"To Preach My Gospel by the Spirit, even the comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth." -D&C 50:14
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! :)
"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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Blessed to open this last dispensation
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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We thank thee oh God for a prophet
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)