"...no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing..." -Joseph Smith
It's sooooo much fun to read your emails and hear how things are going for all of you! Matty, I am soooo sorry about your nose!!! I really hope it's not broken and that you don't have to go through that yucky surgery like Emily had to! I am soooo envious of Ash and Sam just chillin' on the beach and going to Disney World! I have heard of the Harry Potter World from Sister Stacey and it sounds so cool! How long has that been open? And how does Ash have a connection with someone in Harry Potter? That's so sweet! Hook ups!
It's really sad BYU lost. Thursday night we had a dinner appointment at the Bishop's house. He and his family talked about the game starting around 7ish. I could tell when 7:00 hit he was getting antsy, so we wrapped up this scripture activity with his kids. As we were leaving Bishop Andrews was like, "Before you leave, I have two questions: First, do you need anything?" We told him no and that the members are helping out tremendously with teaching and meals. Then he's like, "Second: Do you want to know the score of the game?!" We were like, "YES!" So he goes to his phone and and tells us Florida was leading, 16-23. So we went out to our car and all of a sudden the 11 year old daughter yells out their front door, "Now it's 21-25!" We were both wayyyy happy. I was all nervous for BYU and I wasn't even watching it! I bet it was so scary! We went to teach Mike and he called and canceled right before we got there. So we ended up following up with some potentials close by and then our phone rang. It was Sister Andrews (Bishop's wife). She's like, "I know I shouldn't be calling you but I just wanted to tell you it's half time and let you know the score!" Ha ha. We were like, "Will you call us at the end of the game and let us know the outcome?" She's like, "For sure!" She called around 9:30 and told us it's overtime, 68-68 and that she'd call us back after overtime finishes. Ha ha. We were freaking out, running around our apartment cheering and hoping they'd win! Then we got the call that they lost :( 83-74. That stinks the final score was that because it seems like it was neck and neck the whole time; kind of a bad reflection of the game. All night Sister Stacey was like, "I hope they lose so we don't have to keep hearing about it and missing seeing the games." I was like, "What! Don't say that!" So when they lost I told her it's because she said that ;) I'm happy you all had a good time watching it and that you invited Dylan over too. Sounds like Jeff is his same old self with imitations. Geez, I miss those! Was he doing Uncle David? Sometimes I wish he was out here meeting some people we've met because I know he could imitate them soooo well and then I'd be able to remember them forever.
Now onto what's going on here: I just feel so blessed to be here on a mission. And also so blessed to be in a ward where there are faithful members who understand the importance of sharing the gospel. I really want to live in the mission field for the rest of my life! It's so cool that every day these members get to have conversations with nonmembers and bring them one step closer to the truth. And Sister Stacey and I get to do it too, every minute of every day. I've been getting scared lately thinking about how in just a couple months I lose this identity, "Sister Zwick." I feel like I'm going to be so lost when I get home, not knowing how to even start a conversation because all I know how to is to share my testimony and think of how a gospel principle or scripture relates to the person I'm conversing with. I get teary eyed even thinking about it and how weird it will be not being here, and try not to think about it too much but it's coming and so I can't help myself!
Anyways, we had an amazing experience with a referral from church headquarters this week! This guys named Stephen went onto Mormon.org and requested a Book of Mormon. We got that information and referral as a text message with his address. So we showed up at his house with the BOM and introduced ourselves and asked him how he found Mormon.org. He said a friend told him to check it out and that he's studied a lot of christian sects of religions and hasn't found any to be true and/or agree with what he feels Jesus Christ taught. We taught him the message of the restoration, just there on his porch and testified of the truth of the book of mormon and the clarity of Christ's doctrine in it. He replied, "That makes perfect sense. I believe God would call a Prophet today." And then he was like, "And I'm so excited to read this book. I think I'll start it tonight." It was soooo cool to see how prepared he is! I know he's going to progress, the only problem is after we told him what we do as missionaries and that we'd love to come back and answer questions he has he's like, "I want to read this first and then I'll call you." Ugh. We are going to stop back there in about a week though, just to see how his reading is going. We also invited him to church and told him about General Conference, which I AM SOOOOOO EXCITED FOR!
One more funny thing: We were downtown Schenectady and had just parked to go see this less active. Well this group of about 5 tall black guys were right outside our car doing round-off back tucks in the middle of the street. ha ha. So I was like, "Hurry, lets get out and share with them before they pass." So we got out and started talking to them and they said they had never heard of Mormons before. We asked them their religious backgrounds and then they were like, "We have a basketball game so we've gotta get going." We gave them all mormon.org and told them to check out Paris (a kid around their age with a sweet conversion story) and they said they would. Then Sister Stacey was like, "We should've used Jimmer!" So I yelled, "Hey, do you know Jimmer Ferdette?" And they all turned around and said, "Yeah, yeah" and "He's coo!" And in unison Sister Stacey and I said, "He's MORMON!" ha ha.
I got a really great letter from Sister Woodmansee about people in Ogdensburg. She said John's funeral was beautiful and that she was the last one to say goodbye before they closed the casket. And she said, "TTFN!" It's what he always said at the end of phone conversations or when we were leaving. Ha ha. She also said they set John with a baptismal date! He's the one who had a hard time with death and had all these why questions for God. Remember? He's in some pictures I sent home too and gave me a throw my last Sunday there. I am sooooo happy for him! And will be praying for him from here. I have a testimony that God answers prayer. Almost every night in Ogdensburg I prayed to be led to potential priesthood holders to help sustain that little branch and all these men are being baptized up there! It's sooooooo awesome! I can't wait to go back and see some who were only investigators be full fledged members holding the priesthood and callings! I'm going to spend some time today writing people up there. They're so funny.
Well, thanks for all your emails and prayers. I know they help because I wake up energized and ready for another day at 6:27, so not like me! I'm so grateful to have been blessed with a loving family who have strong testimonies of the gospel. I miss you lots!
"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
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"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)