true and that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ that glorious day in the sacred grove.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and goes hand-in-hand with the Bible.  I'm so grateful for this gospel and the many blessings I've seen from it.  I know that it will bless the life of every soul who chooses to listen to our message.  Thank you for all your love and support!  Happy Valentines Day!  Remember who loves you most... 

xoxo A

Being a loser (packing the new vacuum home on the bus).  What's new?
Too much fun with googlie eyes on p-day. #marceltheshellstatus
Giant box of kinder eggs from a true holmie! 
Thanks uncle Brian and fam!  You get me.
Quail tracks. there are like 46,885,432 gazillion here.
Love my friends :)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

If I Had 3 Wishes...


Sister Larsen and I will be staying together this next transfer here in Osoyoos! We are beyond thrilled (ha it sounds like we are having a baby or something)!!! Somewhat bad news... due to the influx of the French in the coming months (they work in the vineyards) Sis L and I will be learning French. So.... wish us luck…Psych!  We really are staying together and will continue to speak English!  So Wish #1 was granted :)

It was a week of miracles.  Heavenly Father drenched us with blessings!  On Thursday I hit my 3-month mark, which came way too fast!

While out tracting this week (which is always eventful) we talked to a couple who invited us in, but didn't want to hear our message…but they gave us some pancakes and sent us on our way.  We also met a former DJ who gave us the creeps. He was complaining about his wife of 14 years who turned lesbian...but it gets worse.  He told us he used to be a DJ on a cruise ship and all the Mormon girls would flock to him. He invited us to come back and have a party with him and listen to sexy music.  So we just turned around and left. Ew.  Also while tracting, a large Rottweiler jumped on my back multiple times (finally I just ran away from it).  At one house I biffed it on some ice and almost hit my head on their cement stairs.  That was cute.  Oh!  We also had an awesome door slam. I say awesome because the guy slammed it SO hard that it literally shook Sis L and I.

Wish #2: One of our ETERNAL (meaning he has been meeting with missionaries for years) Investigators now has a baptismal date for Feb 22!!  This truly is a miracle.  Sis L and I have been fasting and praying for Jim and he finally committed to a date!  We were at his place with some members for nearly 3 hours.  After about 85 times of asking him to be baptized and him not giving us a straight answer…I finally just pulled out Sis L's planner and showed him the date and asked one final time.  He sat for a moment…then took out a pen and signed the date.  The spirit was so strong.  I kid you not.  Jim didn't actually need to sign anything…but it was darling that he did.  He is 74 and has had a very difficult life.  He attends church every Sunday with his dog Annie (ironic I know) and says that his only friends in this area are Mormons.  So, lo and behold, he will become a member of the church on Feb 22 :)

Another miracle that we heard about this week was with a former investigator and her daughter.  Her mom, Sis B, is a very active member of our branch.  So, Sis B told us this story.  I guess our former investigator was sitting at the table when her four-year-old daughter came and sat on her lap and handed her the Book of Mormon. The girl then opened it and pointed to a verse and said "Here mommy! Read this out of the Book of Norman!" (She gets it wrong every time but it's soo cute).  So our former looks at the verse that the girl pointed to and it was 3 Nephi 11:23 which says, "Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them - Behold ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them."  It was the exact scripture she needed to hear.  It is a huge testimony builder that Heavenly Father works through little children.

And for the final prayers were answered...the Seahawks swept the Bronco's!! Ahh...I was dying on Sunday.  Towards the end of the evening one of our members called us and told me that the Seahawks had won 43-8!  The whole branch knew how anxious I was to hear about the game.  They are gems to say the least! :)  Wish #3 granted!

During my studies this morning I read some of the General Conference talks from this past conference.  I loved the one about when to plant a tree and I would encourage you to read it!  But the one I just can't stop thinking about is about is about how to endure well.  It talks about Finding Nemo and how Dory repeats "Just keep swimming."  I love that. It's a perfect parallel to how I feel about my mission and about life in general.  During rain or shine...all we need to do is JUST KEEP SWIMMING!  He is always there for us. I'm so grateful to be out here doing the Lord’s work.  It is a true privilege to be serving His ever-so-entertaining children here in the Canada Vancouver Mission.  Thank you for the support and love you give and know that I am sending it right back at ya!  Keep anchored to the always-loving Good Shepherd.

xoxo A

P.S. If you are sending mail, please make sure you put it like this:
Sister Annie Holm
C/O P.O. Box 1337
Oliver B.C. V0H 1T0

I guess the postal system is getting picky about these things. One time they thought we were catholic nuns...??

View of our little town of Oliver
Wonderful steak dinner provided by some of our members who
went down to the US to grocery shop (much cheaper in the USA)
Jim's signature. Isn't he darling? :) 
We are making waffles with him today for lunch!
Seahawks baby!