Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Our Family and Friends!!

Dear Family and Friends

Can you believe it's been 18 months since our Aimee girl has left on her mission?! Yes, indeed it has been 18 months! I can't believe it! She will be arriving in Salt Lake next Saturday, April 7!! She has served faithfully the Vietnamese people in Cambodia. She was even able to get a tourist visa last week to go to Ho Chi Mingh City in Vietnam!! That was a wonderful birthday present for her since she went the week of her birthday, March 23. She had hoped and prayed that she would be able to go to Vietnam during her mission and the Lord answered her prayers. She was able to do a little bit of teaching with her companion who is from Vietnam. I hope she was able to see some of the city as well.

We are so proud of her and the accomplishments she has made over the past 18 months. She had her struggles, but she overcame them and succeeded!! She has seen many miracles during her service. She has grown in confidence and strength. I'm sure her germaphobia has been cured. And she has learned to love others and learned to serve in a more loving way. She has learned that she can do anything she puts her mind to as long as she has the Lord on her side.

We would like to thank you, our family and friends, who have been so supportive of her. Your prayers, good thoughts, financial support, emails, letters and packages have been appreciated and loved! We hope that you have seen the blessings from the Lord while you were able to support Aimee on the Lord's errand. Our family has been greatly blessed, in ways we sometimes can't see and plenty that we can.

We especially want to thank my Mom and Daddy for the love, support and guidance they have given to Aimee during our absence. The roof over her head, the food in her belly, and everything else they have been able to help and provide for her, and will continue to do so until we can return to the states! Thank you!!!!! We love you!!!

We love you all and appreciate all you have done for her.

Hugs and Kisses to all,
David, Pamela and Kaitlyn Holloway

Monday, January 2, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

As I look back to the past year I am humbled by the blessings and trials we have managed to endure. We found ourselves a family of three, instead of five, and in Belgium.

Dave turned 49 and discovering that he's not as young as he used to be. After have a hernia operation, first one since he had his tonsils removed at 3, in July of 2010, he was still having a hard time doing some of his regular activities due to pain. The summer found him making several trips to the doctor, miliatary and civilian, to find an answer, just growing older and slower to recover. After several months of tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, and Priesthood blessings, things are back to normal and no clear answers. Most of the year was spent in turmoil at work due to a co-workers lack of professionalism and her desire to climb the ladder of success with no reguard of other people. After several meetings with supervisors and a trip to EEO with a folder full of evidence of her path of distruction, there were some changes made and Dave now has a new job and co-workers. He is enjoying his job now, sleeping better, and doesn't spend every hour worrying about what he has or hasn't done. He had to take a couple of TDYs, The Hauge and Luxombourg, during the summer and was authorized to take the family. Dave is still the Ward Mission Leader in our ward, a challenging calling to say the least. Our ward is made up of French and English speakers. At least half of our ward is African, about a quarter is American, and the other quarter are Belgians or other Europeans. It makes for an interesting mix of cultures, languages and ideas. Dave has been missing his bicycle since the last time he rode it the brakes fell apart in his hands. He's hoping to buy another one before we leave Belgium, but they are extremely expensive (at least the one he wants). He'll have to save his pennies or wait until we return to the United States. He probably ought to find another hobby too. His goals, hopes and dreams for the new year are many. One of them is to find a job back in the US before the end of the year, but it's in the Lord's hands.

Pam turned 43 and after spending the majority of the year suffering from the affects of fibyromyalgia spends most of her time at home taking care of her family and home. She has been able to complete many cross stitch projects and crochet projects. The stash of baby blankets that were sent for Christmas and throughout the year are completed and ready to sell or give as gifts. Pam received a Kindle for Mother's Day and seems to seen EVERY where with it! She has managed to read over 100 books and loves it. She loves it so much that Kaitlyn and Wendy both received one as gifts this last year. Mysteries seem to be the preferred genre right now. Pam is currently serving as a Relief Society instructor teaching once a month. She finds it a challenge to teach to sisters who don't always understand the concepts that are in the manuels. She only has to teach for 10 minutes since she has to have everything translated for the non-English speakers. Family History seems to have taken a back seat, but we try to make it to the temple at The Hauge once or twice during the year. Her goals for the year are to continue losing weight, regain her good health, finish more cross stitch and crocheting projects, and to continue increasing her spirituality. Just some of her goals.

Aimee turned 22 and spent the year in Cambodia serving the Lord and teaching the Vietnamese people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She has grown so much in her love of Heavenly Father's children. Her testimony has strengthened. She left us a germaphob, but has learned that while serving the Lord she is protected. We receive weekly emails from her and have seen the incredible growth within her. We have had the privilege to speak with her on two occassions this year, Mother's Day and Christmas. She will be returning from her mission in April of this year!! We have a hard time believeing that 18 months is coming to a close. She has plans to find a job, go to school, and continue serving the Lord as best she can and where she can.

Wendy turned 21 and spent the year in Utah working and attending University. She has been enjoying living with her grandparents and having the freedom to go and do as she pleases. She is always considerate and lets everyone know where she is. She made a couple of trips to Preston, Idaho, to visit friends that we met while living in Italy. Her testimony has grown and she has become a wonderfully beautiful young woman. She was able to get a job with IRS as a seasonal worker, which means she works during the tax season. She made a trip to Belgium for the winter holidays, returning to Utah just a couple of days after Christmas.

Kaitlyn turned 12, started middle school, graduated from Primary, and started Young Women. She is becoming a beautiful young lady, very talkative and loves to spend time with her family. She misses her sisters and would talk for hours on the phone with them if we let her. She loves to draw Disney characters, watching movies, and playing games. She has many friends at school and loves to spend time with them between classes and at lunch. She made the honor roll for the first quarter of school! She has been enjoying her school year and found that she actually enjoys some of the subjects she previously hated. Kaitlyn is having a hard time with Young Women because she is the only English speaker that attends midweek activities. As a family we are working on the Personal Progress program, with the hopes that Pam and Kaitlyn will be able to receive their Young Women's Medallion together.

We are so thankful to the Lord for His watchful eyes upon our family as we have been scattered throughout the world this past year. He has blessed our family in many ways, tried our faith, and is aware of our sacrifices. We, as a family, know that the Lord lives, that He is our Savior, and that He loves each us. We are so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

We pray for the health and love of our family and friends throughout the four quarters of the globe. May the Lord bless each of you with the righteous desires of your hearts.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pictures from our Favorite Sister Missionary

Our family has been so blessed to have Aimee serving the Lord in Cambodia! We have watched her grow in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and share her incredible testimony of the Atonement of the Savior! We miss her and look forward to seeing her again. Hopefully we will be able to join her in Utah at the end of her mission.

Hello families!!!

*flails around* mom you dont have to worry about us here in Cambodia. The senior couple is having all of the Viet missionaries over to thier house on Wed. to have a big thanksgiving dinner. Elder and Sister Snyder are the BEST! *flails around* i'm so excited for that!

okay i'm finally sending more pictures home.... but only like 3 this time because i filled up my other memory card and i had to buy a new one. i forgot the old one at home.

Pic1- me with Co Anh...a super strong member who helps us all the time. she lives alone and she does nails for her job. but Heavenly Father is blessing her so much because of her sacrifices to help us.

pic2- Em Tha Nat...he's the son of one of our recent converts, chi hang. His birthday was on monday so we had a FHE with them followed by a birthday party. he is sooooo stinkin cute!!

pic 3 this one is from this morning. Co Kim is the branch president...she sells co'm xuong. i love co'm xuong. anyway she sells here and we bought some from her for breakfast this morning. ^-^ pic 4- a random dragon fly tied to a string..... yeah ^-^

So our week was so good! Chi Trinh went on exchanges yesterday so i was with a native cambodian missionary who doesnt know any vietnamese, (and i dont know any cambodian :) ) luckily she knew a ton of english. her name was sister un. she was so nice and sweet. ^-^

I feel like i'm finally hitting the prime of my mission. things are doing so well! we are having a ton of success, even if no one is close to baptism yet. chi trinh and i work so well together and we are happy all the time. :)President Smedley wants us to really focus on finding potential .....Mel..Kes..idic..(*struggles to spell this word...sounds out the up*) Higher Priesthood holders. and thier families. last sunday we fasted to find men with potiental and we have been really blessed to have like 8. some we are already working with and others we just contacted monday and tuesday. its so exciting. i hope they make it. Cambodia is in desperate need of worthy men. sometimes i have lost faith in the men here because we see so many unrightous things going on. but i know that if it wasnt possible the Lord would not have opened a mission here. In district meeting on tuesday we talked about faithful fathers. it really made me realize how essential worthy men are. literally. and also why would anyone want to marry a man who is less than a worthy priesthood holder? *rhetorical question*

This week i finished the Book of Mormon. I bought a Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine teachers manual to study with this next time. and i love it! i'm learning so much from it and i'm just barely studying lesson 1. ^-^ i've also started doing the same thing for the New Testament too. and i'm learning so much more. I'll admit i've struggled alot to understand the bible and the teachings in there. so i'm going to do better at that. :) All in all things are so good.

I can hardly believe the holidays are here because the weather has not really changed at all here in Cambodia...except that it's stopped raining. but the sun is out more...and i've started getting sunburned again...what the heck?

Also it sounds like your mission activity was super successful ^-^ congradulations! *looks over all the spelling mistakes in this letter* english is gone... i'm sorry. XD

Anyway i guess i'm going to go. I love you guys so much!!


Sister Holloway

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sister Missionary Update

So I know this a long time in coming, but please forgive's not my fault!!! Stupid blogger has been having issues and I just didn't want to fight with it. Any way, here is this week's update from our favorite sister missionary!!

Helloz familiez!

This week was awesome because we managed to avoid all rivers this week! success!Except that we still get wet from the rain that is coming everyday. But thats okay because i have a 5 pound poncho that keeps me nice and somewhat dry ^-^No I havent gotten your package yet, :( sister snyder said last week that a package did come with a paper slip that had my name on it, but when they looked at the box it was addressed to an Elder MEXICO! *fail* so i hope that the elder who got my box is smart enough to return it...maybe here in the next few weeks...i hope.On the other hand Wendy's package came it!! I was so happy when i opened the box and i found lots of hearts with messages from people back home! :) i started crying it made me so happy! I have them all taped to my wall above my desk! ^__^ Thank you everyone for the notes of love and encouragement!

Sunday was a really weird day, for some reason i had started remembering all the things i had done wrong in the past and it really got to me. but through that experince I was reminded about the Atonement and how none of us are perfect. and I even found a really good scripture that talked about repentance. D&C 58: 42,43 "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins- behold he will confess them and forsake them." I talked to president smedley about it too, and he said that sometimes Satan makes us think that either we have to do more than that, or that we will never be forgiven. I'll admit I have a hard time seeing why or how the Lord could forgive a person such as i...but then I suppose that's where our faith and our actions lead us to a hope of that. This week I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for His infinite and eternal sacrifice and love. I know right now i cannot fully comprehend all that that encompasses, but i know that He is merciful to those who come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And after we repent all we can do is press forward with a smile. :) We will be watching conference this weekend! I'm so excited!

I cant believe it will be my last conference in Cambodia! TT___TT I'm so sad! Everytime i think about going home i get all anxious and nervous...and not in a good way! >__< so i try to not think about it too often...6 Months ack!

Mom. I'm trying to take lots of pictures. I guess i should take more. orz. maybe i'll do better. Today we are going to the National museum...i have no idea what is in there..but i heard they dont allow pictures and they charge 3$ *fail*

As for our investigators right now. They are all moving so slowly. It's so hard to have patience sometimes with everyone here. I guess that would be the reason why i was sent learn patience. Oh well thats an attribute i need for the rest of my life anyway. :) Lets see right now we are teaching Co Hoang and Em Vy. They are good. Em Vy is really good actually. She has been willing to pray and to listen and she understands what we share. Except she hasnt understood what she's been reading in the book of mormon so we need to help her with that. I'm afraid her mom, Co Hoang, might have lost intrest. She doesn't ever want to pray and she doesnt want to meet us if Em Vy isn't there. But she had tons of questions for us at the beginning...I dont know i guess just have patience.Chu Xu'o'ng is an older gentleman we have been meeting for about 3 weeks now. we had invited him to pray but obviously he didnt want to. so we let him get off the hook when he promised to pray at home. we came back but he was sick so he couldnt meet for 3 days. we finally met him yesterday and of course he said he hadn't prayed. we spent a while trying to convince him to pray. (i hate it when it we have to more or less fight them to pray) finally he prayed, but it just know.... what it needed to be... *shakes head* Anh Ca Chinh said that if an investigator wont even pray then odds are they will not progress. but have patience and maybe he will come around.We finally got an investigator to church on sunday too and the other sisters had like 4 investigators and the elders had 12. so many new people at church! our investigator...Co Cam. she was so good. she reads the bible she believes in Christ and so willing to meet us...but then on sunday at church there was an old man who came and shared his testimony. and in his testimony he said that no one here was rightous except for the americans and that this church was not true. I couldn't believe he said that! Of course all the members already knew that this certain old man was kinda crazy so none of them listened..but our investigator..our ONLY investigator at church listened to him!! *cry of frustration*...I dont understand how she would listen to only one man's false testimony and ignore the 7 or 8 other true testimonies (mine included) that was shared that this church is the ONLY true church on the face of the earth. *shakes head* I guess maybe she was only looking for something bad...but still why on that sunday did that only guy have to come! *shakes head* orz...satan....okay well i guess thats all the big news this week!I love you guys so much! i miss you all!

Love Sister Holloway

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stupid Blogger

I have been trying for a couple of days to load pictures from our Luxembourg trip last week, but it won't let me for whatever stupid reason. So as soon as I get it figured out I will post about our trip and share our pictures.

Monday, July 18, 2011

So Much to Catch Up On!

Be prepared to enjoy many pictures since I have about four weeks worth and lots to catch up on. Most of the pictures were taken by Kaitlyn, she's turning into a great photographer.

Several weeks ago we received a phone call from a family, the Johnson's, in our ward asking us if we would like to show them where a certain pond was that had turtles. So we got in the car a drove down the street to the African Museum in Tervuren. The complex itself is beautiful on the outside, we haven't yet been on the inside to see all the treasures there. But the outside is beautiful.

I'm sure that when it's up and running in all it's glory the outside is beautiful with all the fountains running and the lights lit. The Tervuren park is very extensive and is probably several kilometers long with a walking path all the way around it. It is also surrounded by woods.

We were able to find a ChiChi's Tex-Mex closer to our home in Waterloo, rather than having to travel all the way downtown in the middle of Brussels. Right outside of the restraunt is a "Pizza'a Box," the most bizzare thing I've ever seen in my life. There is NO ONE inside to make your pizza, it's available 24 hours a day and makes your pizza hot and ready to eat in 3 minutes! Don't know that I would ever be brave enough to try it though.

Happy 12th Birthday to Kaitlyn, July 14!! I can't believe my baby is 12 and will be moving from Primary to Young Women! She has been such a joy in our family. After several years of heartache, trials and sadness, we were blessed with this sweet girl. Three years before she was born we were told we would never have any more children, so we thanked Heavenly Father for the two daughters we had already and promised to be righteous in order to raise the two children He had already called home. I'm sure that Dave's Mom and Dad pleaded with Heavenly Father to bless us with another child, and He saw fit to bless us with our last one. We love her so much and have had to work hard at keeping her here with us.

Kaitlyn has been begging for a year or so to have her hair cut short, but Mommie thought that all little girls should have long hair. On her 12th birthday Mommie gave in and allowed her to get her hair cut into a more big girl style. Of course, Mommie cried to see that her baby truly isn't a baby any more!

Dave had to go TDY for the first time the weekend of Kaitlyn's birthday, so he was able to get it approved for Kaitlyn and Pam to go with him to The Hague in The Netherlands. It's only a 2 hour drive but we were authorized to rent a car and spend the night! What a great way to spend Kaitlyn's birthday weekend!

We stayed at the Carlton Beach hotel in Scheveningen, Holland, The Netherlands. The hotel sits right on the beach of the North Sea!! We arrived to blue skies and a slight cool breeze.

We were unable to check into our room for several hours, so while Dave went to his meeting, Kaitlyn and Pam walked the boardwalk and along the beach.

The beginning of the boardwalk!

It was so quiet and there was no one around until midafternoon, so we walked all along the beach and watched as the vendors and restraunts received their shipments for the day.

When Dave returned from his meeting we went to this Mexican restraunt for dinner. It was so yummy!!! All the restraunts had indoor and outdoor seating, we chose indoor because of all the birds flying around. It's quite common to have the seagulls join you for dinner any where you sit. We saw a couple walking along the boardwalk eating their french fries and there were seagulls RIGHT OVER their heads trying to swoop down to steal them some fries!! It was funny, glad it wasn't me!!

The air was pretty clear, or at least clear enough that you could see the ships out along the shipping lane. We were really surprised about how dirty the water looked, maybe just because it was low tide?

Each hotel has a "beach club" on the beach where you can get a drink, a beach bed, and a snack. This beach club had a cool "sand castle" right on it's floor! When renting a beach bed in the beach club beware that it is clothes optional! We were used to it because we saw topless sunbathers at the beaches in Italy while living there, so really no surprise to us. But Kaitlyn was still grossed out by the topless sunbather.

The Dutch love them McDonald's! It seems like where ever we turned we could see the Golden Arches. For lunch we found one along the beach and shared our meal with the pigeon. I know it's not very sanitary, but what do ya do?! I must say that European McDonald's is 100% better then American McDonald's!!

Here is a view of our hotel from the beach. Very unique design! Our accomidations included breakfast, so we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast on Saturday before we left to go home. We would have loved to stay another night, especially after the wonderful bed we slept in. Maybe next summer we will have to book a long weekend.

This Momma had to rest after spending several hours walking on the beach and boardwalk. We bought our usual souveniors, thimbles, magnets, spoons, and had to get some wooden shoes!!

Here is a view from our balcony on Friday! Doesn't it look so lovely?

Kaitlyn and Dave found this crab that washed up on shore on Saturday. They found some unique seashells for our growing collection. We totally forgot to bring a baggie for sand from the shore, maybe we will remember the next time.

We woke up Saturday morning to this....rain! It rained ALL day as we traveled back toward home.

I love the sound of the sea/ocean as the waves come into the shore. I have several CDs of the sounds of the waves, but nothing sounds better then the real thing in person!!

Going into and out of the resort town of Scheveningen where we stayed for the night, we passed UNDER several buildings!! It was the most bizzare thing I've ever seen! Here we are headed to the temple in Zeometeer.

There are so many bridges where ever you go in the area because so much of the land is surrounded by water! It's a good thing that the car we rented had a GPS because we would NEVER have found the places we wanted and needed to go!

Kaitlyn is now old enough to perform Baptisms for the Dead at the temple, but since she doesn't have her recommend yet we decided to just stop by so that she can see the temple where she will have her first experience in October.

It is a very small temple, but just as beautiful as all the others around the world.

Following a GPS may be good sometimes, but if you are trying to pay attention to the cars in front, behind and at the sides of you while still trying to follow the directions that the mechanical monster gives you, you and still end up lost in Rotterdam, The Netherlands!! We noticed a lot of sailboats on the rivers.

Okay, so when I think of The Netherlands, I picture big huge wooden traditional windmills....we couldn't find any!! Dave found this replica of one a few blocks from the temple, so this was as good as we got.

Do you see the spots hanging in midair from that building? Those are PEOPLE repelling!! CRAZY!!! Dave says he thinks that it's some kind of amusement park in Rotterdam.

Another of the many bridges we crossed.

This was weird. I sure hope that the floor of that building isn't seethrough!!

We were pretty shocked to see so many Muslims in the area and even saw this Mosque!

This is the only windmills we saw in The Netherlands and the only ones we see in Belgium!

We decided to meet up with some friends in Antwerp on our way home. We were not impressed at all with the city.

It was extremely crowded, the streets that we walked down were dirty. Maybe it was because it was raining and Pam was having a hard time walking and Kaitlyn was cold, but we were not impressed at all. So we took some pictures, bought a couple of souveniors....

The carvings in the cathedral was amazing.

visited with friends from our ward, the Nielsens and Rasmussens...

had drinks and then we headed home while the rest went and did more sightseeing. We had a most enjoyable weekend and call it our mini-vacation. We wish we could have stayed longer, but when you have a missionary, a college student, and trying to follow the Prophet's counsel to get out of debt we have to be moderate in all things including our vacations.

Here is Kaitlyn on her first day of Young Women's! She bought this dress while we were on vacation. She was so excited yet scared to be doing something new at church. She's very excited to go back next week and can't wait for September to get here when activities will begin again. All activities are suspended during the summer holiday because so many people leave on vacations, seems weird to us Americans, but that's the way they do things here in Europe.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Missionary Wednesday

Good afternoon my awesomely awesome parents and awesomely awesome littlest sister!
Ack. no i'm still in the same branch as before. the new sisters wont come until the middle of Augest we found out. so we still have some time :p
Ack our branch has issues. sister sparks and i were trying to do some service for two memebers and the branch president basically told us not to help them because he didnt think they deserved our help. and he's denying one of them a temple recommend because he doesnt like the person. i dunno its a stupid personal reason. sister sparks and i are still going to help her because she is still a faithful member. (plus he cant really tell us who to serve and who not to serve :p)
wow 89 degrees! i would kill for that kind of temperature! i think lately the temp has been about the same here.... a steady 7 billion degrees F. :) it's nice though ^__^
We have just about lost all of our investigators again. >__< We think the Jehovah's Witnesses have been around our area and they told Co Bay some bad things about us. (Its funny we never actually SEE the jehovah's witnesses, but we know they are out there. *cough*satan in disgues *cough*) So Co Bay has been avoiding us. we are thinking we might have to drop her. :(
Chi Lieu and Anh Hu'o'ng have disappeared off the face of the earth. at least through them we were able to meet Em Buoi, Em Phuc and Em Thien...the three cutest most awesome kids on the entire planet!! (none of them are related they just live in the same neighborhood)
Em Buoi is 13 years old. She's studied about Christ before. her faith is so strong and she is so knowlegeable. she loves reading the book of mormon and as soon as she goes to church for 8 times she can be baptised! ^_^
Em Phuc is 11 years old. He loves singing the hymns! We talked to his grandmother yesterday and she agreed to meet with us at 5pm today. hopefully she will start learning with em phuc to and she can be baptised as well.
Em Thien is about 11 or 12 i think. He talks really loud and he loves reading too. He's more of a challenge to teach because he gets bored and interupts alot.
Because of these 3 kids we have made our lessons more fun and more interactive. and literally if i could i would shove them all into my suitcase and take them home with me. ^_^ no joke. that's how weird i've become on my mission. I worry so much after sister sparks and i leave who will be there for them you know? *headdesk* ack..i cant think about that it makes me soooo sad!
the other day when we were teaching them, sister sparks was testifying. Em phuc started to get really really close to her and all of a sudden he wacked her on the forehead. Sister sparks was a little taken back and i couldnt stop laughing. Em Phuc was like "moi" which means 'mosquito' and he wiped it from her face. XDD it was seriously the funniest think i have seen on my mission! Co Nu'o'ng's progress has been amazing too. she participates when we teach her kids Em My Lam and Em Kim Anh. her knowlege is growing so much and she smiles so much more too.
As for using my art talent...orz i try but i dont have much time to draw these days. we've been using the pictures for like sunday school and primary though. usually when i do draw its for other missionaries to like cheer them up and stuff. but there really aren't any sidewalks here in Cambodia to draw on...its like italy where everything is right on the street. and the few sidewalks they do have are in front of government buildings...and i dunno if they would appreciate Joseph Smith's face on their front step. XD ahaha
yeah wendy told me about the mis-hap...goodness gracious. *shakes head* what are we going to do about them? :) I'm sure wendy is taking good care of them though.
Well i should go now. Another week down. one more to go :)
Sister Holloway

I got your package last week!! thank you soooo much! i love the cds! i play them everyday!!
also the dresses were a bit...large for i'll have a sister in our branch tailor problem
Thank you again!! I can't belive i almost forgot to tell you!