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!