Sunday, January 22, 2017


This post is from Emily's family.  We are so grateful to the ward family, to our extended family and most especially to the Japanese family who has loved and supported our daughter.  THANK YOU!!  Here are a few photos you might enjoy.


Richard and Gretchen, 
Mark and Laci Zollinger - Carylon, Madison, Traydon, and Brenton
Jessica and James Gardiner
Nathaniel and McKenzie Zollinger
and Caitlin 

Nathaniel and Emily

Sisters!!!  Jessica, Caitlin and Emily


Nothing like a hug from Dad!!  Noodle Sr.

Hugging Mark (McKenzie recording it all)

The Parents!!  Richard and Gretchen

Auntie Emily with Carylon and Madison

Meeting her nephew - Brenton was born last year.

Meeting the new sister in law - McKenzie!!

McKenzie, Nathaniel and Emily

Sunday, January 15, 2017

One Hundred Things I learned

1. How to speak Japanese
2. To not be afraid to honestly tell people how you feel and what you don't like
3. How to tie a scarf so that if covers almost all parts of your head
4. There is Something to be Thankful for Everyday
5. How to find peace in trials
6. What it means to be a church member
7. If you're trying you're succeeding
8. How to sleep on a futon
9. There is always someone in your circle of influence that needs your help
10. How to start a conversation with anyone
11. Your eternal family isn't just the family you're born into
12. How to poof in the Snow
13. That studying the scriptures will bring you closer to God than anything else
14. That you don't talk to someone through language alone
15. To like real sushi
16. You can see miracles every day
17. How to curl (winter curling sport)
18. You never know how much saying "Hello" can change someone's day
19. Running on Snow and Ice is easier than walking
20. How to cook
21. When someone comes to know their Savior, their face glows
22. How to shower in a minute
23. How to live with all kinds of people
24. How to make daily plans
25. The true meaning of Christmas
26. To dance on a bicycle
27. How to rap
28. How to always rely on God, in every circumstance
29. That all things in life start and end in love
30. We are living with the fruits of Joseph Smith's sacrifice and love
31. How to read a map
32. Good exercise and a healthy diet can make a BIG difference in your life
33. How to give a Temple Tour
34. If you believe in God you can hope for a better world
35. Blessings come DURING trials
36. How to ride a bicycle in a skirt
37. How to forgive yourself
38. That I am incredibly stubborn
39. The power of humility
40. The meaning of sweet boldness
41. How to pray
42. Home is where the heart is
43. What it means to live a Christ centered life
44. The spirit and love never change
45. You can find a reason to laugh in every situation
46. I have random obsessions with: owls, tape, moss, and flamingos
47. That we don't have to be perfect today
48. My personality can be described using my hair
49. That the Book of Mormon is 100% the true word of the living God
50. To not be afraid
51. You don't have to be perfect to feel the spirit
52. Everyone just wants to be heard
53. How to walk on the snow (was taught by 5 different grandmas)
54. We will never perfectly understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ
55. How to play basketball
56. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father made in his image
57. That enduring to the end is about feeling joy, happiness and love
58. How to strum a ukulele
59. That women have a bigger influence than we realize
60. How to do a handstand
61. If you lose yourself for others, you will find your true self
62. The Spirit does more then lead and guide; He testifies and provides
63. There is a reason for everything, God's hands are in the folds of our lives
64. How to bow like a Nihonjin
65. Not to dwell on the past, not to focus only on the future, but to live today
66. How to sing "Ave Maria"
67. How to defrost fingers and toes
68. Life with the gospel is more fun than life without
69. Heavenly Father loves exactly who YOU are today
70. How to survive an earthquake
71. That confidence in Christ will help you overcome anything
72. More important than speaking is listening
73. How to read some kanji
74. How to love
75. How to recognize the spirit
76. That I don't know how to remain calm when people get lost
77. How to sing alto for "Silent Night"
78. How important charity for all mankind is
79. How to make applesauce with a ladle and a strainer
80. The person next to you could be feeling completely different from you
81. How to destroy bookworms (the bug is REAL)
82. That EVERY person has worth
83. How to use a squatter toilet
84. How to eat EVERYTHING with chopsticks (soup and jello included)
85. Comparing yourself to others only tears you down
86. To almost successfully play sand volleyball
87. That Nihonjin are obsessed with curly hair
88. No matter where you go, the Church is the same
89. That God hears and answers all sincere prayers in faith
90. How to kill lice
91. The Atonement covers ALL aspects of life
92. God knows us personally
93. Leadership isn't about skills but love and humility
94. How to fold a kimono
95. To be patient
96. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ
97. That diligence means trying your best, then having faith in God to do His will
98. That no matter how many push-ups I do, I'll never be able to do a pull-up
99. God will never give you anything you can't do
100. There is no end

Last letter home

I've been thinking a lot about this email. I really wish I could say something cool but I have nothing. Sooooo

How is everyone doing today? This was literally the coldest week of my entire life. Turns out when my shoes are in the snow too long they freeze and my toes turn to ice. It was super fun. Oka Shimai and I ended up running everywhere to warm up. :)

This week on Monday we went to Kisaka San's house and made green chili enchiladas with Tsuchiya Shimai! They were so cute throwing everything together asking me if it looked okay. After that we talked about prayer. She's been praying everyday! We talked so much about how God is our Heavenly Father. We talked about how that's what He wants us to call him. It was so special! We saw her two more times this week and she came to church! Kisaka San is seriously my favorite person in the world. She has this giggle that she does all the time. It's the cutest thing in the world. Oka Shimai and I always laugh so hard.
On Saturday we were at the church making Mochi with the ward. It was so fun! They told me I needed to pound some too so I would always remember Japan and I hit the rice like three times and then they took the hammer away because they said I looked tired :)

Yesterday I gave a talk in church. My theme was love. I think that's the thing I've come to learn the most about on my mission. I don't know why but saying "I love you" is so hard for me to do. "Love you" is no problem. I just get embarrassed or something silly and have a hard time expressing the way I feel. All my poor companions. Yesterday I said that in my talk and after so many people when they said goodbye to me said "I love you" in perfect English. I seriously love Kotoni so much. 7 months here has been literally the best!

I've had a lot of time to reflect this week on the past year and a half. Oka Shimai suggested I write 100 things I learned. It was seriously the coolest thing I've ever done. It was hard at first but then I couldn't stop. Dendo has been the best. There's been some really, really hard times. But there's been some really really good times as well. I've never understood so well when alma talks about his joy and his pain. That's the best way to describe a mission. I've really come to know who I am. Who I want to become. And how far I've come. There is a plan for everything.

That's why this week is,
Ecclesiastes 3:1
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven".


There is a time for everything in life. A time for joy, sadness, life, death, success, failure. Everything has a purpose. We just need to have faith in Heavenly Father's timing and everything will be okay. I would say more but I feel like the 100 things pretty much covers it all.

I love you all so much. I'm leaving home to go home. But I'll be back. Dendo doesn't stop just because my badge is off.

The church is true. Even when you don't believe it's still true and Heavenly Father's love for you is still there.

Never give up, never, never give up
Sister Zollinger

Pie is the face!!  For all those heading home.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Two lines

See you next week

Matthew 14:27 
"But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid".

Lit some candles during MS

Service at the old folks home! Some of them remembered me!

Mission Leader Conference!

Saw my bean! We cried. :)

Classic Train Selfie.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Three Weeks Left

Considering the title this week's ponderizing scripture is

D&C 31:13
"Be faithful unto the end, and lo, I am with you. These words are not of man nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the will of the Father. Amen.

It's not that I want to go home or stop working it's just a weird spot to be in. It's too early to start thinking about the day I say goodbye to mission life get and get on that airplane home but too late to not think about how I can work as hard as I can these last three weeks.  That's why I chose this scripture. I feel like there's so many things I want to do and accomplish before the 19th.

When I found this scripture I found so much peace. If I'm faithful until the end I'll be able to accomplish everything Heavenly Father needs me to do. This really is the work of our Savior. He is with me always. He is with me when I put my nametag on in the morning. When I step outside into the snow. He's with me when I stop people on the street. When I get rejected in doorways. When I teach someone about the miracles he performed for them. And then he's with me when I lay my head down in my futon each night.

This week has been so incredible! Even though my stomach is crying from the excessive food intake I would do it all over again for the members. Nothing can replace the happiness in their faces to have the missionaries over. It's seriously been so fun! I wish I could tell you all about it but my fingers don't type that fast. I love the members in Hokkaido. Their faith is so strong! They love the missionaries and will do anything they possibly can to help us!

This week's miracles, I got to wash the dishes after a meal for I think the first time! It was so fun. We played games while we cleaned.  I felt like I was doing chores with family. We got to see Moeka Chan!  She's seriously so loving to anyone and everyone! We got to see Kisaka San! She's been praying every morning! Today we taught her about prayer and she is so excited to pray for answers to the questions in her heart! Oka Shimai bore the most beautiful testimony of the power of prayer.

I got to go on splits with Hannant Shimai! I've never been rejected so much and so hard in my whole mission. Literally all day. We left the apt early to have more dendo time and we got nothing but rejection all day. Then right before we got on the train at the end of the day we decided to stop one last girl. Got her number and taught her about God! She invited us to come see her at work! It made it all so worth it!

Sunday was my 18th month mark. I was able to go to church and take the sacrament. Then Bishop Nakamura asks Oka Shimai and me to bear our testimonies. It was so special. The spirit was so strong. Then we celebrated New Years as traditional as you can get without going full kimono and Sayuru shimais house. It was so fun!

I'm so excited for this new year and all the blessings it will bring!
I love you!
Sister Zollinger

P.S.  Check out this great video on the Japan Sapporo Temple.  Look for your favorite Frozen Noodle!!  (Scroll down on the website for the English version)

Started splits out with a nice Doria and Waffles topped with ice cream
and fruit :)

Moeka Chan!

Gochi #1 Ogawa Family. Both returned missionaries so we played a game and the winner had to role play!

Gochi #2 Kojima Family! The lady in the back is 92 years old. Seriously the cutest thing of my life. Sat like she owned the place :) Kojima Kyodai kept singing "pineapple, Apple, pen"'s apparently really popular right now. He also showed us all his bus maps from America and said "aren't these cool!?"

#3 Takahashi drank Sakura tea

#4 Sakata Shimai. Sooooo cute! We spent the whole day with her!

#5 Konno Couple! Their daughter just went into the MTC and yesterday happened to be Konno kyodai's birthday!

Lastly got so cold my companion went snowman on me! Apparently it hasn't snowed like this is 50 years! The frozen noodle's going out cold!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

4 days of Gochi

Emailing through pictures

D&C 8:10
" Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not".


This is Kobayashi San. We found her on Tuesday while walking around. Walked to the church together did a church tour and gave her a Book of Mormon! She's golden! So golden. After she left Oka Shimai and I both died on the floor. It was one of the coolest lessons of my life! 

This is arena San. She looooooves gaijin. And she's so good at English! She lived in Germany for 4 years! 

Found this on Christmas Eve. We sat in it and said Merry Christmas while people walked by and accidentally scared this old man. It was super fun! So many people asked if we made it. I love Sapporo!!! And my Killer Compy! 

It's been snowing like crazy lately! But the Windows look really cool! We've had four blizzards in the past 3 weeks :) was outside in every one of them!

This is Kazu San. We found her last week! We had an appointment at her house this week and we ended up talking to her about baptism! It was soooo cool! We invited her to church. She looked so happy when she saw us and ran up and gave us big hugs! She said she's coming next week too. She's sooooo nice! Seriously love her! Yay Christmas! 

We sang Christmas carols at Tsuchiya shimais work. My friends are both 100 years old. So cute! We had the same conversation 15 times :) but seriously so nice! 

We had a pancake party after DTM!

This week is New Years so we aren't allowed to dendo which means four days of solid member visits where you sit and eat. For hours, I mean days.

Yesterday for Christmas we went to Odori with the elders and say carols while members handed out cards! It was so cool! The spirit was so strong. So many people sang along and took pictures and videos and clapped. One guy that was working close by when no one was around he came and watched! One lady cried and accepted a Book of Mormon. I froze my noodle off but it was one of the coolest experiences so far!

I love Christmas so much!

I also love you!

Sister Zollinger

Monday, December 19, 2016

Five Transfer in Heaven

Good Morning!

Merry Christmas everyone! Wearing my Christmas sweater from last year compliments of Caitlin the master of ugly Christmas sweater finding :)

This week has been insane. Completely insane. Don't even remember everything that happened. But it went like this: 
  • played a cello for the first time, killed it
  • sang at ZTM with my beloved Kuta Shimai (first time in 12 transfers I wasn't nervous to preform) thanks for the challenge mom I've successful preformed at least once every transfer!
  • froze our butts off in the armpit of the area successfully finding a delicious bread shop that also sells pretty cakes for ¥100 ($1)
  • Found an NA (non-active) we didn't know existed
  • Dendoed with kubo Shimai for about 4 hours. She meet us at the church and then drove us around to NAs, investigators, and even stopped on the side of the road so we could ping a house with Christmas lights.  It was so fun!
  • Ran so we weren't late to almost every appointment this week. Feeling really fit 💪
  • Got the largest box in my life full of presents from the ward. Yes, socks and chocolate. What more could a girl want?
  • Annnd I went to my last Ward Council in Kotoni!

Which made me think of my five transfers here. I'm been working with the members here longer than any missionary I've worked with. Realized that yesterday. I love them all soooo much though!

  • Transfer 1: Barton Shimai-Temple Open House, getting lost in the "Amazon". Getting filmed for a church video, using ice packs to cool ourselves off during MS because it's so hot, and miracles everyday
  • Transfer 2 & 3: Hackett Shimai-my bean! Seriously laughed so hard I peed almost everyday, got lice, she got lost, and hit by a car, and we saw miracles everyday.
  • Transfer 4 & now: Oka Shimai-running everyday, slipping on ice, sing Christmas songs to everyone, and still seeing miracles everyday.
I love DENDO! Something I realized a while ago. If you let it, life gets better everyday. Because your older, wiser, and better than you were the day before. You know more about your Savior. You've studied deeper than you ever have before. Drew closer to your Father through prayer. Life will keep getting better forever. Come what may and love it!

I love you all!

D&C 117:13
"When he falls he shall rise again, for his sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord".


When you fall, remember who's child you are. That no matter what you do, if it's for him you will be blessed.

I love you!
Sister Zollinger

Presents from the Kotoni ward

our humble tree :) compliments of Takeya Shimai

Kuta Shimai and Zollinger Shimai

Snow piles at the church.

And cello...