Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 36:Transfers this week from Visalia to Fresno, Christmas on a Mission, Calls to John & Family, Chuck is Great!

Well, the day has come. I am leaving Visalia. :( After seven months and six companions, it is time for me to move on! I am leaving to go to Fresno 5th ward, which will be in the same district as my first area! So I will not only be in the same stake, but I'll serve closely with the sisters that are in Riverview ward. And...I will be companions with Sister To'a! We served together when I first came to Visalia. She's super hilarious and so I am very excited to practice my flicking skills while in the area. As with the excitement of change comes the sadness of leaving behind Visalia. I have learned so much in this area! There are so many people and places and experiences that I am never going to forget. I was steptrained here. I steptrained here. I trained here. I have experienced every random weather change from extreme heat, to fog, to endless days of rain. I have felt quite the mix of emotions as I have prepared to leave. It's like having to say goodbye to my family again. These people have been wonderful and I have gotten to know many quite well during my stay in the Third Ward. I am grateful to know that transfers are of the Lord. I take great comfort in knowing that our Heavenly Father has a plan and that things will be okay. I am nervous for a new area--I haven't had to start over in seven months! I am excited for the new opportunities to grow that are coming my way!

I have been very nervous with separation anxiety about leaving the Visalia 3rd ward. I have made lists and lists of people to visit, of concerns they have, of commitments to follow up on, of continued progress to monitor. I have color coded maps and made the typical map with pins marking all sorts of different things from members, to car washes, to church buildings and other places of interest. I have written directions to all of the major destinations (including the mall and In-N-Out) as well as all the gate codes I know and just ridiculously random information. I am not prepared to leave. :( Miraculously, I started and finished packing on Monday. Considering how much STUFF I have and have gained while on the mission, I am in shock of how quickly it occurred. I have been cleaning and cleaning hoping that the sister coming in won't judge me for the state I have lived in for so long. My things are just sitting by the door and I just stare at them and can't imagine that this is it!

Late Christmas eve two elves dressed in suits dropped off eight packages at our apartment. The Zone Leaders had seven packages for Sister Denton and one for myself (most of mine had come early ;) ). That evening we decided to break with normal tradition but continue in Bolliger tradition and open all of our packages! It was very enjoyable. We called it our white trash Christmas as our little teeny Christmas tree was set on a white trash can to give it some umph. It was so much fun to see what we had been given and we were both so thankful for being thought of! It was quite a surreal experience to think that this was Christmas. With no snow, temperatures in the 50s, and no family, it was quite an unusual time. But, it was wonderful nonetheless. :)

Our Christmas morning began with a Christmas brunch at a family in the ward. The parents of the sister were able to be there and they had just returned from a mission in Nauvoo! They had also presided over a mission in Florida, so it was quite the company! We were then ushered to the church building to watch a movie with the other missionaries. We watched "How to Train Your Dragon." I decided that I was going to truly enjoy this experience so I ordered the Elders about. When the dust settled, the comfortable chairs from the foyers were in the room we were going to watch a movie in set neatly together for my companion and I. With one particular stare I had other chairs set up for our feet. I rewarded their excellent listening skills with some of the goodies that we had been given for Christmas. Haha. It was quite the experience. It was really weird watching a movie. The whole time I felt guilty and kind of like--this is what I did for entertainment before the mission? It's odd how things and habits change. :)

John called me as I was leaving the home of our brunch, and it was so odd to hear his voice! He asked for the curly haired Sister Bolliger and I immediately knew that it was precious little John from San Bernadino. I was grateful to be able to talk with him! He was quite the talker! He had so many experiences and questions that we talked about the mission almost the whole time. It is amazing to see how much he has grown...and how much growing there is left to be done. ;) Talking with the fam was amazing as well. It was so strange to be able to speak over the phone! Of course everything I had thought of to share left my brain, but it was a wonderful time just talking about my mission, home life, and realizing that this marks the halfway point of my mission! How did 9 months ever go so fast? I didn't get teary or even homesick until it came time to say goodbye. Then the tears came as I was trying to hang up the phone. It was hard to focus that night, but after lots of prayer I was able to refocus and continue doing the work of the Lord the next morning.

Chuck W continues to amaze. This Sunday we noticed that he had a different set of scriptures with him. Chuck ordered himself a nice Christmas present by treating himself to new scriptures. He got large print and got his triple combination and bible in different colors so that he could more easily tell which one was which. Then, he put a return address label on the front of his scriptures so then he could easily distinguish between which side was the front. :) He said he was tired of wasting time that he could be reading the scriptures trying to figure out which one was which. Chuck also blessed the sacrament this Sunday. He had some trouble with the little differences between thee/the/thy. But, when you imagine the horrible lighting and tiny text behind the sacrament table, it is easy to see why it could be hard to tell the difference! He shook his head afterward and laughed how he had spent so much time practicing the word sanctify that he hadn't paid attention to the other little details. :)

Peace be the Journey,

Sister Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 19: "Seven Years of Investigating ... Finally Culminated With His Baptism", Awesome Christmas Calls to Family

This past Christmas week we were blessed to have a baptism to Mike C who was an investigator who has been investigating the church for more than 7 years.
He is an awesome guy who up until about 8 weeks ago was slowly and gradually progressing towards baptism. An elder named Elder Thompson who served in this ward about a year ago and was now in a ward which area covered this stake and parts of others would keep in touch and visit him every once in a while.
About 7 weeks ago he went and visited him and checked up on him and how he was doing. They discussed a number of different things which included baptism and that night set a baptismal date. So in the weeks progressing from then up until this past week we taught him all of the things that he needed to know, he knew everything because he had been investigating for so long and had been taught every thing but he wanted to make sure again. We had a number of very good lessons with him and he was getting worried and anxious about it but we told him he had nothing to worry about, he did everything that he was supposed to do, read the Book of Mormon, go to church, and pray which are the 3 things that bring us the closest to our Heavenly Father.
The 7 years of investigating that he did finally culminated with his baptism yesterday the December of 26th, 2010.

Also on the 25th I was able to call my family and Katie who is serving in Fresno. It was an awesome thing to talk about all sorts of things.

Well I have a little less time today,
Elder Bolliger

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 35:The Hood, Amazing Chocolateness, Santa Clause & Lights, Bolliger Genetics, Transfers?

Hello from Visalia!

We received a phone call the other day from a number we did not recognize. Sister Denton answered and discovered that it was a member from another ward in this area. He then asked if she was the tall one. She wasn't quite sure how to respond, due to the fact that we are similar in height. She said that she guessed she was the short one. He then said that he had something for the tall Sister--for Sister Bolliger. He said that he had been wearing a particular raincoat he had and noticed that the hood was very roomy. His next thought was that the hood might be big enough to fit my hair. :) For real. He asked if Sister Denton thought I would like it. She said that she'd have me call him. When the story was related to me I decided that whatever color or condition this coat would be in--I would take it. Haha. If only for a photo moment. I called this Brother back and he described to me that it was very bright and was perfect for me. The next night he brought it to our apartment. Oh my goodness. I agree--the hood is VERY roomy. Haha. I just thought it was hilarious that a member of another ward would be thinking about my hair. I think that gives some indication as to how long I've been here. :)

There was another amazing part of our week: the three layer chocolate layer cake from heaven. A member of the ward cooked us dinner to go and this amazing chocolateness was part if it. It was divine and given to us on a crystal cake platter. Oh my goodness. Just one tiny little slice is so rich and wonderful. And I am making myself SO hungry at the moment. It's 2:28PM and we haven't eaten since 7:30AM. Haha. But that cake is waiting for us at home! :)

We had a "Specialized Training" this last week with three zones in the southern part of the mission and Santa Clause was there!! It was a special treat to be able to see Santa and Mrs. Clause and prepare for the Christmas season! We were able to receive instruction from President Gonzalez and Sister Gonzalez, be fed, and prepare ourselves for this wonderful time of year!

There is a house in my area that puts on light and snow shows every evening. It has timed lights and snow. These Visalians are so creative!

So, I received a phone call from President the other day. I thought that perhaps I was being chastised for something (guilty conscience maybe?) but I was surprised to hear that my precious brother in San Bernadino had called my Mission President! He had received permission and called to confirm that he would be allowed to talk to me on Christmas (which my Mission President hadn't approved yet). Apparently they have a transfer before Christmas and he wasn't sure how he'd be able to find out my phone number to call me if he got transferred. I asked President what bad thing he had done to deserve talking to TWO Bolligers in one day! He chuckled and I reminded him that this personality is genetic. :) Leave it to John to get special permission to talk on Christmas!

I can't believe that another transfer has passed by! We find out this weekend about transfers, and then will move on the 29th. I have honestly no idea what will happen this time! I'm nervous for moving because I have SO MUCH STUFF! Haha.

Merry Merry Christmas!!!

Sister Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 18: Picture a Christmas :)

I thought that ya'll might get a kick out of this.
Funny Star Trek Ba'lith
Pictures of Marco's Baptism from my first area.
My Companion, Sister Bowler, and Marcos' family

I was able to confirm Marcos a couple months ago. My companion baptized him.
It was Awesome!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 34: Cartoon Characters come to Life, Obedience and the Car Wash, Heart Felt New Convert Prayers,

Hello from Visalia.

Sister Denton and I think that we should be allowed to call John Walsh because I think we've found most everyone they're looking for on America's Most Wanted. The other day Sister Denton and I were leaving an appointment and she went to her usual position to back the car up. Because we're just that obedient. It was dark and all of the sudden we saw this really creepy looking man coming near us. I hadn't entered the car yet and began to motion for her to come to the vehicle. As I got a better look at this particular creeper, I saw the Hun from Mulan! He had the crazy long hair and the crazy look. He had the arms of his jacket just flapping in the wind and his hands sitting near the front. To top off his rather interesting look he had on a mean pair of sunglasses. He sauntered over before we could do anything else and asked if we had any spare change. It was dark outside and we were alone and so I did the best thing I could think of--get in the car, lock the doors, and then prepare to spear him with our bike rack if necessary. It really freaked Sister Denton out. Hahah. I just was glad I had seen a cartoon character come to life!

Speaking of our bike rack and obedience, we went through an automatic car wash yesterday to allow our mission vehicle to look stunning per usual. However, the car wash things got STUCK on the bike rack. As it tried to move it lifted our car up by the back wheels. Hahahha. We had the plastic things stuck in the bike rack all day yesterday. Oh the things we go through to be obedient!

The highlight of the week was Chuck--yet again. At Church he had been assigned to give the closing prayer in Sacrament meeting. Previously we had an interesting version of a prayer by a recent convert (that lasted ten minutes and involved reading a cartoon out loud over the pulpit) so I took some time to talk with Chuck before the meeting started. He had a little list of things to pray about. As he rehearsed with me I teased him about there not being anything about the missionaries! He responded that he had been thinking about what he would say for the missionaries for the last three days and that it would be a surprise. Chuck started getting antsy as the closing hymn began but went up and did his thing after it ended. I have never heard a more heartfelt prayer! He thanked Heavenly Father for the restored gospel, for Joseph Smith, and asked a special blessing upon the missionaries that we would feel the love of Heavenly Father as we were away from our families. Both Sister Denton and I teared up. To see how far this man has come since the last part of August has been such a privilege! Somehow a crazy redheaded balding ex-Rodeo star has turned into this spiritual giant! He comes to gospel principles with the page numbers of every scripture written down, with the lesson previously studied, and with questions so that he can learn more. It's awesome!

Sister D and I continue to laugh along through the transfer. Sister Denton had some dental work done the other week and after the x-rays were taken the dental assistant asked if she would like her sister to come back while she had her cleaning. We apparently look similar. I guess there aren't too many pasty redheads around!?

Sister Denton and I talk so much that the other day we had both run out of things to say! It was a very unusual bit of silence. We paused, looked at each other in shock, and then proceeded to just make up things to say to one another. Haha. Who ever thought that would happen to Sister Bolliger? I guess miracles do happen. Lol.

We're teaching wonderful families and people and just learning everyday more and more about agency and the atonement!!!!!

Sister Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 17: "How time has flied by."

Well this next week will be week six in San Bernardino California, its just crazy to think how fast the time I have spent here has gone by, well just yesterday my sickness finally cleared up, its so nice to breathe clearly and here in sunny and warm southern California, yes its 80 degrees here and nice and sunny.
Isnt that an awesome temperature for Christmastime? well I really wouldn't want it to be so warm, just be a little cooler and ill be alright. but I guess thats southern California for ya, some crazy weather here.

Well these past couple weeks have been an eventful bunch for me and my companion. We are actively working with two people right now and progressing towards baptism, right now we are teaching mike and lala, two investigators that are going to get baptized, mike is the father of a family we are friends with and as of about 4 weeks ago decided it was time to get baptized finally. We have been and are going over there to teach him what he needs to know before he is baptized, and he is eating it up, we are looking forward to his baptism on the 26th of December, which is coming up quite soon. Less than 2 weeks away.

On the other hand our other investigator, lala is preparing herself to get baptized, she keeps on reading everything we are assigning her and now that entails reading the book of Mormon from the beginning, which is a wonderful way to read the book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon, read from the beginning really teaches you a lot about faith and obedience to gods commandments from the get go, and as you go through it just solidifies that it is another testament of Jesus Christ and the prophets who recorded revelation and events in there were divinely guided to include what they did and its just incredible.

Well the weather here in southern California has just been insane. Its like 80 degrees for a high today and sunny with a nice blue sky, I thought its supposed to be cooler than that here. Well I guess not.

Well I hope that yall have a good week moving forward!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 33: Wonderful Day at the Temple. Nearing Half Way Point, Finding Amazing People in Visalia, FOG!

Dec 7, 2010

I just got back from the temple and on the computadora!

Today was an awesome day! Our preparation day got switched to Tuesday because today was the wonderful day that we were able to attend the temple in Fresno! A precious sister from the ward gave all four sisters from Visalia a ride and it was a much needed boost! I so wish that we could go more frequently. The mission policy is currently to go every 3 transfers, or every 4.5 months. However, the last time we went was in JUNE! It was special to go and reflect upon why I am here on a mission--to save souls! To help people know the things they need to do to return to our Heavenly Father again!

I cannot believe that the Christmas season is in full swing! I feel like things have been revving up since August and it is hard to imagine that the end of December marks my halfway point! I can't believe that 2011 is upon us! I remember that it was a year from this Christmas Eve that I received my mission call. My does it move quickly!

We have found some amazing people in Visalia. We are working with several part member families, helping to reactivate the husband and help the wife come into the waters of baptism. There have been some choice ward members that have jumped on the Sister Missionary bandwagon and are helping us navigate the complexities and unique situations of the ward to help nurture a missionary spirit in the area! I am so grateful to have Sister Denton here amidst all of this! She is such a trooper and we have had waaay too many laughing fits for it to not even be a full month that we've been together. We are frequently a local gym in the mornings as the ridiculous Valley air gets her asthma going when we exercise outside. It has been odd to be assaulted by the televisions and worldliness. I have an amazing strategy. I bring an Ensign to read while exercising or simply take my glasses off. I so love the feeling of being apart from the world! Sister Denton is a die hard exerciser and oh goodness I am still struggling to get up every morning...let alone exercise. *shudder* haha.

I absolutely love the scriptures. I was able to teach the lesson on Sunday in Gospel Principles (on the fly actually) and it was quite the opportunity to reflect on the nature of God. As we discussed scriptures and attributes of our Heavenly Father I was struck at the magnitude of my calling---to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I have often reflected upon what I would do if the Lord were my companion, how I would go about teaching, finding, and dealing with members in the ward. It is quite a humbling pattern of thought! I am so grateful for this chance to grow. It is as if any personality flaw or character hiccup are magnified on the mission, but I am so grateful for the magnifying glass effect as I can more quickly identify and tackle the many problems that I am graced with. :)

There aren't many clever things to say this week. While the week has been full of hilarity none of it would translate very well via the interwebs. Haha. I think the corny humor of Sister Denton and myself is best left to be taken part of in person.

I must put my foot down, however. This fog thing is ridiculous. You lose vision, you lose comfort, and you lose safety. All while attempting to still get somewhere. I personally am not a fan of the fog. It just lets me know what it would be like if I was truly severely nearsighted. Which I experience already! The other day we were driving in the morning and the windshield had not yet defrosted and I was driving in the fog. If I had not been here for six months I would have refused to leave! You would not know where the road was if you hadn't driven it before! Ahhh! No bueno. They were not clear about this in our call letter. Haha. Extreme temperatures, fog, and crazy dairies. Hahah. It's been quite the adjustment!

Keep up the faith! The church is true although the people aren't perfect!

Sister Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 16: 4 Month Mark, 2 Thanksgiving Dinners, Renewed Optimism, "Jesus the Christ" - Incredible!

December 6, 2010

Well recently I hit the 4 month mark, I personally think that that is crazy. As sometimes the time goes by slowly and others it just picks up and flies by.

Dinner appointments have been picking up in the past 2 years, it used to be not very good but now almost every day we have a dinner and there are members who open up their homes to us to have dinner over there if we want too and if no one signed up. We had a good Thanksgiving, I only had 2 thanksgiving dinners, this coupled with the mission is making me appreciate and miss our family more than I did when I was back home.

These past two weeks have been filled with renewed optimism as our principal investigator, Mike is progressing to become baptized, we have been teaching him it feels like every couple days and he is just starting to consume the gospel at an increasing rate. Its so cool too see how people change when they know that the gospel is right for them.

I don't feel like I am learning new stuff but in reality I am and I have been progressing.What do I think about completing the book, "Jesus the Christ" - holy cow.

There is just so much stuff in there about what the Savior went through, I loved reading it because it gave a ton of insight on the 4 gospels and all that the people went through. Its just incredible, I'll have to gather my thoughts about it and tell you at a later time.

Well e-mail each week as we go over to a member's place and hang out and use the computers. Today I was helping them fix their computers installing drivers etc, usually an hour and then I check it before we go later. I got it fixed. :)

There aren't very many younger members in my current ward.

Families we are contacting are mainly the this one family right now. The dad Mike is the one that is getting baptized on the 31st of December. There are people here who are ready to recieve the gospel and we can find them as we follow the promptings of the Spirit.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 32:

You know you're getting older when you start acting like your mother. The most uncanny thing, though, is when your new companion acts EXACTLY like your mother. From paying with change to hilarity, this transfer feels very familiar. :)

We've been hard up for service in this area and when the call came to help a sister in the ward bake pies we jumped on it! We were schooled in the art of pie crust making and all things delicious and now know some very special secrets that will assist us in pie making in the future! We made two pumpkin pies, one berry pie, one lemon meringue pie, one apple crumb pie, and one cherry pie. It was quite a feat! I think Sister Denton and I were most impressed with the full-functioning kitchen that we were able to walk around. As we quite frequently eat out of tupperware containers left from leftovers, seeing pots and pans and bowls and measuring spoons and ridiculousness was amazing.

Turkey day was next and Sister Denton and I were able to recover from being a bit under the weather to go to Thanksgiving dinner! The food was DELICIOUS and slathered with butter--but it was definitely worth it. :) We were able to take our dessert on the go so I am successful in another Thanksgiving of never having pie! Yes! Sister Denton is still trying to convert me to the pie ways...but I don't think I'll ever be a fan.

On many a TV this week there was football playing. One home we visited actually had the BYU-Utah game on...and when I glanced at the score BYU was winning. I think I'll remember the game that way. :)

Sister Denton and I have been chortling away the transfer--it's just going too fast! We both have attention and hearing problems so it makes for a fun time...all the time! Sister Denton only has one lung and I have been using that information to my advantage. I've written poems about it and I always think that she's talking about her lung. She's got a little twang that reminds me of home and we reminisce about being a Texan. Mostly we talk about brisket. California has this cut of meat called tri-tip and I think the reason they like it is by the time that you have got it cut and chewed, you have worked out all the calories that it contains. It's like the new celery. I pray for brisket frequently. Haha.

Sister Denton and I continue to get ourselves into real ridiculous situations. One of the members of our ward had their house broken into over Thanksgiving. A car was stolen among some other miscellaneous items. We went there for dinner last night. Because we are COMPLETELY out of miles we got a ride there and had a ride arranged to pick us up from the dinner appointment. However, the meal finished earlier than we thought and the members had some other places to be. Sister Denton and I went outside and checked on some investigators nearby but then went back near the house of the members as that's where our ride expected us to be. We were both dressed in black (as our warm clothes are coincidentally all the same color) and it was very dark outside--courtesy of Daylight Savings. All of a sudden we saw that the members were leaving their house and pulling out of their driveway. In our very female and very crazy redhead brains we thought we would hide behind some trees next to their home---embarrassed that we were still waiting for our ride. However, as the car reversed from the home, it continued to reverse to the location where we were sheepishly hiding. Sister Denton, having some common sense that I lack, began to wave hello. We then heard a relieved sigh, "Oh, it's the Sisters." The precious members thought that we were the robbers, returning again to finish the job. Oh aren't we special. He asked what we were doing, and I pleasantly responded that we were trying our best to be creepy. The response? "You succeeded." As the members drove away, Sister Denton and I had a moment that frequently graces our companionship--one of stifled laughter and shock of embarrassment.

The mission as a whole is experiencing some refiner's fire moments..and I think this is the time that will define what kind of a missionary I truly am. There are many opportunities and seemingly justified situations to complain and become frustrated, but I'm trying my best to keep the holiday spirit alive and keep going forth in this area to do what needs to be done!

The weather is getting cold and staying cold as Sister Denton and I do not like using our heater--that's what layers are for! We are going through hot chocolate like crazy and I am grateful for the many socks and slippers---in addition to my Snuggie---that help keep me warm! I am hearing a lot about the fog that is coming soon and am not that excited for another random weather change in the Valley!

Sister Bolliger - still the younger :)

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 15: It was Thanksgiving week so not much happened.

Nothing really happened this past week as it was Thanksgiving. My companion got sick as well but is doing better no. It was Thanksgiving week so really not much happened

I sent an email about Sister Bowler who was from my last ward and is the one who emailed. She is visiting family in Texas and wants to stop by cause her family lives just north in Georgetown by that Mighty Fine Burger off of the 35. Ya'll should meet her and Brother Bowler, they are an awesome family. Me and Elder Hall got really close to them.

I now understand so much more why we did things at home and past experiences. Its like a ton of my life has been thrown into retrospection because of this and sometimes I just need to move on to the future and how to better myself. Although I will say my thirst for knowledge of the gospel has never been greater. Whenever we go over to members and they have church historical books I always love pulling them out and reading them and slowly but surely my knowledge of the old & new testament is increasing. I finished Jesus the Christ just the other day.

We go to the gospel essentials/principles etc every week with investigators/recent converts/ less actives etc. Sister Bowler said that one of the people we worked with in our last ward was making good life changing decisions. Cool!

-Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 31: Getting Older... Maybe Wiser Too?

Talofa from Sister Bolliger who is, as of today, the ripe old age of 22. I started off the birthday morning by a brisk jog around the neighborhood and was able to watch the sun rise over the mountains. It was gorgeous! It was then followed by a ridiculous district meeting. We jokingly offered a manual on how to interact with sister missionaries which I may write after the unbelievable events of the morning. :)

This week has been crazy! Sister Bayasal headed off to Turlock early Wednesday morning and I waited with Sister Hernandez for maybe four hours for our companions. We did really exciting things like fill prescriptions, get our flu shots, and use coupons. Haha. I can't believe we're both STILL here in Visalia!

My new companion, Sister Denton, is the bomb dot com. She has been out for a little over a year, and is seriously hilarious! We are both pasty white with red hair and we have that Texas gumption that makes life altogether enjoyable. She is a fan of the lame humor and has sarcasm that is inspiring. We have an unusual number of similarities that continue to freak us out. :) A few of importance is the same laundry basket, same running shoes, and propensity to say the same thing at the same time. Also included is affinity for shopping and being very good at impersonating others. Haha. It is so nice to be able to communicate with a companion. Sister Denton is seriously not only what this area needed, but what I needed! We're here to baptize and we are very excited to get to it!

Sister Denton has got a little twang that always makes me feel like I'm in Texas. She resided in Tyler before the mish but we won't hold that against her. :) I would give anything for an H-E-B around here though..

We have been continuing to receive free things which I guess is a natural perk of being a missionary in an area for so long. You have to make friends! Haha. There is a store in the area that is owned by a member in Clovis, actually the Ward Mission Leader of one of Sister Denton's previous wards. From some coaxing from another individual that knew him, we were able to wrangle up some free frozen yogurt! I was able to put all of my toppings on and commune with those in the ward over a delicious treat. It was Sister Denton's first night in Visalia and I figured it was an appropriate welcome to the area. :) We also have received free pies, leftovers from get togethers, coupons, and it's almost as if people are catching the Thanksgiving spirit by giving us ridiculous amounts of food! I remember explaining to Sister Bayasal how we celebrate Thanksgiving---by eating. And oh my goodness if this past week is an indicator of what will happen when the real Thanksgiving hits, my oh my, we'll be having lots of food to share!

I am trying to think of something clever to share but I honestly can't come up with a thing. It is really warm in this library and I think it is lulling me to sleep. The man in front of me is looking up cheats for his video game of choice while the woman next to him is researching houses. And somewhere someone is listening to jazzy eighties clavichord stuff that is waay too loud. Just another day in a public library!

I have been really studying this week how we receive revelation. It is interesting how in Doctrine and Covenants 138 that particular revelation was received as President Joseph F. Smith "sat...pondering over the scriptures." It was when he was "reflecting" upon the Atonement and reading his scriptures that "the eyes of [his] understanding were opened." I thought this may have been a one time thing, but then today I was reading in 1 Nephi 11 and saw that Nephi received his revelation after having a desire to know, a belief that the Lord could make things known unto him, and again, he "sat pondering in [his] heart" when he was "caught away in the Spirit of the Lord." I guess this means I need to sit more often? Haha. Jk. I think what I have noticed on the mission is that there are so many distractions that we allow to come in between us and our Heavenly Father. On the mission we get to have the majority of them taken away--we don't listen to music that drives away the spirit, we don't read books other than the scriptures, our lives are all focused on listening and following the Spirit. Because our other worldly concerns are taken care of we are able to not let outward anxiety cause us to distance ourselves from the source of lasting peace. If we don't take time to be still and give the Spirit time and space to enlighten us with our answers and impressions, then we're not going to receive the direction that we need. In seeing a variety of people in various stages on their pathway and commitment to the gospel, I am seeing that most often the problems with testimony are user errors. It's not the hardware or the software, it's the lack of dedication, understanding, or humility of the user. Sometimes we can just become lazy and I think it is a constant battle to always remain focused as to our purpose here on earth. I am so grateful that I have been able to understand this concept just a little bit more and I hope that I can continue to see this as clearly when other demands on my time enter into my life.

Crazy, crazy, crazy!

Sister Bolliger - the younger and wiser?!

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 14: Sick and Here Comes Thanksgiving/First Snow/People Coming Out of the Woodwork

Well this past week has been uneventful, I really haven't been able to do much missionary work due to the fact that I have had a really super nasty sore throat that turned into some asthma lower respiratory and knocked me out this past week. So this week has been full of not being able to really breathe really well or do anything for that matter. It really is no fun to be sick.

Well this next week is thanksgiving! Which I personally can't wait for turkey, pumpkin pie and food in general.

My Companion is a very good teacher and knows how to smooth out a conversation. He presents it in a good way and follows the Spirit.

This last week we had a miracle, one of our investigators who is the father of a part member family has been investigating the church for more than 7 years has now and decided to be baptized because he feels that it is time. His now 7 year old son wants to get baptized in January and he feels that it is now time. He is pretty much a member without being one. He comes to sacrament every week. He reads, prays, etc. with his family. Just now we need to teach him what he needs to know and prepare him for baptism in January. I'll probably be here then.

Oh on P-day we hang out at members that have a piano. I need to improve my skills, I'm learning the hymns.

Well hopefully this next week some more work can be done as I finally won't be sick.

Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 30: Visalia- Official Home for 7 months, Old & New Companions, MANY Resources, Amazing Faith, "It is My Understanding"

Visalia is now my home. Officially.

So news flash, Sister Bolliger is staying in Visalia! Sadly, Sister Bayasal is going to Turlock. :( I thought we'd be together another transfer, but apparently not. What this means, however, is that Sister Bolliger will now have been in this area for six, going on seven, months, will have her sixth companion in the area, and will continue to clean up the apartment in which she resides. :) I'm very excited!

My new companion is Sister Denton, who has red hair (naturally) and spent some of her life in Texas. She also is I think a little bit paler than I am. Whoaaa. Craziness, eh? She has been out for 11 months or so and was just Sister Tupou's companion! She'll come from Modesto tomorrow. :)

We are reaping the miracles of our hard work, and I feel like I have had an epiphany. We had Elder Sybrowsky of the Second Quorum of the Seventy come and speak with us. It was an amazing insight for me in how I can utilize the resources that we have. I thought that "doing everything" was just in reference to myself, and up to this point, I had been doing everything that I as an individual could do to bless the lives of those we were teaching. However, as Elder Sybrowsky enlightened us, there are MANY MANY resources in the ward council, ward missionaries, and in the ward that aren't being used! So, in respect to this, I have completely changed my approach and we are seeing miracles! I had a page for each meeting of specific needs that could be met by each auxiliary. In the past I had thought that my role was more of reporting what was going on with our investigators. However, I see that now the reporting is merely to assist in assignments being given to those in attendance. I feel so much more hope towards this work as I am able to see that I am NOT supposed to do it by myself! In engaging the ward we will not only take the focus off the missionaries, but we will foster relationships that will help the investigators transition and remain fully active following their baptism! I don't know why I didn't see this from the beginning. Haha.

We set a baptismal date last night with an investigator that has an amazing faith in Christ! She's an awesome Mom of four little ones under the age of five. :) It was an awesome experience in following the spirit. I was a little off because I couldn't control the environment or the children, and as we were watching a short video I realized that the Spirit doesn't have to wait for the perfect setting to testify of truth. I then prayed for assistance and realized that the Spirit knew how she was feeling more than I would. Duh. Haha. I then felt incredibly prompted to commit her to baptism. I was semi-nervous due to the fact that I had no idea what she had thought of the message we had shared, but I decided that I was going to follow the spirit 100%. It was probably the best baptismal commitment conversation I have ever had and she was able to share with us how she already knew she needed to be baptized and that she had decided that she had needed to find a church for her family previous to our meeting her. Ta da!

It has been an interesting dynamic since our Zone Conference with Elder Sybrowsky. We have been dropped by a few investigators that aren't willing to progress, but wonderfully, Sister Bayasal and I were able to keep the perspective that the Lord was clearing our schedule to give time to those who were ready now to receive the gospel. As we kept our faith and hope alive, we were able to be blessed with many new investigators just in the next few days and many members alerting us of friends they had invited on church tours and to hear the missionary lessons. Ta da!

I just love this area. I am so glad that I get to stay for my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

A wonderful member just cleaned our carpets for us and enlightened us as to what the mysterious dark marks were on the floor. Shoe polish. Oh Elders that polish their shoes on the carpet and get marks everywhere, why couldn't you have gone two feet to the left and polished on the tile? Sigh. But now it smells delicious and in combination with the candle that I light any and every time we're home, this apartment is ready for the Christmas season!

Sister Bayasal's English has delightfully progressed this week. We finally hit that moment where she has been practicing words that sound very similar to other words in the English language. Needless to say sometimes it is a little off and I just have to smile. I am so sad that she is leaving just as we are able to communicate a lot! Grr. Haha. Her favorite thing to say whenever we pray is, "It is my understanding that it is your turn." Hahahhah. Oh goodness. I am going to miss her!!! Now there is no excuse to have meat every single night. :)

The next time I write I'll be 22! Ahh! Bring on the old age! Haha. Just kidding. :)

Sister Bolliger - the younger :)

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 13: New Area New Companion and On Bike

Hello from San Bernardino California, which is my new area in the San Bernardino 1st ward, which is either over the age of 75 and retired or in government housing.

It was sad saying goodbye to the people in my last Ward. I will really miss them cause I have gotten very close to some of those people there. Focusing on 2 Nephi 31 and the new simplified curriculum are coming really, really well. These teachings have increased our baptisms in our mission by a significant amount.

It sure is a big difference being on a bike compared to being in a car. In a car you can drive around and visit people much faster than on bike where you have to plan everything out in advance.

Well my follow up trainer ( my "mom" in missionary lingo) is Elder Welch from Michigan who has been out longer than 17 months and is only 7 months away from going home.

Yesterday, I baptized Cody in my last ward who is one of the three who was baptized. I confirmed him afterward. It went really, really well. It was very spiritual. It is a very unique experience confirming someone a member of the church and giving them a blessing at the end of it. It's just amazing.

Elder John Bolliger

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 29: Desperate Prayers in Racks of Clothing, In-N-Out!, Indeed Elders Teach, Fevers, Strawberry Smoothie BLAST!

Hello from Visalia.

Things have been ridiculous this week.

It all ended when we needed to go and get my companion some more clothing. With only three shirts, two of which were not really missionary appropriate, it was necessary to do some shopping. We had gone on outings before to find clothing, but they were not very productive. We spent five hours at various stores yesterday, perusing every nook and cranny to find something that my companion would approve of. We were blessed to find two shirts. It's true. Only two shirts. Haha. Which I believe are the direct result of my desperate prayers in the many racks of clothing that we find something so that I could maintain my sanity.

The highlight of the day, however, was that all such shopping was right next to In-N-Out.

The theme of the week has been Sister Bolliger learning to bite her tongue. It is not coincidental that my companion also learned the word "frustrated" this week as I kept uttering it over and over as ridiculous things occurred.

In finding new investigators, we have been going and recontacting former investigators that for some reason stopped having the missionaries at their home. There was one particular man whose record seemed promising and we went to go visit him. After speaking with him on his doorstep, things seemed to be going well. He indicated that he indeed wanted to learn more and that work conflicts had kept him from progressing in the missionary lessons. Then the bomb hit. When asking when a convenient time would be to come back, he said that he didn't want sister missionaries. He wanted the Elders. I was blessed with an abundance of restraint and was able to bite my tongue and NOT inform him of his ridiculous paradigm and discriminatory ideals. Somehow a very understanding and loving voice came from mouth assuring him that we could indeed have some Elders teach him, if he would be willing to learn more.

We got in the vehicle and drove to a nearby member's home where I diffused my anger and my companion got a fever. Seriously. It's not the most reassuring thing when you look to your companion to encourage her to speak and the only "word" that comes out of her mouth is vomit. Hahah. Fortunately this particular sister is awesome and amazing and is so wonderful at inviting her friends on church tours (that's right...I know you're reading this. haha). :) Armed with generous soup and pedialyte we returned to our apartment where I forced my companion to banish all ideas of English from her mind and sleep. Haha.

Onto more uplifting news, Chuck W and Todd B are going to the temple to do baptisms for the dead this Saturday. Todd received the priesthood on Sunday, and they are BOTH so excited to go! In explaining what goes on and what it will be like Chuck is just so ready! He has read three Ensigns I have given him and all of the Family Home Evening manual (and who really has done that?). He also read the old Temple magazine, and says he always wants to keep it because of the pictures of the temple. It's just remarkable to see them grow!!

The ward had SUCH a cute Young Women in Excellence evening and they asked us to help out with the refreshments so the leaders could be full participants in the event. It was SO adorable and a fitness theme.. making personal progress your lifestyle. :) They had refreshments that looked like the things you can buy at a gym or health food place, and so Sister Bayasal and I were in charge of blending the smoothies during the event. Um. Talk about crazy. Sister Bayasal didn't understand how to use the blender and I got a little stressed and at one point stuck a knife into the blender to break up the ridiculously thick smoothie and proceeded to get half of the blender's contents over me, the wall, the floor and Sister Bayasal. I think I still have parts of strawberry stuck in my watch. Hahah. It was enjoyable and really funny. Sister Bayasal does amazing impersonations of me and her favorite thing to impersonate is the loud high-pitched operatic sound I made when the explosion of blender occurred. It was very quietly dignified. Of course. Haha.

We have Zone Conference this week with a member of the Seventy, Elder Sybrowsky, and I am very excited! We're carpooling with the Spanish Sisters to Tulare and I am ready for the uplifting and spiritual day that it will be!!

Press on!
Sister Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 12: Leaving Colton & Getting A "Brother!" Pretty Excited to Come Back to Baptize, I am Growing to Like Tempura/Sushi!

Well this past Saturday I heard the news that I was leaving the Colton, CA ward.
Which is some sad news as I have been getting attached to this ward and the awesome people there is in it.

So now I am packing up tonight for the first time since the MTC. I have absolutely no idea where I am going from here. It could be anywhere, but it will be the right place for me. This next week we have a baptism with the 3 kids which a family friend is baptizing one, and I am baptizing one of the twins, and my companion is baptizing the other one! So wherever I am I will be coming back for it, and I am pretty excited.

Well my current companion is training again so I will have a "brother" after this next transfer so that makes it 1 "brother" and 1 "sister" of mine.

(Definitions from John's Mom: Apparently in the California San Bernardino Mission they have some ways to remember who you've been companions with. From my best guess, Your "dad" is your first companion that trains you after you leave the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. Your "brother" is your second companion that trains you. Your "dad's" first trainer would be your "grandpa." I am not clear who the "sister" is....)

Well in my zone I found out a couple weeks ago that one of my zone leaders who has been on a mission over a year is from Australia. He is my birthday brother as he was born the same day as I was a year earlier. He is an awesome Samoan guy and is probably gonna be going to either UVU or BYU to play rugby.

Well this past weekend I went with my "Dad" and "Grandpa" (who is going home tomorrow) to a place called Yoshi Sushi. Well I am growing to get a taste for sushi and tempura (which is cooked sushi) its actually really good and I hope to grow my taste for seafood so me and Katie can go get some sushi when we are back home.

Well I hope yall have a good week.

Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia, CA Week 28: "Miracle of the Mucinex and the Scriptures," Toothbrush Attack, Time to Study Scriptures, Ponder & Pray

This week I have seen the miracles of mucinex and the scriptures. A random mix? Not for a sick Sister Missionary. :)

I woke up last Tuesday morning with a sore throat. Was such a nuisance going to deter me from spreading the gospel AND germs? Of course not. Wednesday my voice began to go. Thursday the temperature started to rise. And then Friday it was no use. I was ill. It was the day of weekly planning so we were in our apartment for quite some time planning for the week, but venturing out in the cold and passing out candy at the trunk-or-treat didn't help my condition much at all. And looking back on it, I probably single handedly could have infected the entire ward.

Oh my.

But...according to the majority of Visalians, I am suffering from allergies. They are "shaking the walnut trees" as people like to say. Apparently this helps the nuts fall? So I'm blaming the sickness on those walnut trees that are being shaken. And I almost made a joke about their bark...but I want to spare the world from my antihistamine-induced stupor. Haha.

Mucinex once again saved the day. It's amazing how that medication works. I slept wonderfully and had way too much sleep. Poor Sister Bayasal was sick too and we would just kind of lay there and wonder what time it was, only so that we would know if we needed to take our medicine again. Many many boxes of tissues later, we're on the recovery. :)

As soon as I was semi-back on my feet, preparation day rolled around. I had been frustrated with the uncleanliness of our apartment so I took a toothbrush to the baseboards. Hahahha. Honestly. I guess I had a lot of energy from all of that sleeping and I kept muttering to myself and proceeded to clean all of the baseboards and tile of our two-bedroom two-bathroom apartment with that toothbrush. Two and a half hours later I was satisfied. And then I had to take a nap from the exertion. I'm not so great at slowly easing back into work. Needless to say we will be needing a new old toothbrush for further cleaning excursions.

With all of the ridiculousness of our health this week, I have had a lot of time to ponder the scriptures and to pray. I have lost my cool a few times this week, I blame it on the impending illness, and have been seeking for an extra outpouring of the Spirit to know what I need to do here in Visalia. I have been here since June and sometimes I get frustrated as it seems like I haven't done a thing since I got here. A series of scriptures has helped me and seemed enlightening as I have been pondering the messages of the gospel.

Romans 1:16 just reaffirmed my purpose as a missionary: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." John 14:27 answered a similar struggle with the reassuring phrase: "Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be afraid." I guess I should paraphrase. We tracted into a preacher. And I didn't handle it as gracefully as I could have. Not that there was any bible-bashing going on but I got a bit flustered, our phone went off, and he was trying to make some moves...and I had no idea how to respond. I did my usual laughing strategy which was okay, but I was not pleased. After we left I got frustrated with myself questioning how I was representing the Lord because of my weaknesses, and went to the scriptures for the answers. Which is the best thing to do anyway. :)

Regarding frustrations with things not going the way I want them to a few scriptures also shed some light. Doctrine and Covenants 64:32-34 states: "But all things must come to pass in their time. Wherefore be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind..." And then to give some comfort with investigators that chose not to follow the path we were showing them Doctrine and Covenants 45:29 offered this insight: "But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men." I want to help people see this light! Which means that I need much more of the spirit with me to help me! And last but not least Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 tells me how to receive more of the spirit: "And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the spirit ye shall not teach."

These scriptures in conjunction with the fact that I read half of the Bible Dictionary shows the productivity of my weekend of illness. :)

Sister Bayasal and I are reading the Book of Mormon out loud together several times a day and I am so amazed at how well she is learning to read!!!

Sister Bolliger

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 11: Awesome Experience at the Redlands Temple. The Work is Starting to Increase, Its All Rushing By!

Well this last week has been filled with some awesome times with my trainer. This will be a short letter though.

We went to the Redlands CA temple with some people from our ward and it was an awesome experience.

This last week while I was on exchanges with the other companionship Elder Hall and another elder in my district committed a guy we met only a week before, and a week ago Sunday was the primary program and when it started he came in and sat by Elder Hall and 4 days later we committed him to baptism. So the work in this area is starting to increase. But this next week Elder Hall will probably go to another area and I'll get follow up trained.

But once again this next week we have district meetings all this next week and then its off to transfer meetings again.
Holy Cow how fast its all rushing by!

Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 27: "Chilly in good ol' Visalia", "Babylon in My Pocket", Many Miracles, Practicing Patience, Simplify & Understand!

"There is not effort without error and shortcoming."
- Theodore Roosevelt -

Times are getting chilly here in good ol' Visalia. Which means, of course, that Sister Baysal is finally feeling comfortable outside! Many things have changed and many have remained the same this week. Really insightful I know. Haha.

While insignificant, but wholly enjoyable, there are new phones that the missionaries are toting around! The Sprint LG Remarq is now the slidey phone for our use that is like having Babylon in my pocket. Haha. Quite a step up from our previous phone, we have a whole gamut of fun new ringtones that we are personalizing for investigators, members, and other missionaries. It's really weird having a full keyboard at my disposal when we don't text message. I was even a bit astonished at how I had forgotten to use intense technology!

We have stake conference coming up this weekend. Funny, as my first Sunday here in Visalia was stake conference! It's amazing how time flies when you are having fun!

We have been able to witness many miracles as we are diligent despite difficulty. This quote was shared by a missionary from this ward that just returned home and shared it in his homecoming talk. I frequently think of it now as I consider the daunting task of continually improving and following what the Lord would have us do. There are many many things I need to improve on and I am frequently able to reflect on what my purpose is not only on a mission but here in life. Many many things to do! I have loved reading 2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 27 as they talk about the doctrine of Christ, really the things that Christ taught, the gospel that we are to follow here on earth.

We had our trainer and trainee meeting last Friday. There were 52 missionaries there! Almost a fourth of the mission! It was inspiring to hear these new missionaries bear their testimonies and talk about the miracles that they have seen thus far. It was odd as Sister Bayasal and I were the only sisters there. Apparently we don't have any sisters coming into the mission until late February? Ridiculousness!

I have been studying patience this transfer and have had many opportunities to practice it. :) What has helped so much is President Uchtdorf's talk from the May conference. It's inspired and I read over it often to help remind me of why I am here and what I can do to be a better missionary.

I think the biggest lesson of the week has been to simplify. I am realizing that the gospel is really quite simple. Our tasks are simple. Sometimes we take our eye off the mark and complicate matters. We have the tools to succeed. We have the means to apply the tools that we have been given. We know what we need to do. I have also been simplifying in my communication with other. The language barrier has helped me even more to be simple in vocabulary and thought which has really helped our investigators to more fully understand our message. I am just so grateful for all of these lessons that I have been learning!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 10: Wonderful Ward of Colton, Reading Book of Mormon in 30 days, Very Special Sunday, Prepared to Receive, 2 Nephi 31

Hello again from the wonderful ward of Colton, California.

Elder Hall and I have decided to read the Book of Mormon together in 30 days, right now I am in Mosiah Chapter 18 and am a little behind but it is really strengthening my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday it was Sunday and it was a very,very special Sunday as it was the primary program and also to our amazement we had 2 new investigators come out of the blue. One of them was a friend of a less active member who came into sacrament and sat down right next to us. As well, a lady appeared out of the blue and decided to come into church and wants to be taught the gospel, its incredible to see the work moving forward and to see people prepared to receive it. The work in this ward is moving forward with good speed.

This past week was a long one as every day we had district meetings that lasted longer than 2 hours, it seemed to cut into our day but this next week we do not have meetings at all and it should be an awesome one. But the week after once again we have too have district meetings again, we are re-learning the doctrine of Christ which focuses around 2 Nephi 31 and committing people to baptism.

This transfer is going by way too fast, all of the sudden its week five and I am asking myself, what happened the past 4 weeks? but I look by and I see that we have gotten a lot of work done and we are preparing people for baptism and doing a lot of work with members and their friends, it seems like this is a great way for people to stay in the church.

Well there are only 2 more weeks until transfers and its something that I am looking forward too and not looking forward too at the same time, mixed emotions are sure there.

Well I hope that yall have a great week wherever you may be!

Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 26: Autumn Weather, HIT of the Zone Conference - Again, Amazing Baptism, English Improving 175%, Loving It All!

Hello again from the wonderful land of the Library.

Today it is actually sixty degrees outside which is a blessing from heaven. I am freezing absolutely freezing, but Sister Bayasal finally thinks it's perfect outside. We had random heat.. in the mid-90s then some random rain (of course right after we washed and waxed our car) and then it's down to the beautiful brisk autumn weather.

So I got hit in the head by a football yesterday. I just seem to be accident prone. I am highly aware that in fact I do have quite a bit of surface area but my propensity to be hit by any and every object at Zone Activities is quite alarming...albeit impressive. We were at a members house in Exeter (which was AMAZING, btw) and as I was bending down to help the 3-year-old child write his name on a cup to get some lemonade, I was struck in the left temple. Of course the first response of the Elders is some immediate laughter and then some concern by those who have already reached the year mark. I asked if I HAD to be hit at every zone activity and also commented that it was alright--I had a headache anyway. :) I had a little moment with Sister Hernandez when some tears were shed (it HURT!) but then I got to ice it and inflict as much guilt as possible--which I am quite good at. :)

The highlight of the weekend was Todd's baptism. My word does that man glow! He was so excited for his baptism and arrived 1.5 hours early to make sure that he wouldn't be late. :) He was baptized by a man in the ward who knew him 3 years ago through work.. and it was just wonderful. Todd also came 1 hour early to church so that he would make sure everything was good for the confirmation. I had him ask the men he wanted to stand in the circle (with a little prodding..) and he was just bouncing in the bench ready to receive the Holy Ghost. He even asked Chuck, our last recent convert, to be in the circle to which Chuck replied, "I can't man, I only have the Aaronic priesthood." I just kind of stared at them. Hahahah. Chuck is doing his homework! In our Gospel Principles class Chuck asked how we can know our lineage--he really wanted to know which tribe he is from! He got to have a little explanation of a patriarchal blessing and my word if he's not excited! We have some new member temple baptisms coming up in November and they are both stoked. It's kind of overwhelming to be witness to these individuals that are just so ready. They both have such willing hearts and a desire to learn that I am completely amazed!

Sister Bayasal is doing marvelously! Her English has improved 175% (to be exact) in the last week and it is hilarious. She's finally catching on to sarcasm/jokes/hilarity and it's really fun to tease her and watch her process what I'm saying and then guffaw. She is just going for English and works insanely hard! She said the closing prayer in Church on Sunday and we were rehearsing for the two days previous. She does not like making mistakes but I then pretend to speak Mongolian and it usually makes her feel more comfortable speaking English. By the way, English is crazy. In explaining syntax, pronunciation, and vocabulary, I have been amazed at the randomness of English. Perhaps that's why I like it so much! I have been having her lead in lessons and practice her sentences and it's been wonderful to watch her succeed! She is still amazed at how white I am and that I am so crazy. I guess many things can be communicated through the language barrier!

The mission is just literally FLYING by. Sometimes I sit back during personal study or right before bed and marvel at how quickly things move during this time! I'm like.. when do I get ridiculously gospel smart and everything? I just feel like I'm not taking complete advantage of the mission! Ahh! Hahah. Leave it to Sister Bolliger to stress herself out. I am having intense dreams about investigators, the ward, the area, and missionary work in general. So that means I'm usually more tired when I wake up then when I went to bed. Haha.

I pretty much love this ward and Sister Bayasal. I feel this ridiculous weight on my shoulders but I find the best way to counteract that is to move forward. Haha. And breathe of course.

And with that the Church is true, the winter is coming, and my hair is growing!

Sister B

Monday, October 18, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 9: Transfer flying by, Biking in Bloomington, Excited to See Investigators Come, Baptism Dates Set, Good Things!

Wow this transfer is flying by, I think that is just something that starts to speed up as you get older and older and I am still a greenie although I don't feel like it as much.

Well the past week was good but strange, my district-leader trainer was in Rancho Cucamonga for training 3 days this past week. While he was there I was on bikes in Bloomington which is north of our area and different. It was good though to get out and about in a different area, and going and talking to many different people. After the trainings

Elder Hall and I would go and visit people in our area, overall we didn't feel that it was as effective as the trainings last transfer. Well this next week is going to be a long one as again we have district meetings from Tuesday to Friday.

Elder Hall and I were very excited on Sunday when one of our investigators who is married to a less active brought his daughter and son. We helped teach the daughter about 6 weeks ago, and it was awesome to see them coming to church on Sunday.

Well there were three kids that we have been trying to get a date for baptism with, and we have been unable to so far until this past week. We finally got a date set for baptism, but unfortunately for us its a week after transfers. We should be able to come down to it as Elder Hall I are both baptizing one of the kids while a family friend is baptizing the other.

Well I am learning the principle as many negative things happen on your mission with your investigators, good things happen too. I really am learning that as some people who I think are completely solid aren't as solid as I once believed and am a little more on shaky ground as Elder Hall and I are seeing a different facet of their lives.

But in the end the work is really going good, and we are working hard to bring more people unto Christ.

And I hope that yall have a good week ahead!

Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia, CA Week 25: Slowly Becoming Fluent in Mongolian, Truly Awesome Investigator, Understanding the Eternal Significance of Life

Hola from Visalia. Where I am becoming slowly fluent in Mongolian. :)

Meet my companion Sister Bayasal. First name: Erdententsetseg. (Haha. For real.) Nickname: Eegii (Eggie). Hails from Mongolia where right now it is snowing every single day! Approximate time of English study: Nine weeks. Age: 22. Year of Baptism: 2006. Number of people in Mongolia: 3 million. Number of members in Mongolia: 1,000. Complete sentences used in the last six days: 8.

Well as you can see it has been an interesting few days here in Visalia! Sister Bayasal was at the MTC for a little over two months, and then came straight to Fresno. As we were waiting to see our trainees on Thursday, President called me aside. I thought I had done something wrong, haha. Turns out he wanted to chat with me about Sister Bayasal and her language situation. He told me there was no one else he thought of to be her companion--that I was exactly who the Lord had set up a LONG time ago to train her! Well, that puts a little bit of pressure on. :)

Since that time in Fresno Sister Bayasal has been thrust into the craziness of California life. She had Mongolian companions at the MTC and was able to speak Mongolian up until last Wednesday. She is probably the most humble and smartest person I've ever met. :) She is studying technical engineering at school in Mongolia and loves physics and is attacking the English language with such tenacity! I myself am learning Mongolian and know how to say all of the important words: curly hair, crazy, awesome, hello, how are you, perfect, do you understand, good, wonderful, and tired.

In Monglian they use the Cyrillic alphabet and it sounds more Russian than Asian. We have many many dictionaries ALWAYS at hand. I carry the English to Mongolian dictionary and she carries the Mongolian to English dictionary. It's funny to watch us. We're always huddled together somewhere with our nose in the dictionaries trying to communicate. I have learned to talk very very slow, and to use VERY simple words. What lessons the mission is teaching me. Haha.

When she bears her testimony, although simple in language, it is the most powerful thing! All of her brothers have served missions, as well as all of her sisters-in-law. The work is progressing well in Mongolia and she wanted to share the blessings of the gospel with all those she comes in contact with! She prays and it is so inspiring to see her living her faith. I know this experience is so different from any other she's had, and that I'm probably the craziest person she's ever encountered, but she's going for it! She prays at night in Mongolian and I just want to cry with the Spirit that fills the room as she pours out her soul to her Heavenly Father. She truly is an amazing daughter of God and I feel so so so blessed to help her and learn from her at this time.

We have a baptism this Saturday of a truly awesome man. His name is Todd. He's in his fifties and has gone through a LOT of hard things in his life. However, he is making the changes that he needs to and it is wonderful! His only Word of Wisdom problem was iced tea. Hahah. Talk about golden!

Things have taken a change of pace with Sister Bayasal coming as she gets really stressed out with all the English. She got sick her third day here from all of the crazy English people and so we take some time when we don't speak any English at all for her to relax. :) But, I have learned to simplify and truly talk about the basics! It has been such a blessing. I find myself talking REALLY slow to all others now, and so maybe more people can understand me. Haha.

I am just overwhelmed with all that I am learning about myself and about the gospel. I didn't realize how off track I was before the mission. While I went to church, paid my tithing, and did everything that I was supposed to, I just didn't get it. I now am starting to actually put everything together and recognize all that I have been given and all that I have to do! You'd think I could have understood the eternal significance a little bit earlier. Haha. But no.

I love the Lord. I love Visalia. I love Sister Bayasal. And I love the word of God and the power it contains!!

Until next week!

Sister Bolliger