Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August 16th Email

Dear Family,
Well, the time has come for me to write my last email home on my mission. I can't believe it! It's been a very roller-coastery week. I've had a few moments--well, a lot--- of "oh my gosh, I'm leaving!" those usually result in tears. I had my last trail center training, and they had the traditional "departing testimonies" with me and sister Larsen. It was neat to be that missionary, sharing what has changed my life over the course of 18 months. It was also really sad. My old companion, Sister Mortensen and another sister, Sister Evans, were here visiting, so I got to see them and seek some advice! They are awesome! It's been a week full of lasts, which is soooo surreal, but it's called for many powerful moments.
I took my last tour in the trail center, which happened to be the perfect way to end my experience as a visitor center sister. It was a missionary tour. Elder Pauni and Elder Robinson brought in their investigator. She was AMAZING. The spirit was so strong. We spent a good chunk of the time resolving some concerns she had. I really felt like a missionary. I actually prayed that for my last shift I would be able to really help someone, that someone who really needed me would come in. She did. We really connected, and she even wanted a picture with me. I gave her my address so she could tell me how she's doing. It was amazing.... I am so grateful for that experience.
I had my last district meeting... which was also really powerful. I learned a lot of things I really needed.
I had dinner with Melissa last night! She was so great! She taught US the lesson. She never ceases to amaze me. we exchanged how we've impacted each other's lives, and it was neat.
Todd and Helen are coming to CALIFORNIA in october, and I'm totally going to have lunch with them! SO EXCITED! Tonight we're going to help them garden, and having a lesson...
So much emotion is going on right now, more than I can really express, but I do want to take a few to share what my life has been able to be for the last 18 months. I have learned what it means to love... and what you do because you love someone. I've learned that if you are obedient, you shall not fear! I KNOW THAT. There is no reason to fear when you have done what the Lord has asked. I've learned that people come into our lives for VERY specific reasons I've learned that the Atonement is truly real. That we really can be with our Heavenly Father again someday, because of the Savior. I know that NOTHING is coincidental. I've learned that prayer works, and that it's not to be taken lightly. I've been able to learn from each experience, whether good or bad. I'm so grateful that I got to learn what I have, and that I was able to do it here in Nebraska. I've felt like the luckiest girl in the world for my whole mission, because I got to be a missionary. Something I was SO afraid of has been the biggest miracle, and I've truly changed. it's changed EVERYTHING for me. I don't know why I got to be so blessed, but I'm glad I have been here. From the second I got off the plane, I knew I didn't want to ever leave Nebraska, and now the time has come... But it's okay. I know that there are more blessings in store, and I'm still a missionary. I know that I have lots of things to do. What they are, I haven't entirely figured out, but I know that I can strive to do what the Lord asks, and I will be just fine! I LOVE my mission. It's everything to me. I will never EVER forget what it's done for me. (here come the tears) I've seen a lot of lives change, and it's because I was lucky enough to be there to see it. I know that each of us has a place in the gospel plan, and that we each have specific people we NEED to meet and bless. I know that... I love all of you, and I will see you in a few days.... Don't mind the bags under my eyes, or the farmer's tan... Hopefully they will go away with time. haha =)
Sister Bonelli.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 9th Email

Helen and Todd were baptized last night! WOO! Helen's records were nowhere to be found, so we got to see 2 baptisms! It was wonderful. They were both so excited. They had their interview on Saturday, and our district leader told us a little about it. He said that Todd told him that after the first few visits with us, he couldn't sleep because he was just so overwhelmed. He would just go over in his mind everything he was learning, and it all just made sense to him. At the baptism, they both bore their testimonies, and Todd said that his whole life he had faith, but there was always a hole. He had finall filled it!
Melissa is still doing super well. She had been really sick for weeks, and I had been able to see her, but she's doing so much better now, and finally was able to get to church. She bore her testimony and just amazed me again! She said that she is fine. She doesn't have to worry anymore. I've been so lucky to hear how the gospel truly has profoundly affected the people I've met on my mission. I've really seen so many miracles.
Our investigator Holly finally came to church. Her adorable little girls Halle and Mckaela came with her! We've been teaching them "I Am a Child of God," and they have been so excited about it, and for the closing hymn, we sang that! They were ecstatic and sang at the top of their lungs! It was special =)
My friend Erika from the WQ ward came to see me at the Trail Center. She is leaving for her mission TOMORROW! WOO! I am so excited for her. She joined the church a few years ago, and is so awesome. Can't wait to hear how she is doing.
I got to go to Zone Leader council on Friday! WOO! That's where the all the zone leaders, the assistants, president, and the trail center trainers meet together and discuss the mission and some of the needs, and set goals and receive training. It was AWESOME. We had a panel with a few people from Omaha, and Our Ward Mission Leader and Bishop were on the panel. I learned a lot. Sister Kunz gave a training on hope, which I loved. She talked about hope being an expectation. She called it Righteous Expectation. One thing I thought was neat was this quote, "Because Christ successfully completed his mission, we have every reason to hope." That is so true. I've been able to grasp a little bit of that lately. Especially with the short time frame that I have. Although I am nervous to embark on the rest of my life, I'm not scared. I have learned that I can do anything through the atonement that is nessecary for me to do. It's nerve wracking... but It's going to be just fine. Anyway, we got to go to the temple after which was nice... by the time I go home I'll have been lucky enough to go 3 times this transfer!
On saturday, I may have had a little cry fest just before meeting with our ward mission leader. He's super awesome, so sister myers said, "well, if there is anyone who wouldn't judge you it would be him, so it's ok!" I agreed and we went in. He saw that I was sad, and asked what happened, and I cried more, and told him. He then told me to sit down and said, "Sister Bonelli... Sister Meryhew sat right there and cried in my living room. Sister Mortensen sat right there and cried in my living room about going home. AND LOOK AT THEM NOW!" He then proceeded to pull up pictures of them with their boyfriends. I'm not even worried about boys. haha. silly brother jensen.
hmmm.. I think those are the main points of the week. It has been a good one. I'm working hard to just make sure I'm doing everything Heavenly Father wants me to right now... It's a struggle, of course... but it's great! I love you all....
Sister bonelli

August 1st Email

Well, it's officially like the depths of Hades here. lol. The Trail Center windows are literally sweating! weird, huh?! It's kind of funny. the other day we were out contacting people on the streets, and I am sure the spirit had to be making things work, because I was sweating like a pig, and am sure that what I had to say was not appealing on its own! haha.
Todd is amazing! He was in Gospel principles class yesterday and kept answering all the questions. He's just so good! Also, He's been smoke free for 2 weeks! WOO! He gets baptized next monday. His wife Helen is so cute, too. She made a little sign for he day care letting them know she wouldn't be available that day, and made sure to tell them it was because todd was getting baptized. She actually may be getting baptized, too. They can't find her records anywhere, so she may do it too. Todd keeps telling her she should just do it. He refers to it as "Taking the plunge!".... He's so silly. "Helen, we might as well save some time and have you take the plunge with me!" I just love those two.
I had another adventure as TC trainer. We got together friday night to plan training for saturday. It's so cool to see what happens in those meetings. This particular meeting, we didn't even have a topic in mind yet, and we had to start from scratch. But literally within a few minutes we knew exactly what to talk about. We had a tour in mind all about Sacrifice. We were going to select 4 sisters to touch base on sacrifice at each of the spots in gallery. We knew exactly which sisters. It's interesting to see how that happens. I know that it's directed by the spirit, and it's not like I feel this incredible force telling me, "sister so-and-so needs to talk about the Log cabin." It just makes sense, whether I know anything about them or not. That's the cool thing about callings. What you need to do just makes sense. I love it.
President Kunz's daughter just got back from her mission, and came to training on Saturday. She was awesome, and I learned a lot from her! It was a little daunting to think about being a return missionary. It's almost more pressure than being a full-time missionary. Don't judge me if I am not as fantastic as you hope I'll be! haha.
Well, it's now august, and I'm about to turn 23. ew. I've decided that I'm staying 23 forever. also, I've decided to stay in Nebraska forever. Or maybe I'll just come back when i have a family. We'll see. I love this place so much. Humidity and snow and all.
I love you all. write me soon!
Sister Bonelli

August 1st Picture

Mission wide photo. Taken just before meeting Elder Christofferson!

Pictures of the Cemetary, including the entrance, the monument and some pretty flowers with the Temple in the background!

July 26th Pictures Part 1

With Sister Meyer's at the Tabernacle after the play!

Elder's and Elder Watson! They needed extra Mormon Batallion members to come home to Kanesville!

With Sister Stranger and Sister Kusnerik before Stranger left!

July 26th Email

Dear Family!
It's been a pretty eventful week! I had the opportunity to participate in a Hymn Festival, called "remembering the hymns of the restoration." It's been planned for months, and they asked Sister Myers and I to perform "Angels" at it, so the fact that we ended up being companions was pretty awesome! =) Anyway, this fireside was at the Kanesville Tabernacle, and it was a joint church fireside. Members of the Community of Christ, Remnant LDS, and Restoration LDS were a part of the program. It was actually really neat. They had a program with music from each of our different hymn books, so that we could all sing along to eachother's hymns. It was neat. Anyway, Sister Myers and I jazzed up the song, and made some cool changes, so soon you will get to see a video. It was cool to sing at the Tabernacle. That was such an important place for the Saints. It's where Brigham Young was sustained, and lots of things happened. I feel so lucky to have been here.
Todd Kmiecik is doing fantastic! He's been smoke free for over 7 days now! WOO! We taught him the plan of salvation the other day, and he said to us that it was "the perfect plan!" He also talked about how he's felt about life since going to church. He said "it's not so much just simply going to church that's helped, but we have more faith now than we did before!" So awesome. I don't know why I get so lucky with these prepared people.
It's been a rough week for the sisters. We had a zone temple trip on Friday, and just an hour before, one of the new sisters found out that someone significant in her life was killed in an accident. Another sister went home on medical release, and almost all of the sisters are struggling with something, and they are all just really weighed down. The TC trainers had a meeting that evening to plan our training for the next morning. Both Sister Larsen and Sister Minert are dealing with things too, and I just really felt the weight of the trail center during that meeting. I knew that we needed to plan a really meaningful training. We worked together and decided to have a pioneer tribute, being that pioneer day was coming up, and we are pioneer nerds =)... Anyway, we selected, very carefully, sisters to share favorite pioneer stories and their testimonies. We wanted the Sister who lost her friend to go first, if she was willing, and she was. She went first and completely set the mood for the whole training. She shared a quote by Heber J Grant when he dedicated the WQ monument. It says, "This has been called the tragedy of winter quarters, but there was no tragedy here, for tragedy spells defeat and disaster. This was the victory of winter quarters. for here were faith and hope and charity raised to their loftiest pinnacles, all greed and selfishness were brought low." I'd never thought about it so deeply as I had then, because of who was saying it. The rest of the meeting was so powerful and I loved it. I think it was just what we ALL needed.
Anyway, it's been a really good week. I'm thankful, because I may have possibly had a "last-transfer" breakdown, finally. I was holding on for dear life so I wouldn't have one... but I had one... now it's over, and I can just focus. lol.
I love you all
Sister Bonelli