Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 23: What a Drive! Chicken Farm with No Reception, Disappointing Phone Message, Exciting Hospital Stay on Fast Sunday

This week was crazy. I know I seem to say that
EVERY week, but honestly, this week probably takes the cake.

Friday we found ourselves in Fresno AGAIN for the trainer and trainee meeting. Things progressed as usual but then we were charged with taking some medication to an Elder in the Hanford Stake. Because Hanford is only about twenty minutes from Visalia, we readily agreed to it--feeling self-important because of the task at hand. :)

After receiving some very basic directions from the Elders, we proceeded down the 99 back home. All of a sudden we were in Goshen, a town that is in our ward boundaries. We had missed the exit! The next 45 minutes were spent driving up and down the 99 looking for the Jensen exit. The Elders weren't picking up their phone, etc., so it was super awesome. Haha. We finally got off on a different exit and started driving through fields after fields. We began to think that we had missed a street and proceeded to attempt to contact the Elders. This was when we realized that we had NO cell phone reception. Left to our own devices we decided to just keep driving until we saw some semblance of civilization. This proceeded for another 50 minutes. Oh yes. Beginning to get slightly nervous that we were going to be lost forever, and just as we were about to turn back, we saw the glorious next part of our directions. We took that and began to lose our faith again. Some 30 minutes later we happened upon the Church building--out of NOWHERE! We were met by some normal looking Elders and were able to deliver the medication with no problem. Turns out they live on a chicken farm and don't get cellphone reception either. Our phone doesn't automatically switch to Roaming so we learned how to fix that fast!

Taking the drive back to the 99 we saw that we had a voicemail from Leon, the man who was going to get baptized the next day. When we finally could use our phone, we called him back and found out some horrible news: he decided he was NOT going to get baptized. Because I was driving I had to sit patiently and listen to half of the conversation. Turns out Leon had talked to his Father, who is a preacher, with the intention of inviting him to his baptism. But, when Leon was talking to his Father, his father convinced him that he shouldn't get baptized. Apparently Leon wasn't as solid as we thought, and it was really frustrating to realize that we didn't have time to talk with him until later that evening.

Needless to say, it was probably the most involved of any road trip on the mission thus far. :)

Fast forward to Sunday. Sister Clark and I are fasting and at meetings all morning. During church, however, she begins to not feel well and we went on the long walk to the bano. I just thought it was normal, but as we went to Gospel Principles (the second hour), she began to indicate that she was NOT doing well at all. We went to the bathroom again, but this time she began to complain of lower right abdomen pain and couldn't stand up any longer. I quickly mobilized the fellow bathroom goers. One woman went to find the nurse in Sunday School, one stayed with Sister Clark, and the other came with me outside so that I could call Sister Gonzalez--our medical contact. After calling Sister Gonzalez and getting the process started for permission to see a Doctor, I came back in the building to be greeted by a host of members, one nurse, one doctor, and my companion in tears sitting on the ground. Before I knew it, I was ushered into a waiting car with my companion and we were off to the ER. I called Sister Gonzalez again and told her of the potential appendicitis, and we were cleared. When we got to the ER Sister Clark realized that she didn't have her insurance card with her. We then sent off the husband of the nurse who was with us to go retrieve it. Then the long wait began. It's a little jolting to have been sitting in a spiritual class and to then be thrust unexpectedly into the Emergency Room. Then the long wait began. Just imagine Sister Clark is moaning in pain while I'm trying to lighten the mood and ignore the football game being blasted on the big screen. Oh, temptation comes in many ways.

We finally get a room (which happens to be a Psych room--one of the ones reserved for psych patients. haha) and then the fun process of waiting begins again. I am fielding phone call after phone call answering Mission President's wife, Ward Mission Leader, Bishop, other missionaries, etc. Ah! Then Brother Drennan, our Ward Mission Leader comes to give Sister Clark a blessing with the other brother that was still in the waiting room. Somehow, though, neither man had any oil! So, the calls to the Elders began. They gladly came over, but left out the detail that they were coming on their bikes. Forty-five minutes later, they arrive and participate in giving Sister Clark a blessing. One of the missionaries was with Sister Clark in the MTC and looked pretty scarred after the experience. I'm not sure if that was because he learned Sister Clark's first name or had to come to the hospital on a Sunday. Haha.

Turns out the whole hoopla was for a nasty UTI. Sister Clark HATES drinking water with a passion (apparently no water is as good as Utah water--no matter if it's bottled or not) and because of that got herself in this particular situation.

In retrospect, we left the church building at 3PM, and left the hospital at 9:30PM. Yup. On a Fast Sunday. Sister Bolliger was seriously wigging out! Thankfully there was a vending machine with a Nutrigrain bar. The next hour was then spent trying to find a 24-hour pharmacy. A precious ward missionary had come to relieve the previous sister of her duties and drove us all around Visalia to find a pharmacy. We rolled into our apartment at about 10:45 PM and were both seriously dead--thankfully not figuratively. :)

We've been met by more meetings in Fresno this week, more opportunities for exhaustion, more heat, more speculation about transfers, and much more fun!


Sister Bolliger

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 6: Companionship together again in Colton, Golden Investigator, Great Missionary Ward,

Well this past week was transfer doctrine and me and Elder Hall found out we are going to be together another transfer here in Colton/Grand Terrace, CA. But he is going to be a District Leader. It's incredible how much the past 6 weeks have flown by.

Well this past week we set 4 dates for baptism, all of which are in part member families. The first one a boy named Marcos whose mother was inactive for a while but is now really starting to come back strong, is a golden investigator, he reads the book of Mormon constantly, and comes to church and comes to FHE and is really excited for his baptism on 10/10/10 @ 5 which is a date he picked out and we are progressing with him towards that date. Another family in which the mom was inactive also for awhile and has 4 kids, with 3 of them being over the age of 9 is also starting to come back into the gospel. It's exciting to see these young kids be excited for the gospel and excited for baptism, we are going to try to schedule it probably in 2 or 3 weeks from today.

Well the missionary work is going great out here in the mission field. Colton/Grand Terrace is a really good area for the gospel, and our ward is very missionary oriented. At a baptism 2 weeks ago we had almost 60+ people show up and support her, and it was for just one person. Bishop Kory Sorensen (yes mom spelled the correct way s-e-n) in this ward is an awesome bishop and really helps out in missionary work. When he was out with his wife the other night we called them and they came over and helped us out in an awesome object lesson. We were teaching some kids under the age of 12 about the plan of salvation. So we had three rooms, one for pre-existence, one for earthly life which had a "gate" signifying baptism and what to do to pass it. Then finally the family room was for eternal life. I taught the pre -existence and what we did while we were there and why we were coming here, and then Sister Kathy Bowler (yes mom the mother figure to me and Elder Hall is also a Kath___ B., ironic isnt it?) and Elder Hall taught the end, it was awesome to also have bishop there quadruple confirming what we said and it was an awesome lesson.

Well I am looking forward to meeting my new roommate and to really getting some work done this next 6 weeks and hopefully baptisms.

Well I hope that everyone is having a good week & trust in the lord with all your heart, might, mind and soul.

Elder Bolliger

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 22: Hakuna Matata, Leon's progressing! Twenty Sister Training, Lots of Miracles. I Love My Ward and Area!


This week is going to be quite an interesting one. We have Leon getting baptized on Saturday which is going to be quite a feat! And we have three all-day meetings in Fresno at the Mission Office. Gah! And today we had District Meeting. I think I'm starting to get a feel for the work when I get frustrated by all the time that I don't have to go out and spread the message of the restored gospel! But, these meetings are amazing. :)

We are having Sister Training. So it's all the sisters in the mission! All 20 of us! There is a new method of teaching, using Preach My Gospel, that we are all getting trained in. The Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and trainers all went to this same series of meetings, but because we never go on splits with Elders, or will have them as companions, the information won't be able to be disseminated in the same way. So we all get to be together! For four full days! We met Tuesday and Thursday of this week, and Tuesday and Thursday of next week.

This week we also have the Trainer and Trainee meeting. On Friday. Haha. But I am so proud of my little trainee! We did a roleplay in front of President Gonzalez yesterday and it was powerful! I was nervous because he was observing us, but through our courage and determination we were able to rely on the Spirit and work together!

We're seeing lots of miracles continually and I'm starting to get nervous about transfers! I really don't want to leave this area. There are so many families and people that I have come to know and love and I'd much prefer it if I could stay for a long time. :) But isn't that the attitude that usually means you're leaving? Haha. I have learned all the names of people, they are starting to love the missionaries, we're gaining trust from everyone, and generally I am so excited about the work here! I've been teasing Sister Clark (shocker I know) about leading the area next transfer and she actually has started stressing out about it. Haha. Maybe I should tone it down a bit..

In all, things are crazy busy. Haha. And Sister Bolliger's crazy. And this is ridiculous. :)

Sister Bolliger

Monday, September 20, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 5: "Has it really gone by this fast?" Things are going ... "Well"

Well its crazy how fast this transfer has really gone by, it feels like it just begun but soon in a week from tomorrow it will be 2 months already.

Well yesterday we had a baptism of a daughter of a less active mom who is coming back into the church with her non member husband, it went amazingly well and the 50 chairs that we set up weren't enough, and the husband that was for the past couple weeks not very interested in the church is becoming much more warm and interested and we are going to work on him.

Well we set a date with a boy named marcos whose mom was really inactive for a number of years and randomly came back to church around 3 months ago, since then she has given up some bad habits and is really starting to grow in the church, its cool to see people really start to grow in the church and how much it helps them in life.

Well a week from tomorrow is transfer meeting, which will be interesting to see what happens to my companero and I, but I'm hoping that we can stay together another transfer as it seems like we are really working well and teaching a lot of people the gospel. But I feel like another transfer would really help me and the ward to progress.

Well tonight we are helping to teach a lesson at FHE at an awesome members home, so we need to go prepare for it and teach it later today.

Elder Bolliger

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 21: Hard Work! Throwing Down the Challenges, "Driving in the Image of the Church?!" Autumn is coming, Milestones!


My people:

Sister Bolliger here. This week has been busy as ever and we are plodding along about our missionary service! We are emerging out of the haze of the recent tragedy and we're able to get back to the kind of work that I like! Which is hard work! Haha. Imagine that. :)

Sister Clark is hilarious and wonderful and she has got me wearing sunglasses all the time as I drive as my eyes dry out weirdly fast with these kinds of contacts (which actually are working out super great, btw). So we pretty much look the bomb dot com.

Leon has a baptismal date for the 25th! And he has his baptismal interview this week! I'm semi-nervous about the question about past crimes committed, but he's actually progressing! It's amazing to see people decide to follow the gospel. Leon was someone we were going to drop, being taught off and on for the last two years, but he has made the initiative to change and change he has! I might have threw down on him to read a chapter a day from the Book of Mormon and the Bible and my-oh-my if he hasn't pulled through! There are lots of exclamation points involved but he is just that awesome. He's living the word of wisdom and law of chastity and says that he has never felt happier. He has also come for Church consistently (another part of Sister Bolliger's ultimatum). He's in a wheelchair and is semi-paralyzed from the waist down and has some intense we've been brainstorming how he's going to get baptized with our Ward Mission Leader and the stake leaders. It is probably going to involve several men in the very narrow steps of the font. But it will be exciting!

We have been seeing everyone come on fire about missionary work. Probably because Sister Bolliger is just starting to throw down on everyone! I like leaving commitments and challenges and then following up. Nasty me I know! But it's lighting the fire!

Sister Clark committed me to "drive in the image of the Church" this week. Yeah. Isn't that super rad? According to "some" I may drive a little fast or accelerate to the "speed limit" quickly or generally do other things that may not be the most missionary like conduct. Haha. So I'm working on it. We're obviously missionaries due to the ridiculous bike rack that is actually more like a spear on the back of the car, and with that and the fact that we ate dinner last night at the house of a Highway Patrolman might have also convinced me to accept the commitment of my precious companion. :)

I told the ward that I'd stay in Visalia 3rd until they learned my name, so now when people say "Bolliger" incorrectly I just like to think that they're just saying that they want me to stay longer. Haha. Those little tricks come in handy!

I am just generally incredibly happy and super grateful that the temperatures have started to drop! I can already smell Autumn coming in and it is fabulous! To have days where we stay below 100 degrees is a privilege. I've already busted out some longer sleeves! I feel like it's a vacation when it's so nice outside! And I think the nice weather has made knocking even better as it puts everyone else in an awesome mood.

There are some large milestones rapidly approaching. I hit six months on the mish at General Conference and the 22nd birthday the following month! Oiaue! What is to be done!? I can already feel my back starting to hurt more. Hahah. I can't believe how fast time is flying!!!!

I am just loving the Old Testament right now. And the New Testament. And everything. Hahah. I just wish I could read faster! And comprehend quicker! And everything!! Love, love, love.

Well my companion's getting restless and playing around the computer. Haha. So I think it's time to go!!!


Sister Bolliger - the Younger

Monday, September 13, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 4: "Missionary Work and Misconceptions part #2, I'm not a robot"

Well this week has been full of ups and downs, miracles and disappointments, and many other things.
Well it's been interesting adjusting to missionary life, but I am getting used to it. Before coming out here on a mission I had many misconceptions about what missionary work was like. One of the biggest things that I guess is dependent on the senior companion and the missionary is how much tracting we do. With my senior comp we don't exactly do a lot of tracting, because we spend a lot of time going to referrals and recent converts, as well as teaching lessons to part member families. Cause I used to think that missionary work was tracting for like 5-6 hours a day + but it doesn't necessarily need to be based on the conditions of the area and whatnot.

Although I would think that me and my companion aren't doing enough work, I look back at our progress indicators and most of them are above the "standards of excellence" which tells you if you are working enough or need to work harder, this past week we had 7 member present lessons which is a lot and really helps to connect with the investigators better.

Well at least I am not a robot, which is a term used for missionaries who come out into the field and drive themselves into the ground and really don't connect with anyone.

So currently right we have one investigator named David who is progressing to be baptized in a couple weeks although I am unsure how long it will actually take to get him baptized. He only speaks spanish and his member girlfriend who lives with him speaks both, recently we have been trying to get him to live the word of wisdom and the law of chastity, with me and elder hall it hasn't been necessarily easy to convey to him. So this past week Elder Hall had the inspiration to bring along Brother Kendry, who is one of the most solid members I have ever met. He is a shorter gentleman who speaks both Spanish and English fluently and consistently does 100% home teaching every month for a long time running now, well we brought him along in our lesson and holy cow, it helped so much. There wasn't a language barrier there and since I don't know spanish I was really feeling the spirit and following it. He talked for about 45 minutes with Elder Hall and I randomly interspersing comments in there off and on. For the first time it seemed like they were excited to come to church and they said that they would, what a difference having a member helped in the lesson, we were able to effectively communicate a lot more than we ever have!

Fast forward to sunday and we are waiting and they don't show up. But for every bad event there's also a good one. There is a previously inactive and part member family that hasn't been completely coming to church for ever. And this past sunday I was looking around pretty much all of them came to church, which I don't think has ever happened, even though some of them were baptized a number of years ago. I guess all of the fellowshipping has paid off as two of them came to priesthood and hopefully become more active.

Another awesome thing that happened at church, I was with the priests while Elder Hall was with the Elders cause of the family that came to church. I was participating in an activity and for some reason we were passing around books to write on and all of the sudden I see the back of what I think is the area book and it turns out to be it! For the past 2 months the area book went missing and the whole time it was in the bishop's office! Which is just too crazy. Not having an area book is not a good thing to find people to go talk to and possibly a baptism is in there!

Well its been interesting adjusting to southern California, its a different climate and is actually quite nice at night time, where it can get cold.

In the mission everyone collects old ties, from members, Deseret Industries, thrift stores etc. I have already picked up a couple of them but my trainer has got a lot of awesome ones. Some really unique ones and some others, but I will hopefully be able to pick up some, over my mission the average at the end is somewhere like 50-60 awesome ties of all different colors patterns, paisleys etc. But hopefully I can get some more.

Well all yall have a good week!

Elder Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - Arriving in San Bernardino, CA Week 1: Meeting the Mission President & Sister Godwin

John's Mission "Mom", President Godwin's wife Sister Godwin, sent us these photos recently. She described meeting John and the other missionaries as they arrived from the MTC a few weeks ago.

"It is a pleasure for us to write to you and tell you how much we have enjoyed meeting your son. He along with 11 other elders arrived safely here in California. I am sure you have had communication with your son and he has probably informed you of the events of that day. When we left the airport, we took all of the Elders to Glen Helen Park at the mouth of the Cajon Pass. Sister Mills and Brother Bacon, local historians, met us there and told us how the area had been settled. Jefferson Hunt, Captain of the U.S. Army Battalion was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also called the Mormons) as was all the members of the battalion. Because of this they were called the Mormon Battalion and they were sent to guard the pass and protect it from marauding indians. After they were mustered out of their service in the Battalion, they returned to Salt Lake City to join their families. President Young, seeing southern California as a source of supply for the Utah pioneers and to establish a mail route and supply stop for immigrants coming through California, used church funds to buy property that was for sale by Antonio Maria Lugo, a Mexican rancher that had obtained a 35,000 acre grant after they won independence from Spain. Twenty families were asked to colonize the area. Fifteen former Battalion men and their families also went, including Captain Jefferson Hunt. The story of the settling the area here in San Bernardino was told in a story written by Sister Mills for the February, 2003 Ensign, if you are interested in reading more about it."

We hope this information will be helpful to you. Some of it may have been a retelling of the story for you, (actually we heard nothing about this) but hopefully you have learned something you didn't know before.
We are looking forward to working with your son in this most wonderful of experiences - preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people in this area. There is a lot of diversity here. He will learn a lot about other cultures We know your son will be a fine missionary. He is a wonderful young man.
If you have any questions, please ask us anytime.
Warmest regards,
Sister Godwin
President Godwin

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 20: "Captivating Power of the Spirit", HUGE VINEYARDS, Wonderful Progress, S-M-I-L-E, I don't want this mission to end!

Being in the world but not of the world is such a joy.

So, I am typing this in the public library. And the individual next to me with computer screen completely visible is watching a music video on Youtube that I probably would have watched in my former life. It's amazing how much more uplifting and wholesome the scriptures are. Hahaha. That is all.

This week has been interesting. We were asked by Elder Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy to attend the funeral and what an uplifting spiritual experience it was! There were over 1200 people there I believe. We got there about an hour early and the building was already filled half way through the cultural hall. There were police cars everywhere and camera crews filming those who were attending the service. The majority of those that attended seemed to not be LDS and the life sketch, eulogy, and "sermon" were absolutely inspiring. Even though the family was obviously suffering, they all spoke of hope and faith and comfort in the knowledge of the plan of salvation--that their brother wasn't lost forever, that he would be with them again. Elder Clayton spoke so eloquently from the scriptures and I was struck by the captivating power of the spirit. It seemed as if everyone was sitting on the edge of their seats, eyes wide, listening to the spirit speak through Elder Clayton. I was so privileged to attend and to see the obvious outpouring of love and peace from all involved.

The next day was filled with service! Here in California the Church has a Welfare Farm with HUGE VINEYARDS. Each stake in central California is given specific rows to take care of. As it was an opportunity to wear pants, we were so excited to go and serve! We awoke at 5AM to meet the group and carpool to the vineyard. We were off the pick the grapes! My what a task picking the grapes is. There's a process. And there are rows that seem like they are NEVER EVER going to end. We had the opportunity to lay down paper "trays" on one half of the row for the grapes to be laid out on after they were picked. The grapes will lay there in the sun and dry--turning into raisins! Our row was a powerhouse and we could hardly get the paper down fast enough before we were caught up to! It was wonderful as there were huge numbers of members there to assist--the most from the ward whose Bishop recently passed--and it was such a privilege to be all sweaty and dusty wearing my Longhorns shirt serving with so many faithful members!

We are seeing some wonderful progress in the ward with our less active members and our general ward excitement about missionary work. Woo! I don't want to leave this area...which probably means that I will! Grr. Hahaha. Funny how things work out!

My current favorite scripture is from Grandpa---that we need to SMILE, as being "Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal" (2 Nephi 9:39). I have thought a lot about what this means. I have concluded that we are to now work out our salvation by becoming the kind of people that are able to overcome our personal weaknesses and be ready to dwell in the presence of God--by becoming as much like Him as we can. As I study the Christlike Attributes chapter of Preach My Gospel (Ch. 6), I am continually in awe of how much I have to improve. Haha. Reading Alma 5 does the same thing. We, as a companionship, read that individually this week and then talked about what we felt we needed to work on to maintain our "mighty change of heart".

Training is insane. Haha. It's loads of fun and loads of responsibility! Fortunately Sister Clark likes getting things done and responds well to my odd form of leadership (AKA craziness). As we have followed the Spirit this week and helped many different persons it has been a blessing to truly be humbled and see how the Lord is in control!

I am so grateful for the chance that I have to serve. I don't want this mission to end. Ever! I am doing so much better at living in the present and each day is met with a desire to do the best I can that day to serve the Lord. It's a daunting task, and I frequently battle feeling inadequate--but I am able to conquer it and approach each new day with a zeal to do what Heavenly Father would ask of me!


Hermana Bolliger

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 3: Liking the days when I wake at 6:30am, Rugby Fun, Strong Investigators, Deciding what I want, Gifts of the Spirit!

Well this week has sure been interesting.

I am finally working on myself to wake up every day at 6:30, it hasn't been the easiest. And I am liking the days when I do it because those days are always the best when I wake up and exercise -> personal study -> comp study. And it starts really good.

Well today is P-Day and I finally played some rugby, which I never have before but always wanted too. It was just touch rugby though, but one of our ZLs, his name is Elder Okuso. He was playing for Australia's under 21 national rugby team and may go to BYU rugby or football. I think we are going to get together and practice throwing and different skills, its a fun game though.

Two weeks ago, we set 2 baptismal dates and are going to most likely get another this next week. We also have a brother in the ward who has brothers that may be interested in the church. His sister, who was inactive for a lot of her life, has a strong desire to come back to church with her kids. So we may have some baptisms on the way.

Well it's crazy how its already week 4 out here in the field. Time is sure flying by. I am seeing a lot of different situations in the world and starting to decide for myself what I want out of life and things post mission.

I am so glad for the different gifts that you get when you are set apart to be a missionary, things like the gift of discernment and when you are sharing a message and not sure what to say to let the spirit be your guide and direct you on a path where you need to share what needs to be said.

It's also sad to see investigators who know the gospel is true to be held back by members who aren't the best of examples to them, ( we have 2 that follow this category ), that could progress and be baptized but just can't. Well overall I am starting to get accustomed to mission life, and all of the other missionaries out here in the San Bernardino, CA Mission.

Tao toki fe tau laki

Elder Bolliger