Monday, July 25, 2011

Elder Bolliger - Hesperia Week 48: Victorville City/Hesperia Zone/Apple Valley Building, Miracles & Fun Working Hard!

Hello Family,

So I just got transferred to Hesperia, CA up here in the Desert. Its like Utah up here - dry deserty and 4500 feet. I got a new companion and am back in a missionary apartment with our neighboring zone leaders.

Well something funny about this ward is that it has an identity crisis. All of the ward is in the Victorville City, but its in the Hesperia Zone and goes to one of the Apple Valley buildings. But already I have learned and grown so much. It's just amazing looking forward to the next 5 weeks here. My companion and I get along really really well and have already had miracles happen.

So we were going through our old potential investigators list, and we looked up some names of people that missionaries had taught more than like 2 years ago. The first door that we knocked on was a woman named Maria. Amazingly she still recognized us as missionaries and her two grandchildren were also there. We asked them again and they accepted to take the lessons again. We gave them each a Book of Mormon and left. They told us that the kids were talking about the missionaries and saying how they wanted to take the lessons just soon before we knocked on their door. We have a return appointment tonight with the Ward Primary President as well as another member. One other big thing too is that we want to invite all those people in their household to take the lessons from us to just make sure to include everyone. I really am looking forward to that.

I have roomates once again. They are the Apple Valley Zone Leaders, Elder Afu and Elder Thurber and they are really good roomates. We have had some really funny times with them, but we all know how to work hard and expect each other to work hard and we do. It's a really really fun apartment and as missionaries say "when you are working hard you are having fun."

Also this ward is pretty old, well let me rephrase that every ward is old when compared to the Summit Ward - I love that ward, but I really feel like this is a ward where I can take off in the mission and really begin to become that missionary that I want to be.

Its very exciting and very refreshing and I am loving missionary work now almost more than my first area.
So I hope that yall have a great week ahead,
Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 66: Setting the Groundwork for Amazing Miracles, Rototiller Fun, Sister Gelwix is a Hit, Baby Shower!

Well, duh duh duhh, I am staying in Lemoore with Sister Croft! This is the first time that I will have had a companion for more than one consecutive transfer! Isn't that insane? I am so excited! We have really set the groundwork here for some amazing miracles and I am excited to see what happens soon!
We were able to do some service for a part-member family this week, and my was it service! We were hacking at 8-foot dandelion weeds with hoes and axes. The brother then mowed the lawn, and then we each had our own rototiller (rotatiller?) hacking up the ground! It was so much fun! No matter that it was in the heat of the day or that I got a beautiful sunburn, it was so fun! It just contributed to my watch tan. Haha. Physical evidence that in fact, my skin does change colors! :)
Our mission president's wife was able to come out with us this week. She came one night around 6 PM and we took her to visit some of our wonderful investigators! She came with us to meet Pattie. Pattie is living with a less-active member and she has been taking the lessons casually. Well, she TOTALLY clicked with SIster Gelwix! She asked if Sister Gelwix would be at our church service on Sunday. Sister Gelwix replied, "I'll be there if you will!" Woo! So, Sister Gelwix drove down from Fresno, and Pattie came to church for the first time! She absolutely loved the "Gospel Principles" manual and thinks that will help her better understand the scriptures.
One of the amazing sisters in our ward is throwing a baby shower for one of the families we're teaching. The husband isn't a member, and his cute wife is due in one month! They're both SUPER young and in the Navy, and so this baby shower is going to be so splendid! Sister Croft and I are both so happy that we're both here to go shopping and help decorate for this shower. We have really grown to love this sweet sister and are so excited for her to feel the loving arms of the ward wrapped around her!

Peace be the Journey,

Hermana Bolliger

Monday, July 18, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 47: Last time in Fontana Summit Ward, Lots of Planting Seeds With 40 Day Fast & 15 Names List for Later Harvest

Here are photos from last weeks letter describing a hike on the 4th of July for the Fontana Zone.
One is of the American flag I brought up top Cucamonga Peak.

A cool panorama of the Inland Empire. Another photo is of a really cool tree that reminds me of a carrot, or is it a toothpick?

Some clouds coming over the top of the mountain.
Another photo shows all the members of the Fontana Zone who made it to the top with the American flag, and finally another is a picture of me on top of the world. he he!

Well this is the last time that I will be here in the Fontana Summit Ward, both me and my companion are leaving tomorrow its called a white wash here and we will both be transferred and two new elders will be put in here tomorrow morning, its exciting and a little nervous all at the same time about the next transfer, so as I am looking back and thinking about this transfer and about what we have done here and literally the things started to come together like yesterday during ward council which we pretty much attend every week and help out in the ward, we are starting a '40 day fast' activity in conjunction with the dinners in the ward to encourage the members that are having us to fast and then end the fast with feeding us and inviting investigators to that dinner, its a giant culmination and consolidation of all of the ideas that we have been having in terms of missionary work all into one big ward unifying goal, and then we have the realization that we are both leaving and all of this is going to help missionaries down the line, planting and fertilizing the harvest for the next missionaries to help reap the rewards and our ward council is really getting into this and I am glad that I could help out with them, but we will not be here to feel the effects of our labor.

Well this past week we had a lesson with a family since they were on our 15 names list, which we also helped to get going much, much more than in the past, another thing that will help out the ward to increase. And it was with an older couple that lived with his non member son there, we were teaching the plan of salvation to them and after we got a part of the way into it we invited him in to sit and learn with us, once he did the spirit was brought there in a much greater way than before and our lesson plans shifted into more him and teaching to his needs, it was awesome to have the spirit there to testify of our truthfulness and about the plan of happiness that we were sharing about, we all felt that the lesson went over good and I am glad that we could have experiences like that to help us in the ward.

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 65: Knock, Knock, Who's There? Wake Up... it's the Sisters with Shirts, Skirts and other Awesome Miracles!

This week we had some awesome miracles!
Probably the most prominent was the cute little Flanders family. The husband is not a member, and the wife is due in one month with a little baby girl! We were able to go with them to a member's house for dinner on base and it was a fabulous time! We had delicious food, they were able to meet another cute couple in the ward with little ones, and we were also able to have some stellar cupcakes (banana bread with maple frosting. yum!). The Flanders family then fed us for dinner on Saturday night. And.. duh duh duhhh. They FINALLY made it to church on Sunday!!!!!! Although the husband had watch, he was able to get off for an hour to come to sacrament meeting! As they fed us Saturday night, the husband mentioned that he couldn't find any of his button-up shirts. Sister Croft and I looked at each other, grinned, and ran out to the trunk of our car where we just happened to have a white button-up shirt in Ian's size with a snazzy tie. Hahaha. They were like... whooaaa!! They were running a bit late to church because it took a while for the husband to get off watch. After Sacrament, I had the thought to just check in the foyer, and there they were peeking through the doors to try to find where we were. Haha. They're adorable! They both looked so darling and already mormon-like that people thought they were just a couple that had moved into the ward!! Wahoo!! They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying together. They have been practicing a lot with their prayers. Haha. It's adorable! We have a lesson with them this week at a member's house (who happens to be in his same squadron) and our mission president's wife is coming with us!
We saw SEVERAL people at church on Sunday. I loved it! We were running around like crazy. There were some part-member and less-active families that were like.. "We need help waking up!! Just come and bang on our door until we get up!" Well, little did they know that Sister Croft and I were totally serious about that. Haha. We knocked on one sister's door and then on her bedroom window (her idea). The window was partly open so I took a page from my mother's book and then started to sing a song I made up on the spot. Haha. Finally...she opened the door. Haha. We made her turn on the light and then we were off to the next family's house! We helped wake up some of our investigators that are teenage girls and helped them get ready. I donated a skirt to one of them and she looked so ADORABLE! She has never worn a skirt to church before. :) She wore it for the whole day!
We taught english classes on Sunday as well. Our schedules are getting super busy! We were able to go through a particular trailer park to invite all to the class we would be teaching in that area. Well, that idea proved to be inspiration. Instead of finding lots of only-Spanish speakers to come learn english, we found MANY new investigators. It was amazing how prepared they were for the message! We were able to go and sit down and share the first full lesson with many of these people. So many of them had talked to Elders before in Mexico, or in other states, and it is so amazing to see how the Lord is preparing so many people for his work!
We had lots of investigators at church on Sunday and it was so fulfilling to see the Ward Council finally see those people that we have been speaking of for so long!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elder Bolliger - North Fontana Week 44-46:

Hello family and happy late 4th of July. Well on Independence day we hiked Cucamonga Peak and it was a long day and a long hike a head of us. We woke up around 3 am in the morning and got to the bottom of the Hike around 5am and promptly started there, it was a long hike up but we arrived around 8:30 in the morning and stayed there an hour and a half. A couple days before I had the awesome idea to bring an American Flag up to , I mean its the 4th of July and why not? its independence day and it would be cool, so after getting to the top and eating some snack bars and water I fastened it to a lone dead tree up top, it actually turned out to be cooler than I imagined up top you could see a ton of the inland empire looking south and the high desert cities by looking north, it was sweet to see. And then came the hike down from there, which honestly on my feet wasn't the best and got pretty sore, i'm thinking that 16 miles is near my current limit for walking. But while we were there I took some incredible Photos. (See Blog dated 7/18)

After getting home and showering we were exhausted, it was a long day and we took a nap until dinner time when we went over to the Wilden's house, a family that offered to feed us as no one else signed up for that day, it was fun and an amazing evening and we could see a ton of firework shows and all of the sudden we started to hear thunder which I have not heard at all so far in California for the past 11 months and it poured, for only like 15 minutes, random and especially in Southern California during the summer, crazy.
In our ward this past sunday I helped to contribute some good ideas for stimulating missionary work and getting the ward involved, one idea that came to mind that we are going to work on this next week and get implelmented is a 40 day fast like our ward did back in Round Rock Texas. I have a good feeling about it and am looking forward to it.
Well the heat is back on here in Southern California its been a little humid recently but nothing spectacular. But the ward is slowly warming up to us but I am probably going to be transferred out of here next week as transfers are coming up.

So today we are having a Pig Roast at a building in Rancho Cucamonga. Tongan style by the Tongan Elders but its not the traditional in the ground pig roast but an above ground one. So I will have pictures next week of that.

So I hope that yall have a good week back home, and that you get some rain soon!
Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 64: Tri-zone Activity in Visalia, Miracles, "Guera", Being Spiritually Edified!

Well this will be a bit short--but that's because we have a wonderful tri-zone activity in Visalia! It's going to be a BBQ and sports at a park. Sister Croft and I are borrowing some camping chairs from a family that have the TEXAS FLAG on them! Haha. Way to represent!!! We are bringing two of our investigating young men.. we are POSITIVE they will love the 60+ Elders, free food, and massive capture the flag game. Haha.

This week has been awesome. We have been seeing our people progress rapidly and commit more people to be baptized!

One family we have been working with Sister Lemalu and I found through a street contact. She turned out to be a member, but very less-active. Well, we have been working with them and have seen miracles as the husband has quit smoking and they have been receiving the lessons well! This week they have two dinners scheduled in member's homes. Haha. Yes! She is due in about a month with a little baby girl and it has been fun to watch her get all of her baby things ready! This little family is always on my mind, and has been since we met them. I feel so privileged to have seen their growth and understanding!

We saw another miracle this week. We were knocking doors and a lady let us into her home. Her name is Berta. Her 17-year-old daughter has leukemia, and it is taking a toll on this family. She has AMAZING faith though and you can really feel it as you speak with her! Well, we shared a brief Restoration lesson with her and as we got to the First Vision her eyes got WIDE and she was amazed! Her response? "How beautiful!" Well, not exaclty since this was all in Spanish. She began to cry as she explained to us that her daughter with leukemia had a dream two days before where she was in the presence of God, but then a "guera" (a white girl who speaks spanish) came and helped her. Berta told us that she thought we were that girl. She told us she wasn't planning on being home at that time. Incredible!!!!! She is amazing! :)

I had leadership training this week so Sister Croft got to go to Visaila for two days. It was interesting to get to know President Gelwix more as all the Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and Trainers in the mission got together at the mission office. I feel so spiritually edified and feel that I have the direction that I need for the rest of my mission!

Hermana Bolliger

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 63: Awesome Fourth of July Breakfast, Meeting President and Sister Gelwix, Personal Revelation, Translating, Testimony!

Aloha from Lemoore!
This week has been crazy--as most usually are.

We really enjoyed the Fourth of July breakfast our ward put on! Last year I convinced my companions (I was in a trio) to dress in red, white, and blue. This year, Sister Croft and I matched as well! We wore grey skirts, red shirts, blue cardigans, and black shoes. We even both wore our pearl earrings! It was quite a show. We arrived early to help cook the pancakes! There were TONS of food. This ward even had special dishes to keep the food warm until we started. That's right! Lemoore is classy. There was an awesome fruit salad. It was delectable. I don't think I have had that good of a breakfast for quite a long time! I guess the most happening thing in the area was the firework show put on by the local casino. Haha. On Sunday we were trying to find a less-active family and happened to be around the area where the casino was. They had TONS of road blocking signs ready for the huge flow of traffic they were expecting for the 4th! Our mission rules were that we could not walk, ride bikes, or drive a mission vehicle after 7PM. We could be out if we were with a member if we had scheduled lessons, however. Well, we had quite a bit of things to do so we decided to just come inside at 7. We heard a lot of the fireworks!

Today we had our first official meeting with President Gelwix. We unofficially met him Sunday night. We had been asked to be the "half-time show" for the Zone Leader's baptism--we talk while the baptizer and baptizee are getting dressed. Well, thankfully, our District Leader informed us that President Gelwix was going to be at the baptism! We hadn't met him yet-but thankfully we made sure that this was a stellar presentation. It was miraculous to see as I prayed for Sister Croft as she spoke, and she prayed for me likewise, how we were able to teach with the Spirit in unity. President Gelwix is A LOT shorter than you would think. He's only 5'9". That was my first thought when I met him. Haha. He's just my height--but I have my hair that kind of puts me a bit taller. Lol. He is a lot more loving than I imagined as well.

Today we had a Zone Meeting and President Gelwix and Sister Gelwix attended. They instructed us for a bit, but President took a few minutes with each missionary to interview them and ask a few brief questions. He asked if there was anything that he and Sister Gelwix could do for me, and I (half) jokingly said to pronounce my name right! Hahah. Why do people always put that "n" in? Lol. It took poor President Gonzalez quite some time to get it right.

At the baptism last week President Gelwix gave the closing prayer. As he spoke I felt an overwhelming confirmation that indeed, Presideng Gelwix was called by prophet of God to be our mission president here in the California Fresno mission, and my mission president for the last few months of my mission. I had been praying for that witness, and was so glad to receive it!

It has been curious how I have learned more and more about personal revelation. I have come to the conclusion that it's more complicated than I ever initially thought. It is so critical and vital for our salvation. Sister Gelwix today shared a personal experience and how she received an assurance of a previous desicion as she read Doctrine and Covenants Section 6, verse 23. It states: "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" I am learning that frequently I allow my anxiety or other emotions to make me question previous answers to prayers. We sometimes do not hear the "answer" to our prayers because we have already been given them! It has been interesting as I have been examining the personal growth I have had on the mission. I know I have grown in my ability to recognize the whisperings of the Spirit. I must admit I am slightly terrified to go back to "normalcy" because I have been able to listen to that Spirit in this missionary environment. A change of scenery, responsibilities, living situation, and life in general will cause me to continue to examine and apply the lessons that I have learned.

I translated my first full meeting this last Sunday! It was quite a challenge. I have semi-translated. But this was word-for-word time! Haha. Thankfully the teacher spoke slowly and the topic we were discussing had words that I was familiar with. I translated for Celia as they really wanted to have all of the Sisters in this particular lesson. Ahhh I was so nervous but I was amazingly blessed as I was able to express myself and the concepts from the lesson. I was also able to translate one of her comments to share with the other sisters in the ward. Talk about a gift of tongues moment!

We saw a wonderful miracle this week as one of the less-active sisters that we have been working with really has been progressing! She accepted a calling and is preparing to teach her first full primary lesson this week! Then, she bore her testimony FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER in Sacrament Meeting! She is very scared of public speaking and large groups of people. As I saw her walking up toward the front I was praying so hard that she would be able to do it! And she did! Everyone was shocked but it just proved to me that ANYONE can change. :)

Hermana Bolliger