Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wk #4: Hey Everybody!

Hello friends and family! It's week 4 here in the MTC and I'm dying to get out! It's great and all, but I'm just ready to start the work in Argentina. The week FLEW by though so that's good. So after I sent my last email I had a few people ask me why I'm so personal and honest about the harder side of the mission. I was told that most missionaries report on only the good parts of the mission and save the hard parts for personal emails to the family. I do it because I want you all to know that this work isn't easy. It's hard and there are times that I want to give up. I want you all to know that IT'S WORTH IT. I feel the same way that Alma does in Alma 29:9. I don't want any of you to think that I'm a perfect missionary without problems. Because that's far from true. It's hard, but worth it.

      With that being said, this story from this week perfectly sums up what I'm trying to say. We teach real investigators as part of our training in Spanish and in teaching. Right now my companion and I are teaching an investigator named Olga. She's super great and a really nice lady, but she says that she's lacking something in her life. We tried to explain the Gospel and the Restoration, but she just didn't understand. She had extremely difficult questions like, "Why is it important to believe in God?" and "What's different about the happiness you get from God and the happiness I feel from my family, work, and school?" and "Why would I change my life so much for your church?" These questions stumped me. I became frustrated because everything that I tried to say to explain it to her didnt work. She just became more and more confused. We were able to answer her first question and help her to understand the Doctrine behind it, but she just was having a REALLY hard time with the second one. Feeling very angry at myself and very humbled, I asked The Lord to help me and give me guidance on how to help Olga understand this. It would have been hard to explain in English, let alone Spanish. So I was searching for my answer in the scriptures and it hit me.. Grandma Dixie. Feeling very inspired and feeling so much love from Heavenly Father, I went into the the next lesson with Olga prepared to help her. So (in Spanish) I said, "Olga, I'm going to try and help you understand this question in the best way that I can. You asked what is the difference between happiness from God and happiness from school, work and family. Let me tell you a story. My grandma Dixie died about a year ago. And a lot of people were very sad and it was definitely hard for a lot of people including me. But at the same time, I felt happiness." She gave me the most confused look I've ever seen. So I continued, "Olga, I felt happiness because I knew that she was with Heavenly Father. I knew that she was happy and in a better place. Because I know that God has a plan for us. And I still feel happiness because I know that my grandma Dixie is with me every step of the way. She's helping me with my mission, Olga." Olga looked at me with tears in her eyes. And that's when I felt it. Grandma Dixie had her arm around my shoulder. I could feel that familiar love and comfort that only she made me feel. (If you knew Dixie, you know exactly what I'm talking about). I knew that she was right there with me. So I said, "Olga, my Grandma is helping me right now." And Olga said, "Yes, I know. I can feel her too." I finished with this, "This is the happiness the Lord can give us. The happiness that you feel is the same as the happiness I feel. It's from our loving Heavenly Father. He wants us to be happy. He wants YOU to be happy, Olga." She understood this concept, asked me what she was feeling (Which I explained to her was the Spirit.), and asked me to teach her more. Unfortunately we were out of time and had to close it up, but it was definitely a powerful experience. When we walked out of the room my companion looked at me and said, "Holmes, what in the world did you say in there? I couldn't understand one word of it." The whole time I was speaking to Olga, I was being racked with chills. And what I didn't realize is that I was speaking fluently. The TRC managers watch our lessons and give us feedback and when they got to me they said that they have never heard such eloquent Spanish from someone who just learned the language. And all I said was, "The Lord's words, not mine." 

     I testify that as soon as we lose ourselves in the service of others, miracles are placed before us. It was by the power of the spirit that I was able to get through to Olga in this way. What a humbling experience. I want to leave you all with a challenge. Do something for someone everyday without them knowing this week. And just watch your happiness grow. I promise you that you will become happier and feel more of the Spirit in your life. I love you all and I'm so thankful for your support. I pray for all of you everyday. "May we ever be found doing the work of the Lord." - Thomas S. Monson

With Love, 
Elder Holmes

Childhood buddies..... Elder Tyler Lusk & Elder Holmes