Monday, July 26, 2010

"Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privelege;..."-Alma 30:9

Great things are happening!  I LOVE THIS soooooooo much!

Last Tuesday Amanda Li set her baptism date.  She wants to be baptized on August 14th!  Exciting huh!?!?!  She is so happy about it.  She already told us she's been inviting all her friends.  Her husband is traveling a couple days distance to meet Elder Cheng, the area authority in China to figure out how he can be baptized.  He's meeting him August 4th in Beijing.  Sweet huh? 

Last night she invited us and a couple in the Ward (her fellowshippers) over for traditional Chinese food.  She told us we could invite friends, so we invited the Senior couple from Bountiful, Elder and Sister Wood.  She didn't have utensils and we were all sitting there struggling to eat it with the chopsticks.  It was really funny, especially when Sister Cox dropped a piece of tofu in her water cup.  The highlight though was when she bore her testimony to Elder and Sister Wood.  She said, "I feel so happy now that I know this is the true church."  Then Elder Wood was saying a few things and then Amanda looked over and said, "I love Sista Zweek."  It was sooo cute.  I was like, "I love you too Amanda."  I felt bad because she didn't say it to my companion!  Then she told Elder Wood, "I always have so many questions and Sista Zweek gives me answers and I feel better."  It was cool because I never thought I answered any of her questions.  It didn't seem like she asked too many throughout the weeks teaching her.  But then it hit me, I'm sure Heavenly Father gave me the words to say, not even knowing her concerns.  I told her that it wasn't me but that it was the Spirit.  And she agreed.  She always puts her hand over her heart and says she feels so happy to know the church is true.  It's just amazing to see people grow from being touched by the Spirit.  Yesterday in Relief Society during the announcements she leaned over to me and asked if she could say that she was being baptized.  I said, "Of course, they'd love to hear."  So I raised my hand and said, "Amanda has exciting news she'd like to share."  And then she announced it.  The women in the ward love her.  She's so smiley.  I love her too.

I just never thought I'd love the people on my mission like I do.  I never want to leave them, ever.  Xun's family is doing great.  His son, Lu is on fire.  We're planning on setting him with a date this week.

Last Friday was Sister Cox's return and report in Utica, along with the other missionaries being trained.  President Bulloch shared some neat stories.  I love being around him.  He also came down and interviewed sister cox and i on Saturday.  He has missionaries teach him and Sister Bulloch the first lesson and was really impressed with Sister Cox and I which was good to hear.  The spirit was there even though it was a mock-lesson.  It was cool.

Well, I have to go.  We find out Saturday about transfers.  I get sick to think about leaving the people I've helped here.  They are like my family.  I can feel Heavenly Father's love for them so strongly.  I'd do anything for them.  Well, I hope you have a good week.  I love and miss you.

p.s. Next week pday is Tuesday, not monday, so don't be expecting my email until Tuesday.

Love you guys!

Monday, July 19, 2010

"My joy is full, yea my heart is brim with joy."

Dear everyone,

I have never been so happy in my life!  Are people just stupid to not serve a mission?  Honestly, this calling brings the best feeling.  I am so grateful God is letting me experience the gospel change people, as well as myself.  Amanda just glows.  She is soooooo happy.  The promise in Moroni 10:4&5 is real.  Amanda can tell you herself, and has been telling her friends and family (in China) that this church is true.  She set up a blog and shares the gospel with them.  The government is so strict there, and do not even work.  A member in the branch served in Hong Kong and said many people from main land traveled to Hong Kong to be baptized and then returned to China.  I imagine that is what her husband will have to do.  She's been skyping with him and their daughter daily since we've met with her and he now has a book of mormon.  They pray together over skype and she told us yesterday he knows the church is true to.  He received a witness to his heart too!  Yesterday at church she said she wants to get baptized with him.  We testified that the Lord will provide a way for him to be baptized and he doesn't give commandments that cannot be accomplished.  She kept saying, "I know."  She hugs us whenever we tell her stuff like that and says, "Thank you, thank you."  She said she will let us know on Tuesday if he is okay with her getting baptized without him. 

Over the weekend, Amanda went to Palmyra to see the Sacred Grove (with Branch members) as well as the Hill Comurah Pagaent.  Before she went there, Saturday, the Elders in Trumansburg used the font in the Ithaca Chapel to baptize one of their investigators.  We invited her to that.  She came and brought two friends.  We had no idea she was bringing friends.  They both said they are interested and felt "touched".  So now we're going to start teaching them.  They'll come to her baptism, and hopefully she'll even have more friends come to it.  These people in China are so ready for the gospel, and there is a way it can be brought to their country, by experiences like this.

One member in the branch is from China and just got back from visiting there.  He said if someone is baptized, he or she can attend church there in mainland, but if they are not baptized, they can only attend one time, and no more.  This morning he gave us the area authority's phone number to give to Amanda and said she can call him about locations.  She was so happy when we told her she can attend church when she goes back.  She called him (this morning) and said she'd call us after she talked to him, so we're waiting on a call from her, to see how far the closest branch is to her hometown.  We're not worried that it will make or break her decision to be baptized, because she assumed she couldn't attend church and still wanted to go forward and be baptized.  This is just going to be a huge incentive!  She could possibly attend church with her family there!!

More investigator news: Xun Dai's family (also from China) is in town.  They were all at church yesterday too!!  They are only here for 3 weeks.  We're praying they receive a witness that it is true before they go back to China.  We met with them Saturday, they came to church yesterday, and we're meeting with them twice this week.  They will be in town for Amanda's baptism, whenever it is... hopefully this saturday or next, and that will be neat for them to see her enter the waters of baptism.

Things are just going wonderfully.  The Lord is blessing this area and the people here with answers to their prayers.  My only wish would be for you to witness all of this too, to be here in our lessons, to hear the testimonies of those recent converts and investigators.  It makes me cry to hear them express their gratitude for the knowledge they now have.  I love being an instrument in the Lord's hands.  He needs more missionaries.  There is so much work to be done.  

Zone Conference was great too.  I love President Bulloch.  He inspires me so much.  I have more to say but time is up.  I'll write you.  I love you!

I'll attach some pictures from Zone Conference and this past week in an email after this.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Okay, so I'm kind of scatter brained right now because I think I just lost my wallet, on our way to the library.  I know--BAD.  The lady looked up my library card number and I'm just emailing you while I'm here and then we're going to back track to every place we've gone today.  Some things don't change.  ha ha.  I wanted to email you pictures too and my camera is in the bag with my wallet.  oops.  

It's so funny because Ashley, Matt's and Em's emails are like, "I feel so bad I haven't written you in awhile..."  They all say that.  Guys, don't worry about it at all.  You're so nice to even feel bad!  Thanks for the emails.  I love you all and I'll handwrite you back today.  I'm hard to keep up with huh?  ;)

This past week was really hot.  Wednesday and Thursday it was in the triple digits and 90% humidity.  I was happy last email because it was in the low 90's, but once it gets into the high 90's and 100's, it's really tiring being out in it all day.  However, I'm happy and the work goes on!  I try to think about the early saints on their trek West in all sorts of weather conditions and don't feel sorry for myself.  When things are hard I usually end up laughing a lot too...just because I look so sweaty and we're always running from one place to the next because of those people who talk our ears off.  And on top of that we usually both have to go to the bathroom and it just makes things exciting.  Sister Cox HATES running.  I laugh, not necessarily at her but just because I look at my watch, look at her and she's like, "What?  We have to run?"  And I say, "Yep" with a smile and she gives me this glare like, "You are kidding me."  Ha ha.  Wednesday we were almost late to the bus that takes us to the church for a meeting because we cut it too close and we had to run to the bus, then to the church, and we were sooooo wet, and I had to give a training.  I apologized for my appearance right when I stood up there and all the elders just started laughing.  I had sweat marks from my backpack and on my rib cage.  It was really cute!

Oh my, Amanda was at church again yesterday!  She is doing so good.  She's so happy.  She told us yesterday that she skypes with her husband and daughter who are in China and teaches them what she learned after our lessons.  Isn't that cool?  Last Tuesday we invited her to be baptized and she said, "July seems too soon."  So we asked her to pray about a date that she feels more comfortable with.  As we talked more about the blessings of baptism and the gift of the holy ghost she looked at us with tears in her eyes and said, "If I do get baptized, how do I stay clean in China?"  It was soooo sad!  I wish so much that the church was there.  But good news: Brother Watson was with us and noticed her concern.  He went home, did research, and found a branch near her hometown there.  She gave him a huge hug when he told her.  We're teaching her again tomorrow night and we've been praying so hard for her to receive a witness that she should go forth and get baptized.  The problem is, with Xun Dai, we've had the same conversations, and his Chinese fellowshipper in the Branch said they only have ex-pat wards/branches there, meaning, if you are a Chinese citizen, you cannot attend.  We're unsure what information is correct and keep encouraging Xun Dai and Amanda to move forward with faith.  In the July ensign there is an article about "Filling all Nations"  I didn't even know that President Monson emphasized that this month.  It's been fun to read having Amanda and Xun on my mind.  I feel kind of guilty because not until now have I really prayed for countries to be opened to the preaching of the gospel.  When China does open though, it's going to boom.  I have met so many Chinese here who just love the gospel.

All the recent converts are doing good.  I love love love being in an area to see those I found and taught grow and blossom.  The gospel of Jesus Christ truly makes people happy!  Dan went to the Palmyra pagaent with the YSA.  That's going on right now.  They slept over at the Temple President and wife's home afterwards.  I was thinking how cool it would've been if it were still Aunt Wendy and Uncle Brent!  The YSA also did baptisms at midnight to 2 am in the palmyra temple.  Cool huh?  It's like it was a big party in there.  It sounded fun.

I did get Adam and Lindsey's wedding announcement.  Thanks shauna!  Congrats Adam!  Well, I have to go.  I love you all and miss you like crazy.  It's getting long huh?  ha ha.  I love it though.

I love you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Missionary life is the best!

Hi my cute family,
It feels strange emailing on Tuesday instead of Monday!  I feel like I'm breaking the rules.  The libraries were closed yesterday and President Bulloch allowed us permission to email today.
Well, mom, I'm so happy you had a fun birthday spent with all the kids.  Does Andrea feel really bad she's not there?  Annie, don't worry you and me are out of it together.  I can't believe Em's boys sat through an entire Real soccer game.  They're getting so big!  
It's warming up here.  I never thought I'd be in short sleeves.  Those winter months were brutal.  Yesterday it was in the 90's and it is again today!  I'm loving it.
We moved into our new apartment.  Man, it was a project.  We didn't do it last Pday, so yesterday we did hours of sorting and boxing up and moved it into our new place.  Next Pday we'll have to unload all the boxes.  We made sure to keep a week's worth of clothes out, our study materials, and bedding.  It was so fun to wake up in a new place.  Our shower doesn't have bugs and we have AC!  It's still close to campus and in an ideal spot.  We aren't on a hill, which makes it soooo nice at the end of the day walking home.   Ithaca Falls (one of the most beautiful falls in the area) is a block away too.  At night when we open our windows we get a breeze from the waterfall.  It's so sweet.
My companion is funny.  She hates talking to people.  Kind of like me, right?  ;)  I feel bad because I wish I could empathize and I can't.  I love people which I know she does too but she just gets scared and says she can't think of what to say next.  I don't know if there are just crazy people in Ithaca or if they are everywhere and I just didn't talk to people I didn't know as often as I do now.  But some people are so funny here.  Just wacko.  However, I love finding out what people believe and why they do and then testifying and relating it to something they said.  In Preach My Gospel President Holland promises that when listening to people, something that they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more.  It's so true too.  I've tried to get Sister Cox motivated by telling her about Dan, and Xun Dai (a progressing investigator) and in both cases it started with us missionaries saying, "Hello, how are you?"  What I have to keep in mind is life after this.  I never want to meet someone who says, "Why didn't you tell me?"  Sister Cox thinks I know everyone in the city.  Ha ha.  I tell her stories about all the people.  More than about 20 people have said, "You're still here?"  I hope it's not a bad thing.  I guess it's because there have been a couple sisters come and go and I'm still here.  I really don't want to ever leave Ithaca.  It's become home to me.
I love the people we're teaching right now too.  Just the other night during planning we planned to see some less actives in the area book who I have never met.  We went to see this lady on Fair Street and before we got to her there were a husband and wife on their porch.  We started talking to them and sat there and had a really good lesson on the Restoration.  The spirit was present and they want us to come back tomorrow night.  We didn't even end up going to the lady we had planned on seeing because it was time to go home, but it was just another testimony to me that the Lord inspires us during planning.  He always has more in mind than we do and leads us to those people prepared when we follow the promptings of the Spirit.
Tonight Sister Cox is going to extend her first baptismal invitation to Amanda Li.  She has now come to church two Sundays and told us she knows the church is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet.  She has been reading the book of mormon daily.  She's been so prepared for this.  Her husband and daughter came in town from China a couple weeks ago and they all went to Temple Square.  She told us that she and her husband were talking about getting a divorce that morning and then they went to temple square, and one of the Sisters shared a message about families.  She said she felt so good afterwards.  It made me think of my roommate Tricia serving there and how she really will impact people and help them recognize the spirit which is crucial to then progress towards baptism, and it's because of that Sister at temple square who has helped Amanda recognize the Holy Ghost.  We're setting her for July 24th.  I'm praying it goes well.  
It's amazing, a guy in the ward has his office 3 doors down from Amanda's on campus!  She knew him prior to us teaching her.  He and his wife have been great fellowshippers and had Amanda and us Sisters over for dinner a few nights ago.  She trusts and respects him and he tells us she asks him questions about the book of mormon daily!  So great!
Well, I hope you have a good week.  You're in my thoughts and daily prayers.  Take care!  I love you!
Love, Sister Zwick
P.s. To my cousin entering the MTC: Sister Steven's, you're gonna love this.  Trust in the Lord.  He'll strengthen you and lead you to people prepared to meet you!  I love you!