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.