Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Tender Mercy in 3 Flats...... Week 68 (So close!!!!)

Motra Zollinger and Motra White in Korce, Albania
Hello Hello!!! :) 

I hope that everyone had a wonderful week this past week! It really was such a beautiful week! 
It was a super busy and fun filled week. So many things that I want to say, haha, let's see if my brain remembers them. 

First off, our investigator was able to get baptized on Saturday! It was so amazing and go gorgeous! Both of her two little angel daughters were able to come with her. So many people showed up from the ward and other missionaries' investigators; it was amazing!  She was so happy and gosh, i don't even know what to say, words cannot even describe the happiness that I saw in her eyes and her families' eyes and her daughters eye. It was amazing. 

There are these fruits, I think they might exist everywhere, but the first time i saw them (or atleast knew I was seeing them) was here in Albania. They are called figs. They look like gross alien brains and I refuse to eat them. Except for one time a member gave us candied ones, because i couldn't not eat it. Yeah, so Sister White loves figs. But I don't. Last p-day there was a fig tree and they were all eating a christmas feast of figs and i was gagging as she threw them to me to catch. So, Tuesday morning during companionship study Sister White read to me the verse in the Bible where it says that Christ ate a fig, then she says "Christ ate a fig. So you need to eat a fig." haha. it didn't work. 

I had to say good-bye to my Albanian companion. Her mini-mission came to an end and she headed back home. I am going to miss her so much!!! 

The Motra's enjoying the rain
We had an exchange with Shkoder this past week. It went really well. and, guess what?! I DROVE FOR THE FIRST TIME FOREVER!!!!! It was so much fun! I was a little nervous at first...but it went really well. In albania, if cars are going slow and you want to pass them up you can go on the other side of the road and pass them up (like onto oncoming traffic's lane), i only did that a couple times. It was exhilerating. It was like I was in fast and furious. haha, just joking. it was a little terrifying and i only did it when i had to. But, driving wasn't that bad. I thought it would be awful like having to eat a fig, but it wasn't! mwaa. 

Cinnabon and hot chocolate
Poor Elder say "cheese"
Albania has some of the coolest lightning storms. Honestly, they are glorious. On the way back from the exchange there was red lightning. It was so pretty! We have had thunderstorms almost every other night this past week. It was so glorious. One day, sister White and I were actually outside when it started to rain, and we were between the real Shqiponja and Zogu i Zi when it started to rain really bad, so instead of taking the bus we just walked. It was so nice!! haha, we got a lot of weird looks. Then on Saturday after the baptism we were walking to go tracting. A thunderstorm had just started. We were walking down the street when a huge lightning bolt struck what looked like  not too far, like half a mile and as soon as we saw the light there was a huge clap of thunder. It shook the ground a bit! It was so awesome!!! I love the rain storms here! That night during language study, I did it by the window so that i could keep looking outside to see the was so pretty! 
Elder with Motra Zollinger

Key: anetar-member, fort-strong. The funniest thing happened during one of our lessons with a recent convert. We were talking about Elder Ballard's talk from general conference. Sister White was talking about how amazing the member is that we were teaching (which was comletley true) and then she says "ti je nje anefart". As soon as I realized what she had said I just busted out laughing, and sister white was laughing super hard too. The member didn't know any english, so she didn't get what happened. I totally knew what she was meaning to say "anetar e fort" but then it just came out anefart. I tried to hold it in the rest of the lesson. But everytime I thought of it, I just would laugh. So after the lesson as we were walking to the gate i just said "so, she's an anefart, eh?" haha. I just started to laugh super hard and sister white was opening up the gate and then she kicked me. hehe. it was hilarious!! 

haha, i totally just sneezed as i am writing this, and it was worse than the usual wet squeeze toy. it sounded like a horse laughing. haha, it just got really quiet in here... #awkward

We had a basketball activity on Friday night. It was a lot of fun! hehe. Sister White and I were on opposing teams, which was fun. Good thing we had already done companionship inventory that day ;) haha. jk. it was a lot of fun though! The elders investigators who are 10 and 12 years old showed up, and so it was a lot of fun! They are adorable little boys! it was a blast. Then on Saturday we had futbol. It went really really well! It was a ton of fun! After futbol, i tried to touch my toes and I was able to touch my toes without cheating; haha, the practicing for excercise in the morning has paid off. #score haha. Doing activities with the youth and investigators is so much fun! I love it a lot! 

So, the reason that I am writing my email today is because yesterday morning we got a call from the APs that asked us to help escort some minors from Gjakova to the FSY (it is like efy) activity in Korce. We were so stoked! Everyone talks so much about korce and how gorgeous it is and everything; so we were super super excited to go! The drive down was absolutely gorgeous. So gorgeous!! Parts through the mountains reminds me of the drive up to Park City and Heber valley, so that was weird but it was so pretty! We drove by a lake and on the other side of the lake was Macedonia. It was gorgeous. We got the girls to the hotel for FSY and we got to stay for about 30 minutes there, because they gave us some food. It was so cool! There were about 80+ youth at the activity. I didn't even know there were that many youth in Albania! It was so awesome and i wish i could have just stayed  there! I was sorta hoping the furgon back to Tirana would have already left so that we would have to stay at FSY for a day, but alas por yorik, it didn't happen. The drive back from Korce was good, but super long. Sister White got super car sick on the way back and i felt super bad... and those roads are so windy (not windy like with wind, but windy as in not straight roads...i don't know how to spell that... haha). The drive was still super pretty though. It was a lot of fun overall. And by the time we got home the p-day hours were spent so we were given some time today to email. 
On sunday as we were doing language study we got a call from one of the senoir couples for us to come to the Elder's choir practice because the elder who usually played wasn't able to come because his companion was sick; which mean they needed me to play the piano. They sure were desperate. So we went to the church. They were singing Ye Elders of Israel (I think) and I saw that it was 3 flats. I just said "oh man. I'll do my best, but I can't do 3 flats." For some reason I always have a mental block if a song is over 2 flats or sharps because I think that I cannot do it. I said a quick prayer and then started to play for the choir. After I played through it, I was almost speechless. I just sat there thinking "what? What just happened. that has never happened to me before." I was able to play the entire song only making a couple minor mistakes, but not bad enough that they couldn't sing. It was honestly a miracle. I remember feeling so shocked as I realized what was happening, being able to sight read this song and to be able to do it well enough to help the choir. It was a tender mercy in 3 flats. For those that are really good at piano, 3 flats is nothing. But for a sister missionary named Sister Zollinger, 3 flats was enough to make me super nervous, and it may not seem like a big thing for a lot of people. But this was a huge thing for me. It meant so much to me, that God would help me so that I would be able to play that song well enough for the choir. And as the next hour and a half went on, I played for the stake choir as well. I do not say this to boast in any matter, but rather to testify of the marvelous works of God. In the middle of elementary school I took piano lessons. It was fun in the beginning, but as time went on I just wanted to play soccer and not do piano. Practicing became a chore that I hated to do, and I eventually dropped it the last couple years of high school because i didn't make enough time for it and I didn't think that I wanted to do it. But something that I have realized is that sometimes God gives us talents not to help or benefit us, but to help and benefit those around us. Sometimes at the beginning a talent that we have might not be something that we want to do, but it often times is something that God has given us because it is what He needs us to do; and as we continue to grow closer to Him that talent will be able to grow in us and our desire to use it. That is what i realized on sunday as I played the piano. Along with a great feeling of gratitude for my parents who stuck with their deicision for me to play the piano throughout my youth, even though sometimes it was probably not an easy thing to get me to practice nor the sound of me trying to practice; but I am grateful for their support. Don't give up on yourself or your talents quicker than what the Lord does; because the Lord is never going to give up on us. Ever. We are given tender mercies of the Lord so that we can continue to go on in our lives. I don't necessarily believe in coincidences, because I believe in God. But, I do believe in Tender Mercies. I love what Elder Bednar said about tender mercies, "We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance." I testify of the worth and value of tender mercies. They are real and they are powerful and humbling. They don't always happen when we want them. But they always happen when we need them. 

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

Motra Zollinger