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. :)