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

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Elder Bolinder & Elder Woolley