Monday, April 18, 2011

“As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase.”-PMG pg.2

Hey everyone!
Palm Springs sounded like fun! You are all probably soooo tan! That's so fun Ellie and Spenny rode back with you, Mom! I miss them so much. Will you tell them and give them a love for me? Spen should think it's cool I'll be on an airplane in a few weeks. Andrea, are you so excited to be with the family for Easter? Too bad I don't get to call this Sunday! Before I forget, I hope you have a HAPPY EASTER and make time to reflect on the atonement.
I feel like I've learned a lot about the Atonement on my mission and how that event is central to why we're here and how we can live in happiness now and for eternity. Before we start teaching people we recite (not word for word) some points from Preach My Gospel, in the Teaching Skills section, under "How to Begin Teaching" and one of them says something like, "Any pain or guilt you feel can be removed because of the Savior's Atonement and you'll feel that as you apply these principles to your life." I almost start crying every time I say that because we all feel those feelings and how true it is that He is just waiting for us to come unto him and partake of his forgiveness and realize we need to change and be given the power to do it because of His help. I am so grateful for the Atonement. Christ just loves us so much and I just want everyone I meet here to feel that. In a scripture I read today it said, "He has all power, all wisdom, all understanding, he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name." That's how Ammon describes him. The Savior really does know how we feel and he went through the pain so he can give us comfort. Sorry I went off on that. It's just amazing to think that someone knows us better than we know ourselves, and loves us unconditionally. It's beautiful :)
A lot has happened this week. It's been one of those weeks full of funny and sad stories. So I'll take you on a little emotional roller coaster ride...
Last Monday evening I noticed 3 little bumps on my right arm. They were red and itchy and looked like mesquito bites. Then Tuesday morning I noticed 3 more on my upper thigh. The redness kept getting bigger around them all even when I wasn't itching them. By Wednesday they started looking like rashes and nothing like a mesquito bite. We were near a member's home (who is a doctor) after visting an investigator Wednesday afternoon and called him. He said he wanted to take a look at them. So we went inside and he and his wife and two little girls were there. He's like, "Let's see your arm." So I showed him my arm. Then he's like, "Do you have any more?" I said, "Yes, on my leg." He's like, "Let me take a look at those." I'm like, "Well, they're kind of high. ha ha." And he's like, "It's still your leg." So I had to lift my gs in front of him and his family. He said something about them affecting my tissue? He gave me some steroid cream and said to put it on twice a day. From Wednesday to Saturday I got 5 more. At church on Sunday he looked at them on my lower leg and arm and was kind of confused because he doesn't know what they are and said it's not bug season. I think they're spider bites because our apartment is old. AND we don't have curtains and this gross blanket is hanging in front of the window (to act as a curtain) that my bed backs too. Saturday during lunch I was so fed up by my itchiness and got a big black garbage sack and took the blanket hanging from the window, and threw it away. Then we moved our beds and vacuumed all around them. We wash our sheets every other week during laundry, so I'm pretty sure it's not bed bugs. But just in case we stripped our beds and propped up all the mattresses and sprayed permetherin on them. We had to wait 24 hours to go into our room because the permetherin has toxins that we can't breathe in. We slept out on the couches Saturday night. Today the bites or whatever they are don't itch and look a little better. If they don't improve, by the end of the week I'll go to the doctor. I think they'll go away though.
We had two investigators at church yesterday!! Mike came!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He sat with his wife. He has not been to church since his son's mission homecoming in December. We want him to gain a testimony so badly. He loves Sister Stacey and I, which is so great. I know we were placed in this area together to help him. We've had awesome lessons at their home and his wife has said some very bold things to him. I mean very boldly. She's just put in a hard situation being so active, with very active children and a non member husband. We got the feeling she doesn't talk about these things to him until we are there because it's a touchy subject. On Tuesday night when we were there she said things like, "If in the future you're not here and I have the opportunity to be sealed to someone..." You can just feel her frustration with him. But yet she loves him and is just waiting for him to have a greater desire to know if these things are true. We asked him if he wants to know. He said, "I guess." And I said, "Do you want to live with your family forever?" And he said, "Yes." And I said, "Well then, you want to know, because that is a blessing that comes from knowing." We read a lot out of Alma 32 with him and talked about desire and faith. We promised him the Lord hears his prayers but that the witness will come after the trial of his faith and committed him to act in faith and come to church. Then his wife said, "I would love to sit by you in church. And the kids have told me in private they wish their dad was at church." AND HE CAME TO CHURCH! He even brought a separate car (we think to leave). But our awesome members got him to stay for Sunday school and Priesthood! Sunday school was the most spirit filled lesson that I've had my whole mission. It was on sacrifice and just so perfect for those who were in attendance. We had 2 less actives that don't usually come in class as well as Melanie and Mike (investigators).
We received a referral from the San Diego Visitor's Center, that a 9 year old in this area wanted a BOM. So we went to meet the Gilbert family and the Mom answered and was soooo cute and nice. She said her daughter was asleep and so we told her a little bit about ourselves and told her what we do and that we'd love to come back and explain more about the book of mormon and our basic beliefs. She was all for it and said, "I think we'd all like to learn, not just my daughter." We were so happy! Right as we walked away I was like, "Sister Madsen and her 10 year old daughter, fellowshippers!" The next day we called Sister Madsen to see if she and her daughter could come to the appointment, and they couldn't but she told us of all the other women in the ward with 9 or 10 year old daughters. We made some calls and got a member and her daughter all excited to come. Then we called another family in the ward to borrow a children's book of mormon (until the one arrives that we ordered from the mission office) because we thought that would be easier for the 9 year old to read. So Friday it was like one of our only set appointments and we were looking forward to it all day. We taught the family from Trinidad (who are doing awesome by the way) and got back to the car to a voice mail. It was the Gilbert mom. She's like, "I just wanted to call and cancel our appointment for this evening. I don't think my daughter knew what she was signing up for when we were visiting in San Diego. We're happy with our religion and aren't looking to change." It was a HUGE bummer. We had to call the members and tell them not to come anymore and bring the children's BOM back to the family at church yesterday who lended it to us. It makes me so sad when families walk away from this. If they only knew the blessings that flow from it.
We had a lot of those situations this week. Investigators and potentials not being home for their appointment and cancellations right and left. But I know the Lord will take care of them. It's not the end yet.
On a happier note, remember Precious? The cute Mom we met outside Val's house? She and her little black boys were walking to a barber shop. Well come to find out, the barber shop was closed! She told us that Saturday after a really great lesson with her whole family. She said she now knows why they had to go to the barber shop. She reminds me of Tyesha in Ithaca. She's already loving everything she's learning. She, her fiance, and 3 sons are all committed to coming to church this Sunday! Please pray for them with us that they'll use their agency righteously and come! We have their ride all set up. Her boys are adorable, Andrew, Donny, and Emmanuel. They were all participating in the lesson, answering questions, and reading! This is a golden family. So we're really hoping they come on Sunday.
About a month ago Sister Stacey and I created profiles at You should all do one! It would be so fun if we all had one on their. I felt like I was on facebook or something, choosing my profile picture and stuff! It was fun! It took like a month for someone to review and approve it before becoming visible online but now it's there! So here are the links to both mine and Sister Stacey's:
Also GUESS WHO GOT BAPTIZED IN OGDENSBURG!?! DOLORES!!!!!! Remember her? I sent some pictures home with her and I. I worked with her the entire 6 months I was up there and she had the strongest desire to be baptized. I knew she'd make it. She finally broke up with her bf and is living the LOC!!!! She got baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday. Sister Woodmansee wrote me this last week and let me know the exciting news. I wish I could've seen it but that's just the nature of the work. You plant seeds, teach, and work an area as if you'll be there forever, but your not and you leave and get to hear how the work keeps moving forward. She also said Don received the Priesthood last Sunday!
Jeff, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Saturday! Look for a card in the mail.
Sorry this is so long! I love you all!
Love, Sister Zwick

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