"May we ever be found doing the work of the Lord." -Pres. Monson
What an inspiring week we have had here in the North Country. Sister Despain and I were calling our investigators to repentence on a few important barriers that are keeping the three most progressing from baptism, living the word of wisdom, and the law of chastity. I used to tip toe around teaching those, but now they've become my favorite to teach, because it really tests the individual's commitment to follow the Savior, in all things.
In my study a few mornings ago, before these lessons I was reading a conference talk from April conference titled, "When the Lord Commands" by a seventy. He talked about three main reason people choose to disobey the commandments. They are 1) We don't know how it applies to us. 2) Don't understand it's importance. 3) It's just too hard. So before teaching Dora, Delores, and Jimmy the word of wisdom and the law of chastity we wanted to make sure we hit on all of these areas, so they will be able to obey it fully to recieve all the blessings of the gospel.
The lessons went well! With Dora we asked her if she believes Joseph Smith is a prophet. She responded, "Yes." Then we went on to explain his revelation in D&C 89. Before we even started reading she said, "You're gonna tell me to give up my coffee, aren't you. That is something I just won't do." We asked her again, "Do you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?" She said, "Yes." So we read on and testified of the importance of the commandment (the why), and encouraged her to experiment upon the word. I don't even know how many times I said, "Dora, you can do this. You will surprise yourself." I was trying to make it sound all fun. It does sound fun, doesn't it? Seeing if you can go without something you've relied on for so long. We were like, "Just try it. We'll be praying for you every day."
We taught this Thursday night and and Saturday she came to both sessions of conference (met us at the church) and said, "I haven't had a cup of coffee since Thursday morning. OH MY GOSH, I WAS SO HAPPY TO HEAR THAT! I was jumping up and down hugging her. I am still so proud of her. She said it's been easier than she thought. She said she's replacing it with root beer every morning with breakfast. ha ha. Sick, but whatever works!
Then Jimmy, a potential priesthood holder is so great too. We taught him the w.o.w. and he was like, "I feel this is true. No other church teaches to refrain from these things." He's been searching for a church for years. He likes to start talking about what other denominations believe, and we have to always draw it back. He's struggling with the priesthood right now. In a footnote of his New International bible it says that the priesthood power didn't need to be here after Christ came, and that Christ was the power. So he's continuing to pray about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the priesthood through Peter, James, and John, and John the baptist. He committed to live the w.o.w. and was happy to tell us that he has more energy now, not drinking coffee, than he did while drinking it. He and Dora were both talking about being off coffee and tea. They are strengthening each other! They are both black and we think they should start dating, after baptism of course :) We don't have to encourage partnership yet!
It just impresses me so much to see people conform their lifestyle to how the Lord wants them to live, without having known these commandments most of their life. It strengthens my testimony of the happiness that comes from living the commandments when I see others try living them for the first time and find joy in it.
General Conference was so good. We were surprised and excited to report to our District Leader, that 5 of our investigators came! Dora and Jimmy were there for both sessions on Saturday, and then a family we tracted into and was there Sunday as well as Dora, again! Our investigators are going to almost double the branch size here. The Lord has led us to some great people who truly want to follow him.
I just want to be a missionary forever. There is nothing better than teaching people the right way to live. The way that can bring peace and happiness despite circumstance. It's by following the commandments and the doctrine of Christ, faith, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. It was beautiful to hear all the things we teach spoken of by the apostles and prophets, as our investigators were sitting there. I loved watching their faces as MOTAB sang, and telling them "That's the modern day prophet" when President Monson stood to speak, and as he did the spirit confirmed to me that this man I tell people every day is god's mouthpiece for the world and teaches us revealed truth, really does. Oh how I love President Monson!
I could go on and on forever. But, I do have to get going. I'll include some of my favorite quotes from conference.
Have a good week! I love you!
p.s. Jeff-so exciting, a temple is going to be constructed in Lisbon, Portugal! The church is growing there because of you and others' missionary work!
"The world will teach our children, if we do not." -Sister Wixon
"The sweetest and most gratifying experiences are when you submit to the will of the Lord and teach by his spirit." -Elder McConkie
"Future generations will look to you for your consecrated lives." -Elder Christofferson
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication...There is more to life than increasing in speed...We have to forego some good things to focus on the better and best." "Turning our ways to His ways is the beginning of our wisdom." -Elder Uchtdorf
"A righteous exercise of agency allows us to progress eternally." -Elder Hales
"Faith is not a free gift without desire or effort. Faith must be saught after and developed. Questions and doubts turn into assurances and understanding because of faith." -Elder Edgley
"Temple mirrors of eternity remind us of our divinity." "As we reach out to each brother and sister, we affect generations." -Elder Gong
"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become." -Elder Scott
"As you trust Him, you will come to find that He has come to trust you." -Elder Eyring
"No where are the principles of love and mercy more manifest than that of repentance." -Elder Packer
"Build your life on a foundation of truth and righteousness. It is a foundation that will last to the eternities." -Elder Perry
"Pray earnestly for the spirit. Invite him into our lives by the same gentleness in which he invites us." -Elder Bednar
"Someday each of us will have to account to the Savior in what we have done with his name." -Elder Arnold
"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)