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Friday, 1 February 2013

The Decision to be an LDS Full-time Missionary

I thought it would be appropriate to start off this blog with how I came to the decision to actually go on mission.

1. Liezel (Sister)
 For those of you who don't know when I was 13, my sister Liezel set the bar and decided (very spur of the moment) that she wanted to serve a full-time mission. This was my first inspiration, she set the example and her stories and love for the Gospel was really contagious. Though I didn't think I would ever serve a mission, It wasn't something I prepared for my whole life. But because of Liezel's Example it was an option - I always said I would think about it when I turned 21.

Liezel's commitment and dedication to her mission was also a testimony builder for the whole family. When she first received her call, she was called to serve in the Kenya Nairobi Mission. This was quite a shock to the whole family. A white sister going up Africa was unheard of (still is somewhat). She had 6 Weeks to prepare to go to a completely different country, culture and climate (3 Big C's that affect most missionaries). After the shock she decided she would "go where you want me to go dear Lord"! After about 3 weeks she got a phone call from Elder Golden, saying her call had been changed. Something that does not happen often. Her call was changed to Cape Town Mission (SACTM). Looking back I would say it was my mom's prayers for her to not go up in Africa that were answered :) But it was the mission president at the time who said he could not accept this blond, blue eyed girl into his mission for fear of her safety. He expressed his concern of the Arabs that were infamous for selling women of that description for a "high price". This was a shock and relief at the same time. She was going to a country she knew, a place she was acquainted with, knew most of the history behind the area. It did turn out to still be quite a culture shock for both mission life and to experience the province in a whole new way, especially experiencing the poverty in the townships. But she continued in her determination to "go where you want me to go" - it was a test of faith, every call is from God. We don't know why she had to go through that change but she was greatly blessed from the people she taught and grew to love.

I loved the stories Liezel told of her mission, of the people she taught, of the interesting companions she had. We, as a family, were lucky to get taught by the sisters when we went to the MTC and meet a sister from France who was going to the Cape Town Mission. She ended up being one of Liezels companions. She was a wonderful lady with such a strong testimony, unfortunately she got very ill and eventually got a medical release. None-the-less it was great to meet one of her companions before she did =D. Think it also helped Liezel to know that we were supporting her mission by something simple like going to the MTC - more regularly as a family.

A lot changed in the house while Liezel was on mission. We started FHE, Family prayer and Scripture study - all things that were never a strong point in the Hollander home. unfortunately it did not last up to the present day but there were many things that changed and we grew as a family with Liezel serving her God.

I love my sister, I love her determination to finish what she started. She is such a strength and help for me while I follow her footsteps and prepare to serve my own mission.

2. Deirdre' (Sister)

Deirdre' she has always been my role model, I think she got annoyed with me when I would do everything she did, wear the same clothes, at some stages I even wanted the same friends, cause hers were much "cooler" than my own. I realise now I had awesome friends, I just didn't give them enough of a chance.

Deidz helped strengthen my testimony, for years I piggy backed on her testimony, because she was my role model - the gospel had to be true. In my first year of seminary (Deidz' last year) we studied the Book of Mormon. I didn't know what to expect, and even though I had a few friends in the church my age, I chose to sit by Deidz every day (She's my best friend!). She would always be ready before me in the mornings, she diligently did her reading, or so it seemed because she would participate in the class and take notes and feed off the teachings from Sis Debbie, she would also do her assignments in class and keep a level head through it all, she even taught herself to play piano using the hymn books (partly because she didn't wan to study her matric work, but her talent for the piano flourished through playing the church hymns). Half way through the year Deirdre' and I decided to do the class reading together every night. I would often have "better things" to do like homework (which I would always leave to the last minute) but she persisted in wanting to get the reading done. Every time we did, we grew closer to each other and were able to better participate in class. (Guess its sort of like companion study) I have applied the study methods Deidz taught me in my life ever since then and it has helped me to gain my own testimony, helped me to recognise when the Lord is speaking to me and helped me have a positive outlook on life.

Deirdre' has also been an inspiration of independence  She is a great cook! I cant cook a thing... Ok I can make toast, sandwiches, eggs, bacon, french toast, pancakes, cakes, brownies, 2 min noodles, salad. And that is my extent of cooking (it may have increased to a few more actual dishes, but I will admit I have never tried to make them completely on my own, I have always had Deidz, Mom or Liezel helping me out). I love cooking with Deirdre' she makes it fun =D makes cooking a joy not a chore. She even makes cleaning my room fun - its a gift! She has also in the past few years learnt the importance of cleaning your own home and has attempted to help me in that department.  I must admit I am finally starting to see the value in cleaning your own space. I know that on mission I will need to do things without being asked. I have started late but I am trying to be better. Mission is going to be a life/reality shock to my system. I wish I had the knowledge I have now when I was in high school already. I have had the easy life up till now but plan to be better.

Ultimately it was also Deidz that pushed me that little bit further when I did not know what to do with my life. It was mid year last year, it was a tough year with test and trail after test and trail. After a few things didn't go as planned, I prayed for help and guidance  I turned to the Scriptures, didn't find anything about my life going forward, I had planned to study in 2013 - I had found a maths degree I wanted to complete (actually still do). But it did not settle my unsettled mind. I found peace in thinking of serving a mission, but there were so many complications thought of the YSA convention I am busy organising.  (I have had a feeling I would end up organising the convention as a Stake Rep for some time now) and I tried to accommodate it in my mind - if I could persuade the committee that we do the convention in April, then I leave in May, I would be able to get the best of both worlds. But I knew they were planning on a weekend in September..  Then there is my Job, I could not just up and leave the family business - I was running the office pretty much at that time. It was a stressful Job but it kept me on my toes. I put the thought aside just then, but it was enough to let me sleep at night - I had a few options that would keep me busy and I could go on with my life. Soon after all the confusion hit me again  I didn't really know who I was and I needed an identity. I tried again with prayer and scripture study... nothing. I looked through my patriarchal blessing, which speaks of a "great mission and purpose". It does not mean directly that I should go on a mission but the thought entered my mind again. I decided to get out of these thoughts and visit Dediz in her new home and see what I could do to help her and get my mind off things. She is always understanding and comforting. But she got me talking a bit, I expressed my concerns. She then suggested "Have you thought of maybe going on mission?" 
***** Actually...!!!***** 
She suggested that it might be exactly what I need, even just on the temporal side of things, experience a new culture, learn Independence 101, meet new people, learn to be yourself without the influence of the family. But on the flip side I hope to also learn to serve others more efficiently, study my scriptures & pray more diligently & earnestly, grow closer to my Savior by learning of him, try to be like Him, and represent Him everyday for real! (with a name tag)

Might not be the best reasons to go But I think I just needed a bit of a push and some persuasion. The thought of my best friend and sister supporting me is BIG.

3. Parents

My parents were converts to this church :) and this is their imperfect story – since I have no recollection of any of this, some of the details might be sketchy.

My dad happened to be against the “Mormons” but not exactly pro anything else either. This opposition came from what his father used to say about his aunt (who was also a Mormon - never met her). Well after my parents got married; my mom was at home looking after Deirdre. She was starting to ask questions as to which church to bring her kids into? At the time my mom was attending one of the prominent Afrikaans Churches in the area, taking Liezel and Deirdre' with her, my dad stayed at home. When the "Dominee" asked my parents to take a second mortgage on their house for the "good of the church" my mom and dad put their foot down and refused. My mom was not exactly sure what to do, she wanted her kids to go to a church. So she prayed.

A few days/weeks later she saw some ladies walking down the road, as far as I can recall, my mom was waiting for them to knock on her door but they didn't, the next day or so they had a prompting to track the same street again and found themselves in our home teaching my mom the gospel. This was a prayer answered! My dad took a while to come around, he didn't want anything to do with the Mormons (as mentioned earlier). But the Sisters converted my Folks. We still have contact with one in England and one in USA. So if it wasn't for sister missionaries I would not be apart of this church - I cannot think where I would be or what I would be doing now. I cannot think that the family business would be running half as well without the law of tithing or the faith of my parents, I cannot think that we would be as tolerant of each other in the home either if it wasn't for common ground in the gospel that we can all relate to and know that we are a "forever family"

I was lucky that when I presented my plan to go on a mission to my parents they accepted it and embraced it (even though my mom really has tried every possible tact to get me to stay - I am her baby after all) they found a replacement for my job (then) in the company within the week and I started to train her up :) Things just fell into place. I did however need some time to prepare still, cant say my spiritual level was where it should have been. But through daily scripture study and going to mission prep as often as occasion would allow (without conflicting with YSA activities). I think I am now ready!

4. Serving In Randfontien

In Aug 2006-2007 My Family was called to serve a "Service mission" in one of the developing branches in our Stake.

What happened was our records would move to the Randfontien branch even though we were still in Krugersdorp. Took us about 30-45min to church (depending on traffic and who was driving) Deidz and I still attended mutual & Seminary in Krugersdorp - cause it didn't make sense to go all that way. My dad was the clerk for a bit I think and possibly even in the branch presidency if I remember correctly - just remembered him going to PEC in the mornings. He would also do his home teaching (think he had something like 4/5 families) My mom also did her Visiting Teaching to about 3 sisters. (can't remember her calling) and Liezel was called as Primary President. They wanted us to just strengthen the branch not actually "RUN" it, so you know correct them when they were teaching strange things etc ;) Honestly - this was a HUGE spiritual anchor in my life! To watch how my parents would serve so willingly. The friendships that I built - ok not all those friends are active today but I will never forget them! I will never forget the opportunity I had to get a calling to conduct in sacrament meeting. I will never forget the Sunday school classes I had and the POWER that was in those classes - I actually enjoyed the Old testament that year! The Young women classes were often disorganised but that changed while we were there. I got to learn a new culture for the most part of it and had a good many laughs when they would speak about cir-come-stan-ces (Spelt how they say it). The testimonies of the people will be with me forever! So glad I can be on stake and see these wonderful people! I don't know if we did much in the branch two families served in the same capacity after us but they called them to leadership roles like branch president. And subsequently they are now a ward!

That is my story and now we wait for the call..


  1. I wish you the very best.. I am having a hard time with some of the doctrine... the history of the church so strange... but GOOD LUCK!!

    1. Thank YOU!! And thank you for reading/commenting!
      I am so Excited to go!

      I know you will get your answers through prayer. I believe this church has the fullness and is true. I love it! The Church history is strange, but there are stranger things in WORLD history. Religion itself is strange in the world's eyes these days. But I cannot convince you of it's truth, I could reason it out, but only the Holy Ghost will be able to testify of it's truth. Good Luck!!