Monday, November 29, 2010

"Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given...D&C 84:85

My dear family,
It sounds like Thanksgiving was so fun! Thank you for the emails and pictures! I can't believe you even had a table dedicated to writing the missionaries in the family. Thank you so much! That is so nice. I feel bad because I still haven't replied to some I got from the family reunion and now all the little cousins had to write me again without having received a response to their last letter! I'll be replying this time! It looks like the fun of Rock Band never dies. It's so funny because in every bunch of pictures I get, I can always count on one being of the family playing rock band! And Emily and Ash always have the microphone! ha ha.
Speaking of singing, Sister Despain and I sang in church yesterday. We sang "Come Ye Children of The Lord". We blend really well. I feel like I'm singing with Ash or Steph when Sister Despain and I sing together, so it's really fun. We sing while we tract, drive to appointments, and while we're cleaning on Pday. It's like I'm living with one of my sisters. I forgot to tell you that at Zone Conference we sang "For the Beauty of the Earth" acapella. The Elders bailed and it ended up being she and I singing a duet. President and Sister Bulloch really liked it though. That song reminds me of Little Women. I think they sing it at Amy or Meg's wedding or something. We almost didn't do it because it reminded me of that!
This Saturday night we will get a phone call from our Zone Leaders letting us know if we are staying in the area or getting transferred. I'm pretty positive I'll be staying since I've only been here a few months, and Sister Despain has been here since May. That means this upcoming Pday is on Tuesday (Dec. 7th), not Monday. You can expect an email on Tuesday instead of Monday.
I had the most memorable Thanksgiving! We got invited to Wayne and Patty's house for dinner. They are former investigators and live on a farm out in the middle of Lisbon. They live in a run down home that they are putting a lot of work into and it's coming along well. They love living out in the country and use a wood burning stove! I feel like I'm Laura Ingles on Little House on the Prairie whenever we're at their place. They raise turkeys, chickens, cows, you name it! It smells great. ha ha. We were over there a few weeks ago and Wayne pointed out the windows to his turkeys and said, "I hope they're enjoying their last few days." I was like, "What?" He's like, "That big one there is named, Thanksgiving." I couldn't believe it. We had already accepted the invitation to eat there prior to this too. After we left I told my companion that I'm nervous to eat there and wish we had gotten invited somewhere else! I've just never had to eat something I once saw living! She has grown up on a farm though and just laughed.
On Thanksgiving Wayne said that he brought the turkey to the butcher and as he was driving home he almost turned back around to get him. So I wasn't the only one sad about it. ha ha. It ended up being 28 1/2 pounds! Patty said it barely fit in the oven and she had to but it in at 3 am. I ate some of it though and it tasted good. Wayne held up a picture of the turkey's face when we were eating though!
So Thanksgiving morning was really cold. We worked here in Ogdensburg in the morning and visited some less actives. I was trying to pretend like it was just a normal day so I could keep my thoughts here and not drifting to home. We went over to Wayne and Patty's around 2:00. They had invited all of their friends from Alcoholics Anonymous. There were about 6 people there, plus Wayne and Patty, their 6 year old daughter Brittney, and us. We had been praying to have a missionary opportunity there and even as we were getting out of our car, said one last prayer. We walked in and were so happy to see they had invited so many friends! We knew they'd ask about our name tags :) Most were sitting on the couches and we went around and introduced ourselves. One of them there, Allen, had been there the last time we went to see Wayne and Patty. He was outside chopping wood and we met him then. We were glad to see him again. Before dinner he said, "So what do you do all day?" We told him we invite people to follow Jesus Christ and find more happiness. He then asked how long we're here for, where we're from, etc. I knew Heavenly Father was answering our prayers! We said a prayer and they didn't have a table set up, so we just ate in chairs and on the couches in the living room. Sister Despain and I were on a couch and Allen sat to my right. He is from Upper Malboro (spelling?) Maryland, near DC. We found some common ground there and talked about Owings Mills, the Inner Harbor fudge shop, and the Oreoles, thanks to Em and Chad. Then I asked him if he had seen the Temple in DC. He lit up and was explaining how it just pops out of the trees on the beltway. He asked if all our churches look like that. I explained the difference between temples and churches. Then just asked him about his belief in God. He said, "The older I get the more I'm realizing things just don't happen by coincidence." He went on to explain how he felt like someone was really helping him feel of his potential through recovering from alcoholism. It was an amazing discussion. He had all the right questions! I got to teach him the plan of salvation and I tried to emphasize the atonement and how we all have this feeling of wanting more and sometimes we turn to alcohol or whatever it is but finding Christ and feeling his love fills that void. We talked for almost an hour. Sister Despain was talking to another guy about our beliefs too. We had our book of Mormons open and it was just like we had planned it or something, and really hadn't! Near the end Allen said, "I really like all the things you're saying. Where do I go to start coming to church?" We gave him the address but then told him that we can meet with him and teach him more. He agreed and we left him with a conference ensign and a Book of Mormon. We're meeting with him on Tuesday at Wayne and Patty's. Something else he said that was cool was, "There is something about you both. I don't know if purity is the word, no, it's more of a spark. You have this spark about you and I've only met a few people in the world with it. But both of you have it." We thanked him but told him he can have it too and it comes from following Jesus Christ. I realized that most of the other people were listening to Sister Despain and my conversations and so we turned to the rest of them and asked all of them what they believe about God. We started teaching the Restoration and the spirit was there. I love seeing the look in people's faces when they are touched by the spirit. It's like their spirit is just yearning inside for the truth! It was the best Thanksgiving ever. Big bummer though-- Allen lives in the Elder's area! So we're going to teach him but if he progresses he'll have to go to the Potsdam Branch and be their baptism. It's all for the same purpose, but it would just be cool for him to attend the little branch here. They need him.
We were so grateful Heavenly Father blessed us with the chance to share the gospel over thanksgiving dinner! We were talking about it afterwards and Sister Despain and I both admitted that we were nervous for Thanksgiving. We didn't want to be homesick. I was nervous about eating the turkey too. It was like God knew our desire was to focus and blessed us with people to share His message with. It was quite the memory. I will always remember this Thanksgiving.
I have a couple more cool experiences from this week that I'll have to handwrite home about because I'm out of time. We found two amazing new investigators. It has been a couple weeks since we've found a new investigator so we were so excited about it. New investigators are the lifeblood of missionary work! People have questions that the Book of Mormon can answer. It's like finally they are receiving answers. That's what this gospel does. It brings light and understanding to our lives. I am so thankful to be able to help people find those answers and let them know that God is there waiting to respond to them.
Thanks again for your emails, prayers, love and support. You are the best! Have a great week. Stay warm and drive safe in that snow! I love you!
Love, Sister Zwick

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Because I have been given much I too must give" Hymn 219

I can't believe it's already Pday again. I feel like I was just here at the library yesterday. Time is going so fast and I'm trying to "enjoy every minute, every second" like Dad urged me to do at the MTC curb. I wish I could just stop time and be able to serve as a full time missionary my whole life. I love the people of New York! I've been thinking that I'll move back up here to Ogdensburg next summer and be a member missionary and help the Sisters out. There is so much work to be done here. Transfer calls come not this weekend, but next. Sister Despain has been here since May and started crying last night because she wants to see more happen here and doesn't know what else to do. She's an amazing missionary though and has worked miracles here! I love her so much. She has given so much to this area. I just reminded her how baptisms are a poor reflection of doing our best. It talks about knowing if we are a successful missionary in Preach My Gospel, and the first thing it mentions is following the spirit and feeling it work through you to the blessing of those you teach. She's so in tune and has blessed lives up here. Whether or not they choose to use their agency righteously is not up to us. She feels like she's going to be transfered. She said she's going to write President Bulloch and tell him that she and I could stay companions here forever. I feel the same way. Not because I love serving in the area itself, but just because this tiny branch has so much potential and we want to help the Lord build it up. I don't think I could leave either, not having seen it grow. But I have to remember the work is going to continually move forward, forever. We think it'd be so fun to spend Christmas together again, just like the MTC. Two in a row! Like we're siblings or something! This past week was cold but I try not to think about it and just focus on the people. I learned that last winter, and it works! John is doing great and told us that his baptism was "the most important day of his life"! We taught him about Priesthood and Auxilaries on Wednesday. It was really cool. We could sense his feeling of inadequacy to hold the priesthood. But atleast he's humble! It reminded me of Elder Uchtdorf's talk from October General Conference. "Pride and the Priesthood" and that the power withdraws itself once pride creeps in. Throughout my mission I've seen how nervous people are to recieve the priesthood. It's been good to see though because they recognize it as something sacred. We taught him about the different offices and responsibilites and blessings that come from serving as a priesthood holder. We specifically told him how he can bless the lives of the members of the branch by contributing in an office. The highlight of the lesson though was his closing prayer. He prayed for "President Thomas S. Monson" to have health and strength and continue to direct the church as he does. Afterwards in the car I was like, "Sister Despain, he prayed for the prophet! And he got the name exactly right too." She's like, "I know!" It was so cool! I love hearing someone we teach develop their own love for and understanding of God's chosen prophet! He read through the April Conference Ensign and really enjoyed it, so now we're going to give him the October one. Other news: Zone Conference was on Friday. I think I said it was Thursday in my last email, but it was Friday. It was wonderful to see President and Sister Bulloch and the other missionaries in our Zone. He told our Zone, "This is the mission field as it really is." We are all serving in these tiny branches. He said our emails and stories invoke memories from his mission in Montana, serving in a little branch there. He testified of the uniqueness of the area making an impact on his testimony and love of service forever. He said, "The members needed us, we knew they needed us, and we were able to bless them and they blessed us." I know exactly how he felt, because we feel that way. I've realized how important church attendance is and how we each make such a valuable contribution. I'll be forever grateful for what I'm learning here, and I know the Lord needs me to learn even more. I found out that Ogdensburg is the smallest branch in the mission. :( Not for long though! Heavenly Father has led us to people who now have testimonies, but just huge barriers such as marriage, paralization, that keep them from being able to meet the qualifications of baptism. We are praying so hard for them. Currently, no one we are teaching has a baptismal date. We are planning on setting two this week, and praying that the date will push them to make a couple significant changes. The theme of Zone Conference was "Increasing our Faith through Obedience, Diligence, and Sacrifice." We have twelve in our Zone and President said it reminded him of the first twelve apostles who were sent to Europe. We read a lot of the counsel the Lord gave to them in the Doctrine and Covenants. My favorite verses we read were D&C 64:33-34 It says, "Be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days." I love it because it talks about laying a foundation and these little seeds we plant every day, even when it feels like not much is coming from them, all goes towards that foundation. Just bringing people to the next level of conversion. I'm going to try to memorize that verse so I can recite it when I get discouraged. Ha ha. At Zone Conference, President Bulloch brought us out in the hall and there was a weight hanging by a rope from the ceiling. He asked an Elder to sit in this chair and hold the weight next to his chin and then to release it like a pedulum. He gave him some rules first though. He said, "Now, you shouldn't push it because then it will come back and hit you in the face. But if you stay still right from where you let it go, it will swing back and come short of hitting you because of friction and gravity. Then he said, you cannot move." So the Elder did it and he moved backwards, because he was afraid of it hitting him. President said, "Elder, why did you move?" And he's like, "I was worried it was going to hit me." Then President said, "Do you trust in the gravity and friction working?" And he's like, "Let me do it again." So President said, "What's happening here? His faith is increasing because of his experimentation on being obedient." He did it a second time and didn't move, and just as President Bulloch said, it didn't hit him in the face. So then President is like, "Sister Zwick, do you trust that this works?" I knew if I said yes, he'd make me do it, and if I said no, he'd make me do it! I was doomed either way! So all the Elders were laughing and I looked at Sister Despain, so scared! I already have had braces twice. I was so nervous it was going to hit me in the face. Luckily I didn't get hit. The whole purpose of the demonstration was to show that "Faith is the substance or assurance of things hoped for" -Hebrews 11 and confidence in the doing. We discussed doubt and fear and how they oppose faith. And how when we doubt in an outcome, it can cause us to not do what we have been asked to do. So President said he's been praying and asking Heavenly Father, "How can I strengthen my faith in the Lord and how can I help my missionaries strengthen their faith in Him?" The answer he kept receiving is "the righteous use of agency." So, obedience. He told about his setting apart and that Elder Scott repeatedly said, "Trust your missionaries." We read in the scriptures about being compelled to be humble only sometimes produces repentances, and how in the same way, being compelled to be obedient, only sometimes produces obedience. He told really cool stories about receiving his answer, to help us strengthen our faith. He's the best story teller! Regarding obedience though he shared that quote that says, "When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, it is in that momtent God will endow us with power." He talked about the power being faith. And we do what is right because we want to qualify for the companionship of the holy ghost to touch the hearts of the people, not because we have to. And so he said, "If I want you missionaries to have greater faith, I've got to give you greater freedom." He did away with the "extra rules" the former mission president set in stone and said only the white handbook applies now. He knew there'd be casualties, but he wants us to have the opportunity to listen to the spirit more and when we're compelled we receive the lesser blessing. He told a story about his daughter begging every Spring Break to travel to Mesquite with her friends, and every year he told her "No." But her Senior year he and Sister Bulloch prayed about it and felt like they should let her go. He said "I came out of my bedroom with the best seminary teacher speech I could come up with, with all the reasons it is a bad idea to go, but let her make her own decision. It didn't take more than a second for her to get on the phone to her friends, 'I can go!'" But the next day he got home from work and she should have already left. She was sitting there in the house though! He asked her what was wrong and if she wanted to talk. She said no at first but then said, "Why does that happen? I was all ready to go. My friends pulled up, and a voice said, 'don't go'. I tried to ignore it, but it came again, 'don't go.'" President Bulloch said he told her he was proud of her for listening to the prompting, but the next morning they found out why. She got a call from one of her friends from the Las Vegas jail! They had met up with some boys and the cops arrested all the girls and guys there because of some drugs the boys had brought. He said, "If I would've told her not to go on the trip, I would have deprived her from the most testimony building experience of her life." Cool huh? It reminded me so much of you, Dad! I've been in that position so many times with you I feel like! ha ha. He talked about how he can't dictate righteousness and that it's a choice and he hopes we all are obedient so we can have greater faith and qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Zone Conference has made me think about why I live the rules. Is it because I love the Lord and want to qualify for the spirit so it can touch the people here, or is it because I feel forced to? I feel like I do it for the spirit but I can always do better at being 100% obedient. There are rules I do keep because I feel like I have to. I'm praying to see the positives in them and to have a desire to keep them not because I'm compelled to but because I love the Lord. It was one of my mission goals, to be exactly obedient. So this Zone Conference was a good reminder. I also have been thinking of things I can sacrifice to more fully give my attention to the people here. Like mail, only reading it Pday, etc. Thursday night Sister Despain and I were invited to a Potsdam Branch Relief Society Meeting to give a presentation on Preach My Gospel. How to use it in scripture study, family home evening, and how we're going to use what we learned from it in our future. I think it went well. The ladies were really appreciative and said they enjoyed it. Three of them I talked to were married to non-members. I have such a respect and admiration for them! They are so strong and were so interested in how to use Preach My Gospel in their home to help not only their children, but their non-member spouse. Wow. I don't think I could do it. These converts are amazing. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. THIRTY are going to be at our house? Mom, you're amazing. You are so nice. I'll think about all of you. Annual Zwick Tennis Tourny happening? I hope the weather isn't too bad and you can do it again. My bet is on Dad whipping everyone into shape. I'll be writing a letter home about our plans for Thanksgiving. A couple who is investigating invited us. Thank you for your support. I am so grateful to have you as my family! I love you so much! Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Sister Zwick

Monday, November 15, 2010

"And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."-Matt. 3:17

What a priveledge it is to invite people to come unto Christ and witness them change through repentance and utilizing the Atonement in their lives! I just love this so so much. All week we were anxiously awaiting the baptism on Saturday. These baptisms seem to be like the biggest events of my life, and it has nothing to do with me. It's just like all we do every day and night is prepare people to reach this point; it's so very exciting for us missionaries and for them! So yes, John was baptized on Saturday! It was so so beautiful! I so wish you all could have been there to see John and feel the spirit there. There is such a special spirit at baptisms. I could feel God's love for John very strongly. I know He's so proud of the decision John made to enter into the first covenant of baptism with Him. And this is only the beginning of his journey of becoming more like the Savior through making and keeping covenants. So I'll tell you a little bit about our day Saturday. It was adventurous, let me tell you. About a week ago Sister Despain and I went to the church to check out the font and figure out how to fill it. There were bugs in the font and it definitely needed a cleaning. There hasn't been a baptism in the branch since March. So we decided to go to the church early Saturday a few hours prior to the baptism to clean the font and make sure it was all ready for John's baptism at 1:00. When we got there we put the plug in and turned on the water to give it a good ol' rinse. As we waited we finished our companionship study and in the background heard the beautiful sound of the water filling the font. Loved it! After our study we walked into the room to make sure it was full enough before we drained out the bugs and it looked full enough. Sister Despain said, "Okay let's drain it!" And I gasped! "Guess what I just thought of!" Her hands covered her mouth and she's like, "Oh no!" We burst out laughing and she said, "Who wants to go swimming!?" So there I was, getting in a white baptismal suit, commando! Ha ha. I went into the dirty water with flies and hardened worms floating in it, to pull the plug. It was kind of fun though. I got out quickly and we made sure it was thoroughly rinsed clean before we filled it again for the REAL thing. When it was about 3/4 of the way full I went to feel the water with my foot and it was scorching hot! So hot that my foot turned bright red. As you can tell, neither of us have filled a font before, and no one in the branch knew how! In our last areas, we served in the same ward as our District Leaders and they always told us they'd take care of filling the font, as they lived around the corner from the church. But we're alone up here! We were too afraid to mess with the gages in the box and didn't know which one adjusted the temperature, so we decided to pour cold water in the old fashioned way! We got our pitchers and walked about 20 times from the kitchen sink to the baptismal font. With prayer and effort it reached perfect temperature and we were dry, changed into proselyting clothes, and the font was full by the time John and the other branch members arrived. When John got to the church he kept saying, "Is it hot in here?" He was all nervous! He looked so good when he came out in his white! I think I was smiling my ears off. It almost brought me to tears just to see him finally at this point. He sacrificed so much of his old lifestyle to get here. Before the baptism he was standing in the hallway with his head against his hands and against the wall just crying and we think praying? We didn't really want to interrupt. One of the Palmyra temple Elders (Elder Guthrie) who are on assignment to attend our branch and help us reactivate performed John's baptism. Since the font is small, after the baptismal prayer, John had to kneel and then lye down into the water. It was so cool! Both of the members who we had giving the talks decided they couldn't come participate last minute, and so Sister Despain and I ended up giving them on baptism and the Holy Ghost. The ordinance was just really good and the spirit was present. Sunday, John walked in with his scriptures in Sister Despain's scripture case (which she gave him). Earlier in the week she said, "He just loves his scriptures so much that I want to give him my scripture case." And she did at our last lesson with him before his baptism. As we were saying good bye to him after the lesson he was like, "I'll see you at my baptism, and if I'm not there, you'll know what happened." I said, "What?" And he said, "I died. That's the only way I'm missing it!" Ha ha. In that same meeting he said, "It's going to feel so good to step into the water knowing I've apologized to everyone I've ever hurt." He's really repentant and humble. He's shared a lot with us and the Lord has softened his heart through the weeks. I love seeing people change for the better! Elder Sherwood (another Palmyra temple Elder) confirmed John in sacrament meeting. The branch president and a couple members were in the circle. The blessing was given by the spirit and the words were so fitting. And since it was fast and testimony meeting John got up and bore his testimony! Can you believe it? His first Sunday as a member! He's going to be such a strong priesthood holder in this little branch. We know Heavenly Father answered our prayers and led us to him. He was always so willing to accept any commitment we gave him because he loves the Lord. I just have such a strong testimony of finding through tracting. You hear it's the worst method, but it's one of the only ways to find, and John, someone so strong came out of tracting! We are hoping we can find more like him. I know they're out there. Something he said in his testimony I will never forget was, "I finally feel close to Jesus Christ and I will never turn my back on Him again." I just want him to stay converted forever. Well, I will attach some pictures. We have Zone Conference this Thursday. We are really looking forward to it. The first presidency changed the frequency of Zone Conference and interviews. They are now only held once every other transfer. So it feels like we haven't had one in so long. Sister Despain and I and two Elders are doing a musical number in it. I'll let you know how it goes. I love you! Love, Sister Zwick

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Behold I will hasten my work in it's time." -D&C 88:73

We have had such a great week.  I love the experiences I'm having!  We had a lot of funny things happen.  I write down things people say so I can email them to you.
Yesterday was the Potsdam District Conference.  It's like Stake conference, but because we're branches, not wards, we're a District.  The attendance was small, but the spirit was so strong.  To give you an idea, the bench seats were full, but there was no one in the over flow.  It shouldn't, but it still surprises me how small the church is here.  I guess I was expecting it to be a little more full, with 5 branches, So needless to say, the Lord could use more missionaries!  President and Sister Bulloch were up here, His counselors in the mission presidency, the District Presidency, as well as the Palmyra temple President and wife.  We also got to see all the missionaries in our Zone, which are all Elders (bummer, ha ha).  There are some great missionaries up here though and we get really close because usually each week we have a District meeting, however up here we meet as a whole Zone weekly.  It's always nice to come together and share experiences and have trainings so we can become more capable instruments.
The District Conference was held in Potsdam and a few members came up to me and asked if I was related to "Elder Zwick in the seventy."  They went on to say that he was up here in Potsdam about 7 years ago at a District Conference and how great of a speaker he is.  One guy said, "He's really good at names!"  
Sister Bulloch looked really pretty too and was just sitting up there on the stand smiling at us.  President Bulloch kept winking at us and smiling too.  President Bulloch spoke and was unbelievable, as always.  He shared something that has blessed he and Sister Bulloch's marriage.  He said, "For 35 years we have always held hands when we pray.  No matter where we are, as long as we are in close proximity of each other."  He talked about how when they disagreed on some thing and then a prayer would be said, at dinner time, etc. one of them would overcome their pride and reach for the other's hand, and the frustration with each other would leave.  He said, "We've never not done it."  Then he said, "So last night I was sitting by Elder Seldon in the Priesthood meeting, and Bro. Pykles stood to say the prayer.  I caught myself reach over to Elder Seldon's hand!"  Everyone was laughing really hard.  Then he said, "It's fun for me to see my missionaries who I love so much and I thank them for their service"  He started to get choked up.  He's so loving and sincere.  We just love him.  He shared a lot of good insights about Joseph Smith too.  He's so knowledgable and a great teacher and speaker because he has taught institute for so many years.  Sometimes I wonder if Uncle Craig had a hand in choosing my mission president because I really think he's the best one there is.  He came up to Sister Despain after meeting John (our investigator there) and with tears in his eyes told us "The Lord is pleased with the work you are doing.  You will remember these times forever, and these aren't just words, I really mean it."  We had had a bit of a discouraging couple weeks and so it felt really good to hear that.
John Spicer was there with his scriptures in hand.  President Bulloch was able to meet him and I overheard him say, "You can make a big contribution to the branch."  And he will!  Something I am really grateful for is how John is so converted to the Book of Mormon.  He is ALWAYS reading it.  It just comforts me to know that he has such a testimony of it because that is something tangible that will keep his testimony strong.  Sister Despain and I think he's going to be the branch president here in the future :) Saturday we had a member come with us to his lesson.  He fed us chili and homemade bread too.  I'll attach a picture.  He had his interview after the District Conference and our District leader told us after, "He's really changed hasn't he?"  They were in there for a long time (had Sister Despain and I worried) but I guess it was because John was just bearing his testimony to him forever!  ha ha.  
The other day John called us and reminded us to push our clocks back.  Ha ha.  He takes care of our temporal needs and we help him with his spiritual ones.  We were going to try to follow up with this guy who we had given a Book of Mormon to though so we told him we had to go.  And John said, "If he doesn't let you in or believe your words, you give him my number, I'll put him on the straight and narrow.  If he could know how I felt before and how I feel now..."  He gives us a lot of laughs.
A few weeks ago we had to stop at every Amish stand because we were looking for the man who Sister Bulloch talked into making her this basket shaped as a boat.  We got talking to this Amish man named Jonas who is so nice.  We even got a picture with him.  But we hear pictures are against their religion.  He was fascinated by it and kept wanting to see himself on the screen!  ha ha.  He said he could only be in it if no other buggys were near.  So we took it quick.  We ran into him again this past week.  He said he found out who made Sister Bulloch's basket and gave us directions to the house, so we've got our German book of mormon we're going to deliver with the money and get her basket this week.  After we talked to him we were leaving and he's like, "Hey.." and motioned us to come back.  We got closer and he looked to his left, then to his right, to make sure no one was watching and whispered, "Them pictures.  I want some."  I was laughing so hard.  There were all these other buggies around and some other people and he had to make sure they didn't hear him.  We told him we'd make him copies.  All day Sister Despain and I were quoting Jonas, our little Amish friend.  
So this is kind of funny too.  We followed up with this referral named Robert and taught him the restoration.  He was kind of old and out of it and kept going on and on about his "colostomy bag" in the middle of the message of the restoration and how "you never know when that thing is going to open."  We kept laughing and it was really hard to teach him.  We won't be going back there.  Luckily he didn't have it on him or else I'm sure he would've shown us.  Yuck.  He had just gotten it removed.  Sometimes I think privacy is foreign here.      
Anyways, I better get going.  I love you all so much.  Have a wonderful week k?  Stay warm and safe.
Love, Sister Zwick   
p.s. I'll write home about the "dreamer".  It's really creepy.  He basically told Sister Despain he prayed to know who he was supposed to marry 7 years ago and she appeared in his dream.  We ran away from the lesson laughing and crying.  He's been calling her every day since we met with him.  We're getting President Bulloch involved.  Angels are round about us with protection though :)


Monday, November 1, 2010

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." -Galatians 6:9

Hi guys!
Oh my, winter is back and I am really not liking it. I pray every morning to be able to just endure it and not think about it. "To everything there is a season!" We have done a lot of "finding" this week and not finding very many, but Heavenly Father is blessing us in other ways so we're enduring through it. I don't like the country roads because some of them are miles long with only 3 trailors on them, and we end up walking so long to get to a porch where no one is home, or uninterested, so we decided to work in the city of Ogdensburg for a couple days since the houses are closer together. The population of Catholics in Ogdensburg is similar to the LDS population in Alpine, seriously, and they do not want to change. We knock and just the sight of our name tags turns people off. It's so sad! We smile and try to be friendly and I don't understand how some people can be so rude. We're only trying to help them! I wish we could wear the blessings of the gospel on our sleeves. If people only knew that they could live with God and their families forever through the power of the priesthood, they'd be chasing us. It would be awesome! But they each have to come to know for themselves through prayer and many of them feel they already know the truth. We tried every approach possible, "The message we share is centered on Christ and can bless your family." "If you could know that God called a modern day prophet to help us know how to more fully follow Jesus Christ how do you think that would impact you?" "What's your favorite thing about the Catholic church?" " you believe in Christ? This book has helped me come to know him in a more personal way, it's called the Book of Mormon. We would love to share a free copy with you." "We just invite you to come unto christ through listening to the message that we share and praying to find out from God if it's true." Before we could even finish most of our sentances or questions though, the door would close. All week we've been asking, "What are we doing wrong!?" Ultimately it doesn't matter what we say, it's the spirit that will touch their hearts, if they let it, but it's still hard not to think it's something we're doing.
Despite the rejection, the Lord has blessed us. Just yesterday I was thinking about the week and thought, you know, it's not that bad, we have a baptism coming up, and seeing John change throughout the weeks has strengthened my testimony of the atonement. He is becoming so converted. He could have been baptized weeks ago, but there is no rush. He's still set for November 13th. He finished the Book of Mormon last week and so we gave him the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, and last night he called us and said, "The Doctrine and Covenants is intense! I love this!" Then he went off about his favorite verses he's read. He's in section 13. We brought a member to teach him with us on Saturday as we taught the Law of Chastity. He committed to live it, and already is living it, which is a blessing. For some reason he started talking about church last Sunday. The speakers spoke about the temple and he told us he wants to go there. We told him he will be able to and testified of the blessings of the temple and doing ordinances for family. He got all teary and said he wants to go and do the work for his Dad. The spirit was there and he's really looking forward to going and doing baptisms for the dead after he's a member. I am so grateful for the temple. It really gives our investigators more motivation to live the gospel, so they can be worthy to enter the temple, as it does for all of us. He's just on fire, so in a week and a half we'll be able to see him enter into the covenant of baptism and we are getting so excited for it!
Another blessing--Friday we get a voice mail from a guy named Matthew. He left a message that said, "Sister Simmons and Sister Despain, you were at my house in the Summer and gave me a Book of Mormon with your number in it. Will you call me at this number when you get this message?" Sister Despain couldn't remember who he was. Sister Simmons is not here anymore, obviously, but we called him back. He didn't pick up, so we didn't leave a message, we just thought we'd try again later. Then we get another voice mail last night, "Hi Sisters. I saw that you called. It's Matthew again. I will be home in the morning. Call me when you get this." So this morning after studying Sister Despain called him. I look at her face and she starts tearing up. She sits down and I knew something was going on. I wished it was on speaker! She said, "Really, a dream? Well, we believe we all lived together before this life, so we may have met before now. I may have told you I would find you to teach you to come closer to Christ." I then got teary eyed because I realized what was going on! This man was telling her that he feels like he met her before and felt the spirit in the book of mormon and called us! She set up a time because he wants to meet and then she got off the phone and told me what happened. This guy said that 6-7 years ago he was having dreams frequently and Sister Despain was in them. On the phone he said, "Are you the one without the glasses, and the big smile?" (ha ha I guess that's how he distinguished her from Sister Simmons). And then he told her that in the dreams he was given two paths and felt like it was never clear what the paths were and that it wasn't time to make the choice. Then he went on and said, I prayed for these dreams to stop because they were frustrating. When you knocked at the door, I recognized you from the dream. I didn't say anything, but I took your book and have been reading it. Then Sister Despain told him, "Well, are you praying to know if I am the person in your dream or not?" And he's like, "I thought I was crazy at first. But yes, I have been praying and because of that, I am making this phone call." WEIRD huh?! It will be interesting to see what happens when we meet on Wednesday. We hope he progresses. The Lord works in mysterious ways! We're trying to sacrifice more to be worthy of the blessings God has for us. I know he knows where His children who need us are, and we've been led by the spirit before, so we're trying to be exactly obedient so we can be in tune with His Spirit this week. I hope you have a great week. Thanks for the emails. I love you!

Love, Sister Zwick
Happy Birthday Ellie!