Monday, May 18, 2015

Character of Christ .............. week 55

hehe me and good ol' Elder Clawson. love this elder! :)
(And an ill Sister Z)
 Hello Hello!!

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DADDIO on WEDNESDAY. :) I hope that you have an awesome and an amazing day! I love you Daddio!! :) 

So this week was a little tougher of a week because I was sick. Not cool Robert Frost!! Ain't nobody got time to be sick, especially as a missionary, I don't got time for that. But I am on the mend, thank goodness. 

I have decided that I should just get used to sweating like a pig trying to pass a peach pit..because Albania is a huge sauna (i think that is how you spell it. like those really really hot sweaty rooms...yeah, that's albania). and it isn't even summer yet! Yep, I am going to die. and my little Camelenoma has struck already, meaning that I have already gotten my sun burn for the season...sorry dad...i will try not to live up to the nick name that you gave me this summer. :) 

Futbol this week was super fun... except I accidentally kicked one of the elders investigators in the knee. But then the investigator would actually defend me as we played and stuff and I had to do all I could to control my inner competitiveness to not come out. haha. but, it didn't come out. so it was all good. Futbol went really well. But it was super hot. 

lunch. a sufflaqe with yummy dhalle. :) 
So Saturday night we went to a park to go and meet with one of our returning members. She had had a really hard day and she was at the park going for a run. So we went and just talked to her and to help her as best as we could. She was doing better at the end of our convesation. At the park that we went to there were atleast 3 soccer games going on, one by an Albanian club team they were practicing and a ton of kids nearby. The member's cousin was playing with soccer as well. Well this little kid didn't believe that I could play soccer. For some reason this little kid perfectly pushed my competetive buttons. So I told him to give me the soccer ball and I just juggled the soccer ball. He just stared at me (mind you this kid is like 8 years old. a sassy 8 year old that is). He said "okay, let's see if you can kick the ball." so I shot on goal, I was wearing my toms... hehe. the kid came up to me and said "no, no. you do it wrong." are you serious? haha. so i got advice from an 8 year old and then I shot again. But then he gave me a pity look and said "yeah, that's better." and so I took the ball and I went and did a corner kick... well as well as i could in a skirt without flashy anyone. haha. but the kids were getting a kick out of it and i could just see eyes watching me because a) I am a girl 2) I am in a skirt and c) I am playing soccer. hehe. I thought it was funny! The member and my companion were just laughing at me. hehe. :) hehe

We were at our recent converts house this week. While we were saying goodbye to them all. The daughter who is about 16 years old, she just walks up to me, and sorta pets my arm and just says "wow. you are so white." haha. in my defense i am not white, i am freckilie. I am getting more freckles because it is getting hotter. hehe, but i didn't think i was that white. haha, i guess not. :) hehe. 

Church went well yesterday. I played Called to Serve in sacrament meeting. They had it translated but the chorister was trying to sing it slowly, but that song shouldn't be sung slow... but I wasn't really watching her conducting because I was trying to not ruin the song by playing i played it how we do in english, aka fast. it was hard. it felt like a finger work out. haha, but it went well. :) hehe. 

 Elder Guymon (left) &  Verushi (right). hehe, they are awesome!! 
Today was museum day! which means that meseums that are usually closed on monday was open! We went to a mueseum in the center of Tirana! It was AMAZING!!! It was so cool! We were in there for 2 hours and we didn't even go to half of the museum. It was sad though, because there was a part of the museum that was called "the terror of communism" level. There were clothes that had blood stains on them and the bullet holes in them still. It was heart wrenching. But on the other levels we went to, they had a lot of historical facts and photos and everything in there!! It was so cool! Skenderbeu is an awesome man. I am going to name on of my boys skenderbeu and call him bayou for short. ;) hehe, not really. but Skenderbeu was such an incredible person and he did such amazing things! It was really the most culturally uplifting (i can't think of the right english words on how to say this)...i felt like i learned a lot about the culture. 

In the MTC there is an amazing talk by Elder Bednar called the Character of Christ. It powerful and life changing. Today I watched the new mormon message about service and there is something that one of the men in that video says that reminded me of the talk-and it is so true! That it is as we turn outward, as we help others around us that we in turn not only find who we are but we are healed. I thought it was so powerful how this man says it, so I have included the link, it is so powerful. I want to testify that I know that it is true. I know that all of our hearts can be healed, that holes we didn't even know were there will be filled in ways that we have not even imagined as we serve those around us. That is the secret to true happiness. Forgetting about ourselves and focusing on others because it is when we do that that we find who we are and that we are healed. If you want to be happier, serve someone. If you want to be more calm, serve someone. If you think you have it worse, serve someone. Service is the secret to a successful day. 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials!! :) 

Motra Zollinger

ps i don't know if any of you watch the series on Mormon channel about the Two Brothers Sam and Luke. But it is super good and I highly recommend it. :) 

Monday, May 11, 2015

We Do Not Doubt Our Mothers Knew it..... week 54

Sister Z's younger brother actually participated in this.
Hello Hello!!! :) 

This past week was just such an absolutely amazing week!! I feel like a lot of things have happened this past week, it was a busy week, that is for sure. But it was amazing! 

Swollen eyes!!!
First thing is first. Happy Mother's day!!!! Skyping yesterday was absolutely amazing and I loved it so much!! It was so good to hear all of your voices and to see all of you!!! Goodness gracious. It was amazing!! :) Technology, it's quite amazing. 

For english class we are now teaching the Mesitar-me ulet. Which is a lot of fun. This past week we went over the vocab for items in a house and everything. I was confusing the word bed and tent...and so I tried to instead draw a picture of a bed. Which was an epic fail. And then I tried to draw a picture of a tent, which too was a fail. haha, my companion just laughed at me and even the class was laughing at me. One of the students got out his camera and took a picture of it as he said "wow. that is such a great drawing." haha. sarcasm, what is that? ;) it was hilarious though! 

Wednesday was such an awesome day! We went to institute, it was a super good lesson. So, we only have 2 hours to eat lunch (we don't eat dinner until after we do nightly planning, so after nine thirty usually). anyways, for Wednesday we decided to save our lunch time so that we could go and eat with one of our recent converts after institute and to just do stuff with her, because it is hard to meet with her and everything. So, after institute we played ping-pong. haha. That was hilarious. We started to not play with any rules and boy that got crazy. hehe. But afterwards we walked to a place to eat. I ate the best sufflaqe in Tirana!! It was so much better than the Sufflaqes at Time-out. It was amazing. On the way home we got super good ice cream as well. The recent convert's brother came with us, and he speaks english. He turned and said "hey, how do you say lime in albanian." I thought it was a trick question, so I just told him that I didn't know and I asked him how you would say it. He just said "oh, i don't know. I thought you would know." haha, i thought it was hilarious! Really though, it was such a great night that night to be able to go to dinner with them! Such a good time! 

Thursday we had Zone Conference! We only semi got lost walking to the T1/T3 ward building...hehe, but we found it! Zone Conference was amazing as always! Sister Johansen and I helped with the musical number, we sang the song "Gethsemane". It is such a pretty song. The training by President Weidmann was absolutely amazing as usual! It was such a great conference! We ate probably more than 25 boxes of pizza for lunch. haha. Missionaries eat a lot. It was so much fun to see everyone though. It was so much to see some of my Prishtina brothers. To be able to catch up with some of the people that I have served with before. It was so good!! haha. I am pretty sure that this mission has the best missionaries ever!! It was so much fun!! :) I even saw Kokul! I think her first name is Ari...but i'm not sure. She was my Sister Training Leader for my first transfer. She came back to visit and I got to see her! It was so nice to see her and to talk to her! She is awesome as always!! so, yeah, pretty much Zone Conference was absolutely amazing. 

Thursday to Friday I went on exchanges with wonderful Sister Dunn from Washington. She is absolutely amazing. It was such a fun exchange! She was a competitive rower-boater person. Like in olympics where they race the boats, yeah she did that competitively and semi internationally. I mean, how awesome is that? So...i might have to try that one day. hehe. :) The exchange went so well! She eats a lot, and I love food. So we went to lunch at a traditional food place. The ladies there, they were judging us hard core with all the food that we had ordered. Some people i think don't realize that we do actually know Albanian. They were just laughing at us because of all the food that we were ordering. So I went up and said "look. I know it's a lot of food, but we like food...but maybe you don't have to do an entire plate of it per one like usual...but just do a smaller portion." I am pretty sure that we completley shocked the workers there because we ate every single thing that we had ordered. Granted I was stuffed for the entire day, but it was so good and so worth it. hehe. 

We also went tracting on Friday morning. The funniest thing happened. So we knocked on one door and an asian man answered the door. You don't see a lot of Asians here, so it was different. Anyways, he didn't have a shirt on and I was too scared to see if he had pants on. Instead he just looked at us and put his hand up telling us to wait and then left. He came back a couple minutes later and had been so kind and generous to put on a full set of pajamas. haha. But it gets even weirder. He didn't know albanian. He didn't know english either. So he called one of his friends, and talked to her in chinese...and then he just gave us the phone and we talked to his friend in Albanian. We tried explaining who we were and everything and then she said that he was Buddhist and he wasn't interested. We gave the phone back to the guy, he continued to talk to his friend in chinese and then hung up. he just looked at us and smiled and then said "..uh... bye." it was so weird, and i felt like we had completley ran into a language barrier. But it was so cool!! hehe, it was a highlight of the day for sure. 
The Museum...  Sister Z caught off guard

Futbol on Saturday went super well. It was super warm outside and it felt so good. Afterwards we went to a mexican resteraunt. They were playing the backstreet boys. hehe. 

Today we went to an art museum! Usually all the museums in Albanian are closed on Mondays...but we were walking up to see if it was open and the worker could tell that we were American... so he let us in. Which was weird, but super super nice of him. The museum was super super cool! 

I FOUND MINT ICE CREAM AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were just walking around today and we saw the ice cream and we all ordered some, well all the normal ones did except for one elder. hehe. ;) The ice cream was so ridiculously good!!! It tasted so so so good! Almost like fars ice cream. I was in heaven. 

I am so grateful that we have a holiday that is called Mother's Day. I wanted to share a quote that President Weidmann sent to all of us. It is from our wonderful Prophet Thomas S. Monson.  "Perhaps the teacher you and I remember best is the one who influenced us most.  She may not have used a chalkboard nor possessed a college degree, but her lessons were everlasting and her concern genuine. Yes, I speak of Mother..." I love this quote so much! I think that it is so incredibly true. I know growing up my Mom was there for me for everything. When I was little she was my partner in crime. Throughout soccer she was my coach, my trainer, and my cheerleader. Throughout high school she was my therapist and my journal and honestly my sanity. Right now in Albania she is my support and my love. But from the very beginning she has been my Best Friend. That is my Mom. Because of how great of a mother my mom has been and is to me and my siblings, that is the greatest thing I ever hope to attain and hope to a mother. I am so grateful for my parent's example on how to have a wonderful relationship and family centered around the gospel and especially around Christ and God. There is no calling or title that I hold with more respect that I hope to obtain in my life than that of a Mother. I too like the Stripling Warriors can say that I do not doubt. I am so grateful that God has blessed me so much because he gave me my wonderful best friend and mom. Life doesn't come with a manual, but we don't need a manual. Because Life comes with a Mother. 

I love you all! Have a wonderful wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials! :) 

Motra Zallenxher 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Are We Clinging or Continually Holding Fast?..... week 53

A gift of a rose 
Hello hello!!! :) 

First off: May the 4th be with you. :-)  hahaha  get it? May the 4th be with you, like May the force be with you?? That was for you Parker. hehe. :) 

The weather here is already hot, atleast for me it is. This summer I am just going to be sweating like a pig trying to pass a peach pit all the stinkin' time. I am not looking forward to sweating so much... but i am going to buy a cool nena fan so I guess it will be okay and totally worth it. Plus, the ice cream here is so cheap, so the hotter it gets the more ice cream i eat. That sounds nice. :) hehe. 

This past week was an eventful week. I went on exchanges with Sister Kelli. We were going up to Shkoder. But, because she might be serving in Macedonia she had some paperwork that she had to get we (her, me, the APs, and two other elders who had to do some paperwork as well) went on a small 4 hour adventure around Tirana trying to find the places that she had to go to get the paper work done. haha, it wasn't as simple as "follow the yellow brick road" haha, it was adventurous that was for sure. It was a lot of fun though. I totally kenaqed. I also got to see one of the Elders from my last district! That was a surprise. haha. it was fun to talk to him and to hear how the people up in Prishtina are doing! That day was an adventure! 

Shkoder was a lot of fun. For one of the activities, they made ice cream. It tasted pretty good too! I thought that it tasted like Pediasure, but when I told the missionaries that they all thought that I was super weird not knowing what it tasted like. But it really did. haha, but it tasted quite delicious. There was a cute little chubby kid at the activity too, he was probably 10ish... well, as we were making the ice cream, he left and then he came back. He was asking for where I was and then I came around the corner and he handed me a beautiful rose! hehe. it was adorable. Then he gave one to sister Kelli as well. I kept that rose. I put it in a book and flattened it out, like Queengie (*mom note: Queengie is Sister Z’s great grandma*) would do a lot of times to flowers. It was so cute!! 

Shkoder landscape
After the activity we went to a returning member's house to do a lesson with them. For those that know me, I have weird germ-a-phobia with some foods. Not all my foods can touch, whenever I cook/bake I wash my hands atleast 20 times, and yeah. OCD sometimes when it comes to eating and cooking. Well, at this members house, the second we walked in and i saw that she had been eating i knew that she would offer us food and i immediately lost my appetite. Just because of the enviroment in the house and everything, and seeing how she was handling some of the food and stuff. Long story short, I had a slight panic attack. I got super super quiet and when she left the room to get something, I turned to Sister Kelli and said "i can't do this... you're going to have to eat it all." i still ate some of the food, but i only ate two pieces of bread and that was it. It was so stressful for me.... but, as dumb or weird as it may sound, I know that the enabling power of the Atonement helped me through that lesson because Christ knew exactly how I was feeling during that hour and only He was able to comfort me. 

Shkoder really was such a pretty place. It was a lot of fun spending time with Sister Kelli. The drive up to Shkoder and the drive back is absolutely gorgeous and breath taking. It is so nice!! 

"AF stew"
For all of those healthy eaters out there. I made a super super good stew this week. It is called A.F Stew. Brace yourselves... what you do is you pretty much make no-bake cookies but instead of shaping it into cookies, you dish it into a cup or a bowl. Then you can poor some milk in it (that was the healthy part of the stew) and then you eat it. It is quite delicious. 

So, I think our Pronari (Landlord) has dealt with us American teenagers before. This week we were wanting to order Pizza...but since addresses really don't exist here I had no idea how to explain where we lived. So I texted our pronari and said "how would you explain where we live to someone? We are wanting to get pizza." the pronari didn't even ask us any questions or anything, he answered our question. hehe, and it worked. :) 

My companion is absolutely amazing. She has become super super patriotic! We have an American flag outside of our window, infront of the Marilyn Monroe cafe...almost every morning she sings our National Anthem looking out of the window. Hehe, I love that girl. She is incredible. 

Motra Johansen & Z
This week I read Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. I love that story so much, but this time as I read it I felt like my brain made so many more connections than what is usually does and it made me so excited!! So I wanted to share what I had learned, or atleast what I thought about what I read. In the story there are 3 groups. One of the groups didn't even make it close to the tree of Life, and the two other groups did. In Chapter 8, verses 24-28, it talks about how a group got to the Tree of Life. They clinged. To me, that sounds more fearful than it does faithful. When we are clinging onto something we are holding onto something for dear life, and I feel that that is what the group did. They went through the motions and the steps that they needed to do to get through the mists of darkness to get to the Tree of Life. But they didn't let the behavoir, meaning the things that they had to do to get to the Tree of Life change their nature; because once they had partaken of the fruit and the people from the Great and Spacious building laughed at them and mocked them they became ambarassed and turned away from the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life symbolizes Christ. The people rejected Christ after they had been led to them because they hadn't truly gained a testimony of what they were holding on to, they were just clinging on for dear life. But the last group is amazing. In verses 30-33 it describes a group that "continually holding fast" to the rod of iron. This group they too made it to the Tree of Life, but when the people in the Great and Spacious building mocked them and laughed at them, they didn't turn away from the Tree of Life (Christ). They turned towards Him. They were converted to the Lord. Those that continually held fast to the rod of iron, they still went through the same mists of darkness that the other groups did but they were able to turn to the Lord instead of turning away from the Lord because they were converted to Him. Christ knows the mists of darkness that we go through in our lives and He isn't going to leave us alone, He is there with us literally every step of the way. We have the Iron Rod in our hands, we have the word of God in our hands. We have what we need to get back to Him, we just need to let what we have in our hands to change our nature, to change who we are. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the stories that we are able to learn through this wonderful and magnificent Book. I know that it is true. 

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials!  Can't wait to skype with you on Sunday!!! :D 

Motra Zollinger

ps the internet totally died on us and so i wasn't able to load any photos. But you will have more next week. Promise. :)