Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Week 62

Elder Montierth and Elder Bolinder

Milagros en el frΓ­o!

¿QuΓ© tal mis amigos? Hope you're all enjoying the wonderful winter season. We are having the time of our lives out here in the white winter wonderland of Minnesota! Let's jump into this week.

We started out the week with another bomb Family Home Evening we had with a couple of families in the ward on Tuesday. And some of the kids even invited a friend! Vamooosss!

Wednesday we had our Christmas Zone Conference combined with 2 other zones. We received some inspiring training from President Barney, had a fatty ham-n-potato lunch, and to top it all off we all got to watch the movie Polar Express!! We talked a lot about the condescension of God. President Barney gave an amazing training about the birth of Christ and how he was born in such humble circumstances - came into the world as a baby just like everyone else, born in a stable, sleeping in a manger with swaddling clothes. It really makes me appreciate the humility of our Savior. He never thought of himself, but was always turning outward to lift others and always sought of His father. And I'm so pumped for Christmas when we get to celebrate his humble birth!!

Thursday we had our weekly coordination meeting at our ward mission leaders home and, in keeping with Faribault tradition, he welcomed my new companion Elder Montierth to the area with his famous PB+J Omlets!! Sounds bizarre but they are the best lol. One of his former students, James, came over to hang out with his son or something, and he ended up sitting down and talking with us at the table. He had some great questions about us as missionaries and the gospel, and basically our coordination meeting turned into a member-present lesson! Haha it was sweet.

We met with the Post family again on Friday. Had a great lesson with them and afterwards decorated stockings with them, haha it was a blast. MaryJane is still progressing well towards her goal to go to the temple, and also Chase towards baptism! 

We'll finish this week off with a milagro (Spanish for “miracle”). After church on Sunday we set out to go tracting in a nearby trailer park to share a Christmas message and find new people to teach. We punched in an address in the GPS, but unfortunately missed a turn and found ourselves entering the freeway! The closest exit to turn around wasn't for another 7 miles, ..great! Well we decided we would change our route and stop by some Hispanic investigators in a small town where we were headed. We didn't have much luck there, so we headed back up to where we originally wanted to go. Literally the first door we knocked, this older lady named Kay answered and opened up to us. She said she lost her husband just 2 weeks ago. She was in tears as we testified of the reality of life after death and the Plan of Salvation that God has laid out for us through his son Jesus Christ. It was so powerful. We invited her to be baptized if she knew our message was true and she said yes! We gave her a date to work towards - Feb. 3rd. We are so excited! The best part was she told us she just got home 10 minutes earlier, so it was definitely inspired timing on God's part that we met her!

I love the gospel and the chance I have to share it. I love and appreciate all of you, and all your wonderful examples. Keep on lighting the world! 😊

-Elder Bolinder

(For P-day we went to the nature center and made some new animals friends, then took a hike to the sick frozen waterfall we found)

Elder Montierth and Elder Bolinder
"The Frozen Tundra"
"I dare you to climb up..."
Merry Christmas!
Found my twin!
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission Ornament

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Week 61

Elder Nielson and Elder Bolinder

Ilumina El Mundo!!!

The Christmas season is in full swing here in Faribault. We have our tree all decorated, stockings hung up, and we are enjoying ourselves Lighting the World!! I mentioned last week that Elder Nielson was being transferred to the cities. It was SO hard to say goodbye! We were super tight. Like two peas in a pod lol. My new companion is Elder Montierth from Mesa, AZ! He's been out just 4 months so he's still pretty fresh haha but we get along great!

The #LightTheWorld initiative has been, well.... LIT! Hahaha sorry I had to, but no it's really been great! We've talked to a lot more people finding and have been sharing the video with everyone, and also working with the members of the ward to help them find missionary opportunities. And this ward has been one of the most motivated wards I've served in, it's awesome! Our Family Night on Monday was spectacular. The peaceful spirit was so strong as everyone went around the room and shared their testimony of Christ! We've also set up weekly family-home evening activities for the whole month of December, so we're hoping to see lots of fruits from working with the wonderful families of the ward😊

Some other highlights of this week were on Tuesday we got to help Bro Hunter (The crazy guy who bit our nametagsπŸ˜‚) do some construction for a new room he's building in his garage. He rewarded us with a ride to transfers lol. And Saturday we had an amazing ward Christmas party! Good food. A cute nativity scene from the primary kids. And we got a couple investigators there too! Also, this week was my first time teaching a Hindu. We taught him about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and explained how God has not left his people alone, he has called a living prophet in our day! Thomas S. Monson! He was like, "No way! I have to go to your church to hear this guy!" We helped him download the gospel library app, and he committed to come to church next week. Sweet! haha. I'm grateful we have a loving Heavenly Father who gives us guidance through modern prophets. I'm not sure what I would do without that guidance, honestly!

It was another great week, and I'm so happy I get to be in the service of others full-time. Keep finding ways to share your light with those around you! I know Christ is our Savior, and if we follow his perfect example we will find true joy!

Also, today marks my 14th month mark! Loco. Time flies! I love you guys and I thank you all so much for the wonderful support you give me (:

Have a good one!
Elder Bolinder

Elder Montierth and Elder Bolinder
Christmas Stocking (...and Go Pack Go!)
"Building the Kingdom"
Faribault Family Night

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Week 60

Thanksgiving with Chase, MaryJane & Family

Adios November, Adios Elder Nielson 😭

Hola everyone! Disculpe for no email last week, we had our p-day changed to Thanksgiving! And we were too busy being stuffed with turkey to think about emailing πŸ˜…. Hope you all enjoyed your turkey day. Now that it's over, we can all enjoy our lovely Christmas music without feeling guilty about it! Lol

Elder Nielson and I have been loving our time here in the Faribault ward, and we had our hopes up to stay together one more transfer because President was hinting at it during interviews. Buuttt, unfortunately we woke up this morning with some disappointment to see that Elder Nielson is leaving for Minneapolis. We've become such good friends and Imma miss him tons😭 That means I'll stay in Faribault a little longer, which I'm happy about! I'll update you guys on the new comp next week.

The past few weeks have been genial!! We've had some amazing lessons this week and met a few new people. I'll just get into some highlights. We had a good time last week celebrating mi cumpleaΓ±os! It's pretty strange to say I'm two decades old now, wow lol. Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes 😊. We got to help this older less active guy in the ward and his nonmember wife who we've been teaching move a bunch of heavy boxes into their giant storage unit. Then we went to MaryJane + Chase's house for a bomb stake-n-potato dinner! Chase has still been progressing well. And MaryJane tambien! A while back, we made them a little bet that if they read the Book of Mormon as a family every night for a week then I would eat 30 sour warhead candies. And they did it! We were so happy! Haha. So, I kept my end of the deal and I regret it. My tongue was fried afterwards, let me tell yaπŸ˜‚ But, hey, it was vale la pena because the best part of my birthday was when we followed up with how their scripture reading has been since then and they said they're still reading every day! And then, MaryJane says to us, "Honestly it's helped me so much! And guess what guys.. I've gone two weeks without smoking!" You couldn't wipe the smile off our faces haha. That was a huge testimony builder for me to see the power of the Book of Mormon start to take root in their lives just as it has mine. She's made so much progress in being active in church again and helping Chase receive the gospel!

Thanksgiving was fantastic! We took a morning hike through these trails at a nature reserve here in Faribault. Quite refreshing! There was this little creek with a waterfall we found, and it was all frozen it looked pretty cool ha. We had two huge meals, one at 3 and another at 6 so we had to pace ourselves on the first one lol. We were stuffed to the brim!! It was an awesome day, we got to see 4 different families from the ward and we're so grateful for their support. Since then, we've been visiting lots of families from church because they have been starting to role out the new #LightTheWorld initiative!! If you missed it from last year, it's an amazing way to serve others as Christ did this Christmas season! And all it takes is one simple act of kindness every day - from Dec. 1 - 25th 😊. I invite you all to check it out on Mormon.org! I have a testimony of Christ-like service and I know that God uses us as instruments in his hands to be answers to others’ prayers.

Another highlight of the week was Stake Conference. For as long as I’ve been in the Lakeville stake, I will never get tired of hearing the stake presidency speak - they are amazing! They talked a lot about the sacred covenants made at baptism and in the temple. It made me really reflect on how truly grateful I am for the covenants I've made with God. He truly does bless us when we strive to follow him and keep his commandments! Apostle David A. Bednar talked about it in his conference address, he says "The importance of the exceeding great and precious promises [of God] are true reminders of where we are going in our mortal journey and why." So many times in life we get so caught up we forget the reason our loving Heavenly Father sent us here, and having the privilege of renewing and being reminded of our covenant to follow him as we take the sacrament weekly helps us remember the plan of happiness he has laid out!

We also have a “Family Home Evening” lesson at a member's house tonight, and they invited another family who they're really close with who aren't members of the church. So that's really exciting! Should be a great lesson.

Thank you all for your love and support. I'm grateful for your kindness and examples to me. I'm so happy to be a missionary and I have a testimony of this gospel and our Savior Jesus Christ. I know he lives! Have a wonderful week(: cuΓ­dense mucho

-Elder Bolinder

Shake it like a Polaroid Picture!
Family Home Evening
The Real FHE Pose!
Land of 10,000 Lakes
Nature Hike

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Week 59

Thanksgiving Holiday Greeting!

A note from the minions: Elder Bolinder did not send an update the week of Thanksgiving. His P-day was changed to Thursday and, apparently, too many Thanksgiving meals made it difficult to write. haha! Instead, we received this little "Thanksgiving Greeting" from Elder Bolinder and Elder Nielson. Enjoy! πŸ˜…

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Week 58

Splash-down in Faribault!🏊

Hola hola. Hope you all had a splendid week!

This week we had interviews with the man, the myth, the legend, President Barney! It's always a good experience. Afterward, we had to get our oil changed for the car and it took FOREVER. We were late to our lesson with Chase that night haha, but it was still super powerful! He's continuing to get closer to baptism. But something really cool is, while we were in the waiting room, I noticed an older couple that looked familiar. Turned out they were some members I remembered from the Mankato ward! It was sweet to get to catch up with them.

Friday was another odd day. Elder Nielson's eye has been really bugging him the past few weeks so we finally scheduled a time to go to the eye doctor. They checked out his eye balls and they got all dilated and huge, so he had to wear sunglasses all day even though it was super cloudy all dayπŸ˜‚. Got a picture to show. But because of all that it made the week a little slow. But some good news - we ended on a high note!

The highlight of the week was definitely Derrick's Baptism!! It was amazing and the peaceful spirit there was so strong! It was a bit chaotic because we planned out everything for the program, and literally the day before the baptism, our piano player cancelled and the primary president said she couldn’t show up! So, we scrambled a bit to find people to fill in, but luckily everything worked out ok. Kevin and the Post family also came which was awesome! We ended up having the whole relief society room packed.

As we were teaching Derrick’s family, we would always teased him about when he gets older he'll have a name tag just like us that says 'Elder Sando'. It was such a cool moment to see him smile from ear to ear and take this important first step closer to Christ and covenant to serve Him😊 Even though he's just 11, he has such strong faith and gospel knowledge. He's an amazing example, and I'm so grateful we got the chance to teach him!

It was another great week in the service of the Lord. I know that He guides this work, and we are merely instruments in His hands! Love you all (:

-Elder Bolinder

Derrick's Baptism
"The future's so bright..."

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 57

Mission Conference

It's Hunting Season!

Hola Fam!!

This week has been fantastico!

To jump into the week, we had a sweet Halloween celebration on Tuesday. We kicked it off with a huge mission-wide conference, and we got to hear from a general authority of the church Elder Michael T. Ringwood. He served as a mission president in South Korea, and he spoke a bit of Korean for us it sounded crazy! haha. It was an amazing spiritual experience and we learned a ton from him. He talked about the importance of planning and goal setting - something I realized is so vital to missionary work! Well, it was just what we needed to get motivated to hit our goals for this week, and we crushed it!! We'd been struggling to get more people to come to church. So, we set a solid goal to get 4 nonmembers to church on Sunday. We beat it by 1 and got a grand total of 5 to church! (That's a really great week for us!!) It's always a huge testimony builder to have your prayers answered and see some fruits from your labors.

Oh, and after the mission conference we had a multi-zone P-day and had a gigantic dodgeball fight it was absolutely madπŸ˜‚

Some other good news, Derek's baptism this week! We went over to review the baptismal covenant and prepare him for his interview. We had a pretty cool object lesson. We got two clear plastic cups and filled one with a pinch of dirt/mud. We had Derek pour water into both of the cups, and we explained that the dirt represents sin, it makes our spirits unclean. But, when we are baptized we are washed clean from our sins and become pure like the cup of clean water. Then it was as if he read our minds and knew exactly where we were going with this, he asked the perfect question! He said, "What if I have a cup of dirty water, how do I get the dirt out?" Well, you can't just pick up the dirt and take it out.. You can't just pour more good water into the cup because it will never be fully clean like it was.. The answer? Through repentance and renewing our baptismal covenant by taking the sacrament, Jesus Christ can heal us and literally give us a new cup of clean water - a clean slate! As Alma in the Book of Mormon explains it, we "must repent, and be born again." Through Christ's atoning grace, we become new creatures in Christ! What an amazing gift.

Saturday we went on exchanges again with the elders in Mankato. Seriously, I can never leave that place!! Haha! It's always a good experience talking to a couple investigators and members from the past. Granted, it's a bummer having two days this week not in our own area. But it was a blast! We did some tracting out in the cold which is always funπŸ˜‚. We handed out a couple Libros de Mormon. One guy answered straight up wearing a shirt with a naked lady on it... super awkward!! HahahaπŸ˜‚ but we ended up talking to him (covering the shirt with our hand of course lol) and he was really intrigued by the Book of Mormon. He committed to read it. You never know who is going to be receptive to the gospel!πŸ™ŒπŸ»

Funny side note. Deer hunting season just started here in 'Sota and they have deer literally everywhere! So, of course, being down south in the boonies almost everyone we run into looovvees to hunt. It's actually been a really great conversation starter and has led to some good discussions about God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a good thing that my companion Elder Nielson is obsessed with hunting!πŸ˜‚ I can't really contribute much to the conversation, but I’m definitely putting that on my bucket list of things to do when I get home!

Have a fantastic Monday my friends. I love you all!
¡Dios bendiga!

-Elder Bolinder

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Week 56

October Snow!


Hola Todos!

Happy Halloween!

Our ward had a big Halloween party on Wednesday that was pretty fun! We were a bit disappointed though because we had about 5-6 investigators and less active members commit to go but then they all fell through. We made up for it on Sunday, though, because we had two families come to church!!

One crazy thing from this week is… IT SNOWED!! It got cold very quickly and Friday it snowed almost all day. Only about 3 inches or so, but still crazy! I've never seen snow before Halloween, it's a strange feeling lol.

We had a wonderful trip to the temple up in St. Paul with our recent convert Bob. He loved it! He said he could notice the peaceful feeling inside. It was a wonderful experience. And the temple looks beautiful covered it snow!

Derek is still doing well and we are trying to meet with him as often as we can to make sure we cover all the material before his baptism. We had a fun lesson on Tuesday and chalked out the Plan of Salvation on the driveway! He's such a fun kid.

Sorry for the shorter update, we lost track of time! But the work it still going great here, and I am loving all the amazing people we've met! I know the message we share changes lives! It's changed mine.

Have a wonderful week all of you (:

-Elder Bolinder

St. Paul Temple

Snow in October!

Chalking the Plan