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