Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace be the Journey,

Sister Bolliger

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

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

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

Well I have a little less time today,
Elder Bolliger

Friday, December 24, 2010

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

Hello from Visalia!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Merry Christmas!!!

Sister Bolliger

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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

Hello from Visalia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister Bolliger

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

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

Dec 7, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister Bolliger

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

December 6, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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