"...that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world..." -Alma 7:14
We have had an amazing week! I'm excited to write this email because I get to reflect on how the Lord's hand is so much apart of this work.
Sunday morning I woke up to a phone call at 6:00 a.m. It was Melanie calling. I was like, "Sister, It's Melanie." I got worried because it was odd she was calling us at that hour. I sat up in my bed and answered it. This is how the conversation went: Me: "Hello it's Sister Zwick." Mel: "Hi Sister Zwick. I'm sorry I'm calling so early, did I wake you up?" Me: "Yeah but that's okay. I was getting up soon anyways. What's up?" Mel: "I have been up all night studying general conference and I haven't been able to sleep." Me: "Really!? What talks did you like?" Mel: "I really liked the one called 'Preparing the World for the Second Coming' and I have a question for you and Sister Stacey. What do I have to do to prepare to go on a mission?" Me: "Melanie, you would be the best missionary! You can totally prepare for a mission. You can go on a mission a year after your baptism." Mel: "I know it's crazy I'm telling you I want to serve a mission before I'm even baptized but I just can't stop thinking about it and when I read that talk I got that feeling I get when I come to church and when you teach me, the spirit feeling."
She went on to say that she has a year left of school and it would be perfect timing for her to go on a mission in a year after graduation. She said she loves people and feels like she could relate to a lot of people with her crazy life she's lived. I think I told you on Mother's Day about her rough childhood. She grew up in Brooklyn, almost got shot. She's just amazing. I told her when I decided to serve it was the same way, I couldn't stop thinking about it and nothing else felt right. She was like, "yeah, yeah!" She would be so good because she loves people and has the most tender heart. She gets emotional in our lessons and is just really sensitive to the promptings from the Holy Ghost.
Something that's cool is that we had just gotten our May Ensign (the conference issue) and Saturday morning Sister Stacey read that talk (during breakfast) and told me it's awesome all about missionary work and left it out open for me to read on the table, which I did during dinner. The next morning Melanie called us saying she was touched by that specific talk!
Melanie, along with two other investigators were at church yesterday. We were planning on 6 being there but just 3 came. Sister Stacey and I sang a musical number in sacrament meeting, "The Olive Tree" which is all on missionary work. It's one that kept coming up on my ipod when I put it on shuffle mode the weeks I was praying about serving a mission. So that song is really special to me. But it's even cooler singing it as a missionary with your companion. I made sure not to cry. Mike (aninvestigator) was hilarious about it. He's like, "Woah! I didn't know you had that in ya. You sounded like angels up there." It really was pretty; better than any of the practices we did. The spirit was there and everyone loved it. We got asked to sing it again as a musical number at this funeral on Thursday of a woman in our ward who passed away this week. She's only 61 and has had health problems and died from an anurism and heart attack. Her family is all in town and was at church Sunday and heard us sing and asked if we'd sing at the funeral this week. It's sad because Sister Taylor (who died) was the music chairman and we had literally just talked to her the Sunday before last to confirm our singing in church and she was so excited to hear it. So when we were asked I thought of her and this way she'll still hear it :). She's one amazing lady. We'd help her do the relief society bulletin boards and she's all creative. She and I used to talk about scrapbooking all the time. Her husband is okay now that all his kids are in town but I think he'll be sad when they leave.
During the passing of the sacrament Melanie leaned over to us and said, "Can we pick a date for my baptism?" Ha ha. Sister Stacey's like, "You're one step ahead of us." We were planning on setting her with a date this week but she beat us to it! She chose June 25th and is preparing for baptism! I'm really so excited for her. She's one of my best friends. It's so fun to teach someone our age. I'm going to mention BYU to her this week because it would be so good for her to transfer there right before her mission. I can't wait for you to meet her, you guys. She's got a rock solid testimony already. At church she always raises her hand and makes comments. People have mistaken her for a member. Yesterday was her 8th week in a row at church. She has a little journal she takes notes in during Sacrament, Sunday School, and Relief Society. Oh my, I just love her.
We knocked on a door this week of a man who came to church on Sunday! His name is Dave and we had a lesson with him and then he came to church. That's faith. I love seeing people act in faith and see the joy that comes into their lives from their righteous use of agency. He loved church and said he'll be back next week. He's in his sixties, divorced, jobless, and searching for greater peace and happiness. And we knocked on his door. He told us his parents used to have the missionaries over when he was growing up! I love hearing about seeds that were planted by other missionaries. It helps me know that no effort is wasted.
More good news! Timmia had her baptismal interview. Our District Leader was really impressed with her testimony. He said he loves giving interviews to baptismal candidates. I bet that would be so cool to hear these people who not too long ago were not meeting with missionaries and now bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel! Her baptism is planned for May 28th. She is so cute. Her prayers are amazing. I love teaching people how to pray for the first time. But the better part is teaching them that and then a month later they're volunteering to give the opening prayers and it's completely natural and comfortable for them! We're still teaching her Mom and grandmother. The Elders met all of them (when they came over to give the interview) and said they can see the family all joining. So that's hopeful! It was really funny, the grandmother kept looking Elder Duffin up and down. He's really tall and he was teaching her about the plan of salvation when we were waiting for Timmia to come out of her interview. You could tell the grandmother had a crush on him. haha. We're glad they're not teaching this family or they'd be a little toooo interested.
We meet with a less active woman who at our first meeting said she has no belief in God anymore. Well week after week we go see her and teach her from the Book of Mormon. She's again reading from it on her own! Randomly this week in the mail we got a note. It had no return address. We opened it and it was from her! It said: Dear Sister Zwick and Sister Stacey, Thank you for taking the time to visit and care about me. Not many do. It makes me believe again." Isn't that sweet?! We were jumping up and down because we were so happy. We didn't know if she was really progressing but just showing her love, and getting her back in the Book of Mormon has supposedly helped her.
We also had a really good lesson with Mike this week. He committed to come to church with his family and CAME again. He's progressing more than ever!!!!!!! After a lesson we extended him a committment to come to church on Sunday and he said, "Yes I will be there." Then his wife looked at us and said, "How do you do that?" And we all laughed. It's all the power of the holy ghost though. There is a quote in PMG by President Hinckley that says, "Every morning missionaries should get on their knees and plead with the Lord to loosen their tongues and speak through them to the blessing of those they will be teaching...They will come to know they are servants of the Lord speaking in His behalf. They will find a different response from those they teach. As they do so by the spirit, their investigators will respond under the influence of the same spirit." President Bulloch had us memorize that. I know it's true. When the spirit is present in the lessons we will say what the Lord wants us to say and the investigator will as well. It's almost like hypnotism. haha. It's just crazy the things people tell you and agree to do under the influence of the spirit. It's real and needed with every person we talk to. I know Mike felt the spirit and responded in that way because he knew it was what the Lord wanted him to do.
Well, this has been long. I love you guys! I will see you next week!!!
Love, Sister Zwick
One more thing: Mom, you asked if people are sad I'm leaving. This ward will get an even more awesome missionary in my place, I'm sure, so they should not worry. But at church yesterday like every person asked me, "So when do you go home, we need to have you to dinner?" Sister Stacey was like, "Let's not talk about this." But I guess the meal calendar was full, so now people are having us for breakfast and lunches. Multiple meal appointments in one day! They're all so so so nice. The Relief Society President is one of my favorite people in the world and is coming to Utah in July and so Mom, we're hanging out with her! She's so awesome and excited for it. Her husband is in the mission presidency and I met him while I was serving in Ogdensburg and now I'm in his ward. So that's been cool. Aw, I love these people here soooo much!
These are just a few pictures from this week: -Beautiful Mohawk River -Watchdog? -This cat has thumbs! -It's not white, it's green! -Sister and Stacey and I with Timmia. Oh and I forgot to tell you. She asked us if she can wear a shower cap during her baptism. We didn't know the answer and have to ask our ward mission leader! ha ha. -For service we sing hymns at the nursing home. This lady is named Sally. I love her!
"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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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)