— Every American Missionary’s first week in the field. :)
So this week has been a lot of fun! Hermana Sanjines and I are just trucking along as usual.
Did you guys hear about the earthquake down here yesterday? We definitely felt it here in Lima. We were just starting our Ward Council meeting and our mission leader opened his scriptures and was about to share a spiritual thought to start the meeting… he says, ”Well, I would like to share a scripture in Alma 34. It says—-” then all of the sudden, there was this subtle feeling like we were on a little boat and little waves were moving beneath us. It was a distinct rocking feeling. Everyone went silent. It lasted for a good while, maybe like 30 seconds, I’m not sure. When it stopped, the 1st counselor goes, ”Now THAT’S what I call the power of the word of God.” It was pretty funny.
We’re still working on family history as a ward and as a mission. We have been sending a boatload of people every week to be interviewed by the Bishopric for limited temple recommends. We’re tentatively planning to go on Tuesday, September 2nd with our sweet pensionista Martha and also a young recent convert named Jesus who’s really awesome. We’re so excited!!!
This week we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders from Mira Flores (Hermana Bennett and Hermana Nuñez). It’s funny because both Hermana Sanjines and I have been companions with Hermana Bennett. Anyway, I stayed here for the 3rd exchange in a row and Hermana Nuñez came up and stayed with me while Hermana Sanjines got to go and have a sleepover in Mira Flores. Lucky duck! It was a lot of fun. Hermana Nuñez is finishing her mission in like 2 weeks so she’s an amazing, super polished sister missionary. I always learn a ton from her when we get to proselyte together.
On Friday morning, we had our Multizone meeting with the President and two other stakes. It was SO amazing. I really love those meetings, to be honest. A few days before, the assistants called me and were like, ”Hey Hermana Hollberg, can you play two hymns for the meeting? Onward Christian Soldiers and God Save the Right” (is that what it’s called? correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t remember)” I was like, ”Uh, I don’t know those hymns at all, and I can’t sight read piano music and play it on the spot very well….” Then the Elder was like, ”Well, can you please learn those two hymns before Friday? We’ll give you permission to spend an hour at the ward in the morning to practice.” GULP. Man oh man, I sure am not a good pianist under pressure. Even worse, it would be in front of more than 60 missionaries, zone leaders, the assistants and secretaries AND President Borg. But I had to do it. And I was SO SCARED. So I practiced my guts out. When the time came to play, I felt like my stomach fell through the floor and my hands started shaking. But in the end, somehow it worked out. What a blessing! And so know I know a total of 5 hymns! I’m improving! But more importantly, while I was there at the Multizone, I realized a whole lot of things. I realized a lot of things that I want to do to become and even better and stronger missionary. And above all, I finally figured out the reason why I’m in San Silvestre and why I’ve been here for 3 cambios. There was one day last cambio when I hit this pretty low point, said a prayer, opened my scriptures and started reading the first page that I saw. I read Moroni 7 from verse 22 until the end of the chapter. This part of the Book of Mormon talks specifically about the ministry of angels, faith, hope and charity. I remember reading it and feeling an incredible source of strength and comfort because it was exactly what I needed in that moment. During the multizone, that experience came back to me. I realized that the reason I’m here is because knowing what faith, hope and charity are is VERY different than living it. And those three virtues have been basically the theme of my entire time here. Every day, I’ve been fighting for these three Christ like attributes. Before my time here, I could teach a perfect, doctrinally sound lesson on these virtues. Easy. But Heavenly Father needed me to be able to do more. A testimony is so much stronger than simple facts and proofs. And that’s what has been important—that I gain not only experience but a TESTIMONY of these things, so that I can become a better teacher, a better representative of Jesus Christ, and a better person in general who is prepared for the life that comes after the mission. You know how they all say that the mission is the training field for the real-world life that comes after?
It was this huge ”wow” moment where all of a sudden everything came together. I’ve been waiting for this moment for like 4 months. Really. But just like Elder Holland once said, some blessings come instantly, some blessings we have to wait for, and some blessings don’t even arrive until we’re back in heaven. But they do come. They always come.
I still have a long way to go before my faith, hope and charity are perfected, but I can truly say that my time here in San Silvestre has really helped me to develop into someone a little stronger, a little more diligent, a little more hopeful and a little more loving, and I’m really grateful for that. You know, if you’re working on God’s team, and if you do your best, everything really does work out in the end. That moment will always come when everything just falls into place.
D&C 118:3 “… and if they will do this in all lowliness of heart, in meekness and humility, and long-suffering, I, the Lord, give unto them a promise that I will provide for their families; and an effectual door shall be opened for them, from henceforth.”
Family History Pamphlet:
It still has a long way to go, what I have to do next is translate all of your little paragraphs about memories that you guys have sent me and put the rest of them in there. This is the pamphlet that the church is really focusing on doing out here in foreign countries where way fewer people have easy access to computers or the internet. They give one to each member to fill out, and then they can pass it to the stake Family History consultant who can put it all in familysearch.org. As you guys already know, we have a LOT of information already in the system online but I still have to do my pamphlet like everybody else so that I can teach it to them and show them an example. It’s a lot of fun! I’m really excited. Hopefully I can make some more progress this week.
Hermana Sanjines’ 5TH BIRTHDAY CAKE yesterday at the house of our new mission leader Henrry