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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Week 55



Hola todos! It's been a wonderful fall week here in gorgeous Minnesota. There are trees EVERYWHERE here, so it makes all the fall colors just beautiful. This week has been a bit on the slower side.
But we are still enjoying ourselves out here in Faribault.

We've been able to come up with some creative ideas to find more people to talk to. This week, the weather was great, so we went around knocking doors and offering to rake leaves to anyone who looked like they needed it. And we had some pretty good success! What was really cool was we felt prompted to surprise one of the families in our ward and rake their yard while we had some extra time. Turns out, the husband had a blood vessel pop in his eye, so he was on bed-rest and she was stressing out about everything. So, we helped out just in the nick of time! It's amazing how Heavenly Father can use us as instruments in his hands to be an answer to someone else's prayer.

Some other good news from the week - Bob received the priesthood and passed the sacrament for the first time this week! We also set a day this week to take him to the temple for the first time, which should be an amazing spiritual experience as usual! He gave me and Elder Nielson both birthday presents since they are pretty close together, he gave me a packers beanie. Haha! I love him!

We visited a less-active Hispanic fam this week, and they fed us home-made flour tortillas and "frijoles de vaquero" or cowboy-beans. I haven't had home-made Hispanic food for a while, it was great!! Our little man Derek is still doing great, and we even helped him give a talk in his class at church! He's so awesome, and we are looking forward to his baptism.

I hope you all have a wonderful week this week! I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone. It truly changes lives! CuΓ­dense (:

-Elder Bolinder

Hangin' With Derek
Streetscape in Faribault
Faribault Tractor Show!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Week 54

Derek & Elder Bolinder

Transfer News...

Hola Fam! We'll start off with a bit of news - transfers are today! Elder Nielson and I will be staying another 6 weeks here in Faribault, which is great news for us because we are loving it here. And some other news... It's his birthday Today!! To celebrate I'm going to take him out to lunch, then hit up Cabela's, and go play soccer with our soon to be baptized little amigo Derek. We met with them again this week and they are such a sweet family! Things are looking good for his baptism in November.

So more about the week... We started off with some exchanges in my last area, Mankato. We spent the night there so we were there for Tuesday and Wednesday. Honestly, it felt like I never left! It was a blast, and the elders there are studs. I spent the day with an elder from Alaska, who is a convert of 4 years and the only member of our church in his family. Such an amazing example of faith! With the recent addition of Facebook and Skype to our mission, he has been able to start teaching his mom more about the restored gospel! We got to have a lesson with her over video-chat and it was the coolest thing in the world! The blessings of technology are unreal.

We've seen a lot of success in this area with part-member families! We're working with the Sando family, the Hispanic family that came to the BBQ the Chavez's, and Mary Jane Post and her non-member boyfriend. Well, anyway, a funny story. We went over to Mary Jane and Chase's for dinner on Friday. We had some delicious tacos with them, and her three daughters are just full of energy and love to talk. It was hilarious, the little 3-year-old was going off about this random dream she had and it made absolutely no sense but we just laughed along with herπŸ˜‚. Then Mary Jane started to tell us a different story, when Alison (the 3 year old) walks over to her and tells her, "hey mom, can I tell you something?" And she was like yes. Then she leans in and whispers, "I wasn't finished!". The sass was unrealπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. So,  then we listened to her crazy "dream" for another 10 minutes hahaha. We were dyingπŸ˜‚. I love that family though. Chase has been reading a bit of the Book of Mormon and got to watch General Conference which he loved! They got in a car accident on Saturday that scared them a bit, but luckily everyone was okay. We went over there after church and shared with them a scripture.

I'm running low on time, but just a quick thought. On Sunday we had a super powerful Ward Conference and got to hear from all the leaders of the Lakeville Stake. I actually had the same conference when I was in Mankato, but it was even better the second time! The theme they used comes from a scripture in the Book of Mormon comparing our testimonies of the gospel to a living plant, specifically a tree.

"But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life."

"And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst."

What a powerful analogy! If we turn to the Lord and diligently nourish our "trees", (Pray, read scriptures, serve others, etc.) we can be deeply rooted in the gospel. And with strong roots, the winds of life in this trouble-some world will not have power over us! I know this to be true, and I've tasted of this "fruit" of the gospel and it is the true joy that is experienced through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!

I love you guys, thanks for all your amazing examples. Have a wonderful week (:

-Elder Bolinder

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week 53

Baptism Day for Landon


Hola todos! We have a combined zone P-day today carving pumpkins, so I'll try to fit in as much as I can about another great week in the mission field!

This week was a bit slow, and super-duper rainy! But we still had some great lessons. We saw our favorite Liberian family again, the Sandos. They said their transition back to America hasn't been the best, and it was great to visit them again and strengthen their testimonies of the gospel. It was funny because we asked them lots of questions about what it's like in Africa, and they were like, "We actually have this really spicy African chicken, here try some!" and it was soooo good! Hispanics trained me well lol, I LOVE spicy food now!πŸ‘ŒπŸΌElder Nielson on the other hand was suffering πŸ˜‚ hahaha! He couldn't handle the heat. Anyway, I love that fam and Derek is such a stud, he sat by us at church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. Oh, and we set a date for him to be baptized on the 11th of November, whoo!!

We were able to do some awesome service this week, which is always a perfect stress-reliever. We helped our investigator Kevin build a fence on his ranch which was pretty gnarly! It's pretty amusing, too, because while we worked out in the drizzling rain, all of his sheep would just follow us around like our own little paparazziπŸ˜‚ Then we also helped out some members out in Northfield on Saturday morning. It was actually the crazy guy in the ward who bit my name tag! lol. He's super nice, but just a little crazy. We helped him take down this giant oak tree in his front yard. Made the biggest crash ever, it was epic! Then we spent most of the time cleaning up the branches and what not. Good fun!

Another highlight from the week was that our little buddy Landon got baptized! The service was amazing and the spirit was so strong. His older brother was able to baptize him and they were smiling and had their arms around each other the whole time. Such a sweet brotherly bond! Landon was beaming the whole time, and he was so excited that afterwards we went over to their house so he could give us these sick shades😎 I'm so glad we got be a part of it and help their family who is going through some rough family struggles. But it was so nice to see the family strengthened by the gospel of Christ😊 I know that the gospel blesses families, and through our redeemer Jesus Christ we can have true and lasting joy for eternity!

Well we are about to head out, but I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

-Elder Bolinder

One Year Mark Celebration S'mores Cake!
(Ingredients sent from home, made by Elder Cambo :) )

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Week 52

Elder Bolinder and Elder Nielson

Conferencia! Y un aΓ±oπŸ‘ŒπŸ»

Well, another week gone in the blink of an eye. I hope all of you enjoyed the absolutely AMAZING general conference weekend we had!! For us, it was like drinking from a firehose. So many inspired messages from our modern-day apostles! In addition to conference, the rest of the week was pretty eventful, so let's jump into it…

We met with our little ball of energy, Landon, twice this week and everything is lining up great for his baptism. We were able to actually push his baptism up a week so it will be on the 8th! We're finalizing the service this week, and we're pumped! Something we didn't really expect this transfer is all these miracles with finding all these young studs who want to be baptized. We were going through our area book and list of families in the ward and we felt like we should stop by this new family that moved in about a month ago. They moved here all the way from Liberia! Long story short, we met with the grandma and her two grand kids and had a wonderful lesson on how families can be eternal through God's plan of happiness. Afterwards, the 10-year-old grandson enthusiastically tells us, "Oh! And I want to be baptized!" We said, "Well, we can sure help you out with that!" Haha. He was wearing a Steph Curry jersey and told us all about how he loves basketball, lol what a bro. The Lord definitely led us to that family, and we had no idea that would happen! We're seeing them again this week. What a great experience!

We had dinner at our ward mission leader's house this week and had an interesting meal - Peanut Butter and Jelly Omelets! Now, I was a skeptic at first. Seems like such a bizarre combo right? But man, surprisingly it was SO good!

We also saw Kevin again this week, he's still reading and progressing well. He showed us his house out in the country and gave us a little tour of his ranch. Got some videos of these cool rams he has! He is still hesitant to set a date for baptism, but we were able to commit him to pray about a date in November. But some good news, he came to a session of general conference with us which he loved!

I'll wrap up with one of my favorite talks from conference - President Nelson! His talk was pretty much a recap of what he spoke about to us during our mission-conference back in April and it was amazing! He asks the question, "What would you lose if you didn't have the Book of Mormon?" There are so many amazing examples, and doctrines, and insights to God's eternal plan for us. I think for me, the biggest thing we would lose is the strength of our testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Because the Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Christ that not only reaffirms the message of Christ in the Bible, but draws us even closer to Him through the peaceful spirit that it brings, it truly is the keystone of our religion! I know it's true.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Remember that God loves you and is always aware of your needs! Keep moving forward. I love you guys!


-Elder Bolinder

(Tambien: Wednesday will mark my one-year mark on the mission, Whoo! It's gone by way to fast, let me tell ya. Next year is going to be even greater!πŸ˜ƒ)

Faribault Rams!
At the ranch with Kevin...