Monday, September 23, 2013

Mi familia/amigos,

Well this is my last P-day here in Provo! I am very excited to get out and head down there to Argentina and get started on the work! My experience here in the MTC has really been great and I have enjoyed all of it. I was very lucky to have such a great experience and district here. I was also very blessed to be able to serve as the district leader as well. The language has been coming well and I have definitely felt the strength that your prayers for me have given me in that respect. I can hold a basic conversation and understand quite a bit of what people say, although who knows what I will be able to understand with the Argentine accent! So keep up those prayers I will need them!

This week was really good. I can't believe that my time here is really almost done... but I know that the Lord will sustain me as I get out there. This past Tuesday we had a devotional from Elder Schwitzer of the Seventy. It was amazing! It was on how to become a missionary. It was interesting because he talked about how even though we may have been set apart and ordained as missionaries of the Lord, we have to work towards and develop ourselves into true missionaries of God. It was way good. He gave examples of scriptural missionaries such as Peter, Paul, Alma, and the Sons of Mosiah. He spoke on all the different things they had to do, learn, and experience before they finally became absolutely converted themselves and were able to work miracles in service to the Lord and the people they taught. My favorite part was when he talked about the Apostle Paul. He really did have an amazing conversion story and I would suggest looking into it. Anyway as he closed his second Epistle to Timothy he talked about how he had, "fought a good fight" and "kept the faith". I really liked how he said that and I really hope some day I can say that when my time comes. Also I remembered that Adrian told me to keep fighting the good fight all the time I think when I was at West Point and I had no idea that came from the Bible haha. Anyway it was definitely a good devotional to have my last week here and really was what I needed to hear!

Yesterday we had a thing called in-field orientation. It basically consisted of going over to the main campus and sitting in classes and workshops all day on the importance of setting goals, planning, and working with members. It was really good and a lot of the points they made I had never though of before. I will definitely be a better and more effective missionary because of it. It was way long though as well and really made me even more excited to get out into the field rather than sit in classes all day long like I have for over 5 weeks now haha. I think that may have actually been a part of the lesson plan... haha who knows!

Also we changed companions this week which is actually way rare to do. My Branch President just said that he felt inspired that we all needed to have a new companion for the last week so he reassigned all of us to someone else. My new companion is Elder Garrett. He is a great kid from Kaysville. He was Elder Stout's companion and so he is a zone leader along with him. He is 18 and just graduated high school, but honestly you wouldn't know that if you met him. He is much more mature than most of the other 18 year olds and is a great missionary. I have really enjoyed working with him these past few days.

 I did get my travel visa and will be heading down to Argentina Monday morning. Dad said that you got my flight plan so look forward to me calling from Salt Lake and also from Dallas. I am not entirely sure when it will be or for how long but I am sure it will be good! I am very excited to talk to whoever will listen to me haha. I can make as many calls as I want with the phone so I should be able to talk to pretty much everyone I think. I will call home first though so stay ready and mom you can track my flights cause I know you love doing that haha.

I really appreciate the packages/letters/emails I have been getting! It has really been a blessing to me here and has helped me a lot! I still have not gotten pictures of the fam/home like I asked for a couple times... but don't worry about it now unless you like overnight it tonight cause I will not be checking mail Monday. You can try to send me stuff in Argentina but who knows what the success rate will be for getting letters/packages down there. I still think that it would be a good thing to have though to be able to show members/investigators there cause family is a very important thing down there. But if you can't or don't want to don't worry about it I am a missionary I am not allowed to get mad hahaha.

Well other than that I have been doing really well and have been really healthy! I really do feel the spirit every day and can testify of the reality and gravity of my call as a messenger and representative of Christ. It is such an amazing thing to be able to wear his name and the name of his church on my chest every day. When I put the badge on I can just feel the weight of my calling on my shoulders. But just like Joseph Smith said "how could we not go on in so great a cause?" or at least something really close to that haha.

 I can testify to all of you of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the love that our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ have for us. I am so excited to go out and invite others to feel the same joy that I have from having the Gospel in my life. I am so grateful for all of your prayers and examples for me and I have been praying for each of you every day too. I can't really think of a whole lot left to say cause really the MTC is pretty boring except for the fact that I feel like half the people I talk to might get translated any minute... hahaha. 

But anyway I just wish I could explain in words the joy that comes from missionary work even when you are still just learning about it. I know that the field will be hard but I also know that it will be very much worth it. The field truly is white already to harvest! Love you all and next time you hear from me I will be on another continent putting my shoulder to the wheel! I love you all and I am looking forward to talking with you on Monday!

Love always,
Elder Zollinger

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tory Week 4

Hey all!

Things are going great for me here, but unfortunately I do not have a lot of time today, I am at the main campus and have to catch a bus back to the west campus to go get my hair cut in ten minutes, so I will type as quickly as I can!! The west campus is awesome! We all live in apartments meant for college families and we have a kitchen and a living room with couches. It is pretty sweet haha. We also have our classes in apartments and my district meets in a living room, which is kind of weird but a good place! Thank you all for the packages and letters I got for my birthday! That was awesome and I really enjoyed getting all the candy (as well as my district haha). Things are going good with the language and teaching, it is getting boring to have 6 hours of classes a day, but this next week is my last full week so that is great!!! I am really excited to get out into the field. 

Oh by the way we just found out today that we got travel visas to go straight down to Argentina on the 23rd which is awesome!! They are good for 90 days and so hopefully our regular visas go through in time so we can get those while we are down there on our travel visa. The travel visa is a new thing that they are doing for people going to Argentina and we are only the 3rd district that they have done it with. I guess the Lord just needs us down there right away!! I am really excited but kind of nervous I won't lie! But it is all good I know that the Lord won't let me fail as I get out into the field. I should get my travel plans today and I will let you know next week or in a letter what they are. Very exciting!!

I am so happy to be here and I really do love this work. Everything else is going great, I am doing well and am healthy. Thank you all for your prayers for me I can honestly feel the strength it gives me every single day here. I will try and write another email today about some more stuff if I get a chance, but no promises on that one. Oh yeah by the way I have a new address for the West Campus this week, it is:

Elder Tory Zollinger
2023 North 900 East
Unit 888
Provo, Utah 84062

You may want to check the zip code on that for Provo, I dont know if I quite remembered it right haha. You could just call the MTC desk and ask for the West Campus address just to be sure, but I know that our mail box is number 888 cause I have to check it every day because I am the district leader still haha.
Anyway I really do love you all and pray for you every day. I testify that this work is true and that the Lord very much lives and loves us. I will keep you updated on flight plans and other happenings as my time in the MTC nears to an end!! Love you all!!

Elder Zollinger

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tory MTC Week 3


Hello all! I hope all is going well back home in good ole Cache Valley! I have had a really good week this week and have learned so much it is ridiculous. I am really learning to absolutely love being here and how great of an opportunity and experience this really is. Everything is going well as far as the language and the gospel goes. I have been picking up Spanish pretty fast now, and I almost have all the tenses down and now just really need to work on expanding my vocabulary. I was joking with another missionary the other day that it is funny what they teach us for Spanish class cause it is all gospel related. I joked that I can say "through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed from sin and return to live with him again after death" but struggled and always forget how to say "Where are you from?" or get lost when people try to talk to me like a normal person haha. Oh well I guess I will just have to pick that kind of stuff up as I go! And besides maybe if I get lost talking to someone in Argentina I can just start saying things I know and then I can teach them something!! Haha 

Anyway I am having a good time with it and learning a lot. It is crazy how fast time has flown here as I only have about 2 1/2 weeks left here in the MTC before I fly out into the field. I feel like I have so much more to learn before I am even remotely ready for the field, but I am sure I will have everything I need to be successful as I head out there here soon. As far as other news goes, my entire zone is moving out to the West Campus of the MTC on Tuesday, so I am going to be packing up all my things this weekend and getting ready to completely move everything. I will probably be getting a new schedule and probably even new address so I will try to let you all know ASAP if that happens. I know that may mess up birthday packages but I really don't know how the address thing will work. The West Campus is somewhere where we have to ride a bus to get over here to the regular campus to go to the bookstore or get haircuts. But we will have all of our classes and things over there as well as on P-days we can go to a jamba juice apparently so I am not complaining!! Anyway I will try to do my best at getting you all the new address if there is a change for that. Sorry!!

Anyway this week we have learned a lot about teaching people, not lessons. This pretty much means that we focus all of our efforts at getting to know our investigators, finding out what they are struggling with in life, and apply our knowledge of the gospel to help invite them to come to Christ and receive the restored gospel without any set lessons that we have to teach. It is really amazing as we really just study the scriptures and our handbook and make a basic outline of what we think and what the spirit testifies to us about what we should teach our investigator, and then we just go in and talk with them. It is really more of just a talk and helping them apply doctrinal principals to their life to try and help them with what they need. It is a lot of fun seeing people come closer to the Savior as we teach them the truth and about his love and sacrifice for us. And the best part is we are only working with practice investigators right now who teach here!! Haha I haven't even taught an actual investigator yet and yet I still can feel such joy when I try to teach others the truth of the gospel. The spirit is so strong here and it pushes me every day and helps me learn way faster than I ever could without him. I am really excited to get out there and teach real people in a few weeks, even if I have no idea what I am saying haha.

Cool part about the language thing is as I was teaching a lesson yesterday, I was asked a question about receiving answers to prays and I had no idea what the guy was saying, so I just asked him if I could take a second and I said a silent prayer for help. When I started talking I just started saying things in Spanish I and honestly have no idea what I said, but as I was saying it I looked at him and I could almost see the spirit touch his heart and when I was done, I asked him if he understood what I said and all he said was "yes, very much so". I had to try really hard not to both cry cause of the spiritual experience it was and laugh because I honestly could have said anything to the guy as I had no idea what I was saying haha! But whatever it was it was what the Lord wanted him to hear cause he was very much touched by it. Other than that, this week has been a very normal one with nothing all that huge or exciting to report on. 

I really enjoyed getting the packages this week and all the letters! Thank you so much for all of those! It is such a boost to get letters from the fam throughout the week. Mom, if you want, please put up an invite on my wall to my friends and tell them about my blog so that all my friends can see it and see these emails each week. Also, thank you for getting that bag ordered for me! I will have to talk to my branch presidency about getting it if my address changes though, but I am sure it will work out. I am going to try and send my backpack home here soon, although I have no idea how I am going to do it yet haha. Anyway, thanks again for all the love and prayers, I can really feel the power that comes from everyone's prayers on my behalf each day. I hope everyone who reads this is doing well and don't hesitate to email or write me if you want to! 

Also, just so everyone knows, the Church is most definitely TRUE! No doubt in my mind about it. How do I know? Cause I have read the Book of Mormon along with the Bible and prayed with real intent and asked our Father in Heaven if it is true, and I received my answer straight from the Holy Ghost, just like Moroni said I would. And if anybody who reads this doesn't know or isn't sure, I PROMISE you that you can know too! Just read it and pray about it, and an answer will come. El libro is azul and la Iglesia is verdadero (the book is blue and the church is true)!!! Yep that rhyme definitely sounds better in English haha! Love you all!!

Elder Zollinger

Tory and West Point Friends (All going to Argentina except one going to France)

Tory and West Point Friends

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MTC Week 2

Friends and Fam,

Well today is my second P-day here at the MTC. I have been here for a little over 2 weeks and have 3 1/2 left! Everything is going good! My normal schedule for a day is that we wake up at 6:30, shower and get ready for the day. Then from 7:05 - 8:15 we have personal study. From 8:15 - 8:45 we have breakfast in the cafeteria, and then from 8:45  - 11:45 we have class. All of our classes are in 100% Spanish, and I can pretty much understand most of what the teacher says, and if I don't understand I can pull the meaning out of context. I am still struggling to be able to create and speak sentences on my own though, but I know that will come with time!! Anyway after that from 11:55 - 12:45 we have gym time where we go run or lift or play a sport like basketball or volleyball, that is the best cause we get to get out of the classroom for a while and have some fun! Then from 1:20 - 2:05  we have lunch, and from 2:05 - 2:45 we have some study time. Then from 2:45 - 5:45 we have another class, which is also in all Spanish. Then from 6:20 - 7:05 we have dinner, 7:05 - 8 is personal/companion language study, and then 8-9 we use this language program called TALL on the computer. It is basically a church owned Rosetta Stone like thing. I don't really like it but we have to use it! So as you can tell we have a really busy day here every day! It is so true though when they say that the days are long but the weeks are short in missionary work, cause I feel like I just got here but at the end of every day I feel so tired from studying all day long! It is really good though and I am enjoying it! Yeah to answer a question I got I do keep the same companion the entire time I am in the MTC. It is good I really like him, he just struggles taking things seriously sometimes, and he falls asleep in everything. He does try hard though but he just always has to be entertained or he like can't survive or something. So when class or studying or whatever we are doing gets boring he either falls asleep or cracks a joke, which isn't always appropriate. But he is definitely getting better and working on it!

So this past week was a pretty good one! On Sunday I got called as the district leader because Elder Stout (who is my buddy from West Point and was originally district leader) got called to be the next zone leader, which is awesome considering we have another entire district that is ahead of us in seniority! I am glad to be able to serve my district as the district leader, but I am definitely behind them all a bit in Spanish. So I was actually really surprised when they asked me to do that cause I can barely speak anything haha. Anyway though I am happy to do what I can to help and serve them all! Also, if that was surprising enough, I sang in a choir on Tuesday at a devotional haha! It was actually really fun and my whole district did it together. We sang Lead Kindly Light. It was a really really good song! The coolest part was that it was broadcast to nearly all the other MTCs in the world cause Elder Neal L. Anderson was the speaker! It was an amazing talk that he gave and it was so cool cause nobody knew who the speaker was going to be and when he walked into the stadium (because we do our devotionals in the BYU basketball stadium) everyone stood up instantly. It was really cool though because since nobody knew who was speaking, when he walked in nobody knew who he was, but the spirit just instantly filled the entire stadium so we all knew it was someone worth standing up for. His talk was amazing and it was about love and sacrifice. He said that we sacrifice for the things we love and love the things we sacrifice for. I thought that was a really cool thought! Anyway the most impactfull thing he said was at the end of his talk he bore his testimony and as the very last thing he said was "I testify to you that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lives, that He lives and watches over and literally stands as the head of this church here on the Earth. And I can testify of these things because I am literally his WITNESS." Instantly the thought came to my mind that wow this guy is a literal witness of Jesus, so pretty much he told us he has seen the Savior face to face. If that isn't a testimony I don't know what is! What else is cool though is as he ended a huge thunder and rain storm hit and they wouldn't let us leave for like half and hour because of lightening. So as we waited he went around and shook hands and of all the rows in the stadium to go up he came right up mine! Sadly though he turned around literally 2 rows before I could shake his hand.... but it was still cool to be like 5 feet away from an apostle!! Of course we all got absolutely soaked as we walked back though haha so yeah needless to say it was a good day! Other than that though this week was pretty normal! Just the same old 6 hours of class a day and hardly understanding a thing haha!

Just a random thought! So I can receive snail mail letters or dear elder letters any day of the week, i just cannot write back until P-day. So if there is something that you want to tell me or if anyone just feels like giving me something to read during the week instead of waiting till P-day I would be happy to get some letters! I think email works the best though but it is just a thought! Also, Jenn has been sending me blog updates but I can't get on any website other than, so I can't read what they say haha sorry I wish I could!

So there is something that I really need ASAP. Apparently the church just came out with a new rule, and I'm not sure if this is church wide or not, but in my mission at least we are not allowed to wear back packs while we are in the field.... yeah... sooooo I really need you to order me one of those one strap shoulder bags! Just maybe talk to Adg or whoever it was who told us about those good ones and just have it sent straight to me here at the MTC. Don't get one that looks way nice or anything cause I don't want it to get stolen, but get a sturdy one that isn't going to just break on me within a few days. I guess I can still take my backpack down there but I can't wear it... So just let me know what you think. I guess I could just pack it up and have it shipped home, I will look into it. Just let me know in your next letter or email and I will get on it. I just need that bag before I leave the MTC or who knows if it will get to me in the field.

Anyway I think things are going pretty good around here. Not a whole lot going on, just class, study, eat, pray, sleep, and repeat. Thank you for all your prayers and updates on everything going on back home! I hope that the road trip goes good and Mom's math class starts getting less stressful! Glad to hear that everything else is going well with everyone though! I would love to hear from everybody I do read the emails I just figure it is easier to write one big one back rather than a bunch of smaller ones. Once again thank you all for your prayers and keep them coming! Especially to help me learn Spanish cause I need that one the most haha! Anyway I love you all and thanks for all the love and support! P.S. Pics are my nametape, my district, me and my compainion, and some other west pointers and I!

Elder Zollinger

Tory and his District

Tory and his District

Name Tag of  Statue Bike Rider (Tory thought his brother's would like this :))

Bike statue at MTC

Tory's Name Tag

Tory and his companion

Tory and others from West Point who are going to serve missions