Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

" Living in thanksgiving daily is a habit that will enrich our lives and the lives of those we love." -Elder Wirthlin
 Happy Thanksgiving this week!! I hope you all have time to reflect the many many things that we have to be grateful for and think of those that have oh so much less that we do. Whether its physically or spiritually, there are so many out there who are in need and yet they find a way to be grateful in their circumstances.

Which is a perfect lead in to one experience that we had this week  with a lady Charmane. We knocked on her door, and as I was trying to talk to her about the Restoration, it just was a struggle. I couldn’t get the words out and it just didn’t flow. I had the impression to ask her a question. Any question, It didn’t matter. So I asked her how she increased her faith in Christ. At that moment she started to cry and tell us how she felt hopeless and alone. She was soon going to be homeless, kicked out of her apartment in the cold with her two children. She had lost her job and hadnt been able to find another yet. She has called homeless shelters and they all turned her away because they were already full. She continued on with how it was hard to believe that God was there for her amidst her trials. Sister Burningham and I were able to testify that Heavenly Father loved her and he had placed us in her path at this moment to share our message so that she could find that peace. We talked to her about the plan of salvation and how that related to her. The spirit was so strong. It was beautiful and such an answer to prayers. It was such a miracle and a blessing to see how we are daily able to become instruments in the Lords hands.

Also this week the RS had an activity where we learned to make pie crust and then we were able to make pies to give to the salvation army. One of our investigators was able to come and really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun! In the holiday spirit, Sister Burningham and I found some Christmas decorations in our apartment and so now we are already for Christmas. We made a big Christmas tree on our wall since we only have a small Christmas tree. It is cute though!! :)

We also were able to do service this week. We were helping to clean a 15 year olds room out. We had to go through everything and find anything that looked like drugs, or was sharp that could be used for self harm. It was really sad to think that a 15 year 
old was already so many choices that will affect her the rest of her life. 

We had our Zone conference this week. It was really good. President Daines trained us on the atonement and how it relates to Adam and eve! It was quite wonderful. I learned so much! I love this gospel. Also we our mission is going to start each missionary doing 3 hours of family history each week!! Oh joy! I am so excited to be able to do our family history.
Ok so last but not least. The awkward moment for the week! We met a lady named Joyce this week and so we set up a return appointment with her. We go to the Return appointment and at the same time a van pulls up and a woman and her kids get out. She asks us if we are here to see Joyce. So we tell her yes. She tells us her name is Jane and that she is a friend of Joyce. So of course we are thinking this is an awesome opportunity to teach her friend as well. So we invite her to join us. She said " oh thats ok I think we will come back another time."  We insist that she stays. ha as we sit down and start talking we figure out that Jane is SISTER JANE a Jehovah's Witness, she had come to teach Joyce a message as well. So there we all are trying to teach Joyce. It was fun to have a third companion for the day! ha it was an interesting lesson to say the least and very very awkward. The day the mormon missionaries and the Jehovah's Witness come together to teach one lesson. ha life is great! 

Have a great week and a Happy Thanksgiving, Love you all! Thanks for the many prayers and support!! 

Sister Zwahlen
p.s. I just passed my 15 month mark. Ahh time flies when you are having fun. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

The First Snow...

Family and Friends,

"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love."  President Thomas S. Monson

This week was wonderful as most always!! This morning we woke up to a wonderful, chilly, white, cold blanket of snow.. It is beautiful, and terrible. I have mixed feelings about the snow and the cold. Especially as a missionary, but that is just life. We move on and put on lots of layers to stay warm. 

This week has flown by, I will apologize now, this might be a short email seeing as how I dont remember a lot that has happened this week. First off this week we did service for a part member family, we were helping them put leaves into bags, and they had at least 20 huge bags full! It was fun. Our elders were also there helping and I was looking at the ground and all of the sudden I saw something moving. It was a baby mole!! It was gross looking so, maybe I made a big deal about seeing it. So of course the 18 year old elder thinks that it is fun to play with and he starts picking it up with the rake and throwing it at us!! That mole got so close to hitting us several times...only funny now that it is over. The other elder took the rake and killed it. so that was unfortunate. Ha anyways, service is always eventful.

We found this wonderful 86 year old woman and we talked to her for a long time and talked about how we can find peace through our Savior. It was really great! We set up a time to meet with her and we were so excited!! Then that night we got a call from her daughter. This is how it went....
"Hello, are you Mormons?" 
"Well you met my mom today and we are Christians so we dont need you to come by, also I think it is very wrong of you to be passing out pictures of Christ when you dont believe in Christ as our Savior. Its misleading." 
"Oh no ma'am, we believe that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, the son of God."
"That isn't what Ive heard, don't come tomorrow." click
Hmm so sad. I just wish that she would have listened to know what we really believe. Oh well such is life.
Sister Zwahlen, Sister Burningham
& Steven at his baptism

The great news for the week though, Is that Steven got baptized!! Yay! It was such a spiritual experience, more so than other baptisms I have attended. As Steven bore his testimony after his baptism, I know that the spirit was able to help all those in the room understand and feel of his testimony (he is from Vietnam so it is sometimes hard to understand him). He then for the first time prayed in front of a group of people. What an amazing experience for him,and for us!! Then Bishop got up and he welcomed Steven and shared a scripture! It was such a spiritual experience. I love this work and seeing others come unto Christ. There is nothing better!! 

Also our ward mission leader brought a "Happy Re-birthday cake." Ha I thought it was so funny!! I never would have thought of it! 

Well that was my week! I love you all!! Have a great week!!
Sister Zwahlen

The Great Columbus East Zone

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


"Where there is gratitude there is humility."- President Hinckley I love this quote and how fitting for the month of November huh? I am so thankful for everything that I have in my life. How blessed I truly am to be here in Ohio, doing the Lords work.
This week has been so great!! It started off with my first Mission Leadership Council. It was a lot of fun! It is neat to see how the leadership knows things, a lot better than the other missionaries. It is one of those things where I guess all the information doesn't quite get transferred down. I wonder what I have missed these past 15 months ha
So we have seen so many miracles this week! Something that never ceases to amaze me is the Lords hand in ALL things. This week there have been so many opportunities, people have been placed in our path who have been willing to listen and were receptive to our message! We met a guy named Kenny. We met him in a parking lot.We said hi to him and kept walking and the spirit was like "go talk to him!" So I turned around and we started to talk to him!  We were able to teach him the Restoration. It was really great! He wants to learn more. Im excited to meet with him again. Then that same day we contacted a referral that a member gave us and He said he didnt even know the family ha but anyways, we talked to him for a long time and he told us that he wanted a church that taught about being healthy and taking care of our bodies. So we taught a little bit of the word of wisdom! WE normally wouldnt do that on the first contact, but it was perfect then he says " I have yet to find a church where the members speak instead of the pastor getting up each week." Well sir let us tell you about our services ha ha it was perfect everything he talked about, we were able to teach him! it was great!! 
Then we taught a lady named Nikki, she is going through a really rough time right now and struggling to be patient and know that God is there and loves her. We were able to testify that He loved her and that he was aware of her situation. I went to flip to a scripture but it opened to one that talked about having patience in our afflictions. It was so inspired and the spirit was so strong! 
Also our investigator Steven is getting baptized this Saturday. He is so funny and we still only understand about 80% of what he is saying ha I got to sit next to him in sacrament meeting and when he sings he sings really high pitched and its not a normal sound ha ha it is so funny. Its hard to sing without laughing.
This week I was also able to go on my first exchange! It was so fun! I love exchanges, I always get to learn from other sisters! I hope they feel like they learn from me as well. What a blessing it is to serve these sisters! They are so amazing. I feel like being a leader is not because they need me, but truly that I need them!
Ok so let me just tell you of some horror stories this week. First we went into someones home and there were bugs everywhere. like on the walls and countertops and flying around. I saw at least 3 different types of bugs. Different shapes, sizes and colors. EEEP it was terrifying. We were itchy when we left. Mostly because it freaked us out so bad!! Sister Burningham got me good. I was itching my neck and she was like " OH my gosh, what is that. I screamed so loud and started brushing all of my body off." She started laughing so hard. all jokes but even telling this story I am starting to itch. ew. sanitation is the best! Lets keep it clean people! 
Ok last one. We were street contacting and we met a Hispanic man. So sister Burningham tried to talk to him in her few words of spanish she knew. but he wasnt understanding so she puts out her hand to shake his and next thing I know he is going in for a kiss. She screamed and jumped back and I stood there shocked at what had just happened. I was like watching a slow motion horror movie. poor sister Burningham! We get the greatest laugh out of it now. 
Also as sisters in our zone, we send in awkward moments when we have them. That moment won this week for sure!! ha Life is good!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!
Sister Zwahlen

Welcome to the City‏

Hello family and Friends,
"Believe in Miracles, hope is never lost." -Elder Holland There can be miracles if you believe.
Greetings from the suburb of Columbus. I am in a place called Westerville My new companion is Sister Burningham! Fun fact Sister Burningham and I were in the MTC together and roommates as well. We always talked about how fun it would be to be companions, but never actually thought it would happen. Then they called our names at transfers and we both about died of shock! Weird! The most surprising part though was that we were doubled in! So neither of us know the area. The Lord must really have some trust in us ha I have loved every moment so far! We panicked for a little bit but once we hit the ground running it has been wonderful! The last 4 days has been so busy with meeting the members and our investigators that we dont know ha. 
Our most progressing investigators name is Steven, he is from Vietnam and he is going to be baptized on November 15th. Also he has a thick Vietnamese accent and talks really fast so we dont really understand him.. Yet. ha it is fun. but he tells us about how he has dreams to answer his prayers. He is awesome. We basically text him throughout the day to teach him because he does better being able to read and then respond to our text and we understand him better that week! 
We also met our investigator named Nikki who already has a giant display of inflatable Christmas decorations in front of her house. I mean we are talking at least 15! It is only November! then she told us that she had 3 pet skunks and a pet raccoon and told us that we could hold him at our appointment on Tuesday ha 
We also had such a great lesson with an investigator that we found while contacting the part member families. So, she loves missionaries and has had them in her home for a while now. They all seem to come around. She made us hot chocolate and we talked for a little bit, then we asked if the missionaries had ever taught her and she said no! We couldnt believe that no one had taught her! So we were able to teach and overview of the restoration. She really liked it and told us that she had no clue about what we believed. Then she told us that she wanted to feed us dinner this next week! What a miracle! I love how the Lord works! He always knows who is prepared and ready. 
So I guess that is about it for now. Everything else seems to be a blur of lots of great opportunities and people! "Living the Dream" I love it and I am so grateful for everything that has happened this last week! I love you all and I hope you have a great week! I cant believe it is already November!
Sister Zwahlen