”Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

So this week has been pretty fun. A lot of stuff has happened. It’s been kind of hard though because first, Hermana Sanjines got sick with a nasty cold, and then she passed on to me and I’ve had it WAY worse than she has. It’s totally not fair. I lost my voice yesterday and I currently can’t hear out of one of my ears, but the work goes on. Stuff just kind of drags along when you feel bad, but what can you do?

 

BUT you know what’s cool — I completed ONE YEAR officially in Peru! One year ago, I was in Jesús María, totally lost and trying to figure out Spanish. I remember always daydreaming this moment — ”Where will I be in one year from now?” And here I am! I would like to think that things have gotten a lot better since then. I think that I have gotten a whole lot better since then. If you could measure personal progress… how would you do it? It’s really cool getting to read my journal from back then to see what I was doing, hanging out with the good old Hermana Suqui. It feels like it was just yesterday!

 

On Friday we had a really fun activity. It was called Canchita in the Canchita again (it’s a really catchy name!) and we did a movie night for REAL this time. Last time, we were wanting it to be super cool and like a real movie theater with a projector and everything but it didn’t work out. But THIS time, it did! And everyone loved it! It was such a big hit that I think we’re going to do a Canchita in the Canchita activity every month. Our mission leader wants to do it even more than that. We watched ”The Testaments” and ate popcorn, toffees, soda and juice. We spent a good part of the afternoon at the bishop’s house, popping popcorn and it was really fun. About 50 people showed up at the ward! That’s maybe the most that I’ve ever seen for a Missionary activity! It was a little tricky though because there was some serious miscommunication within the stake and at the same time, all three wards (Los Jardines, San Silvestre and Las Flores) had planned to do a Missionary Night at the same time and at the same place. On top of that, the primary had come to do practices for their primary program and Relief Society was doing a practice for a big stake dance festival there too. And we didn’t find this all out until it was too late. The stake president wanted us to combine our activity with the other wards but it was impossible — one was doing a talent show, another was having a dessert fair, and we had a spiritual movie night with an hour long movie. So we just had to make it all work somehow, taking turns in the rooms and trying to not interrupt each other. But it all turned out great! In the end, there were a few members who had tears in their eyes.  :’)

 

THEN, on Saturday, we had this really incredible meeting with the whole mission. I think I mentioned a while back that Elder Christofferson of the Twelve was going to come down. Well, he did for a few days, but had to fly back to Salt Lake a day early in the end and couldn’t make it anymore to our special mission meeting. That was pretty sad, but we still got to hear from two other general authorities: Elder Grow from the Northwest South America Area Presidency, Elder Suarez from the Presidency of the first Quorom of the Seventy and his wife too. It was such a spiritually packed meeting. The Suarez’s are from Brazil, so their first language is Portuguese. Elder Suarez was in the process of learning Spanish, and it was really interesting to hear someone speaking with an accent that isn’t gringo. One time, he was trying to say that we are perfected by the grace of the Lord, but he said that we are perfected by the fat of the Lord. But his talk was AMAZING. It was actually surprisingly ”trunky.” He talked a lot about marriage and the life after the mission. He sure scared us a lot by saying that if we think that the mission is a trying experience, we should just wait until we see what happens next in our lives. Gulp! But he’s a really great guy and he really inspired us all to take everything up a notch or two out here in the field. He also gave us a special mission blessing, and let each one of us tell him our names and shake his hand. During his talk, he asked for a lot of comments from us, and had someone pass around a wireless mic to those who wanted to say something briefly. I decided to stand to make a comment and boy, were my knees clacking together, I was so scared, but I somehow managed to sputter out what I wanted to say despite the nerves. His wife’s talk was also amazing! She doesn’t speak Spanish though so she had to use a translator. It was so cool! Portuguese is a beautiful language. There were some parts that we could understand but then there would come a weird phrase or so and we’d be totally lost. Her talk was mostly about obedience and it was super inspiring. 

 

We spent most of the day out there in Limatambo at this meeting, and got home at about 7pm, just in time for a baptism in Hermana Brudnicki and Hermana Loayza’s ward. We brought an investigator who’s really great named Gaby and her cousin who is a less-active member named Johanzi (I have no clue how to spell it). They really loved it and they came to church on Sunday too! Hermana Sanjines and I have a lot of hope for them!

 

Today we spent the day in Jesús María again. I sure love that place. I totally scored by getting it as my first sector. We ate Mexican food and went to a REAL, AMERICAN-GRADE SHOPPING MALL! As soon as we walked in, Hermana Brudnicki and I both felt really really uncomfortable and out of place. It was just too nice. It actually almost made us feel kind of homesick. We both have a feeling that it’s going to be a really hard adjustment returning to the stellar living conditions that we have in the states, if just being in that huge, beautiful shopping mall made us feel uncomfortable. But it’s ok, we still have until like December/January-ish to hang out here and enjoy being dirty and living with without drinkable water. Yes!

 

So far in my mission, I’ve been in each area for 3 transfers each. I’m fairly positive that I’ll be going this time, due to a few different reasons. It’s interesting to think that my time here in San Silvestre is coming to a close. I have been though some of the hardest times yet here but also I’ve discovered a whole bunch of hidden treasures of testimony-building and faith-promoting experiences. Just like in Barranco and Jesús María, I’ve reached an equilibrium. Everything really is ok now! I feel completely comfortable with my surroundings and with the ward. And that probably means that I’ll be going! Haha. That’s just how things work out here!

 

Well, time is winning me, as we say. I’ll talk to you guys again next week. Tomorrow we’re going to the temple with Jesús and our pensionista Martha! We’re going to take them to enter for the first time and do baptisms. It’s going to be such a beautiful experience! We’ll take a ton of photos and let you all know how it goes. Temple work is true.

 

I love all of you guys! Have a wonderful week!

 

Atentamente:

Hermana Hollberg

 

”You’re life’s greatest work is you.”

 

Hermana Brudnicki giving me straight Rocoto (chili pepper) at the Mexican food restaurant.

Hermana Brudnicki giving me straight Rocoto (chili pepper) at the Mexican food restaurant.

 

Sharing some of the real Argentinian Alfajores (very different from Peruvian alfajores) that Hermana Sanjines got in a package from home for her birthday. They were so yummy!

Sharing some of the real Argentinian Alfajores (very different from Peruvian alfajores) that Hermana Sanjines got in a package from home for her birthday. They were so yummy!

 

SAM_0052

 

La Plaza de Armas in winter.

La Plaza de Armas in winter.

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