Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21st Email

Well, I'm sure you all have heard about our crazy break-in experience. I wasn't going to mention it, but Sister Thompson from the mission office mistakingly called mom because she thought Sister Vander Does (who's camera was taken) was me.... so naturally, our secret break-in was made known to the whole mission! lol. Anyway, We were coming home for lunch on Thursday, and saw that the door was cracked open. We thought that was weird.... So we went in, and I walked straight to the kitchen to wash my hands, and Sister Vander Does called for me. She showed me our door. The door jam was broken and the wood around the metal was split. The right side of the molding around the door was completely detatched and leaning against the wall. it was nuts! We didn't think anything was missing... missionaries don't have much to steal, so we just called the apt manager, President, and Sister Thompson. Then we had lunch. The funny thing was, there was a mysterious tomato placed on our counter that we know NEITHER of us put there. Anyway, later we realized Sister V's camera and a bit of cash were missing. We didn't have much time to really freak out about it, and then went to the Trail Center. We weren't planning on telling anyone, but somehow it leaked, and so everyone showed their concern! It was quite the wakeup call to have the sisters make sure they go out of their way to lock their deadbolts. Anyway, we're fine...
HOWEVER, our week was just kind of a mess up until Saturday. I've learned that opposition truly takes place before great miracles occur. Aside from being "burgled," everything kept getting in our way. All I wanted to do this week was missionary work, but stupid things kept happening! haha. The trail center sisters switch around cars a lot, because of the trail center schedule, so we ended up taking another companionship's car the day after we were robbed. that car ended up being dead, and we had to take it into the car shop. Then everything kept preventing us from doing work, and I just felt really unproductive! We got stuck at the trail center that night, because we didn't want to use the miles to go back and forth, because we were going to be there the next day, so we were trying to do our weekly planning session, and just couldn't seem to get anything done. I started to get really overwhelmed. I was stressed, hadn't had a chance to really freak out about being robbed, and just feeling the pressures of being a senior companion... SO, sister V reminded me of our handy-dandy trail center memorial room, where lots of miracles happen. So, we stopped everything, and went over to the memorial room, and plopped down on the floor, and just looked at the temple and the cemetary. I was instantly filled with peace. I just knew everything was going to be okay, as long as I was doing my best. The night did get better! The winter Quarters Singles ward was having a dinner at the trail center, so I got to see a few people who I missed A LOT!
Okay, so here's where the reward of opposition occurs. We had all of saturday to try and make our week turn out right. We got to teach a family from India. They are Hindu, but they want us to come back! So cool! We also taught Celora. We were not sure what to do about Celora, because she hasn't really been keeping commitments. We did, however, promise her we would find someone to give her a blessing of healing. She struggles with Epilepsy, muscle pains and migraines. So, we tried to find someone in the ward, but it didn't work out. We got ahold of our zone leaders and they were available! We went over there, and Elder Shepard gave her a blessing. It was INTENSE. He promised her that according to her obedience she would be healed. CRAZY. The spirit was so strong. Afterward, Celora was in tears and said she felt "warm and tingly"... we set her for baptism, and went on our way! =)
Next miracle... Eli. We went over there. We had prayed together about what we should do for this particular appointment. We felt like we shouldn't try to set him for baptism again, but that we should just teach him about the atonement, and then invite him to do pause, ponder in prayer by himself. I remember having this image of him and candice looking so happy, It was interesting. When we taught them, they looked SO happy! It was amazing. But also, We asked Eli how he's been feeling about baptism, and he said he's not ready "yet".... then I asked him if he felt like that's what God wants him to do, and he said yes! YAY! Also, for the entire time I've been teaching him, he would NEVER pray out loud with us. But the other night, I asked him for the umteenth time, and he prayed! with NO hesitation! =) He also went to church again! He's progressing so well. We are so excited. Our week turned out to be an amazing one, inspite of the craziness. I KNOW that was Satan's way of keeping us from doing the work. He wanted us to give up, and we just weren't having it! ;)
Well, now that my testimony has been strengthened, I would love to hear about all of your experiences! you should write me some letters and tell me all about it! ;)
Love you,
Sister Bonelli

February 15th email

Whew. what a week! First off, I must apologize for my complaints about the cold.... in truth, it really was not that bad! I was just grouchy... BUT, I'm pleased to say that Nebraska is melting! There's water everywhere, because the heaps of snow and ice are melting down, and I have not worn my coat in 4 days! WOO! The crazy thing is, it's 40 degrees, which I never thought I would stand without a coat! WOO! I did have an unfortunate cough that resulted in my sounding like several different general authorities... my favorite was J. Golden Kimball. That was usually after a major coughing fit.... There was a time that I literally could barely speak.... I was so frustrated! I eventually decided that it didn't matter. I found myself bearing my testimony and sounding so pathetic, but I didn't really know what else to do.... missionaries should NEVER lose their voices.
Aside from that, it's been a fabulous week!!! Eli FINALLY came to church. WOO! I think he enjoyed it. He's a man of few words, but his countenance, I have learned, is pretty readible. We invited him to pray about getting baptized on March 5th. He said he would! that's huge for Eli! Then, the next time we taught him, he was being a bit stubborn. I think he's trying to fight it a little bit, but he committed to go to church, and he finally made it! Yesterday, we went to the Trail Center to watch the Joseph Smith Movie, and they came, and so did the perkes family (RS president and WML).... They are awesome! After, we decided not to pry him for his feelings, but we decided simply to just bear our testimonies and invited the perkes to do so as well, and then left it at that. The spirit was SO strong. It was just one of those times that I regained my testimony by bearing it. It was cool. Also, I really started to realize how much I want Eli to have this in his life. I just want him to understand that.
I got a little frustrated the other day. I have been in Ralston for almost 6 months now, and this is the one area where I have yet to see a baptism. I admit, I got a little discouraged, because I'm pretty sure it's time for me to leave at the end of this transfer. I wondered what I was doing wrong, I guess. BUT, Heavenly Father is amazing, and he really helps us when we need it. We had zone conference, and the Omaha Stake president was there. He told us about Nephi, and how there was a point where no one listened to him. He then read in Preach My Gospel, and it has a statement about how to measure success as a missionary. It says that a successful missionary does everything they can to find, teach and baptize. it didn't say that a successful missionary finds, teaches, and baptizes. just that they do everything they can. That really touched me, because although I am not a perfect missionary, and I don't really know if I'm successful, at least I know I have done everything I know how to do for this area, and I have seen miracles. One thing that is neat, is that even those who came really close to being baptized, and were not actually baptized, were helped in some way to come closer to christ. I know that lives have changed to some degree. I hope that I can see Eli, Fredi and Itzel baptized before I leave, but even if I don't, I know that I love them, and I've tried everything I could.
I love the things I learn as a missionary. Heavenly Father teaches me things every day, and I'm so grateful. I love you all!
sister bonelli

February 7th Email

This week has been an adventure, that's for sure! I experienced my first time slipping on the ice. That morning it happened to be 2 degrees, and because of the icy roads, we weren't allowed to drive our cars, so we decided to be most productive, we knocked doors at our apartment complex. The wind felt like it was biting my face. It was so weird. We were stepping over a mound of hardened snow that's been there for weeks, and I slid. This time it was very graceful. Sister Vander Does says it was very ballerina-like! I didn't actually make it to the ground... However, the second time I slid, was a little more critical! I slid, and before I knew it I was flat on my back. Sister V was having an internal battle as to whether or not it was okay to laugh at me, because my scarf at that point had flown over my face, and I was just laying there feeling grumpy.... so she chose to NOT laugh. I remember laying there and I was thinking "I am NOT going to be able to be charitable in these conditions...." BUT, I got over it, and we've been laughing ever since. The best part is, yesterday Sister Vander Does experienced her FIRST slipping on the ice moment. Hers was actually very neat. She slid into the ice as if sliding into home base. I was impressed. We are now both in a bit of pain... but we are still laughing! ;)
We've had lots of fantastic experiences! Between the 2 days of cars being grounded and the superbowl being yesterday, the work was hindered a bit, but we have been able to see miracles nonetheless! We asked Fredi and Itzel if they had thought at all about marriage, and they said that they aren't sure they will be able to make it to their baptism. They said there is something they have to do before they can get married... What that is, I don't know... but we invited them to pray about it and ask heavenly father to help them make it to their baptism. They are amazing.
Candice and Eli are also great! The other day we had what we call our "smackdown" lesson... well... it was going to be a smackdown lesson, but it was more of a clarity lesson. We asked Eli if he has seen any changes lately in his life since we started meeting with him, and he said he hadn't really seen any difference, but he finds himself thinking about the gospel when he's on his own, when he's driving to work and stuff. HUGE! He is making improvements all the time. He also just looks different. Even though he's still hesitant, it seems like there's more of an innocence about him now... He and Candice came to the trail center, and we took them on tour... That was awesome.
speaking of the trail center... don't know if I mentioned this when it happened or not... BUT, we have a new artifact. When elder brewster was here, he tried for his entire mission to get Amy Porter's grave marker in the memorial room. Amy Porter was a woman who died here at WQ, and her grave stone is the last one that is left, because they were all poor materials, so they didn't last long. Anyway, we've had a replica of it for forever, but he spent his whole mission trying to get the real thing in the trail center. Finally, a while back, he got it, and had it sitting locked up in his office for a long time, because we needed a glass case for it, which was taking forever to get here. FINALLY, in his last week here, the glass case came, and on the day he left, he got to see it all set up and situated in the memorial room. It was so important to him, and he was able to see it through! We were so excited to have it.
I had a few embarrassing moments this week aside from the pitiful fall! during the crazy car groundage situation, we really wanted to have some chinese food delivered to us while we worked on some things in our area book. We couldn't find anyone who delivered, so we were sad. the next day we knocked on a man's door who was DEFINITELY not interested. He was a minister. He said he only answered because he thought we were the Chinese delivery man... Immediately my mind went to FOOD mode. "Wait... what? who delivers chinese!?!"..."China Garden." "what?! hey, do you have their number?".... "sure... "... he gave it to us, and I realize now that that was not the most professional situation... but, now I have it in case I find myself bound to the apartment again. Later on, we saw the chinese delivery man, and we tried to GQ him, but he ran away from us... I'm not sure if he was scared or if he just didn't speak english... either way It was awkward.
I do really embarrassing things all the time... I'm not sure how to overcome that... but I have accepted it so I guess I will just try to lessen my moments of awkwardness.
We started teaching a couple from Benin who speak french! Their names are Rickys and Idris. They are awesome... Idris is hilarious. He said to us, "We are so happy to have you here, but next time bring someone who speaks french." We have been working on it.
Candice came to church Yesterday. I was so proud of her. Eli didn't come... again... and I could see the disappointment on her face. She even sat down and started crying when she came in. I just want her to be happy. He will come around, it just may take a little while. I really love that girl, I know she and I will be great friends after my mission!
I had a neat experience in the Trail Center the other day. I was on duty and a guy walked in. He asked if there is a tour here, and I said I would love to take him around the gallery. He was pretty young. He was from Hawaii but just moved to kansas. I asked him if he knew much about the pioneers, and he said he didn't know much. He'd been inactive for a long time. He immediately told me that he felt like he needed to come find the temple, and didn't know there was a visitors center. I have this habit of attracting people who have fallen away. I don't know what it is, but I love to talk to people who have to see how I can help them get back. We went on the tour and he told me lots of things about himself. He was a return missionary. He served in Hong Kong and fell away shortly after. He said last week something just prompted him to go to church, and so he went. And on Saturday he felt like he needed to find the temple. He said he hadn't had those feelings for a long time. It's amazing how people just tell you things. I even mustered the courage to ask him why he fell away, and he told me. I was kind of surprised by this situation. When he walked in, he looked like he was "too cool for school." I even thought he looked a little familiar, but it turned out to be one of the neatest experiences ever. At the end, I told him that there are missionaries out there who are just meant to talk to people just like him, and he gave me his info so I could send missionaries his way. It was really cool. I'll never forget it =)

February 1st Pictures continued

Zone bowling activity!


With Sister Lawlor in the snow!


February 1st Pictures

Surprising Sister Kunz on her birthday!

With Sister Vander Does!

The Sister's at the Transfer Point!

The Elder's at Transfers!

February 1st Email

I have had an incredible week!! Sister Vander Does and I have been so blessed and had amazing experiences. We had one day this past week where we literally knocked on doors ALL day. I have never been so exhausted in my life. We got lots of contacts but most of them were referrals for other missionaries. Now, it's always a little rough when you don't get to teach them, but I was really excited that we found so many people. The cool thing was, when we sent in the referrals, 2 of them turned out to be in our area, so we get to go back and see them! That was neat. It was a long tiring day, but at the end of the day, I was so happy to have done EVERYTHING I could. It wasn't until the very last second of the evening, at the very last door that we knew why we had been out tracting all day... that was cool. We will go back and see her soon =)
Fredi and Itzel are doing amazing! We talked to them about their living situation. They know that they need to get married, and already wanted to. The thing is that in both of their cultures it's common to either have a big huge wedding or not at all... SO... that's where we are at right now. BUT, they understand that its important. I was terrified to teach that lesson... You just never know how they are going to respond, but Heavenly Father really took care of the situation. On Sunday, we had a ride all set for them. Then, he came to church and said that they didn't answer their door. I was devistated! BUT, eventually they showed up and I had the biggest grin on my face! and they looked so cute! Fredi had on a nice suit, and itzel had on a cute little outfit. Their 3 year old Brianna had a pretty little fancy dress on and Baby Angelica had cute little white tights on with her outfit. They just looked adorable! We got them copies of the bible because they said they were always confused when everyone was using their quads... They broke out their little bibles during sunday school and then realized they forgot their copies of the Book of Mormon! It was funny, but it made me smile to know how hard they are trying =)... I am so excited to see them progress. Itzel is really coming to know that this is what she needs in her life. She just glows.
CeLora has received answers to her prayers. She Prayed about being baptized, and asked for a sign. We went to teach her and she said she got the sign. She had a really bad experience at church, and said she is tired of going their and wants to change. She is going to get baptized!
We taught Candice and Eli. We decided to take a "book of mormon story" approach. We thought Eli might be able to connect to the different stories. So, the other day we read Ether 3 and talked about the brother of jared having to act and come up with a plan in order for the lord to help him. We told him that he needs to be willing to act in order to receive answers... So he committed to come to church! He didn't end up going, which was a bummer... but usually he just says no, so that was a step up!
It's freezing here! Yesterday I experienced my first Ice storm. NOT my favorite. We spent most of the day scraping people's windows, because our cars were grounded and everyone spent 20 minutes scraping 1/4 inch ice from their windshields. It was neat though! we've discovered that our nametags make great scrapers, and it gives us opportunities to get to know people in a less threatening way. We were scraping the windows of one of our ward members, and a lady decided to help us, and after we were done we asked if she would let us come and share a message with her, and she said "certainly!"... we are excited!
I have really seen so many blessings this week. Heavenly Father knows just what I need and what Ralston needs.... I'm so grateful!
I love you all! you should write me some letters, k? love you!
Sister Bonelli

January 24th Email

I have a new companion after 4 1/2 months. Sister Vander Does (vander-dohs).... She's wonderful! She's very sweet and a wonderful teacher! I'm excited! Transfers were insane, because we had like a million inches of snow. So, they were delayed for a few hours, and when we went to transfer point to switch companions and what not, we were standing out in the cold for a long time. It was awesome though!
We've had an incredible, miracle-filled week!!!! We taught Fredi and Itzel, and they are just progressing so well! They told us that they don't remember too much about what we taught them in the beginning, because they weren't super interested at first, but now they want to know again. So, we started teaching them from the beginning. We watched the Restoration video with them, and Itzel said, "If you really put your mind to it you can receive answers to your prayers." I thought that was really neat. She said that when she goes to church she receives answers that she always wanted but never got. They accepted the invitation to be baptized on february 26th! WOO! We are excited for them!
Also, we set our investigator Celora for Baptism on 2/19... She's praying about it right now. She's very active in her church, so she's hesitant, but She has definitely seen a change in her life since we have been meeting with her.
Sister Vander Does loves tracting, because in her first area, they never had to tract, so she isn't used to it! SO, we've been doing lots of it! Anyway, she is such a trooper, and she loves doing it! We were tracting the other day, and we knocked on a door (2B to be exact, and underneath someone wrote "or not 2B") and A woman named Mary Kay answered. She said that she needs something spiritual in her life right now, and that we might be just what she needs. She very willingly set up a return and we were excited to go back! We went back and she was not there, but she left us a note that said she had an emergency, but she left her number because she really wants to meet with us. It's not every day you get a cancellation with a note, so we are grateful for her sincerety! I'm excited about her!
I can tell this is going to be a great transfer! Pray for Fredi and Itzel!
I love you all! don't forget to make a profile! love you
Sister Bonelli

January 18th Email

It's been a neat week! Elder and Sister Brewster went home, and we are sad, but we had a lovely going away party for them, and Elder Brewster got permission to hug each sister on Saturday before he left! (I managed to get 2!) I will miss them so much, but we are already so happy to know the new director and his wife, the watsons!
I got to take a tour on Saturday that was really neat. A lady came in to do some Geneology (we have a specialist who helps people with it) and After she told me she wanted a tour. She had taken tours several times, but said she'd like another. I took her around. It was one of those tours where you spend most of the time just chatting, not necessarily giving a "tour"... She was realy neat. We went to the memorial room, and she said it was her favorite spot. I asked her some questions and one of them was about how she felt the temple had blessed her life. She then told me she wasn't active. After that she told me lots of things about herself, and really confided in me. I could tell that she felt a need for the gospel back in her life, but she was scared. I invited her several times to go back to church and asked her if I could send the missionaries to her. She informed me that she had their number and would call them sometime. She wouldn't tell me what ward she was in. Even after all of that she continued to tell me things and would just cry. I felt for her. I really wanted to help her, but she was too scared....
Sunday was a GREAT day. We were studying in the morning, and Itzel texted us, and told us that fredi wouldn't be able to make it to church, but she wanted to go and bring her daughters anyway! We were so excited that she was willing to come even without fredi! She came, and we could tell she was stressed out with her super active little girl running around, but she did everything in her power to listen to what the speakers were saying. It was really cool! After church, she reminded us of when we asked her to be baptized a long time ago, and she told us she wanted to be baptized! We were ECSTATIC!
Yesterday was lots of fun, Sister Kunz's birthday was on Sunday, so our zone snuck into their house and decorated for a birthday party and surprised her! The elders got a little Streamer-happy, and created a pink masterpiece in her kitchen! She was so cute and asked president if she could keep it up until after Transfers!
speaking of transfers... they are this week. Everyone keeps saying I will train... Heaven help me.... I have come to realize that guessing is pointless. I have no idea what will happen! I don't think Sister Brady will become a grandma just yet ;) Sadly, Sister Stanger's and my habit of moon-walking will have to come to an end.
I love you all! write me! Make a profile, k?
Sister Bonelli

January 11th Email

Hello everyone!
This week has been such a blessing! Our investigators Fredi and Itzel FINALLY made it to church! The ward just scooped them up and loved them, and I am so grateful. Itzel loved it, and Fredi volunteered to help the Elders Quorum shovel snow after church. Fredi also asked for his own Gospel Principles manual and wanted to go to play basketball with the ward members on saturdays. I'm so happy! One of the best things I have learned on my mission is how I want to be when I go home. I want to be the person who will give people rides to church and help missionaries be a little less stressed out when sunday rolls around!
So the Missionary department has been doing this big push recently. Missionaries are to spend one hour each week on We are to get familiar with it and encourage members to become familiar with it so that they can help lead others to it. ALSO, we are supposed to invite everyone to create a profile! I don't know if any of you have been on it recently, but it's amazing! It's so cool. people from all over have created profiles and just share their testimonies and answer FAQs about the church. It's neat. SO.... Of course, I am going to challenge you all to create one! If you have a facebook, you can certainly create a profile on! And... for any of you who are not members of the church, I encourage you to go on and learn more about it. It answers all sorts of questions, and you can see that we truly are just like everyone else, but we have something that brings us more joy than I can describe.
Each visitors center has a director. The Mormon Trail Center director is Elder Hoyt Brewster. He and his wife are amazing! I love them so much. I get to see them every time I work at the TC, and every saturday we have trainings by our TC trainers and by Elder Brewster. He's a genius. He's been a mission president in Holland, and an MTC president in Australia. He also has written 12 books. I love to just sit in his office and ask him all sorts of questions. He's great. I know he loves us all too. Anyway, He and sister Brewster are at the end of their mission, so this week we will be getting a new director, Elder Watson. We are excited, but of course we will miss Elder Brewster so much!
Sister Stanger have been on many adventures, but we're pretty sure that our fun companionship is coming to an end. We have been together far too long. When it comes to a point where you go tracting in an apartment complex, and start doing the moonwalk between doors, you know it's time to switch companions. Quiet dignity has never been our strong point...
It snowed ALL day yesterday and ALL night before that. It hasn't snowed this much yet. Our cars were grounded, but thankfully we were in the TC yesterday. I did eventually have to drive home, and it was scary, but there were no casualties involved in the journey. If there is one thing I've learned on my mission, it's that I will not be living in the snow when i have a family of my own! It's not my favorite! However, it is pretty to look at!
I love you all, keep me posted, write me letters!
Sister Bonelli

Playing Catch up... Again!

Okay, Lianna Fans! I'm playing catch up!! This is the story of my life! Stay tuned for her pictures and emails!! Coming right up!