“I’ll teach you how to sweep, you teach me how to pray!”

Last Thursday morning we went over to help David clean off a trailer that he build about 25 years ago, and has been sitting in the woods long enough to get so much dirt on it, that there were plants growing out of the bed of the trailer. We raked off the leaves, and random things we found in there (completely rusted shovel end, without the handle, because the wood decomposed, random other rusted pieces of metal, pipes, old dirty rope, worms, worms, more worms, sticks). We helped him grease up the wheel bearings, or rather watched while he greased up the oil bearings. He used straight gasoline to clean the bearings. With his bare hands. In an old plastic coffee canister. When he finished, he had me dump the dirty, disgusting gasoline in a HUGE rusted metal barrel full of random garbage, sticks, and leaves, aka his BURN BARREL. By the way, people burn their garbage and leaves ALL THE TIME here. It’s not uncommon to be driving down the road and see someone standing next a huge fire in their front yard, straight up on the grass in the ditch between their house and the road (there are no sidewalks). It smells gross, and it’s completely legal. Anyway, so David has several metal barrels, rusted clean through in some places that he fills with random things, then burns. By the way, he not only had me dump the dirty gasoline in there, but he had me put in the plastic coffee container too. Doesn’t burning plastic produce toxic fumes?

Something David told me when we were helping him sweep up the dirt— he told me I wasn’t sweeping right, “I’ll teach you how to sweep, you teach me how to pray!”

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We spent SO LONG building a paper arch to use in a lesson with David about the Book of Mormon as the keystone. It was so hard because we were doing it all without a protractor, and just eyeballing it! It turned out pretty well, considering. Not sure if it actually helped him understand… he told us that he is a kinetic learner, so this was one attempt at helping him with that. Any ideas on how to teach a kinetic learner?
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Pictures of David’s beehives in action!

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Really neat experience:

We had dinner and a lesson with Josh and Megan last Thursday! It was an amazing lesson. The Spirit really helped us find the right words, and we really needed it! Josh asks us questions that we have never thought about before that we have no idea how to answer. For example, he asked, “If you believe that God was once like us, and you believe he sinned, but you believe Jesus Christ never sinned in mortal life, doesn’t that put Jesus Christ higher than God the Father?” Sister Rollins and I looked at each other wide eyed. I started to tell them that I had never thought about that before, but then I just asked him if he believed that repentance wipes away sin completely, as if we had never committed the sin. Josh thought for a second and said ‘yes’. Then I told him to picture two people, one who had committed many sins, but had received forgiveness through repentance, and one who had committed no sin at all. Then I asked him which was cleaner. He said they were the same. Then I told Josh that because of the very nature of repentance, it erases sin so completely that in essence God the Father never sinned either, because He reached His perfect, exalted state, so God the Father is still greater than Jesus Christ because He is His Creator. He thought for a minute, then told me that made sense. Wheew! Seriously I have never thought about that before, and had no idea what I was saying/asking. Heavenly Father really does make weak things strong. We then gave Josh this article called ‘Becoming Like God’ https://www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng I recommend that everyone read it! We asked him about it yesterday, and he says that he hasn’t finished it yet, but he is going over it paragraph by paragraph, checking each citation and doing deeper research. Intimidating…..But honestly he doesn’t ask these questions to argue, he NEVER argues! He honestly wants to know how it works. He and his wife are so sweet! We basically have a standing appointment with them on Thursday nights for dinner and a lesson.

I love you all!  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Love,

Sister Hollberg

 

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Miracles of this week!

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This picture has the best story! So the 12th was Sister Rollins’ Birthday and we had an appointment with David. Last week I tried to whisper to him it was her birthday when she was busy talking to someone we had brought with us, but he said ‘WHAT?’ really loudly so I ended up basically having to shout it to him, so she knew I told him, but oh well! There are basically no secrets between companions– she knew what I was getting her for her birthday weeks in advance. But anyway! The next week when we went to David’s for the lesson, we bowed our heads in the car and said a prayer before we got out to knock on the door.

 

While we were praying, I heard his door open and he came out for a second, then went back inside. When we walked in after the prayer, the first thing we saw was his table! Usually it’s covered in various books, papers, and other things that slowly pile up (the majority of it is made up of things we gave him, books, pamphlets etc). He had cleared it off, and even cleaned the table! Then he had the cake, the candles already lit, the paper-towel napkins, forks and everything set out for us! Now here’s the thing– I never told him how old she was turning, and he has never asked our names (I think he sometimes gives up on trying to remember people’s names, because he has a hard time with it– he just calls us his ‘Mormon girls’ or more often just his ‘girls’). He had called his daughter who we met on Halloween to ask her what Sister Rollins name was and also her age, so he could get the cake iced with her name. It was so sweet!

 

He was so happy to be able to do this for her, none of us were expecting it! It blew us all away and it meant so much to Sister Rollins. Even though it wasn’t my birthday, I felt his love too because I knew he would have done the same for me. THEN (and here’s the icing on the cake, pun intended) after we sang ‘Happy Birthday’, he said ‘Well! We need a prayer now!’ and promptly bowed his head and offered, for the first time in front of us, a prayer. It wasn’t even my birthday and I feel like that was the best birthday present I have ever gotten! The prayer was so sincere and special, praying for each of us and thanking Heavenly Father for sending us to him and asking for the Spirit to be with us and to keep us safe, and so many more things. We have tried and tried to get him to pray in front of us. He always would tell us ‘Nope, not ready’. Then, last Wednesday he did it! We didn’t even ask him! I couldn’t stop smiling.

 

There is something so special about hearing someone pray out-loud in front of you for the first time– so much faith in Heavenly Father, pure trust in him, and trust in the listeners. It brought us all to tears– not just the things he prayed for, but the spirit he said it with, and the Spirit he invited into our lesson. I have so much love for yim! I know it’s slow goings with respect to the gospel, but I fully expect to see him in the Celestial Kingdom with his wife, whether or not he accepts the gospel in this life or not. We are fulfilling our purpose and doing what Christ would do in meeting with him. We are truly bringing him closer to Heavenly Father and Christ.

 

This morning I listened to last week’s BYU devotional, and I thought about David a lot http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=2212. Listen to it!

 

He has basically adopted us. We are still working our way through the Plan of Salvation this week, but we’re almost done! We have also been teaching him about faith and repentance.  Last week I asked him “So David, do you believe faith is like a muscle we have to exercise, or we’ll lose it?” and he said “Absolutely!” and he went on to say more good things about faith and how we exercise it and strengthen it. We again took someone from the ward with us. This person needs a lot of love, and David just keyed right into that– he always takes special care to let her know he loves her and that she is a special person. This is just as good as any medicine and what Christ would do.

 

At the end of our lesson David looked around at each person and said very seriously that we were fulfilling scripture, then he quoted Matthew 18:20 which says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. He says he still hasn’t ‘felt’ the Spirit answer his questions and prayers yet, but I know he is starting to little by little. I am so humbled that I can be a part of his journey to Christ and God. I can’t describe the feelings I feel for the people we teach; I can’t even begin to.

 

I love you all!  Have a good week!

Love,

Sister Hollberg

 

Sorry, not very many pictures this week!

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Did you see all the pictures we sent on Facebook for our Mission Media Day?????  We had such a great day!  Thanks for sharing all the pictures!

we love serving !!!  Go to   ‪#‎LdsinVA‬ ‪#‎Mormons‬ ‪#‎Rockhillmissionaries on Instagram to see pictures!

PLEASE ASK THE MISSIONARIES TO RAKE THE LAWN. They would love that. Seriously, we were thrilled when we had this opportunity! Especially because our Mission President wants us to do service in some way each week– but there are no places to volunteer at in our area so we rely on serving individuals in the community. However, no one wants to impose on us so they don’t ask! Or they don’t accept! We love it though; we get to wear pants 🙂 That was the first time in a month or two that I actually got to do some service.

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David is doing well! As of now, he has read the entire D&C, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 Nephi-Mosiah, and is reading James now. He is on a roll! That all got started because he wanted scriptures about the Pre-existence, but there are not very many that are clear outside of the P of GP and the D&C, so we decided to give him some from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the D&C. Because of his bad eye-sight, we put the scriptures on his computer and he listens to them. Since he listens to them, he has to listen to the entire chapter, and can’t just get to the verse. Once he listened to the chapters with the scriptures we showed him, he was intrigued by the D&C and started in section 1 on his own. The next time we saw him, he was on 75. We were blown away! But you can’t really stop him, so we just decided to let him read as far as he wanted. He likes it a lot, but has a lot of questions. He is waiting for his answer, and reading along looking for the truth. It’s hard for him to process the possibility that the things he grew up thinking might not be correct or might not be the full truth, but he isn’t completely close-minded. He is really trying to understand and wrap his mind around the Plan of Salvation, but it’s going to take time.

Tabitha is doing wonderful, embracing the gospel and the church. We met her at the library on Tuesday and did Family History. She already knows her way around Ancestry and Family Search, and has quite a sizable bit of her tree filled in. She is trying to find the info for someone who has been dead for more than 110 years so she can take them to the temple without needing permission from family. She’s so close! 🙂 We taught her daughter and her cousin’s daughter again, they are so sweet! Next we will teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Basically, they teach us. Primary is pretty amazing– even though Delia (Tabitha’s daughter) has only been going to Primary for 6 months, she already knows so much! 🙂 And she has a sweet little testimony growing.

We saw Josh & Megan twice this week! We taught them the Restoration one night, then met them at the meeting house for a tour of the building and we explained how our services work and everything. We asked them to read Alma 42 in preparation for the Plan of Salvation, and they in turn asked us to read a chapter out of the Bible. Who am I to say ‘no’ to reading the scriptures?! They actually (not purposely) picked the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. I haven’t finished it yet, and I’ve never read it before, but what I have read so far has struck me deeply. It has some of the most beautiful scriptural language– as I was reading I felt like I was being filled from head to foot with the Spirit. Vs. 19-20 says, “I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.”. It reminded me of the second verse of “Oh My Father” where it says

Yet ofttimes a secret something

Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”

And I felt that I had wandered

From a more exalted sphere.’

 

and a verse from the non-very-well-known hymn “The Wintry Day Descending to it’s Close”

 

“I cannot go to rest, but linger still

In meditation at my windowsill,

While, like the twinkling stars in heaven’s dome,

Come one by one sweet memories of home.

And wouldst thou ask me where my fancy roves

To reproduce the happy scenes it loves,

Where hope and memory together dwell

And paint the pictured beauties that I tell?”

 

I can’t wait to finish reading the chapter and to feel that Spirit around me, testifying of the love Heavenly Father has for me as an individual, and his desire for me to return to him. I know He feels this way about all of His creations. When I start to think about the scope of his creations and this love for each individually it is a little overwhelming, but I remember a poem I read in an Ensign from 2013 a month ago by Janielle Bailey:

 

“My tiny soul

in His warm hands

glows and grows

with the care of a

Father

who forms

stars

from dust.”

 

If you haven’t read Psalm 119 before, please read it!

 

Anyway, gotta go! I love you!

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We had dinner in a pumpkin yesterday. It was SO DELICIOUS! You would have LOVED it! Basically brown rice, vegetables, some (just barely) spicy sausage, and some spices. You should make it! I will get the recipe. It is seriously right up your ally. It reminded me of stack-ups. The best part was that the pumpkin was cooked, so when you dished up you could scrape some pumpkin from the sides and eat it– tasted like squash. There was butternut squash in cubes in the mix too. It was so good!

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Week of 11-3-14

Kind of a short letter this week, but I’m sending pictures of how beautiful it is here!!

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I have thought a lot about you all this week with Steve Evans’ funeral.  I am still heartbroken about him, but I am working hard as a missionary, because I know that is what he wants me to do.  I can only imagine the spirit in that meeting.  I’m so glad Chris could come.

About our work here, David is doing well! He is learning more, and has now come to church twice! Last time he stayed for all three meetings. Unfortunately the Sunday School and Priesthood lessons were both on Family History, which he has zero interest in, plus he barely knows how to use a computer…. But he did a good job sitting through the lessons, and he liked how warmly people greeted him 🙂 We spend Halloween evening with David passing out candy 🙂 David lives just down the street basically from Tabitha, so we told her she’d have to come to David’s for trick-or-treating! When her boy Kaiden saw me open the door, he said “how come you guys live here??” all puzzled. That was sweet!

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Teaching some kids on Halloween!

 

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Handing out candy with David on Halloween!

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This is what David gave us after we left his house on Halloween. We met his daughter, by the way! She is amazing! We also met one of his other daughters, via face-time. They both told us how thankful they are fur us, and what we’ve been doing for their father. They were so sweet! It really touched me. The daughter who was at his house had a lot of questions for us. It was a neat opportunity!

 

This Thursday we have Zone Conference– a meeting with 3 zones. I was asked to perform a musical number with two other Sisters. We are singing 3-part harmony “There is a Green Hill Far Away” a capella– except for Sister Rollins who is playing her flute for part of it. It’s going to be really fun 🙂 If I have the recorder by then, I’ll make one for you to listen to.

 

I love you guys so much! I have to go now unfortunately, but you’re all in my prayers!!

 

Sister Hollberg

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A special message

Today my dear cousin Steve Evans passed away from Leukemia and Graft vs. Host Disease.  I want to pay a special tribute to he and his sweet wife Taryn for all the courage they have shown over the last 5 years.  Their lessons to us in Sunday School and their examples to us in our lives means so much to me.  Steve’s last testimony was witnessing about the Savior, the Atonement, and about our purpose here on earth.  He is and always will be an amazing person; we will miss him so greatly.  Our prayers are with Taryn and all of their families.

 

It was a blessing that this week we have had a chance to talk about the pre-existence and our purpose on earth.  Last time David had some questions about the pre-existence, so we gave him some scriptures to look up—some in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants. Since he listens to the scriptures online rather than reading them he had to listen to the entire chapter or section since he couldn’t just find the verse. He must have liked what he read in the D&C because after listening to the sections that had the references we gave him, he started from section 1, and was all the way through section 54 when we saw him a few days later. As of last night, he was in Section 76. Wow! We were not expecting that and it was so good for him to hear. He is reading along, and waiting for his answer. We tried one more quitting-smoking program with him, but it wasn’t really the right thing for him, so we have decided to go back to teaching the doctrine.

 

Last night’s lesson was interesting. I thought it went well, and I really felt the spirit helping me to see what his needs were as I listened to him, and asked him questions. Sister Rollins was working to teach him the rest of the Plan of Salvation and she even brought a white-board to draw it out. I felt so much love for him from the Savior the whole time.  I felt that the Spirit was guiding me in what I was saying to him, and felt like I was prompted to just listen for a bit. Some of his main concerns came out, that we didn’t even know he had. I guessed at those concerns before, but now that he has voiced them, I know they really do need to be addressed, namely the fact that he says he can see Christ in us– he saw Christ in his father. He believes in Christ, but he says he doesn’t feel it like we do. He wants to feel it so badly! He told us he needs to have the foundation of the testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet before he can go on to other things. He told us that he would like to slow down a little bit so he can take it one bite at a time.  I really do have such love for him and I know Sister Rollins loves him too. But guess what! He CAME TO CHURCH yesterday! He liked it a lot, and many people came up to him and said ‘Hi”! He only stayed for sacrament meeting, but he wants to come again and stay longer. He is progressing! He told us last night that he is a kinetic learner– hopefully the action steps of coming to church will help him to gain a testimony of the restored gospel. I have never taught anyone who learned kinetically (I myself learn visually), but we will be putting our heads together to learn how to better teach David. I bore my testimony to him about the Savior.

 

We saw our new investigator family this week and we had a wonderful time visiting with them! They have many questions, and Josh knows a lot about the church—He knows about the Pearl of Great Price and the scroll of Abraham. We are not sure if he knows that information from an anti-Mormon source, but he is open to learning. Both he and his wife said yes to the baptismal invite, if they knew it was true. Josh said that if he knew it was true he would be “accountable to God to act”. We have a standing appointment at 7:00pm on Tuesday nights. They are both very knowledgeable when it comes to the scriptures. They ask a lot of great questions, and they have tons of potential!

 

There wasn’t much more than that this week, because I was sick for a few of the days 😦  By the way, I got a flu shot! I started getting sick the day I got the shot. But it wasn’t FROM the shot, I woke up feeling like I had a cold coming on…I had a little fever for a couple of days, which I thought was odd (that part might have been from the flu shot), but I’m basically better now, so back to work!

 

I’ve got to go now, but I love you! I will talk to you later. Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures this week.

Love,

Carrie

 

P.S. Mom I got the postcard from the Vatican! I can’t believe it came all the way from Italy! I loved getting those cards from around the world. How amazing! I love you so much!

I might be in the very most beautiful mission!!

 

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Hello Everyone!!!

This really might be the most beautiful mission!  Look at these pictures!

 

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Lake Arrowhead in the fall! So beautiful!

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A very pretty tree outside the library! Trees like this are everywhere.

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Also a huuuuge mushroom in one of our members’ yards. We stopped by for a visit and saw their Beehive-age daughter out in the front yard with a shovel removing the mushrooms. So what did we do? Ask to help! She told us they didn’t have any more shovels. We asked if they had any rubber gloves and a couple of plastic bags. Bingo! Probably the most random service I’ve done on my mission. They were surprisingly easy to pull up! Surprisingly creamy underneath. Just kidding! Well sort of. Anyway, the girls’ brother is serving his mission in Salt Lake, West! He just left actually. I was here for his farewell. He entered the MTC exactly a year after Sister Rollins and I did.

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By the way, I have been doing more family history. It turns out to be pretty fun stuff! 😉

But I just really love it! We didn’t know much about it when we started, but we have learned by just trying, and helping other people to do their own Family History. This Saturday we are going to have dinner with a couple in our ward that are actually Family History service missionaries. Did you know that if you are stuck in Family Search you can call a phone number to get help on finding people? Or you can chat online with someone to help you! That is what these ward members do– they help people on Family Search. They are basically the ‘experts’! Plus, they know who Grandpa Bennett is! (Archibald F. Bennett)  Brother Hendrix (that’s their name) was actually at BYU as a student when Professor Bennett was there! Neat huh?

 

We were pretty sad because one of our most ‘golden’ investigator families (probably the most prepared people I’ve met on my mission thus far) dropped us. They told us they love meeting with us, and know we really believe and put our hearts into what we teach, but that they aren’t ready to make any decisions. They both want to explore the faiths they grew up in before being baptized somewhere else (Jehovah’s Witness and Southern Baptist). Of course we respect their agency and still love them ! But it’s still so hard to see someone turn away from the light! They will be ready in the future, I know it! That is probably the hardest thing about missions.

 

But the Lord loves us, and he gave us a miracle a couple of days later! We were visiting a less-active sister that our Relief Society President asked us to check up on– she told us that she had not been able to contact her by phone and was wondering if we would stop by. When we got to the home of Sister Sines, we looked down at the mat and saw a big “S” on it. We thought to ourselves “Yup! She still lives here”, but when the door opened, a man (early 30s) opened the door looking puzzled at us. We asked if Pamela Sines was there, and he immediately recognized the name. He said, “She doesn’t live here anymore! We actually bought this house from her about 2 months ago. Do you want to come in?”. We were so shocked that he would invite us in before we even said who we were, or that we were missionaries, or what we were doing! We said “Sure!” and went inside. We didn’t really know what to do, but we went into the kitchen and he introduced us to his wife. They are expecting their first child, a boy, in March! His name is Josh, and her name is Megan. They are both from Michigan. Their neighbor Glen was also over, and it appears they had just finished dinner!

 

They invited us to sit down and talk.  As soon as Glen saw us he said “Ah! Mormons! I’ve meet missionaries before. We’ve had some nice conversations.” We introduced ourselves and after asking some questions to get to know them, we asked them if they had any questions for us. This isn’t usually how we start, but the Spirit was guiding us in another direction. They immediately started asking us questions about what we believe, starting with “Who do you believe Jesus Christ is?”. We carefully answered each of their questions, which kind of led in the direction of the Plan of Salvation. We didn’t actually start teaching the Plan of Salvation, but we taught them about the Book of Mormon, gave them a copy, and asked them to read 3 Nephi 11. Josh was skeptical, but sincere in wanting to know the truth. We also watched the “Because of Him” video with them. They loved it! Josh and Megan go to a non-denominational Christian church right now. I don’t think Glen attends any church right now, but I think he is a Protestant of some sort. This was Thursday night. We asked them if we could come back to teach them more, and Josh said Tuesday!

 

We were very surprised because we couldn’t tell exactly what he thought of it all! More often people say “I don’t know, we’re pretty busy, call us next week” or “WE’LL call YOU.” and never do! But we’re going back tomorrow! We’re very excited! 🙂 Heavenly Father gave us a new family to teach when the Ross Family dropped us. The work goes on! We will keep praying for the Ross family though and hope that they want to learn again! Also, Tabitha wants us to start teaching her 8-year-old daughter so she can be prepared for baptism 🙂 that is wonderful! Tabitha is doing so well! She loves the Church and is embracing the gospel. We challenged her to read the entire Book of Mormon by Christmas as her ‘gift’ to Christ. She is reading 7 chapters a day to finish by then! Amazing! 🙂 She is also pondering receiving her patriarchal blessing. She is so much lighter with the Gospel in her life, it’s absolutely amazing! I wish you could meet her 🙂

 

Also, Glen basically invited himself over for the next appointment.  🙂

 

 

Love you so much! Bye! Gotta run!

Love,

Sister Hollberg

 

 

 

Moving Day (week!!)

Only 4 pictures this week! Waaaay too busy to take more. So yes, we had to move out of the huge town-home! No surprise there. We are now in a smaller, but nicer apartment. It even has a new fridge/freezer, and new carpet! The stove is ancient though, and set off the smoke alarm just by turning it on…. It’s electric, and doesn’t even have a window to look in the oven! But it’s still better than the one from my first area (Charlottesville), because that one didn’t even have a handle to open the oven (someone broke it off…). Moving was kind of a drag though, since there was SO MUCH JUNK in the apartment. Missionaries had been living there for a looong time (there were Elders there before Sisters), and they had left a lot of things there. The downside about having a large place to live in: more area to clean! It reaaaally needed it. We had to take another whole week out of proselyting to pack and clean! We donated a lot to goodwill. But the move went smoothly because we were prepared 🙂 We had a small army of missionaries to help, and one recent-convert who had a truck. All in all, (including me and Sister Rollins) we had 3 sets of Sisters, two sets of Elders, plus Elder Chuntz (a senior couple missionary) and David the recent convert. The move took almost 4 hours– but that was very good considering how much stuff we had! 🙂

 

When we got to the new apartment, we had to go into the office first to sign the lease– I thought it was going to be one signature, but it took almost an hour! The paperwork was crazy, especially since we might not even be here for very long! Every missionary who comes to live in this apartment will have to go through the same paperwork process. Anyway, the other missionaries were so sweet– they unloaded and moved all our belongings and furniture into the new apartment– on the 3rd floor with no elevator! I can’t believe they did all that for us. Sister Rollins and I were so tired from packing and cleaning all week, staying up late to get it all finished, then moving and doing tons of paperwork, it was a big blessing to have that help. We finally finished un-packing the last box on Friday night, and had to spend Saturday and Sunday doing our Weekly Planning. We are just itching to get out and get back to work!

 

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The ones of the Tupperware: that is how much Tupperware there was in our apartment. We donated more than half of that to Goodwill. There was an awesome Bob-Ross-esque painting in our apartment– definitely kept that! And that truck we saw parked at McDonalds. So classic. When we went inside, it was very clear who the truck belonged to– There were two guys dressed in camouflage standing at the counter. Yup.

 

I am so sorry to hear that Steve is struggling so much.  I will be praying for you all!  🙂 I love you so much!

 

Love,

Sister Hollberg

Book of Mormon read-a-thon (from Caroline’s 10-6-14 email)

By the way, MEET THE MORMONS WAS SO GOOD. YOU WILL ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. TAKE EVERYONE TO SEE IT! Even the grand-kids might like it! Tell everyone I love them!

 

Last week we had a mission-wide read-a-thon! Instead of doing normal missionary work (tracting, visiting people, etc.) we stayed at home reading the Book of Mormon all day. Here are the instructions President Wilson gave us:

 

Goal: All missionaries of the Virginia Richmond Mission will read the Book of Mormon the week of September 27 – October 3, 2014.

Notes: 1- Teach all scheduled lessons and keep all appointments.

2- Read the Book of Mormon the rest of the time (personal study, companion study, etc.).

3- Read by yourself or with your companion (decide together, but if your companion can use the help with the reading – please help).

4- You may leave your apartment to read, but please do not read at members’ homes, with investigators or other missionaries. You can read in another location, but do not be distracted.

5- Please do not incorporate any special study plans into this. The purpose of the week is to read the Book of Mormon. We can complete additional study guides another time.

6- Please keep up your 12 Week Program, for those who are in this program.

7- You may forgo language study this week.

8- Please make your own decision about preparation day. You may want to return to your reading once you have written your family and me, and completed your shopping, and completed your cleaning of your clothes and apartment.

9- Please do your service on the day to serve (September 27th) and then resume your reading. The members are anticipating our involvement.

10- Pray continuously.

11- Invite your family and friends to join you.

12- When you have both completed reading the Book of Mormon, please return to your labors.

Note: I know we will see an increase of testimony and spirit, infused into our work as we all complete the Book of Mormon. We will all become more powerful missionaries. The work will go forward in a wonderful way. Additional miracles will occur. Please enjoy this great opportunity to strengthen your testimony and knowledge of this wonderful book – the Keystone of our religion.

With all our love, President and Sister Wilson

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The Book of Mormon that I read out of, and my reading chart, complete!

 

It was incredible! We finished on Friday, and my testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown immensely! I thought it sounded crazy for missionaries to be told not to proselytize for an entire week, but I knew President Wilson was inspired in his direction to us, and I began reading with that faith. Now that I have finished, I can see why he would have the missionaries do that. There is power in the Book of Mormon. Virginia won’t know what him them when 200+ missionaries hit the streets this week with the roaring fire of testimony from the Book of Mormon freshly imprinted in their hearts. I love the scriptures!

 

I will pass on your message to Tabitha 🙂 She was confirmed in Sacrament Meeting last Sunday, and when the blessing began, I had the impression to write down the words for her. I quickly grabbed a pen and notepad, and wrote as fast as I could, trying to get every blessing in there that was said. Then after, I gave her the paper. Then a few days later, she told me that she was so grateful that I had written her blessing down for her and that it had been so nice to read it that morning; she said it brought tears to her eyes. I’m thankful I was able to hear the Spirit and be ‘Quick to Observe’ (there is a talk by Elder Bednar with that title which I am going to email to you after this email so you can read it. It’s really good!)

 

Our investigator David who we were helping to quit smoking has gone from smoking 1/2 pack a day, to smoking 2 packs a day because of a leg injury that he has– he can’t do anything but sit, and with no distractions,  all he wants to do is smoke! We have tried to find things to distract him, but none of it has worked… so we are just going to help him come closer to God the best we can, and wait for him to heal before we start back on the smoking addiction. We called him on Saturday Morning and gave him very careful instructions on how to watch General Conference online. He has an old computer and internet, and barely knows how to use it.  When we called the next day to see how it went, he told us he couldn’t get it to come up. We were so sad to hear that! My heart sank, but then he told us that he found a way he could LISTEN TO IT! He told us he would watch the Sunday Afternoon session too– that one he was able to see the video of until the end of the second-to-last speaker, then he had to just listen. All in all, he listened to almost 3 complete sessions! He told us he liked the speakers and it was all sound doctrine. He said he agrees 100%! I know Heavenly Father helped him to figure out how to listen to it. It was seriously a miracle!

 

Some pictures!  And we went to someone’s house and they had a huuuuge awesome garden.

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We went to Chatham Manor last week!!  Here are pics!

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I THINK the red-stem-purple-berry stuff is nightshade.

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Chatham manor! Some heads.

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By the way, that bee that I took a picture of in the last email was as big as my thumb. So scary. *shudder* Still Chatham Manor

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Still Chatham. There is a musical gate!

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That is the Rappahannock River, by the way! Not sure the spelling of it though… Chatham!

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Too much fun with Pan. Still at Chatham.

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Inside Chatham (my camera died before we went inside last time…)

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Almost done with these pictures. But I gotta send em!

These trees were here during the civil war!

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Fish in the pond!

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Fall at Chatham is pretty!

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That’s it from Chatham!!! Whew….

 

 

 

Tabitha’s Baptism! (from Caroline’s 9-29-14 email)

We got the pizza for my one year mark!!! That was so nice of you Mom! And SO fun! Sorry I’m emailing so late today, we got to have a special missionary screening of “Meet the Mormons” this morning. And I got your post cards!! This is so fun 🙂 I was so worried that the CD wouldn’t make it in time! I’m so relieved that you got it and get to listen to it! Did you listen to it with Liesa? What is your favorite song? Tell everyone I love them!

 

Tabitha’s baptism was amazing! We ended up not being able to get someone to lead the music, or play the piano, so we ended up doing that ourselves, but that was no problem.  I’m so glad it worked out and the important thing is that she joined the fold of God, and her children are now ‘children of record’ and will likely be baptized. She was so solid and ready to be baptized. She is so sweet, and is already asking what her first calling will be. I am truly so happy for her! That happiness is all that matters.

 

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We also had an activity before the General Women’s Meeting, and Sister Rollins and I were in charge of a little candy photo-booth area. Seriously so cute! And so fun! I have no idea where they got the giant ribbons from. Lots of props! Tons of fun! Plus the meeting was AMAZING! It’s so weird that the meetings start so late out here… conference starts at noon instead of 10! It makes a big difference as a missionary.

 

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At the Virginia Day of Service, our job was to sit and listen to this band, because they were the last ones and no one was really there anymore, so they needed people to support them. They were pretty good! But still the easiest service I have ever done.

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Then a member took us to Red Lobster, so here’s a picture of a lobster!

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And the frogs– one night we were tracting, then all of a sudden: FROGS EVERYWHERE. Good thing Sister Rollins had a flashlight, because it was completely dark, and we would have squished some frogs if we couldn’t see. They weren’t afraid of us in the slightest, but just sat on the sidewalk!

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Just in-case you forgot, Virginia has the most beautiful sunsets.

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Oh no we’re being kicked off the computers….! Dang it, gotta go, love you bye!

 

 

This week in pictures!

HAPPY ALMOST BIRTHDAY MOM!

 

This week has been amazing. It’s one of those weeks where numbers don’t show the efforts, but you know you worked and helped people. We are getting ready for the state-wide day of service this Saturday! AND Tabitha is going to be baptized this Friday! On the 26th! I wish you could be here for one of these baptisms. It’s so special to see someone you have loved and helped come to the knowledge of the gospel and humbly accept baptism. She is ready! It’s time 🙂 Then, hopefully, her daughter will be baptized next month, when she turns 8! 🙂 Much to look forward to.

 

I finally learned how to plan a baptism on my mission: It’s hard to get a lot of members out to the baptism of converts if they don’t know them, but we finally realized the secret: If we delegate each of the things in the program to members, they will HAVE to be there, and probably with their families 🙂 we are not doing anything in the program, no musical numbers, nothing, but asking members to do it all. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize, but it’s going to be amazing!

 

 

 

Our Bishop came with us last week to a lesson with David to give him a blessing to help him resist the temptation for cigarettes! We didn’t tell David we were going to bring the Bishop, we just told him we were going to bring someone to give him a blessing. He has a lot of pre-conceived ideas about how our church is run, based on other churches, and won’t really let us explain that we have a lay ministry, or that everyone is equal, no matter their calling, so we decided the best way to explain would just be to have him meet out Bishop. He’s met a lot of preachers and ministers who were greedy, or who he thought were not what they professed to be (there are a lot of those out here….. I’ve heard so many stories about corrupt churches, and it seems like almost every church out here is corrupt…), so he is a little wary of our church, especially since we claim to be the only church with the authority from God to perform the ordinances of salvation. When we introduced him to Bishop, he squinted his eyes and looked at him, trying to decide what kind of man he was, but didn’t say anything. As the lesson went on, he warmed up to the bishop, and they made good friends. The blessing was amazing, and I think it opened up his heart and spirit that night. He even shed a few tears, which I have NEVER seen him do before, even when talking about the death of his wife. What a tender mercy! THEN David tried to come to our church on Sunday, but was hit by someone while riding his motorcycle on the way. He’s mostly fine, but got a HUGE blood-blister on his ankle, the size of a tennis ball. David doesn’t believe in going to doctors because ‘they don’t know anything’, so he is taking care of it himself. I am just praying that it doesn’t get infected with gangrene or something! It could seriously kill him. It WOULD. It seems to be healing alright though I think…. He’s doing some weird stuff to it. Anyway, he jokingly said he took that as a sign that God was telling him he wasn’t supposed to go to our church. We told him NO it’s SATAN trying to keep him from going! He laughed, but I think he will try to come again when it heals. He won’t accept a ride from anyone ever (too proud…), so we have to wait until he can drive again. He really is a good man, even though he’s tricky sometimes. Did I tell you he gave me his old fiddle? Even since having a stroke, he lost much of the dexterity in his left hand, and can’t play the fiddle anymore. I was very grateful to receive it. He was happy to give it to me, and said he hopes that Sister Anderson and I will get to play together someday (she served in this ward before I got here, and he gave her his old mandolin). The case was dirty, and the latches are badly rusted, but still open. I cleaned off the outside of the case, and put some special wood-oil on the violin to see what I could do to quench its dry surface. It needs a new bow, but even still, I love this gift because it came from David, and he gave it from his heart.  With a new bow, and if it was re-strung (there was a brand new package of strings, ready to be put on the violin) it wouldn’t be a bad starter-violin. There is rosin for the bow already.  I kind of would like to pick it up again when I get home.

 

This week is going to be SO BUSY!!! Maybe the busiest week of my mission: planning the baptism, the Day of Service, teaching our investigators, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is! Heavenly Father always makes it possible! ALSO we might be moving sometime soon. The mission is going to try to find us a smaller place to live, since there are just the two of us, and it’s a lot of money to rent that town-home. Unfortunately there is nowhere to live in our area. The other day we were driving from one place to another to tract, and we passed a brand-new apartment complex. We couldn’t believe it! Sister Rollins stopped the car and we drove back to see what the place was called so we could get the info to the mission office. When we drove back, we saw a big banner saying it was ready to lease! Then under that banner, another big banner said ACTIVE 55+, so that was a no-go. Other than that, there are no apartment complexes in our area. This is kind of a problem…. I don’t know where they are going to put us…! Eeshk.

 

I love you! Bye!

Love, Sister Hollberg

 

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Can’t resist more sky pictures. It kills me every day when I look up! ALSO the leaves are changing already!!!!

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And Sister Rollins and I found “Banana Grams” and have decided it is the best game ever, when played right 🙂 actually, it’s fun anyway you play it, but we decided to play only using gospel words.

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This is what the day of service is going to look like.

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Also, we were tracting, and we came to a house that had this beautiful stream with waterfalls that lead to a huge koi pond, and I took these pictures, and thought of you Mom. 🙂 I wish you could be have been there to see it with me!

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A goat that lives in this trailer at the home of one of our neighbors. Sister Rollins went and peeked in to see it. Then, I took a picture, by stretching my arms all the way up and hoping the camera could see the goat. Also, horses. Everywhere.

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Last one, those skies again.

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