Scripture that sums up my week in Ether 3:
- And it came to pass that the brother of Jared … went forth unto the mount … and cried again unto the Lord, saying:
- O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.
- Behold, O Lord, thou hast smitten us because of our iniquity, and hast driven us forth, and for these many years we have been in the wilderness; nevertheless, thou hast been merciful unto us. O Lord, look upon me in pity, and turn away thine anger from this thy people, and suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness; but behold these things which I have molten out of the rock.
- And I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while se shall cross the sea.
- Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.
- And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger…
Sometimes, as missionaries, we feel kind of a lot of pressure when we have to sit down Monday morning and we’re supposed to have had a ton of amazing stories and talk about how happy we’ve been and everything. But it’s not always like that. To be completely honest, stuff has been really quite hard this week. Sometimes I really don’t even know why I’m here right now in this sector. I think that if I left here, it literally would not make even the slightest difference, as if a tumbleweed had just blown by. I think I’ve mentioned before that the mission humbles one unto the dust, like the scriptures say. It will break you down, but then you will be built back up into the person that you’ve always had the potential to become. And the changes are good. Going into the mission, I knew that and I was ready for it. But boy….. This week, a woman gave us back the Book of Mormon we gave her because like a day or so after we had visited her, her niece had gone into convulsions or something. She called us devil worshippers and told us never to come back. That was a new one for me.
Sometimes it makes me sad because I know that I’m growing and learning so much but I just wish so bad sometimes that I could just make an impact on someone else’s life. Just one person. I just want to see someone who really understands what this Gospel means and can see how beautiful and intricate and elegant it all is, and how it’s interconnected and all based upon the power of faith. I want to see the Atonement of Jesus Christ have as great of an impact in the life of someone else as it has in mine. But it’s just not happening. I know I’m not the world’s best missionary but I know that I’m better than I was when I first started, or even when I was in Barranco. It’s rough. But what can you do when each person has the freedom to make their own decisions and reject what you want to share with them? Nothing. You love them the same.
Yesterday I was feeling pretty bummed and I felt like reading one of my favorite scriptures, Ether 12:37. But I opened up my Book of Mormon and accidentally turned to Ether 3 and read what I posted above. I felt like it was exactly what I was experiencing. I’ve never seen the story of the Brother of Jared in this way. I imagined the stones being investigators or less active members, and when they shine, they become true converts. I imagined the darkness being this world. The vessels are all of the goals and commitments and invitations that we make when we teach.
My goal is to have faith like the Brother of Jared did. We need a miracle here in San Silvestre. But miracles are only brought about by the power of our faith. Sorry if this letter is pretty lousy this week. But the mission is real. Some people have told me that missionaries are so ”bubbled in” and ”don’t know what the real world is like.” That is probably one of the most sadly ignorant comments I have ever heard about missionary work. I have never in my life seen the world more than I have here. We go to one house, and a woman breaks down in tears because her husband is a drug addict and abusive and wants to leave her, and we have to console her. We get her going again, and we pass to the next house, where a young father is struggling because he doesn’t have any money to put food on his table and to feed his children. And we have to somehow know what to tell him. And then we go to another house where a family is struggling with a recent death or a crippling infirmity. And it’s hard. But it’s so incredibly rewarding when you see them pick themselves up and keep going. I’ve honestly learned so much that our areas don’t need US —- they need HIM. And that’s our job. To be the guys who are connected to Him and can pass along the message of how to grow closer to Him so that he can carefully guide and direct each one of us as He always does and always will do. There’s a lesson in everything that happens, and He’s the one who will help us find out what it is.
And that’s my goal right now. I don’t know why I’m here in San Silvestre. I don’t know what more I can do. I don’t know who or what needs me. But I just have to have patience and be diligent and have hope that YES, I will find that lesson. I know that. But it’s so much harder than it actually sounds.
Ay ay ay.
Anyway, don’t hate me for being weak. But I really respect you all and all that you do for me. Any thoughts or advice is welcome.
Love you all.
Love, Hermana Hannah Hollberg
PS— on Wednesday we’re going to the temple! it’ll be our real P-day. Today is a normal day
PPS—last Monday I got to eat real hot chocolate made from REAL CACAO!! There’s a family in our ward that has a cacao chakra (plantation) and they brought it down and made hot chocolate straight out of it. I was in heaven we have another family night with them again tonight and we’re making French toast.