Monday, March 28, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 31: Summit Ward Week 2,

My favorite chapter of this past week's study has been Mormon Chapter 8, it talks about the modern day on how the book of mormon will come about, how the work of the Lord will move forward regardless of those that try to stop it, amongst other things.

So I have been enjoying my time in the fontana summit ward, I-15 cuts straight through our ward, its weird that its all 1 road that goes right by my other residence while at BYU. Weird. Well I am taking advantage of the opportunity in this ward to try some things out to get the members really, really involved. Well I now understand why in this area its really hard to do missionary work.

For one, its one of the smallest areas in the mission.

Two, there is almost no turnover here - not a lot of transient housing as there are no apartment complexes, which makes for one of the more challenging areas in the mission. But me and my companion we have some ideas that we have been learning and acquiring from other members in this ward and in other wards.

So regardless of the slowness of the pace, we are working to use the members more effectively and especially the non members to contact them and to share with them a missionary spiritual thought and ask/invite them to see if they would have any friends that might be interested in learning the gospel. This is the focus that we feel would work the best in this ward due to the lack of investigators, tracting really doesn't take you that far here. But we are looking to improve and get some work going with the ward, because this ward here is one of the best I have been in, everyone is willing and wanting to help out in terms of missionary work but now comes the problem of putting those resources to work.

So I hope that by next week I have more good experiences in this ward and that we can get some real work done, right now it feels like our investigators are eternal investigators but we hope to change that soon.

Have a great week yall!

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 49+MTC= One Year This Week! - How Time Flies,

Hello again from Lemoore!
I think I pulled my ponytail too tight because I can't think of anything quite to say at the moment! *gasp* I know!! What?! What happened to Sister Bolliger?!
Well. Lemoore is doing great. We have seen some miracles in our investigators progressing. One young woman we are teaching (who is in quite the situation) called us this week asking for a Book of Mormon reading assignment. Which is HUGE for her! We took the same girl to lunch with us at a member's home and it was splendid. Delicious food. One-on-one with this precious daughter of God. It was perfect! We have quite the feeling that she'll be getting baptized soon!
I had to say goodbye to Sister Lemalu this Wednesday. :( She's off to Modesto. But Sister D arrived! We have been basking in redneck-ness and sadly, Sister D has been quite sick since she's gotten here! Fortunately I am used to asthmatics and hearing the nebulizer going just reminds me of home. Haha.
We have had some really dramatic situations this past week. And I am just so thankful that Heavenly Father blesses me to be able to understand Spanish and be able to communicate with those that really need to speak with us!
I "taught" Gospel Principles in Spanish this Sunday. Whew! That was an experience! Fortunately I had my favorite Spanish pal in there to help me out! :)

Sister Bolliger

Monday, March 21, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 30: Transfer to Fontana, New Companion, Young Ward, Breath of Fresh Air

Well I was transferred here to north Fontana here in California to the Summit Ward.

A new companion, a new area and a fresh outlook on this ward, me and my new companion, Elder Waldon.

So the first thing about this new ward, its the north part of Fontana and its small, I mean really small geographically, its honestly like you cut a piece out of a married ward in utah and transplanted it here, everyone is very very young and has kids, its literally the exact opposite of the last area that I was in. I went from the oldest ward in the mission to the youngest, outside of YSA wards. In Sacrament meeting there are so many little kids running around everywhere and all of the families are in their late 20s to early 30s. Heck the bishop is 32 years old. But I am already loving the new ward and the renewed sense of young blood that permeates it here in northern Fontana.
There is a very large percentage of graduated college students that are married and starting a family, a kind of breath of fresh air.
Well I also got a new companion, Elder Waldon, funnily him and the last 2 companions are all from the same district in the MTC. We are very much alike in a large number of ways, we have the same interests and see eye to eye on and lot of stuff, so far I have needed this transfer greatly as now I feel like I am in an environment and companionship that I feel like I can really work on some stuff and really get to working hard. So I am really looking forward to this transfer.

Well its going to be a little slow for a couple more days but it should start picking up soon as my companion cannot bike due to a heart condition so we haven't been doing all that much work recently but it should start to pick up soon hereafter.

Elder Bolliger, with hopefully again more news next week.

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 48: Companions again, Miracle Call from Colorado, Singing Duets, Lemon Tree Door Approach, "The Sky is Crying", Lists!

Aloha from Lemoore!!
Well here's the big news. I am staying in Lemoore and getting Sister Denton as my companion again! Sister Lemalu is going to Modesto to step-train Sister Haueter (the sister that Sister To'a was training this transfer)! Sister Denton is an English sister so I am once again going to be on my own doing my Spanish thing. Haha.
It will be Sister Denton's last transfer, so we'll have a lot of motivation to finish out her mission strong!
We saw a miracle Sunday night. About three weeks ago we received a referral and the information told us to call ahead for an appointment. So, we did and the lady on the phone did not sound interested slash had no idea what we were talking about. This is a common occurrence so we didn't think anything of it. Well, on Sunday we got a call from the Bishop saying that a man had called him from Colorado with a referral from us. It turned out to be for the same woman! However, there was a different phone number--we hadn't called the right woman! So, we decided to hitch a ride with one of our ward missionaries and be off to find this address. It was raining pretty heavily all day Sunday, and this address was near the northern boundary of our area---a journey through farmlands and dairies and the like. Anyways, we had hard time locating the address, as the only thing where the house should have been was a huge dairy. We spotted something though, behind the dairy and across a large field of mud, that looked sort of like a residence. So we decided to try it out. Luckily the sister that took us is adventuresome! I was prepared to get out and push the car through the mud when suddenly the car smoothly drove toward the establishment. It was a house!!! We were looking for the number and creepily drove around the whole thing. Then, we saw someone come out of the home. I jumped out (because Spanish was required) and asked if this was indeed the number of the house we were looking for. It was, and so then I asked for Elisa. We were a bit perplexed, but then all of a sudden the most jolly, kind Elisa walked out of her home and asked us to come in. We had a beautiful conversation, all in spanish by the way, where she asked for a Book of Mormon and told us that her brother was just baptized (the one who had referred her). I taught her about the Book of Mormon, committed her to read 3 Nephi 11 and then set a return appointment. She is such a happy woman! I love the way she speaks Spanish. So clear and loud. Hurray! She's definitely a miracle. Her son lives with her, Juan, and I am excited for the future of the family!!!
Sister Lemalu and I sang in Church on Sunday. We sang a duet of a song called "Teach A Child" and "I Love to See The Temple". It went really well and was a great way to try to repay the ward for everything they have done for us!
We have had a lot of fun playing AN INTENSE game of slugbug. So "fun" that we have bruises. Haha. It has been quite the adventure getting along and I'm so sad to see Sister Lemalu go! I have learned SO much from her this second time around and I hope to always be more like her. :)
We have also received some wonderful referrals from the ward and are seeing great success in getting into Less-Active and previously "DNC" homes. Our strategy is very awesome. There is a neighbor of a member who has a HUGE lemon tree. She hurt her shoulder and therefore can't pick her tree. So we go over and pick it for her. And then take huge bags and bags and bags of lemons to use as our ruse into disarming potentially disgruntled members. So we knock and then before they can even talk we mention how we love their yard, their home, what good things we have heard about them and whadaya know we have some fresh lemons we would love to give them! :) It works!!
I made another spanish mistake the other day. I was talking to a sister and discussing the weather. I said... "Oh, esta llorando!" Hahah. I said "it's crying"! The sister and I laughed and then I got the right verb and fixed it saying, "Oh, esta lloviendo!" But, I was pretty close and we had a good laugh saying that indeed the sky was crying. :)
Things are going well here. We're seeing success with our investigators and I just keep praying my texan heart out to be able to speak and communicate with these people! We have had to track so many of them down and it is heartbreaking to see the struggles they have! But we have great support and we're going to make church a marvelous experience for them!
I have discovered an amazing way to get things done. I make lists. And then I give these lists to our ward mission leader. And then he knows exactly what to go after! In Ward Council the Bishop likes the Ward Mission Leader to do all of the talking with Missionary work. So we just make lists for him. :) It is amazing how much can get done. I made an inventory of all of the spanish items we had and then made recommendations of things that need to be added to make this a beneficial area for the spanish speakers. We tested all of the translating units and head phones and headset. It was great!
I can't believe I am coming up on a year of being out! I can't believe that I reported to the MTC March 31st!! Time is absolutely flying!!

Peace by the Journey,

Sister Bolliger

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 29: My Last Week Here, Still Being an Awesome Investigator, Another Really Good Guy I'll Miss.

Well this my last week here in San Bernardino, California as on Saturday I got the call that I am leaving for another area.

I don't know where yet just that I will be leaving tomorrow (Tuesday) and today I am mostly packed away. Its crazy to think that I have been here for more than 4 1/2 months, and now I am leaving.
This past week we really didn't have anything exciting happen, it's been kind of slow but we have been teaching LaLa the new member discussions and she is still being an awesome investigator!

The other picture is of Dion a convert of a couple years in the south area of our ward that is a really good guy and is one of the people that I will miss when I move out of this ward into the next one.

It will be an adventure to see where I am going.

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 47: "Great timing, eh?", We'll have to wait for the Blossoms, Wonderful Sisters....

Hello world.
Let me recount to you the ridiculous happenings of Sunday evening, March 13th. Following an appointment with an investigator late at night, we stopped by a member's home to pick up a pan I had left there and to check in on how she was doing. Sister Lemalu and I were sitting on the couch and then all of a sudden I look over and she's hunched over to one side, fanning herself with her planner, and closing her eyes. My immediate reaction was not one of anxiety or fear. It was about time for us to go home, we had been running around like crazy, and it was a bit stuffy in the room. I shared a quick message and we began to prepare to pray. I turned to her and was just in time to see her eyes roll back into her head. Great timing, eh? So, I begin asking her questions to see if she is conscious. No response. I decide that she needs to lay down on the bigger couch, so I tell her that we're going to move her over. Good thing I'm hefty because I had to literally carry my companion over to the other couch so she could lay down. The only thing we could get out of her was that she was hot. So, we opened the window and door and I began to panic a bit. Hahah. At this point it was about 10 PM. So, I called our District Leader to let him know what was going on and that we were not at our apartment. I was then instructed to call Sister Gonzalez, our medical contact. I called her and began trying to help Sister Gonzalez figure out what was going on. Sister Lemalu was sweating horribly, but her temperature was normal. She couldn't speak. She couldn't open her eyes. I had to think of creative words for her to say yes or no to in order to figure out what was wrong with her. I received a call from our Zone Leaders, and they informed me they were on their way to come and to give her a priesthood blessing. They are in the town of Hanford, about 15 minutes away. So, Sister Gonzalez had us try moving her to the other side or sit her up to see if the pain/nausea/dizziness changed at all. Again, I had to lift her and carry her. When the Elders showed up she still hadn't been very responsive. Good thing that I know her full name! So, they showed up and looked pretty much terrified. Sister Lemalu is polynesian, and because of this she is extremely hard-headed and will not ever admit that she is in pain or change her behavior to deal with the pain. Even getting her to take pain meds is a battle! So for her to be completely conked out on the member's couch? Insane.
Eventually the Elders gave her a blessing and we gave her some medication. The executive desicion came to have us stay at the member's home for the night. So fortunately it was a member that I love. :) We concluded that this wasn't insanely life threatening and decided to play it out to see if anything changed. The member and I stayed up talking by where Sister Lemalu was sleeping for quite some time. We both couldn't sleep! We were so worried for Sister Lemalu. I am the one who is always supposed to be getting sick and making people worried. Not Sister Lemalu!!! :) I joked with Sister Gonzalez about how I always get myself into these ridiculous situations. I ended up sleeping on the floor by the couch so I could hear her if anything changed. She woke up this morning feeling much better. Apparently she had been getting a migraine all day sunday and then it got really really bad that night. She couldn't even remember anything that happened! Nothing! She didn't even know that the Elders had come to give her a blessing or why we had stayed at the member's house that night. Gah! Ridiculousness!

The sad part is we were going to go this morning to the Blossom Trail with an amazing family in the ward. Hopefully we will be able to do that next Monday!

This is the last week of transfers. So we find out this Saturday the final verdict! We are both so sad to have this transfer end. I have had so much fun with my double companions! First Sister To'a and now Sister Lemalu! It's quite the amazing thing. :) We are going to sing in Church on Sunday...our last Sunday together here in Lemoore.

We have had some awesome experiences this week with investigators and less-actives...and almost all of them have been in Spanish.

We had a wonderful sister in the ward help us out so much. We were SO excited to take an investigator we have been working with on a Church tour Friday morning. However, when we went to her apartment to pick her up with a member to go, she was still in her robe and gave us excuse after excuse---basically dropping us. It was horrible! Sister Lemalu almost cried. I was frantically going between monitoring my companion to trying to resolve this Sister's concerns, to worrying about the member in the car outside who had no idea why we weren't coming out promptly, and then of course....doing all of this in Spanish. When we walked out, the cute sister in the car immediately determined that we were going to go visiting teaching with her---that we needed a pick-me-up. Apparently we looked a bit dejected. :( After that she took us to Savemart to get some icecream (and me some mango sorbet...which is delicious btw). Then she proceeded to walk down the aisles purchasing food that we needed. We tried to tell her no, but she persisted. It was so timely. And amazing. We left with several bags in our hands and so thankful for this wonderful sister and her desire to help us, and therefore help the Lord's work.
It has been quite a week. And I am sure it will continue to be crazy!

Sister Lemalu and I have fasted so much and prayed so much for those we care about and those that are overcoming huge obstacles in their paths. It is such a privilege to serve here and to become acquainted with all this amazing children of our Heavenly Father!!!!!

Sister Bolliger

Monday, March 7, 2011

Elder Bolliger - San Bernardino, CA Week 28: Slower Week, Recent Ward Fast for Missionary Efforts, Prompted Testimony, Gospel Principle- Fast & Pray

Well out this past week was a slower one out here in San Bernardino, California.
We went tracting to get some new investigators but a number of times, when we went there for the appointment, it fell through - angry husbands, not there etc. And sometimes it is really starting to annoy me when that happens. We are working with some new investigators here but they have been busy recently, it seems like stuff is just falling through with return appointments.

But this past fast Sunday our ward held a fast for missionary efforts and we are starting to implement heavily the ward mission plan, we got a new ward mission leader and one of the neighbors of the south guys came to church this past Sunday and it was a very good 3 hour block. I bore my testimony after feeling prompted too, then we had an excellent Gospel Principles Lesson about the Scriptures and finally a funny yet thought provoking elders quorum, more so than in recent weeks. So things are looking up for this ward, some new blood and a new ward mission leader and hopefully with that a ton of new referrals for us to teach.

So for this week the gospel principle is how to pray and fast for investigators.

So as it was fast Sunday this past week I was talking to people on how to find new investigators by fasting and praying.

So this is what I know to do but it may not be perfect, so a couple of days before you start praying for the purpose of having the inspiration to see which of your friends that you know are ready to hear the gospel and prepared to do so.

So the day before fast Sunday start your fast that night with a prayer asking for that goal to have names come to mind for people to teach.

The next part gets a little bit harder, during fast sunday and the next few days, write down the names that come to mind, this is where it gets harder to not judge someone else. For example " You are going about your day and Joe Smith pops into your head, hmm you think I wonder how he would take the gospel, oh he drinks and smokes and would never do it." This is an example of judging someone else. For one the Spirit knows more about someone and how prepared they are then you probably ever would, so don't ignore the spirit and the knowledge that he has for people who are prepared.

Write all of the names down that come to mind.

Pray over each name by itself and ask Heavenly Father if this person is someone that you should send the missionaries over to teach with you as a friendshipper. Then once you have a name or names of people, share with them the gospel, Invite them over to dinner with the missionaries or FHE as these really are a good way to teach people in a not so formal yet inviting way. Onward, press onward. And hopefully someone will have a good experience and get baptized.

1. Start to pray for names of people
2. Start your fast and open it with your purposes plus Finding peoples names to teach.
3. Now comes the hard part, write down all the names that come to mind.
4. Pray over each name individually and ask Heavenly Father if that person is someone to share the gospel.
5. Invite the person over to an FHE with a gospel movie or lesson ( ex. Joseph Smith-Prophet of the Restoration or Testaments etc) with the Missionaries.
6. If they are interested or not at this time you shared the gospel with someone as the spirit directed.
7. Hopefully someone enters the waters of baptism.

I hope yall have a good week ahead!

Elder Bolliger
! Te queremos !

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 46: Doing What We Can Do, "Heaps of Fun", "Not Hard to Believe At All", Commandeering, Blessed Opportunities, Serving!

I am not quite sure when it became March of 2011....but all I know is that it came up WAY TOO fast!!!
Things are going great in Lemoore. We are really trying to make Church a better place for the Spanish speakers. There is so much that I can't do due to my limited Spanish abilities, but I feel like there are other things that I can---and that's what we're doing. :) It's really exciting stuff! There is a LOT to be done, but we're starting to see why Heavenly Father put two English sisters together here. We're helping the ward become self-sufficient and invite them to take part in making this a community!
Sister Lemalu and I continue to have "heaps" of fun (as they say Down Under). We have turned into veritable private investigators. We are so sneaky. There's a house in our area that looks like it should be part of an insanely scary scary scary movie. And maybe one night after an appointment. We sneakily took pictures on the porch pretending we were being attacked. Hahahahahh. It's dangerous to let us be together. :) But the picture is awesome. It even has like this huge lock on the front--so we don't think anyone lives there--but it is SCARY nonetheless.
Our beautiful Toyota got the accelerator recalled. So I decided that's why I am speeding.....because the car is defective. Haha. Jk. I was committed by one of my previous companions to drive in the image of the church---and that's something I have been diligently working on! Anyways....we had the car in the shop (in another town) this week. It was great. And took forever. It's wonderful when things are covered under warranty. You don't even have to worry about paying anything. :) We timed taking the car in with a meeting with our Mission President with our zone, and President and Sister Gonzalez ended up being our shuttle and driving us back to the dealership after it. Very great.
We had an amazing church tour this week with a less-active member's girlfriend. We were 50/50 they were going to show up, but they came! It was amazing as we talked about Christ coming to the Americas. She paused at the picture for a long long time, and asked if this is what the Book of Mormon talked about. She was really struck by the thought of him coming here to the Americas. :) As we talked about the Joseph Smith seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, she also said it was not hard to believe at all! Score!!!!
This last Sunday my flexibility was tested once again. We have a part-member family in another city that do not have transporation to Church. Typically, the home teacher goes and picks them up every week. We usually double check and make sure everything is communicated, but this last week we thought that would just be overkill. Wrong! On Sunday we saw the home teacher and his family come into Church at 9 o'clock, and we were like... "uhh...where's the other family?" He had thought they were moving and didn't need a ride that Sunday. So...Sister Missionaries to the rescue. I commandeered a sister in the ward, and I left to go with her to get the family. Stratford is probably 10 minutes away, and I kept texting the daughter (who is our investigator) and praying that she wouldn't decide to just forget it. We got the family, loaded everyone up, and then whisked everyone off to church. We got there at around 9:40, but then they stayed all three hours which is something we have been working with them on for a long time!
My Spanish is improving. I study everything in Spanish, so now I'm finding that spanish words are coming to my mind instead of the English ones. Hahah. And then I have to translate. :) I still have A LOT to learn, but there are several people in the ward that are helping us and I feel blessed to be able to have this opportunity to learn Spanish!!!
We are working really closely with an AMAZING sister in the ward who is coming back to full activity in the church. We are going all out to help her overcome a few last habits and we are gearing up for an intense week. Lots of prayers, fasting, blessings, and study is going into helping all of us hold each other accountable. We are committing to do something really hard as well so that we are able to help each other out in overcoming physical battles for the spiritual rewards. :)
This is the problem. Sister Lemalu and I remember laughing allllll week long. Bu when we come to the computer, we can't remember exactly what was happening or what was said that caused us to laugh! Blast.
We did some awesome service this week. A super less-active sister in our ward received a notice that she had to clean up her yard or she could be fined! Sooo... sisters to the rescue! We mowed her lawn (WITH A BATTERY POWERED LAWNMOWER. AMAZING) and had some INTENSE weed eating moments. It was probably seven hours total between the two days and it went from a jungle to beautifully manicured weeds. :) It was so fun to just get in there and get 'er done! I think our clothes, shoes, legs, and everything is permamently stained green--but hey. That's my fav color! Yes!
OHHHH. And my comp went to go get a huge trash can for all of the grass and when she came back with the sister they were like.. "Sister Bolliger, why did you make this little pile of dirt?" See, I know I AM crazy, but I don't make little piles of dirt. After denying that it was me...the pile began to shake. IT WAS A GOPHER HOLE. Hahahhahah. We kept moving stuff around and being ridiculous.
Random comment. Sister Lemalu does not know what a skunk smells like! Isn't that odd?
And with that. My time is up. Peace out!

Sister Bolliger