Monday, December 26, 2011

Have Yourself...a Sick Little Christmas

A funny thing happened this week. I came under the weather for most of the week. On Tuesday I started noticing that I had a sore throat. Wednesday morning it had traveled to my sinuses and my chest. Needless to say I spent a lot of time in bed. I still went out and kept each of our appointments so we were able to have a productive week and help our investigators continue to progress. The funny thing? The week was still productive! On Tuesday we found a YSA who has been attending Church for months and wants to be baptized on January 7th. On Saturday we knocked on a door and found a family who is interested in coming back to Church. All three of their daughters are preparing to be baptized on January 21st. For a week where I spent most of my time in bed...that's pretty good!

It seems like ages ago, but we also had a baptism on Monday night. We should have one each week for the next month. Nothing keeps the motivation high than seeing the fruits of our labors.

Christmas was a blast. It started Christmas Eve with a Mission Conference where we received gifts from the mission, packages from home and letters from our parents. Let me just say that I am sufficiently stocked on toothpaste and toothbrushes until at least next Christmas! On Sunday we started the day by calling home and then attended a short Sacrament meeting. For the rest of the day we visited with members from our old areas. It was great to be able to catch up with familiar faces and see how their families are doing. I value each of the people I have met on the mission and don't know how I'll ever be able to keep in touch with them all until after my mission!

Now it's onto New Years! We will also be having a New Years Eve Conference with Elder Nelson of the Twelve. That will be another great opportunity to hear inspired words and of course catch up with good friends.

Happy New Year!

Elder Bolling

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a very special time. Coincidentally enough I've never really been into the whole "Christmas craziness". As a missionary in Utah, however, you get it more than most. Not to mention Christmas songs have been playing in our car nonstop since the end of November. (It's the closest I'm getting to pop music until 2013!) I've found myself really getting into the spirit of the holiday.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm focusing my time completely on the Savior. Maybe it's because Sara sends me Christmas gifts for every day of the week. Maybe it's because I'm listening to too much Christmas music. Whatever the reason - I'm enjoying Christmas. More importantly, I'm enjoying the real reason for Christmas. The Savior Jesus Christ gave us so much when he came into this world. He did not have to take upon himself the burdens of each of us. He didn't have to complete the atonement. But he did. He did it because he and Heavenly Father love each of us perfectly and individually. Christmas is a time of hope. Yes, we hope because we get to be around friends and family. The best hope, however, comes as we turn our lives towards the example that Jesus Christ set.

This week I've been able to see that. We have two YSA's who are preparing to be baptized. Both of them are not having an easy time breaking that news to their parents. They have decided in their hearts and minds that they know the Church of Jesus Christ is true and are pressing forward. Miracles are happening in their lives as they continue their journey towards eternal life. It's amazing to see - and Christ gave us that opportunity!

We're also continuing to have lots of success in our zone. We have very good missionaries in the Sandy zone and it has made my role as a zone leader very enjoyable. As Christmas approaches, I am grateful for the opportunity to do my best and serve them and hopefully help them find more success in their mission.

Elder Bolling

Monday, December 12, 2011

A crazy week!

This week I was broken into life as a zone leader as if that hadn't happened already. On Tuesday we received a call from an Elder who was having sharp stomach pains. We drove him to the emergency room and one of us had to stay with him for the next three days. The other person went with his companion on an impromptu three day exchange. We actually got to sleep at 10:00pm once after all of the driving, checking up, and grabbing clothes was completed. On Friday we had an exchange with the Assistants. It went very well and I was grateful for the opportunity to learn from a great missionary.

Saturday was the rewarding day. I was able to be a part of 5 baptisms. Two of them were from the Draper Mt. Point stake and three were in the stake where I currently serve. Total, our zone has had 17 baptisms in the month of December...which leads the mission! That's a great thing to be able to communicate to our Elders and Sisters to lift their spirits this holiday season.

If this past week wasn't busy the week coming will beat it. On Tuesday we are taking a group of Elders and Sisters to temple square to see the lights. I am excited for the chance to see the temple all lit up! On Friday we have a 6 hour Christmas celebration with the mission. Now that I think about it -- this week will be busy but in a relaxing way. The funny part? Even with all this going on I still have plenty of energy during the day. It's an exhilarating type of work.

There were two little surprises in my week as well. On Saturday I ran into a Young Men's President at one of our wards. He was from Virginia so we started talking. Over time I came to find out that he went to SVU and his sister was best friends with Sara! What are the odds! If that wasn't good enough I met a member of a Bishopric who knew the family of my first roommate in DC. Other than teaching the gospel, the relationships you build on a mission and the connections you make are special.

Elder Bolling

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Zone & New Responsibilities!

This week turned out to be eventful. On Tuesday we received our transfer calls. I have been called to serve in the Sandy West and Sandy YSA stakes as the Zone Leader for the Sandy Zone. The Sandy West stake is a great stake but is very different from Draper. There are many more young families and is not quite as developed as Draper. It provides many new opportunities for missionary work. In Utah, the YSA stakes are a new creation of about 6 months ago. We are working with their leadership to settle into the new stakes and provide missionary opportunities. So far we have been very successful with the YSA's.

Being a Zone Leader provides many new responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges. The biggest blessing of week one was the chance to work very closely with the Assistants and President Miller to help move the entire mission forward. Your perspective increases as soon as you start discussing mission-wide matters. It is certainly a busy calling, though! I've been tired throughout my mission, but this one takes the cake! The phone calls start coming in around 6:05am and don't stop until 10:25 pm (if you're lucky). I do love the added responsibility. If anything, I hope I have a lot to offer the Elders and Sisters in my zone that can help them grow as missionaries. I'm also grateful for the opportunity that will constantly keep me on my toes trying to better myself.

On Saturday we had the opportunity to have a mission conference with Elder D. Todd Christoffersen of the Twelve. What a spirit an Apostle of the Lord brings to a conference. As soon as he began his remarks you could feel the tone of the room change a bit. One of the biggest blessings of serving in the SLCS mission is the chance to be taught my many General Authorities. On New Years Eve we will have a chance to hear from Russel M. Nelson of the Twelve. Not a bad Christmas season!

I hope everybody who reads this is having a wonderful Christmas season. I hope I'm able to hear from many of you. I am grateful for all of the support I have on my mission and can feel it every day. I am truly blessed as a missionary and as a human being.

Elder Bolling