"...I knew it and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it..."-JSH 1:25
Dad, don't worry I'm missing out on the warmth of sunny California too, if it makes you feel any better. Ha ha I love that Matty said it's the first time he's had a bed there. Remember he used to not like Palm Springs? It starts becoming nice around high school age because it's super relaxing. Thank you for both of your emails, Mom and Dad. And Chad your email made me the happiest! I'll write ya today!
Saturday night we got our transfer call and both Sister Stacey and I are staying in Glenville for 6 more weeks!! We were SO HAPPY to hear that. We were both pretty certain that we'd be here together. It's the best place to end my mission. I love those we're teaching and have the best companion. We're best of friends. She went on exchange while I was in Palmyra and was all scared this week for the call because she doesn't want to be companions with anyone else. Isn't that nice? I told her she better stop being so nice because President puts reject companions with the nice sisters. ha ha.
Tuesday morning, three elders, three sisters, President and Sister Bulloch and I traveled to Palmyra! I feel soooo blessed to be in this mission, so close to where the Restoration took place. The day began with a session in the Palmyra temple. Right when I walked in I was greeted by Elder and Sister Sherwood. They were a couple assigned to help Sister Despain and I in the Ogdensburg Branch during the time we didn't have a Branch President. They were in white and gave me a hug. It was soooo great to see them! I had written them a couple weeks ago to let them know I'm coming to the temple on the 5th, because I knew they worked there a few times a week. They as well as Elder and Sister Guthrie (another Palmyra couple that helped us in the Burg) found me in the temple and it was a good reunion. Before the session the temple president sat with us and we had the opportunity to ask him any question about anything! I swear I was the only one asking questions. President Bulloch and him had the answers and were so informative. I was sitting there just thinking how sad it would've been to not have all of these experiences. Even just that one, sitting in the baptistry room getting questions answered by a temple president! And the day got even better! The endowment was wonderful as always. It was cool to see President and Sister Bulloch in their temple clothes. I was thinking about my mission a lot and it was amazing to see that the covenants in the temple relate to the things I've been trying to develop as a missionary. I told that to President afterwards and he said, "There is nothing like a mission to give us a better perspective of our temple covenants." I will never go to the temple without being grateful for what I've learned on my mission. It's prepared me to be a better member of the church, member missionary, wife, mother, and teacher. I just hope I can remember the important lessons I've learned about obedience and sacrifice and in my future be more willing to do what the Lord wants me to do when he asks.
After the temple we went to the Grandin Building and got taught by President Bulloch and a Sister missionary about the long process it was to make the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon. It made me especially grateful for mine and the sacrifices made by Martin Harris and John H. Gilbert and other men who worked hard to getting the first books published.
I learned a lot about Martin Harris. We all remember him for losing the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript, but in fact he mortgaged his farm to pay E.B. Grandin to print the Book of Mormon! I didn't know this. President Bulloch drove us to the farmland he mortgaged and taught us more about coveting from D&C 19 with the background story of Martin Harris not wanting to give up his farm, but did because the Lord asked him to. President said "We remember Martin Harris for the wrong stuff. He paid for the printing of the Book of Mormon and was a great blessing to the Kingdom." Then we learned he didn't only lose his farm but his wife left him because of all he was giving for the spreading forth of the gospel! Sad huh?
We also went to Alvin's (Joseph's brother) grave. Sister Bulloch is so cute and puts flowers there every time. We learned about his influence on Joseph and how he told him to stay true to what he knew in spite of the persecution. Joseph looked up to Alvin and always remembered that and continued to hold true to what he saw.
On Hill Cumorah we studied about Joseph's instruction from Moroni. President Bulloch told us Moroni is known as "Joseph's tutor" and was actual visited by him 22 times from the time he first appeared to him and throughout the translation process.
We also got a tour through Joseph Smith's log cabin and the frame house right by the Sacred Grove. It was so funny, President Bulloch would get antsy when the missionaries would be giving us a tour because it was so simple and he'd say, "Can I interrupt and take a few minutes with them." Then he'd go all in depth and have us open our scriptures and tell us what else happened in the room. I LOVE PRESIDENT BULLOCH!
When we got to the Sacred Grove he said, "This is the first time I'll let you be alone." We got to separate one from another and be in the grove for an hour. You can feel the sacredness of the ground just walking in.
I know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God. I am so grateful for his faith to go into the grove of trees and pray with a sincere heart. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him there and answered his prayer. I also know that through him the Priesthood was restored and all the saving ordinances can be preformed because of one boy's simple prayer. It's real. It's a real place and you can feel the Holy Ghost bear witness of Joseph Smith at every site in Palmyra.
The day was perfect. President Bulloch made wonderful connections between the temple, the sites, and our mission experience. I feel so grateful to be in this mission right where it all started and to have President Bulloch as my mission President. He's helped me grow in my testimony and has taught me what it really means to be a disciple of Christ.
I'll attach pictures in another email you can forward out, Mom.
"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)