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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 8: malo e lelei, fefe hake? marhaball, shalom kadeema? hola, como estan?

Wow yesterday was incredible.

Yesterday we had the baptism of Marcos who is a 11 year old son of a now active woman named Victoria who is someone that the Gospel has influenced and brought back onto the path and is holding onto the iron rod so so strongly. At the baptism we had very good attendance and I could feel the spirit so strongly in there, when Elder Hall and Marcos were changing people could come up and bear their testimonies, I felt prompted to do so and I went and bore mine first on the atonement and Jesus Christ and the saving ordinances, then some other people did as well then a bunch of little kids also came up and bore their testimonies, some of them not even baptized yet, the spirit was so strong there you could almost cut it with a knife. After giving a talk on baptism I gave Marcos the gift of the Holy Ghost, wow that was very spiritual as well, and gave him a blessing too.

So far I have had some incredible experiences on my mission and this last week I had the best day I have had so far and my companion agrees that its been one of the best, it was this past Friday and it started out waking up at 5:45 am to go play indoor soccer in our local ward building, that game was pretty fun and we had a good time and then we had a great personal & companionship study then we went with our roommates to our favorite place for weekly planning, Starbucks, which we love getting the non-coffee drinks there and do our weekly planning for this next week. Then we went to the church for another basketball workout with an investigator and challenged him to read the book of mormon and pray to know about its truthfulness.

Next, we taught another girl that was recently baptized by her grandfather into the church, another awesome lesson. Then we went to the Bowlers and had 2 great lessons one with Marcos who was baptized yesterday and the other with a sister and her four children who we are working on and probably gonna get baptized in the next couple of weeks. Our lesson which we taught was on Obedience because them being kids aren't exactly the most obedient and it went over very very well. It was that night that we had another district leader interview with Marcos and it went over well and he was ready for baptism. And at the end of the day we went on a nice jog and sprints/ leg work outs and stuff.
It was the best day so far!
Well I hope that yall have a great week where ever yall are!
And go forward with faith!
Elder Bolliger

We received the following e-mail this week from the Bowler family in John's ward. We wanted to share a little bit. The Gospel brings out the best in each of us and it is Good! - The Texas Bolligers :)

... I have the privilege of having Elder Bolliger in my home often for discussions and meals. He is doing very well as a missionary and is having success.

I have seen a lot of growth in him since his first day here. He and Elder Hall work really well together. The young people they are teaching like him a lot. My four year old grandson, Cole LOVES "Eddabodiga."

Elder Bolliger knows when he comes to my home that I want to be taught something.... and he is always ready and happy to teach me something he has learned from his personal studies that day.

You have raised a good son that is willing to make this sacrifice to teach my friends in this area. Your son blesses my life and I'm grateful! ...

Hooray for the Gospel!
Sister Bowler

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sister Bolliger - Visalia Week 24: No Clouds!Loved General Conference! "I Know You Love the Lord!" Amazing Lessons, Health Hiccup - no stress!

Greetings from freezing Visalia! The weather here is crazy. We had a ridiculous heat spell and then all of a sudden it's raining and 65 degrees. And this is a place where there aren't even ever clouds! I am so cold! I was wrapped up in my snuggie and slippers during studies this morning just trying to keep all of my appendages functioning.

What an awesome week it has been! It was the wonderful week of meetings! We had some amazing Sister training in Fresno and then completely loved General Conference! I can't believe that this weekend marked my six months on the mish! I feel like I should be more knowledgeable than I feel right now.. but I guess that's what turning to the Lord is for!

General Conference was AMAZING! I was in the MTC for the last one so it was interesting to see how I had grown spiritually and the kinds of questions I took and answers that I sought for certain investigators. A wonderful sister in the ward drove us to each session and fed us for lunch. It was so amazing that we were able to hear and listen to a prophet's voice! I took loads of notes but tried to focus more on what I was learning from the Spirit than the specific words that were being said. I loved Elder Bednar's (of course), Elder Oak's, Elder Christofferson, and President Uchtdorf's talks. My goodness. There is so much wisdom they have to give us! I loved the idea that we need to slow down when going through difficult patches. It spoke tons to me as I am contemplating another transfer of growth and need to allow myself to take things at the optimal pace for my spiritual, physical, and emotional benefit.

Transfers are this Wednesday, and Sister Clark is leaving me heading to Lemoore! Where there is a Naval Air base. Sound a little oxymoronic? I thought so too. Haha. She gets to be in a trio with one of my old companions Sister To'a...the one who taught me how to flick Tongan style. Heheh. I know they'll have fun! And I, Sister Bolliger, am training. Again! Ahhhhhh. She is from Mongolia. And learned English in the MTC. There are 21 missionaries coming in this transfer and she is the lone sister! There are many missionaries in my zone training and actually one of the assistants is now coming here to be a district leader. We're rocking the mission and we've got to maintain the Visalia reputation! :)

When President Gonzalez calls you to ask you to train, he always begins with the question, "Sister or Elder So-and-so, do you love the Lord?" Well, this time, President didn't even ask me the question. Hahah. He said, "Sister Bolliger, I know you love the Lord and I know that you'll love to train the sister from Mongolia!" Ahem. I didn't hear any question marks in there. Haha. Thankfully I do love the Lord, but my am I getting a lot of chances to turn to Him!

Todd is progressing beautifully! We have had some amazing lessons with him and he is really really changing his life! I love watching how his countenance has developed as he has been receiving the lessons. He came to the afternoon session of Conference and was amazed! He asked if there was a way he could watch the other sessions because he had to work Saturday. When we informed him of the November issue of the Ensign he immediately asked what he needed to do to get one! He has experienced many challenges in his life but he keeps thanking us for finding and teaching him when we did because it is only blessing!

I had a little health hiccup the other day. We were at one of the sisters meetings in Fresno when all of a sudden I began to feel deathly ill. Sister Clark accompanied me outside for a bit of fresh air and we were quickly met by Sister Gonzalez. I happened to get sick when we were roleplaying with other companionships so Sister Clark was ushered off to practice and Sister Gonzalez became my companion. The pain was pretty unbearable so I was practically forced to lay down on the couch in the foyer of the mission office. Hahah. Yeah. Super rad. I just breathed and chatted with Sister Gonzalez until the pain subsided. But it was quite a random flare up of pain. I realized that I was feeling so because I was so anxious about transfers. Haha. And had been slightly stressed out this transfer with lots of crazy things and crazy people in this area. I just did some precious visualization and was able to get back up on my feet. It is amusing to lay on a couch in the mission office though. :) Sister Gonzalez is fabulous and we just laughed together at my ridiculous and random pain.

Things are going well! The Church is true! And God loves us!

Adios amigos!

Sister Bolliger

Monday, October 4, 2010

Elder Bolliger - Colton, CA Week 7: Being Filled!

Well this past week has been full.

This past week was transfer meetings and General Conference, so it felt like we didn't have any time.

Its really sad to see investigators and recent converts lose their hold on the rod as they start slipping and sliding from their previous position, but I hope that someone can reach out to them later in life if we are unable too. But for every bad thing that happens out here, a good thing takes its place.

So I'll start with Thursday/Friday. We had over a less active member with her four kids. We were talking with the mom and we set a date with them for baptism on the 16th & 17th of this next month. So that means that as of right now we have 4 baptisms coming up! One this weekend and 3 the following. It is very exciting to see people have a desire and want to progress.

Well the last couple days here have been General Conference!
(fyi - http://lds.org/conference/sessions/display/0,5239,23-1-1298,00.html)
Which being out on a mission and watching it is completely different as you are thirsting for the knowledge and I think I ended up taking somewhere around 22 pages of notes over all of the sessions. In the Priesthood session some of those talks were just powerful, especially President Uchtdorf's and President Monson's talk, another one that I got a lot out of was Elder Packer's talk in the Sunday morning session where he talked on how one of the hardest parts of forgiveness is forgiving yourself. And I really enjoyed conference as a whole this year more then in years past.

Well I am looking forward to Southern California being cooler than it has been the past. Some days its been pretty hot and humid here, kinda reminds me of home. But it should start cooling off soon.

In this email I am attaching pictures, one is of Elder Hall and I, who right now is my current companion and still training me but now being district leader.

The other picture (not posted) is of Eliza who was just baptized two weeks ago and her mom is coming back into the church and her dad is not a member.

The other picture is of a culinary growing experience on my mission. These are Octapi. I've also had pork skin and Lingua which is Cow Tongue. If the Lingua is prepared in the right way isn't too bad just a little rubbery.

Well I hope everyone has a great week and always trust in the lord with all your heart, might, mind and strength!

Elder Bolliger