¡Noq’a kany Perumanta!‏ (Quechua language!)

Wanna see something weird? I got to try on brown color contact lenses

Wanna see something weird? I got to try on brown color contact lenses

 

I have the coolest companion that’s been teaching me little phrases in quechua!!

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I hope that you guys have had a great week! Things are going really well down here in Las Brisas. I think these last two cambios have been the most fun in my entire life! Like really though. Hermana Choque and I have been hitting hard with this Él es la Dádiva thing (He is the Gift) and we’ve put the cards on our apartment windows and in the center, and we talked to all of the other family history consultants about showing the video to the visitors that pass by. Attendance is down a little bit over there in the IRU because classes are out for this month, but it might be to our advantage because we going to focus on getting a hold of all of the main YSA leaders in the different stakes and inviting them to come down and get excited about it all. Hermana Choque and I are really fasting and praying for new investigators. We’ve got a few that totally want to get baptized, but have problems with marriage papers and such. It’s a rough spot. Hopefully we can get everything worked out. As for gaining trust in the ward, we’ve been taking the Ammon approach (service) and it’s been really helpful. I think things are really brightening up down here. Our ward council is gaining more and more trust with us, and the only thing left that we have to do is help them to use our progress reports. Up until now, they’ve been a little pointless but with a little patience and diligence in the meetings I think it’ll all be alright!

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This week, it’s been a little difficult as far as visits go. I know that the missionary handbook of rules says that supposedly holidays are the best days to proselyte because many families are home, but that sure doesn’t hold true down here in Peruvia. Nobody wants to receive a visit from the missionaries right now. This week has been a whole lot of walking and walking and walking and walking…. I feel like every day we’re singing that primary song about Pioneer Children.. ja ja ja… It’s ok though. Things’ll let up soon. We’ve been contacting a lot of people in the street and it looks like we’ve found a few new appointments for this week. One of the great things is that for the last month or so, we’ve been finding just in the road (they’ve come up to us every time!) about 3 golden investigators or golden less-active members that are ready to be reactivated PER WEEK (I’ve never seen so many cases like this in a row in my entire mission!), but every single time they’ve been referrals for other missionaries because they live in other ward boundaries or stakes. D’oh! Nah, but it’s ok because we’re really happy for them and for the initiative that they’ve taken to increase their faith and get to know the Savior more.  The important part is that we’re helping the Lord out with these guys.

 

I forgot to mention it last week, but on Saturday, our ward had our GRAN Feria de Historia Familiar!! It was probably one of the best, most organized that I’ve ever seen — and the best part was that the ward did everything! It was incredible. Our High Priest Group Leader planned out everything from organizing a ton of different classrooms to be operating simultaneously, to balloon archways, to giving out gift bags to all of the visitors with pens and booklets and cards about the temple. The only thing that they asked us to do was to be there and bring a few other companionships of missionaries to contact people in the street and bring them in for an introduction to the church. We got permission from the zone leaders to borrow a few more from the zone, and it was a huge success! We taught about 20 new investigators!! Even one woman said that she used to always walk behind the church to get to her house, but for some reason she felt like walking in front, and that’s when the Elders contacted her. Lucky Elder Gonzalez and Elder Scott have about 13 referrals or so… Hermana Choque and I are totally jealous. It was such a flawless effort between missionary work and family history. So proud!!!

 

One of our dear member friends named Anibal loaned us this incredible and original book that’s hand-written from 1914. A hundred years ago! It was written by his grandmother here in Lima, and it’s all beautiful, beautiful poetry. He loaned it to us for two reasons — there was a poem in there in English that was really sweet about how we should always keep learning our entire lives, and he wanted me to translate it into Spanish because he never knew what it said. Also, he was wondering if we could scan the whole thing in and digitalize it with the scanner in the family history center, so that it could be preserved. The Elders helped us out and after about an entire hour of scanning, we got it done. I totally meant to bring my USB so that I could send you guys a photo so you could see the amazing calligraphy, but I left it home this morning! Sorry. But I’ll send it next week for sure.

 

On Friday we had a really fun family night at the house of our mission leader and we made Christmas letters and watched church Christmas movies and ate panneton and hot chocolate and ice-cream and it was a lot of fun. We invited a couple other recent convert families and it was a bash! Hopefully they can forward on the photos to me. :)

 

So Christmas is approaching, and tonight I have to go to dinner at the President’s house along with everyone else who’s finishing their missions in December. It’s a mission tradition that everyone who’s finishing goes to eat with him and Hermana Borg cooks. I don’t know how it will go but I’m kind of nervous. It’s weird because it doesn’t even feel like the Christmas season at all! Not just because it’s almost summer, but in general. This Christmas is so much different than the last one. Sometimes Hermana Choque and I forget that it’s going to be so soon. The same goes for going home. The other missionaries in the zone sure have a hoot making fun of me and joking about how I’m getting ”trunky” and counting down the days, but the sincere, real truth is that I haven’t! I know that I’m going to be with my parents in about two weeks, but it just seems like a dream. It doesn’t seem real. It’s just work as usual! In fact, if anything, I think that my stress is taking the form of wanting to get as much work done as possible, and it’s making me anxious to try and teach 1,874 lessons and find 896 people every week. I want to get everything done before they kick me out!! There are still so many things that we have to do in the center that we’ve planned!!! Agh. But who knows. Life is weird. I’m content with not being trunky though. I’ll let you guys know how everything goes!

 

¡Noq’a yachani kay iglesia verdadero casjanta!

 

¡Jayanakusun kunintan! :)

 

Love, Hermana Hollberg

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Brown Eyes!

 

Playing with this crazy kitten we found in the street. It took us about 10 minutes to catch it. It did NOT want to be held!!! It was a housecat though, don’t worry.

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I don’t know we were really bored that night (it was a very long day of walking and walking and walking with no luck) so we just took a ton of pictures of this cat playing with its mom. The mom-cat brought the kitten a little cockroach to play with.  How sweet… haha

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An odd note that someone put on our door. It says ''God loves he who repents of heart.''

An odd note that someone put on our door. It says ”God loves he who repents of heart.”

 

at the grocery store.... totally normal.  Those are pigs on the right...

at the grocery store…. totally normal. Those are pigs on the right…

 

Relaxing under the palm trees on p-day

Relaxing under the palm trees on p-day

 

 

 

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Él es la Dádiva / He is the Gift‏

Water Balloons for Pday today!

Water Balloons for Pday today!

Ok, so we’re going to start things super didactically today. We’re going to use our imaginations. Ok, picture someone taking a live frog, knocking it on a table really quickly to kill it, taking off it’s skin, throwing it in some boiling water for a minute, then tossing it into a blender with some milk, honey, maca….. and then drinking it! It’s supposedly really healthy!!!!! Well…. seeing as this is my last month and how I’ve gotta go hard and leave everything in the court here in Perú… Hermana Choque and I HAD to dare each other to try it. I sure love that girl so much. We have so much fun together. And guess what?? The extract was REALLY GROSS!!! But hey I did it and I finished it all and now I can cross it off of my bucket list. So there!!

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So I’m sure that you have all heard about the lovely He is the Gift campaign — it’s a huge way of spreading Christmas cheer to the whole world by reminding us about the true reason behind Christmas. It’s all centered around this absolutely beautiful small video that the church made, which can be found at navidad.mormon.org or at christmas.mormon.org. Spoiler alert: It’s a tear-jerker. As missionaries, the church is having us work really hard about sharing it with just about everyone that we can. Hermana Choque and I got really into it and we filled the family history center with the contact cards, and even put some more on the window in our apartment, for all of the people who pass by! I really invite all of you folks out there to watch it, or watch it again if you have already seen it, because it has such a great message about how we can really take the best out of this Christmas season. After all, He was the first gift that started it all. And the greatest gift. See John 3:16.

http://www.mormon.org/Christmas

 

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that two of my investigators back in San Silvestre got baptized!! I can’t tell you guys how HAPPY that has made me!!!! San Silvestre was probably the toughest sector out of my entire mission, and to hear that two of the people that we taught back there made the decision to get baptized…. that makes me SO HAPPY! One of them was this sweet little old man named Teofilo. He was baptized by Jesús, the recent-convert youth that Hermana Sanjines and I took to the temple for the first time back in the day with Martha. So great!! On Thursday, we had my last Mission Council, and we got to announce all of the achievements and numbers from the center! It was a lot of fun. We also got to hear about all of the fun plans for the mission Christmas party this year. It’s going to be a blast!

This week, it was our sweet pensionista Mayra’s birthday on Friday. We got up extra early to make her real-deal banana pancakes. It was awesome! I think I’m really getting the hang of making those things. Hermana Choque loved them too. Also, on Saturday, we got up early to make French toast because we had to have our meeting with our Mission Leader really early in the morning. In this ward, to gain trust, Hermana Choque and I have been taking the ”Ammon” Approach (or in other words, the service approach) and we’ve been having a lot of great success! If you can’t beat ’em, serve ’em! Things are getting better here every week.

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At cambios, there were a ton of sectors that were closed because we’re losing a lot of missionaries at once. Especially sisters. In my group that’s going this transfer, there’s 19 of us. Sad enough, the sector that I opened in Barranco a year ago is closed now, so now there’s only Elders there. Crazy, right? :/

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With some more missionary friends. At cambios with Elder Castro, the last Assistant to the President who helped Hermana Capps and I out a ton.

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Taking a picture with Elder Tonga — a football star from the University of Utah team!! He’s a cool kid.

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With the old Mexico crew… minus Hermana Brudnicki.

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With my Ecuadorian daughter, Hermana Zumba, and my new Colombian granddaughter, Hermana Linares!! Hermana Zumba is training again this transfer! She’s my second granddaughter.

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Us with Elder Lemon!!! Shout out to the Lemon family!

Us with Elder Lemon!!! Shout out to the Lemon family!

Trunky Placas!! Everyone has these cool nametags for their last transfer that says the name of the mission and the time limits, but they messed up on mine and haven't sent it to me, so I got left out. but we still took a picture!

Trunky Placas!! Everyone has these cool nametags for their last transfer that says the name of the mission and the time limits, but they messed up on mine and haven’t sent it to me, so I got left out. but we still took a picture!

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In the bus... Everything is really small here (Peruvian scale). Elder Dahlin finally found room to stand up straight on the bus by sticking his head in the fire escape thing.

In the bus… Everything is really small here (Peruvian scale). Elder Dahlin finally found room to stand up straight on the bus by sticking his head in the fire escape thing.

And finally…. speaking of cambios…. So on Tuesday I had to get up and bear my testimony in front of the whole mission with the other 18 missionaries, including Hermana Capps and Hermana Brudnicki. I was so nervous, I can’t even tell you guys. I had no idea what to say. For a lot of people, they get really emotional in their final testimony. There is a good amount of crying at change meetings, usually, to be honest. I’m not a crier or anything but I was still a little nervous about caving under pressure. But in the end, above all, I just prayed that something that I shared would help someone else who was there. Sometimes, in the last testimony, missionaries talk about their companions or about their life story, or they just keep it really short and stick to the basics. Every testimony is so unique — I guess that you could say that there aren’t two that are alike. What I decided to do in the end was bear a testimony about the big lesson that I’ve learned from each one of my sectors. Guys, mission presidents really do receive revelation for their missionaries. It’s so true. I have loved each one of my wards so much and I feel like I have learned a huge, everlasting, impactful lesson from each one of them. I’m out of time but to briefly share with you my recap:

 

  1. Pueblo Libre (Jesús María) — I learned and can bear testimony that the grace of the Savior is real. He expects that we constantly try our best—-not that we are instantly and absolutely perfect. The grace of God isn’t a motor that kicks in when we’ve done all that we can, but rather the motor that is constantly moving us to reach our goals.
  2. Barranco — I learned and can bear testimony that sometimes Heavenly Father has to take away everything that we’ve known and everyone that we’ve ever met, so that we can really get to know HIM. I learned that above all, we have a divine nature that nobody can change or take away, and that our life’s greatest work is ourselves.
  3. San Silvestre — I learned and can bear testimony that the promises that Heavenly Father makes to us will ALWAYS be fulfilled. You must always have faith, hope charity—they are the greatest requisites for this work. Those three attributes of the Lord will be the fuel that will keep us working and working and working through all of the dark times, until we find that moment that is precious and sweet above all others, when we reach our goal and find the reward that our loving Father in Heaven has prepared for us.
  4. From Magdalena and Las Brisas — I learned, maybe as the greatest lesson of all, that the hard things in this life really are for our good. Sometimes as youth, and even as missionaries, we think that we’ve learned it all and that we’ve already reached our potential; that the rest of our life is just going to be cotton candy because we’ve already figured it all out. But the truth is that we’re just at the front door of our life. We know that hard things are going to come our way. Harder than we can probably imagine. But one of the beautiful things about serving a mission is that it gives us that chance and that testimony that in the end, we really can look back at those moments that were hardest of all and we can see how far that we have come, thanks to them. I know that these experiences and these testimonies are going to be the ones that help us have a strong foundation for the many more beautiful and maybe sad things that we will have to face in this life.

Well, I really have to go now, but I just want you guys to know how much I really do love you and appreciate you. You guys are the best family in the world. And for those of you friends out there, thank you so much for the support too! It means a lot to me. I hope you all have a great week!! Take care!!!!

Love,

Hermana Hollberg

Eating a really delicious dish from Tumbes, where my pensionista grew up! Mussels.. that's what they're called, right? Seeing as Bolivia doesn't have any ocean, it was the first time that my companion had ever tried this kind of dish.

Eating a really delicious dish from Tumbes, where my pensionista grew up! Mussels.. that’s what they’re called, right? Seeing as Bolivia doesn’t have any ocean, it was the first time that my companion had ever tried this kind of dish.

 

 Opening up a real, fresh coconut and drinking the juice. It's actually really really strong! It's way better diluted.


Opening up a real, fresh coconut and drinking the juice. It’s actually really really strong! It’s way better diluted.

Going to see the son of our mission leader again -- baby Jeremy!

Going to see the son of our mission leader again — baby Jeremy!

The Elders playing foosball with a little LIME they found who-knows-where. Actually it's not surprising to find limes everywhere here in Perú!

The Elders playing foosball with a little LIME they found who-knows-where. Actually it’s not surprising to find limes everywhere here in Perú!

 

Family History  baptismal font room, which we decorated. We were in charge of getting it all ready to teach all of the non-members who came.

Family History baptismal font room, which we decorated. We were in charge of getting it all ready to teach all of the non-members who came.

Elders contacting people in the street to invite them to the fair!

Elders contacting people in the street to invite them to the fair!

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The Family History Fair on Saturday!

The Family History Fair on Saturday!

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I straightened Hermana Choque's hair and it's reallllllllly longggggg... she has the most hair out of anyone that I have ever known! I don't know what her secret is! It's like flipping Tangled, the movie, or something

I straightened Hermana Choque’s hair and it’s reallllllllly longggggg… she has the most hair out of anyone that I have ever known! I don’t know what her secret is! It’s like flipping Tangled, the movie, or something

Yesterday we took this little man in a wheelchair out to the park as a service project, and we talked to him for a while to cheer him up, and then these really beautiful birds flew down and were right in front of us in the grass! Hermana Choque snapped a few pictures.

Yesterday we took this little man in a wheelchair out to the park as a service project, and we talked to him for a while to cheer him up, and then these really beautiful birds flew down and were right in front of us in the grass! Hermana Choque snapped a few pictures.

Family night last night with the Cheffer family!!! They're the best! Playing games about unity.

Family night last night with the Cheffer family!!! They’re the best! Playing games about unity.

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Just another normal week here in Peru‏

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I put that photo first because it’s the coolest thing that has happened this week, and it makes me proud.  That was about 3 hours ago.  It’s a little octupus thing!  Believe it or not, the dish was SO GOOD.
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The dish is called “Arroz con Mariscos” not sure what all is in it! But I got to keep the clam shells, so there.

 

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Today for P-day we got to go to ”La Punta” (the Point) of Callao.  Those of you who are serious blog followers (thanks Mom) might remember that Callao is the most dangerous part of Lima, but it’s weird because there’s one part that’s super touristy and it’s this really big long harbor that goes out into the Pacific Ocean.  So we went out there and all of the Elders got to play fútbol (soccer) all day in this field that was literally 20 feet from the water.  It was gorgeous.  And being the coast, Callao is really famous for being hardcore fisherman so we got to have a really great lunch with fresh fish and clam dishes.
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Also on Wednesday we got to go to the temple!!  It was so great.  I have now been in the Lima temple 3 times.  But we didn’t take any pictures because all of the Elders were really hungry and wanted to go home afterwards.  Elders are never super into photos… but it’s cool.  I already have too many photos of the temple.  We are going to go with the ward again soon—I think on the 11th—and take some of our recent converts and reactivated members to do baptisms for the dead for the first time.  We’re so excited!!

But other than that, this week has been pretty slow because we spent more than half of it stuck in the house.  Last week, Hermana Castillo began to have a lot of back pain.  On Monday she finally hit the point where she couldn’t sit for extended periods of time and we had to go back to the house and call Hermana Borg.  We had an appointment in a clinic in Miraflores on Thursday and we found out that Hermana Castillo was born with her back leaning a tiny bit to the lefty side instead of being straight.  The combination of the cold, humidity, stress and constant weight of her backpack has made her disks in her spine contract a ton.  The doctor was like, ”I don’t want her working for 4-5 days. End of story.”  Then he hooked her up with a TON of pills to take, including muscle relaxers.  So… yeah.  We’ve been trapped.  And I have never felt SO BRAIN DEAD in my life.  I think I have an idea of why it’s hard to make the adjustment to not do anything when you get home.  When you’re stuck inside, you just feel so antsy and grubby like you have to get out and achieve something.  Oh boy.  So I had to spend Thursday and Friday in but I finally managed to get out and catch up in our area on Saturday.  There was this crazy turn of events where I got to be companions with Hermana Brudnicki for a day!  It was so fun!!!!  Oh my gosh, really though.  We would always joke in the MTC that one day we would be real companions and it really happened!  But it was a good day.  Even though Hermana Castillo should have stayed home from church yesterday too, she couldn’t handle it anymore and went anyway.  Poor girl.So there’s not a ton to tell for the week.  Let’s see… also, I taught my pensionista about peanut butter!  We were talking about it at lunch because she had never tried it before and I was like, ”Yeah, it’s super delicious if you eat it on bread with honey!”  She and my companion were both like, ”EWWWW that sounds HORRIBLE!!!  With something sweet?!  AGH!”  But then I went back to the house, got some peanut butter and honey and converted them.  Also, I found out that one of the Elders in my zone from Argentina (Elder Soria) found and followed my blog before he got out here in the field.  That was cool!  He’s been out for 6 months I think.  But he’s really cool, he’s got an amazing story.  He is a convert who joined the church just 2 years ago but wanted to serve a mission as soon as he could after he was baptized.  He’s the only member of his family but he worked super hard to support himself to pay to be out here.  But his father passed away just before he hit the 1 year mark after his baptism, which postponed his service date.  But he still wanted to serve so he waited and here he is!  Qué chevere.  Now that’s a great example of faith and devotion.

As for my spiritual thought for the week, I would like to share one of my recent ponderings:

The other day, I was thinking about our memory and how our brains work.  In the mission field we see a lot of people working on repentance, and I was thinking about repentance and how it’s so hard sometimes to forgive ourselves for what we’ve done wrong, even when we have been forgiven by the Lord. It’s interesting to think that in the resurrectoin, we’ll be able to remember every moment of our life and all of our guilt because our bodies will be restored to their perfect form.  Right now, they say that we can only use 10% of our brain power at once.  I’m guessing that after we are resurrected, all of that will be opened up to us.  But right now, maybe Heavenly Father put that 10% speed limit on us as an act of mercy for us.  Our brains really are capable of clearly remembering every moment of our lives, but right now in our earthly state, under the veil that the Lord has covered us with, all memories begin to fade as time goes by.  I think that it was an act of mercy because it helps us move on from the past in a much smoother process.  They say that time heals all wounds.  I think that that is true, and also that maybe time is one of the ways that the Lord heals us from our own sins.  I know that if I could remember vividly every mistake that I’ve made right now, I would feel so much more anguished and guilty and weighed down in my heart that I would have a much harder time moving on and having hope that I could become a different person.  But luckily many of my past errors have faded as I have left them behind, repented and tried to follow the example of the Savior over these years.  It’s really beautiful to see that everything that God gives us aren’t restrictions, but liberations.

Anyway, so that was it.  The gospel is so cool because it’s just connected to EVERYTHING.  RJ once explained it to me as a huge web, and I’m totally on board with that.  Everything can be tied to the spiritual.  It’s awesome.  I love trying to think of examples like this where you can find relationships between various principles of science and the gospel.I sure love you guys and love the support that you give my companion and I.

You are all the best! Have a great week and take care!!!

Love,
Hermana Hollberg

 

After a Stake Family History Meeting

After a Stake Family History Meeting

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My beautiful sector.

stuck in the apartment

Being stuck in the house and bored out of our minds.

 

 

 

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Taking “Little Mermaid” photos. Why not? I love Hermana Brudnicki.

 

Little Mermaid shots

Little Mermaid shots

 

You can see the little soccer field back there, right near the ocean.

You can see the little soccer field back there, right near the ocean.

 

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