Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Week 50

P-Day Hockey Game in Faribault, MN

You Did What To My Name Tag??

Hola todos. Hope you all are having a marvelous week!

This week has definitely been a strange one. But don't get me wrong, it was also a great one!

As a lot of you already know, the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission has been approved to start using tools for online proselyting including... Facebook! It has been a weird transition, but it has been a huge blessing to project our voice for truth to an even broader audience. Going along with this news we had some amazing trainings given at our zone conference last Wednesday, and we are SO pumped!

Faribault has been a blast! We are still trying to get to know the area better and all of the members and investigators. We've met some awesome people this week! And also a few crazy ones! lol.

We met with our investigator Kevin on Thursday and helped him work on the house he is fixing up. We painted one of the bedrooms, and the renters who lived there before painted it slime green! haha. Looks a whole lot better now. He and his family are doing a lot better since his mom died. We invited him to come to church with us, and he said "I'm not making any promises!" Then we received a text Sunday morning saying he's on his way! It was great! He seemed to enjoy meeting new faces and feeling the sweet spirit at sacrament meeting. Kevin surprises us so much! Oh, and another thing we found out - he works as a prison guard! No wonder he's so jacked!!

We also taught the new part member family we are teaching, and it was great! They even fed us dinner😏 lol. We taught them about our purpose here on earth and the importance of eternal families. They have a super energetic little 4 year old daughter, which made it a little difficult haha. Cute family. We emphasized the divine mission of our Savior to atone for our sins and healing power he brings us. The husband, chase, really loved the concept of progression. The purpose of our life on earth is not only to accept Christ, but to BECOME like him! He invited us to come back on Saturday and help him set up a trampoline. Long story short, we started assembling it but we were missing a box of parts! So, we ended early and he offered to get us breakfast at McDonalds. Sweet! We had a nice chat with him while eating. Oh, and speaking of jacked, Chase is also huge!! Haha he told us all about how he loves lifting. He opened up to us and told us about his rough past and divorce, along with how he rediscovered God in his life. We testified to him the changing power of our message of the gospel and invited him to be baptized. He didn't commit to a date, but said if he knew our message was true he would! We are excited to help him progress more.

Now for a quick funny story😂. Yesterday after church we had a potluck with all the members of the ward. Great opportunity to put more names to faces! Anyway, this one member came up to us to introduce himself. He was an older guy with a pretty goofy personality. He said he had a tradition for every new missionary that comes to the ward. We asked him, "and what's that?" He then reaches for my shirt and steals my name tag, and before I realize what he was doing he had it in his mouth and was biting it! He bit my name Tag!! Hahaha. We were like, what just happened?! He said he does it so that every missionary will remember him. And I sure will because now his teeth marks are in my tag😂😂 it was so hilarious, me and elder Nielson were dying!

Some other great news from this week, Bob is getting interviewed next Sunday to receive the priesthood! We taught him on Sunday about what the Aaronic priesthood is and the blessings that it gives us and those around us. He's super excited! I am personally deeply grateful for this fruit of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the same power and authority that he and his apostles had when on the earth! We use this authority to bring people the healing power of Christ through essential ordinances. What a blessing!

I want you all to know how much I love you guys! I feel your prayers every day. I know God lives and he is watching over you. He loves you unconditionally! Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Bolinder

Elder Nielson and Elder Bolinder
Group Photo During Transfers
In Faribault, MN

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Week 49

Bob's Baptism

My Main Man, BOB!

What a week it has been!!

This week has been full of transitions, stress, but mostly.. Miracles! So, if you didn't get the news already, I get to train another new missionary! And, surprisingly enough, yet another English speaking companion. That makes 3 in a row now! haha. We headed up to the mission home on Wednesday and I picked up my new greenie, Elder Nielson. And no, not the legendary Elder Nielson serving in Estonia, Sadly! But he is super awesome and easy going. We are off to a crazy start going into a new area. We both took over the sister's area here in Faribault so we have been crazy busy trying to get to know everyone. But a plus, I'm pretty sure we have the cleanest apartment in the mission! We're going to try our best to keep it that way! lol. 

We've met several other investigators previously taught by the sisters. One guy, Kevin, is this absolutely ripped 50 year old man, and he's awesome. He's a little stubborn with keeping commitments, but it seems like deep down inside he's searching for more in his life. And he has been praying about being baptized on September 24th. His mom recently passed away and we reviewed with him the principles of the plan of salvation that gave him a lot of comfort. I find it hard to imagine going through life without the reassuring knowledge of life continuing after death. We lived with God before this life and we accepted God's plan to prepare a way through his Son Jesus Christ to make it possible to return to him. There's so much comfort in this eternal truth and many of us take it for granted!

Another amazing blessing: There's LOTS of Hispanics in our area!! Whoo! I've gotten to teach about 4 lessons in Spanish this week and, man, I've missed it so much. The sisters were teaching this cute young Hispanic family, la familia Bermudez. And they have been reading in the Book of Mormon! Hopefully we can help them continue to progress and come to church.

The sisters here were teaching an older gent named Bob. It was sweet because, since the sisters were in my district, I got to meet Bob for his interview before I was transferred to the area. I was able to meet Bob and do his baptismal interview a few weeks ago and he is incredibly humble and super smart! Unfortunately, we had to push the date he was supposed to be baptized back a bit. He had some struggles with quitting smoking before he was baptized. But they set a new date for him. He wasn't sure he was going to make it the two weeks before his baptism, but we got to meet with him a few times this week and had a really powerful lesson with him on relying on the Lord. And he pushed through it and made his date! We had to rush and put together all the details for the baptismal service, but everything went smoothly! It was so cool to meet Bob and help him make the final leap of faith and see him enter the waters of baptism. Granted, credit must be given to the sisters, but what an awesome start to a new area and my companion with a baptism in the first week of his mission! Whaaa? Haha. It was a powerful experience. And another awesome miracle, Kevin came!! He said he wasn't going to come because he was too busy but decided to surprise us! He seemed really touched by the Spirit.

It was a pretty hectic and busy week with trying to meet all the people in the area and organize the baptism at the same time, so we weren't really sure how the week was going to go. But we started praying fervently for more people to teach because we don't know a whole lot of people here and we need more investigators! Well I'm here to testify that the Lord DOES answer prayers! We had a lesson with Bob after church on Sunday and we wanted to go right into the New Member lessons and reviewing the missionary discussions with him. We meet him outside his apartment at this little table, and guess what… Bob brings a friend!! We introduce ourselves, and she says "Yeah, I'm Bob's girlfriend." We were like.. "BOB HAS A GIRLFRIEND!?!?" We had no clue! She told us she came up here from Iowa to visit for a few months. We taught them both a powerful lesson on the restoration and she accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. Now we get to start teaching them both! Then right after that, we visited this lady from the ward who told us she was inactive in the church but recently started going again. She wanted to re-take the lessons so she could get a refresh on some of the gospel principles and teach her family. Then, all of a sudden, her husband walks in and says, "Hey, I'm not a member of your church, but is it okay if I sit in when you guys come?" We're like, “OF COURSE!!” We told him our message is actually geared towards families, and helps them grow closer together. The gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families! I've seen it bless my own family and change our lives. What an amazing answer to our prayers. I know the Lord's hand was guiding our work this week. We are super excited to go have dinner with their family next week!

I want you all to know how much I love and appreciate you all! I know that our Savior lives and loves us. His church and gospel are restored in its fullest on the earth today. His gospel is the path that guides us to true joy and eternal life. With all the craziness going on in the world, the solution to all of our problems can be answered through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can impact everyone around by following his example! Go share your light with someone this week, and be an answer to someone's prayer!

La iglesia es verdadera!

-Élder Bolinder

Group Shot at Bob's Baptism
Elder Bolinder and Elder Nielson
Filling the Font

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Week 48

Godzilla in Mankato!

Ayeeee Chihuahua..

¿Qué pasa calabaza?

It's been while!

Sorry I missed emailing last week! We had a sweet service project for this couple in the ward and guess how old they are turning.. 90!! Loco! I’m sure all you guys were just devastated hahaha. Nah, but all is still well here in the land of the green. A lot has happened the past two weeks, so I'll try to pack it all in.

So we'll start with a  highlight (not so highlight) from last week. I'll start off by saying I am OK! No injuries. But, last week we got in a car accident, and sadly we hit directly on the left fender so it bent the wheel axle and made the car not so drivable. We didn't want to have to get it towed, so the police officer told us to just drive slow back to our apartment. We didn't realize how bad it was until we started driving and it was pretty sketch! We almost got into another accident not even lying haha. But, with all the screeching of the bent wheel, we made it home safely. So,  the car has been in the shop for the past 2 weeks and we've been surviving on bikes and member rides, it's made it challenging but we've got a lot of good work done. 

Biking has been great, but my legs are super out of shape. And it doesn't help that Mankato is the hilliest city in the world!! Definitely gonna get some solid thighs out of it, though. One night last week we were at the tail end of a long bike ride to our next appointment and there was this giant hill, and we sure weren't going to trudge up this thing on bikes so we start walking our bikes up. All of a sudden around the corner this guy comes zooming by on a longboard. We barely saw him in time and had to jump out of the way!! Then we hear him yell from behind us, "where's my momma!?" Hahaha! We busted up laughing 😂. Probably the most random thing I've been yelled at by a passerby lol. Oh, and we got a sweet picture with Godzilla this week! It's this huge statue in the middle of Mankato that we used as a landmark to get picked up from the other elders.

Another highlight from this week is  that we had a baptism in the ward! The other Elders’ investigator, Cierra, was baptized by her boyfriend Max. They've been our best friends the past two transfers. I conducted her baptismal interview and it was amazing to hear her testimony of Christ and the change that she has experienced through His gospel, despite some doubts and persecution. She was really prepared! The baptism was last Saturday and the spirit there was incredible! And bonus, we even got 2 of our investigators to come and watch. Super cool experience 😊.

Quick update on investigators. Pam is still doing well and reading the Book of Mormon a TON! It's awesome! And she came to the baptism and loved it which we are super excited about. We've also been teaching Cathrine, the lady we met last transfer with the soccer-playing border collie. She got the news that her daughter has stage four cancer and doesn't have much time left. We had a comforting plan of salvation lesson with her and it was great. She also has attended church with us the last two weeks! I'm so grateful for the answers that the restored gospel gives us that many people don't have. Having an eternal perspective of God's plan of salvation gives us so much hope and direction in our lives! I know without a doubt that our eternal journey didn't start at birth nor ends at death - we are eternal beings!

Okay, a random funny story from the week. We were out doing some stop-by's looking for Spanish speakers and we knock on this one trailer home door. As we walked up the stairs onto their home-made deck, all of a sudden this tiny ferocious furry thing popped out from around the corner and started screaming us. It started to charge at us and, unfortunately, I didn't see it coming and so it bit my leg!!😂 After some brief commotion, the guy in the home came out the door to see what's up. The guy walks up and stomps on the deck to scare it and yells, "Aye Rambo! Cállate!" (So, this crazy little chihuahua is named Rambo hahaha best name ever) And the dog starts peeing all over the place haha poor thing. Luckily it didn't get on our shoes. But they felt bad that it attacked us, so they let us in! We taught Héctor and his son Héctor Jr the plan of salvation, so we got a new investigator out of it! Haha #valelapena

También, this week is transfers. And I got a call last night with the news that I would be training another new missionary! I guess they think Elder Woolley turned out alright, so they’re giving me another go at it. I'm super pumped! Cross your fingers I get another awesome greenie. Also, it was kind of expected since I've been in Mankato for a while, but I'm leaving and going to Fairbault! It's still out in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it's in the same district still so I'm not going far. But, I'm going to miss the area a lot, the ward here is SO great! It will be bitter sweet for sure. Other big noticias… our mission is getting Facebook approved! If you see me post something on Facebook, don't worry I'm not being disobedient! Haha. It will actually be really nice to contact and invite members and investigators over Facebook, but more on that in a few weeks!

Well today we get to go to the Minnesota State Fair up in St. Paul!! I've heard it's one of the biggest in the US so it should be a fiesta! I love all of you guys, thanks for all the prayers you send my way. I know that God lives and loves us! The church is true. Cuídense!

Pray always! (D&C 10:5)

-Elder Bolinder

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Week 47

Elder Bolinder and Elder Woolley - Mankato, MN

Fender Bender!

[Note from the minions: Elder B didn't have time to write a group update this week. This is a short note he wrote to his mother.]

Hi ma! We had a wonderful week this week. Lots of great lessons, and investigators to church. But, unfortunately, also a lot of biking. And the reason why is... we got in a car accident! But todo esta bien! No injuries, so everything is fine. We have to get our car fixed because the front headlight/bumper was mashed and the wheel axle got out of alignment. So, we are in bikes/getting rides from the other elders for at least another week or so. It makes scheduling things a little more difficult but we've been doing pretty well so far.

That's so cool you got to hear from Donald Parry!! I loved him! He talked a lot about similar things, and especially about the reality of ministering angels. Many people picture the spirit world as some place far away, but it's closer than we think!

Yes I am still exercising, but not nearly as well as I was earlier in my mission. We've been fed pretty well as of late, too.

I love you so much! I didn't really have time to write a group email since we did service and got busy, but I wrote the fam. I will do a double dose next week for everyone! Sorry about that. Hope you have a wonderful week! :)

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