"...trusting in the Lord that [we] shall meet again..." -Alma 17:13
Today is my last full day as a missionary in Ithaca. It's really really sad. I haven't been able to fall asleep at night as quickly as I usually do because my thoughts about what's to come and leaving my friends here keep me awake.
The feeling is exactly like how I felt before entering the MTC. Not knowing what is ahead, but knowing by the feeling that it is where Heavenly Father needs me, despite the sad goodbyes. Yuck, I just don't like goodbyes. It's been a great weekend though. We've been able to go teach all our investigators one last time, and I got pictures with them. We were also able to meet with all the recent converts I was able to teach and those were good last lessons. I loved hearing their testimonies and prayers.
I will be serving with my MTC companion, Sister Despain, in Ogdensburg, New York. It's rated as one of the highest sex offenders cities, but don't worry mom. ha ha. Weird fact though huh? Sister Hacking served there about 7 months before she came to Ithaca and she absolutely loved it. She said the missionaries are everything to the branch there. It's going to be so different. It'll be a lot harder to find people to teach, but I know the Lord will bless that area if we do all we can. I'm just excited to get up there and tear it up with Sister Despain. I have such high hopes of building up the branch there, and I know I always set high expectations that sometimes are unattainable, but I just want to make a difference for the work there.
Sister Goettsche has a picture on her camera of Canada. She took it while standing in the Sister's apartment in Ogdensburg, while on exchange there, looking out their back window. So I looked at the picture and it's crazy! I guess I'll be living as North as you can get, while still being in New York. The St. Lawrence river will be in our backyard and you can see buildings just about 100 miles away that are over the border. It'll be one cold winter that's for sure.
I'm not there yet though, so back to beloved Ithaca! Saturday the Elders had a baptism and Kennedy and Adalena (our brazilian couple) came to see it. They liked it and we invited them to be baptized when they come to know that it is true. So we didn't set a date yet. They'll be baptized soon though. Kennedy was telling me that I could stay with their family in Brazil. He even went as far as to tell me the best months to come visit. I told him I'd have to bring my brother who speaks Portuguese. And then he asked how he knows Portuguese and I told him it's because he served a mission in Portugal, and he's like, "That's a different Portuguese." ha ha. Brazilian pride. He said there are a lot of English speakers there though.
Susan Byrd is still so solid. The sisters here are going to send me pictures of the baptism this weekend. Oh funny story... when we went over to visit her we rode the elevator up to her apartment and this woman maybe in her 70's said, "Who are you going to visit?" We said, "Susan." And right as she was getting out of the elevator she slapped me really hard three times in a row on my right shoulder as she said, "I know what you're doing. You're going to cohorse (spelling?) her into becoming a d*** mormon!" And then walked in her apartment and slammed the door! My arm still hurts. I was laughing though.
Dan came teaching with us to our Vietnamese investigator Nja. He was testifying to her in Vietnamese which was really good for him and her. There was a good spirit there. You'll see a couple pictures from that night.
Sunday was sad. It really is like home here. All the cute young women were like, "You're leaving?" and giving me hugs. Amanda wouldn't let go of my arm in sacrament meeting and kept thanking me for everything. She gave me this really pretty scarf from China to take with me. Last night she fed us and said, "Maybe I will fly to America for your wedding in the temple." That would be cool. I just keep promising myself I will see them all again, even if it means saving a lot of money.
I love those here in Ithaca that I've taught and it's probably because I can feel the Lord's love for them. It's hard to change but I know I'm going where I'm needed most. I will write you from the "North Country" next week. Oh yeah, and it's crazy I hit 9 months in two days. It's going too fast. Have a wonderful week!
I love you!
Love, Sister Zwick
p.s. Carliles, I got your package from Hawaii with all the yummy treats! THANK YOU! I LOVED Tricia's emails and keep reading them to my companions. Thank you so so much! Email my mom tricia's emails so she can forward them on to me please. Thank you! Mzwick9@gmail.com
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel." -Joseph Smith
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Sister Zwick loves letters!
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)