Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 7th email

Well this has been a pretty eventful week! =)
As far as themes go, this week seems to be "Eat at the same buffet twice in a row week".... There's a place some members took us to called the USA Steak Buffet. It was great, and then the next day, our Dinner appt took us to the same place. Then, yesterday we went with a member to the Hyvee buffet. Now, guess where we are going tonight.... ;) I love themes.
Right now we're teaching the Bogers. They are a less active family. The mom, Anita, is native american, and struggles with balancing her culture with the church. She's amazing. We told her there's not really any reason for her to feel conflicted, she seems like she's not doing anything wrong. Her son, Ezra, is about to turn 9, and hasn't been baptized yet. We started teaching him yesterday to prepare him for baptism. He's a genius and he's so sweet and cute! He said the prayer yesterday, and he said to Heavenly Father, "I hope you're having a great time!"... I thought that was adorable. He also told us that God created everything we "need, want, and love!"... That included family-love, food-need, and toys-need/want. We watched the restoration DVD, and during the first vision he said "*GASP* Heavenly Father and Jesus!" We asked him how he felt afterwards and he said, "I felt like I was in Heaven. He said he would read his scriptures at bed time so he could have good dreams. He's just amazing!
Yesterday we taught Nychai, and (through translation) she said we were her daughters! I love her! I have a Sudanese mom! =) We were really excited on Sunday, because she had never been to church, even when she was learning before. She needed a ride and we think we just needed to call her and remind her in the morning, because she came walking in the door, so excited to be there! I have never been so excited to see an investigator at church! =) Sadly, she had no idea what was going on, but she felt peaceful, and she is excited to be baptized. She said if we asked her to be baptized tomorrow she would do it! unfortunately, she needs to move out of her boyfriend's house first. She's great!
So I love "coincidences".... at the beginning of the transfer, Sister Mortensen and I prayed about a few former investigators and felt strongly to go see Rebecca Aguilar. We went to her house, and she had moved, so we ended up giving the information of the people living there to the Spanish Elders. They ended up teaching them, so we thought maybe that was why we needed to go see her. Well, no. Brother Clark approached us last sunday to tell us that he saw a lady at the state fair and got her info, but couldn't remember her name. (not a whole lot to go off of huh?) So he took us to her house and we met her, and she said her name was Rebecca. She also said she had met with Elders years before that. I asked her for her last name and she said AGUILAR! Coincidence? I think not! Brother Clark never mentioned that he actually knew the lady before. I just thought that was neat.
Darlene is amazing! She is already being a missionary. She invited her friend Lia to take the lessons. So she is! She's super excited for her baptism and started giving up Tea before we even taught the W.O.W.
It's just been a lovely week. We're teaching like crazy and we have 5 sets right now (Darlene, Najwa, Nychai, Jany, Michelle)... It's great! I just love GI... I know I'm leaving next transfer. As Sister Brady used to say, "I just love this place too much for them to let me stay. once you fall in love with the people they kick you out!"... Sister Mortensen has to keep training Sister Ith until she goes to Taiwan, so I guess I'm probably leaving.... But we'll see. I know whatever happens is right. I will just end up missing everyone's baptisms! Transfers are next week.... which is crazy!
Well, I love you all! keep me posted! I love mail =)
Sister Bonelli

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Email from August 30th

I've noticed a lot of Themes since I've been in GI... Last transfer we had a week that I liked to think of as "Retired Millitary Vet week." We had been teaching Boyd Donaldson, and Mark Morgan around the same time, and they both had some of the same concerns. Last week was "Lost sheep week," where we kept finding people who had been baptized members of the church but didn't have records in the area. Seriously, there were like 5. THIS week was "Investigators who don't speak English week." Yeah, it's funny how Heavenly Father sends people in groups to spice things up! =).... Anyway, like I said before, we were teaching a lot of people from Sudan, and it's been awesome. We found 2 more, and they are set for baptism! Najwa and Nychai. Najwa is a beautiful sudanese mom. When we met her, she immediately told us to come in and "have sit." She didn't speak much english at all, but she walked into her kitchen, and came out with a tray full of water bottles for us. (Sudanese women always bring drinks out on trays... I don't know why, but it's sweet!) We couldn't really communicate with her, so we brought our friend Thompson Abhon with us the next time, to translate. He's awesome, he's sudanese, and was baptized in San Diego about a year ago. We didn't know who he was but decided randomly to check on him last week, and found him, and he had no idea where the church was and is so excited to be going back and helping with missionary work! GOOD TIMING, HUH? He's become our golden team-up, because neither Nychai or Najwa speak english. But it's been really neat to teach with a translater. It allows time for the spirit to sink in and communicate with us while he's translating... pretty cool. We also have been continuing to teach Darlene and Denis. Denis speaks mostly spanish, so we team taught with the Spanish Elders yesterday. The attended church! Darlene felt good when she was there, so that's awesome! She is picky about church so that was a relief. Anyway, this week was mildly confusing, but really amazing!
Anna Mcculla was baptized on Saturday. That was a great day! She has been set since I've been here. Her original date was in July, but she got a little scared. We were excited to be a part of that this past weekend.
Michelle is doing amazingly, as usual! We're praying really hard that she will get to be baptized sooner. She is ready, there are just things standing in the way, and we're worried that the wait will create a little bit of a gateway for satan to wreck it all. BUT, she's praying about some things, and I think it will all work out the way it needs to.
I just love the Kunz's.... They really love us missionaries so much. I was really sad when I left Omaha, because I knew I'd be far away from everyone, especially them, but I have not felt any less love from them than I did before. President keeps in touch with us all the time, and I Know he thinks about me, just like Mom and Dad do. It's pretty cool.
The State fair, for whatever reason, is in Grand Island this year, about 1/4 mile from our apartment. It's pretty exciting! we get to go today... we got free tickets from Darlene. Apparently Heart played last night there, so that's exciting. I could hear them when we came in for the night. Bekah would be so happy for me! =) But I'm excited for the fair... mostly the petting zoo... ;)
WELL, I think that's all I can remember from this week. I keep forgetting to bring my journal with me.... but that was basically it! =) I feel like a missionary and it's GREAT! I love you all! keep the letters coming! =)
Sister Bonelli

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Couple of pics From August 23rd

Here are a couple of pictures of Lianna. She didn't say where these were but I'm assuming the one with so many sisters was at a misison training or zone conference or something. The other one is with her new companion Sister Mortensen.

August 23rd Email

I've been learning more spanish! I can now say "we are missionaries with the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have a message about Jesus Christ for the family. I don't speak much spanish, but we have missionaries that do speak spanish...." It's exciting.... maybe I'll get randomly called to be a spanish speaking sister! not likely though!
Well this week has been pretty insane! We got a call on Friday from President Kunz and he informed us that Sister Mortensen was going to be training a new sister who's visa didn't come through! Her name is Sister Ith, and she was supposed to be going to Taiwan next week, but she is now with us here in crazy GI! So, we're a trio now... and Sister Mortensen is a new mom =)... It's fun!
Some cool experiences since then.... We met with Darlene Gomez... She's amazing... She was a referral from a girl that sister Hall taught in Omaha, and we've been teaching her and her husband, denis, who happens to have been baptized in Guatemala! Anyway, we taught them the other day, and she told us about all sorts of experiences she's been through and we watched the Restoration DVD... She loved it! Anyway, we decided to do Pause, Ponder in Prayer with her. She prayed, and asked if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and when she opened her eyes, she was crying and she said she felt good! We comitted her to be baptized on 9/18! We're going to celebrate her birthday today after we email and stuff! =)
I had the best sunday of my life yesterday! I got to sing in sacrament meeting. I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" (the version dad used to do all the time)... Sister Mortensen has it memorized on the piano, so we got to do that. Anyway, afterwards, Brother Larry Adams, a member of the bishopric, someone I just absolutely love, got up and told a story about his wife. She is someone we visit every now and then to see what we can do for her... she's older and has a lot of back trouble. Anyway, one day we stopped by to pick something up from them, and we asked if she needed anything. She said, "well, the dining room table is in a position that makes it hard for me to get through to the door with my walker... maybe you can turn it the other direction, and the rug as well?"... So we did that and went on our way... Brother Adams told the congregation that when he got home that day, he walked in and saw the table just the way she wanted it, and remembered telling her he could do it alone, so he would need to call someone... So he walked in and was angry with her and told her she could have hurt herself. She then said, "the sisters did it. And afterward, they gave me a big hug, and told me how much they loved me, and it meant so much to me!"....Brother Adams then bore an incredible testimony, and then said "If anyone is hesitant about sharing the gospel with their friends, now is the time to do it. Take advantage of these sisters while we have them here!"... When he said that the spirit was so strong... It was intense. that was an incredible compliment he paid us. It was neat to feel the spirit that way. It wasn't just a good feeling we had... it was a presence.... SO COOL.
After that, we met with Tom Hornbacher... Our less-active, professional Gambler friend. He's amazing! Heavenly Father keeps dropping these spiritual feelings in his lap, and he just needs to give up his favorite sins so he can utilize them! He was able to go to the trail center the other day, and had an amazing tour by my lovely Sister Lawlor. He cried as he told us how powerful it was... I just love the trail center... It's a special place. I wish I could be there, but I know I'll go back, and I love GI! =)
We've been teaching a lot of people from Africa lately. Peter is awesome... He's Sudanese. He's one of the lost boys of Sudan, so he has a lot of anger and a lot of guilt. I just love him though. We randomly picked a less active from the ward roster yesterday and went to check on Thompson. We were just getting out of the car in a parking lot, when a sudanese man said "MISSIONARIES!"... It was Thompson walking back to his house. He found us instead! It was neat. Anyway, according to my companions he was amazing, but I was being distracted by his nephew, Tabu, who was probably under the influence, but asking me about the book of mormon. Eventually, sister Ith chimed in and started talking about Joseph Smith, and left me to do the first vision, so I started telling the story. about halfway through, Tabu started squinting his eyes and he appeared to be smiling... so when I got to "this is my beloved son, hear him" I began to chuckle uncontrollably.... Then he said, "SISTAH? My sistah's name is also sistah!".... apparently when he squinted, he was trying to read my nametag... It was awkward, and hilarious.... and the spirit was definitely not able to communicate with him at that time... but I think once he's sober, he will be wonderful to teach! Then, sister Ith had her first unwanted-hug-experience. Tabu grabbed us and hugged us and said "THehnk you foh helping meee!".... it was cute... and awkward. She looked at me, completely terrified, and I mouthed, "it's okay, it's okay..." So funny.
Anyway, Things are going amazingly right now! I think this is just the beginning of a lot of growing... I'm excited!
I love you all! keep me posted on life! =)
Sister Bonelli

August 16th Email

Hola Familia! =)
Wow, thanks so much for all the birthday love! It was definitely a good one =) Sister Hall told a few people before she left, so I had all of these birthday surprises! Sister Mortensen made me gluten free pancakes for breakfast.... which were awesome. My dinner appointment had baloons and candy for me when we got there, and sister Butler in the 2nd ward gave me some mary kay! Our ward mission leader also gave me a Nebraska Cornhusker blanket! We had mission training the next day, so the sisters serving in North Platte came to spend the night with us, so I even got to have a slumber party! (lights out at 10:30 of course!).... When we got home for the night and met the sisters, all of the Elders that drove down with them sang me happy birthday... it was the best. I definitely didn't feel lonely for being so far away from home... it was nice =)
Mission training was awesome! We have been learning a lot lately about Pause, ponder in prayer.... basically you pray, ask Heavenly Father a question, and wait for the answer before you close.... We did a cool roleplay, where we had to think of something we wanted to know, and we did our roleplay, inviting another missionary (pretending to be an investigator) to try it. Then, that missionary prayed, but really asked what they personally wanted to know... it was really cool. I got some insite that I needed right there with the other missionaries kneeling beside me.
Ann scared us this week. We met with her, and asked if she had read the assignment we gave her. She said, "no, and I have been doing lots of thinking and praying and I just don't think this is right for me."... .of course that is not what a missionary wants to hear from someone who has come so far! We kept listening to her... and it turns out she just worded that statement completely wrong! She just wasn't quite ready for baptism yet! She still needs to quit smoking, and she has a lot of things she needs to feel before she can make that commitment... so thankfully after a very long conversation, we were bumbed about her not getting baptized this week, but sooooo relieved that she still wants to! We all shed a lot of tears together, and she continues to say how much she has changed. She's also been having really neat experiences with prayer. This coming from the woman who was angry with God for so long. I'm just so pleased with her, and thankful that she's not jumping in before she's ready. She's amazing!
Sister Mortensen is awesome.... She just has such a sincere testimony, and a kind heart! I love her to death. We also have lots of fun together! President challenged us to memorize bullet points on How To Begin Teaching in PMG... So, we have taken on the task and we have been using hymns to memorize them. We've turned the bullet points into songs to the tune of different hymns... it's been a blast! =)... Entertainment is clearly limited as a missionary, so little things like that are really entertaining to me ;)
Well, I'm still loving mission life! Keep me posted on everything in CA! =D love you all!
Sister Bonelli

August 9th Email!

Well, I've officially hit my 5 month mark, and I'm still in Grand Island! =) I have a new comp! Her name is Sister Mortensen! I knew her in the Trail Center, and She is just the sweetest! She's very sweet, and kind, and fun, and bubbly. I love her to death. She's senior companion, but I was a little overwhelmed the first few days, because I had to lead (that's the way it goes when you are turning over an area). BUT, now it's going really well!
My birthday is tomorrow, and that's so weird! I feel like I just had my birthday! Thank you for all of the birthday love =).... Sister Hall made sure to tell EVERYONE before she went home, so that she could make sure I had a good one without her there. She's the best =)... My District Leader/Zone leaders are also super awesome, and make sure to remind me every day that my birthday is coming up... so even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to forget about it! =) NOM is the best.
So I've got some really great investigators in this town! Michelle Scott is amazing. She's getting baptized in September. Every time we teach her, she ends up bearing her testimony like crazy. She's so on top of it. She's also serving in the ward as best she can without having an official calling. She comments in relief society, and she's spot on every time. I just love her. Ann Johnson... Also amazing. She told sister Mortensen and I how much she feels she has changed. Her family is noticing these changes too, and she said they are confused because she talks a lot now, and she finds ways to laugh about tough situations. I am so proud of her. She also testifies a lot, and I love it! =) I told her how neat it is to see the change in her from when I first met her. She asked if I felt any responsibility for that change, and I said "No, I just showed up when I needed to...." and She said, "well, you should.".... I thought that was cool. Although I really didn't do anything but listen to the spirit, it's cool to hear that she loves me. I remember when I thought she was annoyed when we came over... now she is happy and excited. Oh, I just love her.
I've felt so much love this past week. Both from others and for others. It's so important to have that love in order to progress as a missionary. I truly love these people, and I love knowing that I'm right where I need to be.
That's about all for now, but keep me posted on your lives. I love you all!
Sister Bonelli

August 2nd Email

Transfer #3 is coming to an end.... WEIRD. Sister Hall is going home on Thursday... so I'm "killing her off".... I'm going to miss her! She's taught me so much. Love her! There are lots of things that could happen... Most likely someone will come in and I will still be junior companion, but I will be turning over the area, so that is stressful... or I could possibly become senior... who knows.... either way I'm mildly freaking out!
So this week... of course, it was awesome... Since I've been in G.I, I have given 2 talks, taught relief society, taught YW, and yesterday I taught ELDER'S QUORUM... What do I look like? A Scriptorian? Of course, thankfully, YW and EQ were a joint thing with sister hall, so it wasn't so bad... and YW was fun... we had to teach them all about fellowship. When I taught relief society, I taught them about Elder Andersen's talk "tell me the stories of jesus"... Imagine, a sister missionary (obviously not a parent) teaching a bunch of middle aged/elderly women about how to teach their children... Funny. I enjoyed it though! =)
ANN JOHNSON! Oh my, I love her. She is so great. She set a date! we invited her to be baptized on August 21st, and she said "that's cool!".... She's doing so well. Who would have thought? I just pulled her name out of a pile of formers! She said she has felt so much peace since meeting with us. She prayed with us the other day, and she (who just got over her anger issues with God) told God she loved him. AMAZING.
We work with a lot of Elderly less-actives in the area, and the other day Sis. Hall and I did Hymn Carolling and taught them on saturday. It was so much fun. It is so rewarding to see their faces! We went to See Walley and Dale, and Dale rejected us at first, so we went to sing to Walley, who loved it... then we went back out to see Dale, and we said "you change your mind yet?"... and He said, "yeah I guess...".... so we sang to him, and he totally loved it, whether or not he will admit it... and then he started singing "The Lord's Prayer" out of the blue... It was great.
I don't remember if I mentioned it last week, but QIQI (my etern-igator from Winter Quarters) got baptized! Oh my goodness! I am still in shock. I'm so proud of her. I wish I could have been there!
Anyway, pray for me that I don't have any panic attacks this coming week with transfers.... I'm excited/nervous/sad-sis-hall-is-leaving/worried that randomly they will decide to white-wash the area again. Who knows? Anyway, it will be grand! Love you all! wre me letters!
Sister Bonelli

July 26th Email

Well, it's official... I've seen my first cicada/locust. No one really knows exactly what they're called... but they are HUGE. All bugs in Nebraska are jumbo sized, but cicadas are GIGANTIC. They really don't hurt you, but they are just scary. I'd send a picture, but that would involve me having to get close to one, and I refuse....
Anyway, back to the important stuff.... We had a baptism on saturday! Doreen Cunningham! It was great! She said she got out of the water and said she just made a deep sigh, that's how great she felt. The spirit is awesome! =)
I can't remember if I've mentioned Ann Johnson before, but she's awesome! She was taught on and off by elders, and we just picked her name out of a bunch of formers from the area book. We had been trying to get in and teach her for weeks, and finally a few weeks ago, she let us in. We have had some amazing experiences just teaching her. She has had issues with God because of tragedies in her life, and hasn't walked into a church (except for her dad's funeral) in years. She finally decided to go to church, and she went with us yesterday! She was totally scared, but she did it. She also is soft set. She said she would be baptized if she knew it was true. That's not usually a HUGE deal, but I've never heard anyone respond so sincerely to a soft set. Usually people just say yes and shrug it off. But she was so amazing. I'm excited to see her progress.
We're sad because Bambi and her kids still haven't gone to church yet, and they are very hard to get ahold of. We're in the process of trying to decide what to do to help them. UGH, they just have so much potential. We did teach the kids The Plan of Salvation the other day, which was awesome. They taught it back to us, no problem. I felt pretty dumb, since I didn't get it at all when I was their age! haha.
I've fallen in love with the Pyper family, the Nesslain family, and the Cunningham family. They are the best. The Pypers are a big musical family, so naturally I love them... but the mom is just the sweetest lady, and I really click with them in a lot of other ways. The nesslains are just this big powerhouse family and they have no idea how amazing they are. The spirit just eminates from them! The cunninghams are just the cunninghams, and you can't help but love them!
I am starting to be afraid for the rest of my mission. Miracles just keep falling into my lap, and I have no idea what I did to deserve it. Grand Island is just blossoming, and I feel like all I did was just show up. It just goes to show that missionaries just sort of show up and provide people with info/testimony, and the Lord takes care of the rest. Because REALLY, lets face it... I'm not the sharpest tool in the box... ;)
Anyway, I'm in love with this funny little town. I can't wait to see what other miracle await us. Pray for me. I pray for all of you! =) write me letters! ;)
Sister Bonelli
P.s.... if anyone has heard from my brother.... tell him to let me know if he's alive, I miss that boy!

July 19th Email

WHOA... What a week.
Wednesday was "Mission Training"... which is basically zone conference, but they are doing a new system for training missionaries, and we're doing it 4 times in 2 months... so I guess it's different.... ANYWAY, it was amazing! We drove in the transfer van all the way to Lincoln for ours. Sister Hall and I sat in the van for 2 hours with a ba-gillion elders. It was actually fun, believe it or not. =)... BUT training was amazing. We got to do some really neat activities. The assistants did a training where they had us pick 20 names from our ward roster to go visit. Then, we had to separate from each other, and pick 5 names on our own, and pray about them, and then come back together with each of our 5 names. They promised us that if we had sincerely prayed and followed the spirit, there would be 2-3 names in common from our lists. So we separated, and I really tried to focus on which names stood out to me, and which names I just picked for random reasons. I felt good about the ones I had, and we came back together, and we had 3 names that were the same. HOLY CANOLI. It was amazing. President did a major training on inspired questions and pausing and pondering. He really stressed the importance of listening to investigators during lessons and waiting for guidance from the spirit to discern their needs. It was really helpful, and the next day we had some cool experiences with the people we're working with. Also, Sister Hall and I sang "Come Thou Fount".... that was fun =)
After training, we went to a park in Lincoln for our zone activity! It was lots of fun! it was disgustingly humid, and I felt really ugly, but I loved it. President and Sister Kunz came and provided a bbq picnic for us. It was nice. President played football with the elders and sister kunz had girl-talk with us sisters. I just love them. After zone activity we hopped back into the transfer van and headed back to Grand Island. As we started driving it started POURING RAIN. CRAZY. Then the sky started to turn green.... which is an indicator that there could be a tornado coming. It was insane. I was excited... I've never seen a tornado... BUT as we continued driving the rain and green sky went away.... BUT, whenever there is a crazy storm, the sky always ends up looking INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL. All of a sudden there were swooshy, billowy clouds, and Orange and pink stripes everywhere in the sky. Aw man... I will never forget how pretty it was. Don't worry, I'll send pictures.
We set Bambi for baptism, but she hasn't attended church yet, and she has to attend 2 times. She missed yesterday. She was set for 7/31, but it looks like we have to push it back a bit. I think I mentioned the Cunningham family last week. They are this super sweet/humble/awesome, yet slightly complicated family. Brother Cunningham has suddenly found himself a new wife, and she wants to be baptized. Her name is Dorreen. She's the sweetest. I just love the Cunninghams.
I'm starting to feel the exhaust of missionary work. I guess when you go full-pros it wears on you. It's a good kind of exhaustion though, so I'll take it!
There is just something really special about Grand Island. It can be a bit dramatic at times, being a smaller town... but there is a spirit here that I just love. People are really humble and kind. I have felt the spirit more often in a short period of time than I ever have. It's amazing. The people are starting to understand that Heavenly Father has prepared them for big changes. It's about to explode and we are sooooo excited to be here for this! =D
I love you all! write me letters! ;)
Sister Bonelli

Friday, July 16, 2010

Picture Post

Pat's Baptism

New Companion Sister Hall

Must be P-Day with Sister Hall

New District

Grand Island!!

More with Sister Hall

July 12th Email

Hi everyone!
We had a baptism on Saturday of Pat Summers. I think I mentioned her before. She's 80 years old, and has been investigating for years. She has put it off because she is afraid of going under water. WELL, she did it! She fought it... but she did it. We watched her, and as Brother Clark tried to lay her in the water she fought him, and we sat there all tensed up, squinting our eyes. BUT, she got under, and it all worked out! It was kind of funny... She is very outspoken, and as soon as she stepped in the water she said "I hate warm water!".... She always says what's on her mind. She has lots of cool stories about her life and growing up. She always likes to tell us how strong she is for an 80 year old, and she'll grab our arms and pull us to the ground. She always forgets that she has already told us, so we usually expect her to do it again the next time. She also gives us bags of cookies every time she comes, because she forgets that she's already given us a whole bag full the day before. It's really cute. We always end up giving the cookies to the elders at district meeting... there are just so many of them.
We've had some neat experiences this last week. The spirit has been really strong. There's a less active family we're working with named the Hornbachers. It's a 60 something man and his 11 year old daughter Anna. She's AMAZING. She got baptized not long ago, and she just has an amazing testimony. Brother Hornbacher joined the church years ago, but he struggles with a few things. He's a professional gambler... He has such a desire to know how to change and to make his life better. We met with them yesterday and we brought Brother Bo Nesslain from the ward, and it was just amazing. It was one of those times where you knew that everything turned out just the way it was supposed to. Brother Hornbacher is starting to accept that he needs to repent so that he can fight off the temptations that he deals with. Oh man. it was neat.
Speaking of Bo Nesslain.... Love him. The nesslain family is amazing. We'll be Bffs when I go home.
I had to give a talk in church yesterday... which I was not happy about, but it ended up being a good experience... and we get to give talks next sunday in the 2nd ward...
Still working with Bambi, Rochelle and Rashawn. They're amazing. They've been reading and praying and doing so well. Bambi said that she hasn't slept through the night in forever.... but since she's been meeting with us she has been sleeping throught the night. and BOYD.... He said that since he got back from Iraq in 2007, he has had a nightmare every night.... but he hasn't had a nightmare since the day he met us. HOLY CANOLI! The spirit is so amazing. Our teaching pool is finally starting to be where it needs to be! so we're excited!
We're working with the Cunningham family right now. They are so interesting but I just love them. The cunninghams are members. James and his children Tyler and Jamie who are adults, and Tyler's fiancee michelle, and Jamie's boyfriend Roger. Michelle wants to be baptized and Roger is a wiccan, but said he would learn more. Their whole dynamic is strange, but they are some of the most humble people. We go over to teach them and they are just so kind and loving. I love being around them. Brother cunningham says the sweetest prayers... He just uses "thou" for everything. I love them!
Grand Island sometimes seems like a soap opera. Or like One Tree Hill. It can be a little dramatic sometimes but in a funny way... Small Towns have that tendency I guess.
I'm officially being eaten alive by Mosquitoes... If I don't return home... it's probably because I've come down with Malaria!..... Ok it's not that serious, but It is really annoying... I think my mission call meant to say "you have been called to serve in the Amazon during the summer and Alaska in the winter...."... It's awesome though... at least I can get a tan! =)
We get to see 2 recent converts named Walley Adams and Dale Harvey at an old folks home in town. I love visiting them! They are just so humble and sweet and enthusiastic about the gospel. Walley sometimes calls us to tell us when he's mad about things like having to get a hearing aid. Dale is just a sweetheart. He's a Vietnam vet, and he's always got neat stories. I've come to really love elderly people. I love hearing their stories and their history. Sometimes when I was in the Trail center and it was a slow day, I would listen to the Senior couple's stories and I just loved it.
hmmm... I think that's all I've got for now... I didn't bring my journal so I don't remember everything I was going to write about. Everything is going really well though, and I just love it out here! I love you all! keep in touch! =)
Sister Bonelli

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Email from July 6th

Greetings From Hickville!!

Hello everyone! =)
It's official, I've been sent to the hick town! Everyone keeps asking me if I'm "Eye-Talian"... There are cornfields everywhere, and bails of hay, too. It's insane. Last week is the one week out of the year where everyone is allowed to purchase and set off fireworks, so all day, EVERY DAY, until the 4th, Grand Island was like a war zone. We fell asleep to the fireworks every night. The house we live in was the worst one... they set off more fireworks than anyone in the city. It was insane!
Along with our 2 wards, we actually cover a little branch called Aurora, about 30 minutes away. They come and pick us up once a week and we take care of things in their area that one day. We went on saturday for the first time, and I got to see a LEGIT small town. It was so interesting... So Stars Hollow-ish. I loved it though.
Things are starting to pick up here in GI. We basically started from scratch, with the exception of a 2 baptismal sets... but it's starting to look upward. Sister Hall is super organized, so I am thankful for that. We have a few really amazing investigators now and we're starting to have more appointments instead of lots of finding time. Yesterday we taught a cute little family--The smiths. It's a single mom, Bambi, and her 2 kids, Rochelle and Rashawn. They are amazing. We randomly knocked on her door last week while looking for a former, and Rochelle answered and said we could come back. It was one of those things where we didn't think they were really interested but we went back anyway. I'm so thankful we did, because it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission so far. Sister hall gave the First Vision and it was like the spirit knocked us upside the head. Bambi said she felt warm, and that she felt good about it. This was just yesterday, so we soft-set them, but I know they will be baptized. It was so amazing.
Also, we met a guy named Boyd the other day. He is a war vet, who feels a lot of guilt about the wars he's fought in. He said he would be baptized if he can feel peace, because he's never felt peace. We are teaching him soon and we are excited! He's going to be amazing.
Anyway, we're still working really hard to build up the area, but It's progressively getting better and we're loving it! I wasn't too sure about GI at first, I have to admit... I really miss Omaha, but I love it now, and I'm so glad I'm here. I love Sister Hall too... she's the best! =)
I love all of you... You amaze me! Keep me posted by writing me letters! ;).... Also... will you pray for missionary experiences? ---that's a commitment! =) Love you!
sister Bonelli

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28th Email

Hello everyone!
Jeff is Mormon!!!!! My oh my, he's so different. He's just got the glow going on. I am so happy. He bore a 40 minute long testimony and told his conversion story, which by the way was the oddest collection of random thoughts I've ever heard... but it was so wonderful and I'm so happy I got to be a part of it. So awesome.
Well... The most unexpected thing possible happened this week. Sister Brady and I BOTH got transferred! I got shipped clear out to Grand Island which is in the Kearny zone... which is super far away from Omaha. I must admit, I was kind of devistated to have to leave Omaha. Mostly because of the people we're working with, but I know that is where I need to be, and I am loving it so far. I am serving with Sister Hall. She took me out on exchanges my very first day in Omaha, and she's awesome. We are opening up Grand Island for sisters... so neither of us have a clue where we are. Grand Island is in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful, but totally foreign. We're covering 2 wards. Grand Island 1st ward and Grand Island 2nd ward. They are mad that they have to share us, and they haven't had sisters here for 20 years. It's pretty insane. We're starting from scratch. I was pretty spoiled in Omaha, so now I'm facing the realities of missionary work. HAHA. Oh yeah, and I'm not in the Trail Center right now. I'm full pros... so that's interesting.
Chad was really upset about this change. Sister Brady is sort of close to him, and still in the trail center, but I am clear out in Grand Island, so he's bummed. I was slightly worried about him having to get used to new missionaries, but got a call from the Assistants yesterday, and he is set for baptism. Heavenly Father knew exactly what he needed! I am so happy =)... I miss him though, and everyone else. I guess I'll have to get used to transfers.
Well, That's about it for now... Pray for me, I'm totally confused about this whole OPENING AN AREA thing... But it's lovely! ;) I love you all! Thanks for all you do! write me!
Sister Bonelli

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Email from June 21st!

)Sorry it's late we moved this week ... life has been insane!!

HOLY CANOLI! What an amazing week.

First things first, Janetta was baptized and it was amazing! =)...

We had Zone conference. I spent the whole time listening to the trainings and thinking of how terrible of a missionary I was, and how much I needed to fix. But one training was about the spirit and really focusing on the spirit, so I really tried to pay attention to that training and take a lot from it. So the next day, I prayed all day to have the spirit, and it turned out to be one of the best days I've had in the field. I loved it! I've been trying to focus on that ever since.

Alright so there's some big news.... Jeff Woodhouse is FINALLY GETTING BAPTIZED! I'm not really sure how it all happened, but last week he fasted and got some answers. The other day he told us his biggest hold up was tithing, and so we told him to pray about it. Yesterday he called us and said he kept feeling like he needed to give the church money, but the thoughts were in a really random way, so he didn't realize that it was an answer... it was really funny. Anyway, he went to the trail center while we were working yesterday, and he was being really giddy, and showed up with blender so that he could make all of us raspberry lemonade. Hilarious. He gave sister B a really sweet letter saying he was probably going to get baptized, and it was really neat. Anyway, we went to our bishops house after dinner to pick up Janetta's baptismal record, and he told us that he had just talked to Jeff on the phone, and this was how the conversation went. "Bishop, I think I'm ready to be baptized, how about tuesday?!"....he didn't want to waste any time, so of course we were ecstatic and we were practically dancing in the streets! We are frantically trying to get everything together now, because that is tomorrow, but OH MY GOSH, he's getting baptized! He was our toughest case. He went from thinking Joseph Smith was a terrible person to knowing he was a true prophet. I'm so happy.

So it's funny when your a missionary. People always give you things. I bought this box about a year or so ago from the salvation army that I love, but on the inside someone wrote "CHARIOT"... but it actually more like "Charoit." I like to leave it open but it's ugly, so this artist who lives in the Indie house, named Jack, painted it for me. He gave it back to me and he pretty much knew exactly what I was looking for without me saying a word. People also like to give me food that is gluten free, which is nice =). And there's a senior couple who makes things for us all the time. Right now Elder Averet is making me a heart shaped necklace out of black walnut. I love it here.

We have a less active named kelsey who is amazing. She has such a testimony but she's been burned pretty badly by some people in the church. We got her to come to church on Sunday because I was singing, and she called us after and told me that she felt the spirit, and she hadn't felt it in a really long time. I had been praying that someone would that day, and it was her. I was really grateful.

Transfers are coming up on thursday, and I'm pretty sure I will be devastated if I leave Winter Quarters, but I am also terrified of turning over the area. I really have no idea what Is happening, but pray that I won't have a panic attack over whatever the outcome is! ;) I truly love the people here. I will be sad if I leave, but I know that whatever is supposed to happen will happen.

I'm pretty sure there were more amazing events this week, but I can't remember at the moment, so sorry =(. But things are great! =) I love you all!

Sister Bonelli

Friday, June 18, 2010

Picture Post

This is Jeff Woodhouse

Elder w/ Gorilla at the Zoo

(My fav) Mowing the Lawn! Jeff Woodhouse Watching

Donnie & David

Elder's at Florence Days

With Sister Brady at Florence Days

At the Zoo

At the Zoo

June 15th Email

Hello Everyone,

Things are going well here in Omaha. David's niece is getting baptized this weekend! We're so excited. She's 18, so we got to teach her and she's just great! Jeff is progressing... slowly but surely. Donnie was ignoring us for a while, and we thought he dropped us, but it turns out that we're just really obnoxious and he just needed a break from us! Imagine that. We had a set baptism with a boy named Tyler Jaffe. He's a good kid, and has apparently read the BOM 5 times. The problem is we can never get a hold of him and he's always disappearing so we're not sure when he's going to be baptized.

Neat experience.... So we have taught this boy named Chad a few times. He's just the sweetest person. His mom was recently baptized so he's been looking into it. Anyway, he's had a really rough upbringing, and lately we haven't been able to reach him. But the other night a MIRACLE HAPPENED. He called us, and he'd been having a hard time, and he called everyone in his phone, and we were the only ones who picked up. We met with him the next day, and we taught him about the Atonement. He walked into the trail center that day and he looked SO sad. He was very down and not like himself. We taught him, and I felt like I needed to tell him how important he is. I said, "Chad, I wish you knew how important you are. You're Important." That was all I said, and I looked at him and I could see tears in his eyes (which is not like him AT ALL)... The lesson progressed, and he began to perk up. We took him into the Reflections of Christ exhibit, and that was also really neat. He was much happier in the end of the lesson. I was so glad. He's such a good person, he just needs the gospel. I think he's realizing that more and more. I just love him.

So we got to go to the Zoo last PDAY. IT was AWESOME!!!! They have a cool butterfly house thing with butterflies everywhere. They have a madagascar exhibit, which was supposed to be really amazing, but I didn't think it was that great. There's a huge jungle dome thing. And BEST OF ALL.... GORILLAS! And there's a story behind the gorillas. So we have an elder in our district named Elder Bailey. He's so sweet. He's like a Garen Holmes. He's about 6'11 and just a big gentle Giant. Anyway, he's been to the zoo before, and when he went to the gorillas, there was one in particular who was intimidated by him. Well we were there last week for our district activity, and the gorilla remembered him. It was amazing, he kept charging at the glass and Elder Bailey just stood there. this happened multiple times. we were rolling! pictures/video soon to come.

Service is fun. Weird, I know. I have found that when we're doing service with our investigators, it helps make things less formal, so they can relate to you more. We did that with QiQi last week, and I felt like we really got to know her more and understand her. She's doing really well.

So Elder Osmond made me train at our last district meeting. I was not happy! I don't do well with those sorts of things. BUT, it didn't go terribly. I could do it again if I had to. It's definitely not my favorite thing in the world though.

Anyway, things are going really well, and I'm loving it of course! I love letters in the mailbox... hint hint ;).... Love you all! take care! Muah!

Sister Bonelli

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 7th Email

Hmmm.... this week was full of interesting-ness

First things first, I forgot to mention last week that I had an interesting experience during a lesson. We were teaching Lia and Ben the Restoration. They had an adorable little puppy named zuzu, who was very excited to see us, and she plopped right on my lap. Right in the middle of "the gospel blesses families," I noticed that she was so excited that she peed right on my lap.... yup.... of course that would happen. It was mildly embarrassing. To top it off, Ben and Lia turned out to be atheists and didn't want the gospel.... BUT, I survived...

I went on exchanges with Sister Gingrich on Wednesday. This time, she came to my area, so I had to be in charge... I was pretty much a stress case the whole day... but I learned a lot, and I actually know my way around this place a lot more than I thought. But I did have to lead the lessons, which helped, but stressed me out. Haha. Lets just say I am not a fan of exchanges when they are in my area... I missed Momma Brady the whole day...

I got to go to target last PDAY and it made me so happy! I felt so at home! AND, I ran into Sister Baker.... She used to be in the Moval stake. She's one of the Powell/Baker/Hughes people... It was neat! Hopefully she mentioned it to someone =)

hmmm... Oh yeah, we had a crazy storm... Technically we had a tornado... well, the city of Blair had one... we just had a crazy Thunder/lightening/rainstorm, and 30th street turned into a river, right when we had to go to our dinner appointment. 10 seconds of backing sister Brady out of a parking spot resulted in me looking like I had just gotten out of the shower. It was ridiculous, but awesome.

ALRIGHT, so our people.... JEFF is doing great. He fasted yesterday, which was not his favorite experience in the world, but he had a prompting of the spirit, and he acted on it... it wasn't about baptism, but he recognized it enough that he told us about it... So we're realizing that we can sort of just help him realize that these things are really promptings and that he's getting closer to understanding the spirit and how it works. It's pretty neat. Slowly but surely. DONNIE... Donnie's not doing so well. He is getting a little bit scared. He was doing so well for a while, so we'll see what happens but he is holding back a bit.

NOW, we need to broaden our teaching pool again. Everyone keeps getting baptized or dropped, so we have to switch it up again. It's always fun to start fresh though, so it will be good. I'm excited. Man, I love being a missionary. Right now I'm focusing a lot on my goals and trying to follow through with them. I'm really bad at 1. thinking of goals and 2. remembering the ones I've set... so I'm working on that right now. I'm trying to study with specific questions in mind, really focus on the spirit when we're in lessons, and a few other things. This morning was a good one for study, so I'm feeling good so far!.... Anyway, I really love this fancy place =) I'm doing really well, I hope everyone else is also doing well! Write me letters! I love you all! take care!

Sister Bonelli

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1st Email

Hello everyone I love! =)

This past week was fabulous!

First things first, Ronnell was baptized! This is my favorite story ever. He got out of the font, and they closed the curtain thing, and all of a sudden we heard him shout "WOO! I feel great!".... Spoken like a true southern baptist...

Right now we have this amazing exhibit at the Trail Center. It's called Reflections of Christ. There's this DVD you can get and it's a slide show of photographs taken by this guy named Mark Mabrey, and It's all pictures depicting Christ's life. It's one of the most Beautiful things I have ever seen, and one of the neatest depictions of Christ I've ever seen. It's amazing. ANYWAY, we have the original prints from the photography in the trail center right now. They are going around to the different visitor's centers, and we have it until August. It adds such an amazing spirit to our little center. I advise ANYONE to get the DVD and see the pictures, and watch the special feature that shows how it was all done. It's so cool.

David baptized his mom on Saturday. I'm pretty much amazed by him! =D

Donnie is quitting smoking. David is helping him. I love my life.

So we have this house full of indie kids that we teach. They are amazing! They always have such neat things to say, and one of them seems to be really wanting what we have to offer. Her name is Emily. There's a house across from them, with a bunch of people as well, who are great, but they are always drunk. The other day we went by to teach one of them, (who stood us up, so we decided to teach the ones that were there instead) and all of a sudden two Native American men walked up to the porch and decided to sit in. They were clearly under the weather, judging by the vodka in their hands, and they decided to offer the prayer, which ended up being a Native American prayer/song/thing. It was beautiful, but impossible to understand. Anyway, we began teaching, or trying to teach, and one of the Native Americans kept trying to talk to me, but I had no idea how to understand his slurred speech! This made him angry, but he continued to try talking to me, and lean on me, so I pulled the scoot-chair-in-sneaky-manner trick, and it seemed to work. Then, everyone started drinking vodka, and talking to each other, making it impossible to teach a normal lesson! ugh. But one thing that was neat, was one of the Indie house kids showed up (Nate) and when the vodka kids would try and get confrontational, He would stand up for us, so that was sweet. But I guess the moral of this long story is to show that its easy to tell when the spirit isn't there. I had such a bad feeling the whole time we were on that porch. So eventually we just left. Haha. That's the problem with teaching YSAs in the Ghetto.

I have been so amazed by Nebraska sunsets. Sister Brady and I were heading home the other night and the sky was completely orange. It was amazing. (btw, it was 8:45 and it was just barely sunset. sleeping takes a while sometimes) It looked like the sky was on fire. I have never seen a sky so beautiful in my life! Oh man. And I'm pretty sure that my favorite temple is now the Winter Quarters Temple. It's the best. I got to go last week, and I'm in love.

Sister Brady is the best. I just love her. We've always been close, but now that we have our apartment to ourselves we have a lot more time to bond in the evenings, as well as focus on being diligent. I've come to realize that when she likes a song, she puts it on repeat. A lot. But I also realized that if she's feeling sad, I can put on her favorite songs and she feels better! =) we also have a secret handshake that never turns out the same. It's the best.

WELL, I think that's basically it. Thanks for all of your support! I just love being a missionary! Write me letters! ;)

Sister Bonelli

Monday, May 24, 2010

Email from May 24, 2010

Hello everyone!

Omaha is more and more wonderful every day! EXCEPT, it's starting to be humid and disgusting. I'm not a fan... but I'm getting tan, so it's nice =).... I'm still amazed at how beautiful it is here, even in the ghetto!

neat things happening-
  • we've put Donnie on a non-smoking plan.... We're really excited, he needs this!
  • We started teaching Chad... he's a very sweet, kind-hearted person, who's mom just got baptized. He just struggles with the idea that he will happier if he gives up some of his favorite sins. He has such a desire to be good though.
  • I mowed my first lawn! Amazing, I know. pictures will be available shortly! ;)
  • We ran into Jeff Woodhouse and offered to help him mow his lawn the other day (because we're so good at it), and so while sister Brady mowed his lawn, I gave him a spiritual thought. We talked about Ether 12:27, and he so genuinly asked, "but what if I don't know what my weaknesses are?"... I told him to pray to know what heavenly father wants him to work on.
  • I've become BFFs with Elder Oaks' brother, President Oaks... He gave me gluten free advice. It was awesome.
  • I discovered that sometimes my companion sleep walks/talks. Lets just say I've been easily entertained by this! =) it usually results in her trying to convince me that she is NOT sleep walking. The other day, she was very concerned about our well being, and she climbed onto my bed to peer out the window and check to make sure we were safe! The next time, she sat up in her bed, and I asked her what she was doing and she said, solemnly, "I am just trying to figure out what comes next." She then laid back down and ignored me.
  • There's a lady that we teach sometimes, and we have been trying to turn her over to the elders, because she's a mom. Her name is Asha, and she called us the other day out of the blue, and told us that she had just gotten out of a really bad situation, and she knew that she needed to make some changes, and that she was ready to change. I was so happy that she called us. She told us she feels stronger when we're there. She was afraid to go to church because she thought people might look down on her for having kids from different dads. She was in tears over it, but we reassured her that Heavenly Father loves her, and they know that, and they will be welcoming her with open arms when she gets there. I love her so much! =)... she calls us her home-girls ;)
  • I have a new district leader... Elder Osmond. YUP, he's an Osmond! He's one of the Deaf one's kids. He's awesome! I told him about the time I saw Jimmy Osmond at church, and he pretended to think that was really awesome.
  • Ronelle is getting baptized on Saturday! =) When Bishop announced it in church, he threw up his hands and quietly said "yup, that's me!"... We were a little worried about it at first, because the whole thing happened so fast, and we didn't know if he realized what he committed to, but he does and he's amazing!
  • We have had a few awkward, as expected while working in the mores sketchy areas. A week ago, a drunk man asked me, "So... if god told you to marry someone like me, would you?".... Then yesterday, We were teaching a guy named Ladell, who we quickly realized only had intentions of marrying Sister Brady... she said... well, "If you have Faith, Repent, are Baptized and Endure to the end, then MAYBE... MAYBE... MAYBE...someday" I then reminded him that he promised to say the closing prayer, which I couldn't help but giggle through... and then we swiftly walked away, agreeing to send elders his way!
  • Recently we dropped Marcus and Dustin, who we thought had a lot of potential. The other day, sister Brady felt like we needed to stop by and see them, even though they are never home. So we knocked on their door, and they were HOME! They told us we could come back! We were so excited. Marcus had such potential, and we really had a hard time dropping them before, so we'll see how round 2 goes.
Well, That's about all I can think of at the moment! It's a wonderful life being a missionary. I love the mission so much. I feel so priviledged to be here. Heavenly Father is so mindful of me. I know that even thought I am still trying to be an effective teacher, that I have his help ALWAYS. I love the Gospel so much, and I am so grateful to be here! Thanks to all those who have made it possible for me to be here! I love you all!

Sister Bonelli

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weekly Letter May 18, 2010

Hellooooo everyone! =)

We had transfers this past week, and I'm in the Winter Quarter's ward for another transfer! Apparently I still need sister Brady, because we're still together ;)... But I'm so happy! I would have been so sad if I had to leave! Sister Endemann, my samoan roomy, got transferred, and I was depressed! but she's still in the Trail center so it's okay! Sister Brady and I working really hard right now to be diligent. We have to be! We can't afford to do anything but work hard. OF COURSE, we make sure to have fun along the way, though... so don't worry ;)

Exciting things have happened:
  • David passed the Sacrament!
  • We have a new set. Ronnelle! He's the sweetest.
  • We had 5 investigators at church, and we were so happy! I felt like a mom with all of my children making good choices, it was great!
  • QiQi, who has been putting off baptism for almost a year, thinks she is ready to be baptized!
  • We have a teaching pool again, so that's exciting!
  • Donny, the hippy, who has really weird beliefs, said yesterday that he wouldn't be baptized.... YET. That was, believe it or not, a big deal for him!
Things are just going really well. I'm working on a lot of personal goals right now. Just trying to be less of a wimp. I was doing really well for a while, but I've kind of fallen into old habits again, so I'm working on that. The trail center is turning out to be a lot more amazing though! I've had some really neat experiences there. Sometimes the Elders get permission to bring their investigators in, and we take them on tour, and I've had the opportunity to do that a few times. It's really neat, because the trail center is just another missionary tool, and a way to teach in a more interesting way. and you can focus on specific needs of people. It's so cool. A few days ago, a Tony and Ruth came in, who were not LDS, and they just decided randomly to pick up and go on a random vacation to HERE of all places. It turned out that they recently found out she has a brain tumor. I focused everything on the temple and families. It was one of the most special experiences. It's interesting how people bond with you when they come into the trail center. Even more than when you talk to people on the street. They didn't want missionaries, but I know, because of the things that they said that they felt the spirit. I snuck my address onto a post card, so that they could write me if they changed their minds. who knows if they will, but I'm never going to forget about them. I hope they can be touched enough to change their minds, especially for Ruth's sake.

Anyway, things are definitely amazing here. I love it dearly! =) I hope everyone is happy and healthy! write me! My letters have been a little slim lately! ;)

Sister Bonelli

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekly Letter May 10, 2010

Hello everyone!

So this week was pretty great! We were really busy with a lot of different things, so we didn't get to teach as much as we would have liked. We were in the Trail center a lot, and we had "Florence-days" parade, where the whole zone had to dress up like pioneers and walk down 30th street. It was fun, but it took a big chunk out of our proselyting time!

Anyway, Transfers are this week, and I'm terrified that they are going to take my "mama" away from me! If they did, it would be ok... but I'd be really sad, and then I would have to find my own way around Omaha! scary. But who knows, I could end up going west, and serving as full-pros, no trail center. Most likely, I will stay for at least another transfer, but we'll see! =)...

Jeff Woodhouse is doing SO WELL. He is inadvertently doing missionary work! haha. He was defending us yesterday to someone... funny how someone so stubborn is becoming such a softy. We still have some finding to do. It's time to rebuild our teaching pool and baptize some more! Teaching is becoming less scary for me! I just have to get Sister Brady to talk a little less! She's a talker! =)... Tours are super fun now. I pray before each tour to be able to help people grow, and not just throw out pioneer information... although, that is also important.

I'm having a blast! Sorry, so short... I'll have a better email next week! =) I love you all!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Letter from May 4, 2010

Well, this past week has been pretty exhausting! We have baptized everyone, so now we have been trying to find people to teach. It's actually been pretty fun walking around. We find ourselves seeking YSAs and chasing them down quite often. It's the best!

So, you know you're a missionary when....

You start dreaming about gospel related topics
All of your jokes are gospel related
You find that some verses in the scriptures are funny..(ex: I nephi being large in stature)
(when working in the trail center) You have dreams about people pretending to be Brigham Young and walking into the trail center, trying to deceive you.

It's funny what happens to your sub-conscience when you are serving a mission!

So... cool story. We had our 3rd baptism on saturday. Justin. Justin was set before I got there, and we worked hand and hand with the elders in that area to teach him. He is in a wheel chair, and he was big on chewing tobacco and drinking. He quit everything and got baptized on saturday. It was so neat. They had 3 people carry him into the font, and sat him in a little chair, and 2 stood behind him, while Elder Boyer baptized him. we were worried about how it was all going to work out and when he baptized him, he laid him so gently in the water, and the others helped. It was the coolest thing I've seen here. So special. I love that Heavenly Father makes things possible for EVERYONE.

I had a very awkward tour experience. I gave this weird family a tour. They all seemed nice, just quiet, so I had no reason to think that I shouldn't invite them to take the missionary lessons. So at the end, I invited them. They expressed very clearly that they did not like that it wasn't "just a historical tour"... They Stormed out of the center and I followed shouting, awkwardly, "have a great day...".... then they left, I told the senior couple at the front desk what happened, and then I started balling! hahaha. It was so sad. I got yelled at for sharing my testimony. But I got over it, and I had lots of WONDERFUL tours after that. People are always surprised when they come in, because it's not just history, it's missionary work. Preach my gospel is incorporated with the tours, and it throws people off. But I have found that If I pray before each tour, it turns out okay.

Transfers are coming soon, and I'm worried that my "mama" is going to leave me. I hope not! haha. I'm nothing without her!

So, we have an investigator, Jeff Woodhouse. He's 30, and a major skeptic. He's the one we had to have a DTR with. Anyway, he wants all of this physical evidence. but every time we meet with him he seems to be softening up.. in really interesting ways. He gets answers in the form of questions. For example, he called the other day and said, "I got another question! And I think, I might actually have to READ THE BOOK."... I said, sarcastically, "Yes jeff, that's a great Idea, I can't believe I never thought to tell you that before!"... Then... he went to fast and testimony meeting with an inspired question, and I asked him how he liked it and he said..."Good, I got an answer. My question was 'why do people believe in this?'... and when I heard everyone's testimonies I realized, it's because they felt the holy ghost!".... Hahahaha. So basically, we have to figure out how to make everything his idea.

Anyway, life is grand, and I love it so much! pray that we will find more people to talk to and teach! =) I love you all! MUAH

Sister Bonelli

Picture Post

Lianna didn't have time to tell me who was in these pictures and what they are of so I'll do my best! They seem pretty self explanatory though! She looks really good!

Lianna's comp Sister Brady!

At another Baptism! I think this must be Justin?!

I'm totally guessing but I think this must be all the trail sisters?!

Beautiful Omaha Sunset?

No clue! I'm guessing this is an investigator!

Sister Brady, Sister Bonelli & Justin

This will look familliar! Lianna, Domus & Richie at the MTC!

Lianna at the Trail Center! Love the Tulips!

(This is not Lianna related but that was one thing I still miss about Wisconsin! They planted Tulips EVERYWHERE! And you wake up one spring morning and they are all blooming it's beautiful in the Midwest in the Spring!!! )

Monday, April 26, 2010

This Week - 4-26-2010

David got baptized!!!!!!! I am so happy! He is just great. He has had so much faith and I am amazed by him. He doesn't even need us! Yesterday, we had Jeff come down to the trail center so we could show him the Joseph Smith movie... (The trail center is the ultimate missionary tool, so we get to watch church movies sometimes in the theater) Jeff has a problem with Joseph Smith. To put it simply, he thinks he's a creep and read a bunch of anti-mormon literature that confuses him with John C. Bennet. ANYWAY, we thought the movie might help him a bit. He has been gradually softening up, and when I say gradually, I mean VERY gradually. So yeah, we watch the movie, and David came along, cause he had never seen it. Afterwards, Jeff had lots of questions, which he normally does, and David basically took over. We had to leave so we could get home for curfew, but they stayed there and talked, and I'm pretty sure David's new spirituality had to have sunk into jeff somehow. We haven't talked to either of them yet today, so hopefully it went well. We're praying for Jeff a lot, because he's on a 3 week plan to discover that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and then he said if he knew it was true, he'd be baptized!
So, There's this hippy-ish guy who lives in Dawn's apt complex, and I've been wanting to talk to him for forever, but he's always leaving when we get there. FINALLY, we saw him sitting on his steps outside, and we "GQed" him. He told us we could come back and talk to him. SO, we did. His name is Donny. Basically, he's 25 years old, and he is very intellectual. He Believes Joseph Smith saw God... but he believes lots of people could see God. He also believes in this thing called Twin Flames, which means that every person has a male and a female half to themselves or something. Kind of like soulmates? I guess? BUT, the intersting thing is he thinks that Mary Magdalene is Jesus' twin flame, and that she suffered for all womankind. So..... we're kind of trying to figure out what to say to him about that right now. He is awesome though, he's very open-minded, and he went to church last Sunday. The problem is, he's always wanting to talk about Revelations, and it goes right over my head every time. haha. But he's great.
Our problem right now, is that most of our people are guys. And that didn't really bother me before, but our bishop came up to us and asked us if they know that there are "boundaries to be kept".... It made us feel awkward.
We have a great ward though. They are always willing to go on teamups with us, and feed us. It's great. Also, I have the best zone ever! really... I have the best mission ever! I feel so much love all the time. It's awesome.
BTW, Nebraska is incredibly gorgeous right now. The trees are all humongous! there are these cool trees everywhere that have white flowers all over and then they fall off and it looks like snow. it's cool. also, they have black squirrels here. I don't know if I every mentioned that. but the do. and it's weird.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This is Lianna's Trainer Sister Brady! Their first day together!
This is the day Dawn was baptized by her friend James!
This is Lianna and Sister Brady on Dawns Baptism Day!
Lianna getting some training at the trail center! She said they were looking for dead people... I guess they must've been at the cemetery!

These are just a few! I guess her camera was acting up so she borrowed these from Sister Brady! Hopefully we'll get more pictures soon!

Busy Week- Letter 4-20-2010

Hi family/friends!

So this past week has been amazing and the week to come is going to be amazing! On saturday I had my first baptism, Dawn... I haven't told you about dawn. She committed to be baptized before I got here, but she has been amazing. She's been through a lot, and she has so much peace now! it was funny though, she had her friend James baptize her, and he is about as small as they come, and he ended up dropping her. haha. We all shared a good laugh, so it was all good! =)

DAVID. I am always so amazed by David! I love him! He is smoke free, and asked his roommate to leave, and he is good to go for this Saturday! He went to Dawn's baptism and he was so excited! I just can't wait!

We have had some great experiences. One of our less actives is doing well. Burgess. He's great. He and his girlfriend are now living the Law of Chastity completely. They were practically living together, because she has a pretty tough family situation. But the other day we went to see him, and she moved back home, so that she can be baptized. AMAZING. everyone is so amazing. I'm always surprised when people do what we tell them to... haha.

We had to have an awkward DTR with our investigator Jeff. He's about 30, and an engineer. He's always trying us. And he seems to have a crush on Sister Brady. Before hand we had to tell him to stop being prideful and everything, and he had a good prayer experience.... so after he softened up we asked what his intentions were. after much tribulation, everything is fine, and we no longer need to turn him over to the elders....

So now I'd like to take a little time to tell you about Omaha.

Ice cream man= Ding ding man

the sentence "I have a few cookies"= "I have a couple 3 cookies"

Everyone smokes.

there are a lot of celiacs. lucky me!

you always have to take your shoes off when you enter people's homes

I'm not sure if this is because we're sisters, or if it's because nebraskans are nice, but everyone is always willing to just give out their information, and that astounds me!

WELL... I think that's all for this week! pray for david so he won't be tempted to smoke! although, the plan worked and he doesn't even crave them anymore! thanks for all your prayers! I love you! bye!

Sister Bonelli

Monday, April 12, 2010

Email to everyone 4-12-10

Here's the email from this morning!!

Hello everyone!
Well, I've had a pretty eventful week. David has been smoke free for a week today... I feel like I should help people quit smoking for a living! haha. If you have any friends who need some help, send them my way! There is a small set back. We just found out that his roommate is a girl. They are not dating, but we aren't allowed to baptize him until he or she moves out, so today we have to break that news to him. Hopefully he understands. Pray for him.
The other day, Sister Brady, Me, Our zone leaders and our investigator, Justin fasted so that Justin would be able to stop chewing tobacco. It was a cool experience. He felt really good afterward. When we ended the fast, we taught him a lesson about the priesthood, and our Zone leaders gave him a blessing. He said he felt really peaceful afterward. Sister Brady always volunteers me to sing for people, so Me and Elder Liki Liki sang "abide with me tis eventide" for everyone, and it was fun. Later that day, David was having a hard time because he wanted to smoke, so when we were teaching him, she said "would you like sister Bonelli to sing to you? That would make you feel better!" haha. So naturally, I'm always prepared for the fact that she might volunteer me. she's so cute!
We had a pretty cool experience on Thursday. We were visiting some people at the West Maple apts, where we pretty much know everyone, because we have several contacts there. There is one building that we are not too familiar with though, so we decided randomly to go there. right when we entered the building, A young adult-aged guy walked down the stairs, so we decided to talk to him...(we are supposed to talk to EVERYONE) He said he wasn't interested in organized religion, and politely, yet sternly, turned us down. Sister Brady kept talking as he kept walking to his car, and somehow, miraculously, within 2 seconds he randomly said "actually, why don't you come back here at 8. my roommate will be here, and I'll be home from work."----- when the heck did he decide to let us come back? haha. He must have felt bad because when he said that, she was in the middle of explaining that our pass along cards were in spanish, and that even though he had no idea what the card said, the website would be in english! haha. We did get to meet with him that night, and he at first was really defensive and hard to teach. But he sort of let on that he has been through some things and softened up, and eventually told us we could come back. We met with him again on Saturday and he was very argumentative because he doesn't understand why Jesus had to suffer. we spent a good chunk of the lesson trying to understand what he was trying to say to us. He is really vague sometimes. BUT, he did let us come back. So we're workin' on it.
SO.... we went Blitzing on Friday, which is where we go downtown with the Elders and GQ people---which means talking to everyone and giving them pass along cards and inviting them to have the missionaries. It was so much fun. However, We were talking to some guys who accepted the invitation, but pretty soon we realized the were street kids, and all of their friends decided to surround us, (mom, don't worry, not in a scary way.) and kept throwing out their information to us. People in Omaha are so willing to give us their information, which I think is really awesome, but weird. I would not just let random strangers in unless the spirit told me it was ok! =)... While we were walking around, Brady had me on the phone trying to find a team up for one of our appointments. I called this girl, Amy Willis, and got no answer. then someone called back, and it was her number, but it was a guy. He said we called him, and I said I didn't know what was going on, but I started talking to him about the gospel and he told me we could come visit him and he gave me his info. I was stoked! I felt so missiony. But pretty soon after that---5 minutes---- we received a text from him saying "you sound really cute... text me back.".... So basically we don't know what to do about him. We will probably send the Elders over. haha
I've worked in the trail center a few times. I will someday learn to love it. I just haven't found my niche yet, in terms of how to give tours that aren't boring. It is pretty cool though. You guys should come pick me up when I'm done with my mission so you can see it. It's awesome.
I did a session in the WQ temple. It's really tiny and pretty. Elder Oaks' brother and his wife work in the temple. So that's cool.
Zone conference is this week. I'm excited, because we have a zone activity today and i get to wear pants! haha. WOO. Elder Liki Liki and I are singing at zone conf on thursday, which is going to be fun. He's my favorite! =)... he's huge, and awesome.
WELL.... I can't think of anything else yet. but you should email me soon. It's probably best to just email me on sunday nights, because I never know exactly when I will be on the computers. Ok I love you all! I hope you're forwarding these! post on facebook to get people's email addresses so they can hear! =)... ok I love you mucho mucho! bye!
Sister Bonelli

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First letter from Omaha!!!

Here is Lianna's email from today!! We hadn't heard from her since before she left the MTC! So fun to see how she's been doing the last week in Omaha!!! She sounds great! Enjoy!!

Sorry I haven't emailed in forever. I got really gipped in the p-day department when we were in VC training and then transfers. so I haven't had a pday since last friday in the MTC!... Well, I LOVE NEBRASKA. It's so wonderful here. All the houses are really cute and little, even the old ghetto ones are pretty. Everyone smokes though, and it's gross, and I smell like smoke most of the time, but it's great! haha.

President and sister Kunz are so nice. They are just the sweetest people. President and I bonded over Ireland, cause he served there. They are just so loving and kind. All the missionaries are nice too. Everyone is so encouraging and nice. I live in an apartment with my companion, sister Brady, Sister Endemann, and Sister Bleazard. I have the best apartment ever =)... Sister Brady is so sweet and fun, and hard-working. I find it really easy to work hard around her because she's so lovable, I can't say no when she asks me to do something! haha. She always does nice things for me, and goes out of her way to tell me when I'm doing something right. which I feel is not very often. She's just fabulous. We get lost a lot though. I am trying to learn how to be better at reading maps, and it's not easy, but I'm improving. It's funny, I've been here less than a week and I have been having to help sister brady find her way around. haha. I love her dearly!

My second day here was kind of a disaster. The stomach flu has been going around here, since before I came, and of course, after ten years of not throwing up ever, I got the dreaded stomach flu. all of our work was postponed. I felt so bad! I ended up sleeping in the trail center the whole day while sister brady gave tours. poor thing! she checked on my a lot though, and told me a story about the day that Indian Jones was approached by 2 sister missionaries in the desert. It resulted in the elders digging a hug hole in the ground to find water to baptize him. She really knows her church history! =) She's such a good mommy =)...

So... my favorite tidbit of info is that of all people in the united states...... I have been called to serve in.... THE WINTER QUARTERS SINGLES WARD. What were they thinking? haha. I laughed and said "oh, no" when I read my little call letter. I'm the last missionary who should be sent to a singles ward! BUT, the cool thing is, we are only allowed to teach singles, so everyone I teach is around my age, and I connect with them so much more than anyone else. We have 3 baptismal dates set right now. 2 were from before, but yesterday I set our investigator David for baptism. It was so cool. I met him my first day, and he really took in all of the information we were teaching him. He went to conference on Sunday and was in Awe over the fact that what was said was everything he has always believed. later he called us, and I answered and he said to me, "Is this real? have I really found everything I have been looking for?"... I told him that he did, and that I knew that heavenly father put him in my path for a reason. SO, yesterday, we committed him to be baptized. We put him on a non-smoking plan, so he will be good to go. We committed to give up sweets so that we could relate to him. haha. ALSO, he is a pianist, and we bonded over Lead Me Home yesterday. So my music book is being put to use =)....

We have lots of other investigators that are awesome. A lot of them are black, and it makes me so happy! =)... I'll tell you more about them as time goes on. David is the topic of the week for me, cause it's my first real missionary experience here in Nebraska.

I haven't really been in the trail center too often. I don't really want to be. haha. I love the trail center, but I don't want to be the one giving tours. I'd rather be out proselyting. Weird... I know! It is really awesome though, with all of the history. I love the cemetary, which is weird to say, but all around the cemetary are reminders that these people will be with their families again. I just think that's cool. And it's next to the temple, which is awesome. The trail center sisters are definitely spoiled. Theres what they call the dungeon, where there are clothes everywhere and treadmills and weights. And there's a kitchen for us. it's awesome. but we're not there all that much.

Well, that's all I can think of for now, once I remember more stuff I'll write a little letter! I love you all! I hope you have a lovely week, talk to you next week. I think our p-days alternate so I will probably be emailing on monday. Have fun! MUAH