The past two weeks have brought many experiences that have been rich in meaning and significance. In addition to our normal labors of teaching English and visiting members in the Lowell First Ward, we’ve taught a youth fireside discussion, taught our temple preparation class, and Elder Zollinger gave a talk in the Spanish group. They were all great experiences. We enjoyed teaching the youth (age 11 – 18) regarding entertainment and media and internet safety. It was an engaged group of young men and young women. We will do the same next month on the topic of Family History.
We also visited the New England Quilt Museum in downtown Lowell, MA. Quilts are an interesting study and truly an art form of creative tapestry. Most often they were created from spare bits of material as early American societies made do from nothing and wasted nothing. The result are creative patterns from the smallest pieces of material that intricate and often breath taking. Here are a few pictures from that experience to illustrate the creativity.
Those quilts remind me of my mother who has made quilts for almost everyone of her descendants over the years, including her great-grandchildren. On May 15th she celebrated her 90th birthday and 67 of her descendants and close friends gathered in Chandler, AZ to help her celebrate. All her six children and their spouses were in attendance, in addition to almost all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Elder and Sister Zollinger received permission to travel to Arizona and attend this reunion. All our eight children were able to attend and all but two our grandchildren. Members of my mother's book club and work mate were also able to attend. It was a terrific experience to honor the great Matriarch of the Zollinger Clan on this occasion. Quilts remind me of Forever Families. We are stitched together with love and care just like these quilts. Each of us is a different shape and sometimes a little worn around the edges, but the resulting family despite some of its blemishes and weaknesses provides incredible warmth and is beautiful to behold. The tapestry of our lives all joined together is worthy of the most prestigious art galleries in the world. I am grateful for the doctrine of eternal families and the knowledge I have that my family is a "Forever Family." Here are some pictures:
My siblings and their spouses and our mother. Seated left to right: Kevin Don (eldest child), Kirsten (number 2), and my mother Marilyn. Standing left to right, Kathy (spouse of Kevin), Christopher Lee (number 5), Jill (spouse of Christopher), Erik Rand (number 6), Carolyn (spouse of Erik), Michael Shawn (number 3), Lynn (spouse of Michael), Laurie Anne Grant (number 4), Kenneth Grant (spouse of Laurie).
The family of Michael and Lynn Zollinger. Front row left to right: Jace (son of Mark and Bonnie), Quinn, Riley, and Logan (children of Tyler and Lahni), Kaylee and Isabella (daughters of Tanya), Damian and Brooklyn (children of Victoria and Randy Reid), Abigail, Jack, (seated on Julie's lap (children of Ian and Julie, Julie, Alex (son of Todd an Danielle, Lynn and Henry (son of Todd and Danielle), Mike and Benjamin (son of Todd and Danielle, Marilyn Zollinger (Matriarch), Anna her son Kobe, standing backrow, Jamie, Ian holding their son Percy, Danielle and Todd , Tanya , Mark, Lahni and Tyler, Randy and Victoria.
Last Thursday we held another Zone Conference, this time in Manchester, NH with five zones all meeting together for instruction, and to edify each other. These young missionaries continue to amaze us.
Here we are in May already and time is moving on swiftly. The weather here is still chilly in the mornings. I am sure that the temperature will start rising soon. We continue to help wherever we can in whatever way that we can. We continue to teach lessons with the young missionaries when needed and enjoy those opportunities.
This past week brought transfers amongst the young missionaries. Every six weeks there are transfers in the mission. Young men and young women that we’ve worked with are moved to different parts of the mission. For us as senior missionaries there are no transfers to different areas unless the mission president sees a need for that to happen. We expect to remain in Lowell for the duration of our mission. But for the younger missionaries it presents the opportunity to experience different locations, companions, and working conditions. It is not always easy for them to be transferred as they grow to love the people in one area, and it isn’t easy for their friends they leave behind either. We’ve been in Lowell since March 4th, and this is the second transfer we’ve experienced. There is now only one young missionary remaining that was here before we got here. She is Sister Fife from Colorado and assigned to work with Spanish speakers. We have 5 new missionaries in our district and the same number have left. It is interesting and faith provoking to me to see how even with the changes, the work goes on.
We still teach English three times a week and continue to visit the members in the Lowell First Ward. Sister Zollinger and I teach the Temple Preparation Class in the ward, and we are enjoying that. Since I am not as busy during the English class, I have been trying to learn Portuguese using the Duolingo app on my phone. There are so many Portuguese speakers here in addition to Spanish that I am trying to broaden my capability.
We had to opportunity to visit Gloucester and Manchester-by-the-Sea this past preparation day and enjoyed a beautiful drive on the coast. We were able to have a nice seafood lunch with very fresh dishes, including my first New England Clam Chowder in New England. It was very tasty! Here are pictures of the places we visited, including the site of the original Massachusetts Bay Colony. I will end the blog this week with them. Tchau!