To The Brave Who Will Go

Hey Everyone! I know it’s been a really long time! I hope everyone is doing well! Things are going great here. I’m just finishing up the semester here at the U (!!! crazy how fast time flies by!) and enjoying the lovely Spring weather that’s rolling in here.

I just wanted to make a quick post for everyone who has been called to serve in a Peruvian mission, whether it be Lima Central or another one of the 12 total missions. Over the course of the last couple of months, I have heard from quite a few people who have been called to Limeñan missions, who have seen my blog and asked me for advice, and I thought that maybe it might be a good idea to collect some of my ideas here on the site, to make things a little more convenient for everyone!

My purpose with these bullet-points is not to scare anyone away, but really to get people excited about the new adventure that they’re going to have, and also to prepare them to have fun and laugh off some of the silly things that can often happen in the field. :) The list is really quite infinite, so if anybody ever has any questions, please feel free to let me know and I’ll try to help out in the best way that I can.


  • Learn to love the potatoes!!!!
  • Have a huge free-for-all water balloon fight as a zone whenever you can in the summer heat! it’s ridiculously fun.
  • Soak in everything about the culture that you can as a missionary — the music, the DANCES (hello, the famous Marinera Norteña ??), the crazy buses, the houses, the colors, the FRUIT, the new experiences!!
  • If you ever want to get a Peruvian talking, talk about food. Ask them what there favorite dish is. Ask them how they made that particular meal that they served you. Praise the Peruvian food! It works with EVERYONE, from taxi drivers you just met to members! Even if you’re just getting used to the chicha, the masamorra morada, the chicken feet in soup, the cold potatoes at every meal, just know that soon enough you’ll fall in love with it and won’t be able to live without it. Until you DO feel like that, bluff! :) It will still get you brownie points with the locals.
  • Just know that it’s normal to have a hard second companion. you learn everything that you know from the first, and readjusting all of that is hard.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings — keep an eye behind you.
  • Don’t ever ride in a taxi with your backpack on your lap — on the floor ONLY.
  • Be patient when people talk about how you’re just learning Spanish and say that it’s cute/adorable/they can’t understand you :) learn to ignore all of the people shouting “good morning! good morning!” at you in the streets.
  • Have fun while you work!! Play little games with your companion. Decide that one day, you’ll knock on every blue door, or that another day, you’ll compete between who can give out the most pass along cards. Learn random words! teach your Latin companion random words in English! Ask your companion about his life, or his country, or his mission experiences, and listen. Do Zumba for your 30 minute workout (if your Pres allows it)! Make cool scripture marking plans and designs. Make a list of funny scriptures to use to respond to your district leaders or other missionaries. Here are a few to get you started: 1 Cor 13:11, D/C 59:22, Ether 15:34, 1 Timothy 4:8, 3 Nephi 12:37, 1 Nephi 15:8.
  • The second way to get to any Peruvian’s heart is through family home evenings. They LOVE THEM.
  • Don’t worry about what’s going on at home too much. you being in the field will benefit them way more than anything you could have done at home. those blessings are real! D&C 118:3.
  • Don’t trust menus (restaurants) that only cost 5 soles or less.
  • Don’t ever accept a soup “a la madre” (don’t Google it either).
  • Ask what kind of meat was in the meal after you eat it.
  • Don’t spread mission gossip. It will save you a LOT of trouble.
  • Be careful of what you buy in the mercados (markets). I think you’ll know what I mean. Especially — PAPAYA JUICE at the juguerias. They sometimes make it out of the oldest papayas they have laying around and you can never be sure of the quality. It took me two months of being really sick to figure that out.
  • Get an exercise habit going. Like really. Peruvian missions are infamous for being a little too loving. As they say, “Americans eat to live; Peruvians live to eat.”
  • Guard your USB of photos with your LIFE. Even keep a back up, and update it every once in a while. Email your photos to your family whenever possible. Trust me on this—I’ve lost two USBs, more than 2000 photos and videos and had one of my 16 GB memory chips completely corrupted with viruses from those dinky locutorios (internet cafes). It was a little more than upsetting.
  • Things that Americans often directly translate to Spanish that have VERY different meanings than you’d expect: don’t say, ”no me importa” (I don’t care) — it’s VERY STRONG in spanish!. don’t say “idiota, estupido”, also very strong. you probably already know this but “estoy embarazado” does NOT mean “I’m embarrassed.” don’t say that something is “basura” because that’s also really strong. “No me molestes” does not mean “don’t molest me.” If they ask you, “me invitas?” they’re not wondering if you’re going to invite them to go out, they just want some of your food. But at the same time, when you do make silly Spanish mistakes, just laugh them off! :) It’s not your native language, so you can say whatever you want and make mistakes while you’re learning! Don’t be afraid to carry a pocket dictionary around. When you hear a word you don’t recognize, ask!!! Otherwise, you won’t learn it.
  • Pay a lot of attention to the accent, because when you come back to Utah (or another part of the EE.UU), you’ll be tempted to start talking like the Latins here (which is a way different accent and even set of vocabulary). You’ve gotta represent Peru!
  • Take a trust fall with Spanish. Do your personal study in Spanish. Just read, read, read. If you don’t get it, just keep reading it. Soon enough, you’ll be marking more and more in your scriptures. The promise that the prophets have made about the Book of Mormon having the power to teach you a language is SO true, and it saved my life!
  • Read Preach My Gospel cover to cover. I’m serious. It’s the best decision that you will ever make. It’s the only time in your life that you’ll have the opportunity to really do it.
  • Peruvians will very often let you into their home saying, ”Yes, always it’s good to listen to what people have to say.” Yes, that’s very true, but that does NOT mean that they will follow up with the commitments. The true KEY to finding the people who are ready to have a change of heart are the people who strive to keep their commitments to you. You’ll have to learn to look for that, and to know when it’s time to drop an investigator (so hard!). Peruvian “eternal investigators” are very common.
  • Use family history!!!!!! Teach lesson 5 before baptism. Your investigators need to know that you’re not only preparing them not just for the baptismal font but for the temple and the opportunity to have an eternal family!! :) It’s also an AMAZING tool for reactivating members. Also, if a recent convert goes to the temple to do their own family history ordinances within the first 6 months of their baptism, their long-term retention rate is 80 percent!! If they go within the first 6 weeks, that jumps up to 98%!  You guys will have the Trujillo temple soon — try to encourage people to go!!
  • Don’t touch the shower head unless you want to get shocked.
  • Wear your flip-flops indoors at all times, especially in the shower.
  • If you’re in an area with fleas, don’t sit on your bed in your proselyting clothes. just trust me on that one
  • if you get bit by fleas, resist all urge to scratch yourself, and make a serious investment in hydro cortisone cream. it’ll save you.
  • If you notice that the food you’re eating is moldy, or that there are hairs or bugs in it, or if you find a piece of metal in it, try to pretend like it’s no big deal at all.
  • And most of all, just remember that Heavenly Father expects of you what you just what you can do at that moment. I remember that sometimes, when I had more time in the field, I would look back to how I was as a greenie and I would kick myself for being such an amateur. The truth is, Heavenly Father knows that this is all just a huge learning process when you have 2 months in the field, He understands that. He understands your capacities and He’s not going to expect something of you that you’re not capable of doing. He loves you and wants you to succeed! Don’t let yourself feel crushed under the pressure of thousands of people’s salvation, like I did. Also, use that red book “Adjusting to Missionary Life” that they give you in the MTC — it’s incredible. It seems geeky at first but it’s actually super useful.
  • Your most important convert is YOU!
  • Read this talk, The Fourth Missionary — it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It changed mine. I know that it’s a million pages but it’s WORTH IT!!! :)
  • Know that it’s normal to feel homesickness. We all have those moments. We all want to go home sometimes. We all can start to feel a little burned out after a long week or a long month or a long transfer. Just hold to the scriptures, hold to your patriarchal blessing, and do things that get you excited about missionary work. Get out on the streets. Try new foods. Talk to new people. Make yourself new, challenging goals!
  • And also read this amazing letter called “One Mission”. It’s specifically dedicated to gringos serving in Latin america.
  • Last thing — too many times in my mission, I saw missionaries just comparing Peru to the States the whole time. Comparing everything. Even the church. “Well, it’s not like this in Utah.” “In Utah, they do this differently.” “Where I’m from, we don’t do that.” Try not to do that. Especially don’t say it out loud in front of other people. Take ADVANTAGE of a great opportunity to learn from a culture that is so amazing that has so many positive qualities that we lack!! Don’t spend the time thinking about the states. Immerse yourself in la vida peruana. Talk like they do. Laugh at their jokes. Love their food. Be warm and outgoing and humble like they are. Learn to LISTEN. They have some amazing stories to share, and amazing testimonies.
You’ll do great out there! I don’t know you personally, but I know that you’ve been called of God and that you have a very sacred blessing and responsibility right now. You are entitled to a world of blessings. Don’t ever doubt yourself! Don’t feel discouraged. You’ll do great!! With God on your team, nobody can prevail against you! Romanos 8:31 (Joseph Smith Translation). You have been anointed, ordained, endowed and set apart to succeed! Remember that! And remember that you’re always planting little seeds of faith with each person, and that the effects will always take place over time. Enjoy Peru and know that you’ve been called to serve in the BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!! :) If you ever have any questions or anything that we could do for you, let me know. GOOD LUCK!! CUIDESE!

Letter from December 29, 2014

****PRE-POST-NOTE from Hannah: Hey guys, it’s me! I’m finally writing on my own blog again!! Crazy, right? Sorry that we’ve not been able to put stuff on here for a little while. We have been just so tight on time: things have been pretty crazy lately but they’re going really well. I’m going to be putting some last things on here to wrap all of this up. Just so you guys know, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you and your support. You are all the BEST!!! Also, second side-note, we’re having a little technical difficulties with the photos on here, so we’re going to have to put the ones from this week into a public Photobucket account and link it from here so y’all can see ’em until we’ve gotten everything straightened out here on this end of things. The link will be at the bottom of the post.


I HOPE THAT YOU ALL HAD A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! I sure did. Things have been NUTS this week—every day, we’ve had something crazy.


Monday — We had our zone practice for the sketch we did at the mission Christmas party! A blast.


Tuesday — Mission Christmas party, all day! It was so fun! Unfortunately, this time we had to break it up into two halves of the mission at a time, but it was still awesome. We got to play a lot of games and watch some Christmas short films.


Wednesday — Zone Christmas breakfast and games. Afterwards, we went to a place called Mini-mundo and played our GUTS out. I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. Then we spent the night visiting a ton of members! It was awesome. We ate soooooo much though.


Thursday — Pretty much didn’t eat anything today. We were still full from yesterday! We went bowling in Larcomar and it was awesome. We also got to do skype with the lovely family!!! So great to see you all!!!


Friday — Zone temple trip! It was a really great, as always… :) In the evening, our mission leader invited us over and we got special permission to go up San Cristobal (the huge mountian/hill with a cross on it) and see all of the Lima light nights. It was really scary at night, being up so high! But very, very cool. Neither Hermana Choque nor Elder Gonzalez had been before.


Saturday — Got one more thing crossed off of my bucket list. There was a member who was cool enough to find us real SURI, which is like this huge, fat tree worm from the jungle. Peruvians eat them fried and also… alive. As far as I was aware, we were going to eat it fried, and I was down for that, but when we got there…. they were ALIVE still!!! Agh!!! There were four of them — one for each missionary. It was AWFUL! but we did it. And we kept the heads. I did it only to be able to say that I did. Wow haha but I’m glad it’s over with. I ate mine the fastest. It didn’t really taste like anything but it was pretty watery inside. We’ve got a TON of priceless photos and videos….





Sunday — We went up and attended church here in San Silvestre. Got to see a ton of my old pals. The bishop totally caught me by surprise and called me up on the spot to bear my testimony during sacrament meeting, but it went fine. It was really great to see a lot of them again. In the afternoon, we also visited a family from Pueblo Libre and one from Magdalena.


Even though this week has been a crazy blast…. the last couple of days have been pretty melancholy. Hermana Choque and I have both been feeling a little blue. I love this mission. I love this world. I love these fiends here and I love the work that we’re doing. When I came out here to the field, I had to leave one world behind and establish another from scratch. That was hard. And now, I have this world established. I’m so happy here. I have friends here. The members are even like a family to me, even though they don’t replace the friends and family that I have back home. But it’s like they say in my favorite book series of all time, ”Neither can live while the other survives.” (Harry Potter) I have to live in one world, or the other. And now it’s time for me to go through the same process again. I have to leave this world and return to the old one. I told Hermana Choque that I kind of wished that this all was a dream, that I woke up and it was still November and we were still working as if everything was normal again and I still had more time… I’m not ready to go home yet. If my family could come down here and stay with me in Lima, it would be the perfect life. I would live here for years and be a missionary forever. A perfect combination between the two worlds. But, nope! It can’t be..


But the key is that even though my environment is changing, I can’t let myself be changed. Peru will always be a part of me. ALWAYS! :) I love it too much. Man, I’m going to fill my room up with SO MUCH Peruvian stuff!! And it’ll keep me remembering all of the people that I met here, all of the things that I learned and how I personally grew during this time. I am NOT going back to the person that I was before the mission. No way, José. Sorry. It’s not part of the game plan. Those weaknesses are staying in the past!


So here we are, in my old sector in San Silvestre, right now.. We just visited a couple of members here (the mission gives us our last two days to go pass around) and we’ve got to visit a handful more right about now. Then from there, we’re going home, packing the whole night, then getting up, getting the last few things into order, and then I have my final interview with President Borg and off I go to the airport to pick up my parents at about midnight. From there, we’ll be staying here for a little while longer to visit more people and to also visit around a bit. I’m so excited to see them. It’s going to be fun. Man, leaving the mission is the weirdest, bittersweet feeling ever!! As we say here, ¡¡asu maquina!!


Sorry I can’t write very well today. there’s just too much that has happened and too many photos to send, but no time at all to do it. But there’s just one more thing that I would like to touch on: the miracles that we’ve seen this week. On Saturday (after we ate those worms), we got talking a lot with those members and sort of reflecting back on how far that we’ve progressed. I remember just sitting and feeling so overwhelmed with happiness, joy and gratitude. Every single cambio, there’s been a different lesson that I’ve learned. Every transfer, every ward. There’s always a theme. And these last two cambios have been just full of blessings and happiness. Before, I guess my testimony of God was strongest when it came to adversity — or in other words, I had felt and recognized Him most in my life through the most difficult things that I had gone through. But these last couple of months, I’ve really gained a testimony of the fact that He’s with us too even in the happiest, most rewarding times! Even though I feel like this last week we’ve really gotten a break, I still felt the Spirit with me and I felt like it was just the biggest tender mercy and greatest way to finish off a mission — feeling so many blessings and having fun too! It seems like everything has just been falling into place. And one of the greatest blessings was finding my camera! Last Monday, we had to write in a crowded, tiny, dirty market, and we were in a real hurry too. I’ve always been really careful about my things, but this time, I left my camera behind, still plugged into the computer, as we had to dash out like lightning to meet someone. And that’s a heartbreaker. I had my last week in the mission ahead of me! Now guys, let me tell you, with Lima being one of the most dangerous cities in South America…. if you ever lose something, you’ll never get it back. It’s just the law of nature. I mean, a crowded market? Forget about it! Well, I was quite sure that I would never see it again, after I realized that night that it was missing, and I knew that it would be pointless to go back, so I didn’t make a hurry of it. Plus, we were like SUPER busy and that market was kind of far away. Sort of out of denial, I waited to go back until Saturday (I know….. don’t say it!!) . I wandered in there and as soon as the shop owner saw us, he jumped up and said, “Hey!! You guys forgot —-” and pulled my camera out. He had kept it for an entire WEEK. He didn’t even sell it on the black market after a couple of days. Hermana Choque and I just stood there with our jaws on the floor. We took it back, thanked him profusely and started to walk to lunch. I mean, we couldn’t even talk to each other, we were so surprised. We literally walked in silence the entire way there. Talk about a Limeñan MIRACLE! Wow.


Well, I’m sorry for writing an entire book this week. It’s just because it’s my last week! Well, I’ve gotta run!!!


Take care mom and everyone! See y’all soon!!!!!


Hermana Hollberg


Click on the link below to see the photos!!


So on friday we got another express overnight letter from the Church Travel department saying that I’m actually going to the MEXICO CITY MTC!!!!!!!! Holy smokes…. also, I’m leaving on Tuesday now instead of Wednesday.

So basically now the Lima MTC is outrageously full like the Provo MTC so they had to rearrange last-minute a couple of kids’ schedules. I ended up being one of the few who were rerouted to go spend our 6 weeks in Mexico. I still don’t have my Peruvian visa, and if I don’t get it after that training time then i suppose I have to go back to the States to serve there in a Spanish-speaking area. But I think I’ll have my visa by then though (I mean I really should, it’s been like 5 months!) and hopefully I’ll get to fly straight down to Lima after that! So exciting!

I’ve never been so scared and pumped at the same time. It’s all coming so soon!

Also, shout-out to my sister Caroline who received her call Friday and has just been assigned to the Richmond, Virginia mission! So awesome to be going at the same time as her, almost.

Enjoy some traditional Peruvian music!

Lima, Peru

So my mission is really, really small compared to other LDS missions in the world. It basically encompasses only the capital city of Lima, Peru. Here are some facts that I’ve found in my research of the culture, climate and people that y’all might find interesting!

Basic Facts and Statistics:

Peru Map

Lima is the largest city of Peru.

It is the 16th most populous city in the world with a population approaching 9 million (Census    2007), and is the 6th largest city in both North and South America.

Lima is the 2nd largest capital located in a desert (after Cairo), and is the political, economic and cultural center of Peru.

[In case you were wondering, Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions.]

Lima is home to one-third of Peru’s population.

Metropolitan Lima stretches from the north to the south along the Pacific Ocean for around 37 miles, and is about 19 miles measured west to east.

Satellite photo of Lima

Satellite photo of Lima

Lima was a part of the Inca Empire in the 15th century.

The city was originally founded by Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 as Cuidad de los Reyes (City of the Kings), but the name was eventually restored to Lima, after the original name Limaq (Quechuan language).


Cultural Center of Lima

The official language of Lima is Spanish, and is spoken by almost 84% of Peru’s population, although in the Andes the Quechua and Aymara languages are also present, not to mention numerous Amazonian languages, such as Urinara.

Lima has a strangely mild climate throughout the year, despite being located in the tropics and in a desert.

Even though Lima is just 12° south of the equator, it rains on average between 1 and 3 cm of rainfall per year, which accumulates mainly during the winter months.

miraflores in the mist

Miraflores in the morning fog

The summers are sunny, moist and warm (December – May with average temps from 77° to 84° F), while the winters are notoriously foggy, and mild with gray skies, breezy conditions and high humidity (June – November with average temps from 54° to 68° F).

Over 35% of Lima’s population lives in squatter settlements called “pueblos jovenes” (young towns) or “barriadas” (shantytowns).


Slums outside of Lima

Unemployment is estimated at 7.9%, with underemployment near 50%.

Lima is home to the oldest university in the Americas – the National University of San Marcos (1551).


Total population in all of Peru: 30,475,144

Total Church Membership in all of Peru: 527,759

Missions: 10

Congregations: 786

Temples: 1

Family History Centers: 113

Lima, Peru LDS Temple

Lima, Peru LDS Temple

Hannah’s Farewell Information!!

Ok, so although I officially begin my mission on July 17th, my “farewell” talk in church is all the way back on the 30th of June. There are three of us in my ward who are leaving for the mission field on the same day so our “farewells” have ended up being pretty spaced out.

Hannah’s Mission Farewell:

June 30th, 2013

12:45 PM – 2:00 PM

Sacrament Meeting in the Bonneville 1st Ward

If you’re family or a friend, you’re welcome to come to my house afterwards for some refreshments :)

{if you need an address, lemme know!}


Hello, my name is Hannah. I’ve been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Peru, Lima Central mission. I will be serving for a period of eighteen months, beginning on July 17th and ending in mid-January. If all goes planned with my visa, I will be flying straight down to the Lima Missionary Training Center of the 17th, where I will be stationed for a few weeks for a quick once-over on the lessons I will teach and the language I will learn. My mission is Spanish-speaking, and seeing as how I know virtually no Spanish right now, I’m going to have a rather interesting immersion experience… : ) I am so excited to live in Peru and share my source of happiness in life with those who are willing to hear and accept my message.