Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Enduring to the Endowment..." ‏Week 5

çkemi Family! :)

Thank you so much for the package that you sent me!!! :) The cookies were delicious (as usual) and just thank you so much for the package! :)

Sister Z and her companion, Sister Coleman
So, last p-day (Thursday) we were in our residency and I was looking at the back of our door where it has the "Emergency Exit" routine. I started to read that because we really just chillax on p-day but then I stopped and thought to myself "that'll never happen to us. I don't need to know that." haha, oh ye unlearned. So, Thursday night after we had all gotten in bed, said our prayers, and everything the fire alarm went off. At first I thought it was someone's actual alarm and I didn't understand why they would have it be going off right now, but then it donged on me that it was an actual fire alarm. So, we got all the girls in our zone outside. It was a little alarming (no-pun intended...haha, i'm just so funny) as we were going down the stairs because I could smell something burning. Anyways, so we went outside into the parking lot. We started to play some games to get to know us all, since the new Hungarians and 2 Estonians had come in the day before. We played the "down-by-the-banks" song. It was a lot of fun!! Long story short, someone wanted to cook a burrito and burnt it. So we didn't get back to our residence until 11 o'clock. Motra Coleman and I were wide awake by the time we got back and we are just so hilarious. Honestly, we say the funniest things. So, we stayed up for about another hour laughing our heads off and making jokes and everything. haha, good times. good times. So, yeah, our building got evacuated because of a burnt burrito. So, whenever you cook a burrito in the microwave, be cautious. haha :) That was really our big adventure of the day. We got to breakfast the next morning and we were exhausted. I was exhausted. It is amazing how much it helps to get a good amount of sleep each night and when you don't, it does take a couple days to recover from it. It was so much fun though! 

Camille with one of the Hungarian missionaries, Sister Simons
Sunday was a crazy busy day for me. The second day here at the MTC, we got to know our branch presidency and everything. We had personal interviews with President Hutchings, and in the interview he said "now, Sister Zollinger, do you play the piano?" I told him I did, but only on very desperate occasions. Well, this Sunday they were desperate for a piano player. So, I played. It actually went super well! haha, i was glad when it was done, but I enjoyed it. In sacrament here, you have sacrament with your zones. And everyone is expected to come to church prepared to give a talk on the topic for that Sunday. Well, I didn't really prepare a talk because 1) I was playing the piano 2) I figured he wouldn't call on me 3) I just didn't make enough time to write a talk. I had some ideas as to how I wanted to give it, but it wasn't written out, and it was in English... As I was walking to sacrament I told my companion "just watch. The one Sunday where I haven't prepared a talk for sacrament, I'm gonna get called on." Sure enough, the second he said "Sister Zollinger will be our first speaker" I turned to Motra Coleman and said "I told you so!" but, I guess I didn't say it very quietly, because everyone started laughing and the Branch President even repeated what I said and laughed. haha, oh well. It went well though. I actually wanted to share what I talked about in my talk. The topic was on the Atonement. The Atonement is an amazing gift given to us. I don't think I have ever used the atonement more in my life than since I have been here because when I put on this missionary badge everyday I've got to step it up. When I put Jesus' Christ's name on, anything and everything I do represents Him, and I don't want any shame being put on him, because of me. Everything I do represents Jesus Christ. But, everything I do also gives honor to my family, my ancestors; and also to this church that I belong to; to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I truly believe that the atonement can be adequately defined in Ether 12:27. The atonement helps us become stronger, it helps us become more of who and what our Heavenly Father wants and needs us to be. Saturday night I was reading Jesus the Christ under the atonement section (such an incredible book by the way. I highly recommend reading that whenever you need to prepare for a talk or lesson). I had a new perspective on the Atonement, a perspective that I have never really had before. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane; he suffered my sins, my afflictions, my sorrows, my emotions, my wrongdoings. But, it was my sins that nailed Him to the cross. I think that every molecule in all of those nails that nailed him to the cross could symbolize every single one of our sins, of our wrong-doings; of anything that we did that caused him the pain and grief on that cross and in the Garden.  Every time Jesus Christ looks at the palms of His hands, and sees that scar, he sees me. He sees my sins, he sees me. In 2 Nephi 21:16, it says how "I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me."  I do not want to make what Jesus Christ did for me in vain. The best way to show gratitude to not only my brother, Jesus Christ but also to our Heavenly Father for sending His only begotten-Son to do that, is by using the atonement. That is how I am going to be able to show my gratitude for the opportunity that I have to repent of my sins. Every time Christ looks at His palms, I don't think that He will or is ever going to forget what He did for me; but I don't think He is ever wanting to forget what He did for me. That is how much He loves me, a sinner, He still cares about me, and above all- He still loves me. Every time Christ looks at His palms I want Him to be able to point at a little section of His scar and say "This was for Camille Ann Zollinger. This was only for her. I still love her; and she is trying her best." That is all Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have asked of us, to try our best and to use Them. To use the Atonement, to not make their sacrifice in vain, but to use it in gratitude and love for them; that is what I learned this weekend. That even though Christ suffered for my sins, emotions, my everything in the Garden of Gethsemane; it was my sins that nailed Him to the cross

On Tuesday night, Russel M. Nelson was the speaker at our Devotional. What an amazing spirit that was there. What an amazing Apostle of the Lord. His wife spoke with him. Her talk was a very good talk, and I enjoyed it a lot. Her talked was on "desperation". She said how desperation is needed inorder to become humble. How being missionaries, we are desperate. We are desperate to have the spirit with us. We are desperate to feel of our Savior’s love, to have His help, His guidance. We are desperate that our families be protected; we are desperate in the work. We are desperately trying to find people to come unto Christ; and by so doing we are humbling ourselves unto our Heavenly Father. We are realizing that there is no way that we can survive one day on our own. We need Him. Every day, every hour, every minute. The minutes/hours that we try to do it on our own, are very hard and very long hours/minutes. Desperation used in our character and in this gospel, is not a negative thing. It is a positive thing, because then we are humbling ourselves. I thought that was really neat, and it was an incredible talk. Russel M. Nelson is such a sweet old man. He is a wild and ferocious speaker like Elder Holland but he is simply and powerfully stunning. Something he said really hit me, he said "Enduring to the enduring to the endowment." That statement is so true!!! If you really think about it, that is exactly what enduring to the end is, enduring to our endowment, enduring to those covenants that we make in the Holy Temple. If we Endure to our Endowment there is no way that we will ever fall away, or lose hope. We will be converted unto Jesus Christ and we will be blessed. This morning we went and did a session. I think at the temple is where we get the perfect examples of what Enduring to the Endowment really looks like. This morning, I sat behind a sweet frail old sister who was in a wheelchair. She couldn't stand at all during the session, and she had to have help from a sister throughout the entire session. But she kept on smiling, and even though it took her longer than others, she did it. She knew the importance of what she was doing that day in the temple for not only her but for whom she was doing it for. It was so humbling. I want to be like that sweet old frail sister. When I am old and towards the end of my time on this life, I want to be able to still go to the temple every week. I could physically feel of her testimony and her faith as I sat by her and watched her. She reminded me so much of Grandma Kidd. It was like Grandma was saying "Hi" to me through her this morning. It was incredible to experience. 

Yeah, this week has been amazing. :) The language is coming along. Tuesday was really good for me with the language! I felt so confident and I was understanding it, and then Wednesday came... yesterday was hard with the language. I felt like I couldn’t understand anything and yeah. But, I know that I'll be fine. This is where I am supposed to be, and I've got to give it my all for the Lord to be able to do His all. Speak Your Language (SYL) is difficult for me, in French class when we SYL’d I never did it. I always went into English.  When we SYL here, I try hard to do it in Albanian, and it takes me a while to complete some sentences, but there is always room for improvement. That's my goal for this week. Is that when we SYL to do it all in Albanian. No English, at all. It's gonna be hard, but I can do hard things. Besides, anything is possible with two; as long as one is God and the other is you. :) But, with all that being said, I love this language so much! It just feels familiar. I'm scared to go to the Albania to start teaching and everything, but I am super excited at the same time! I've really just got to keep my faith growing in Heavenly Father and do my part and I know that I’ll be fine. :)

I hosted yesterday. I was also sweating like a pig trying to pass a peach pit. But that's beside the point right? ;) But I saw ASHLEY EYRING!!!!!! I was so happy to see her! She is just such a cute person! Gosh, I love her! So, tell her parents that I'll keep my eye on her for them! I love it here! Oh, and this morning at the temple I saw Candi Brundage's daughter too! ...i don't remember which one it was though; they all look alike to me. It wasn't Beth. That's all I know. haha. :)

I love you family! :) I love you all so much!! :)


Motra Zollinger. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Life isn't hard when you live the gospel..." Week 4

Ç kemi!!!!

Thank you so much for the package Mom! :) Those cookies were gone pretty much as soon as we opened the box. :) I can't believe that it is p-day again! The weeks just fly by, it is crazy. A lot has happened this last week! 

Firstly, our Sunday devotional was pretty awesome. It started off really weird though, instead of hearing from anybody they just played David A. Bednar's talk the True Character of Christ. Which by the way is thee most amazing talk. Like ever. It even gives Elder Holland's talks a run for its money. So we watched that, and during the devotional President Nally and the head security guard person got up and left; it was way weird. And then the rebroadcast of the talk is over and guess who walks in the room?! Elder David A. Bednar. That sneaky MTC Presidency!!!!!!!!!!! It was soo cool though! Motra Coleman and I were sitting on the third row and I made eye contact with David A. Bednar. It was the most nervous, terrifying, and amazing thing at the same time that he was looking right at me, had made eye contact with me and he was talking to all of the missionaries. It was amazing. He did a Q&A session with us for about an hour and 15 minutes. It was truly amazing. Something he said stuck out to me and I want to share part of that and ask for you help family. A missionary had asked him if he had any advice or tips for the missionaries that are learning a new language. He simply said "If you pray as earnestly as you know how to, both day and night and to ask your family to pray also for the spirit of discernment and understanding and the gift of tongues then you will be blessed beyond measure." I feeling fairly confident with what I have learned and am learning with the language, but I am asking that you continue to pray that I will be able to understand what is being said and that I will be able to speak it back. I know that Elder Bednar was giving us a promise, and that it will work. I have no doubt. Also, on Sunday morning for Relief Society Mary Edmunds came and talked to us. That was absolutely incredible! Sunday was just a spiritually saturating day. It was amazing! I also had a very neat experience before the devotional on Sunday.  Motra Coleman and I had to go to a meeting, and at this meeting there was probably about 60ish missionaries there. During the meeting, President Seamons had all the sisters stand up and say the Young Women’s Theme. What an incredible experience. The spirit just flooded me as I stood up and said "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him. We will stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. As we strive to live the young women values which are faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue. We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation."  I had goose bumps as I said the Young Women’s theme because I realized how applicable it is to me as a missionary. All of those themes, we teach those themes to our investigators. I am standing as a witness of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places. I became so grateful for the Young Women's program and for my leaders that day. Love and memories just filled my heart of all my girl's camps, mutual activities, Young Women lessons, my leaders, and the cute girls in our ward. Young Women’s has prepared me for my mission as much as Mission Prep has. It truly is an inspired program of the Church, and I know that if anyone follows and really takes to heart those young women values that they will have "a sure foundation. A foundation whereon if they build, they cannot fall." 

So, the Hungarians left. It is so amazing how much you can grow to love people you have never met before when you are all working so hard for the same thing. Goodness, those Hungarian missionaries have helped me so much since being here. I was dreading Monday. I only cried a little bit...haha, actually scratch that. But, Hungary is one lucky place to be getting the elders and sisters that they are. What a lucky country.  But, with that being said, we got 17 new missionaries in our zone yesterday!! I sure was happy happy happy! There are 9 sisters and 8 elders. 3 are going to Estonia (2 sisters, 1 elder) and the rest are going to Hungary!! They are such a great group of missionaries! The Elders are hilarious and the sisters are all so adorable! I'm so excited!! haha, funny story. You know senior year the State Championship game at Rio Tinto for State, and how we played Bonneville? Small world. Small world. haha. :) Sholly Nover was on that team, it was funny because her companion was introducing her and was like "...she is from Ogden. She plays soccer. She won two state championships..." and I said "What High School? (She said Bonneville) and I was like Oh, I played you in the State Championship final and lost to you... I still love you though." haha it was funny! Really though, I recognized her, but not as one of the girls that I always got in cat fights with during the club games.  But, it just shows that you can still love your rivals! Honestly though, just from meeting her yesterday she is an incredible sister. And she has already been such an example to me! I just thought that was funny. And Mom, her club team was the Banana team. hahahahahaha, small world. small world. 

HAPPY PLENTY-NINTH BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!! How was Dad's birthday? I celebrated it here! I kept on telling everybody "today is my dad's birthday! He is __years old." (I didn't put the numbers dad, because I didn't think you'd want that going on the blog or anything... :)) That night I went to the vending machine and got a Hershey's Peanut Butter Cup piece of pie and sang Happy Birthday to Dad and blew a kiss at the photo of him. So I hope he got it. :) Sister Garr (President Garr's wife) was gonna take a photo and send it to you but she didn't have her phone. But, I celebrated your birthday! It was actually funny, I didn't forget your birthday I just forgot how old you were turning. I get numbers mixed up... haha. So, I went to Simons Nover on Sunday and asked her how old her dad will be turning just to make sure that I got the right number on the card and everything. haha. So, I hope you had a great day daddio!! :) 

I think I had a mental breakdown on Monday. It wasn't a bad one, trust me. So, I went into a laughing fit. It was bad. It was during our personal study, and it was just so hilarious. Elder Opper had said something and the timing on Elder Wright's laughter was just perfectly timed and I found it so hilarious that I just laughed. And it was the silent laugh where my nostrils just flare like rapid humming bird wings. So I tried covering my face with the letter I was reading and then I started to cry because I was laughing so hard. Then I calmed down. And then I looked up and I relived the whole moment again in my mind and I just laughed and laughed. It was bad. hahahaha. I honestly laughed so hard that my steels of abs (or is it abs of steel...?) were sore from laughing. It was a good workout. And then last night I was reading in my journal and I found the entry where Madzy had written questions in my journal to answer (and they were the ones dad helped her come up with). So I asked my companion the questions and we were laughing so hard. Laughter is the best medicine. It really is. :)

Sand Volleyball has become the sport to play lately. And let's be honest here, I am like the Lebron James of Basketball, only I have no arm-eye-ball coordination and I'm only good at making a fool of myself. haha. It is so relaxing and stress relieving to go play volleyball. We are pretty good collectively. It's just I want to keep on kicking it... it works sometimes. I tried volleying the ball over the net and accidentally hit Motra Coleman in the bum... and then another time I kicked it over the net...but then I kicked it over the volleyball field/sand pit and we almost lost the ball. So, I'm working on that... haha. Everybody is like "you've got to watch Motra Zollinger play volleyball. She can play. And her serves, she's good at serving." I just laugh because it's not true at all... hahaha. I end up scoring more for the other team that I do for my actual team. But good thing we're not allowed to keep score at the MTC. hehehe. 

Private Eyes. Elder Befus has seen Private Eyes!! I was so happy because I quote that movie quite a lot and my companion just looks at me and is just so confused. Especially because the word mënyre, it sounds like manure, but the way they say it in Albanian is exactly how they say it in Private Eyes in that one scene. So, after Elder Befus told me he had seen Private Eyes and I quote that manure line and he totally understand and we both laughed and went off on the messenger pigeons flying into the window and everything. But, my teacher Brother Carver gave me the weirdest look ever when we were quoting the was almost priceless. haha. 

I finally found Elder Junior Hamilton on Sunday! And I saw Jill Richardson yesterday and Mal! :) Happy day! And Ashley Eyring comes in on this Wednesday, and I get to host so hopefully I get to host her? I don't know, but she's coming in this week!

I truly just love it here at the MTC. It is really weird to think that I am at my half-way mark. And to be honest, it sort of terrifies me that I'll be leaving soon. Because the weeks go by so fast, but I know that I will be fine. God has not sent me here to fail but to succeed and to help His Children. One theme that I realized this past couple weeks is that I need to do my part before Heavenly Father can do His part. I've studied a lot more with the language and the scriptures and preach my gospel, and I have seen His hand in so much since. He has helped me in lessons where I am able to remember the vocab I have studied and I am able to put together sentences. Not all the sentences are perfect, most of them aren't. But, you don't have to speak perfectly for the Spirit to work. Simple truths work. Simple truths are testimonies, testimonies invite the Spirit, and the Spirit knows every language. The spirit turns what you say, what comes out of your mouth, and He is able to make it into something that they feel. Something that I learned in preach my gospel this week (paraphrasing of course) is that we are not really teaching people anything new. Everyone on this earth kept their first estate, they already know about the truthfulness of this Gospel. We are there to remind them of what they know and we need to do that with the spirit because the spirit will help them remember not only what they knew but how they felt in God's presence, and how His love feels. 

The Church is true. Everything about this church is true. And I am so honored, humbled, and thankful each day to be enlisted in the Army of Helamen. We are never alone. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are always with us. Always. They love us and want us to be happy. We are truly blessed to have this gospel. Elder Bednar said on Sunday "Life is easy when you are living the gospel, but it's when you don't live the gospel that life is hard.”  That is so true.


Motra Zallënxhër

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The protection shield around Hogwarts, is around the MTC, but it is stronger Week Three


It was SO good to talk to you all on Sunday! Oh my goodness, I loved it so much! It only took me about 20 minutes after to completely calm down and be able to talk. haha.  I was doing okay and then a sister asked how it was and I just broke down crying. Then she started crying. Then we both gained composure and then we started talking about it and then we started crying again. And then Motra Coleman was done talking to her family and she was crying, so I gave her a hug and then we just cried for some minutes.  And then our zone leader walked by and pointed to all four of us sisters and pointed and said "teary eyes, teary eyes, teary eyes, teary eyes." haha, it was so good to talk to you all though! I LOVED IT!!!!!! :D I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did, because I know it was the highlight of my week and weekend. I meant to tell you family, that they sell Albanian t-shirts here. they are 100% cotton, and adult sizes, if you wanted (or anyone I guess for that matter) just give me the money, and what size you want and I will try and ship it out to you. They looked pretty awesome. Just sayin'. :)

Thank you for the package! And the cookies, ah- I ate 2 of them in less than 4 minutes. I've missed those delicious tasting cookies! The Elders and Sisters of the Hungarians and in my district say thank you Mom! :)
honestly though, thank you for the package!!! 

This is how I get through everyday. I love you all and think/see you guys everyday. :) I'm proud
to be a Motra Zollinger, and I hope I am making you all proud and our ancestors
L. Tom Perry came on Tuesday for the devotional. He gave a great talk, and one of the scriptures that he shared just went *BAM! CAMILLE JUST GOT SPIRITUALLY SPANKED*. That scripture he shared hit me so hard, I just sat back in my chair and I was like "woah..." I wrote down the reference in my notes, but paraphrasing it said how you need to prepare yourself and then the spirit will fill in the rest. I really put that scripture to the test this week: and it worked! Well, of course it worked, but I tried to make it personally applicable to me and it was amazing. I've studied a lot harder this week with the vocabulary, conjugations, and on TALL ( a language computer program we use) and in our lessons, I was able to make sentences comprehensible with some of the vocab and conjugation that I was studying. I know that it was the Spirit who was helping me and putting what I needed to say and directing my thoughts, and I am so grateful that I was able to have some of the moments this week. They were great "pep-talks" with Heavenly Father where he was like "Camille, you've got this. Keep doing your part but you need to use me too, you have to trust me, and I will never fail thee." so, life is pretty good! we have TRC tonight (we give an FHE lesson to a bunch of RMs), which I am a little nervous about. But, hopefully I'll see Megan Morgan tonight, so I'm excited for that! :)

The Diseased district is doing better! Hallelujah! :) This past week was a lot of sickness, but a lot of faith. Elder Muncey's scope/surgery went as well as it could have gone! We did a district fast for him Monday morning, and the surgery went so well. He has some acid reflux problems, so they put him on an antibiotic, so so far so good. My companion is doing better too! Elder Opper is better too! Prayers work, God hears our prayers and he answers them. 

Today we were able to do a session at the Temple. I love the temple! While I was there, I got thinking about life here at the MTC. You know that protector shield that protects Hogwarts in Harry Potter from Voldemort and the dementors and everything? Well, I realized how that is exactly what the MTC has. But ours is a lot stronger because our shield is protected by the Power of our Heavenly Father and His angels. I realized today how I have not heard a single cuss word for almost a month now, I have not seen one young lady degrade herself and insult herself by dressing immodestly, I have not seen a boy doing anything inappropriate, I have not heard of the evils that go on everyday in the "outside world" and I have not seen anything bad on any source of Media. Last week when we had to go off campus to the instacare, it felt weird. The second we got on the streets, and out of the shuttle, it didn't feel the same. But as soon as we turned back into the MTC grounds and were inside the MTC I felt home, I was safe, I was back in that shield of protection. What a glorious thing it is to be shielded from the ways of the world and to be associated with good and the spirit 24/7. Today whilst in the temple, I promised myself that my future home will be like it is here at the MTC and at the temple, it will be refuge from the World. Where my family won't have to worry about the things of the world, but that they can feel calm and at peace at home. It is amazing here. We are still human, but when you pin a badge next to your heart everyday with Jesus Christ's name on it you act differently. You have a reason to be more good and to act more good. It is amazing how much you change, and how you can almost feel that responsibility when you put your badge on. 

Funny story: on Monday the new senior couples came. I was getting my drink when a senior Elder said "Sister Zollinger..." I turned around said "Hello" thinking that he knew my parents somehow, or something like that. but instead he said "there is a senior couple here with the last name Zollinger.  they are right over there. You should go talk to them." Jumping jelly fishes, of course I talked to them! haha, I have talked with them like 6 times. so, we're related...but i still don't know how exactly. I brought my fan chart over and we figured out that my great-great grandpa (or maybe 3 greats) is his grandpa's brother, it is H. (I forget his middle name) Zollinger. I tried looking on familysearch today to figure out how we are related but  I couldn't figure it out. I'm gonna talk with them more during dinner today, and I'll get my picture taken with them and I'll send it in the email next week. I think it is pretty awesome that we met each other. They are going to New Zealand on their mission, cha ching cha ching cha ching!! :D

So, this weekend is gonna be super bitter-sweet. The Hungarians leave. :( I was getting emotional yesterday while the Zone leader was taking photos with  the Albanian Elders. It is amazing how quickly and how strongly you can grow to love some Elders and Sisters when you are all working for the same thing and when you are kind to each other. They feel like family to me, they really do. The Zone leaders have been such amazing examples to me, and the sisters have helped me so much! They leave on Monday. I am so excited for them, they are all going to be such incredible missionaries, but my heart is breaking inside. I am going to miss them sooo much. I'm getting pictures taken with them all this weekend, and i'll send those next week, including Simons Nover. That blew our minds when we figured that out. It is a small world, a small world indeed. So, yeah. They leave. But, we are getting new Hungarians that week or the next week, so that is good! :) 

For p-days we have started playing sand volleyball. I am awful at volleyball. I either hit it too hard, or I make a sound effect when I hit the ball so that it is more accurate and then I just mess it up still.  haha. but it is so relaxing and such a stress-reliever to go out and play sand volleyball! we get to take off our shoes and I just play in the sand.  I think this week I am gonna make a sand castle during gym time. It is going to be so awesome. Just you wait. 

Life is great here at the MTC. I love it! The language is coming along very well! 

I'm gonna try and insert the photos, let's hope and pray that this brain can figure it out... :)

I love you all! The Church is true. God really does hear and answer our prayers, and the Holy Ghost is such a wonderful gift that we have been given. If we are worthy and work hard to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, he will never leave us. We are never alone. I know that to be true. This church is true, and I love it with all my heart. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm pretty sure I died for about an hour on Tuesday... :)‏ Week 2

This week was great! It went by so fast, but it was great!

Fast Sunday was wonderful. This was the first time that I have done a real, correct fast. Usually I just break my fast as soon as I get home from church and eat a bowl of cereal. I started my fast right before I went to bed and I didn't break it until I said the blessing on my food. I was so proud of myself. You are so much more in tune with the spirit when you fast. That fast Sunday was SO spiritual.  The spirit was so strong, that I was emotional all day. I'm usually not emotional on Sundays, let alone fast Sundays. I usually get hungry on fast Sundays, but it was the complete opposite and I am so grateful for that! In our Zone, are Hungarian missionaries. They leave in a week and a half to go on their missions. I love and look up to them all soo much!! Every time one of the Hungarian missionaries got up to bare their testimony I started to cry a little.  It is amazing how much you can grow to love some people in such a small amount of time. The theme that I feel that I learned so well this week was repentance, and how each of us needs the atonement in our lives. Elder Holland said "the road to salvation always goes through the Garden of Gethsemane." for Mission Conference Sunday morning a short clip of the savior’s life was shown with the attributes of him.  I always feel the spirit when I have watched those videos of Christ before, but it had a new meaning to me when I watched it on Sunday, I got emotional as I watched that. I tried to really personalize the video to just me. When he was hung on the cross all I could think was that he did that for me.  And even though I caused Him such unbelievable pain, he still loved me. Even though I am me. I don't want to have made Christ's suffer for me in vain. I need to use the atonement, and to repent of every sin that I make every day. Christ is always there for us with His arm stretched out. He always wants us to feel of his love and to join His fold. An Elder who is going to Finland shared a "parable" I guess you could say about the atonement and how he loves us no matter what. It gave me the goose bumps and I want to share it:

There is jail by a railroad station. Every night at the exact same time this specific prisoner tries to escape; and every time he gets caught. One night, the prisoner attempted his escape again.  The guard who was on patrol noticed that he was missing, so he went to the exact same place and found him there.  The prisoner was on a train.  The guard asked him why he always goes on the train at night as tries to escape even though the guards catch him every night. The prisoner said "I need to know if my family has forgiven me and has accepted me back into the family. I wrote a letter to my family to put a white ribbon a tree in our town so that I know that they have forgiven me and that I will be welcomed back home. I need to see if there is a white ribbon." He then asked the guard if they could please go through his town to see if there is a white ribbon. He told the guard that the train conductor will toot the horn when they are going through his town so they know to start looking. The guard said that he will come with him. As the train took off the prisoner said that they should be looking both east and west so that they don't miss the white ribbon. The guard was looking out the east windows, and the prisoner the west.  The conductor tooted the horn. They both started to look for a white ribbon in the trees.  The prisoner started to weep and said “I don't see a white ribbon anywhere." The guard told the prisoner to come over to his side of the window and said "my friend there is a white ribbon on every single tree." 

That story just gave me the goose bumps. And I realized that we are all like that prisoner. We have all sinned and at times we feel worried that Heavenly Father might not love us for what we have done anymore. But I believe that Heavenly Father does put "a white ribbon" on every single tree, lamp post, anything that he can to let us know that we are always welcome back to the fold and into His arms. 

So, I'm pretty sure that I died for about an hour or so on Tuesday evening. Tuesday's are our devotional nights too, and guess who came?!?!?!?!? JEFFREY R. HOLLAND. Oh my word, everyone was so excited! I and my companion sat on the 6th row up; I was in the same room with an Apostle of the Lord. I was so happy and so humbled. It was incredible. He spoke so powerfully and at the same time so lovingly. Something that he said really hit me hard; he said "there is no old you. This is who you are now. You have changed. You have been born again." and I feel like that is so true. Just like you can't be the same person after you have gone through the temple, I know I am not the same person now that I am a missionary. Yes, I'm still a dork and have blonde moments and everything, but never in my life have I had such a desire to do good and to be good. I am not only a disciple of Christ (we all are), but I have been set apart to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I put his name by my heart every morning. Everything I do and say now matters even more so than what it did before I was a missionary. It truly is incredible. That talk was incredible. To be in the same room with an Apostle of the Lord, and to see him weep as he testified of the Lord and how important missionaries are and how important his mission was to him. It was truly humbling. Whenever an apostle comes for the devotionals, we all stand when they come in and they leave, out of respect. As soon as the devotional was over, no one moved. Not a sound could be heard.  We all just watched Elder Holland, and when he started to stand, we stood. We all watched him as he left the room, and the room was silent. All I could think of is how it was like Christ coming for the evening. We heard what Heavenly Father wanted us to hear. I didn't want that devotional to end; I could have stayed in that devotional for hours upon hours because the spirit was so strong. We all hung on to his every word, his every smile, his every counsel. Is that not what we would do if Christ walked in the room and counseled us? My heart yearned for Elder Holland to stay, to not leave because you knew and could feel that spirit with us.  One of my favorite quotes is "If Shakespeare walked into the room, we would all stand up. If Jesus walked into the room we would all kneel down." It was amazing to have Jeffrey R. Holland here at the MTC; I could feel of Christ's love for me, as I know we all did. It was truly amazing.

Yesterday was quite a day.  We were practicing role plays on inviting people to pray.  It was in English, but it was in front of the whole class with Brother Carver. Brother Carver was the investigator and an Elder went first for the first role play. We were going to start a second one and Brother Carver asked who would want to do the next one. I suddenly became very interested in my pen on my desk. I avoided eye contact, and then he said "Sister Zollinger, would you do the next role play." If you don't want to be called on You make eye contact people!! haha, it went well though. He gave me a fist bump after as a good job. I said "see, I can teach in Enlgish! Now if only I could do it in Albanian." haha. This language is coming along. It's hard to be patient with myself with this, but I am doing well. Yesterday we had a testimony meeting in Schqip (Albanian). I was able to do it! I did it without looking at any notes or anything, I was so proud of myself. This is by far the hardest and most challenging thing that I have ever done. But, it has also been the most joyous thing that I have ever done. Learning this language is exhausting, challenging, and so fun all at the same time. But, I know that if I do my best that the Lord will help me, and he has been helping me. Compared to the first lesson, I have come a far way, and I still have 6 weeks left! I can't wait until I know that language as well as my teachers. 

My district is awesome. The Elders are such great Elders, and my companion is so amazing! I have been blessed far more than I deserve, but I am grateful that he has given me my blessings. 

Let's see what else has happened... I think I put the wrong contacts in my eyes yesterday (the right in my left eye, and the left in my right eye). I felt funny all evening because of that, because I didn't feel that I was seeing right. Haha. But, I opened my new box of contacts so it's all good. I get teased now all the time for "spicy" food. If I'm not eating a specific food/or it's half eaten, the elders just look at me and say "is it too spicy" and then they laugh. Haha, my taste buds are crippled when it comes to anything slightly spicy. It's hilarious. :) 

This week was amazing! :) I've only had a few blonde moments, hehe. :) Prayer works. He listens and He wants so badly to hear from us. He will answer our prayers, I promise that. 

I love you all!! 

Miropofshim. :)

Motra Zallenxhere

Friday, May 2, 2014

I'm in Love . . . Week 1

(This is Camille's first MTC email . . . unedited)


It still has not fully sunk in that I am now a missionary. I'll be walking around campus with my companion and I'll see a group of elders or sisters walking and I get super excited to see them, and then I realize that I am now a missionary too. I absolutely love it here!!!

As soon as I was dropped off at the curb and started to walk away, I was so excited! All I felt was peace. Undeniable peace. That is all I have felt since. Every day, every minute, every second and I absolutely love it. Everyone here is so nice, it was sorta...weird at first how nice everybody is to everyone-but it's amazing!

This past week has gone great! I have the best companion ever. Like really. She is simply amazing! Her name is Motra Coleman.  She is from Provo, and I am so grateful to God that he gave me such a great companion to work with. She wants to me to work better and work harder. She is such a blessing. We get a long super well! She is so funny and sweet! Ah, I just love her so much already. When we first met, I just knew that we would become great friends. and we have! Our district is so awesome! There are 8 of us in total; 6 Elders and 2 Sisters. The Elders are so hilarious! There is Elder Wright (District Leader and from Utah), Elder Opper (from Canada), Elder Wilcox (Utah), Elder Rasband (Utah), Elder Muncy (California) and Elder Befus (Utah).  We are a really close district, we have had a lot of bonding time with gym, service, and class. We all get a long super well and gosh I just love them all.  We are super close to the Hungarian district. They sorta took us all in like family. The Novers in that district are like sisters to me, and the Elders like Brothers. The districts Albania and Hungary are just a big weird family. Haha, it's pretty awesome. 

The language is coming along quite well. I didn't think that we would start learning the language the day we get there, but haha, I was wrong. We have already taught 3 lessons in Albanian to our "investigator" Petrit. emphasis on the quotation marks. It turns out that "Petrit" showed up to class yesterday in a suit with a white tag that said "Brother Carver". That sneaky teacher. We have four teachers. Brother Carver, Brother Vance, Sister Atkin, and Sister Iftus. They are all such great teachers.  Learning Albanian is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done IN MY LIFE. It is so hard. But, with that being said it is coming along so well. I surprised myself yesterday by being able to read 3 verses of 1 Nephi outloud and doing really well with pronouncing and everything. Even though it is crazy hard, I love learning it. Every day I have this desire to do better and to know it better. The only reason that I have been able to get this far with the language, is because of my Heavenly Father. I am blessed more than what I oftentimes think I deserve.  The spirit is how I've been able to learn. I know for a fact that if we weren't starting every class with a hymn and prayer that we wouldn't be progressing this much. My setting apart blessing and the blessing Dad gave me on Sunday for my mission, I have already seen parts of that happening. It is such a humbling experience. I thought I had a lot of brain lapses just with english, haha, it is even more so now. At first everytime I wanted to speak french instead of Albanian. Me and Motra Coleman joke that we are fluent in Fralbanian. (french and albanian). We know a lot more albananian though, so it is going well. Gosh, I can't spell. Albanian's spelling and everything is so different, it is tricking me. so sorry if my email doesn't make complete sense and it seems like I can't spell anymore. haha.

The food. It's not like your food Mom, but it is still yummy. The oatmeal I cannot eat though. The consistency is too thick and chunky. I've tried eating it twice, but I can't. The fruit here is yummy and the salads. However, for some reason a lot of the food tastes spicy to me now. I think my throat/taste buds are just sensitive from being sick, that I can't eat random foods because they seem spicy. For instance: Friday there were chicken nuggets in the salad. I ate the chicken. My mouth was on fire. and my companion and the elders around me just started laughing, because I guess it wasn't hot. The Mac&Cheese on Monday was too spicy. Mac and Cheese. I think Heavenly Father is playing tricks on my taste buds right now and he's winning. ;) oh and to top it all off, the fish and rice on Tuesday was too spicy. I think it is hilarious that I have suddenly become a sissy to barely any spicy things. The elders joke that I have never been able to eat pepper in my life because it's too hot. False, I eat it with my eggs, but just a little bit. ;) haha. It really is funny and i'm pretty sure the elders and my companion in my district think I am very weird because of it, but hey, what's the fun in being normal?? haha. 

It is so hard to put into words my emotions. I have never been happier before in my life. Like ever. Even when I was sick ( I am all better now though, so don't worry Mom) I was still incredibly happy. Sunday I was feeling a little down, just cause I still wasn't feeling any better and I didn't' know what to do and I was thinking a lot about my family and Benson's back home and i wasn't feeling the happiest. But then the devotional happened. Elder Allen (actually I don't know if he is elder...i don't think it's Brother. um...he's the head person over the missionary department). He talked to us on how our mission isn't about us. It is about Christ. and about the people we are going to be teaching. Then for the movie I watched a talk by David A. Bednar. BEST TALK EVER! It is called the "True Character of Christ." Honestly, I was speechless. This talk outdoes my favorite talk by Jeffrey R. Holland (and that is saying a lot.) Elder Bednar talked about the cookie monster as an analogy. That talk honestly, changed me. I have a new and powerful perspective on my mission. and I realized that even though I was feeling sick, that didn't matter. I could let Christ down and I didn't want to let the people of Albania down. So that night in my prayers I told Heavenly Father that I know I'll get better and to help me give it my all from here on out, because it's not about me, and I'm willing to do anything because I literally am an instrument in his hands. I started to feel better that next morning. And to add on to the spiritual high that I was on, Tuesday evening Elder D. Todd Christofferson was our devotional host. He talked about trust and how "it is better to be trusted than to be loved." He also said that to be trusted by God is the greatest thing that could ever happen to a man or woman. That is what I want. To be trusted by God, and in a way I think I am. He is trusting me with the salvation of some of his children in Albania. and I will not let him down. So, I am doing great. The spirit here in the MTC is so incredibly strong and I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I miss you guys, but I don't dwell on that. I think about you guys everyday, but doing so pushes me to work harder. Not only do I represent Jesus Christ every time I put on my missionary badge, but I also have 'Zollinger' on my name tag, I wear the heritage of my family and my ancestors that died and sacrificed so much that I would be able to have the opportunity to do this.  

I'll try to attach photos, but you have to use a card reader for that. Whatever that is. I'll just borrow someones. :)

The Church is True. The Holy Ghost and the spirit is by far the strongest and most humbling power I have ever felt in my life. It comforts and helps me and I know that it can do the same 
to anyone who asks Heavenly Father for help. He loves us and wants us to be happy.  We need Christ in our lives. Without Christ in our lives, we can do nothing and we amount to nothing. 
There is absolutely nowhere that I would rather be than here. I love it here and I feel like I am growing each day. I love it, I love it, I love it!!

I love you all!!

Motra Zallenxhere.

p.s that is the way that Zollinger is spelled in albanian. It is pretty awesome. :)

pps I had to type fast, so I hope that all made sense... haha