Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Love General Conference (April 7, 2014)

Hello all!

I just want to start off by saying how much I love General Conference! We are so blessed to have the opportunity to listen to Apostles, Prophets, and servants of God every few months. It is really funny how excited us as missionaries get about General Conference. We were all looking forward to it this past week and we were all so excited when the first session began. It is also pretty stressfull because we know that all of our investigators need to get there and see it!!! There is just a spirit that you can feel watching General Conference that you don´t get any where else. The talks during this past conference were definitely inspired and it is great how even when the general authorities are talking to the entire world, the Spirit makes it seem as though they are talking right to you. I recieved a ton of personal revelation through the talks given that will help me to be a better missionary as well as a better person and son of God. I hope that everyone back home had the chance to listen to all the sessions of conference and if you didn´t, then watch or read them!! There are so many ways to listen or read the talks now that there is not much of an excuse to not listen to what the Lord has prepared for us to hear at this moment. One of the things that hit me the most is when they talked about the handbook Preach My Gospel as a handbook for all members, not just missionaries. I add my testimony along with those of the Apostles that everyone should buy and read a copy of Preach My Gospel and then apply the teachings to what we do every single day. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said, our most important duty as members of the Church of God is to preach the Gospel!! I know that if we all read that and apply its teachings, the Lord will guide us to those who need the Gospel and we will be better able to work with the full time missionaries and together bring more souls unto Christ! There were way too many great talks to talk about them all, but I just hope that everyone can find some time throughout the next few days or weeks to listen to, take notes on, an apply the teachings of God that we given these last few days.

We were extremely blessed to have 2 baptisms this weekend as well! We had the service in between sessions on Sunday. The service was for Lorena Ortiz and her son, David Fasanaro. I was able to baptize David and it was great! I am so blessed to have been able to help them accept the Gospel and see their lives change as they have done so. I remember when we first started talking to Lorena a few weeks ago she told us that she had seen us talking with someone a few days earlier and she felt the impression to talk to us. However, she said to herself that if we truly were servants of God and it really was His will, that we would come to her house and teach her. A few days later both Elder Molina and I had the impression to talk to a young woman riding her bike (Maria), who ended up being her niece. When we went over to her house to teach her, we met Lorena and began teaching her in earnest soon after the baptism of Maria a few weeks ago. Lorena´s oldest son, Nahuel, was baptized and confirmed this last weekend and she was able to attend which really touched her heart. She is an amazing woman and single mother and I don´t believe that I have had a convert yet in the mission that has been quite so ready or happy for their baptism as she was. It was truly a great blessing to take part in this great change in her life. We will be having their confirmation this next Sunday and I will be confirming her as Elder Molina confirms David. I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven for the chance to serve him and be able to perform sacred, saving ordinances. I will keep you all updated on how they progress and I will send pictures in another email!
This past week we also had zone conference with President Ayre in the mission offices. You know, at first I was kind of upset that my mission was so small in terms of land area, but now I realize just how much of a blessing it is. We are always in contact with the President and offices and if we ever have to get there it is never more that 2 hours away. It is also great to be able to keep in touch with friends in the mission. Anyway we had a great conference and President Ayre along with his wife and the assistants taught us a lot of stuff to help us improve as missionaries. He focused a lot on helping the wards with retention. He said that this mission baptizes so much that sometimes it is hard for the wards to keep up with retention efforts. There is no good to helping people come unto Christ through baptism if they do not endure to the end!
The weather this past week was humid and rainy. The temperatures are still cooling off but the humidity is keeping it hot for me. I got soaked through probably 3 or 4 times this week but it is all good it is just water! I just keep rotating my shoes on the fan to dry them out and get them wet haha. I have heard that this week the weather will cool off more though and the rain will stop for a few days. I guess we will have to see!
Well between the baptisms, zone conferences, and general conferences this week was really really busy. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us this week and the rest of this transfer. This transfer ends on April 22 so we have just a few weeks left. I have no idea what is going to happen this transfer, anything can go down. Both my companion and myself have time in this area so either one of us can leave or stay. I am not too worried about it right now though there is still time to keep working before that comes! I really do love this mission though. Even though it is difficult in many ways I am definitely blessed to be here. I love being able to help people to come unto Christ and see the change that comes in their lives through his power and atonement. Just like was said in conference, the load that the challenges and difficulities of life actually give us the traction to continue on and progress. Without a load or something to weigh us down a bit, we would just spin out and get stuck. That is how I have come to be gratefull that the mission and life in general is not easy, because if it was I would never learn anything! I just hope that when challenges, difficulties, or problems come to us in this life we can all realize their real potential to help us progress and not as something to hold us back.
Well I just want to sign off for this week with my testimony of the reality that we have living Prophets and Apostles in the Earth today. They have spoken this last weekend and all we have to do is listen and apply their words and we will be blessed beyond all measure. Those men truly are men of God and inspired by him to lead us today. They have his authority to be where they are and say what they say. They are no ordinary men. If anybody out there has any doubt to whether Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet of God and the Quorum of the Twelve are indeed Apostles of the Lord, then listen or read their words and pray about it! God cannot lie. He will answer your prayers because he has answered mine! All you have to do is study, pray with faith that you will recieve, and then be willing to act upon your answer. I have seen this process work in me and in those around me, and I will forever serve and praise my Father for it. I love you all and am so blessed to have you all as my family and friends. Thank you all for what you do for me and I hope that you all have a great week!

Love always,
Elder Zollinger

P.S. Donovan Gualtier comes home this week from his mission in Singapore on the 10th! If you can go to his homecoming and give him a welcome home hug for me! Thanks!

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