Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I Love My Mission ....... week 61

Hello hello!!! :) 
MTC district one year to date in country
MTC district June 2014 day before leaving for Albania 
Wow. What a week. So many adventures happened this week! Mission life is never boring. Never boring my friends. :) 

Sister Z's, Motra Riley, Motra Johansen, Motra Ariza 
Let's see. Let's see. Where to begin. The thing is is that all these things happen, and then once I start to write what happens my brain takes a break and I can't remember things...haha. 

Missonary conference gathering!
This week we had mission conference, which is always so exciting!! :) It was extra exciting because Sisters Ariza and Riley came down a day early from Kosovo and stayed with us over night. So we did so many splits that night with one another so that we could still do the lessons and everything. It was so much fun though!!! :) So much fun! It was a lot of fun to be with Sister Riley again (we did splits together) and to talk about old and good times with one another. Mission conference itself went super super well! There were 8 elders that gave their dying testimonies. That was so ridiculously bitter sweet. But it was so uplifting, because their testimonies are so strong and I learned so much from each and every single one of them! It was really cool too, because I had the privilege to serve with or around about 3/4 of the group of those elders going home. So to see where they were at when I served with them and then to see how much they have changed, it was amazing. We had a Q&A session with President Weidmann, that was a lot of fun! I just love mission conferences so much! They are always the highlights of so many things for me! 

Motra Zollinger and Motra Beza
The day of mission conference it was my year mark in country! An entire year here in the wonderful land of Albania!! It was amazing and it went by quite quickly. So we took a photo as a district from the MTC. All of them are doing so well! I also learned that day how I can be super photogenic with photos...but that doesn't mean that I like to smile in all of my photos. hehe. :) Missionaries are awesome too, I love being able to spend all day with missionaries. 

Elder Acheason photo bombing
So, Wednesday night. That was an adventure. I accidentally drugged myself (it isn't as bad as the word 'drugged' sounds)... i just didn't remember benadryl being that strong, and it eventually knocked me out. I'll explain though. Wednesday night we had gotten to a recent converts house to do a lesson. My leg start to itch super super bad from some mosquitos that just bit me. So I scratched them. But then it made it worse. My leg was turning red and I could feel it start to spread, but I have some medicine in my bag and so I took HALF OF A BENADRYL. Only a half. A half. Gosh. haha. I thought I'd be fine until we got home in a few hours. That lesson I was totally fine. I was awake and alert and normal. But then the next lesson came. I was doing okay at the beginning and then I got super super tired. Long story short it was really really interesting night. My reactions got delayed so bad. I almost got seperated from my companion Sister White (we were on splits) getting off of the bus. She was off, but I had waited to let people come on and then I was too tired to tell her to wait a little. But then the doors to the bus shut before I could get off and it started to drive off slowly, so I yelled "hapi deren" (open the door) and then I just got off the bus and looked at sister white and said "don't ever let me take benadryl at 7 pm again." I was out by 9:45 that night...and ever since that night this week has been exhausting. But the medicine worked really well. I wasn't itchy anymore. But I learned my lesson.

So my geographical skills are still absolutely awful. I told Sister White yesterday that I had a friend serving in the Taiwan Japan mission. and then I looked at her and was like "oh wait. Taiwan isn't in Japan is it?" haha. that was embarassing. But hey, Alaska is a state. :) 

Saturday night we got our transfer calls. I am going to be staying in Tirana 2nd ward and I will be having a mini missionary from Vlore! :) I am super super excited!! I hope that she doesn't speak any english because I want my Albanian to get a lot better! :) My district this transfer is going to be so amazing and I cannot wait for everything!! This district is going to be a blast! 

Today for p-day we got together as missionaries and just played games. Ping pong and Jenga got a little serious. I found out a way to cheat in Jenga. Whenever Elder Greener tried to pull out a jenga brick, I would hurry and push it back in before he could pull it out. hehe. They also played a game called Phase 10. But the Zollinger spin off of that, GO, is so much better and so much more fun. I lost at that game because they wouldn't let me play it the Zollinger way. blah. haha. 

Motra Z, Elder Stuart, Elder Bangerter, Motra Johanson, Motra White

So, sunday we went and sang in Durres. On the way home the car that we were driving broke down. There was a weird sound and then smoke started coming out of the back of the car, thankfully we were able to pull to the side of the freeway by a gas station...because as soon as we pulled off the Elder lost power of the steering well and the gas pedals. But we were safe and everything! So we just sat by the side of the road and waiting for some others to come and pick us up and to take us to church. Never a normal or boring day as a missionary. hehe. :) 

The day that I have been trying to avoid and thought would never come has come. I am starting my last transfer. As terrifying and intimidating as that is, I am so excited! Because everything that has happened thus far in my mission has led up to these last 3 months. Everything has been preparing me for the last 3 months of my mission so that I could give it my all. I am towards the last stretch of the race that I am in against my natural man. I have jumped over every hurdle thus far. I have gotten back up after a hurdle attacked me or gravity played a joke on me, but I always got up because of the Atonement.. I am going to make it to the end better and stronger than when I started. This is not the end, this is just only the beginning to my life full of service and giving my life to the Savoir and to His Gospel.  I am so grateful that I made the decision to come on a mission. It has been the best decision that I have ever made, and has forever changed my life. I am so grateful for this gospel and for the knowledge of the Savoir and our Heavenly Father. I know that God loves each and every one of us. I know that they are always there for us. They love us. They know us. And it is because of Them that we can be who we are. 

I love you all so much!!! Have an amazing week! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials!!! 

Motra Zollinger

ps. Happy Birthday to America this week!! 

pps i think i forgot to say something. so just remind me if i forgot anything and I'll put it in 
next week. 
Elder Jorgenson (dying elder) Motra Zollinger

Motra Zollinger Elder Eliason

Motra Zollinger Elder Ostertard

Elder Temple and Greener
Elder Clawson(dying elder)  and Motra Zollinger
Motra Zollinger with other sisters
Motra Zollinger, Elder Rigby, Elder Prince, and Elder Chingas

Macedonia elders egged on my a not so innocent Motra Z

Monday, June 22, 2015

As Far As We Sink Is As High As We Can Rise ........ week 60 (YEA!!!)

Motra Johansen, Motra White and Motra Zollinger
Hello hello!!! :) 

I hope that all of you had a wonderful week this past week. I know I did. It was quite an adventurous week as well!! So much has happened! 

First and foremost: HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!!!!!!! Oh my heavens. Thank you Dad for being my hero and for always being there for me through everything. Even now, while I am on the other side of the world, I can feel your love for me and I know that you are there for me through everything. I love you so much Daddio. 

Secondly: no brat diet this week. haha, success!!! hahahahaha. 

Monday night, President Weidmann called. This is how the conversation went: 
PW: Hello Sister Zollinger, I am calling to let you know that you will be serving.... *immediate panic and stress. wait, i thought transfers were in a week, not right now. what is going on...uuhhh....oh, i should listen so that i know what is going to be happening* in a tripanionship now. You will be with Sister White and you all will be serving in the Tirana 2nd and 4th wards. Sound good? 
Me: Yeah, sounds awesome. 
PW: okay. bye bye now. 
haha. yeah, so that happened! It was totally papritur, but i was so excited and a little nervous about it at the same time. But it has gone super super well. It has been an adventure and so much fun! The work has doubled literally overnight, now that we cover two ward areas (which is practically half of Tirana), so that is super super good. We got to meet with one of the older sisters in the T4 ward, she is like the lifeblood for the members. She is toothless, and so when she gave us kisses on the cheek (which is culture) is sorta felt like a baby's kiss, when it is sorta wet and everything. hehe, we all just giggled afterward. That is a strong nena though. I was talking to someone and she wanted to talk to me, but i told her just a second so I could ask this person a question. but she wanted to talk to me then. She is like 80 plus years young, but she grabbed my arm and started to pull me. and I couldn't hold my own and keep talking, she dragged me to where she wanted to talk to me. haha, I was totally surprised and gained so much more respect for that nena! Especially as she was telling me to bring the elders next time we visit her and then as she was leaving she got close to my face and smiled and said "now, don't forget sister!" haha, not a chance. We will be there. hehe, I love that member so much! :) 
She sent this when "she was in a funny mood, isn't that always?"  So if the Elders say it out loud in Albanian in comes out....??   Yep she went there....
So we had mexican food this week. It wasn't as good as Cafe Rio, but it was still pretty good. It was stinkin' hot though!! I am already sweating like a pig trying to pass a peach pit here in Albania because of the heat, but the sauce on the food that I got it made me start to sweat from the inside out and not the outside in. haha, but I wasn't being a sissy. Because some of the elders were going red because the sauce was so hot. Spicy stuff man, it is crazy. 

There is another sweet Nena in the T2 ward. We went to go surprise visit her, but she was at a park nearby just watching her grandkids play. So we came to go say hi to her, and she was using a cane. I smiled really big and asked her if she really uses that cane for walking or to hit people? She just looked at me and smiled and said "what? Like this? *and then she tried to hit me* and said, i only use it on the annoying boys here." hehe. She is my favorite nena. She is adorable and so fun! She then insisted that we go to her house. So we went. She came out with an entire big bowl full of cherries. She looked at us and said "you aren't leaving until you eat every single cherry." haha, we thought she was joking. But she wasn't. We at so many cherries that night, but they were so good. hehe. Memories. Memories. 

Helping pick a tie...

I totally won at farkle this week!! I didn't beat Elder Smith though, because I think he cheats. I don't know how he cheats, but I am going to figure it out. But I got revenge on Elder Guymon and beat him bad this time. hehe. #victory 

So, I taught the Law of Chastity for the first or second time this past weekend. I was tempted to tell our 17 year old investigator that kissing at all is totally part of this; but i didn't think that'd be a good idea. So I didn't...but I was super tempted to. hehe

Something that I have realized that is so interesting is how much people open up to us as we talk to them on the street. I was talking to an older man from Greece, who had ran into the missionaries there. We eneded up talking for about an hour on the street just about his life and his relationship with God. It was amazing, because I felt like I already knew him. and he just opened up to me and told me so much about him and it was just a really neat experience. It is amazing the people that God puts in my path and in all of our paths. It is super humbling. 

The other day at the end of our lesson, I almost jumped up and started dancing. Because sometimes really cool things happen during lessons and they are so miraculous that you just want to start dancing!! That happened. It was with one of our investigators. She is 18 years old. The first lesson, we invited her to pray and she said that she won't, because she didn't want to. Okay, so we asked if she would do it the next lesson. She said that she would. So, we asked if she would pray. She said that she couldn't because she was Muslim and she can't pray in the name of Jesus Christ. So, one of us said it in the beginning. We taught her the Restoration and it went so well. It was fiks fare. Then at the end we asked her if she would say the prayer, and sister White said that before she closes the prayer, to just wait and if it feels right for to say the prayer in Jesus' name. She said the prayer and she said it in Jesus' name!!! I just smiled so big during the prayer, and I wanted to badly to just jump up and start dancing! After she closed the prayer she was just smiling so big!! It was absolutely amazing!!! :) Miracles happen each and every day. 

Motra's talk
Yep!  She did that.....
I gave a talk for the first time in my mission. Yes, for the first time in my mission in sacrament meeting. I guess that is rare, for someone who has been in country for almost a year. I gave it in the fourth ward. The talk went really well. During the talk, I was trying to talk about a flashlight. But, I don't know if the word that I had looked up in the dictionary was right (because Elder Acheson who was translating for the senoir couples, he just smiled and started to giggle), and so I wanted to make sure that they knew I was talking about a flashlight. So I acted it out. I put out my hand and pretended to click on the flashlight and shine it and said "drita" which means light. haha. well, it worked. hahaha. oh besi. :) 

I just wanted to bear my testimony of my Savoir and my Redeemer Jesus Christ. When I left on my mission, I thought I already knew who Christ was and that I had a relationship with him. But since being on my mission, I have realized how little I knew about my Savoir and about the Atonement. I am so grateful for the trials and the experiences that I have gone through on my mission, because I have come to know my Savoir in ways that I had never expected I would, but God knew that I would need to come closer to His Son in the ways that I did. I know that the Atonement is real. What happened that night in Gethsemane, and on Golgotha, and in the Tomb really did happen. And because of those events, history will never be the same. Life will never be the same. The key to victory was given on that third day. The solution and answers to all of our sicknesses, trials, sadnesses, and any hard times was revealed. Christ lives. He is the Son of God. He has taken upon Himself every single sickness, illness, and hard time that we will ever have in our life. We can over come every single thing. He has already felt what we have all felt so that we don't need to be alone. As far as we sink through hard times is as high as we can rise through the Enabling Power of the Atonement. The power of the Atonement is stronger than the stronger material because it heals hearts. I love my Savoir and my Redeemer with all my heart, and I will forever sing praise to His name. Christ Lives. He loves you. He died and suffered for you, me, your parents, your siblings, your friends, and your enemies. The key to happiness and true joy is through Jesus Christ. Go to Him. Know Him. and I promise you that your life will change as you come to know Him who did the unimaginable for us. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

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


Motra Zollinger

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Power of Music..... week 59

Elder Smith with the sister missionaries
Hello hello!!! :) 

This past week was a super good week!! so much has happened as well! :) 

happy pre-father's day!! :) 

Holy cow. It is so ridiculously hot here. The humidity is killing me. haha, too bad it doesn't rain more, or too bad I couldn't be Olaf and get a special cloud of coldness (but in this case it would rain) that could follow me around everywhere because then I could say that it's not sweat, but special rain. :) haha. if only... haha. 

An unhappy Motra Z having to eat BRAT diet
Brat Diet for Motra Z
Last monday i was sorta dumb during lunch. I drank a lot of tap water. Tap water aka not filtered water. I was super thirsty and so i drank a lot of the water as well while we were at lunch. Well, I forgot how I had a sensitive stomach already and boy at night I was super regretting what I had done. We have a mission nurse now, and she specifically told us at zone conference "Elders and Sisters. Don't be stupid." So, I called her monday night to ask her what to do, I was actually quite nervous to call her and so I started to the phone call like this: "Hi Sister Hydricks! I know you told us not to do stupid things. But I did something really stupid and drank lots of tap water" There was silence for a couple seconds on the other side and she said "ooh..." aahhh!! haha. i am still alive though. ;) i just had to go on the stupid BRAT diet for a day or so, which is hard because I just love food so much. but it went well. haha. I sure did learn my lesson though, I ain't never drinking non-filtered water again. 

Last monday we also went to FHE. After FHE they play a ton of games, and so I thought I would include in a dice game called Farkle. haha, first off-who comes up with those kind of names? Farkle? haha, it is my favorite word now. Secondly, I hate that game. I kept on farkling and I lost to the senoir missionary Elder Smith. At the end of the game, he just turned to me and said "Sister Zollinger, do you know what my favorite game is? This one, because I won!!" Boy, did he rub it in. But tonight I will get my farkle revenge.... i am pretty sure I can find a way to cheat to win, I mean play with a Zollinger twist. ;) 

The other night we were heading home from a lesson out in Kombinat. It was late at night and my contacts were having a fit in my eye. I was sick of them. It was just one of them too. So I just took it out and threw it on the ground. haha, that was an interesting walk home. I told my companion to not let me fall down or run into anything. It was fun though, because I would close one of my eyes (the one that had the contact) and see how different it was walking home with my non-contact eye. hehe, that was exciting. but I made it home all in one piece. :) 

Elder Greener didn't have a planner, because all of his weeks were out in his and he needed an extra planner. We just so happened to have an extra one. But I couldn't give it to him just plain because that would be boring. So I decorated it for him. I showed mercy and was nice to him, because I only made the inside ridiculously girly with pink and ponies and everything. hehe. :) On the outside I just put about 10ish stickers of animals and such. hehe. :) he has only been made fun of it a couple times... hehe. 
Motra Johansen and Motra Zollinger with some members

On the twelfth one of our recent converts had his birthday. He turned 11 years old. hehe. So we bought a couple balloons and those bazooka things (the things you blow into and they make an annoying noise. or are they called azookas? I don't remember. but those kind of instruments...) we got those. We went to his house without telling his family so that we could surprise them, but they weren't there. They were at a resteraunt. No worries. So we went to the resteraunt!! haha, so singing at resteraunts and such is a normal thing in America...but not here. But we still did it. We sang for him. It was really good because we added the music from the bazooka in it. We got so many weird looks though. haha, the people on the table next to them started to clap for us. haha. I could feel my face going super super red. But it made him super happy for his birthday! So it was a success. :) That was an adventure though! 

Motra Z's distraction during english class
So, english grammar. That is difficult for me. Not only am I awful at it-even more because of Albanian but it bores me. Like a lot. We teach the middle english class and it bores me so bad when we teach grammar. Sister J likes english, so I let her teach the grammar. This week I got a little distracted as she taught about grammar. I tried to pay attention...but then 30 minutes later, I had drawn half of a person's face... so, yeah, that happened. 

Elders right after they got their haircuts
Today for p-day we went to the city park. Aka an American mall. It was a lot of fun!! We first ate. I hadn't had breakfast so the rice and chicken soup that I got was my breakfast. As soon as I was done eating that I got up and ordered chicken nuggets and fries from the Albanian McDonald's place. hehe. It wasn't too bad either. Afterwards we went and played on the mechanical bull. No, it is not a hog. It is a bull... hehe. :) I didn't want to ride the bull, so I wore a skirt (but I did have shorts under my skirt, because I felt like it today). Boy, was that hilarious though. I was bent over because I was laughing so hard. Crying from laughing so hard is the best thing ever. Holy cow, that was just so hilarious today!! I took a lot of photos. I thought Poopers would like seeing the photos of the Elders trying to be cowboys. hehe. ;) Honestly though, today for p-day was so much fun!! It was a blast. I had the best ice cream as well. It was snickers. It was so so so good. :) 

So there is a special missionary choir that is going to be traveling around Albania singing. They will be going with the Albanian-styled Motab choir. This past weekend we went down to Vlore!! The chapel was absolutely gorgeous and it was breathtaking. It had a Californian feel to it and it made me feel like I was at a resort because there was a lot of food, and Vlore is right on the coast. It was super cool. But it was such a neat experience being in Vlore. Singing with the members some of the hymns and doing some of the special Missionary Hymns in english. It was so cool to be over come with goosebumps as we sang. I am here in Albania. Teaching people about the gospel but especially about Jesus Christ. I was in the room with people that I have never really met before (because it was my first time in vlore) but my love for each and every one of them as I was singing was over powering. The most touching part for me, was that God knows every language. The song really is a prayer from the heart. Music, uplifting music, can touch the heart in ways that words cannot. It can heal a heart, it can soften a heart, and it can help a heart. I learned the power of Hymns this past weekend. We don't need to be hurting or aching to be able to feel the power that comes from singing Hymns. God is there in the good times as much as He is in the bad times. We can receive strength from singing Hymns in the good times as well as in the hard times. That is what keeps me going through the day. Sometimes it get tiring, but i finding the singing/humming hymns as I work is my energy and my fuel. I know that God hears our prayers and even the prayers that come through as we sing. He knows the words that we sing, he knows the notes that are in our hearts. He knows us. I know that we are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. We have Christ because of His love, and how blessed we are because of their love. 

Have a absolutely wonderful and glorious week!! Smile lots serve lots and treasure trials!! :) 

 I love you!!! 

Motra Zollinger

Elder Acheson with Motra Z photo bombing!

VLore beach side view with a bird bi-product on the window

Elders Pday activity

Elder Wright chilling in a message chair

Elder enjoying the challenge

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