Monday, January 31, 2011

"...he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him..." -2 Nephi 26:33

Hi guys!

Thanks for the emails! It's such a highlight of my week to come and read how you're all doing.

That's really sad about Kristina's mom. I'm sure it was good for her to have Steph and their roommates fly down for the funeral. It's so good Steph could get work off. What a blessing it is to know what we know when trials come you know? I'll keep her family in my prayers.

So it sounds like you were doing the move all weekend. Fun, fun! I can totally picture little Parker riding in the cab of the moving truck looking down and waving to the other cars. He's so cute! There is always a plan of who is driving what car and where each car is driving to. I can just picture all of you talking it all through. And oh man, the storage unit. I didn't know we still had the storage unit, since you're back in the Alpine house, but good thing we do, it's coming in handy! Every time I think of the storage unit, I think of Jeff acting out putting boxes in it and holding them in while trying to shut the garage! Ha ha! I love when you do that, Jeff! Em, keep me updated on the houses you're looking at and stuff.

We've been dumped with snow this week and it's supposed to keep coming! Elder and Sister Esplin said a big storm is coming in Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm not sick of the snow yet. But usually by the end of February I am. It's pretty here because the flakes that fall are HUGE! I was so surprised by that last winter. It's cool when a big one lands on my coat because I can see the little details of the flake! The St. Lawrence is now frozen all the way across, so Sister Woodmansee and I can now run away to Canada for a vacation ;) In the Fall when it was beginning to freeze I always told Sister Despain I wanted to go ice skating in our shoes on the ice. So Sister Woodmansee always says, "We've gotta get you down there, Sister Zwick!" Ice fishers are out there and we even saw a car drive on the river, so the ice must be thick enough to stand on. No worries, we'll be wise. has redone its website and it's very very cool! There is information about it in the January 2011 Ensign. Last week at District Meeting we were told that we are supposed to spend an hour on each week on a day other than Pday and get acquainted with the website so then we can share it with others. Isn't that crazy? When they told us that I couldn't believe it. One of the Elders said, "This is like an Amish turning Mennonite." Ha ha. I guess technology is improving quick and so the church is using it to do missionary work. The Rochester New York missionaries are even trying out Iphones that have internet and their area book is all recorded on these little phones instead of paper! That hasn't happened to every missionyet though. Worldwide, missionaries are now encouraged to spend one hour a week on At first I didn't understand how our one hour on will help the work progress in our area. But our Zone Leaders took us to the site and let us watch some of the testimonies of Mormons on the site and the videos totally invite the Spirit! During the hour spent on, we are to be thinking of our investigators and then find someone who they are like and then tell our investigator to watch the video. It's perfect for this area. We don't have very many members who can relate to those we're teaching but on we've already found a few! It's the coolest site. You should all go to it and click, "Our People" and watch Rochelle, Paris, and Jarem. Those are my favorites. The videos are so touching!

Something amazing happened. Friday we were here at the library doing our one hour of :) and our phone started vibrating. It was Allen. Allen is my all time favorite investigator!!!!! Seriously. He is the investigator we met on Thanksgiving. We've been teaching him weekly since then and he is progressing so well. He's had a rough past with alcohol but now recovered, he is finally figuring out who he is and we are helping him see the potential that Heavenly Father sees in him. What a blessing it has been in my life to teach him. Because of my addiction in High School, without even having to tell him about it, I knew how he was feeling, and that he needed to know the love God has for him and the healing that can come from the Atonement. The Savior just has this perfect ability to rescue us from our pains and self doubt. So we've been teaching him that relief can come through living the principles of the gospel. He's changed more and more every time we meet with him. He's been saying things like, "You can give me more than one chapter to read." And "I've decided I'm just going to start living the Word of Wisdom now, and not wait until that date I chose." The spirit has been working on him and he's listening. One time his friend was there when we were teaching him and he said, "What these Sisters have helped me with is to develop a relationship with God. I feel like he knows me and I know him on this level that I've never felt before and it's come through praying." And last week we were teaching him at Wayne and Patty's (former investigators) and Wayne was asking all these questions. Allen was answering them right and left! He was bearing his testimony and it almost made me cry because I was soooo happy to hear him express his gratitude for helping him come to know God. He is so willing to submit to the will of the Lord and has kept every commitment we've extended to him. He's been praying to know if Joseph Smith really was a prophet. And he said like a month ago, that when he receives a witness he wants to be baptized. So he's been praying and praying, and reading and reading, and no witness has come. Or at least he didn't think so. Tuesday when we met we read some scriptures about the spirit feeling like a "burning in the bosom" and that it brings feelings of "peace, joy, love" and if it's of god it "inviteth and enticeth to do good." We were trying to help him recognize the feelings of the Spirit and that these feelings are in fact witnessing truth. Well, luckily we had Elder Esplin there because he bore a powerful testimony of the gift of agency and he read the scripture from D&C 9 (revelation given to Oliver Cowdery when wanting to know if the plates were true) that says, "Study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right." He told Allen that after studying things out in our mind, the Lord often wants us to make a tentative decision and then ask Him for a confirmation of that decision. I learned a lot just sitting there listening to Elder Esplin teach. Sister Woodmansee and I both love taking the Esplins teaching because they are sooooo good with their scriptures and relating them to the people here!

So back to the phone. It was vibrating, and it was Allen. By the time I got the phone out it was on like the 3rd ring and I had to just pick it up right there in the quiet library. I was like, "Hello, it's Sister Zwick." and he's like, "I'm gonna do it. I've decided I want to do it." I almost fell off the chair I was so excited. I knew what he meant (BAPTISM) but I had to make sure. My voice was shaking and I was like, "You want to be baptized!?" All loud in the middle of the library! oops. He's like, "Yes." So I got up and walked to a little corner where I could talk and I asked him what made him make his decision. He said, "I was praying about being baptized and went for a walk. Then, I had a moment of complete clarity and peace come over me. I know this sounds so practical but the thought came, 'Why wouldn't you do it.'" I told him that I know God is pleased with his decision. I bore my testimony and he said, "Now when is your six weeks up? I want to be baptized before you leave the area." So he's choosing a date this week. It'll be at the end of February. He was so nice and said that there is this special spirit about me and he's very grateful I opened up to him on Thanksgiving and shared the gospel with him. It was a phone call I'll remember for the rest of my life. It strengthened my testimony of revelation. President Bulloch knew I needed to be up here and I never really knew why. But in the past few weeks hearing Allen bear testimony and seeing him embrace the gospel and change has helped me see how the Lord uses us with our past experiences, to relate with others and help them feel the joy we feel from living the gospel. I know I was supposed to come on my mission to meet Allen and help him find the path back to Heavenly Father. I'm so happy for him. He's going to be so good in the Branch. He's so smart, humble, obedient, and sensitive to the promptings of the spirit. We love him.

We ran over to the Esplins that night after we got home and shared the exciting news. Then like an hour later they brought us ice cream to celebrate. Elder Esplin said Allen will make a great Elders Quorum President. Ha ha. He would! Elder Esplin just got called as the first counselor in the Branch Presidency. Sister Woodmansee and I feel so blessed to be up here with Elder Esplin because he's teaches us soooo much. I feel like I'm with a general authority every time I'm around him. His stories and knowledge has helped our testimonies grow. Every time I'm around him I feel like reaching for my planner and taking notes! They're so wonderful and had us over for dinner last night. It was way nice of them.

So we're building the kingdom one soul at a time. I cannot wait to see Allen enter the waters of baptism and start this new life. He's searched for years for truth and even went Atheist for a time because of all the confusion in religions. But I'll always remember what he said on Thanksgiving, "The older I get the more I'm realizing things just don't happen by coincidence." And how he explained how he felt like someone was really helping him feel of his potential through recovering from alcoholism. God never leaves our side, does he? I want to find more people searching like Allen was.

Well, I better get going. Off to another week of teaching, spreading, and gathering the elect! The church is true! I love you!

Love, Sister Zwick

P.s. Yesterday there were 27 people at church! It was a record! Elder and Sister Esplin and Sister Woodmansee were just loving it and smiling so big and talking to everyone. There was a great feeling there. It was wonderful. I am so impressed with these people we are meeting and teaching. They are changing habits in their lives all because of faith. It's exciting.

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