First baptism!

Hey everyone!  Hope all is going well!!

This week, it was Hermana Suqui and my privilege to witness a change in someone’s life.  One of our investigators, Esther, was baptized!

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Esther was the very first person Suqui and I taught here in Jesus Maria.  Her husband was a less active member, and they have a 5 year old daughter (Rafaela).

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She is the BEST — such an example of strength.  We had to jump through some hoops to help her to this point (including the fact that they had to get married first) and it was so so great to see Saturday finally come.  Everyone felt the Spirit so strong there at the baptism and I know Esther is excited to begin her new life in the path of the Lord.  It’s interesting because… I’m almost surprised at how much I don’t feel like it’s “my baptism”, or “my success”.  It’s her success!!  It wasn’t me who really did anything, it was the Spirit that touched her, and she made the change.  I can’t really express how I feel exactly but I am just SO proud of her.  Also, one of the cool things about her was how strong and dedicated she was once we taught her about the Word of Wisdom.  She works in the medical field and spends many long hours at the hospital.  Before we taught her, she was drinking between 6 and 7 cups of coffee every single day.  After we bore her our testimonies about this wonderful commandment, she decided that she was going to dedicate everything to the Lord.  Her faith is so strong.  She hasn’t had a cup of coffee since.  What a great example to us all, right?  I know she will also be a great example to her husband and to her daughter.

Kevin is one of the youth in the ward who is serving a mission soon.  He baptized Esther.  He was present for a lot of our lessons.

Kevin is one of the youth in the ward who is serving a mission soon. He baptized Esther. He was present for a lot of our lessons.

Everyone here is so kind, so gracious to us.  It’s true that every person has their personal ‘icebergs’, or problems that create too much sadness and trial in every life.  But we’re here to help in any way that we can.  Literally every member or every investigator has different challenges in their lives.  It’s our job to keep the Spirit with us as much as we can,  so that we can comfort those in need of comfort, encourage those in need of encouragement, and serve everybody.  It’s our duty to stand as examples and as beacons of leadership at all times.  Without the Spirit, and without the scriptures, I wouldn’t be able to do anything here.  But the scriptures change lives.  I’ve seen it: in others as well as in myself.  As missionaries, we have the authority to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to bear witness of truths by the power of the Holy Ghost.  But when our words aren’t sufficient, we have the words of the scriptures.  There is power in those words.  Every word was carved in the golden plates for a reason.  One of my favorite new scriptures is Jacob 4:1-6.

 1 Now behold, it came to pass that I, Jacob, having ministered much unto my people in word, (and I cannot write but a alittle of my words, because of the bdifficulty of engraving our words upon plates) and we know that the things which we write upon plates must remain;

 2 But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon aplates must perish and vanish away; but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning their fathers—

 3 Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates, hoping that our beloved brethren and our children will receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt, concerning their first aparents.

 4 For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we aknew of Christ, and we had a hope of his bglory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy cprophets which were before us.

 5 Behold, they believed in Christ and aworshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his bname. And for this intent we ckeep the dlaw of Moses, it epointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a fsimilitude of God and his gOnly Begotten Son.

 6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of aprophecy; and having all these bwitnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can ccommand in the dname of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

We’re teaching a family right now that is going through some specific trials that seem a little close to home. Maybe you guys could help me: if you have any advice (Emily and Gerritt, maybe Mom too!) please let me know! The mother of the family and two of her three daughters live here, in Jesus Maria, but her husband and third daughter live in the United States. They are not divorced—their marriage is strong. I think they´re separated because he has to work up there in the states and can’t leave. The mother is very broken-hearted. The daughters are young, ranging between about 9 years and 15. After the first lesson, when I said the closing prayer, I said ”Please bless Marlene and her family, that they might be strong in their trials right now. Bless them with the comfort of the Spirit….” etc. Afterwards, Marlene looked at me and said, ”Hermana, we are not a family right now. My husband is away. We are not together. We are broken. It´s just me and my daughters here in Lima.” So many hard trials in this life…. If there is any advice you could give her that could help her be strong in this time as she misses her family, please send it to me!

Another interesting piece of information: This week I learned a Peruvian home remedy for sleeplessness—-the sister of our Pensionista has had the same problem as Tom for her entire life, where once she wakes up, it´s impossible to go back to sleep, even if it´s two in the morning. But she heard of this remedy and says it works like a dream.  I dare you guys to try it!!! Take an apple or two, and cut out the cores. Take a head of lettuce, remove the outer leaves, and throw the ”heart” in a pan and boil it with the apples for about ten minutes. Afterwards, drain the water and through it all in the blender until it’s smoothie-texture. Drink it and say sweet dreams to your honey because apparently it’ll make one heck of a sleeping potion. Tell me if it works!!!

Today we had the first bit of sun EVER! Holy cow I forgot what sunlight feels like. Summer is on its way.  It was SO NICE.  We went to Larcomar, a little mall on the beach in Miraflores.  It´s pretty much what you see when you Google ‘Lima’ or ‘tourism in Lima’. The cliffs above the beach are absolutely GORGEOUS. I want to go swimming so bad, but it´s ok because I’d rather be on a mission. One of the Hermanas in my zone, named Hermana Anderson (from Kaysville) and I talked for a really long time. As we watched the waves crash on the rocky beach, we realized how much has changed since last October. At times, the both of us can’t really believe where we are right now. It’s certainly an adventure. With the mission, you’ve got to take the bad with the good. You can either let the mission pass you by, or you can pass by the mission. Every day counts. Every day can be the best day of your life, or the longest day of your life. It’s ALWAYS up to you.

Serving a mission has been probably the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best thing I’ve ever done: for my life, and for my future family. I’ve learned so many things that I know will be useful to me for my entire life. People skills, self-control, time management, endurance, Spanish…. The list goes on and on. Best of all, my testimony is more rock-solid than ever, and my understanding of the beauties of the gospel is greater than ever.

MISSIONS ARE THE BEST!

Hope you are all well! Thanks for everything!

Hermana Hollberg

Pictures:

Companions from the CCM reunited at transfer meeting!

Companions from the CCM reunited at transfer meeting!

We cooked cebiche this week!  (Cebiche is prohibited because it's raw, but we cooked it and made it Ecuadorian style so it was good.)

We cooked cebiche (also known as ceviche) this week! (Cebiche is prohibited because it’s raw, but we cooked it and made it Ecuadorian style so it was good.)

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Lomo saltado -- with French fries, yes!!!!!!!!

Lomo saltado — with French fries, yes!!!!!!!!

One of our best friends!  She is 8 and will be baptized soon!

One of our best friends! She is 8 and will be baptized soon!

Says:  "From: Indira   To:  Hermana Hollberg"

Says: “From: Indira To: Hermana Hollberg”

Grandpa Bennett's Song!  "Holy Temples On Mount Zion"

Grandpa Bennett’s Song! “Holy Temples On Mount Zion”

At Mira Flores

At Miraflores

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We ran into this family in a park last night and it was SO FUN.  We played this game with their kids.  The little boy was EXACTLY LIKE MAX,  Same temperament.  So adorable and fun.

We ran into this family in a park last night and it was SO FUN. We played this game with their kids. The little boy was EXACTLY LIKE MAX, Same temperament. So adorable and fun.

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3 responses

  1. I found your daughter’s blog today. My son, Elder Dylan Nielson is currently serving in the same mission. He is serving in the Callao area. I loved reading her blog and looking at her pictures. I believe my son is standing behind the three sister missionaries in the “Companions from the CCM” photo. You can see his face. I believe it is him but not sure becasue he is tall. Your daughter writes very well and has a great testimony. I am sure she is a wonderful missionary. We currently have two missionaries in the field. Dylan’s twin brother is serving in Bogota, Colombia.

    • That is so fun!! Thank you for your comments — I’m glad to connect with any of the other missionary parents. I looked in that picture to see your son. Is he the main one that we can see there? We, like you, also have two in the field – our other daughter just arrived a week ago in the Virginia Richmond mission. :)

      • Yes. That’s Dylan. He has been on his mission since Nov. 2012. He has served in Zarate, Brena and now is in Callao. That’s exciting that you also have two missionaries. Mondays are good days at our house. We love to get their e-mails which tend to be very short and to the point so it was fun to read your daughters blog which is a lot more descriptive.

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