Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas week got off to a great start with a baptism. This one was special, however. The person being baptized picked the date that his family was coming into town. His family was baptized 30 years ago but he had never joined the church. The plan was to drive them to the baptism without letting them know ahead of time that the baptism would be happening. The scene when the parents saw their son dressed in white was quite memorable. He was even able to be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood before his parents left back for New York City.

Now we commence two days of not proselyting. This might be the one and only time that happens on my mission. Whoa! Tonight we will be blessed to hear from Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Tomorrow we will call home and visit families that we have met over the course of our missions. It will be quite a relaxing few days.

To everyone back home, Merry Christmas!

Elder Bolling

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snowstorm & Wind

It was a very snowy and windy week here in Utah. My frugalities have finally caved and decided to buy a new pair of shoes today since the water from the snow comes through the bottom of my soles. I was so close to holding out on new shoes for two years!

This weekend I was able to go back to Riverton for two baptisms in my old area. It's always special to see the progress of those I've taught continue after I have left. I was even able to talk to an old Bishop who met a couple who knows my family! It seems like the world keeps getting smaller and smaller.

As for other items, transfers happened. No changes in my companionship. Even in the zone most of the people stayed the same. Only one person left. There's a lot of continuity here in Draper...which is great to see.

Elder Bolling

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

It's finally been a solid week of snow and cold. I can't say that I'm a huge fan, though, as I tend to be a summer type of person. I keep telling myself that the sooner the cold comes the sooner it will be gone. The temperatures start warming up in 2 1/2 months, right?

The lights are now up in wonderful Salt Lake City, Utah. I am convinced that Utahans go a lot more all out for holidays than anybody else. Maybe I'm just biased because I am here...but I don't remember so many crazy light decorations as there are out here.

We had a chance to meet two new individuals who are both preparing to be baptized. It's incredible how at times you can be wondering, "How on earth will be keep teaching people after we finish teaching the people we currently know?" and then out of nowhere we find more people! The Lord certainly does bless us for diligence and patience. One of them we had no idea about...we just happened to meet her at our stake Christmas party. It was a welcome surprise.

Elder Bolling

Is It December Already?

This week we were happy to have a baptism on Monday afternoon. As always it was a special experience. A friend of somebody we are teaching came to the baptism. Afterwards he said he felt a strong spirit from the baptism and wanted to come to church and learn more. It's amazing the good work the spirit will do!

On Sunday afternoon, we were concerned that we hadn't found anyone who was preparing for baptism later in the month. Then, in a huge surprise, we got a call from a person we had taught formerly. He told us that he received a spiritual witness that it was all true and that he wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. Whoa! That was certainly a welcome surprise. Another special part about it: he is the only member in his family who hasn't been baptized and become a practicing member of the church. In a few weeks that will all change!

The weather is finally starting to cool down. It's still not very cold, however. I'm convinced that Virginia winters are colder because of the humidity. Our transfers are in a week and a half so there could be lots of new changes on the radar screen soon.

Elder Bolling

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was this week and it was a great experience. We were able to have two Thanksgiving dinners. One with a Bishop from my old area and another with one of the missionaries who taught me back in Richmond. One of them was a vegetarian Thanksgiving -- I can't say I've ever experienced that before. Though, the food was surprisingly good. Much better than I would have anticipated without meat!

I was also able to return to Riverton for two baptisms in my old area. Those are always memorable experiences. To add to that we will have a baptism later today in our own area. With all of the "special events" it didn't really feel like a full proselyting week.

As we look to December it will be a great month. Not only is our stake keeping us busy as far as missionary work is concerned, but December is always a packed month. We will have a mission Christmas conference as well as a Christmas Eve and New Years Eve conference...and usually our mission gets special guests to speak to us. It's crazy to think that New Years will be here soon!

Elder Bolling

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Upswing in Temptures

After a week of cold and almost a foot of snow...it's in the upper 50's this week. It seems the fall/spring weather in Utah is a little bit temperamental.

We had our zone conference this week. The zone conference was focused on helping those we teach receive revelation through church attendance. As I look back it was the first time I attended church that I really knew the gospel was something I wanted in my life. Therefore it was a great topic to train on for 6 hours or so.

We're also prepping for Thanksgiving this week. We will still be having a normal proselyting day but will be able to visit families for dinners throughout the day. Needless to say, I will have to wear my one pair of "elastic waistband" dress pants. I never thought those pants would come in handy!

The church is also preparing to launch a new program: mormon.org/Christmas. We will be doing a lot of work with that -- inviting everyone we meet to visit the site and share their feelings about Christ and Christmas. It launches the day after Thanksgiving...be sure to check it out!

Elder Bolling

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Snow Storms & Apostles

This week Utah had its first major snow storm. We received a pounding of snow...3 inches down in the valley and more than 8 inches in the higher elevations. I serve in both. The snow didn't dampen any of our enthusiasm...except for the three car accidents our mission saw this weekend. Luckily I drive a 4-wheel-drive truck so the traction wasn't as much of an issue for us.

We had a baptism in the South Mountain YSA ward this weekend. The South Mountain church building sits adjacent to the Draper Temple. That is a magnificent backdrop for a baptism. Snow, temple, and a person coming to Jesus Christ. What a combo!

On Saturday afternoon, evening and Sunday morning we were honored to have Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visit with us. Between Saturday sessions my companion and I were able to have dinner with Elder Ballard. At first he directed me to eat more food until I told him I might fall asleep during his remarks. Then he redirected me not to do that. He's a funny guy. We certainly are blessed in Utah!

Elder Bolling

Monday, November 5, 2012

Welcome Back To Draper!

I was surprised on Tuesday to get a transfer back to my original area...Draper! I will be serving as a zone leader in the Draper YSA stake. I am entering month 13 as a zone leader and month 13 in young single adult stakes. It is exciting to be back in Draper because all three of the stakes I served in at the beginning of my mission are here. It has already been a treat to be able to see converts and members that I knew here before.

We had two baptisms this weekend. One was in my old area in Riverton for a family we had been teaching for four months. Another was in Draper and I came in at the end of the teaching process. Baptism services are always the high point of the teaching process because you are able to see the fruits of your labors.

My companion now is Elder Genta. He has been out for 17 months and is from Boise, ID. He has been a zone leader in Draper for 6 months now so he knows the area very well. He seems to have a good handle on the work here and our stake seems like it is very focused to help missionary work happen. It should be a good transfer!

Elder Bolling

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

This week Utah celebrates Halloween. For those of you who know how Utahans and Mormons celebrate holidays...it's a big shenanigan. As a mission we will be meeting at the Jordan River Temple from 5:00PM until 9:00PM to attend a session, have dinner as a mission and hear a talk from Richard Hinckley (He's President Gordon B. Hinckley's son). Not to mention Halloween falls on transfer day. With all of those realities...suffice it to say that transfer day will be busy!

I'm 100% in the dark about what might happen with transfers. I could stay in Riverton with Elder McCaffrey since we've had good success. I could stay and he could go. He could stay and I could go. A new zone could be created since we currently have 29 missionaries. Who knows!

This past week we've spent a lot of time with a certain companionship who simply doesn't get along. The interesting thing is that I seem to learn more about myself as we help others learn to get along. The main problem these two have is that they like to complain about the other person when there's a big ole' mote in their eye. That sounds a lot like me sometimes! (Luckily I don't cause as big of problems with it all!)

Elder Bolling

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Talking About Changes

This week marks one week before the next transfer date. It also marked interviews with President Miller. Interviews took a very long time since we have 29 missionaries in our zone. After all was said and done we spent 9 1/2 training missionaries and ensuring things ran smoothly. Interview days are some of the longest days of missionary work.

Transfers should also see lots of changes -- though it's all up in the air. With our zone having 29 missionaries there is a serious possibility of a new zone being created. There's also been talk of making our area a "Young Single Adult only" area. On top of that I've been in this zone for 6 months...and 6 months starts to begin the transition period. Who knows what will happen!

We've hit a little bit of a rut in our missionary work. We haven't been finding interested people to teach. However, we still have two baptisms that should happen in the next two weeks so we are not entirely dismayed. It seems that life revolves in cycles...we've just got to turn it around.

Elder Bolling

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Amazing Baptisms!

This was a great week. We were able to see the fruits of all of our work. We had a baptism Saturday for a young single adult girl. She was invited by her friend and had been attending church for four months. Before we even met her she was ready to go. It is neat to simply be a part of such a wonderful process.

Our second baptism was for another young single adult girl. She might even be reading this blog! It was a special one because she had been meeting with missionaries for quite a while. When we started meeting with her she had many questions and doubts about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. Luckily I had been through many of the same questions. When I learned about the church I read all of the "negative" stuff about the church. Then, after resolving those questions, I prayed and received my answer that it was Christ's church! Over two months we were able to help her get her answer as well. So many people were excited (and surprised) that she chose to be baptized that the baptism was filled to overflowing! It truly was a memorable moment in my mission.

We've also been trying some new ideas on how to lead our zone. We have been giving our district leaders some more creative control on what to do and how to do it. It has seen some immediate fruits as our zone has had many successes and is doing well in our mission. Our main goal is to help our district leaders learn how to fulfill their stewardships on their own. We feel that in that way they will be able to see progress and lead in their own way.

Elder Bolling

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

General Conference Miracles

This weekend we had the opportunity that only comes twice a year -- to hear from the Prophet and Apostles at general conference. In the Salt Lake City South Mission, we have the blessing of attending with those we are teaching. It is such a wonderful experience. Sometimes I feel as though I get more out of it then they do. I was able to attend the Saturday Afternoon session, the Priesthood session and the Sunday Morning session. I am truly grateful for the blessing of being in Utah for these moments.
Our zone continues to plug along. It seems as though the work me and my companion have been doing for 9 weeks is beginning to bear fruit. We have most of our missionaries actively teaching people and doing a lot of good. That should reflect in the number of people we see baptized this month. Even though we teach and convert lots of people in this mission, every individual experience is special. Being a part of somebody's journey to the gospel is amazing.
We're also teaching more than I ever had. We probably average 30 lessons taught each week. Sometimes it can be exhausting...but always worthwhile at the end of the day. With conference passing, the weather has turned so that we're wearing suit jackets every day again. Winter is coming!
Elder Bolling

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween Decorations?

One of the funniest things about Utah is the amount of decorating that goes on for holidays. I don't know if I've ever seen so many decorations for one silly holiday as I do here in Utah. Yes, there are decorations in Virginia...but Utahans take it to a whole different level. We won't even talk about what happens at Christmas, that's just over the top!
We've entered into another month. I really don't know where the month of September went. We are preparing for general conference this weekend. I will be personally attending three sessions. We will attend with those that we're meeting with. The goal is to help them feel the spirit that comes from the Apostles to solidify their commitment to join the church. Not only that, but it will be quite a treat to see three sessions live myself!
Elder Bolling

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Transfers, broken feet, and temples

This week transfers happened. We thought we'd be getting 28 missionaries in our zone...but 29 is the final count! Don't worry, it might be going back to 28 soon though. On Saturday one of our sister missionaries broke her foot during morning exercise. As a result she may have to go home early to do the operation. I feel bad for her -- hobbling around apartment complexes all day!
Sunday was also the dedication of the Brigham City Temple. As a result all church services were cancelled in Utah and the temple dedication was broadcast to all of the stake centers. It was my first time ever seeing a temple dedication...and it was also a treat to hear from three members of the Quorum of the Twelve. (Boyd K. Packer, Russell M. Nelson and L. Tom Perry)

Everything else continues to run smoothly. It feels as though the month of September just disappeared...and now the leaves are beginning to change colors on the mountains and conference is right around the corner.
Elder Bolling

Monday, September 17, 2012


Transfers will be this upcoming Wednesday. Typically, a zone in our mission has 18-20 missionaries. President Miller informed us this past week that I will likely stay as a Riverton Zone Leader for another transfer. We will also likely have a zone consisting of 28 missionaries, 9 new missionaries and four districts. Whoa! That is definitely the largest zone the mission has seen in a long time. We're preparing for that by training the two district leaders we will be keeping. I also haven't decided if this is a sign that President Miller trusts us or if he's punishing us for something we did wrong!

We continue plugging along. It seems as each week goes by it just moves quicker and I have a harder time remembering what I did! It all is quickly becoming a blur. I suppose that's a good thing because we're busy working but not so good for writing a blog.

Elder Bolling

Monday, September 10, 2012

Many Events To See!

This week saw lots of events keep me busy. First, we had our mission tour conference on Tuesday. Elder Perkins of the Seventy spoke to us. He taught many wonderful things about how to apply the doctrine of Jesus Christ more fully into our lives. We were also "observed" as members of our zone gave talks and role played teaching situations in front of Elder Perkins. I got off the hook and had to do neither! Lucky day!

On Thursday it was our biannual surprise Zone Leader Council at President Miller's family vacation home in Oakley, Utah. We had the meeting portion and then went on hikes, played sports, fished, watched a rodeo and hung out. Those are always entertaining days...now we just have to wait until February for our winter edition!

Then on Sunday we had the opportunity to watch Elder Holland give a CES Fireside. After that, John Bytheway came to our other stake to give a fireside. Both of those speakers gave us quite the spiritual awakening!

To top it off, this next week we will hear from a Seventy in our Young Single Adult stake and two Seventies as our family stake presidency is being reorganized. Lots of things to see!

Elder Bolling

Monday, September 3, 2012

Convention Surprise!

I might have had the most challenging test of my mission on Thursday night. At roughly 8:05 I walked into the house of a less-active member of the church. We were teaching him while the rest of the family watched TV. Typically, we ask them to turn the television off. I did that. The family said they couldn't because there was something really important coming on. Just then, I hear the words, "Welcome to the 2012 Republican National Convention with tonight's speaker, Mitt Romney!" Oh dear!

The lesson was taught. Needless to say I was mildly distracted as Clint Eastwood spoke. I was more distracted as the next person spoke. We closed the lesson just as Romney's introduction was happening. Then, to top it all off, the family wanted to say hello before I left -- just as Romney was walking onto the stage! I must admit that I showed the most self-constraint I ever have by walking out of that home just as Romney started to speak. I believe that was a small tender mercy of the Lord. It was also a test.

Otherwise, the week went well. We are keeping busy with our area. We are teaching many new individuals and it is great to see their progress. Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time To Recharge

This weekend we had another baptism of a wonderful guy from our YSA stake. He was prepared to be baptized before we even met him. It was a wonderful experience. To add to the baptism, a less-active member we have been teaching came to the baptism and shared his testimony on how his faith has increased in the past two weeks. A non-member we were teaching was also in attendance and really felt the spirit.

Over the weekend, we had a weird series of events that built our confidence. Sometimes you wonder, "Does the Holy Ghost really work through me?" and you walk out of lessons wondering if you said the right things. We had four separate incidents where individuals told us that we told them "exactly what they needed to hear". Moments like that help you to realize that this IS the Lord's work, that we ARE set apart for it, and that we ARE doing an effective job.

We have five people that we are teaching who could all be baptized in September. We are doing all we can to help them. Three of them are in a single ward -- which makes it interesting to walk through that chapel. It's almost like we have a little posse in there! There is great joy when you can see all these souls coming closer to Christ.

Elder Bolling

Monday, August 20, 2012

Forget Me Not

This week we have been lifting spirits. We are doing exceptionally well in our zone and continue to see growth from the new missionaries. However, many of the missionaries have high expectations of themselves that cause them to get discouraged even when things are right on track. We have been sharing a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to strengthen them. It counsels us to never forget five things:

1) Forget not to be patient with yourselves
2) Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice
3) Forget not to be happy now
4) Forget not the "why" of the gospel
5) Forget not that the Lord loves you

These simple truths have made a world of difference for our zone. Many times, missionaries and others look for perfect circumstances in order to find their joy or success. Rather, we must refocus them to realize that miracles are happening and that they are doing exactly what they are expected to do.

I've found over the past few weeks that encouragement is just as important, if not more important, than teaching or training. As we are helping those we serve to set their visions higher the success follows naturally.

Elder Bolling

Monday, August 13, 2012

Riverton Expanded!

Transfers took place last Wednesday. I am still in the Riverton zone but have a new companion. His name is Elder McCaffrey. He was born in England but moved to Australia when he was 16. He was baptized into the church when he was 19 and is 23 now. He has served for 8 months and is a new zone leader. He is a great missionary and we should have quite the transfer together! Our zone also changed quite a bit. We expanded to 24 missionaries, but 11 of those 24 missionaries are new. All of the changes were inspired and we have already started to see blessings from them as a result.

We had a baptism on Saturday. It was for a 9-year-old whose family has recently started coming to church more regularly. Almost 70 people from the local ward came out to attend and show their support. The spirit was incredibly strong at the baptism and the parents felt it strongly. On Sunday both parents came together to church for the first time in a long time. They even bore their testimony at church! Moments like those make all of our work worth it.

I keep having more strange experiences that help me realize I'm getting old in mission time. We did an exchange to learn from one of our assistants and he told me multiple times that I was the veteran support of the mission. As I thought about it I realized I have been in mission leadership for over 9 months now. Good gravy! And with the look of things I will certainly stay until at least Christmas. It's a humbling thought because I often think, "I don't know anything!" yet there are so many others saying the same things.

Elder Bolling

Thursday, August 9, 2012


As I reflect on the last six weeks of this transfer, it has been quite the learning experience. The mission has been stretched as we have seen an influx of new missionaries and not quite enough experienced missionaries. This past week we spent an inordinate amount of time resolving concerns and helping people stay motivated. It was certainly a test of endurance.

After spending the whole week working, we had a baptism and some very positive experiences with our zone. It showed the principle taught in D&C 121, that our afflictions will be "but for a small moment". Then, if we endure it well, we will find greater joy. The experiences of mission life truly reflect the things that the gospel teaches us.

This upcoming week is transfer week. All I know is that there are many big changes expected in the zone. I have no idea where I'll end up...but there will be changes nonetheless. We'll see in 24 hours!

Elder Bolling

Monday, July 30, 2012

Surprise Visit!

Yesterday I walked into a linger longer for our Young Single Adult stake to find a friend from Washington, DC there. Surprise! We were able to catch up and talk for just a few minutes. That was certainly a welcome little surprise. We started talking about the good ole' Langley Ward and it was amazing to hear about all of the changes. Time certainly does fly!

We finished the month of July with the second highest number of baptisms in the Riverton zone. It was pleasing to see and we are moving forward to a strong August. Personally, we have found some wonderful individuals who will be baptized in August. Our focus for August will be increasing excitement, motivation and the "fun" factor in our zone. We train and teach very well but sometimes people just need a little pick me up. We will continue to focus on making sure we're doing the right things but in an upbeat way.

We had a baptism on Saturday. She was baptized after only two weeks of teaching her. It was amazing to see all of her friends there who helped her along the way. She was truly being prepared to be baptized into the church for years by friends, parents and coworkers. Missionary work is not just for missionaries...but for all who love the Lord and His Church. We had such a small impact on her conversion -- but it was still wonderful to be a part of it!

Elder Bolling

Monday, July 23, 2012

Miracles From Above

I've learned an important principle over these past two weeks. Both weeks we have gone through our week, Monday through Saturday, without finding any new people to teach. That's a pretty frustrating feeling. You start to wonder if you're spending too much time with the zone, if your activities are productive, and what you can change. However, two Sundays ago we found 4 new people to teach that day. This Sunday we found 4. I'm learning what Alma 38: 5 teaches:

"I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day. "

It's an equation. As much as we put our trust in God is how much we will be delivered from our troubles and afflictions. As we continue doing what is right even when results don't happen -- the results do happen. They are gifts from God and not something we acquire on our own.

It's two weeks away from transfer day. It's strange to think that it's once again time to figure out who's leaving and who's going. The work goes onward!

Elder Bolling

Monday, July 16, 2012

Traveling Onward

This week was an interesting week. There's a funny phenomenon among members. Up until I had been on my mission for 11 months, I regularly was told "oh you're a new missionary!" Now that I've begun to tell people that I've been on my mission for "almost 13 months" they have changed their tune. "Oh, you must be ready to go home! What will you do when you leave your mission?" You'd think they would give you more than one month to enjoy being in the prime of your mission, but nope! So, it was interesting to hear that for the first time and talk to members about my post-mission plans even though I have plenty of time left.

We had much success this week. We found 4 individuals who all are committed to preparing for baptism. Each time we find souls who are prepared for the gospel it brings a lot of excitement to our week. If all goes well, we should certainly have a baptism or two before the end of the month.

We've started a new "program" to find new people to teach. We have found that many of the members in Utah don't see missionaries very often. So we've begun going to families during their family home evening time and teaching them the basic doctrines of the gospel. We've always done this, now we've just doing a lot more of it. It's already born fruit with members being excited to talk to their coworkers or neighbors about meeting with the missionaries. It's true that the members really are the best missionaries.

Elder Bolling

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pressing Forward Through the Summer

This week we spent a majority of our time lifting and building the zone. We didn't have much time to proselyte in our area. On Sunday we were frustrated because we had not found any new people to teach for the week. But as we went through church we met two people who approached us because they had been attending church for the past few months and wanted to meet with us. Miracle! The Lord certainly does bless those who are diligent.

This week we have interviews with President Miller. We will be using the time during the interviews to train our district leaders, trainers and new missionaries. It will be a busy day from about 8am until 4pm. Afterwards we plan to split up with the Assistants and work the areas of struggling missionaries. Interviews always wear me out but are a productive venture.

We also had our July 4th mission conference last week. It was fun to see all the old missionaries I served with. Everyone says that in missionary life you know most of the missionaries at your year mark...but as time moves on towards the end of your mission you stop knowing the new people who come in. It was strange to see missionaries who I never thought would go home talk about their travel arrangements. I certainly will be there before long! It will be a weird feeling.

Elder Bolling

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's a New Day and a New Mission

Our mission is now 80 people smaller. On Sunday, July 1st the Utah Salt Lake City Central mission was created. I am still in the Riverton zone. Now the challenge moves to add more missionaries to this mission until we reach 200 missionaries again. That means many areas will be split and new areas will be created. The busyness hasn't let up yet!

We have the baptism of our investigator Eric this Saturday. It was a very rewarding teaching experience because Eric was so excited about the gospel from day one. We didn't even need to teach him! He spent his free time each day learning and studying and becoming more educated on the gospel. As he did that and prayed about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon he was ready to be baptized. Even his parents, who are Catholic, came down from Idaho to witness his baptism. It was a special experience.

We've also had lots of wildfires this week. Herriman, which is in our zone, was on fire from Thursday into Friday. We had to evacuate the missionaries from that area and have them help with cleanup after the fire ended. It's incredible how many fires can happen in a hot summer when you live in the desert. They're not pretty and they spread pretty quick.

I also have my one year missionary birthday this week. It still doesn't feel like I've been a missionary for a full year...but I guess it's true. This time next year I'll be packing up and returning to the great East Coast. Until then, I'll keep working and enjoy the July 4th celebration we will be having with our mission!

Elder Bolling

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's Salt Lake City -- Central Mission Time!

Transfers are on Wednesday. I don't know if it's just my luck or if it's related to the new mission but President Miller has been calling us quite a bit about transfers. First and foremost, I found out that I will be staying as a Riverton Zone Leader with Elder Stensrud for another transfer. Hooray! I've grown to love Riverton.

We've also spent a lot of time "preparing" other missionaries for new assignments they will be receiving. We have 120 of our 200 missionaries who will either be new missionaries or trainers as of June 27th. That means many young missionaries will be stepping into leadership roles. With that being said, we are taking careful attention to make sure everything is ready to go on Wednesday.

In our area, we took one of our investigators to Temple Square for a lesson. We asked him to pray right there about his scheduled baptism date of June 30th. He prayed and received an answer to be baptized. He has grown up Catholic and over time has said how he has noticed that the LDS faith is just "more" of what he grew up with. He originally thought becoming a Latter-day Saint meant that he was changing religions, when really he now knows he's just adding on more truth to what he already knows. It's exciting to see the transformation.

Finally, the new mission is being created on Sunday. We find out Wednesday where everybody will be going. There will be a farewell luncheon for all of them as we will no longer see them as part of our mission. While it is sad to see 80 missionaries go...it's exciting to see the work move forward.

Elder Bolling

Monday, June 18, 2012

Triple Digits

It was a hot week in Utah. We hit 100 degrees for the first time! Though if I'm being honest the heat out here doesn't hurt nearly as badly since it's a dry heat.

It was a special week because I found out that two former investigators from my old area got baptized. One was a young single adult from Sandy who we stopped teaching because she wasn't ready for baptism. She called the missionaries up, thinking it was myself and Elder Hipp, and was baptized! Then in my first area somebody we taught for a few weeks finally made the decision to be baptized and confirmed a member of the church. Those are certainly tender mercies when you see your work continuing onward.

The zone is starting to see fruits from our efforts. This week we had six baptisms which is helping us to be on pace to where we want to be. It's already transfer time and we're talking and working to ensure that there will be a smooth transition with the new mission. We're working to prepare many missionaries for new assignments that they don't even know about yet! It should be a busy time in the zone. And to add some suspense...President Miller even told us to "shore up the zone because we won't be together for long." Is somebody getting transferred!? Who knows...one week until we do!

Elder Bolling

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving Higher

There's a principle in the scriptures. Whenever you are about to experience blessings from the Lord, Satan always tries to thwart you with increased trials. We have seen that this week in our zone. There have been numerous situations arising that have caused some of those preparing for baptism to push their dates back. Our challenge is to help them receive their witness that the gospel has been restored and be baptized so they can receive the blessings of the gospel.

We are still looking to have a wonderful month and have seen great growth in our zone. However, we're not discouraged and know the higher goal that we set is still possible. It will be an exciting challenge to see how we respond, lift our sights and achieve what is before us.

It was also my birthday on Friday. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a birthday cake from a family who knows my family. I also got a nice package from Sara and should be receiving one from my family today. We also went to Chili's so I got the free chocolate molten lava cake. Unfortunately, the other Elders seemed to devour that before I got to it. Funny how that works out!

Elder Bolling

Heating Up For June

The weather is hot. I guess that means summer is here. Luckily, I really enjoy summer. I enjoy it a lot more since there's no humidity and the heat really doesn't make you sweat. That's also great for missionary work because more people are outside and available to just stop and talk about the gospel. The yearly transition is also happening to the mountains. The lush green mountains are now "burning out" to become the arid brown desert mountains you would come to expect in a place like Utah. It's certainly a different environment than Virginia!

I continue adjusting to Riverton. It is a great area. I'm starting to learn the roads and areas around the place. For those who know Utah, my area actually includes Riverton, Bluffdale, South Jordan, Herriman and Daybreak. There is a lot of variety in the area. It provides many opportunities to teach different types of people. Right now we're teaching one family and 4 young single adults who are preparing for baptism. We held a baptism on Friday night for an investigator we had been teaching. He has overcome quite a lot to be ready to join the Church. His sister joined the Church ten years ago but he went down a different road and got caught in some negative things. However, with lots of love and care, he began learning about the gospel. He overcame those problems and is now the newest member of the Church. Stories like his are always the most rewarding in missionary work.

It's also my birthday this week! I'll be 25. That seems weird. I certainly don't feel 25. But I think everybody says that when they have another birthday. It's also weird to think that I'll be 26 when I come back to Virginia from my mission. Time sure does fly!

Elder Bolling

Monday, May 28, 2012

Motivation & Improvement

President Thomas S. Monson has said, "Generalities simply will not do. When we deal in generalities, we will never have a success; but as we deal in specifics, we will rarely have a failure."

This week we applied this principle inside the Riverton Zone. As a result we have seen each of our missionaries, without exception, have an increase in their teaching and success. We have nearly doubled the number of people we are teaching! We got down in the trenches with our district leaders and spoke about each individual they were teaching in their district. We spoke about the missionaries. We committed their leaders to act and do something to correct deficiencies. And, in the end, we saw results. The same was true in our own area. We set specific plans and goals to meet with members and nonmembers alike. We set goals of how many people to talk to each day. As we achieved that, our success followed.

There is nothing quite like "figuring it out". (That's a relative term, since I still have hundreds of other things to figure out) However, to see real increases and real successes brought an increased measure of joy to the week. We even could see the increased excitement from each missionary. Continuing to figure it out, apply what we have learned, and look for more areas to improve in is simply what life is all about. It is a pattern for missionary work and the rest of our lives. As we master the techniques of setting goals and then making plans to achieve them...our lives will simply be more fulfilling.

Elder Bolling

Hello Riverton!

Well, I was surprised to open up our transfer e-mail on Tuesday and see that I was being moved to the Riverton Zone as the zone leader. Whoa! I really did not expect to be transferred this time around. I am now serving with Elder Stensrud, who is from Dallas, TX and has been out for about 6 months. I cover the Riverton YSA stake and the Riverton Copperview stake. After half a week I really like the area. It is very similar to what I "grew up" with in Draper. It is a good area with wonderful ward leaders.
I found out on Saturday from Assistants that I was a last minute transfer. Last minute as in he had already sent the transfer information to the Assistants, but went to pray about the decisions, and called them last minute to change it and move me from Sandy to Riverton. I know there are multiple reasons why I have been moved and am eager to find out what they are. I had served in Sandy for 6 months. My previous two areas were for 10 and 8 weeks...so six months made it feel like home. Now I'm uprooted and moving on!
At this point, the change is exciting. Spending six months in one area in the same assignment can get you in a rut. Now, don't misunderstand, I loved Sandy and enjoyed it there and had lots of success. However, a change can do great things to reenergize the mind and soul and create a new sense of excitement. That's exactly what has happened this week...so I look forward to seeing what happens down here!
Elder Bolling

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Focusing on Our Purpose

This week was a productive week. In our area we were able to meet two individuals who were ready and willing to be baptized this month. It is incredible to see the many ways that the Lord prepares individuals to accept the gospel. One of our baptisms will include a marriage and another is for somebody who didn't even believe in God two months ago. As much as the world tries to debate and argue about spiritual matters, you cannot fight the converting power of the Spirit once it hits you.

In our zone, we refocused everybody on our purpose -- to invite all to come unto Christ and be baptized into His Church. We set very high expectations for our district leaders and their missionaries and are doing all that we can to hold them accountable to those expectations. The natural man tells us that we should "be nice" so that everybody we serve likes our company. This week I've seen that by setting high goals, being firm in expecting them, and loving those you serve that you can be direct, see success, and have good company.

Missionary work always moves forward. Transfers are on Wednesday. To be honest, it's a strange transfer. I'm getting old as a missionary. My first zone leader, Elder Pence, is going home. He spent the last two transfers as an Assistant. In some ways it won't even feel like the same mission without my "zone leader dad". On top of that, six zone leaders who have all been zone leaders since I came into the field go home with him. I really will be a "veteran" come Wednesday. I'll have been there longer than 75% of them. Why is it so weird? Well, because I still feel like I'm a new missionary. It's crazy how life always seems to zoom by.

Elder Bolling

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big Areas, Big Responsibilities

The theme of this week has been taking care of our large zone. Because of the changes in the mission structure due to the new mission, our zone is extremely large. In fact, in ground area we are larger than the entire new mission that is being created. With that fact we have seen accountability among our missionaries decrease. This week we have been focusing on how to correct that and how to ensure that things start moving towards the right track again. Really, we just need to have our district leaders being more accountable since they have larger districts that feed into our larger zone.

It is an exciting responsibility and unique challenge. We found out that our zone will likely stay the same into the next transfer so we better figure out a way to make it effective. I foresee us spending a lot of time to make sure we are effectively using our time and training our district leaders to understand what is expected of them.

Otherwise, the work continues to move forward. There is one singles ward that we cover that has completely taken off. We now have 4 people that we are teaching in that ward and the members are on fire for missionary work. The simple fact that they see new people at church each week is making them more excited to find others who are ready for the gospel. It's a great environment to spend time in.

Elder Bolling

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Is it May already?

Missionary work has a funny way of panning out. The days always seem like they last forever. The weeks, even, tend to drag. We spend long days working and striving for people to teach. But then each month passes by and you wonder, "Where did April go!?" It constantly seems like it speeds up. I don't know if I'll ever understand how it works...but it's amazing how time can move so quickly.

My companion has taught me a lot this week. He loves to just go meet people. I am fine talking to people but have never been too thrilled at social interactions. As we spend more and more time simply talking to everybody we see we have found many things to do. I've seen improvement in my own efforts to simply "go out and do work" rather than finding the perfect opportunity to speak with someone. It's even helped our zone through a few teaching opportunities we had with missionaries.

It's also helped to change me as a missionary leader. So often we try to think of how we can help those we serve improve. The easiest (and probably best) answer is to just go and do. Be with those people you serve. Set a strong example for them. Help them see the potential that is within themselves. When we do that two things happen. 1) They are motivated, 2) We don't have to "correct" because they are learning for themselves. It's made our leadership so much more effective!

As May approaches, I'm excited for what is coming. The Sandy zone (as I now know it) will be changed with transfers. New zones will be created. Many areas will also be shrunk to only include a single stake. Our mission is growing in anticipation of the big mission split! It will be an eventful two weeks for sure.

Elder Bolling

Monday, April 23, 2012

Time for a Rebound!

This week certainly was an up and down week. First, our baptism cancelled. It cancelled about two hours before the baptism. The kids' biological father, who lives in Norway, called and denied permission just hours before after previously giving permission. It was disappointing since the whole family had made so much progress in returning to the gospel. We will continue to meet and focus on helping them progress.

We also received our numbers on Sunday...and are only looking at 7 baptisms in our zone next month! With that, we have been in overdrive to motivate and train our missionaries to increase that goal. It's actually a good thing for me -- as I've noticed I respond better under pressure than when things are going well. There's something in my mind that likes to fix problems. The easier route, though, would be to simply not allow those problems to develop.

I also got the chance to speak in a ward last Sunday. Funny enough, there was a returned missionary there who I had met in the Chippenham Ward in Richmond -- Elder Green. It was enjoyable to be able to talk about all of the friends I have from back home and how they are doing. It truly is a small world.

Even with the challenges, I am excited for the upcoming week. Nothing energizes me more than a good challenge...and we're excited to see what happens with it!

Elder Bolling

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sick Week

It's been almost 10 months in the field...and I had my first sick companion. My companion came down with a flu bug which put him severely out of commission for three days. You would think that three days off would be a welcome change...but no sir! After half a day I just wanted to get outside of the house and work. We were able to find people to split us up so I could still go out and work. However, we toughed through it and still had a great week.

This upcoming week will be interviews with the mission president. What that means for us is that we get the opportunity to train the missionaries as they're waiting for their interviews. It is actually one of the most exhausting days as a zone leader...because it's 9am to 5pm of training with only a few breaks. Nonetheless, it's a great opportunity to see our whole zone at once so we will take advantage of it.

We're also having lots of success in our stakes. We found many new people to teach and have also been working closely to try and get those that have not been to church in a while back. As we've done that we've met many new members who have been able to help us find more non-members to teach. It's funny how when you simply serve others and help them how your objectives get met as well.

Elder Bolling

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reworking the Boundaries

Last Wednesday was transfers. I received a new companion. His name is Elder Lakner and he is from Slovenia. He is also a convert to the church. His story is impressive since there are only 200 members in his entire country and he is the 12th Slovenian to serve a mission. He is a great missionary with a great spirit about him. Our zone also was rebuilt. Actually, it grew. It still contains all of Sandy City but also now includes Cottonwood Heights. This is the result of some reworkings to make the new mission boundaries happen. Next transfer the zones will be adjusted again so that the south mission has a new look. It certainly is an exciting time to be a missionary here!

We also had a baptism on Friday night. Our investigator had been meeting with missionaries for 6 months and had begun to feel the spirit more strongly in his life. It is a testament to the power of the Holy Ghost in conversion. We were excited for him to begin his journey as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. We also continue to work with two more families closely and many others who are promising. We hope to have at least three more baptisms in April.

The weather is also getting a lot nicer. I have always been a fan of spring, summer and fall over the winter, so it's nice that this 6-month winter is finally over. Utah is a wonderful place but I don't know if I could handle the winters for more than two years. Two and a half month winters sound good to me!

Elder Bolling

Monday, April 2, 2012

Growing Pains

This week should be an exciting one. Transfers are on Wednesday. But more than that the UT-SLCS mission will be going through a realignment. Our zones, districts and areas will all be changing in anticipation of the new mission that will be created in July. We don't know the details but we do know that "many of us" will be moving or being transferred. We will be having a meeting tonight to talk about the changes and iron everything out before the mission-wide announcements tomorrow.

It was a different week than last week. With all of the baptisms last week we had significantly lower teaching opportunities. However, it was enjoyable to continue the recent convert discussions with our new members and to look for new people to teach. It's the cycle of missionary work and it continues to roll forward. We are preparing for a baptism this Friday for a YSA that we have been teaching for 5 months now. It will be a welcome sight to see him finally baptized.

It's also approaching the one-year mark of me starting to date Sara. It's quite a funny thing how it seems as though we've gotten closer over the 9 months of the mission. Hopefully she would agree. (I think she would) Either way, the date gives me an opportunity to reflect on how fast the year has gone by. It also builds a testimony that when you are devoted in the service of the Lord all other things work out. Even though I only communicate with her and family once a week...somehow it seems to work out how it is all designed. The blessings of the Lord always seem to happen that way.

Elder Bolling

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weddings and Baptisms!

This week we saw the marriage and baptism of one of our investigators. He had been waiting for marriage papers to come in so that he could do that before baptism. It was a special event. They have had many challenges to overcome and so has their family. Their family has all found the gospel in just the last year. They each bore their testimony of how it has changed their lives and how they know the Church is true. It was moving and gave more meaning to the work we do to see the changes in peoples' lives.

We had three other baptisms last week and each of them were special in their own way. I will say that it is extremely hectic to plan four baptisms in one week. We certainly love the work, but next time I hope they spread out to one each weekend -- because there are a lot of logistics to get out of the way for a baptismal service! Either way, I'm not complaining about the logistics of things -- it was a blessing to be a part of it.

Transfers are in just over a week and we are expecting some big changes. With the new mission, we will be adding lots of missionaries. The idea is that instead of one companionship covering two stakes that one stake will be covered by two companionships. That will mean that areas will be split, zones changed, and missionaries moved. It will make things very exciting and eventful as we move towards the July 1st "split date" of the Salt Lake City South and Central Missions.

Elder Bolling

Monday, March 19, 2012

Elder Nelson Comes to Sandy!

Last night the Sandy West stake had the opportunity to hear from Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear the words of an apostles of the Lord. What made it even more special was when our stake president invited us to sit on the stand...directly beside Elder Nelson! Surprise! His remarks were directed towards the youth and we also brought some of our investigators. They got the chance to speak with him about their baptisms and it was an incredible spiritual experience for each of them. We were also able to locate two new people to teach from the meeting since some teenagers brought their friends to see the event.

We are anticipating 5 baptisms next weekend. Sadly, our baptism for this week was pushed back but it is still happening on March 24th. It will be a wonderfully busy day as we will see 5 (maybe six) people make a covenant with their Father in Heaven. The most rewarding part of missionary work is seeing the changes in people as they prepare for baptism.

The challenge once again becomes finding new people to teach since 5 people will be baptized. We will focus on that this week in the hopes that our April will be as fruitful as March.

Elder Bolling

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Work Moves Forward

This week was a very rewarding week. We got to see the baptism of one of our investigators. It was very special. She was 9 years old but has had a very troubled past and as a result has some emotional difficulties. She had been attending counseling for 5 years because she would not talk to strangers or adults. As we came in and taught her to pray with her mom and read one short verse from the Book of Mormon each day, she slowly started opening up. Not just to us, but to everyone! She even ordered her own meal at a restaurant. It seems small -- but it's huge to her and her family. As a result of the baptism her mother bore a strong testimony of the gospel and has started coming back to Church. All souls, even 9-year olds, have a great opportunity to do wonderful things.

We continue to work with our zone to find ways to help them have additional success. We are anticipating another increase from the month of February. As we continue working closely with everybody that success will come. The most challenging part is realizing that even though you want people you work with to develop on their own they really do need that focused attention to reach their potential. "Coasting" along never gets anybody anywhere. At times it can be a large time commitment but it is always worth it when you see the reward at the end of the road.

The weather has also warmed up. Beginning in April we won't have to wear suit coats -- and the 65 degree weather the last two days had started to get me excited for that! Spring and summer are my favorite times of year and I am very excited to see winter depart.

Elder Bolling

Monday, March 5, 2012


This week our mission had some exciting news! On July 1st, the Salt Lake Valley will be giving birth to two new missions - the Salt Lake City West and Salt Lake City Central missions. The Salt Lake City Central mission will be carved out of our current mission boundaries and will be initially composed of 100 of the SLCS missionaries. What does that mean? There's a chance I might have a new mission and mission president in four months!

The process is exciting. We will be doing many "pilot" programs to see what will work for the new missions when they are created. Now there will be 8 missions in Utah. The new mission will start off smaller with only 100 missionaries while the SLCS mission will still have 200 missionaries. The idea is that each stake will have its own set of missionaries and some stakes where the work is moving quickly will see 2-3 companionships. The work is certainly moving forward in Utah. I am incredibly excited to be on the "cutting edge" of revelation concerning missionary work. Over the next few months we will be infused with more missionaries to build us up until the "split" happens on July 1st.

In the meantime, the work goes on in Sandy. We are looking at baptisms every week in the month of March. We are planning to do all that we can to make sure that happens. All of the families we are teaching mean a lot to us and we are so excited to see them make the covenant of baptism.

Elder Bolling

Monday, February 27, 2012

Transfers. Changes. Opportunities.

Well, yet another transfer has come and gone. No changes for me...but 6 of the 10 companionships in our zone have changed. We also have a new district leader. All of these changes seem to be positive things and we are looking forward to a good transfer. Our zone had a better month in February than in January and that momentum will hopefully continue onward and upward!

The week was busy. As far as our area is concerned, we had a baptism for a girl we were teaching. It was a wonderful experience and I was grateful for the opportunity to not only touch her life but to impact her family. That experience showed me that the impact we make as missionaries is not just on those we teach but rather it trickles down to their entire family. We also got identification for another investigator who needed it so he could get married to his fiance. With that in place we should have another baptism this Saturday.

As we do each and every month, we will have a Zone Leader Council this week. It blows my mind that it's coming up so soon - but I enjoy the opportunity to meet with others in the mission and discuss ideas to help our areas move forward. I'm also excited to see our new Assistant to the President, Elder Pence. He was my first Zone Leader in the mission and I am most excited to work with him in his new position. Fun times in the mission!

Elder Bolling

Monday, February 20, 2012

Zone Conferences and New Investigators

This week was our quarterly zone conference. In our mission, zone conferences are led by President Miller and the Assistants with the zone leaders providing much of the training. This training with a 6-hour training focusing on our purposes as missionaries. It was a great opportunity to learn from one another and regain a focus on spreading the gospel throughout Salt Lake City. I truly enjoy the opportunities to train. Like most people say, I feel like I get much more out of training others than the people I'm training do. I always leave with new insights and ideas on what is needed to be most successful.

The general theme was that we needed to find more people to teach if we were going to have success. We started implementing that into our day to day actions and had lots of results. We tracked down some names that we couldn't easily locate and ended up finding two people who were open and ready to hear the gospel. Then we went and visited some different members who we hadn't seen before. From that we found a family of five whose parents are extremely interested in coming to the Church. It was great to be able to train on a subject and then immediately see results from it.

Transfers are also coming up on Tuesday. Whoa! I don't think my companion and I will be moving...but then again...crazier things have happened. I have yet to have a companion for longer than 10 weeks so we'll see what happens. Either way there will at least be some changes in our zone as some of our missionaries go home on Wednesday.

Elder Bolling

Monday, February 13, 2012

You Can't Win 'Em All

One of my favorite phrases to say to missionaries has always been "you can't win 'em all". I have no idea where it started but it's become part of my training. Don't get down on yourself if you have a bad day or a bad week...because you can't win 'em all. This week was that way for us. The biggest disappointment came when one of our investigators did not get baptized. She really wanted to and knows the Church is true but decided against it after her parents did not respond favorable (in the slightest) to her telling them the night before.

So...baptism Saturday was a slow day. No baptism. Many of our lessons cancelled. However, it was a test of our faith. As we were preparing to drive home we entered our townhouse complex when I asked if we could go my one more referral we had received. We knocked on the door. The dad answered who said he hadn't been to Church since he was a kid. Both of his kids told him they'd really like to go and learn more about it. He agreed that we could come over and agreed to come to Church. So...while it was a slow, slow day we found a new family to teach!

Not to sound negative, though, it was still a great week. A lot was accomplished and we stayed busy. We're still planning on four baptisms this month which equates to one per week. That's not too shabby. So while we can't win 'em all, we're still doing pretty well.

Elder Bolling

Friday, February 10, 2012

Vacation Time

This week was a great and a busy week. The highlight was the baptism of Randy. I had the opportunity to baptize him which was a blessing in itself. The baptismal service was incredibly spiritual as we were also able to hear the testimony of four sister missionaries from Temple Square who met him on a tour down there. Their testimony was so strong that now another investigator of ours who is preparing for baptism this week requested a visit with the sisters at Temple Square!

The non-missionary highlight came with our monthly ZLC. This time we were told to meet at the mission home at 6:30am for a mystery drive. We went to the Miller's vacation home in Kamas, spent 6 hours discussing the needs of the mission and the rest of the time doing some extreme sledding. I won't lie, for those 24 hours I didn't really feel like a missionary. It was a little strange to wake up the next morning and return to proselyting...but return we did.

The work continues to pick up in both of our stakes. There's hardly any time to think which is good since it keeps us busy and moving forward. All in all there are still no complaints. Good companion. Good zone. Good missionary work.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Well, I've never had quite a week like this week...it flew by! My Wednesday morning/afternoon was taken training missionaries and office staff on a new referral system we have been developing for the mission. Then on Thursday we had the opportunity to take a person we've been teaching to Temple Square. I always love going to Temple Square because of the strong spirit you are able to feel as you learn about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Church in the presence of the House of the Lord. That person will be baptized this upcoming Saturday and we are excited for the opportunity.

Other than that we had great success! We found 6 new people who are preparing for baptism. As a result we ended up teaching 25 lessons and keeping very busy with the logistics of helping everybody progress. The week just breezed by. I wish every week could be so good. (I guess it can be if I keep working!)

I've also begun to see the rewards of journal writing. I've done it my entire mission but have just started using it effectively. I've begun really writing down my study notes and thoughts that I have which have really made me able to recall them and find them at a moments notice. It's also a lot more rewarding to look back and read the details of my day rather than the vague snippets I had been putting in there. There truly is joy in writing things down.

This week already looks to be super-busy again. There will be a visit by an Apostle and a meeting with mission leadership. And to think...transfer talks are beginning again!

Elder Bolling

Monday, January 23, 2012

Changing Tires

The "highlight" of our week came on Saturtay as we went to pick up some materials from missionaries. As we parked the car we noticed a nice hum of air coming out of our right front tire. A flat tire! Fortunately for the situation is was also 8:00pm, 25 degrees and snowing heavily. I've never actually had to change a flat tire but it made it much more enjoyable and memorably to do it in the snow. So much for keeping my suits clean!

The rest of the week went by pretty quickly because we stayed pretty busy. We had a baptism for one of our investigators in the YSA stake. I was called into a meeting with President Miller regarding the new referral system and will be training the mission on it this week. We also started receiving numerous ward mission process referrals. We had 4 new investigators last week and should have 4-5 more this week. The momentum is rolling! We're very excited about where our area is going.

It continues to blow my mind how fast time is moving. It's the end of January already! What the what! I look forward to each day and each new opportunity to share the gospel as a missionary because I'm truly beginning to realize how quickly it will be gone.

Elder Bolling

Monday, January 16, 2012

The East Coast Zone

On Wednesday transfers happened and I received a new companion. Elder Hipp! He was in my district at the MTC and we became good friends...and now we're companions! He's from Baltimore...so not too far away. We are both really excited for the transfer and to see what happens in the Sandy Zone. It should be a good six weeks!

This week were interviews with the mission president. As a zone leader that is quite an undertaking. The entire zone comes in between 8:30am and 4:00pm to interview with President Miller. We performed trainings throughout the day with the individual companionships and answered questions. It was actually one of the most exhausting days of my mission so far because constant training was involved.

We also met a wonderful couple this week. They are prepared to accept the gospel and desire to be sealed in the temple. The first step is to have them get married, which should happen this week, so that they can be baptized. Some of the most special experiences on the mission are when you work with couples and families so I am cherishing this opportunity. They are truly blessed by the spirit that they are able to feel.

Elder Bolling

Monday, January 9, 2012

Transfer Time!

t's transfer time again. Already? Yep! We will receive word on the new transfer assignments tomorrow at noon. I'm not too worried about where I will be as I believe I will be in Sandy for at least a few more transfers. (You never know, though!) The big question is with my companion. Elder Raymundo has been a zone leader for over a year and in this area for a year also. It's a 50/50 chance whether he finishes his mission with me or moves somewhere else for his last 6 weeks. The rest of our zone should stay fairly similar since there were so many changes...but again...you never know!

This week brought some new and exciting challenges. In our area we had to drop 5 investigators because they weren't progressing. While that was sad we were able to find 5 new ones who seem much more promising. It builds my testimony to see the many different ways that the Lord prepares people to hear the gospel. I also got the opportunity to work on a new mission project - rebuilding our accountability on tracking media referrals. I spent a lot of the week in the mission office learning the system, coming up with ideas and making a proposal to send to President Miller. It feels like I'm back in the office at Kings Dominion or Accenture...only we're saving souls here!

This week I also hit my 6-month mark on my mission. It's funny that I'm 1/4 of the way through yet it still feels like I just got out here. I guess they weren't kidding when they said it flies by fast. If it goes any quicker it will be July 2013 the next time I blink!

Elder Bolling

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Water Your Grass

This week was very busy but I'm at a loss for how to describe it. We continued rolling out our efforts to work more closely with the ward leadership in both our YSA stake and our family stake. We began to see some fruits from our labors as we found three new people to teach solely off of that member work. It's also been enjoyable to meet the different people in each of the wards who offer so much to the work.

The most impactful part of my week came while meeting with a Bishop. He is planning a move to California soon and we asked, "How do you feel about leaving Utah?" He has traveled a lot and he gave us this response. "It will be great. Everywhere I've lived has been great. Many people think the grass is greener on the other side...and that's only because they water their neighbor's grass. If you water the grass where you're standing things will be greener for you."

How true is that? I thought about his point and talked about it with my companion. "Watering" our grass is when we are grateful for the things we have, when we keep an optimistic point of view and look forward with faith. We "water" the other side of the grass when we compare ourselves or tell ourselves we will be happy once we have something that somebody else has. That brief idea to water your grass has stuck with me since that meeting.

All is well in Utah. We're slowly eating through the candy stash that we accumulated through the holidays. I only gained 5 pounds through December so I can't complain. We also had a baptism this past Saturday and are planning on another this Saturday. Our zone is doing well and the Elders and Sisters are doing great work. The grass is green in the Sandy Zone of the SLCS mission!

Elder Bolling