Monday, March 23, 2015

President, I'm going home!!!

President, I'm going home!!!

It's just been a wild ride. I can't accurately describe to you what has happened the past 18 months. I'm just really happy. I love my area in Ceres. I love Kerman. I only served in two areas. I just love being a missionary and I love Jesus Christ. Not much more to say than that. Sister Maw is ready. I have no regrets. I know that I have done what my Father sent me to do.

I love you so much President!

Love, Sister Zollinger
So this weekend has been CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like it will be better if I tell you everything in person since that's actually an option now a days.... but Friday night was awesome... my elders got together with the ward leaders and they threw me a surprise party!!!!! It was adorable. I have been showered in cake, flowers, and presents all weekend. Just so sweet. As I said goodbye to everyone and looked at my building... I just totally feel like I'm coming back to church like always next Sunday! And go to ward counsel... and worry about getting everyone to church. I'll just be twitching the whole time looking at the back door trying to see who is getting here.....
Yep. Also Elder Ballard's conference was AWESOME. Our song was AMAZING. We sounded like the MOTAB. And I'm excited to tell you everything he said.
I'm sorry, my mind is everywhere. BUT. I will see you all in 2 1/2 days.
I love you! For the last time, this is Hermana Zollinger reporting from the California Fresno Mission.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This week...TRIUMPH!!!!

Hey President!!!

Life is so awesome and gratifying. This week.... TRIUMPH!!!! We had a lesson specifically dictated by the Spirit that allowed J and A to overcome their fears and get married.... and get baptized. I'm so happy. Bummed that it's not going to happen before I leave. But I know that I played a critical role in their conversion and that their family will be with me forever. I'm so happy. Also we just got another referral raining down on us, a little 8 year old boy. We got there and he'd already had the first discussion by some other elders the week before... I just flipped through the pictures of the Restoration pamphlet and He taught US the first discussion! So we're going to baptize him and hopefully his mom pretty quick here. I'm so excited for Sister Maw and her new companion, they have so much work to do when they get here! By the grace of God, Sister Maw will still be baptizing straight once I leave, our area is hopping!

Mas que eso.... Just yesterday we were waiting for someone, we were having a lesson at the church so I played piano and was looking out over the chapel that has been mine for the past 11 months, and I just got this overwhelming feeling of completion. I just heard the words "I have finished the work I have been sent to do". It felt so good to get that confirmation that I haven't left anything undone that I was meant to do, everything has either been finished or set in motion that I was sent to do. I can now go home in peace.

President, my mission means everything to me. I am a new person. I'm so excited to go home and to continue to change and progress, but the best thing is that right now, I know that I am exactly who the Lord wants me to be at this stage in my life. I don't think I could ever say that about another time in my life. But right now I can.

I love you so much and forever! See you soon!

Love, Sister Zollinger

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pretty darn happy...

Hey President!

So life is going well! I'm pretty darn happy. I think this zone conference was the best one I'd ever been to. Especially the trainings on the Lord's Vision, that was EXACTLY what the mission needed, it was so great!!! I also learned a lot during the accountability bit. When you were talking about how the amount that we paid/sacrificed to come on a mission in stead of paying to go to Yale or something isn't even comparable, something clicked in my head that has really helped me with the adjustment of going home. I realized that this is kind of "The Lord's University" and that it was never about "going on a mission", just like the point of going to college isn't going to college, it's to learn so you can prepare yourself for the rest of your life of achievements. So I realized that's what the mission is. I'm simply "graduating" with all the tools that I have learned that have prepared me to be a full time member missionary, which is just as important as being a full-time missionary because you get to stay and nurture people long term and also get to introduce "higher quality investigators" to the full-time missionaries. So I feel much more at peace with everything. Naturally, it still clips at my heart every time someone mentions me going home (the average is about 50 times a day haha) but I'm feeling pretty peaceful about it. I'm really excited (and nervous!) to see my family for the first time in 18 months.

Love you!

Sister Zollinger 
Hey Mom!
So life is crazy here. Next week is shot because I have the departing missionary temple trip on Thursday, weekly planning and my last ward missionary night on Friday, then we'll be in Fresno all day Saturday for M. Russel Ballard!!! and then my last Sunday, last Preparation Day, Tuesday is my farewell and then HOME!! So pretty much this is my last full week of normal missionary work. I think we're having a birthday thing today for my branch missionaries. The four of us are all May birthdays, which is just too cool for me to pass up on. So I'm making a chocolate cake with whipped cream and chopped up Oreos on top and we're going to celebrate before I go. Hermana Maw is May 9th, Elder Jone's is May 13th, me on the 20th and Elder Jorquera is the 25th. So. Hay que celebrar. (we've gotta celebrate). 

Other than that. Just leaving. I have a box that I'm probably going to mail tomorrow. Then hopefully next week I'll send another one. It's just hard because there's so many things I want to do, so many people that want to be with me before I leave, but I also have to get a lot of cleaning done and organizing... so time is crunched right now. But it's all good.

My last zone conference was cool. It was hard. Some how a bunch of old friends happened to be trasnfered up here so I got to see them and that was cool. Every time the departing missionaries go up and give their testimonies, and as I was walking up and bunch of missionaries just wispered "don't go sister zollinger!" or gave me really sad faces. It was really gratifying. And hard. But good. I shared the first half of Mosiah 2:34 and called them all to repent haha... nicely.

say unto you, that there are not any among you,except it be your little children 
that have not been taught concerning these things, but what knoweth that ye are 
eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him 
all that you have and are; (emphasis added)

So I just told them that they had to give everything up to the Lord or they're wasting their time. La verdad.

So yup. That's life. I'm really excited to see you all so soon, I can't even believe it! I was just thinking back to when I only had two weeks until I was leaving on my mission... I was trying to remember if they went fast or slow, but I can't remember! All I know is that on a mission, two weeks fly by.

I love you all so much! I can't wait to see you!!!


Sister Zollinger

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

23 days to Minnesota !!!!!


So. Yeah I can't believe it.... 23 DAYS!!!! Ooft. I am excited. Also scared. It's funny because all my friends here are always checking on me and giving me advice... it's like I'm dying. Haha.... but really. I am. But in a good way. President Clark always says "All good things must come to a change." So I'm hugely supported out here by all my missionaries and members and investigators, and then all of you back home... And I fasted for peace throughout this transition and to just live it up my best so that I don't check out early, and I really do feel good. I hope it just stays this way.

So life is good. The area is progressing. The branch is getting crazy about me leaving... they all talk to me about it all the time. It was really funny because at ward counsel, they all literally spent the first ten minutes or so talking about what they were going to do about me leaving. President Ambriz (the branch President) is sooooo super awesome, and really under control. He just said that it isn't a good idea to do a big farewell and things (I totally agree!) but the members all want to do something because it's not just another missionary leaving, I'm the missionary that's served there the longest in pretty much the history of the branch and I'm not just getting transferred, I'm going home. Haha, so they just kept going on about it.... I was so uncomfortable because it is NOT about ME at all. It's all about the Lord, that's who I'm serving, I don't want a celebration for me at all. Although it is very sweet because I love them all dearly.

Lots of musicals going on lately, we put one on for a baptism of a member's daughter yesterday. They wanted Hermana Maw and I to do "A Child's Prayer" in Spanish so we said yes... later I realized that I am the only one who plays piano. So I relearned the words in Spanish with a slightly different rhythm while playing a part that didn't carry the notes that I was singing.... all in an hour and a half. It was amazing. BUT. For the actual production we asked Elder Jones to sing my part because I couldn't do all that and sing loud enough. But it was still really fun.... it's amazing how God has multiplied those gifts. I could hardly play in front of people before my mission because I was so nervous and now I can sight read anything, play and sing different melodies at the same time! HAHA! And then I just found out I'm singing in zone conference, volunteered by the assistants apparently. And then someone asked me to play piano for them while they sing in our farewell the night before I leave, and then of course for one of the 12 Apostles! So. I'm happy and working on lots of projects. 

My last zone conference is this Thursday. All the home-bound missionaries have the opportunity at the end to give their testimonies. So I'm trying really hard to ponder about what I can say to hopefully help someone live their mission a little more fully. 

As for help with getting stuff home... I'm thinking about sending home a box or two. Other than that, all flight expenses are paid by the mission, except what I eat at the airport. I'm also planning on calling you during my layover, just so you know. Besides that, if you could just pray for all the missionaries in the world.... that is all haha.

I think that's everything. Let me know if I missed something.

I love you so much, I'm super excited about coming home! I guess one other thing you could do is study Preach My Gospel Ch. 8 about using time wisely. I've been advised by a few people that I should make a schedule that fits as closely to that one as possible so it's not such a hard transition for me, so if you were just familiar with it that would be cool so you can help me find a way to incorporate those kinds of things into my daily life or find substitutes. It will also help you see where I'm coming from. Thanks!

Hey I love you all so much! 

Hermana Zollinger

February 23, 2015 Singing for an Apostle!

Wow, it sounds like it's super cold (back home)! Today is in the 50's and I'm freezing... hahaha you'll have to let me know what the weather forecast is when I fly home so I can be prepared with the right kind of clothes.
I've been pretty sick over here too.... just a really bad cough, it hurt my abs it was so deep! They were getting really sore. But then the elders got some medicine for me from one of the people they teach.... and suddenly I'm all better! Haha.
Thanks for being so understanding. I really wasn't anticipating this transition to be so hard, but it is ROUGH! I think the hardest part is right now all I can do is think about it. Once I'm home I can jump into normal life and get involved with all of you and the ward and find work or something.... but right now I can't even plan effectively, so it's just hard. And like you said, me not getting transferred a lot is definitely making it harder. Everyone keeps talking about how they've never had a sister stay so long (I doubt an elder either) and everyone looks to me a lot because I know so much about everyone, I've gone through the directory so much and I'm in the houses no one knows about, so I definintely have a big place here. All the kids are super sad haha, every time I see them they pull on me and tell me I can't leave. Stil working a lot in Primary, I just love my kids so much.
Speaking of which, Friday we had our monthly "missionary night". The idea is that we missionaries share a short message at the beginning and then the rest of the time we play with the ward. Supposed to be a non-threatening way for people to bring their friends and get to know the church, and also to strengthen the unity of the ward. Well, a lot of the time it's kind of a flop because everyone's late or something.... but this past Friday was so awesome. One less active (really in active) brought his kids and then all his friends from his adult soccer team. And a surprising number of members came. We had around 50 people there. It was amazing. So we shared a message and then divided into three teams. I was captain of the youth and primary team.... and then the elders each had a team of grown up men. So two teams would play while the other watched until one team scored 2 goals and then the loser sat and then next team rotated on. My team had about 20 kids and youth.... so we totally won against the professional men's team of 6 haha, they didn't stand a chance against three little kids stealing the ball and the teenagers shooting! It was awesome. We also lost a few, haha in the end our number just made us equal, but it was so fun, my kids were all so excited to play. VIVA LA PRIMARIA!!!! Haha.
But, like I said in my letter to President, I'm seeing so much fruit of my work. Ceres 3 is almost a ward, Kerman is about to have an English ward and a Spanish branch... I just can't even get over it.
Well today I'm just going to be doing a lot of cleaning, start to get rid of clothes and stuff, see what I have to send home before hand and everything.
Life is good. I love you all so much, I'm excited to see you!!!
Sister Zollinger
OH! PS We just found out that we're having a first ever MISSION CONFERENCE a few days before I leave and that ONE OF THE 12 APOSTLES IS COMING. And Sister Maw and I were asked to be part of the choir. I'M SINGING FOR ONE OF THE 12 APOSTLES FOUR DAYS BEFORE I COME HOME!!!!!!!!!! So that's cool. We still don't know who it is. But. It's going to be awesome.

Monday, January 19, 2015

2 months to go!

Hey President!

It's another great day to be a Mormon missionary! Just the past week I have felt so incredibly grateful for an opportunity like this to serve my God and my Savior. I feel so privileged to get to serve him and that He has allowed me to experience "the mission". I have changed so much, I am soooo much happier as a person than when I left on a mission. Life is great!

As far as our area, things are going pretty well. I'm a little concerned about February, we're working really hard to baptize another 5 people or so this month, I'm trying to not be too shortsighted because we really have nothing going on for February if we can baptize everyone this month. Ahh!! But we're trying hard to find new people and invite them to be baptized. I know God will provide when we do our best as mortals here haha.

I also just wanted to tell you that we heard about the trainings on Friday and we've started to implement them already in our are. Those trainings on stream-lining lesson 1 and 2 are AMAZING! We have already seen miracles in the few lessons we've been able to test it out on. I feel so privileged not only to be a missionary, but to be in one of the BEST missions in the entire world with one of the BEST mission president's/dad's in the entire world!!!!

So excited to see you tomorrow at zone conference!

Love you so much!

Sister Zollinger
Hey Mom!
Life is going really well here, as per usual. Cool story!

So there was a leadership meeting on Friday, the first one in three transfers I didn't go to. But it was with the mission president from The District 2, one of our main training programs here, Dad knows all about them. Also one other person who worked on The District Project. That night my STL and Elder Jorquera both told me all about it on the phone. BIG NEWS! The California Fresno Mission is the ONLY MISSION outside of Utah in the United States that has baptized over 1,000 people in a year. Apparently we're news in Headquarters. One of the reasons why they're splitting our mission is to prove that our mission can still baptize over 1,000 in a year with a smaller mission, it's a big deal! Also he said that we literally have one of the best mission president's in the entire world. I knew it was a big deal that we baptized over 1,000 and visiting general authorities typically have only good things to say to us, we're pretty well known, but this is a lot bigger than I realized. Last year in our region of missions which is basically the west coast, the next closest mission to us baptized around 600, and the average was between 200-300. So. I am so blessed. 

Other than that, no really new miracles or things to report. We're happy happy happy. My trainee is going through  normal adjustments .... I remember how tough life was when I came out over here. She's doing a great job. 

Well, besides that nothing much to report.


Love you!

Sister Zollinger

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!

Note: This letter was posted by Kelsie's mother.  Kelsie does not maintain this blog, and she is not on Facebook.

Hey Momma!!!!! Happy New Year!!!!!!

So life is really good. Transfers are on Wednesdays and we didn't get our new missionaries until Thursday, so I got shipped down to Fresno to spend the day Wednesday with another sister who was going to Train. She serves in Madera, super close to Kerman! So it was fun to be close to my other "home". She is super cool too, Hermana Reina, she got trained the same time as Sister Contreras and Sister Horning, she is super cool! Plus she gave me a ton of clothes she was getting rid of, it was awesome, including a really nice pea coat! Mine's all ripped and stuff, this one is super nice and FREE!!!! Wahoo! So we went over to a recent convert's house and I learned how to make tamales with banana leaves! We did that for like three hours. And then we had to be inside our apartment by 6, so we just chilled, took down their christmas decorations, talked about life, clothes... it was really relaxing. Then I got my new companion!!!!!! 

We heard there was a sister straight from Spain and I was sure she was going to be mine to finish out the legacy... but Hermana Maw is sooooo awesome. She's most recently from Massachusetts, close to Boston. She's super cool.  She is so sweet, she's trying to be a vocal performance major at BYU Provo, she already has a year there. She's my FIRST COMPANION WHO IS  YOUNGER THAN ME. She is the oldest of four, she's just super excited to work!!! Our area is really picking, it's super obvious that there's a new missionary here because miracles are pouring down.

I'm really sorry you were so sick! I've been picking up a cold a bit, but I'm pounding the vitamin C and I'm starting to feel better already. Life here is really great. 

I'm honestly racking my brain and I can't think of anything really specific to talk about. Life is just great. I love being released from STl-ing, life is so much more simple. I love working with just one other companionship, I miss my brothers a lot, but it's so much efficient with just the two of us. Elder Jorquera and I have also formed a half companionship, since we have to take care of all the ward and area stuff and our new companions don't really know anything, so that's been fun.

We should have a baptism this week, we'll find out tonight if it's a yes, if it's still a not sure we'll keep pushing gently until we a get a yes because they are so humble and sincere and know it's true, just a bit scared, so we can push. His name is Alex, he's 11 and awesome. Pray for him!!!

Love you all!!!! Happy New Year!!!

Sister Zollinger