February 9, 2015

Being in Virginia = constantly surrounded by a wall of trees. There is no horizon. Most of the time it’s fine, but every once-in-a-while those of us who have known open spaces and wide views feel a little claustrophobic/enclosed. Sometimes you don’t realize how enclosed you were feeling until you suddenly get to see a view for a few seconds and it’s like a huge refreshing breath. I had one of those moments on Saturday! We went up to Charlottesville YSA (my first area!!) for the baptism of someone that Sister Morales had taught (since that was the area she just came from). It was neat to see many of the people I knew from the beginning of my mission! I didn’t expect them to remember me since I was only there for 3 months, but many of the YSAs DID remember me! They ran up to me and hugged me! The Bishop’s wife asked me about my singing which was really nice of her to say. Her daughter is in Women’s Chorus at BYU, a Soprano I, so I will probably see her back there! It’s such a small world ūüôā

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Last week we were having dinner with a member of our RS presidency and she mentioned that she was the RS president when she was living in Sugar House, at about 2700 S and 1300 E a number of years ago. I told her that I had a sister who lived around there too about the same time! She asked how long ago it was, and I said about 10 years ago. She said that’s when she was there! She might have been Emily’s RS President!!! Her name is Emily Pike. Also, she served her Mission in California, and her Mission President was President Bowman! You remember the Bowmans that we know?!

 

But it’s such a small world, isn’t it!!

 

Our investigator January has turned a whole new leaf and is on-date for baptism again on the 28th! She is totally going to make it!¬† She came to church yesterday, and she came with her daughter. Her daughter was too shy to go into her Sunday school class alone, so we went with her, while January went to Gospel Principles alone. Usually we go with the investigator, but we knew it would be much better for January to go to Gospel Principles than Primary Sunday School. She loves the way our church does Sunday School and loved the lesson on the Holy Ghost yesterday! She got a Gospel Principle book and was marking the things she liked. Many people came up to her after church and thanked her for her questions and participation in Gospel Principles. Her daughter¬†felt comfortable enough to go to Sharing Time alone, so we went to RS with January. She again participated and shared from her heart as we had a lesson on agency. She shared her personal experience about addiction and how making wrong choices really does take away your freedom, even though it appears as though it will give you more freedom. She was asked to give the closing prayer, which she accepted. She really prays with her whole heart. She brought everyone in the room together as she prayed so sincerely thanking Heavenly Father for blessing her with the gospel, and the new ward family she is going to have, and for the 7 sister missionaries who have taught her since August.¬† After her prayer many of the RS sisters came up to her and welcomed her and thanked her for coming. It meant so much to January! Another miracle: January has been needing some church clothes —¬†Sister Morales gave January one of her own skirts and January looked so cute at church. Then our RS President brought us a bag a clothes that the Bishop’s wife has been meaning to get rid of for months that had just been sitting at her house. It turns out that these clothes were perfect for January! They were almost brand-new, some with tags still! It was a perfect fit for January and she was crying and saying “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” as she pulled out each item and held it up. Her daughter¬†asked her why she was crying, and January told her she was crying because she was happy.¬† She really has come so far, in such a short time! I think that her drug addiction that she is finally over really allowed the truth to penetrate deep in her heart in a way it just couldn’t with the addiction. She is truly free now!¬† She is a completely different person from when I first met her. She has been transformed by the restored gospel. She loves the Book of Mormon. She is going to quit smoking and coffee.¬† She is coming to Family Home Evening¬†tonight at the Bishop’s house with her family where we are teaching the Plan of Salvation. Please keep praying for her and her husband.

 

Gotta go, love you, bye!!! Man there’s so much more to say, but I will record it and mail it as soon as I can.

 

Love,

Sister Hollberg

 

 

 

 

 

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We went to Maymont Park yesterday!

 

We went to Maymont Park yesterday with our recent convert Danielle!  She was so sweet to take us!!  So we had half of P-day yesterday, and are having the other half today.

 

 

I am going to send the recorder home today, so hopefully you guys get to hear it this week! The new companion is the BEST!!!! I adore her and we work really well together. I am learning so much from her, and she is very patient and understanding about what I went through last transfer. We are working hard and seeing the fruits of our labors!

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Yes we got an ice storm! Or rather freezing rain. Our car was encased. It took us a good half hour to chip it out so we could drive (after the roads were safe of course) because it turns out we DON’T HAVE AN ICE-SCRAPER. What? Anyway we probably won’t get any more of those so it should be good from now on! Still cold!

 

So as far as the week goes, I feel like we’ve just had an outpouring of love from Heavenly Father in the form of success in missionary work! Finally we are teaching some lessons and finding new investigators! I am so happy! Wheew! My New Companion is Sister Morales and she is from CA. Her parents are both Mexican,¬†and she was raised here in the US. All her extended family is still In Mexico. She is bilingual! She is a Nauvoo missionary spending her out-bound portion of her mission (6 months) here in VA. She already spent 6 months in Nauvoo, then she will finish 6 more here in April, then head back for the last 6 months in Nauvoo. She is a powerful missionary! She is bold and loving and is so good at bringing the atonement and her testimony of it in everything we do and teach. She is a hard worker, and I know we’re going to have a great time together ūüôā

 

Sister Hollberg and Sister Morales

Sister Hollberg and Sister Morales

 

Here are some pictures from Maymont Park, but I don’t have time to send all of¬†them this week! I will send them next week. I really am trying to get everything done that I need to in our email time, but there just is not enough time for me! ūüė¶

 

You’ll get the recorder and a better letter next week! I love you! Bye!!

 

Sister Hollberg

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Yes that's a grave in the bear enclosure!

Yes that’s a grave in the bear enclosure!

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Transfer Week!

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It is transfer week and we were notified that Sister Ngosha is being transferred and I am staying here for another 6 weeks.  Sister Ngosha loves the skirt and shirts you sent her!

 

Sister Rollins just told me that they are closing Rock Hill for sisters! Our friend David cried ūüė¶¬† I feel so sad for him!¬† He really did live for the weekly visits by the Sisters.¬† He is so alone!¬† When you come to pick me up, can we visit him?¬† He would love to meet you guys.

 

Ok, so this week we met with our recent-convert Danielle! She is a single mom, 29 years old, and so sweet! She is on-fire with the gospel! Because of her, her best friend Michelle is now investigating. Michelle knows she wants to be baptized, and knows it is all true. She never thought she would be baptized, and even when she came to Danielle’s baptism she even told Danielle that she was never going to be baptized. Then Michelle started having dreams about attending this church! She took the dreams seriously and started asking questions, and meeting with the sisters in her area. Now she has a testimony! The only problem is that she lives with her boyfriend and some kids she has with him, and they need to either move out or get married for her to be baptized. The¬†boyfriend isn’t as interested right now, but they want to get married and even have children together. He knows that she wants be baptized, I hope they will get married soon! They will, I know it.

 

Danielle is excited to go to the temple to do baptisms for her family members! Family History is one of my favorite things, so I’m excited we get to help her with it. I wish we could go with her! But sadly, no. I know she will have a good experience no matter what though.

 

Today we had Zone P-day. Not very many missionaries from our zone were able to make it (also, we have a small zone) so there were only 8 of us. But it turns out it was actually more fun! We played a game called ‘umpa loompa’ which is a favorite of missionaries here, and basically is what zone p-day is all about. It’s ultimate Frisbee rules, played with a football, on a basketball court, using the hoops for the goals. Shooting a football in the small round hoop is a challenge, but it’s fun! We had a blast.

 

So last year our Mission President’s wife gave the mission this challenge called “More Fit For The Kingdom” in January kind of like weight-loss challenge. You get points for every pound you lose and for every day you exercise. We had weigh-ins and everything, it was serious! This year we have “More Fit For The Kingdom II: Nutrition on a Mission”. It’s basically the same as last year, but there we get booklets to mark off our points and to keep track of our weight. It’s pretty intense! But the best is what it says on the back of the booklet: “Go big, or go HOME big!”

 

Thanks for all the love, support, prayers, and understanding during this past while. I have complete faith in President Wilson and his choice to put me with who he put me with. I know that he asked me to complete that assignment because the Lord prompted him to. When I received a blessing from him in the beginning I was told that the Lord needed me and that I would have gratitude for this assignment. I do have gratitude because I have learned a lot. He is carefully putting the people that he needs to in my path so I can grow in ways I could not have otherwise.  Thanks for all the letters of encouragement!

 

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Christmas Week

In good news:

 

We sang at the Richmond Zoo last night! Every year they put on a free Live Nativity (the Zoo is owned by Church members) and they have music in between shows. We got to sing a few simple Christmas songs, and I even sang a duet with an Elder in our mission. He sings really well, and Sister Wilson told me he is going to try out for Vocal Point. I sang the first verse of Away in a Manger, then he joined me in the second, him singing melody, and me singing tenor an octave up. Then the last verse we just sang with the choir. It really turned out good! We had many more Elders than we had Sisters, but they don’t sing very loud, so it worked out right!¬† ūüôā

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I’m so glad to hear about the sacrament meeting program with the Sister Missionaries in our ward at home!¬† Things are going ok here more or less, still a few melt downs.

I got a¬†letter from Linda and Liesa. It was so sweet of them! It means so much to me, everything is very very hard here right now. But it is good. I feel distinctly that I have been prepared for this assignment during my whole mission. Still very hard though. President and Sister Wilson know what is going on and are a good support too, they know¬†what¬†experiences that I am having.¬† Due to this, we haven’t been able to do much missionary work, but I think this actually is my missionary work.

This week we will hopefully be able to see more of our investigators! We did see one investigator this week– a man from Tanzania who we are teaching in English and Swahili. He accepts everything that we teach him, and I believe he wants to be baptized! He is afraid to though, because (long story short) he is being controlled by another church around here. He is a single dad with 5 kids, the oldest around 13. He works so hard and long, and still has to take care of the kids. This church kind of ‘helps him out’ but he has to do what they say. He said that if he doesn’t they will call emigration or something? He wants to go to Tanzania to see his family, and he wants to remarry, but they won’t let him do either of those things? Seems like there are some fishy things going on here. One of the ladies from the church came in to the home while we were teaching, took one of his kids with her for something, basically without asking. It was really weird and not normal. Then she was demanding that he give her permission to see some medical records for one of the children. He just said yes to her. It seemed like she was trying to make us believe that she was helping him, but the way she acted and spoke was so weird… he told her we were teaching him English, because he was afraid she would tell everyone he is changing churches. She knew who we were though. She seemed very alarmed we were there. eeeshk.

I was asked to sing ‘O Holy Night’ in sacrament meeting yesterday! President and Sister Wilson even came to hear me ūüôā That was so nice of them! Even though we are in the same ward technically, they are almost never able to come to our ward because they are so busy. But they came yesterday just to be supportive! I love them so much.

More pictures from the Nativity!

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There is this thing around here called ‘The Tacky Lights Show’. People who are crazy and want to put tons of crazy lights on their house get to be on this tour. We’ve only seen two of the houses, but here is one of them!

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We have cockroaches now, by the way. The 2-inch long kind. Not exaggerating at all. It might actually be bigger than two inches, because the floor boards are 4 inches wide. They sprayed the other day, so I hope we won’t see them anymore…

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Also, this is a neat pastel drawing that someone in our ward did! I thought it was cool ūüôā

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Thanks for sending this cute Christmas Tree Mom!

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Give my love to everyone!  Merry Christmas!

Sister Hollberg

 

 

 

Don’t have a lot of time to write today.¬† Things are very challenging here, but I rely on my Father in Heaven to guide me and help me know what I need to do.¬† Thank you for the letters of support and love recently.¬† You are all the best!!

I’m sending a few pictures home —

 

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Too short to look in the peep hold on the door. Who makes these things so high!!?

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Some food from Sister Ngosha’s home country that she made me. Basically scrambled eggs and fries. They eat only with their hands. It was good!

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Me and Grandma Sheridan! She is 96 and very sharp! So sweet. I sang for her and she loved it.

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I painted Sister Ngosha’s nails!

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Also a beautiful piano a member has.

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We got a Christmas tree from the ward!

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Also these nativities are from Peru! Thought Hannah would enjoy seeing them! They are President and Sister Wilson’s ūüôā The one of the missionaries was made by a missionary, for president, not from Peru.

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I’ve been transferred to Richmond!

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With my new companion!

Her name is Sister Ngosha, but it is pronounced like ‘Go-sha”

She is from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

She has been out for 3 months

She is still learning English. Her first language is Swahili.

Her father suddenly passed away on Nov. 12 from a stroke. Imagine being 8,000 miles from home and having that happen! She decided to stay on the mission, but she needs our prayers because things are so hard for her at this time.

In this area, Bon Air, basically Richmond, the mission home is in our area, and the mission office.

I have been doing a lot of praying, and I have been receiving lots of guidance from the Spirit. We had Stake Conference, and I just have a big testimony that when we enter any meeting with prayers that need answers, Heavenly Father will answer them if our mind is in the right place. There was basically a constant flow from the spirit.¬† I really felt that I was receiving personal answers to some of the most important things I needed at that time.¬† What a blessing!¬† Some of the things I’ve been feeling are:

Be Christ-like

Heavenly Father is mindful of us, He is by our side.

‘What if Love Were My Only Motive?”

“Be Thou Humble” lyrics

Keeping covenants gives us power

“If every day we are a little better than the day before, it is enough”- Elder Bednar

Tender Mercies are all around, look for them and be grateful.

These have been some serious answers to my prayers and I am so grateful! I have so much more to say, but not very much time! I will record about the rest of the things I have to say, and mail it to you today.

All my love to everyone!!

Love,

Sister Hollberg

 

I’m going to be transferred tomorrow!

Guess what!¬† I am being transferred…! It’s sad to say goodbye to everyone again, and to leave Sister Rollins– She was one of the best comps ever! But I am sure the next area/companion will be great too :).

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here ūüôā We were invited to the Bishop’s house with the Elders. We had a very serious Ping-Pong tournament. I even beat Sister Rollins! I am as surprised as you that I beat anyone. Actually I won in doubles too again the Bishop and Sister Rollins, with the Bishop’s son on my team. I got a video of it too! But it’s too big to email soooo… yup. But I never realized how much I really do love Ping-Pong haha.

 

I got the Thanksgiving package! I love listening to the recorder! I listen to it a lot. I love hearing the babies! I caught my breath when I heard them for the first time! I can’t believe they’re a year old now! I am making a lot of recordings for you guys. I might be sending it back today! We’ll see. But I absolutely LOVE the skirt! Thank you so much for it! I love the colors, and I already wore it once. I am going to wear it tomorrow too.

 

We got a brand-new ford fusion! 2015! It’s awesome! Of course I’m being transferred now though. Oh well! It was good for the 4 days I got to ride in it.

New car for the sisters!

New car for the sisters!

 

 

We had a good lesson last night with Josh and Megan! They fed us too, even though they just got home from Thanksgiving with their family, and an 8 hour drive. They said such a sweet prayer for both Sister Rollins and I when we left, we really love meeting with them, and they are still going to have the Sisters over on Thursday. I am excited for the new sister to meet them!

Me and Josh and Megan!

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Love you guys so much!  You are all in my prayers!

Love,

Sister Hollberg

“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

 

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 ūüôā 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! ūüôā 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! ūüôā 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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