Monday, October 26, 2015

Saying Goodbye ㅠㅠ

Well, here we go! My last email as a missionary.

I don't have a lot to say that I haven't already said.

Mostly because it hasn't hit me yet. And it probably won't hit me 'till I'm on the plane.

I guess, as this amazing, life-changing adventure is coming to it's unavoidable (trust me, I tried) end, I can say that this has been the best decision I have ever made.

Before my mission I was looking at a poster that was given to me from a beloved choir teacher that says "Decisions Determine Destiny." As I looked at it I thought about the decisions I had made up to that point and what my destiny would have been according to those decisions. It was at that point that I knew I had to serve a mission. That out of all the decisions I could have made at that time in my life the decision to serve a mission would be the best.

I am so grateful I made that decision. I'm so grateful for the gift of agency that allows us to choose our destinies.

I love Korea and I love Missionary Work more than I can express in writing. As I have tried to help people come closer to Christ here in Korea, they have been helping me come closer to Christ.

I will definitely miss the time in my life where I only go to focus on and worry about serving the Lord better every day. But even when I go home, I will still give my heart and might, mind and strength to Him.

Thank you all for your love, your support, your email, and your letters. I will never forget the love I have felt from my friends and family back home :)

Saying Goodbye!

At English Class:

Our little friends:


- Sister Holdaway

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Happiest Day Ever!


Wow, this week flew by fast!

I don't know if any of you remember Elder Whiting? He said the closing prayer in General Conference. He's the area president for the Asia North Area and he and his wife held a mission tour with us. It was really, really good, really faith-building and eye-opening.

He spoke really frankly with us on how we need to be better, have more faith, be more Christ-like etc. It gave me a long list to work on for these next two weeks. Always trying to be better!

So the most amazing, life-changing thing happened was the baptism of my dearest friend Yoon! 

She is such an inspiration to me. This entire week leading up to her baptism, things have not been working out, to say the least. She has had to endure a lot but through it all she still smiled and said "It's ok! Because I'm going to be baptized next week!"

I feel so honored to be able to be a part of her baptism. To help, even in a small way. My heart was full as she went in the water. I could see that she was nervous but she still had a smile on her face.

After the baptism, even though she was soaking wet, we hugged and with tears in her eyes she said "Wow. It's over! I think I'm going to change my birthday to today."

Words really can't describe it. I got to see my best friend's faith and testimony grow and I was able to be there for the start of her new life.

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" - D&C 18:15

Even after the baptism she had some really unfortunate things happen but the whole time she said she felt happy and at peace because she was baptized. Her faith blows me away. If we all could have faith like my friend Yoon we would be able to do anything.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week~~ <3 <3


Sister Holdaway

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sharing My Last Words at Zone Training

This week was my very last Zone Training. They ask everyone who is going home that transfer to share a 마지막 말씀 or last words of advice to all the missionaries.

There were 3 of us: Me, Elder Ellsworth and Elder Robinson who will be leaving at the end of this month.

Some people are good at going up and just speaking but I spent a good amount of time preparing so I didn't randomly start crying. Contrary to my hope, I did start tearing up but I had good notes to keep me focused.

So . . . I wanted to share my "last words" with everyone. [Disclaimer: I still have 2 weeks left. This is just what I shared at my last Zone Training.]

"As I was thinking about what to say I ran across my journal entry from the first day of the MTC and I think it captures everything I want to say:

'There are just so many emotions and I'm so tired.'
[hopefully people laughed]

I was really tempted to just say that but I don't think that will benefit anyone~  ㅋㅋ

As many of you already know, both my parents served in Korea about 25 years ago. I grew up eating 김치 and speaking 반말. My parents were so happy to find out that I would be serving in Korea. They both love Korea. And that is something I would have never understood if I had never come here.
Even though I am far away from my parents I feel like I have never been closer to them, because I can finally share with them the love of this country and this people.

Even more than developing a better relationship with my earthly parents I have also strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father also loves the people of Korea and as I have served here I have only come to feel a small portion of that love but as I have loved these people my faith and testimony in a loving Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ have grown.

A scripture that I have come to love is in Mosiah 18:30. I originally liked this scripture because I was impressed by how many times the word "Mormon" was used . . . but I have come to love it for a different reason now:

And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.

How beautiful is Korea to me who here came to the knowledge of my Redeemer.

It was 가가호호ing [ed.: door knocking] in the tall apartment buildings in 수지 (Suji) where I learned to follow the spirit.

It was 전도ing [street proselyting] at the 사거리 [intersection] in 부평 [Bupyeong] where I learned to conquer my fears.

It was with the members in 계산 [Gyesan] where I learned to express my love.

And it is on the rolling hills of 성남 [Seongnam] where I have offered the most powerful prayers of my entire life.

Korea, to me, will always be holy ground.

I guess my advice to you all today would be to love it. Love every minute of it. Embrace this opportunity to become. Yes, sometimes on our journey of becoming it may seem like God enhances our weaknesses, elongates our trials, and sometimes even enlarges our pet peeves and frustrations.
However, we were made to do hard things.

All of those things will be swallowed up on the day when we can look back and see the lows but also the glorious highs and see truly how far we've come and what we've become.

So make Korea your holy ground. Make it beautiful to your companion, your ward members and your investigators. Make them sing the praises of their Redeemer forever.

There has not been a single night where I haven't knelt down and thanked my Heavenly Father for this opportunity to serve in Korea and the opportunity I have had to become, to become more than I ever could have been. And I'm still growing and learning.

I would like to end with a quote from Doctor Who. Right before the 10th doctor regenerates into the 11th doctor he said: "I don't want to go." Just like the 10th doctor ended his old life and was about to start a new life and a new adventure, I too, am ending this life as a full-time missionary and starting a new adventure of my own.

But now, I can face it with a strong, unshaken testimony that this church is true. The fullness of the gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith in these latter-days. Heavenly Father loves us so much He sent His only begotton son to the world to atone for our sins. Through Jesus Christ we can return to live with Him someday. And that hope can lighten our lives as it has to mine.

I say these things in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

These last 2 weeks are going to be the best. I am continuing to see miracles every day.

I love you all!
Have a wonderful week<3

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Miracle in Seongnam


This week we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leader and for the first time in moooonnnthhs I got to leave my area. I was so proud of Sister Tolley for taking on the area for a day! And better yet, her companion was also a new missionary :) haha they had a lot of fun. Unfortunately we had no appointments that day so they set off to explore the area, only getting lost a few times.

I definitely needed exchanges though. It was a nice change of pace. And I got to go on exchanges with Sister Dowding who is also a Doctor Who fan so it was the first time I was able to geek-out about DW without my companion giving me a concerned look.

When Sister Tolley and I got back together again she showed me a text from one of our Investigators (and my best friend) named Yun.

The text said "When can I get baptized?"

We said we could meet and talk about it. We set up an appointment for Friday.

That Thursday was Temple Day! We were fasting and praying for Yun and her desire to get baptized and it was a wonderful feeling to be in the temple and receive the peace and comfort that it brings.

When we met with her I was a little nervous because I had never taught someone who wanted to be baptized as much as she did. We talked a little bit about baptism and the blessings that it brings and she said "Well, when is the soonest I can get baptized?!"

She said she had been reading the Book of Mormon in 2nd Nephi Chapter 9 about the consequences of sin. Later on in the chapter the Lord invites all men to repent and be baptized in his name.

I have been meeting with her since I got to Seongnam and I had never seen such a beautiful light and hope in her eyes.

She will be baptized on the 18th :)

Please pray for her. I know that it was the prayers of me, Sister Moyer, Sister Sweetnam, Sister Tolley and our entire district that helped her make this important decision.

If only our investigators knew how much we prayed for them. Prayer is powerful, the Book of Mormon is powerful!

So, that's the biggest news! These last few months have been a big learning experience for me and I still have a few more weeks to learn and to grow as much as I can!

I love you all!
I hope you have a wonderful week ~~

- Sister Holdaway

(most of) my living companions at the Temple! (sorry Sister Sweetnam)

Kitty Cafe after the Temple! Yes, I went to a cafe where you can drink, eat, and pet cats at the same time! Super therapeutic.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chuseok! 추석!

안녕하세요 여러분 ~~

This week was actually really eventful! Because . . . it was Chuseok! This time last year I was serving with Sister Wright and we performed the infamous "Jerusalem will Fall" act.

This year I was pressured into sharing a talent~ Here it is, in all its glory . . .

So for this special holiday our mission had a 2 day conference. We had a lot of wonderful training and some fun activities! Some fun quotes I like from our very own President Morrise: "If you wait for the motivation to do it, it will never happen." "Just because you start slow doesn't mean you won't get far."

(There were more but I forgot to bring my notebook)

It was so wonderful to be gathered with all the missionaries in the Korea Seoul South Mission! If you have never been in a group of 150 full-time missionaries you are truly missing out on the biggest spiritual boost ever.

The highlights of the conference were the talent show, the proselyting activity at Olympic Park in Seoul, and the testimony meeting at the end.

The let 150 missionaries loose in Olympic Park with a Book of Mormon in our hands, a smile on our face, and a traditional Korean board game. It was probably the most creative way to proselyte ever. We asked a cute family if they knew how to play this game (윷놀이) and they were more than happy to help us play! We played a few rounds with the family and we introduced a little about who we were and what we were doing.

Here we are with the two little kids, so cute!

We also sang the Korean national anthem at the main gate

So if someone sees a video of a bunch of foreigners singing the Korean national anthem in Olympic Park I'm probably there too :)

Walking all around Seoul was fun but exhausting.

It was nice to sit back down and have a testimony meeting to wrap things up. President Morrise gets up and starts calling on people to give their testimony. "Oh, I shared a talent yesterday, he probably won't call on . . .” – "and then we will hear from Sister Holdaway." 아이고 ~~

I got up and I don't even remember what I said. I know I said something about how being desperate makes us closer to God. I just spoke whatever came into my heart, mostly because this wasn't planned ahead of time. Later, people came up to me and thanked me for sharing my testimony. I'm grateful for the promise "Open your mouth and it shall be filled."

It was a little heartbreaking leaving the conference that night. Everyone was saying "goodbye" and I'm not very good with goodbyes.

But it's not a goodbye yet! I'm still going hard, still going strong. I don't want a single moment of this amazing opportunity to go to waste!

I love what I'm doing, I love where I'm going!

And . . . I love you all!
Until next week,

Sister Holdaway

More pictures:

The bishop's wife gave me a traditional Korean dress called a Hanbok

My beautiful daughters! A family reunion! 
The MTC DISTRICT is back together for the last time!

My beautiful Seongnam! <3 <3

Monday, September 21, 2015

I Like Spicy Food!


This week we actually had a bit of free time (which never happens) and we used to help Sister Tolley get used to the area, since we know for sure that I will leave and she'll have to take over the area. So we have walked and walked and walked all around our area mostly because 1) public transportation is expensive and 2) we can talk with people on our way to places. Not to mention the exercise benefits.

We were walking on our way to an appointment and I saw a cute puppy and of course I'm going to go up and pet that cute puppy. We also got to talk with the man who owned the puppy. We invited him to church; he came, and will be meeting with the Elders!

#Puppy전도 (Proselyting)

Because Choosuk is coming up (a big Korean Holiday) we weren't able to meet with a lot of investigators BUT we did meet 4 times with one of our most progressing investigators who is also my best friend! She is 19, speaks English fluently, and loves the Book of Mormon! I love meeting with her and she came to church for the first time last week! I don't think I've ever been so happy <3<3

With Choosuk coming up we are going to have 4 more sisters in our TINY 2-person house. 6 people over all. It will only be for 1 night but we are cleaning and today we will get breakfast foods for them! It will be so fun!

Speaking of cleaning - I have been comparing cleaning our house to repentance. As a missionary I can literally compare everything to the's a talent:

Elder Holland said "People love receiving a remission of sins but aren't concerned enough about retaining it!"

It's easy to get our house clean once for interviews but the challenge is to keep it up.  Just like we have to pick up our clothes and do the dishes EVERY day we have to also remember to have "real-time" repentance and not wait till Pday (or Sunday) to clean it all up.
Just something I've been thinking about.

^^An excerpt from my letter to President.

I'm sorry my thoughts are so jumbled today.

On Saturday we went on a hike to Namhansanseong! We went with our ward and had a picnic at the top. If you notice, our ward is very ethnic. 2 Peruvians, a Samoan, a Tongan and us 4 American missionaries. I'm pretty sure half our ward is foreign! (that's a bit of an exaggeration)

This is what my companion drew of me. It's her "favorite picture ever" :)

Sugar ~~

A beautiful smoggy picture of Seoul! That tall building? That's the tallest building in North-East Asia, the Lotte Tower.

- Sister Holdaway 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Interviews with President!


This week President came to our house for interviews which meant a lot of cleaning! I was determined to make our house fit for royalty.

So after scrubbing and scrubbing our house looks beautiful! It wasn't super messy before but now we have everything scrubbed and shiny. It's amazing how much clean houses invite the spirit! (I can hear my mom saying I told you so)

Interviews, as always, were really good. President asked us to make goals that we could discuss at interviews. I was a little stressed about my goals because I felt like they were out of my control. But after talking with President he helped me how to make more realistic goals that are in my control. It made me feel ready to take on this next transfer with all that I have!

And now, for lack of time and lack of awesome things to share, I'll share some pictures!

We went to the temple this Thursday! These are the assistants to the president ~~

Face masks are really popular in Korea and this one is a special panda one :) Scary or cute?

Sister Tolley makes me lots of fun snacks!

Ward Barbeque Party ~~~

This is the first Monday of my last transfer and I love every moment I get to spend here!
Have a wonderful week!


- Sister 홍다연

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Return of the Investigator

안녕하세요 여러분 ~~

This next Friday we have our mission president and his wife coming to our house to inspect it and interview us. So . . . we have had a LOT of cleaning to do. Not because we keep it messy but because, let’s just say, it used to be an Elder's house and so there has been years of deep cleaning left undone. Sister Tolley is really awesome and tackling the laundry room which I was way too sketched out to try to clean. So in our free time this week we have been working on cleaning it spick and span.

Maybe we'll take before and after pics. ^^

We also saw a lot of miracles! Because of our recent drop in investigators we were able to have time to visit some members that needed some attention and we were able to help and strengthen them. Part of President Morrise's interviews he has been asking everyone to make goals to work towards the end of their mission. One of mine was to learn how to cook good Korean food. SO, I've been asking around and have gotten good ideas from our members. This week I learned how to cook "Korean potato pancakes" and 갈국수 a soup with noodles in it (I don't know how to describe it better than that.

HOWEVER, we never gave up on our former investigators. We kept contacting them and showing our love. So, this Saturday, we met with 2 investigators that we haven't met with in a long time.One of them said that while she wasn't meeting with us many people came up to her and told her lies and rumors about our church. She said that she "knew better" and was happy when we ran into her on the street and invited her to meet with us again.

Our other investigator said that while she wasn't meeting with us she ran across a lot of anti-Mormon things online and because she was curious asked to meet us again so we could answer her questions. We answered all her questions and bore our testimonies again of the Book of Mormon and the power that it has to witness of truth. I asked her if she felt a difference between watching those videos on YouTube and reading the Book of Mormon. She nodded quickly and she felt much better and peaceful when she read it, like she knew it was the word of God.

I know that the adversary has a powerful influence but I know that God is greater. I'm grateful for the endless days and nights my district and I prayed especially for these investigators and that they would recognize truth and come back.
And they did!

We also had Zone Training this week and once again I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the audience and not having to train anyone. 


There's a part of our area that is just farms and's the best.

My companion makes cute snacks for me <3 <3

Until next time!

 - Sister Holdaway

Monday, August 31, 2015

Boldness At It's Best!!!


The weather this week has been that awkward in-between phase where I wake up pretty chilly in the morning so I put on a cardigan for the day but it always gets too hot during the day so I end up just sweating like crazy. 

The struggle. 

But a lot of awesome things happened this week. 

I've been working a lot on being more bold with love. Sometimes I find myself softening commitments in order to not "freak them out" but I have made a new resolve to not fear people more than God. 

As a result of this we have had more people drop us, and we have been dropping more people because they don't have true interest in our message but instead just want the free english we provide.

So, although we have lost some of our investigators our boldness has brought some amazing miracles! 

Last week, after exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, we had to drop someone who basically told us she didn't believe anything we had been teaching her. It was pretty hard to take so we had to tell her we couldn't meet with her anymore but that she is welcome to come to our English Conversation Class. I was feeling especially down about it because I thought she had a lot of potential. However, I knew that we made the right choice and God would lead us to prepared people. 

As I was thinking about this, a lady came up to us excitedly and asked who we are and what we were doing. I proudly said that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that we teach about Christ's restored church. She smiled, gave us HER number and said that she has just moved here and wanted to join a church. We said we would contact her and be happy to explain about our church. 

That very next day, we were street-boarding with our Elders and another lady came up to me and asked to know more about our church. She was a pastor from another church but had seen the missionaries and have thought about what big sacrifices we are making. I explained why we were here and the message we were teaching. I gave her a Book of Mormon and promised that if she read this book she would know the truth of our message. 

Blessings and miracles are coming to SeongNam! As I'm working to be bolder in sharing my testimony to others I am seeing the effects. 

I feel like I could do missionary work for at least another year! (Although my body tells me otherwise). 

In other news ~ I'm really tired all the time so please don't look to closely at me in the upcoming pictures of myself. 

But first! KimBap 김밥 that reminds me of SpongeBob's pet Gary: 

Exchanges with Sister Northridge ~~ Always a 파티!~

I love you all! 

- Sister Holdaway 

Monday, August 24, 2015

I'm in the Choir Again!


We have found more new investigators this week!

One of them is a Buddhist and this is the first time I've taught someone without a Christian background. It's the first time I've ever introduced the concept of a Savior, Jesus Christ, to someone for the first time. She asked, "Jesus? Who is Jesus?" And we were able to explain who Jesus Christ was, what he came to earth to do, and his influence on our lives today.

Recently, our Zone has been, instead of counting how many people we talk to, counting how many invitations we give to people on the street. This new way of thinking has been really helpful and pushed us to have meaningful conversations with people.

If you know me well, you'd know that my favorite part of this week was that I had the opportunity to since in the choir at Stake Conference this last Sunday.

Korean Choirs are the best!

We sang two songs, and the last song was "More Holiness Give Me." As I sang the song I thanked God for the opportunity I had to serve here in Korea. I'm not getting 'trunky' but I'm aware that I'm not going to be here forever. I teared up as I felt God's love for everyone in that congregation. Music transcends culture and language and reaches the hearts of everyone.

It's also been a long time since I've been in any sort of choir and I missed it so much! I had such a fun time preparing for it :)

Sorry, not a whole lot of information this week. And not a lot of pictures but . . .

This is 엄마 - Omma or our Korean Mom. <3 <3 <3
She took us to a buffet this week which was possibly the best food I've ever eaten.

I love you all and hope you have a good week!

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, August 17, 2015

I don't know what to title this . . .


Sorry, I don't have a ton of time this week but there's a lot to cover!

This week was a bit bitter-sweet. We had some of our progressing investigators who were close to baptismal dates drop, or stop meeting, with us. Which is always heartbreaking for a missionary. 

But, we also were able to meet with a few new investigators!

One of them, I affectionately call 엄마, or mom, mostly because she hasn't told us her name but insists on her being our "Korean mom." We met her on the street and fell in love with us and took us to her home and fed us lots and lots and lots of food. Eating Korean food well shows your love for the Korean people. I pride myself in eating Korean food well – eating a lot and eating fast. It might seem weird, but it really helps you build a relationship with the Korean people.

She has invited us over many times and loves having us. She always gives us plenty of kimchi to take home. She really has treated us like her own children. One night, when we were over we started sharing a message with her about our church. As we were discussing religion she mentioned that the reason why she loves us so much is that her only daughter died when [her daughter] was in here 20's. So when she saw us it reminded her of her daughter and that meeting with us

has filled a hole in her heart. We are excited to share the plan of salvation with her in the near future.

We also met, through of serious of miracles, met a Chinese lady who was living alone and was in desperate need for some American friends that she could communicate with. She was excited when she met with us because she had someone she could talk to. 

It goes to show that there are so many people in this world who are lost or alone and as we reach out in love and share this gospel with them we can show them that with the gospel we never have to feel that way. We will always have the gospel. And that foundation can carry us through any trial, or loneliness.

Thursday was Zone Training. It was the first Zone Training in 7 months where I did not have to get up and train in front of everyone! It was the BEST.

Sister Tolley and I have been practicing some Children songs on the Ukulele that we sing on the street. It's been pretty successful so far - and it involves something we both love, music!
This Saturday was Korean Independence Day!  So all the flags were out!

Our neighborhood Shijang 시장


I hope you all have a wonderful week! This last week it was raining like CRAZY but today it was a pretty nice day!

I love you all~!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

At Least I Still Have the Gospel -- And Almond Milk!

This week started off kind of sad . . .

I lost my purse on a bus somewhere in Seoul. But I didn't have a lot of time to think about it because we were so busy. 

On Monday night we held a "funeral" for Elder Preisler because he is going home, back to America.
We had an "obituary" reading and we got Krispy Kreme donuts and went around saying things we learned from Elder Preisler. It was really fun and touching ~

On Tuesday we rode the subway two hours to Incheon International Airport to pick up the new missionaries – 10 Sisters! I was going to train one of them, so it was fun to get to know all them.

We then rode two hours BACK with them and helped them talk to more people on the subway. This was my third time picking up missionaries and every time it reminds me of when I was new, when I knew no Korean and when I was terrified to talk with people.

It was also a big moment for Sister Sweetnam because she still felt new and she still felt like she didn't know anything. But, I have never been so proud of anyone in my life that I was watching my "daughter" help all the new missionaries talk to people and feel comfortable. Afterwards, she turned to me and said "I did it! I have learned a lot on my mission already!" She grew up so fast! I will miss her a lot.

The next day, I helped Sister Sweetnam pack and then we went to exchange companions. I don't know if any of you remember Sister Moyer but we used to be companions and we got to be companions again for a day! She's training too :)

We got to the mission office, went through some training (all of which I've heard before) and picked up are new companions! I was the only one who had trained before and everyone asked me what to do and I literally didn't know anything besides "love them." But I guess that's the most important part.

My new companion is Sister Tolley from Cottonwood Heights, Utah! She loves Asian culture and likes to cook Asian food so I'm super excited! She went to the University of Utah studying physics but she also loves music! We have geeky music theory conversations all the time. ^^

On Sunday I gave a talk in church about Lehi's vision of the tree of life. How, when we get by the tree of life and taste the fruit, God's love, we need to stay there. We need to endure to the end. I used the talk "Stay By the Tree" from this last conference by Elder Pearson. I also added missionary work as a way to keep our testimony growing. I know that as we share are testimony and our love for the gospel with everyone our faith becomes strong and we know what we are saying is true.

My testimony grows every day. My love for this gospel grows continually. Because when we lose ourselves in this work - we find ourselves.

Also - I did that all in Korean. *bam*

And then I remembered I lost my purse. I've been a little bummed out about it all week. But then I realized that everything is in the Lord's plan and that I still have this amazing gospel! As long as I still have this gospel and my testimony I don't need anything else. So whatever happens – happens. And until then – maybe fewer pictures (but I'll mooch off of my companion's camera).

All is well!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
- Sister Holdaway

P.S. I still have a problem with talking in my sleep . . . like every night. Apparently, I taught Sister Tolley the Plan of Salvation the other night. 

Woot! The new comps together!
And I found Almond milk -- I was in love!

Monday, August 3, 2015



The biggest news this week was that we got transfer calls yesterday! *Duh duh Duuhhh!*

So this will be my last week with Sister Sweetnam, my daughter. On Wednesday she will be transferring to Incheon! (Like mother, like daughter). I am no longer serving as Sister Training Leader. Even though I am very relieved I am really grateful for the opportunity I had to serve in that position. I have served as Sister Training Leader for exactly half of my mission^^ 

Lastly, I'm getting another daughter! That's right, I'm training again. And I'm ending my mission in my beloved Seongnam. I will have been here for 10 months by the time I leave in October.
Stay tuned to see who my new companion will be!

In other news, this week we went on exchanges with Icheon (not to be confused with Incheon) sisters which was an adventure! It's an hour bus ride there and back so half of our exchange was literally a bus ride – it gives us lots of good time to talk though!

Because it was Sister Sweetnam's last Sunday we invited our investigators to come! And they did! It was so nice to have them come^^

We have 2 elders leaving - and no elders coming. We literally have only sisters coming to this mission. If more elders don't start coming the sisters will soon outnumber the elders! Crazy!

So our district will now be just 2 elders and 2 sisters.

Here's our old district:
From left to right: Elder Cook, Sister Sweetnam, Me!, Elder Tidwell, Elder Preisler, and our District Leader in front, Elder Hansen.
The weather is getting so hot that my hair won’t dry unless I blow dry it. I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my life and it doesn't help that we only have one fan between the two of us :(

We have a new family in our ward - they are from Peru and they speak Spanish. They speak a little English but I was excited to use my Spanish! I studied it for 3 years in high school and was excited to brush up on my skills. But the minute I opened my mouth only Korean came out. I have forgotten everything! I was so upset when we got home. Sister Sweetnam tried to help me practice my Spanish some more but I was confused about the grammar. "It's just like English grammar! Just think in English!" I tried really hard but I ended up curling up in a ball and complaining about how I don't know why the verb isn't at the end of the sentence. It took us about half an hour for me to say one thing in Spanish.
So, I gave up - I'll just stick to Korean for now :)

We're just making preparations for changes this next week. I'm coming up on my last two transfers - I'm determined to make these the best transfers yet! I hope my new companion is ready to hit the ground running!

I love you all! My dad said I don't have enough pictures so I'll try to get more ^^ sorry!

Have a good week!

- Sister Holdaway

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Took a Bath in Kimchi


I feel like every week is a crazy week so saying "this was the craziest week ever!!!" just doesn't do it anymore :)

Well – this week we kept pretty busy – a lot to prepare for.

On Friday it was Zone Conference so I helped the Zone Leaders prepare a small activity-based training. We had an hour, President had an hour, the AP's had an hour and President invited PJ Rogers for the rest of the training. All-in-all, it was a full day!

The best part of it all was definitely PJ Rogers. He served his mission here a while ago but came back and lived in Korea for a long time. He's fluent in Korean and has Korean citizenship now. He came to talk to us about how to learn the language and a little bit about Korean culture. I've been here for over a year now and I'm still learning a lot!

For instance, Korean culture is very vertical. If someone is older than you, even by a few months, you respect them and they can basically boss you around. It's a principle that a lot of the American missionaries have a hard time with because we live in such a horizontal society where everyone is equal.

I'm still trying to get used to it and learning the different styles of speech for the different levels. It's so fun! I think I could live here forever and always be learning.

The next day, on Saturday, we had a ward barbecue. It was so much fun and really successful! We actually had six of our investigators there! A little stressful but they all had a really good experience.

That night, the bishop's wife gave us I HUGE bag full of Kimchi. We accepted it graciously and took it home. As we were walking home it started to rain so I started running home with the bag of kimchi in my arms. Unfortunately, the bag opened and I realized, too late, that I was covered in kimchi.

​It's a good thing I LOVE KIMCHI!!!
Disclaimer: I still smell like kimchi. Also, all of the food in our fridge smells like kimchi now. ^^yay

But the week was not over . . . on Sunday we were asked by President to host a recent convert activity night. We decided to make a real American breakfast and to watch Meet the Mormons. So we got to work after church on Sunday to make our assigned batch of scrambled eggs and hash browns. Our kitchen:

​For Me and Sister Sweetnam not knowing how to cook they actually turned out pretty tasty!

The activity was really successful. It was my second time watching Meet the Mormons and it was fun watching it all in Korean. I got all the jokes and understood the whole thing ~ success!

And now for a quick miracle:
This week we went to visit a family in our ward. On the way out it was raining so they let us use their really nice umbrella. We promised to give it back by Sunday. Knowing we would probably forget, we left the umbrella at the church on Saturday. The next day, she showed up and asked us for her umbrella. We went to get it and to our horror found that it wasn't there, someone must have took it.

My heart sank and immediately I said a fervent prayer in my heart. I prayed all during church. I was so stressed about finding that umbrella! Church was over and still no umbrella. I went home – still stressed about the situation. I knelt and prayed again. I knew that God would answer my prayers. I knew that I could find that umbrella. And so I didn't give up. I just kept praying.

After I prayed I picked up the phone to call our Elders about the party that night. I decided to ask them if they happened to pick up an umbrella. To my relief, they had. They brought it back to church that night and we will give that umbrella back to the member next week! Gratitude filled my heart. Finding the umbrella was such a little thing but it meant a lot to me. God cares about the little things – the little heart breaks, the little stresses. And He answers, in His own way and in His own time.

I'm grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven looking after me. And I'm grateful to know that He's looking after every one of you as well.

I love you! Have a wonderful week!

- Sister Holdaway

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Sour and the Sweet


What a week! I feel like I say that every week but . . . every week is basically an adventure in Korea.

This week we were overbooked with appointment after appointment. We have had hardly any time to do weekly planning. But we are so blessed! It's nice not having to think "What are we going to for 6 hours tomorrow?" We also have a lot of investigators right now and a lot of people progressing and building their faith.

But it did mean that we were literally RUNNING from appointment to appointment. And when you mix that with how hot it is outside – we have been showing to our appointments out of breath and gross. 0_0 Today we are going to a Korean bathhouse which should be really relaxing and nice. It will be Sister Sweetnam’s first time! Exciting!

On Thursday we went on exchanges with other sisters in our zone. I stayed in Seongnam and Sister Sweetnam went to Bundang. I got to be with Sister Northridge! It was so much fun ~~

We barely got back home after exchanging when I decided to call a potential investigator. As I was talking with her on the phone Sister Northridge sayed "hi" to a lady walking past us. This lady was also on the phone and we realized that we were on the phone with each other! I don't know what she was doing in our neighborhood but we were thinking "what a miracle!" She said she wanted to learn English from the bible so we went with her to her apartment. As we stepped in there something felt a little off. I turned to Sister Northridge with a confused look. The lady seemed nice and so we sat down and she pulled out her Bible.

The next 20 minutes was her telling us about her church - pulling information from random Bible verses and repeating again and again broken English phrases. I asked her over and over again what church she was from but she would never say the name.  Finally I said "Thank you for your time but we are here for two purposes: to share our unique message of the restoration and to help you learn English. If you are not interested in these then we will have to leave." We smiled and left after she said "Next time I'll bring someone who knows English better." She thought we didn't understand but we understood perfectly well.

Hopefully we will not be having that experience again!

We are not interested in Bible-bashing or proving that are church is right and others aren't. We are just here to share the gospel with those who will hear us. If they won't hear us we just smile, nod and move on.

That night, we moved on alright. We met with an investigator who we had given a Book of Mormon to last week. We were pleased to find that she had marked, annotated and cross-referenced her heart out. She was so excited to share about everything she learned. She wanted to meet us the next day too because she was so excited to share what she is learning with us.

It is so wonderful to see someone falling in love with the Book of Mormon just like I fall in love with it every day.

Our mission, right now, is focusing on getting member present lessons because that has been a struggle in our mission. I know that firsthand because I have had a lot of . . . less than pleasant experiences teaching with members. But I decided to forget everything I had experienced and start afresh. So we made goals to get members at our lessons. They were both really good. One of them, we had the American lady in our ward come and practice her testimony in Korean. After we taught about the restoration with our investigator the member came in with tears in her eyes and was able to give a simple, heart-felt testimony that this church is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was such a wonderful experience for her and for us. It reminded me that we can go on and on about doctrines and principles but all that matters is the sincere, heart-felt testimony.

And for the cherry-on-top of the week: The elders had a baptism again on Sunday! But this time, it was the other set of elders in our district, Elder Hansen and Elder Cook. This is Elder Hansen's first baptism in the year and a half he's been on his mission. We are so proud of him and I've never seen a happier elder in my life. Now the members are asking us when we're going to get a baptism. I just smile and say we are working hard and fasting.

But I don't let it phase me because:
Miracles are happening in SeongNam!!

Sorry this is kinda long this week:
I love you all! Have an awesome week!

- Sister Holdaway


Not a lot of pictures this week but my "hole-y" socks. No worries – these made it in the garbage last night.