Monday, September 27, 2010

"...all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith..." -Ether 12:16

Hola Familia!
I have so much to tell you.  First of all, Mom, I just got two packages from you!  I haven't opened them yet, they came while we were emailing.  We're here emailing in Elder and Sister Johnson's home, the Senior couples in the area, who go home in a few days. :( She came walking in with the packages and said, "Merry Christmas."  I feel bad, my companion thinks I get packages all the time.  I told her she brings good luck, because I really haven't received too many packages throughout my mission, besides Christmas (when we were comps in the MTC, and now, being Hump Day).  I've made sure to share.  I'd be fat if I didn't.  You are so sweet to me.
On that note, the Target cardigans weren't the ones I wrote home about.  It's okay though.  Elder Johnson printed off the return label and I'm going to the post office today to mail them back to Target, so look for the reimbursement.
Friday we moved into the Johnson's home.  We are living here with them for this week, and they are packing up to go back to Utah, and leaving us the HOUSE.  It has a ginormous window view just feet away from the St. Lawrence river.  Our desks are facing it.  We run to the bridge to Canada every morning.  I was pretending to sneak across the border this morning... I've never been to Canada!  Sister Despain was laughing and screaming.  Anyways, the Johnsons are from Price and are giving a homecoming the third Sunday in October, so I will get the address of the church and write home with that, in case you want to go.  Elder Johnson spoke in church yesterday and told the branch members, "If I could leave one word of advice with you, it would be to take care of my two daughters here" and he looked down at us.  Then he said, "President Bulloch has told me we have the two best missionaries in the mission.  If you have any friends to share the gospel with, you need to get these Sisters over there to teach them."  It was so so nice.  He always says President Bulloch tells him we're the best he has, and it's so nice, I really don't think we are that good.  Elder Johnson has been filling the role as branch president since the last one moved.  We don't know what to do when the Johnsons move!  They are what is holding up the little branch.  There have always been Senior couples here and there won't be a Senior couple from the time the Johnsons leave up until January.  President Bulloch was worried about it and on Friday came down to the house to visit with Sister Despain and I.  We get to associate with the Bullochs weekly up here, since he presides over the District.  It's so good to be around them.  We don't have much priesthood here so he wanted to make sure we would be okay when the Johnsons leave.  He kept asking us who we'd call for a blessing, and told us our safety is more important than the work.  So he wants us to keep in touch with him often and if needed, he can transfer us Sisters out and put Elders in, next transfer.  Time will tell.  Especially with the Johnsons leaving.  We need to have priesthood in the area.
The work is going great!  Let me tell you about some people:
Dora: We have only met with twice and set her with a baptismal date last night.  She wanted to pay her tithing at church, even though she's not a member yet, and did!  She is living with someone (renting out a room to him) so the law of chastity is going to be a hurdle, but I know she'll live it.  She's so dedicated and is addicted to the spirit!  She loves the feeling at church and as she reads the Book of Mormon.  Her baptism will be on October 30th.  She is praying about the priesthood... she doesn't think it's fair women can't hold it.  She said, "We're not supposed to be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen day in and day out."  It made us laugh.  We bore our testimonies of the priveledge it is to recieve all the blessings of the priesthood, as women.  Then she said, "Well times have changed."  We shared a scripture that reads: "God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever" and talked about the prophets in the past, who have held the priesthood.  She couldn't come to the Relief Society Broadcast, but we're excited for conference, because there are women leaders in the church she will hear from!
John Spicer: is hilarious!  He is in his seventies and served in the Vietnam war.  He started crying on Saturday when we met with him, and said, "This book is good, real good"  and held up the book of mormon.  He was almost to 2 Nephi and he only had the Book of Mormon one week!  He had gone camping, 4 hours away and left the book on the campsite.  He called us Saturday morning and said he was driving there to get it, but would be back for our appointment.  He drove 8 hours to retrieve his book of mormon.  I love the spirit in the Book of Mormon.  He says it's like "cold jelly running down my back"  He said it's been 50 years since he's picked up a Bible.  His Mom called him and his daughter was over and said, "He's reading the 'mormon book' and can't come to the phone."  He told us his mom said, "Good!"  Saturday he thanked us for how he feels and we told him, "It's not us, it's God."  He said, "Well, you're preaching His spirit here."  And then he said, "I can't remember the last time I've felt this good."  It was so neat.  One thing I love about this work is feeling the spirit so much, especially with people who haven't felt it for so many years.  It's a confirmation to us that this is exactly where we need to be, spending our time with this specific individual.  It's like the scripture in D&C 50:22 that says something like, "..he who teacheth by the spirit and he who recieveth by the spirit, both are edified and rejoice together."  We walked away from his lesson just so impressed to see the workings of the spirit through the Book of Mormon on him!
Well, time is up but I just want to share one other thing.  President Bulloch was telling us that one day we'll bring back our kids and Ogdensburg branch will be a ward, and we'll be telling them, "When I was a missionary here, only ten members came."  It made Sister Despain and I cry a little.  Then he talked about faith and shared the scripture in Ether 12:19 that says, "And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld, with an eye of faith, and they were glad."  He taught us that if we have an eye of faith, the thing in which we have faith in will occur.  He said, "If you have faith that this branch will grow, it will grow."  It helped me realize how important faith is to our Father in Heaven.  It's like the scripture in Moroni 7 that says, " recieve no witness until after the trial of your faith."  The Lord wants us to have more faith in him and in what he can do.  That's how He works, his blessings are conditional upon our faith in him.  Sister Despain and my faith in the less active members returning, and the hope to find a branch president is so important.  We have to rely fully upon our faith in the Lord and his ability to lead us to those we need to spend time with, and one soul at a time we can build the kingdom here in the North Country.  We're working on being positive and full of faith every day.  I can feel the potential this little branch has.  I know the Lord will lead us if we stay worthy of his spirit, and are obedient.  We can always strengthen our faith and trust in the Lord.  I'm working on it. :)
I LOVED the RS broadcast.  I'll write home about what parts I liked.  Mrs Jolley, especially.  I caught myself singing really loud as she led, like I was in concert choir again, all into it!  ha.
The leaves are starting to change!  I'll take lots of pictures.
I love you!  Have a good week!
P.s. I heard from the Ithaca sisters in a letter.  They updated me on the people in little Ithaca!  And Elder and Sister Wood are coming up here today.  The Johnsons said, "They said it's to say goodbye to us, but we think they miss Sister Zwick."  ha ha  Whatever.

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