"...every good gift cometh of Christ." -Moroni 10:18
Dear Zwick Family,
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!
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel." -Joseph Smith
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Sister Zwick loves letters!
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)