Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy July! (June 30)

Hello all!

Well here we are at the end of June and moving on into July. The weather is getting colder here as winter starts to set in but even so it is not all that bad, only when it rains.
Anyway the work of the Lord is moving right along here in Buenos Aires and the time just keeps passing away. This past week was a bit of a boring one, nothing all that crazy really happened. My companion and I are just continuing to work and pray hard and we are hopeful that we will be able to help many people come to a knowledge of the truth. Things are well for me here I am happy and healthy and staying warm! This past week Argentina played in their last group game and won and we had to stay in the pension and do weekly planning until 3 in the afternoon at which point we could leave. It kind of killed the day because they played from 1 until 3 and then the rest of the day people didn´t really want to talk about much more than soccer haha. This week Argentina plays again but this time in the eighth finals and if they win and the US always wins then they will end up playing each other in the quarter finals this next week, which will be plenty crazy. I have no idea what new rules will start coming out as the games start coming with more and more importance but I am sure we will all be safe and entertained!
This next week is the 4th of July and the cruise in there back home so I hope that everyone enjoys that! My comp is from Peru but I am going to be sure to do my own sort of 4th of July celebration! Haha I am not sure what I will do yet but I will be sure to entertain myself in some fashion :).
I don´t have a whole lot of time to write today because we have a short pday due to some sort of mission wide activity tomorrow so that is about all I have for the week, sorry that it is so short! I just want everyone to know that I am well and happy and glad to be so blessed to be here at this time in the work of the Lord. I know that these things are true and my testimony grows every single time that I have the opportunity to speak with someone about it, even if they decide that they don´t want to accept it. This truly is the work of the Lord and I will be forever grateful to Him for this short time that I have to be a part of it. Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support and keep it up! I love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Love always,
Elder Zollinger

World Cup craziness (June 23)

Hello all!

Well just to start off I would just like to say it is completely different being in Argentina for the World Cup than the United States haha. All of the sudden Argentine flags came out of nowhere and now they are all over houses and cars and people and dogs and anything a flag can hang on! Not to mention Argentina won their first two games so now they are already guaranteed a spot in the 8th finals. When Argentina plays we basically have nothing to do... As of yet we have had no special rules come down but we are not allowed to watch the games so we just kind of walk around in the street like lost puppies listening to people scream at the television inside their homes haha. The entire country shuts down for those games! Not even the dogs come out into the streets! And there are a ton of dogs!!! We may not be able to watch the game but we always know what the score is based on the people who come running out into the streets screaming ¡¡¡Goal Goal Goal!!! and of course yelling at the random yankee with a shirt and tie on and his Peruvian friend. I guess it is all part of the mission experience though haha! Argentina plays again this Wednesday but it is at 1 in the afternoon here so we will be eating lunch and not in the streets this time. Hopefully that will work out more to our favor :)
Anyways this past week was a good one we worked hard and found a few new people to teach. We were able to find a less active family who is really cool. They have 4 kids and all of them are baptized but the two youngest ones who have 8 and 6 years old. The 8 year old turns 9 on July 2 so we talked with his family and they agreed that he should be baptized on July 6. However they did not come to church this week despite our best efforts and so we had to put his date back to July 13. We will be working hard this week and of course going by his house to make them go to church this Sunday. It didn´t rain all last week except for between 8 and 9 in the morning on Sunday, right when people are going to church... Of course when it rains here nobody wants to go to church so of a ward of 400 members we had 64 in sacrament meeting due to 1 hour of rain... I guess the normal attendance is like 90ish people though. There are a ton of less actives here. It is sad to see people who once had a testimony give up the blessings of the covenants they made for reasons that have nothing to do with anything.
Nothing really all that exciting happened here this past week. With the colder weather moving in and the world cup it makes it a bit harder to find people willing to listen to a Gospel message and even makes it harder for the members to want to help us do it. I wish that there was something that I could do to help people see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a bit more important that Soccer but I guess when you are in South America during the world cup it is just a bit hard to do haha. Regardless we are just going to keep working and praying and I am sure that there is someone here who is more interested in their salvation than a soccer game :)
Well that is really about all that I have for this past week. All is well here and the district is doing well too. My district has baptized 4 people so far this transfer so they are all working hard and having success. I have been able to do a few baptismal interviews lately which is really such a humbling experience to stand in as a representative of the Lord to see if a child of God is ready to enter into the first saving covenant with Him. I love being a District Leader and I am really happy to be able to serve with and strive to help the other great missionaries in my district.
Just one thing that I have learned lately is the importance of being diligent. It really doesn't do us much good to work hard when the times are good and the success is easy if we don´t continue working hard when the times are rough and the success is hard to come by. One big inspiration is the Savior in His life and how He was always focused on His purpose of serving others and helping everyone. He never stopped working even after His death as He continued His great work in the Spirit World and then even after His resurrection (no idea how to spell that in English now haha). I am so glad to be able to be here in the mission and have the chance to serve others and learn more about myself and my Savior as I do so. The time continues to fly by and my year mark is starting to creep up on me. All I know is that I need to keep working and love every moment because before I know it it will be gone. Thanks for everything that you all do for me and especially the prayers that you send my way. I love you all and have a great week!

Love always,

Elder Zollinger

Happy Father's Day! (June 16)


Well I would just like to start off by saying happy fathers day to all the dads out there reading this. Thanks for all that you guys do for your families and I hope that you all enjoyed your day. Of course I already sent an email to my dad wishing him a happy fathers day but I will go ahead and say it again that I love you dad and thanks for all that you do for me. I wouldn´t be anywhere near what I am without you being who you are. Thanks for everything!!
Well this past week was a bit of a slow one as far as the work goes. It rained almost 2 or 3 days straight and for some reason here people use the fact that it is raining as an excuse for not letting you into their home to talk for a few minutes... We literally would knock at investigators homes and would ask if we could come in and talk and they would just be all like no it is raining come back when it stops. I really have no idea how that logic works out but whatever haha. Anwyay that also put a damper on the motivation of the members to come out with us but I guess that didn't change much cause not many people wanted to talk to us anyway haha. We also had some promising investigators tell us that they didn't want us to come by anymore right out of the blue which was kind of a blow to my companion and I, but it is all good we were able to see those who really wanted to listen to us and learn more about the Gospel of Christ and those who were not interested but just did not want to say no to us. This week in my studies I was thinking a little about how people could say no to learning more about the Gospel of Christ and the plan that our Father in Heaven has for us and for our families. I had no idea how someone could say no to the prospect of eternal life and eternal families. Then I realized that all throughout the Bible and Book of Mormon are stories of prophets who were called to preach to a people that wanted absolutely nothing to do with God or his commandments. Many of them faced mocking and scourge at the hands of wicked people too hard of heart to see the glorious hope that comes from knowing of God´s love for us. Some of them even died striving to declare repentance to God´s children. I realized that it should be no surprise that many people want nothing to do with their Father in Heaven because it has always been that way. I may not understand why it is that way but I do understand that it is reality and all we can do is live what we know to be true and serve God faithfully until the end.
Well like I said before this week was a pretty slow one in terms of finding new people to teach. On the bright hand I have gotten used to using a bike all day and my legs are only a little sore and I am only exhausted halfway to death at the end of each day haha. Some days we get so tired of biking around that we just leave them at the apartment and go walking to our visits. It takes a little bit more time and my feet hurt sometimes but man is it good to get away from that thing for a bit haha. So far we have not had any problems with them it is just annoying after a while! At one point this weekend we were biking and it started to rain really hard. We both got completely soaked but we just kept going anyway. We got to a house of a lady we wanted to contact and knocked on the door. She came out and was really surprised to see two young men completely soaked standing in the rain wanting to share a message with her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His plan for us. She said she would have normally said no to any missionaries on her door but that just the fact that we were still working in that pouring rain had to mean that we had something good to share. We spoke with her for a while and left her a pamphlet on the Restoration and a Book of Mormon. She said that she would read and pray about it but that she was going to be leaving for a week and would not be able to come to church. We will be going by her house tomorrow to see how it all went. Hopefully it went well!!!!
One nice thing about being on the bikes is that I don´t spend as much money on transportation like the buses and subways in the city. Therefore I have more money to spend on food haha. Needless to say my comp and I are eating well and enjoying the time together haha. About my companion he is a really good guy. Like I said he is from Peru and he is 21 years old like me. Everyone in his family are members besides his dad. He is the second in his family to serve a mission and he has 8 months so far, 2 months less that me. He loves to work and is a really good planner which helps me a lot because I seem to be a bit more yeah lets just go work and baptize everybody haha. We make a pretty good team if I say so myself. The thing is that he already has over 4 months here so he will probably be heading out this next transfer and I will stay. There are also a lot of new missionaries coming in this coming transfer and the next so it is possible that I could be training soon! I have yet to train someone so I guess we will see what happens with that!
Well anyways that´s about all I have for this week. The work just keeps on progressing and the time just keeps on passing by. It is funny to see the changes of the expression on people´s face as they ask how much time you have in the mission and the number of months just keeps getting bigger. The have stopped telling me that I am new in the mission and it has changed to a more oh, you've got experience but still have time left sort of thing. Haha I am interested to see how that goes as I get closer to my year mark.
Anyways thanks for all that you all do for me and the great family and friends that you are. I appreciate the prayers on my behalf and assure you that they help me out every day! I am so grateful to serve the Lord here in Argentina and am just trying to make the best of every single day, because they go by fast. I love you all and I look forward to hearing back next week!

Elder Zollinger

Goodbye City, Hello Bicylce! (June 9)

Hello again!

Hello from the beatiful Province of Buenos Aires! I hope that all is going well back home and that you guys are all doing good out there and loving the warmer weather. From what I have heard it sounds like all is well and life is just continuing on. Things are going great here as I continue to try and adjust to the change of scenery. I must say that working out in the Province is way different than working in the City, but it is the same great work none the less. This past week flew by as my companion and I worked very hard and had a ton of lessons with member present. We also found many new people to teach and now we are working hard with all of them to try and get them to keep their commitments. It is really something new for me to work on a bicycle... Haha needless to say my legs were a wreck this past week as we really did not walk or do near as much in the city. My area here is easily 4 times as big as my area was there and even there we took buses and subway to get between places most of the time. On the bright side I am not using as much as my monthly allowance on transportation so now I am buying even more food to eat every day haha. My companion is from Peru and they have amazing food there so today he made a dish called Arroz Chaufa, which is basically ham fried rice but even better! It was really really good. It is just rice, green onion, sliced hot dogs, scrambled eggs, and hamburger with some soy sauce. It is simple but great. I was so hungry and eager to eat that I forgot to take a picture of the huge plate I had until after I already ate it... haha woops sorry!
Other than that the other new adjustment is getting used to the dogs that seem to love chasing people on bikes haha. I almost forgot how many dogs there are out in the Province since the last time I was out here was around Christmas time. It is all good though they have not bitten me yet so I am still doing good :) The only thing that gets me is the rain mixed with the cold. It is still not too cold here but in the mornings it is around 40 degrees. During the day I would say it is in the 50s so not too bad I am just fine with my sweater. But when it rains nothing dries out because of the humidity so that is when it can get kind of annoying. Also all the biking around and preaching has made me really tired and when we get back at night I hardly can talk to my district and the zone leaders before I just rack out at 10:30. On the bright side I don´t think I hardly move until 6:30 when the alarm goes off in the morning :)
There is a brand new sister here in my district from Chile. She just finished here 12 days in the MTC then came here. Last night I talked to her and I asked her if she was happy and if she was enjoying her mission thus far. She said yes but it was not very convincing... so I asked her again and she said yes but that she was really tired from working all day. I just said, sister, welcome to the mission! Haha I really don´t understand it sometimes... I have no idea how I can be so happy and so tired at the same time... Sometimes I worry about that but then I just realize that it means I am working hard! Haha
Well other than that this week I will be having my first district meeting with my new district. I am not sure what I will talk about yet but I am sure I will talk about how to help the members understand the importance of the work and how to have more lessons with member. President Ayre has focused a lot on that lately and has said that as we strive to have more lessons with member we will start to see miracles in the work, so that is what we are doing!
Well there isn´t a whole lot going on out here all that exciting, unless you find saving souls exciting haha ;) which of course I do!!!! Haha anyway it is good to hear that everyone is doing well and that life is just continuing on back home in good old happy valley. The time just seems to keep flying by and it is getting hard to believe how fast two years can go. I am sure that as I keep working and learning and striving to help as many people as I can, it will just keep speeding up until the time rug just goes right out from under me and I find myself wondering where in the world it all went. I love this chance I have to serve a mission and to learn more about myself and more than anything to learn more about my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know and testify to all that He lives and love us, and that His hands are always outstretched to us in every part of our lives, we just have to let Him help us. Don´t worry too much if life is not going by easily, cause it was never meant to, if it did, we would go right back to the presence of God the exact same as we were when we left. Now what would be the point in that?! :)
Well that is about all that I have for this week. Thanks to all of you that have been keeping me updated about events back home and for sending your love and your prayers. You guys are the best! I love you all and have a great week!

Love always,
Elder Zollinger

June 9 (Pictures)

Here are some pics of the past few weeks. The first two are pics of reeces peanut butter cups that a member brought us back from the U.S. haha they dont make them here and I did not realize how much I miss them!!! The third is a picture of my first district as their district leader, as you can see Elder Stout is in the picture. The last picture is a pic I took randomly inside our new pension with my comp. Hope that you enjoy em. Love ya!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

La Casa del SeƱor (May 26)

Hello All!

Here we are again at the beggining of another week in Argentina! Today was a very special day as we were able to go as a mission to the Buenos Aires temple again!!! As always it was an incredible experience and so spiritually renewing to be able to go through the House of the Lord. I absolutely love the Spirit that you can feel in the temple that you just cannot find in any other place in the world. I cannot express my love for the temple enough! It has been great because we went to the temple as a mission just 3 months ago, and in past years it has not been rare to never go to the temple your entire mission. So basically I hope that this is the start of a new trend in which my mission continues going to the temple every few months. If so, I will be a very happy missionary!! I think my favorite part of the temple is that it really helps to just put everything in life back into perspective and really helps us see what is really important in this life. Which is the Gospel and our families. It really just makes our problems seem so small and to be able to feel the Spirit and learn from the Lord.
Well this past week went by fairly well. We had many lessons with members this week but there was a big party in the villa on Saturday night and we had some problems getting people to come to church on Sunday. It was kind of frustrating to work so hard all week and then have so few people come to church, but it is all good and I know that the blessings will soon be coming! The work as district leader is going great. I love being able to serve and love the missionaries in my district. I have realized that as you testify to people your own testimony really grows. It is very true what in says in D&C that both the teacher and the student can be edified together. I have really enjoyed this past transfer and had my last district meeting this past week. We have interviews with the President this week so that will be taking the place of our district meeting. It is all good though cause President Ayre is a boss haha. This next week is also the last week of the transfer which went by way too fast. Therefore I will be writing on Tuesday, June 3, next week. I have no idea if I will stay in Juncal or leave but I am thinking that I will leave. I have been here over 4 months already and if I stay another transfer that will make it 6 months here. Even so it is not very rare to have at least one area in your mission that you stay in for 6 months or so. I guess we will see what the Lord has in store for me! That is one thing that I am sure of is that I will go wherever the Lord needs me :)
So I heard that Andrew Zilles comes back from his mission in Arizona this week. Obviously his homecoming will be in our ward but make sure to tell him welcome home for me and give him a hug! He always was a really good guy and I am really happy and proud of him. Wish him the best of luck for me as he gets adjusted to home life again!
I am so very gratefull for the chance that I have to serve a mission for the Lord. I know that there is no other place in the world that I should be right now that right here. Just like everything in life it has its ups and its downs but one thing that I have not been able to deny is the presence and hand of the Lord in every moment of my mission. Despite the opposition that exists in all things the work of the Lord just keeps on moving forward each and every day. Sometimes two years can seem like a very long time to be away from home, family, friends, and "normal" things such as a cell phone, tv, and facebook. But I have seen and learned that as you just focus on what you are doing and the importance of the message that we carry, all of those sacrifices begin to seem very very small compared with the greatness of the work and the multitudes of blessings that you recieve. As I have said before, the only way to truly get to know our Savior Jesus Christ is by serving Him, and there is no better way to serve Him than to give all that you have, all your time, talents, and abilities, to Him for 2 years as a missionary. I testify to all those that read this that He lives, He loves us, and that only in and through Him can we have real joy in this world or the next. Thank you all for your love and prayers, and messages from home and I wish you all a great week!

Elder Zollinger

P.S. I am attaching the only two photos that I took at the temple today... I kinda forgot to take more haha sorry! Also don´t forget that I will be writing on Tuesday next week!!

Pictures of Area 1

Well I thought that I might finally send some pictures of what the area that I work in really looks like. Haha I promise it is not near as bad as it looks, but we did have to figure out a tricky way to get Elder Adamson´s camera in without getting it stolen. Haha dont ask... Anyway here it is! I absolutely love the area and I will be so sad when I have to leave. I am also including a photo of a random dude from Masachusets that we found that smelled really bad haha he apparently is traveling all over the world just for the heck of it. Haha hippies....