At a recent zone conference I was impressed by a young sister missionary who used the line, "we all have to find the right tools to face our giants in life." This made me reflect on the story of David and Goliath and how David chose five smooth stones to use in his sling against the giant. He only needed one stone to do the job, but he was prepared with four extras. I have observed in life that it is always good to have a backup plan and to have the right tool/weapon for the job. I wrote a poem about this and will share it here.
Stones to Face my Giants
by Michael S. Zollinger
David often used stones for his flock’s protection; he used them oft without hesitation
The stones were shaped smooth and even; by the streams brisk current in the shadows hidden
Now with the giant he’d soon be facing he chose five more his journey pacing
Five he knew would do the task; four more than needed just in case
He knew that God would make him sure even with that Giant lurking there
The first stone was Faith in the living God
The second was courage when none else believed
The third was truth that cuts through doubt
The fourth for heart to see it through
The fifth and last for humility of spirit; not to boast or even close to it
And with these stones of virtue so needed; he slayed the Giant and saved a people
Our giants today are no less daunting, and of these same stone carved virtues we can’t be found wanting
Faith leads to all let it do the talking
and then Courage to act and heed a prompting
Truth slices through doubt and then shadows do flee
Our Heart that is pure shines through in the dark; with Humility of Spirit we take on our part
The giants in life will stand in our way but with these smooth stone virtues we too them can slay
One year ago, today we entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. It was a fitting today to begin our missionary journey together. It is one year later, and it is hard to believe that we have been serving for twelve months! Time has flown by most of the time and we are still enjoying our service in Lowell, Massachusetts. Today we returned from errands and found a package on our doorstep. Some lovely gifts from the Thomas family in Taos, New Mexico. Sister Zollinger and I grew to love the people of the Taos Ward and have many fond memories of our visits to Taos over the 15 years that I served in the stake presidency of the Santa Fe New Mexico Stake. It became our home away from home. The gifts were unique to Taos and will hold a special place in our heart.
A couple of Saturdays ago we had the blessing of attending the Boston Massachusetts Temple with a group of new members who had been baptized recently in the Lowell First Ward and three of the young women in the ward. Sister Zollinger and I had helped two of the couples find family names for their first visit to the temple. With the recent changes to how baptisms and confirmations are performed, the husbands were able to baptize their wives for their family. In one case for the mother and grandmother of the sister and the grandmother of another. To start things off the young women who have done this before led the way to show the new members how it is done. What a great experience to see them do this in the temple. The day started out very cold with temperatures below zero outside. Inside, however, it was very warm with knowledge of the ordinances being performed for their ancestors. Here is a picture outside that day of those who went.
Front row left to right; Sister Vogboundy, Sister Montalvo, Sister Stone, Sister Morey, Sister Owen; Middle row left to right; Brother Stone, Brother Phomoa, Brother Syndergaard, Sister Owen, Sister Zollinger; Back row left to right; Elder Zollinger, Brother Baker, Brother Harrington, Brother Montalvo.
Last Saturday we had a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) in the Spanish Group and I taught the lesson. I used an object lesson with a uncooked egg, water, and salt to teach the principal of how by doing simple things in our lives we can improve our outlook and float above our troubles and become happy. Here is Mr. Egg who starred in the lesson.
February is a month of special dates in our family. February 6, 2004 we adopted our daughters in the Ukraine, February 13, 2004 we arrived back with them in the United States. February is also the month of Sister Zollinger’s birthday. I wrote up the experience of adopting our daughters for our family so that everyone would know all the miracles that took place along the way. Here is that story if you are interested in reading about it. It isn't short and please excuse my writing ability.
In the past year we've met many special missionaries. One of those is Hermana Isabella Fife who was here in Lowell when we got here and served the first ten months of her mission in Lowell. We still get to see her and her companions from time to time. We like to spoil our missionaries occasionally! Until next time!