Monday, June 30, 2008

3 weeks in the field

Família! What's novo?
I should have expected this week to be a little rough. I'm having my ups and downs, but I am still happy. Well, the language is really coming a long. There are times when I am loving it and can understand everything. But, there is definitely a huge cultural block sometimes! Sometimes I feel like I am going to explode because I can't express myself in Português like I can in English. But everything is good I just need to learn patience. Patience has been a real problem lately! My ward here is really small, maybe 40 people, but only 15, sometimes 20 show up most of the time. Did I mention our bishop is like 25! I meet someone new at church every week because everyone is semi active. Its really lame. Also we are teaching a lot of lessons and everyone has a lot of potential but they all lack motivation. Its really frustrating to know what it could be like and not know how to get there. Ha, or even know how to get there but it's a slow process and it's difficult to see short term progress. But I haven't forgot the kindergarten secret. And I have been writing a talk on missionary work that I hope it will help. Maybe I will send you guys a copy and brother hill can translate it for you all. Yesterday I was really wishing I could just have like ten strong members that would be able to help me in the work I have to do here. It's also been a little tough this last week because my comp is on his last transfer and he is getting a little trunky and I am not sure what to do but to kick him in the shins and tell him we need to get to work, in Português of course. But, I have to admit it is hard not to become a little trunky when your companion does everything with you. OK, pooh, I am done complaining, thanks for listening to me ramble about my problems.
So this week Margarete was in Porto Allegro so we haven't seen how she has been doing lately. My lessons are really improving. I am speaking a lot faster now and when I am teaching I can try to focus on teaching with the spirit versus worrying about my pronunciation. We had zone conference this week and it was really rejuvenating and the food was really good;) It was a good experience because I was feeling a little down about my Português because a few times investigators haven't been able to understand what I am saying. It's kinda funny cause I speak great Português but people down here speak gaucho. But, at zone conference I boar my testimony and said the closing prayer and everyone was complimenting me on my Português afterwards. The meeting was really powerful. We have a great mission President. He has some really awesome ideas and is really funny and so is Sister Myrah. Apparently he isn't the typical Brazilian mission president, thank heavens. I have really learned a lot this week and am really excited to kick it in to gear this new week. I sure hope everything is going well and you all have fun in California. I will be praying for cool experiences to write you all about next week and your all in my prayers.

Amor do Brasil, Elder Z(I tell everyone to pronounce my name superman)

Greetings from June Lake, CA

This is where we are staying - just a pic from the internet but hey, it's better than no picture! June Lake is 20 miles north of Mammoth lakes and south of Yosemite! We are enjoying the cool fresh mountain air and beautiful views of mountain peaks, pristine lakes and pine trees. We will be picking up a cord for CBZ to download pictures to his computer and I will post some of the awesome ones he has taken. We even saw a bear this morning about 50 yards away - attempting to get into a garbage can - but hey it was still pretty cool. Have a great day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Grass is always Greener...

Than..... well....dirt.
We put in sod yesterday and it looks pretty good.
Still some areas to fix up but definitely an improvement.

Things are progressing....
The end is in sight.....
Well... I can dream can't I???

Actually, looking at the first picture it's quite encouraging... I wish I took more detailed pictures... I feel a slide show coming on.....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

stampin stuff

OK, so I decided not to post stamping stuff on here but I just can't help it. Check this out!It's the coolest little stationary box and it wasn't very hard to make. Take the lid off and:
The front panel drops down to reveal an address book, pocket for stamps and a beaded pen.
It also holds 10 gift tags.
Six 3 x 3 cards with envelopes.
And six regular sized cards with envelopes. I will be having a class in July to make these babies.

Ok, back to the yard project - I'll update you on the progress soon.
Still in the "what the heck was I thinking" stage but making progress
Sod coming tomorrow.....

Monday, June 23, 2008

News from Brazil

Oi família! Outra semana(another week). How is everyone? Was really great to get all of your letters! This week I had a few ups and downs. The beginning of the week started out really strong. We were working really hard and our work was paying off. We have 11 new investigators and my lessons are really improving. But, we have been having a problem with our shower, it doesn't turn completely off. So, on Friday we went into the city to get everything worked out. Then we ended up spending almost the whole day waiting for the guy to come and fix our shower. I got some studying in but as for contacts and lessons that day was wasted. Then Saturday I had my first baptism! It was a member of the ward, named Nefi and it was beyond description. That took up a lot of our time but we had a pretty productive day after that. Yesterday, I could understand what people were saying but I would have to translate everything into English before I could respond. So, I ended up just smiling and nodding most of the time. Sometimes it was pretty embarrassing and I wanted to just talk to someone in English for two seconds. But, no hahaha. I'm not letting it bother me but I realized how fragile knowledge is. If we don't nourish it, practice it and continue with it. It will be lost forever. So, I got a little homesick yesterday, but, I'm over it. Just gotta get back to work.
One thing someone said in the MTC has really helped me have a better outlook on life. He told us about a person who was always waiting for something, always depending on something to be happy. Started when he was a kid wanting a bike or something, then to finish school get married, have a house, miscellaneous. But it ended up when he was old all he wanted was his time back. This is our time to be happy, we CANNOT wait for something to be happy or we will NEVER be happy. We gotta bite into those lemons and just smile even when we don't have sugar (haha just thought of that, huh). Anyways, be happy, I am happy! By the way, Last week in church I said the sacrament prayer and I have done the anointing on two blessings. Oh yeah, the food is really good here, not a great huge bbq every day but we get rice and beans, a little meat(some times beef sometimes chicken and sometimes I really don't wanna know :). And I buy a lot of groceries! Eggs, cereal, milk, yogurt, fruit, cookies, ham, cheese, bread. So don't worry about my eating. Also, Santa Maria is really civilized, people are really nice, I am well taken care of don't worry about me.
Here is my address: Elder Mark Robert Zimbelman
Caixa Postal 0339
Centro-Santa Maria-RS-97001-970

Send me stuff :)

Até proxima semana(Until next week)

Amor do Brasil

Elder Z

Friday, June 20, 2008

All Bundled up - Summer Mornings

This was our thermostat last week at 7am - 62 degrees. I was so happy! I had opened all the windows in the house and strategically placed fans to bring the wonderful cool air inside. The thermostat touted my success. If we closed the windows at the right time chances are the air conditioner wouldn't come on until well into the afternoon. My family was not as enthusiastic. Mark put on a jacket and asked where his warm pj pants were. Jenn came down in her warm robe and curled up on the couch in a tight ball. Christian commented that it was freezing. Truth be told, the house is not this cold in the winter time... maybe I've over done it?

Cool (maybe even chilly) mornings in the summer are what I grew up with. I realized only ten or so years ago that my childhood home in the San Fernando Valley (north east of LA) didn't have central air. We had one room air conditioner in the den. My mom would always open the windows in the morning to cool the house and then close it up hoping it would stay comfortable for as long as possible. On days the thermometer hit 100 or higher she would turn on the air in the den and we all hung out in there watching TV, reading or listening to records (OK, I'm old) and dancing around. Cool summer mornings are so refreshing - I feel like I can breathe and make it through the hot day. Maybe that's why I felt like I was suffocating during those 8 summers in Arizona, it was hot 24/7... But that's no reason to freeze my family - Sorry guys!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Elder Z has arrived (in his area)

Here is Rob's email that arrived today. It's always a relief to hear he's safe and sound.

Hey Everyone! What's going on? Was good to hear from you! Uruguaiana is really a great city. My companion is really cool. His name is Elder Silvéria. He is from São Paulo and doesn't speak a lick of English. So, I am learning fast! I'm really glad I worked hard in the MTC. I can understand just about everything the people here are saying as long as multiple people aren't talking. I can also say a lot, almost all I want to. I have really been blessed. Yesterday in sunday school we were learning about gifts of our father in heaven. Luckily I was paying attention and could understand. When they were talking about the gift of tongues and then they asked me if I wanted to say anything. I was able to speak and everyone understood. It was kinda funny, cause I was speaking a little while about my experience and then I asked if they understood. Because it seemed like they were all very attentive. But they all nodded that they could understand. Foi bem legal(Was very cool). I have learned a lot out here. We have been teaching a woman named Margarete. She is probably mid thirties and has problems smoking. Her son was baptized and she wants to be baptized. A few days ago she commited to stop smoking and we took her cigarettes. But, I think it might be hard for her to quit because her husband still smokes and doesn't care to hear our message. It has been really touching to see how enthusiastic she is when we go by her house. I have developed a love for the people here already. I really hope she can stay true to her convictions. I wish I had time to write you all individually but I am already going over 15 minutes. I sure love you all. I could write my next email in Português if the translator Jenn knows of works. I would enjoy that and it might help me. I will try to write more next week.
Amor do Brasil!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Elder Rob's last letter from the MTC

Wow! I can't believe it either. Monday or Tuesday he'll be heading out to Santa Maria. Sorry this is being posted late - my computer's not portable. Here's his last letter:

Another great week has flown by. How's everyone doing? I love you letters! I am taking advantage of the time I have on these P-days at the MTC but am guessing I won't have as much time to write in the field. So, enjoy it while it lasts!

   I can't wait to be in the field! Next time I write you guys and gals I will be in the field! Isn't that crazy! Wow time has really jumped! The language has been a process though. I begun knowing nothing, then I knew stuffs and couldn't apply it, then I could talk but still not understand, now I am really feeling the gift of tongues. I have a lot to be thankful for!! I am in no way fluent but the fact that I can say just about say all I want and understand a lot is really amazing! It's been eight weeks, can you believe it?! I can't believe it's still winter, yuck! I'm really jealous of your summer. Winter has kind of set in here and it's a little nippy. So, I'm really dreading jumping down back into winter when I can't snowboard!

   But, anyways my friend elder Lemon showed me some of his journal entries and I felt like mine were really shallow. So I just wrote about things I have been thinking about and I came up on a really comforting thought, I will see if I can write it again...  ...The atonement is infinite, not of this world. But, of many worlds! It is not over, it goes on every day. How can Christ be free from suffering if there are people of the earth suffering. It is not a comforting thought that Christ is still suffering, but, it is a comforting thought that at the same moment we are struggling he is going through it with us. We never are alone! 

     That was really comforting for me and It brought new meaning to me that Christ can always be with us and that we are never alone! I have had such a good time here in Brasil. I am going to miss my friends here. Some of the most amazing experiences here have been proselyting. We have gone three times so far. Each time they give us ten passalong cards and a Book of Mormon. Through us in a van, drop us off in the middle of the fourth biggest city in the world and say, vamos. We have an hour and each time I have had some of the most spiritual experiences relating the love our heavenly father has for his children. In a foreign language! It is so powerful when you can tell the people of Brasil can feel the spirit working through you. You know that heavenly father is expressing his love for his children through a burning feeling in your heart and theirs. A Igreja é verdadiera! Deus ama nos! Todos as pessoas na terra  podemos voltar à presença de Deus com seus famílias. Eu sento o espírito santo em mínha vida e ele testificiu a mim esse eles coisas é verdadiero! Eu amo vocês com todo minha coração e eu sou muito grato pelo forte vocês dão mim!(The church is true! God loves us! All of the people on the earth can return to the presence of God with their families. I feel the holy spirit in my life and it has testified that these things are true! I love you all with all my heart and I am so grateful for the strength you all give me!

Christian is 16

I've heard it said that Isaac must have been younger than 12 or over 18 when Abraham was commanded to sacrifice him or it wouldn't have been a sacrifice. 

While this may be true with many teenage boys Christian is certainly an exception. While he is not perfect he seems to have the ability to learn from those around him and chooses not to make the same mistakes. Or maybe his parents had a few more things figured out by the time he joined the family. Probably both but he was definitely born with a love of life and desire to do what's right. 

Christian seems to sense the needs of those around him  and what's even more impressive is that he's willing to do what needs to be done. Christian is equally comfortable around small children, kids his own age and adults of all ages. And they sense his love and want to be around him. 

I could go on but I think he's probably already embarrassed... sorry CBZ. I feel very blessed that he's part of our family. 

If you haven't checked out his photo blog you're in for a real treat.

PS I'm a little late posting this, we were at a family reunion at Snowbird on June 3rd, his actual birthday. Even as I sit here typing he's getting his license and driving home ALONE!