Ok…. so… You know how everyone down here knows that at least ONCE in your mission, you’ll get bacteria?? I thought I was doing really well and that I was going to make it through the whole mission without any problems but… NOPE! It was my turn. I got a stomach infection! And Hermana Choque did too. We have been feeling pretty crumby for about a week or two, and then on Friday, I woke up at about 4 am because I felt like my stomach was just burning, and I couldn’t sleep. Then at about 8 am, I got a fever. I felt very, very sick. And I got very, very sick. Haha it was awful. I couldn’t even drink water because my body would be like, ”Nope! Not having any of that!” I couldn’t hold it down. I finally called Hermana Borg at about 9 and she prescribed us some medicine and told us that we’d have to take the entire day off. We were so mad because we had SO much to do, including a shift in the family history center from 2 pm to 8:30 pm, and we had some really important appointments there! It was also bad because I wanted to take Ibuprofen because my whole body was aching thanks to the fever, but we just couldn’t eat anything. We couldn’t even leave the house to buy pills, so we had to call the Elders over and they went to the Pharmacy for us and also gave us a blessing. They’re good guys. We pretty much slept the whole day on Friday, but on Saturday we had to get back to work. By Sunday, we were doing a lot better, but still feeling a little nauseous. And now it’s Monday and we’re doing great! So it’s over! But hey, I’ll tell you, it was a great way to loose like 5 pounds in two days! hahaha. Peruvian weight loss trick — eat food from venders in the road and get bacteria. It’s foolproof.
On Thursday, just before we got sick, we did an intercambio with our sister training leaders (Hermana Capps and Hermana Aguero) and it was actually really interesting. It was like a walk down memory lane. I went back to Magdalena, visited the same old people, ate lunch at my old pensionista’s house, slept in my same old bed, was companions with Hermana Capps again…. and It was actually really nice. We just talked and talked and talked… and it was really good. It felt like a sleepover.
This week Hermana Choque and I were totally looking forward to being able to spend more time in our sector but…. we were in it for even less than the last week!! It’s really sad. It actually makes you feel really guilty.. Because we have all of these members and, well, we don’t have any investigators right now but we have less active members to visit and everything, and the bishop has been giving us assignments but we’ve been coming home every night completely exhausted, trying our best to do everything, but we just can’t do it all in the same time. The family history center is getting way more structured, and that’s nice. Hopefully this week we’ll get more time to kick back and make our normal visits.
Ok, so church starts here in Las Brisas at 9 am, right? Well guess what happened yesterday: At 9:01, the second counselor to the bishop comes down from the stand and finds us in the crowd. He comes and whispers to us, ”um, so can one of you guys give a 10-15 minute talk? One of the guys who was supposed to speak didn’t come.” Doh! Hermana Choque didn’t want to so I did it. But it’s ok. I remember before my mission, Gerritt told me that in the field, you learn how to pull a lesson or talk out of nowhere and give it on the spot, and I remember thinking, ”Nu-huh, that’s like impossible.” But he was totally right. I was really nervous but I pretty much recycled a talk I gave in San Silvestre about the Book of Mormon and missionary work for members. And it turned out pretty spanking good. But it was the Spirit, not me. But there was this literally crazy guy who came to church (literally crazy and without his pills) and in the middle of my talk, he totally shouted ”AMEN!!!” from the front row and it was really embarrassing because I totally lost my train of thought and went red. Oh well! What can you do?
After church, we had to take the sacrament to a few families that needed it. We were going to go with a couple of priests, but in the end, they couldn’t because the stake needed them for something, so we got permission to go with the Elders in our ward. First, we went to the house of our mission leader because his wife had just had a C-section on Wednesday night and needed him to stay with her at the house, and couldn’t go to church. It was really spiritual: both of them looked like they were going to cry when it came time for the sacrament prayers. It was so nice. And then, we went to the house of one of our less active members named Anival. He has been suffering from diabetes and it got really serious and he about died a few times. He almost got his legs amputated too. We always visit him, he’s such a great guy! He’s still too weak to come to church though. So we took the Elders and the sacrament to him and it was seriously the most SPIRITUAL appointment that I’ve had in a while. It was amazing. The Elders also gave him a blessing and everyone was just crying again. We all just sat in silence for a while and the Spirit was so strong, there was so much peace in the air that Anival just sat and wept. I remember, before my mission, I didn’t ever really have a testimony about doing service. I knew that it was good and everything, and I always was there in the Young Women’s activities and all, but I guess I was just too selfish to really have a spiritual experience about it. But here, it’s been just a blessing to have the opportunity to learn about service, and how you can actually enjoy it so thoroughly! Visiting the sick, serving the weak, singing with the elderly…. It’s so great! I love it. Such a blessing.
Also, this week I think that one of my old investigators in San Silvestre got baptized!!! I’m so excited! I wanted to go so bad but they didn’t let me. His name is Teofilo, and Hermana Castillo and I found him. That means that’s the second baptism that that sector has had since it opened in February! Crazy, right? I know in the mission, we’re not supposed to call sectors ”dry sectors” or anything like that because they’re more difficult, but both of the current assistants served there in that ward a while ago and agree with me that it’s a ”faith-tester”. But I’m so happy for that place!!! I love San Silvestre so much!!!
So this week, I’ve been doing a lot of meditating. I’m really glad because the whole center thing has been keeping us really busy and I haven’t had time to even think about being trunky, but this morning, during personal study, we were re-reading the ”fourth missionary” talk and I just got really sad. I’m really sad. To think — in about a month, this whole entire adventure will be over. It’ll just feel like a dream. I can’t believe it. I don’t want to do it… I feel so happy and comfortable and I have my friends here and I know people and I’m happy with who I am and I’m happy with who the mission makes me be. And everyone always says here that the mission is like the MTC for real life. NOO! I don’t want that! Its funny because so many of us missionaries think that we’ve already hit nirvana or something like that—we get to a point and we’re like, ”Ok, I’ve reached my potential now. I’ve finished my life. I have my entire life planned out.” But we’re only TWENTY YEARS OLD! I feel like what 2 Nephi 31 says, how baptism is the door/gate to all of the stuff that the perfect gospel has to offer, but it’s like the mission is the door/gate in this case. And I’m really scared for that. Some people come home from their missions and they’re like, ”ok I’m ready to get married in two weeks please.” But the mission has had the opposite effect for me. I’m more scared of all of that stuff than ever before in my life. I’ve learned a lot about living life and enjoying each moment as it comes. That’s a big lesson you have to learn in the mission. For all of you guys who are going to serve soon, you have to remember that. That’s when the time starts flying by — when you live for today. Not for p-day, not waiting to go home in two years, but you have to live and enjoy each day and each week as it comes. And that goes for real life too. Heavenly Father wants us to hasten his work, but not to hurry it. When I get back, I have a lot of plans. I plan on really enjoying this time in my life — being young still. I’m going to get really active in institute and I’m going to study and work really hard and also… ok don’t laugh but I’m about 90% convinced that I’m coming back and maybe going to Bolivia to spend a summer doing a dance internship and participate in the festivals. I don’t know if you guys know, but traditional dance is such a huge deal down here, all year-round, and ESPECIALLY in Bolivia where my BFF Hermana Choque lives. And the festival directors are really into foreign dancers so they would totally set me up and let me in. They really support people from other countries trying to learn about South American culture and they give them priority. By the way, Hermana Choque is a really good dancer. And she invited me to come down here and do some dance camps down here. That would be my dream. Seriously. I would LOVE it. If it doesn’t work out in Bolivia, I’ll just come back to Peru and do something here. That’s what I wanted to do anyway.
Anyway, maybe you guys all think that I’m crazy now, but those are some thoughts. Cool stuff. I really love Latino culture. It took me a while to get used to it, but now I can’t even imagine having served anywhere else. I think that the positive qualities that the Latinos have, have really been a great complement to my weaknesses, and it’s helped me out a ton. I LOVE SOUTH AMERICA!!
You guys are going to laugh at me so hard when I come back and just listen to reggaeton and Salsa and like Corazon Serrano in my room… and try to be a Latina. Haha it’s ok, no regrets!
Well, I better get off now.
Love you all! Take care!!! Love, Hermana Hollberg