Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MTC pictures

I'm leaving on a jet plane!!

Hola! I am like shaking because I am so nervous that my time will run out again! I am so sorry about last week. I will press send even if my email isn't finished!

How is everyone!? I LOVED the dearelders telling me all about Christmas day. You all write so well and it made me feel like I was there taking part in it! I wish so badly I could play the Beatles Rock Band with the fam and sing Karaoke with Andrew. Ha ha. I remember Steph and Chris Merkley singing "Summer Nights" a few Christmas Breaks ago. I think it was after Chad's fight at the Mayan. Christmas break is so fun because we are all together. I was thinking about you all, but still was happy and enjoyed Christmas here SO MUCH! I'll tell you about it further down.

First, MY DISTRICT GOT OUR FLIGHT ITINERARIES! That really is what made Christmas week exciting. Don't get me wrong, I loved the packages. I feel spoiled rotten, and felt so bad... my companion didn't get anything for Christmas! Mom, I was crying with her Christmas Eve day when the last package slips came and her's wasn't there. She's like, "I know I had gifts under the tree. Maybe my mom just didn't want to pay the expensive postage to get it here on time." It was really sad, but I shared mine. She woke up to some gifts Christmas morning, thanks to you guys! But yes, we got our flight plans! It was the best Christmas present. I love the MTC because I feel like I wouldn't be prepared with out it. Class, teaching evaluations, and bearing my testimony has helped me feel ready for the people in New York. I still feel a bit unprepared because what an incredible message this is that us missionaries are carrying! But I know when I let the spirit guide the lessons, my words just flow. It's been an amazing lesson to learn. I hope the spirit can always teach because it's a much better teacher than I am!

Dad, since you like tracking flights, here is the info: We leave the MTC at 4 am to head to the Salt lake airport. My comp is calling her family from there, which I may do too, but it will be like 5 am your time! So early. Can you believe it Mom, I'm now waking up at times I had just barely gone to sleep! Andrew, that was not good preparation. ha ha! The bedtime thing is great now. The first week I had a hardtime falling asleep when I got into bed because it seemed so early (10:30 pm)! Now I fall right asleep because waking up early is catching up to me. Ash and Matt, I can't believe you've done this all year with early morning seminary! Way to go! It'll prepare you for your missions. Yes Ash, MissionS. :) So we will get to the Salt Lake Airport where I'll call you first. Don't worry if you don't pick up because we have a stop in Chicago where I'll call too. We are flying on American Airlines Flight 374. It leaves from SLC at 7:10 a.m. and flies to Chicago. We arrive there at 11:10 AM. I think that's 8:10 Vegas time. That is when I'll be calling! We have a THREE HOUR LAYOVER THERE! YES! More time to talk to all of you. Mom, can you dearelder me all my sibling's cell phone numbers? We can call family and if they don't answer, I atleast want to leave voice mails. I was also wondering if you could invite Andrew over for part of it. We can set it up when I call. I'll have a few hours. I think he goes to work around 10. It'd be fun to say "hi!" We switch planes there in Chicago to flight 3874 (still American Airlines) Pa. We leave Chicago at 3:10 and fly to Syracuse, NY!!!!! It is all uphill from there! :) We will get there at 5:50 where (I was told from my friend who served in this mission) the Mission President, his wife, and the A.P.s will meet us 6 missionaries. I am so excited to meet President Bulloch and Sister Bulloch! I have absolutely loved my branch president here in the MTC though, President Calder. He and his wife know and love Craig and Jan. Their daughter with the last name Gilbert has kids the Eyrings ages and they are all friends! It's a fun connection. I remember babysitting the Eyrings and the Gilbert kids always came over... my branch president's grandkids! Cool!

Christmas week was great here! I'll shortly summarize because my time is running out and I have to send it BEFORE my time expires. Ha ha. Tuesday the 22nd Elder Neil L. Anderson came. He spoke on sacrifice which was great for us to hear. He said, "The things that have value have to be paid for in advance." And then he told us we're not giving something up, we're putting something in the back and it will return to us one hundred fold. He also said, "That will be clear to you in a way that's not clear to you now." It was really inspiring and helped us all endure Christmas positively.

Christmas Eve we all thought an apostle was coming. At dinner with my district I was like, "Predictions on who is coming tonight!" Everyone was naming apostles. It was way funny to show up and see that it was just the MTC presidency. I shouldn't say "just", they made it fun with participation from the missionaries.

Elder Perry came Christmas Day and said, "You'll realize as you get older all your Christmases become a blur, but it's the special ones you will remember." I made sure to journal about Christmas here because it really was unique but I was so happy! It was a good day to serve so many other missionaries and I shared my gift with foreign sisters. They were so happy! I can't wait to write you a letter and tell you more about it.

Well, my time is almost up. I have more to tell you about what I did Christmas eve. Thanks for the pajamas! I put them on and pictured you all in yours! I love you all so much! Happy new year from the MTC and happy birthday grandpa gary!!! Thanks for everything! Tell g and g I got their package and LOVE the necklaces. Read D&C 31:3. It's how I was when I got my flight plan! Love you mom! Talk to you in a week! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

First correspondence!

Here's the difference between an Elder and a Sister.... The Elder's family waits in agony for a whole week until p-day, when they finally get their first email. A sister (or maybe just Tia) finds a way to let us know she is okay.

Stephanie's husband Mike teaches at the MTC. Tia wrote a note and left it in Mike's classroom to take home and read to all of us. We were so happy and relieved that she is doing well. Maybe Mom will actually get some sleep tonight :) Here it is:



This is going to be short because we have basically no free time the first couple of days. Will you call Mom and tell her I LOVE the MTC! Also, I'm writing bits and pieces on a letter I started. I'll hopefully send it home tomorrow. She should get it Saturday or Monday. My P-day is Tuesday. I'll email then. My companion is Sister Despain. She's so cute. We are very alike. We have fun and laugh lots. Tell Mom to tell Kristen Shelley my classroom is 8M-231 and I live in 17M-341. This is amazing. The spirit is so strong. I have some funny stories in my letter and in my upcoming email I'll share. Sister Despain and I room with 2 others going to Atlanta, GA. We're the only 2 sisters going to Utica. 4 Elders are going to Utica too (in our district). I am going to find MIke today. I love you! Tell the fam I love them!

-Sister Zwick :)

Letter from the MTC Presidency

Dear family of Christina Zwick,

We are pleased to inform you that your missionary has been safely checked in at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. We thank you for supporting your missionary and know that your family will be blessed as a result.

Your missionary's mailing address while at the MTC is:
Christina Zwick
MTC Mailbox # 256
NY-UTI 0105
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Please note the following items:

1. Your missionary's service began today. Please do not arrange or request visits with your missionary, including meetings at the temple or in proximity to the MTC.

2. All missionary mail must come through the US Mail or commercial delivery services. Hand delivered items will NOT be accepted. Do not send pizzas, fast foods, ice-cream, or any items that will spoil if they are not refrigerated within 24 hours. Missionaries are not called out of class to receive packages, nor do they have access to a refrigerator.

3. Communicate with your missionary weekly through letters sent to the above address or through the email account that the missionary will set up within the first two weeks. This account is to be used by immediate family only. Telephone calls for missionaries cannot be accepted. Your missionary will correspond with you on his/her first preparation day.

4. Families and friends should not plan to visit missionaries departing to their field of labor at the airport or MTC.

Should you need to communicate with the MTC call 801-422-2602. Do not reply to this email.


Provo MTC Presidency

Mission Day 1: She's in the MTC!

Yesterday was a very bitter sweet day for everyone as Tia entered the MTC. She was so excited, talking a mile a minute and shaking everyone's hands! It was very hard to say goodbye, but Tia's attitude made it so much better since she was just so excited to be there. We miss her already, but we know she is where she is supposed to be and where the Lord needs her. So, one day down; let the countdown begin...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Here it comes: December 16th!

Yesterday was my farewell here in my home ward, the Legacy ward. I wrote a separate talk for this ward, and I think it went okay. We had lunch here at my house afterwards. It's all decorated for Christmas. I just love it. I will miss this house, especially at Christmastime. It was great to have so much support from this ward and kind of cool to hear people say, "We'll see you in 18 months!"

I get set apart tonight. I feel ready, but I'm sure I'm not. Ha ha. I really am excited to see what the next 18 months holds though. I set up my lds mail account and had to call the Utica Mission office for a password. I talked to an elderly woman who is serving there as the office secretary and she said, "We're getting ready for you to come!" I cannot wait to meet all the missionaries in my mission!!! I am deactivating my facebook, and can only email family, but would love to write letters to the rest of you. My address is on the side of this blog.

Well, I have to get packing and finish all my little christmas present projects so I better go! Next you'll hear from me will be when I'm a missionary... if my sister keeps up with the blog! Ha ha. Jk Em. I know you will.

Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In love with Utica.

Since I've had 3 months to think about Utica New York, it really is ALWAYS on my mind. Whenever I have spare time I am on the internet reading about what there is to do there and searching images. I'll share some interesting facts about the area I will be moving to for the coming 18 months...

-The city itself is about 16.6 square miles. Not too big. The population recorded in year 2000 said 60,651 people resided there.

-Main street is especially adorable at Christmastime. Don't you think?

-There is a ginormous children's museum.

-And public library where I might be emailing if I ever cover this area.

-The homes are so cute.

-Utica is famous for it's plethora of Italian-American restaurants. One of the top three in the city goes by "Babe's". Cute huh? This picture of the restaurant is even cuter than the name...

I'm eating here at least once. The real name is: Babe's Macaroni Grill.

-Utica has a zoo. It's been around since 1920. I thought the add was kind of scary. It says, "Utica Zoo wants you" But luckily it rhymes. I don't like when things try to rhyme and don't quite work.

-In the Spring there is a tulip festival. So I guess I won't miss Thanksgiving Point Gardens after all.

-During the Winter the Zoo holds a "Snowfari" event. It's supposedly the biggest winter event in Utica. Out on the slopes the various sledders and skiers make their way down the hill. Some participate in the "cardboard sled race." They create their sled, using cardboard, and bring it to race on. It happens to be one of the more popular events of the day. There are other events such as big air competition, snowball softball and an obstacle course. I think this would be a good event to set up a booth to get investigators.

-I will be enjoying half moon cookies, maybe too much. A usual "New York" snack.

-"Utica Monday Nite" is held in the downtown park every Monday evening to promote a regional arts economy. There are performances and art displays on thirteen Monday nights from June through August. Events and activities are free to the public! What a fun idea.
-The SNOW and ICE storms! Brrr...

-A year round chair lift at Memorial Park.

Although, I won't be able to enjoy many of these things, it helps give me an idea of what kind of people are in the community, what they enjoy, and more to converse with them about. Doesn't it sound like a fun, clean, city? Utica.

I think I have fallen in love with my mission before I have even arrived. Bring on Utica New York!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I dreamed "the dream"

Yes, last night I had my first dream of being a missionary! I woke up in a panic still having an unfinished to do list, and being on a vacation. AH. It is coming quick and I am so happy but worried too, wondering how I'll get everything finished. I still need an H1N1 shot, anyone had one yet? My sister Andrea just got one and has now been throwing up for days. eek. Not a condition I want to be in when entering the MTC! I have to still find warm gloves... and don't know what ones will be warm ENOUGH. But on the bright side, I have an incredibly warm insulated/waterproof coat and boots. Gloves, I'm still trying to find you.

Now onto my dream. It was a long dream. I LOVE long dreams because you don't feel like they're unfinished. Waking up to an unfinished dream is the worst. I always try to fall back asleep to let the dream complete itself but then I begin a new dream and usually end up with two unfinished dreams.

My dream last night began with goodbyes to friends in Provo, a short MTC drop off (because I recently got a strict letter telling us of the routine--us Zwicks do not do short goodbyes), a meeting with the MTC mission president and hundreds of other missionaries, and a stapled packet of rules I had never heard of. Ha ha, I'm sure there are no secretive rules you find out in the MTC, but in my dream there was! A whole 8-10 pages of new rules. The only one I remember was "Every night you have to sleep 18 hours. Even if you can't stay asleep that long, you have to lay in bed for 18 hours." For me, that is unattainable. I don't like to sleep. If I could, we wouldn't need sleep to function. We'd get so much done that way! When I woke up and told my mom of that 18 hour sleeping rule I read in my dream she said, "You'll wish that was a rule!"

Today I got a lot of last minute things done, in reaction to my dream. My mom and I hit the outlets here in Florida and now I'm only down to a few more items which I'll get next week when I get home. Time is short, but now my to do list is shorter, so I'm relieved!

Nine days and I'm a missionary! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friends, Family, and Farewell.

This past weekend I visited Utah! I have missed Provo so very much. The streets, 7 eleven slurpees, my friends, BYU campus, grandparents, cousins, dancing, and the good old college life. Despite these feelings, I know where I am in my life right now is exactly where I need to be. Time is getting shorter and every day I feel more uplifted and excited to be a missionary! For everything there is a time and season. I will be back into my college lifestyle in about 22 months, and in the meantime I will be doing a more important thing. In two and a half weeks I enter the MTC! YAHOOOO!

Last Summer, I ran into my old ward's bishop, Bishop Swenson at a friend's wedding reception. We talked and I told him I was working on my mission papers. He said, "You should speak in our ward!" I was delighted when he said this. We kept in touch and he gave me the privilege to speak in the ward I grew up in.

Sunday November 22nd was a beautiful Sunday in Alpine. It was a cool, crisp morning with blue skies and sunshine. That night it snowed, my favorite thing on a cozy Sunday night. I spoke that morning at 11 a.m. When I walked into the chapel I heard the choir practicing. I had a prayer in my heart that they were practicing for sacrament meeting. I looked at the program and believe it or not, they were! For those of you who were there, you heard the Alpine 6th ward choir, or mini Motab :). They blend so well and have such a great turn out. The sacrament meeting was on Gratitude. My Uncle Craig presided the meeting and he and my cousin (one of the youth speakers) were on the stand with me, which helped me feel at ease. I love my family. I am grateful for their testimonies and faith in this true church. Seeing so many friends and family made me really appreciate the righteous influences I have been blessed to associate with. My dad got to add his testimony after mine. He is an incredible missionary himself and I hope I can be more like him every day. Thanks to everyone who came to show your love and support towards me. I truly feel it and it's needed greatly as I take this step into serving a full time mission.

Extended family, mission prep teachers, high school friends, family friends, friends from the past couple years at college, and even my best friend from my childhood in California was there! I am so grateful for all of my friends and family. It sure makes adventures easier when there is an incredible amount of support behind me. I love you guys!

Mission Shower!

I am very behind on blogging! I've had a busy couple of weekends traveling, mission shopping, and enjoying great parties like this one I'm about to tell you about! The Legacy Ward Relief Society throws mission showers for any Sisters in the ward prior to leaving on their missions! Isn't that a great tradition? I think it is, probably because I was the one getting showered! :) The food was delectable... garlic bread, lasagna, salad, homemade cheesecake and desserts. And they were so generous to me. The Relief Society in this ward is so talented. There are events almost weekly with delicious treats, decorations, and themes. I have felt so blessed to meet so many of these incredibly talented women. On Saturday November 14th they threw Sister Walton (a Sister in the ward who I know from BYU, who is going to Uraguay) and I a "mission shower". People brought gifts and it was the first time it hit me, what I was doing, going to serve a mission. It was a wonderful Saturday afternoon! My mom shared some stories about me and it was great to have some of my sisters there. Thank you Legacy ward Relief Society!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeling God's love through missionary work

Jenny is what missionaries call a "golden investigator". I didn't think I'd use that term until I was a missionary, but I have been! For the past few weeks I've been teaching with Elder Cruzate and Elder Jensen, the two missionaries here in my home ward. This opportunity arose when the ward mission leader approached me at church and said, "Tia, we have an investigator who really wants to be taught by sister missionaries, but we don't have sisters in this area, and so the elders have to teach her. I think she'll be more receptive if you are there as a pre-sister missionary helping the elders." I couldn't turn this down. Every day at work I see people and wonder how I could bring up the gospel to them. I finally had a missionary opportunity laid at my feet. A couple of times a week for the past 3 weeks I have been accompanying the Elders to teach Jenny, a 25 year old single mom. She is loving the simplicity of this church. She says something every lesson that shows she is already gaining her own testimony of the restored church. She used to be catholic and said that she would just go through the motions of the things they practice, but she can feel a difference in her heart as she attends our church, and partakes of the sacrament. Her baptism is scheduled for November 21st, because of family and friends who will be able to come. I will be in Utah that weekend and I can't believe I will have to miss it!!! :( We are trying to reschedule it, and I'm praying we can. Jenny will be the first member of her family and I know people are cheering this on on the other side of the veil. Last night after the lesson she and I walked to our cars and she hugged me and thanked me for teaching her. It is not me though, I know it's been the spirit that has taught her, through the missionaries and I. I love Jenny. I feel like God blesses us with this unconditional love for others when we are teaching of him and Jesus Christ. I also feel so incredibly lucky to have this teaching experience. God knew I needed it to help me feel confident in my decision to serve a mission. He really does know us and our needs. Jenny has been so thankful to me and the missionaries but she doesn't know how much she in turn is helping me prepare. I am beginning to realize the love I will have for my investigators and missionary work. I've wondered if it is the same love God has for us. Or maybe just a fragment of it. Real, pure, and plentiful.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The temple: a place of refuge

On Saturday I received my endowment in the Las Vegas Nevada temple. I loved every minute of being in the temple that day. My mom and I got there an hour and a half before the rest of my family because I got washed and annointed. The washing and annointing was so beautiful. I can't wait to go back as a proxy and hear the words of that blessing again. Afterwards, we met with the temple matron, Sister Stucki. She told us that it was her last day serving in the temple. Her husband just got released from the temple presidency. I was the last Sister she got to teach about the temple. I could feel the love she has for the temple penetrate through her voice as she taught me of it. She spent an hour with us which felt like only a few minutes. She has a special place in her heart for Sister missionaries and was pleased to hear I am serving a mission. She and her husband were mission President (and wife) over the Manchester England mission several years ago. Sister Stucki taught me the importance of the priesthood keys restored from Elijah to Joseph Smith which allows us to make the temple covenants we do. She explained each of the covenants and helped me understand them before I went into the endowment room of the temple and covenanted. If it wasn't for my Bishop suggesting that I go to the temple early, I wouldn't have had Sister Stucki's insights which helped me feel at peace and comfort throughout the endowment session. I just loved her and my mom did too.

I attended the temple again yesterday and love the safeness of it. It really is a place of refuge. A place where the spirit of the Lord will always reside. I felt it yesterday as I felt it Saturday. It's quiet, and my mind is clear. I noticed that the thoughts and impressions I had yesterday were very different than those I had Saturday because I wasn't thinking so much of myself, but of someone else, making the same covenants I did and qualifying themselves worthy to enter God's presence. I also recognized the highlights of Saturday when comparing them to the session I attended yesterday.

Some of the highlights were:
-My siblings and parents were in the temple with me
-My mom was sitting by my side
-Steph and Mike were chosen to be the witness couple
-The celestial room was filled with my family and reminded me that families are forever
-I had help from sisters and temple workers throughout each step of the endowment session.
-I got to receive the blessing of my own endowment
-I gained a stronger testimony that the Temple is the Lord's House and he is at the head of this work

I loved seeing my family members all in the temple with me. Their smiles and actions added to the greatness of this day and helped me know that this work is true. I really appreciate Steph and Mike and Em and Chad for driving out here, paying babysitters, and even spending Halloween here in Henderson. It was one of the best weekends I've ever had. We were all able to be together. Can't wait for the next holiday! :) I missed Jeff a lot. He couldn't get work off to come down, but he and I already scheduled out to go to the temple when I come up to Utah for my farewell! Well, this post is long but I just want my family and friends to know that I love the temple and the Spirit I can feel there. I can't get enough of it. It really is the Lord's House. He has walked the halls of the temple. I could feel that. The ordinances and covenants are sacred and eternal. I know temple work is true and vital for our exaltation. We are so lucky to have so many temples in the world. I heard a statistic. It's that 80% of the members of the church live within 200 miles of a temple. There is no reason not to attend. We are blessed as we attend and it is the only way to help those progress on the other side of the veil. I have the day off work today and I'm leaning towards going back to the temple again! Yesterday my mom said, "Aren't you nervous to go by yourself?" I said, "No." And she's like, "We can schedule a time to go together later this week." But I figure, if I have any free time, I should go as much as I can, even if I am alone. I actually really enjoyed being alone in the temple. It allowed me to be on my own timeline. I could sit in the celestial room and read and pray as long as I wanted. I didn't want to leave! But when I did, I felt uplifted and happy. The temple sits so close to the Las Vegas strip, surrounded by the flashing lights, it stands the brightest. As I exited the temple I looked out at the city all lit up and thought of the many people in this world who need the gospel. Pretty soon it will be my responsibility to teach some of them the importance of Christ in our lives and they will be able to enter the temple! It is crucial we get to the temple to make it back to our Father in Heaven. What a special blessing it is to have temples!

P.s. I forgot to mention that I love my temple dress :) It is so nice to be in all white in the temple, and to see others the same. Thanks to my grandma who found a smaller size in Utah in the style I couldn't live without. She overnighted it from Utah! I also am already used to the "Gs". I feel so guilty taking them off for even an hour to go run! ha ha. They make me feel so safe and clean! Whoever said they're hard to get used to is lying. The silk ones are so light, I feel like I'm not even wearing an extra layer. I absolutely love them.

Enjoy the pictures!

Celebrating at Olive Garden
I love my family!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet my friends...

Preach My Gospel and Andrew.

I'm spending a lot of time with both.

Andrew and I are like passing boats. He recently returned from a mission and I am heading out in 7 weeks! Ah is it really 7 more weeks of waiting? I CANNOT WAIT!!!! His comfort zone, is not mine, and mine is not his. We are helping each other transition to missionary mode (in my case) and out of it (in his case).

Thanks Andrew, for supporting me in going on a mission and letting me pick your brain with questions on missionary work!

Endure to the end

Enduring to the end, or remaining faithful to the ordinances and covenants or the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout our life here in mortality is a fundamental requirement for salvation in the Kingdom of God. I want that. Don't you? The phrase seems short and sweet, but boy is it difficult sometimes. I can almost use the word despise when describing a day at work. The main problem is that I work side by side to the manager everyday. It forces me to be quick, work hard, and be okay with criticism. Since my decision to go on a mission, I've heard a lot of people (especially my brother jeff) tell me IT IS HARD WORK. So, whenever I feel like I can't go to work one more day, get my feelings hurt, and feel like I can't go on, I tell myself, "My mission will be harder than this." Do I know that? Not yet, but I'm only preparing myself for the worst days. Telling myself that something I want so much will be harder than most of my challenges in life, scares me a bit, but in turn it motivates me to get through a difficult time in order to prepare myself for even harder times on my mission.

When I think of enduring pain I think of Jesus Christ. He endured perfectly when he took upon himself the pains, weaknesses and sorrows of you and I. He suffered for us, so we don't have to suffer ourselves. Let's find hope in him and look to him as our example of enduring to the end. Another example I think of is Joseph Smith, our prophet of the restoration. Joseph endured hatred and scowling from countless disbelievers but still stood for what he knew was true, this church. The Lord spoke reassurance to the Prophet Joseph Smith after months of incarceration in Liberty Jail. "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (D&C 121:7-8). Enduring to the end includes being willing and prepared to endure faithfully the trials of life, as Joseph Smith did. As we look to those who have endured more difficult trials than our own, they give us faith and hope to overcome our own. Let us all endure to our best ability.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Las Vegas Temple

On Saturday my Mom and I went to the Las Vegas temple. Sad to say, this was only my second time attending this temple. It's a little further away out here! On Saturday I made it a goal to go once a week, like I had done in Utah.

As my mom and I were getting ready to leave our house for the temple, there was a knock at the door. It was Bishop Clarke! If there is such thing as the coolest bishop award, he'd win. And he's my home ward bishop. I have loved getting to know him. He's spiritual, outgoing, laid back, has a good sense of humor, but takes his calling seriously. I've learned a lot about service from just watching him serve in my family ward. I invited him in and we chatted for a few minutes. Then he asked me if I had scheduled my temple endowment session yet. I told him I had, for November 21st. And he said, "Why?" And I said, "Because I'll be in Utah then and I want my siblings to be there." Then he said, "Why?" again. I just laughed and looked at him confused. Then he said, "Tell your siblings they can come to your temple sealing. The Stake President encourages the soon-to-be Sisters and Elders to go through the temple as soon as they can before they leave because then the more sessions you can attend." I said, "Well, that's a good idea. I'm ready to go through and I want to as soon as possible, I just thought it was an important thing that my siblings were there." And so we chatted a bit more. He told me he felt impressed to come over and schedule an interview to get my Living Ordinance Recommend, and to tell me that he feels as though I should go through the temple as soon as possible. He said, "There is a sense of protection and spirit you can only find in the temple. You will need that as you prepare for your mission. Waiting is only putting off the blessings that you can receive from temple work." Sunday I got my recommend, and yesterday I called the Las Vegas Temple to schedule a time to take my endowments out. Now I'll be taking them out here, a week from Friday!!!! I feel really happy about it. I know my Bishop is an inspired man and I will benefit by following his counsel. He said a few things in the interview that I will never forget. He said, "I believe the Savior has walked the halls of every temple. It is his house." I had never thought of that before, but I'm convinced it's true. He told me I will be making 4 new covenants with my Father in Heaven and then said, "The covenants you are preparing to make in the temple are the very ones that can qualify you for the celestial kingdom. If you only live them, become sealed to someone for time and all eternity, and endure to the end." Wow. I knew that, but hearing it aloud hit me strongly. More than pondering and renewing my baptismal covenants, there will be much more on my mind each Sunday as I take the sacrament. He assured me that I will not take on these heightened responsibilities without getting something in return, and reminded me of this scripture: "For unto whom much is given, much is required..."-D&C 82:3 I know the covenants made and ordinances performed in the temple are sacred and the only way to receive celestial glory. The Lord has given us temples to bless our lives and those who have come before us. It is our responsibility to become a savior on mount zion.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I did it.

I made it one full week with NO Diet Coke! And I'm still alive! I used to drink about as much Diet Coke as I did water. I love it. I still do. As I prepare for my mission, I'm trying to ween myself off of the drink. I want to go into the field as healthy as possible. This doesn't have so much to do with the ongoing debate "if mormons can have caffeine or not" but more so, not wanting to consume so much caffeine. Free drinks at work does not help, but I've succeeded this far. So, to all you Diet Coke drinkers out there, drink one for me and enjoy it :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Temple date, SET!

I never pictured myself taking out my endowments for a mission, always for marriage, but since I made the decision to go on a mission, I now can't imagine it any other way! Since I have grown up doing baptisms for the dead in the Mount Timpanogos temple, it has become one of my favorites. I wanted to take them out there but that temple is closed for cleaning the weekend I was planning on coming up to Utah to go through :(. My other favorite temples are Salt Lake, Draper, San Diego, and Washington DC. I've decided to take my endowments out in the Draper temple. It looks a lot like the Mount Timpanogos temple doesn't it? I LOVE THE DRAPER TEMPLE! Collectively, from inside to outside, it's the prettiest temple (in my opinion). Just last March my best friend Stacey and I went to the open house. Then on March 22nd, my roommates and I attended the temple dedication in the BYU Marriot Center. Most of my favorite quotes and talks about temples came from that dedication, so I saved my ticket stub. Scrapbook :). During the talks and dedicatory prayer I felt a wondrous outpouring of the spirit. I know the temple is dedicated to the Lord and his spirit will always reside within the walls there. I am nervous for this day, but very grateful too. I can't wait to begin to partake of the many blessings of the temple. I will be taking my endowments out on Saturday November 22nd! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Errand of Angels

After the Sunday sessions of General Conference, a movie about Sister Missionaries was on the BYU channel and I didn't even know about it! Luckily, my cute sister and her husband have Tivo and recorded it for me :) Thanks guys! The movie is called "The Errand of Angels". This past weekend when I was visiting Provo I got to watch it. It is a powerful movie, both inspiring and funny! I was touched by the message shared, and found myself examining my own attitude toward others in life. It gave me a couple of new ideas of how to prepare for companions and how to keep up with journal writing. I thought it was an excellent choice to focus on sister missionaries, as so many of the other missionary movies have been focused on elders. Whenever I see sister missionaries, whether it's in pictures, movies, or in person, I envy them! I cannot wait to be one of them. After spending a weekend with college friends and being back in the college atmosphere, the feeling I got while watching this movie reassured me that a mission is what the Lord has planned for me for the next 18 months. This movie got me excited for every part of a mission. I loved watching Sister Taylor develop into a spiritual, confident missionary. Her testimony grew and her love for others increased. I hope that change will occur within myself. I got a kick out of several things I noticed. Like how she wore bright colored tights with every outfit. Too bad that's against the missionary dress code because they sure looked cute! And when she was teaching a lesson in a blouse with sheer sleeves...she was not wearing garments, but a blue bra strap was showing. Oops, movie producers! Missionaries DO wear garments! Watch the movie trailer here...

Friday, October 9, 2009

One month ago today....

I held in my hands a large, white, envelope addressed to "Sister Christina Zwick" a name that I will soon answer to daily. I can't wait until I am used to hearing that because that means I will finally be a missionary! Today I greeted two Sister Missionaries who came into my work for lunch. I have never seen Sister Missionaries in Henderson. It was definitely a tender mercy during the busy hour. I said, "Hello Sisters!" I hoped they could tell I was mormon. I wanted so badly to tell them that I have a mission call and that I'm leaving to do exactly what their doing in just a couple of months, but my manager was standing two feet away. She doesn't know I'm leaving...YET. It didn't stop me. I love talking to Sister Missionaries. This was the first time I had seen any Sister Missionaries since I've gotten my own mission call. It made me very happy. I observed them the whole time they were there. I have never looked up to people so much without even knowing their first names. I feel like I served a couple celebrities, the Sister Missionaries! I hope they come in again. Tomorrow :). What I loved about it is how natural it seemed for them to answer to "Sister" when I greeted them. I couldn't help but think, within just a few weeks I will wear a similar tag and it will be natural for me to be called "Sister Zwick" too. I stared at their name tags and imagined myself wearing one. I read the bold lettering of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints". What an honor that will be, to wear a name tag representing the only true church, to be serving in my Savior's example. I cannot wait!

A few hours before opening my mission call, I was feeling excited, nervous, happy, anxious, and scared. With my family gathered around I started thinking about how hard it will be to leave them and felt a little sad too.
Mike, Steph, and Jeff tuned in on Skype.
I opened the envelope and began to cry as I read the letter. The spirit was so strong.

It's quite embarrassing to me when I watch the video of me opening my call, but I am still glad I have it recorded. I've watched it over a hundred times and the feeling of excitement and correctness still comes over me when I hear where I've been called. So for those of you who weren't there...

Reading the line to where I have been called to serve was the part of the letter I was most looking forward to, but as I have read and re-read the mission call letter, I have been amazed at how articulate and motivational it is. It's made me feel like I really do have the potential to be a influential tool in God's hands. I have read it almost every day as it reminds me of the mission I am preparing to perform.

"Dear Sister Zwick: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the New York Utica Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.

You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, December 16, 2009. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president.

You have been recommended as one worthy to represent the Lord as a minister of the restored gospel. You will be an official representative of the Church. As such, you will be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance by keeping the commandments, living mission rules, and following the counsel of your mission president. As you devote your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs, the Lord will bless you with increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration and of the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your purpose will be to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As you serve with all your heart, might, and strength, the Lord will lead you to those who are prepared to be baptized.

The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place in you our confidence and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective missionary.

You will be set apart as a missionary by your stake president. Please send your written acceptance promptly, endorsed by your bishop.

Thomas S. Monson"

Wow. Every time I read it I feel so lucky to get to have this opportunity. I am grateful for good health, a testimony of my Savior and his atonement, a loving and supportive family, and all my other blessings that are making this possible for me. I knew when I read, "Utica New York" that it is the perfect place for me. People there are preparing themselves to come unto Christ. I can't wait to find them and help them on their way! Living the gospel is the way to happiness.

One month of waiting down... two more (and 7 days) to go!