Thursday, October 19, 2017

Week 54

Derek & Elder Bolinder

Transfer News...

Hola Fam! We'll start off with a bit of news - transfers are today! Elder Nielson and I will be staying another 6 weeks here in Faribault, which is great news for us because we are loving it here. And some other news... It's his birthday Today!! To celebrate I'm going to take him out to lunch, then hit up Cabela's, and go play soccer with our soon to be baptized little amigo Derek. We met with them again this week and they are such a sweet family! Things are looking good for his baptism in November.

So more about the week... We started off with some exchanges in my last area, Mankato. We spent the night there so we were there for Tuesday and Wednesday. Honestly, it felt like I never left! It was a blast, and the elders there are studs. I spent the day with an elder from Alaska, who is a convert of 4 years and the only member of our church in his family. Such an amazing example of faith! With the recent addition of Facebook and Skype to our mission, he has been able to start teaching his mom more about the restored gospel! We got to have a lesson with her over video-chat and it was the coolest thing in the world! The blessings of technology are unreal.

We've seen a lot of success in this area with part-member families! We're working with the Sando family, the Hispanic family that came to the BBQ the Chavez's, and Mary Jane Post and her non-member boyfriend. Well, anyway, a funny story. We went over to Mary Jane and Chase's for dinner on Friday. We had some delicious tacos with them, and her three daughters are just full of energy and love to talk. It was hilarious, the little 3-year-old was going off about this random dream she had and it made absolutely no sense but we just laughed along with her😂. Then Mary Jane started to tell us a different story, when Alison (the 3 year old) walks over to her and tells her, "hey mom, can I tell you something?" And she was like yes. Then she leans in and whispers, "I wasn't finished!". The sass was unreal😂😂. So,  then we listened to her crazy "dream" for another 10 minutes hahaha. We were dying😂. I love that family though. Chase has been reading a bit of the Book of Mormon and got to watch General Conference which he loved! They got in a car accident on Saturday that scared them a bit, but luckily everyone was okay. We went over there after church and shared with them a scripture.

I'm running low on time, but just a quick thought. On Sunday we had a super powerful Ward Conference and got to hear from all the leaders of the Lakeville Stake. I actually had the same conference when I was in Mankato, but it was even better the second time! The theme they used comes from a scripture in the Book of Mormon comparing our testimonies of the gospel to a living plant, specifically a tree.

"But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life."

"And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst."

What a powerful analogy! If we turn to the Lord and diligently nourish our "trees", (Pray, read scriptures, serve others, etc.) we can be deeply rooted in the gospel. And with strong roots, the winds of life in this trouble-some world will not have power over us! I know this to be true, and I've tasted of this "fruit" of the gospel and it is the true joy that is experienced through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!

I love you guys, thanks for all your amazing examples. Have a wonderful week (:

-Elder Bolinder

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week 53

Baptism Day for Landon


Hola todos! We have a combined zone P-day today carving pumpkins, so I'll try to fit in as much as I can about another great week in the mission field!

This week was a bit slow, and super-duper rainy! But we still had some great lessons. We saw our favorite Liberian family again, the Sandos. They said their transition back to America hasn't been the best, and it was great to visit them again and strengthen their testimonies of the gospel. It was funny because we asked them lots of questions about what it's like in Africa, and they were like, "We actually have this really spicy African chicken, here try some!" and it was soooo good! Hispanics trained me well lol, I LOVE spicy food now!👌🏼Elder Nielson on the other hand was suffering 😂 hahaha! He couldn't handle the heat. Anyway, I love that fam and Derek is such a stud, he sat by us at church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. Oh, and we set a date for him to be baptized on the 11th of November, whoo!!

We were able to do some awesome service this week, which is always a perfect stress-reliever. We helped our investigator Kevin build a fence on his ranch which was pretty gnarly! It's pretty amusing, too, because while we worked out in the drizzling rain, all of his sheep would just follow us around like our own little paparazzi😂 Then we also helped out some members out in Northfield on Saturday morning. It was actually the crazy guy in the ward who bit my name tag! lol. He's super nice, but just a little crazy. We helped him take down this giant oak tree in his front yard. Made the biggest crash ever, it was epic! Then we spent most of the time cleaning up the branches and what not. Good fun!

Another highlight from the week was that our little buddy Landon got baptized! The service was amazing and the spirit was so strong. His older brother was able to baptize him and they were smiling and had their arms around each other the whole time. Such a sweet brotherly bond! Landon was beaming the whole time, and he was so excited that afterwards we went over to their house so he could give us these sick shades😎 I'm so glad we got be a part of it and help their family who is going through some rough family struggles. But it was so nice to see the family strengthened by the gospel of Christ😊 I know that the gospel blesses families, and through our redeemer Jesus Christ we can have true and lasting joy for eternity!

Well we are about to head out, but I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

-Elder Bolinder

One Year Mark Celebration S'mores Cake!
(Ingredients sent from home, made by Elder Cambo :) )

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Week 52

Elder Bolinder and Elder Nielson

Conferencia! Y un año👌🏻

Well, another week gone in the blink of an eye. I hope all of you enjoyed the absolutely AMAZING general conference weekend we had!! For us, it was like drinking from a firehose. So many inspired messages from our modern-day apostles! In addition to conference, the rest of the week was pretty eventful, so let's jump into it…

We met with our little ball of energy, Landon, twice this week and everything is lining up great for his baptism. We were able to actually push his baptism up a week so it will be on the 8th! We're finalizing the service this week, and we're pumped! Something we didn't really expect this transfer is all these miracles with finding all these young studs who want to be baptized. We were going through our area book and list of families in the ward and we felt like we should stop by this new family that moved in about a month ago. They moved here all the way from Liberia! Long story short, we met with the grandma and her two grand kids and had a wonderful lesson on how families can be eternal through God's plan of happiness. Afterwards, the 10-year-old grandson enthusiastically tells us, "Oh! And I want to be baptized!" We said, "Well, we can sure help you out with that!" Haha. He was wearing a Steph Curry jersey and told us all about how he loves basketball, lol what a bro. The Lord definitely led us to that family, and we had no idea that would happen! We're seeing them again this week. What a great experience!

We had dinner at our ward mission leader's house this week and had an interesting meal - Peanut Butter and Jelly Omelets! Now, I was a skeptic at first. Seems like such a bizarre combo right? But man, surprisingly it was SO good!

We also saw Kevin again this week, he's still reading and progressing well. He showed us his house out in the country and gave us a little tour of his ranch. Got some videos of these cool rams he has! He is still hesitant to set a date for baptism, but we were able to commit him to pray about a date in November. But some good news, he came to a session of general conference with us which he loved!

I'll wrap up with one of my favorite talks from conference - President Nelson! His talk was pretty much a recap of what he spoke about to us during our mission-conference back in April and it was amazing! He asks the question, "What would you lose if you didn't have the Book of Mormon?" There are so many amazing examples, and doctrines, and insights to God's eternal plan for us. I think for me, the biggest thing we would lose is the strength of our testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Because the Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Christ that not only reaffirms the message of Christ in the Bible, but draws us even closer to Him through the peaceful spirit that it brings, it truly is the keystone of our religion! I know it's true.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Remember that God loves you and is always aware of your needs! Keep moving forward. I love you guys!


-Elder Bolinder

(Tambien: Wednesday will mark my one-year mark on the mission, Whoo! It's gone by way to fast, let me tell ya. Next year is going to be even greater!😃)

Faribault Rams!
At the ranch with Kevin...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 51

Ridin' Tractors! 🚜

Hola todos!

This week was filled with meetings and traveling. So, unfortunately, we only got 3 days to work in our area this week. But we were spiritually fed for sure!

To kick off the week, we headed up to good 'ol Lakeville once again for some exchanges with the zone leaders. It was great! I keep ending up going back there one way or another and it always brings back good memories. One story from that day: We talked to this African American guy named Melvin in the parking lot who was actually tinting his windows. He said, “Yeah you guys can talk to me while I work on my car!” He said he was 21. We got to know his background a little more and he had grown up going to many different Christian churches, but recognized that a lot of pastors are focused on money and there is a lot of corruption in many churches today. We told him how we have an unpaid ministry in our church and that we actually have to pay to be out here on missions. He was like, "No way man, that's dope!"😂 We taught him about what the Book of Mormon is and how we use it hand and hand with the Bible. We explained that it helps clarify doctrine that is easy to be misinterpreted through many translations of the Bible. We ended up sharing the example of God the Father and Jesus Christ being two separate beings. And he says, "Well yeah when Jesus is praying on the cross he says Father why have you forsaken me, I mean that's clear as day man!". Haha. We both just smiled and were like, "Amen to that!😂" It actually took me off guard because you don't meet too many people here who ponder seriously about the nature of God and Jesus Christ! It was a pleasant surprise lol. He said he would read the Book of Mormon, and we set an appointment with him! It's always a joy to find people who are open and seeking for truth.

The next day we drove to the cities and had new missionary training all day. Elder Nielson is a stud! We are like long lost brothers lol. We had some great training sessions. It's always good to review the basics(: Saturday was also filled with district meeting and interviews in Mankato, which is about an hour away. Interviews are always so uplifting! We received a lot of good training on utilizing Facebook in our missionary efforts, and it's still hard to get used to using it again but it's been great for contacting people and organizing events and what not!

Despite a lack of time in our own area, we've had some really great lessons! We started teaching a less active Hispanic lady in the ward and helping her and her two boys coming to church more regularly. We also taught a super energetic kid named Landon who's mom is less active, but she has agreed to have us help teach and help him be baptized! We had a great lesson with him on Wednesday and set a date for him to be baptized in 3 weeks!

We are loving the ward here in Faribault! It's on the smaller side (only about 90 active members), but they are super supportive and missionary minded. This week, we had a ward BBQ and hay ride, and it was a blast! Good food, tractors, and a live band! We got there and walked past the band and we see the first counselor in the stake presidency playing the trumpet, haha! We were like, dang what a savage!😂 Then we see right next to him, the stake president on the Guitar! Man, Lakeville stake is the best! 😂 It was good to have all the members invite their friends and introduce us to them. We had some pretty good charlitas but nothing really came from it. We are definitely excited to keep working with the members here and find more people to share our message with! And the awesome part about it is all it takes it an invitation... So be brave and invite a friend to watch General Conference!😊

Some good news though, the less active Hispanic mom we met last week came with her two boys! They had a great time. We're continuing to help them come to church and prepare the oldest who's 10 for baptism (:

I hope you are all super stoked for General Conference! I sure am! I hope we take this amazing opportunity to hear from modern day apostles and prophets with sincerity of heart. I encourage you to write down questions or an aspect of your life that you are struggling with, and promise you that as you listen to their messages you will receive personal revelation and guidance! I know that God leads us with a prophet today. What a blessing it is to hear his words!

Thanks for all your love and support, have a wonderful week!!

-Elder Bolinder

Fairbault Ward BBQ/  Harvest Party
Elder Bolinder and Elder Nielson
Faribault Patriot!

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 43

Elder Woolley & Elder Bolinder

Purple People Eaters!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Elder Bolinder

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 42

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

Good Luck, Greenie!

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

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

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

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

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

-Elder Bolinder

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