Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Week 88

Otra semana loca en Frogtown🐸

Hola todos😁 Had a super eventful week!

We got to teach Evelyn, the lady from Puerto Rico who showed up at church last week. We met her husband and daughter, and they live in a small basement room of this Hispanic house. They are so humble! Which is super great because they are receptive to the gospel of Christ. We found out Evelyn can’t read, so we are going over there to help read the Book of Mormon with them. When we went back the husband had underlined parts of the introduction and asked us questions about it. Super excited for them!

Went on exchanges with the Hmong elders. They were zoo heve (very good)! We set a goal to give away 6 copies of the Book of Mormon, and we hit the streets hard and passed out 7! It was sweet! Learning some more Hmong phrases, so next transfer I’m going to ask President to go into Hmong work haha😂

On Saturday we had an opportunity to go with Manuel, a recent convert in our ward, to the temple for his first time! It’s always so refreshing to feel the sweet peace that’s in the Lords house. 

Sunday was an eventful day to say the least!

First thing, we are so happy because Ashley Flores got baptized!! We originally thought we would have to push back the date, but we asked them if they were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen, and they did! Such an awesome family, and we are so happy to have helped them come back to activity and welcome them into the Spanish Ward. To see the change in them has been such a wonderful experience. Ashley was smiling during the whole thing and just gleaming with joy!

In the temple and during the baptism I had a lot of time to ponder on the covenants that I have made with God to follow Christ. I am so grateful for the promises I made at baptism and especially the opportunity to have the same feeling of being pure and clean every single week while taking the sacrament! I absolutely love the sacrament now, it has so much more meaning to me since being on a mission!

One more story from this week.

The spirit of the day took a weird turn later that evening. We just got done with a lesson in this apartment complex and we were walking back to our car and these kids run up to us and yell, hey! Are you here for Yoshi?! (This 13 year old kid who’s family is in our ward). They told us he needed help and he’s not moving on the couch. Long story short, it seemed as though he had some evil spirit inside of him that was possessing him, it was super freaky! My first time encountering something like that and it was crazy. But the weirdest part was before we could do anything he headed for the door and started running through this field and eventually across a busy street! We chased after him and made sure nothing happened to him. Eventually he made his way back to the apartment and his parents were there and they were able to get him to stay in his room. We then gave a blessing on the house to bring peace and cast out any evil spirits through the power of the priesthood, and after that there was a spirit of calmness in the house. Yoshi was pretty shaken up but he was alright. Man, I am so glad that we have the power of God restored to the earth today! Crazy experience😂

Well I don’t want to end on an unsettling note haha. So, I want to end by bearing my testimony. I know this work is truly the Lords work. I am filled with joy everyday as I serve the people here. I know Christ lives and loves us, and truly is our Rock and Redeemer. I hope all of you will find someone to serve this week as the Savior did. 

Love you all! Cuídense
-Elder Bolinder

Ashley Flores Baptism
The Flores Family

Dinner With Brother and Sister Vega

Frogtown (part of our area)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Week 87

Shirts and Ties!

Sick week turns into.. a sick week!


I hope everyone is doing well!

This week we had a mission conference with 4 zones combined, because we got a visit from a general authority from the church Elder Timothy J Dyches! He was a mission president for the Portland Oregon mission and gave some super great trainings on how to be a 'Preach My Gospel' missionary. My favorite quote from him: "Excuses never produce results, and never correct mistakes." Powerful.

Must have been something in the lunch we ate that day, because after that day I got really sick for the first time in a long while. I was out for the count for a good 3 days, so that threw a little wrench in our week😂 luckily our two roommates the Hmong elders were able to do a little exchanging so they could still teach the Flores Fam and a couple others. But the sad part is, because I was sick I missed MLC with more trainings from the General authority! Haha. I was pretty bummed for sure.

Despite the hassle of being quarantined for a bit, the week ended with a bang! We had a sweet miracle on Sunday -- we had four investigators to church! And a member that we gave service to earlier in the week met this lady at the bank who knew missionaries in Puerto Rico. She invited her to come and she stayed all three hours and for potluck afterwards! We set up a time to start teaching her!! The Flores family also came which was super awesome because now we are moving Ashley's date back up to the 10th. We had her interview and she passed! Whooo!! She's super pumped and I am too. I have never been happier doing the work of the Lord!

I love you guys! I'm so grateful for all of your support.
Hasta la próxima!

-Elder Bolinder

St. Paul Spanish Ward - Post Church Potluck

Friday, June 1, 2018

Weeks 85-86

Building the Primary...

Time Keeps Flying By!

Hola Familia!

Since I missed my update last week, I'm gonna combine these past two weeks into one. So, buckle up!

Things have been going swell here in San Pablo, new transfer means new miracles! It was sad to say goodbye to Elder Calderwood. But, my new companion, Elder Cross, is great! He has already served in this area for a transfer a while back, so we've been trying to rekindle some progress with former investigators. We started teaching this couple named Silvia and Alejandro who had been investigating for about 4 years, and they are super hilarious! We left them with our testimonies of Christ and left them a picture of Him. Hoping to help them start keeping commitments again. Also stopped by this other former investigator in the area and turns out they moved. But the new Hispanic family living there let us in! There was a young mom, and her two parents from El Salvador. Honestly, I think it is the smoothest, best sounding Spanish out there! (So much better than our Americano accents lol). Unfortunately, they are moving back down to their country in a month, so they won't stay long.

Okay quick funny story of the week. I swear, people are going crazy at the library! Hahaha. So we were just chilling in the library typing up our stake report one morning and this lady, probably about 40 years old, next to us listening to music just starts busting out dancing in her chair, and yelling at the top of her lungs in a dead silent library! We were like what in the world!!😂 Then, the next day we sat next to this other lady who just out of the blue grabbed my companion’s pen and starts writing a note to us like we are back in 2nd grade lol. Then she just walked away! On the note it said, “I need the church, me and my friend need help, get Bishop Foster, he will know what to do.” We were like, who is Bishop Foster? She ended up coming back into the library 20 minutes later and we asked her what the heck was going on. It turns out she is an inactive member of the church in St. Paul and we got her friend’s address to send some missionaries over to try to help. It was just really freaky to have her tell us that just so suddenly and on a creepy note😂 fun times!

We got in contact again with a Hispanic lady who we found on exchanges last transfer named Reina and she let us in to teach her family! They have the cutest little four-year-old daughter ever! When we were sitting there, she would hide her face with her hands and play peekaboo and say, "aquí! aquí!" We had a great lesson with Reina on the plan of salvation, and when we left the little girl said to us, "please come back later!" Que linda! We came back the next week and gave them a Book of Mormon. We are hoping to see them progress. 

The Flores family is still doing really well! They've been reading and praying as a family, and we have gone over about 3 times in the past few weeks. We watched the restoration movie with Ashley and, honestly, I can't watch it anymore without my eyes tearing up! The Spirit is always so sweet, testifying of the truthfulness of the restoration of Christ's church. We also chalked-out the Plan of Salvation (and unfortunately forgot to take a picture, and it was washed away from a couple crazy thunderstorms!) and also taught about tithing. They've still struggled to come to church, and they missed this week because they were in Wisconsin or something, so we will have to push back Ashley's baptism a week or two. But we are still super pumped!

Speaking of those thunderstorms, we got out of a dinner and had to book it to our car and got drenched! There were trees knocked over everywhere and streets flooded. Then literally the next day was 95 and sunny. I still don't understand Minnesota weather lol.

Some other highlights from is past week - we went on Karen exchanges this week. Luckily, I stayed here so I didn't have to go eat chicken feet and spicy Thai food like my companion😂. I had a great day with an Elder Foutz from Utah, though. Spiritual giant! We also went to Minneapolis for a double baptism of investigators who Elder Cross taught. Oh, and I learned something new! Apparently the Minneapolis Spanish Ward is the biggest in the entire country!! But only because they really need to split it haha. Some other good news, our beastly recent-convert Manuel received the priesthood last week and blessed the sacrament for the first time this week! We are planning a temple trip with them in a couple weeks. We also got in contact with an inactive Hispanic lady who was converted to the gospel about 15 years ago but has had marriage and family problems. She shared about her conversion to the church, and it was powerful. Well long story short, we are teaching her and helping her to come back to church and also teaching her 11-year-old son, Manuel, who had a baptismal date last year but something got in the way, so we are teaching him again! Before you know it, we will just baptize a whole new primary for our ward😂 Also had a ward potluck last week, and guess who randomly showed up.. our investigator Johnathon!! It was awesome, we had some carne asada and played kickball. It was a blast!

I have been studying a lot about priesthood power recently, and it is such a blessing that we have this power from God given to us to bless the lives of others! Here's a powerful quote from Harold B Lee:

       "Never is the power of the priesthood, which you hold, more wonderful than when there is a crisis in your home, a serious illness, or some great decision that has to be made." 

In our moments of struggle, we are so blessed to have priesthood authority restored to the earth again to call down the blessings of heaven! I know this power is real. 

Have a wonderful week! I love you all and thank you for all your support😊

-Elder Bolinder

P-Day Games
Elder Bolinder and Elder Calderwood
Elder Bolinder and Elder Cross
The Trevino Family - "Elder" Trevino was the first Spanish elder ever in Minnesota!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Week 84

Ashley's Baptism Calendar

Last Call!!!

Happy Mother's Day!!😁 it's been a wonderful week and I got to skype my lovely family which was SO great! As usual. It still hasn't hit me that I am done with my last call home. Time really flies.

We had some sweet miracles this week, one of them was we met with the Flores family again who are a part-member family we are helping to return back to activity in the Spanish ward. We set a date for baptism for their 10-year-old daughter Ashley, and she was super excited the last time we invited her, so we decided to go all out and make a huge baptismal calendar to help her prepare! It's was pretty dang epic. They also came to church on Sunday so we are really pumped for them.

We had a combined ward Mother's Day "asado" (grill-out) with some rico Hispanic meats. This week we did a huge zone service project for Red Cross. Also went through the temple on Saturday with a member in Lakeville whom Elder Calderwood taught, going through for the first time. Oh! And I almost forgot, but we found out that elder Calderwood is being transferred for his last 6 weeks here. And I will be staying here in St Paul with a new companion Elder Cross! 

I read a scripture this week that was really powerful. "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; ...Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."

Jesus Christ truly took upon himself all of our sins, pains, and sorrows. There is so much depth to the atonement knowing that he is literally prepared to walk alongside us in our mortal journey, because he has already walked the footsteps we will take.

Have a fantastic week! Thanks for all of your prayers. Love you guys!

-Elder Bolinder

Volunteering For Red Cross
St. Paul Temple

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Week 83

A Surprise Wedding!

Cinco de Mayo in the Ghetto

Hello again!!

The week started off with a bang because on Tuesday we had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) with President Barney and it was fire! Our mission president has revamped the emphasis on the importance of baptizing converts, so we are super pumped to start consecrating ourselves more and seeing more miracles! Our zone has focused on applying our prophet's counsel to increase our capacity to receive personal revelation from God, so it fit perfectly to have a mission wide goal to be more exactly obedient and have increased purity. There is such a drastic difference when we filter out the unholy thoughts and influences in our lives and we are more in tune to receiving comfort and guidance through the Holy Spirit. Something that I have been working on recently is having more time for pondering and self-reflection. It's so hard to find time for that in this crazy world, but I can testify that it adds so much peace in our sometimes-chaotic day!

Saturday was a little hard to find people home, because all the Hispanics were out partying on Cinco de Mayo! There was a huge festival here in St Paul, and for the whole transfer we've been running around and trying to pull some strings to get a booth there. It didn't end up happening because of insurance complications. Man, we are super bummed we didn't get it! But the funny thing is, we went contacting and there were like barely any Hispanics there. Just a sea of African Americans. We saw this huge gang fight go down, so that's right about when we dipped😂 but it was great because we got two new people to teach from it and some rico tacos de al pastor. 

We went on exchanges with the Hmong elders this week. Elder Calderwood and I have been learning some phrases. And my Hmong name given to me by one of their investigators is Tub Txib Yeeb Koob, which means "God's glory." I also got fed some Asian Pho (noodles) and Thai peppers. All I got to say is Thai peppers are like eating popcorn compared to habaneros. ...😂

The work has been going well. We are super pumped to have the Flores family start coming to church and their daughter is stoked to be baptized. Johnathon is super busy with work, so we have struggled to meet with him. We've still been on the finding grind, and we've started to teach a couple other part-member families again!

Funny story from this week… After church, we were talking to our newly called elders Quorum president in the hall. A little background - we have been speculating that our ward mission leader Hno Pérez and the Sunday school teacher (she's from Brazil and we can barely understand her Portuguese accent, it's pretty funny😂) were keeping it on the down low that they were dating! So we are standing there and all of a sudden our ward mission leader walks up to us and says, "hey elders.. I need you guys to be my testigos" (Witnesses). We both were like, wait WHAT!? Before we know it, we were in the bishop’s office witnessing their marriage! We said, "So it turns out you ARE together!" Haha. The ward still doesn't even know, but it was just hilarious to have a 10-minute secret wedding out of the blue! 😂

Well, my time here in St. Paul has really flown by so far. The weather is warming up and I'm super stoked for my last summer in Minnesota. I really feel like in the last few months I have grown so much stronger and closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. He truly is the one who give us strength to do all things. I've also grown to absolutely love the sacrament during church to remember Him and renew my covenants with God and feel my heart being purified. I know without a doubt that this is His true and living church. I hope all of you will know of my love for you guys and also God's love for you! Have a wonderful week😁

Hasta la próxima,
-Elder Bolinder

Mission Leadership Conference
P-day Tennis!

Week 82


Life is always CRAZY here in St Paul!!

We were crazy busy this week because we moved 3 apartments! We are now living in the center of our area instead of the edge, so that makes life SO much easier. We spent basically all day moving furniture and packing up our entire apartment so they can close it. Then, the next day we helped move in the Hmong sister missionaries to their new apartment they got, and on Friday we did some service for a family in the ward helping them move to a new house. So, if we keep going at this pace we will be jacked by the time we go home😂.

We obviously didn't get as much time this week for working, but within the all the craziness of moving 3 days in a row, the Lord blessed us with some pretty sweet miracles!

1) After our move on Wednesday we had a lesson with the member family we started teaching who want to come back to church and start attending the Spanish ward. We taught them about eternal families, and we sang the children's hymn "I am a child of God". The spirit was really strong, and it helped to bring back some memories of their conversion to the gospel of Christ. Leading up to the end, we planned to talk about the importance of families being sealed for eternity in temples, and before we said anything Jose says - "Yeah we had a goal to get sealed in the temple a while ago but things just got in the way. We want to have that goal again". We were like, well we can help you!!😁 haha. Super exciting!

2) After that lesson we had a crazy night. We had a lesson with an investigator named Brenda who was a former investigator who we ran into again at the food shelf we serve at. Long story short, we lost her number and didn't have any way to contact her to reschedule our lesson earlier that day. We both felt inspired to stop by later that night to hopefully get in contact with her again. Not only was she home, but her husband was also home this time and we had a really awesome lesson about the Book of Mormon with them both! Yes!! So right after we walk out the door of that lesson, we were just filled with joy from the spirit and the opportunity we had to teach both of them. We go to the door to walk outside when we saw flashing lights going off. All of a sudden some paramedics walk in and there's a guy sitting on the steps super red and out of it. It happened to be this guy we've seen two times before and contacted last week. They start shooing us away saying they need privacy, but the guy couldn't speak English so we offered to translate for them. It was crazy how the Lord led us to be there with impeccable timing to help this guy get to the hospital. And obviously God has placed this man in our path 3 times now for a reason, we just need to find out why!

3) We had a tender mercy while moving out of our apartment. We prayed that we still could be effective despite having to spend all our time moving and what not. We were walking out to throw away trash and this lady named Tracie comes up to us and we start talking to her. She was really stressed and worried because her husband hadn't come back home since the night before and she didn't know where he was. We offered a prayer with her, asking Heavenly Father to help Him to be found with no harm. Literally 3 seconds after I said amen, her friend pulls up in her car with none other than her husband in the passenger seat!! It was probably the most immediate response to a prayer I've ever seen!! The Lord truly does love us and is aware of us in all of our moments of desperation. It's so comforting knowing that the Lord will answer all of our prayers, big or small, as long as we have faith!

We have also been able to give a priesthood blessing just about every day for the past two weeks. Two hermanas in our district are being transferred, one is going home and the other is going to Rochester. We were able to give them priesthood blessings of comfort, and we've had so many faithful members ask us for healing and comfort blessings! I've gained such a testimony and gratitude for this authority we have restored on the earth to literally be instruments in the Lords hands. After our district meeting, as a goodbye, we had the classic Spanish missionary challenge... Habaneros!! I downed four, and I basically died😂 straight got two hours of sleep that night lol. My companion on the other hand went for the mission record and took the cake with 10!! Don't know how he survived lol.

Just a quick thought from general conference: 
"Personal Sacrifice is an invaluable force that drives our decisions and our determinations. Personal sacrifice drives our actions, our commitments, and our covenants and gives sacred things meaning." What can you sacrifice in your life to better honor the sacrifice of the Son of God?

I love all of you and thank you for all of your love and support!

-Elder Bolinder

Monday, April 30, 2018

Week 81

Elder Bolinder and Elder Calderwood

 Boliche with Bolinder

Welcome back amigos! It's been another great week out in the Lord's vineyard 😁

This week we had exchanges with the Karen elders. It was my first experience in "KarenLand" and let me tell ya, it's like a whole other mission! It was super cool because we got to teach the two teenagers who Elder Calderwood and I interviewed for baptism, and then they got baptized on Saturday! But these elders are the best of the best, and I learned so much from them. They learn a super complicated Asian language not even taught in the MTC, they sit crisscross on a hardwood floor during every lesson, and the kicker is they don't even have a Book of Mormon translated in their language! That takes a ton of faith, but I'm super impressed by them and it makes me realize how much I still have to improve on! Lol. Oh and I also had the spiciest Thai food of my life, I was dying!😂

On Friday we had a ward activity going bowling! Haha it was super fun, and we had a pretty sweet miracle. A couple weeks or so ago we met a family who was at a wedding for their parents at our church. We happened to be studying at the church during the wedding and the bishop invited us to pop in. They are super awesome! We went over and had a lesson with them, and the parents are converts to the church but are inactive. At the activity they told us they want to start attending the Spanish ward and have their 9-year old daughter baptized! Such a cute familia.

Something else crazy that happened this week is church was cancelled… again! Luckily this time not because of snow, but apparently the sewage pipes were blocked. So, after sacrament meeting the second counselor announced that we wouldn't have Sunday school classes and it's time to go home. That took us off guard ha. But it was actually a miracle in disguise because we got to talk to our investigator Johnathon that came and introduce him to some members, and also set up 3 other appointments with some less actives and part-member families that attended. 

It's been a hectic week as well. Last Monday we lost our phone and had to go to the offices to pick up a replacement. We also have 2 missionaries in our zone going home this week due to medical reasons, so that has been tough for their companionships. So please keep them in your prayers!

The work here in St Paul is still moving forward, however! We had a sweet miracle and found 4 new investigators. All behind one door! They were four amigos just hanging out on Saturday evening, and we taught and testified to them about Christ's atoning power. We also have a lesson tonight with our progressing investigator Johnathon who is praying about baptism! 

It feels so good to be in Spanish work again ha. I love being a missionary, and I know that this is the work of the Lord. He is the only one who can truly change us and sanctify us. I love you all! 

Just a powerful quote I read from my studies to finish: 
"Having faith in Jesus Christ is to trust that because of His atoning sacrifice, He will correct all injustices, restore all things lost, and mend all things broken, including hearts. He will make all things right, not leaving any detail unattended. Therefore, “ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds” (D&C 64:11)."

I have been trying to grow my testimony of the depth of Christ's sacrifice, and it's so powerful to realize that it is infinite in nature. Meaning that he paid ALL the price of justice, not just for our transgressions. He truly has the power to heal every broken heart!

Cuídense mucho y que tengan una buena semana!!

-Elder Bolinder

Ward Bowling Activity
St. Paul Spanish Speaking Missionaries
Three Amigos!
With the Karen Elders