Monday, January 26, 2015

God Answers ..... week 40

Hello Hello!! 

This is the last week of January! Holy cow. Where does the time go, this month has gone by so fast. This is crazy sauce. This past week has been a great week and the next week is going to be such a great week as well because we have zone conference! I can't wait!! 

Anywho here are some of the highlights from this past week: 

So there are these delicious things called Kinder Eggs. They are yummy and they have these cool packages inside of the eggs, it is better than a happy meal! The elders are on a hunt to get all the fairies that are inside of them. I am trying to collect as many as I can because it's chocolate. haha, so we have quite a collection of random prizes from those eggs. The Albi market is judging us with all the kinder eggs we buy. They probably think that it is just an American thing or something. haha. 

Pristina, Kosovo
So this week while street contacting, I think I was the boldest that I have ever been. First, a side note: one of the biggest culture etiquette differences here, is that it is totally kosher here to cut people off as you talk to them. Okay, now moving on. So on Tuesday we had a long day full of talking to people on the boulevard. Which was so much fun! I love street contacting so much! Anyways, so we were talking to a group of 3 boys. We introduced the Book of Mormon to them and we were saying how we can learn more of Christ through this book. One of the boys, he took that as an opportunity to attack Christ's name and His role for us. I didn't want to argue with him, so I testified to him about Christ and His importance in our lives. This young man, he cut me off. He cut me off mid sentence testifying of my Savoir. I just stopped talking and stared at him. He then continued to attack the name of Christ and he told me that the Book of Mormon isn't true and that in fact our religion wasn't true, that we didn't have the truth. I am not one to rebut people, but I got a wave of courage talking to him, and I was not going to let him say any degrading thing like that towards our church and towards my Savoir without me defending their names. I looked at him in the eyes and said "Jo. Ti s'ke te verteten. Ne kemi te verteten." (No. You don't have the truth. We have the truth.) This threw off the boy and he just stared at me, and he said what. So, I repeated it for him. And then I told him that he can know what the truth is as well if he reads the Book of Mormon. This street contact with the boys didn't go anywhere, he just wanted to argue and I was not going to hear someone insult the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ, or this church in front of me any longer. So I told them to have a good day and told them that they are welcomed to come to church. I have never been that bold in a street contact before, but looking back I know that I wasn't alone. I had support and help from God. 

Elder Jorgenson mixing the cookie dough
According to Elder Jorgenson I am needed on some zombie apocalypse teams so that I can blow my nose to warn everyone that the apocalypse has started. #itisagifttosoundlikeanelephantwhenyoublowyournose :) haha

SOME of their cookies
For service this week we decided to make cookies for all of the members in the branch. We made about 150 cookies, and it took 4 hours to do. The cookie dough was so big that the hand mixer we were using wasn't working so Elder Jorgenson used his

Mustache monday for the sisters..

hands. It was quite an eventful service time! 

power lines in Kosovo....  She said "No! I don't touch!
I have started to joke in Albanian. It is so much fun! I always joke around with a recent convert family that we visit every week. I think that is one of the best feelings ever is when people laugh when you are trying to be funny. 

We played futbol this week. I didn't hurt anyone. #thanksheavens

This week I had a really amazing experience. A couple weeks ago in an email to my Mission President I asked him a question, just expecting him to answer it for me and to tell me the answer. You need to understand, my mission president, he is so spiritual! He is prophet material, so I was sort of expecting him to be able to answer the question for me. But, he didn't do that. He gave me a scripture reference to read, and then he told me "when you get your answer, call me and let me know what your answer is. I am interested to see what God teaches you." That surprised me. Because it showed the confidence that the Mission President had i me and my ability to get an answer to my own question. What I learned this week is that God answers our prayers and the questions that we ask Him and that anyone can receive personal revelation. God, He knows everything. He is the author of knowledge, science, wisdom, everything. When we want to know something He is our best source. He will teach us and help us learn. He will guide us as we learn through the scriptures and as we sincerely pray and just talk to Him. I am so grateful for the confidence that President Weidmann showed me by asking me to find the answer on my own, and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father was merciful enough to help me. I know that prayer is real. God listens to our prayers, and that He answers. Sometimes we have to wait for the answer, but it always comes. 

Have a wonderful week! smile lots and serve lots! 

Motra Zollinger

Monday, January 19, 2015

Stop. Drop. and Pray..... week 39

Hello hello!!! :) 

Motra Z sporting her new "do"
I hope that everyone had a wonderful week this past week! Isn't is absolutely crazy that January is more than half way done now. Where does time go? This week was quite an eventful week. 

There is a drink up here called dhale. I hadn't had it before. I avoided it, because i have heard nasty stories. It is interesting too, it is like a sour and sometimes chunky kind of dairy that doesn't taste too good. Well I was talking to the elders and told them that I hadn't had it before. They dared me to drink some, and so I was like "pse jo." (why not). Yeah, so I had dhale for the first time in my entire existence. It wasn't even that bad. 

Picture from Motra Riley
So, some things are done completley differently here in Kosovo and Albania. For example, we needed a new phone... our poor phone had taken a couple falls and well, it broke. They don't have phone stores here. We just went on the street to some people selling phones on the side of the road and bought a phone from them. Yep...

Motra Riley, Elder Jorgenson, Motra Zollinger
So. Futbol. That was really really interesting this week. I hurt a grown man playing futbol! I felt so bad!!!!!!  I was trying to score. So, I kicked it really hard so that the goalie wouldn't stop it...but instead of going on the ground it was going in the air. And this member for some reason he jumped really high and the ball hit him right where it counts. like it was bad. He groaned and just fell to the ground. The worst part was that it was his birthday. He couldn't play the rest of the game, because it hurt too much. Yeah, i felt awful. And the members and Elders have not let me forget about it either. I think I have apologized to him 100 times, but i still feel awful. 

Dealing with the "real thing"
so... i am not going to go into detail or anything, but I am going to say: wash your socks. and don't wear the same socks for a long consecutive amount of days without washing them because of two words: athlete's foot. it's a real thing. haha. 

Motra Z says this looked like Indiana Jones ride from Disneyland
Today for p-day we went to a cave! It was really cool! It was my first time ever being in a cave, so I was enjoying it so much! Afterwards we went to lunch with the missionaries and I had THE BEST FASULE ever. Like it was so good!! :) I took a photo. :) 

the meal after the cave
This week I have had a lot of time to reflect on prayer. Yesterday we taught Relief Society and it was about prayer. I think that is one of my favorite things to teach people, and one of the most satisfying things: to hear someone give their first prayer. To help someone talk to their Father in Heaven for the first time. When I think of prayer, I think of Primary class. Singing about prayer. But, I also think of the influence that my parents have had on me. I remember as a little girl, my parents helping me get into bed. One of them would kneel by my bed with me and help me say my prayers at night. It went from me repeating to what they would say, to me saying only a couple phrases, to being able to pray on my own, and now I am teaching people how to pray like my parents taught me to pray. Prayer has been one of the biggest blessings in my entire life. It is a privilege to talk to God. Last week my dad said something in his email that has gone through my mind so much this week and that is: "Stop. Drop. and Pray." I feel like often times we want to try to do all we can on our own, and then we will pray for help. But, why is it not the first thing that we think of? Why do we often wait for life to knock us on our knees and then we pray? Just like if we caught on fire, we aren't going to run to a sink and try to sprinkle the water on us. We would immediately stop, drop, and roll. I feel like it is so applicable with prayer. When the fiery darts of the adversary are on us or shooting at us, we need to stop drop and pray. It is so much easier that way too. That is what I have found, especially this past week. We gain power from prayer. I know that God hears and answers our prayers. He loves us. He is our Father. We are His little girl (or boy) and He just wants to help us. Pray to Him, Talk to Him. The distance from us to God is and will always be a prayer away. 

Have an amazing week, smile lots and serve lots! :) 


Motra Zollinger

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Attitude is Everything..... week 38

Hello Hello!! :) 

Doth Mother Knowest Thou Wearest Her Drapes? okay, that was random. Sometimes random quotes come into my mind, like yesterday during lunch with the elders. One of the elders was trying to describe one of the Macedonian elders and said "He has red hair." and then I took that moment and said "and a hand-me-down robe, you must be a Weasley." #tenpointsforgryffndor
Okay, anyways. haha. :) So this past week has been a super eventful week, so here are some highlights. 

I faced one of my fears and got a haircut. I got side bangs. It was one of my fears because the person I went to speaks no english what so ever and I don't know the hair cut vocabularly in Albanian. I was freaking out a little as she was cutting it cause she had to blend the bangs in with the rest of the hair so it didn't look repulsive so a little more got cut in the front, but i was satisfied with it. plus it was only like 3 euros. Hot dog!

We got a lot of snow this week!! It has been so much fun!! :) We got more last night and it is absolutely gorgeous!!! :D 

You know that moment when you are trying to be funny at no one laughs? It's the worse. But, when you are trying to be funny or you aren't even trying to be funny and people think you are hilarious? Yeah, best feeling ever. Well Tuesday night we went to our recent convert's house. The dad, he has a mustache thing (I think that's what it is called) the long hairs above the upper lip, and he has curly white hair. Well, it occured to me that he looked like Albert Einstein. So I told him that on Tuesday night. He laughed so hard!!! haha, it was awesome!!

So a lot of the members when teaching them the commandment to not take the Lord's name in Vain, it doesn't always click. We were at the church and one of the members took the Lord's name in vain and I just looked at the member and I said "Bill. Don't say that word. Say fat instead." Bill: "fat? Really sister zollinger?" ME: "Yes, it works. Try it." Oh and btw his name really isn't Bill, that's not an albanian or kosovarian name. But moving on... on Tuesday this week he came to english class. After english class I realized he still had a pant sticker on his pants so i told him and he just looked down and was like "oh my fat!" haha!! I laughed so hard! I gave him a high five and was like "it's awesome isn't it?" he agreed. haha. 

For institute we tried making a building out of raw pasta without talking to our team. It was hard! The competition was to see who could make the highest one... well... it was difficult. The girls team won by the way... i got weird looks from some of the members because as I was using the tape to tape the pasta together I had a strategy (the same strategy I did whenever I put cookies down on the cookie sheets) 2 for me, one for them, 2 for me, one for them. I guess people here don't snack on raw pasta... who woulda thunked. 

This week while street contacting there was a little dog that walked past with it's owner. I was just staring at it (it was like 2 feet infront of me) and I was thinking "oh how cute. it's a quiet dog too." but then right when this dog was infront of me it turned and just barked at me. How rude. ;)  It scared me so bad! I jumped. and I just went "ooooohhhhhhh" in a high voice and my companion is sortof scared of dogs so she screamed and jumped back. The elders on the other side of the street sure did get a kick out it.  We were all laughing so hard about it. But honestly, it was such a small dog. That sneaky sneaky dog. I'm pretty sure my guardian angels were just laughing so hard... ha, cheap entertainment for them. 

Saturday we played futbol. One of the elder's investigators is hilarious. He is loud. haha. playing soccer he calls my companion "sister!" and he calls me "teacher". I don't know why, but he does. So we were all on the same team and as we were playing you'd randomly hear "oh sister, you missed..." or " oh sister! way to go!" and for some reason when he speaks english it is in a mexican accent or spanish accent, domethene that when he says sister or teacher it reminds me of nacho libre. 

So yesterday sister and I were in a room in the church doing some studies before a meeting, and the Elders just opened the door and made a weird noise and they scared me so bad. I am going to get my revenge on them this week. 

So in the first week of december I cut up some oranges and put it in the kettle with some water and cinnamon so that the house could smell like christmas. The problem is that I forgot that I had it in the kettle. And in the middle of last week I lifted the lid of the kettle and saw a lot of white stuff and thought "oh cool! why is there sugar in here" but then I saw some green stuff and realized the white stuff was really fuzzy... yeah, it was sick nasty mold. maybe I'll use that to get revenge on the elders. ;) just joking. I have a heart. That kettle is going straight to the garbage. blah. 

This week I learned the importance of attitude. This past week I think has been the hardest week of my mission. Especially in the aspect of teaching people. 3 of our investigators dropped us, and we went two almost three days without having one lesson. It isn't that we didn't have any lessons planned, we did. But all of the lessons got prished (cancelled). One day after our fourth lesson of that day got prished I had had about enough. I sat down on a chair, looking over my shoulder to the ground and said  "IT'S JUST CAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE A BODY ISN'T IT SATAN, YOU FATHEAD." Stupid satan. That next day tender mercies happened. President Weidmann sends out a text every morning to all of us and his text was talking about going through hard times. It was amazing. That day we also had weekly planning. Me and Sister Riley talked to each other about how we aren't going to get down on ourselves. Because that would just make Satan happy to get discouraged and we ain't doing that. So that day we made it a goal to try and to be so positive and optimistic. Like really positive and optimistic. We had street contacting that day. The coolest thing happened, because we talked to these two girls, and they were interested in the Book of Mormon and learning more. I asked them if they had time right then to go to the church for a lesson, and they said yes! Sister Riley and I were so excited and happy! That was such a tender mercy from the Lord! The lesson went really well with them and they are now our new investigators. That to me was a blessing and a way of Heavenly Father telling us that it's okay, to keep moving forward. I feel like that happened because we decided that day to be as happy as we could and to not let our selves get discouraged. That is one thing that I have learned since being a missionary is how real the Enabling Power of the Atonement is. The Atonement helps and enables us every single day. It helped me so much this past week. We are able to look back on hard times with gratitude in our hearts and a smile on our faces Because of Him. Because of Christ's atonement. It describes in perfectly in Alma 7: 11-12. That is the reason for happiness, peace, love, and all that is good in the world. It is Because of our Savoir Jesus Christ. It is because He is the Gift. I testify that Christ does live. He is our Savoir and our Big Brother. I pray that we all will accept Him and His Atonement and let It into our lives. Because by doing this we will stop existing and we will start living. Christ lives and loves you. He is the Gift and everything is possible Because of Him. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Have a wonderful week! Smile lots and serve lots! 

Motra Zollinger

if you have about 5 minutes of spare time, I highly HIGHLY recommend this video. It gave me goosebumps.

2015 ..... week 36 and 37

Hello hello!!! :) 

Sorry I didn't send out an email last week... NO ONE was open for New Years so it was sorta crazy email time. 

The past couple weeks have been amazing weeks! :) So many highlights: 

We had transfers! My new companion is Sister Riley! She is fresh from the MTC and she is absolutely amazing. She is such a sweet heart and I am so excited to be serving with her! She is incredible! 

Yesterday I had a spoonful of HOT TOBASCO sauce thanks to Elder Rasband. It was a dare, but hey I got two chocolate milka bars for it. and I am still alive, so I guess it was worth it. I did it yesterday during our lunch and a couple members were there so I couldn't react too bad, but hot dog that stuff is hot. In my head I was screaming but I had to handle it cool. Ever since the MTC i have become such a sissy to hot stuff and the elders have picked up on that. haha. 

Our very first lesson with my new companion was at a recent converts house. She has a crazy little boy that be a handful. Last transfer a lot of times I ended up distracting him so that we could teach the mom. So when we came this week he decided to pick on me. He is a 3 year old. He was pulling my scarf and trying to do anything to me as I was trying to teach his mom, that sneaky boy! So long story short I got beat up by a 3 year old. That sneaky boy. haha, it hilarious though. He was getting a kick out of it and kept on it was good. :) 

So, we have water filters and it was time to change our water filters. We had already done 2 of the 3 containers. so we were on the last one. And this thing was soo tight! We could not loosen it. Sister Riley and I had been giving a go at it for about 5 minutes. I just laughed and said "we might have to call the elders..." but then I started thinking about the endless teasing we would get from the elders and so I gave it one last try and i was able to unloosen it. Thank goodness!! Honestly, we were so close to calling the elders to have them help us loosen a cartridge...but thankfully we didn't have to. haha. 

Today for p-day we went bowling. We played two games. The first game I did not do too hot. But the second game, after the 4th bowl I started to get really competetive with the fact that I was losing so bad. So, I decided if I throw the bowling ball far enough down the lane then I wouldn't have enough room to mess up so badly. Well it worked.. haha. I ended up coming in second. the last few frames were really intense and stressful because it was Elders MkGrath, Rasband, and I all within points of eachother. haha, it was a lot of fun. 

Looking back on the year 2014 I have realized how extremely blessed I have been. I am here in Kosovo as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am living my biggest dream that I have had ever since a little girl. I am so excited for this coming year (besides the fact that I will be turning 20). I don't know what the year has in store for me, but I know that God does. That is one thing that I have learned thus far since being on my mission. That we don't know what bumps or detours we are going to run into in our lives, but that doesn't matter really. God knows what is going to happen in our lives and He is so willing to help us in our lives. But He isn't going to force His way into our lives. We need to accept Him into our lives and let Him help. When you think about it, it only makes sense. It makes no sense to try and do things on our own... we are only human with so many weaknesses; why try to do this all on our own when we can have the help of our Father in Heaven who is the author of everything in the world? I know that Heavenly Father loves us so much. I love what President Monson says something along the lines of " far He is willing to go and how much He is willing to do to help us." It's true. We are Children. Accept Him. Go to Him for help. Anything is possible with two. As long as one is God and the other is you. I hope that this year, no matter what we face in life, that we won't try to do it alone. But that we will face our life with the help of God. Only that way will we be able to look back on our lives with a smile on our face and gratittude in our hearts. I love my Father in Heaven. I know that I am a Daughter of God. I know that Jesus is the Christ, He is our Savoir and our Redeemer. I love them so much. and I am so grateful that I am here as a missionary and I am able to help the people in Kosovo and Albania; that I get to help my Angels in my personal promised land. 

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


Motra Zollinger