Monday, March 23, 2015

President, I'm going home!!!

President, I'm going home!!!

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

I love you so much President!

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This week...TRIUMPH!!!!

Hey President!!!

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

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

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

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

Love, Sister Zollinger

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pretty darn happy...

Hey President!

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

Love you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sister Zollinger

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

23 days to Minnesota !!!!!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey I love you all so much! 

Hermana Zollinger

February 23, 2015 Singing for an Apostle!

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

Monday, January 19, 2015

2 months to go!

Hey President!

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

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

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

So excited to see you tomorrow at zone conference!

Love you so much!

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

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

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

Well, besides that nothing much to report.


Love you!

Sister Zollinger

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sister Zollinger

Merry Christmas!

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

December 29, 2014
Hey Mom and family!!!!

So. The stars have been aligned. Transfer calls have been made. And.... you guessed it.... I am officially finishing my mission in Ceres 3rd Spanish branch. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one saw that coming!!!!! haha! I've been preparing to leave for like 3 transfers now! But President Clark called me on Saturday, released me as a Sister Training Leader (which I'm actually pretty happy about, I was getting pretty done with it) and called me to train! So I pick her up on Thursday I think. And I only have two transfers left, so I will be staying here. My fourth companion in Ceres. I can't believe it.

Sadly, lots of changes have been made up here. I've been serving in the Turlock North zone... they had made two zones out of the Turlock Stake. Normally zone boundaries are stake boundaries, so each stake is one zone. With the formation of the CA Modesto mission, they decided to collapse our zones into just one again.... and they are closing Elder Boswell and Elder Kane's area. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Sad day. Two of my best friends. Again. So now for the first time in my entire mission, the zone leaders will not be serving in my same area, and for the first time in my entire mission, there will only be two companionships serving in my area. So that is a big deal for me. But it's ok. I've been very blessed my entire mission to be very close geographically to my district and zone leaders and also very close friends with them. My last two transfers I'll be pretty out of the loop, but that's ok, because my new companion and I are about to work some MIRACLES UP IN CERES 3!!!!!!!!

Side note, Sister Horning is getting transferred down to Porterville zone, opposite end of the mission. She will be in the same conference grouping with Sister Contreras, Elder Kane and his trainee (doubled in to a new area) and Elder Boswell and Elder Benites are now ZONE LEADER COMPANIONS in Hanford. They all left me TOGETHER. Sad day. But it's ok. They'll still call me. Elder Benites always checks up on me a few times a transfer, he called me last night to talk about transfers, he's the best!

Back on the main note. So.... as I said in President's email, I am very likely to baptize close to 10 people this month. They've been straight up miracles. One family is a family E. Boswell and E. Kane have been working with, but now their area doesn't exist so they gave this family to us, and a different family to E. Jorquera (the chilean who came out the same time as Sister Contreras and Sister Horning. He is also training this transfer.). Then we set a date with Ana's family!!!! I think I've told you a bit about them. EB and EK found her on the street, she asked them for material to read and for sisters to come teach her. So we went immediately. Three days later she had to go to the hospital with a high risk pregnancy to have a C-section. So we kept in contact while they were there. The baby wasn't doing good, so we talked to our branch president, who got in contact with missionaries in the hospital's area and they gave a blessing to the baby. Ana told us about the experience later and said she just felt this peace and power that she's never felt before and she will never forget. The baby was released from the hospital the following week. Ana also needed some help with finding a crib and clothes and things and the branch has been all over it. So her husband was so touched that we called and kept in contact and that the branch rushed to the rescue he said "No one in my church would do that for me or my family" and HE WANTS TO LISTEN TO US TOO!!!!!!!!! AND THEY ARE MARRIED!!!!! So we very might well baptize an entire family, a father, a mother, and the two oldest daughters, together on January 31st. So excited. 

Ceres 3 is about to go crazy. E. Jorquera is a super powerful missionary. Our branch just went from 6 missionaries with kind of enough to do with two big leadership callings.... to no leadership, four missionaries, two missionaries who are well experienced and two trainees who always work miracles because their faith is so strong and they don't have any experience to rely on except for the Lord. It's about to be torn up with unprecedented success. I don't know if you can tell, but I'm SO EXCITED.

So Christmas was super awesome. After we skyped with you we ate some food with Hermana Mayorga and then EB and EK showed up shortly after to skype their families. While they skyped, we went and hunted down Frozen (we went to 5 Red Boxes and finally found a member who had already rented it haha in a different ward) and we hunted down a bunch of board games and then we hunted down E Jorquera and E Pugh and brought all of our hunts to the Mayorga's where we played board games as a family all day. We played Balderdash, Sorry and Apples to Apples. I won round two of Sorry, it was so fun! I love our family here so much. It's really hard to see them go. Then we ate a little more and at 6 we headed over to a different member's house and watched Frozen. And yeah, I can relate to Anna a lot hahhahahahaha it was sooooooo funny! I also hate Hans. WHAT A STINKIN JERK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh! I also loved the "you can fix him!" Song hahahahahaha claaaaaaaaaassssic "never been in love before" mistake hahahaha... although he turned out to be the one. Also funny. All in all it was one of my favorite Christmases ever.

Oh, I forgot to tell you about this last week. so we have an investigator on a street called Olivero. It seemed pretty scary but then again, so does every where we go, so we just went during the day and it was fine. But we put that address on our Progress Report for branch counsel. Our branch president looked at us and said "You know that Olivero is known throughout California because there are so many gangs there and so many people are killed there?" E Boswell looked at us sternly and was like "you will not be going there after dark". So that was pretty cool. We're totally safe during the day and we never went at night anyways.... but it's a cool story haha.

so that's it for this week I think! I love you all so much! See you in 12 weeks!

Love, Sister Zollinger

December 23, 2014

NOTE- This letter was posted by Kelsie's mother.  Kelsie does not maintain this blog, and is not on facebook.

December 23, 2014

Tuesday we went with Hermana Mayorga to the hospital to visit a lady who has been there for a few months. Her family were brand new investigators of ours, she's the only one who was baptized, so things fell apart with the other family with this lady going to the hospital, she almost died! She had some brain fluid issues... super scary. So when we went there her hair is just starting to grow back, they must've shaved it all off to do the surgery. Then she had oxygen mask, she was confused about what day it was because nothing ever changes in her life. Same bed, same room. Offt. And. She can't really talk. She had this tube thing inserted into her throat with a cap on it and she could talk through that if she pushed really hard. It was really scary to listen to at first, but eventually we got used to it. I had felt prompted to bring a picture of Jesus Christ with me, and when I gave it to her she excitedly grabbed it from my hands and kissed it and then held it to her heart and prayed. The rest of the visit she kept reaching for it and making sure it was on her heart. It was so sweet. We're going to bring a bunch of different Jesus prictures next time with tape so she can have him everywhere. She has four kids and a husband, life is super hard for her to be stuck in the hospital. She was soooo grateful for our visit. Then we popped next door to another member Hermana Mayorga knew and we prayed with her. Then a lady motioned excitedly to us. She had the same tube our hermana had, but she could barely whisper through it. She only spoke English, but we prayed for her and talked with her and gave her a picture of Jesus too, and she too cried and pressed it to her heart. Wow. Such a humbling experience. We're going to try to go back once a week to make sure we see those few people. It's amazing how close to God those women were. They never cursed him for their trials, but put all their faith in him so that they could heal. It was amazing.

I also had President's Interviews last week. I'd kind of been frustrated with a lot of things, just the stuff I talked about last week and he could obviously tell something was wrong, so he asked me, I explained in minimal details and he gave me awesome counsel. I think the best was about my stewardship, you're going to laugh. He said something to the effect of "you're the kind of person who.... how do I say it... helicopters." I just burst out laughing and thought about the Bro Dede saying you were helicopter parents. Haha. But. He told me I am being more of a sheepherder than a shepherd. Even though my intentions are just to try to help my sisters use their agency well and stop them from mis-using it. He told me people learn best from their mistakes and that I need to not helicopter. "It's comfortable to hover because it gives you control." He also laughingly told me that if he finds out that I'm hovering over my children once they're older than 5 that he will come and find me and admonish me hahaha! So my new theme is "teach a man to fish". I've been studying a lot about ministering and trying to ask questions more and helping them come up with answers. And once they do and they aren't what I think they should be, I just leave it alone if it's not breaking a commandment/life threatening. It's hard, but I know it will be worth it. Sister Horning is helping me out a lot.

Oh! Big news!!! Our mission is splitting!!!!!!!!! We just found out last Monday night! Turlock stake (where I am) and up with part of the northern mission are combining to make the Modesto mission! And then Fresno will just be the southern 2/3 of our mission. It's splitting July 1. So I'll be home, but everyone else is awaiting mission calls to see if they stay in Fresno or if they will be reassigned to the California Modesto Mission. So that's really big news.

All else... I'm going to try to send a bunch of pictures right now.

Love you all so much!!!!

Sister Zollinger