Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas . . . Week 35

Hello hello!! :) 

So, I was almost done with this email but then I accidentally pressed that evil delete button and so it all vanished as it went away laughing. I hate technology sometimes. YOU SNEAKY COMPUTER. Pregnant camel. Pregnant Camel. 

Anyways, moving on. :) I hope that everyone had a wonderful week! This past week has been such a great week! So many highlights!! :) 

Most people when they blow their nose it sounds normalish. Not me. Every time I have to blow my nose, I swear and elephant appears behind me and blows his trunk... hehe.

We helped decorate a recent convert's first Christmas tree! It was so much fun! :)

Yesterday we had such an amazing Christmas party!!! Oh, it was so good!! I was in charge of making the chain. It only took me and hour and a half almost two hours to make it. haha, it was fun. Plus, the elders bought me a chocolate bar as I made the chain, so it all worked out. :) score. This party though was amazing! We had about 70 people (it looked like 70 at least) which is so many people! We did like a pot luck dinner and it was soo soo good!! :D It was amazing!

Today we went bowling. Unfortunately I brought shame to the Zollinger bowling name... but hey, at least I looked stylish as I did it. Right? :) hehe. Today was such a fun day! We had breakfast together and we got permission to watch It Is a Wonderful Life. That is a witty movie. Some of the missionaries got chocked up during the movie, and I didn't at all...I felt like I had no soul for a couple minutes. But then some other missionaries didn't get choked up either so I felt okay. 

I love my district so much! This is our last week together; we have transfer calls this Sunday. I have no idea what to expect, but this has by far been my favorite district. I love these Elders and my companion so much! They are all so amazing, and the Elders feel like brothers to me, and my companion a sister. It is amazing how you can go on missions live with people you have never met before, and yet they fill a part of your heart that you didn't know was empty. 

I made the Elders Man cards. Pink Man Cards that is. They all got a kick out of them, which made me really happy. Because I was worried they were gonna think they were lame. But they didn't, score. hehe. I made an elephant for Sister Favero. 

Caroling. We went caroling this past Sunday. To be honest I was a little nervous to do it because 90 plus percent of the people here are Muslim and I have heard stories of missionaries going caroling before and yeah, I was nervous for it. but I was NOT going to back down. It was so amazing. When we started singing I wasn't nervous at all. I was so happy and I felt so good, and it is because we were testifying of Christ our Savoir and of His Birth. It has been really interested and I have learned so much serving my past transfer here in Prishtina. The doctrine that Christ is the Son of God is attacked, mocked at, laughed at, despised, and frankly denied every single day. Therefore, my testimony of Christ has been strengthened so much this past transfer. Especially this past month focusing on He is the Gift initiative. It has been truly amazing. Christ is the Son of God. I think my favorite Christmas Hymn is Away in a Manger. 

1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
2. The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus; look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
3. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Angels appeared to Shepherds to invite them to come to Christ's birth. Wise Men visited the Christ to give him presents. Christ's birth is for everyone. Both the poor and the rich were told of Christ's birth. Both the poor and the rich believe in Christ. Christ is for everyone. If during Christmas our happiness is dependent upon presents that we receive we will never be completely satisfied. We never get every single thing that we want for Christmas, we will never be satisfied. BUT, there is something that we can always be dependent upon and that is our Savoir and Redeemer. If we rely upon Him for help in our lives and for happiness we will be surprised by how happy we are and what we are able to overcome. I know that the meaning behind Christmas is Christ. He is the Son of God. How amazing and miraculous was and is His birth and His life. It is the most important event in the history of the world. Life will never be the same. I am grateful for my Savoir and Redeemer. May we remember His birth and His life and what He has done for us this day as we celebrate the birth of the Savoir of the World. I love him with all my heart. 

Merry Christmas!!!! Have a wonderful week! Smile lots and serve lots!!! 


Motra Zollinger

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christ Is Love . . . Week 34

Hello hello!!! :) 

I hope that everyone has had such a wonderful week! I am glad that it finally snowed back home in Utah because guess what? TEN DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!! :D

Also, Happy anniversary to Jonathan and Courtney again! and Happy 6th (I think 6th) Birthday to Liki! :D 

This time of year is such an amazing time of year! I just love it! Here are some highlights from this week, and since the next p-day for us won't be til Christmas I am going to foretell some highlights that will be happening this coming week. :) 

We had exchanges on Monday and Tuesday with the amazing Sister Training Leaders!! It was so fun! I was with sister Boettinger this time. We had an amazing time together. and It snowed!!!!!! :D The snow wasn't sticking to the ground, but there was still fluffy stuff falling from the sky! Tuesday morning we woke up and went to the window (like I always do to see if it has snowed) and it was starting to snow. So I hurried and called the elders and said "it's snowing! Merry Christmas!" haha, Sister Boettinger and I were SO EXCITED!!! The best part is that we had contacting all morning long and so we got to sing and talk to people in the freezing snow and everything. It was freezing, but it was snowing. So it was okay. :) 

So the Elders cut us down a Christmas tree the other week. We decorated our tree on Tuesday. It looks amazingly Christmasy. and we got Stockings as well. 

We rode the bus for the first time since coming to Prishtine. I used the bus multiple times every single day in Tirana, but it was our first time this transfer this week. It was exciting stuff. 

So, I was in the bathroom at the church and I had to blow my nose. like a lot. I felt something in my nose but I just couldn't get it out. So I kept on blowing. and they were not quiet ones. I was blowing it when I randomly hear one of the elders yell "you can do it sister zollinger!" how dare they ;) can I not go to the blow my nose in peace? haha. all that blowing though really hurt my nose. It felt weird after that. I got out of the bathroom and the Elders are all just sitting down on the seats and looking at me and laughing and said "was that you blowing your nose?" Elder Clawson later told me that he thought it was an elephant... i guess i have a talent with the noise and the sound pitch that my nose makes when I blow my nose...ha who woulda thunk. 

 On Sunday morning my companion asked how my nights rest was and then she started laughing. Because apparently I sang in my sleep last night. and to have had woken up my companion sleeping meant that it was not quiet singing because she is a heavy sleeper. Apparently I sang really loud "jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way" and then I stopped singing and that was all I had said in the middle of the night. haha, well... :) 

Sometimes when you are street contacting for a long time you are able to get entertained really easily. It is even more fun when you get to see how people interact with everybody. I think this week I saw the best confused and surprised look ever by this guy walking by. I don't know why he gave us the look, but it was funny. 

On the 18th it will be my 1st year anniversary from getting my Mission Call to Serve in the Adriatic South Mission. My life has never been the same since that day. I still remember how excited I was that day that I got my mission call and that excitement has just eskalated (I don't know if I spelled that right...) since that day. 

This past week has been such a great week! I had a really cool conversation with a person who is building a resteraunt. My companion had a feeling that we should knock on this door and talk to whoever was inside. As we were talking we asked him if he believed in Christ. His response was "I already believe in Love, so of course I believe in Christ." It amazes me how people who do not know about our gospel can give such pure answers. It is so true. Christ is love. The first Gift that God gave us was Love, it was Christ. In John 3:16 it says that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son; that whosever would believe on him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Because God so loved you He gave you love. He gave you Christ. It is because of Christ's Love that He successfully fulfilled His mission here on earth so that we can obtain Eternal Life. The greatest evidence of Christ's love is His Atonement. He died and suffered for me. For you. For your spouse. For your kids. For your family. For your enemies. For your heroes. For every single person. Love. That is the meaning of Christmas, that is the Gift of Christmas. This week and next week, let's share the Spirit of Christmas with our neighbors, our family, our friends, our enemies. Let us Share Love, and more importantly let us #SharetheGift 

Have a wonderful week! Smile lots and Serve lots and I will talk to you next week on Skype!!! :D 

I love you! 


Motra Zollinger

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Serving With Love . . . Week 33

The Branch's Christmas Tree
Hello Hello!!! :) 

Happy 1st anniversary to Jonathan and Courtney on the 15th!!! :) 

I hope that you all had a wonderful past week! I know I did! :) It has been a wonderful week and I just love being a missionary so much! It is the best thing in the world!! :) 

Here are some highlights from this week: 

 So, when you walk into the church there is a wall and at the top of the wall is a window into the president's office. The elders were in a lesson and I needed to get their attention, but I didn't want to knock on the door or anything, so I decided to climb onto the table and put my face against the window to try and get their attention..yeah, it didn't work too well. As I was up on the table, the other elder's came in with their investigators and I was so embarassed... so I pretended like I was fixing the christmas lights...improv, right?

Elders MkGrath & Eliason and Motra Favero
We had such an amazing lesson with a 15 year old girl. Her mom had died when she was younger and we taught her about the restoration. The member who was helping us with the lesson, the same thing had happened to her, but her mom had died about a year ago. In the middle of the lesson we asked what the girl is feeling. She just said "i don't know. so good...i want to cry." then she started to cry. and as she was crying I just got the strongest feeling that that is what her mom was doing right now on the other side of the veil, because she is learnign the same things that she is learning right now. I told her that just a couple minutes after she had started crying... and she started crying more and she said "i started to cry because I could feel my mom next to me." It was such a tender and sweet moment.

Today for p-day we played a game of Basketball horse. and I won, I am the granny master.  and I played in a skirt. :) 

Elders Clawson, Jorgenson and MkGrath
We played soccer this week. That was a lot of fun..except I kept on talking to myself while playing and I would be like "ooohhh no no no" and a lot of the members just ended up laughing at me. haha, but what do ya do? 

Yesterday for lunch I made brownies and I thought if you put marshmallows on the brownies right out of the oven that the marshmallows would get hot and melt and made a frosting. Well, it doesn't work like that. So the brownies randomly had some marshmallows on top....but it still tasted good, which is a good thing. :) haha. 

I scared myself. Like literally. It was night and we were walking to an appointment. I thought that I could see someone out of the corner of my eye walking by, so I moved over, but they didn't was like they followed me. And the person looked taller and they were darker, and I looked over and jumped. I screamed and then just stood there and for some reason went into a semi squat position... ha. It was my shadow. Yep, I got scared so bad by my shadow. 

Elders Clawson and Jorgenson
Elders Clawson and Jorgenson cut us down a Christmas tree. I was so happy!!! 

Sometimes when you are talking to people on the street, you do not always talk to the nicest people. and sometimes you talk to people who only want to argue. That happened to me earlier this week. I was talking to this guy and he would ask me questions and I would answer them. And then I started to testify about the gospel, and he interrupted me and said "no, no. You don't know this, you think this." Gabime. I looked at him straight in the eye and said "No. I don't know a lot of things about life, I am only 19 years old. But I KNOW that this is true." It felt so good for me to be able to testify and to be able to say without a doubt that I know that this is true. and I know that every single person can know for themselves of the truthfulness of this Gospel and that it is through prayer. Anyone can talk about the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and any other principles of the gospel. It can even be the prophet. Yes, we will be able to feel something as they talk, but we need to pray. Like it says in Moroni 10:5 "through the power of the Holy Ghost you can know the truth of all things." It is true. and I testify of that. 

Oreo cookies Motra Z made for Elder Jorgenson's birthday
Yesterday, we watched this video for a devotional. I loved this video so much. It was so short, simple, and yet so powerful! For a little boy to be able to do such an amazing and loving act of service for a complete stranger. It touched my heart.  I loved this video so much because service is the best gift that we can give this Christmas season. When we help others it is like we are helping God. Mathew 25:40. Our best example of service is our Savoir Jesus Christ. He served, everyone. Because he loved us all. I hope that this Christmas season we are able to try to become more like our Savoir by serving others. #SharetheGift

Have a wonderful week! Smile lots and Serve lots!! I love you all!! 

Motra Zollinger

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving!!!! :D without olives...and it was amazing!! . . . Week 32

Hello Hello!! :) 

Wow. What a week! Wasn't it amazing? I absolutely had such an amazing time this past week and gosh, life is just so god! :) 

So many highlights from this week:
"THANK YOU USA'" Holiday

In Kosovo they have a "Thank You USA" holiday. Like a legit holiday. It was amazing. They have SO MANY American flags hanging up on the Boulevard and a mini concert too. It made street contacting really interesting. We street contacted as country music was our background. I was feeling so patriotic. I absolutely loved it! 

I successfully scared my companion. Ten points for Gryffndor. 

Our Recent Convert's cute little boy came up and gave me TWO HUGS. That is quite something. I got hugs from that little boy. 

Thanksgiving Mission Conference!! It was absolutely amazing!! The senoir couples were amazing chefs and made so much food for all of us. They baked 10 turkeys and so much food. It was so good. After we ate the heavenly food we had a talent/skit show. It was hilarious. So much laughter and so much happiness. Our district won the award for the funniest skit. We did a Book of Mormon Work out video (inspired by the Canyon Park Ward's girls camp skit about 3 years). It was so fun! I saw my MTC district. They are all doing so well and love them all! I also drank my first Dr. Pepper in 7 months... i was running on 2.5 hours of sleep and I needed something... haha. 

We had a photo shoot with Thanksgiving and they were of our districts. Ours was awesome. For the funny photo we didn't know what to turned out priceless. I will try and get the photo and give it to you Mom and Dad so you can post it on the blog. cause it is so priceless. 

Car drives with free entertainment from the one and only Elders Clawson and Jorgenson. They are great Elders. 

Albanian Flag Day!! :) We had a party at the church, and it was soo soo much fun! Oh my heavens! The best thing is that the members planned it. The missionaries just help set up the deocrations. Speaking of which, I hate balloons. We had to blow them up, and three of them popped as i was blowing them up. those are evil little things... But anyways, the party was amazing. Such yummy traiditional Kosovo/Albanian food, with a lot of juice. A lot of laughter and games and it was awesome. 

Yesterday as we were street contacting I talked to a guy that we had talked to a couple weeks ago. He is so cool. Here are some chunks from our conversation that I had with him.
         ME: are you excited for december? It is such a special month because we get to... HIM:      eat chocolate. eat lots of chocolate. let me know when you have some, i want to eat some.     Even though he was a hilarious guy to talk to, he really was awesome. He did say something that was absolutely amazing. He read my name tag and said "Motra... sister. Oh, you are a sister of Christ. Tell Him that I say hello." How amazing is that. This person is agnostic, he doesn't know what he really believes. But still that was one of his desires, to say hello to Christ. I thought it was absolutely amazing. 

I had a wonderful Thankgiving and I am especially grateful for Miracles. A miracle happened on Thanksgiving day driving home from Tirana. Thanksgiving day, we got up at 2:30 in the morning to get ready to drive four hours down to Tirana for the mission party. Personally, I was running on about 2.5 hours of sleep for that entire day. I think the same was for my companion and Elders Clawson and Jorgenson. Elder Clawson was the driver. After having spent the day down in Tirana, it was about 5:30 when we started to make the four hour drive back to Prishtine. As we were starting to get in the car (I have always sat on the right side of the car) and Elder McGrath was getting on that side so I just sat behind the driver's seat. Elder Clawson kept on saying how he was tired and how we needed to keep talking to make sure that he stays awake. We had food we were snacking on also. About a couple hours into the drive, we were getting higher up in the mountains.. I had slouched down to try and relax my legs and after a couple minutes it was too uncomfortable, so I had to sit up. As soon as I sat up I looked forward, and I can still remember what happened. and I don't know how we are still alive. We were coming around a bend, there was a semi on the other traffic line (it was just two way, with one lane so like going down 5th south from our house kind of linage) and there was a car that
Mission President and his wife in the middle
was speeding trying to pass the semi while we were already almost even with the semi. I swear time slowed down for those five seconds. I don't even know if Elder Clawson moved the car or not, but I remember feeling that car speed past us and it was literally inches away from us. It doesn't make sense, like I honestly don't know how that didn't hit us. Elder Clawson said that me changing positions had shifted the car a little which made Elder Clawson pay more attention and come out of his zoning out which gave him just seconds to react. I keep on thinking about what happened that night, and I am especially grateful for life this week. Who knows, if we had gotten hit, maybe another miracle would have happened and we would have all been okay; but, I know that we were protected. It doesn't make sense how we didn't get hit, but it makes sense to me because I know that we are protected as missionaries.Because of that experience I am grateful for so many things espeically this week. I am grateful for life, because that was a really really close call. I am grateful for prayers that I know so many people pray for missionaries, and their prayers are heard and are answered. I know that God watches over His missionaries, in every mission in every place. He protects them. 

I am also so grateful for the month of December. I am grateful for the gift and life of our Savoir and Redeemer Jesus Christ. He is the most precious gift from our Father in Heaven for all of us. Every person on the earth has this Gift, even if they do not know it. The Atonement of Jesus Christ affects and helps every single person every day. I am grateful for my Savoir and for His Gift and His Life and the chance that I have this month to reflect on His life and His goodness. I hope that this month we are able to take time to spread the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of Christ's life. to share the Gift given to all of us. #sharethegift

Have a wonderful week!! smile lots and serve lots!! :) 

Motra Zollinger

ps spread the spirit of Christ. hashtag share the gift for all of December. Youtube take over on December 7th (i think the 7th). It is going to be amazing, and there are going to be so many miracles. #sharethegift