Monday, April 26, 2010

Arriving in Fresno Week 1: Beginning, B.A.P.T.I.S.M, & Boa!

There are so many Texans here in my mission.

Well, without further adieu, my experiences here in Fresno.

My companion is Sister Tupou. She is Tongan and has only spoken english for the last five months--and she's amazing at it! When I arrived to the area, the missionary I replaced was going home, so she used up ALL of our miles for the month. Sooo, Sister Tupou and I have been walking/biking everywhere we go. And may I just say, my bike is INCREDIBLE! Everyone was like "ooh" and "aah" when were were leaving the mission office and packing up our cars with our bikes and luggage. The locks are awesome and super heavy duty. The mission record is 6 days for having your bike stolen from arriving in the mission--but I am determined to not allow anyone to take my bike!

I am serving in North Fresno in the Riverview Ward. This area was just opened up to missionaries in October of last year.

We have a 2010 Chevy Mailbu--the newest car in the mission--haha as our wheels. And Sister Bolliger is the driver because Sister Tupou doesn't have a drivers license. Talk about stressful! They gave us all of this orientation about how we must take incredible care of the cars, etc., at the risk of us losing our driving privileges for the entire mission. When we actually get to use our car it will be interesting to see how I do driving it. Haha.

The California Fresno mission is the third mission in the world that has been selected from the First Presidency to try out something called "Church tours". Basically you invite people to come on a church tour, where we show them pictures of Christ in the building, invite them to church, explain the sacrament, commit them to be baptized, introduce them to a member, and teach the authority part of the first lesson. It is all rather intense. At my first church tour I was actually taking an investigator through--and he committed to be baptized! Ah! What a way to have the first invitation to be baptized on your mission be accepted! His name is Fransisco--and he lost his wife about nine months ago, and is still in serious mourning.

My first dinner at a member’s house was going well until I noticed this large hutch with glass windows. As I peered inside the little boy, Gio, said "sssssssssss". I thought he was being ridiculous until I realized.....this "hutch" was actually the cage for TWO MASSIVE BOA CONSTRICTORS. I seriously started shaking and ran away from it as far as I could considering this was literally a one bedroom apartment. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. They then kept threatening to take it out. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Thank goodness for the wife. Who promised me they wouldn't. Ahhh.

Soooo maybe since I arrived in the mission field I decided that I was just going to eat whatever the members and mission president's wife gave us to eat. (Random side note, Sister Gonzalez is the Mission Medical--she's a nurse!) Aaaaand maybe I was struck with potentially the most severe attack of both conditions at one time. Yes. It was death..So, let's just say. I have been humbled. Extremely. Again.

I know that I needed to tell the members, so I came up with a little thing:

B- bread/rice A-apples P-potatoes T-tons of veggies I-ice water S-salad M-melon

and announced it in Relief Society again. It was great!!! The ladies were all laughing. Apparently I was pretty funny or something.

And I am losing SO much weight. It's ridiculous. Probably at least 10 pounds since I've entered the MTC.

I dont' tell you about my health problems to freak you out, but to just show you how the Lord is taking care of me. :) I'll learn to obey. I will obey!

I am tackling our Area Book. Somehow, a part of me that I have not seen in full is coming out in full force. It's called Sister ORganization. Ahh! I can't stand for things to be unorganized or unclear. So dont' worry.....I'm doing well!

I am trying my hardest to be who the Savior wants me to be--even though sometimes it can be hard or a bit scary. But I know this is where I am supposed to be!

Love you ALL!

Sister Bolliger

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two Bolliger Missionaries serving in California!

John Bolliger has been called to the San Bernardino California Mission reporting to the MTC in Provo, Utah on July 28, 2010! Awesome!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sister Bolliger Arrives in Fresno - Day 1

Sister Bolliger's Letter - Fresno Day 1
I am writing you from the mission home in Fresno, California!!! The plane ride was on the smallest plane that I have ever ridden...maybe 36 people? It was ridiculous. :)
I have already gone tracting today. :) In the RAIN!!! It was perfecto. Just as Sandy says, it really is the best.
I had so many anxities and doubts but I have turned to the Lord and sacrificed the doubts, fears, pride, and laziness for my misison for I know that it is through sacrifice that things are made holy and I want nothing more than to make my mission a consecrated effort to the Lord! Since I have prayed incredibly long (I rival you now Momma) and asked that these things be purged from my heart and mind I have felt no fear. Zero. As in cero. As in nada. I have never felt this way before!! And today my faith was not daunted by the slammed doors and potential bashers that met us.
One more random fact--apparently sisters don't have to wear panty hose in the summer! This is the BEST NEWS in the entire world! The best news since curlkeeper was created to give you an idea of importance in my mind. :)

I love you all. I love Fresno, CA.
We met the outgoing elders and sisters that were leaving Fresno, and one of the sisters was companions with my trainer! Apparently she loves to laugh and we have an awesome area. This sister rode bikes the entire time on her mission. Wahoo!
I also have already used my spanish. What a gift!
Love you all!
Sister Bolliger

We just received a phone call from President Gonzales, Fresno CA Mission President.

Here's a few things we learned.

He recommends sending mail and packages directly to the mission home. Missionaries receive them within a couple days of the letters arriving at the mission home. Packages will usually be delivered in a week.

Sister Bolliger's first area will be serving in the Riverview Ward in the Fresno Stake.
Her companion is a Tongan Sister that he described as "full of faith!"

There are 20 sisters in the mission.
10 English...10 Spanish... speaking
Missionaries get to attend the Fresno Temple .... every 4 or 5 months.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Elder John Bolliger

Week 3 - Sister Bolliger's Life at the MTC ... the last few days!

There have been so many incredible things here at the MTC. I can't even begin to express how incredible the growth that I have experienced.
We've had some awesome devotionals! Members of the General Relief Society board and First Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke.

The MTC has its random moments... somehow it all comes together and works out to wonderful spiritual moments. In token, there are hard times, but I am finding that the scriptures and prayer are a much better coping strategy than a diet coke, movie, and pan of brownies! It is incredible the change that can happen when we are sincere in our prayers and let the spirit direct what we say during and after the prayer.

I have turned into the pianist for everything. Apparently people are not cultivating their talents as much as they used to.

I can't believe my MTC experience is so close to ending... I do call my self "Sister Bolliger" when I talk in 3rd person... Such craziness!

Peace be the journey!
Sister Bolliger

Elder Bolliger's Call is in the Mail!

We just learned that John's mission call has been extended and is in the mail!

Sister Bolliger's Photos from the MTC

Friday, April 16, 2010

Week 2- Sister Bolliger's Life at the MTC

Greetings from the “MTC-izzle” as we like to say. April 15, 2010

It has been another glorious week at the MTC. Lots of bland food. Lots of laughing. Lots of spirituality. Lots and lots and lots of learning.

Please let me share so many very random things to edify your lives, both laughingly and spiritually. :)

- One of the branch presidency members of my branch....was mission companions with Jeffrey R. Holland back in the day! I knooow!

The learning factor here has been rather impressive. While each day is so jam packed of personal study, companionship study, Missionary Directed Time, Devotionals, and the like, I still feel like there is never enough time to continue to learn! Our teachers are incredibly awesome, and continue to help our District grow. We have had so many fun activities that really push us! One such thing that all missionaries go through is something called Teaching Assignments. There are people from the community, member and non-members alike, that come in and pretend to be investigators. We are given their profile, and then teach them two times while here, one week apart. It's all role-played. We have to get in the door, get to know them, set up a return appointment, the whole kit and caboodle! Well, we have two different sets of investigators, and our first one was awesome! An older couple, they pretty much fed us everything. Saying things like, "That's so rational" or "And I just want to know the reason I'm here" were some hilarious ways they helped us. Our second TA with the same couple was also amazing. We sang a song (yup, definitely turning into a Sister Missionary) and committed them to baptism. Holla!

Ahem. Our other TA investigators. Ahem. Let's just say it prompted a semi-sad state for our entire companionship. These ladies threw out polygamy, the word of wisdom, priesthood authority, the pope, the massacre thing in southern Utah, and other random the first FIVE minutes. We were demolished. They were resistant. And really argumentative. Our teacher (who watches these on a tv in another room) said that if they had been real investigators, the missionaries would never have gone back. Anyways, while it was difficult, it was an opportunity for all of us sisters to reaffirm our trust in the Lord and use Him as our "coping strategy." During a progress interview (when the teacher takes out each missionary to see how things are going), my teacher Sister Thomas committed me to doing a few things that have incredibly helped as I've been faced with inevitable disappointment and lack of perfection (hah)..duh duh duhhhh pray for twenty minutes a night. Now for the super spiritual, this might be a shocker. I have not always followed my Mother's example and prayed until the cows come home. But oh my word, do I ever now. I think we pray at least 14 times a day, and then there's always the prayer in my heart! It's a little tricky because it is lights out at 10:30PM, and that doesn't mean start calling on the Lord then. It means you should be done with them!

This is my last P-day before being in the mission field! We leave on Wednesday at 11AM or so. I can't believe that it has come!!! I am terribly excited and 2% nervous and hearing about my bike weirdly made me more excited. The Lord really does qualify who he calls, right?? Oh, on that note. Remember how Sister Bolliger said that she would never ever be able to memorize anything?! FALSO!! I have been marking my scriptures like crazy and constantly tabbing and reading and preparing. And things are definitely coming to my remembrance. I truly am so glad that I get to spend my days in the scriptures. Oh boy have I gone off the deep end!

Today I am sporting my fake zebra dress, green scarf and orthopedic shoes, and it is glorious. How on earth am I ever going to go back to shoes that actually constrict my feet? E gads!

I am slowly but surely ridding myself of my pop culture references. It is increasingly hard as everything I do warrants at least part of a song, movie line, or TV show scene. (And it doesn't help that Sister P also likes the same things I do) But, it's being replaced with....HYMNS. That's right. What do I hum now? Not Luda. Not 50. BUT THE HYMNS. Ahhhhhhh. If this much has changed in this little big amount of time, I can't even image what is going to happen after 18 months!!

I have really been trying to dedicate my service to the Lord. I know that sounds like what EVERYONE says, but I am just trying to do all that I can! My teacher shared with us some scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants, particularly D&C 123:11-17. Near the end it talks about wasting and wearing out one's life in the service of the Lord. That has become my mantra. Each night I ask myself, and chat with the Lord about how I did, and whether or not I wasted and wore out my life in every component. As I come to trust Him it is easier to deal with all of my faults, I am being strengthened, and my focus on helping others come unto Christ is helped!

I am only able to e-mail my family but I absolutely love the mail and letters I received.

Peace be the journey! (as my Jamaican sisters say!)

Sister Bolliger

Sunday, April 11, 2010

John's Paper's are in

Elder John Bolliger's papers are in.
Now is the waiting fun.
We'll keep you posted.

Week 1 - Sister Bolliger's Life at the MTC

As of yet, I have been awake before 6:15 EVERY morn. I feel weird. But it's kind of cool. They surely dooo pack a lot of stuff in here!

My District is pretty much the bomb. It's pretty small, only 7 of us, but it's hilarious. …My trio, or trifecta, is money. Sister Payne and I have yet to find something that we do not have in common -- oh wait, I've got it. She's four inches shorter. But that's about it. We keep reveling in SNL skits, or movie quotes, or ridiculuous things that only we find hilarious (which is many things). Sister Speakman is our coordinating sister and gives a little normalcy and direction and focus to the otherwise ridiculous happenings of Sister P & B.

Planned activities and situations to make you humble may not be my favorite, but the MTC has definitely been effective in these last week of making me realize truly how little I know and am able to teach. Haha.

I bought new scriptures. And they are suhweeet. I have been color coding like a beast and I don't know why I didn't do this earlier! All the colors keep me awake and excited.

General Conference was INSANE! I probably took twenty pages of detailed notes. And didn't even contemplate falling asleep during the meeting. Isn't that a miracle? Haha. We were challenged to think of questions conference that we wanted answered, and I ended up having to think of new questions for each session because they just kept getting answered! Being surrounded by so many missionaries and at the MTC is seriously amazing.

I have found the biggest struggle here at the MTC to be teaching simply. I am learning a new way to do things! Distilling the doctrine, the TRUE doctrine, down to a few simple sentences is a challenge that I have willingly taken on! Sometimes when I let myself, I get a little bit nervous at this concept of having to be the Lord's hands in Fresno, but then I just do a few quick breaths, think of something absolutely ridiculous, and I'm back on track.

There is such a Spirit here that it almost makes up for being so close to my stomping grounds without being able to go out and visit everyone! I'll ride the bike in gym which faces a window to 9th east and I see people's cars I know. Soo strange. I feel like I am constantly growing and being challenged to grow even more than I thought possible! In practicing extending commitments, we have commited each other to do crazy hard things, such as be in bed with the lights out already when the announcement comes that it is 10:30PM. My my how I have turned into a normal person (in only a select few things).

It has been such a privilege to be surrounded by people whose faith and pathway to get to the MTC have led them here to do something that will arguably be the hardest thing in our lives up to this point. The Sisters are such an example and constantly allow me to find ways to be better and to help those around us. A companionship goal for us is to help the Elders. Haha.

The crazy thing is that all of these Elders are going to Fresno! And, there are four more that leave the same day we do! And....I am the only Sister. Geez Louise. I will be the Mother Hen at the airport. But I am trying to get over that. They try to do anything they can to get my 'pity laugh' ... I don't think they're ready for the 'squawk' yet. But I am sure it will come with time.

I miss y'all so much! It has been so crazy. I can't believe that I have only been here for a week. Waking up early and planning seriously means that SO much gets packed into one day. Absolutely mind-boggling for Sister B.

Sister Bolliger (I've actually gotten used to saying that!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sister Bolliger's first letter just arrived, written on April 1st. No foolin! :)

"Hellooooo !

The MTC is intense, but I am absolutely soaking it in!
I have 2 companions. My assigned comp didn't speak English so she's been reassigned.
I LOVE my district, myself and the 4 elders are all going to Fresno! The other sisters are going to JAMAICA. Sooo jealous.

The name tag was spelled correctly, don't worry. And they're making special meals for me!

I love you all and cannot believe how much can be packed into one day!

P-day is Thursday, so watch out for some cyber email goodness!! (and I can't write letters until then...)

I am so overwhelmed at all I have to learn, but am continually reminded that the Lord is watching over me!

Happy Easter and General Conference weekend!"