"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 :)
"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
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"We have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work" Alma 26:3
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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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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)