Thanks for the email and updates. Okay so about the Mother's Day call. Ah, it'll be so much fun! We only have 40 minutes to talk. I will be calling at 8:15 my time, which will be 5:15 (I think?) your time. We can't do skype, because we'll be calling from our apartment and obviously don't have internet there. If you want, we can do a conference call, but I'm not sure how to do that. I don't want to waste all our time trying to figure it out though because like I said, we only have 40 minutes :( It's a rule, that we can't talk longer than that. I actually like the rules. It would be too hard to talk longer. Our mission president gave us this quote that I think is by Elder Packer that I have above my desk. It says something like, "When obedience ceases to become an irritant and becomes our quest, it is in that moment the powers of heaven are revealed." I think I butchered it. Before my mission I thought the missionaries who kept all the rules were goody goody but I've seen that the most successful missionaries, those who have the spirit with them, which is essential to the work, are the ones who keep all the rules. So just think, even though it's 40 minutes, I'll be able to have the powers of heaven (the spirit of the Lord) with me that whole next week to help the people here. It's worth it. I can't wait to hear your voices! Sister Hacking said she didn't even recognize her little brother because his voice was so low compared to when she left home. I wonder if Matty will sound different to me. I got him a little birthday gift that I'm sending home today. I love you buddy! I can't wait to talk to you, and everyone else! Now that I think about it, a 3 way conference call would be fun. Just figure it all out beforehand if you can... so then maybe Em and Chad and Steph and Mike could all be in on the conversation. I really want to talk to them too, especially Em and Chad since I didn't have time in the airport to call them in January. Mom, I'll call your phone k? Oh and if you are busy eating Sunday dinner, don't worry about answering, we can talk on Christmas ;)
It's been a wonderful week of missionary work. We found three new investigators, and they're all really interested. I have this pit in my stomach that I'll have to leave Ithaca next transfer and I get sick thinking about it. It'll be worse than leaving home. I keep praying that I'll be able to have more trust that this is not my work but His and that he'll help me feel okay about possibly leaving. But, I just can't feel good about it. So, maybe that means I'm staying and it isn't time for me to leave Ithaca? We find out on Saturday, so the night before I call you. If I am getting transfered be prepared, I'll probably be a wreck. Dad, Andrew, Jeff, Chad, how did you feel okay leaving an area when there is so much more to be done there? I know it's all about trust, trusting the Lord, trusting that my mission president is inspired, trusting that future Sisters here will follow the spirit as they help these people. But I worry because our investigators have big barriers, or sins that they need to get over, and I can just see a Sister coming in and giving up on all of them, and searching out 'the elect'. The thing is, sin is everywhere... there aren't too many people who are just ready to get baptized. They take work, and helping them rely on the Savior's mercy is what it's all about. When they sacrifice their sins and change to start living the gospel, that is where their testimony grows. I've enjoyed so much working with people who have big struggles. No one is exempt from the message. Anyways, the thought of leaving Ithaca is like leaving an unfinished scrapbook page at Kristen Shelley's for her to finish. ha ha. jk. I guess I need to strengthen my testimony in letting God's will be done, and let him be in control no matter how I feel about it.
Joey is going to be baptized on Saturday. The whole family has blossomed. I just love what the gospel can do. It seriously can change someone both physically and spiritually. I know that is the kind of healing I've had throughout my life from the gospel, both physical and spiritual healing. In the Book of Mormon I was reading about Nephi prophesying of Christ's ressurrection and it says, "He'll rise with healing in his wings." I have such a firm testimony of that. He is the ultimate healer of any heartache, unhappiness, weakness, everything. I've seen here that the more I've relied on him through rough patches, he has strengthened me. I am truly happy even after something goes wrong because I know he feels it too. I just know without a doubt that he can help anyone. His atonement is for everyone. Finding him and living his teachings is the way to happiness independent of circumstance. I will forever be thankful for this time I have to rely on him and strengthen my relationship with him. When we magnify our callings and serve as he would, we get to know him in a more personal way than anything else. I feel his love daily and love to help others come to know of that love. His arm is always stretched out for us. We have to help people realize that. It's our responsibility as members.
Anyways, I've rambled and time is up! I love you!
Happy Birthday Andrew, I love you! Check the mail. A gift will come in a day or two!
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel." -Joseph Smith
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Sister Christina Zwick New York Utica Mission PO Box 149 Whitesboro, NY 13492-0149
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"We have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work" Alma 26:3
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Blessed to open this last dispensation
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.
"Young men and women who serve missions are never the same. They return home with qualities and strengths that seem to come from no other experience. They know, as they never knew before, that this work is true and that it is the most important work on the face of the earth. They return home with a desire to continue to serve. They have established a foundation on which to grow in future responsibilities."--President Gordon B. Hinckley, Dec. 1986
“The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and dependent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is done.”
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Thomas S. Monson- 16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity." Margaret D. Nadauld (General Conference Address ~ October 7, 2000)