Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Elder Bolliger - Hesperia Week 55: Amazing Week & 40 Day Fast, Temple Session for Victoria, Progressing Investigators,

Dear Family and Friends,

The past week has been an amazing one for us and for this missionary work in this ward. The 40 day fast is bringing us so many prepared and golden investigators its just amazing. Right now we have 4 people with a date and we hope by the end of this transfer that number is around 8, which in all actualality is possible. This last week we contacted 2 referrals we got, one of them from the spanish elders and another one from a family in the ward. We contacted them both and on the first visit committed them to baptism and they accepted, a couple that accepted and a non-member husband of another. We invited them and they both came to church on sunday and it was great having them there, the non-member husband during elders quorum said that he had questions about the church and that they were answered during that class, its so exciting!
This past week I went to a temple session for Victoria and it was amazing, Elder Hall was there as well and it was an amazing time to see people progress from where they were a year ago to such strength in the gospel.
Our main progressing investigator [Judy] is progressing in learning the gospel at an incredible rate, we have been teaching her lesson 3 and 4 over the past 2 weeks and everything we teach her she accepts so readily, she is the most golden of investigators I have ever taught and my love for this ward just increases daily, we help out in the ward to remove pride and communication problems, we work really really hard and people are starting to get to a good comfortable situation with us ( this actually isn't bad) people are getting to the point that we can be loving and bold and correcting with them and still have a good atmosphere free from contention and hard feelings so that through the enabling power of the atonement people can be free from grudges, offenses and other things that people nurse and let control them rather than being in control of their emotions. I am definitely beginning to open my heart to the ward and to my companion so that we can be unified in all things so that the spirit of the lord will be able to be strong with us as we teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we can achieve Eternal Life with heavenly father.
I am excited to see what this week will bring as we keep on getting more and more referrals and my understanding of how the gospel works and especially how missionary work works. Its a very interesting thing once you understand about how some referrals and people you teach are to just tide you over until the real golden investigators come, I know that may be a harsh way of approaching it but it seems like this is how it happens, or the time for them to truly accept the gospel has not come yet. Sometimes it seems like people are put in our removed out of our path in order to teach those who the lord wants us to teach.

In one week from today I can count the number of months I have left one two hands. I will have been out for 14 months, and have less than 10 months left, what is going on? This mission is going by too quickly for me.

One of the most incredible things in being a missionary is to have the Joy that comes from seeing people progress in the gospel. I believe I now know and understand what it means to 'love the people and to open your heart to the people around and to your companion'. And you just grow to love people and especially your converts as your family, that is truly one place your joy comes from as a missionary.

My spiritual sensistivity continues to increase as I learn about how the spirit works - more and more its just incredible what it does.

I hope that yall get some rain back in Texas and I love you all.

Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 74: My First ? on My Mission, Other Lows, So Prepared Investigators, Baptism on Sunday

So a funny story that I forgot to send you last time. :)

Well.. I had my first police run-in in the mission. And might I add, life. We were on our way to the church, and driving down a road I have probably driven on daily since I have been here in Lemoore. Well, in lovely California, the left arrow to turn and the main lights to go straight do not turn green simultaneously. So, I was next to a policeman waiting to go straight, when I suddenly acted on pure reflexes. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the arrow to turn go green, and I immediately sped out of the intersection. Well, all of a sudden I realized that none of the other cars had followed me. And that there was a policeman behind me with his lights on. Oh how precious. I pulled over into the Quick 'n' EZ parking lot.. and was prepared to explain myself. Haha. I felt so dumb! Well, as the policeman was talking to me, I heard the description of our car over his radio. Hahah. We were wanted women! He replied, "I got 'em." Ooh! I'm infamous! I explained that the lights in Texas were NOT like that. I probably should have checked my Texas pride a bit, but it turned out in my favor. He ran my license through his computer and came back telling me to be more careful next time. I wanted to give him a card but decided not to press my luck. lol. My first time ever to get pulled over! Not that I haven't merited it before, but I was caught this time!
This week has been intense!

We met with the most golden investigator EVER!! His girlfriend is a member and is in Iraq at the moment. We had our first lesson with him at a members home (which happened to be just down the street from his new apartment) and it was AMAZING! He said that he just wanted a relationship with God. And wanted to pray daily, not just when he needed help. And wanted to come to church. And understand the scriptures. Hahaha. FOR REAL! He had already read 1 Nephi and all of the information on It was sooo cute though. He was explaining how he just didn't understand how we could get the Book of Mormon from the plates. He was like.. "Well...the plates HAVE to be round." As soon as Sister Wiese and I understood the dilemma we whipped out a picture and showed him that the plates were thin sheets of metal bound together like a book. Hahah. He was SO relieved to understand how it all came together! The members were AMAZING and invited him to sit with them at church.
We set up a church tour for the next day and the member said he would love to come. Our golden investigator said he would love it if the member came to help him feel more comfortable! The church tour was great. Spirit-filled! He wants to be baptized. So bad! Hahah. There is just a bit of trickiness in setting a date since he is being deployed for a month in October. We're pushing for October 2nd and I know that he is SO SO prepared!
He came to church this last Sunday and although the lesson material was a bit heavy (eternal marriage and way too indepth plan of salvation), he LOVED it! Haha. He was like.. "this is the most lively church I have ever been too!" (thank you young families and rambunctious children). He also volunteered the information that he only drinks a glass of wine very occasionally and that he thinks that drinking alcohol is stupid. :) We were already planning on teaching the word of wisdom next!

This week did have its lows though.. a family that we were teaching that was so promising got REALLY REALLY anti-ed. It was so sad to see them declining to find out for themselves through prayer. It was a bit discouraging but Sister Wiese and I both felt that it was a testimony building experience for both of us. The gospel is just so true!

We picked up a few former investigators this last week. There are lots of people prepared here in Lemoore for the gospel!

We are having a baptism this next Sunday. This week is going to be amazing!!! I am so excited for the Relief Society general meeting. This Sunday is going to be the Primary Program. I am so excited! :)

Hermana Bolliger

Monday, September 12, 2011

Elder Bolliger - Hesperia Week 54: Tough week in Hesperia,CA but there is light at the end of the tunnel

Talofa family,

Well let me start out by saying that this past week has been one of the most difficult weeks so far on my mission. The week we had planned and the week it turned out to be were two very, very different things. We had an awesome week planned with tons of appointments with investigators and members to be there too, it turned out to be that we did not have any members there at any of our appointments, which was disappointing but nevertheless we struggled through and we are still diligently moving onward.

Our main progressing investigator, Judy, is moving along very,very well and very quickly, we went over the baptismal interview questions and also the word of wisdom, she committed to follow it and has been significantly reducing her coffee from 3 cups a day down to 1 and I committed her yesterday not to drink any from sacrament to our lesson on tuesday. It is amazing when you have someone that progresses so much every time you teach them, its a noticeable difference from before to after the lesson, its so incredible to see how much joy and light the gospel gives to people and their lives.

The 40 day fast is going strong in this ward, the blessings that we are recieveing from that in conjunction with the fact that the ward is getting to know us and knowing that we are hard workers and we are here to 'help others come unto Christ' and not to mess or play around. The ward is starting to trust us more with referrals and people that they know that want to take the lessons, as of right now we are averaging 4 or 5 referrals recieved every single week, which is more than 4X what I have gotten in the past in former areas. And one of the things that I am so grateful for is the fact that as missionaries we are given more mental strength, to juggle yes juggle around like 30 people that we are working with from investigator families to less actives, part members, and others. And if we didn't have the planners and we did not organize ourselves how we do, we would just get lost trying to teach everyone.

I have been really finding out for myself why the rules are they way they are and that it is true that every blessing from heaven is predicated upon obedience. There is a reason to plan nightly for the next day, there is a reason to pray before every lesson, there is a reason to weekly plan every weekend. And when you find out these reasons and do them for the right reasons you do recieve blessings and peace of mind.

Yesterday during church a good number of people kept asking us if we were both going to stay here for a longer amount of time, and we both replied that yes we are going to since we have 4 weeks left in this area, and we are getting complements that we work very well and the ward is beginning to trust us, we are also learning that when you open up your heart to an area, that you literally starting loving the people, it seems like a very cliche missionary thing to 'love the people' but it is so true. And when you do love the people you can be bold to them, in a loving way and if it is in line and in tune with the gospel and spririt then it is the right thing to do and to help heal the wounds of people. Our fast has been for 2 of the 3 missions of the church, the spreading of the gospel to every person, and for the perfecting of the saints.
Well we both hope for the best for this upcoming week and it will probably happen as we are being diligent and always looking forward, I am thankful for all that you do to help me out. And the support that you give.

And I hope yall the best and that Texas gets some RAIN!
Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 73: Always Hectic Transfer Week, Splendidly with 5'10" Comp, Vineyards & Spiders- No Worries, Providential Referrals!


Well, this week has seen its fair share of miracles. :) Things are always a bit hectic transfer week, but I am happy to say that things are going splendidly!
It took quite a bit of work to get the apartment ready for Sister Wiese. I like to have things clean. And we have a mold problem in our bathroom that I hadn't noticed until a few days before transfers. Because I never wear my glasses in the shower and our lights have burned out in the bathroom...I couldn't see the mold. Gross! So..I attacked it with straight bleach. And boy does it look beautiful now! Sister Croft was sad to go to Madera, but we had some bonding time where I dyed her hair before she left. Haha.

Sister Wiese is from Bluffdale, Utah. And she is 5'10"! It is so odd to have to look someone straight in the eye! Hahah. We keep bumping into each other because we are used to littler companions. I feel the spirit SO much with Sister Wiese. She's a bit quiet, but appreciates my humor. What more could I ask for? :) We have seen lots of miracles as we have worked together in this area.

This Wednesday was the vineyard time! It was so much fun! Each congregation is assigned a certain number of rows to take care of throughout the year. We were scrambling for a ride to go up to Madera to help, and we finally found one and were able to go! We got SO dirty but it was fabulous. We picked grapes (and I didn't even hurt myself!) with special knives and it was a great way for Sister Wiese to get to know the ward! There were lots of spiders and bugs but I didn't care at all. I was wearing pants. And tennis shoes. Haha. But...leaves kept getting stuck in my hair so I am pretty sure I looked verrrry special.

We had a phone call from Bishop last week saying that a woman in the Bay area wanted her sister to be visited by the missionaries. So, we went to try and contact her. It took us probably 4 tries because her roommate would keep answering the door and saying that she wasn't there. Well, we finally met her and she is adorable!! Roxanna is so spunky. She is going to school at West Hills for Culinary Arts and has a two-year-old son with Autism. We were able to help her move out of her apartment and then into a storage unit. Our height came in handy!! We were able to stack those boxes all the way up to the top! Haha. She then came to church yesterday with her brother-in-law and nephew (who are members) that were visitng here for the weekend. It was perfect! We already have a great fellowshipper in mind...a lady who is a caterer and herself has an autistic son. :) We introduced them on Sunday and we're excited for Roxanna to get baptized!
We also had another providential phone call from Bishop last night. He said that a young man from the Navy base had contacted him trying to find the missionaries. Haha. Yes! He had talked with the missionaries when he was living at home, but his parents had them stop coming. Well, one of his friends reintroduced him to the church and so he wants to learn more! We're having a lesson with him this Wednesday at a member's house. We invited him to go on before the lesson and he replied that he has already been on there! Haha. Sweet!
I don't know what it is about the water here--but it seems like EVERY animal has little babies. In the trailer parks the chihuahuas have their little chihuahua puppies. A member's house we stopped at yesterday had little husky puppies. Another house had a little toy poodle puppy. And then another house had baby guinea pigs! Ay caramba!

I am excited for my district this transfer. My new District Leader is from San Antonio, Texas. We talk about Rudy's a lot. Haha. And there is another Elder from Texas here as well! Maybe Heavenly Father is trying to prepare me to go back home? Hahah.

Peace be the Journey,

Hermana Bolliger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Elder Bolliger - Hesperia Week 53: - PHOTOS - "One of the best weeks I have ever had on my mission! "

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 72: "I will finish my mission here in Lemoore!" Great Miracles & Lots of Referrals - Amazing!

Well, the verdict is in. I will finish my mission here in Lemoore! I can't believe that time has been flying by so fast!
Sister Croft will go to Madera to a Spanish Ward, and I will be getting Sister Wiese, one of Sister Croft's MTC companions! It is unusual as the whole ward has kind of figured out that I am almost done with my full-time missionary service! I've been getting a lot of questions about what I'm going to do when I go home. Gag me! Haha. I don't even want to think about it. :)
We have seen some great miracles lately. There was a family that we found knocking that is SO ON FIRE! We had a lesson with them last Saturday night, and then they came to church the next Sunday! They loved it! We had a lesson with them last night with our member fellowshipper and it is amazing to see how prepared they are! We joked with one of them that she could see Sister Croft again when she was baptized, and she was like.. when am I getting baptized? lol. :) They have been reading and the Mom is SO prepared! Oh my goodness! It is astounding. She even said that she wanted to come and go pick grapes at the vineyard with our ward this Wednesday. Pretty amazing I'd say!
We have received a lot of referrals and everyone as of yet has been bilingual! Imagine that! Haha. It has been amaizng to see the hand of the Lord working through all different sorts of people to help us find those that are prepared to receive the gospel at this time!
My body is deciding that it is tired. Haha. I had to buy a heating pad last week because I am just in so much pain these days! Haha. But no slowing down yet!

Hermana Bolliger

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Elder Bolliger - Hesperia Week 53: "One of the best weeks I have ever had on my mission! "

Well family this past week has been one of the best weeks I have ever had on my mission! As you may know our ward started a 40 day fast last monday with Bishop Casady as the starting family and we didn't expect the blessings to come this fast and not nearly this much this soon.
So this past week we have had a number of awesome and amazing lessons. The first one was with a Samoan family named the Pelettis and we have been trying to get over there and to teach them for months now, the last missionaries that taught them were over a year ago and they are prepared and know that the gospel is true, but are just letting some things prevent them from following christ's example at this time but we are starting to get weekly teaching appointments with them and are really looking forward to teaching them that amazing Gospel of Jesus Christ lesson and I can't wait for that appointment. And the parents are ready for the gospel and pretty much come to church regularly every single week. And we taught them about Lehi's dream and about being an example to your family and Lehi's beckoning to his family to follow him on the iron rod. Thne about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can bless their lives, after that they fed us some polynesian teriyaki and I think I had 3 or 4 plates of it, dang good but if you know polynesian people and missionaries then you understand what I mean by feed and feed you. This was just tuesday.

On Wednesday I was on exchanges out in Phelan which is way the heck out there from where we live, its practically all dirt roads and the truck that we drive is so beat up because of the abuse the roads put on it, its fun but man is it bumpy, it kind of reminds me of west texas a ton acutally and its been hot up here in the 105-110 range but withour the humidity, the sun still soaks your energy away.
And while I was gone we had another amazing lesson with a girl and her boyfriend who we met in our apartment complex and taught the restoration pretty much just sitting there on the grass. They went back and taught her and her boyfriend and once again they both felt the spirit when they talked about the gospel of jesus christ, while out in the desert we had a good day with some good lessons and had some fun with Elder Hatch, who Elder Hall also trained and is my mission brother.
On Thursday we got a phone call from the bishops wife (they fasted on monday) about a lady that wanted to meet us that day and wanted to take the lessons from us, we went over there and had a very,very spiritual lesson and she felt the spirit and knew that it was true and wanted to meet with us again the next day. She is an older lady that has been searching for the gospel all of her life and as we taught she knew what we were saying is true and many of her questions that she had asked people all of her life were answered by the power of the holy ghost which we had and used to know her needs.
So on friday weere pretty excited and were excited to come back and to teach here once again, we taught her the Doctrine of Christ and committed her to baptism in a few weeks and she readily accepted, she is one of the most golden investigators I have ever seen or heard of on my mission so far, she also has a friend and a daughter that are also seeking for truth and we will be teaching them this next week as well, how exciting the lords work can be !
That night we had dinner with a young married couple named the Humes and it was like being back home with the missionaries we talked and talked about different things and it was really really relaxing to just be ourselves with them, it was really a lot of fun, he is a super solid member and will be coming out with us this next week to a couple of appointments.
On Saturday we went out with a rececently reactivated member named Brother Wall who is an older guy but quite the character when it comes to talking with people, we took him around on exchanges and it was a great thing as we visited some people that we felt that we should go and see, we had a ball talking and laughing with the members as well as doing some Damage Control which seems like a common thing for us in this ward.
Okay now we get to sunday and we meet with the Ward Council and the members in the ward and go over some of the problems and ways that we can help fix them with this 40 day fast and the miracles that occured in the past week, we also got up in sacrament and did the exact same thing and told the ward how much this WILL help and the MIRACLES that have come from fasting and praying oft ( Alma 6:6 ). The ward really responded well to that signed up with the dinner calendar more than they have in the past as well as signing up like 10 sopots in the 40 day fast calendar, we have already seen the positive effects of it and can't wait to see what will happen next.
But the amazingness of this past week is not over yet, after church we had a casual appointment with a part member family and I learned many small but important lessons about the holy ghost, namely that the to invite the holy ghost to be there you do not need to necessarily pray but that that prayer is one of the quickest ways to bring the spirit into a situation, because this situation would not initially allow for such an event to happen we talked and then testified about the gospel of jesus christ and about how much it can bless his life, the spirit was so strong there and we commited him to be baptized when he finds out that undeniable witness for himself that the true gospel of jesus christ has been restored to the earth and Christ wants him to follow after him and to be baptized by one holding Authortity, it touched his wife who was a member and it touched him as well and we set up a return appointment for the following week, we are so excited for that even to happen!

So that was the amazing week that Elder Gibson and I had and we are looking forward to this next one so much.
Elder Bolliger

Sister Bolliger - Lemoore Week 70 - 71: Phew! We made it through this week!

Well this week has been insane!!!

On Wednesday we were able to go to the temple and it was such a joy! I love going! Although I could barely stay awake (whenever I sit down I seem to fall asleep) the Spirit was absolutely beautiful. :) Wednesday night we drove back up to Fresno for an exchange. Sister Croft when in a Spanish area and I was able to be here in Lemoore with Sister Gurecki! I sat next to Sister Gurecki's twin in my French and Italian Cinema class my last semester at BYU! So we had a splendid time! We found lots of new investigators and did tons of spanish chatting!

On Thursday, we switched back at 8PM that night.

On Friday, we did weekly planning and then prepared for Special Ops. Special Ops is when priest and laurel age young men and women (16-18) from the Hanford stake are able to be set apart and go with full-time missionaries for the weekend. It was great! I was able to have Sister Willis as my companion, and Sister Croft had Sister Preston! We stopped by the ward party before we went to Hanford to get the new missionaries, and it was so spectacular looking! :) We drove home late Friday night back to Lemoore and had to make an emergency stop at the church to get another chair for one of the Special Ops ladies to sit on! Haha. Planning Friday night was pretty intense as we did it for two sets of us!

Saturday began with lots of incredibleness. Sister Willis and I went all around town talking to everyone we saw and knocking some amazingly fruitful areas! Sister Croft and Sister Preston went on bikes for the day and it was amazing how many new investigators we found! That night a brother in the ward took all of us out to eat---and that was quite a treat! The restaurant was Ethel Red's Chop House. Doesn't that sound delightful!! It was so delicious!! And reminded me of good ol' texas.

Sunday was also a full day! We had the Special Ops sisters make phone calls and send texts to remind people to come to Church taht morning while Sister Croft and I went to Ward Council. Then it was Sunday business as ususal getting the translation equipment ready and to work! (I had to go up to the stand during Sacrament Meeting to go fix the translation material) Then, Sister Preston's parents showed up to take her home. We took a picture and they followed us to the apartment to go and get her things! Sister Willis stayed with us for a bit longer. We went to go contact some people we had met the day before and then she was off back to her home ward! Then, the work was not over! We had to go and get ready for our baptism that night! Destinee D our cute girl in the Hanford ward that we were teaching was getting baptized! We went over to the Stake Center to make sure things were getting ready. Well, thre were no Elders to be found! Since it was not our building we don't have keys to the font so that it could start getting filled! Well, after a few frantic phone calls, the other set of Elders from Hanford (not from the ward where Destinee lives) came and opened it up for us. :) We were a bit nervous! hahah. We filled up some garbage cans with water to make it go faster. Well, the baptism went really really well! Fortunately it started a little bit late...which gave the font plenty of time to fill up! :) Destinee had asked me and one of the Elders from her ward to sing a duet. We sang "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me." With our like five minutes of practice before the went really really well! The talks were perfect and it was so wonderful to see her baptized! Her Bishop baptized her. Sister Croft gave Destinee a picture of the Savior that she drew. We both signed the back of it. It was swell! She calls me Sister Boulevard, and Sister Croft, Sister Kraft. It was so beautiful and so exciting!!

Phew! We made it through this week! I am pretending that I am never going to leave the mission. And that I am never going home. Haha. This Saturday we find out about transfers. I don't want to leave Lemoore!!

Peace be the journey!

Hermana Bolliger