Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Week 3

Companionship Unity - Rivalry Week P-day Attire!

Another Week in the CCM!

It´s been quite an eventful week this week so I´ll just jump right into it.

Me and mi compañero´s Spanish have been improving a lot! We now have two practice investigators to teach and our lessons are getting a lot better. It´s really neat to see the power of the Holy Ghost guide our thoughts and help us to know what our investigators need to hear!

As a district we made a goal this week to eat with a group of Latinos for one meal a day. It has been a blast! We made friends with this one group of elders and its great to practice our Español with them. They are really funny too haha. Today they were taking pics at breakfast and me and my companion offered to take one for them and they all when crazy! All ten of them handed us their cameras and then they each wanted a pic with us individually and we ended up taking pictures for like 20 minutes ha! They are really funny and so fun to hang with.

Just a few hours ago I was finally able to meet up with my friend from Boise, Elder Millington! It was fun to talk to him and ask him how his first day was and tell him the ins and outs of the CCM. And what's really awesome is we are in the same zone! So his class room is right next to mine so we will definitely have some fun together the next three weeks!

Our district is pretty sad this week because we made friends with another district in our branch and they left this week! We would play volleyball and ultimate frisbee during gym time everyday and it was a blast! It´s crazy how fast the weeks go by in the CCM, next week we will already be the oldest missionaries here!

So me and Elder Watson have a pretty great relationship with each other. He is a really funny guy and easy to get along with and i´m so glad I have been blessed with a great companion! All week this week we have been teasing each other on who will win the football game between Boise State and BYU. And he´s from Provo so he is a die-hard cougars fan lol. So we made a deal with each other that whoever´s team lost, they had to buy them a frozen twix bar from the tienda. So we waited all week for a letter to come telling us the score. And it finally arrived on Tuesday! So after gym we went to the post office with our district leaders and once we saw the letter we were so excited, we were like THE SCORE IS HEREEEE and we tore it open as fast as we could haha. And the Broncos won by one point!! I was celebrating like mad hahaha. And my companion kept his word and bought me a twix bar lol. So we decided to take a pic on our Prep Day with our game day shirts on!

On Sunday, we had a really great sacrament meeting. Me and my companion got the opportunity to bless the sacrament in Spanish! We were really nervous and excited. So the night before we decided to prepare and practice saying the sacramental prayers in Spanish. So we felt pretty comfortable and confident so we set up the sacrament and we were ready. However, the mic in the sacrament table was broken so we had to use a portable mic. And since we used that mic, we also decided to read the prayer for the bread and water from the scriptures. So I blessed the bread and it went pretty well and it was a really cool experience. Then my companion blessed the water, and he did pretty well, but the branch president told us to say it again. So he did, and I helped him pronounce everything correctly. But, it still was not right! So we were like, what are we doing wrong? and the branch president came over and told us our mistake.. We forgot to change the word wine in the scriptures to water haha. So we ended up blessing wine 3 times, haha oops! So our district gave us a hard time about that and we had a good laugh. But even though it took us a while to get the prayer exactly right, it was still an awesome experience and the spirit was strong throughout the meeting. 

Another cool highlight from this week was talking to a guy named Roberto. So right next to our classroom they are redoing the landscaping and there are always a bunch of construction workers there throughout the day. So we talked to our zone leaders and they told us they had been talking with one of the workers and they handed him a Book of Mormon and bore there testimonies of the gospel to him! And we thought that was really cool, so we were like hey we should just strike up a conversation with one of these guys and practice our Spanish with them. So after planning our lesson, we looked outside our window and there was a guy fixing the piping next to our building. So we grabbed some chairs to stand on, opened the window and started taking to him haha! It was awesome, we talked about where we are from, our families, and our missions, and he was a really nice guy. So now we have a new goal of giving a Book of Mormon to a worker by the end of this week!

Yesterday we had a really inspiring devotional talk from a member of the Area Seventy, Hélaman Montejo. He had such a great personality. He gave the talk in Spanish, and they had a translator to translate in English for all the new missionaries that arrived that day, but I was really surprised because I was able to understand about 70% of it! He told a really funny story from when he was a missionary. There was a little 5 year old boy in the ward where he was serving and he went to wasn´t thrilled about going to church. He also refused to wear a tie. So Elder Montejo asked him, why aren´t you wearing a tie? and the little boy said, because when I am older, I want to be like Spiderman.. and Spiderman doesn´t wear ties! So Hélaman went to go do some shopping with his companion. And he stumbled upon a tie. It was a Spiderman tie! So he bought the tie and went back to church the next week. He gave the little boy a tie and told him, now that you have a Spiderman tie will you go to church? And the little boy said yes. Then, 20 years later, he was eating dinner with a family. He began to tell them all about his mission and told them this story about the Spiderman tie. And the son of the family got up and said he´ll be right back. He returned to the table and he had with him that same Spiderman tie that Elder Montejo bought 20 years ago! He thanked him for the simple act of kindness he did for him and he told him that because of him, he has enjoyed attending church every single week ever since he got that tie and he is now a strong member of the church! It was really cool to see how just one small action that you take can have a big impact on someone's life. And he testified to us that we may not realize it, but we have such a big impact on other peoples lives and every single day in the mission field we will be looking for someone to serve and bless. We should always strive to be examples of Christ to those around us in everything we do. It was really inspiring and got me really excited to serve the people of Minnesota and be a beacon of light to those around me! (3 Nephi 12: 14-16)

I just want to thank everyone for all their love and support! I have been so blessed with amazing friends and family and I appreciate every single one of you!

~Para siempre Dios esté con vos~

-Elder Bolinder

Branch-7 District-C
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

Elder Millington and Elder Bolinder
Ultimate Frisbee at the CCM

Elder Bolinder and Elder Gonzalez
Elder Bolinder and Elder Watson
Mexico City CCM

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Week 2

"Three Amigos" - Home Ward Reunion in the CCM - Elder Johnson, Elder Williams, Elder Bolinder

Working Hard and Having Fun

WOW! A lot has happened since my first P-Day, so I will try my best to not leave anything out. It was a tough week but it has been filled with the spirit! Time flies when you are working hard and having fun.

So since my last update, my district has had the opportunity to go to the Mexico City Temple twice! The first time was right after emailing last Wednesday and we got to go again this morning. It is gorgeous and insanely big! It looks like a really cool Mayan temple, both on the inside and out. I could feel comfort of the Holy Ghost throughout the temple. We did the sessions with headphones to translate to English but occasionally I would take one ear out to try to pick up some words in Spanish and it was such an awesome experience! 

Me and mi compañero have been getting a little better with Spanish, but we still have a lot to improve on. We set a goal to read 7 verses each of the Book of Mormon in Spanish before we go to bed and it has helped not just with the language but with having the spirit with us. I am beginning to listen and understand Spanish better, but I still am working on building my vocabulary. However, I am excited to see some improvement!

As a district, we have had 3 days of solamente español. Although we have struggled with it, it has been a great learning experience. We just got new zone leaders on Sunday and they challenged us to have a Spanish only day on our P day which is today, and it has been really hard! But we have had fun with it and I have made some decent progress in speaking español.

Our district has gotten so much closer this week! It has been pretty hard for some of us because we have had two elders have to go home this week. So because of that we had two companionship changes. Between our close friends leaving and struggles with the language, our district has grown a lot closer to each other and we have had such a blast these past few days! It has been a busy week but I have definitely felt the comfort of the spirit and all of your support!

Sunday was an incredible and inspiring Sabbath Day. During Sacrament meeting, the spirit was strong and a district leaving to the mission field sang a musical number of "Para Siempre Dios Este Con Voz" and that was super amazing. I have grown to love that song and also other hymns in spanish. Afterwards, President Call and his wife had a devotional and they told some amazing stories of some missionaries when they were Mission Presidents of a city in Mexico (sorry I forgot the name). I felt super excited for the chance I soon have to see the gospel change lives of so many people and their families! We also got the chance to watched a devotional video from 2011 given by apostle David A. Bednar. He talked about the steps to becoming a "Preach my Gospel" Missionary, and how to be an effective servant of the Lord. It was really inspiring and the spirit was strong! Afterwards, I got to say goodbye and wish Elder Williams good luck as he left for his mission in Arizona. And we got a picture with Elder Johnson to represent the Centennial Ward, whooo!!

This week I have met a lot more people and we have made some good friends with some other districts. On Monday and Tuesday we played volleyball against two other districts and that was a blast! We also played ultimate Frisbee with a few other elders on Friday. I also was introduced to an Elder who brought a harmonica and we had a pretty great jam sesh together haha!

Yesterday was also a great day because the Relief Society President of the church, Bonnie L. Oscarson, came to visit the CCM and gave a really awesome devo. Me and my companion also participated in the musical number choir and we sang the EFY Medley song in Spanish and that was really cool. Hermana Oscarson talked about how our mission calls are truly inspired from our Heavenly Father, he knows us and has planned a specific mission experience for each of us in order to help us grow and prepare for the rest of our lives. She mentioned my mission scripture, Alma 26:12, "Yea, I know I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." I love this scripture so much! Serving a mission will be a really challenging experience, especially having to learn Spanish. But I testify that our Heavenly Father has prepared a way for us to overcome all of our adversities. Sister Oscarson showed the Mormon message of the gardener and the current bush. It is one of my favorites because it talks about how in order to grow and produce fruit we need to be cut down and pruned by the gardener. God gives us trials in our lives for a specific reason, to help us learn and grow and become more like him, and I love the quote "Heavenly Father loves us enough to cut us down". Also, a connection from the devotional given by David A. Bednar is that as missionaries, we are not the true teacher, it is the power of the Holy Ghost that testifies of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Only through the witness of the Holy Ghost can people become converted to the gospel. I have received a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the true restored gospel on the Earth today. I know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and feel enlightened by the Spirit every time I read it. I testify that through sincere prayer, by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know the truth of all things. I cannot wait for the moment I place my first Book of Mormon and share my testimony and the happiness I have found in my life through the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Also, feel free to send me letters! I would love to get more letters from all of you, the mailing address is down below. 

-Elder Bolinder

Elder Bolinder
Branch - 7 District - C
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal
The District - Mexico City Temple

Elder Bolinder & Elder Watson

Mexico City Temple

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Week 1 - Part 2

The District - Temple Trip to Mexico City Temple

This picture was taken outside the Mexico City Temple by a senior missionary couple. They then texted it to all the parents. Love the senior missionaries!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Week 1

Mexico City MTC

Mi Primera Semana En La CCM

This week has been really long but has been a blast! And I am so glad to have my first Prep Day and be able to email everyone. Everyone we have talked to has said that the first week is by far the toughest and slowest, but the rest of it will fly by and you will enjoy it so much. It has been really busy and a lot of work but it has been so fun!

On the flight here, I was blessed to sit by a friendly couple from Colorado named the Biggs. They told me they were members of the church and talked about their missions and their sons missions and they had a son go to my exact mission 5 years ago! So it was nice to talk to them about what is in store for me.

When I arrived at the Mexico Training Center we first went through orientation and I was able to see and talk to Elder Johnson who was helping out in the computer lab! Unfortunately we didn`t get a picture together this week but I will get one next week. I was also able to talk to Elder Williams and since I did not meet my companion until after dinner I went to the opening devotional with his district.

Unfortunately, I did not accomplish my goal of finding a fellow beatboxer, but its been fun to practice and show other elders and sisters haha. The first day I got there, I did not meet my companion right away so I went to lunch and decided to sit next to a random group of elders. It was their 6th week in the CCM so they had alot of experience and told me everything I needed to know for my 6 weeks in Mexico. Then I showed them some beatboxing and they went nuts! It was hilarious!! My district also loves my beatboxing and its so funny to see everyones reactions lol.

I later met my companion, Elder Watson. He is from Provo Utah and also likes to ski like me! He likes to joke a lot and we have gotten along well. We still have many things to work on but we have grown so much already in one week. Also, we met our district and although we have a lot of different personalities, we have had so much fun together and we have been developing a strong relationship with each other. We have 4 elders and one sister going to the New York North Mission, 3 going to the Oakland California Mission, and I havent found anyone else that has the Minneapolis Minnesota mission like I do. 

My first few days I was a little overwhelmed because of all the Spanish, but I have been able to feel the spirit help me recall the things I have learned from High School Spanish and the progress in one week has been way more than I expected! It is a little difficult since my companion has no background in Spanish and took 4 years of Chinese, so I have been helping him study a lot. But after one week, we have learned so much!

We have been able to practice teaching lessons to investigators in 100% Spanish and it has been difficult but really awesome. The first two lessons me and Elder Watson taught were a little rocky since we were just learning gospel vocabulary in Spanish and we could not understand or respond well at all to the investigators questions. The third lesson we taught, we felt calm and confident from the spirit, and we had the right lesson for the investigator, but we were just really slow in our delivery of the lesson and trying to speak Spanish. So since we were having a bit of trouble with our lessons, we decided to just pray really fervently for our investigator that we may know what she needs to hear and that we can really connect with her and show our love and God`s love for her. We felt the spirit guide us during our planning and the lesson went super well! I could feel the spirit calm my nerves and my Spanish was smooth and we really connected and felt the spirit with the investigator! Although we still have a TON of Spanish to work on and improvements to our teaching, it felt amazing to make some progress and feel the power of the Holy Ghost.

At the beginning of the week, Elder Watson had some throat pain. So we went to the doctor and he said he had strep throat. So it was hard to him to speak the first 4 or 5 days. So all the elders in my district got together on the 3rd night and I was able to give my companion a priesthood blessing of health and strength. It was my first priesthood blessing! I was pretty nervous but it felt great and now he is finally getting better!

Last night we got the privelege of watching a Devotional Broadcast from the Provo MTC and we got to hear Elder David A. Bednar of the quorum of the twelve apostles speak! It was amazing, he talked about truly digging deeply and studying the words of our living prophet and apostles from general conference. He told us to find a doctrine or principle, invitation to act, and a promised blessing from each talk and it was crazy to see how much more in depth you can study the talks from general conference. I also felt the spirit confirm to me that the messages from our modern day prophet and his counselors are divine messages from heaven and they are true messengers of God.

I am so glad to have felt the warmth and comfort of the Holy spirit my first week here. And I have made so many awesome friends and I cant wait for the next 5 week here in Mexico! 
My Preparation day is Wednesday so you can expect a weekly update every week on that day. If you want to send me letters, the address is down below, but please no packages. Love you and miss you all!

~Para siempre Dios este con vos~

-Elder Bolinder

Mailing address:

Elder Bolinder
Branch - 7 District - C
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

Flight to Phoenix with the Biggs

Elder Cameron Watson

Elder Tucker Williams

View of Mexico City near CCM