Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Week 13

New Year's Celebration - Macho Man!

¡Área Nueva y Año Nuevo!

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

This week has been a great one! Since arriving in my new area of New Brighton, it's been a blast! Saying goodbye to everyone in Lakeville was bittersweet, but I got this awesome baby cactus from the Branch President!!😂 That was pretty sweet.

Okay, a little about my new area. We are right outside the twin cities, basically northeast Minneapolis. It's really awesome because when we drive on the freeway we have a sweet view of the skyline of downtown. I still need to take a good pic of it though. My new companion is Elder Cardwell, and he is a pretty dang funny guy haha. He's from a small farm town in southern Utah, though, so he knows how to work hard! Our ward here is a "magnet ward" which is basically a mix of both English and Spanish. So, more Spanglish work! We actually have been connecting with lots of people from Africa who came here from Liberia, and its trippy because they will be speaking English with their African accents and my mind is trained to pick up Spanish words so I keeping thinking I hear Spanish when they speak English haha! Anyway, the work here is pretty busy and it's been great. We have an investigator named María who we have been meeting with and she is progressing very well toward her baptism on January 28th! We were excited to see her at church on Sunday and her testimony of the gospel has grown a lot!

On my first day here in New Brighton, we got to meet with a less active family and they taught us how to make gorditas! It's basically this deep fried biscuit with cheese and salsa in the middle and it's super good! They had this seven year old kid who was full of energy and would carry around these dumbbells and just do curls for days yelling "Ya have to get MACHO!!" It was so hilarious😂 I guess he just really wants to get ripped liked his dad. So, of course, we took a macho man pic with him!

On Thursday, we got to do service at a food bank place called Feed My Starving Children. It's a huge program where they have volunteers come package food and rice meals for kids in Africa and all around the globe. It was such an awesome experience!

For New Years we were able to visit another less active family, la familia Condela. They fed us more posole and tostadas! They also have a dog who just had four baby puppies that were super cute lol. It was really fun because they also invited the sister missionaries over and there is a sister here who is from Hong Kong, so she is still learning English. It was pretty funny to hear the father speak in broken English to a sister from china also speaking broken English haha. But it was really awesome to talk about our languages and the different traditions for New Years. The Hispanics apparently have a tradition of eating 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year, and each grape represents good fortune for each month of the new year. Basically, when the ball drops you stuff your mouth with grapes😂 We had a great lesson with them about making goals and the importance of continually striving to become more like Christ. In our mortal journey, we fall short and make mistakes. But, with the power of the atonement of Christ, we can receive the strength we need to progress and eventually become like our Savior Jesus Christ. My favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon (that I like to share a lot) is in Alma 26:12 - "Yea, I know that 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." I know this scripture is true, because no matter what difficulties or challenges we face in life, we can do all things with the power and strength of God.

One goal that I have for 2017 is to have more sincere prayers. I have a strong testimony of prayer and have felt the love of our Heavenly Father through heartfelt prayer. I just want to invite all of you to sincerely pour out your heart to God in prayer. Especially in this season of the new year when we are setting goals and striving to improve, we can always call on him for the strength to push on. I know that He loves us and is always aware of us and He will answer every prayer. I know that our Father in Heaven sent us to this earth to learn and grow and won't give us any trial or hardship we can't overcome.

May God bless all of you as we venture into this amazing new year! Cuídense mi amigos. ¡Prospero año y felicidad!

-Elder Bolinder

Elder Cardwell and Elder Bolinder
New Year's Eve Dinner
Cactus From Branch President
New Year's Celebration!
New Brighton
Minneapolis Skyline

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