Monday, March 31, 2014

Pictures Elder Zollinger Sent (March 30)

Chalk drawing by a Sister

Baptism of Nahuel

Tory being Tory

Tory looks really tired...haha

Maria's baptism

Elder Zollinger an Elder Molina

Elder Critchlow with Tory's broken bed....Tory said when it broke he thought he was going to

Nice hat Tory

¡Hola! (March 30)

Hello all!

Well here we are again with another week down in the good old mission. First of all we were able to have a baptism this past week! His name is Nahuel and he is the cousin of Maria who we baptized a few weeks ago. He is 17 years old and such a cool kid. He was baptized on Saturday and then I confirmed him on Sunday. He accepted everything we taught so fast and although it took 2 weeks to get him to wake up in time we finally got him to go to church the past few weeks haha. He is awesome and we were so happy to be able to have his baptism. He even had a competitive soccer tournament on Saturday that he skipped to come be baptized. 
One funny note is that there are two soccer clubs that are huge here in Buenos Aires. One is called the Boca Juniors and the other is called River Plate, and they are both HUGE rivals. His entire family are fans of Boca and he is the only one who is a fan of River, who is my favorite team as well. Last night we went to his house to fill out the baptismal registry and River and Boca were playing each other. River ended up winning on a last second goal and he was running around the house screaming while his entire family was basically crying. He ran over to me and we did the River chant and it was hilarious! Anyway it was all fun and games and his mom even made some popcorn for us while we filled out the registry. His mom also came to his baptism Saturday and afterwards she told us that she is 100% going to be baptized this next Sunday in between sessions of General Conference in the stake center! She also wants to get baptized with her other son who is Nahuel´s brother but he would have to come on Saturday to General Conference as well so he could be baptized on Sunday. We will see how that goes! We are also working with the rest of the family and are looking foward to more baptisms in the coming weeks! We are being very richly blessed with success and loving every minute of it!
Well besides the baptism this week was just good in general! Nothing crazy really happened but we are still just working along and having a good time. This week we are halfway through this transfer and it is really hard to believe. This transfer is flying by! Unfortunately our Zone missed beating the zone monthly baptismal record by 2 baptisms... we were pretty sad about that. But this next week our zone is looking forward to 7 baptisms so it looks like we might be able to give it another run this month! Besides that if Elder Molina and I end up baptizing the rest of Maria and Nahuel´s family that will be like 5 more at least so we have a pretty good chance! Usually when you break the record the whole zone goes to the temple together but there are transfers right at the end of April and I may end up leaving the area. I really don´t want to leave I love my area right now but I will go where the Lord needs me. I do feel really blessed to have been able to come here though!
The weather has continued to cool off this past week. Thursday night there was a downpour and we got soaked completely through again. It also rained Sunday morning which always makes it much harder to try and get your investigators to come to church but it was ok because I just gave them my umbrella and let them stay dry while I got wet. It was fun actually and I didn´t even mind! It is cool to see how much joy you can get from serving others! Besides even though it is cooling down here it is still perfect for me and the rain is warm so it ends up being fun more that anything. The time I spent at West Point during summer training helped me a lot not to even care about getting wet as well. Nothing in the mission can be as bad or as wet as some of the stuff that happened there haha.
Anyway I am glad to hear that everyone back home is still doing well and that the weather is heading right into spring. I always loved this time of the year as the weather gets much better and summer starts coming into view. I guess everything here is backwards as far as the seasons go which is still so weird to me haha. I don´t know if I will ever get used to it or I am sure that if I do it will be right as I am about to head home and then I will have to adjust all over again! That seems to be how life works a lot, right when you get comfortable with a change it all changes over again!
Anyways as always I just want to end with my testimony of how important this work is and that the church is true. It is the best thing ever to see the changes that come in the lives of people as they accept Christ and His Gospel. I love serving my brothers and sisters here in Buenos Aires and would not give it up for the world. Just like life, the mission is difficult but well worth it. I am so glad to have such great fam and friends back home praying for and supporting me! Thank you for all that you all do and as always just keep on keeping on! Keep the faith and fight the good fight! And remember, when we are doing all we can to keep the commandments and follow Christ, nothing is impossible! I love you all and look forward to hearing from you next week! Have a good one!

Elder Zollinger

Feliz Cumple Papá y Feliz día de San Patricio! (March 17)

Hola all!

First of all I would just like to do a shout out to my pops who had his Bday yesterday, hope that it was a great one! Love you Dad! Also Happy Saint Patty´s day today! I am indeed wearing a green tie all day today haha. There really isnt anyway here who does much today but it is fun anyway!
Well here we are again after another great week here in the great Buenos Aires North Mission! We had another fun and successful week here as we were able to confirm Maria who we baptized this past week! This week we really started working hard with her family and we have put baptismal dates with 6 of her brothers and cousins. Only one of them was able to come to church this past week so we had to push their dates back a week but they are still looking good to do it this transfer which will be great. My zone is looking to break the record for baptisms in a month here and we are only like 7 away. My comp and I should be able to have one more the last weekend of the month so hopefully that will help the zone break the record! If we do we might be able to go to the temple as a zone!!!! Haha you know that you are a missionary when everyone is working as hard as possible so that we can gain the reward of going to the temple :). 
Anyway we have also been having a lot of fun together here with the other two Elders in the ward. We all still live together so it makes for a good time. This morning one of the other Elders cut his foot pretty keep on a random piece of wood we have leaning against my bed and we pulled a chunk of wood out of the cut and he was bleeding everywhere. Haha we were all laughing, including him, as I pulled out my first aid kit and used my first aid stuff I learned at West Point save his life! It actually ended up not being that bad and stopped bleeding pretty quick. I went out and bought some wrap and used some antiseptic and non stick pads and wrapped it up for him. It reminded me of that time at west point when I tore all the skin off of my heels and Bean had it all wrapped up for me haha. He is all good though and we will keep an eye on it. The mission nurse is in our zone and will take a look at it today too.
Other than that stuff there really wasn´t anything big that happened this week. We did get soaked to the bone a few days ago. We were eating lunch when it started to rain a ton and of course we did not have our umbrellas. We had to go to the chapel for a meeting so we went to the bus stop but there were no buses running that day so we had to take the subway and then walk like 10 blocks to the chapel. After that we walked to the apartment and then we had to walk like 45 minutes in the downpour to our area to start working again cause of course the buses were still not running. Needless to say we were completely soaked. One thing I learned is that waterproof shoes are only great until you get so wet that you still get water in them. At that point the waterproofing only serves to keep all the water inside your shoes if you are lucky enough to have it stop raining haha. At the end of the day it finally let up and as we were walking back to the apartment my comp said that he thought it might start raining again. I looked at him and said nah I don't think so it has stopped for the day. Sure enough about 30 seconds later there was a thunder crack and it started raining even harder than before. Haha oops... my comp just kept repeating "No no I don't think it will rain any more" over and over again all the way home. Hahaha my bad....
We also had a cool experience with the Aunt of Maria, our recent convert. We were talking with her sons when she came in and we invited her to sit down. We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (lesson 3) and when we invited her to be baptized she started to cry and said that she would for sure. She then explained to us that she had seen us in the street a few weeks ago and said to herself that if it is the will of God and if their church is true, then they will come to my home and invite me to follow Christ. It just so happens that our baptismal invitation is "Will you follow the example of Jesus Chirst and be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood authority of God?" I guess when she heard that the spirit testified to her that it was an answer to her prayers and that this is exactly what she needs to do. She has some problems that we need to help her with first but there is another recent convert in our area that is a perfect member friend for her, so she will be going with us to visit her this week. We are really excited to see how it all goes!
Anyway it sounds as though everyone back home is having a good time and working hard. One of the best lessons I have learned on the mission is the principle of hard work and the blessings you can receive from it. I learned a lot about how to work hard at West Point but I have learned more here about why I should work hard here in the mission. It is incredible to see how much we can learn when we give up our lives in the service of the Lord. One other principle I am learning is the principle of planning. Not just planning big things far in the future but also taking time to plan your next day, week, or month. Sometimes it is bad to look too far ahead because it can distract from what you are doing in the moment but if you can find the right balance you will be able to use all the limited time we have to be as productive and efficient as possible. And when we do that we can do more for others and for the Lord than we could if we are just scrambling around wasting time. This life is short and we hardly have enough time to spend with those we love and prepare ourselves to live with our Father for eternity. 
Another thing I have really started to feel is the pure love that our Father and Jesus Christ have for us. They really do love each of us individually and perfectly. They are extremely patient with us and only ever want what is best. They cry when we cry and they are happy when we are happy and have success. Our Father only wants us to be able to come back and live with him, and he is so happy when we personally decide to follow the teachings of His son and also when we can help others do that as well. I testify that He is always watching and willing to bless us in every moment, we just have to accept the sacrifice and love of His son and keep His commandments and we will be able to have joy in this life and exaltation in the life to come. I am so happy to be able to make this small sacrifice to serve our Father and His son for two years and I am so blessed to have such great family and friends back home supporting me always. I love you all and keep you all in my prayers daily. Thank you for everything and I look forward to hearing about how things are going next week. Have a good one!

Elder Zollinger

One Week More! (March 24)

Hello all!

Well here we are at the end (or beginning I am not sure) of another week on the mission here in beautiful Buenos Aires Argentina. As always we had another great week here working in the Lord´s vineyard. This mission has been awesome so far and it is crazy to think that it is just continuing to slip away faster and faster. I have also found that on the mission the range of how you are only goes between good and perfect, but never below that haha. I can really say that even the worst days on the mission thus far have been good days. Even though the mission is exhausting in almost every sense I can really say that I would not give it up for the world. I love working and serving and doing what I do every single day!
Anyway on to the update of what happened this past week! Basically the most exciting thing that happened is that the assistants called and told us to go contact the referral that we received from Elder Ballard when he was here. The thing is he works in the multibillion dollar Sheraton Hotel here in downtown Buenos Aires haha. So basically myself and my comp just walked right in with our muddy shoes and bags and all and asked where the most expensive restaurant in the building was (were he works). To our surprise we were able to go right there and there he was! We talked to him for a few minutes and to our surprise and sadness he told us that he was not interested and not looking for a religion. As mean as that sounds he was actually very nice about it and all we could do was encourage him to take some time to read the Book of Mormon that Elder Ballard has given him and signed. I have faith that the seed has been planted in his heart though and that someday in a desperate situation he will find that Book with the signature of an Apostle of the Lord and it will find place in his soul. Elder Ballard told us that he had a real potential in this church but we know that the purposes of the Lord are eternal so even if he never accepts it in this life, there may be a work yet for him to do in the next.
Really though other than that not much else that exciting happened this week. We are still just working, finding, and teaching. We have a baptism of one of the cousins of Maria (who was baptized three weeks ago) coming up this Saturday which is great! So we will be working hard with him this week to make sure that he is prepared for that. We are also working with other brothers and cousins in the family and we should be having their baptisms spread throughout the coming weeks. Overall I would say that the outlook is good this transfer for much success!!! :)
The weather has really started to cool off here lately. It is funny because at the same time the weather back home started warming up the weather here took a plunge in temp. I guess the earth decided it was time for a change and took a jump forward haha. It is still very comfortable here though and I still do not have to wear long sleeves or anything. Although my comp from the northern desserts of Chile is almost frozen some nights haha. It is all good though and I am actually enjoying a little bit cooler weather since I went from summer training at West Point to the MTC and right as the weather started to cool off I came here where of course it was starting to warm up! So basically I am looking forward to not sweating all the time haha.
Well really there isn´t a whole lot else going on here. We are having fun for sure and absolutely loving the work. I am still in the pension with 4 elders so it is usually a really good time in there. We like to joke around and play pranks on each other (of course always within the rules)! It is a lot of fun though and it is incredible to see how fast time goes when you are enjoying yourself with friends like this. I didn´t even realize that this was the last week in March until a few minutes ago when I sent my weekly letter to the mission president. Haha I thought that we were still just getting started!
Anyway I just want to let you all know that I still and will always know and testify that this church is true and that we really are in the service of the Lord. It is incredible to see the changes that come in the lives of those who accept the Gospel. It affects our life in every single way possible. As it says in the scriptures if we build our lives upon the rock of Christ our redeemer we will never fall. There will always be difficulties, temptations, problems, and challenges in our lives but we just have to know that without those things there would be no purpose to our being here. I promise that no matter what we will always be able to overcome anything in our lives when we build all of our actions, thoughts, and intents on the will of God and His Son Jesus Christ. They will never ever lead us astray and only ever want what is best for us in this life and the eternities. Although sometimes it may be hard I can promise that it will always be worth it. I have learned so much here in my mission thus far and am so excited to see what other lessons my Father has in store for me as I continue on in His service. I am so grateful for all of you guys, my family and my friends, who are always there for me. Thank you all for all that you do and all I can say is to just keep on keeping on. Keep the commandments and keep on praying, reading the scriptures, and serving others. Thank you again for all that you do and have a great week!!!!

Love always,
Elder Zollinger

Saturday, March 15, 2014

We got a referral from who???

Hello all!

Well we had another great week here in Juncal! Just to start off I´ll let you all know that I did not get transfered nor did my companion! We are gonna be together here in Juncal for another transfer! We are both pumped and ready for another great transfer here and we are ready to get out and get some work done! This is the first transfer that I have had that I do not have to change companions. I must say that of all the companions I have had I think Elder Molina is the one I would most want to have more than 1 transfer with, so it worked out really well. Besides I really do love this area so it is a double plus! Also, with only 9 months in the mission, my comp was also called to be a district leader! I am way excited for him and also a little excited cause now I don´t have to call my district leader at night to give him numbers, since now he is my companion haha! He is excited but really nervous but he his more than ready for the job. I am pumped cause now I will get to do splits with the zone leaders and with the Elders in our district so I will get the chance to work with and learn from some really good missionaries this transfer!
Well this past week was absolutely amazing! First and foremost, we had a baptism this week! We baptized Maria! She is great and we were able to do it after stake conference in the stake center along with 3 other baptisms from other companionships in the zone. It was great and especially cool cause President Ayre and his wife were there for the stake conference and they stayed to watch the baptisms. I was able to baptize her and of course it was awesome! I love taking part in things like that and she is such a great girl and will be very strong in the church. We will keep working with her this week as we work towards her confirmation in church on Sunday! We are also going to be working with her family now to try and get her brothers and parents into the church along with her. They are a bit more dificult but I am sure with her help we will see some progress there!
Another cool thing that happened this week was that on Friday we received a call from President Ayre asking us what our lunch plans were. We replied that we basically had nothing planned for lunch and he offered to take myself and my comp as well as the other two elders we live with out to lunch to talk about opening up another area in our ward. Needless to say we happily accepted! He took us along with his wife and the assistants to an all you can eat restaurant in the middle of the richest part of Buenos Aires... It was incredible!!! I am so blessed to be here serving under him and his wife. They are such great people and I really am blessed to have a personal relationship with my mission president.
Yet another incredibly awesome thing that happened this week is that yesterday when my comp and myself were walking in our area to an appointment we received yet another call from President Ayre. He told us that he had something interesting to tell us that was going to help us know why he decided to keep us together another transfer. Needless to say we were interested! He told us that he had a referral for us, which by the way are the best things ever, especially from your mission pres, but he told us that this referral was not coming from him. A few weeks ago Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 was here in Buenos Aires giving a special fireside. Well apparently he stayed at a Sheraton Hotel IN MY AREA... more than that while he was eating in the restaurant there he began talking with a man who lives in our area and he told President Ayre that he had a very strong impression that the man was going to accept the Gospel and be baptized.........................
So here we are talking with the President in my area and needless to say our jaws hit the ground when we hear that we were receiving a referral from an Apostle. Basically we just got a referall from the Lord himself.... HAHA! More than that President Ayre told us that he was going to send this man an email and that he was going to set up a dinner appointment in the Sheraton so that Elder Molina and myself along with President Ayre can go and contact the man together over a meal. I still don´t think that I have quite realized what is going on with this haha. I will definitely keep you all updated with how this one goes hahaha. That is about all the information I have right now. Just to sum it up we received a referral from Elder Ballard who stayed in a hotel in my proselyting area and I am going to go contact him with my Mission President over dinner in a Sheraton Hotel... WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! It is so cool to see that even the 12 Apostles of the Lord are still out doing missionary work talking with everybody!
Well now that that story is through I don´t know if I will ever be able to have another week quite so cool as this one haha
. I guess something else cool happened though! We found this dude from Paraguay that cuts hair for 30 pesos (which is incredibly cheap) and he is absolutely legit! He cut the hair of the 4 Elders in our ward and he also wants to listen to us, but he lives in the area of the other Elders. So basically we get really really sick haircuts for really really cheap! And the other Elders are teaching him and his family! Haha it is great to see the hand of the Lord in the work and I am so blessed to be but a small part of it. I am so excited to keep on working this transfer and both my comp and I have made some good goals to work on so that we can be the best servants of the Lord that we can be. I would not give up the chance to be a missionary right now for the world!
Other than that stuff there isn´t much else going on around here to speak of. The weather is really starting to cool off now. It is definitely NOT cold but rather really comfortable. I wish it would stay like this all year but it´s going to continue cooling off now as the weather up there keeps warming up. This week I will also finish up the processing to get myself a visa for Argentina! Haha basically up till now I have been here without much of anything, just my passport. The process has been pretty long but that is just how it works here I guess. 
 Also Elder Stout (my buddy from West Point) is doing great as well. He went up to Senior comp last transfer and aparently is having over double the number of lessons and baptisms as the standard of excellence for the mission. I am way proud of him but not suprised, he has always been wayyy to good at everything he does haha. 
Anyway I just want to thank you all for all your prayers, love, and support for me. I love all of you and I keep you all in my prayers each and every day. It is great to see the blessings that come from serving the Lord and I hope that we can all continue to do it together for the rest of our lives and into the eternities. Just remember, the Gospel should not just be a part of our life, it should BE our life, cause without it there would be NO life to live! Thanks again for all that you do and I look forward to hearing from some of you again next week! Adios!

Con mucho amor,
Élder Zollinger

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Week (March 3)

Hello all,

Well this past week went really well! We were able to have the confirmation of Vanessa who is one of the girls we baptized two weeks ago but she couldn´t make it to church last week so we did it this week. As always it was great and I loved being a part of it.

This week the other Elders in the ward had 3 baptisms so we worked all day Sunday to help them prepare everything that they needed for it. I was asked to lead the service and serve as a witness so that was really nice of them. I love serving in any sort of capacity at baptisms because they really are such great experiences. I love seeing people accept the Gospel! It really is one of the best things ever to see people change and leave their old selves behind as they press forward with faith into their new lives centered in Jesus Christ.

 This next week we should be having the baptism of María who we have been teaching the past few weeks. She is legit and really excited to be baptized. We will continue working with her this week and I will let you know next Monday how it all went! We are also starting to teach the rest of her family and she has some brothers who are really cool kids and our goal is to try and get them baptized in a few weeks as well and help the whole fam enter into the church together! We had quite the surprise this week when Maria´s mom told us that she was baptized into the church about 20 years ago but went inactive shortly after. She said that if her daughter decided to get baptized she will accompany and support her for sure and if Maria wants she will even start coming back to church. It has always been my goal to bring a complete family into the church so I hope I stay here next transfer and I can realize that goal!!

Speaking of next transfer the transfer day is this next week so I will not have Pday next week on Monday but rather on Tuesday. I will let you know then if I get pulled to another area or not but I think that I should be staying here.

As with other things everything is going well here. The weather is cooling down nicely now and I am loosing much less water due to sweating than I was a few weeks ago haha. It is actually very comfortable now and I wish that it stayed like this all year long. It is all good though I am ready for the change and soon enough winter will be upon us here as summer starts heading into the states as well.

So today is Carnival and apparently that is a big deal here or something. It took us about 40 minutes to find a place that was open with internet and everyone is wearing their old clothes cause apparently it is not uncommon to get soaked in water and beer today. Haha I guess it is a tradition to get wet on carnival or something and I will be sure to walk around with my mouth well closed. I will let you know next week if I made it through today dry or not haha.

Anyway there really is not much else going on around here. Sadly due to inflation Subway raised the prices on their sandwiches so we don´t go there any more. I guess the inflation is going rampant here cause all the prices on things keep going up. They raised our monthly allowance by 100 pesos but even then we are having a hard time keeping up with the price hikes. It is all good though the church is keeping good care of us and the financial secretary here is working really hard with headquarters in Salt Lake to keep up!

Basically we are just working hard here and pushing right along. Feburary flew by and it is hard to believe that we are actually going into March already. The time is going by fast but I am loving every day that I have here. I am pretty excited to see what happens this next transfer and whether or not I stay here. I love this area and I kinda hope that I do stay here but I am willing to go wherever the Lord has a need for me.

Real quick I would just like to testify of the power of the temple. It truly is the house of the Lord and we are all so blessed to live so close to there in Logan. If any of you feel like you just need time to think or escape the world I promise you that there is no better place than the temple. If you cannot enter than even just to go and sit at the base of such a magnificent and holy building will help you to feel at peace and help open the windows of heaven. We can always feel the spirit stronger when we are in the service of our fellow men as in the temples or when we purposely strive to be closer to God, the both of which we can do in the temple. I know it is hard sometimes to find time but even if you have 5 minutes to drive past the temple even with the kids in the car and say a quick prayer, the Lord will bless you more than you can know. I love you all and I hope that you all can get the support and blessings you need from our willing and loving Father in Heaven. Always remember that every blessing we recieve is dependent on the principle of the Gospel to which it is attached. So basically keep the commandments and the Lord will bless you. I love you all and if there is anything I can do for any of you in any way just let me know! I love to hear from you all! Have a great week!!!

Elder Zollinger

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 2014 --- Burger King here I come!

Tory found a Burger King one day and just had to have a giant size meal.....I think he paid for it later, but said he would be going back again :)

I am ready for the Challenge !

Keep Calm and Preach on February 24, 2014

Hello friends and fam,

Hello all! I hope that all is going well back home and I am glad to hear that Mom and Dad enjoyed their trip and made it back home safe. This past week was great and we were able to have the confirmations of the baptisms we had last week. We kind of hit a lull this week as we kind of baptized all our active investigators... but it was all good because we were able to go out and find more people to teach! 
We found a girl this week whose name is Maria. She rode by on her bike and both Elder Molina and I had the impression that we needed to talk to her. We stopped her and talked a few minutes and she invited us to her house to speak more. We went over and after teaching her for a little while she told us that we were late. We asked her late to what and she said that she has been praying that the Lord would put people in her path that would help her have the true Gospel of Christ in her life and that she has been waiting a long time for us. It was incredible to hear her say that and she came to church yesterday and loved it. She has a baptismal date for two more weeks and she also has a huge family so we will start talking and teaching all of them this week too and see what happens! It is incredible to see the hand of the Lord in this work and I have no doubts that he guides us and helps us to know where to go and with whom to talk as we do all that we can do to find those people that are prepared to accept the Gospel. It is interesting how missionary work has changed the past few years. We don´t do any tracting nor many random street contacts like what so common in the past. The vision now is that we always have a member with us and we ask for referrals from every single person we teach, as well as follow the Spirit, as we did with Maria!
Well other than being led by the Spirit in the work of the Lord nothing else really new has happened this week. Just teaching, preaching, baptizing, confirming, and loving every minute of it! We have had some good times these past few weeks between myself, my comp, and the other two elders that we live with. This transfer has been the best one by far and we still have two more weeks left to get some more success in. We are always joking around in our apartment and having a good time. This past week we borrowed a maniquen (no idea how to spell that) head from a member and made it look like someone was sleeping in the bed of Elder Gallup (one of the other Elders I live with). When they came back to the apartment he about died when he walked into the room haha. He just kept saying "I don´t like this!" and pointing at his bed. We got it on camera so it will be a good memory from this transfer hahaha.
Well the weather has started to cool down more too. I heard that things are finally warming up back home which is great. I guess in the next few months we will have to change seasons once again. I am actually really happy cause I hate heat and humidity! Our apartment has air conditioning though so these past few weeks have been much more bearable for that!
Between this transfer and the next we are going to be losing a ton of missionaries. By the next few months the number of missionaries in the mission will be going from 286 to about 250, where we are expected to stay for the foreseeable future. My trainer who did my second half of my training also goes home this next transfer so I will have to go to the mission offices for the farewell and say bye to him in a few weeks. Also I am pretty sure that my next friend to get back will be Donavan Gualtier. I think he should be getting back in a month or so but I am not sure I will have to email him and see. It is nuts to think that all those guys are getting back but my time in the mission is flying by too so I guess it won´t be that much longer till it is my turn. 
I was talking to a member this week and he asked how long I have been in the mission. I told him 6 months and he was all like "oh so you aren´t that new anymore." I was all like no I am still very new haha. But I guess he is right cause a fourth of this experience of a lifetime is already gone... I still feel like I just left the MTC haha. I guess I still have plenty of time left but it is crazy to see it fly by. What is even more crazy is that everyone says it only gets faster!
Anyway I hope that all is well for you all back home and that you all are enjoying whatever it is that you are doing. As always I just would like to testify that this truly is the true church of Christ. Sometimes when we are members for a long time we forget how big of a blessing it is to have the true Gospel of Christ in our lives and we forget how blessed we truly are and sometimes the Lord has to help us remember what it is to be humble. I just hope that everyone can always remember what it means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and will always pray to our Father in good times and bad. One thing that I have learned lately is that God truly is our Father, as literally as our Earthly Fathers are our fathers. He loves us as a Father and only wants the best for us, and he is always willing and ready to bless us, but most of the time whether or not we receive those blessings rests on our own actions and worthiness. I hope and pray that everyone will always be worthy and ready to receive whatever blessings or work that the Lord is ready to give us. I love this work and my mission and I am so blessed to have such great family and friends in my life. Thank you all for all that you do and I hope you all have a great week!

Love always,
Elder Zollinger

6 months gone :( February 17, 2014

Family and Friends,
Well there you have it, like I said in my last email this past week I completed 6 months in the mission. I still can hardly believe that I am 1/4 of the way through... It is a crazy feeling and what is even crazier is that I know the time is only going to start going by faster! My mission president told me that the first 6 months are the slowest, the second 6 months go by in a snap, and then the last year doesn´t even exist. Which is sad because looking back the first 6 months flew!!!! Oh well though, I am just trying to make the absolute best of every single day that I have in the mission and work as hard as I can!

This past week was great and we saw a ton of miracles! It is such a testimony builder to see the hand of the Lord at work with us here in this mission. Like it says in Jacob 5, the Lord of the vineyard is a work with his servants for the last time in the vineyard. This past week we were able to have 3 baptisms!!! They were of two girls who are sisters and another unrelated girl as well. The other two Elders that we live with also had a baptism of a guy named Diego as well. So in total our ward had 4 this past week. We also were able to confirm a girl who my companion had baptized this last transfer and was never able to come back to church to get confirmed! I know it sounds like a weird situation and I really don´t know all the details, I just know that it was a miracle that she could come to church and get confirmed a member and receive the Holy Ghost! 
The two sisters that got baptized this week are named Fiorella and Vanessa. They are 11 and 15 years old respectively. They are great but their parents are really catholic and did not want to give them permission to be baptized. We worked a ton with their parents and saw many miracles as we tried to gain their trust and show them the necessity of the baptism of their daughters. Finally three days ago the father said that he would be wrong to deny his daughters when they were trying to follow Jesus, and he signed the papers. I was able to baptize Vanessa and it was great! I was also able to baptize Abigail who is also incredible. She is 17 and new here from Peru. She is absolute evidence that the Lord is preparing people here to hear the gospel and accept all that it entails. Any time that she had a question or doubt we just taught her the basic doctrine using the scriptures and invited her to pray to God for an answer, and every time she was able to receive answers to her prayers. It just goes to show that if we have faith, God will ALWAYS answer our prayers because He wants us to know His truth! 
Anyway I absolutely loved being able to be a part of those sacred ordinances and am so happy for them and for their decision. We will be working more with them this week as they prepare for their confirmations this next Sunday!

Really other than that, not much else is going on around here. We are just working hard and enjoying the mission every day! There is always trials and hardships in all that we do but we just have to remember that they are always for our benefit and we can always learn from them. Like today I had the trial of having to play soccer with a bunch of Latinos and got wrecked. It was hard and the score was very lopsided but I know that I can take something from that experience and move forward hahaha. No but really it doesn´t matter what trial we have we can also learn from them and be better because of it!

Anyway I just want everyone to know that all is going well out here and that I am happy and healthy. The area is great and so is my comp. The language is coming along well and even though I am not near fluent I am still learning and progressing. We are looking forward to more success in this area in the coming weeks and I have no doubt that there are more people here that are ready to accept the Gospel and enter into the covenant of baptism. It is crazy the things that happen when you just invite people to do something. Like a cousin of Fiorella and Vanessa came to church with them and attended their baptisms, and right after the service my companion and I put a baptismal date with her for two weeks from yesterday! Really all we did was invite her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and her cousins and be baptized by someone with the priesthood authority of God. We have a FHE tonight with the family and we will shortly be putting dates with more of their friends and family members :) !!! Man I love this work! Haha

Well that is really about all that I have for this week. Just please continue with the prayers and support. Not just for me but for my investigators and so that we will be guided to them. I would rather take a prayer for the well being of my investigators and to help me be guided to those who are ready above a prayer for my personal well being any day! We are well taken care of here no need to worry about me personally! Anyways I love you all and am so blessed to have such great friends and family. Thanks for everything and have a great week!
Love always,
Elder Zollinger

Elder Zollinger and Elder Molina,  Juncal Argentina Baptisms

Elder Zollinger's Mission District at the Buenos Aires LDS Temple

Buenos Aires Temple

Elder Zollinger and Elder Molina