Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 12

Skype with Family on Christmas Day!

La Navidad and Transfer Week!!

So before I get into things about my week, I just received my first transfer board! I am being transferred to New Brighton in the St. Paul zone! So, that will be fun to finish my training in the twin cities, but voy a extrañar mi compañero elder Callans mucho! Alright, now more about my week..

Great news! On Tuesday we had another amazing lesson with Salvador whom we met with last week. We extended an invitation to be baptized on March 12th, and he accepted! The spirit was strong and we could sense his desire to change his life and come closer to the Savior. He also mentioned that he doesn't have a Christmas tree, so we stopped by and gave him ours! Elder Callans said it was the most solid date set he's had in a while, and I can tell he is so humble and sincere. So, we have high hopes for him! Later in the week on Christmas Eve, we stopped by again to wish him a Merry Christmas and his sister was visiting. We were able to show her the #LightTheWorld video and it was so powerful. We testified of Jesus Christ and the infinite power of the atonement, and also of the incredible love that Heavenly Father has for each of us. It was one of the most powerful teaching experiences I've had and I will never forget the spirit I felt while testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ on the night before Christmas!

On Christmas Eve we had a dinner with an investigator and her husband, Denise and Ivan, and some of their friends, and they made us slow-cooked Posole! The best part is, Ivan works as a chef in the Mall of America, so everything was super fresh and it tasted SO GOOD! We were able to share a quick Christmas message with them, and also had a conversation with Ivan about how little children are saved in the kingdom of god through the grace of Christ and how the baptism of infants is an abomination in the sight of God. We invited him to read Moroni Chapter 8 in the Book of Mormon which explains more about it. Overall, it was a great night!

On Christmas Day, our branch had a combined church service with the Crystal Lake Ward. Elder Callans and I, along with the Lakeville Hermanas (Sister Missionaries), got to translate for all the Hispanics in attendance! It was difficult for me, but still a really neat experience. I feel like my understanding and comprehension skills of Spanish have improved a ton in the past month, so translating from Spanish to English wouldn't be too difficult. But, translating from English to Spanish is a whole different feat. We sat in the conference room and had a microphone to transmit the translation to headphones given to the Spanish speaking people. When it was my turn to take the mic, the talk started and I got about 4 sentences in and then got lost so I had to pass it off to Elder Callans haha. But, I redeemed myself and translated the entire closing prayer! The gift of tongues is real!!

That afternoon we had a fat turkey dinner with the Lopez Family and it was great! He is a member of our branch presidency, but his family attends the English ward so they invited the English elders over as well. Then, of course, I got to skype the fam bam which was wonderful! We were incredibly blessed to have a second Christmas dinner with a guy who lives in Rosemount named Pepe and his friend Benjamin. Pepe is from Mexico and Benjamin is from Ecuador. So Benjamin cooked us a crazy Mexican fish stew called "Siete Mares" (Seven Seas). It had potatoes, carrots, shrimp, crab, calamari, catfish, clams, and octopus! It was interesting to say the least, but surprisingly it was pretty good! We then showed "El Nacimiento," a video from lds.org on the birth of Christ, to Pepe and once again the Holy Ghost was really strong while we testified of the Savior!

I hope all of you had a fantastic Christmas! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to teach and testify of Jesus Christ during this holiday season! I know He lives, and I know this gospel is true. I hope all of you have a Happy New Year!

-Elder Bolinder

Christmas PJs
"Siete Mares" (Seven Seas) 
Elder Bolinder and Elder Buhler

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 11

Keeping a lid on the dome!

Chillin in Lakeville... windchill that is!

Wow, a lot has happened this week. So I'll jump right into it!

On Wednesday, we had exchanges with our zone leaders! I had the opportunity to jump into some English work with Elder Buhler, it was great! I got to meet a lot of new people and see the difference in culture and personality between Americans and Hispanics. I feel so blessed to interact with both Americans and humble people from all over Central and South America! Minnesota is a huge melting pot and it's such an awesome experience to serve the people here. I'm also so grateful to not only have the luxuries of this great country but to also learn a new language!

Throughout the week, we invited a bunch of our investigators to come to our Spanish Branch Christmas Party. Since our branch doesn't have many people, we rarely have any activities together outside of church on Sunday. So, we were pumped for this perfect opportunity to get our investigators to the church and help them meet some of the members. This was our chance to hopefully finally get an investigator to church! Well… so we thought. Our plans were stopped in their tracks, on Saturday night through Sunday afternoon the temperature dropped to -25 degrees with wind chill at -40! So, the branch president made the decision to cancel not only the Christmas party but all church meetings on Sunday as well. We thought for sure we would get an answer to our prayers and have more investigators attend church. That's Minnesota weather for ya! But hey, we still have our heads high and are excited to invite people to church on Christmas Day! I'm looking forward for this next week😊

Even though it's bone-chilling cold, there's no better way to warm up than feeling the warmth of the Holy Ghost in your heart! We recently had a wonderful first lesson that was filled with the Spirit! A while back when we found the two new investigators from El Salvador, we showed both of them the Christmas initiative video. While we were showing the video to one of the Salvadorians named Jaime, another guy walking in the background saw us and came up and introduced himself.
His name is Salvador, and we went back to teach Jaime but he wasn't home so we ended up teaching Salvador. Turns out, he moved here from El Salvador 10 years ago to work and support his family, and while he was back home he was briefly taught by the missionaries there! He was excited to reconnect with the missionaries and we had a wonderful lesson on prayer and the Book of Mormon. It was such a cool miracle to find him, and it was because of the amazing #LightTheWorld video that we connected with him! We are greatly blessed to have the technology we have in these days to access so many spiritually uplifting material in a matter of seconds!

This weekend has definitely been a tough one, especially for our zone here in Lakeville. One of the elders in our zone received word on Saturday night that his father only has two weeks left to live. We decided to have a zone wide fast for him, as he prayed for direction on whether he should stay on his mission or spend time with his dad the last few weeks of his life. On Sunday he made the decision to go home. We are sad to see him go and will miss him a lot. Even though It hasn't been the best week this week, I'm way excited for next week!

It's such a blessing to represent the Lord and testify of the life of Jesus Christ during this Christmas season. I hope you go into this final week until Christmas with the true meaning of Christmas in your hearts! I know the Christ lives. He is our savior and redeemer. He is my rock and my salvation. Through the redeeming and enabling powers of his atonement, we can be free from sin and learn become more like Him.

I love this gospel, I know it's true. The same authority that Christ had is restored on this earth today. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ and a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! The church is true!! I love you guys!

¡Feliz Navidad mis amigos!

Elder Bolinder
Feliz Navidad!

Elder Bolinder and Elder Buhler
Buck Hill - Ski "Hill" in MN!
More Snow!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 10

Minnesota December 

¿Comó están mis amigos?

Esta semana pasada, mi compañero y yo comenzamos un ayuno de inglés.
Somos los únicos elderes en nuestra zona que hablan español, entonces hablamos mucho inglés durante el día. Por este razón, decidimos hablar puro español cuando no estamos con otros misioneros de inglés. ¡Fue muy bien para practicar más español! Puedo ver mi español mejorando poco por poco por medio del don de lenguas.

[TRANSLATION:  How are you my friends?

This past week, my companion and I started an English fast. We are the only elders in our area who speak Spanish, so we speak a lot of English during the day. For this reason, we decided to speak pure Spanish when we are not with other English missionaries. It was great to practice more Spanish! I can see my Spanish improving little by little through the gift of tongues.]

On Wednesday we had new missionary training, so we carpooled up there with 2 other missionaries and drove 30 minutes to the mission home in Bloomington. There were about 7 other new missionaries along with their trainers. I met Elder Callan's good friend Elder Vang, and he's actually a Hmong speaking elder! It sounds similar to Chinese and it's sweet haha. In the MMM we also have Chinese speaking sister missionaries and other missionaries who speak Karan which is a dialect from like Myanmar or something, it's pretty amazing! But, I was the only new Spanish speaking missionary there. We had many training lessons on how to plan and teach more effectively, and better help others come unto Christ. One thing that really struck me was a story that was shared. It was about 3 people who were waiting in line to be interviewed to enter into Heaven. They are all asked the question, “What do you know about Jesus Christ?” The first guy says, well he was an honorable man who taught peace. And the interviewer showed him to the door on the left. Then the second guy gives his answer, he is the Son of God and he performed many miracles and lived a perfect life, and he atoned for the sins of the world. The interviewer then takes him to the door on the right. Then the last person walks into the room and is asked the question by the interviewer, what do you know about Jesus Christ? And he fell to his knees and said, my Lord my God! This story really shows the difference between knowing about our savior Jesus Christ and increasingly coming to know him. There was an amazing talk given in the recent October General Conference by Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles entitled "If Ye Had Known Me" and I encourage you all to read it!

Thursday, we had another all-day meeting! Two other zones joined us for a Christmas Zone Conference with the mission president and wife. We received more training, had a Christmas devotional, and ate an amazing ham and potato lunch! Afterward, we got to watch a movie! We watched “It's a Wonderful Life” and had root beer floats!  I've seen parts of it before, but this was my first time watching it all the way through. It was such a great movie and really made me appreciate my life and my family, and how blessed I am to have grown up in the circumstances that I did. I've seen the hand of God guide my life and I know that he has a plan for every single one of us, and he is always there when we turn to him with humble hearts!

As of right now, we are struggling with our progressing investigators. All transfer, it has been really difficult to get our investigators to attend church. For some of them, it's the only thing holding them back from baptism. Almost all of the Hispanic people we teach work on Sundays, so it's a big struggle to convince them to come to church. We have been praying fervently for our investigators to find new jobs and for better church attendance, and we would ask for your help in praying for our investigators. However, we have had more success with contacting, especially with the new Christmas Video! We usually go door to door in apartments with Hispanic populations, but on Wednesday night we weren't having much success. So, we felt prompted to stop inside the local grocery store and find people. We walked around for a bit and sure enough we ran into this lady named Pati from Mexico and started a conversation with her in Spanish. I was a little out of my comfort zone trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger in Spanish lol but it went well. We ended up sharing the Christmas message with her and set uo a return appointment! She is in the Spanish sisters’ area so we gave her as a referral. But, it was a great experience with contacting and following the promptings of the Spirit!

We've officially hit Minnesota winter haha. On Saturday, a storm rolled in and dumped 7 inches of snow over night! The temperature was also in the single digits all week with wind chill dropping in the negatives😅. Next weekend we get even more snow with a high of -2 so wish me luck haha!

Just want you guys to know I love and appreciate all of you! Stay safe and warm!

-Elder Bolinder

Lakeville Zone Meeting Selfie

Elder Bolinder and Elder Callans
View from Apartment. Let it Snow!
Lakeville Zone - New Missionary Training

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 9

Flood Clean-up in Waseca, MN

Father Son Bonding

¡Hola mis amigos!

Another great week in beautiful Minnesota!

We've had a lot of success with the Christmas initiative this week! During our weekly service at a local food bank/church named Prince of Peace, we were able to show the #LightTheWorld video to the other volunteers and give pass along cards to some of the people we helped. If you guys haven't checked it out already, Mormon.org is updated with all the #LightTheWorld Christmas videos! Also, this week we were able to finally reconnect with an investigator named Antonio Rodriguez who basically fell off the grid for about a month. Apparently, he lost his phone so we couldn't get a hold of him which was frustrating. But, we were able to teach him a re-run lesson of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And another little miracle, he is an alcoholic but he told us he wants to quit and he hasn't been drinking for 10 days! We testified to him of the incredible blessings we receive by keeping the Word of Wisdom by not drinking and putting other harmful things in our bodies.

On Saturday we drove up to a small city of about 10,000 people called Waseca. A while back they had a really bad rain storm and flooding that caused over 10 million dollars in uninsured damage. Many people had their basements and homes destroyed, but couldn't get the help they need to clean it up. The President recently announced it as a national disaster, which allowed them to get help from various natural disaster teams. Missionaries in the area and surrounding areas as well as other members of the church were invited to make the trip over there and participate in the clean-up work. We met up with a group of about 150, including disaster clean-up crews and other volunteers from surrounding cities. We then broke off into smaller teams and were assigned specific homes to help clean up. Our assigned house was a small farm house owned by a sweet older lady named Viola. We were able to help her sort through and clean up her damaged basement and organize her garage. It was a great experience and she was so kind and grateful to us! Later that day, we also helped a family in our small Spanish congregation move their furniture to a new apartment. It was an amazing day of service and a great way to spread the spirit of Christmas!

On Sunday, we had a wonderful fast and testimony meeting. During the week we didn't have very much success in finding any new investigators, so as a companionship we fasted to be able to find new investigators and help the zone meet our goal. During sacrament meeting, we were privileged to hear the many testimonies from our humble Spanish congregation. Their faith is so strong! I was also able to bear my testimony and witness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Although my Spanish still needs a lot of work, it was such a wonderful experience sharing my testimony! I would also like to share with all of you my testimony. And don't worry I will translate afterward for all of you gringos out there;).

Yo sé que Dios existe y nos ama. Él es el Padre de nuestros espíritus y él tiene un plan para nosotros. Cuando estamos orando, nuestro Padre Celestial siempre está escuchando. Yo sé porque había sentido el amor increíble de Dios por medio de oración. También, yo sé que Dios envió su Hijo Jesucristo para expiar por todos los pecados del mundo.

Jesucristo nos conoce personalmente y tiene tanto amor por cada persona en la tierra. Yo testifico que por medio de vendiendo a Cristo, podemos llegar a ser limpios de nuestros pecados y sentir de su amor infinito. Yo sé que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días es verdadera y la misma iglesia que Jesucristo estableció en la tierra. Yo sé, sin duda, que José Smith fue un profeta verdadera, y él tradujo el libro de Mormon por el poder de Dios. Yo testifico que el libro de Mormon es verdadera, y que un hombre se acercaría más a Dios al seguir sus preceptos que los de cualquier otro libro. Cada vez cuando estoy leyendo el libro de Mormon, puedo sentir el Espíritu Santo confirma de su veracidad y tanto felicidad en mi vida. Yo sé que tenemos un profeta viviente, Thomas S. Monson, y Dios se ha llamado èl para guiarnos en estos últimos días. Yo digo estas cosas en el santo nombre de nuestro salvador Jesucristo, amén.

I know that God exists and loves us. He is the Father of our spirits and he has a plan for us. When we are praying, our Heavenly Father is always listening. I know because I have felt the incredible love of God through prayer. Also, I know that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for all the sins of the world. Jesus Christ knows us personally and has so much love for every person on earth. I testify that by coming to Christ, we can be cleansed from our sins and feel of our Savior’s infinite love. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and is the same church that Christ established on the earth. I know, without a doubt, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true, and that man will come closer to God by following its precepts than by any other book. Each time when I'm reading the Book of Mormon, I can feel the Holy Ghost confirming its truthfulness and feel so much happiness in my life. I know we have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and God has called him to guide us in these last days. I say these things in the holy name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen.

After church, we had a "linger longer" and all ate Mexican pasole, which is this awesome chicken and corn soup stuff! So in the MMM, we have our missionary "family tree." To briefly explain, your trainer is your Dad, your first companion after training is your Mom, your trainer's trainer is your grandpa, and it goes on from there haha. So when we took the picture at linger longer, me and Elder Callans decided to take a classic father and son pic and its perfect😂.

Later on Sunday night, we were pretty frustrated by our lack of new investigators this week. We decided to pray for a finding miracle, and it happened! We went apartment tracting, and we found two investigators, one right after the other, both from El Salvador! We were able to share with both of them the Christmas message and video and set return appointments for next week. It's been such a great experience so far this Christmas season to be able to testify of Jesus Christ and invite others to serve!

Check out #LightTheWorld

¡Espero que usted tengan una buena semana!

-Elder Bolinder

Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5931 W. 96th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438

"Linger Longer" at Spanish Branch
Minnesota Snow!

Elder Bolinder, Elder Buhler, Elder Callans, Elder Jensen


Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 8

Minnesota Rain

Macho Man!

Christmas season is here!! We haven't received any more snow. But, we just drove home from the store and it was hailing and raining insanely hard! 

It's only been four days since my last update, so not a whole lot has happened, but it has been a very good weekend to start the upcoming Christmas season. As a zone, all the missionaries have made a goal to find 100 new investigators by the end of the transfer (6 weeks). This week has been pretty hard but we were able to have success in finding new investigators! 

So last week we received a referral from the English speaking missionaries for a lady named Luna Morales in an apartment complex in Savage, Minnesota. Every time we stopped by, she told us she was busy and couldn't meet that day. We ended up going back 4 more times. On the 3rd visit, we were able to talk to her son at the door and we bore testimony of the restoration of the gospel and Jesus Christ and gave him a Book of Mormon. Then the next day we were able to have a lesson with Luna and shared a Christmas message of following the example of Christ, and the Spirit was really strong. So, by not giving up on this referral, we were finally able to meet with her and we ended up meeting two new investigators out of it! 

Another awesome experience with our focus on finding new investigators happened on Wednesday. We were tracting, or going door to door, in another apartment complex near Burnsville. We ended up getting locked out of the building, but luckily this Jimmy Johns guy walked up and had a key to get in haha. What a homie lol. We knocked on some doors and nobody was really interested in hearing our message. Then we knocked on a door, and this huge Latino guy with the broadest shoulders I've ever seen, wearing a black tank top, answered the door. As tough and burly as this guy looked, I was not expecting him to be interested. But, he let us in! We ended up talking with this guy for over an hour and he told us all about growing up in Mexico and his experience in the army and how he wants to put his past behind him and be a good father for his 3 daughters. He was so incredibly humble, and even though he was tough on the outside, he had a such a soft heart. We were able to testify to him of the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessings that His gospel brings to us. It has been so amazing to strengthen my testimony of the Savior and the restored gospel by sharing it with others!

Every Easter and Christmas season, the church releases a video with a message or invitation for the holiday season. The day after Thanksgiving, the church put out their Christmas Initiative. The title of it is #LightTheWorld. With it came a video, and it depicts all these miracles and acts of service that Christ performed during his lifetime. It relates all these acts of service with every day things that we can do in our day to serve others like Jesus did. It's a beautiful video and its message is so powerful. Along with the video, there is a list of 25 ways we can serve others and share our light with the world just like the Savior did every day until Christmas. My companion and I have been able to share this video and message many times already this weekend and it brings such a peaceful spirit. I invite all of you to strive every day to live like Christ did and share your light with others through service and charity. I will attach the pictures of the list. I know that Christ lives, he is the Son of God, and he has set the perfect example for us to follow. I hope that all of you start this month preparing for Christmas with a desire to find ways to serve others!

Here is a link to the #LightTheWorld Christmas video:  https://www.mormon.org/christmas/light-the-world

-Elder Bolinder

Friday, November 25, 2016

Week 7

Elder Bolinder and Elder Callans

May The Frost Be With You!

I made it to Minnesota! It's been a great first week in the mission field and I've already had lots of awesome experiences here. Just so everyone knows, my usual Prep Days are on Mondays, but this week it was changed to today because of Thanksgiving. ¡Feliz día de gracias!

I got off the plane in Minneapolis and was met by the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Forbes. There were 5 other new missionaries who came in from the Provo missionary training center, but I was the only Spanish speaking greenie. We drove to the mission home in Bloomington, about 20 minutes away. We had a wonderful lunch that finally wasn't a cafeteria meal. Lol! We got a bit of training, met our new companions, and afterward we went right to our assigned areas that evening. My companion, and trainer for 12 weeks, is named Elder Callans. He's been out on his mission about 11 months now. He's from Washington state and really funny and loves to joke around. He is also very spiritual and knows Spanish really well! We are serving in the Lakeville, Minnesota area. It's about 15 minutes south of Bloomington, so roughly 30 min away from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We actually have about 4 cities we cover - Lakeville, Burnsville, Savage, and Shakopee -and the area is pretty similar in size to Meridian, Idaho. As I arrived in Minnesota, it was a sunny 57 degrees. I guess I made it just in time for winter because the very next day the temperature dropped to 32 degrees and we even got a bit of snow! 

As we were driving to our area, my companion told me he wanted to stop by an investigator's house before we went to our apartment. I was excited to jump right into teaching! He told me we do some mixed work here so we teach both in Spanish and English. So, we went to teach this 19 year old college student named Remmi in English. He told us he had invited his friend over as well. So we got to their apartment and these guys are pretty wild. We tried to teach them a lesson, but they couldn't sit still. They offered us some quesadillas with whipped cream and green beans and I was like, “What in the world?!?” haha. They seemed a little drunk and like they wanted to just mess with the missionaries. We tried to just ignore it and go on with our lesson, but a few minutes later they all of a sudden jumped up and grabbed these light sabers and had a light saber fight in their living room. hahaha! I was super confused and thought, “Wow, this is a terrible first lesson.” Then they took their light sabers into another room and jumped out with their name tags on and said, "We're your new zone leaders!!". It was really funny and quite the initiation! hahaha.

So my Spanish has been coming along pretty well. It is a bit different than I thought it would be. We actually speak a good amount of “Spanglish” haha. For example, A member family we have dinner with, the Saldañas, speak Spanglish. The dad speaks mostly Spanish but you will occasionally here some random English words thrown in there. And their two girls speak English but understand Spanish. Another mixed family is this less active member named Josué and his son, who is investigating the church, Josué junior. We taught them on Sunday night and it was interesting because they both understand both languages but the dad would speak Spanish and the son would speak English. So we would switch from Spanish to English and back to Spanish every two minutes. But we invited Josué junior, who is 15, to be baptized on January 7th, so that was a really awesome experience! Other investigators have immigrated from different countries, like 19 year old Louis Hernandez from El Salvador who only speaks Spanish. But, overall the Spanish is pretty much like Mexican Spanish. But a lot of the people we talk to in Spanish understand English too so we never know when we are going to use English or Spanish. It's pretty cool. Everyone here is very polite and I'm starting to see the "Minnesota-Nice" in people. I also am making a lot of great friends with other missionaries in our zone! 

So for Thanksgiving we had an early turkey dinner with a less active member named Mauricio. He is an awesome guy and loves to have all the missionaries over and loves to talk about sports! We also have another dinner at 5 this evening, so I am going to be stuffed! I'm grateful for this day we have to remember to always be thankful for everything our Heavenly Father has blessed us with. A message we have been sharing with some of our investigators recently is the message to be thankful for all the little things we have. In addition, not only to give thanks this day, but live every day with thanksgiving in our hearts. As we turn to God in prayer and give thanks for all of our many blessings, we can feel of his love and see his hand in our lives. Something that I am incredibly grateful for is that our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, atoned for all the sins of the world so that those who come unto him will be healed and cleansed from all their mistakes and pains. I encourage all of you to go throughout this Thanksgiving and upcoming Christmas season with thankfulness in your hearts every day for the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Thank you all so much for the wonderful birthday wishes! I appreciate everyone's love an example to me and I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

-Elder Cameron Bolinder

Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5391 W. 96th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438


New Missionary Group with President and Sister Forbes

MMM - Lakeville District

First Snow!

With President and Sister Forbes

District Hunger Games - Thanksgiving Style

"Minnesota Nice"

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Week 6 - Arrival

Minnesota-St. Paul Airport

The Arrival!

Note from the minions: We received this text today! Tiempo para dar gracias y celebracion!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week 6 - Part 2

The District

Last Day in Mexico!

[A "bonus update" from Elder Bolinder as he prepares to transfer to Minneapolis]

¡Hola! So our companionship situation has been a bit confusing, but apparently we were supposed to be in a quad companionship for a day, with Elder Fuentes and Elder Brunsdale, so that, when Elder Fuentes left, Elder Brunsdale would be put into a trio with us and he wouldn’t be left without a companion. So we are in another trio today. Haha! This elder is really awesome, and super tall and athletic! Basically we have another mini P-day today because we are leaving tomorrow (we got one yesterday because Elder Fuentes was leaving) so the schedule has been a bit strange. We just make our own schedule basically and join random classes for language study and stuff. But it’s been really nice. I won’t type out another full update, but just another short email to you guys. I´m also going to send you some left over pics that I have from last week.

So my flight leaves at 6 am, but due to time changes I will be in Dallas around 7:30 to 8 am and then catch a flight to Minneapolis around 10 am. We have had a lot of free time since we don’t have a definite schedule today and yesterday so I have been studying a ton of vocab and also reading the scriptures a lot. So that´s been really nice!

I have started to love scriptures in Isaiah and also the Isaiah chapters in Nephi. So I have been reading my patriarchal blessing a lot more and I found something that is really awesome to help study the scriptures.. I pick an adjective or trait in my patriarchal blessing and look up scriptures on that topic. And recently I have had many instances when I look for scriptures and end up in Isaiah and I read the surrounding scriptures and they are just filled with gold! I need to write some awesome scriptures down that I found to share with you. But one that I found this morning relates to the devotional given by Elder Dale G. Renlund that I talked about in my update.  1 Nephi 21: 13-16 was really cool to read. I especially like verse 16 when it says he has graven us upon his palms. Kind of like Elder Renlund said, he bares our scars, he knows our pains, and he has a perfect love for us!

I love you guys and thank you all for your amazing examples!

~Elder Bolinder

Mission Address:
Elder Cameron Bolinder
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5931 W. 96th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438

The District with Hermano Martinez (Instructor)

Elder Bolinder and Elder Snooks (from Boise)

Elder Bolinder, President Alvarado (Branch President), Elder Watson
Elder Watson, Elder Bench (going to Idaho Nampa Mission), Elder Bolinder

Singing  "Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos" to us

Mexico City CCM

New Friend at Mexico City CCM

Mexico City CCM

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 6

Sunset at Mexico City CCM

Winding Down in Mexico

Hey guys! Just a couple days left in Mexico. It feels like I have been here for a long time but it has gone by in the blink of an eye. I am so grateful for the amazing experiences I´ve had here, and all the new amigos I´ve made!

So I´m writing you today on a Monday because our Prep-day was changed for this week. Basically our whole district left this morning at 2:30 to travel to New York, New York. It was a bitter sweet goodbye since we have all grown so close to each other over these last six weeks. All who are left (Elder Steinke, Hermana Lattin - Oakland California Mission - and Me) all leave Wednesday. So this morning I was moved into a new casa and I am now in a Trio Companionship with Elder Steinke and an awesome Elder from Texas named Elder Fuertes. We got settled in and went to reception. They told us that since Elder Fuertes is leaving for Washington, Tacoma tomorrow at 2:00 am, and that our usual P-day would be on the day we travel to our missions, that we could take a P-day today to get moved in and get ready to go to the mission field.

I am ecstatic to finally start my incredible adventure in Minnesota! I feel like my Spanish has improved exponentially. I have definitely felt the gift of tongues as the Spirit has helped me recall all the things I´ve learned in school and in the CCM. Although I don´t feel nearly as prepared as I should, I have confidence in the Lord that he will help me connect with the hearts of the Spanish speaking people in Minnesota.

An awesome highlight from this week was TRC. On Thursday, we got the opportunity to prepare and teach lessons for volunteers who come from here in Mexico City. My companion Elder Watson and I taught a 15 year old boy named Ivan. He mentioned his older brother served a mission and that he was planning on going on a mission too. He was a little quiet, but I felt we connected with him really well. We were able to give a short lesson on the power of personal revelation and prayer. The spirit was very strong in the room and we were able to testify and encourage him to develop his relationship with his Heavenly Father and to prepare to serve a mission. I am so thankful for the power of prayer in my life and the strength it has brought me. I know without a doubt that our Father in Heaven is mindful of all of his children, and loves and knows them each individually. He has a perfect love and a plan for everyone and we can always turn to him in prayer.

On Saturday we had our last class we both of our teachers. They have both been such wonderful examples to me. Hermana Arnaud, our morning teacher, has such a sweet heart and explains Spanish concepts and grammar very clearly and precisely. Hermana Pavón was our afternoon teacher. She recently got back from her mission to Puerto Rico where she had to learn English. She always pushed us to be exactly obedient and be diligent in our work and studies. Her testimony is so powerful and she always made us laugh. It was a hard goodbye, and I am so thankful for everything they have taught me.

Our district has become close friends with the district in the class next-door to us. They are all super energetic and hilarious. In their district, there is an Elder from Boise who went to Mountain View, and another Elder who is called to the Nampa Idaho mission! So of course, we had to get a crew pic before we left. Also, I had a great chat with my old pal Elder Atwood in the comedor. I told him about all our friends from the Centennial ward who are on missions all the across the globe. We are so blessed with amazing missionary efforts in our Stake, it´s insane! He told me how his family is doing in Arizona. His brother served a mission in Colombia and is now married and he leaves for his mission in Mexico in a few weeks! 

On Sunday we had another amazing devotional broadcast video. We heard from the recently called member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Dale G. Renlund. He spoke so smoothly and I could feel the power of his message through the Holy Ghost. He spoke on the topic of developing faith in our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ and His atonement. One thing that he discussed that I wish to share is of the infinite power of the atonement. He said that the the atonement of Jesus Christ leaves no traces and leaves no scars. The scars from our pains and sorrows are imprinted on the hands and feet of our redeemer Jesus Christ. Because of the Savior´s sacrifice for us, we can come unto him and be completely healed of all of our transgressions. I know that Jesus Christ lives, and that he took upon him the pains of all people and atoned for our sins. He has a perfect love for everyone and, through him, we can be cleansed and perfected. I am so excited to be a representative of Christ and bring this knowledge of the true power of repentance to the people of Minnesota!

Well, next week I will be walking the streets of Minneapolis with my giant coat on lol. Thank you guys for all your love and support. I am truly blessed!

¡Para siempre Dios esté con vos!

~Elder Bolinder

Minnesota Address:

Elder Cameron Bolinder
c/o Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5931 West 96th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438

The District With Hermana Arnaud (Spanish Instructor)

The District With Hermana Pavon (Spanish Instructor)

Four Amigos

Elder Atwood and Elder Bolinder

The Crew

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 5

Mexico City CCM Week 5 - Meditation?

¡Hola mis amigos!

Only 7 more days left until I´m off to Minnesota! This week went by so fast, but it was great. I am getting more and more excited to enter the mission field!

This week my companion and I prayed that we could have an opportunity to give a Book of Mormon to one of the construction workers in the CCM and share our testimonies with them. On Monday we talked to two workers walking by on the side walk. One was named Pierre from Haiti and the other one we didn´t get his name. We had a small conversation with each of them but they were both already members of the church. So the next day, we were determined to talk to more workers. In the morning during breakfast we saw the lawn mowing crew raking leaves and taking care of the grass so we walked over to them and talked to a few of them. One guy that was raking the leaves, his name was Ceasar, told us he served his mission here in Mexico. And the other worker, Carlos, said he was a member too. So we kept looking and before lunch we walked to our classroom and talked with our janitor friend Adi. We talked with him for a while and he mentioned that almost all of the lawn care workers were members, but the concrete construction workers behind our classroom were mostly non-members and their break was at 1. So we went over there at 1 and we saw this guy walking on the sidewalk and we decided to go up to him and talk to him. We talked with him about his family and work, then we asked him if he knew what the Book of Mormon was. He said he received a copy from another companionship 3 days before and he read a few pages. We were like, “Oh that’s great!” And we were able to share with him our testimonies. I felt like I should share with him a scripture in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 5:27 which says "and they lived after a manner of happiness." We told him how Nephi and his family lived with many struggles and hardships but they still felt so much joy in their lives. We bore testimony of how the Book of Mormon, which helps us understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, helps us obtain that same happiness and peace in our own lives. Then we invited him to read the book every day. It was a really awesome experience and I couldn´t help but smile the whole time I was talking to him because the Book of Mormon truly blesses my life. Even though we didn´t give him a book personally it still felt amazing to share with him the knowledge I have of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know that, along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

So later that same day, we were in class after lunch talking as a district. We told everyone what happened and, guess what?! Turns out, that companionship that gave him a Book of Mormon a few days earlier, was our district leaders! And he told me he wanted to share that same scripture 2nd Nephi 5: 27 but never did. So that was really cool to find that out! Then, during gym we went on a run with another companionship in our district and saw more workers who were doing construction on the water treatment plant in the corner of the campus. They were walking to their car to go home but we ran to talk to the two of them. One of them was wearing a sick Denver Broncos hard hat haha. We had a similar experience with them, they told us they had a coworker who already gave them a Book of Mormon and they have been reading a lot and said it was really interesting! We shared with them the same scripture and bore testimony. They seemed like they were in a hurry to get home so we didn´t talk to them for long but it was still awesome. What a day filled with opportunities to bear testimony about the Book of Mormon!

We had an awesome devotional yesterday from an Area Seventy Elder Nicolás Castañeda. He was an amazing speaker, reminded me a lot of how Elder Deiter F. Uchdorf speaks. He spoke on having success as a missionary. He told us if we want to have success in anything we do in life we have to do these three things: 1) Concentrate with all your effort. 2) Always do your best. and 3) Be happy with everything that you do. Success isn´t measured on how many people you baptize, but rather how you grow spiritually and increase your love for the people. Through hard work and always having a positive attitude, we can truly become the person and missionary that Heavenly Father wants us to be. As we sincerely love the people, they will see the light of Christ in our eyes and feel the love of their Father in Heaven. It was a really powerful devotional and made me super motivated and happy to be serving a full time mission and love the people of Minneapolis Minnesota!

So this morning we heard the news that Donald Trump won the election. It was kind of weird to not have any media for 5 weeks and then all of a sudden, Adi tells us that Trump won the election. We were like wow that’s crazy! So my companion Elder Watson brought a Donald Trump tie with him and after hearing the news we went back to our apartment and he changed his tie to his Trump tie haha. I thought it would be fitting to throw on my ´Merica tie as well lol.

Hope all is well back in the states!

~Para siempre Dios esté con vos~

-Elder Bolinder

New address:
Minnesota Minneapolis Mission
5931 West 96th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438

Elder Bolinder and Elder Watson - Mexico City CCM Week 5

Elder Watson and Elder Bolinder - Mexico City CCM  Week 5