Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday - not so sure it's a flashback

It's Friday and it seems like an end to me. The end of the week yes but also the end of summer. The end of my little "fall reprieve" ie. the few weeks when the kids are back in school but I'm not. Tuesday I start classes again but this is my last planned year as I graduate in April- who knows maybe I'll decide to get a masters or even a PhD if I really get bored but as of now I have no set plans. I'd really like to write... I'm working on a series of DVD's for MADD on empowering families... and I even get paid for it, but even this will be over soon and then what?

It's the end of searching for the leak in my stream (hence the picture above) - at least it better be - which means the end of this phase of my backyard project. If you live anywhere nearby you may have heard a series of WAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOO's yesterday...that was me.

In a way I feel like I''m sitting at the top of a long winding water slide and Tuesday my turn will come and I'll push off and be caught in the wild ride of the school year. I sit now with water swirling around me checking my placement on the tube and hoping I'm all ready for the fast exciting ride to the bottom...only this year I'm not quite sure what happens after that. My wonderful married kids will probably be leaving the area- Aaron and Celisa for sure will be - as they find employment and continue their education. And come this time next year I'm not so sure where I'll be. A busy, kind of crazy year and then what?

No use worrying. I'll just make sure I'm set to begin and then push off and see what the Lord has in store for me. He's never failed me before as long as I do my part. My job now is to hold on tight and enjoy the ride as I watch for direction that will surely come...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looks like I'll be stayin in Uruguiana

First District, First Zone!
Jorge Luis, Thiago, Rafaela, Ivone (In White)

As another transfer comes and goes I am filled with many emotions. I am here in Uruguiana with elder Vigeta for at least one transfer. He has been in the mission for a year and a half now. He is a very good teacher and an awesome example for me. In the last two weeks I have learned a ton! He is always very helpful (sometimes too much). He corrects every thing I do wrong in Português, which is very helpful, a little annoying, but hey what doesn't kill ya just makes you stronger né? We have a lot of investigators and are working very hard to unionize the church and the church of the missionaries into the same organization like it should be. Which is going really well; we have received a lot of help from the members and trying to remotivate them.
We have really been working on our lessons and they are coming along very well. He puts me on the spot very often so I have to be very alert to what is going on. Most important we have been trained to promise feelings of peace and tranquility during our lesson that will be sent by God to testify that what we are teaching is true. Then we always mention that promise during the lesson, when the time is right, and make sure they know that the spirit is testifying that what we are teaching is true. It has been really amazing! A few times we have had lessons that our investigators had beliefs very strange and different and when hearing the message of the restored gospel they had doubts. But when we provided a witness through the holy ghost, they could not deny it! It has been really powerful! I am very excited to stay here one more transfer with Elder Vigeta.

Love you all! Thanks for writing!

Elder Z

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Flashback Sunday?

OK, OK, so I know it's not Friday, not even Saturday but I'm still posting this. Maybe some time I'll get it on the right day but today is not that day.

Do you see this little cutie right here? Amy has started teaching kindergarten half day (actually just assessments this week) so Ruby and I get to hang out. Can I just tell you it was soooooo fun. What a happy little girl. We went to the store and I was holding her when I realized that she was smiling at someone. I looked to see who it was and there was a woman across the way but she wasn't looking at Ruby, just shopping. When I looked at her too she seemed to sense our gaze and looked at Ruby and smiled. Ruby just smiled bigger as if she had just been successful at pulling off a really great joke or brightened someone's day. She made both of our days. Ruby loves to be outside. We lay on a blanket in the shade of the Maple in the front yard and looked up at the tree. Ruby seemed to sense that the wind made the leaves sway purely for her enjoyment and enjoy it she did, with many voiced and full body expressions of delight.

Honestly I don't know how mom's with young children get anything done - yet I used to do it. I'd much rather play with Ruby than do laundry - unfortunately I'm paying for it. It's probably a good thing I will only get to play with her two to three days a week instead of all five and and thank goodness for naps. I will get organized. I did it before and I can do it again (function with a baby around). But I think this time around I will spend a little more time appreciating the simple things like Ruby does. I have a lot to learn from this little one. Thanks Amy and Jordan for the opportunity.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

King of the Hill

Just a quick note - OK a little bragging. Mark wasn't sure if he was going to race in the Snowbird hill climb last Saturday but Christian wanted to go and practice with his new camera so Mark decided to do it - - and he won his category. He would have been fifth in the pro 1,2's. Not bad for an old man (or for a young one). Christian has one picture - it's not the best but hopefully he will be posting more soon... congrats! Looking forward to Lo to Ja on Sept. 6th

5 Months! No Way

Hey Família, what's new?
It's been a bit of a long week here. We had an emergency transfer and my companion was sent away. So, I met my new companion, Elder Vigeta Thurs. and we have been working really hard to together a baptism. He is a paulista, which means he is from São Paulo and he is a really good missionary. He has been in the mission for a year and a half, so he is very experienced and a very good teacher. We had 4 baptisms on Saturday; Thiago, Ivone, Rafaela and Jorge Luis. I worked my tail off to organize the baptism and it was really a great experience.
First we have Rafaela. She is the second oldest of the 7 children of Rock and Ihada and is the neighbor of Ivone and Thiago. She has had a lot of trials. She has a firm testimony of the Gospel and I have witnessed an awesome change in her life.
Next, Jorge Luis. He is married to Beatriz who is a member. She was baptized about 4 months ago and the missionaries never took the time to talk with him. He is very intelligent and a lot of the principles we explained he already new and things just klicked. Now he is preparing to get married in the temple for time and all eternity.
Thiago is 9 years old and is the neighbor to Ivone and Rafaela. He lives with his grandma who is very kind but doesn't want anything to do with the church(but, we'll see about that). Thiago is nothing but energy. The first time he came to church with us he asked how many years you need to have to be baptized. Now, he wants nothing but to be a missionary. He is always singing, "Eu quero ser um missionario, quando eu crescer um pouco mais..."(I want to be a missionary, when I grow a little more). I sing with him and I can't help but smile.
Ivone is about 35 or 40 and she has had a bumpy life. She is single and has 3 kids. She has had her fair share of trials and really done well with what she has. When we had the interview we were talking and she began to cry, because, she has felt the influence of the gospel in her life and she said, "Eu sei que eu estou no caminho certo agora"(I know I am on the right path now). She was really excited for baptism and very well prepared.
It was really a great baptism! Then on Sunday we had around 90 people in sacrament meeting! Next week we have our normally scheduled transfer so I don't know what will happen but I will keep ya'll posted.

Love you all, thanks for writing.
Até proxima semana(until next week)
Elder Zimbelman

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two steps towards a dream come true

Remember my backyard project? Goal one "to be able to play badminton in the back yard". Check it out!.

Goal two, "eating grilled veggies from the garden", looking good!

The stream..... well, half is working great but the other half is leaking so I'm still working on that. It will be done though before the first snow flies... I can't wait.

It's been a bigger than expected project but I am still holding out hope that it will be worth it all in the end.

The veggie boxes sure have been. A group of neighbor kids came and played in the working portion of the stream yesterday and had a blast so I'm thinking it will be.....eventually.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Foster Family Reuinion

This is Mark's great grandfather Madison Kelsey Stephenson.

Bet you guys are glad they don't dress baby boys like that any more. We had a great weekend in Longmont Colorado with the descendants of Merle Nelson Foster and Velma Rose Stevenson (daughter of Madison Kelsey Stephenson). Attending the reunion were both living daughters, Jean Cline and Phyllis Tingstad, Mark's mom and an assortment of their descendants as well as Ann who represented the middle sister Betty's posterity (Betty passed away a little over a year ago). A good time was had by all. Fun activities and great food as well as sorting and discovering awesome family photos and genealogy information. Check out our pictures:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

better late than never

It is me that's late not Elder Rob. Here's his weekly letter:

FAMÍLIA! How's everyone doing?

I have very mixed feelings about this last week. On Tuesday in our District Meeting my companion and I found out that we had our Zone Conference the following day. So, we missed about 10 appointments Wed. But, Zone conference was more than I could have hoped for! President and Sister Myrrha (Me-huh) are really inspired, not to mention, really friendly and funny. We had a really good time and I had the opportunity to speak with them and get to know them a little better. But, the Sunday before zone conference I talked to our Leader of the work of the missionaries(or whatever you call it in English), and I confirmed our lunch with him, for that Wed.(zone conference!?) and told him to have churrasco, or Brasilian barbecue. Anyways, when we canceled he wasn't too happy and said he wouldn't do churrasco next so I was pretty bummed. The next day we had a Birthday we were invited to, so we brought a few people there and wasted a good hour and a half. Friday, we had an activity and again brought investigators but wasted a good deal of the night. Saturday we walked and walked and knocked doors and taught 2 measly lessons! It was a bit depressing but I didn't let it get to me. Then Sunday, Father's Day, we passed at least 8 houses trying to walk with our investigators to church and not a single one came with us. So, we had 50 people in the congregation all together and 4 investigators in Sacrament Meeting. I was really devastated. Then we heard from the other missionaries in our district and the average of people in the other wards was 20 people so I felt a bit better. But, the thing that is really sad is that, Father's Day is an excuse not to go to church here and for non-members an excuse to get drunk. But, who is the most important Father in the whole world? Who loved us so much that he sent his first born to save us in our sins? Who loved us so much that he wanted us to become like him and have everything that he has? The people here are really twiterpated!
I definitely miss our ward, our quite house too; to ponder, to study, to cook (not like I cooked before but wow, you ought to see my pastels), to draw, to talk, to cuddle(with Ruby of course), to learn.
Wow, this letter is really depressing, but, I'm not depressed. The only importance about these words is that I have a lot of work to do. I have really learned a lot being out here. I have learned that we never have to be lonely. I tell people every day; I smile, and as I am walking through the streets I look everyone directly in the eyes and as a representative of Christ I can testify that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us and wants nothing but the best for us. I have known this all my life, thanks to our wonderful parents, but, I don't think it was ingraved in my heart like it is now. The significance of this phrase, "We have a father in heaven that loves us and wants nothing but THE BEST for us." He is there, just beyond our closed eyes and crossed fingers, open hearts and our knees glued to the floor. He is waiting; to comfort us, to answer our prayers, to guide us in every aspect of life. What better message is there? I hope you don't have to think! If this message, this joy, this eternal perspective ever leaves my eyes, I want all of you to promise you'll give me a good straight one right in the jaw. Tá (ok)?!
This perspective everyone can have. I want everyone to have. There is a book that I know that has changed my life, Preach my Gospel. I don't want to take the importance off of the Book of Mormon or any of the other books of the church. But, if you want to learn; how to teach, how to converse, how to ask questions, how to help the missionaries, your responsibility as a missionary, Preach my Gospel is the Book to read. I recommend it to everyone.
On this very special day I want to share my love and gratitude with you guys, my family. I hope you all know how much you mean to me and how I feel your prayers and your love with me. If your ever feeling down, you can all feel the Holy Comforter in you times of trial and you can know that I am praying for you all.

Thanks once again for all your love, prayers, thoughts, examples! I'm truly indebted to you all. I love you all with all my heart. Thanks for writing!

Until next week.

Love, Elder Z

P.S. Still waiting for the package but Sister Myrrha says that they usually take a while, like, maybe a month. I sure hope not but we'll see.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another birthday

August 11 was Amy's birthday, she turned 23. I'm a little late... but then so was she. She was due on her dad's birthday but decided she wanted her own birthday. From the moment she was born Amy has been a joy. Although she was my only baby that was overdue, she was my easiest labor and the smallest by over a pound! The doctor even commented on how easy she was to deliver. She was a daddy's girl right off the bat - crying until he held her for the first time then she settled right down. She's so organized and on top of things and so creative. I want to be more like her. She really has a sense of what she wants out of life and she's willing to work to get it. She's a great example of service too, she has such a tender heart. It's hard to believe that now she has her own little girl. She 's such an amazing mother in every way. I look at her and I'm in awe at what a great person she has become and the direction she and her wonderful husband are going. She's such a great blessing to all that know her. Her kindergarten class is going to love her!

Happy belated birthday Amy! I love you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On the day that you were born...

Forty-nine years ago some thing wonderful happened. I was not around to see it but the event would effect my life forever. A most beautiful baby boy joined the Zimbelman family, then living in Madison, Wisconsin. He was named Mark Foster Zimbelman. As he grew, his love of nature brought frogs and snakes into his home and would eventually draw him to the redwoods where he began to wonder about God and feel the influence of the spirit in his life. I first met him at a ward social as he was organizing a skit that left the Bishop on stage on all fours with a full pitcher of water precariously balanced on his back. I loved his sense of humor. Today we still laugh together - especially when watching Brian Reagan - he laughs at Brian, we laugh watching him laugh till he cries. I am grateful for his love of God and his devotion to his family. He is a great example of leading a balanced life and it seems my wish every year is to be more like him when I get to be his age (waaaaaaay down the road...when he turns 50 next year, I will still be 45...just a spring chicken.)

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Please feel free to share memories you have of Mark - I'll make sure he reads them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another Great Week In Uruguiana!

Família! Comectá?
This week was really amazing! Elder Rodrigues and I have 15 new investigators again this week and had 14 investigators in Sacrament Meeting Yesterday; and do you guys remember the frequency of 30 people usually in Sacrament? We had 82 people in Sacrament Meeting yesterday!!! We are working really hard and it's really paying off. My planer has never been so full! Our week is almost booked and we haven't even started.
I don't like talking about numbers but if I told you all the names and stories about everyone I would need to write a book. But I want to share one story with you all. We are teaching the Family of Rock and Iada. They have 7 children and the oldest is 15! They live in the most humble of circumstances and have their share of problems. I am pretty sure the father is a dumpster diver and doesn't have any money. But, we didn't learn this until the 4th visit. Our 3rd visit we reviewed the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, because Irmã Iada was having doubts. Before our visits she was very interested in the Jehovah's Witnesses and had a lot of very wrong ideas and by her general appearance I could just tell she was confused. But, we challenged her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and that the only person that could answer her questions was God. Thursday, a few days after, our lunch fell through and we had just received our money Wed. so we had no food in the house. So, we decided to go the the supermarket and buy our groceries. It ended up that we got delayed until 4 o' clock and we missed 3 appointments already(one of which we were planning on visiting with Irmão Flores, our leader of the missionary work in our ward). He called us and we decided to split with another youth in our ward and try and visit all of our appointments. It ended up that Irmão Flores and I went to the house of Irmão Rock and Irmã Iada. There were a lot of distractions as usual, but, we started conversing. One of the first things Irmã Iada said to me is that she will go to church this week. Then I noticed; her hair was done, her face was clean, her clothes were clean and her eyes were clean and opened. I then asked her if she prayed, she said yes! She said that she knew! It was truly amazing. At the end of the lesson I asked if there was anything we could do for them and Irmão Rock told me we would talk after. I thought he meant our next appointment, but, he followed us out of the house and began to talk to us. He told us; they had no food, water and, that he had an electricity bill that he had no money to pay for. My heart stopped!
We took the bill and said we would see what we could do. The next day we were walking into the city, Rodrigues and I, and we heard a honk from behind. We turned around and there was Irmão Flores. I glanced in the back of his car, and it was full of food! Yesterday, the whole family was in church and all Irmão Rock says now is, "Aquele homem é uma benção de Deus (That man is a blessing from God)."
I know that God intended for Irmão Flores to be in the house of Irmão Rock that night and that our Heavenly Father is aware of everyone of us! Thanks for writing everyone! You all really made my day!
Love you all tons!
Amor do Brasil!
Tchau, Elder Z