Monday, February 23, 2009

Ella se desmayo!

Oh man, I have a great story to share with all of you this week.

A week ago saturday, a member of the bishopric called to see if I would be willing to give a brief talk on missionary work. Of course I agreed, and the next morning during my study time I crafted a nicely written talk on missionary work and on being examples to others (in spanish of course). We got to church, and I sat in the back with my companion and one of her recent converts until it was my turn to get up and speak. When the time came, I walked up to the pulpit, and began to speak. I introduced myself a little bit since I'm still fairly new to everyone, and then got to the main topic of my talk. Everything was going well, I felt good and was excited to be able to speak to my ward and share my testimony a little bit. A couple minutes went by and I began feeling really hot and started to sweat. I figured it was just a result of being up in front of people, and continued speaking. Maybe thirty seconds after that I started feeling kind of nauseous, and then I started having trouble breathing. My reading of my talk slowed as I continued trying to catch my breath enough to speak, but it wasn't helping. Not having the breath to continue speaking I stopped all together for a second to try and recover enough to continue, but that didn't help either. I started feeling dizzy, and the next thing I knew my companion was up on the stand right next to me and the bishopric was asking me if I was okay and setting me down into a chair on the stand.

Haha... I totally, and completely passed out while giving a talk.

Apparently after I stopped speaking my companion thought that I was just having trouble reading the words in spanish (which she thought was strange because we read together often in spanish and I never struggle much) and started giving me the "come on, you can do it, keep going" motion with her finger... until she saw me start swaying. Once she figured out that I was going to faint, (this is one of my favorite parts of the story), I guess she stood up in the back of the chapel and yelled (in english :s), "SOMEBODY CATCH HER!!!" Hahahaha... luckily the bishopric speaks english and got up quick enough to grab me and keep me from falling all the way to the floor, after I had hit my head on the microphone or pulpit or something (I've heard various versions of this part of the story) meanwhile Hermana McMurtrey ran up the aisle to get up to the pulpit and help.

I was sweating profusely, and sitting up on the stand looking out into the worried faces of the congregation as I tried to figure out exactly what was happening. The next speaker had gotten up without missing a beat (luckily) and drew a little of the attention away from me, nevertheless, most of the eyes were still on me.

uagh i'm out of time. This story is to be continued...

But just to make sure my family members don't freak out and think I'm horribly sick, I will say that I went to the doctor, and he did several tests on me and says that I AM hypoglycemic, and need to be more careful about the sugar content of what I eat (I had eaten a lot sugary stuff that morning, and my blood sugar plummeted while I was speaking). Anyway, I'll give the rest of the details next week.

I promise I am fine and totally back to normal now and no one needs to worry. My mission president's wife and my companion are taking fabulous care of me.


Hermana Austin Hollenbaugh

Monday, February 16, 2009

Love Stinks


I have several things to write about but I'm not feeling very witty today, soooo we'll just go with the flow.

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my favorite sisters Emily (on the 20th). Em I can't believe you're already 18! I hope you have a great birthday and remember that I'm thinking about you! :)

The weather here has been crazy lately. It is most definitely not winter anymore already (well, since like the 2nd of February) because it's been like at least in the 70s most days. Also, I experienced my first REALLY humid day. Thank goodness it's not really hot yet, but I got just a glimpse of what is to come... everything felt damp. Including the air. And it felt all stuffy outside. I can't imagine what it's going to be like in the summer...

I got a lovely little Valentine's package from my grandma a few days ago and the package with my shirts and skirts. Pretty fun! Funny story: The day before I got my valentine package, my comp got her valentine package. Her valentine package included a bunch of big sugar cookies with pink frosting, and a little skunk holding a heart that says "love stinks" (amongst other things) ordered from DearElder. We talked about, "oh no the last thing we need is more candy we were just getting rid of our old candy!" The very next day I got my valentine's package, from DearElder, which included a whole bunch of big sugar cookies with pink frosting, and a little skunk holding a heart that says, "love stinks". Apparently my grandma and her mom were on the same brain wave... we're going to take a picture when we have a little time with our matching cookies and skunks.

Also, I got the cutest little valentine's card from my cousins Cary Lynn and Rory and from my grandma's good friend Carol who is basically an adopted aunt or grandma or something. We've known her forever and she's been a great friend to our family.

Finally, I apologize to all my family who sent me emails last week who still haven't gotten a reply. I'm going to write you letters eventually, I just don't really have that much time with the computer so it's easier to write snail mail. Oh and grandma, the DearElder took like 4 or 5 days to get to me I think. So probably about the same as regular mail.

Happy Belated Valentine's Day to all!

Love, Hermana Austin Hollenbaugh

Monday, February 9, 2009

Adventures in Houston

Hola Hola Hola! Cheek kisses and hugs from your favorite missionary in Houston!

It has been a fabulous but exhausting week! Let me start off by giving you some of our numbers. My companion says that we have the best numbers she's seen her whole mission (and this is her last transfer) this past week! We have 6 baptismal dates set, we taught 23 lessons (the goal for the mission is 20/week), we had 12 new investigators, and best of all, we had 7 of our investigators at sacrament meeting yesterday. The Lord has blessed us abundantly! We were running all over yesterday trying to make sure that all of our investigators got to the right classes and had someone to sit with, etc. It was SO great. It is very tiring and we have collapsed into bed every night, but it is so worth it to see these people experience the joy the gospel can bring.

I have several stories to share, and I have pictures that go with them! First I have a few pictures from my last few days at the MTC:

One of my teachers (Hna. Johnson) and I

My other teacher Hno. Vasquez (haha... there's no way to take an un-awkward picture with a boy as a sister missionary :))

My companion (far right) and I, along with our roommates and Branch President's wife (Sis. Romney)

All of the lovely hermanas from my district! We were lucky to have so many!

An hermana picture with our lovely hermana teacher :)

Our district with another district who we often spent time with (spanish-speaking of course :))

Our last all district picture before the first district member flew out to his mission
And what you've all been waiting for... pictures of me in Houston!
Hermana Blanco and I with our new companions after doing a session at the Houston Temple (which is sooo pretty)
My lovely trainer, Hna. McMurtrey and I
This little guy was my first cockroach! We found him one night as we were about to go to bed :)

These Elders (Elder Briscoe and Elder Haslam) are our zone leaders. They came over to do an apartment check, and ended up leaving with a ton of our stuff! We gave them a bunch of leftover candy at first (in hopes of getting good marks on our check :)), but then they found a couple of volleyballs, an extra blender, and something else that they wanted. After coming in empty handed, that (above) is what they looked like when they left :)

Also last week, we drove up to the northern part of our area to look for a referral we had been given. The address ended up being wrong, but there were tons of hispanics around, so we decided to knock around and contact a little. While we were walking around, we got a call from one of Hna. McMurtrey's recent converts asking us where we were. We told her we were knocking doors, and she let out a huge sigh of relief. She went on to say that her husband had just driven past our apartments and he said that there was a fire right where our apartment is. At first we were sure that she must be mistaken, but we decided to drive home to check anyway. When we got there, we found out that the dry grass in the field next to our apartments had caught fire (picture above). We took this picture from our doorstep.

To make matters worse, the wind had blown the flames to our buildings, and they caught the roof of the building next to ours on fire (I don't know if you can see it... but it was that roof). Luckily no one was home when it happened, but everything smelled like smoke for days, and the trees next to the parking lot are still all burnt up. We are so glad that Heavenly Father is looking out for us!
Anyway, things are going great down here. I have so much more to share, but I'll have to save them for later. But, I got my chocolates from Coy, and I got a dearelder from Grandma (which I didn't get until the 5th or 6th of February). I will be writing you both back this week.
You all are great, keep sharing the gospel, and know that Heavenly Father loves you!
Love, Hermana Austin

Monday, February 2, 2009

Houston, we have landed.

My lovely family, friends, and all others who may be reading this blog :)~

I am officially here in my mission! It feels so good to be here!

I don't have much time, but I'm going to give all of you my direct address here, so that the mail you send will get to me faster:

4211 Clay Hill Drive #509
Houston, TX 77084

The weather is so great already. I love it. It will be getting very hot very soon I'm sure, but for right now, I'm enjoying the 75 degree weather and big blue sunny skies.

I'll write all of you next week to give you more of an update, but I hope you're all doing fabulous!


Hna. Austin Hollenbaugh