Monday, March 30, 2009

The Church is True!

Hey Family,

It was awesome to hear from all of you! This week has really been amazing!

Just to give you guys an idea of the history of Salgado Filho. Last transfer they had 18 baptisms and at the Ward Conference they had 283 people!!!

Can you imagine???!!!

That's almost as many baptisms that I have had in my whole mission!

I was transferred last Tuesday, so, I've been here for almost a week. Santa Maria is Amazing! Here in the South of Brasil there is a lot of pride and problems in the church. It made me really sad to see for the first bit of time that I was here but here, they had a baptism yesterday and there were 100 people there!!! There was a primary presentation singing the baptism song (about the rain cleaning the earth). It was really awesome. Elder Borlot was sent to Livramento.To answer a few other questions I'm the second companion of Elder Evaristo who has been on the mission for one transfer. We are across the street from the mission office and it's about 10 or 20 minutes from our house depending if you take the bus or a taxi. To tell you a little bit about the bishop, he is the man! He visits all of the members and all of the members are super happy and talking to everyone about the gospel. The bishop has done a film about the relationship between the missionaries and the ward leaders and he is famous in all of the mission.

Elder Silva already passed through this area and so did Elder Eduardo. Elder Eduardo was transferred close by here in Santa Maria. Santa Maria is called the "School of the Prophets" because missionary work goes how it should here; because of the president and it's the capital of the mission. So, a ton of missionaries that are sent here become leaders really fast.

Well, in my district we've got 8 missionaries. Elder Evaristo and I live in the same house as the ZLs and we all work together; Some days I work with the ZLs and some times with Evaristo. The other missionaries are the secretaries and their companions. They are really cool but, they don't really have a lot of time to work out of the office so, their numbers are pretty low. I hope that I can help to motivate them and help them learn how to work in the office and still do work in the field.

This week we have decided that all we want to do is find 2 families between us and the ZLs. We are receiving a few references from the members but we are praying and working to just find these families we can work with.

Help us pray for these families and we can be able to split this ward!!!

Thanks for all of you love and support! I wouldn't be here without you all!

Thanks for everything you guys! It really means a lot. If you have a special thing you want to send me in the package, mom is getting them going now. Let here know. Love you all.

Pray for us to find our families!

Elder Rob

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Peanut Butter

I remember one day deciding that I wanted to make peanut butter.
I don't know how old I was... maybe 8 or 9.

Kind of random since I was not a huge fan of peanut butter
- except with chocolate - actually I like just about anything with chocolate...

ANYWAY - it didn't seem too hard, peanuts and butter,
just needed something to smash the peanuts and butter together.

Hmmmm.... maybe the blender would work...

I remember asking my mom about it and she said she didn't think that's how it was made.

Then next part is kind of fuzzy.
I don't know if my mom told me not to do it
or if she just left the room....

I just remember putting peanuts and a spoonful of butter into the blender and turning it on.
I don't remember my mom being there.

(While I was not a disobedient child,
I guess I was a little
uh hem determined sometimes)
I guess I still am....

Any way, I didn't really understand about scraping down the
sides of the blender and being patient while
the blender chopped up the peanuts.

I also think that the butter stuck the peanuts to the sides of the blender
so the peanuts didn't get chopped up.
Needless to say my "peanut butter" experiment didn't go too well.

It's kind of funny that it was such a simple thing yet I still remember it.

Yesterday I came across this on Make and Takes
Instructions for making your own peanut butter!
I happened to be roasting some almonds
and made almond butter instead!
It was really good -
and my attempt so many years ago was not too far off...

Somehow taking little tastes of my almond butter
is very satisfying to me.
(I may be determined but I'm easy to please)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I should be....


I don't know what my problem is.

I should just bite the bullet and get it over with.

One month and I will be done... all done... possibly never reviewing at the bottom of the stairs before I enter the testing center again...

Why am I so easily distracted this week?

Why do I worry that I won't know what to do with myself when I graduate when I have more to do right now than I can ever get done (even when I neglect my studies)?

Why do I sometimes entertain the thought that I should just take the stupid test right now .... rationalizing that as long as I pass no one cares!

The truth is I do care.

And as much as I love to goof around with Jennifer, play with Ruby, do laundry, clean the kitchen, put together the perfect outfit, blog, read other peoples blogs, check out facebook and discover the secrets of Bajio's green enchilada sauce I would enjoy all those things more if this test was behind me.

Back to the books.

PS. I will post the recipe for the green sauce later - It's awesome!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wahooo! (March 23, 2009)

Gustavo and Jose
Dear Family,

This has been one of the Best weeks in the mission for me! In our district meeting last week we prepared a lesson just for Marcio and Geleane.

They were having doubts about tithing and having a lot of pressure and stress from the family. We prepared a lesson about sacrifices and rewards in our lives and fighting with the Lord or alone. Then we read 3 Nephi 13 with them and just about melted the spirit was so strong. In that moment we read Mosiah 18:8+ and asked them what was holding them back from being baptised.

Marcio said that if he explained everything in that moment he would go on speaking for the whole day. Then we discovered that he was feeling a lot of pressure from the family and associates at work.

With the help of the spirit we were able to explain everything that they needed to hear. Then we challenged them to pray to be comforted in the discision to be baptized Sunday!

The next day we returned and they weren't at home. So, we called them. I asked Geleane how the prayer went and she said that they decided to be baptized!!!

It was nine o' clock at night and no one was in the road and I started to screem for joy on the phone, "Wahooo!" She started to laugh and said she thaught I would react something like that :)

After that we went to their house every day and they were baptized yesterday! Wahoo!
Elder Borlot, Geleane, Marcio, Elder Rob

We have also known since Thursday that Elder Borlot will stay on the mission and he started working with me again. In the same conversation with President we also knew that he would send Sisters in our place here and that we would be transfered.

We learned today that I'm going to the Capital!! Santa Maria as District Leader!!! Or as Elder Eduardo(my way good friend and ZL) "School of the Prophets."

I'm way excited but a little nervous. Please pray for me.

Love you all!!! Thanks for everything!!!

Love, Elder Rob

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flashback Friday: Births Day

Thursday, March 16 1995: I walked into my OB's office trying not to waddle but walking was painful. I was 37 weeks. Dr. Naumaan entered the exam room and I began my prepared plea, "Monday would be a great day to have this baby" I offered, "It's my dad's birthday". He smiled and shook his head a little, "You know I won't even consider induction before 38 wks." Yes, I did know that - but I was miserable so I persisted. "I only have two shirts I can fit around me anymore" I complained as he helped me lay down on the table. He pulled out his trusty measuring tape and measured my enormous midsection. He looked at the tape and then did it again making sure the end points were in the proper places. After thinking for a moment he said, "So, you said Monday will work for you?" This was odd, I mean I was really half joking when I suggested it.... "Yea.... what did I measure?" He had turned to my chart and began writing, " 42 cm" he half mumbled. Wow. I wondered if he remembered Christians birth... Christian (weighing 9lbs. 3 1/2 oz) was stuck until one really huge push broke his collar bone and he was born... I sure remembered it.

So Monday it was... March 20, my dad's birthday ....and my sister Lisa's due date... I kind of felt bad, I hoped her baby would come before then, it would be depressing for me to have my baby 2 1/2 weeks early... on her due date and her to still be pregnant. I just couldn't bring myself to tell her - but really hoped she would go into labor very soon.

Monday morning arrived. Three kids off to school, Christian at a friends house and Mark went to finish up a few things at school and would be joining me soon (We knew very well that these things take time). Leaving the house that morning I had that familiar feeling... knowing that the events of this day would change our lives forever. Also knowing that after such a difficult pregnancy, this would be my last - I just couldn't do this again - I felt like so much was riding on this day and I wanted this sweet little girl sooooo much to come and be part of our family. The doorbell rang, another friend had arrived to take me to the hospital.

The plan was to break my water and have me walk to get labor going on my own. The thought of walking at all was not attractive but after they broke my water (and the nurse changed her shoes) walking was not that bad. Mark arrived. I felt bad for him... he was sick... a few days later he finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with brohchitis. We were quite the pair. Although I had never had an epidural before I decided that this time I would get one... I was exhausted and so was Mark.

Sometime after noon the phone in the labor room rang. It was Robbie!? Apparently he was at the school library with his class and convinced the librarian to look up the number and allow him to call me... the hospital put him through... "No Jennifer had not been born yet, it would most likely be a few more hours, yes, we would call and arrangements had been made to bring them to the hospital as soon as possible..." Mark and I still laugh when we think of that... he was 8.

As it turned out my epidural only seemed to work well on my left side. I would roll on my right side to get it to work better only to have Jennifer's heart rate drop and need to roll on the left side... stabalizing her heart rate and draining the epidural from my right side. I was grateful I knew the breathing techniques and also grateful that the pain was reduced by half. A nurse came in when I was in transition and asked Mark what I was doing curled up breathing rythmically, after all I did have an epidural. He suggested that maybe the epidural was not working well and she should check me and call the doctor. She looked at my chart and tried to brush him off but he insisted (he's awesome, even when he's sick). I was almost complete. Things were a blur from there. A rush of movement all around me, the doctor came and she was born with only a few pushes.

Jennifer Amali Zimbelman
9lbs 21 inches

Lisa gave birth the same day. Kathrine Ila Brown - Jenn's "twin cousin" was born about two hours later, in Utah... we were in Arizona.
this picture is from the following July, Katie and Jennifer

Happy Brithday Dad, Jenn and Katie!

We have been blessed immensily by all three but
Jennifer continues to be a daily blessing and joy in our lives.

Want a good book reccommendation? Ask Jennifer.
Need someone to play with your kids for a few hours? Ask Jennifer.
Want to hear some beautiful Sonatas on the piano? Ask Jennifer.
Want to go shopping? Ask Jennifer.
Want to go rollerblading? Ask Jennifer.
Need help cooking? Ask Jennifer.

I could go on but this post is already very long.

This is a great day to celebrate!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flashback Whatever: Being Sick

I was sick all last week with that crud that's going around. One night I just couldn't sleep because of the sinus pressure (even with Niquil and Ibuprofen) so I got a dish cloth wet, heated it in the microwave and laid there with it on my face. It was the only thing that brought relief.

It reminded me of when I was little. A wet washcloth helped everything from a fever to a sore throat. I just felt better with a wet wash cloth applied to the effected area. Maybe it was more the love of the one applying, shaking out to get it to the right temperature and reapplying.

Thanks Mom!

PS I am trying to get caught up, prepare for a birthday party and another test next week so please excuse my lack of blogging. I will return!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Winter comes to an end and is just getting started

Dear Family,

This week I've made the decision to give it all I've got before I leave Santo Ângelo. I've have been here for 6 months and boy am I ready for a change! I have a lot of memories and friends here but, the work here is nothing but easy!

I know that where fear is, faith can't be. But, to tell you the truth I think that this week won't be just a walk in the park. Pray for us!

Well, I'm not going to lie; this past week hasn't been all that easy. Elder Borlot is ready to go home and my spirits haven't been at 100% but, the fight continues. I'm convinced that all of these experiences that I'm passing will serve for my knowledge and good.

Gustavo and Jose are doing awesome. Now we have three young couples in the new members class and they're all learning together.

Marcio and Geleane are doing great too. Except for the fact that I will have to leave here in a week. They have really been a tender mercy of the Lord for me and a confirmation when Mom told me that there are people waiting for me here in the mission. They will come along just fine and be firm members of the church.

Last night we did a fireside and it was really a success. It was about missionary work and the spirit was really strong! Now the members know their role and responsibility in the work and are excited. I think the next missionaries that come out here will have a lot more help.

This week has been rough but thanks to your prayers, examples, support I haven't given up and don't expect it. The prayer list will be the same this week.

I hope and pray that you all have a great week! Thanks for everything you do!

Don't forget to pray for: Elder Borlot, Gustavo, Jose, Marcio, Geleane, Michel, Adriana, Adriel, Angela.

Until next week...

Elder Zimbelman

Monday, March 9, 2009

This Week

Dear Family,

This week has been a roller coaster! We have had a lot of ups and downs this week but, I'm cruising along just fine.

Gustavo and Jose got married and baptized on Saturday just like we planned. It was a great baptism with about 50 people and great talks. Marcio and Geleane were there too and enjoyed the baptism. But, they are wanting to wait a bit longer for their baptism.

We have only taught them for two weeks and so that is completely normal; But, now we will have to take care of them from doubts and distractions that Satan will put in their paths. Pray for them!

Once again we are having a rough time finding new investigators that are married and will go to church; pray for us!

Also, Elder Borlot has told me that even with all of the spiritual experiences that we are having he has decided he will only stay on the mission until the end of this transfer. So, I'm feeling a lot of responsibility. Pray for him to have a change of heart!

That is about it for this week. We built a counter and sink in our apartment and worked a lot with Gustavo, Jose and, Marcio and Geleane. They are really prepared to be baptized.

Please pray for these people: Gustavo, Jose, Marcio, Geleane, Michel, Adriana, Adriel and, Angela.

Thank you all for your Love, Support and, Emails! They mean a lot to me!

Until Next week!

Love, Elder Z

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Count your Blessings AND Pray for those serving our Country

Another letter from Mark's teammate Steve - currently serving in Afghanistan:


It’s down to a couple of months left at the end of this next week, if you can imagine. While I am excited about that aspect of things, any excitement is being marred by significant events on this end. Sorry in advance for any typos.

I am continually amazed by the greatness of America and what it stands for.

Last week I went in to volunteer at the Egyptian Hospital. We also have a hospital run by the Koreans. Both exist on this base to provide health care to the local populace and they let the people----women, children, or anyone who needs medical help, into the installation to provide care. The amazing thing is that it is not the Egyptians or the Koreans that fund their operations. It is America. We pay for their doctors to come here and provide millions of dollars in assistance in medical supplies and so on. I had expected to see a modern facility where modern medicine was being practiced. Instead, the Egyptian Hospital is in a wooden hut reminiscent of some episode (if not worse) of MASH. My basement was more sterile than the operating room. When I walked in, the carnage was startling. The gurneys had women, children and the elderly on them, some of the kids with parents assisting them.

Three times a week, our Battalion Guard Force take bags of items to these people to increase their morale. Bags that include some personal hygiene items, small fleece blankets, crayons or coloring books etc. These are items people of AMERICA have donated and we bag them each week and sort according to need, sex etc. I wish I could adequately describe the look on a young boys face when he received something as basic as a coloring book and crayons. He didn’t even know what a crayon was until I took it out of the box and showed him the magic of color on a cartoon figure in the coloring book. He looked at his dad with amazement. When I went to place the crayon in his right hand, his father touched me on the arm shaking his head, “no.” Just as quickly, he pulled up his son’s sleeve to expose what appeared to be an old, improperly set compound fracture of his right wrist, rendering it useless. I acknowledged understanding and put it in his left hand.

The tragic thing about it is that the vast majority of patients in the hospital were victims of land mines. Kids, women, and the elderly with missing limbs. The kids are the hardest. I visited an older man who had his left leg blown off just below the knee. He had shrapnel so bad in his good leg from the explosion that it got infected and he was at risk for losing this leg as well. The damage done by the infection was unreal. Two big metal rods were sticking out laterally in an attempt to stabilize his leg. He was so emaciated that he looked like a skeleton with skin stretched over him. He was looking at me with eyes of “what can you do to help me?” as the physician described his wounds. The only thing I could do was to extend my hands. He grabbed them with both his and they felt like pieces of worn leather, deeply cracked and calloused. To this day, I haven’t felt anything like it. I felt helpless to do anything other than express some element of care.

The best part was bringing out the soccer balls. These people love playing soccer and when we bring the balls out, you can see a few of them hiding their morale bags underneath the bed sheets so they will also get a soccer ball. We give them to the children first, and then the young teenagers. I gave one to this 8-9 year old boy, but it was explained to me that he couldn’t see well, but nonetheless, through the sensitivity of his touch he could tell what it was and it brought a broad smile. There were young girls with diabetes, children asleep outside on wooden benches waiting for care, and the elderly, some adorned in polyester jackets that wouldn’t even be acceptable to the worse second hand stores. Shoes---you would think that we had given them gold bars and it doesn’t matter if they are dazzling colors or anything else, because they wear them as if they were a perfect match with their clothing. Needless to say I left sobered. No---guilty.

Early this last week our Entry Control Point was attacked by two suicide bombers. One with a vehicle-born IED, and the other with a suicide vest IED. When they approached the ECP, the driver got out of the vehicle and ran, after which his vehicle exploded. The insurgent with the suicide vest was to provide a secondary explosion when rescue personnel came to the scene, at which time he would detonate himself and maximize the number of people he could take with him. He successfully blew himself up, but by some miracle nobody was killed though we did take some injuries to civilian contract personnel. It was coordinated, but they couldn’t bind their anxiety to carry it out the way it was planned. We were all a bit nervous.

Two nights later would take things to a new level. At night we took four, 107mm rockets fired from the south. One struck near a guard tower about 200 meters from my hut, rocking my world. Another fell near a different tower on the base. The other two delivered direct hits on the facility where I work, blowing a hole in the concrete structure. It is miraculous that nobody was killed. Had the rocket hit in my hut complex we would have taken substantial casualties. Also, had it not been for it being late evening, there would have been more people in the facility, also increasing the chances of casualties. The Taliban spring offensive has begun!

Regardless of whether it’s a “spring offensive” or just weather that is allowing better movement etc, all of it is unnerving. These are terror weapons that keep you scared all the time since you never know where or when they will come. After a while, you have to make a decision of either going nuts worrying about getting hit, or you drive on and rationalize it away by thinking, “if it’s my turn to go, then that’s it.” I refuse to live in fear. Pilots call the air equivalent, “the golden BB”---being taken out of the air by a small projectile that just happens to take you down. People win the lottery when the odds against them are astronomical. We play the odds here too, but always assume it will be someone else.

We did a 5K run recently in honor of a young Army troop who responded to the call of duty. The Battalion needed a person to augment a team that would be at extreme risk and put the word out for volunteers. In no time, Private First Class Brandon J. Wadman was standing at Headquarters, duffle bags packed, ready for the job at hand. He answered the call but was tragically killed as a result, receiving the Bronze Star Medal posthumously. There are hundreds of young men just like him---ready to deliver when asked. Hard core.

America is truly great. I have seen it with my own eyes. However, the challenges ahead are going to be rough.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Hopscotch

The girls in our neighborhood decided to set the record for the longest hopscotch ever (which currently stands at just over 10,001 squares). They got over 2500 and last night it rained...

I hope they try again... I love hopscotch.

It was my game of choice in elementary school.

Critical to a good hopscotch game is a good marker.
While many would search for small stones just the right shape, size and weight I was blessed by my good mother to always have the perfect thing.

Bobby pins.

In the morning my mom would part my unruly, fine hair on the side and put in two bobby pins to keep it out of my eyes. She always crossed them to keep them in place...
until recess anyway.

Two bobby pins hooked together had the perfect weight
...and it would stay right where you threw it,
or if you did it just right
it would slide in the square causing a competitors marker to roll
on the line or out of the square.
Life was good

I remember many days coming home from school and my mom would comment that I looked like a rag-a-muffin. I guess I didn't put them back in the way she did...
and then... well, if they are not crossed right they fall out and get lost or become a pain. I think many times they came home in my pocket rather than in my hair... if they came home at all.

Function over form right?!

I'm sure if my mother had known she gave me the key to being the hopscotch queen she wouldn't have minded spending a small fortune on bobby pins.

(No wonder she didn't use barrettes)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mortar what?

Is it March already?
Must be... I just took my second Stats exam out of four.
Wow half way there.

Another sign spring is on its way?
I just ordered my cap and gown.

Aaron, Jordan and I will be all decked out come April 24th.
We even get to sit together and our names will be announced in rapid succession
and then our families will have three times the challenge
of not cheering wildly until all the names of the graduates are read...
of course we are near the end so they won't have to wait too long.

While it's been quite a while since I've worn
a mortar board on my head
(like more than a quarter of a century)
(wow I really am old)

I must admit that I have a few questions.
Who came up with that name anyway?
How come masters students have to pay more for their apparel?
How come masters students are asked for their head size and
Bachelors students get one-size-fits-all?
Does finishing a masters program make your head larger so they need more specifics?
(I am referring to brain size not ego)

These are questions I would research and find the answers for
...if I wasn't busy figuring out confidence intervals,
probabilities and p values.

Monday, March 2, 2009

To the Ward

Dear Edgemont 19th Ward,

It's amazing how fast time passes on the mission. I can remember you all so perfectly and I know that all you have done for me has made my mission the best time of my life! I'm not sure I would be here without your powerful examples of living Christlike lives. I'm convinced of the perfect plan of our loving Heavenly Father and the difference it makes in the lives of those who diligently seek Him. I have also gained quite a testimony that missionary work shouldn't begin on the mission and should be a great part of our lives forever. I took for granted how blessed we are to live in "Zion!" The gospel is true and it blesses and changes our lives every day. That is why we need to share it.

We need to let the light of Christ shine in our eyes so that those who are searching the truth will be able to find it in our examples. It has been such a blessing in my life to get to know such people like you! We are sons and daughters of a God who knows us by name and loves each and every one of His children! To the extent that He rejoices with us when we are happy and weeps for us when we are sad. Miracles are real and happen when we align our will completely with the will of the Father. He wants to give us everything but He can't take away our agency. It's our choice to accept His mercy and the blessings of all He has. Or, the opposite.

Let us chose daily to serve our Heavenly Father and the blessings will come in the time and way that God sees fit. I love you all and I'm grateful for your loving examples in my life!

Thank you!


Elder Zimbelman

Busy Busy

Dear Family,

This week has been amazing! It truly is through our difficulties and problems that we become stronger.

This week has been a powerful testimony builder for me. Elder Borlot's problems haven't passed fully but, I'm putting him to work and we have seen a lot of miracles!

A week ago Sunday, we met Marcio and Geliane. The second time we taught them we already marked there baptism to be the same Saturday as Gustavo and Jose! We taught them with a young couple that will soon get married in the temple and the spirit was so strong that they cried during the first vision! They went to church Yesterday and Marcio prayed in the New members class! During his prayer he said that he would always be at church Sunday! We have visited them every day of this week and it has been very amazing the way that they have been prepared by the Lord!

This week will be very full and rushed! But, it will be very special! Pray for these four and we will take care of them; Gustavo, Jose, Marcio and Geliane!

I'm sorry, we are running a little late and we've gotta jet.

Love you guys!

Elder Rob