Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn


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

Conversion

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!

Love,

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 Ga├║cho 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!

Love,

Elder Rob

Monday, October 5, 2009

26.2

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
THEY ARE

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:

YOU ARE AMAZING!

thanks for inspiring me.

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

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Secret Formula

We were in enjoying a beautiful evening the back yard with some friends when someone asked Mark how we got such great vegetable plants. He quickly explained how we tilled compost in below the ground level ...
then built up the boxes and tilled in more compost, more soil and still more compost.

They seemed unconvinced so he explained how we put in a drip system and hooked it up to the sprinkler timer so it would get the right amount of water on a regular basis.

As Mark was explaining, another friend came up and said,
"Karen just has a green thumb".
The person was instantly satisfied and that was the end of the conversation.

I have thought about that a lot lately.

The answer they were looking for was some
quick fix secret formula.
The real secret formula they needed to make their garden grow
involved a lot of hard work.

The funny thing is that the hard work is not permanent.
We do not have to go back and recreate the boxes each year to get a great garden.
While we do have some routine maintenance,
like tilling the boxes each spring and periodically adding compost,
the amount of work required on a regular basis is quite small.
It's small now because of the past work we did.

Really, it's the same with weight loss
or an education or anything...

...maybe it's even true about getting organized.
Too much looking for the perfect system
and not enough making it work...