Monday, May 19, 2014

This week has been one crazy roller coaster!

Hola Presidente!!!

Well this week has been one crazy roller coaster. I felt like I was learning a lot, but now I'm coming out of it feeling like a brand new missionary straight from the MTC with not a clue of what to do. I'm pretty anxious for Zone Conference tomorrow, because I really need some help.

So what happened was our zone is determined to have the Power of One this month and have every companionship baptize. Well it's been quite the adjustment coming here to Ceres. I've never transferred before and it was kind of crazy. So it wasn't until like this past Wednesday that I really committed to baptize. I talked with Elder Garcia, prayed, and then I made a Game Plan for my area. Basically it was just to really essentialize who we are teaching. At that point we had four families that we could baptize by the end of the month. We were strictly going to see them everyday. We have several families we are preping for June. Those we could see max twice a week in order to have enough time for the first four. And then we had a list that just weren't progressing but had some small potential... those we can't touch until June. Well we did that President and the first day we saw MIRACLES. The second day was good, the third day was ok, and then yesterday was the Fourth day, and we only had one little boy come to church. And that's becasue we went to his house, forced him to get ready, and somewhat dragged him to church. But once he was there he never wanted to leave and it turned out to be a great experience. He's set to get baptized this Friday. We pray. He changes his mind like every day. But he's so prepared, he LOVED church, he wanted to answer every question even though he didn't really know what was being talked about. He's the best. But in the mix we seemed to have missed helping some families that don't have potential, but could have used some compassion. Sister De la Cruz was pretty upset about that. So basically I came out last night feeling like I had done my best to dedicate every thing to God but felt like maybe my motivations weren't right, was I really fulfulling my purpose, had I let somebody down, what was I doing?? So we talked about it. We are going to continue our game plan, but I just need some direction. I know that tomorrow will help me Spiritually recharge though, I'm excited for that. 

Well, that's about all. Sister De la Cruz and I are doing great. I love her to death. We have trials and little frictions, but we are open about everything. I love you, see you tomorrow!

In a nut shell. This week was rough. I really needed today.
Also, we called the cops on someone this week.... saw a teenage boy beating up his mom outside their trailer.... So that was rough. The heat here got pretty intese... it was 111 acording to our car for like two days. Sister De la Cruz and I got pretty sick... so we're trying to learn to adjust. It's cooled down a bit, but I really have no idea how I'm going to survive this summer....
But happier things! We are progressing with several investigators, we found some new ones! Paulito should be getting baptized this Friday, he is a cool little dude. We still aren't 100% he's even 8..... his sister says he's 7, he's told me he's 7 and 9. And his mom says he's 10. So there's like a 50% chance he's old enough.... hahaha shoot... this place is crazy. But it should be ok. And then we are working miracles with another famliy of "eternagators".... eternal investigators. I really feel like we are going to baptize them. In two weeks. Pray for the Ruiz family. We are working so hard with them. We've had really powerful experiences, fasting with him, with the priesthood... their family loves us to death, they are so awesome. And we are GOING to baptize them, they've just gotta commit!!! But I have faith.
Tomorrow we have Zone Conference! I'm playing piano for the confernce, and then Elder Corona and I are singing (we'll record it) and then it's My BIRTHDAY, so we'll probably go out to dinner afterwards with some missionaries. Should be fun. Haven't got your package yet, but probably will tomorrow at Zone Conference :)
This week has been hard. But hey, that's being a missionary for ya. Do your best and He'll do the rest. The Book is blue, the Church is true. And that's the only thing that keeps you going through the tough times. Honestly, as much as I love my mission, at least once every day I reach a point where I think, "Can I really finish this? Can I really keep going?" But it's the thought that this is the TRUTH, and if someone else could do my job, I wouldn't be here. But they can't, becuase most people don't have what I have. The truth about who God is. He is MY Father. That means I have something to live up to. I can't just pick and chose. The truth about my Savior. He died for ME but He CANNOT save me IN my sins. I have to change. The truth about revelation. There is a LIVING PROPHET TODAY. He is here to help us. I know these things are true and that happiness only can come through living these principles. That's what keeps me going. Salvation never was cheap. Jesus Christ didn't have a huge amount of success on His mission. But that didn't mean what He taught wasn't true or that we won't be held accountable to this someday. I know it, I love it, it brings me peace and happiness when life gets hard. This is my testimony. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I got my hair cut some more this morning.  a Sister missionary fixed the back of my hair because from the front it looked good but from the back it still looked like a mullet. So she evened it out for me.

First b-day present!!!! Thank you Uncle Mark and Aunt Diane!!!

ALSO, We had a zone activity with like two zones and we went to a park and started with sand volley ball. I'm super rusty now, I played terribly.... eventually we switched to RUGBY. YEAH. And since Sis. De la Cruz was playing we put all Spanish missionaries on one team and English on the other... and Mom, we hispanics CRUSHED IT. And The elders named me MVP. Apparently no one could ever see me coming, so I tagged every one and we crushed those Americans. Haha. But then someone called us out because really Elders and Sisters shouldn't touch... so we repented and stopped. But we beat them before that. Haha. And then some elders here know a man who owns all the Little Ceaser's in the area, so we had free pizza when we were all done. GOLDEN day. So happy. My back hurts... but so what. I love playing sports and yelling every thing in Spanish haha so fun.

Mother's Day Skype (and a Haircut!)

May 12, 2014
Hey President!

Well yesterday was a crazy day. About a million things went wrong, but at the end of the day everything mostly straightened out. SATAN! He always comes after you right when you feel like you are figuring things out! But everything turned out ok. We had 2 investigators at church with their dad who isn't an investigator yet! It was so awesome! And he said that they are coming for all three hours next Sunday!!! Wahoo!!! So that was a miracle. And my Skype with my family so awesome. Somehow it felt a ton shorter than it did this past Christmas. I felt like I said hello and then it was time to go. But it was super great. My parents and my four younger siblings were all there, as well as my grandma who is one of my best friends. It was so great! They are changing so much! My baby sister is 4 years old and she just talks like she's 30. And I left my brother when he was 14, he just turned 15 and his voice has DROPPED! He sounds like a MAN now, even though he says all the same things he used to say. It was so weird. Everyone is happy and healthy! And I got to bear my testimony in Spanish again, they always love that!

So also yesterday, we had a really good lesson with some girls we are hopefully baptizing in the next week or so. Their names are Yohanna (16) and Yomira (18) and they are cousins. They were progressing really well until *SATAN* they started playing tennis which means they have practice every week day and games Saturdays and Sundays. So suddenly they have no time for lessons or to come to church. Well yesterday we went over and taught them about the Sabbath Day. At first we explained everything and they were happy to keep the Sabbath Day. The only thing is we didn't specifically talk about sports or anything. I felt really awkward having to come out and say that they were breaking the Sabbath by not only playing sports on Sunday, but also because they were missing Church becasue of their sports. But I knew that if we didn't specifically address it, we would lose them. So I came out and explained it, and it was a little hard for them. One of them said that she felt bad, but it was out of her control and she repented for it every time. Sister De la Cruz said "That's great, but part of repenting is not doing it again." So we talked about the blessings we had seen in our lives keeping the Sabbath Day holy and asked them what blessings they wanted. "What do you really want that would take a miracle to have?" Yomira really wants to learn English. And Yohanna wants to do better in school. So we told them that they can pray and find a way to keep the Sabbath Day holy, and tell God what they needed in their lives. So they're going to do it! And here in Ceres we have 3 Sacrament Meetings, two in English and one in Spanish. Their games are always during the Spanish session. For now they have agreed to go to the earliest English session and then go to their game in the afternoon. I told them I would go to whatever session they wanted and I would translate everything for them so they could go and have a good experience. Even though it's not everything, this is a huge sacrifice for them!!! I'm so excited they committed to this. And it's a great way for Yomira to learn English! And Sister De la Cruz!

Also, Sister De la Cruz and I have been doing really well. We both are straightforward and don't involve our feelings in correction, so when something happens that bugs the other, we just address it, apologize, and move on, it's so awesome! I hope my marriage can be like that some day. And we've been really working on speaking English in the car, and even in the apartment! She is learning faster already, it's amazing! We talked for a while yesterday and she told me more about how very lonely she has felt her whole mission, largely due to the language barrier. I remember feeling really lonely in the beggining of my mission, and it helped me to feel more compassion and try a lot harder to make sure she is always included in everything. Her mom thanked me yesterday on Skype for looking out for her daughter, and that was when I realized how much just translating meetings and things really meant to Sister De la Cruz who just hasn't really understood anything for months. I am trying to committ myself to my companion first before anyone else. I really love her.

Thanks President! Super excited for Zone Conference next week!!!! Love you!

Sister Zollinger

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sister Zolli

May 5, 2014

Today I am just really happy. The past few weeks I've been really struggling to have "animo", or "desires" in English. It's been hard for me to "emotionally buy into" Ceres. But yesterday I fasted for 5 families here that really have a lot of potential to be baptized but they need help. This morning I woke up and just felt so happy! And then I started a new Purification Challenge this morning. I meant to do one last transfer, but my companion advisded me to wait because so much was already going on that she didn't want me to get overwhelmed. But now I'm starting one and as I was reading the Purification Challenge, I just felt happy and at peace, I felt like Heavenly Father was smiling at me. So I'm really excited!!! Lot's of revelation and miracles are on the way to Ceres 3rd!!!!

I really do love Ceres. Nothing compares to your first area, but I love the people here. I LOVE hispanic culture. I just got a taste of it in Kerman, but here everyone just loves you immediately. Hugs and kisses from all the women, even if they don't know you. It is so awesome. They all just love you and support you. And feed you a ton. Really I just try not to eat anything during the day because I know I will die from the amount of food you are expected to eat at dinner haha!

We are working with several families as I said earlier. We are seeing miracles with one family in particular, the Ruiz family. They have been investigating for a LONG time. Sister Johnson worked with them before she was a Coordinating Sister! Well Sister Ruiz and her son went to Disney World last week so we got to meet with just Brother Ruiz a couple times. He's the one who is more spiritually open. So we talked with him and we helped him to set a date for May 25th and then to fast last Sunday. We fasted with him. We told him that when we make promises to the Lord and follow through, he will help us the rest of the way. So we asked him to fast and if he didn't get his answer we could cancel the date. Well the three of us fasted and Sister De La Cruz got a very clear answer from God that He would help Brother Ruiz recieve his answer. Well we went over like two days later and he mentioned casually that his recently disceased father came to him in a dream and asked Brother Ruiz to help him and Brother Ruiz didn't want to. Brother Ruiz said that was really weird because he and his father had always worked together and Brother Ruiz had never turned him down. Well we jumped on that as a clear answer... His father wants to be baptized!!! So this week we've been focusing on the temple and on explaining dreams by having him read about Joseph of Egypt. It's been really great. We're close. But we are praying and fasting and we're not giving up on them! I think they know in their hearts they will be baptized eventually, it's just a matter of getting them to do it. 

Yup. So there it is. I have really changed a lot. Looking back, I just feel so much happier with who I am. I have a lot of work to do still, but I'm getting there.
Fun stuff, I'm telling people I'm from Jalisco (Ha lees ko).... a state in Mexico. Haha. People are just shocked with my Spanish. Still not perfect, but I'm getting there. At church yesterday someone heard me speaking Spanish and hadn't met me before and he stopped me and said "Where are you from? You are not from the United States. Where did you learn Spanish?" (All fo that was in Spanish when he asked me). So that was pretty awesome. Granted Spanish was his second language, he was white. But still. He new good Spanish. So that was pretty awesome. And the Elders have named me Honrary Mexican. So that's pretty cool too. Haha.
Other funny thing, a lot of people here canNOT say Zollinger, so they are starting to call me Hermanita Solly (Sister Zolli). That is pretty funny. Our ward mission leader is starting it haha, and the Elders didn't know that I'd ok-ed that becasue he just couldn't say it, so at the Elders baptism yesterday I played piano (I play for literally EVERYTHING) and he said "And we thank hermanita solly for playing piano" and all the elders just flipped their heads at me like "what the heck?!" haha but it's cool. They introduced me and Elder Cook as the new missionaries last week... "We welcome our new missionaries, Elder Cook and Hermana..... ah...."... hahaha!

Well there you have it. I love it here. I love being a missionary. It's the best!
Love you so much!!!!
Hermana Z

I love my new companion!

 April 30, 2014

Man.... this week has been stressful. I've never seen an area as on fire as this area... apparently the Sunday before I got here they had 17 investigators at church. It's crazy. So Sister Segovia and Sister De La Cruz set up the area really well, but with 0 baptismal dates, and then Sister De La Cruz and I came in and set 5 dates for May and more are praying and fasting... so about 10 people pending baptisims. Of course they're all on different levels of solidity, we are not going to baptize all of them this month, but it feels good to be going somewhere. I was burned out in Kerman. Although I think about Kerman every day, it feels good to have this time to start over and not feel so burned out.

Sister De La Cruz is awesome! She is a powerful missionary, and she really knows the Bible. It is really fun to be companions with her, because I took her out on Open Your Mouth and I can see how much she has grown! I can also see some of the things I saw the first day that were going to be long term challenges, and hopefully I can help with that. I love her so much, I feel a different connection with her than I have with any of my other companions, which is funny because we have to communicate pretty much exclusively in Spanish! Some nights while we are talking I just think to myself "Wow..... I am talking to a Peruvian about her life in Spanish and I understand and can say valuable things back!" The gift of tongues is real President! Side note on that.... a "worldly" goal (I guess you could say) I had was that by the end of my mission, someone would ask me if I was Mexican. Just from not having an accent and from actually getting tan from getting outside of a school building or work..... and it happened yesterday! Some Mexican girls I've been teaching this past week thought for sure that my parents spoke Spanish in my house growing up and that I was part Mexican!!!!! So that was really fun. Although not really spiritual. But it makes me very grateful that God has blessed me to speak Spanish well.

This week has been challenging. I'm coming out of it strong, but it was so hard. Coming to a 100% Spanish area with a 100% Spanish companion kills your brain. So many new names, so many new places, and then everything is in Spanish. But I have grown a lot. Also it's hard because I'm a senior companion for the first time. I felt a real weight come down on my shoulders as we read companionship responsibilities

So that's what's going on here! I love my district and my zone. I miss everyone like crazy in Kerman, but I love every one here in Ceres, this place is on fire!!!! Elder Garcia is a fantastic districit leader, I feel like I can talk to him about my concerns with the area and he supports me. The Zone Leaders are awesome as well, Elder Cook is making a very smooth transition to zone leader and Elder McClung is fantastic! Love this place!!! Thanks for sending me here.

Getting transferred to Ceres

April 21, 2014

Hey President!

It is absolutely a great day to be a Mormon Missionary!!!!

So, this has been some VERY difficult few days. I am getting transferred from Kerman after being here for 6 months. Words cannot express the love I have for this area and, more importantly, these people. I have grown from an awkward, non-Spanish speaking new missionary to a near fluent, still semi-awkward but fully capable missionary. 

Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. Saying goodbye to my family here was just heartbreaking. But at the same time it was very gratifying. It feels good to know that the reason why this hurts is because I fully love so many people and that they love me too. I don't feel the pain of regret, just the pain of leaving my family for a time. Saying goodbye to Lupe was especially hard. Her and her girls. I mostly just stood there, tears streaming down my face as 5 year old Evolette shouted "Everyone! Group hug Sister Zollinger!" and just feeling her and her three sisters and her mother and my companion surround me. Or Evolette's sweet prayer in which she said "Please help us to never forget Sister Zollinger". I heard a lot of things like that the past 36 hours, and that is a feeling of sweet sorrow. I feel like this is how Heavenly Father must have felt a bit like when, after He had taught us all He could, He turned us out into this world and just ached, hoping we'd make it back. I'm not sure if He exactly hopes because He knows all things, but I feel like it must be something like I was feeling in my own tiny insignificant way.

I love being a missionary. My heart will never fully leave Kerman. I am very excited to go to Ceres and be with Sister De la Cruz. I took her out on Open Your Mouth two transfers ago! So cool. And that's where Sister VanWie just served, so that's pretty cool! We just swapped areas. 

I don't really know how to put into words how I have felt or what I have learned. Here I have grown twice as humble and 3 or 4 times as patient. I have learned how to be confident and strong. I have learned to consecrate my success to my God. Kerman has changed so much in my time here. They LOVE missionary work in a way I haven't seen before. I have put a ton of work into member trust. But I know that God has a plan for every thing and that His work will progress. I have learned that baptisms do not measure your success as a missionary. I have learned to love with everything I've got, put every thing into the playing field and not look back. I believe I can honestly say I have no regrets about my first area. It wasn't perfect, but it was my best. And I will do the same in Ceres. 

Thank you for this opportunity to grow. I really appreciate it. 

I love you President!

So..... I'm getting transferred up to Sister VanWie's old area. Up by Modesto! And my new companion is the girl I took out on Open Your Mouth two transfers ago, she just finished training and she really doesn't speak English, so I have to teach her English! And it's an all Spanish branch! I'm going to be SO Hispanic by the time I get back. She's from Peru, Sister De la Cruz. 

So... the past day and a half have been some of the hardest of my life. Lots of crying.

Also tender mercy.... two less active teens I've been working with my whole mission came to sacrament meeting for the first time ever yesterday, and also Brother Bontrager came with no encouragement from us! Such a tender mercy, I thought he was going to be at the fire station. I just started crying when I saw him there. Also the Herberts are moving to Washington.... surprise move, Jimmy left without even saying goodbye like two weeks ago, so I was just waiting for him to come pick up the rest of the family in two weekends but now I won't be here, but I got to talk to him on the phone this morning and he said that they're going to try to drive through my new area on the way to Washington! And I'm saying goodbye to the Nunez tonight.

Anyways, I'm going to Ceres 3rd, all Spanish branch that's almost a ward. But it's in the Turlock stake. Which is close to Modesto.

this zone is brand new that I'm going to, it only has two districts, only 8 companionships total. thats about half my current zone's size. But they are on fire! We're going to baptize up there! 

My Watch tan is AMAZING!

April 14, 2014

Well, as usual, it is a fantastic day to be a Mormon Missionary. I am just so excited to be a servant of the Lord. 

I loved the questions you asked in your email, about thinking back to day one in the CFM. I have been thinking a lot about how I have changed these past few months. Next week I will reach 7 months as a missionary... only 11 tiny months left!!!!! I have been talking to Sister VanWie about how, as I have changed and noticed changes I've made, that has made me realize who I was before. And let me tell you, it was NOT pretty. I realized how much patience I have gained and how much softer I have become, and that made me realize how bitter and tough and impatient I had been before. I'm really glad that at the time I didn't know who I was, because if I had to be that person again I would be horrified. I have learned how to work with leadership, how to let other people be in charge and to trust them. I've learned to reach out to the one. I have gained more and more confidence in my ability to do hard things. 

This transfer, Sister VanWie and I have talked a lot about who we are. Well, mostly who she is because she didn't really know who she was and it bothered her. Last night we had a long talk about it. I felt the Spirit speak through me to her, and I said a lot of things that I could never have thought of that were teaching me at the same time. We came down to the conclusion that if we only think we know who we are once we've seen the finished product, we will never know and we will only feel a sense of in-completion. That's the point. I told her that the only thing she needs to know about who she is is that she is exactly obedient and will do anything that Heavenly Father asks of us. In essence, she is whoever Heavenly Father needs her to be. That is really the only way we can truly find peace in who we are. Too often we try to categorize ourselves and other people into where they "belong", like "jocks", or "nerds", or the "popular crowd". We may take pride in certain personality traits or talents that we have. But I have seen God take away some of mine to teach me a lesson, and also freely give me others that I did not deserve, nor work nearly hard enough for. None of those things really matter. All that matters is that we know that because we love our Father so much, we will do literally whatever it is that He asks. Until we can say that with conviction, we will never truly be happy with who we are because we know we are holding back somewhere, or we will wish that we had some other thing more. This knowledge truly brings peace. It was a really amazing experience to share with my companion. I watched a huge burden be lifted from her shoulders as I said these words, and she already is so much happier. They were all things that I needed to hear as well. I love learning from the Holy Ghost.

This week was a little rough on progressing investigators. We're really trying to find "the ones". However, Brother Bontrager is progressing really well!!! He's starting on the Word of Wisdom, he's already cut down from 3-4 cups of coffee to one, and he committed to come to church every Sunday he doesn't work at the fire station or have to be out of town for family! That is a really big deal! His original date was set for this Sunday, which he isn't ready for, but it will be soon!

Also we have made leaps and bounds with ward members coming out with us. So excited about that. They are awesome!

Pretty nervous about transfer calls... I don't want to leave Kerman yet, but at the same time I've been here a long time and part of me is ready for something new and more hispanic!

Speaking of Hispanic.... today we had a five zone activity in Selma. We weren't sure we were going to go, because it's an all sports day and I'm still not allowed to run. But we were promised there would be volley ball, which I'm allowed to play at 50%. Well we get there... and there's no volley ball. And it was a lot of miles we used up. So we couldn't just go home. So what did I do? I played soccer at 100% for like 2 hours in the hot HOT sun. It felt so good. Although my body is angry with me, it was a pretty stupid choice. But I made at least 3 goals, I was one of two sisters to score anything at all. We played with a lot of Hispanic elders who live breathe and eat soccer, and we were all yelling in Spanish (like just things you would normally say, like I'm open, and What are you doing, and Elder, she's a girl!) it was so fun! I felt so Mexican!

and I'm tanning like crazy, I've gotten at least five shades darker in just the past few days, my watch tan is AMAZING. 

And yep. Zone conference Wednesday. Transfer calls Saturday. If I move or get someone else that will happen next Tuesday. Yikes!

Love you all! The bathroom looks so good!

Sis Z

I'm almost officially Mexican!

April 8, 2014

well here's President's letter, and then I'll tell you about a million other things haha

Well this past week has been amazing! Sister VanWie and I are really trying hard to be constantly evaluating our work, and we're constantly trying to focus on the things that are the most important. We've noticed that whatever key indicator we really focus on during the week is the one that tends to go really well, while others suffer a little more. Two weeks ago we were driven to find new investigators, and we found more than usual. However, no one was really progressing, and no one came to church. This week we really tried to focus on getting people to church. We had four investigators watch at least one session of General Conference this week, and all of my recent converts either watched sessions with a member or listened to it on the radio. That was a very gratifying experience. Which leads to the revelation I received this week.

A few days ago, I was trying to comply with my commitment that Elder Pinnock gave us at Zone Conference. I am behind in my PMG project, but I just decided to study Chapter 4 like he asked. I spent time going through the scriptures until on the first page I got to Matthew 7:7-8. This is the well known scripture that says "ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you". For some reason, this scripture hit me really hard. This scripture is a promise. Whatever it is that we seek, we will find, for good or for bad. Whatever we look for, we will find. Before, every time I thought about this scripture I thought about that picture with Jesus Christ knocking on the door without a handle. I just kind of thought, "Well if I can just seek hard enough, or in the right places, eventually I will find this door, and that's what this scripture is talking about." Well, that's probably true to. But to me this scripture changed from seeking something illusive to simply controlling what we are seeking. Like in the 4th missionary it talks about how we are constantly changing and we have the choice to either chose how we are changing or let the world change us. It's the same thing about what we seek. So this lead me to ponder about what is it that I am truly seeking? Satan's number one goal was glory and honor. He first tried to get it by being the Savior of the world, and when that didn't work, he sacrificed literally everything, including his body, and became the devil. He now has a type of glory I guess you could say. He is powerful, and I think more people know about the devil in today's world than they do about Jesus Christ. In a way, he has obtained that goal. Jesus Christ's goal was to bring glory to the Father. He also sacrificed literally everything, including his body, and became the Savior of the world and brought glory to the Father. The reason why this scripture is a promise is because what we want most is what we will sacrifice everything for in order to get it. So this week I've really been thinking about what it is I want most. I can confidently say that what I want most is to please my Father in Heaven. So, with whatever bumps and minor problems I face on the eternal scale, my ultimate prize will be to please Him, because I will sacrifice every thing to gain that. This is also why Alma 32 about we only need to "desire to believe" works. Because our desires are so powerful, that we will some how achieve them, whatever they are. If we desire to have faith, we will eventually have faith because we will sacrifice the necessary things in order to have faith. I don't know if this is making sense to you, but this was something the Spirit communicated to me in a way that made sense to me and was very powerful. So I am trying really hard to be conscious of my desires and pushing to achieve them. Including our key indicators. We're trying to find a way to improve them all simultaneously, but that's a challenge we haven't quite figured out yet.

Yup. So other cool things. Forgot to tell you about Stephanie I believe. So remember how we were searching for Mystery Man? And then we got like 4 new investigators? Well Stephanie was one of those. Our first time we just said a prayer with her and set a return appointment. That was for a Tuesday afternoon. Well we get there and she says "can you come back tomorrow, I just called into work??" So we left a quick message and then set a return appointment for the following day. So we teach her the Restoration and it was so. cool. Stephanie is about 22, she has blue hair and she has two kids. Beautiful is her daughter, Angle is her son. They are about 4 and 5. Anyways. She's so awesome. In the middle of the lesson she says "hey you want to know something funny?" and I said "well of course!" and she told us how the day before we showed up at her door, she had been praying and told God that she needed him and Jesus Christ in her life. And that the next day we came and told her we were representatives of Jesus Christ. She said right after we left that first time she called her boyfriend who is fairly religous and he just didn't know what to tell her. So that was awesome. So we testified we were an answer to that prayer and we continued with the lesson. When Sister VanWie finnished with the First Vission, I asked Stephanie how she felt, expecting a "oh good" generic response we usually get. Her eyes suddenly got wide and she put her hand over her heart and said "I don't know! It's weird!" So that also was super cool, that almost never happens. So we have a really good friendship with her. She always watches for us, and hopes that we come. We set a date for her for the 20th of April, the only hard thing is that she is usually out of town visiting her boyfriend on the weekends and she has to come to church twice before she is baptized. Well as we drove away from that experience, it was raining slightly. We drove to Lupe's for dinner and we saw the hugest, brightest, clearest, most completest rainbow I have ever seen. I can't even tell you the joy that filled my heart at that point, right after that lesson. I felt like Ammon, how he said that he couldn't express the extreme joy that filled his soul. That feeling has happened to me about five times on my mission. When Jimmy told us he knew the Book of Mormon was true. When Lupe got baptized. Maybe a few others. Not many. But that feeling of inexpressable joy is what it is all about.

So Rod. He's amazing. I love that man.  He came to General Conference and met Brother Dardenne and just had a really good deep talk afterwards. He's labeled himself as a "searcher". So he'll be baptized, straight up. Just the timing is the question. So great. I love him. 

Maria Garcia! She came to two sessions of General Conference! And took notes! It's only a matter of time! She's put a two month time frame up, but, it's going to be sooner. 

Also! I learned how to make homemade tortillas from Namoi's grandma yesterday! They were so good! She was so impressed with me, she thought for sure I already had learned once because I got the hang of it so fast. I felt bad because she kept saying how I was showing up Sister VanWie... that was awkward. But I felt great! Because now I'm almost officially Mexican! I'm tanning pretty fast (yay for missionary tan lines... watch... flats... my neck....), I speak Spanish, I make tortillas! The only thing left is spicy food, and I'll be straight up Mexican!

Also, random. Sister VanWie and I are close to the same height. But I noticed her shoulders and hips are significantly higher than mine. Which proves that I have a giraffe neck. so that's really awesome. 

So there you have it! Pretty great week. Pictures are coming... hang on.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Less than a year left!

 March 31, 2014

Sisters' Conference was so great. For one of the first times in my life, I really felt special being a woman. A lot of my life I just really felt a need to compensate to be heard for some reason, and I always felt a need to prove that I was as good as any man at pretty much everything. That conference really just brought a sweet spirit, and I just felt really blessed to be a woman. I really appreciated that. It made me think a lot about how I am preparing to be a mother as well. It helped me realize that everything I am doing now is just preparing me to be the mom I really want to become. It also helped me understand how I can better help and motivate the elders, especially as a "mood setter". It was just a lot of really great things I wished I had heard right at the start of my mission! It was so great, thank you to all of you who had prepared, it was just amazing.

Well, this week, we did not fulfill all the goals we were trying to fulfill. But looking back, there was really nothing we could have done better. We worked so hard, we put it all out in the field. We didn't reach our 10 new investigators, but we did get 5 which is really good for our area! There are some pretty solid ones in the mix of those new investigators, and I think we'll baptize two of them pretty quickly. So it was a frustrating time counting up the numbers, but at the same time I am at peace because I know we did our best. 

Cool story for the week: We talked with the zone leaders and we dissolved the boundaries splitting Kerman. We all kept our normal out side towns, but it just seemed silly to split Kerman at this point, because there were just needs each of us could meet better if we went to all sides. So Sister VanWie and I have been spending some time getting to know the other side of Kerman. We were searching for our 10 investigators, and we saw a house with some gorgeous roses, so we went over and talked to the man outside of that house. We talked about the roses for a bit and then transitioned into who we were. We sang him "Soy un Hijo de Dios" ("I am a Child of God") because we only had Spanish hymn books, although Rod only spoke English. We sang all three verses. Well Rod is probably in his 60's, he loves electric guitars, has a nice long beard, sitting in a beat up old truck, but he is also very very sweet. We looked up after those three verses and tears were just streaming from his eyes. We were able to set up a follow up appointment for later that week. So we went back Saturday and we started talking again. He expressed some concern for his grandmother, who was a very good and caring woman but was a staunch Communist and did not really have much religious background to his knowledge. He said something to the effect of "Well, who knows where she is?" I looked him in the eyes and said "As representatives of Jesus Christ, we can tell you where your grandmother is." He just met my eye contact and said "Really?" and I said yes and we jumped into the plan of Salvation. We are going to follow up with him on Wednesday. That is really about my favorite part of being a missionary. Being able to look people in the eyes and say "As a representative of Jesus Christ, I can tell you (answer to concern)". There's such a power that rushes through your body, it is the most amazing thing ever. That's about my favorite thing to do. People actually take you pretty seriously when you do that.

Well, Sister VanWie and I are working harder than I have ever worked in my mission, and that's saying something. We are looking good for April, a lot of potential investigators and a few dates set. I am looking forward to this next transfer in Kerman!

Yeah SO life is good... hard but good. I'm just feeling a need to get under control though... we've been working so hard it's spinning a little. But I'm starting to gain a reputation for that. Sister Peters is my sister training leader (like my sister district leader) and she was telling a sister at sister's conference that I would work her to death if she went on exchange with me, because that's what I did to Sister Peters. She said she was super surprised and was like "Wait, how long have you been out?" So that made me feel really good. 

Also! Big news. I've been wanting to do a language class for FOREVER and Sister VanWie and I finally decided to just do it! So starting this Tuesday, we are holding a language class Tuesdays and Thursday evenings for the next five weeks. Our goal was to teach our English sisters enough Spanish to say prayers, bear testimony, and give part of each of the three discussions so we can have better team ups, because all of our assets speak English and we teach mostly Spanish! So the ward really like the idea, and they are inviting everyone, not just the women! So that's really exciting. We've been working super hard on lesson plans, vocabulary lists and I even wrote a syllabus!!! So that's awesome.

Love you all!!! Have a great.... life???..... Less than a year left! PANIC

<3 Hermana Zollinger