Friday, August 28, 2015

Charlie's last post from France
 La famille Jardon
La famille Jaquier
Hello everyone! It has been a great week :) Time has once again flown by. We started off by doing an exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Willits (my MTC comp) came to Gex and we had a great exchange. He is such a good person. It was fun to finally do an exchange with him. We went to Ferney-Voltaire and talked to a ton of people. We found someone who knew the missionaries in Tahiti and she was going to be baptized over there but moved to France! Her name is Maeva and we hope to see her soon! After the exchange, a member from the Branch in St Genis offered to take my comp and I out to lunch to get some kebabs. His name is Ruben and he is from Puebla, Mexico :) We talked about real Mexican food and I made him homesick, haha. Afterwards, we did service for the Jardons. It was so hot that day, haha. I love frère Jardon so much, he is such a sweet man. Then we had Ward Council where I talked about a new project that the mission is doing where we will talking about temples much more in our contacting and teaching. I LOVE it. In the Church we share the message that families can be together forever and TEMPLES are how families can be sealed together for eternity. I am personally so grateful for this knowledge and I love being able to teach others about how they can be sealed with their loved ones forever and not just "'til death do we part." 
After Ward Council, we went to the Thiesset's for dinner and talked about relying on the testimonies that we already have. I talked about Alma 5:26 and talked about how it should be own goal to always answer in the affirmative this question, "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"
The next day we had a Zone Finding Day in the beautiful city of Annecy!  It is paradise. It is a beautiful French city build next to a crystal blue lake surrounded by the famous Alps. We talked to many people and taught about the family and the Restoration to tons of people. The next day, we had another great day in Ferney and visited some Less Actives - one of which came to our ward hike on Saturday. We hiked through the Juras with the ward and about 20+ members came. 

Okay, miracle time. So later on Saturday, I made a cheesecake and we brought it over to Anthony and Christelle's hoping that they would be home. Well, they were and they were so happy to see us. When we walked in, the dad called his 14-yr old son on the phone and told him to come home to hear us because he really wanted to meet us. Their daughter was there too and we had such a great time with them. The mother has started reading the Book of Mormon daily and she is filling out her "My Family" booklet for her family history. It is almost too good to be true. But it is true!  They are taking the lessons now and we are going over this week and they are going to make me a traditional French plate that I haven't had yet on my mission before I leave. We are going to invite them to church this week. 

Yesterday was such a great day. One of the most bitter/sweet experiences of my mission. We went to Lyon for a multi-zone conference and I bore my final testimony. I never thought that the moment would come. I had to say goodbye to so many good friends. I bore testimony on how it is only by and through our Savior Jesus Christ that we can return home to our loving Father in Heaven and be with our family again. It has finally started to hit me that my service as a full-time is coming to an end but I am so happy for all that I have learned out here. I have one more week left in the field to show the Lord that I love him and I plan on giving it my all. I will be sending my last email next Monday. I love you all and I will talk to you soon - and the best part about it is - it's all true :)


Monday, August 3, 2015

Bonjour everyone!
You all sound so great, thanks for writing me this last week :) So this past week has truly been heaven sent. At the start of last week I was a little bit nervous about how my comp and I were going to achieve the goals that we fixed for the sector but the Lord provided as He always does.

We started off with an exchange with the Saint Genis elders. I went to their sector and was with Elder Pien, a Chinese Canadian with a ton of energy. We started of by painting a gate for the Zinsius family and Fr. Zinsuis was on one. Afterwards, we passed some old Amis in the centre ville of Saint Genis. We talked to everyone in sight and we got several phone numbers and fixed a good amount of rdvs. We ran into a man from Tanzania who lives in our sector and Elder Loosle and I are going to see him tonight. After our exchange, we met back up in Gex and passed some potential Amis, Anthony and Christelle. They are the parents of a family of four. They were home and invited us in. We told them that we had some family booklets that we wanted to give them before and so we brought them and explained what we do. While we were showing them the family booklets I had the impression to ask the wife about her mother. I asked her about what her mom was like and what she liked to do. She talked about a very sacred experience that happened with her mother and her two kids before her mother passed away at the hospital. There were tears in her eyes as she felt the Spirit. She wrote down the story in her family booklet and promised to fill out the rest. Then the father asked, "what makes you so different than all of the other religions that come to our door?" I looked at Elder Loosle and we taught them the Restoration. When we told him that the Church has been restored he looked at us and said "c'est la bonne nouvelle ça" :) They loved every bit of it. The husband asked for a Book of Mormon before we even offered and we fixed another rdv with them this week.

The message of the Restoration really is such a great example of the Love of God.

After that awesome rdv, we went to the Zinsius's for dinner and I said good bye to them for maybe a very long time because they are going on vacation for two weeks and I may not be able to see them before they get back. He said he would drive to Lyon to say goodbye to me though, haha. The next day, Elder Loosle and I did some work in a ville called Ornex. We passed a single Peruvian sister there who invited us in. She had two of her nephews from Albania over and so we came in a sat down. So here is the fun part.

The two nephews ,who are about 27 and 23, only speak Albanian and Italian and the sister we visited only speaks Spanish and Italian so I taught them by speaking in Spanish and a little bit of the Italian that I learned from Sara in Toulouse. Holy guacamoles it was funny haha. We watched "Because He Lives" in Albanian. Then later that night we taught Aurore. We shared Elder Bednar's talk "Converted Unto the Lord" with her and talked about how there is a difference between having a testimony and truly being converted to the gospel. She was really touched by what we said and is starting to really make changes in her life. While studying this, I thought about how our testimonies are gifts from God given to us through the Holy Spirit and how our conversion is something that only we can give to the Lord through our own diligence and obedience in truly living the Gospel. After Aurore, we went to the Jardons and ate a classic Swiss meal. They gave us some amazing raclette and a great dessert with meringues and Gruyere cream.

The next day we went to Geneva for Zone Training. Afterwards, we went to the Thias for dinner and taught about the hope that comes through Christ.

The next day we blitzed a new ville called Chambéry. It is south of Geneva in France and guess who is serving there? Elder Spencer (my son (trainee)) and Elder Beck (from St Genis). I was with Elder Spencer and we had a great exchange. We got invited to a soirée with some really cool young people who we played soccer with. We had a bbq that night and answered a lot of questions about the Church. The next day we went to French class in Chambéry and then took a bus back to Gex. Time is flying by so fast. We just had a Zone P-day in Geneva where I played volleyball with Elders Schalk, Willits, and Pederson. It was like an MTC reunion!

I am so grateful for choosing to go on a mission. I have come to understand the Savior and His Atonement so much more. I am so grateful for this Gospel which helps me become a better person on a daily basis. I am confident that the Lord will always provide what we need and will help us to progress and develop our talents. It's a blast :) Have a great week everyone!
Elder Charlie Bollard

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bonjour à tous!
Hello everyone!! Wow, what I week! It feels like I was just writing you all yesterday. Time is FLYING by... Well I have a new companion! Elder Loosle is a great Elder. He and I have a good bit in common and he is really good and not talking about the fact that I am going home in 3 and a half weeks :) I am grateful for that so that I don't get too distracted. 

This past week has been filled with miracles - which I am so grateful for. So, bascially everyday this past week we found people who were interested. We did a fair amount of porting and found some really cool families. We met this really great couple (Christelle and Anthony) and they invited us in to talk about the family and the Church. We taught them a lesson and they gave us drinks and fixed another RDV with us for tomorrow :)  We also ran into another really great couple. They are praticing Catholics with enormous faith. We talked about the Plan of Salvation with them and they loved it! The wife plays the organ for the Catholic church in Gex. Her name is Catherine and they invited us over in two weeks as well!  Also, I made cheescake for the first time for a member family. I dont know how I did it, but it tasted like pure glory and honor. I am pretty sure eveyone in the room was "astonished" (Jacob 7:21).  Also, we did service for the Lipperts who are moving into a new house. We dug trenches for the foundation of a wall and I had the pick axe. It was awesome :)

We visited the Zinius family this week. Fr. Zinsius is off the wall crazy, haha. I love that man so much, he is probably reading this blog right now. Je vous aime frère!
 Fr. Zinsuis
                                        La famille Gardon (He reminds me of Ben)

We also taught Christophe this week. He is going to get baptized in September or October. He is very excited for his baptism, he is just not quite ready.  He still has alot of different opinions on doctrine. He is pretty Evangelist, like speaking in tongues and stuff, so that is fun :)
I have been reflecting alot on my mission recently and I cannot help but feel so grateful for all of the support that members of the Church give missionaries. I love this country and I love this people so much. I can never be grateful enough for my mission and for all that I have learned out here!  I love this Work, we are not just building the Lord's Kingdom but the Lord is building us. I am grateful for the principle of faith. It is something that will never die off. No matter how smart or talented we are, we will always need faith. I have seen so many miracles come from faith! I love you all and wish you an awesome week :) 

Elder Charles Clayton Bollard

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quelle merveilleuse semaine

Hello everyone!  Well here we go, another awesome week in France/Switzerland :)  So this past week was legendary. We had some cool miracles. I started off on exchange with Elder Beck again in Gex. We had a blast contacting people in Centre Ville and met some fun people. We also visited the Jardons. Frere (Brother) Jardon just got out of the hosptial so we wanted to see him.  He was super happy to see us and we shared a message on Nephi 18 when Nephi was tied up by his brothers on the boat. His family was suffering and the Lord let him stay tied up for a good amount of time before giving him the strength to break free. We, like Nephi, will not only need to faithfully and patiently endure trials, but it is also up to us to understand the work and hand of the Lord in our lives. We can be in affliction and still have faith. I love this quote from President Uchtdorf "We can choose to limit our gratitude, based on the blessing we feel we lack. Or we can choose to be like Nephi, whose grateful heart never faltered." 

After the Jardons, we taught Aurore with the Bishop. It went really well, we taught about the Atonement and its ability to change us. After that, we spent the day in Divonne and got kicked out of the city by police :) They said that we couldn't proselyte in the cities of Divonne, Grilly, and Vesancy because of some laws that the Marie of Divonne made even though we can legally proselyte in France. That was a neat experience :) So, nevertheless, we decided to go to Grilly the next day and guess who we ran into? - the same policemen HAH. They kindly told us to leave and we did. We talked to our Bishop about it and he is doing some research on the laws in those communities.
Anyways, we had some great FMP RDVS with Arnaud Jaquier and his wife. They are one the most hipster families I have ever met. After that, we visited Sammy Zinsius and his family for the FMP. They loved it and are setting goals now. Also on Thursday, we taught the coolest English class! A Japanese investigator came as well as four other members and we did charades to teach English. It was the most hands-on English class that I have ever been to.

On Friday, we received transfer calls  - FOR MY LAST TRANSFER. Like that is crazy... I cannot believe that I am in my last transfer. I am serving with Elder Loosle from Highland Utah for the next 4 weeks!  After we got calls we planned and visited some members so that Elder Brown could say goodbye. That night we went to the Zinsius's. Oh wow Frere Zinsius is the man! I love that Frere so much! We have too much fun together.  Then on Saturday night we had some sweet miracles. One, the Jardons invited us over for an amazing lunch and gave us pop tarts and peanut butter. And two, we had an amazing RDV with our ami Madeline from New Jersey! She invited two of her friends and we had an amazing dinner at her house. She is a great cook :) They asked us a ton of questions about the Church and we ended up teaching them the Restoration. We gave one of her friends a Livre de Mormon and it went really well.

Well, I have to go but it was a great week!  I hope you are all doing well. Have a good week LOVE YOU!!!!!
Elder Bollard

Monday, July 13, 2015

Serving the Lord in a Beautiful Place

Hey everyone! This past week has been extraordinary! What an awesome 7 days! We started off by doing an exchange with the St Genis Elders and I was in their sector. There, we had a really great RDV with their amis Steven and Josée. They live in a suite that looks over Geneva. It was really impressive,haha. They are some really cool people. Steven is English, Josée is Brazilian, and they had their friend James from Wales there too. They showed us around their place and showed me (the new one) all of the sculptures and Indian bridal veil curtains and other cool stuff, haha. They both work for world-wide organizations in Geneva and told us about all of their travels.
The lesson went really well. We talked about the Refiner's Fire with them. I shared Alma 5:14, Malachi 3:2-3, and Moroni 7:48 with them and talked about how the Lord will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver and will purify us until He can see his image in our countenances. As we yield to his agenda, not ours, we can become purified silver in the hands of our Master. I love this concept so much and it gives me motivation to continue to live the Gospel. They really enjoyed the lesson and invited us to come over again. 

Then on Wednesday, we went to Lausanne! We had District Meeting, which I didn't have much time to prepare but it went well. The district is great. There were 12 people there because the Sister Trainer Leaders came as well, so it was alot of fun. I referenced a talk by President Packer and we fixed goals on how we can help our amis progress more. Afterwards, we did a zone finding day in Lausanne. We changed comps and I went with Elder Lucas Peters from Germany. He is a great missionary and we went HARD. We had a ton of great conversations. We had about 20 conversations about the Gospel with people and taught 2 lessons in about 3 hours. I found this man on a bridge and I walked up to him and started to chat with him and I ended up teaching him the Plan of Salvation. He didn't speak French very well but at the end of the discussion he had tears in his eyes and wanted to be taught by the missionaries in Lausanne. I met this Italian painter who had the coolest mustache ever named Ernesto. He is married to an American and he gave me all of his info and wants to "grab some coffee" with me the next time I am in Lausanne, haha.
After the finding day, we visited a less active family in Gex and prayed with them and then did some tracting in the area until we went to the Cosentino's house for a BBQ!  It was so good!  We are still making a ton of progress with the FMP and we are getting coordonnées (contacts) from it now! 

We also taught Christophe this week. He is not progressing as much as he has been in the past but he committed to read more in the Book of Mormon. He prays for us as well as other members of the ward every week. I also saw that he prays for Austin Murphy and his friend Jacob because they came with us to teach him one time, haha, rad.

On Saturday we had a really great RDV with the Celi family. They are half Peruvian and half Argentinian. We walked in and there were a TON of people there. They invited about 9 other people to come and they were all speaking Spanish like crazy!  I want to become fluent in Spanish after the mission because it is a pretty cool language (almost as cool as French).  We had a great time with them and testified of John 16 and talked about Jesus Christ and why we are PERSONALLY grateful for Him in our lives. I think we can all take time to reflect on why we are personally grateful for the Savior.  It was a great RDV and el espiritu was there :) 

Today was the cherry on top :)  Probably one of the best Pdays on my mission. One of the members in Gex, Nicolas Zinsuis, took us to see Lac d'Annecy and the Chateau de Menthon today.  According to my watch, we hiked up more than 2,000 feet. It was a view that was  très magnifique!

Love you all!  Have a great week :)


Monday, July 6, 2015

Joyeux Jour de l'Indépendance

Hey everyone! Happy 4th of July :) I hope it was awesome. We spent ours on our balcony looking over Geneva at a group of Americans lighting off fireworks over the city. It was marvelous! It was cool to see some patriotism from across the world.

So this past week was great. I met President Brown, the new mission president and had my first interview with him.  He is a great man and he is going to do some great things for this mission. He is a very inspired man and we had a very heartfelt interview. He knew about what happened with my Mom while I was on my mission and appreciated my decision to stay out here. I already love him.

We had some great lessons this week. We went over to Christophe but he wasn't himself, he was really down and discouraged about a lot of things going on with his life right now and we shared with him the story of Mosiah 24 and it really supported him.  It was pretty emotional as he told us about his worries and issues but we were able to stay really close to the Spirit and help him. This was while I was on exchange with Elder Price. He is serving in Lausanne and he is from London, England. We had a great exchange.

This past week in Geneva, I contacted a man whose family is from Versailles and he is royalty, pretty cool. Things are also rollin along full speed with the Family Mission Plan program. All of Ward Council is on board as well as the Stake President. He bore testimony on it when he came to our ward on Sunday. I am so excited to be engaged in this cause. I am staying focused and having a great time.

Little big miracle from today. So I am on exchange with Elder Beck and we are walking down the street in St. Genis and I contact a guy who only speaks Spanish. His name is Ricardo and I mustered up all of the Spanish I knew to try to talk to him. Before I knew it we were having a full blown conversation in Spanish and I told him that I lived in Guadalajara. He said he is from Ecuador and I could understand most everything that he was saying. I asked him if he wanted to see the missionaries and he said yes!  We got his number and we will have the Spanish equipe in Geneva contact him. I am so grateful for that awesome experience to have received the gift of tongues. I love this work so much!

Well that's all for this week, I'll talk to you soon :D

Elder Bollard

Monday, June 29, 2015

Au Revoir President Roney

Saying goodbye to President Roney

Hey everyone :) Elder Bollard reporting in after another great week in Gex, France. Things are moving forward here and we are loving it!
We are working with the members hardcore here. This is one of the strongest wards in the mission, but the work has been lacking and we feel like this Family Mission Plan is going to do some great things. We have presented the FMP to more than 10 families now and from what we can tell, they love it!

So, we started Monday night by going to the Mattias's home. The father is American and he is a great man. He told us his conversion story and it is super intense, there are ghosts in it. We had a great time with the family and they have started fixing goals for their plan. On Tuesday, I did an exchange with Elder Walters from Illinois.  We worked in a ville called Grilly and it is absolutely beautiful. It is on a mountain overlooking Lake Leman.
We had a great time there and had a miracle. I was praying so that we could find water because we were super thirsty walking up this hill and I walked up to this gate where there was this massive house with a big yard and I saw a woman out front. I called over to her and she didn't want to hear anything about Jesus or God but I just asked if she knew where I could buy some water and she was like "You want water? Come," and she took us into this courtyard where she had a fountain that had water from the mountains in it and then she gave us glasses and let us drink.  Afterwards, she brought out berries and introduced us to her husband and we talked about America with them and we were finally able to explain why we are here and she loved it!  She told us to come back whenever we wanted :)

After the exchange, Elder Brown and I went to the Celi family's house to do the FMP. They are Peruvian and Argentinian and they fed us the exact same dish that I remember eating when we picked up Sam from his mission. It was like potatoes with some sort of yellow sauce over it. Anyways, they loved the FMP and they are a partial member family that we are working with as well. One of the sons is an ami (investigator). 

We also went to the ville Ferney this week and did some work there. On Friday, we did service for the Lippert family and we sanded like crazy inside their new house. My hair was white with dust after #silverfox. That night we went to a ville called Chevry which is really small but we had some really great miracles there. We met this girl who was super interested and she gave us her email and asked us to contact her about coming to Church.  Also, we had some really great convos. I chatted with a French papi for like 30 minutes and at the end he invited me to come and live next to him, haha. Also we did the FMP with the Tagg  family (Morgan and Sarah). They loved it and invited us to come over this coming week. 

On Saturday, we had Samedi Sportif (Sports Saturday) and a TON of people came. Someone fractured their ankle BUT it was cool to see so many people respond. After that we taught Christophe with Fr. Mattias. What a RDV!  Christophe is such an amazing man. He is really reflecting on baptism and he has so much faith.  He has the desire and we are just helping him understand the doctrine.  It went really well and he started crying as he told us about his time at Church. After Christophe, we went to the Bolognesi family's house for a BBQ and we presented the FMP to them. 

On Sunday, at church, members were coming out of nowhere asking to have us over this week. I have never done more member work before. It is amazing, these people are warriors. Today we went to Geneva for soldes (sales) and I got some new clothes :)

I love this work so much. Thank you for all that you do. I know that God loves each and every one of us. I know that the Atonement can heal ANY wound that we have. I know that it is all about love and the Savior. Keep on keepin' on. LOVE YOU

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