Wow, today marks five months since the day that I left good-old Salt Lake City and had my first night in the Mexico City CCM. Time is flying so fast. Before I know it, I’m going to have 6 months in the mission, and that’s just three months shy of being half-way!! These landmarks are sneaking up on me! This transfer with Hermana Bennett has been by far the fastest. We’re already in week 5 out of our 6 together! Holy Bible….
This week has been a lot of fun. I finally had time to get my hair cut (it’s grown so fast) and I don’t really have a picture but it’s just like how I had it back in June. So I found that pretty exciting.
So it’s the Christmas season here in Lima. We’re sweating like pigs. I’ve seen my first christmas miracle — I actually have a wrist-watch tan! Who knew?
The classic Peruvian Christmas treat that we are enjoying is Panetonne. I was familiar with it from my time at Caputo’s, and I remember having it in the store last Christmas and it’s so cool to be eating it in such frequency here! You wouldn’t even believe how huge the Panetonne industry is here. When the first of December rolls around, the stores literally EXPLODE with it. I love it. If you guys haven’t had a chance to try it yet, you gotta try it with a cup of hot chocolate. It’s a dream.
The mission is having a huge Christmas party this Friday and everyone is super pumped. Each zone is going to perform some sort of skit and our zone (Magdalena) has been practicing something we like to call ‘La Banda de Botellas’. You know how if you have a coke bottle or something, you can blow on the rim and it will make a sound? We’ve measured out all of these Inca Cola glass bottles to play all of these different notes and together as a zone of 18 missionaries, we will be playing two christmas songs collectively—Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It’s going to be a show stealer.
One of the best Christmas gifts so far though is to see the progress that some of our investigators are making! I think that there’s a 75% chance that I’m going to be transferred out of Jesus Maria at the next cambio on the 31 of December… But if that’s the case I can definitely get permission to attend some of these special baptisms. I love these guys so much and I am praying for them to continue on to baptism.
Last week we got to go to the temple grounds with our dear Esther and her family. It was so special. We spent most of the afternoon there. Tonight we have a Family Night planned with her and we’re going to help her start her family history and prepare herself to go to the temple to be baptized for her mother, who passed away a few years ago. We’re so happy for her! She is the best.
On Saturday we attended the baptism of a woman that Hermana Bennett had been teaching in her last zone. Her name is Celestina, and she’s a 74 year-old woman who has been taking the missionary discussions for literally 10 years. Every single obstacle that a person could have for knowing that the church is true but not wanting to get baptized, she has said it at some point to probably 100 different missionaries who have visited her. Everything from ”but the water will be cold” to ”but my family is sick”…. stuff like that. But she knows that the church is true and she testifies of the truth of the Book of Mormon and we finally got to see her grinning from ear to ear as she came up out of the water after her baptism. Congrats to her!
So anyway, things are going on as usual here. Lima is green (relatively… y’all know that Lima is still a hyper-arid desert), flowers are out, the Lord’s work is hastening and it’s such a pleasure to be a part of it.
Anyway, I sure love all of you guys and I couldn’t tell you how much your support and prayers mean to me. I am undeserving of such faithful love that you’ve shown me. Your help has really helped me get through the hard times, and this week I realized that I really am happier than I ever have been in my whole life. The mission is such a blessing because it really opens up your eyes to all that you have.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
Also, shout out this week to Sarah, Sam and Chas, Mike, Rosie, Linda, Liesa and Lauren!! Thanks so much for those letters!!!
Love, Hermana Hollberg
P.S. I have been trying my hardest to send photos for the last 3 weeks but now my camera isn’t connecting and so I am at the end of my rope. This is ridiculous — so sorry. My camera is dying and I’m going to need a new one I guess.