Monday, October 31, 2011

Working with Members

This week was a blur of a week. I'm not entirely sure where it went but it was a good week. We spent a majority of our week in lessons or working with members. We have been inviting members to invite their friends to hear the gospel. It has worked well and we may have 5-6 new teaching opportunities off of our efforts. We've also built very strong relationships in three of our wards.

We've also been working on being better at "following up". Following up on commitments we leave with investigators, following up on meetings we have with members, and following up with ward leaders. As we've done better with this, we've received many comments from ward leaders that the members are noticing the follow up as it shows that we're committed to getting the work moving. Members then tell their neighbors about the Elders in the area and the referrals just start flying in. Building trust with ward members is critical - especially when you have nine wards!

I've also had the opportunity to meet some great people over the past few weeks. Our new ward mission leader in the Mountain Point 9th ward is Brother Baird. In fact, he's a newly-found reality TV star. His new show, "Flip Men", debuted on SpikeTV last Tuesday at 10:30PM. Be sure to watch it this week! (I certainly wish I could!)

All in all, the work moves forward. We've built up the area from the dead area it was and are expecting two baptisms in November and more in December. It's wonderful to see the foundations begin to bear fruit.

Elder Bolling

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A New Car!!!

I couldn't think of anything else to write for the title. It is fitting, however, because we got the unexpected phone call Friday evening that we needed to swap our 2010 Malibu with another missionaries' 2005 car. After politely accepting the invitation, our Zone Leaders gave us the second surprise, that we needed to then take the 2005 car and trade it in for one of the new batches of 2012 Malibus. We received the car with 42 miles on the odometer. I don't know if that's what they mean by "blessings" on a mission, but it sure was one!

As for the rest of the week, the spiritual highlight came on Sunday during our Stake Conference. Elder Bednar was the presiding authority and gave a stirring talk on the power of testimony and conversion. He used many scriptures, including the parable of the ten virgins. He described it as the "lamp of testimony" and the "oil of conversion". For a quick overview, five of the ten virgins have their lamps properly trimmed with oil, while the others run out in the middle of the night. He exhorted us to light our testimonies with our conversions. If we do not use our testimonies to experience deeper and greater conversion each day of our lives, we will be as the five unprepared people in the parable. It's such a blessing to have the words of the living Apostles to guide us through our lives.

The week was a busy one. We moved apartments from Riverton over to Draper. That was a nice move since the stake that we cover is actually in Draper. We're also living with some fantastic members who have heat in their house! (Our old duplex did not) The zone, district, and area boundaries were also changed this last transfer to re-align with some changes to Stake and Ward boundaries. So...even though I did not move areas during transfers, it was busy. Moving out of a house, exchanging keys, exchanging cars, learning new boundaries, and meeting new missionary leaders all make for a busy week. We actually didn't have much proselyting time on Tuesday/Wednesday outside of lessons. was a blur of a week!

Elder Bolling

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Sara sent me a Halloween package last week. Included in its contents were some Slim Jims, Peppermint Patties, Oreos, and Halloween lego decorations. The real treasure, however, want outside of the box. She wrote little phrases on the box that she creatively decorated. One of those phrases was "Bloom where you are planted." At first, I thought little about it. But when I emptied the contents of a USPS box that I was using for storage into this box to keep, I placed it in my closet. The side of the box with that phrase faced out, causing me to see it every morning and every evening on multiple occasions.

Why am I sharing this? Because every time I looked at the box, the phrase stuck out to me more and more. I have no idea why Sara wrote it, but I started thinking about the words. It motivated me. I realized that too often in our lives, mine in particular, we want to wait for the perfect set of circumstances to be our best selves. Instead, why don't we bloom where we're planted? I used that to motivate me onward during the week and it paid off.

Each morning it reminded me to be a little bolder as a missionary. It reminded me to put in my full effort even when it didn't seem necessary so that I could reap the blessings of missionary work. As I did so, I began to see our struggling area turn around. In one week, we went from one person with a baptismal date to three. We went from four lessons taught to ten. It was a great week. Why? Well, because I learned an important lesson. Bloom where you are planted.

I'm grateful for little treasures of knowledge like these. The scriptures are full of these. What I'm learning, however, is that as we study and learn the scriptures more fully, we will find those same little treasures of knowledge all around us. As D&C 88: 41 says:

"He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever."

If we take the time to slow our lives down and focus on the Savior...we will begin to see that He is in all things and all things are by him and of him. I'm grateful for that little treasure of knowledge that was gained this week thanks to a thoughtful girlfriend who probably didn't even know what impact those five words would have.

Elder Bolling

Monday, October 10, 2011

We're Going Through Changes

Well, this week has been an interesting week to say the least! On Tuesday evening about 5:30pm I get a phone call from President Miller informing me that I am being transferred to the Draper Mt. Point stake as part of an emergency transfer to train a new missionary. Surprise!

My new companion's name is Elder Cox. He's a new missionary who has been in the field for four weeks from Orlando, Florida. He's a good guy with a lot of desire to serve. I'm excited to be his companion. Unfortunately, as we got to planning for Wednesday, we realized that there were no appointments or lessons scheduled for the rest of the week. We spent the first three days of the week "rebuilding" the area and gathering together a pool of teaching candidates. Figuring out an area from the ground up and having no contacts in the area is a challenging task, and from time to time, it wore me down. However, by Saturday, we had 8 lessons scheduled for the next week and have many other potentials coming down the line. It was eye-opening to have that challenging first week in my new area and am grateful for the experience.

My area has many great wards that do a wonderful job inviting their neighbors to learn about the Church. I am certain that as we gain the trust of the ward leadership and members that we will see mighty success in this area. I'm excited for the adventure that lies ahead!

Elder Bolling

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Conference time!

General Conference was this weekend! As I mentioned before, I have been looking forward to the weekend for a while now. It certainly did not disappoint. I received a lot of counsel that spoke directly to the needs of my soul, but that wasn't what was most exciting. How can a conference designed for all the members worldwide work out so perfectly for my investigators!?
One investigator attended the Saturday afternoon session where three speakers in a row focused on the role of the House of Israel, the basics of Christ as our Savior, and the necessity of obeying commandments, including baptism. It just so happens that this investigator is a Jewish man who does not understand the necessity of having a Savior in the manner of Jesus Christ. Good work, conference!
On Sunday morning, we watched with another investigator who wants to be baptized but is struggling with the Book of Mormon. Again, it just so happened that many speakers focused directly on the role of the Book of Mormon and how it helps us understand the Bible more clearly. One talk was specifically on how the Book of Mormon comes either from God or from Satan - there is no other option. What a perfect message for somebody who needs to build a testimony of the Restoration. Once again...good work, conference!
There were many other personal highlights, but I'd need much more time to write all of those. Suffice it to say that I know more fully than ever before that "Conference is for you". Even though the speakers are speaking to millions of people, somehow the messages always reach right where they need to and answer the questions of the soul. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have a living Prophet and Apostles.
Elder Bolling