Monday, March 24, 2014

I tied a little girl to her chair..during sacrament:(‏

"The best path for healing is to understand and accept that darkness exists, but not to dwell there." -President Uchtdorf "The light of Gods Love" Lets be honest, there is darkness everywhere, It is easy to get caught in it, and also feel that the darkness outweighs the light. However, we know that light always out weighs the darkness. The amazing thing about us as members is that we carry that light. I hope you all decide to share that light with others and lead them out of the darkness they are in. You will be such a blessing to them, in so many ways you wont even know.
This week has been really crazy. We had exchanges with our sister training leaders and then the next day we got to go to the TEMPLE!! Yay it was awesome, as we were waiting at the temple a  temple worker came up to us and asked if any of us were Sister Zwahlen. Uh, I am. So then I panicked and  asked if I was in trouble. He laugh and said no, I just wanted to come and meet my cousin. I guess,a Zwahlen from Ferrin, Utah went on their mission and converted his family, helped them immigrate to Utah and then somewhere along the line they got married or something. My memory is gone. but don't worry I have a sister writing the story down so that I can remember and share it with you all in more detail. It is crazy to see what a small world it is. Also Where did Great Grandma Chapman Serve her mission?? 

Also during sacrament meeting this last week, I was sitting behind this girl named Sarah, and I tied her dress to the chair, just joking, but then she didn't know and stood up and dragged the chair with her, then it was really noisy and Sister Love busted up laughing. Oh man I thought I might die. I was so embarrassed I had done that. Then her mom turned around laughing and was like "did you just tie my daughter the chair. Umm maybe. ha ha anyways, it was a time of weakness, I spent the rest of sacrament meeting repenting. and then I apologized to her. she wasn't even mad she thought it was funny and so did her family, but for future reference, that is not ok to do. 

We were home for lunch on Saturday and we had someone knock on our door, it was the Jehovah Witness'. How Ironic. I think he almost died when he realized we were Mormon missionaries. It was funny, anyways he invited us to a FREE bible study. We just laughed, sir we study the bible for free everyday. but he is just spreading the good word. I liked it, I wish we would have been able to talk to him more.
Oh yea and just so everyone knows I got transferred to Hawaii..(see picture) We found the beach:) 
Well I love you all!! A Big thanks to the Beehives for their testimonies and the Book of Mormons, Also to the Zwahlen Family for the package and all the letters I got this week. I love you all!! You are the best. 
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, March 17, 2014

Death...its part of the plan!!

Family and Friends,
"Love is the way of the Disciple" -President Uchtdorf "The Love of God" This is an amazing talk. Everyone should look it up. I might be a little obsessed with talks right now!! If you look at the life of Christ, everything is done out of love, I am trying to be better at turning outward and not being selfish, but its hard, oh well such is life. 

Hello!! How are all of you doing?? First of all I am so excited for Raleigh! He is going to do amazing things!!  Second of all Sister Love and I have had an amazing week, full of rejections but like they say the good always out weighs the bad.
So this week we had every single appointment cancel on us each day with in a matter of an hour. Thursday we had 4 appointments cancel (which is all the appointments we had)
 And then Friday, with in 15 min we had two people cancel(our only 2 appointments that day) because of deaths in the family!! It has been crazy we keep telling people not to set up appointments with us because someone in their family will probably have a serious accident or someone will die. So that is unfortunate. It is sad, but part of the plan.
However this week, I had the most amazing experience this week. It was such a spiritually experience that typing it out to you will make me cry, but reading it will never do justice. On Sunday we were able to get in to see a 23 year old Less Active member, She hasnt come to church in 2 years. She let us right in and we talked to her for a really long time. It was great, I left loving this girl, and everyone in the branch loves her too. They always talk about her and how she was going to serve a mission and she was the "light" in the branch! Anyways, She called us a couple days later and we invited her to the Relief Society activity that night and she said maybe she would come but she wouldn't make any promises. (that means no, to a missionary) BUT she came!! The sisters in the branch all ran to her and embraced her, the spirit in the room was amazing, and everyone was in tears!! It was a prodigal son experience. Ok so that was amazing but as I was sitting there listening to our speaker, I had the distinct feeling of love and I KNOW that is how our savior is. He is always there with his arms reached out in love and mercy, to all those who come back. I, Sister Ashley Zwahlen get to be a part of that. I get to help bring those people back to our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ. I have never felt so much love in my life. I felt as though it was a glimpse of what it will be like for us when we are reunited with our loved ones. and how it will be when we are able to run up to our Savior and embrace him and share our love for him!  This is why I am here. This is why I was called to Ohio. This is why I am still in Greenfield. How great is my calling. I am blessed everyday, I am miracles around me everyday.
Anyways, that will never do justice to how I felt and the promptings I felt and maybe that is how it is supposed to be. This was as personal experience, but something that all of us can experience if we desire. Ok so that was last week. It was and is probably a turning point for me on my mission. Ahh I am so excited to see what the next year had in store for me.
On Thursday is when we get to attend the temple!! Yay! and we have exchanges with our sister Training leaders on Wednesday. We are going to have another busy week!! I love you all, have a great week.

Sister Zwahlen
P.S. It is getting scary how much Sister Love and I are becoming alike, we even got matching pajamas:) 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mountains to Climb

Ashley's letter from this week is in the post below this one, but she wanted this talk and video posted too.  Warning, you may want to get the tissues ready!

Mountains to Climb

First Counselor in the First Presidency

If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing.
I heard President Spencer W. Kimball, in a session of conference, ask that God would give him mountains to climb. He said: “There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”1
My heart was stirred, knowing, as I did, some of the challenges and adversity he had already faced. I felt a desire to be more like him, a valiant servant of God. So one night I prayed for a test to prove my courage. I can remember it vividly. In the evening I knelt in my bedroom with a faith that seemed almost to fill my heart to bursting.
Within a day or two my prayer was answered. The hardest trial of my life surprised and humbled me. It provided me a twofold lesson. First, I had clear proof that God heard and answered my prayer of faith. But second, I began a tutorial that still goes on to learn about why I felt with such confidence that night that a great blessing could come from adversity to more than compensate for any cost.
The adversity that hit me in that faraway day now seems tiny compared to what has come since—to me and to those I love. Many of you are now passing through physical, mental, and emotional trials that could cause you to cry out as did one great and faithful servant of God I knew well. His nurse heard him exclaim from his bed of pain, “When I have tried all my life to be good, why has this happened to me?”
You know how the Lord answered that question for the Prophet Joseph Smith in his prison cell:
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
“The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
“Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”2
There seems to me no better answer to the question of why trials come and what we are to do than the words of the Lord Himself, who passed through trials for us more terrible than we can imagine.
You remember His words when He counseled that we should, out of faith in Him, repent:
“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”3
You and I have faith that the way to rise through and above trials is to believe that there is a “balm in Gilead”4 and that the Lord has promised, “I will not … forsake thee.”5 That is what President Thomas S. Monson has taught us to help us and those we serve in what seem lonely and overwhelming trials.6
But President Monson has also wisely taught that a foundation of faith in the reality of those promises takes time to build. You may have seen the need for that foundation, as I have, at the bedside of someone ready to give up the fight to endure to the end. If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.
My purpose today is to describe what I know of how we can lay that unshakable foundation. I do it with great humility for two reasons. First, what I say could discourage some who are struggling in the midst of great adversity and feel their foundation of faith is crumbling. And second, I know that ever-greater tests lie before me before the end of life. Therefore, the prescription I offer you has yet to be proven in my own life through enduring to the end.
As a young man I worked with a contractor building footings and foundations for new houses. In the summer heat it was hard work to prepare the ground for the form into which we poured the cement for the footing. There were no machines. We used a pick and a shovel. Building lasting foundations for buildings was hard work in those days.
It also required patience. After we poured the footing, we waited for it to cure. Much as we wanted to keep the jobs moving, we also waited after the pour of the foundation before we took away the forms.
And even more impressive to a novice builder was what seemed to be a tedious and time-consuming process to put metal bars carefully inside the forms to give the finished foundation strength.
In a similar way, the ground must be carefully prepared for our foundation of faith to withstand the storms that will come into every life. That solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity.
Our choosing the right consistently whenever the choice is placed before us creates the solid ground under our faith. It can begin in childhood since every soul is born with the free gift of the Spirit of Christ. With that Spirit we can know when we have done what is right before God and when we have done wrong in His sight.
Those choices, hundreds in most days, prepare the solid ground on which our edifice of faith is built. The metal framework around which the substance of our faith is poured is the gospel of Jesus Christ, with all its covenants, ordinances, and principles.
One of the keys to an enduring faith is to judge correctly the curing time required. That is why I was unwise to pray so soon in my life for highermountains to climb and greater tests.
That curing does not come automatically through the passage of time, but it does take time. Getting older does not do it alone. It is serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength.
Now, I wish to encourage those who are in the midst of hard trials, who feel their faith may be fading under the onslaught of troubles. Trouble itself can be your way to strengthen and finally gain unshakable faith. Moroni, the son of Mormon in the Book of Mormon, told us how that blessing could come to pass. He teaches the simple and sweet truth that acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it:
“And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
“For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.
“But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
“Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.”7
That particle of faith most precious and which you should protect and use to whatever extent you can is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Moroni taught the power of that faith this way: “And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in theSon of God.”8
I have visited with a woman who received the miracle of sufficient strength to endure unimaginable losses with just the simple capacity to repeat endlessly the words “I know that my Redeemer lives.”9 That faith and those words of testimony were still there in the mist that obscured but did not erase memories of her childhood.
I was stunned to learn that another woman had forgiven a person who had wronged her for years. I was surprised and asked her why she had chosen to forgive and forget so many years of spiteful abuse.
She said quietly, “It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I just knew I had to do it. So I did.” Her faith that the Savior would forgive her if she forgave others prepared her with a feeling of peace and hope as she faced death just months after she had forgiven her unrepentant adversary.
She asked me, “When I get there, how will it be in heaven?”
And I said, “I know just from what I have seen of your capacity to exercise faith and to forgive that it will be a wonderful homecoming for you.”
I have another encouragement to those who now wonder if their faith in Jesus Christ will be sufficient for them to endure well to the end. I was blessed to have known others of you who are listening now when you were younger, vibrant, gifted beyond most of those around you, yet you chose to do what the Savior would have done. Out of your abundance you found ways to help and care for those you might have ignored or looked down upon from your place in life.
When hard trials come, the faith to endure them well will be there, built as you may now notice but may have not at the time that you acted on the pure love of Christ, serving and forgiving others as the Savior would have done. You built a foundation of faith from loving as the Savior loved and serving for Him. Your faith in Him led to acts of charity that will bring you hope.
It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel.
I cannot promise an end to your adversity in this life. I cannot assure you that your trials will seem to you to be only for a moment. One of the characteristics of trials in life is that they seem to make clocks slow down and then appear almost to stop.
There are reasons for that. Knowing those reasons may not give much comfort, but it can give you a feeling of patience. Those reasons come from this one fact: in Their perfect love for you, Heavenly Father and the Savior want you fitted to be with Them to live in families forever. Only those washed perfectly clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be there.
My mother fought cancer for nearly 10 years. Treatments and surgeries and finally confinement to her bed were some of her trials.
I remember my father saying as he watched her take her last breath, “A little girl has gone home to rest.”
One of the speakers at her funeral was President Spencer W. Kimball. Among the tributes he paid, I remember one that went something like this: “Some of you may have thought that Mildred suffered so long and so much because of something she had done wrong that required the trials.” He then said, “No, it was that God just wanted her to be polished a little more.” I remember at the time thinking, “If a woman that good needed that much polishing, what is ahead for me?”
If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up.10 And He always keeps His word.
I testify that God the Father lives and that His Beloved Son is our Redeemer. The Holy Ghost has confirmed truth in this conference and will again as you seek it, as you listen, and as you later study the messages of the Lord’s authorized servants, who are here. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet to the entire world. The Lord watches over you. God the Father lives. His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is our Redeemer. His love is unfailing. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Family and Friends,

"Love is the way of the disciple" - Elder Utchdorf "The Love of God" This is an amazing talk!! Read it if you have time. I love this. Love is where it is at. If you love God, everything else falls into place, and you will feel the love of our Heavenly Father I promise you that!!

This week we have been sharing the mormon message "mountains to climb" that comes from the talk by Elder Eyring.. Please look it up and watch the movie and read the talk, It is so powerful, and the greatest thing is that it relates to everyone. We all have trials and our own "mountains" to climb.

Sister Z, Alma, Sister Love
Anyways this week was amazing!! Alma was baptized and confirmed this last weekend. I feel that I have been a slacker at telling you about Alma, so this may come as a shock to all of you, but anyways, we have been teaching Alma since November, She is 19 and she is amazing. We taught her the word of wisdom, she stopped smoking right then. We taught her the law of Chastity and she kicked her boyfriend out of her house the next day.

Sister Zwahlen, Alma, Jimmy, Sister Love
We taught her about the Book of Mormon, she has been reading everyday since. She is just so faithful, I am so impressed with her willingness to keep any of the commandments, even when she might not understand them, she just knows that they are important so she lives them!! It was exciting to see her baptized. It was even better because Jimmy our Recent Convert got to baptize her(which is the first time he has got to use the priesthood) It was so great! He had to do it three times though because he kept saying everything correct but he wouldn't say amen at the end. ha it was funny. Everyone was shouting, "Say Amen" Anyways it wasn't the most reverent of baptisms, but it was still special and the spirit was there!! 

Sister Z, Alma, Sister Love
Ashley, AJ and Kayley are doing amazing!! Ashley bore her testimony of how the Book of Mormon brings her joy and how she knows that it is true! We are so excited for them. The Girls are so smart too. Briana is 7 and she is so mad that she doesnt get to be baptized, she kept saying "couldnt I just get baptized a little bit early, I am almost 8" Which is true she turns 8 in July, but this way her dad will get to baptize her by then. We taught Kayley and Briana this last week and it could have gone on for hours they have so many questions and they want to tell us everything they have been reading in the Book of Mormon!! Ahh they are so cool!! They are on date to be baptized for the 29th of March!
We have been really busy lately and it is wonderful! They weather here is so nice! I am loving it! I cannot wait until it is spring!! I am so excited to get to go to the temple this next week. They havent told us whether or not it will be our p-day on tuesday or monday, so just know that if you dont get an email on monday it will be coming on tuesday!!
I guess that is about it for this week. I love you all!! Is Raleigh, really getting his mission call soon?? Ok I am so thrilled!! Email me as soon as he knows where he is going, or even better would be if you could get him to email me, where he is going (hint hint)
Anyway, Have a great week, Go out and find someone to refer to the missionaries.

Love always,
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, March 3, 2014

Word of Wisdom‏

Hello family and friends,

This week has been amazing, We taught Ashley the Word of Wisdom, and when we asked her to live it she told us that after the first time we met her that she looked up on the computer what we believed and she gave away her tea and hadn't drank it since. Bingo, an investigator that lives the standards without us having to do a thing. That is what we call a dry Mormon, "just add water". We are so excited for her and her family. I got to put some of my teacher skills to use this week as I made a Restoration fishing game and a word of wisdom fishing game to teach 8 year old Kayley. I really and so grateful for how we were led to Ashley and her family, I am looking forward to their baptism on March 29th. 

This week we also had Sister Specialized training, which was amazing like always. It was really fun to see all the sisters that I have gotten to know while I have been here.We also had a training on using Mormon Messages in all of our member lessons and with our investigators, I guess this mission is starting to catch the technology wave. NoOOO ha I am enjoying a life away from technology, but it has been so successful and It is amazing to help further the work. . and we had Our Sister Training Leaders here on exchange, so that is always fun. I love getting to have other sisters in our area. I always learn so much.

I dont know what is wrong with me this week but I have been in the middle of my sentence and my mind just goes blank and so then I have to say, darn, I forgot what I was saying. It is bad it happened like 5 times this last week. It doesnt surprise my memory has been gone for years now, but now its getting worse. ha it is kind of funny though and I think because I just laugh about it, it just makes people think im crazy, which is fine, I dont mind. 

Speaking of Crazy, Freddy, he really is crazy, he called us like 12 times yesterday and left a voice message everytime. We were in peoples homes so we couldnt answer, he was freaking out and told us that maybe he was just going to go back to his old way of life if he couldnt get ahold of us. ahh that is frustrating, Its ok maybe he just isnt preparted. 

Anyways it has been a great week!! I love you all. 

Love Sister Zwahlen
The Murphy Family