"...He hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up."-Mormon 7:5
Hi Mom and Dad and sibs,
I loved reading about all the grandkids there. It's hard to believe you have 5, Mom and Dad. I love all the stories and funny things they say. The best is that Ellie got Blake out of his crib and he walked around thanking her! Ha ha. So cute.
First let me update you on the BED BUGS. Yep, we have bed bugs. We keep our apartment really clean and so we think we brought one in from a home we visited. We're in some really un-kept places sometimes.
Last Monday night we went to the Dinkle's home for dinner. We started talking about the bug bites and Brother Dinkle grabbed his laptop and looked up bed bugs and sure enough they looked just like my bites did. He also read that dawn is their prime biting time. Sister Stacey and I were up at like 3, 4, and 5 am and I kept hearing her walk into the bathroom to check herself. It was soooo scary. We didn't see any though. The next morning we checked our beds and found 2 dead ones. I tried to convince Sister Stacey that they are dead and gone BUT then I found one crawling right by me as I was studying Tuesday morning. So I called Sister Bulloch. She said, "Go wash all your clothes and sheets, and spray your WHOLE apartment with permetherin. Cancel your appointments. You shouldn't be losing sleep and need to get this solved." So we called Sister Maughan. She's like our second mom and loves to help us because she has a daughter on a mission! She said, "Get over here, the laundry room is all yours." Long story short, we washed everything from our clothes to our shoes and backpacks. And even slept at the Maughans that night. For some reason we had mattresses in the apartment and got permission from the Bullochs to throw two away. We called our landlord and he did a extermination thing. After all this we thought they'd be gone and brought all our clean clothes back and were so excited to have a good night's sleep and as we were getting ready for bed we found 3 MORE living! One in the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom! And the next day saw 4 others! So now they're everywhere! It was really funny at first but now it's annoying because it's interferring with the work and our sleep. We're so tired because we get home from teaching and are up itching and having nightmares about them. I feel like I'm camping and you know how much I like that ;) I've been wearing bug spray every night and haven't gotten bit for about a week. Sister Maughan is so sweet. She bought us mattress covers and keeps calling us, offering us a place to sleep, and seeing what more she can do to help us. We don't really know what else to do. We have Zone Conference tomorrow and there we'll talk to President and Sister Bulloch. I DO NOT want to move again. Plus I feel like the bugs are in our stuff so if we move, they'll come with us. This has been one of the only things that has made me want to come home, bed bugs. My bites are recovering but now turning into bruises.
Wednesday night we had a dinner appointment with the Forschmidts. Brother Forschmidt converted to Mormonism from Judaism and being Passover, we had a Passover dinner. The sedar ceremony (which we did before eating) consists of some readings from Exodus about the plagues on the Egyptians. I had to read Exodus chapter 8 all about the frogs and lice. When I got to verse 3 I read: "And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people..." And I just started laughing. I couldn't hold it in. It was so bad because the ceremony was supposed to be serious. And then Sister Stacey started laughing. So the whole chapter she was looking at me because she wanted me to laugh again and I was like kicking her under the table so she'd stop. It was just too ironic after all the bed bugs.
The work here is going so good and I'm sad to leave it eventually. Last night we had an amazing lesson with Mike and his family. When we got there his wife (who is like our best friend) told us to come back to the kitchen and get a dessert. The rest of the family was in the family room. She got kind of emotional and thanked us for serving missions. It was really sweet. She said her husband has never been this receptive. It strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father knows his children. We went in and his returned missionary son showed the "None were with Him" talk by Elder Holland from a couple conferences ago. It is about the power of the Atonement. We all went around and shared our thoughts and testimonies of the Savior. Mike even shared. The Spirit was so thick, you could cut through it. The atonement really applies when we do all we can do (live the gospel) though to obtain the Lord's mercy. I nonchalantly said that because Mike needs to see that he needs to live those steps, faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end to really utilize the fullness of the gift of the atonement. We love Mike because we can joke around with him (he's super funny) but also be serious. We set a return appointment with him and he's always very busy. I've been using a pen instead of a pencil in my planner and he noticed that I was using a pen and my companion was using a pencil. He's like, "Sister Stacey, do you want a pen?" And handed her a casino one. It was funny that happened to be the one he grabbed. She's like, "No I like using pencil." Then I said, "I'm using a pen so you can't change the appointment." Then his wife's like, "The difference between a new missionary and one that's about to go home." And then we went into a whole conversation about how I'll hand down the pen to Sister Stacey when I leave. The handing down of the pen. ha ha. I really just have used a pen because I can't find my pencil and need to buy more today. On our drive home we got a text message from Mike's returned missionary son. He said, "My dad has progressed more with you two sisters than any previous missionaries. You're doing a great job. Keep it up. The effort you are making is helping." It made our Easter. I love bringing people unto the Savior and helping them feel the Spirit.
"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
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)