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...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 41

Go Twins!

A Shattered Windshield...

Hola familia, I hope you all had a wonderful week! We're gonna keep this a bit brief today since we are driving down to the south border of our area again this week to chop some wood. Should be a blast!

So, the week started out pretty interesting. We originally planned to have interviews with our new mission president on Tuesday in Lakeville, but it ended up being postponed to Saturday so they could split it up between the zone so we don't have to drive as far. It worked out just fine, but Elder Stevens kept saying, something bad is gonna happen that day! haha, well.. Sure enough! One of our cars got destroyed 😬. This truck in front of us ran over a piece of steel on the freeway and it got kicked up in the air and landed right on the windshield!! the whole thing was shattered, and lucky the Lord was watching over us that day because there wasn't a scratch on anyone! Pretty freaky though.

On Wednesday, we went out to New Ulm and saw Sister Taylor from the ward who is the sassiest southern lady I've ever met. Haha, she's hilarious! She has some nieces and nephews visiting for the summer and we have started teaching them the gospel! We committed them to come to church and all four of them came! They are going to progress so much by the time they leave. Thursday during exchanges, I was with elder Newell and we contacted a nice Lutheran guy named Jim who was sanding his deck. We offered to help, but he said no. We ended having a really awesome conversation about living here in Mankato and it transitioned to churches and we eventually gave him a Book of Mormon! It was really sweet because he was talking about how blessed we are to have religious freedom and he said no matter where we are we should worship God and give him thanks every day. Then he flipped through the Book of Mormon and on one of the chapter headings read, "that men might worship in all places," and he was like Whoa! That's just was I was talking about! He seemed pretty enthusiastic about reading it. He didn't end up coming to church but we are going to see him on Saturday!

We also got to do some service for one of the other elders’ investigators who is getting baptized soon. We did some deep cleaning and vacuuming which is always fun! Afterwards her daughters friend was over and she ended up asking a ton of questions about what we do as missionaries and what our church believes in. We all just sat around the table and answered the many questions she had and committed her to pray to know what church is true. So just from our example, it sparked her interest in the gospel! Super cool!

I read a conference talk this week during studies that changed my heart. For me it was so much more powerful going back and reading it a second time. It's called "Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him." S. Mark Palmer talks about the story in the Bible about the young man who replied to Jesus saying that he has observed all the commandments since his youth, and Christ tells him to sell everything he has and follow him. In the gospel of Mark however, he mentions six profound words that gives more depth to the story. The six words: "And Jesus beholding him, loved him." As we picture the Savior with outstretched arms, beholding us and loving us for the potential we have, we feel a greater desire to follow him with all our hearts and fulfill his expectations. This is the same with others, especially the people we teach. As we call people to repent with love in our hearts, seeing them the way the Lord sees them, they will have a greater desire to change and reach their full potential! I know the Lord loves us, and through His love and grace we are enabled to do all that he expects of us.

Thanks for all your love and support, disfrute su semana!

-Elder Bolinder

Mankato District With President and Sister Barney

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 40

Lakeville Zone 4th of July

Tornado in Mankato?!

Man, this week just went by in the blink of an eye. Mostly because we had our P-day on Tuesday and that threw off the rest of the week. But it was such a blast! We went up to Lakeville as a zone and had  a giant nerf war, played sports, and went to a BBQ at a member's house! Sadly missed most of the fireworks because we had to be en casa by 9:30, but está bien.. it was still vale la pena! We have been doing lots of finding this week as we are still trying to transition most of our teaching pool to Mankato and we've had lots of great experiences.

Kicking it off with a miracle from last week, we were down south a ways in Mapleton for lunch at a member's house. T'was a beautiful sunny day outside, so after the lovely meal we decided we would take a walk to the park. We borrowed some of their chalk and drew another outline of the plan of salvation! Turns out, it was the perfect time too because there was a band camp thing going on and a whole bunch of people walking through the park to get to the event. We had some pretty good conversations with a few people, but nobody super interested. THEN.. a few days later we get a random voicemail from a guy who said he saw our number and would be interested in attending one of our services! Whaat? He wasn't able to make it yesterday, but he should be coming next week which will be super cool!

We met with one of our progressing investigators this week, Pam. She is awesome! She's been reading the Book of Mormon again, yay! Now just to get her to church.. crossing our fingers she will come Sunday 🙌🏻. She invited us to meet some of her friends and family on Friday, they had a Mankato family fun day on Saturday with a huge carnival and parade with a TON of people all along the streets. Pam's house happened to be right in the heart of it and the parade passed by right in front of the yard! We caught the last 15 minutes or so, and then talked with a bunch of people there. We met a lot of her family and offered service and gave out 5 pass along cards to people! It was a sweet Saturday and we got lots of great contacts to hopefully set appointments with in the future.

Last night was pretty crazy. Right when we were getting home these thick dark clouds started to roll in, and there was a crazy thunderstorm. We were just chilling in the apartment getting ready for bed, when we hear sirens go off! Tornado warning!! We didn't see anything, but it was a pretty cool storm to watch and we took some vids of all the crazy lightning. I guess the tornado touched down just west of Mankato, but luckily there was no damage. Todo está bien! Speaking of lightning.. they also have a bajillion lightning bugs here and they are so LIT! hahaha

I have been enjoying every day out here in Minnesota! Time is flying by, but I feel my testimony of the Savior grow each day. I love you guys and hope you all know how much God loves you and blesses you. I know He lives, I know His son Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that His gospel is the only way to true and everlasting happiness! Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Bolinder

Mankato "Chalk Talk"
Minnesota Summer Storm
Mankato Storm Chasers

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Week 39

"Harley Davidson and Apple Pie"

¡Dios bendiga América!

Happy Independence Day Everyone!!

Sorry to catch some of you by surprise, but our P-day was changed to Tuesday this week. Hope you don't mind.

This week was pretty interesting since we had two all day meetings on Thursday and Friday. They were both very powerful and spiritually uplifting, but it took a ton of time out of our week to work in our area. The bright side is, I got to see a few people in Lakeville from my first area! It was refreshing to see some familiar faces, and also meet some new ones! One of the recent converts in the English ward where Elder Buhler served took us all out to lunch on Friday and showed us all his sick toys - motorcycles, drones, and lasers... it was lit! Got a few vids to show as well.

So, the reason we went up to Lakeville was for President Forbes’ last zone conference, and meeting our new mission president, President Barney! They are super awesome, and his wife is hilarious! I'm super excited to have them in our mission. Both of their trainings focused a lot on love. How much they love the Savior and how much they love each of us. The spirit bore witness that they do love us, and have been called of God to preside over this area of the Lord's vineyard. Charity is something I have been trying to improve on this transfer. I admit, I do have moments where I feel frustrated that others aren't receptive or willing to change. But those sweet tender moments when I feel a genuine love for the people we interact with makes it all worth it! That's what charity is all about. Seeing others through the eyes of the Savior. We are emulating him by showing our love for others, and acting as instruments in His hands to help others feel of the love that Christ has for them! Even though the Barneys are brand new out here, I could sense the powerful love they had for all of us missionaries.

So, funny story from the week. A little background first. We volunteer at a food shelf here in Mankato every Tuesday. But it's a TON better than the one in St. Peter because there are way more people to talk to, and we actually get to help each customer through the line individually. There’s a lot more one on one interaction with people. It's also a good incentive for me to use Spanish because there are lots of Latinos who pass through, and they often call on me to translate for them. Great way to help the Spanish teaching pool grow! We had a goal last week of handing out 6 'Mormon.org cards' as a companionship to people we talk to, and we smashed it! We got 11! Well, one of the ladies we talked to wasn't enthralled about learning about the gospel, but since our ward is starting up soccer every Saturday we wanted to try to get more people there. So, we asked her if she knew anyone who would like to come play. And the lady says, "Oh! My dog really loves playing with soccer balls!!" We were like oh wow, that's cool haha. And the conversation switched to a different topic. We didn't think much of it, because we both thought she was just making a joke. Saturday rolls around, and we actually got a really good turn out! Two priests from the ward came and invited their non-member friend, and we had a group of about 6 teenage kids we contacted at the park last week. Then, sure enough, the lady shows up with her dog!! I really wish I got a video of it because it was hilarious -- the dog was actually really good! Like a real life air-bud lol. The other group of guys were kind of confused at first and started running away from the dog because they thought it would attack them. It definitely took us by surprise, but overall we all had a blast!. 

I have to wrap this up soon because we are having a Zone P-day today for the 4th!! Baseball, BBQ, and fireworks at a member’s house up in Lakeville! Should be great. 

I am eternally grateful to enjoy the freedom and blessings we have in this country! The founding fathers were inspired of God when establishing this land of liberty. The religious freedom that they fought for created the perfect environment for the restoration of the fullness of the gospel. Young Joseph Smith grew up in the midst of many different churches who were formed from this freedom we have. How grateful I am for the restoration of the keys of the priesthood, and the establishment of Christ's church once again on the earth, all because our ancestors were seeking a land of religious freedom!

 Hope all of you enjoy your day full of burgers, hotdogs, and sparklers! Dios bendiga

-Elder Bolinder

With President and Sister Barney
Lakeville Zone Conference
Drone in Lakeville
Elder Bolinder and Elder Stevens
Mankato, MN Elders