"...for the Lord had granted unto them power according to their faith which was in Christ..."-Alma 14:28
The Lord is blessing our investigators with answers to their prayers! I love weeks like this. We've extended commitments and our investigators have been so so so willing, even grateful for the challenge!
Susan Byrd is golden golden golden. She's the woman who we OYMed and I had originally thought she was Sister Short. They look identical by the way. It's so funny to see them both at church. They are long lost twins. Anyways, Susan is so excited for her baptism on the 18th. If I am transferred I will miss it by 3 days! But that's just the nature of the work I guess. Some sow and others reap, and I've been blessed to be able to be in an area so long to reap the fruits of my efforts this far!
We taught Susan the word of wisdom and she was like, "I drink two cups of coffee every morning. I never knew it was wrong." As we testified about Joseph Smith and knowing the revelation was from God and that our bodies are temples etc. she was like, "I think God's been trying to tell me that all along. My stomach burns a lot. I should've stopped drinking it long ago. Oh you girls are so sweet to help me know what is right." Then she started thanking us and saying, "Had I never met you, I would be continuing to drink tea and coffee. Thank you girls so much." She went on about her health and said, "I've had a lot of surgeries because of acid reflex." And lifted up her shirt! ha ha. She wasn't wearing a bra, like most New Yorkers. It was a little shocking, in the middle of the lesson. But we committed her to live the word of wisdom. She said, "I'll give you all of it right now" and walked into her kitchen and we walked out of her apartment with a big container of coffee. We took pictures too that I'll be sending home. She was hugging us and just so happy to follow the commandment, cool huh? She's just amazing. She wants to do anything to follow God more fully. She's a strong woman and a good example to me.
Another answer to prayer, which I'm sure you know about. The church is making headway into China. Aw, what a blessing and answer to our prayers. Amanda is just sooooooo happy about it. The senior couple here had heard all the stories of our struggles while teaching all these chinese investigators and the heartbreak it has been saying goodbye to them as they have gone back there, after just loving attending church. So Sister Wood printed off the article and gave it to us during Branch PEC, and mouthed, 'read it'. OH MY GOSH! I couldn't wait to get out of the meeting because I could hardly contain myself. I was smiling so much and got all teary eyed in the meeting. Then when I showed my companions afterwards, I was jumping up and down and crying and hugging them. We brought it to Amanda a few days later and she already knew. She actually approached us about it first and said, "Do you know the good knews?" We took a picture with her and the Deseret News article. I've been missing Xun and Lu Dai too, and they never had the opportunity to be baptized. I know there aren't missionaries there yet, but by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass right?! I still won't forget Xun taking pictures of the pictures on the walls in the church his last Sunday. And I've promised Amanda that the church will eventually be there for her family so many times. I knew deep down while teaching these chinese people that they are going to be the strong members there when they return. They'll be the missionaries to those they know until there is proselyting there. Amanda bore her testimony all about it on Sunday. The ward was so impressed with her, as we missionaries have always been. She said, "This is not a big door, but it will get bigger." ha ha.
Our little Brazilian family is on fire! Kennedy and Adalena, the husband and wife, came to church with their kids and their book of mormons in hand. Adalena even bore her testimony in relief society, telling about how she turned missionaries away as they would knock at her door in Brazil but that her husband talked to the sisters here in Ithaca and he made her have us over, ha ha... and that now she knows that this church is Christ's church. Then she said, I don't know very much and my language is poor and ended. ha ha. If the spirit is right the next time we meet with them, we are planning on inviting them to be baptized. I love families and couples! It's all about that. The family is so central. I can see them getting sealed together in Brazil. Kennedy tears up when we talk about families living together forever. He is going to be a strong priesthood holder.
I'm just so impressed with the courage of those we're working with. They will do anything to live what we invite them to do. It's been a testimony to me how the Lord is preparing people every day for us missionaries to stumble upon. There is a quote in PMG where President Hinckley testifies about praying for the Lord to speak through you, and coming to know in a very real sense that we are His servants, speaking on his behalf. At the end he says, "...As they do so by the Spirit their investigators will respond under the influence of the same spirit." It's so true! When the spirit is present and guiding our words, our investigators are willing to do ANYTHING. It's kind of scary how willing they are. It's amazing to witness it all though. These are testimony building experiences that I am sooooo grateful Heavenly Father is letting me be a part of. They are feeling the spirit and seeing the positive impact living the commandments brings.
Everyone in the ward and branch keeps asking me when transfers are, with this little look in their eye like "are you ready?" We get the transfer call this coming Saturday. I don't know if I can do it! I always anticipate leaving and it never happens so I've stopped anticipating it, and now it probably will happen. I'm so unprepared to leave these people I love! Ah, I can't even think about it.
Well, I love you so much! I will be emailing on Tuesday next week.
"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
Packages can be sent to: Sister Christina Zwick New York Utica Mission 8539 Clark Mills Rd Whitesboro, NY 13492
"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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We thank thee oh God for a prophet
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)