Awesome Reunion with Nick!
My companion Elder Collette, my teacher Elder Machado and me
We all have matching raincoats!
Oh what a week!!!
This week really flew by and I absolutly loved it. There were so many highlights and I just don't know where to even begin!
We thought we were going to hear from a General authority last tuesday night but we ended up not. We still had some great devotionals though. On Wednesday I had the awesome opportunity to be the Host for new missionaries and it was sooo fun!! I had this elder, Elder Nixon, who was dropped off at the same place as me and was saying goodbye to his awesome family, just crying his eyes out, and then said to me "alright Elder I'm ready to go." It made me start to tear up as I thought about how only 3 weeks ago I was on that same curb crying on my Mom's shoulder saying goodbye for 2 years. He's going to be a great Elder I could see it and I could see the great family he comes from, just like me.
The highlight of the week by far though was getting to speak with Nick for 50 minutes and randomly running into all of you guys!! It was so funny as I walked out of my building and I literally picked my head up and saw all of you guys on the curb and Scott yelling something like, "YOOOO!!! LEE!!! You're the Man!!”! I'm glad you all haven't forgotten that “I'm the man!" Remember that C-bear. Anyway, back to the story, I didn't know what to do but then I was like oh well the rule of seeing your family has already been brocken so might as well go say hi. I remember Chistian said something like "There's our boy" and then Scott and Mom saying "that's our misisonary!" Love you guys, so fun, made me all trunky! Haha
Speaking with Nick was so awesome though. He has such a thick brazilian accent which is hilarious. It was so fun having the opportunity to see him and catch up for 50 minutes. I had him bear his testimony in Portuguese which I caught a good gist of it but it just showed me I've still got so much to learn! I could totally feel the spirit, and as I bore my testmony in my caveman Portuguese, I just thought to myself, Nick was at this stage at one point and look how amazing he is now. I love you Nick. You're such an example to me and seeing you was the highlight of my MTC experience so far. You gave me such great advice I'll never foget. Nick told me not to worry about callings, which Scott had shared with both of us before, to be obedient to the rules and the rules of my misison president and I will be blessed if I do so. I loved how you shared the words of a general authority who said "as we go out on missions and our families are far away, we grow closer to our families over those 2 years. Over the last 2 years I know I've grown closer to you Lee." i know that is true. I really do feel closer to Nick and know our relationship has strengthened. A missionary is someone that leaves their family for a short time so that others can be with their families for eternities. I'm so blessed to have a family that will be able to live together happily for time and all eternity. I was listening to a talk from President Hinckley this week and I loved how he shared "the secret to strengthening the nation is strengthening the family." Families are so so important in this life and the life to come. Nick also shared how whenever I put my name tag on, I need to remember the 2 names that are on it: Jesus Christ and Holmes. Nick said “As you serve, bring honor to your family name and bring honor to Jesus Christ." It's sure a privilege to have my family name so close to the Savior’s. Nick offered a prayed and asked our Heavenly Father to bless me throughout my misison. I felt the spirit so strong and was crying my eyes out. As I hugged him, I told him how much I've missed him and how special he is to me in my life. 2 years down, 50 minutes with him, and 2 more years to go. I love you Nick.
Elder Easton and Collete said when they walked me up to the front, after seeing my family and then seeing me embrace my brother after a long 2 years, they began to cry. Families are so important. They are so real and bring so much happiness. I just smile when i think of you all. When I returned, my teacher Brother Machado had an interview with me to see how I was doing. He thought it was so cool I had that opportunity and how he appreciates a man that cries. He complimented me by saying "Elder Holmes you are always working so hard. Whenever I go into that room, your studying. You have such a balance and know how to work hard but also know when to have fun, laugh and smile.” It's such a nice compliment and I don't share this to be boasty at all. I was reading about Ammon in the Book of Mormon this week and love the part where he glories in his God, how he doesn't boast in himself, but he boasts in his God. I truly boast in my God and thank him for the gifts he has given me, of leadership, hard-work and kindness I will truly try and magnify, for him, on this mission. I love the quote from President Ezra Taft Benson where he says, "One of the greatest secrets to missionary work, is work." I believe this whole-heartedly.
On Sunday we also had a great devotional from President Burgess. He shared a story about a convert to the gospel and his experience with President Gordon B. Hincklyey. This convert, when he was deciding to get baptized, was struggling with losing the respect and love from his family if he were to get baptized. He knew the gospel was true though. President Hinckley asked him what he was going to do and the man said "It's true, isn't it? So what else matters?" This man had so much faith that if it was true, and if he did change his life and get baptized, our Heavenly Father would work everything out. He would be happy and all would be well. What great faith.
This week I was watching a video titled "the Atonement and Missionary Work!" Missionary work is hard, I get tired, sometimes we can doubt and feel weak. Elder Erying shared in this video that "When your body begs for rest--remember Him." How powerful is that? We need to remember him. Remember what he has done for us. The life he lived, for US! I like to think that when Christ was weak, he probably said to himself, "Remember them.” That's you, that's me, that 's all of us. He was crucified so that we wouldn't have to feel the pains he felt. Through him we can be cleansed of our sins and return to him. What a gift from God.
I need to be a missionary that walks as my Savior walked. I need to walk and stand tall with the Best Missionary that ever lived, the best Life that ever was lived, that of Jesus Christ. i may experience pains, but it won't even be a fraction of what he experienced for me. I need to let the Lord’s ways become my ways. This is the Lord’s work and I am here for him.
Love you all. Hope all is well!