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!