Thursday, September 26, 2013

Last Week

September 26, 2013


Well this week has been great. lets see where to start. the rest of last week was pretty normal, just regular days of language and study. umm sunday was great. We had our normal 4 church meetings and yeah, even though i dreded the thought of having to have to give a talk in espanol, by the time this week came around i prepared a good talk and actually wanted to speak but nope i didnt get chosen so it was a relief and sadness at the same time. Owell. at our MTC presidency class we learned about the priesthood and the different offices and keys but, nothing was super exciting about that. infact that is only meeting anymore i have a hard time staying awake in the whole time. its not that im super tired it just that it gets hot in the room and its just Presidente Pratt just talking about stuff. NOT that hes a bad speaker but he definatly doesnt keep it interactive very much. Hes super cool though. Then we had our Devotional an hour later and we watched a MTC Devotional by Richard G Scott and he gave an excellent talk on prayer and reciving answers. Great talk. That night for our video we watched one about John Tanner and all of his sacrifices for the church. Hes One of the really rich people who donated approximatly 50,000 dollars to the church and by the time he left Kirtland, he was completly bankrupt and had no food for his family, Im pretty sure you are all familiar with that story and then we watched To This End Was I Born. Not that it was bad, But the new bible videos do a lot better job of the life of christ. If you havnt watched them i Highly suggest you do.

Then Monday, was a normal day other than a language lesson that is super confuzing. Its called subjunctive and it doesnt exist in English. Im still kindof stuck on it. ill begin to understand a little and then they add something else and it makes no sence again. But Good news is that we got a new book. I dont know if they just didnt have the book when we got here or its new. Its a language review and before that we only had missionary language books. so we didnt know about anything other than religious terms. Its great and all but you kondof need to know some non religious stuff too. So we got that yesterday and its more of a textbook type, and it has a lot of review stuff and examples and things to do, so hopefully that will help me a little more. So since we dont have a frisbee anymore we started playing a new game, its called handball you play it in a basketball court that has the soccer net under it and you throw the ball into the net but its like frisbee in the sence you cant just run with the ball, and its soccer cause your throwing it into a net and garding it. SUper fun and really gets your heart going. Tuesday was fun when we were playing this because it just started Pouring while we were playing and the court we were playing had like an inch of water everywhere so people were slipping and you couldnt see anything cause it was raining so hard. But who cares if it was raining we kept plaing for a good 30 min inthe rain. we were completly soaked. I think that that was the hardes rain we have had the whole 6 weeks here. cause the main road going down the CCM was a river. It was fun to watch other elders try and cross and try and not get wet. My clothes took about a day to try and my shoes are still soaked.

Also the natives are awesome. its amazing how many of them know a little bit of english, enough we can communicate. so they speak english to us and we help them, and we speak spanish to them and they help us. Win win situation. Its fun. funny story with them, I think it was monday night when we returned to our dorm we started chatting with them and the our other roomates. then they were like LEts Take  A Picture so we grabbed our cameras and put them on a desk and took a few pictures. then more Natives came and soon enought we had a dozen cameras on the table all taking pictures. they were just so excited to take pictures.  Then Tuesday night we had a Devotional and It was a re run of a MTC Devotional from the week after last octbers general Conference. His whole talk was on learning how to get things out of conference. He gave us a few ideas of how to take notes, and what to look for. IT was an Awsome talk. so yeah. Just for me the first weekend in the feild is general conference. I think its going to be awesome. Today is really busy, we were supposed to go to the temple at 7 which is my preference but because of schedualing issues we left at 8 and didnt get back till 1:30. so that ate up most of our day and i still need to go get a hair cut. and finish laundry befor 5:15. Oh and im super excited becasue tonight we are going to have real Mexican tacos. We planned a little fiesta with our teachers and they told us they would bring tacos and such for us to night so im excited.... Super Excited. Lets just say im glad to get out of here and eat some better food hopefully. As much as I love the MTC im ready to leave. Im a little nervous for the launguage but taht comes with time.  It just a little weird to think that in a week or so we probably be actually teaching real investigators and putting to work all the things we learned here.

You can definatly tell that The CCM is having a few learning curves. you can tell because everyweek there is either a new rule, new variation on a rule, or a completle lesson on obedience or following rules. WHICH IS GOOD. Ive tried my hardest to go to bed on time, and be to classes on time. but its frustrating when otheres around you dont think that they are important. Im not saying i was perfect with all the rules, somtimes i didnt always get in to be by 10:30, or the one I stuggled with was Speaking your Langauge. Looking back over these six weeks i  think if would of spoke more spanish. I always pulled excuses or just didnt constantly think about speaking the language. especially when everyone around you doesnt speak the language either. and ill tell you what it definatly put a dent in my language ability. So yeah that last week and a half i definatly spoke more spanish and it has helped so much. so yeah. we all make mistakes and thats where we pick up and work harder and ill say this since ive started speaking spanish as much as possible im not as tired. Is easier to wake up in the morning and easier to remember words and phrases.

Well I love you all, its good to hear from you and hear about the things that are going on. I miss you, but Im always comforted Cause i know that im here doing the lords work. It always brings me comfort and joy. You are all in my prayers everyday. I wish the best for all of you. Read the scriptures and pray. without those things no one would ever be converted to this gosple and the blessings it can bring into our lives. I love you all. As far as i know i will be leaving wednesday moring. my flight leaves around 7 in the morning so i will be leaving probably 2 or 3 in the morning. I will be emailing on tuesday for a little bit, but other than that whenever my P day is i will email. so it could be more that a week so yeah.

So Pictures. First One is of part of our district and  a couple of others that left this week. 2, is of us after playing in the rain, 3, cool clouds after that rain. 4, is my entire district, my entire district had a little gift exchange for something to remember each of us for. 5, is me at the temple today.

Love you All

Elder Hollingshead

(or Zerin, Z, Uncle Z, Zman, or what ever your Preference.)

Part of our District

Soaking wet fun!

Beautiful Clouds after the Rain

District Gift Exchange

Mexico City Temple

Sunday, September 22, 2013

California Los Angeles Mission Blog
Wow does time fly. I seems like just a week or so a go i left now im a little less than two weeks from leaving. Its been a great week. tired but great. Friday was pretty normal and then Saturday night we had a Mexican night so they brought some dancers and they had a few videos on Mexican culture that was fun but it wasnt the actual Mexican night. Sunday we had a great church meetings we said our goodbyes to the other district and we were all pretty sad becuase they were just awesome people. At 10:30 pm we all went to the gym again and we watched the grito or the mexican chant that the president says each year on this day. so we watched the broadcast and it was like watching the Ball Drop in downtown New york it was so crazy the people just went crazy by the time we got back to our apartment it was 11:30 and we were tired and of course all you could here was fireworks guns and big big booms. But i have learned that thier culture is awesome i love it, they just love to party. We have had a couple of sets of Native speakers live in our dorms with us and they are always just having fun and laughing. its fun to talk to them cause they just laugh at our Spanish. Its nice cause they know some english usually and it is just cool to talk with them and become somewhat of friends.  It was kindof hard to sleep but i did get some sleep so i was pretty tired on Monday and i think i caught up by today ill probably take a nap sometime today.
Well other than that it was a normal week. There are some new people that got here from mesa. If any of you know them Braden Smartt, Colby Neilson, Aly Beecher. she was really suprised when she saw me but it was fun. the other District in our Branch left this week so no more Frisbee. that's kindof sad but we did´play some sand volleyball this morning for an hour that was fun. And now i know why people hate rain everyday. it just gets miserable when every feild is wet or standing in water it just makes playing sports no fun during gym time. Oh and if i didint know that mexican candy is nasty i know now. One of our teachers brought some fruit type candy covered in this nasty chilly powder it was so disgusting. i had to spit it out. i dont get why they love that spice, its just horrible. so now i know not to try some mexican candy. and to answer you question about the temple we will go 3 times so every other week so i should be going  next week, but not this week.
Well our class time just gets long some days. The last few days our hour of TALL( technology assisted language learning) on the computer was not working. the program didnt run. so it made the afternoons really long and hard to stay alert. We keep grabbing the comfy seats from empty classrooms and then well come back after dinner or something and they will be gone so  we usually have hard seats that are no fun to sit on for 8 or so hours. In one of our clasese we watched a clip from a MTC devotional by Elder Bednar. He had an awesome story about how when he was a stake president elder packer came for a reigonal conferernce and  they started to talk and elder Bednar was telling him a story about when he was on a mission. Elder Packers Flight was cancelled halfway to Berlin so they stoppped on the western side where Elder Bednar was serving. Before Bednar took them to the Train Station he gave some money, not knowing why he was giving it to them. Becasue of border issues between east and west Germany when they got to the border they had a problem with sister Packers passport and almost took here off the train, but that money that was given to them  he put in the passport and they went somewhere else and came back and allowed them to continue their journey but when they opened the passport back up the money was gone. For whatever reason Elder Bednar gave the money he now knows that the spirit directed him to do so to help them get through the border. Elder Bednar never know about this until 20 years later and he know that without following that prompting there could have been some serious problems. I just htought that was an awesome story.
 Im so grateful for the spirit and its presence here. I love you all and am grateful for your prayers in behalf of me. Good luck for all of those who are starting school this semester. You are all in my prayers and im so thankful for you guys.
Elder Hollingshead
P.S. I still want addresses so i can write a letter you some of you. so Please send me it!

MTC Campus

Rain Rain Rain,  every day!

Fog on Mountains around MTC

MTC Study Group

Hola Familia y Amigos

Hows it going? Hows everybody doing? For those of you starting school up again, hows That? well this week has been great. Spanish is coming along, slowly but surely. Im grasping grammer concepts more quickly but, its just hard to keep all the vocabulary memorized. but that will come, i got some flash cards to help me.  So in most of your emails everyone asked what does CCM Stand for? Well its just the mexican way of saying MTC. Just how MTC is the abbrieiation. CCM is the abbreviation for the title. I had no idea that where im at the church owned half of the valley that we are nestled in. as the city grew it became part of the city but yeah the churche had elementary school all the way to college. It was all Benemerito de las Americas. At one of our devotionals a hispanic talked about when the school was opened in the dedicatory prayer the president( i dont remember who it was) he said during the prayer that this place would be a great place to learn the spanish language. most of the people didnt quite understand what that meant but now they understand. It is a place to teach spanish to all the missionaries that will be learning spanish.

So yeah all 3 of my teachers are people who live down here and know enough english to get by. One night though we had an american teach us, for some reason i dont know why but wow it is amaizing how much someone who knows english can teach so much clearer. I love my Spanish teachers but its hard sometimes cause they dont understand english grammer and you can tell they just dont know how to explain in a way we can understand. owell. but as i learn more spanish it does become alot eaiser to understand and learn. Other than that this week has been pretty normal. we got to go to the temple this morning. that was fun. No earthquakes today or in the last week. Umm i understood alittle more of the temple session but most of it sill went right over my head. Its still alot of fun.

Well as of yesterday i am officially half way done with MTC Training. Im getting super excited. I got a letter from Blake this week and it just cant wait to get in the field. I love the CCM and all but its not all that fun sometimes. especially when you are super tired and there jsut no time to catch  up on sleep. I have done alot better with not sleeping in clases. Course its really hard when you Have Elder Holland speaking to you. NO he did not come down here, we just watched a previous MTC devotional. It was awesome. IF he wasnt my Favorite Speaker before, he is now. My favorite quote was something to the effect of, when you go to the field "GO ASTONISH SOMEBODY". I dont have my notes with me right now but it was an awesome devotional. It finally stoped raining. the last couple of days it hasnt rained so its been nice, things are starting to dry up. One of the days we played frisbee, i came back and my legs were muddy all the way up my back and i had brown spots all over my shirt, it was awesome :)

Thanks for all the emails. It was great to hear from all of you. I would love to respond to all of you but i just dont have time. And if you want to send a letter wait a couple weeks untill i get to LA cause i dont want it to get lost and end up not getting to me as of right now Email is fine. But I do want lots of peoples addresses so if you could email them to me that would be great i would like to write some letters to you.

Also a bunch of you asked who do i teach. well its not all that exciting, we teach our teachers. They come up with some back story and act like non members and we go teach them lessons in the morning and at night. It is really fun and really hard sometimes. the Spanish is hard to teach in. Sometimes i wish i could say in spanish what i want to say in english. we know enough words to say what we need to say and they a little bit of what we want to say but not enough to say everything we want to so it is definatly a challenge but we get it done and its really fun to watch them progress, even though its not real. i just cant wait to get to LA and teach real people. So i didnt realize but this monday is going to be Mexican independace day. So this saturday we have mexican night which i have no idea what it is but we will figure that out. so im looking forward for a really loud weekend with the fireworks and the guns and the crazy parties, its going to be a blast. should have brought some ear plugs.owell.  all i know is that Mexicans like to party everynight all the hispanics in our dorm area are always hanging out and talking in another room. they are just awesome people. they are always laughing and plalying jokes on eachother. its just fun to get to know them a little.

Well I love YOU ALL! thanks for all your prayers in my behalf. Just know that Whatever comes your way the Lord is on your side. Good luck in school and have fun.

Elder Hollingshead

Hey everybody!

 Hows everyone doing? This week has been very interesting and fun. Sometimes i dont know how im supposed to get all of this done. Its crazy, sometimes i have 2 language classes a day and the study time they give you does not seem enough to get all the pre work done. So yeah study time is great but it can get a little long. some days its hard to stay awake and alert, but i do. My district is getting along even better. we do everything together we hang out and talk a little to eachother at night before we go to bed, and its nice cause we get to know eachother alot better. Ive learned alot about some people. Elder Larkin he is a couple years older than most of us just got back from going to school at westpoint, the military school in New York so he has a lot of stories about things that happened there. Elder Knight is from a small town in northeastern Utah. His graduating class from his high school was 30 kids. the whole school was 7-12 and had only 250 kids. He thought, along with all the other utah people that my school was crazy with over 3300 students in one school. lets just say i come from a big school in a big town. They all ask me about Arizona and what its like. so it fun to talk about. My companion and i are getting better at teaching as of this  week we have 3 progressing investigators( our teachers) and all of our lessons have to bee in spanish, so that definatly gives us a challenge we make it though. some lessons are better than others and i guess thats what its all about gettin used to of differnt teaching styles and the many different backgrounds we do teach on our mission.

Other than that this week has been pretty normal. Food is still pretty bad, we get a good meal once in a while but if its not theres always frosted Flakes. yumm.... The weather has been cool but annoying also. It has rained...let me rephrase has poured everyday except sunday this last week. It just never stops. I love and hate it cause its the only time of day when we are walking around. the rain usually starts between 4:30 and 5:30 and it rains for at least a half an hour and up to 4 hours last night i was awake around mindnight and it iwas still raining so everything around here is soaked. Oh and i forgot, my umbrella is broken. it got a little windy one time and snaped half of it. so yeah i usually get soaked at least once aday. although the rain is bad timing it is also good. our gym time is right before dinner from 4 -5 and its always cloudy and getting ready to rain so it makes it nice and cool and you dont get as hot. Me and a few others got tired of playing baksetball and we wanted to play frisbee but there are no frisbees here. so we played volleyball a couple of times and found another district that has a frisbee. so the last week its been a district against district ultimate frisbee game. its loads of fun and it is a great break from the stress of each day. it also kindof wakes me up and gets be thought 9:30 when we head back to our dorms.

On sunday night we watched a devotional with D todd chistofferson. that was great! Also on sunday nights we watch a video, last week was the testiments and this week was about an italian guy who found a book of mormon, without a title page or cover and he starts preaching from it in his church and gets kicked out. it goes on to throughtout his life and the story it took for him to get baptized and in the end he makes it to the temple a couple of years before he passes away. It was an awesome story. It just was more of a testimony builder to me to know that the book of mormon is true and it has a lot of power behind its writings.

Tuesday night we had a member of the 70 come and speak, he had very broken English, but the spirit was there and he talked about the importance of the members and how the missionaries are to help members along with others in the community. He went on to say that with the lords help we can do all things. be strong and of a good courage for the lord thy god is with me. At some point during the week i was just tired. i didnt feel i was learning the language fast enough, it was hard to stay focused and alert and after that devotinal it kindof rebooted my mind and helped me to know and remember that heavenly father is with me always. through the tough challenges of learning a languange.

I have found out that i have missed music....alot! we arnt allowed to listen to music here in the ccm and the only music i do get is branch chior and the hymns we sing in our class. that is pretty awfull. i am coping with it. We showed up to chior practice a lilttle early one time so i just sat athe piano and started playing, it was awesome! definatly a great stress reliever. so yeah im playing the piano in our preisthood meeting sunday so that will be nice. I also along with my district got to sing at the devotional on tuesday. it was fun we sung I need thee every hour, in spanish. Singing english hymns in spanish is really hard. doest always flow like i remember it . the fun thing is that Called to serve has 4 verses in Spanish. What? Not that i know what the other verses mean but it is just cool.

Yeah so that has been my week. oh and just to let you know mail takes about 1 1\2 - 2+ weeks to get here. its really weird. One day there was a little note in the mail box that someone in our district had a package. he was super excited, he went in and singed for it and as he was bringing it outside he realized it was for another ELder Larkin. I felt so bad he was so excited and of course the other elder opened it up right in front of him. Hopefully i wont have that problem seeing that there are not many Zerin Hollingsheads in The CCM. But A alot of peeople ask me if im related to hollingsheads in utah. I said i think so but they arnt close relatives. i have no idea if that ture but i do know that we had some Hollingsheads in utah at one point so i fell that its a pretty safe asumption.

Anyways i Love you all! thank you for all your prayers. Enjoy the hot weather for me. Cause i miss it alot....well actually not really at all cause its kindof perfect here.

If you want to anyone can probably email me since letters take so long. I wont promise a personal email back immedietly but i will write back, at some point.

Love you all,

Elder Hollingshead

MTC District at the Mexico City Temple
Hey everybody!

Sorry its been so long to send a e-mail. my pday is thursday and we didnt have one last week so today was the first time to be able to email. so yeah  lets start out. tuesday probably about 75 or so missionaries came on the first day. it just keeps getting more and more people as this week has gone by. Yeah in case you didnt here there was earthquake tuesday, this monday, and today. while we were in the temple, we were getting clothes and it just started to vibrate more and more it took us a  little while to figure out what was going on but it was cool. its pretty common around here, they have an alarm system thats really annoying but at least were prepared in case it gets really bad.  acutally the first one was during breakfast and  all of us newbys were really confused. anyways so i share a dorm with 4 others. its me, my compaion, two others that are going to honduras, and then two hispanics who we havent talked to much. kindof a big language barrier. in my district there are 8 elders and 4 hermanas. all of us elders are going to los angeles. thats is pretty much unherad of around here but its really awesome. the food is awful, except tuesday night which is costco pizza! other than that its pretty blah and if i dont like what is for dinner or breakfast. theres always cold ceral for us if we need. the second day scared me becasue when i got some milk for my frosted flakes, the milk was warm. it was pretty digsuting. so yeah this place is really full and they still say they can fit more which i dont believe.


So about my companion, Elder Pickett. he is super chill about everything. i think we get along really well. Hes from alot of places but he says hes really from new jersy, but his family just moved to utah the year before he left. the rest of my district is from utah except me, elder ransbottom whos from preston, idaho, elder Maughan, from albany new York, Hermana hawkins from california around where our mission is, and Hermana Jones who is from Mesa! some of you might know her its Devry Jones. So thats kindof cool our whole district gets along well. Its amazing how much utah people dont know about arizona. utah people are weird, thats all im gonna say.


so yeah our schedual is packed from 6:30 to 10:30. the first few days were torture. meeting after meeting and i got super tired cause we werent doing anything. funny story so the first day, wednesday, we were in this disussion and i kindof fell alseep, not fully out though. and i was just sitting there with my head laying back and all the windows were open and some really loud car honked its horn and i like jumped out of my seat. all the elders in my row just laught. i do have to admit it was very funny.  i also slept during one of the devotionals on sunday. dont worry i wasnt they only one, and the part i was sleeping, was what people said was kindof a boring part. but i was out for at least 20 minunets and the hermanas behind me kept laughing. So yes call me a horrible person but those were needed. this week has gone by so quickly. thursday seemed so far away and now here it is. This morining we got to go to the temple so we had to wake up a little earlier, and that was an interesting experience. lets just say i didnt understand much at all. it was a good thing to go a bunch of times before coming cause i knew what to do and when to do it even if i dont understand. it was about a 5 hour trip. left at 7 got back at a littie after 12. lets just say 45 mins in decent traffic is really good time. People are crazy here. i dont know why you would want to drive and of course were in a bus which makes it even worse. it took us over and hour to get there this moringinand then under an hour to get back. so thats been most of my day.

 so The weather here is awesome. it hasnt gotten above 80 and its always breezy. every couple days or it just pours for a good hour and then makes the next couple of days even nicer. the morings are actually a little chilly and its a common sight for all the mounains around the CCM to be covered in fog. This place is right up in the mountains and probably has the best views, not that you can see very far. on a warm day that doest rain the smog sets in pretty hard so you cant see far. i didnt see the sun at all for the first 3 days, and im still not for sure where it rises and sets. its just light. oh and the whole place is fenced off with a 10 foot tall brick wall. with 10 feet of chainlink fence with lots of barbed wire on the top so were pretty safe here. sleeping is interesting. the traffic never stops and most the cars around here are really loud, and of course we are right next to the road. its just lovely. but when your tired you sleep through anything. Its really nice.

So after 2 days of language study, we barley knew how to bear a simple testimony, and a simple prayer, we had to create a lesson plan and teach a lesson to a progressing investigator.  Yeah so me and my companion barely made it throught the 30 min lesson taking like 2 mins per sentance, that was probably the worst grammer you could have.  now after 5 lessons were pretty comfortable other than the fact that my companion likes to ramble and repeat a lot of stuff. were still working on how to teach better. Launguage study is not that hard we only have 3 hours in the morning with a teacher, and 2 hours in the afternoon with no teacher. It is amazing how fast some of  the spanish i did learn comes back to me when you start learning it again. The thing i really dont like is TALL, its the language study on the the computer. its not exactly easy and the instructions a little confusing sometimes. after that hour i am like brain dead for about 20 mins.  i still struggle quite a bit but it is  a great place to learn. most of the people who work here are very hispanic and know just enough english to get them by around here. and what english they do know is very broken and hard to understand. My Branch president is also the doctor here, hes been here on a mission for about a year. he was just  a reigional health person for the church around here but as soon as the mtc opened he was assinged here.

Oh bytheway, the address that was given to me was the old MTC that was next to the temple. Dont worry if you have sent something there it will be sent to this mtc, just might take a little longer the real address is

Zerin Hollingshead
Carr. Tenayuca-Chalmita No.828
Col. Zona Escolar, Deleg. G.A.
Madero, C.P. 07230, Mexico, D.F.

Oh and the specifically asked us to remind people to not sent mail after my 3rd week because the mail system is really bad around here. Mom and Dad i did get your card, and letter thanks!

So Yeah lets just say the spirit is here so strong. I can feel it everyday. It would be really hard to get though these few weeks without it. I know that Im here to serve the lord. Elder Anderson spoke at the devotional tuesday night, and  this is what he said.

We Sacrifice for the things we Love, and we Love the things we Sacrifice For. that is really powerful if you think about it so i have realized that as im sacrificing my time and energies to the lord i will become closer to him and to those i will serve. I love it. I am tring to forget about everything else and devote my time to him. sometimes it hard to get up at 6:30 and work for 16 hours straigt but i know the blessings will be inumerable. I love all of you! thanks for all your wonderful examples. I know that this is the ture gosple and that i am doing the Lords work in these latter days. Talk to you Next Week.

Elder Hollingshead

Zerin with his companion Elder Pickett at the Mexico City Temple

Mexico City Temple
Do I really need all this stuff?


Leaving for the MTC
Opening his Mission Call