Monday, November 28, 2011

A Small Dose Of Trunky!

I never quite understood how departing missionaries felt until this past week. Now, I admit that I'm sure I don't understand exactly how they feel but the experiences from the past week certainly gave me a preview. Let me set the stage. On Wednesday, I receive a phone call from President Miller asking if I believe my companion is ready to take over the area. On Thursday, he lets me know that "You have trained very well. Well done" and informs my companion to "Get ready to train." Hmm, sounds like I'm going to be getting the boot out of Draper when transfer come! With that knowledge, even the unsure knowledge I received, boy did it make it a challenge to focus for the next three days! Don't worry, I still fulfilled my responsibilities as a missionary...but boy oh was a challenge.

Otherwise, it was a great week. We were able to baptize a 9-year old boy this week. The most exciting part of the teaching experience was seeing his family open their hearts to the gospel and come back to Church. In the SLCS mission, we do a lot of work with less-active and part-member the success makes all of the effort worth it. Whether or not I remain in the area, we should have 5 baptisms coming up soon. It will be a very merry Christmas in Draper!

I also had the opportunity to take an investigator and his wife to Temple Square. What a moving experience! It is definitely a testimony builder to stand at the walls of the temple, to walk through the exhibits and to stand at the feet of the Christus statue. I hope to be able to see the day when this investigator and his wife go to the Temple for their first time.

Thanksgiving was also a blast - and I have lost the weight that I gained! Three meals and a dessert are not always the best thing for the waist-line, but it was a good day nonetheless. I look forward to the Christmas season and spending more time with the wonderful members out here.

Elder Bolling

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Busy Week

Do you ever have those weeks that seem to have so much happen that you don't know how to describe it? That adequately describes my week. It went by fast, good things happened, and we're moving forward. But...where to start?

The most exciting news is that our Stake is entering "baptism season". The plans are all ready, and even though the one that was scheduled for 11/19 moved back to 12/3, we're still on pace for 7 in November/December. We've also seen success off of our efforts to get more integrated with wards. We saw two new people attend Church this week off of those efforts.

The second most exciting news is that our companionship received permission to take an investigator to Temple Square on Wednesday. We will be showing them some sights and sharing a lesson with them while there. Not only will it be exciting to leave the mission boundaries, but I know it will be a spiritual experience for everybody there!

Lastly, Thanksgiving is coming up. I thought I'd take a moment to talk about what I'm thankful for. Again, there's so much I don't know where to start. A good place would be the gospel. You think you understand how a mission will change your life before you go but you can never understand until you get out there. I am learning, growing, and drawing closer to the Savior every day. This experience is a fantastic "launching pad" for the rest of my life. I'm also thankful for the wonderful members and non-members I've met on my mission. Many are examples to me and make me realize what is important in life. As I continue on my mission and my life, I will be blessed by their friendship and memories. Finally, everybody back home. From family to friends to Sara, I have a lot to be thankful for. Even though I'm across the stinkin' country, I'm supported in everything I do. Could a person reasonably ask for anything more? I don't think so.

I hope each of you get to take some time to remember what you're thankful for and to refocus life on what's the most important. I'm grateful for the missionary time that lets me do just that every single day.

Elder Bolling

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

Life in Draper is going well. We continue to be on our good path. We're currently planning for 6 baptisms in the next month. So, I should be happy, right? Nope. That's not in the Elder Bolling plan. Well, let me clarify. I am certainly happy, but not content. So...this week, my companion and I developed a new plan to integrate members more into missionary work.

The hope is that as we spend more time in member homes teaching lessons and lifting their spirits they will in turn invite more to hear the gospel. I'd much rather spend my time strengthening the ward unit where I serve rather than knocking on doors. We're starting it as a "pilot program" with two wards in the stake. The goal is to teach four member families per week, focusing on getting them to invite their friends to meet with us. If it works, it's the best thing that could happen. If it doesn't work, at least we've met some good members.

Thinking outside the box is what makes us the best we can be. So many times it is easy to follow the crowd, do simply what is expected, and move on. But each of us are capable of so much more. I would regret portions of my mission if I didn't take this opportunity that I have in a good area to experiment with different methods.

It's crazy to think that we're almost at transfer time again. I'm torn about whether I want to stay in the Draper Mt. Point Stake or relocate to somewhere new and different. On the one hand, I love change. On the other hand, I truly love the relationships I've built in this stake and wouldn't want to leave. Other than serving the Lord, these relationships are the best part of my mission.

Elder Bolling

Monday, November 7, 2011

Confidence & Action

This week while reading the scriptures I've tried something new. When I find a scripture that speaks out to me, I replace the spiritual "buzzwords" with more every day terms. The most inspiring one came when I replaced the word "faith" in the text with "confidence" or "action". For me, replacing faith with a word that describes faith sparks a new understanding of the word. Faith is the first principle of the gospel. Faith defined is confidence or action in something you believe but cannot see. My week has been governed on that principle.

This week went very similarly to most others. We taught lessons, contacted members and referrals, and went through our studies. As of Saturday morning, we had zero new investigators this week. We typically average 4 new investigators a week. It would have been easy to become discouraged. Onto Saturday morning, where we attended a ward ping-pong tournament. At that ping-pong tournament, a member lets me know of a non-member couple who would love to find a church and are open to listening to the missionaries. (New Investigator #1 and #2) Later, we are going through part-member lists with a Relief Society President and we come across a name of a non-member who has been coming to Church for 3-4 months with his wife. We go by their house and he is completely open to meeting with missionaries. (New Investigator #3) Then, on Sunday afternoon, at about 3:00PM, we're walking into an Elders Quorum meeting. The Ward Mission Leader lets us know we're having dinner at a members' house tomorrow night. We introduce ourselves that member who tells us of their son who is unbaptized but now has a desire to be baptized. (New Investigator #4)

The moral of the story? The Lord promises us many things in life. As a missionary, we're promised success if we're diligent and obedient as missionaries. Even though it always doesn't manifest itself immediately or in such obvious ways, it's always there. It would have been easy to lose motivation and stop working as hard...but as we pressed on, we receive the blessings.

So it is true for each of us. Never slacken our confidence. Keep acting on the knowledge you have. Keep the faith in Christ. As we each do this we will see miracles in our lives.

Elder Bolling