Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visalia Week 9 - Waxing Strong in Tongan and Spanish, Friendly Encounters, Walking & Walking, Tired & Happy!

Well, I am currently typing my weekly informational and oh-so-hilarious email in the midst of a computer lab that is half full of missionaries. It seems as if our entire district is here and the sea of white shirts is amusing. If there's a hungry soul here I'm sure we'll sniff it out. :)

I have continued to wax strong in my knowledge of the Tongan language and have increased my vocabulary with only the most applicable of words. With Sister To'a's presence in our companionship, I am the only one that is not bilingual. But I'm taking a worthy stab at spanish and tongan and enjoying the process. My favorite words currently include: Talangofua (obedient), mingimingi (curly hair), lango (fly), fakasesele (crazy), tokoua (sister), 'ulu 'ulu (black person), palangi (white person), miko (mexican person), ma'alahi (cute). Hahah. Oh so fun.

We had an interesting encounter with our Pentecostal neighbor. His wife was washing their car as we passed by on our way back from an appointment. We offered to help her, and then being the wonderful missionaries we are, began to talk to her about the gospel. Her husband ran out lickety split, with his bible I might add, and began to discuss the intricacies of his gospel knowledge and challenged us with many a scripture. Contention began to fill the air, and I took charge thanking him for his knowledge of the scriptures and refusing to engage in a battle. I had an MTC teacher discuss that in such "bible bashing" opportunities, no "perfect comeback scripture" exists that will immediately change the perceptions of the person challenging us. Funny thing is that we saw him at Food Maxx yesterday and he was very friendly and cordial--quite a turn from his attitude previously. So who knows what will happen with him!

I can't believe that I will have been out for three months on this Wednesday! We're about half-way through the transfer as well...so time is just absolutely flying by! It is fun serving with Sister To'a. It is sad..her companion was sent home and Sister To'a really hasn't had an opportunity to work full-strength on the mission as her first companion had several health issues that limited her work each day. So have we ever introduced her to the always going methods! It has been interesting being in a trio. We look more like J-Dubs than ever..but it's all good. :) They're also both about 5'4" with beautiful dark skin...and then there's Sister Bolliger here with the afro and pasty whiteness. It's a beautiful dichotomy.

Well we had a grand ol' time last evening. We only have 470 miles per month (and this was after being given 170 more after hearing of my no biking issue). Yesterday we calculated that we have only 47 miles left for the rest of the month. Whoops! I guess because our church building is about 10.4 miles away it eats up the miles fast! We had an appointment quite a distance away and couldn't find a ride---so we walked an hour to get there. Just as we were three houses away we checked our voicemails and found out that the good sister had cancelled. :) Not able to find a ride and not near any other members or proselyting areas....we walked back the full hour to our apartment. But then we had to scurry along as it was getting dark and we are not supposed to be out walking during this time. Hahaha. We woke up SO SORE today! Thank goodness for stretching. :)

And that....is all!

Sister bolliger

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 8 Visalia: Mission Home Call/ Working as a Trio/Yes, Sister Missionaries Wear Make up/ 102 degrees/Spider Door Approach/Wonderful New Members

The other night we were just leaving our dinner appointment when we saw that we had a missed call from the Mission Home. The Mission Home! Helloooo. What?? I immediately started wondering which one of my family members passed away and whether or not I would go home for the funeral or stay and finish out my mission. Yay for an overactive mind. Turns out no one has died, but we will be getting an addition to our companionship! One of the sisters in the mission had to go home due to some health problems, and President was calling us to see if we would be okay with having her companion come to Visalia for the rest of the transfer! Whoa! So I guess we will be a trio now! The sister coming is Sister Toa, the one that I was supposed to be companions with at the MTC! Haha. I guess we really need to learn something from each other. :) So the Assistants brought a bed, dresser, and desk from Fresno yesterday. Woot! This ward is getting even more opportunities to love sisters!
Sister Hernandez is pretty much the bomb dot com. We are severely similar in personality and between the laughing fits are able to teach wonderfully together. We are both lacking in directional skills but thankfully we're able to walk places some days and not use our vehicle. And, thankfully Visalia is teeny tiny so that we've pretty much got the streets down now!
It reached 102 degrees yesterday! Sometimes I wish we didn't have a thermometer so that we wouldn't know how it really is. Haha. All we wanted during the day was for some precious soul to offer us some ice cold water, and it took six hours to get some! Finally as things began to cool off we tracted on a member's street and begged for some refreshment. Boy was that nice!
I am actually getting some color to my arms.....but it's the region from my elbows to my wrists...and I have a massive watch line. Wahoo! There's a reason we don't go swimming. The contrast in skin color would shock the world. But yes, Sister Bolliger with a skin color. Miracles do happen!
It has been a challenge figuring out what is and has been going on here regarding missionary work. We were actually able to talk with President at the last Zone Conference. Trying to keep President's trust in us while remaining humble and getting out and doing the work day after day. :) But I just smile. And laugh. And then make a lame joke or something and it is alllll good.
We were able to go into Young Women's on Sunday and talk about missionary work and things that we would like to hear about in letters from home. One of the Young Women asked if we were allowed to wear makeup. Uhhhh...yeah. SIster Hernandez and I turned to each other and were like... "Yes, we can. And...we're wearing some!" I guess we didn't look as done up as we thought we did. Oh well! They also asked if we had to wear ugly clothes all the time. Hahahah. Sister H and I chorlted for the rest of the day. :)
There's currently an ant infestation in the apartment. OHH! but speaking of bugs. The other day we were going to contact a referral and as we were talking to the lady I felt something on my neck. I thought it was my hair being ridiculous so I just brushed it away. Then I felt something again. As I went to put my ridiculous hair where it needed to be, I pulled off a HUGE GINORMOUS SPIDER and promptly threw it on the ground and did a little ceremonial/freak out dance on the porch. The woman thought that I was psychotic. Realizing that I am a representative of the Church, I promptly picked the spider back up and semi-shoved it in her face. Then she freaked out. Haha. Juuust kidding. I just pointed at the spider on the ground and then she realized what I was doing. And then we set up a church tour. Hahaha. Now I am just waiting for the spidey sense and webs to come shooting out of my wrists so that I can wrangle people to Church on Sundays. :) I think that's a good plan.
The work is going well here. I am excited for the people we're teaching and continuing to realize how important and wonderful the gospel is! There are some incredible converts here in this area and I am amazed at the sacrifices that they are making to be members of the Church--but I know that it is worth it! I know that we teach of truth and that everything we're teaching isn't to make people change just because, it's to allow themselves to receive the incredible blessings of our Heavenly Father!
I am also progressively getting more and more into the missionary mindset. We were tracting on Wednesday and there was a TV going at one house when we were talking with this man and his kids were watching "Finding Nemo." While I have quoted the "Mine, mine, mine" part of the seagulls....it was nothing like when I was sitting there trying to keep my eyes from watching. I felt guilty even hearing it. Haha. And it was weird. And I have lost so much memory of everything. :) I guess my brain is just getting filled with gospel stuff.
Speaking of gospel stuff, I am currently half way through Jesus the Christ. This book literally rocks my world. I've read it before but on a mission I have come to realize so much more about the Savior's earthly ministry. It has helped so much as I am able to put things into perspective for my tiny missionary service in California. I am so excited to wake up each morning and read and learn more about the pattern the Savior set. As I am trying to develop more charity for everyone around me, studying the way that Jesus interacted with everyone is the prime example for what I need to emulate. I have concluded that no amount of superiority in knowledge or experience warrants ill will or pride. I have to love people with all of their faults, at the very least, because my Heavenly Father loves me with all of my faults. If I don't care about the members, the investigators, or just the general people, why would they care about me?
Gosh! So much to learn!! Busy busy busy!
And that is the random, not very informative, but still indicative of my general mental state e-mail about my missionary service. :)
Hermana Bolliger

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Visalia Week 7 - Clean'n House, Peace is the Journey, Golden teaching moment, Tired & Happy!

Greetings my people!

Well, today finds me in the rather extensive Visalia Public Library computer lab. And boy is there a lot to tell!

My new companion, my "step trainer", is absolutely awesome! Her name is Sister Hernandez and she is from the Bay area, more particularly Freemont! We have had a grand ol' time adjusting ourselves to Visalia life. We doubled in after Elders, meaning that the Elders were taken out and we, the sisters, were just put in--both new together! We moved into the Elders apartment, which *ahem* was interesting. Since transfers were last Wednesday, we had to wait until yesterday (our preparation day) to clean. And boy did we clean! GROSS ALERT. One of the tender previous Elders would pick his nose and then place the BOOGER ON THE WALLLLLLL. I was already washing the walls that were disgusting until I noticed this pattern of consistency and color and boy oh boy I wanted to shoot him! Hahaha. I spent five hours cleaning the bathrooms and I think we're finally starting to get the apartment to smell like females live there--or at least anyone hygienic. :) The mantra of the day was "divide and conquer" --Sister Hernandez spent three hours just cleaning the fridge and oven. Haha. And this was after we had done a little prep cleaning when we initially got there. All in all, it's starting to feel a bit more like home. :)

This area is ... different than my last one. The ward boundaries include some incredibly insanely wealthy people, but we were still blessed with a few humble (and thus potential) streets. This ward has its own ideas on pretty much everything. And not everyone is excited to see Sisters because we are messing up the system. Hahahah. Yes. Laugh away. This is another exercise in humility and charity for Sister Bolliger. Our christlike attribute we're studying together as a companionship for the transfer is charity and the quote that is written largely all over the apartment is Elder Bednar's advice: "Choose not to be offended." And we're just choosing away!

I have been incredibly blessed so far this transfer. I have not had any problems with anxiety. Para nada! I can tract, I can talk on the phone, I can do everything without the slightest thought or doubt. I am seriously and completely being blessed. You would think that because I am under more stress now with neither of us knowing the streets, the ward, or the investigators, but somehow I am actually doing better than when I was in a place that I was comfortable. I guess the Lord does know what he is doing!

My companion and I get along swimmingly although there is no swimming involved. Hah hah. She speaks better English than I do I think...and we have a lot of fun! She is a workhorse and I have never felt better or more exhausted. We work really well together and I am excited for the next five weeks that we get to share together!

The bike is still out--orders of Sister Gonzalez--so we get to live off our 300 miles a month. Hahahah. Laugh away again general public who is not restricted on mileage...laugh away. I'm pretty sure we have already used half of that allotment, but I guess it will make us dependent on the members! haha.

Funny thing. This zone had NO sisters before we got here. And they haven't had any sisters for the last 15 years or so. Which means, that not only do the members not know how to completely deal with us...but that the elders don't either! Our zone leaders and district leader have never had sisters in their areas. Hahahah. Oh boy. So, they are all even more awkward than normal, but I guess we have to rep the Sisters and not be crazy and try and be as low maintenance as possible.

The work is going well here! We met a wonderful wonderful woman last night which proves the power of perseverance. We had this investigator in the area book that we had tried contacting her at least six times. We knocked on her door at different times of the day, left notes, tried calling the phone number that was written and NADA! But, last night, at like 8:42PM we tried once more and she is absolutely GOLDEN! She literally asked us for a reading assignment from the Book of Mormon and then was talking with her 12 year old daughter that they would read together before our next appointment on Thursday. After we left their home Hermana Hernandez and I absolutely died and kind of jumped up and down and looked incredibly happy and ridiculous simultaneously. Haha. All while being missionary of course. :)

All in all, I am so tired, but so happy to be here. I know that there are lots of things I need to learn and continue to learn and I am already sad of how fast time is flying by! I think I'm at less than 16 months now...and while I'll be glad to sleep in after, I know I am going to miss the closeness to the spirit and the constant miracles that surround us!

Sister Bolliger

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fresno Week 6: The Transfer-mation of Sister Bolliger, "Humu & Hamu in my Kete", Being a "Sower", Semi-Fainting Door Approach

My greetings to y'all.
I must alert the world of a change that has been wrought in the very nature of Sister Bolliger. My parents, roommates, and anyone with enough guts to enter any room that I have lived in will be very familiar with the fact that typically things were a tad disorganized, perchance messy, and definitely cluttered. Well, the mission has already begun to impact the dear Sister Bolliger. I cannot take off a sweater without hanging it up. I cannot apply makeup without returning it to the bag from which it came and depositing it back in the cupboard of its origin. I cannot use a spoon without placing it in the sink and promptly washing it. I cannot live in disorganization. Hahahah. I laugh at myself all the time. I am currently beset with the shakes because in packing all of my belongings my things are not in order. Yes, miracles do happen. :)
As evidenced by the fact that all of my things are in a state of disarray...I'm being transferred! Visalia 3rd ward is my destination and Sister Hernandez (who hails from Mexico and is called Spanish speaking) will be my new companion. It was a sad day on Saturday when Sister Tupou and I got the call. We just sat on the ground and lamented our impeding separation. Just earlier that day I had actually navigated the streets without the prompting of Sister Tupou's sense of direction. I guess that meant I was ready to leave. Haha. I was asked to bear my testimony again in Sacrament Meeting and it was all very tender.
I have a lot of rubbish. Seriously. It's absurd. And that is all I have to say about that.
This week has seen an improvement in Sister Bolliger's health. Not in the sense that the ailments that have plagued me have gone away, no that has not happened, but that I have been able to relax. My anxiety is no where near the levels that I operate at normal. I have been able to release the tension in my body and the anxiety about everything. It has been remarkable! I have definitely felt the prayers ---------------------slight pause to go keep our car from being stolen---------------------------okay we're back. Car is still in our possession. Phew.-----------------I have definitely felt the prayers and the love of everyone this week. I feel mentally like I can do this! My attitude is back on track and while I still feel ill, it is no where near the totally overwhelming feeling of being sick that plagued this previous transfer. I feel very very blessed!
Tongan phrase of the day. Well, this one is actually a mix of tongan and english. Haha. Because I typically grab my stomach when the pain hits, and because I read Sister Tupou's Tongan/English dictionary, this sentence has been brought about: "I have a humu and hamu in my kete!!" Humu means fish, hamu means muscle spasm, and kete means abdomen. Yes, it sounds retarded. No, I don't care what people think. And yes, this is frequently uttered from my mouth. Because sometimes it feels that in addition to my hamu, there is a humu swimming around in my stomach! Hahah. I had just barely transferred speaking in Spanish to speaking in Tongan...and now I'm getting a spanish companion. Oiaue!
This week has been fabulous in every way! We have had tons of lessons, lots of success with less actives, and been out doing the work a lot!
I would say that the thing I have been pondering on this week is the parable of the sower. Our Bishop gave a wonderful lesson with much missionary gusto about this on Sunday. Jesus didn't tell the parable of the hunter. Missionary work is not, "I'm going to go out and get me a baptism." We don't hunt for the "perfect" one. We sow. We spread seeds EVERYWHERE. We can't tell what ground is rocky and hard or ready to grow. We can't tell from looking and we certainly can't tell the timing. There was a lady in the ward who was sealed to her husband this weekend. The Bishop used her as an example. A convert of two years, she had over four thousand contacts (we calculated) with the Church before she joined the Church and five sets of missionaries. In fact, twenty years ago she said that she would never be a Mormon to her friend! Haha. He said that we go and spread the seeds everywhere we can, having a conversation about the gospel, or having the formal teaching of a missionary, because we provide the choice. We don't force people to do anything. We allow them to exercise their agency! And we provide that choice because we would never want to deny anyone the opportunity and blessings of the gospel. It was a wonderful perspective!
My health has actually got us in many a door. One day I semi-fainted on a super less active woman's doorstep. She promptly invited us in, watered us, and set me up on the couch to rest. We then talked for the next hour and fit in many a scripture. It was wonderful! We have never been in that door before. Yes. Score one for hidden blessings about Sister Bolliger's ailments!
It's starting to get warm here--mid 90's--but we're getting ready for the real heat! Ah. I think I will roast. But hey, if I get sunburned enough, hopefully some color will stick. :)
Peace be the journey!
Sister Bolliger