I already feel like the phone call was soooo long ago, don't you!?
Well, as you can see by the subject, John got ordained to the office of a Priest yesterday. He now holds the Aaronic priesthood! Sister Woodmansee and I had to speak so we were sitting on the stand as President Champaigne asked John to stand and asked for a sustaining vote for him to receive the priesthood. I was smiling soooo big. It warmed my heart to see him stand humbly, so prepared, and the branch supporting him. I don't know if I told you, but we only have two hours of church. After Sacrament Meeting our Branch President came into Relief Society and interrupted and asked if Sister Woodmansee and I wanted to come in to Priesthood and sit in on the ordination. We jumped out of our seats and went in. The blessing was beautiful. John looked nervous. He sat in the middle of the circle and had the hands of a few Melchizedek priesthood holders on his head. President Champaigne acted as voice and blessed him with the strength to perform ordinances and to live worthy to participate in them. Then he blessed him with a building testimony to further prepare to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. I could feel God's love for John so powerfully. I wish you could have been there. After the ordination he went out into the hall and wiped some tears. We were on our way back in Relief Society so I held out my hand and congratulated him. He shook it and said, "You didn't waste your time." I said, "Of course I didn't!" I told him how proud Christ is of him. Then he said he's never felt so good in his life. He said something about not being able to hug us. ha ha. And then we shook his hand again and went back into Priesthood and Relief Society. It was a priceless moment! If that was the only thing that happened over the course of my mission, it would've made it worth it, just to feel his gratitude towards us in helping him receive the blessings of the Gospel! Heavenly Father has blessed me to work with humble, faithful people who love Him and it's made our job so easy as missionaries. I feel so blessed to be here and see John's testimony blossom. He seems to be a different John than the one we met the first week I was here. I am so proud of him and can't wait to see him pass the sacrament next Sunday. I am so grateful he's stayed active and is doing so well. In our meeting with the branch president, before Sacrament meeting, President Champaigne said, "I want John to be part of the leadership of the Branch." Someday he will. I know Heavenly Father led us to him to keep this branch going and be in the Branch Presidency here. Who knows, it could be his calling! He doesn't have one yet... :)
Another wonderful thing happened at church. Diane said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting. There weren't too many people there yesterday, but among the few that came were Diane and John. It's so cool to see them in the congregation. President Champaigne is very impressed with Diane, as everyone is. She loves church! I never thought a less active woman would have this much excitement about coming as she does. It's been three years since she's been active. We've been visiting her weekly, re-teaching her the lessons and rekindling the testimony within her. I love teaching less actives who have a desire to come back because we get to let them find their testimony again by asking questions. Instead of really "teaching" we let her teach us. It's been a neat experience and I've learned a lot in the process. We ask things like, "What do you remember about the first vision?" She's kept all her appointments and hasn't missed a Sunday since we started meeting with her. Please pray for her with us. President Champaigne told us that he has a distinct impression that she has some strengths that we could use in the branch. The spirit was really strong last week when she stood and was sustained as a member of the Branch.
After church on Sundays we work around the church. We bundle up and follow up with potentials and tract. Ohhhh tracting. Sister Woodmansee doesn't like it. Am I weird, I love it. Sweet experiences always come out of it. Sister Woodmansee was talking to our branch president's wife as we were exiting and she's like, "Off to go tracting, my favorite thing." Then Sister Champaigne said, "It's gotta be fun with Sister Zwick cause she always has this huge smile on her face." ha ha. It was funny. Then Sister Woodmansee's like, "It is." We try to have fun. And Dad, your advice is working so well! Our door approaches have been full of invitations to church. We have had more friendly conversations, smiles, and even thank yous coming from the person at the door! It's awesome. I'm going to write you all about the church tour and open house we're organizing. We have been brainstorming and have come up with the coolest ideas. Our branch president was so happy about it. He said, "I already know of three people I'm going to invite." We also have a member who is a radio dj and so we're going to get him involved and publicize it big. We haven't picked a date yet, but we are thinking about holding it a few weeks after the holidays are over, so late January, early February. I HAVE to still be here for it, so I'm going to tell President Bulloch all about it and hopefully he won't transfer me. I have cool ideas for each room in the building and how to involve our members, using their talents and testimonies. So Dad, so inspired to get us thinking about this. Thank you! I had read under "finding" and starred "hold an open house" a few weeks back, but never did anything about it. When you mentioned it, I knew it was inspired and we needed to act on it. We were so suprised to hear how enthused President Champaigne was about it too.
We're meeting with one of our families we're teaching tonight. They are the ones I emailed about a few weeks back, Tammy and Eric. They couldn't meet for a couple weeks because of the holiday season, but we've been praying for them and really hope they've been reading and praying. Eric was the one who offered the closing prayer and hadn't prayed in fifteen years.
A sad thing happened, that guy who we found, Rick, who had a testimony of the book of mormon already and met with missionaries years ago... we went back and he wouldn't let us in. He said, "I've decided to go back to my church." It was a big disappointment, but he has the book of mormon and hopefully he'll pick it up again and feel the spirit that fills the pages.
Well, this is getting long, but CHRISTMAS EVE! We taught a couple great lessons and didn't have to tract :) That night we went to a Chinese Buffet, since we both love Chinese food. Yep, just the two of us. We were the only ones in there at first! ha ha. That night we delivered cupcakes to our friends, the Millers, the cutest Amish family ever. They invited us in and we got to sit around their dinner table with the 7 sons and 2 daughters. The Father asked to offer the prayer on the food. All of a sudden all the kids, even the two year old put their little hands in their laps, and bowed their heads, and closed their eyes. Then it was silent. They do silent prayers! Woodmansee and I looked over at each other and smiled. I was thinking, when are they going to know it's over? All of a sudden the Dad did a big sigh. ha ha and all the little heads popped up. It was the coolest experience, just to sit there around their dinner table, lit by oil lamps, as they ate pig liver (yummmm) and engage in conversation with them. The little girls were mesmerized by my necklace. I know they can't wear things like that and I wished I would have left it in the car, because I felt so bad they liked it so much. We were there for over an hour, got to share with the Mother and Father about our beliefs as the children cleaned up dinner. They're all the hardest workers. One of the sons was falling asleep standing up when we left, in front of a bowl of water that he was washing the dishes in. It was so cute. The boys have this funniest haircut, really short bangs, and a chin length cut (never even). After visiting them we came home, planned, and opened our Christmas Eve pajamas. Sister Woodmansee says thanks, Mom.
Funny story of something else that happened Christmas Eve--We are really great friends with our mailman ha ha, and have even been able to clear up some of his misconceptions about Mormons. He still has yet to give us his home address, but we left him a Christmas card and box of chocolates in the mailbox for Christmas as we left our house and put the flag up. When we returned home that night we had a letter in the mailbox that said, "Sisters" on the envelope, with no return address. Inside was a Christmas card with two books of stamps and it said, "Have a very merry Christmas, Sister Zwick and Sister Woodmansee! -Your M.M." NICE HUH?
Now Christmas! Santa came! I missed Dad's voice from the family room, letting all of us know. We LOVE the stockings, Mom! Sister Woodmansee has another Christmas in the field (sad) and says she's even gonna use it next year. After singing at the nursing home, ha ha we came back and it was so great to talk to each of you!!!! I thought the cell phone getting lost was the funniest story, and I could just picture Mom being frantic driving all around looking for it, only to find it all broken. I am so glad it still worked! Thank you for the Christmas presents. Just this morning I looked in my stocking and found the card from "Santa" saying, "Good job this year" with more money! Mom and Dad, THANK YOU. You did way too much. It was the best Christmas ever. My favorite gifts were the necklace with the Forever Family and temple pendant, and the customized calendar from Em and Chad. I've looked through it like a million times, just reminiscing my mission. It's sooooo dang cute! I love it. I want January first to come so I can take down my old calendar and put it up! Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Zwick for the jewelry and warm scarf! I wore it Christmas night in the 8 degree weather! EEEk It's getting soooo cooooooollllddd. We walked around town and delivered Christmas treat plates we made on the 23rd to Less Actives and Investigators, and it kept my neck sooo warm. It's beautiful too. Thanks Grandma Cherie and Grandpa Gary for the money and calendar and thanks Grandma and Grandpa Stevens for the money and card. I feel your love and support every day. I love our family, each of you sooooo much and love that we are promised to live together forever through the blessings of the temple and living the gospel.
Never forget that I love you! Have a Happy New Year!
Love, Sister Zwick
p.s. I'm gonna write out my goals and predictions and mail them to you to seal up to read for next New Years, 2012! Cool that I'll be home with you then! Yay!
I love this quote from President Bulloch's email, "Patience and persistence are two of the noble qualities we develop as we learn to endure circumstances like difficulty, suffering, loneliness, and rejection."
Ahhhhhh I get to talk to you on Saturday! I am soooo excited to hear your voices and hear about your lives! It's been way too long! The stretch between Mothers Day and Christmas is a long one.
So I think I'll be calling at lunch. We are planning on going to sing at a nursing home near our house from 10:00-12:00 a.m. So I think I'll call around 9:00 a.m. your time. By that time you're usually done opening presents... although that was when we were younger. Now Matt and Ash probably sleep in. Just plan on 9:00-ish A.M. not P.M. :) It'll be so much fun!!!
Dad, I'm glad to hear your Holy Ghost lesson went well. I feel like I would be so dumb if I didn't come on a mission. I still will be dumb even having served, but I know I needed to come partly to learn more about the gospel and the role of the Holy Ghost in my life. It has provided me with instances every day to listen to the promptings and trust in the Lord and act upon them. Each time I do and something good comes from it, my faith in the Lord is strengthened. I am so grateful for this experience to be led and guided by the Holy Ghost to find people who need to feel the Saviors love in their lives. It is helping me recognize how the Lord speaks to me and what I need to do to be more in tune to Him.
A few neat experiences happened this week by following the Spirit.
The night my former companion, Sister Despain got a call that she was being transferred. I was panicking a little. Our teaching pool was low and I was feeling a little discouraged. I wanted this area to be booming for when Sister Woodmansee got here, and it just wasn't. ha ha. So that night when I was praying I asked Heavenly Father where we need to go to find those He is preparing to receive us. I usually pray for that daily but that night I was just pleading because we had tracted so much that week and it had been 2 straight weeks of not finding any new investigators. I got this thought, "Tract South Water Street." It was instantaneous, right after I asked him where we need to go. I wasn't finished with my prayer, but all I could think of is, "Tract South Water Street." So my prayer ended because I couldn't even think of anything else! It was one of the strongest promptings I've received through prayer. I told Sister Woodmansee about it and on Monday night we tracted South Water Street. When we got there I was disappointed to see that it looked really familiar. I guess Sister Despain and I had already tracted it. Woodmansee and I started again though. We got a few doors slammed and then came across this house and this teenager answered. There was a woman in the background and as we told them who we are she invited us in. She was a young mom and was holding a newborn. There were two toddlers running around. The spirit was really strong and I know she is why we had to tract South Water. She said she'd love to meet with us and her husband was there too. They said they believe in God but have never been active in a church and want to raise their children with a belief. We testified of how it's strengthened our families. They were just so welcoming and they're going to be baptized, I know it! Then they had this 21 year old girl also living there who was listening and we asked if she'd be there too when we came back. She said she would. Tonight we have an appointment with them. We're really excited about them.
Then another cool thing happened. We got a referral from an investigator, Rick. We went to follow up with the referral, and no one answered. For referrals, we usually knock the homes surrounding because the neighbors may be the reason we needed to be in the area. We weren't going to knock the neighbors because it looked like an apartment complex, and we are not allowed to go door to door in apartment complexes. However, we felt like we should atleast knock two. The first one, no one came to. The second one, a young father answered. We asked if we could share a message about Christ with him. His wife came up behind him and said we could. They are really young parents (19 years old) of two twin babies. It was a really good lesson and the wife prayed aloud for her first time ever! That is my favorite, to teach people to pray for their first time and then hear them do it! It was amazing. It was really funny too cause as we were leaving she said, "Well aren't you going to invite us to church?" We didn't bother to even ask because we didn't think they were ready for that yet, I mean they didn't even pray! But we jumped on that and gave them the address of the church and told them a little about it. They weren't there Sunday :( But I bet they'll come next week. We have a second appointment with them tomorrow night.
I just love how the Lord is leading us to couples, families! That is truly what is going to build this little branch in the ways it needs. Sister Despain and I couldn't find any families, but Sister Woodmansee and I have found 3 couples in just a week! I don't know why, just being obedient to the promptings of the spirit I guess, and maybe now they're more prepared than they would have been a few weeks ago.
I love this quote by Julie B. Beck. I have it hanging on my study desk: "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life." It helps me remember to listen.
We invited 3 people to be baptized this week and no one committed. It was really annoying. But they just don't feel "ready". One, Don, has been investigating for over a year and has read almost the entire Book of Mormon, but won't admit it's true. We ask, "Don, do you believe that through Joseph Smith, God restored the priesthood?" And he says, "Well, nothing tells me he didn't." So he admits that it's not not true, but will never say it IS TRUE. We haven't given up on him though. After we invited him to be baptized on the 1st of January he said, "I can't commit to that. I don't think I'll be ready by the 1st. But I've been considering baptism." So he's been considering it...
We didn't set Allen with a specific date but we just asked him if when he knows these things are true if he will follow Jesus Christ's example and be baptized. He said yes. He's the one we met and taught over Thanksgiving dinner. He's been reading the book of mormon and right now is praying about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
I'm trying to be patient with people. There are a few of our investigators who have received answers, say it's true, but won't get married to get baptized because of the welfare system. They won't get as much money from the government if they are married compared to what they get individually. Totally taking advantage of the system. So they have been fun to work with ;)
Well, I have to get going. Thank you so much for the Christmas packages, Mom! Oh so funny- I got one from G&G Zwick with popcorn balls! The tradition lives on! Send all the Zwick cousins and Aunts and Uncles my love at Little America on Christmas Eve. I'll miss that.
Merry Christmas! Talk to you soon, I love you! Love, Sister Zwick
P.s. We love the Amish Nativity! Thank you!
And Stace, I can't believe I'm missing your wedding tomorrow! I love you so much and don't forget about your best friend out here thinking about you and Andrew! I hope you got the gift and letter in time! Congratulations, girl! I love you!
How is everyone!? I love hearing from you each week. The blessing of email! I don't know how missionaries lived off handwritten letters. Although, I am getting those from you too! Thanks for your letters this week Steph and Ash. Steph, I'll email you a picture of me wearing the sweater you sent me for my birthday. I love it and wore it yesterday under my suit coat at church. Thanks so much!
Oh my, this old guy just whispered in my ear as he was walking past, "I wish I could type that fast. I have the Columbus system, two fingers and then I find and locate the key." Gotta type fast so we have time to do all our little Pday errands!
This week has been AMAZING! Seriously, the best! Tuesday night after we emailed, it started blizzard-ing. Sister Despain and I rode with the Malone Elders and Elder and Sister Rasmussen (a Senior couple in Malone) into Utica to spend the night at the mission home. It was a long 3 and a half hour drive because of the snowy roads, but we made it safely! Three new Elders were also sleeping at the mission home and were already in bed when we got there. Sister Bulloch said they were exhausted from leaving the MTC at 4 am. There were only Elders coming in this transfer. We haven't had a Sister come in for a few transfers :( But we are getting one sister next transfer, mid January! Sister Despain and I slept in the same beds we did about a year ago when we slept at the mission home the first night here in the mission. It almost made us cry that time has gone so fast. It was like De-ja-vu being there together again. Sister Bulloch treated us to some cheesecake and President was cracking jokes and stuff. He looked at the clock and it was past 10:30. He was like, "The mission president is keeping you up!" He stopped his stories and we all went to bed.
The next morning we ate breakfast with the new missionaries and got to sit in on the New Missionary Meetings for the new Elders. I learned so much from it and I've sat in that same meeting a few times already as a new missionary and trainer. I was reminded of a few things though. One thing I like that President said is, "There will never be another time like this in your life. There will always be other demands in life, but right now you can devote all your time, talents and interests to the work of the ministry." I wish I had my notes with me and I could quote it a lot better. But every time I hear him say that I am reminded of what a blessing it is to be here. I love serving the people of New York and want to remember these experiences forever and not take any for granted. A few hours later all the missionaries getting transferred met in the mission office (which is about a 1/2 mile away from the mission home). It was fun to see other sisters and sad to hear the departing testimony of my first district leader and a zone leader who was my zone leader for 9 months of my mission. They are awesome missionaries and friends. We all ate pizza, I hugged Sister Despain goodbye (so sad because we don't know when we'll see each other next), and then Sister Woodmansee and I got in the Rasmussen's durango with Elder Daniels-Brown and Elder Blanchard (a new Elder) to come back home to the "Narth Country!" That's how people speak up here. SOOOO HICK!
Sister Woodmansee was really shocked when we drove on the dirt roads to some of our investigators. ha ha. But we have "Daniel" our British friend (GPS) in good company. He leads us safely through places that look like the middle of no where. Elder and Sister Johnson (the former Senior couple) sent the GPS to Sister Despain and I as a Christmas gift! Nice huh? It's helping with miles and it was a blessing because I really don't like reading maps. Our area is about 2/3 or St. Lawrence county (HUGE). Sometimes she says, "Where did President Bulloch send me?" And last night we were talking about our branch members. It's like the office, but a branch. There could be a movie of it. They're the funniest people. I love them. As we were talking she's like, "I feel like I'm stuck in this small little town and can't get out." It's awesome.
Saturday night there was "freezing rain" which means, it raining ice. It was a loud night and the roads were slick Sunday morning. Members kept calling us to see if we had church. It's like they wanted it to be canceled or something! We still had it. Our branch president said, "We'll be lucky to see 8 of us here including you and I." I was kind of bugged thinking, "Where is his faith!" But didn't say that. We were happy to have 18 in the congregation, four being missionaries, but still, we were so pleased! I was kinda worried at first because it was Sister Woodmansee's first time seeing the branch and I wanted them all to come. It was a good number for the weather conditions.
The spirit has led and guided us this past week. A few days ago this woman was getting in her car and I had this thought, "You HAVE to talk to her." She was about twenty feet away so I started running. lol. I was like, "Excuse me Maam. We have a message we'd love to share with you, centered on Jesus Christ..." She's like, "I have to go to work." "Well, can we come by your home at a better time? What's your address." Then she said, "1823 Knox" or some number. We planned it in Thursday and her husband, Rick answered the door. He said they were just leaving. We asked if we could see them Sunday night. We set a time with them to return. So last night it was our only set appointment. We were really looking forward to it in between tracting. Rick happily invited us in. He went on to say he met with Elders 15 years ago, has read the entire book of mormon and knows it's true!" We almost set him with a baptism date right then. We've been kicking ourselves all morning about not setting him. He's so prepared. Rose was interested also, but Rick is more prepared. We talked a little and then watched the Restoration DVD. He was crying and said, "I wish that would happen to me. I want to see God. I can feel his presence, but I've never seen him." We testified of the role of the Holy Ghost in helping us feel closer to Heavenly Father so that we can see him again. Then we talked about church. He committed to come next Sunday! He's our next baptism, I know it. He's living the word of wisdom. We were like, "Why didn't those missionaries dunk him?" We came up with the conclusion that it's because Heavenly Father wants us to feel the joy of seeing it. ha ha. He talked about blessing Rose and how he lays his hands on her head when she's sick. He has everything but the proper authority. We shared with him more about the priesthood power and how it was restored and asked if he'd like to have it. He said, "I would give anything to hold that power." It was a golden lesson and he is a golden investigator! The spirit was so strong. We're excited about him and his wife.
We also found a family this week!!!! Tammy and Eric and Jalynn (their 2 year old). Eric prayed at the closing of the lesson and hadn't prayed for 15 years. They have some barriers but we know with fervent prayer for them, the Lord will soften them and help them receive a witness of Joseph Smith being a true prophet and the Book of Mormon being true.
Sister Woodmansee and I are trying to stay warm. She's so cool and fun to be with. I've already seen reasons of why the Lord sent her here. She is relating really well with our investigators and they love her. The other night we were laughing so hard about this Amish man (who sent me a letter :/) and she said, "This is the most fun I've had on my mission." It'll be a wonderful transfer. She's so down to earth, from Lehi, Utah.
Cool news, Kennedy and Adalena (the Brazilian couple I met in Ithaca) got baptized last weekend!!!!! I am so so happy for them. I just wrote them this morning congratulating them. Also, Elder and Sister Wood the Senior couple in Ithaca and I keep in touch. The just wrote me about Amanda Le. This is what they said: "Amanda Le is still happy and doing so well. She will be leaving in January. What a blessing she will be when she gets to China and her husband, daughter, and friends are able to feel of her happiness and she can share the gospel with them. We are planning to have her here for Christmas Eve and she will be at the home of a ward member on Christmas Day. She came to the Christmas Devotional and as we were taking her home, she said that this was her first Christmas. She is so excited and loving the feelings of Christmas. The ward has really been faithful in welcoming her and fellowshipping her."
I love Amanda, and think about her every day. She will be such a light to her friends in China.
One more thing: Diane (the less active we ran into last week) came to church on Sunday. Her first time in years! Also, we felt inspired to drop in on a former investigator, Dora. We committed her to church, she came, and she wants to start meeting with us again!!!! The Lord is blessing us so much! We don't deserve it! We are planning on setting 4 baptismal dates this week. I know you pray for me and I can feel it, please keep those we're teaching in your prayers as well. I hope that's not too much to ask. I miss you all so much! Thanks for all your love and letters.
Thanks for the twelve days of Christmas, Mom. I can't wait to start opening! And I also can't believe you have facebook! You're so cool! :)
I have the BEST family! You guys are soooo awesome! I just opened my email account and had 16 new emails wishing me a Happy Birthday. Thank you all so much for all you said. I don't deserve most of the things you said. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Stevens for the money and birthday card. I loved the card of the boy stuffing sunshine rays into the envelope! A year ago I was there in Florida with you. It's definitely cooler here but I'm so happy to be here serving people who are going to forever be my best friends. Thank you Grandma Cherie and Grandpa Gary for your card as well. Both of your cards got here yesterday as well as your package Mom. Perfect timing! Grandma and Grandpa Zwick's card came today. You all said the sweetest things. It means so much to have your love and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This week has been so wonderful! The Lord's hand is in this work. I love feeling it daily. Sunday we tracted near the church and came across a woman who's sister is LDS. She said she felt such a powerful spirit in Salt Lake City when she visited Temple Square with her sister and said she still remembers that feeling. On her doorstep we were able to bear testimony of the Holy Ghost and how He speaks to us through our feelings and witnesses that something is true. She agreed, and then we asked if we could read some of the Book of Mormon with her (she said she had a copy) but said she was busy and wanted our phone number and that she'd call us. Usually when they say that, they don't. She talked about eventually joining the Mormon church, but just "not yet." She said she's catholic, just not practicing. I really hope she calls.
People keep calling us canceling because of the "busy-ness" of the season. It's sad. We have a message that tells the reasoning of the celebration! But those who are keeping their appointments are doing really well. We met with Allen twice since I last emailed. He's the one who we met on Thanksgiving. He is just LOVING it! We taught him the Plan Of Salvation yesterday and he had questions about original sin and we read from 2 Nephi 2 about the Fall and then in Moroni 8 about children not being accountable for sin until they know right from wrong (at age 8). He agreed with all of it and was like, "I never agreed with the thought that we were born sinful." Teaching the POS is one of my favorite lessons to teach. Especially teaching the Atonement and how loving and forgiving Christ is. It's so important for these people to know that God isn't mad at them for their mistakes and that we can change and apply his atonement to our lives and feel clean from any guilt or shame. 3 Nephi 9:14 has become my favorite scripture. I like to share it with less actives and while teaching the atonement. It says, "Yea verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." Wayne and Patty listen in and I think we might pick them up as new investigators again too.
We had a miracle occur Sunday. Do you remember in like October when I emailed you about that woman we came across, Diane? We were originally looking for a former investigator, and knocked on the door of where the former lived, and she answered and said she had just moved there from Georgia and was a member of the church? Okay so we knew God led us to her that day. Well, I never told you but we went back and her boyfriend was bad mouthing us right as we stepped onto their property. She was just looking at us in silence. I could seriously feel her spirit screaming at him to stop. ha ha. But she didn't dare say a word. We knew she had felt the spirit but he wasn't letting us even talk to her. So we told him we respect his opinion and looked at her and reminded her that she has our phone number and to call us if she wants to meet. We walked away saddened because we knew without a doubt that she had felt the spirit that day we met her, she was crying when we bore testimony and we could feel Gods love for her so strongly. Weeks have passed and Sunday we were in Morristown, about 50 miles from her home in Heuvelton. We were in Morristown to meet with an investigator there, Maggie. Maggie had told us she was moving out of her apartment, #1 into apartment #6 and so to go to #6. We went to apartment #6 and no one came to the door. I was like, "Sister lets go try her old apartment, #1, maybe she hasn't moved out of it yet." So we walk to #1 and knock and guess who answered the door!? DIANE! The same Diane from Heuvelton! She had moved into Maggie's old apartment. Right when she opened the door Sister Despain and I said in unison, "Diane!?" She was so open to us and was like, "Girls! Come in, have a seat, get warm!" I was thanking Heavenly Father for leading us to her AGAIN. She went on to say that she left her boyfriend and that he wasn't a good influence. She said he hated life and her children too and she couldn't live like that. She said, "I was looking for your phone number. I wanted to get in touch with you and have you come by but lost it in the move." There were still boxes all around and we helped her unpack a little. Then we watch the Restoration DVD and when the spirit was there took the opportunity to ask her if she believes Joseph Smith is a prophet. She said yes and started tearing up. We bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. She said she's been reading it and wants to come back to church. Now we know it was her boyfriend holding her back, and she's finally away from him. It was a mission miracle I will remember forever. We told her how much Heavenly Father must love her to lead us to her a second time. We love her too! We couldn't have found her without the spirit leading us to her door. She said she doesn't even have a P.O. box set up yet. The spirit had been working on her and Heavenly Father led us to her again. It's nice when things like that happen. It reaffirms the reality of God's love for all of us individually and He doesn't want any lost sheep. She'll be a wonderful woman in the Branch Relief Society.
K time is almost up but I just wanted to share what we did on my birthday since I know you're wondering, Mom. We taught some wonderful lessons and went out to dinner with a recent convert family. They are so wonderful and are getting sealed in Utah next summer. They invited Sister Despain and I to it. Sister Hacking, one of my former companions found them up here. We went to this place called Dixie Lee. It's kind of like KFC. Then we drove to say goodbye to some people... Sister Despain is getting transferred! It's so sad. We have loved being companions. We are traveling to Utica tonight to sleep at the mission home because Sister Bulloch wants to have a sleepover. jk. It kind of seems like that. She doesn't want us having to leave at like 5 am tomorrow, so we're leaving tonight instead and then I'll be getting my new companion tomorrow at the Transfer Meeting. She's a newer missionary and is coming up from serving in Syracuse. Em, thanks for the breadsticks. So we didn't get in until 9:30 last night. After we planned I opened my package and gifts. We were getting ready for bed and I was doing some dishes and outside the kitchen window saw a car drive up. We didn't know who it was! Sister Despain answered the door and a man said, "Is Tia there?" I was like, "Who calls me that up here!?" I went to the door and it was a pizza hut delivery man with breadsticks from Emily. Thank you em! We enjoyed them and are still enjoying them! It was such a good surprise.
Well, I have to go but thanks again. I had the best birthday ever, testifying of the Savior and the reason we have all that we have. There isn't a better way to spend a birthday. I love being here. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Sister Zwick
p.s. it's super snowy here! :)
p.p.s. We went on exchange with the neighboring sister's area, Watertown. I stayed here and Sister Cox came and worked with me. She's grown so much! She's an awesome missionary. It was really fun.
"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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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)