Monday, April 27, 2015

I To Give My Witness..... week 52

Sister Z and Johansen
Hello Hello!!!! :) 

I hope that ya'll had a most wonderful and splendid week! This week was a super great one! :) 

Sister Z posing as Superman
First thing is first! Happy Happy Birthday to my sister cousin Carolina Kidd TODAY!! You are 16 years old, that is absolutely terrifying!! haha. It is a good age though. My only words of advice for my dearest cousin is to remember my counsel about kissing-it is gross and total unsanitary. Kissing, it can wait. Just remember that. :) ;Also, Happy Birthday to Miss Mallory Rogers this week! But since you are engaged, I will not give you any kissing advice... besides have fun. ;) 

We taught Family Home Evening to the Young Single Adults here in Tirana. That was absolutely terrifying. I have not been that nervous in such a long time. But, it went super super well! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father helped us with that lesson and that the Holy Ghost was our co-teacher. 

Wednesday was the 23rd of April. That was a super super bittersweet day for me and my MTC district group. It is crazy how fast time flies. So we went to the Rogner hotel for lunch. The food was yummy. 

Pday minion pants Missionary
meal at members house
Today for p-day we went and spend the day with one of our wonderful members. I love her so much! Me and Sister Russell taught her and she is absolutely adorable! We went and had some yummy yummy pizza. The best pizza in Tirana. and I had real Dhale for the first time ever! I actually thought it didn't taste bad at all, like it was actually good. My companion on the other hand...wasn't the best fan. Thankfully she didn't throw up though. Then we went and went in random shops just to look at the clothes that they had. There were minion descipable me pajamas and i thought they were awesome! So the member told me to go and try them on...well the Medium size in Albania should be changed to "people who don't have a butt the size of canada or thunder socker thighs aka doesn't fit a sister zollinger." I put them on and just said "umm...these are too small." but the member still wanted me to come out and show them off. haha. so I did. haha. they laughed so hard. haha. 

Saturday we played futbol. It is super sunny and bright down here in Tirana. I got sun burnt...but hey, I got new freckles on my arms and hands. I think they look rather cute. :) But soccer went super super well! We played with a ton of little kids 12-14 years old and I was worried that I was going to accidentally kill one of them. So i just played defense the entire game. haha. it was a lot of fun! 

Yesterday was a super good day! The piano keyboard has another note that seizures. haha, it's annoying. 

A view  of Tirana
I feel like the past couple transfers that I have truly started to fall in love with the Book of Mormon in a way that I didn't even know was possible. I remember that before my mission, when I read the Book of Mormon for 10 minutes, I thought that was a really good amount of time. Since being on a mission, for personal study I get so excited when I can just read out of the Book of Mormon only for the entire hour...and it still isn't enough. The Book of Mormon is such an incredible record that we have, and how blessed we are that God has been so merciful and loving that He has preserved the sacred golden plates to come forth in these days. The days that we are in.  This morning I listened to my all time favorite talk by Elder Holland, Safety for the Soul (, listening to the talk I was filled with an excitement and an indescribable feeling for the Book of Mormon. I remember when I first heard this talk, it was in October of 2009, i was in 9th grade. 9th grade was the time when my testimony was born, when I really felt that I had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and it happened during this talk. This is my favorite part of his entire talk: I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?
Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. 9 Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
Sister Missionaries 
For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.” 10 How powerful is that? I feel like in a way I can relate to what Elder Holland was saying about Joseph Smith and his brother and their families.  I wouldn't have left the family that I love with all of our my heart to come to a foreign country to learn a foreign language just to talk about some book. I wouldn't willingly face mockery and laughter and ridicule from others every day just for some book. I wouldn't try to change my nature and who I am just so that I can better live what is taught in some book. I wouldn't face my biggest fears or throw myself completely out of my comfort zone just so that I could explain and invite people to read some book. I wouldn't leave everything that I knew for a year and half just for some book. I wouldn't do any of that for some book. BUT, I would do all of that for the Book of Mormon. I have left the family that I love, some of the people that I am closest to in my entire life; my parents and siblings to come here in Albania speaking Albania to talk to people here about the Book of Mormon. I willingly and humbly face mockery and laughter and ridicule from the people here that don't understand the importance of the Book of Mormon. I am trying to change my nature and who I am so that I can better live what I preach from the Book of Mormon. I do face my biggest fears and throw myself out of my comfort zone every single day so that I can explain and invite people to read the Book of Mormon. I have left everything that I was and knew for a year and half to tell people about the Book of Mormon. And you know what? I don't regret one second. If I was asked to, I would do this the rest of my life. If someone gave me the option of death or denying the Book of Mormon I would tell them "i want a Book of Mormon engraved on my headstone." It would be an honor to die defending the Book of Mormon, but that isn't what God has asked of me. He has asked me to live for the Book of Mormon. To give my witness of the Book of Mormon everyday, and to be a living witness of it. Our lives change when we go from just reading the Book of Mormon to trying to live what we read. I too want to Give my Witness before God and all those that will read this, with the angels who take notes of my life that they will write this down, that I give my honest and humble witness that the Book of Mormon is true. It is a simple testify, but it is a true testimony. I have read the Book of Mormon multiple times, and I have prayed to know if it is true. Moroni's promise works, ask God. He listens and He will answer. He has answered me, and if He has heard me and answered me, He will do the same for any of you. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and I know that every word that is written in the Book of Mormon is true. It is true. All of it. and I will proudly and willingly go down to my grave defending the wonderful and holy Book of Mormon. You simply can't deny the truth. Truth is truth. God is truth. and that will never change. 
Have a wonderful wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials!! :) I love you all!! 

Motra Zollinger

i felt like i am forgetting to say something....but i don't remember. so if i forgot something, just send me an email and i do it in the next email. haha. :) 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Gospel is the Same... week 51

All of the sisters at the Durres Conference with the Elder photo bombing in the background. :)
(I am sorry about the photo. I can not get it to work but want to add it)

Hello Hello!!! :) 

This past week was a super super great week! The weather here is getting so much more warmer and I absolutely love it. The only downer is that I need to start getting ready to sweat like a pig trying to pass a peach pit. Which isn't always the most pleasant feeling, but what can i do? hehe. 

Our investigator that we have is amazing. She took NOTES during our Plan of Salvation lesson. Like real legit notes. I was so impressed. That has never happened before, she is an incredible investigator and I can't wait to see what happens with her! 

Public restrooms aren't a thing here in Albania. Well, we had both drinken a lot of water because it is quite hot here now, and so we had to go to the bathrrom super super bad. We were going to be in Kombinat for another 4 hours and there was no way that we could have held it in. So, we decided to go into a resteraunt. I just walked in, and the chef person pressed the bell to let the waiter come or something but I just looked at him and said in a quiet voice "do you have a bathroom here?" he said yes! I was so relieved!! haha, so we went to the bathroom. That was nice and pleasant, and then we bought a qofte and then left. 
Wishing Sister Johansen's brother happy Birthday! And Delaney!

I totally tripped up the stairs walking towards to our apartment. haha, it was hilarious!! :) 

Sister Johansen's little brother had a birthday (in America of course) and so we made a video for his birthday! I got really excited and decorated my face and everything. So that is why you got weird photos of me. hehe. It was hilarious and so much fun though! Happy birthday to her brother!! 

Speaking of Birthdays. Happy Birthday to Miss Delaney Dean!!! Gosh. I love you girl. 

Motra Z is "Mother" weird named missionaries
Today for p-day we went bowling. One of the elders teased me before we started bowling saying that I should probably go and play billiards instead. ha. my foot. I played in a SKIRT. hehe. I love skirts. I won. I was super surprised that I won, but it was a lot of fun. hehe. :) 

Congratulations to David for receiving the Melchezidek priesthood yesterday. That is so amazing! I am so proud of you cousin!! 

This past weekend me and my companion and some other sisters went down to Durres for the stake mini-missionary conference! It was so much fun! First off Durres actually has a ward buildling, with GRASS. It was like America. So I took off my shoes and ate lunch on the grass. It was glorious. It was really so cool to be at the conference though. A lot of returned missionaries from Albania were there and then a group of missionaries and a group of the youth that want to go on missions. I was in heaven! It was so cool to be there and to be interacting with the Albanian members! Sometimes I forget who I truly am, meaning that sometimes I just think that I am "Sister Zollinger" and not necessarily a missionary. Being there this weekend was so sweet, because I was reminded of the power and authority that comes with the calling of being called as a Mission for the Church of Jesus
A view of Durres 
Christ of Latter day Saints. It was so amazing to spend all day with such powerful converts to the church, who were such incredible examples to me. It was so cool to know that no matter where we are in the entire world, that the gospel is the same. The Church is the same no matter where we go, because Christ is Christ and Heavenly Father is always Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for this gospel. I know that Jesus really is the Christ and that His Atonement is the reason that we can have hope and happiness in this life. I love my Savoir so much. I love the Book of Mormon. I know that it is a true book. I know that the Priesthood has been restored back on the earth and that is why we are different. The exact same gospel that Christ established on earth when He was on earth, that is what this church is. Christ guides this church through His prophet Thomas S. Monson. It is true! And I love it with all my heart! 

Have a most wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials! I love you all so much! 


Motra Zollinger

Monday, April 13, 2015

He Has Been There Before.... week 50!!!

Motra Johansen showed Motra Zollinger this and she loves it
Hello hello!! :) 

Gosh. Mission life is just amazing. I love being a missionary more than anything in the entire world! We had a pretty eventful week this past week! haha, lots of hilarious things happened! haha. 

Tower of Terror "Albanian" style
So Albanian elevators. We have a new mission office address and it is on the 6th floor. Elevators are already not my favorite thing because of tower of terror. But, i wasn't about to be healthy and walk up 6 flights of stairs, i mean, who does that? (no offense to anyone who actually does that...) So, we got in the elevator. There were 2 other strangers in the elevator. We were about 2 flights up when it broke. It just stopped and the lights went off. I could start to feel myself start to get really nervous because of thinking "how long are we going to be in here and what about the air?" i didn't know what to do, so I started to laugh. the person I was standing by just looked at me like "you crazy american." but i just kept giggling. Then the elevator started to shake just a little. I felt like it was a perfect oppurtunity so I said "ne jemi motrat misionare..." but, no one heard me. But then the elevator went down a little and opened and the closest level. They hurried out of the elevator. I just started laughing even more out of relief. I was worried that I would get hungry in there or have to go to the bathroom, that could have gotten awkward. haha. When I got out of the elevator I just said "we do not weigh that much! ...maybe we should lay off the suflaqes sister..." haha. but it turns out that the power just went out! Which means we is still gonna eat them suflaqes! So, yeah that was interesting. 

No spider killing this week. ha. they're scared of me. 

This caption/graffiti is made especially for Motra Z
Albanian dairy is not my favorite thing in the world. It just tastes...different. We were at a member's house and she had given us some coca cola to drink and a yogurt to eat. I took one bite of the yogurt and it wasn't that bad. But then as i took the next couple bites, my tastebuds started to scream and cry. I could feel myself start to gag. But, that would have been so impolite to gag in front of her. I had to get the taste to not be as strong, and that is when I saw the cup of cola next to my yogurt. So, I poured some coke in my yogurt and then I stirred it around. The look on the member's face, was so priceless. I can't even begin to describe it. To keep the situation from getting awkward I just looked at her and said "what? you haven't tried this? you should totally try it!" She just looked at me and said "wow. you are so weird sister zollinger." hehe. I only poured coke in the yogurt a couple times and it worked! I was able to successfully eat it. 

Mint ice cream anyone....
I ATE MINT ICE CREAM TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Me and Sister Johansen went to the Stephen's center for lunch. The Stephen's center is like the world in a resteraunt. So, we ordered Mexican food. It was quite delicious. Then we split a slice of apple pie. That was pretty good. As we were eating the food we were talking about how much we miss mint ice cream. BUT as we were walking out of the resteraunt, there was a green ice cream with chocolate chips in it. I just stopped and asked what kind of ice cream it was. He said it was mint chocolate chip ice cream! I wanted to ask him if we could take the whole entire thing of ice cream, but I thought that I would get even more weird looks. But we ordered some ice cream. The lady who was going to dish our ice cream had to go get cones. I guess my eyes were really big and excited because after she got back from getting the cones she just looked at me and said "i'm so sorry. how much do you want?" hehe. I think I might have been bouncing up and down just a little. It was so good!! oh. heaven in my mouth. 

I played the piano for 3rd ward's baptism, and well the piano in our church has seizures. Meaning that sometimes when you hit a note, it comes out super super strong. Well, I was playing I Am A Child of God, and I was really enjoying it and then the piano decided to have a seizure and the note came out really loud and it scared me so bad. My eyes got super big and it scared me so bad that my hands started to shake a little, but then i started to giggle because i just accidentally scared myself. 

General Conference was absolutely amazing! I was able to listen to two sessions in English!! It was so good!! I loved all of the talks, they were so powerful and so profound!!! I just love General Conference was so much! How blessed we are to be living in the days that we are! The world is getting wickeder but the Saints are becoming stronger. I know that President Monson is a prophet of God. The Apostles are truly men of God. I was priveleged to be in the same room with 7 different Apostles during my MTC stay. I can testify that they are men of God. 

" See mom!  I am wearing a coat!"
Attached at the Bottom is a poem that my friend Sisar Elliott sent to me. I love this poem so much. I feel like it is so powerful and it is so true. Enjoy! 

Have a wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials! Love you all and have a most splendid day! 

I love you!

Motra Zollinger

He's Been There Before
by: Elder Troy Whittle, Texas Houston Mission

The alarm rings at 6:30; I stumble to my feet.
I grab my companion's bedding and pull off his sheet.
A groan fills the room, is it already time to arise?
It seems like just a second ago I was able to shut my eyes,
The morning activities follow, study, prayer, and such.
When it's time to leave the apartment, you feel like you haven't accomplished much.
"We have a super day planned," my comp says with a grin.
I lowly utter a faithless breath, "yeah, if anyone lets us in."
With the word of God and in my faithful Schwinn, we ride off in the street
Prepared to face another day of humidity and heat.
It's 9:30 in the evening, the day almost through,
My companion and I are riding home, not accomplishing what we thought to do.
We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot,
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate "Air Box."
We got up to our apartment, the day is now complete.
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet.
It's past 10:30 p.m., my companion is fast asleep.
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep.
In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray;
I need to talk to Father, but I'm not sure what to say.
"Oh, Father," I begin, "What happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away.
My hands, my aching hands-worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we'd have knocked every street.
Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike.
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me.
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes; it's very hard to see.
Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me and call me stupid stuff.
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack;
I want to give them Books of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back.
And what about my family?  They don't have much to say,
I'm sick of not hearing from home, day after day.
Oh Father, why am I here, am I just wasting time?
Sometimes, I just want to go home, I'm sorry but that's on my mind.
My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?
The way he rides his bicycle, i don't think he can see.
Now you have it, I can't go on, I don't know what to do;
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for You."
Sleep starts to overtake me; I seem to drift away,
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time and another day.
I'm standing alone on the hill, the view is very nice:
A man walks toward the Savior, total, and complete.
He says, "Your mission is similar of what happened to Me,
I understand how you feel, I know what you're going through;
In fact it would be fair to say, I've felt the same as you.
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do.
I know you don't like to ride a bicycle, for you a car would be sweet,
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn't equipped with 21 speeds.
I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's some thing you hate;
I remember when I sweat blood from every pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don't like your companion-you'd rather have someone else,
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth.
It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you.
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me king of the Jews.
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack,
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back.
Your hands hurt from tracting, knocking on doors all day.
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way.
It's hard not to hear from home when your family's not there to see;
I lost my communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why hast thou forsaken me?"
He embraced me with His arms, His light filled me with His love,
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the Father above.
I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head,
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed.
My companion let out a groan, "6:30 already, no way!"
I sat up and siad, "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today!"
No matter what we go through, when we feel we can't take more;
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ. He has been there before.