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 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 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