Monday, January 27, 2014


So, before I forget, two things. First, did you know that people being from the tribe of Ephriam is an American thing? From Hna Organista's country, almost everyone is from Manassah! I thought everyone was from Ephriam. But it's a white people thing. Weird.

Two, the Relief Society President says I'm getting an accent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHA! Super excited about that. I was speaking English and then apparently I just sounded hispanic! Just like two words. But enough that she commented on it. So that's pretty legit.

Ok. Random stuff is over. Maybe. Transfers you ask? Well, nothing happened to me and Sister Organista! So weird. We thought for sure she was leaving, and if not her, for sure me..... they don't really like to leave new missionaries with their trainers because they want us to fly free and become our own missionary. But we are baptizing the heck outta this place so their just not fixing what isn't broken. Sweet. But our Zone Leader is becoming the new Assistant to the President, and then we are getting a new one, and then our District Leader is becoming a Zone Leader for a different Zone, and his companion is becoming our District Leader, and then his new companion is fresh off the plane this coming Wednesday... so pretty much every thing else changed. I'm really going to miss those other elders, they're like family and they've helped me grow a TON, but I'm excited for them to move on to bigger and better things. And Elder Cook is our new District Leader, he's never been one before and he's going to be great! Really excited for him. And I'm super excited to not move, because I LOVE MY PEOPLE.  My ward, my investigators... can't leave. Plus we're BAPTIZING in February, and I'm not missing those!

From President Gelwix:

Although we do not validate a missionary or a mission by the number of baptisms (you can’t compare Norway to Brazil), I am pleased to note that we finished 2013 as the top baptizing mission in California. (There are 19 missions in CA.) Please remember there are no “bragging rights” in the Kingdom of God. This does not make us any better than anyone else. I do want to say, however, “good job!” I am proud of you and your selfless and dedicated effort. Remember: “Attitude and effort are everything!” Never Surrender! Never Quit! No Regrets!

So that's pretty darn amazing. And my stories from this week:

So we turned our attention to J last week. We started officially teaching just him last Sunday. Sunday night I kinda really pushed him to set a baptismal date. He finally agreed. I asked him about 20 times. He knew he was going to be baptized and he should have had a date a long time ago, so I just kept at it. We are persistent. Anyways, finally he agreed to the end of February. We were pretty excited. And we taught him how to pray and that was about the extent of our lesson. So Wednesday we had a great lesson about the first half of the Restoration. Ok. Thursday night. So good. Two more members came with us. So great. We finished the lesson of the Restoration. I looked at J and asked him, "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" and he just looked at me seriously and nodded his head. WHAT?! We've had so little feedback from this man, it was amazing! So I just smiled and Sister Organista asked why. He just said that no one could have written a book like the Book of Mormon if they weren't a prophet basically. And so then I asked him to pray that night to know that the Book of Mormon was true. He just looked at me again and said "I already did." WHAT?!?!?! So after I closed me mouth which had dropped open in surprise, I asked him what happened. He said that he prayed one night and then the next morning, without touching his tablet, the Book of Mormon flashed on the screen. He hadn't had the LDS Library App open the night before or anything. So I asked him if he felt that was his answer and he said yes. So then I asked "J, will you be baptized in two weeks?" AND HE SAID YES. And then I reminded him as part of that he needed to quit drinking coffee that second, which he had been fighting for... the whole time we'd been teaching his family. He said he'd do it. So that has been our miracle. And he has been way happier. I can already see it. He loves it when we're over, you can just see a new light in his eyes. He used to be very closed off, very nice and polite, but closed. And now he just seems so much more relaxed and happy... President, it's a beautiful thing.

Yeah so pretty much I'm over the moon about that. Also:

So we are baptizing in February. We've just got J as a solid, but we have four dates. I'd say two of them are fairly likely, depending on fellowship and how many times one of them is actually home to teach. One of them is a woman named Maria... haha that's a funny story. I've started subnumbering the Marias we teach. Maria subscript one, Maria subscipt two, Maria Garcia subscript one, Maria and Pedro, Maria and Jose.... it never ends. Literally every woman's name is Maria.

We are working hard. We have been very blessed. We hurt every day from the accident and it has been so hard to just keep working and keep knocking and keep teaching, but we do it. We haven't lost almost any proselyting time. And Heavenly Father knows it and he is blessing us for it. It's the best feelings. I can confidently say that I have no regrets about the last transfer. And we are working hard to have no regrets this coming transfer. I have also never felt so close to my Heavenly Father. I feel like I am learning a lot more about our relationship and what He thinks about me since I've been on my mission. I'm realizing how much He trusts me to do the right thing, and I know that He knows that He can count on me to do my best and to work hard until it's done. Nothing really can feel better than that.

We think Sister Organista tore her rotator cuff.... she might have to get surgery. We're getting an MRI for her on Thursday, right after I go to Physical Therapy. So we're just a hot mess, almost two months after the accident. But I really feel like I'm progressing. SHOOT... forgot my camera chord. Well I have more pictures from them doing the cup treatment on my back again. This time it was four cups and it heckahurt. It was way worse this time. It hurt to wear a shirt for like two days. You would love Sis O at therapy though... so here I am laying face down on my table while the doctor is checking out my extremely inflamed back. There's a face hole so I can breathe. I see Sis O's shoes next to me all the sudden, and then out of no where a little brown hand just comes up and tries to grab my face! WHAT THE HECK? Haha so that was funny. Then the doctor tells me he's going to cup me again... and I was mega not happy. But I laid there and I hear her say "Can I have the honor of placing one of those cups?" WHAT?! TRAITOR!!! Haha so she totally did two of my suction cups. Which is pretty cool. I would have done it to her. Just not with so much relish in my voice. Haha. We're like sisters, it's great. Big sister I never had. We have a lot of fun. She calls me Chicken Little, I don't know if I told you that. Cuz I'm scared of everything. And then I do a lot of stupid Kelsie things and she teases me for days... like you shoulda seen my parking job last week..... hahahahahahaha..... oh boy. she's actually taken pictures of the car after I've parked because it was so bad. HAHA.

Well I think that's about it for now. I love you all!

<3 HZ

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So this is my super cool new yoyo

so this is my super cool new yoyo I scored off of white elephant christmas... i didn't mention this to you before, but in the CCM i learned how to yo yo and do cool tricks on the ninja turtle yoyo Elder Lund's mom sent him.... i discovered I'm a super fast learner in the CCM because I also learned how to juggle... anyways, I broke the first yoyo. This ones cool though. Its a star wars angry bird yoyo that lights up! SWEET.... only can play with it on preperation day and really don't have time.... some day. and my super cool journal that Sis Nehring made each of us for Christmas!!!! Every one was jealous at zone conf yesterday. it's so cool.

Companera! and my Kerman family
G got bapitzed! (Lil' Dylan)

Not a ton has happened except one or two MIRACLES.

I got four letters in the mail today.... three from the kids and one from the Z's super excited!.... um so I don't really have time to write a good email cuz of all the pictures and we have therapy... temple and therapy really threw our day off. But I'll be back on Monday with more details. Long and short of it is G got baptized last Sunday and after a series of speed bumps the N family is getting baptized this Sunday! We are on FIRE here in Kerman! I went on exchange up into the mountains in Yosemite (it looks a TON like Taylors Falls except no water) (feels much more like home, I love it up there) and the missionary I was with says I have about as many baptisims as she has had in her year on a mission.... I've been way blessed... tough times are coming up though! Sis Organista is almost certainly getting transferred... what else... oh, we're in severe drought and next fast sunday a few stakes including ours are fasting for rain... literally no water here. When I heard about fasting for rain, I was like "What the weird?! That only happens in the Book of Mormon!" but it is happening now. Well, I guess just goes to show that God is the same yesterday today and forever... but this valley I'm serving in feeds like all of America so if we don't get rain it's not just going to hit us hard.... yikes!

Just another beautiful week in the Kerman Ward! Since Thursday, not a ton has happened except one or two MIRACLES.
The N Family baptisim was just amazing. A lot of other N family came to support them, so hopefully we can start teaching some of them! And a lot of the YSA ward came over to support J N as well. It was so full! Just amazing. Loved it. I also had my first real experience translating. Grandma N only speaks Spanish and a few parts were in English so I just stood right by her and translated into Spanish the best I could. It was amazing. It was hard, but at the same time it felt like words were just flowing out of my mouth and I was somehow able to keep up listening to English and turning it into Spanish pretty well. It was another confidence booster for me!

So these past few days have been just great. Other really exciting news is that J, husband to C and step-dad to G and E, finally agreed to a baptismal date last night! February 20th! (Actually the Sunday closest to that day). We've had some miracles there as well. We've struggled with the Kerman ward to have members to go out with us. With J we not only had to find one member, but two because C works nights when J is home so we can't get in the house without a woman, but we don't want to bring a woman to fellowship J, so we had to think of couples we could bring! We thought of three, and of those three, 2 and a half agreed to come out this week! And we have someone to come with the "half" so we have members for all lessons this week with him! Miracles all around!

So yeah, life is super great here. Except for transfer calls are this Saturday. Pretty much for sure that Sister Organista is getting transferred. Which basically breaks my heart. You can't count on anything here. You can feel really really alone, like it's just you and the Lord, which is a good thing really, but it's hard. This past transfer I really grew to trust and count on Sister Organista. She's really taken great care of me. She's like the big sister I never had. She's really wise and dedicated and she is extremely loyal. I had a bit of a break down on Friday,
 just like all the people going through their trials.... it just really hit me and I hadn't had a good cry in a few weeks so there I went and Sister Organista just wrapped her arms around me and said in her Salvadorian accent "You know I don't even hug my sisters like this." Ha she's so great. I'm really super going to miss her. Wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't also her last transfer because then at least I could pretend I was going to see her at zone conferences. I'm also a bit worried because that also means I'm probably going to lead my area as senior companion....a little nervous that all these baptisms are going to stop and people will look around and say "Well, that's what happens when Sister Organista leaves." But I'm trying to have more faith in  my ability to be a good missionary independent of my trainer. This next transfer will definitely be interesting. I'm just starting to reach an "almost comfortable" level, which as I told Sister Hurley, means all hell is about to break loose. SO looking forward to that! Haha.

As far as my body goes, all the exercises the therapist gave me seem to be helping. I still have a lot of pain, but I'm happier. It really just comes down to that I am really sensitive to physical activity, and if I don't get it my mood just isn't great. Since I've been moving a lot more and sweating again, I have been a lot happier, and that makes things hurt less in a way.

Well, I'm not really sure what else to report but things are good out here in the CFM!

Love you!

Sister Zollinger

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm getting a snake when I get home

The Molloy family has a TON of animals including pythons which I'm now obsessed with and I'm getting a snake when I get home... a little scary at first cuz he likes to "cuddle" around your neck.... BUT SO COOL

Happy New Year!

What the hecka cold?! That's crazy! It get's chilly here.... like 30... 90 degrees colder in MN!!!!!!! SO crazy.

Wow, New Years sounded awesome! Guess what we did?! Well mission rule, all mission cars need to be parked by 6. If you go out after that you have to be with a member. So a member picked us up for dinner at 6:30. We had to be back inside our apartment at 8 instead of 9 as well. So we ate with them and went back at 8 and... drumroll please.... we went to sleep. Woke up at 9 and Sister Organista planned the next day because I was 75% asleep still and then were successfully back in bed by 9:15. HAPPY NEW YEAR. Haha... first year I haven't been up for the change. I was thinking I'd be up at 10 for the Minnesotan New Year... not even close. Haha, but that's ok. We were bushed. Accident recovery is still going strong... I'm dying. I'm regressing. My neck the past two days is almost as bad as when we first crashed. Probably because I hate icing it and I hate taking so many painkillers for so long. But I'm going to try to be more diligent in that. 

So news from the field:

Well this week was pretty much amazing. I just love coming home after knowing you put it all out there on the field. We've been focusing on me learning how to street contact better, because 1 I'm still kind of really afraid to do it and 2 we rarely get opportunities to since we're always in our car driving around. I've gained a testimony that the things that you are afraid to do that you need to do are things that you have to just force yourself to do like 5 times in a row and then it's not painful and after another 5 it's comfortable and by 15 times its fun! I love watching my fear disappear as I practice. We really need new investigators. We've been praying for months and although we don't really have any new solid people from our finding efforts this week (we have quite a few return appointments though), my testimony has grown that the Spirit will really guide you to the right people. For example, this was my first story about being led by the Spirit in the mission field. I've heard a lot of stories like this, but this was my first experience with it. Wednesday Sister Organista and I were just leaving the house at 1 after studying and 12 weeks and Language study. We spent about an hour or so trying to make contact with less actives and didn't find a ton of success. We had about another hour until our first scheduled appointment. I asked her where I should drive and she said that I needed to choose. So I just decided, the zone leaders have talked about driving until they felt prompted to stop, I'm going to do the same thing. I've been praying for weeks to find those who are prepared and I have never worked so hard to be worthy in my life. Time to learn to follow the Spirit. So I just started driving and didn't feel much. Saw and apartment complex and thought that was it but somehow got lost trying to find parking and ended up back on the street without realizing it and had no convenient way back in. So I thought, guess that wasn't it. Kept driving and suddenly pulled over onto another street. This was it. We got out of the car and looked around. Sister Organista asked me which house and I felt something for a couple houses, but just picked the one in front of us first. We knocked and the door opened! It was a 21 year old man, and we told him about the blessing we wanted to leave with him. He said, "Well that's pretty nice, come in." So we did. It was him and his 19 year old sister, and their grandma who only spoke Spanish who was very sick. Well they had a million questions and we ended up teaching lesson 2 briefly in addition to the harvesting blessing. They also just happened to be related to a less active family in the ward. And they accepted the baptismal invitation. WHAT?! First try? Never. The spirit was so strong. We haven't been able to meet with them again since then, but I know that was inspired. It helped me learn how to trust following the Spirit when I have no idea where to go. 

Also we had some great experiences with the N family! Especially with Brother N. He is a spiritual giant. We went over on Friday and because of their questions we taught them about temples and callings. Brother N was very interested. We watched the temple video with them and that was what really brought the Spirit. At the end of the video, Brother N said that he wanted to be baptized the next day and to serve in a calling. What?! And then they attended church yesterday and the Spanish group is really small for Fast and Testimony Meeting. So it was really quiet. Also Hispanics are really humble and don't necessarily like to get up and speak, also they are all converts pretty much. So after a few minutes Elder Castenda bore his testimony which was basically straight for Sister N, who is struggling with a lot more doubts than Brother N. Then it was really quiet for a long time, so I bore my testimony. I had a strong feeling afterward and that earlier that morning that Brother N needed to bear his testimony, but I was sitting too far away to say anything to him. Just then, Sister Organista looked back at me and told me she wanted him to bear his testimony. I nodded and so she nudged him and invited him to go up. President, that man got up and bore his testimony! He said in his testimony that he felt that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he knew the Book of Mormon was true and that he'd been searching for the truth since he was 14 years old. It was so simple and so sweet and sincere.... President, this man is going to be a bishop some day! When I think about him, I just see him in temple clothes.... it's happening President. This man is a miracle. He's getting baptized in two weeks, hopefully with his wife, if not she'll come soon after. And C's son G is getting baptized this Sunday. So we have a pretty good chance of baptizing 3 people this month, with a few miracles, 4 or 5. J is C's husband, and if we can get some member support there, I believe he can be baptized this month, and whenever L get's somewhere to live, she's in the font. 

President, I have never felt more rewarding success than this. We have baptized every month of my mission. I love it. These people are real, and I really love them. I love this work. 

Also, L is amazing. We talked to her last week and she said something to the effect of, "You know, I went to counseling before for me and my girls and everything we went through, but we have never changed like this. It helped, but I always felt like something was missing." Because that is what the truth and the gospel does. It brings people out of the dark. It gives them purpose and motivation. It makes good people great people. I've seen it, Mom. I see these people completely change. I testify that anyone who wants anything more out of their life will find that in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like if you're looking for a 1% increase in happiness or a 99.99999% increase.... you will find it in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I promise and testify to that with all of my heart. There is nothing that can replace the love and understanding you gain from understanding the truths found in the Bible with the help of the Book of Mormon or modern day prophets. If anyone doesn't believe that, there is a fantastically simple way to find out. Read the Book of Mormon and sincerely ask God if it is true. If you sincerely intend to follow through on your answer, you will get one. I know it, I know it, I know it.

Speaking of change, you'll never believe this. Sister Organista and I were doing companionship inventory Saturday night to finish up our weekly planning and she told me that I was humble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT?!?!?! Just take a second to re-read that. For the first time in my life, someone has called me humble. Haha! Awyeah! You may find this celebration ironic, but really truly you should see the change in me. I have been working so hard to become teachable. She did say "Well I mean there's humble and there's humble, but you are getting there." Haha, so maybe I'm not night and day yet, but I am working so hard to give up everything and to let God make me who he needs me to be. I'm trying really hard to listen to counsel, to learn how to follow and to think before I speak. It's great. I started the Purification Challenge yesterday as part of my fast. It's when you make a list of at least 10 things that you do that pull the Spirit away from you. So my list is about 17 things right now, most of them having to do with the way I think about things. Every morning and every night you have to take that list and account for every thing on it and how you are doing. You are fasting from those things, so you don't do them. It lasts for 40 days. And just in the past 48 hours I have had a lot of success. I already feel peace much more in my life and I wake up super excited to have a day to improve. I love it! I've never been so desperate and desirous to change and improve. I really realized this week how the little things I do don't just effect me. It effects how other missionaries, members, and investigators can feel the Spirit. Every single little thing you do in this life effects someone else, even if you're completely alone, because everything you do effects how the Spirit can interact with you. If you don't have the Spirit with you, you can miss important opportunities to change someone else's life. It all matters. And since as a missionary I have no other purpose or value than to change someone else's life for the better, missing anything from the Spirit is a big deal.

Well I love you all a ton! I hope you all are happy and well.

Peace and blessings!

Hermana Zollinger

PS funny story... so I asked Sister Organista how my accent is the other day, cuz some missionaries sound SUPER WHITE and she said "Well you really don't sound white at all." So I was pretty excited until she said "You actually sound pretty Italian." WHAT THE WEIRD?! I have no idea how that happened, but I've been asking other missionaries what they thought and they all agree with her! Hahaha so I don't get it, but I don't sound white, so that's good, but I do sound Italian, and that's just not right.... working on my accent. Sister Organista says that if I really commit to learning the language, she things I won't have an accent at all by the end of my mission. So that's pretty great!