Monday, January 25, 2010

It's warmed up!

Hey family!

My prayers are being answered! It hasn't snowed for 4 days! It's been raining all day today so that means snow is probably just around the corner but it's been sooooo nice not having to layer as much this past week. It even reached in the 30's!

Dan's baptism was on Friday night! Ah it was soooo wonderful. I am such a baby but I cry at every baptism. The spirit is so strong and it's just amazing to see how hard these people work to get to this point. I feel so blessed to be able to witness the Lord's work. Dan has just radiated light ever since he's been reading the book of mormon. He got baptized by William Shum (a fellowshipper from the student branch). Brother Shum had come teaching with us almost every time we taught Dan. They are both Asian so it was just perfect. Dan loves Brother Shum and now I feel like we might have over did the fellowshipping. Dan won't leave him alone. He sits by him in every class at church and gets a ride with him to the branch fhe and other activites. Ha ha. It's awesome. I made the programs for the baptism. That was fun. Sister Stewart and I had the opportunity to share some teaching moments we had with Dan and bear our testimonies while he was changing out of his wet clothes. The refreshments were egg rolls. I was laughing all night. Dan is just so happy. He asked Brother Shum if he could be held under the water for a long time so he could pray and make sure he is forgiven of all his sins. Isn't that really neat? He wasn't kept under long though, just the normal amount. When he came out of the water he looked out at everyone watching and gave a big grin and waved. Everyone giggled. He's just been so happy. He is all interested in serving a mission. The branch traveled to Palmyra Saturday and Dan got to see the Sacred Grove. I love that our new converts get to go see that. One of our investigators, Evan (a Cornell student) also went. I can't wait to ask Evan about it. He wasn't at church yesterday though. Bummer. Dan recieved the gift of the holy ghost yesterday too. The branch gave him a new set of scriptures to congratulate him. Dan just had the desire to live god's commandments since we started meeting. We gave him the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet and asked him to read the Honesty section. The next day we met we asked him how it went. He said, "I read the whole book". He went on to say, "I deleted all my music off my ipod (except 4 songs) and threw away my gangster looking clothes. I need to go shopping now." Ha ha. He stopped drinking coffee right after we taught him the Word of Wisdom. I just love seeing how the Lord prepares people for us. It makes it so easy. So he's the newest member of the Cornell Branch.

As far as the Cornell ward goes, we set two more people for baptism! We have 5 preparing for February baptism. That makes for busy weeks because we have to make sure to teach them all the lessons before their baptisms. Two single mothers and 3 children. One of the mothers (Tracey) we dropped (meaning we stopped teaching her). All of a sudden three people in the ward called us about her. It felt like we needed to start teaching her again. We prayed and felt like we should. Little did we know she has stopped drinking and smoking and was preparing for baptism on her mom's birthday (February 18th). She's come to church since October every week, we just didn't think she was progressing. We need to be more faithful with our investigators! They are amazing.

Well, I'm gonna send this so I can send a couple pictures! I'm sorry I didn't comment to anything in your email! I love hearing about everything at home! Good luck Elder Miller! the NYUM rocks!!!! Can't wait for you to get here!

Em, thanks for your package! You are soooooo sweet!!!!

I love you all!

Sister Zwick

p.s. Dad, I'm glad the talk went good! You're awesome! Love you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baptisms, Baptisms!

Hey fam!

Sorry about yesterday. We thought the library was closed and later on during proselyting we noticed it was open! We had already scheduled emailing into our day today so hopefully you weren't waiting yesterday Mom.

Ha ha I think that's so sad that after my email you want more. I'm so sorry. I love being here but I hate to think of the other end of it. It was so bad when Jeff was gone. I'm sorry I had to leave, but I can't imagine not being here now. People need the gospel so much here. Their lives are SO BAD. Our family is so blessed. Every day I am reminded of how good my life is. Aside from the gospel, people don't have husbands, cars, food, homes, money, jobs. It's really sad. I feel so good sharing my testimony with them. I always tell them that the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring happiness to any situation. My favorite thing though is their eyes. When I look into several people's eyes throughout the day, I can honestly tell when the spirit hits them. The holy ghost is amazing and makes my simple words to intelligent Cornell students seem of some worth. ha ha.

There is a huge variety of people here; brilliant college students (since Cornell is an Ivey league school) and Ithaca college (also being in our area), a lot of apartment complexes with poorer single parents and elderly people, small homes with really yucky (sorry) parents. I wish I could multiply my companion and I by 100 and so we could change the whole downtown Ithaca people. SO MANY NEED GUIDANCE.

Where I am serving is the only walking area in the mission. I am beginning to like it, because we can talk to more people that way and build our teaching pool. We have been blessed with 37 in our teaching pool. We are busy with teaching appointments which means, WARM HOUSES. It's an added incentive. But the only way to teach is to find, and that is out on the streets, people walking everywhere. No one has cars around here. It blows my mind. A lot of older people stay inside most of their week (if they don't have school or a job). I love the college students. The city has really picked up since the college kids are back. It's more crowded. It's so fun having a college campus closeby. People say they're busy but I promise them that I was a college student once and reading even a few verses the Book of Mormon and praying made my day go smoother and feel stress-free.

The Book of Mormon is the converter. President loves scriptures and insists we share scriptures with people even when street contacting. So my pages get wet but it has helped bring the spirit fast in a quick approach. I've been studying a lot in the BOM in the morning because I know I have to know it well to teach from it. In D&C 11:21 it says, "Seek not to declare my word but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed...even unto the convincing of men." I wish I knew the BOM better so I could convince more people of it's truthfulness. The Lord will make up the difference for the time being.

Well, we set three more people for baptism this past week. Tyesha (a 26 year old single mom of 5), and her son Davion (12 yrs. old), and Kris Santos (Megan Santos' younger brother--also 12 yrs. old). February 6th is Tyesha and Davion's date, and February 13th is Kris's date. Pray for all three of them please. Satan will work on them pretty hard before baptism. We pray so hard for them, and they want it, so I'll keep you informed.

Dan (the 19 year old I told you about last email) is all set for his baptism this weekend. It's on Friday night now, instead of Saturday. Wow, I wish you could all see how happy he is now. He used to NEVER smile. He looked depressed when I first met him. I guess the sisters had met with him once, then said he disappeared and was never home etc. And then we came across him a couple weeks ago at the bus stop (refer to last email). He's been on fire and the Lord prepared him so fast. He's so funny too. He told Sister Stewart and I "After I get confirmed I will take you two outside the church and we'll have a moment." We were like, "ummm...." Then he said, "I will give you both big hugs and yell thank you to heavenly father." We laughed and told him he can just give us a hearty handshake. Ha ha.

I'm having SUCH a better time now that I'm adjusted. Sorry if I sounded all negative and like a wuss about the cold in my last email. Also, I realized I left part of President's email on the bottom of the one I sent you. Sorry. Ha ha, I did a little copy and pasting part of the same story I sent him, to you. It saved time.

Matty, congrats on making Madrigals! I wish we could listen to music so I could hear your choir. Way to go!

Ash, Matt Boarden... ooo la la. Remember our laugh attack in the YW/YM chess fireside?

Mom, they advised us to have your letters sent to the P.O. box so just stick with that address. As far as packages go, send it to the address on my blog for packages, I don't have that one memorized. My address of my apt. for google earth ha ha or if you want you can send letters here is...

111 Ferris Place
Ithaca NY 14850

It was built in 1844 and is soooo ghetto. I'm warmer now. I've got my layering all figured out.

I'll answer your bedding question....
I got the sheets and pillows, no comforter was in there. I called the mission office and told her the story. She's going to call you about the details tomorrow with the tracking number etc. I'll give her (sister hansen, the secretary) all the info you'll need to try to find it. The reciept said it should be in there but it wasn't. Don't worry, I'm warm at night using one from the apartment. We have a lot of blankets.

Dad, I sent you a long letter about mission stuff for your talk. Good luck! You'll do awesome!! Please tell Andrew to come hear you and Jordan. Or you tell him mom. He might be interested in what I told dad to share. More about my mission.

Em, I'm sending parker a late card. I hope he had a fun birthday. And thanks for your email! Refer to my blog to the package address... send it there or my apartment address, not the P.O. box.

I love each and every one of you! Thanks for your prayers.
Until next time!

Sister Zwick

Monday, January 11, 2010

The hills are alive with the sound of scripture!

Hello from Ithaca Zwick family!

I'm here in the mission field and it's been a really spiritual first week. I know I'll always remember this first week because I can still remember being at home and compare it to being a missionary. Dad told me that I'll feel the spirit stronger than any other time in my life throughout my mission and I now have a testimony of that. The Lord blesses us with his spirit so that through us he can touch others.

I feel at home here and have fallen in love with everything except the cool breezes. It's really cold.

Ithaca is spelled with an "a" not an "i". I've been spelling it wrong. Ha ha embarrassing. I found that out the day I got here.

My companion has been here in Ithaca 6 months and out in the field 10 months. She's intense, but I love her. She's a really hard worker. President told me she's the hardest worker in the mission, out of sisters and elders. He said, "Don't be afraid to tell her to slow down if you can't keep up." But I think it's good for me. She has truly helped me get oriented to this area and the mission. I feel so blessed to have a positive trainer. We love missionary work.

The baptism of Megan Santos was wonderful on Saturday. We'll hopefully set her brother with a date this week.

Planning is intense in the mission field, compared to the MTC. I've realized that by seeking inspiration in planning it puts us in places we need to be, whether we touch the heart of the original person we had planned to meet with, or someone else. Planning is so important in that aspect, having specific places to be at certain times. You never know who you'll run into!

I got to commit my first investigator to be baptized! It's for January 22nd. This is the story...We were at the bus stop after teaching a recent convert and ran into Dan (an investigator). We had gone over to Dan's place a couple times this past week, but he wasn't there. He was getting on the same bus we were and we talked with him and set up a time to come by and teach him. He was on his way to register for classes. We got off at the same stop and said we'd see him next Wednesday. We sat on the bench and made a few phone calls and ten minutes later we saw Dan again! He told us the place to register was closed, and asked what we were doing. I told him we were going to teach someone about temples. He said, "You have never taught me about temples." We felt like Dan really wanted us to teach him right then and there. We asked if he'd want to learn more about temples. He was so excited and said, "YES. Now?" We went inside the library and taught him about temples and the steps to get there (baptism being one). Dan asked what he needed to do to get baptized! He has already been to church twice. I committed my first investigator (dan) to baptism! He's looking forward to getting baptized January 22nd. I know the Lord places people prepared for baptism in our path as long as we follow the spirit in planning. I love this work and love the people of Ithaca!

I am so happy to be here! I'll answer all your questions in a letter! I love you all so much! It was so good to talk to you! I hope you have a great week.

Em, I'll reply to your email in a letter.

Happy Birthday Parker!!!!

Sister Zwick

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Wonderland!

Hey family!

I'm in the mission office right now and President gave us a minute to send a quick email home. We got here safetly! Last night our plane got in like an hour late. We flew into a blizzard and it's been snowing ever since. It's not as cold as everyone says! :) It's a lot like Utah coldness but a few more feet of snow. I LOVE President and Sister Bulloch so much already! They remind me of Uncle Bill and Aunt Carolee. He's really on top of things and so loving. Last night we (us 6 newbies and the AP's and the president and wife) went out to eat for pizza then drove to Utica, about an hour away from the airport and slept in the mission home. The mission home is a really nice house, I was surprised. I'll take a picture or two. Everywhere you look is white. President said, "As you can see the field is white already to harvest". It's true. They baptized 83 in the past 6 months! This mission is really baptizing a lot. I get to see a baptism on Saturday I think my companion said! A young girl she's taught. We're going to teach her brother tonight. He's 10, and hopefully get him a baptismal date. My companion also went to BYU. Her name is Sister Stewart, from San francisco area. Everyone in the mission LOVES her. I already do. She's soooooo smiley and talkative. We're going to get a lot of good things done. My first area is in Ithica! It's the southeast part of the mission. We get to cover Cornell university grounds and be over both a single's branch and a home ward. My companion has been here since July. I already love her. We see the same on a lot of things. I'll be able to write more on Pday, Monday. Just wanted to tell you I got here safe and I love all of you so much! It was so great to hear your voices yesterday! We just had a transfer meeting and lunch. I met a lot of new missionaries. Every missionary is so nice. We have so many good ones here in "the best mission in the world." ha ha. Now off to Ithica with my companion! Gotta get to work! Talk to you soon.

Love, Sister Zwick