Saturday, November 22, 2014

October 13


October 13,2014 

 So the past two days we've had a member of the missionary board with us from the 70!!!! He's so cool. he and his wife. So we had a special meeting with them as zone leaders and STL's before the conference on Monday, then yesterday he met with the southern zones and then at like 4:30 he called all the ZL's and STL's again for another meeting.... so he totally knows my name. At least he said it a bunch as he read my name tag. It was super cool. But that also meant that we didn't get to have preperation day yesterday and we got home at 10 from Fresno.... and another meeting on Friday in Fresno and then tomorrow we have weekly planning... so basically our first week of the transfer is zero proselyting. but it's cool. and Sister Nielson gave me her fan for the whole meeting yesterday becasue it was really hot in the room!!!! So.... when you see Brad Nielson from the 70 speak at general conference.. I totally know him. knelt in prayer right next to him. And used his wife's fan. So I'm pretty cool. HAHA

I love my new comp!  Actually turns out she's best friends with alyssa olson from byu-i. so... that's been really crazy ahaha!

Also, we  went to play frisbee... elders had to ride bikes... all drove in a line in front of our car so we couldn't go faster than them ahah

Hey President!!!!

So life has been good.... super crazy. I'm really trying to even remember what has happened.... transfers... tears.... new missionaries all over our zone... zone leadership meeting... church.... two meetings with President Nielson... and finally Preparation Day. 

Really Sister Horning and I are just trying to get a handle on our area. There's just very different things you do when you get a new companion, even if the area is more or less the same. Just trying to help her get to know everyone, build her up on her confidence with Spanish and make her practice. I have learned more about myself in the past week than probably my whole mission.... because Sister Horning is my first companion who is actually like me. Almost all of them have been hispanic.... she's my first American learning Spanish who also is crazy and loud. So it's been very interesting. Now I have to be the one that controls the situations. It's been really interesting because when I talk to her, she says the things I would say to myself if I weren't myself. It's really funny. So just my learning about who I am and who I've become and understanding how other people probably see me has accelerated big time. She's super fun. She's said that she is just super impressed with our zone and our drive to baptize and be missionaries, and she's hoping that she develops that love and desire while she's here. I know she will. It's going to be a really good time. 

I really loved everything with the Nielsons. I just feel so inspiried. I'm trying really hard to "own" what I've learned... I loved that. I just really want to "become". 

President I love my mission so much. It means the whole world to me. I'm doing everything I can to not waste a minute, although I'm not nearly perfect at it, but I'm really trying my best. I love you and Sister Clark so much. Thank you for all you have done for all of us. I know this church is the only true church. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and because he died for me and rose from the dead for me, I can become something so much more than I could ever be on my own. I know that to be true. I also know from the bottom of my heart that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. My mission has taught me to never doubt that. Hard things come and challenge your testimony. But my mission has made my testimony "firme y inquebrantable". Firm and unbreakable. 

I love you!!! See you Friday at Leadership Training!!!

Sister Zollinger

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Meet the Mormons!

Hey President!!!!

Well.... I can see you took my plea for no change during transfer boards seriously and took away two of my best friends... My darling companion and Elder Cook. Sigh. Well. It was bound to happen. Sister Contreras is really one of my best friends in the whole world.... she has always been so kind to me and always been there for me in everything. She's corrected me so kindly and inspired me to be a better missionary. With the unity we've enjoyed, we turned around this area with the Lord's help. Everything is set up for Sister Horning to come up and have a great Mexican experience! I've served with Elder Cook for 9 months. My whole mission except for the MTC and my first transfer here. He is a fantastic missionary and just a really good person, we all knew that he was going to be made an assistant. I'm really excited for the mission!!!

Here we're doing good! General Conference was a great experience! None of our investigators came which was disappointing... but we had really good experiences with them during the week and we're determined to have them there this coming Sunday. 

We had a really good zone leadership meeting... I loved being there! Thank you for making it clear that Sister Training Leaders need to be a part of setting the zone vision... I was able to contribute a much different point of view and it helped us to shape our vision. It also helped me know what is going on in the zone. As the only sisters, I didn't realize really how cut out of the loop we've been. But now we know where we can help so much more. It was a very spiritual and unifying experience, thank you for making that clear. 

We've just started teaching a part member family.... the parents are not married but the wife is already a member. She said she's waiting for her husband to completely give up drinking before she's ready to marry him. He's already been weekly-sober... just struggling on the weekends. Well our first lesson was super powerful about families. A week later when we followed up he said he hadn't had ANYTHING!!!!!!! FOR A WHOLE WEEK!!!! it's a miracle. So hopefully that continues and soon we can get them married and baptized and in the temple!!!!

We also had a really cool contact. Right now we're working on talking with everyone. I've been really impressed with so many sisters on my mission how they take advantage of every opportunity and finally it's hitting me. Most of them go and talk to someone while their car is being filled with gas! So we've been really trying hard to do the same... I don't know why a gas station approach is so much harder for me than a door knock but it really is haha. BUT! I overcame my fear and just did it last week and talked to the teenage boy filling up right by us. He accepted our pass along card and we set an appointment for two days later! He actually was there AND he brought his friend!!!! Both of them accepted the invitation to be baptized!!!!! We still have to set a date, but it was a MIRACLE!!!!! I know God did that on purpose so that I get over myself and my fear and just talk to everyone, because you never know!!! We got 5 new investigators this week... we're doing really well! One is a member's friend, those two boys, the husband of another investigator that is the key to baptizing the couple (we spent a lot of quality time with them this weekend, helping them move, she's expecting their first child), and a referral from the English elders!!! It's been a very blessed week!

I'm really determined about this next transfer President. I'm going to be the best missionary I've ever been and we are going to WORK and not waste ANY TIME and we are going to BAPTIZE. I officially have four transfers left. My time feels so precious to me. I feel weepy every time I think about it ending. I'm not going to lose a second. 

Thanks so much for everything President! And from what I heard about transfer calls and talking to my sisters, there's a lot of new leadership!!!! Thanks so much for giving these sisters opportunities!!!!! Thanks for making me feel heard!!!!

You're the best!!! I love you and Sister Clark so much!!!!!

Sister Zollinger

Mom!!!!! I Love you!!!!

 My leg is getting better... played frisbee at like 30% last week but we won so that was awesome. We watched Meet the Mormons on Friday!! I saw it the Friday before at Mission Leadership Council with the departing missionaries, the ZL's and the STL's. It's coming out this weekend, you need to try and get everyone you know to go and post it on Facebook... it has a page on Facebook to, so make sure you like it! And like it for my page too please!!! how long it's in theaters depends on success opening weekend and it's a really great way for people to get to know mormons better! They said in an explanation by Jeffery R holland before our showing that 75% of the people that watched it (non-members) would reccomend it to their friends and a lot of them said that it dramatically changed their attitude towards missionaries!!!!! BIG DEAL!!!! SPREAD THE WORD!!!!

We had to get FLU SHOTS. Usually they cost money you know? But Walgreens had just done shots for the homeless the day before, and when they saw us all come in, they had some extra free homeless vouchers and so they gave the vouchers for us! And Elder Craven, the huge missionary, had duck dynasty bandaides... so we all matched. great experience.

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Carla's Baptism!

September 29, 2014

Hey President!!!!

Well, I am extremely looking forward to this upcoming week. No meetings. No exchanges. I'm actually going to work in my area. So excited!!!!

Thursday was just so great with zone meeting and having the Stake Presidency there!!! Completely changed my outlook on ward counsels. I think all zones should have a meeting like that. This Sunday when I went to branch counsel, I was actually looking forward to it and then I was able to make input about several activities that will really help our members and trying to help the branch better utilize it's home teaching and visiting teaching network. It made me feel like a real missionary, oddly enough, when I became a real member of the branch counsel. So inspired.

I really really appreciated our interview time. You make all of us feel like each of us is your favorite missionary. All of us individually feel so close to you. I also was so appreciate of MLC. It made me feel so much better. Things I've been trying to hint at to my zone leaders while not overstepping my bounds are now being taken care of and I just feel a lot more empowered to do good in my calling. I think the mission is heading in absolutely the right direction. Thank you for making me feel like my opinions and impressions matter!

This week our baptism happened!!! I really don't know how, seeing as we were almost never in our area with meetings and exchanges, but God willed it to happen and so it did! It was such a sweet experience. Her name is Carla and she's 17. She tries to look really tough and strong and somewhat aggressive, just because of the life she's had to live and the circumstances in which she was placed, but the Light of Christ is alive and well in her. One cool story: We were talking to her on Thursday about Prophet Monson again, just to pump her up for her baptism and for General Conference this coming weekend. As we were talking, without even thinking I told her "And modern prophets have also told us that women can only have one set of earrings in each ear! That's something I don't completely understand, but because I have faith in the Book of Mormon and I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that God wants us to be happy, I follow that commandment and only have one set of earrings." I had no idea why I said that, and immediately she reached up to touch her doubly pierced ears. I just continued to talk about the faithful women who without question removed their extra earrings when the announcement was made and their faith and desires to follow Jesus Christ. She said "You're making me want to take them out!" And I said "No I'm not, the Spirit it! And that says a lot about you as a person!" And then President... SHE TOOK THEM OUT! I was shocked. She's so tough, used to run around with gangs, unhappy family.... a LOT of trials.... and after 15 minutes of talking about that commandment, she just took them out! We didn't even invite her. Actually, I just invited her to pray about it. And she just took them out. So. Cool. So faithful. So she was baptized on Sunday. I felt so great about it. She said that she felt really clean. And her mom came to church as well. Missed sacrament, but her mom loved all the classes, so we're hopefully that more of her family will follow. Sister Segovia and Sister De la Cruz were able to come as well, they were the ones who found the family and baptized two of the younger kids!! Such a special experience.

Women's Conference was also inspiring!!

This is getting long... sorry. I just love being a missionary! I love my area, my companion, my stewardship, my leadership... please just don't change anything during transfer boards!!!!!! Haha!!!

Love you so much, we pray for you every day!!!!!

Sister Zollinger

Thursday, September 25, 2014


September 22, 2014

Hey President!!!

Thanks so much for your letters, I always feel so loved and special. I hope by the end of my mission I can be more like you in the sense that in few words and moments you make everyone feel personally loved. Right now I'm working out making people feel personally loved... hopefully with time I can get it into an effecient amount of time!!!

This week was honestly one of the craziest and most hilarious weeks of my mission. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Haha! This week I went on exchange with Sister Cowitz!!!!! Super great experience!!!!! We both laughed way more than either of us have in a looooong while! She's just so cute and quirky! I haven't been with someone who made me feel like they were at least as awkward as I am in a long time, it was funny to feel normal for a day! Haha! It all started with us realizing once we had switched and reached Merced that we had left our phone with Sister Johnson an hour north in Ceres!!!! So that was scary. Plus we had no map. Plus Sister Cowitz had been out like three weeks.... BUT agaisnt all the odds we were SAFE and we NEVER got LOST!!!! GOD IS OUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER!!!! We ended up going home early because we didn't have any set appointments and I didn't want to risk any problems in the dark with no phone. But that just meant we talked more.  Other funny part.... we realized on their neighbors door there was a green sticker sealing it off... I checked it and it said "CORONER'S NOTICE".... HER NEIGHBOR DIED IN THERE WE THINK!!! So that was pretty hilarious.

Next day I was back with Sister Conteras. We met a very high homeless lady with one shoe.... Sister Contreras happened to have an extra pair of (nice) shoes in the car, so she took the shoes off of her feet and gave them to the lady and put on the other pair. She is the one of the most Christlike people I know. That lady was CRAZY. Super duper high. Luckily the elders happened to be there at the same time. She almost tried to rob our car while we were all standing there. She was falling everywhere... just nuts.... the elders were laughing... and then she starts wandering over to our car and is like "everyone got their keys? I'm pretty good at grand theft auto" and so I grabbed my keys and frantically locked it like 15 times... and then she wanders back saying "just kidding I wouldn't rob you".... but I'm not really sure what drugged people are capable of.. I wouldn't have been surprised.

This is getting really long.... sorry. Had a really good exchange with Sister Olson Thursday to Friday and talked about my concerns for sisters of the mission and she helped me think of better solutions than what I was thinking, it was really nice!

And then yesterday we had a baptism of a little girl!!! Just a very fulfilling week. Crazy, but good. And this week is going to be crazier. We're planning another baptism for Saturday, it's going to take a miracle but we believe in miracles so it's perfect!!!

Super excited for interview's with you this week!!! Thanks for making Sister Contreras's time in Fresno so awesome when they forgot the keys, I just keep telling her that NO ONE in the mission will ever come close to having that kind of time with you and Sister Clark and how special that is!!!
Thanks so much for loving her and taking her biking!!!!

Love you so much!!! See you Thursday AND Friday!!!

Sister Zollinger

Hi Mom!

Haha so we had zone conference this past week and we were all doing some role plays in the chapel... lots of people moving around. Well we were all evaluting in a circle and out of no where I felt a man hand pressed very firmly and confidently on my back and I freaked out!!!! Because there's just elders everywhere! But it was President so it was ok hahaha he got a really good laugh out of it.

Other news. I'm getting a cold I think. Again. It's just a lot  a lot of running around as an STL and I got a super bad cold for like two days that last time I was one.. I slept a bit in between meetings because I was literally DYING. That hasn't happened for a long time though. And.... my knee still really hurts. Somehow the whole branch found out, everyone was coming up to me and checking on me and offering to bring me to their Mexican Bone Witch Doctor and telling me I needed to take care of myself... they're so great those Mexicans. I love them so much.

This week is super crazy. I'm going on exchange right after preperation day... after I made those plans I found out that our district meeting wasn't actually canceled for tomorrow AND that our district leader wanted us to do an hour long training during his meeting... sadly I can't change my exchange because the reports are due this week and my sisters' district leader needs them done tomorrow.... so I have to have the exchange done by then. So my brand new sister is going to give a 45 minute long training by herself... ooft. Then Wednesday is normal! And then Thursday is zone meeting, the stake president is going to come talk to us, and then Presidnet  is comign and doing interviews, then we have to do weekly planning because Friday is MLC in Fresno all day, and then once we get back up to Ceres we have  our monthly missionary activity for the branch to plan and put on, and then the next day we have a baptisim that we have to make a miracle happen this  week. And then at five we have to be at the stake center for the women's broadcast for the rest of the night and then it's Sunday! But then next week will be easy... because I won't have ANY EXHANGES OR MEETINGS!!!!!!! 1st normal week of the transfer. Because it's the last week of the transfer. Which also means I'm for sure getting a new companion because Sister Contreras' training is done. :((((((( NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

 For the first time I have no idea what's going to happen... I could train again... I just want to be an STL for the rest of my mission. I love it. I could stay in Ceres... I could get transfered. I don't know. I don't really think I'm leaving yet. But they don't need a new Coordination Sister for another transfer and by then I'll only have three transfers left, and that's kind of a four transfer job. So I don't know if that's still even in my options anymore. I'll hopefully have a better idea after President's interviews of what I'm going to do for the rest of my mission.

September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

So life is pretty cool. I'm trying to think of a good story to tell.... oh haha forgot. I have shin splints pretty bad. So I've been gimping around a lot. And then my leg feels better but then now my knee hurts because I was trying to compensate.... 

Other than that. I went on exchange down to Los Banos/Mercy Springs, had a good time out there. This week is going to fly by... tomorrow I'm going on exchange again to Merced, come back Wednesday, Thursday is zone conference, Friday is weekly planning and then I'm going on exchange with the Coordinating Sisters afterwards, come back Saturday, and then it's Sunday and then BOOM. Preperation day again.

Next week I hit a year mark.

Mostly I'm just really in a good spot with my mission. I'm almost everything I ever wanted to be.... STL, training, Spanish area, native companion that loves me, fantastic leadership, lots of missionaries around all the time... Really everything is super good. Our area is finally progressing... I feel like I just got here. Things are progressing now, we're baptizing the next two weekends. Transfers are in like three weeks-ish. I have no idea if I'm staying or going, but I'm pretty much for sure going to have a new companion. I might train again... I don't know. I've achieved so much of what I wanted to do that I don't really know where to go from here. And then I'm just in this weird place where I'm realizing I'm going home soon. So I feel like now I'm supposed to start mentally preparing for the future.... my life has so much meaning right now and I just don't know how I'm going to make the switch. I'm the missionary I've always wanted to become (almost, at least I'm on track), but I'm not exactly sure if I've become the person I wanted to become. So I'm afraid I'm going to get home and not be able to be a missionary anymore, so it won't super matter, and then I'll just be a person... I don't know. It's really weird. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do to prepare. I've just had a big barrier between my past, present and future.... didn't touch the past or future at all for almost a year. and now I'm not really ever going to go back to the past, but the future is mattering more to me. But I don't want to shortchange my last 6 months by planning for the future... but if you ARE supposed to prepare to go home, you are so in tune with the Spirit and things, they tell you you aren't supposed to just ignore home... so I don't know. It's weird. I just don't want to get distracted, but I want to be ready.
 It's just hard because I also really want to extend. All of the things I've loved being out here.... but, kind of like a natural progression, I'm just starting to miss life. I had a dream the other night that I came home and walked into the basement and just having everyone be so excited... and then I realized in my dream that I still had 6 months left and it was just some weird checkpoint and I had to leave and it about broke my heart, I was sure I couldn't actually leave again. But... this is a one time experience.... I don't know. Really what my biggest concern is money. I'm not really sure how I'm going to pay for college and to live out in Utah, but I know if I can just get a good job fast I am 100% confident that I will be able to support myself. It's just getting started that concerns me. But I have the faith and experience to know that God will provide for whatever is best for me.

 I really like being an STL because now I'm not worried about what unproductive things my companion is doing while I'm gone. so it's good. My area is still progressing, and I like it because I get to spend 1 on 1 time with my sisters. You have the liberty to slow down and just talk to them about what's important to them, their struggles.... I've learned on my mission how many 1 on 1 hours it takes to really help someone and help them be converted. Children, converts, other missionaries.... there's not a lot of things you can do to REALLY help someone when you do it by mass teaching. So I love mass teaching, but I really love having a calling where I can make it all about them and try to come up with solutions. Also, they typically are really grateful for advice. It's awesome how quickly you can gain their confidence when they feel like you are really listening and that you take time from other important things just to listen to them. I've learned a lot about being a good listener to both people and the Spirit, and also about asking questions. I've learned how to reverse teach on my mission. I teach by asking questions a lot more and let them teach themselves through answering my questions. It's really awesome. And the lessons stick way longer because it was something they discovered. But yeah. I have a lot more value on 1 on 1 time now.

Haha I'm not really sure who the new me is, but.... I'm hoping it's better than who I was when I left. Like all missionaries, my biggest fear is that I won't keep up with all the changes I've made. But I think I will. 

Like our family wasn't perfect, but we really did have consistent prayers as a family twice a day, and we read scriptures regularly, and we had family home evening... just so you know, all of those skills are super important as a missionary. Like just know the stories from the scriptures that a surprising amount of missionaries come without.... and then teaching FHE is really really good prep for being a missionary and teaching all the time. And I loved it when we started sharing something we learned or were impressed by after scripture reading, that's a skill even more advanced that a lot of missionaries have to learn. how to apply doctrine. i can just see more and more why these things are so important.

I know that God is always taking extreme care of me. It's awesome to have a some many miracle stories about fasting and tithing and obedience and faith as a missionary, I've been really blessed with a lot of personal experience and it helps me be a  better missionary. Now I can really tell people that they need to do crazy things because God makes crazier things happen, because I'm not just telling them to do it, I've seen it.

 I have had a really bizzare mission with a LOT of trials that other missionaries don't have to go through... but then each of them have trials that I am SO grateful that I don't have to go through! Like one elder who I'm friends with just found out a month ago his dad has a really severe case of cancer.... I don't know how I could handle that. But I think I told you before, I was going through a really hard time about 6 months ago, and I asked Elder Cook for a blessing. I'll never forget what he said. "The Lord know how you work and operate and he is carefully placing trials in your life." And he repeated that again later..... I feel so much more like a delicate piece of art when I remember that. He doesn't just toss in "mystery trials" from his bag of "becoming perfect tricks", he knows exactly what we need to become who we need to become. so awesome.

Love you so much!!! Until next week!


September 8, 2014

Hey Mom!!!!

 So this week. Was a crazy week. What's new?? We had Preparation Day, then Tuesday we had zone meeting, then right after we all ate lunch together as usual, then we went back to the chapel to do Stake Correlation.... we have to do it every month, and basically it's just a big boring report about all of our recent converts, our less actives, and the investigators that are actually progressing. Since our three companionships share the area we have to do it together every month and it takes a while. So by the time we finished everything it was after 4.... dinner at 5 and we left for our investigator's funeral at like 5:30ish.... went to my first Mexican funeral. It is different. I was the ONLY white person there. And the only other non-Mexican was black. So that was cool. The weirder thing was that I didn't even notice I was the only white person until I'd been there for like an hour.... blue eyes are freaking me out more and more because I only see black and brown eyes around here. It's kind of weird. White people scare me in general. Anyways.... so a bunch of men came out with mariachi instruments.... my investigator was a mariachi man. So his band came. And it's a Mexican tradition to perform at funerals... but not for the people there, for the dead person. So they all stood in a semi-circle around his casket and sang their hearts out to him. It actually was a pretty spiritual experience. I've never seen a live mariachi band in all my time here, just heard the music. Man they can sing. So that was neat. The sad part about this story (besides the fact that he died at age 39, leaving behind his wife and three sons ages 18, 16, and 5) was that about two days later his wife texted us and said that she didn't want us to come back. Her mother had come up from Mexico to help out and she's very Catholic and told our investigator that she didn't want us around. So she listened to her mom. Super bummer.

So that was Tuesday. Wednesday the zone leaders checked out apartment and then we drove about an hour down to Merced to go on exchanges.... had to leave my darling companion to lead the area for the first time.... we don't have a GPS so I had to teach her how to use a map quick the night before with a list of every where she needed to go. And she was with a brand new missionary from Canada, who is just starting to learn Spanish. So I was a bit worried. But it all went great. I worked with Sister Johnson who is going home in two transfers. She was great! She motivated me so much!!! And I thought I was getting into really good shape....she straight up DESTROYED me running the next morning. Offt. It was bad haha! So then Thursday I got home in the afternoon and we went straight to Weekly Planning for about two hours... taught a bit and then Friday was Leadership Training in Fresno, we got home around 5... Saturday we had studies until 1... and then activities from 3-8:30 at night. Then Meetings and church on Sunday. So we didn't get to teach almost anyone this week. Which doesn't feel good. And sadly this week doesn't look much better. But God will take care of my area while I have to do my calling. So. That's good.

I'm trying to think of any funny stories that we had this week... but nothing is coming to mind. What else is going on in your neck of the woods?? (that's funny because we have no woods here... I don't know if funny is the right word... but.... anyways...)

Got my first Christmas package!!!! Courtesy of the Moores. They had to send Benjamin's super early to get to Russia by Christmas... so they made mine too. CANDY COOKIES LLAMA KEYCHAIN LLAMA SUPER COMFY LLAMA SOCKS!  THANK YOU MOORES (please put that shout out on the blog)

Mom I super love you!!! We have to run because we have a zone activity and they're waiting for us!!!

Elder Boswell just called... he told me to say that he loves you and you did a great job raising your children.

I love you  much more than Elder Boswell loves you! Sorry this was a bit fast, we have to run!!! Talk to you next Monday!!!! LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY AND YOUR THE BEST!!!!!!!

<3 Hermana Z

They want people to think we're normal.

September 1, 2014

Hey President!!!

So life is great!.... always filled with surprises. This has been an exciting start to the transfer.... Saturday we found out that one of our investigators had died... that was really hard. We're going to the funeral on Tuesday. But on the flip side one investigator I've worked with on and off for a long time came to church out of the blue, no help, no text or call from us, just came!!! Super exciting!!! So hopefully she'll be baptized soon. We also had a scare with Kathy.... she suddenly was starting to back out. And we didn't know what was going on. And finally we talked about it last night on the phone, and she told us that she was really concerned when we asked her to pray to the prophets. Well it was just a big misunderstanding... when we asked her to pray to see if Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, she thought we were asking her to pray TO Thomas S. Monson... she didn't like that. So we told her it's really good that she only wants to pray to God. Because that's what's right. But she needs to pray ABOUT Thomas S. Monson. So things are cleared up again. Phew. 

We had a really great experience with our branch yesterday. They gave us the 3rd hour of 5th Sunday, so the six of us coordinated a massive ATM and we got SO MANY REFFERALS. It was awesome. I really feel like we're growing a lot in branch trust right now, because of that and also because we are putting on monthly actives for the branch and investigators and it's helping us to get to know them better and to have together as a branch. It's great! Sister Contreras and I also had the opportunity to talk one on one with some of the women during the week... it's amazing how one real conversation with a woman changes everything!!! Already I feel like I understand them way more, but also everyone else in the branch because they tell you so much about everyone.... it's priceless!!! Wish I'd sat down with a few key women and just chatted for bit with them months ago!!!

Sister Contreras is.... perfect. Shocker. I love her so much, she's so good for me. She's so patient and brings out the best in me and kindly helps me improve. She's never once made me feel sad or like I'm doing something wrong, but she still corrects me. It's amazing. I could live with her the rest of my life. She's the best.

Love you so much President and Sister Clark!!!

See you Wednesday!!!


Sister Zollinger

Hey Mom!

So we had a pretty exciting week. There's another good story we had.... So Wednesday, Elder Cook and Elder Boswell had a baptism. She is a member of this huuuuuuuuge Mexican less-active family, but it's good to be close to them because there's always some member of the family who isn't baptized yet that you can work with . But their the elders' family. So anyways, they all came and we had a good time at the baptisim. Well after every function in Mexican culture, there's always food,  typically more like a meal then just refreshments. So we had mole con arroz y pollo.... besides the point. Apparently these two sisters have this drink they make from  this powder.... it's an intestinal cleanser. And with their family it's like a rite of passage for missionaries. So they brought it to the baptisim. And convinced all of us to drink it.... it was bad. Sister Contreras and I were pretty..... loose.... for a good 24 hours. We felt so dumb as we were moaning on the floor the next day.... "I feel sooooo sick..... and I DID THIS TO MYSELF!" hahahahahaha..... fun experience. So the elders bought us a get well card and a balloon that sings "Don't Worry, Be happy" when you punch it.... pretty awesome. Better now. Haven't been that "clean" since my baptism. HAHA
Yeah you can totally put the drink on the blog. I'm not shy about any bodily functions any more.... so much happens out here... we all get sick and we all tell each other about our progress....

ALSO. Idon't look as fat in real life as I do in alll the pictures... so if you're thinking "wow, Kelsie gained some weight".... I haven't. I'm super fit from running three miles every day. Just bad pictures haha I laughed because Sister Contreras and I looked at those temple pictures later and we were like "WOAAAH BAD PICTURE!" I was like "Wow, my face looks super fat..." And she's like "no, es que perece bien gorda!" (no, you just look really fat in general!) HAHAHA  we joke about it all the time.

AND, they’re changing all dress rules to just looking modest and professional... because when you dress like a pioneer people confuse mormon missionaries with quakers. They want people to think we're normal. And you can send me videos of the family now!!! and I can send you videos from Preperation Day!!!! so Please send me videos!!! also we are now allowed to watch movies on Preperation Day! Just Forever Strong, Ephriam's Rescue and 17 Miracles.... but I only have Forever Strong. So Sister Contreras and I are going to snuggle and watch that today. :D

love you so much mom!!!! see you next week!!!!!!!

Sister Dangerous!

Hey President!!!!

This week was a very interesting mix of things. Our numbers were not fantastic.... at all... but we worked hard all week and we saw a lot of miracles that will hopefully show up in next week's numbers.

Miracle Number One:

Javier has forgiven us. We just kind of gave them space for like two weeks to see what was going to happen... we were so nervous to go over Friday. We had no idea where they were at or what was going to happen, less what lesson we should teach. But when we got there they were super warm and friendly and it was like nothing ever happened! It was a miracle!!! We prayed and prayed for them.... I know that prayer works!!! Now we're just normal stuck with them. The whole Law of Chastity bit... we're just going to iron out the WOW tonight and then hit the LOC again.... see what we can do. But it's really nice to be normal with them again.

Miracle Number Two:

Idalia!!!!! Missionaries have been working with her for over a year now... We've dropped her at least once if not twice because even though she's super great she just can't ever get to church with her job. So we couldn't help her anymore. But! She always finds us again randomly!!!! So she just told us last week that because she's so pregnant she can't work anymore so she can come to church!!!!!!!!!! WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! And we're hoping to baptize her husband as well we hope!!!! So that's fantastic.

Miracle Number Three:

My companion still loves me!!!! Hahaha President, I honestly think that is a miracle. Being a missionary just makes you so aware of all your weak points, and I've discovered that I'm pretty darn human and not necessarily the most easy person in the world to live with, but Sister Contreras, she's the best.

Sad thing number one..... Kathy has disappeared.... we had a fantastic lesson with her on Thursday.... but then Sunday she just didn't come to church and she's not answering the phone. So that's a big bummer. But we'll find her!!!

Other than that!!!! I love being a missionary!!!!! It is such a blessing!!!!! I love my area, my leadership, my COMPANION, my PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE, MY FAMILY.... It's all so good. Life is beautiful.

Love you President! Super excited to be back as an STL!!!! See you soon!!!

Sister Zollinger

Hi Mom!

Sounds like the family is doing great!! Hope you have a great time at the fair!!! I somewhat wish I could be there with you because I'm sure it will be fun... but I love being a missionary more! :D Say hi to everyone and send me pictures please!!!!.... Aretha Franklin?! What the heck?! That's crazy!!!!

Things around here.... I actually had no idea about the earthquake until you sent me that email. So no. Didn't feel a thing haha. But that sounds terrible.

Life here... super excited about this next transfer. Got recalled as a STL. Super excited about that, really missed it. Still training my buddy Hermana Contreras. Sad thing is a lot of my favorite missionaries are finishing their missions this transfer... so that's a big bummer. But things are going to be changing a lot around here because they were all leadership big shots.... so it's going to be scary for the mission. Not really because God always provides, we've just lost a lot of great missionaries. It's scary.!!! I have five transfers left.... that is straight up horrifying. I'm starting to panic... mostly about who is going to be able to understand me because you HAVE to know Spanish and English to get me now. Ooofft.

Other than that... trying to think... oh! Had a branch activity on Saturday. Super fun. We played Soccer. With pretty much all mexicans besides the three white missionaries (me, Elder Boswell and Elder Cook). And I was the only girl who played, it really was just the men of the ward. And.... hahaha .... I made myself a reputation. Hermano Ruiz is our Ward mission leader... he and I made a fantastic team, we were destroying for a bit. It was great. And the next day he told me that they said I hit hard and were talking about me in Priesthood... haha made me laugh a bit. One hermano calls me "hermana peligrosa" now... "sister dangerous." But it was a good time. Had fun.

That's about it!!!

Love you!

August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

Hey President!

This week.... haha President, every week is so hard! But there are always so many miracles.

This past week we had my first real polygammy throw down. With my favorite investigator. We didn't make any contact for a few days to let things settle and then we called on Saturday... he texted back and said he was still mad at me... So that was a bummer. Didn't come to church yesterday. But! I knew it was going to be an almost impossible situation when I went in and I told God, "I'm going to do my best, and whatever happens I can't be responsible for so please take care of it".... so I'm trying not to be too upset about that.

Miracle!!!!! My new favorite investigator is named Kathy. She was living with her boyfriend who was emotionally abusive. So we've been telling her almost from the start about the Law of Chastity.... and telling her she probably shouldn't marry him... so we went and met her at the Church Friday with the elders because she wanted a blessing... and she said. "Oh hey, I moved out today." WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! We've been working with her for like three weeks!!!! And that morning she just packed up and left with her two girls!!!!! It's awesome!!!!!! And then the day before we just got the feeling we needed to commit her to the WOW but we didn't really have time to teach it well.... so we gave her the pamphlet at the end of the lesson and said, "Hey, don't take any of these things, ok?" and she said ok.... and then the next day she told us her friends asked her to come and drink... and she just said no. And then she was stressed about breaking up with boyfriend and wanted to smoke... but then said "I remembered the little book you gave me and I thought, op no, tobacco!!!" Then the next day she texted us and said "hey my weight loss shake has caffeine in it, can I still drink it??".... Honestly President, she's golden. So we're planning on baptizing her August 30th. Her date is for Sep. 13. But she's ready. And hopefully her daughter. 

Other than that, we've doubled ourselves in. Dropped pretty much everyone and we're starting over. So it's requiring a lot of faith, but we are doing our best. This past week I had my first real door slam.... it was scary. All we got out was "Hello, we're representatives of Jesus Christ" and with all her force she slammed that thing in our face. 11 months out and first time. Not so lucky for my companion who has 2 months. Poor girl. 

She and I are doing great. I feel like I finally have someone who understands me. Even if we're not the same person, she just gets who I am and she accepts it and doesn't tell me it's wrong.

Love you President!

Sister Zollinger

 Hey Momma!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE SUBWAY GIFT CARD!!! We've eaten a LOT of subway the past few days.... at first sister contreras said that she was starting to get sick of it, but today when we got it she said that she is starting to develop a love for it like mine hahaha :D subway fixes everything. She also told me yesterday while i was eating a granola bar an hour after dinner that she thinks sometime i eat just to eat hahahahaha..... and then the other night I talked in my sleep for the first time. She said it was almost morning and that I just said "pizza." and then two minutes later "tacos". And that was it. HAHAHA.... she just rolled her eyes and said she thought to herself "ella siempre tiene hambre"... "she's always hungry" haha

August 29th is one of my investigators birthdays. You would be proud of me for the birthday legacy I carry here. I always make a cake and if they aren't in my area I call and sing. I have expanded my memory for birthdays.... one new missionary had to get up and share a talent. She said that she could remember all of her 7 siblings birthdays. And I thought to myself.... I know all of my family and friends birthdays AND half birthdays... what now?! HAHA

OH! OH! OH! SUPER FUNNY! I BROKE THE ELDERS TOILET!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA we don't have any food.... so after meetings but right before church they said "hermanas, go to our apartment and make us all sandwhiches and you can eat our food too...." so we went and we did so, and then I super had to pee... so I used their bathroom. The flushy thing fell RIGHT OFF. It was SOOOOOOOOOOO FUNNNY.... and we couldn't even get it back on. So. That was hilarious. Really funny to tell them about it too I was dying hahahaha
The heat is already starting to die down. Like it's close to 100 every day but that's like nice weather. 90s are a little chilly.
Also they changed our running schedule from 20 minute jog to 3 miles in 30 minutes. I actually really like it. little hard this morning, but I'm trying to get my time down.

ok I gotta go. I love you so much!!!!!! HUGS AND KISSES FOR EVERYONE!!!!

Catching up- letter from Sister Zollinger August 13

AUGUST 13, 2014  

Hey Mom!

In Zone conference yesterday they said that if your mom is updating your blog that they have to put on every blog something that makes it clear that we are not the one's updating it. So if you could put something like "This week from Sister Zollinger..." every week, that would be great. They also changed some rules yesterday which was crazy! Nothing super big, just that elders can wear pink ties now, and we don't have to wear a Sunday uniform as sisters anymore... (solid light-colored top with dark solid skirt.... so hard to do) So that was great!
 I gave a training this week... it went super well. It was just President, his wife, the Assistants and the Coordinating Sister that gave trainings besides me. So that was pretty cool. And Sister Contreras and I gave a really good training the day before in district meeting. So that was cool too. She and I are so unified, it's awesome. Even though the work in our area is struggling a bit, I'm not too worried because I know I can count on her and that we can do it together.
Oh temple was super cool today too! We had a young man take out his endowments to go on a mission, us missionaries, a return missionary who is getting married tomorrow, and his finace's Korean family who's father happens to be a 70, and then an extremely cute and extremely old couple that were super in love.... pretty much the whole spectrum of the temple was there today. The session was in three languages, generally english, but with spanish and korean headsets.... super cool.


August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014

AUGUST 4, 2014

Hey President Clark!!!!

Well this week was crazy. Like every week in the mission. This week we started out powerful but towards the end things just were weird, our days didn't go as planned. I also seem to get myself into the trap of somehow scheduling all my return appointments for Tuesdays.... so we're super productive those days, but then the days before and the day after we don't really have anyone to see because we just saw them... so that's weird. But we'll figure it out!

We had two families come to church yesterday! Javier is still going strong, we had a really good lesson with him on Saturday. He brought his mom!!! It was awesome. And then we got to watch as he explained to her the Book of Mormon, what it is, a bit about Joseph Smith.... he was just teaching her the Restoration with confidence!!! It was so awesome, I know he believes it's all true. He and Elena came to church on Sunday... still waiting on a wedding before he can get baptized. 

Then we just had a miracle with a new investigator named Kathy! She's so awesome. She's also living with her boyfriend and she has two kids. But she just drinks up everything that we teach her. She loves it. We taught her the first two lessons this week and she already came to church yesterday! We also talked a bit about the Law of Chastity last week just in passing, and told her that in order for her to get baptized she'd have to move or get married... well Sunday she came up to me and asked me my opinion if she should move in with her ex-step mom who's renting a room and wants her to move in because she's always fighting with her boyfriend. So I think God is opening up doors for her to go get baptized!!! If she moves, she'll probably be baptized with her daughter in about two weeks. 

Sister Contreras.... I just love her so much. We have such a good time together and we are UNIFIED!!!! I love being unified with my companion. I love teaching with her and just boosting her confidence, because that's all she really needs is to know that I trust her so that she learns to trust herself. We had an AWESOME 12 week experience with Elder Casteneda and Elder Arroyo yesterday. Elder Casteneda is visiting up here, and so before church and after MCM we did 12 weeks together. It was just a really spiritual experience and showed me just how united she and I are and how much potential we have to be a powerful teaching team. I love it!

I love you so much President! Thank you for your confidence in all of us, I really appreciate it and I won't let you down!


Sister Zollinger

Hey Mom!

We just found out last night that we had to write early! We're going to a HUGE CHEESE FACTORY for our Zone Activity today. Super excited haha. Haha the missionaries here don’t know it.... but I do love cheese. It's going to be a blast.  You can even make your own cheese... downside is that you can't eat it because it's not FDA approved. So we probably will just stick to the stuff you can eat. :D

Ceres is such a ghetto... oh my gosh. If you saw the things and places I go everyday.... hahaha.... like the other day. Picture this. Wish I could have taken pictures... We go to a ghetto neighborhood for dinner. We get to the house and it's not that bad. Well turns out that's the grandma's house, not the place where we are eating. So we go to the backyard. There's lots of places here that have a main house and then a littler house in the backyard that someone else lives in. So we go to the back. Still not it. go through this hole in the fence to the filthy alley... on one side of the fence there's a spray painted sign "NO TRESPASSING. YOU WILL BE SHOT." We walk down a bit and then duck through another fence and then we are finally there at this tiny little house. It's pretty crazy. Every thing here is filthy really. Super drugged. Saw a crazy lady on crack the other day in the middle of the road dancing and swaying while cars tried not to hit her.... it's nuts. BUT. That is generally where you can find people who want to have a bit more light in their lives. So we just be careful ahaha.

We really are safe. It's really a ghetto but God protects us. And we try to be smart. Like if we see people who are scary we just get in the car and go somewhere else and we don't go walking around once the sun starts to set, we just go to places we know and trust. We're really ok.

 We didn't trespass that fence anyways haha, we went into a DIFFERENT fence. It's crazy. also... there's a lot of really bad husbands out here. Mexican men are really into mauchisma... or basically the woman does every single thing that he wants. They all drink and smoke and it's just terrible... most women I meet are either living with that, or he just took off and left her with all of their children but didn't divorce her so they're still married. It's so frustrating.

So jealous that you are all going to the Boundary Waters with the Zollingers and Hancocks! I super miss the family!!! I want to go to the boundary waters with everyone!!!! ..... That's super sad for Jeff Moen getting Chikengunya!!!! Man, everyone's getting sick!!!! An elder that served up here last transfer called me on Friday night to tell me that there's a tumor in his leg and he was flying home the next day to go figure out if it's cancer or not, and hopefully someday he can come back on his mission. He's from Chile. And then mono is just taking out the Modesto zone elders... it's bad.

Hey random question, I heard yesterday from someone that an American plane got shot down over Iraq.... is that true??

How's Jon doing by the way? And Anne??? How's the ward? By the way how's Dallan? I sent him a letter a long time ago and he never responded.

You'll never believe it but today we have WEATHER! It's been hot, sunny, and cloudless for about.... 9 months now. But today... it's only like 80 something and there lots of cloud cover!!! It feels so good! 80 already feels cold to me haha I didn't even sweat that much when we ran this morning because it wasn't hot or sunny! I'm actually in pretty good shape right now. We've started playing ultimate frizbee again... love that game. We played last week and my team DESTROYED... but then we played on Saturday instead of running and my team got DESTROYED.... so it's a pretty fun pride cycle in the which I've discovered I'm a bad sport hahahaha... but it's ok :D

I don't know what I'm going to do when I get home... sometimes Spanish just comes out, even when I'm trying to speak English. God is really investing in me learning Spanish good, almost no one gets native companions, especially sisters, and I've had three, and two of them don't even speak english... he's making a point I'm pretty sure. 

LOVE YOU MOM!!! Talk to you next wednesday, temple trip so prep day changed... love you bye!