Monday, December 30, 2013

I have literally been so spoiled thus far!


Well it sounds like it's great and cold in Mn. As per usual. Here in December it is a frigid 60 pretty much every day, with a nose biting drop to the mid 30's at night.... life's rough as a Californian Missionary. Just kidding. It's awesome. Never wear a jacket really, cept at night. Apparently this has been a weird year though... usually colder than this.

Pues, update from the mission field:

(Extracts from letter to mission President:)
"Also, we had some amazing experiences with the N family! We only got to meet with them once last week because they were out of town for a bit, but the night we were with them was fantastic. Apparently Brother N had been really confused and thought that Joseph Smith came up with a new gospel that we were trying to teach him. We were able to clear that up, that he simply brought back Jesus Christ's church. That made him feel a lot better. Sister Organista felt impressed to pray with them directly at the end of the lesson about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She said the prayer and asked if the Book of Mormon was true, then waited for probably a full minute. I just prayed really hard in my head that Heavenly Father would answer them, that they would recognize the Spirit. I felt so desperate for them to know. After Sister Organista finished, Brother N just looked at us and said "I can't deny it's true. I will be baptized very soon." YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Well we felt great about that, and then we were going to meet with them again Saturday, but they were busy. So we were just going to see them at church the next day. They came and told us they only could stay for the first hour. So we were bummed, but happy they came for Sacrament. Well Sacrament was exactly what they needed. About setting goals, changing, not looking back, and having faith. Brother N had just said in our last meeting that he needed more faith. It was perfect. So what happened? They stayed for all three hours!!! Not only that, they stayed for the baptism after church as well!!!! Apparently they told Sister Organista "What we have to do can wait." President, Brother N is going to be the first Bishop or Branch President of the Kerman Spanish branch. I can feel it. This man is amazing. Sister Organista and I both just look at him and think, "This man is a bishop." We are so excited, especially because this is building up the Spanish group, not just adding to the English. LOVE IT."

Love being a sista! Also:

"Well, I am in love with my companion. Every week things just get better and better. We are closer than ever. We hardly ever get annoyed with each other any more and we laugh all the time. We work hard and we watch out and take care of each other. We are open about everything. I love it. She is literally the best. We were talking about how Elder Goettman asked her how she felt about maybe being a traveling sister her last transfer... she told me about that, and President, I just started crying. Not because I am afraid to lead the area if she were to go, or about Spanish, although those things will be a lot harder without her. She has taught me really well. I just am already heartbroken about not being with her all the time. I love her so much. She has been such a great example to me. I told my parents on Christmas that if I become a successful missionary, a lot of it will be because Sister Organista was my trainer. "

So yup. Also we're working with G still, C says he can be baptized January 12th! So we have two for sure this month! And like 3 or 4 maybes! So that's pretty fantastic. I have literally been so spoiled thus far. Like sure, I've been sicker than a lot of people, been in a car accident, stuff like that.... BUT I am struggling less with Spanish, I am having tons of baptisms, my companions have both ROCKED, , and it's just awesome. So I am super grateful for that but I'm starting to get a little nervous for when the rubber hits the road again... namely transfers. I already had a nightmare that Sister Organista was getting transferred and my new comp and I did NOT get along. So..... praying to be happy and prepared for life when it changes haha... it'll be great!

So here's a little nuget of what I have learned this week. I have been trying really hard to live in the moment for a long time. Big focus of my mission. But you still have those times where you're in the car and you're mind wanders to the past or the future and you get lost there. So I've really been trying to learn what to do when my mind doesn't have anything to do. One thing is that my goal for this year is to learn a scripture a month in spanish... an idle brain is the devil's workshop, so I have to have something to fill it to keep me focused. Another thing I do that always without fail makes me smile is catching myself daydreaming about the past or future and I think "Sister Zollinger, right now you are serving as a sister missionary in Kerman California driving to Investigator's X house. Isn't that cool?" And then I just smile and think about that investigator or about being a missionary and I can keep focused and I'm way happier and more at peace. You gotta just take life as it comes. Even when it's hard, and just really savor the experiences that make us human. Super great.

Spanish trivia for ya.... when someone sneezes, you say "salud", which is "health" for the first sneeze, "dinero"(money) for the second, and "amor"(love) for the third. Just saying, I almost always sneeze three times in a row. saWEET! Lotsa love for this girl. :D haha.

Well, I love you all a ton! Keep it real and warm up there!


<3HZ

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in California!

Christmas 2013  in Kerman, California.  Thank you Nehring family!

I'm here to stay and I'm here to make my mark!

MOM!!!!

Pues, lo primero es que PUEDO SKYPE USTEDS PARA NAVIDAD!!!!!! (well, the first is that I CAN SKYPE YOU ALL FOR CHRISTMAS!)

So super excited for that! Also, we get to sleep in until 830 for Christmas! I don't think I'll be able to sleep much longer than 7... but I'm for sure going to try! We also get to watch any Disney movie rated PG or less! So my district is going to watch something together. We're invitied to a MILLION houses for Christmas... which is good and bad. Last Thanksgiving we were just with members, and I felt really weird about it... I'm a missionary, days off don't exsist and I don't want to not work for a whole day! That's not what we're here for! So we have to be careful, cuz a lot of members want to love us, but we have to work at the same time. no se. I don't know. We've been getting a lot of presents from the members... mostly cookies. So many cookies in our apartment. It's great! haha not really... I can't get fat! No me gusta estar gordita! (I don't like being a little fat woman!) (( not that I've become fat or little.....))(((still a woman....))))......

GOT MY HAIRCUT TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN LIKE 10 YEARS BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN CAREN VERNON AND I ALMOST DIED. But it turned out just fine. The same but shorter.... like tiny bit shorter. haha. So I survived. That was a big deal for me.

Physical therapy is going good.... well it really hurts. Last time I almost cried it hurt so bad. But it hurts less and less outside of physical therpay... like during normal life, so that's great! The time I almost cried, the lady working on me said she thinks I got the worst impact from the accident, or at least my body took it the worst. That was surprising to hear. But I'm doing better and better... my back is still really inflammed apparently. They did some weird suction cup thing on my back today..... hurt. They like basically sucked sections of my back up into these little cups and held it there for 10 minutes to stretch everything.... ouch. all I'm gonna say. Mega Hickies on my back. Wut. Up. Honestly, I've got better stories than almost anyone in this mission and I've only been out for 3 months! It better start to settle down, or I'm going to die by the end of this! Haha...

Also, sister O and I got stuck yesterday. We were at some members house for Christmas something and we left to finish studying. We pulled into some lot like a mile away... middle of no where. it got dark after a while so we turned on our lights.... battery died. So great. Had to call and have the same members jump start us..... so embarassing!

ALSO we had another baptism yesterday! C! She's E's mom. E was my first baptisim! And G, her 10 year old brother, hopefully is getting baptized within the next week or so! So great!

So this week was hard.... and here's why:

Speaking of which, there was a testimony try-er this week. Sometimes I feel like as a missionary you have two choices... to grow stronger in the gospel until you know everything or to just go apostate. That might seem kind of strong, but it happens to me at least once a week. This past week we were teaching another C. We taught about Adam and Eve and I just got so flustered, so confused with the doctrine and it just didn't end well. She was an investigator I thought about for days after the meeting. That night, I just studied and read everything I could, and that night I just had to pray again and call for that reassurance that I really was preaching the truth, that just because in those moments of confusion I wouldn't get "lost".... and as I was praying, I just got this feeling... "Kelsie, you already know." And that's what it took. It's so hard to go out there and have your testimony attacked every day. I'm just a 19 year old girl. But I know for a fact it is true. I'm here to stay and I'm here to make my mark.



Well, that's about it for now, cuz I'm gonna call you in less than 48 hours!

Love you! Nos vemos pronto! (We'll see us soon!) (like see ya soon, but that's the literal translation)

Hermana Zollinger

Monday, December 16, 2013

As hard as this week was, we have had some fantastic success!

So post accident... things are definitely improving. The first few days we'd wake up and something new would hurt on top of the existing problems. We're going to physical therapy two times a week for the next 2-3 weeks at a clinic that is owned by our Ward Mission Leader's son, so they do everything for free for missionaries! They are saints. Our sessions are like an hour and a half long every time... wow. So Sister Organista and I both have whiplash... which is fun. My neck has been pretty sore. My back is pretty bad too. They focused on my neck last Tuesday and my back Thursday... Thursday Friday and Saturday my back was destroyed.... physical therapy makes it worse before it gets better. But today has been good. It doesn't hurt too much. Just my neck feels tight when I turn, especially when driving to check both ways.... ironic because that's what's going to keep us from crashing. On that subject, I have been a FREAK driving haha.... we took the Elders' car and now their stuck on bikes while they wait for a new one. It's bigger than our last one, and I need to learn the area so I'm driving now. Pues, the first day driving I probably slammed on the breaks 4 times. Like slammed. The second day was only like twice and now I'm pretty normal again.... but man that was TORTURE. Especially because our accident.. there was nothing we could do to be more safe. It was the other car. So here I'm driving and every time I passed ANY car I just begged in my head "please don't turn into me, please stay there, please, please please..." everyone thought I was pretty pathetic, but hey! It was a traumatic experience! Sister O just said last night (in Spanish so it was even funnier) "You have a strong personality but you're scared of everything... I don't get it." Hahahaha.... I had a good laugh with that one. So true.  But we're supposed to be icing everything 5 times a day... pues we can't cuz we're not home 5 times a day. But we do it when we can. And we're always supposed to be on pain killers to bring down the inflammation even if we aren't really hurting. So that's killing my kidneys, but hopefully healing my back. We have PT tomorrow, and I'm excited to go cuz things need to stop hurting! Also I have a cold again.... just a wreck. But hey! Here's the good news from the missionary life!

As hard as this week was, we have had some fantastic success! Just this Thursday we went to contact a media referral in Fresno that we hadn't been able to contact for a while. We stopped by and the mom of the house came to the door and was confused and concerned looking... she didn't seem to want us there. But we explained who we were and her 22 year old son came out and said "Oh, that's my dad who asked for you to come, but I would really like to know more too. Will you come in?" Whoa! A referral who actually WANTS you there?! Hasn't happened to me before! So we went inside and met the dad and the dad's mom also and we had a lesson with all 4 of them! The grandma wasn't super excited, but the rest were super receptive! They are all "searchers" and they just ate it all up! So we went back Saturday to teach them the rest of lesson one, and the grandma wasn't there but their other daughter who is about 24 was! So we taught her too! She's a little less "searcher", but she listened. So we invited them to our Spanish group's Christmas party at a member's house that day and they said yes, and they CAME! All four of them! And they stayed like half an hour after we left! And Elder Casteneda had talked with the mom and explained YSA and she was super excited and asked if the YSA elders could come THAT NIGHT to talk to her children! So the mom and dad came to our Spanish group on Sunday and the two kids went to the YSA ward! President, that is crazy! No one does that! Also, we had left them copies of the Book of Mormon Thursday after our first visit, and by our visit on Saturday the dad was in 1 Nephi 11!!!!! And they all read their assignment! Their la familia N. President, it's a miracle. They have a date as a family for January 22 but we think it will be a lot sooner than that! So amazing.

Also, we have a baptism this week for C.. Her daughter E was my first baptism. And her husband J hasn't been interested really in the gospel or religion thus far, but he's come every Sunday since E's baptism except last Sunday and he is making tons of friends in church. Their whole family came to the English ward Christmas party Saturday and he made his family's secret recipe cake and just is super at ease at church. We had a great discussion with him on Saturday as well! We were teaching C(Sister Organista taught her and I translated into English for him, she only speaks Spanish and he only speaks English, don't know how they got married, but they did!) and he just said that he wasn't very religious but he'd listen while we taught her. At the end I said "J, I know you say you're not very religious, but if there was truth to be found, would you want to find it?" And he said "Yes." And I said "Well, will you pray tonight and ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet, if the Book of Mormon is true?" And he said yes! We haven't been able to follow up yet, but that's a miracle too President! We'll probably baptize him in January, and then there's just their 10 year old son, and then one year and then we're going to get this family sealed in the temple!

Yup. So pretty stoked. And to answer your question about the little old Catholic lady.... we couldn't see her for like 5 days after the accident, so I was really worried about her. But we finally got to see her Friday. She told us she read the L1 and L2 (lessons 1 and 2) and she said "Well I don't know how to tell you girls this but...." and I was really worried she was going to start preaching to us about how we're disillusion or something.... but she just politely asked how we could believe in something like Joseph Smith. So I just said "You know C, I've asked myself many times if I could believe any of this if I hadn't been raised in it. Joseph Smith can sound kind of fantastic if you're hearing it for the first time, I know. So how do I know? I've read the Book of Mormon and really studied it. I've read it probably ten times on my own, in Spanish, with my family. I know the Book of Mormon to be true. I know it would be impossible for Joseph Smith to write it. I didn't have to meet him, but I know this Book is true and so I know Joseph Smith was a prophet." Or something to that effect and she just looked at me and said "I've never heard anyone say it like that. You talk differently than all the adult Mormons I know." And that was the best feeling ever. Just because it takes the right person to say the truth for everyone. I know I was sent here for specific people like C to say the same truths in the way that she would respond to. Every time we go she starts off "knowing" something about us, and then she is shocked when we explain the truth. And the best part is she takes it for truth! She believes me more than she believes other Mormons who aren't the best examples of what we believe! That's a miracle. So we're going back sometime this week. She loves us, even if she doesn't want to get baptized or anything. Yet. :)

Well that's about it over here! I love you so much!!! Keep up the awesome missionary work! I'm so proud of you, and God is MORE proud of you than I am! (Well pleased I should say....)

Hermana Z

Friday, December 13, 2013

So....here's what happened

So... here's what happened. We had just picked up two other sisters (one of them is like my new bff, sister salisbury, she was sis organistas comp just before me) to go to a zone conference sat morning with Elder Porter from the 70.  we were literally five minutes from their apartment when out of no where, the truck coming from the opposite direction just did a U in the middle of the road right into us. It was a huge four door ford truck, F150. I was in the passenger side. Sister Organista was driving and there was nothing she could do, she slammed the brakes and swerved but it SMASHED into us. Pushed us up onto the sidewalk and then we hit a light post in the middle of our front. I just screamed and screamed because I saw it coming and like the only thought I had was "If I just keep screaming everything will be ok" so I just kept screaming. Our airbags all went off and I think I hit my head pretty hard because all of the sudden there were stars everywhere, my vision was not good. We smelled burning and saw smoke and Sister Jorgenson (Sis Salisburys comp) yelled that we had to get out so I just tried really hard to clear my head and the stars, but I was pretty dazed. Sis O's door had been demolished from where the truck hit, so she's panicking and I'm panicking and can't see and I'm fighting through all the airbags and the metal had warped back from where we'd been hit in the front so I had to push really hard to open the door.... so. scary. So we all got out and Sis S and Sis J were in front of me and they could barely walk. I was shaking so bad, my knees were buckling, I thought I was going to throw up and pass out in the grass.... so scary. Luckily I had my phone in hand from when we'd called them to pick them up so I immediately called  911. We were in the middle of the town, so people came rushing to help us, at least 6 people called 911. We had been hit right outside a waffel house and they pulled us in there so we could sit and not freeze (freeze being relative from MN... CA has been in the 30s lately though, coldest in years) and within 10 minutes the police and paramedics were there. The guy in the truck just took off in his truck.. I was the only one who saw him leave, I saw it through the airbags by Sis O. They found his truck a few blocks away, he'd abandoned it. But they had all his info. Funnily enough, his front license plate had fallen off from the impact so they had that too.... jerk. Pretty sure he was drunk. A couple came and talked to us right after and stayed with us for like 20 min... they said he'd just run 2 lights before that and had almost hit them so they were watching him and saw him hit us.... so scary. And another man came after the police had got there and he had seen him right after he hit us, truck all smashed in the front, so he'd jumped in HIS truck and chased after him, then realized he wasn't the police so he called 911 too.... we still don't know for sure if they caught him. So the paramedics took my blood pressure, which was text book perfect and then asked me some quick concussion check questions (my favorite "how old were you when you were 10?") which I passed. Sister O was bleeding in her mouth so that really scared us at first, but it turned out she'd just bit her tongue really good. Sis J did too and had a huge welt on her shin. Sis S had been hit right on the brow bone with Sis S's head, so she had a welt that turned black.... we were all just sore every where, and a few hours later it really started to hurt and tense up once the adrenaline wore off. 

Well after all the hulabalu..... car was totaled, did I mention that?.... we got a ride in a sweet little Meixcan sisters car from the Madera ward. Her car was a tin can. Man it was hard to drive in. No side airbags, I only had a lap belt... without our seat belts and airbags we woulda died. So I just closed my eyes. We all cried a bit, it was terrifying. But we knew we were protected by angels and we were glad we were the ones who were hit because other people aren't as protected as God's missionaries. And we were all ok. So we went to the zone conference and were met immediately by our district leader, zone leaders, assistants to the president, the coordinating sisters and Pres and Sister Gelwix. They pulled us into a room to get blessings which helped a lot. Then we got to meet Elder and Sister Porter! Which was a big deal because Elder Porter has a weak immune system and can't meet large amounts of people so we weren't expecting to get to meet him at all! Sadly we were all in such distress that I couldn't take it in for what it was worth.... well the conference was really good. But about half way through things really started to hurt. My hip where the seat belt had been was really hurting, and my back and my neck.... and all I could do was play the accident over and over and over again in my head.... rough. Well after the conference, Pres Gelwix got up and said "I need the following missionaries over here for a minute: Sister Zollinger.... " and then like 6 elders. So what?! I went out into the hall and Pres said that Elder Porter was going to have a personal interview with each of us! So I was the only sister in my zone who got to have a one on one interview with a member of the 70! Again, my body was gone so I was shaking the whole time and super tired and emotional, but it was a neat experience. He just asked about how the mission was doing, how my family was, how I liked the mission, how was my testimony, etc. I was with him for about 7 minutes. He said he thought I'd be a pretty good missionary haha. It was cool!

Well after that we were told that whenever we were ready to drive again we would take the elders car and they would bike... we were told not to proselite for a few days which was really hard to take at first (I'm on the Lord's time here!) but turned out to be a really good idea. We got a ride back to Madera in the same tin can.... but I called Sister Nehring and she picked us up from there. I was NOT going to ride for longer than I had to in that car. Sister Nehring has been so amazing... she's super busy but cancels everything for us and works around us. We got to her house around 3 probably and Sis O had to do a report for the church... which meant I did it and she read. She was worse off than me because the truck had actually hit her (I was the safest one in the car, farthest from impact and I didn't have anyone else's body to bounce off of) and she was struggling with english a bit since impact (we all said a prayer after we were hit and I asked who wanted to and sis S said "not me, I'll sob through it" and sis O said "don't make me, I can't speak english right now" hahaha.... so I said it. wasn't funny at the time. but it is now. we went between tears and laughs all day.... so crazy. so scary) and then some other members brought us pizza... we just wanted to sleep so we went home around 5.... and neither of us could sleep. it was awful. bodys aching, replaying the accident over and over again, we knew we had appointments that we were missing.... just felt awful. Well after an hour the bishop and his wife showed up! They're really young, mid 30's or so, and it was their date night and they decided to spend it with us! So in our pjs we just sat in their van and talked! And they bought us icecream. We were them for like 2 hours. Exactly what we needed. Then we went home and Sis O passed out... I took a shower and read Haylie and Grandpa Steves letters I had just got and slipped back into a low point... thinking about the accident again. So what happens? My zone leader called me! And he said "sister, I can't do a lot for you but I can at least try to take your mind off of it for a bit" so he just talked to me about my family, school, and sports and stuff for like half an hour. Exactly what I needed. And then the District leader called just to check on us. So great. went to sleep at 10:30.... both of us were awake around 230. We checked on eachother, and then I didn't fall back asleep until probably close to 4.... both of us spoke in sacrament the next day, sis o in spanish and me in english. Such a great experience. I talked about how members and missionaries need to work together, and it was just so great... so many people came up and told me they couldn't believe I'd only been in the field for a month. We got so much love from them.


Well we went home, slept for two hours and what do you know? Woke up feeling horrible. My sternum was like a knife in my chest. Hurt so bad. So guess what? God sent two more sisters at exactly that time. People have been showing up at our doorstep nonstop.  These two sisters were so great. One had been prompted on Black Friday to randomly buy two sets of warm, snow flake pattern sheets and so she brought those to us and they remade our beds! They were so comfy. Just that gesture was so comforting. And they gave us some medicine. So great. They brought us to our dinner appointment with an amazing family to watch the Devo and eat.... they had SNAKES. A big boa and a python.... I have pictures, I'll show you later. I want a ball python so bad now, they are LEGIT. It psyched me out a little at first but so cool. They also had a chinchilla and three big dogs and like three breeds of snakes.... so cool. They made us feel like family, it was so great. 

After that we went home and went to bed, another sister stopped and brought us food this morning, Sister Nehring has been doing everything for us. We are going to a physical therapist this week sometime, he is a member and sees missionaries for free. Such a blessing. I'm going to be driving now, we're getting the elders car tonight.... I'm still a bit traumatized though. Today Sister Nehring was backing up and couldn't see and asked us to check from where we were seated in her van. A big red SUV came speeding by and it took me several minutes to calm down because I could just see it crashing into us again. But we are ok and things are definitely going upwards. Just hard still.

Favorite proselyting story of the week!!!!:

High light of my week investigator wise was a little old Catholic woman we met named C. She's 80 years old and lives by herself. She as a referral from a member, they are neighbors. C answered the door and was in the middle of painting her own walls while struggling with arthritis. She's about a foot shorter than me. We asked her if we could please please help her paint and she said we were an answer to her prayers, her arthritis was really starting to hurt. She also informed us that "she knew all about our cult" which I laughed a bit at and immediately corrected a few of her ideas about who we were. We explained a bit about our beliefs on the Godhead that were different from what she had heard and also the sacrament. We didn't think we'd get far with her, so we just painted for her and got the job done fast and well. She was very pleased. We actually ran home to change first and she said "I mean it, just walk in. My door is always unlocked to my friends." That was about 5 minutes after she met us, and she is one independent and sassy old woman. It really touched my heart. So we painted everything and then she asked us some questions and we immediately sat down and started with Lesson 1. We only got so far as prophets and apostasy because she knew the Bible very well and had questions. But we read part of Amos about apostasy (she wasn't thrilled about the idea at first) and she lit up and said she'd never noticed those verses and accepted apostasy. We also left her with the Lesson 2 pamphlet. She loves to study. We were supposed to go back yesterday but with the accident we haven't been able to. We will probably see her tomorrow. I knew from Ammon how important service is to missionary work, but that really solidified every thing for me. We were able to bless her, even if she doesn't accept the gospel. I was honestly shocked she accepted those pamphlets, I thought there was no way. It was great! Especially because I've been trying to mean it more when I pray to find those prepared people. Before it was just saying words, but the day or so before we met her I tried to really mean it and have faith and boom, there she was!

Well I'm glad to hear every one is good at home! I love hearing about all the missionary work you are doing! It really is imparative to have members involved! I'll send you a copy of my talk later.... but I promised my members that as they involve the Lord in their missionary work, it would never be a burden to them. That promise is true!!!! Thank you for doing it!!!!

I love you all so much. Sorry for all the accident details... it was so crazy! I am so grateful to be alive, to know God is watching out for me, and to know of all the people who pray for me everyday. THANK YOU.

LOVE 

Hermana Zollinger

Let me start by saying that Sister Zollinger is FINE and SAFE

Sister Nehring of Kerman, California, texted the following to Kelsie's mom last Saturday:

Let me start by saying that Sis. Zollinger is FINE and SAFE, however, she and three other sisters were in a car accident this morning.  They were hit by a drunk driver who fled the scene.  All the air bags went off and they all say that it was Heavenly Father's protection that kept them from being more seriously injured. They will most likely be sore tomorrow, but they were checked by EMT's at the scene and released.  If they feel dizzy or faint tomorrow they have been instructed to seek more medical attention.  She will be in contact with you on Monday, but I offered to let you know so you can keep them more specifically in your prayers (as I am sure you pray for them all the time anyway!)  The ward here is poised to take care of any and all needs they have as they recover.  Feel free to call me if you have any other questions.  I will forward a picture of the car in a seperate text.


Monday, December 2, 2013

December Already?

 Thanksgiving was so great! The members here just love us up. Everyone loves elders, but people ADORE sisters, they give us so much stuff! Literally everywhere we go we are given food and treats. The elders almost never get anything haha, they get a little jealous. Luckily we are disciples of Christ and we share everything with them and invite them to our dinner appointments so they can eat.... haha. Thanksgiving we just studied all morning like usual and then we went to the RS president's house with her husband and grown son and his three kids (his wife was sick) and had a great time and then we went to a SECOND dinner with another family who is great in their CASTLE (coolest house ever) and they had their family and another two families and the bishop's family... FULL house. So good. I was dying after eating so much, but we just spent the whole days with members... After our second dinner we all (us 6 missionaries) went to the bishops and watched most of 17 Miracles (we can watch a movie on Thanksgiving). It was desperately sad. And we didn't watch the end which is where it resolves finally.... it's about the Pioneers. Nuf said. But it was great. Love the members.

The work is moving forward as usual!!! Here's an update on some investigators, taken from my pres's letter.

We have had just a great couple of days. We are still working with L! Her girls got confirmed yesterday and it was just beautiful. They also brought her step-son O. O is 21. The sisters had been working with him before, he lives with L and her family, but since I've been here he's basically disappeared. Well last week we got him to sit in on their first Family Home Evening and then after that he's been sitting in and then he agreed to go to dinner at a member's house last Saturday which is HUGE he's so shy, and then he came to church for the first time yesterday and prayed in CLASS (he's never prayed with us before) and he's coming next week! So great. Their family is really coming together. Another family that we're working with is progressing really well too! E got baptized about three weeks ago (my first one) and her mom is probably going to baptized at the end of December. Her stepdad J has been coming to church, at first just for E's baptisim and then the following week for her confirmation. Well he came again yesterday with the whole family again! He attends all the classes, the brothers at church are just welcoming him in, and yesterday I asked if we could start teaching him and he said yes! We've been praying for that for a long time!!!! So we're going to get this whole family baptized and to the temple. SO. Excited. Love being a missionary.

So lately we've been reading The Fourth Missionary during companionship study and I've been thinking a lot about how I can become the Fourth Missionary and what it means to give up my will and my heart and my mind. I've been working on it a lot this week and MAN it has made being a missionary easier. My mood is better (not that it was bad before) and I'm happy, I feel the Spirit pretty much 24/7, I can feel him guiding me what to say and where to go... I love it! I love feeling like I am changing. At the beginning of my mission I wanted to change but I didn't like the process... it hurt a bit! But now I am just relaxing and learning to trust that God is not going to change me into someone that I won't like. That's probably the biggest thing I've learned this week. Just relax. It makes our lessons go better, it helps our companionship, it makes me happier, I can hear the Holy Ghost more... great thing to learn!

So yeah, the next thing I was going to tell you is that you should read The Fourth Missionary with the kids! It's kinda long but it will give them a heads up of what they should be preparing for here... man it's hard, but it is so great!

ALSO my spanish is rockin! We had a conference on Wednesday for Trainers and New missionaries... so great! Learned a lot. But we had to role play a lot as usual (we role play allllll the time, it's great practice) and all the elders who'd been out here a while were like "Hermana!! Where did you learn to speak Spanish??? You are throwing down your past tenses and everything!" And Sister Organista said I'm about as good as her last companion, who'd been out for 6 months. So, feeling pretty blessed, but working hard to get better! Love it though! It's not as frustrating as it was in the MTC... like now I actually can have a personality when I talk! And the Mexicans think I'm hilarious.... cuz I'm white but I pretend I'm Mexican hahaha. It's great!

I love you all so much. There is just great stuff out here. We should be baptizin at a pretty good rate this month. LOVE IT.
Love you so much! Talk to you soon!!!!

Hermana Zollinger

Monday, November 25, 2013

Life is Amazing Out Here in the Field

Pues. (well.) Life is amazing out here in the field. So happy. Every day.... I can't even imagine how much happier I can get, there has to be a maximum at some point! Don't get me wrong, it's crazy hard out here and my faith is challenged every. single. stinkin. day. BUT everyday I also see miracles and those always win :) Love it! SOOOOOO. Guess what? Only had two baptisims this Sunday. But that's ok! It was L's daughters, J and M! Love them sooooo much. Can't even tell you. M is painfully shy and we weren't sure she'd make it through the interview with our district leader... she was just clinging to me before hand and then after she was attached to me for probably half an hour. But then she got over it. And then we were a little afraid she'd panic right when she was going in the water... But she did so great! I have pictures... I'll try to send them soon. L is working on getting  a job and we talk to EVERYONE about the gospel and if they know anywhere that she could live. Literally. Everyone. I will see her baptized yet! We've been talking a lot with the bishop and he understands our struggle and just said to let her know that she can act like she's a member until she's baptized. He'll give her an assignment in the ward (can't set her apart, but still good!) and she can pay her tithing and get a visiting teacher and everything! I love being with them. They are so great! So full of faith. So ready to change their lives. They are the best. And they love us so much. They hate it when we leave.

Also cool! I'm going to cut and paste this from my letter to my President...

Well we are currently at a bit of a crossroads, because most of our investigators are either working on baptism/have been baptized or are in the dropping zone. We don't have many in the middle. So we have been trying to find some new people to teach this past week. Saturday we tracted into G. Wow. G is an amazing woman. She is in her late 50s/early 60s and she is about the most family/service oriented person. We stopped by while we were doing harvesting blessings, she said that she would love the prayer but wasn't going to let us in because she was cleaning for a big family gathering that day. We got talking and soon she invited us in and then we ended up staying there for probably close to an hour while she told us about her family and her struggles with her health. After a while she stopped and said "Wow I'm talking too much, but you are just so easy to talk to! I can feel that you are good people, I can feel your energy and I feel like crying, I love it!" or something to that effect. So she is awesome. We left her a Book of Mormon and an assignment and then we are going back tomorrow to start teaching her! So great.


So. Love that. Kindered Spirits definitely. Wow. There are so many million more things I could say! But I shall forbare, like Moroni. Last spiritual thought! Top three things I've learned since being in Fresno:

1. Righteous people are not righteous because they are perfect. They are righteous because they repent and forgive quickly.
2. Happy people are always grateful people.
3. We really only have one choice in life and that is how much we are going to let Heavenly Father Bless us.

Love you all so much!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ok so big news! Had my first baptism yesterday!!!!! Her name is E and she's 16. Such a neat experience. Her whole family came to church, which is significant because her mom is investigating still, her step-dad hasn't been interested thus far, and her 10 year old brother doesn't really care (he's young, not surprising). So all of them were there for church and the baptism! So great. I spoke on the Holy Ghost and it was just overall such a cool experience. Pictures to follow.

Second big news, we're hopefully having three more baptisms next Sunday! Remember L?? Well she has four daughters  and two of them are baptism age. J is 11 and M is 9. Both girls are really shy, M painfully so. We've been at their house almost everyday since I've got here. But we've really been working with them and now we're basically family. L is doing so well, her face is brighter and brighter, she laughs a lot more, she's cooking and being homey.... it's so amazing to see the Spirit step in and change people! Just amazing.  L said they've been fighting extra lately, no surprise because Satan knows they're getting baptized and is being a jerk and not leaving them alone... so they are praying every night as a family and then L is reading them a Book of Mormon reader, you know the kid book with pictures? Every night! And then last night we challenged the girls to make their bed every morning and to count to 10 every time they get frustrated... they promised to, hopefully they will be able to get along better! So we're just working on finding them a new place to live.... kind of for free until L can get a job. I've never prayed so hard. So just pray for her! We believe in and expect miracles.

Also I'm getting a little sick, but will be better soon... hopefully. Just a cold. Also.... last week we had my first zone meeting... Elder Goettman (my new district leader) told me one of my first days that he was singing at it and wanted a pianist.... so me. Well by Monday he didn't know what he wanted yet, tried to give me arrangements I could play if I had two hours, funny thing is I don't have two hours. Ended up switching to us singing a duet accapella... Well ten minutes before the meeting we managed to find a piano player, and alto and a tenor (he sings base and I sing soprano these days) and we had a beautiful quartet! It was called 'I love the Lord' which is just different words to the tune of 'Be still My Soul'.... so great.

Well.... I think that's about it for now. I love you so much and I miss you all!!!! God be with you!

Hermana Zollinger
Kelsie's district in the Missionary Training Center in Mexico City, just before the all left for their various Spanish-speaking assignments...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Week in California



OK, so I have a million and two things to tell you!!!!



First off, I miss my district like crazy. Second, I had a great day when all my district was gone and it was just me! I stayed with the newest district and I got to be really good friends with the sisters there. Fast forward 24 hours and what am I doing?!?!!? Eating dinner with THE Larry Gelwix in his dining room!!!!! There were three big tables, and I was assigned as the only sister missionary at HIS table, with five other elders and him and his wife!!!! WHAT?!?!?! SO cool right?! Loved it. He is so great! I thought he'd be more intimidating, but he is super duper nice! In my interview with him he only asked three questions.... tell me a little about yourself and why you are here, what can I do to bless your (me Kelsie) life, and finally, do I have to be worried about you or are you going to do what you know is right? Super great, super fast. Got my bike, got my new companion!!! Haven't ridden the bike at all, and it sounds like I probably won't while I'm in this area, which sounds like could be a long time because my trainer only has three transfers left! She has two for sure with me to train me and then only one, so she thinks I'll take over this area as Senior companion when she's done. That's her guess, we don't know. Obviously. Her name is Sister Organista, she's from El Salvador!!! So I'm being taught Spanish by a native speaker, so great! My spanish has launched, I know so much more and am comfortable with so much more in this past week than 6 in the CCM and WAY more than 3 years in High School. Gracias por nada Chisago! (Thanks for nothing). Anyways, so excited. She is helping me so much. She says that she is really impressed because I'm not afraid to talk and that I like to take the lead (in English lessons anyways) and she's really good about pulling me into Spanish lessons and helping me say my part, however small. She is so good for me. She's pretty quiet, but happy. It's good for me to slow down and talk less haha. Interferes with the Spirit a veces when I'm so crazy and talking all the time. (a veces is sometimes). Speaking of which, last night I was writing in my journal and I could NOT write in English! It was the strangest thing! Spanish just kept coming. Here in Kerman we teach both English and Spanish, non discrimininatory. For some reason this small ward managed to get three sets of missionaries... the district leader, the zone leaders, and some fierce sisters! I don't know how that happened. Some areas don't even have missionaries, and it's not like it's a big ward, or even a big town! It's pretty similar in size to Forest Lake I'd say.



By the way, I love California! It is so beautiful! It's so strange because it's well into the 60s everyday, but in Walmart there's Chirstmas stuff everywhere! The trees (that aren't palms) are turning colors, it is so gorgeous. Kerman is very beautiful, pretty sure I'm going to live here someday. I love it.



 There are so many poor people here... no one has a car to get to church. The members are so great. Sister Nehring is a ward missionary and she does so much to take care of us and drive investigators.... so much! And no we aren't living with her, she just really takes care of missionaries! She's awesome. We live in a very nice apartment... two full bathrooms plus showers just for the two of us! So we each just take one, it's great! We have about 35$ a week to live off of... nigh impossible. especially this week cuz I had to buy sheets and shampoo and a lot of extra stuff besides groceries. Soon I'll be able to figure out how to shop... it's really hard because you never know when someone's going to feed you. I have never been so hungry or so full than now... Either you're with a member and they stuff you or your own your own trying to ration the food you have.... it's nuts.



Also can you please send my red and yellow piano books with LDS arrangements?? Kerman has like no musical abilities. I'm going to try to change that, but they haven't had a piano player for the Spanish group like ever, so I play for their meeting on Sunday and like no one leads music really.... I don't know. They are so so grateful... in sacrament meeting they said "We have a new missionary, Sister Zollinger, and she is going to be playing piano for us. Thank you so much Sister Zollinger for your years of study! We appreciate it!" all in Spanish of course. And then they told me I was already a great blessing to them. They are so kind! I don't even play that well because I don't really have time to practice!



I'm much healthier now, also no one here can pronounce Zollinger, Hipanic or white, it's hilarious. My first baptism is this Sunday!!! Her name is E, she's 17. So excited. We're working on her mom and her younger brother. L hopefully will be ready to be baptized by the end of this month, along with her two oldest daughters. Our goal this month is 4 baptisms... definitely possible, God willing. Pray for them!!!



Well I love you all so much, so good to hear the update!!!! Thank you for all your prayers and support!





LOVE, Hermana Z

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Letter From a California Family

Hello Zollinger family!!

We are the Nehring family, and we live in Kerman, CA, a small rural community west of Fresno.  Your daughter arrived here last night, and we are so happy to have her here! We have three daughters, so we are grateful for the example the Sisters set for them!! Her trainer, Sister Organista is a wondeful missionary!

Our ward is small, but growing! We have a Spanish group that we are hoping to grow into a Branch in the next two years. The missionary's hard work is very much appreciated!  There are six missionaries in our ward right now, as our ward boundaries are nearly the size of the state of Rhode Island!  The Sisters cover the east side of Kerman, Biola, Easton and the western edge of Fresno.

Kerman is an agricultural community that grows grapes, almonds and cotton. It is a very nice place to live.

We will take good care of your daughter and the rest of the missionaries!

Love,
The Nehrings - Kevin, Lora, Amanda, Rebecca and Katrina

Monday, November 4, 2013

California Here I Come!

So I went to the doctor last week and just found out the results today. Everything pretty much is normal.... the doctor has no idea. I´ve still been having pain when I laugh in my side in the usual place.... he´s going through everything he can think of, he says that it could be some mis-junction in my ribs with the cartilige and be completely unrelated to everything else. Yeah it´s pretty frustrating... I was hoping they´d find something just so there was a way to move forward! But alas, no.... It´s been crazy. But I´m really hopefully that just being in the States and having a bit more normal schedule long term will help my body to calm down... little nervous for the flight, but I know everything will be ok. This time I´m flying with four or five other elders going to the Fresno mission. At least I won´t be alone and they´ll be able to help me if need be. I don´t know them at all though, they were all Beginners and my district was Intermediate. Pero está bien.


I knew that one of the hardest things I´d go through in this mission is saying good bye. And like the thing is is that my district is all each other´s first converts. That´s one of the biggest things they stress here is that you have to be your own first convert and that everything you want your investigator to do, like read, have meaningful prayers, feel the Holy Ghost, etc is what Heavenly Father wants for you. And we have all more thoroughly converted each other. It´s tough, but I know that I will stay in contact with a lot of them.


I´ve just really gained a testimony of loving the people you serve and the people you serve with. I´ve learned that I tend to be pretty judgmental at people´s face value and since I got stuck with people and had no choice but to get to know them, I´ve made the best friends ever. Some of my most favorite people in my district are the people I really disliked the first week. So I´ve just really tried to gain a testimony of loving everyone on the benefit of the doubt until you can learn their story and love them for real. I´ve learned so much here... like two or three weeks ago I told Hermana Hurley that if I had to go home right then, I´d be ok because everything I´ve learned here has changed who I am or at least who I realized I want to become. I´m so grateful I get another 16.5 months to really solidify the lessons I´ve already learned and to learn new ones though! It´s been a crazy crash course. 

 I´m so excited to get into the field I just opened an email from the APs in Fresno... they said day one 
we´re just going straight into the field with a temporary experienced companion and going for it. So excited! During this hard time  I´ve never felt more peaceful. I´m so excited to go and do the Lord´s work, it´s just hard to leave this family behind. But in a blessing last week while I was sick, Elder Lund (who gave the blessing) promised me that  my future companions would be like family to me also and I would have that bond. I just keep trying to focus on the fact that alll the love I feel right now will soon be felt again as I get to know my new companions and members. 

Just to close, I want to testify to you of the power of prayer, and also of the right to God´s power we hold. Every time before we go teach, I pray for us, and I always specifically ask God for His power. The first few times I felt a literal light drop into my chest. Everything we have in this gospel is because someone specifically asked for it, be it the true church, the power of the priesthood, the keys to baptism... all of it is because someone asked. Ask God for exactly what you want and it will be given to you. Ask for His power in your life. It is so amazing. I know this Church is true and I know that trials are a blessing. I thank God for my trials sincerely every night. I couldn´t be happier to serve a mission and to love the angels that God has put in my life. I love you all so much and I pray for you. 

All my love,

Hermana Z


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grateful for las pruebas!



So I´ve been really sick.... the doctor has no idea what´s wrong, pretty sure it´s a stress reaction but this is way more prolonged with more side effects and it hits at random times.... two Sundays ago was the worst. I just got super naseus, light headed basically felt like I was going to pass out and have my body oooze out.... so not fun. So that´s been going on for the past week, I´ve had several blessings and it´s getting more under control.... paying more attention to what I eat, drinking more and then just praying a LOT. My district is super great with prayers and blessings. Anyways, the Saturday before we sang I felt the most normal I had in a week and just had a great day. Sunday out of no where the stuff hits me again and i was miserable through Relief Society and Sunday School and Sacrament meeting.... so I had Elder Lund give me another blessing and I just really wanted to be able to sing in devotional.... it was a super great blessing. I felt pretty good right until two minutes before we were going to sing and it hit me again and I was pretty sure I wasn´t going up, two minutes before. But we all stood and said our theme and I just didn´t sit down, walked on the stage and basically felt God keep me standing and pushing out the music.... I´ve learned how to be a decent Soprano here but that was the easiest and the most in tune I´ve ever been.... It was literally a miracle. I was good for the rest of the day and yesterday, but today the super bumpy, long, hot, dangerous bus ride to the temple got me... slept a lot and still not feeling hot.

I´m definitely excited to be in the states next week. Fresno is actually generally a lot warmer than Mexico City if you can believe it. Super excited for that during the winter... not so much next summer haha.... So Elder Lund´s mom sent him a Halloween package last  week that happened to have a pack of like 30 pirate eye patches.... so we´re wearing them as a district. Until someone yells at us. Which will probably be pretty fast. But at least we have that to look forward to haha

I´m trying to decide how to blog up date you.... ummm... been sick. Getting better. I see miracles every day. I see angels every day. I love the work. The Book of Mormon is the truest book on the earth. The church is true. We all have a divine destiny and God wants nothing more than our success. Our bodies are temples and are amazing blessings that most of us take for granted every day. During this sickness I have never been more grateful for my body. As hard as it has been, it works so much better than so many other people´s bodies and it enables me to do so much. Such a blessing. I have also never been more grateful for las pruebas (trials) because it only means that God is working harder on me to help me be stronger. Every night I try to express gratitude for them. I know that He loves me and is watching out for me. I couldn´t be more grateful to be on a mission and to get to wear my Savior´s name next to mine on my name tag every day. I love Him and I will do anything for Him...... If you could attach that song clip some how and tell an edited version of the story that would be super great.... I´m trying to think of some funny story to tell you about the week.... but I feel like Mexico is just Mexico at this point. Life is beautiful. Spanish is exhausting but great. Love it here.

OH MY GOSH!!!!! SUPER FORGOT BIG NEWS!!!! So My afternoon teacher is this guy Hermano Tapia. Super love him, we are so close to our teachers... I realize I don´t write too much about them in here, but like they are so family. So there´s another teacher, Hermana Valasquez. She´s not our teacher, but she taugh another district that´s in el campo (the field) now and so she comes and helps us sometimes. She´s also family, Hermana Hurley and I are particularly close to her. So come to find out from a chat with Hermana V that she´s dating Hermano T. WHAT?! We totally guessed before she told us, but it was great. It was supposed to be a girl secret with Hermana V and us, but then Hermano T spilled the beans to the district. So they´ve been good friends for a while but only dating for three weeks. So we´d been talking to Hermano T and he said they knew they were going to get married, didn´t know when. Well Friday he comes in with her from some devotional.... outta no where he proposed to her in front of the whole district!!!!!!! She said yes, we were all going crazy, it was beautiful. So my two favorite Mexicans are getting married. So. Happy. That´s how close we are to our teachers.... they propose with us there.... I have learned to love deeper here than I have ever loved in my life. It´s amazing.

OK. I have to go :( I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! TALK TO YOU SO SOON!!!!!!! ALLL MY LOVE, HERMANA Z

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HEY. GO TEACH WITH THE MISSIONARIES.

This week has been, as usual, packed with crazy things! For one, our water on Tuesday was purple for several hours.... so we couldn´t do laundry... found that out once I got home from emailing. So we had to do laundry at night, which is almost impossible, you´re never home. so that´s good.... also our smoke detector ran out of battery so it just beeped super loud for like 24 hours until reception remembered to come fix it.... also we´ve had a new clothes dryer sitting in a box in our laundry room for a week... today they came and took it out of the box... so that´s good...still not hooked up.... maybe by next week haha. Also, luckily the Mexicans are holding some local week long festival that includes Mass at 5:30am.... and if the Mexicans ever feel much of any emotion they set off fireworks... cada dia. So the first couple days we were all pretty crabby, having woken up to fireworks from 5:30 until it was time to get up anyways,... now we sleep through it... or they stopped... no sé. Just always sirens, fire works and gun shots here. So. Loco.
So onto spiritual stuff. Guess what?!?!?! Both of our investigators committed to baptism this past week!!!!! We were the first in our district. It was so amazing. They love you feel for these people when you understand the importance of the decision they are making is amazing. We just really followed the spirit and taught them the way they needed to be taught. One of them we brought a member... one of our other teachers. She was instrumental, so HEY. GO TEACH WITH THE MISSIONARIES. I know you guys are super great with that, but I just really learned how important members are. It´s one of my number one goals to get my wards super into missionary work, especially the youth. Travis and McKay, shout out to you guys, cuz seriously the practice I got with our missionaries helped me to be a better teacher out here and made me want to go on a mission even more.... I use them as examples all the time when we share stuff in our district. Seriously, huge deal. Make sure Dylan is getting involved in missionary work! It´s so great. We´ve learned so much about our teaching this week. We bring a specific general conference talk almost every time about a personal issue they could use help on. We also have learned to teach them how to use the Book of Mormon. We pick a chapter that has to do with their life and then we read about 7 to 10 verses with them, pausing and teaching them how to receive answers by asking them the right kind of questions. Then we assign the rest for homework and they actually get excited to read more. It´s been so amazing. And we pray with them right there in our meeting about the questions they need answered. It´s literally the most amazing thing.
I´ve also been blessed with a lot of personal revelation lately... who knew it, but the Book of Mormon is like the best "How to be a Stellar Missionary" guide ever! This past week I´ve been studying in Alma 11 to 18.... just wow. So great. Also I´ve been having a hard time (again) the past few days.... just feeling down and kinda worthless... and so I asked the zone leaders to give me a blessing.... these two 18 year old boys just astound me cada dia (every day). They are so young and at times goof off but when their priesthood is called on they are some of the most righteous men I know. It was one of the most amazing blessings I´ve ever received. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:80-88, God spells out some specific blessings given to His missionaries... in one of those last verses it talks about the angels He will  send to support you.... between all the emails, the letters and packages, and my district and zone, I could entirely fill the margins with the names of my angels that are supporting me. This is one of the hardest things I´ve ever done, and  I have never been more blessed or known how loved I am more.
So life is great! Been a little sick lately, but it´s definitely on the upswing. I´m starting to get excited to be back in the USA and rely on things more... it´s pretty tricky here!
Well, I love you all!!!!! I miss you all a ton. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts, it really helps! We listened to a devotional from Elder Holland the other week and he told us that besides the prophet we are the most prayed for people in the entire world... and then added that not many people who pray for the prophet don´t immeditately add the missionaries, so basically we´re prayed for as much as the prophet. Without all of those prayers, it would be nigh impossible to get through everything. You´re whole heart is invested in loving and teaching people the most important message in the whole world.... and that leaves a lot of pressure, stress, and heartbreak. Whether it´s leaving the area and people you love, not speaking as well as you want to or understanding as much, or watching them not accept, it kills you!!!! And I haven´t even had a real investigator yet! So, thank you for all the prayers and love, and keep them coming for all those missionaries out there!
Love you all!!!
Hermana Z

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pictures!





Life is Still good!

       Went to the temple again today, super great.... life here is crazy as usual... Spanish is getting better and better! Man, it´s so hard to talk about the week because everything requires so much of  a story it´s almost better to just say nothing! haha.... almost. So.... most recent injuries.... ripped off a chunk of my foot last week playing volley ball in the sand.... mi hermanas had to do surgery and I was literally screaming... but it´s almost healed now! And my wrist is completely healed. So that´s good. Although my pinky toe is either having an allergic reaction to a band aid or i have staff infection in it... as far as I can tell, I only discovered the swelling and pus last night, haven´t had time to poke around. SO LIFES GOOD haha.... still love my district! The oldest district just moved out, so my DL and his comp are now ZL, Elder Roundy is DL now and the other hermanas became the sister trainers! Like sister zone leaders. So great! Busy busy busy! Lessons are going really well, I´m really learning how to teach by the spirit! Almost every lesson we plan never gets taught that way.... we end up scrapping it mid-lesson to teach what they actually need.... luckily Hermana Hurley and I are super insync and mind read!!! It´s so great!..... So.... funny story time? There´s like a million and five to be told each day, but theres one that happened yesterday. So the maintenence people fumugate our casas (houses) to get rid of bugs....extermely toxic. So they were supposed to do it last week. Well as we´re leaving our house for gym time yesterday, a lady comes and tells us they´re going to fumugate while we’re gone. But that means that our house was nasty toxic by the time it was time to change... so we waited outside for like twenty minutes... but it was class time and we had an investigator that morning... so we covered our faces, ran in and got all our clothes and stuff and then walked across campus to class to change.... but me being me, super sensitive, i was sick like all morning... almost puked a million times and was really light headed. but it was a good time, super crazy! I got LETTERS THIS WEEK! Mail is just starting to come in from when I left.... So i got a card from Brenda´s family last Wednesday, Jackie´s package Thursday, and a letter from Taylor Friday! So great. I´m writing back to them today. Also.... I can´t speak English or Spanish well at this point... all the words get so mixed up it´s so hard to write letters!!!!!  Well, I love you!!!!! I´ll try to send more pictures soon!!!!!!


Aaand I had more time than I thought I would, so I´ll write a little more.... Hey, could you send recent picutres of everyone? so I can show my district. Gracias!                Anyways, life is so nuts here. I´m basically always sick.... naseua is always there. Between the food and the water, it´s exciting stuff. It´s always difficult to get up in the morning. Oh, did I tell you my district is really good at singing?? so we are doing a musical number for the CCM este domingo ( this Sunday).... medly of Nearer my  God to Thee and Where can I turn for Peace..... I´m learning how to sing a lot better here cuz we do it all the time. The last line of Where can I Turn for Peace everyone else is humming their part and I´m singing it in English.... we´re so good I wish I could record it for you! Ummm.... what else.... I don´t know... every day is ridiculouly hard, and  yet I´ve never laughed so much in my life. I learned how to play ultimate frisbee last week, HIGHLIGHT it´s so much fun. Today we went to the temple again.... going to play volley ball as a district in about an hour.... I have tons of friends here. It´s so great. The sad thing is I don´t want to leave them at all. My district is so tight. We all take really good care of each other. Mi maestra (teacher) said that she´s never seen a district as unified and funny as ours.... we have so many inside jokes and we all talk about everything together and build each other up  spiritually and in español. Me encata mi distrito (i love my district. technically i´m enchanted by mi district, pero they use it like i love) i don´t think I´ve told you my regualr schedule yet have I?............ wake up at 630, get dressed, in class by 7 for study time, usually we´re planning a lesson for one of our two investigators, (pamela y Carlos) but we only teach one investigator a day, alternate days. Then it´s breakfast at 745 then gym. class again at 945. either we start class with investigator teaching or it´s language time or she coaches us... our main teacher is Hermana Haws, I LOVE  HER she served in Chicago, she´s like our big sister. She´s so great, she´s an amazing teacher. Then lunch at 1245 and then class around 130, usually personal study followed by like half an hour of language. Then it´s investigator time if you didn’t teach in the morning. Then it´s Hermano Tapia time (I call him Hermano Tapioca sometimes.... whoops) who was our first investigator named Josue. He was just acting, and then one day he comes in in a suit and like, hey, i´m you´re teacher, you didn´t have to worry about me soul... haha funny. oh well. He´s a native and doesn´t speak too much english, but he´s super nice and funny, he´s 22 and served in Mexico. love him. So we have class like language and more coaching until dinner at 615. Then it´s typically personal study and language study till 8, then TALL (technology assisted language learning) which is just a program we use to practice LDS lesson specific spanish and grammar through BYU programming.... super boring but I try to take it seriously. Then we go back to class at 9, plan for the next day and have a district slash family prayer and hymn and spiritual thought from the White Handbook of rules and then home... I shower at night, the other girls talk and lights out at 1030. Repeat. Haven´t been sleeping too well with the sirens and dogs always barking the past few nights pero está bien. So there you go! Shoulda sent that a few weeks ago, lo siento (i´m sorry... literally translates to it I feel, but yup, that´s sorry in spanish... kinda funny haha)..... well I LOVE YOU! hasta proxima semana! Until next week! Se amo mucho!!!! Hermana Z

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Life Is Good!

General Conference was so great, we got to watch it in English. So. Nice. Although my spanish is really improving. It´s starting to effect my english though. Like I can´t spell in English very well anymore, and sometime I´ll be speaking in spanish and then slip into english with a spanish accent... it´s bizarre. So i´m in between languages now. So all week I´ve been writing down a list of things to tell you because I forgot a million of them last week. So here we go. One. Our shower is tempermental. Our first week here the pressure was so hard it literally caused you to cry out in pain every time it touched you. Difficult to shower when the water can´t touch you. So we put a pair of my nylons over it and that softened it but it misted everywhere! Then this past week it super mellowed out so you could hardly get wet and now just one place has the dagger water pressure. Fun stuff. Two. I got a pet catepillar. His name is Moctezuma. Actually I don't have him anymore, he seemed to have escaped. My roommates hated him, and didnt want me to bring him home but then they like changed his paper when he pooped and helped me get leaves for his cup cage and put him back in when he got out. It was great fun. Hopefully he got out the window cuz they did a bug bomb yesterday.... but I'm sure he´s happy somewhere. Three....Can you send me a picture of McKay Morrison and Avery Turnman??? One of my roommates looks so much like McKay and an Elder in my district looks like Avery and I need to show them.... thanks!!! Four.... everyone I meet asks about Zollingers. Everyone knows a Zollinger.  It´s crazy. Five. I´m becoming known as Hermana (Katniss) Everdeen. An elder came up to me last week and said that he and his buddies had been calling me that ever since I got here and another sister told me the other day. It´s so funny. Six. All prayers and hymns and testimonies are done in Spanish since like day one. It´s way cool, but tricky at times. A lot of the prayers say the same thing because we don´t have a very big vocab yet. Seven. My district leader and zone leader are 18. Actually all the elders in my district are 18. Then two 19 year olds including me and two 20 year old sisters, including my comp. Eight, please send my white stretch undershirt to Calli along with my peach and my brown flats por favor, I don´t really wear my gray ones they're too hot and the heals are ridiculous. ¡Gracias! Nine, could you send me a copy of the General Conference Ensign when it comes out??? I really feel like I need to study it. Ten, mom, could you please check my tithing and  my last pay check??? GRACIAS. Eleven, please pray for nonawkward  missionary experiences!!! Members really make all the difference in missionary work, I know our family can do so much even though we´re busy!!! General conference was so great, I loved it! just pray for what you need and God will give it to you. Twelve can you please Facebook Spencer Ballard for me and get his email address??? Muchas gracias!!!! Finally, the Mexicans kill me!!!! They are so crazy!!!! A lot of our leadership are Mexican, one gave us a devotional before General Conference on Sunday.... to illustrate the blessing of paying tithing to some people at a different conference that he told us about, he used the story of his first bus robbery and his first kidnapping (he was being robbed and kidnapped, he´s not an excriminal) they are so funny! And they say it the funniest ways.... they also always say "this needs to be done, and so I do it" or something..... man it doesn´t do it justice without the tiny man and the accent, you lose it all... but it´s hilarious! They kill me. Ok on to story time..... this week got hard again. I felt like I didn´t know why I was here after a bad lesson yesterday. I felt like I wasn´t buckling down and doing my part and I didn´t feel like I could. So Hermana Hurley talked to me and a sister teacher found me and helped me out. It was great.She told me to pray and open the Book of Mormon at random and read.... I flipped to 3 Nephi 3 verse 3 and it said "It seemeth me a pity (insert Kelsie) that you should be so foolish and vain...." we had a good laugh and I knew what God was saying. So I´m trying to get over myself and move on and work hard. Hermana and I are trying harder to live with exact obedience, which is pretty tricky. Also, if you want to help the kiddos prepare for a mission, the only thing I felt like I´m really lacking that I should have developed is time management. I did what I had to when I was earning a grade or working, but the only way to measure success here is your effort all the time, which is really hard for me. So if you can find a clever way to help the kids with that, they will appreciate it on the mission!!!!! Well I feel like I have so much I´m missing.... but if I told you everything I´d have to call you for three hours every night! Tonights pizza night! and  we just played volley ball as a district for like two hours. I´m getting pretty decent. OH!!!!!!!!!! I forgot! I got a sweet injury from volley ball last week!!!! So we play every day and I guess it can be hard on your body.... my wrist was really hurting but it always hurts cuz the ball is really hard. So I just kept playing. Eventually I looked down at the inside of my wrist and an inch and a half long section of MY VEIN was STICKING OUT OF MY WRIST. Not like outside of my body, it was just raised like a centimeter out, it was NUTS! It looked like it was going to pop. We didn´t know what was going on so Hermana and I went to the doctor wondering if it was like a clot or something. They wrapped it super DUPER tight in this freezing cold bandage.... so tight... for fifteen minutes and then gave me a compression sleeve. The blood decompressed and relocated so I have a sick huge bruise covering my wrist now. It just happens when I serve so if I serve too much I have someone else keep going for me. Esta bien. But its cool. I´ve also had a huge bruise on my knee since I got here cuz I always dive. I love volley ball with my district. Ok.... welll I think that´s it! We think we figured out pictures, so if the other hermanas finish with the upload cord and I have time I´ll send you some. LOVE YOU ALLL!!!!!! Hermana Z 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

¡Hola todas personas!

 ¡Hola todas personas! Oh my goodness. Disclaimer. I can´t even tell you a tenth part of what has happened the past 5 days. Whatever you read has happened, but is no where near the full picutre. Just sayin.                    
     SO. I love Mexico. The Mexicans are crazy. There are always police and ambulence sirens and the Mexicans are CONSTANTLY setting off fireworks so there´s always loud random banging. Estan lo.cos. Pero (but) I love it!!! It's exactly like the movies.... I was going to put some pictures here, but I'm still figuring out how to do that here. Lo siento. The food is.... very Mexican. It's kind of hit or miss. Either I super love it or I eat it because I´m starving. Pero esta bien.          
     Mi companera (my companion) is Hermana Hurley! She and I are literally the same person. We get along SUPER well. We are literally the funniest people on campus..... jk.... pero really, we have so much fun!!!! (picutre of her I was going to put here....) We share a room with the other hermanas  in our district, Hermana Lees y Hermana Flamm. They are so great! (picutre of the four of us I can´t put up yet....) I LOVE MY DISTRICT. We are super close. We have to do pretty much everything together... basically all day everyday the 9 of us (one companionship of 3 elders) are stuck in the same classroom studying espanol y el Evangelio (the gospel).          
      This week has been really hard and discouraging. My espanol has improved a ton in just the past few days. I can understand pretty well if it comes from a non-native speaker, it´s a lot harder when they´re native. For some reason I can speak decent spanish until we teach our investigator (Josue, ponounced Ho-sway). Yes, we taught a lesson a day and a half into the CCM (MTC). Super intimidating thought, but he is super nice and helps us along. He doesn´t know english but if we say enough spanish words that are close enough he helps us find the right one. Anyways, my mind tends to go completely blank when we teach him. Hermana Hurley is very good at spanish, and she helps me a lot, but it's frustrating. I´m in one of the first intermediate classes, I don't know how the beginners do it. We know about as much spanish to start with as they will finish with so I´m grateful for that. Anyways, I was having a very hard time being here and just dealing with the rules and structure... it´s just so constant you never get a break and I like to have fun.... haha. Luckily we have about an hour of gym time a day so we play epic volleyball and that helps. ANYWAYS I was struggling, just being happy and feeling the spirit. It was hard. So Sunday Hermana and I had a companionship inventory and talked about our frustrations and how to fix them. And then we went to go teach our District sunday school and our lesson had to change on the fly and it ended up being an amazing testimony sharing bonding time that pretty much turned everything around for our whole district. Everything has been a lot better since then.      
      Today is P day. Most of it was taken up with going to the TEMPLE. So amazing. In spanish... I had a headset for english, you´re only allowed to use them your first time, but it was really cool. I have pictures, but you guessed it.... can´t get em up yet. The drive was super long... not because the temple is super far away but because Mexican streets are terrible, overcroweded and full of crazy drivers. There are  basically no rules. It´s crazy. All the buildings are super old, basically the streets are just lines with shops that have garage doors to close the shop. Graffiti everywhere. Anything that isn't graffiti is a primary color. It's way cool. Picutres to follow.                  
       Well.  A ton more has happened and I don´t have a ton more time so I LOVE YOU! Thanks for all the emails!!!!! Although it made me sob I really appreciate it. It feels like I´ve been here for years, and I can´t even tell you how nice it is to get so much love and realize just because you´ve left the outside world people still care and love you!!!!               ¡Adios!      Hermana Z