Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 39: "Malo from Fontana"

Hello my tua'fa'fine, well I hope that is the correct way of saying hermana. ( to katie)

We went to the Redlands Temple as a zone and it was awesome! I love going to the temple and praying at the end of a session, and I love looking at the names and trying to pronounce them today I think I got a Italian name. And then afterword we came back home.

Well I have been in this area for now almost 2 1/2 months now and on a mission for almost 10 months. Where does that time go to ? It just seems like for a while "its going so slow....." then all of the sudden it takes off and its hard to hold onto, and now its rocketing to my year mark soon. I still vividly remember when I was a greenie. It truly does fly by and now this week Ann Marie will be graduating! I can't believe that as well as Katie coming back home off of her mission and them both going to the Y. I was thinking about it and its pretty funny actually.
All of us sharing the same CRV, hmmmmm interesting thoughts, it'll change.

Well this past week we had our share of disappointments in dropping a main investigator, she was progressing for a while but just got "too busy". But we are trying to really work with the members and our night times are the most effective for sure, but our other investigators are just hard to get a hold of.

Funny thing happened yesterday, actually 2 of them, 1. My pants ripped for the first time, just the washable ones and I am looking to get them fixed. And my bike tire tore yesterday but fortunately I saw it immeadiately and the rim is not bent and the tube is not punctured. So I got it fixed today but its going to require another tire. And then other things happen, but honestly, thats missionary work. Stuff like that happens.

Well I hope this next week is a good one. It should be. Week 5 1/2.

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 57: "This week has been spectacular!"

Hello family and everyone.
This week has been spectacular!
We met a lady at a recent convert's house as she was coming to buy a TV. Haha. Yes. Well, she asked us to come over to her home! We went and visited her last Tuesday and we had a lesson with her. She accepted a baptismal date for June 11th! We then met with her again on Friday with the same recent convert and we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and was so excited to come to church with her family! Well...they came! And she loved it! Her name is Celia and she is her 50's, and she is so sweet and hilarious! She has been sharing the gospel and the Book of Mormon with all of her family and they keep asking her why she is so happy! Lol. It has been wonderful to see her grow. :) We are teaching her this week along with her husband, daughter, niece, and grandchildren. Wahoo! Celia is so prepared and she is already recognizing the spirit and doing what is necessary to progress towards baptism! Celia's granddaughter, Jackie, is a chubby little three-year-old who is ADORABLE. She only speaks Spanish, and so I have had a lot of fun practicing my spanish with her. Haha. It was amusing keeping her entertained during Sacrament Meeting.
We have seen other miracles with our investigators. We have had some really powerful lessons this week as we have been calling people to repentance. There is a couple that is in our teaching pool, one a recent convert, the other an investigator, that we are working with. They are consistently attending Church and reading, but there's just one little glitch---marriage. We went after Church on Sunday to talk about the Law of Chastity, and the boyfriend (our investigator) was sleeping. We were able to have a powerful lesson with this sister on keeping the commandments and helping her understand that the only way she can have that true peace back in her life is if she (1) moves out, or (2) gets married to her man. We left them the Law of Chastity pamphlets to read before our lesson on Thursday so we'll see how that goes over!
Today we're having a little spanish gathering as the spanish sisters are going to teach us how to make Tres Leches Cake! A delicious food. And we're learning how to make it from scratch. Authentic style. Another spanish sister is making me pan this next week when we have a lesson at her home. Oh my goodness. Mexican bread. Is amazing! I may have been known to chase after the panaderia trucks to get some on my way. Hahah. It's delicious!!!
We have seen even more miracles with our investigators. One young man we're teaching confided in us this week that he's not even sure if he knows that God exists. Well, after much coaxing, we committed him to attempt to pray this week. We thought that may have been our last lesson with him, but he showed up this Sunday to Church, stayed all 3 hours, and confided that he had indeed prayed and felt something. It was amazing to watch the talks and teachers be inspired with their comments and subjects that were SO pertinent to the needs of those who attended church that day.
This whole end-of-the-world thing on May 21st had a lot of people worried in these parts. It was almost amusing as heard about it coming from our perspective as missionaries. We had to comfort a lot of people as there were ladies going around door to door proclaiming doom and destruction. So many we spoke to were in tears. But, as we shared with them the truth of the gospel and told them to read from the Book of Mormon and pray for comfort, things turned around. :)
I had a little mishap this week. :) We have a dry-erase board in our apartment where we write our teaching pool, and referrals to contact, and keep track of church attendance. Well.......I was updating it after companion study before my language study whenBOOM. It fell off the wall directly onto two of my toes. I was shocked, but then I looked and this stupid board had cut my toes horribly!!! How does that even happen!?!? Well.....we frantically tried calling Sister Gonzalez but she was already in a zone conference in another stake. As the blood started to pool and I couldn't feel my toes, we decided to try and call a sister in the ward to help us out. I couldn't drive (it was my right foot) and we weren't sure how deep the cuts were. Thankfully a wonderful sister in the ward came to our rescue! She was the perfect choice, being a mother and the wife of a doctor. She came and helped me wash the wound, bandage it, and help stop the bleeding. We had some butterfly bandages so I didn't need stitches, but my goodness is my clumsiness making life difficult! I took some pain killers and wore some sturdy shoes and we went out to work, making it on time to our 11 o'clock appointment. :) It was ironic that day as everywhere we went required INSANE amounts of extra walking. Hahah. I think everyone we visited was upstairs, down random roads, etc. I have some NASTY looking bruises, but thankfully it hasn't interfered too much with the work. Haha.
Hermana Bolliger

Monday, May 16, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 38:Making Inroads, Increasing Teaching in Ward, Because I Have Been Given Much!

Well this past week Elder Renfro and I began to make inroads in this area with the members.

Its finally starting to pick up speed, our contact with active members and less active members is increasing, members are being more willing to help out by giving us names of people to contact and just contacting all of the less actives in our book and part member families to see if they are interested in taking the lessons again and if they have any friends that would be willing to hear our message.

One such investigator named Joaquin has been investigating the church for a long time now and we have been sporadically meeting with him off and of recently we began to rebuild some trust with him, as we are planning on teaching him to his needs about how much the gospel can help him through the hard times in his life and how much it benefits us all. I am really excited to see what this involvement from the ward will allow us to do in the next few weeks.

So we are looking forward greatly to increasing the teaching in this ward, it really seems like I am sowing here but I am fine with that.

But some notes of recently learned things. Yesterday in Elders' Quorum we were learning about Tithing, and I had the thought about tithing after asking myself what it is. And I had the thought that, "When we give tithing to help build up the kingdom of God on the earth we are helping ourselves, our fellow men by helping to maintain the buildings, missionary work and helping others recieve the same blessings that we have recieved from being a member."

Also part of a hymn also came to mind " Because I have been given much I too must give". But that is just an interesting food for thought on tithing.

I hope yall have a great week!
Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 56: Miracles, Miracles, Miracles

This week was a week of miracles. From the looks of it at the beginning, you wouldn't have thought so. We had a mini-MTC for my companion Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 10AM-3PM. Then, Thursday and Friday was leadership training. So, I would drop Sister Pena off in Visalia, and along with another trainer, we would drive up to Fresno. Sister Pena and I would get back to Lemoore at 6:30PM those nights. Ahhh! So with so much of our time gone, we really tried to plan well and in the process saw so many miracles!!!
We felt impressed to go to a certain street and attempt to contact some former investigators and do some street contacting. In the process we ended up finding 4 new investigators in just one hour. AND set a baptismal date! This man, Darrell, is AMAZING and has such great faith! He felt that we had been guided to knock on his door. He was almost crying as we handed him the Book of Mormon. Just ten minutes after we met Darrell it was time for our dinner appointment with a brother in the ward who we felt would be the perfect fellowshipper for him. He was able to go and visit Darrell and talk with him and arrange a ride for Church! We felt the timing was perfect. :)
There are so many people that are progressing that are wanting to follow Jesus Christ! One young man that we have been teaching wasn't able to make it to church on Sunday because of his work schedule. However, he informed us he would be asking for Sunday's off to be able to attend and feel the spirit! We also saw a miracle with him this week as we had a lesson with him. He has a lot of questions, and it was hard in previous lessons to focus on the topic and help him understand. So, Sister Pena and I devised a plan to help the Spirit help us to help him understand. :) We met with him in the chapel, and began by playing the hymn "Joseph Smith's First Prayer". We had everyone just follow along with the words, not sing, and think about how they felt. Afterwards, Chris asked what it was that he was feeling. That he felt like he was going to fall asleep! We were able to help him understand that it was the spirit. Then, we watched the Restoration. It was amazing as Chris was able to identify with the questions Joseph Smith himself had. We had a wonderful fellowshipper there with us, and as we were all able to bear testimony it created a powerful spirit there!
We were also able to come in contact with some great part-member families who want to learn more about the gospel! We are meeting with one of them tonight. The husband, the non-member, has already come to church twice, and has many many questions. We are excited to teach him...and I'm excited to recite the First Vision in Spanish! Yesss!!
As the ward has been focusing on missionary work, we have been able to go into their homes and share a message about the gospel and help them identify what they can do to open their mouths! It has been very productive and we are excited for how the ward is unifying around missionary work!
We had some substantial car trouble. Haha. We were about to leave the leadership training in Fresno when one of the assistants noticed that the wire was showing through the tread on our tires! Hahahha. Because we had a 90 mile drive back to where we needed to go, and it wouldn't be safe to drive on it, we traded cars with the Assistants. Haha. So we got to drive the newest car in the mission! A beautiful 2012 White Chevy Mailbu with less than a 1000 miles. Haha. It was quite the ride! While the Corollas are easier to maneuver, the Malibu is very comfortable for long-distance travel. They wanted their car back ASAP though! And we had to meet them half way on an impromptu drive Saturday night to switch back. They got all new tires on our car so we are good to go!
We almost died this week. We were in a little town of Stratford, and we were going to contact a part-member family. As we walked up to the door a GANG of little annoying dogs ran up to us and began to try to bite us. We kept knocking, hoping they would go away. I had seen this same group of dogs when I had been in the town before, and they usually fought with each other. As we proceeded to move back towards our car they began to chase us and try to bite our legs and skirts. I was ready to kick them, and Sister Pena had her purse ready. We were able to run faster than them to get to our car. We jumped in quickly, but because it was the left side of our car, Sister Pena had to jump in the back seat. So, we just decided to drive back like that. It felt like I was a chauffeur! But hey, at least we didn't die due to little dogs. :)
I dyed my hair again this week. The blonde roots were showing a bit too much. I don't understand it, but everyone thinks I'm a natural redhead. I guess it just matches the personality. Hahah.
Also, I am OFFICIALLY a spanish sister! I got my tags this week. And of course that first day I was wearing them we encountered an English speaker who peered at my tag trying to figure out what church we were from. Hahahha. I found it quite hilarious.
Things are going wonderfully and the work of the Lord is moving quickly forward!!!

Hermana Bolliger

Monday, May 9, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 37: 20th Birthday,

Talofa from Fontana, California.

Well this last week I had my 20th birthday or as you say it in Samoan (Fanau). I celebrated this event by going to the office where Elder Aokuso came down on a supply run and had brownies and sang happy birthday, Included are the photos from that event. And in one of them is Sister Smith (one of the Office Sisters serving with her husband) Me and Elder Aokuso of which we all share the May 6th Birthday. It was really cool to do that with them on that day and I learned how to say it right in Samoan (manuila lo aso fanau ~ Happy Birthday).

And that day was pretty good but saturday was the real work day.

On saturday we got the ball rolling with our ward mission plan, for weeks we have been getting these packets up and rolling but it has been taking quite a long while, schedules and other setbacks but now we finally go the ball rolling. We have been making some packets with items to give to members and commit/invite them to fast and pray about who to talk to and share the gospel with, we went out with him for more than 6 hours in which we got some really good visits in with the members. And this next week we will be putting that plan into effect and hopefully it turns out to be a good thing for our ward as the missionary work is more focused into using the members as a priority as that is the way that missionary work really does seem to work.

Yesterday for Primary we did sharing time as the elders took over for the sisters in primary we went kind of overboard and made a time machine with Joseph Smith and the Angel Moroni. And we also made some gold plates that I wrote on to the best of my knowledge from some sources and now they look pretty cool and it was funny that afterword all of the kids wanted to touch them. They would yell out stuff like oh they are fake, or they are made out of cardboard but in the end it proved to be funny but informative as we talked about the restoration of the gospel in the latter days.

And the last photo is of the dog that lives at our residence that we live in. And his hair can be made into a mohawk.

But another week in Fontana and I hope that it turns out to be a good one!
Have an awesome week yall!

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 55: Things Moving Swiftly, Training Stellar Hermana Pena, Power Walking To Lots of Miracles, Time is Flying FAST!

Aloha from Lemoore!

Things are swiftly moving along in the work of the Lord in Lemoore, California.
I am training a wonderful sister, namely Hermana Pena! She is from San Marcos, California (near San Diego), and is stellar! She and her family joined the Church when she was 14 and they were taught by Sister Missionaries. :) She's a native Spanish speaker (which is an answer to MY prayers) and we are just plugging along busily doing missionary work!
This last week was crazy getting Sister Anzelmetti off! She sadly got sick the last few days of her mission, and then there was ridiculousness in figuring out what was going to happen with me while she was gone. The Elders came up with 11 different plans. In the end...they decided to follow the plan we had suggested in the very beginning. Shocker. :) It was amusing to get phone calls about every half hour for three days as they tried to figure things out. Well, I was able to spend two days with Hermana Rojas, a sister that came in the mission with me! Both of our previous companions had gone home, and as well, we were both training! It was nice to share that time with someone who was just as anxious as I was! Haha.
Hermana Pena didn't go to the MTC, so this time I have spent with her has definitely been a period of adjustment! Getting used to the missionary schedule, suffering withdrawals from the cell phone, family, and other things has been part of what our time has been dedicated too!
We have seen lots of miracles though! We were going to the Church to pick something up when we passed by a bus stop with a small family sitting there. I was like, "Hermana Pena! We got to be fast and talk to them before the bus comes!" So, we parked the car and powerwalked. We were able to share a brief message about what Jesus Christ expects of us and invite this family on a church tour. They accepted for the following day! They came and it was a special time to share with them talking of the basic principles of the gospel. Hermana Pena was very brave and committed them to be baptized at the end of the tour! It was quite a whirlwind experience, but definitely a tender mercy. :)
I feel like this missionary work buisness is just real life! I can't believe HOW FAST the time is flying by. I don't ever want to leave! I am trying very hard to live in the moment and do the things I know Heavenly Father wants me to do with my time here.
The funniest thing is Hermana Pena is JUST like my cousin Tiana. It is scary! Same gorgeous skin color, height, build, goodness they even walk the same! Hermana Pena talks like her too. I frequently look at her with a quizzical brow and wonder if indeed she isn't Tiana. Hahha.

Hermana Bolliger

Friday, May 6, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 36: New Companion, Visiting General Authorities, Getting the Ball Rolling

Well this past week was filled with many varied and exciting things that happened.

Lets start at the beginning of this week, Tuesday. So on Tuesday we had transfers and I got a new companion Elder Renfro from a little town of Pleasent Grove, UT, he keeps on saying that like no one knows where it is but I keep on reminding him that everyone in this ward pretty much is a graduate of BYU Provo. Seriously but we are getting along well here in the Fontana Summit ward in the more rich area of the mission, no apartments I mean seriously. But we are Finally getting some awesome member missionary stuff going in this ward. Finally after 6 weeks of planning we are starting this next week, hopefully this proves to be very, very effective and we are excited to see it going forward.

Well we are on now Wednesday, so Elder L. Tom Perry of the Twelve and Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Seventy and their wives came to the riverside mission and we were in attendance there. It was awesome to hear from them, they focused on companionships and companionship study and he shared a story of when he was a marine and the building of chapels over in saigon and other stories, I thought that it was way cool to hear them from him. And from their wives and they also rubbed in the fact that sister missionaries are better missionaries than the elders multiple times. But it was really good though, I acutally thought that he was a smaller guy until I saw him in person. He is a big guy like 6-3 6-4 big. But it was really cool to finally see him in person! I loved it.

And since then we have been visiting less actives and potential investigators, it seems like the ward is trusting us a little bit more now. And we are getting the ball rolling with them, it should be a good week moving forward.

Another cool thing, on sunday we are teaching the primary sharing time and doing a time machine thing with the angel moroni and joseph smith, its going to be pretty cool and ill get pictures definitely.

I am 20 today! I can't believe how soon it is.

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 54: Amazing - Visiting Presiding Bishop, Training again- in Spanish, Huge Tender Mercies

This week has been FULL of spectacular adventures. Haha. But really.
We had a mission wide conference Saturday morning where Bishop Burton of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church, and Elder Snow of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to us! It was wonderful to be together with all of the missionaries. This hardly EVER happens and hasn't even happened in the course of President and Sister Gonzalez' mission! I was able to see my sisters! Sister Bayasal's english is AMAZING. I can't believe how much she can communicate now! Sister Clark is maturing wonderfully. Sister Lemalu looks as gorgeous and poised as every being her first time as senior companion! And of course Sister To'a is still THE bomb dot com. Haha. We were able to be taught and edified by the Spirit as we listened to the inspired words from these men. It was such a unique perspective Bishop Burton gave as he is in charge of the temporal matters of the church. He described the process of temple building, his relationships with the prophets of the church, and his perspective of missionary work. Following their prepared remarks, they had a question and answer session. One of the questions I appreciated the most was what they would change if they could go back to their early 20's. They both responded to not worry so much! They emphasized that the will of the Lord will happen, and as we learn to accept it, we can trust in Heavenly Father and not be plagued by worry or anxiety! Another question was about councils. It was remarkable as they talked about meeting with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Presidency of the Seventy, Presiding Bishopric, and how every opinion or perspective matters and contributes to a grander resolution. The presiding authority then renders the desicion. Elder Snow reminded us that no matter how long a missionary has been out or regardless of the "success" they have seen, his or her opinion DOES matter.
Because Sister Anzelmetti graced Lemoore with her presence just two weeks ago, it has not felt like this should be another ALL! When we got a voicemail from our Zone Leader's Saturday night, I thought it was another routine announcement. However, I soon realized that this was indeed transfer calls! The big news is...I am training again! And not only that, I'm training a spanish missionary. :) I have no idea her level of spanish, though I am praying for a native. Haha. I felt like I have been prepared for this in the last few transfers and while I am slightly apprehensive, I know that everything is going to work out!
Because Sister Anzelmetti is leaving tomorrow morning, I am going to be with another sister from Visalia whose companion is going home this transfer, and is also training.
We have seen some huge miracles in the last few days. The young man who just showed up to Church on Easter Sunday accepted having a lesson this week. We went to a wonderful member's home and was able to invite one of our newly called ward missionaries, a preemie, to come and fellowship this young man. He has so many questions it's astounding! He came this last Sunday to church again and it was amazing to see how our teacher in Gospel Principles had been guided to change the lesson to talk about faith--something that this young man needs to hear! He participated well and really enjoyed the discussion that we had!
A recent convert who has recently moved into the ward came to Church this Sunday with her non-member husband. :) They're both Spanish-speaking and stayed all 3 hours! Her husband wants to learn more about the church and we are excited to teach him this Saturday!
We have also been finding more and more Spanish-speaking people to teach. (Gah!) We hunted down a ess-active member in a little town of Stratford and were able to talk with her. She wants her husband and son to also learn more about the gospel! Woot!
We are starting a 40-day fast for misisonary work in our ward on May 9th. I am SO excited for the unity that it will bring in our ward and for the miracles that we will see! I am also preparing to sacrifice LOTS of things during the same period of time so that I can be more receptive and worthy of the spirit. There are so many people here in Lemoore that need the gospel! And I am willing to do whatever it takes to help them learn about the good news!
Sister Anzelmetti and I have deep cleaned the apartment and totally rearranged things. I am decorating the walls with inspiring and cohesive messages. It is very exciting! I am already praying for my new sister.
The work of the Lord is moving swiftly along here!!!! I love it!!