Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Week 46

St. Paul Temple Day

Templos y Servicio!

Hola Todos! 

This week we had a lot of appointments fall through and we didn't see a lot of the people we were hoping to, nevertheless we had a great week! First off, we got the opportunity to attend the temple in St. Paul on Wednesday. What a powerful experience it is every time! The house of the Lord is truly filled with peace. Granted, we did have to have a member drive us about 2.5 hours to get there. But, it makes you appreciate living out west with so many temples nearby! 

We had a packed day on Saturday. We drove down to do service for the Gregor Family. He had us chop some wood and also showed us his crazy home-made apple press. Best apple juice I've ever tasted! And after telling my companion about his crazy hot sauce, he wanted to try it. So, of course, I did it with him haha.. Cherry Sauce Round 2! All four of us ended up doing it, and let me tell ya, it is just as miserable as I remember it being the first time hahaha. They fed us an insanely good smoked chicken lunch so it was well worth it! The Cherry Sauce.. Not so much haha.

Just a highlight from the week, we had a sweet lesson with one of the recent converts in the ward named José-Chayanne, and he is awesome! Super strong in the gospel. College student here at MSU, and speaks Spanish! Que padre! We had a powerful lesson with him on preparing to go to the temple and receive the priesthood, and he has some things to work on, but he committed to have that as a goal before his birthday in November! It's been great to see him continue to progress even after his baptism and we are so excited to work with him again. 

Many of you might know already, but today is Thomas S. Monson's birthday!! The prophet will be 90! Loco! As a birthday wish he wants everyone to focus on serving others. He's one of the best examples of Christ-like service. I want to extend the same invitation to you all, to find at least one opportunity to serve others. We can make such a difference in people's lives by showing them genuine love through service. I love thinking of the hymn, "Because I have been given much, I too must give." It motivates me be proactive in serving others because God has given us everything! And when we extend our love to His children around us, we show Him how much we appreciate all that He has given us. I want all of you to know, that I know that God loves us. He loves us enough that he sent his Son. And He loves us enough to guide us today directly through personal revelation and through a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know this church is true!

I love you guys so much! Have a great time enjoying the crazy eclipse! Don't burn your eyes out lol. Thanks for all your prayers and support. Hasta Luego!

-Elder Bolinder

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Week 45

Good Ol' Lakeville

¿Qué tal amigos? It's been a while! At least it felt like it for me, it's been a jam-packed week. We spent half the week up in good 'ol Lakeville. My lovely “birthplace” (first mission area)! So, because of that we didn't get much time for work in our own area, but it was still fantastico.

To start the week off, we spent the day on exchanges with the zone leaders up in their area. It was a blast! I got to go back to Prince of Peace, which is the foodbank where we volunteered when I was serving there. I got to say hi to some old staff. We talked to a ton of people, but unfortunately no return appointments. Then at the very end of the day we saw this young guy named Loui, just kicking a soccer ball around. We started talking to him and he was the most humble teenager! Right as we started teaching him though, this guy walks out of the building and just stares us down as he's walking to his car. Then he tried to yell us off, so that sadly drove away the spirit. We weren't in the mood for confrontation so we went on our way. Unfortunately, that happens way too often, and it's sad because he seemed so excited about the gospel! Anyway, we still had a great exchange. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I was with Elder Kjar for the day and he went to Eagle High! 

We spent the night with the ZLs so the next morning we could drive up to the mission home for New Missionary Training!! It took pretty much all day, but it was SO good! Training has been going great and it's honestly probably helped me more than it's helped my companion. I needed a good refresher on the basics! Elder Woolley is already such a solid missionary. Greenie fire is real! Lol. También, we went alllll the way back up to Lakeville on Saturday for interviews, which took up most of the day. But they were great! And I also got some news that since I don't get to practice much Spanish with my companion and the limited amount of Spanish work here, I can start skyping the other Spanish missionaries in the cities. And both my previous companions are in St. Paul, so that will be divertido! 

On Thursday we spent the whole afternoon doing work way out in New Ulm, which is about 40 minutes away. We had some solid lessons up there but they went a bit long, so we rushed back to Mankato for our dinner appointment. Then in the evening we went out with Brother Peterson, the Elders Quorum president of our ward.. and we went all the way back out to New Ulm for another visit! Haha, so a lot of driving time, which is annoying. But we had an awesome lesson with a less active family in the ward as well as a new family who just moved in and the daughter is preparing for a mission!

Then, the next day we spent the morning helping Bro Peterson build a massive raised garden box and filling it with some black Minnesota dirt. It's always fun to get a little dirty! One funny little side note, Minnesotans are overly proud about two things, 1) Their winters. and 2) Their DIRT! haha cracks me up.

One super cool highlight from the week - We felt like we should see one of our former investigators and see how he was doing. A Hispanic guy named Germán. And that means a lesson in Spanish! Woo! I'm glad I had the Holy Ghost on my side though because teaching solo can be a little stressful. But we read with him a chapter in the Book of Mormon that is filled with prophecies of Christ and his mission, that he will be born of Mary and take upon himself our sins, our pains, and our sorrows. The Spirit hit him like a rock! He started to tear up and tell me that now he understands, when he read the Book of Mormon in the past he read the story of Lehi and his family but didn't really understand the purpose of the book and so he gave up on keeping commitments to prepare to be baptized. But the spirit that he felt taught him what he couldn't understand before, that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ our savior and His atonement, and fortifies our witness of His divinity. And now he said he would start reading again and pray about baptism again! Super awesome miracle! It truly is amazing how the Holy Spirit enlightens our understanding. It is through the witness of the Spirit that we come to KNOW all truth! This is how I know that Christ is my personal savior, and that this is His church!

That's it for this week, I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week!! I don't have many pics from this week, so sorry 'boat that. I'll definitely take more next week! Hasta la próxima

-Elder Bolinder

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Week 44

Elder Woolley & Elder Bolinder - Mankato, MN

ZONE Conferencia!

Como han estado amigos? I hope all of you had a wonderful week this week.

This week has been pretty slow in terms of the work, we had all day on Thursday carved out for zone conference up in Lakeville, so that took some time out of our week. But it was amazing! First zone conference with the new mission president. He is truly the most jolly man I've ever met! haha. Short like me, but has the biggest heart. That's something I've tried to develop this week and throughout my mission is keeping a positive attitude. I've seen the blessings of relying to the Lord throughout my life and I know that He loves us and helps us become capable of anything!

We've been focusing a lot this week on NAC. Basically, it is a list of part-member families and other people or families of the ward who need ordinances done. And it's super helpful for finding new people who are interested in learning about the gospel of Jesus Christ! We took some decent time to organize our list and we have been starting to work with new families in the area. We had an amazing lesson with one of them this week, the Van Krevelans, about eternal families. She said she wanted to start coming back to church and she's having her 9-year old granddaughter come and live with her and she wants us to start teaching her!! So, we're hoping for more sweet miracles with the NAC list in the future.

Some more news from this week, Max and Cierra are back for the school year! We got to help them move in on Tuesday to their new apartment. They spent a lot of time together with us when I first got to the area and they are such a blast. And Cierra is super excited and ready to prepare for baptism soon, so that will be a great motivation boost for the ward! And, pretty soon, we’ll start getting more college students interested in playing soccer with the ward and taking the missionary discussions!

Zone Conference was such an uplifting experience! We had an amazing training from President Barney of having the power of the Holy Ghost with us always. Being a missionary, you start to realize how many things around us hinder our ability to feel the warmth of the Spirit. I'm grateful for this amazing gift we have been given of comfort and guidance in our lives every day! I definitely feel too many of us take this for granted in our lives. In our weekly participation in the sacrament, we are reminded of God's promise to us that we will have His Spirit to be with us always! All we have to do is keep his commandments and always remember Him! Simple, right? haha. It seems so easy, but every one of us falls short. That's why Heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus Christ. I know that through Him we can be forgiven of our sins. Repentance isn't just the back-up plan, it IS the PLAN! I hope we all can develop a greater appreciation for the Savior every week as we remember His sacrifice for US!

I love you all! Thank you for the many prayers you send my way. Dios Bendiga!

-Elder Bolinder

Mankato, MN

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 43

Elder Woolley & Elder Bolinder

Purple People Eaters!

Hola fam! This week marks my 4th transfer here in the Mankato, and it's off to a wonderful start.

Exciting news from this week... Tengo un hijo!! On Wednesday we drove up to the cities and I picked up my new trainee, Elder Woolley! He is a great missionary already and from Riverton, Utah. Surprisingly, my first companion from Utah so far on my mission! Oh, and he is English speaking so I am "zebra" training. It's been a blast!

Other news from this week, the Vikings are in town! Great news if you're a missionary looking for a sea of people to contact to discuss the gospel. Bad news if you are a Green Bay Packers fan caught in a sea of purple people eaters.. (me) hahaha. But I guess I've really taken to heart God's commandment to "Love your enemies" because I'm truly growing to love all the people here! ...just not their football team😂. Haha jk

For about a week now, the Vikings have been doing their summer football training camp at MSU. They are here for another week and a half or so, so we have lots of time chunked out to roam campus next week! This is the last year they will be here too, they've been doing it in Mankato for 52 years, but next year will be moving it to the cities in their new practice facility to be built. We went there on Saturday and had some really good conversations about the Book of Mormon and what we do as missionaries for people. We talked with about 12 or so people and it was pretty successful!

We've also had some solid experiences taking Elder Woolley out tracting haha. A highlight from this week: We felt inspired to go to a specific street and tract an apartment building. The last door we knocked on, we found Stefanie! We showed her a video of the plan of salvation and bore testimony to her of the peace it brings us. She has been to our church in the past for weddings and funerals but this really seemed to spark her interest! So, we got her number and hope to meet with her next week. We found another new potential investigator from a service project we did on Friday. One of our investigator’s friends works with homeless people and helps them find affordable apartments and furniture to have a place to live. Well, long story short, she called us and we got to help move his furniture from the salvation army to his new apartment! His name is Lym and he's from Africa and is a super humble guy. We talked to him about his experience with Christian churches in Africa and how we are also Christians and help people grow closer to Christ. He said he would be open to visits! Another awesome contact from this week.

Yesterday we had a pretty sweet miracle. After dinner, we were heading out for some stop-bys before our appointment with an investigator. We walk out the door of the apartment complex and I reach down to grab las llaves (the keys) and.. No keys! Dang! We're locked out. So now we can't get back in the apartment or use the car to get to our appointment haha. So, we had to sacrifice and travel how they do down in South America, the old fashioned way - on foot! We planned a route to stop by some people on the way during our 50-minute trek and had some pretty good contacts along the way actually! Then we had a powerful lesson with Pam, and speaking of purple she is absolutely obsessed with it! Literally everything she owns is purple. Purple house, purple car, purple chairs, purple carpet, and of course, purple hair! Lol. She's super awesome, though, and really receptive. We taught her more about the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith and invited her to be baptized! She unfortunately wouldn't commit to a date, but committed to pray for an answer from God. We're going to continue working with her to help her realize she already has a testimony of the gospel, she just needs to connect the dots!

I love all of you and hope you have an amazing week. I love being a missionary, and I love this gospel! I know that Christ lives and loves you! Cuídense😊

-Elder Bolinder

Thumbs Up!
More Mankato, MN Scenery
Elder Bolinder & Elder Woolley

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 42

Still Holding the Ball! (Riverfront Park, Mankato, MN)

Good Luck, Greenie!

Hola fam! Another great week here in the Midwest. This has been by far the fastest transfer yet! Blink of an eye, I swear. And with that, I'll start my email off with some noticias! I will be staying in Mankato for another transfer! Super pumped. También, in addition to my district leader duties, I have received a call to train another missionary! I still feel like I don't have enough experience, but I'm beyond excited. The funny part is... I still don't know if my greenie is English speaking or Spanish speaking! I guess we'll have to find out Wednesday!

This week was really good, we had the zone leaders come down and blitz our area on Tuesday and Wednesday which was awesome! We did lots of finding and got a whole bunch of new potentials. Hopefully next week we can follow up with them and set some solid appointments! 

A miracle from this week is the Niehaus family. They are a less active family we have been working with for a few months now and the mom lost her job and had surgery in the same week, and her two daughters struggle with depression. Needless to say, they have gone through a lot! But we have had some powerful lessons with them on enduring through our trials and the changes they have made ar amazing! They have made it to church every week this month and the girls even started coming back to young women activities. Through support from the ward and turning to their Savior for strength, their testimonies have grown so much! We met with them on Saturday to see how they were doing and the Spirit was so strong. During the lesson, we felt prompted to have them all share their testimonies and it brought such a peaceful feeling. I'm so glad I got the chance to help their family grow through the gospel of Christ!

For preparation day today, we drove up to a tiny town called Jordan, and out in the middle of nowhere off the side of the freeway there's this giant yellow barn that sells candy! Apparently, it's the biggest candy shop in Minnesota. And they weren't lying -- it's ginormous!! I got my new fave candy bar that they had in the MTC in Mexico - a Bueno Bar. And I even found a Classic Coke bottle hecho en México🇲🇽. Pretty great purchase if I don't say so myself. Haha! Now we are driving to go play games at the church!

I just want to let all of you know how much I appreciate all of you! I can feel the strength of all your prayers. I know that God lives, and loves us perfectly. Jesus Christ is His son and our Savior. This is His church! I know it's true. I love you guys! Cuídense.

-Elder Bolinder

Minnesota's Biggest Candy Store!
Are We In Heaven?
Candy Galore!
He's Always Watching...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 41

Go Twins!

A Shattered Windshield...

Hola familia, I hope you all had a wonderful week! We're gonna keep this a bit brief today since we are driving down to the south border of our area again this week to chop some wood. Should be a blast!

So, the week started out pretty interesting. We originally planned to have interviews with our new mission president on Tuesday in Lakeville, but it ended up being postponed to Saturday so they could split it up between the zone so we don't have to drive as far. It worked out just fine, but Elder Stevens kept saying, something bad is gonna happen that day! haha, well.. Sure enough! One of our cars got destroyed 😬. This truck in front of us ran over a piece of steel on the freeway and it got kicked up in the air and landed right on the windshield!! the whole thing was shattered, and lucky the Lord was watching over us that day because there wasn't a scratch on anyone! Pretty freaky though.

On Wednesday, we went out to New Ulm and saw Sister Taylor from the ward who is the sassiest southern lady I've ever met. Haha, she's hilarious! She has some nieces and nephews visiting for the summer and we have started teaching them the gospel! We committed them to come to church and all four of them came! They are going to progress so much by the time they leave. Thursday during exchanges, I was with elder Newell and we contacted a nice Lutheran guy named Jim who was sanding his deck. We offered to help, but he said no. We ended having a really awesome conversation about living here in Mankato and it transitioned to churches and we eventually gave him a Book of Mormon! It was really sweet because he was talking about how blessed we are to have religious freedom and he said no matter where we are we should worship God and give him thanks every day. Then he flipped through the Book of Mormon and on one of the chapter headings read, "that men might worship in all places," and he was like Whoa! That's just was I was talking about! He seemed pretty enthusiastic about reading it. He didn't end up coming to church but we are going to see him on Saturday!

We also got to do some service for one of the other elders’ investigators who is getting baptized soon. We did some deep cleaning and vacuuming which is always fun! Afterwards her daughters friend was over and she ended up asking a ton of questions about what we do as missionaries and what our church believes in. We all just sat around the table and answered the many questions she had and committed her to pray to know what church is true. So just from our example, it sparked her interest in the gospel! Super cool!

I read a conference talk this week during studies that changed my heart. For me it was so much more powerful going back and reading it a second time. It's called "Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him." S. Mark Palmer talks about the story in the Bible about the young man who replied to Jesus saying that he has observed all the commandments since his youth, and Christ tells him to sell everything he has and follow him. In the gospel of Mark however, he mentions six profound words that gives more depth to the story. The six words: "And Jesus beholding him, loved him." As we picture the Savior with outstretched arms, beholding us and loving us for the potential we have, we feel a greater desire to follow him with all our hearts and fulfill his expectations. This is the same with others, especially the people we teach. As we call people to repent with love in our hearts, seeing them the way the Lord sees them, they will have a greater desire to change and reach their full potential! I know the Lord loves us, and through His love and grace we are enabled to do all that he expects of us.

Thanks for all your love and support, disfrute su semana!

-Elder Bolinder

Mankato District With President and Sister Barney

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 40

Lakeville Zone 4th of July

Tornado in Mankato?!

Man, this week just went by in the blink of an eye. Mostly because we had our P-day on Tuesday and that threw off the rest of the week. But it was such a blast! We went up to Lakeville as a zone and had  a giant nerf war, played sports, and went to a BBQ at a member's house! Sadly missed most of the fireworks because we had to be en casa by 9:30, but está bien.. it was still vale la pena! We have been doing lots of finding this week as we are still trying to transition most of our teaching pool to Mankato and we've had lots of great experiences.

Kicking it off with a miracle from last week, we were down south a ways in Mapleton for lunch at a member's house. T'was a beautiful sunny day outside, so after the lovely meal we decided we would take a walk to the park. We borrowed some of their chalk and drew another outline of the plan of salvation! Turns out, it was the perfect time too because there was a band camp thing going on and a whole bunch of people walking through the park to get to the event. We had some pretty good conversations with a few people, but nobody super interested. THEN.. a few days later we get a random voicemail from a guy who said he saw our number and would be interested in attending one of our services! Whaat? He wasn't able to make it yesterday, but he should be coming next week which will be super cool!

We met with one of our progressing investigators this week, Pam. She is awesome! She's been reading the Book of Mormon again, yay! Now just to get her to church.. crossing our fingers she will come Sunday 🙌🏻. She invited us to meet some of her friends and family on Friday, they had a Mankato family fun day on Saturday with a huge carnival and parade with a TON of people all along the streets. Pam's house happened to be right in the heart of it and the parade passed by right in front of the yard! We caught the last 15 minutes or so, and then talked with a bunch of people there. We met a lot of her family and offered service and gave out 5 pass along cards to people! It was a sweet Saturday and we got lots of great contacts to hopefully set appointments with in the future.

Last night was pretty crazy. Right when we were getting home these thick dark clouds started to roll in, and there was a crazy thunderstorm. We were just chilling in the apartment getting ready for bed, when we hear sirens go off! Tornado warning!! We didn't see anything, but it was a pretty cool storm to watch and we took some vids of all the crazy lightning. I guess the tornado touched down just west of Mankato, but luckily there was no damage. Todo está bien! Speaking of lightning.. they also have a bajillion lightning bugs here and they are so LIT! hahaha

I have been enjoying every day out here in Minnesota! Time is flying by, but I feel my testimony of the Savior grow each day. I love you guys and hope you all know how much God loves you and blesses you. I know He lives, I know His son Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that His gospel is the only way to true and everlasting happiness! Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Bolinder

Mankato "Chalk Talk"
Minnesota Summer Storm
Mankato Storm Chasers