Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My legs are tired!

Dear family,

This week has been extremely tiring. The work never stops! But, that is a good thing. I would hate to stop working!

This week we had Paloma's baptism! She is 8 years old and is the cutest thing in the world! She doesn't stop smiling. She told us that when we go to her house she fills with joy and just starts running to us. It really is too bad that we can't hug. Well here in Santa Maria we don't like to baptize many young kids without there families but, listen to her story.

She has gone to church six times in a row, alone! She knows where to get the bus and she gets herself up and goes! The baptism was really special. We are working with her brother and her mom that are really looking interested. There names are Jaqueline and Jackson. Jackson has already taken out his earrings but has a piercing in the eyebrow that he need to take out.

We also have a marriage and baptism this weekend for Alcir and Marta. They are very special and have been following up with the church since I have been here. Actually, Alcir is a runner and is about Dad's height. I can always remember Dad's racing stories when he is telling his.

You should also all pray for a couple called Fernando and Irene. They are going to get married and baptized on the 29th. But, it looks like something could have happened with them. We are having problems getting in touch with them. We are praying for them a ton and you all should too.

Sure love you all and am so glad that you are all doing well.

Love, Elder Zimbelman

P.S. That is awesome all that I heard about Christian's Eagle project! You will love it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

This just in...

A PS to yesterdays post.
And the latest gingerbread creation coming from my friend Christie.
Just like her.
See it in greater detail here.

Maybe I will whip up more frosting and add some finishing touches to ours...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It takes a family...

to raise a village....
a gingerbread village that is.

We've made gingerbread houses for Christmas for a long time.
The tradition started when we lived in Tucson. As a primary presidency we made baked and cut out gingerbread housed for each of our teachers using Glenda Wilkes' recipe and pattern and and then hosted a dinner for them and their spouses. After some sumptuous soup, recipe courtesy of Sharon Bell, we broke out the frosting and candy and got down to business.
It was so much fun. It was really interesting to watch the couples.
The guys really got into it. Builders had elaborate designs on the house itself while landscapers had relatively plain houses but fabulous yards.

When we moved from Tucson we made them as a family.
In past years we made one house for every two people.
Last year Amy and Jordan had their own house as well as Aaron and Celisa and a few more for friends and family that we invited over. I'm not sure we have ever done it alone... enjoying the process with friends is just as important as the finish product... well looking at our houses maybe it's more important.

Last year I saw the above village on Amy's friend Kirsten's blog. (You should really take a closer look, it's amazing!) I decided then and there that a village would solve our problem of having too many houses sitting around with no where to put them. So this year I did a quick internet search of gingerbread villages to get some ideas before I cut out pieces for our very own village:
Complete with pond and stream... although they turned from blue to green when I got the syrup a little too hot and it scorched.
(Blue +yellow=green)
It has a church, two small houses and one tallish oneThe houses themselves are not very decorated because we ran short on frosting
and, well, I was too tired to make more....

We also forgot to put lights in the buildings and around the town... oops

Here is Santa ice skating on the frozen mossy snow (coconut) covered pond just past the bridge over the stream.

It was fun to do and I think it turned out fairly well but
I guess I should have looked at the Curtis' it a little closer before doing ours.
I don't know that our village or house will ever look that good.
I guess it gives us some room for improvement next year.
Maybe we'll try one house like my friend Christie
or maybe not... we'll see

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Evening

Dear Family,

Today was crazy! Even on P-day we were running around like a chicken with it's head cut off! We didn't even have time to get on the internet today. That is why I'm writing you right now.

I'm at the bus station now with my comp. Elder de Paula. We are going to Santiago to give a training there. But it's interesting that we found President here and a new sister had just arrived.

It's funny because president was needing to leave and would have to wait if we weren't here. But, what do you know, we missed the bus earlier and it just happened to be that we were in the right place at the right time. Hmmm, coincidence?

Well, this week has been even more rushed than last. We haven't even had time to buy stuff. But it looks like the zone is going pretty well and we are very excited!

The highlight of the week was without a doubt the Leadership Counsel! It was really great to have the experience to be considered the mission family.

We also studied leadership examples like Christ and Moroni and I really felt humbled. I realized that I am nothing and need to learn all that I can from there examples! I challenge all of you to study Moroni's life and also the way that the Lord lead by example. It is amazing that many times he only needed to say, "come follow me!" Words so simple but have such an impact from whom they were said. We conversed also about a servant and a leader and then the term, "leader-servant."

I started my mission thinking about me. Then about my companion and my investigators. Then about my district. Now I know that my perspective has to be much greater to see how God sees. I pray so much for the missionaries individually in my zone now. Also for President and Sister, the assistants and all of the missionaries in the whole world! I wish that I had known this much earlier in my mission! I would appreciate it if you would all pray for President and Sister Myrrha(me-huh) and for all of the investigators and missionaries in the whole world. That is how missionary work will progress.

I would like to be able to tell you exactly how it was at the council but I am afraid words wouldn't do it justice!

I thank you all so much for your love and support and prayers. It means so much to me!

Sorry I'm sending this email so late. But, I think it's better than never.


Elder Zimbelman

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Multitasking

Need Christmas presents but also want to do something kind for some else?
I may have a solution for you.

John Jones, his wife Emily and their little girl were in Utah visiting family.
On Thanksgiving day John when caving with some friends at Nutty Putty Cave.
This is a small cave not far from us.
My boys have been there with our scouting group and school friends.

John never came home. You can read the full story here and here.
John is just older than Aaron.
He leaves behind a young widow, a daughter and baby due in June.
My heart goes out to them.

Now about the multitasking.
A kind woman has set up an internet auction here.
All items are donated and the proceeds go to the John Jones Memorial fund
Or you can donate directly to the fund itself.
Either way everyone wins.
Our prayers go out to the Jones family
and hopefully a little than just prayers.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Like a chicken with no head

Dear Family,

This week I have been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. I arrived in the area here and just have been following my companion, Elder de Paula. I am getting to know the area here and also all of the investigators and way to work.

Elder de Paula is an awesome companion. He is always happy, humble and willing to serve! He is also a very good example of leadership and love for all of the missionaries in our zone. I have been very blessed to be called his companion.

The area that I am in is called Parque Pinheiro (Pine Park) and it is one of the best areas in the mission. It is a ward here and we are getting very excited about Christmas. Well, I arrived and they already had me talk on Sunday so I thought that I would share a little bit of my talk with you all.

I talked about how we were all very excited, in the pre-existence to have the chance to come down here to earth. We would be tried and tested and would have the time here on the earth to prove ourselves worthy to return to Gods' presence. I explained that our thoughts aren't God's thoughts and also our time isn't God's time. But Christ gave us a commandment to be perfect. God uses his time perfectly because he is perfect. We are imperfect but have the resposability to use our time wisely.

I explained that Christmas comes every year but THIS CHRISTMAS will never return. We need to make it the best Christmas ever. I then talked about the first Christmas. How the wise men rejoiced and gave the most precious things that they had to Christ. I then asked if anyone thought that the gospel wasn't the most precious thing that they had. Then I talked about the Live Christmas Card that we will also do this year. I challenged them to give it to everyone.

I sure hope that all of us can remember what is most important to us, which is the gospel and share it with those that we meet.

I love you guys, thanks for your love and concern. Today we will have the Leader's council and I am a little nervous. I would appreciate your prayers!

Until next week!

Elder Zimbelman

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...somewhere but not so much at my house yet.

Our recent redecorating makes our "old" Christmas stuff seem
well... old.

I gave up on putting up lights on the house when I spent hours last year getting the strings of lights working only to have them not work when we got them on the house.
Talk about frustrating.
This year we are going for the wreath and candle in the window look.
I think I will spend time updating the inside this year
and maybe implement this on the outside...
Christian offered to do it... we just have to see which neighbor has the best lights so we know which way to point the arrow.

I'm not sure where the original picture came from
or who to give credit to
you've probably already seen it
but it sums up my feelings about house lights this year.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A little bragging...

Sorry, but I just can't help it.
Amy just set up an etsy shop to sell her super cute hair clips.
If you need some awesome stocking stuffers
or something nice to complete
a gift for that sweet little sugar and spice in your life
go to Rubies and Violets
*love love love the name!*

And in celebration of opening her shop she is having a giveway
check it out here.

While you're there check out her amazing photography.
She is one talented young lady!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

*note - while this post was written on Thanksgiving but
internet issues and a short trip to St. George delayed posting till today*

Today is kind of a strange Thanksgiving for our family.
There are just the four of us here.
It's quiet.
The veggie tray sits on the table looking beautiful for more than 5 min. - no great crowds gathered around trying to make sure they get their share of the pickled okra before it disappears...
Just a small turkey breast in the oven instead of the whole bird.

Today I have so much to be thankful for and do not have the time or room to write it all.
I hope that it's obvious to all that I have been blessed beyond measure and I am truly thankful.

But today I feel especially thankful for the wonderful families in Sacramento and Champagne (or Urbana) that have extended their love and a warm welcome to my children who are not here with us today. Families who are sharing their veggie platters, turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie with my children when they could not be here with us. I hope and pray that when these families gather today and share in their blessings with my children they will feel a little extra love coming from me - and gratitude that my children are not alone on this day of Thanksgiving.

Aaron, Celisa, Olivia, Amy, Jordan, Ruby
and Robbie too (although they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Brazil)
I'm thinking of you today and love you very much.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Missionary Blessings

I am so blessed to be associated with wonderful missionaries, first Aaron, now Robbie and all the wonderful missionaries Mark and I work with at the MTC. Look forward to Christian serving too. And someday Mark and I will go...

Santa Maria Again?!

Dear family,

It was so good to hear from all of you. It would be very hard to stay on the mission without it!

This has been a superb week. Other than on Thursday talking with President he told me, "Congratulations you've just been called to be a Zone Leader." As I replied, "me?" But, I am sure that the Lord will strengthen me in my new calling.

But knowing that I would be transferred made Elder Oliveira very sad. I have never been so close to my companions like I am Elder Oliveira's friend and consider him my brother! I told president that I could be his companion until the end of my mission if he wanted. But, I think that my work here in Santiago has been finished.

Camilla and Lucas were baptized last Saturday and Confirmed last Sunday. It was a great baptism despite most of the members were at the temple. It was also a very spiritual sacrament meeting despite most of the members staying home because of the rain. Those that went to church were very blessed. Simone was at the baptism and Confirmation and felt the spirit very strongly. Elder Oliveira will start working more intensely with her and we will see what happens.

There was also another Lucas that was baptized. He is 23 years old and has been going to church for about 3 years. He started going back to church because of the English classes and the activities. He didn't want to be baptized but I started talking to him. I told him about all that he is missing out on and all the blessings he would receive by being baptized. I told him that the Zone Leader would be at the church on Thursday to interview Camilla and Lucas and that he should talk with him. He went and was interviewed and Saturday was baptized! It was a really great experience!

Now Elder Oliveira has a bunch of investigators that have been to church and can be baptized. Pray for him to be directed by the spirit and be able to help these people be baptized! Also, I'm afraid that he will be really sad now that I will be transferred. Please put his name on the temple role and pray for him every day!

I'm very excited for my new area! I will be working as the District Leader and Zone Leader with Elder de Paula. He is my Zone Leader but now my comp. But, I'm also a little nervous because I will be really busy. I am not very excited about being both ZL and DL. Please pray for me to not get stressed out!

I love you all! It was so good to hear from you! Until next week!

Elder Zimbelman

P.S. I forgot my camera in the house, next week I will send you photos of the baptism.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This terrible, wonderful love

Whenever Mark is out of town the kids and I watch movies.
Jenn and I like to watch movies that the boys don't necessarily enjoy watching with us.
Among my very favorite is Sarah Plain and Tall.
Specifically the first and second one watched in succession.
I love to watch Sarah as she puts herself out there,
seeks to understand others and falls in love.
I love the way she is true to who she is
and they both learn to value their differences.
In Skylark (the second one) she is separated from her love for a time and when they are reunited she tries to explain how she has felt as they have been apart.
She says something like, "I never knew..., this terrible love... I just never knew"
I know exactly what she's talking about.
When you have given your heart to another and they give theirs to you,
there comes the realization that you have become such a part of them and they of you that without them you do not feel whole.
When you realize how incredibly connected and interdependent you have become
the thought of being parted from them,
for days or months or for the rest of your life
is a terrible feeling.

But at the same time I would not give up one minute
of the time I have with Mark
or any of my family to avoid this terrible love, this connectedness.
It makes me so much more thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For the power of the priesthood on the Earth today
which can bind families together...not just for this life
but for the life after this one too... forever.
That means that any separation from my family members
will, in reality, only be temporary
because I know that when this life is over
I will have all eternity to be with them.
Never to be separated again.
That kind of love truly is wonderful.

You can learn more here

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gaúchos Are Scared of the Rain

Dear Family,

How good it is to hear from all of you! I am so glad to hear that everyone is doing well. Also, thank you for your prayers for me, my companion and our investigators.

Everything is going just fine here. We have two baptisms planned for this week, Camilla and Lucas; and three more that could be baptized this week!

Camilla and Lucas are doing very well! They have gone to church the last three Sundays and are very intelligent. They have prayed very much about the things that we teach and have testimonies that the Gospel is true! They are very excited about their baptisms, and we are too. We have had a few problems teaching there parents but they are very good people and have given there permission for them to be baptized. We are hoping that we can start to teach them more intensely this week, before the baptism and also after the baptism. Please pray for them; Laus, Simone, Camilla and Lucas.

Taiara is also one of the possibilities. She has been telling us that she wants to be baptized, knows that it is important but it scared. She has followed an evangelical church for a long time with her mom and sister but recently stopped. She knows that our teachings our true. So we marked her baptismal interview with the ZL and it went really well. She picked out her baptismal clothes and everything. Then yesterday we sent Gianine to pass by here house and take here to church and she said that she was the only one home and had to take care of the house (a normal Gaúcho excuse). So we passed by there a little later and here aunt tried to tell us that she didn't want anything more to do with us... Long story short we are going to go back there talk to Taiara today and see if that is really true. Please pray for her!

Kátia is also a baptismal candidate. We have taught her everything but the commandments but she should be fine because she is married to a less-active member. We will teach her the commandments tonight and mark the baptismal date! Pray for her!

There is also a Lucas that has been going to church for about two years and knows a lot. He is very intelligent and hasn't been baptized for no reason at all. Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting I sat by him and talked to him about baptism. I told him that his baptism this Saturday would be awesome! He laughed but I seriously think that he is considering it! We marked a lesson with him on Tuesday. Pray for him!

Also, Zone Conference was a blast! It was really inspired. Now we will all be working like crazy to find some new families. Other than these baptisms that will be our main focus this week. Thanks for all your love and support.


Elder Zimbelman

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th: Lucky Me!

In elementary school I remember a general feeling of fear
and foreboding about Friday the 13th.
We all knew it was an unlucky day and we watch carefully for all the bad things that happened to us on this day. Proof that it was unlucky.
Then one year my birthday fell on Friday the 13th.
I was crestfallen. My best day of the year on the unluckiest day.
What to do? Somewhere along the way I decided that for me Friday the 13th is my lucky day.
I got presents and cake and people said nice things to me.
Even if it's not in November I try to make sure Friday the 13th is an extra good day.
(When I notice it.)
So let me tell you why I am feeling particularly blessed today.

My family.

46 years ago today my parents welcomed their third child.
They had a three year old and a 16 month old and now a newborn.
They had their hands full.
But I always knew I was loved.
Three more children followed and I always felt loved...
enough love that I prayed for more babies to come to our family
until my mom asked me to stop.
A special thanks to my parents - especially my mom
for not only giving me life but also love
and teaching me about the love of my Heavenly Father.
Is their a greater gift than that?

My family.
The people in this photo amaze me.
I am amazed that I know them and are a part of their lives.
I married an incredible man who is my best friend
I look at each of my children.
Each one is different. Each one has unique talents and gifts.
They are incredible individuals and I often sit back in amazement
as I watch them soar.
I have been further blessed as our family has grown.
Aaron and Amy have both chosen incredible spouses who are wonderful loving parents to our granddaughters - another priceless blessing.

I am surrounded by wonderful friends
and incredible people and opportunities.

I am lucky
but more than that I have been very blessed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Better

Dear Family,

It was so good to hear from you all this week! Your encouragement and love make all the difference to me!

This has been a good week. We found a few more families and had a bunch of people at church. It was also very cool this week that Gianine is working with us a ton.

This week the Zone leader came to visit my district. We did a super division! For three days he passed through our three areas here and i worked with a different person every day. It really went well! We were all able to learn a lot from each other and evaluate our work.

This week we will have Zone Conference and I am very excited! Not much for the trainings but for President's talk! He is always very inspired and has amazing knowledge of the scriptures. I am so lucky to know him! Wow, this week was really cool! President Queroz entered in contact with President and told him about me. The world is so small! I also spoke with president this week and he will loan me a projector for the English class. He asked me if Mom and Dad would be coming to pick me up and I said no. I asked him if I could maybe go to Florionopolis to see President Queroz and he said he would see what he could do! I sure hope I can, that would be SO cool!

This week we had an awesome English class! There were a bunch of students there. There are new students every week! We learned about verbs. Then we played mimic guessing the verbs and listened to a Beatles music identifying the verbs. I think it was the funnest class and fullest class we have had.

It is also a very good way to find new investigators. Because we say a prayer and usually teach a principle like faith. But, it is an environment more excited and also less formal. We brought four investigators to church yesterday because of the English class!

Well, Camilla and Lucas are doing really well. We have failed to enter in contact with there parents because they are so busy. But, we taught them about the "Restoration of the Gospel" and they accepted our preparation to be baptized in the church! It was a very spiritual lesson and they are very intelligent. We also told them that there will be many distractions now that they decided this but to recognize them and not let them be affected by them. Pray for them, and especially there parents; Laus and Simone. They are very special but until now, they haven't gone to church and we have only taught them one time individually.

Also there is Taiara. Gianine is being a great friend to her and helping her a ton! Yesterday they went to church together and also watched, "The Other Side of Heaven" together. We also taught her about making the right decisions yesterday and challenged her to be baptized this Saturday or next. She promised that she would pray about it! We will back there today and teach here about Faith. Pray for her. She is just a little afraid but she is really special and ready!

This week we really need to find some new families to take to church. Please, pray for us.

g2g, they will close the internet place now.

Love you all, thanks for your emails.

Elder Zimbelman

Friday, November 6, 2009

Count Your Blessings

This is our piano.

It was recently moved from its long appointed home in the living room
into its new place in the family room.
To many it may not be much too look at
and it usually looks like it does in this picture.
Assorted books and note books spread across it.

But to me it is grand.

This piano was a gift from Grandma T. when we moved to Tucson...
a gift given at the beginning of our PhD years.
For those five years it was a reminder that our poverty
would be temporary and that the day would come
when we would have a nice home and sustaining income.

Every child in our family has taken piano lessons
and has spent countless hours practicing at this piano
some more (lots more) than others it's true.

There were days in when I wondered if I would enjoy the sounds that came from the piano. For years I knew by heart the beginning songs the kids would play and could call out from the kitchen which note was the correct one. But on so many more days the sounds that came from the piano brought beautiful music to our home

Christian and Jennifer currently fill our home with music of all kinds.
Cold Play, Sonatinas, Rags, Hymns and of course
"Heart and Soul" fills our home with heart and soul.

This morning, before the kids left for school at 7:10
our home was filled with the strains of "Count Your Many Blessings"
Jennifer accompanies her Seminary class once or twice a week as they sing and she did a quick "run through" before she left for school.

The song remained with me
and I went through my day counting my blessings.

Including our piano.
Thanks Grandma T.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mr. Rogers was right...

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood.

New Families!

Dear Family,

I am thankful to each and every one of you for your love and concern for me and also you devotion to the Lord! It was good to feel your spirits through your letters and to hear that you are all doing well.

Well, this week your prayers were really heard. We found a lot of new investigators. I would particularly like to ask for your prayers in behalf of a few.

There is a family of four that is very special. Camilla and Lucas are two of our English students. They are very intelligent and come from a structured family. Lucas is Camilla's uncle but they both are 13 years old. We taught Camilla's mom, Simone, and she loved the message and brought tears to her eyes. Then we taught her dad, Laus, and he accepted the message with a few doubts. You see, he believes in reincarnation and that all churches are good and can take us to heaven. So, he will need a little more faith and help from the Lord.

But, Camilla and Lucas went to church the Sunday before last and said that they were going to go this last Sunday. Simone also said that she would see, if she didn't have to work, she would go. But, they ended up not going. We don't exactly know what happened but, we will call them today and try to go back there today. Pray for them please! They are a very special family! (Laus, Simone, Camilla and Lucas)

Also, a few new things are happening with Sani and Jaqueline. It's a long story but Sani got hurt on the job and wasn't working for a while. Now he has to go back to work. He will start working in other cities for two weeks and just coming back for about 4 days! Everything was going so well and they were just about ready to get married! We are really sad! Please pray for Sani and Jaqueline!

There are also a few other young women that went to church yesterday. There names are Taiara and Amanda. We taught Taiara's family but, they are totally divide in there beliefs. Taiara and her sister Tanise were the only two that are listening more frequently to the messages. They aren't really firm in the idea or decision to follow the church. But, we have given them the Book of Mormon now and will focus on their testimonies. Pray for Taiara, Amanda and Tanise(also their parents, Antonio and Rose).

This has been a good week and if these people can progress it will be an awesome month. We will still be looking for a bunch of new families so pray that we can be guided by the spirit to find those in need!

I love you and thank you for all you support!


Elder Z

P.S. It is burning up down here. This whole week it has been close to 100 degrees here. But it is almost as humid and stuffy, if not more, than Florida! Finally it is raining today and has cooled down considerably. That is crazy that it has already snowed there in Utah, and cool that it's in the 80's in Cali!

P.P.S. Swine flu passed through Brazil this winter but the Mission Doctor/Medic told us that it's nothing to be worried about. If you feel the symptoms of the flu go to the doctor. The worst affects that it has is on babies or old fogies. So take care of Ruby and Olivia. But, it's nothing to worry about as long as you get to the doctor in a few days after you feel the symptoms.

Take Care!

Monday, November 2, 2009

My little ghoul: Halloween 2009

This year's Halloween was kind of pitiful.
No one was that excited about gutting pumpkins
and I wasn't able to lift and move them on my own this year
because of my crash. So for the first time in...
well, maybe my whole life
we did not carve jack-o-lanterns for Halloween
I know, I know, humbug and all
and I don't even have pumpkins decorating my front porch for fall.

BUT, before you send ghosts of Halloweens past to haunt me please note:

I did make some spiders and hang them from the dining room chandelier...

but they got cut down before I could take their picture so
I held up the tangled mess to give you some idea of what they looked like

We decided last minute to head to St. George and didn't get back till after tricker treating had already started so I put Christian in charge of handing out candy.
Unfortunately he already had plans but I think he handled it quite well.

Needless to say we came home to an empty bowl on the porch.

Since we didn't make it back in time for Jen to get ready at home for her Halloween party we got her a costume and make up in St. George and she got ready in the car.

She was a little late for the party but still had fun.
My sweet little girl makes a pretty good zombie.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


There's no mistaking that Autumn is in full swing,
Ok, maybe it's really coming to an end.
Bags stuffed full of bright yellow leaves sit at the curb waiting to be hauled away.
Some trees are bare while others cling to their changing leaves like I do to summer and fall.
Soon most of the trees will be bare and before we realize it, it will seem to be the norm... naked branches. Before long they will be coated with snow and the bright blue sky will provide a background. Then Spring will remind us once again of how beautiful the trees look decked out in beautiful colors followed by a gown of green.
Even now green leaves are becoming a memory. Sometimes fall is sudden and abrupt. It seems to turn cold with a vengeance and leaves change color and fall in a short period of time and unless we are vigilant we miss it. Then warm days sneak in now and again reminding us that there is hope... all is not cold... yet.

Not this year. This year fall has been gradual... and exquisitely beautiful. For the first time in a long time... maybe ever... I have taken time to really enjoy the change in colors.
I will admit that I have been waiting for a warm day to sneak in
but so far we haven't really had any.
Just cool, cooler and now cold.
The heater runs and the wind blows.
Snow flurries floated by for two days but did not stick.
Time to crunch the leaves and marvel at the intensity of the color as the late afternoon sun brightens them.

Still, as the leaves are gathered and hauled away and the frost causes tender plants to become transparent and wilt, I begin to feel a bit melancholy. No more lazy summer days (I'm not sure how many of those I actually had but at least they were an option). No more warm sunny days beckoning me to lounge in the back yard barefoot by the stream.

Time to gear up.
Time to pull out cozy sweaters, coats, scarves, boots and mittens.
Time to brace against arctic gusts when I open the door and step outside. Time to jump into preparations to try to make hectic holidays less hectic. Time spent indoors watching the snow fly, getting up early to clear snow from the driveway before cars venture out. Time to pull out the cozy blankets and curl up on the couch with a good book. Time to build snowmen and go skiing. Change is hard but good. Maybe I wouldn't appreciate the summer as much without the winter...

And I guess when things get unbearable we can always go to St. George!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Dear Family,

Thank you all once again for everything that you do for me! I'm constantly reminded of your support for me. I see so many poorly structured families and people that would die to have the wonderful family that I have! Thanks for everything!

It is good to hear that everyone is doing well and that you are all anxiously engaged in your; work, studies and lives! I'm so proud of all of you and am ever thankful for your examples! I love you all so much!

This week we saw little progress with our investigators. Actually we have decided to cut a few of them and start the search for new families that are more interested. For this we are needing your prayers! We need to find new investigators. Actually, we have about 12 referrals from the English classes that we haven't contacted yet that we will go after this week. We're hoping that we can refill the machine and see what comes out of it.

But, one cool experience happened this Sunday! After church we went to Gianine's house and shared a message with her about service. Then we were talking with her about church; if she liked it, had any question etc. She said that it seemed that the talks were directed right for her. I was also able to remember my conversion story that I shared with her. It was really cool the way the spirit talks to us.

I'm not sure if I have shared my conversion story with you all yet so maybe it can help someone.

Well, for a long time in my life I didn't want to hear anything about the church. I was rebellious and very much involved in the things of the world. When a certain experience left me far from a few of my friends. I realized that the happiness that I had was very momentary and I didn't have reassurance of anything. I realized that there was something missing in my life. It was God.

I started praying again. Those were a few of the first times in my life that I really pored my soul out to God and felt that he was listening. Many times in my life I have had spiritual experiences. But, a firm and constant testimony I didn't have. When I started to pray again, my testimony began to grow. I started going to church again. I'm not sure exactly when it was that I knew I had to serve a mission. But, it was when I was praying very fervently that I had the impression and it started to grow within me.

Well, I decided to enroll at UVSC. I started to have a determination to finish my car that I had been working on. I ask Marty for a job at Cosmic and everything started to enter into place! That was when I started wondering if I really should go on a mission. I started thinking that life didn't need to change, that I was good where I was. I was wrong.

One sacrament meeting that I will never for get. It was a fast an testimony meeting. Val Gregory went to the podium and I felt that he was talking just to me! He said that his life wasn't a sea of roses. He didn't have a life without difficulties. BUT, the life that he had, he had the Lord's guaranty! He had made his decisions with the Lord and knew that the Lord was obligated to bless him.

It was that moment that I knew I would serve a mission. All the blessings I have received ever since have been by the hand of the Lord and I know that I am in the right place! God knows everyone of us and we can all be instruments in God's hands! Just like Val was in my life at that moment.

I went in for my interview with President Wilson with reluctance. It had been some time that I had talked to my father who was my bishop at the time. I felt the sorrow of sin in my heart that almost covered the joy of my decision to serve a mission. We had a good conversation and I told him that I wanted to serve a mission.

When I got home I can still remember the exact moment! I entered in the house. Mom was all alone at the computer. I walked in not knowing if I should cry or jump for joy. I looked at her and at first she didn't pay much attention. When she saw the struggle within me of what my reaction should be she looked at me. Puzzled she said, "what is it?" When I said that I was going to serve a mission I don't know who's head touched the ceiling first. She gave me a great big hug as the joy of repentance settled in my heart and I began to cry.

I could feel the Love of the Father of the prodigal son greeting his repented son.

I made the decision with the Lord and am forever grateful for my family, my friends, and the Savior that I am where I am! My family never lost hope in me and my Savior did everything that was necessary to make repentance possible.

I thank you every moment that I am alive!

I challenge you all to make this possible to those around you! Let the Lord make you who he wants you to be!

I wasn't "brainwashed," I know that what I know is true because I proved God! I asked him and he told me!

I love you all! Until next week and thank you for your letters!

Elder Zimbelman

Friday, October 23, 2009

Muy bonita zopatos

In mid September Mark was called into
a Branch Presidency in the MTC.
This call really came from out of the blue.
We were both so surprised.
While I am not officially called
I still have some responsibilities as his wife.
I attend Sacrament meeting and Relief Society on Sundays
(When it doesn't interfere with attending with the kids)
The whole family gets to attend the Tuesday evening devotionals
and then Mark and I stay after to meet with the missionaries.
One evening we go to the dorms and visit
with them for 30 minutes or so.
And then if we have new missionaries
Mark and I go on Thursday evening too.
Mark has more meetings and interviews so
he is very busy on Sundays but all in all it has been truly amazing.
We are assigned to the advanced Spanish Speaking branch...
which means the group meetings are in Spanish...
and can I just say that the one semester of Spanish I took in 7th grade is not helping all that much.
(I know how to say hello, good morning and "your shoes are beautiful"
although I'm not sure my spelling or grammar are correct.)

This has been a wonderful, challenging and unexpected change in our lives. It is SO fun being with the missionaries and especially serving with my awesome husband.

But I must admit that this is one little thing that I was really really excited about:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baptism, Wahoo!

Dear Family,

This has been a very busy but, good week! We are going strong with activities every night of the week and it seems to be helping the members get more excited.

We also had Gianine's baptism and her parents and grandma also went to the baptism! It was a really spiritual baptism. We were able to plan with the young women and they sang a special hymn for her. She is really feeling happy with here baptism and is excited to do missionary work with us! We going to help her! :)
Her mom was married in the Catholic church and then divorced. In the Catholic church you cannot be married more than one time. We haven't had a chance to teach them about the commandments and get them married. But, informally we already talked about it and they want to get married! Pray for them! This is there time and they will be awesome members of the church!

Last Saturday we had the second, "English Immersion" class and it was really fun. There are a few University students that are taking the class to work on pronunciation. We have planned a series of situations for them to involve the English that they already know, listen to our English and "bridge the gap." They are very excited and will invite a bunch more people to come. For now we are teaching about 7. I thought it was a good start. It isn't very easy to find 7 new investigators that are studying at the university in one hour! But, it isn't enough! Please pray for us to be able to have more students this next class. We will get after new ways to tell everyone about it...

Well, the bar-b-que was good. Sorry that this letter is short. We don't have much time.

I love you all! Thanks for your letters, prayers, love and concern.

Love you guys!

Until next week.

Elder Zimbelman

Monday, October 19, 2009

More than leaves fell last Friday

Last Friday I had my first ride in an ambulance
and hopefully it will also be my last.

My friend, Karen Bergmann, and I were riding our bikes up the Provo Canyon River bike trail Friday around 4:45 pm. We had just passed the first park you come to in the canyon when we saw a group of 7 or 8 longboarders coming down. We moved as far to the right as we could. Apparently one guy decided to pass and didn't even see us. He cut over and Karen's back wheel rolled over the tip of his long board and then I hit him full on. I'm not sure what happened next. I remember the impact and then laying on the ground waiting for the pain to subside. I seem to have landed on my head and then on my sacrum (lowest part of my back above my tailbone). My only visible injuries were a small cut above my right eye, a small cut on my lip, and a very small scrape on my left elbow.
My neck and back were really hurting. I tried to sit up but it was too painful and I got dizzy. An ambulance was called and someone showed up with a blanket about the time I began to shake. The paramedics were really nice and very gentle moving me around. Karen showed one of them my helmet, which was cracked, and he said the helmet probably saved my life. I remembered that as I was leaving to go riding I noticed that my helmet was a little loose so I adjusted the straps and tightened it. That was a tender mercy.
(It was hard to get a good picture but it's cracked all the way through)
Entering the hospital on a gurney is just like they show in the movies, ceiling, fluorescent light, more ceiling... I closed my eyes and into my mind came these thoughts, "All these things shall give you experience and be for your good". The x-ray technician took two x-rays of my pelvis, took the developed x-rays to the doctor and then took two more from a different angle. One last x-ray of my neck and then back to my room.

All during this time I kept thinking about how lives could change in just an instant. One moment I was pedaling up the canyon enjoying the crunch of the leaves under my tires and the gold and red leaves on the trees and then next I was laying crunched on the pavement with fall leaves stuck to my back, parts of my body oozing red and turning shades of blue and purple. I felt so thankful to be at peace with my family members and knew that whatever the outcome we would face it together.

Mark and Jennifer arrived soon after that. The doctor came in and told us that nothing was broken. I do have deep tissue and bone bruises on my sacrum and the left side of my neck is very very sore and stiff. My head and scalp are also sore but my helmet literally saved me. The doctor said I would have rough couple of days as I heal but look forward to a full recovery.

We got my helmet from Karen on Saturday and on further inspection discovered that there are multiple cracks all through the helmet. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to walk and move and think!
The stiffness and pain I feel now will pass.
Our family has been blessed by an outpouring of love and concern.
I almost feel guilty accepting all the meals, bread, soup, notes and calls we have received,
but they are greatly appreciated.

I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still in Santiago

Dear Family,

Another transfer has flown by and I'm much closer to coming home and seeing you all. I can't help but feel the great responsibility and urgency I have to do the Lord's work here in Santiago. Some times I have thought that the work that I am dong isn't affecting anyone as we haven't had any baptisms since I have been here and we had a disappointment with Sani and Jaqueline last week. We are finding a lot of new people to teach but I seems that Satan keeps distracting them and easily persuades them that, "all is well."

Well we taught Gianine during the afternoon this week and Sani and Jaqueline at night, because it was the only time that was convenient. Gianine is progressing a ton. She has committed to substitute coffee with chocolate milk and will be baptized soon. She didn't go to church this Sunday because she went to Santa Maria. But, she took her book of Mormon. Pray for her.

As for Sani and Jaqueline, they have been getting a little distracted and have thoughts of there own. That the Catholic church also teaches the same gospel principles. They are very comfortable now with the way they are living, it is very easy to be catholic. You can do whatever you want. It seems like the real problem is that they aren't understanding the real meaning of the restoration. It also looks like they haven't prayed to know that the book of Mormon is true. We will really focus on that this week and help them to gain testimonies. The disappointment that I mentioned is that, and hey didn't go to church this Sunday. Pray for them!

We have also found a few other families that we are working with that I hope to be able to tell you are progressing next week.

The English classes are going well. There are always 20-30 people at the beginners class and at the first advanced class there were seven. Because of the holiday but, they loved it and will invite all of there friends the next time.

The transfer passed by our district here and nothing new happened. I was sure hoping for some changes because a few of the missionaries are giving me a hard time. Pray for our district too; Elder Dos Santos, Morais, Yudi, Alexsandro and Oliveira.

My comp. is the man, he supports me in everything and is a great help to me! He will be a lifetime friend.

Thanks for all of your love and concern. Especially for your prayers and emails, they mean a ton to me!


Elder Rob

P.S. We are organizing a ton of activities here like a treasure hunt and Family Night and were wondering what would be other good ideas? Send me all of the ideas you have of a good activity!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Worth Watching

I have been following the progress of Stephanie Nielson (Nienie) since she and her husband were in a plane crash just over a year ago. She truly inspires me. She was on Oprah yesterday but since I don't have TV I wasn't able to watch it, but I did find this video that is definitely worth watching.

PS if anyone knows how I could watch the Oprah segment let me know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WOW Conference

Dear Family,

What a wonderful week of conference that we have had here! We had Zone Conference on Tuesday and were also able to be so richly blessed to hear from President Monson and everyone that spoke to us!

Well, this week has really been great here! We are seeing a lot of progress with the people we are working with here! We found a new family on Friday and then Saturday the 15 year old boy, Ericson, went to church with us! We will keep teaching the family and see if we can get the whole family going! It looks like they have received the missionaries a long time ago. We are praying that now is there time to accept the truth! Pray for them; Mary, Jefferson, Ericson, Allison, there are others in the family that we don't know yet...

Also Sani, Jaqueline, Gianine and Marcos are progressing too! They promised us that they would go to conference yesterday. They ate lunch with the family and were expecting them to leave before 5 o' clock but they ended up staying. So, Jaqueline and Gianine got up and said they had to go and left Sani and Marcos at home with the family! I was really impressed because it would be an awesome excuse for the Gaúcho people here to say they weren't going but, they went! They really enjoyed it, especially the choir! Pray for them!

We will also contact and start teaching a dad and his son that are going to the English class named Adriano and Andrew. They have gone to the two classes and said that they would try to make it to the conference but Adriano ended up working. Pray for them.

We are also working a lot with this English class. We will put up bulletins in the middle and high schools here for the beginners class. For the advanced class we are working with a college student and professor! He is putting up a bulletin in the college and we'll be working with the professor, Ligia, to get the material to teach! I'm very excited! The advanced class will start this Saturday! Wish us luck.

Thanks for all of your letters of love and support!

I would also like to take Elder Bednar's advice and tell each and everyone of you how much I love you and bear my testimony! I know without a shadow of a doubt that the church is true! It is the only real reason I have to live on this earth! I know that through our diligence and obedience we WILL live together forever! I'm so very grateful to know each and everyone of you! For the privilege it is to be a part of your live and the privilege that I have that each one of you is a part of my life! Thank you for all you do and never forget that every time I teach about eternity and families I am bearing my testimony of our wonderful and eternal family! I'm so grateful and excited to spend an eternity with you all!


Elder Rob

Monday, October 5, 2009


St. George Marathon 3 October 2009
It seems everyone has a story, something that drives them.
Something that would inspire them to want to put one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles.
Some have it printed on a shirt for all to see.
Others carry it inside, although not completely hidden, as it shows in their faces.

My sister is no different.
This is Lisa about 18 months ago.
I stole the picture from her blog so I feel safe in posting it.

This is Lisa last Saturday

white shirt, black pants, hands up in celebration

Last summer Lisa decided it was time to loose weight. She began watching what she ate and working out. When she began to be bored with her workout, her friend Kristal suggested that Lisa should enter the St. George marathon with her and they could train together.
Lisa called me after they submitted their entry.
She was as worried about getting in as not getting in.

She trained during the hot Arizona summer which required her to get up in the wee hours of the morning to place water and food along the way in order to complete her longer runs before it got too excessively hot.

She put together an awesome T-shirt for her fans.
the early morning crowd in Veyo
Relatives other than her children got one and personalized it.
She was a little concerned about her youngest two wandering off during the race.

It says "Dad" and his phone number
Lisa did this the night before while the children slept.

Her fans prepared signs to cheer her along the way.

Then Lisa ran.

And we cheered!

It was quite emotional for me to watch runners going by.
You see pain in some faces and joy in others.
Great determination and many tears...
and I felt it with them.
They inspired me...
young and old, hot pink zebra prints to very plain shorts and T-shirts...
moving in front of me, always moving
some flew by while others walked or limped.
Often they would pick up their pace as we cheered them.
High fives, waves, a fist clenched above the head in determination...
some would look up and smile
and then put their head down and continue on.

At first I tried to think of different things to say as the runners passed by but I found the most powerful moments where when I would make eye contact with a runner and shout,
"You're amazing" because quite simply

We waited at mile 21 for Lisa to come over the ridge.
We waited and waited cheering other runners but wondered where Lisa was and if everything was all right. I headed up the road to look for her and join her.

Lisa was fine, we actually at mile 23.

I ran the last 4 miles or so with Lisa and Meadow.
My dad jumped in too for a short segment.

Meadow is Lisa's internet buddy.
Edited for accuracy* Lisa and Meadow met briefly a few years ago.
For 26.2 miles they shared music, tears, inspiration, pain, stories,
and sports beans.
Near the end they were both exhausted but would tell each other,
"Five blocks, we can do five blocks, anyone can do five blocks."
"See walker guy, we can't let him beat us, let's chick him".
Six plus hours later they had a bond that not many do.

For some this is a once in a lifetime experience.
Lisa assures me it was for her.
She says she will stick to half marathons in the future.
(although I've heard that, like childbirth, one often forgets the pain of the moment
long enough to decide to do it again)

I feel blessed to be married to a wonderful athlete who trains hard
and puts himself to the test on a regular basis.
I have so much admiration for them.
To Lisa and Mark
and Meadow and all who work hard to reach a goal:


thanks for inspiring me.

...and now I think a nap is in order.