Monday, February 23, 2015

And another one down, and another one down...

"The choice is yours, and the choice is mine, remembering that our choices, our decisions, determine our destiny. God will guide you in your determination to serve Him and keep His commandments as you listen, as you learn, as you labor, and as you love." - President Monson

Family and Friends,

Hello and greetings from Ohio. I am sorry to let you know that this will probably be my last email. I still have one more time after this one. but lets be honest. I might not write a group email that week. but maybe I just dont know what will happen. I do know that I am sick of emailing. I never know what to write these days. I will do my best to keep you updated from what happened this week.
First, Winter came this week and it has been really cold. In the single to negative digits and that's not with wind chill added. Then we got a "huge" snow storm we got about 8 inches of snow. Which with their ability to clear the roads I can kind of see why they freak out when it snows. ha Snow is good though because it allows us service opportunities galore. We were able to shovel several peoples driveways and sidewalks. So that is always fun. 
Also it was a blessing because this week we were really busy and we had a couple meetings as well. We had Zone Conference on Wednesday and Friday this week. We were taught about goal setting and achieving as well as on brief powerful statements about the gospel for contacting people on the streets. It was really good as part of the conference we were assigned to demonstrate how to extend a 2nd baptismal date. Which just means inviting people to go to the temple with a family name. So that is always nerve wracking when we have to demonstrate in front of other missionaries.  We also had to "role play" contacting someone on the street. We had been warned beforehand that the leaders were going to be picked on and then told what they did wrong. ha so the other leaders went first and by the time it got to us we had time to practice so they didnt have anything bad to say about ours. Im a little bit proud of that:)
Also the Mormon Amish family provided our lunch for us! It was so yummy and they made sure to make Amish Donuts for dessert. If you have never had an Amish donut, you are missing out. They are the absolute best! mmm.
We also got the opportunity to have the "cross-talk" with someone who has been a member for just over a year. She loves wearing her cross' we were nervous to talk to her because we didnt want her to feel bad and be offended but it was really neat we asked her about Christ and the importance of focusing on His life. She wants to serve a mission so we told her about the importance of living her life in a way that reflects that she is a representative of Christ. Anyway it went really well and it was a spiritual experience. 

We are teaching the New Member Lessons so a Recent Convert named Nancy. This Friday we had the opportunity to go to the temple with her to do baptism for the first time. It is such a great experience to be in the temple with someone for the first time. She LOVED it. She was so excited that she had the opportunity to help 10 people that night. Also it was perfect because I was able to see my mini missionary since she was there. AND there was a couple from Athens there, that had just got out of a session. It was so good to see them! 

Ok last but not least, Yesterday in Church, There were 3 speakers assigned and one cancelled that morning. The other one was a recent convert who spoke for 5 min. Then the last speaker was a boy about to leave on his mission. ha needless to say they both got done and we still had 20 min left in sacrament meeting. So bishop got up and announced that after he bore his testimony that "our dear sister missionary that will be leaving us" will come up and take the rest of the time. Ahh I knew he was going to call me up there, but I sometimes am emotional about leaving and yesterday was one of them. ha so I got up and bore my testimony. Man people. This is hard. Unless you have been here you have no idea what it is like to be at the last couple weeks of your mission. It is such a rewarding time and a sad time and a happy time. Its great and stressful and scary and wonderful. Everyone came up to me after and told me that it was a very powerful testimony and parents this is what I am supposed to tell you "I want you to know that if I was your parents and had been her to hear your testimony. I would be very proud" -from a man in my ward. 

Well I guess that is about all for now. I got my travel itinerary in the mail this week! Crazy!!

Love you all. Until next time...

Sister Zwahlen

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Another one bite the dust...‏

"There will be times when you think you cannot continue on. Trust the Savior and His love. With faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the power and hope of the restored gospel, you will be able to walk tall and continue on." - Elder Uchtdorf

Man these weeks go by all too fast! I cant believe that I only have a couple more weeks to go. 
I dont really have a lot to email about this week even though I guess a lot has happened. 

First Happy Valentines day. For Valentines Day we had cookies and hearts out of paper that we heart attacked to people we loved including members and investigators. It was fun, we got caught a couple times sticking hearts to peoples doors but over all we were very sneaky. ha but it was fun because everyone at church was so excited about them and they kept coming up to us to thank us. I am glad they like them. 
Also Friday was Sister Parkes Birthday so we were able to go get some ice cream and you know do thinks just like we normally do as missionaries. Ha Birthdays really arent anything special on your mission. but it was fun. 

On Thursday we were texted and asked to put together a musical number for sacrament meeting. So that we exciting. I ended up accompanying Sister Parkes, and the Elders as well as a member who all sang "nearer my God to Thee"they sounded wonderful. I told them I would play the piano so that I could get out of singing ha 

We had a lesson with our investigator Gail this week. She is the one we have been fasting with so that she can find a way for her circumstances to change so that she can be baptized. Well this week she had an opportunity for those things to change! Everything is perfect. Im not sure she will take them, but she is getting so close to baptism. I hope that things work out soon!! ha probably not while I am here but that isnt what matters. 

Oh so our crazy experience for the week was with a man who claims to be a member whose records were lost and so he isnt a member but refuses to be baptized again. Anyway. he doesnt come to church and he has a lot of crazy beliefs. One of them involves crystals and he gave us all crystals to have. He kept having us hold them between our hands and he would say "feel the energy" "the energy is strong with this crystal" It was a struggle not to start laughing as we held crystals and couldnt feel anything ha 

Well I guess that is all for this week, Until next have a great week!! Love you all.
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, February 9, 2015

Family History‏

"All missionaries, younger and older, serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people. The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come."—Russell M. Nelson
Ok so obviously I love this quote  because I love being a missionary and the great work that I am blessed enough to be apart of.  I am so grateful everyday that this was a part of Gods plan for me. 
"No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become."—Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Family and Friends,
Hello from the great land of Ohio. It has been really good week. No particular reason just because I get to be a missionary and in Ohio. I am grateful that after this email I only have to email you all 3 more times. It gets old after awhile ha ha BUT I do love hearing from all of you each week. 
So this week has been simple and busy. We were able to go to "Night with the Sister Missionaries" for activity days this week. It was funny the girls are crazy and they had funny questions like "do you always have to eat things if you dont like it?" They are cute. and many of them already know they want to serve missions. I think that is pretty neat! 
This week we have been working with a lady named Agnes, She is from Liberia, we taught her the restoration and the spirit was so strong, she told us about how the rebals had her and gun point and how after her experience she would just cry every day and she had a friend who would come and sit with her so that she wouldnt cry. She testified that she knew that God loved her from those experiences. It was awesome. We had a recent convert at the lessons with us and it was sweet because she got to bear her testimony. After the lesson the Recent Convert. Was like " I love coming out with you guys, its like a shot of coffee that get you going for the rest of the day" ha  
Also we met a Muslim woman the other day and she is about 30 and has 3 kids, but her ex husband took the kids and wont let her have contact with them. She hasnt seen them for 5 years. It is really hard for her. She wasnt really interested in learning about Christianity but I felt strong that we needed to introduce her to family History so we did and her eyes lit up. She got so excited and asked if we could help her set up a  family search account so we did and we are going to go back and help her do some of her family history.
Ok I know that this email is really short but I dont really have anything else to share for the week. I hope that you all have a good one! Love you all. Shout out to the Nicholls family, thanks so much for the Valentines package!! 
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Never Let an earthly circumstance disable you spiritually." -Elder Hallstrom 
" Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someones life for eternity" -Elder Uchtdorf

Hello family and friends. 
This week has been great. Yes I am kind of sick of emailing every week. Dont get me wrong I love getting emails. That is the best and I always look forward to it.BUT I dont like typing the email. I wish I could just think of what happened and it would appear!
So I will give you a quick update on our investigators...

First is Gail- she is amazing! We are going to be teaching her the lessons again. She is the one who is what we call a "dry mormon" She loves church and she goes to two different ward so that she can be at church longer.  We met with her at told her that she needs to not delay the blessings of baptism. We wanted her to pick a specific date to work towards and she said " thats a great idea.. I was thinking October" Sister Parkes and I about died. we told her that she could be baptized much sooner than that. So we fasted with her this Sunday to know when she needed to get baptized. We were able to have a lesson at a members home with her Saturday night to start our fast. and we talked about the spirit and how our prayers are answered. Then we knelt down with her and she offered the prayer to start our fast. It was such a heartfelt prayer. The spirit was so strong. I am excited to see her make the changes that she needs to so that she can be baptized.

Wynter is the 12 year old. She is doing so great!! I love her. The member fellowshipper and her are reading the book of Mormon together. She came to church. She loves it and wants to be baptized.
Jodi- has been listening to the Book of Mormon and she had listened to Chapter 16 by the time we came back a couple days later. She is going to meet us for a chapel tour this week. She is great. I love her.

Ok here is my crazy story for the week. We have this investigator.  She is dropped for ever. She is crazy. I went on exchanges to see her because she wanted to come to church and her son was there. Well she had a really bad migraine, she wanted us to go get her aleve from the store, but I told her that we couldnt.  She flipped out. She started swearing and told us that we werent of God and told us that we needed to leave and that she didnt want us to come back.  Then her son came out and started yelling at us telling us we were wolves in sheeps clothing and so we got up to leave and her son was like " No, you dont hear what I am saying blah blah blah and then all of the sudden he was talking about how he had saved up so much money but couldnt access it through his credit card and he was pointing at me and saying that I had stolen it. It was really weird. Sweet sister larsen complimented him and he calmed down. He started to actually talk to us so we taught him a little bit and he wanted us to come back. So we did the next day. He is also crazy but it was still good. It was a nice experience.. ha ha
So that has been my week.  I was telling Sister Parkes that at the beginning of my mission I had a lot of "success" as a missionary, where I saw the fruits of my labor. but here I dont see it as much but I feel as though I am a much better missionary now. I can see the difference between rushing someone towards baptism and letting them gain a testimony for them selves. I am teaching better and doing all the right things. It is so much more rewarding. I love this work. What a blessing to have one more month to do this.
Thank you all for the love and support! I hope you all have a great week. A special shout out to the King family. THanks for the Valentines Package!!
Sister Zwahlen

We went iceskating with out district today.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I shook his hand...‏

“Only faith that He suffered for our sakes will give us the strength to endure to the end.”—Elder Robert D. Hales,

Well family, your theory was half right.. Ha I am staying in Westerville, which in mission language means I will "die " Here. Sister Burningham got transferred and my new companion is Sister Parkes! She is wonderful! I love her already! She is 19 from Rigby Idaho. She has been on her mission for 10 months now. She is really tall and like to play volleyball. She is great! So that is nice. 

It is weird going into your last transfer. I was fine and now all of the sudden I have become emotional. Whenever we watch a mormon message I cry. 1st because I am going to be so sad when I dont get to be a full time missionary anymore and second because THIS IS MY LAST TRANSFER!! It is scary! ha 

This week has been awesome. I accompanied the Elders in our ward in sacrament meeting with the flute. It was really good.
Me and my new companion Sister Parkes
Also Elder Christofferson came last night for a missionary fireside!! It was perfect. I got to sing in the missionary choir. AND I got to shake His hand.
 It was sweet!! It is so amazing how strong the spirit is when an apostle speaks! He talked about baptism and not waiting to receive the blessings that can come from it. It was perfect for our investigator Gail!! 

Also we are still teaching the 12 year old girl and she is working to be baptized on the 28th of February. We are also hoping to have Gail be baptized in February... Well that is my hope since I can only be here if it is in February. ha ha 
Well life is good my family and friends. I hope that all is well at home. It snowed last night and the roads are slippery here. at the beginning of the week when we were exercising outside i slipped on black ice. I have a bruises all up and down my hip and knee ha it is fine though that is life:) 

love you all
Sister Zwahlen 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Last Transfer Week‏

Family and Friends,

We find out on Wednesday what will happen with transfers. oh yea did I mention. This is my last transfer?? It is so weird. I will let you know what happens next week when I email again. 

THis week has been pretty great! I don't really remember what has happened so sorry this might be a short one. I do remember that OSU won!! That was a nice way to start off the week and everyone was pretty happy. That night we had our weekly Book of Mormon study group and then they all had to go to watch the game so we did family history for the rest of the night. It isn't a good idea to knock doors during the game! That would do more harm than good. 
Tuesday I was on exchanges with Sister Russ in her area! It went well. They don't have a car so she had planned to find all day out in the cold and we had a member drive us to the area which was far from everything. ha after about 2 and a half hours of knocking doors and not really talking to anyone. I told her that we needed to find a gas station for hot chocolate. It was the best idea. She made calls to confirm appointments while we drank our hot chocolate and defrosted. 
Thursday we had another exchange. I was with Sister Chapman from Australia. I was in Westerville this time. It was a really good exchange as well. We met with a lady named Rose who never leaves her house and she cried because she loves when we come over. She doesn't have much company and she was so grateful to have someone to talk to. It really is a rather sad situation because she isn't that old. I think she is in her 30's. 
Sad Sad Sad, oh yes and this week we got called and asked if we could come and pick the lice nests out of some ones hair. I almost freaked out. I didn't know what to do. So sister Burningham kindly told her that we weren't comfortable with that. Oh she is an angel sent from above I am so glad that she told her no. I know that is mean, but I really don't want lice.  
Well I guess that is about it for right now, we are just working hard and loving life and anxious for transfers!! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Sister Zwahlen

Monday, January 12, 2015

BRRR Winter decided to come!‏

Winter is here in Ohio, so I am grateful that it came a couple months late. It brings horror flash backs to last winter during the polar vortex! but it is not that bad. just in the negatives with wind chill. 
This is how we stay warm in the Ohio cold.
"The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives." Elder Holland

This week has been really good and for some reason on my list I have a lot of things to write about. I dont know if I will get to everything. ha but here we go I will do my best! 

Something that really has stood out to me is how inspired our plans have been. There have been several experiences that have shown to me how aware of everyone God is and how he uses us to reach out to others. The first experience:  We had planned to go and see a Less Active but our plans were behind and we almost didn't go but we decided to go. She is an older woman who lives by herself. As we pulled up we noticed that her driveway hadn't been shoveled and that her car was covered in snow. We knocked on her door and asked if we could clear the snow for her. She let us. We have been there before but something was different this time. She was kinder and talked to us a lot more than normal. Sister Burningham and I both left feeling as though we needed to be there. It wasnt until Sunday though that we understood better. Her visiting teacher came up to us and said "Thank you so much for helping her out. She called me and expressed how grateful she was. She has been really sick and didnt know how she was going to get it done on her own. She had just gotten out of bed and was getting ready to do it herself when you sisters knocked on her door!" What a blessing. I know that we dont always get the opportunity to know how we are able to bless others, but having those moments when you do makes what we do so much more rewarding. 
The next one was, our plans fell through and we didnt know what to do so we decided to call people in our phone who we didnt know and had been put in by other missionaries. So we started calling and found several people who wanted to meet with us. One in particular was a lady named Kim, we found out that she lived out of our area so we had other sisters go visit her! They called us and told us that she was so prepared. She told them how she had been thinking about how she needed to go to church and had remembered the missionaries giving her a book of mormon so she went to go look for it. When she came back she saw that we had called and she called us right back! She accepted baptism! Oh life is so cool!! 
Ok so a couple funny stories. We are teaching a girl named Winter. She is 12 and really great! So we taught her with her member friend and they got on the topic of "One Direction". They are starstruck to say the least. So I asked them if they were obsessed? They quickly responded " We arent obsessed we are dedicated!" ha ha it is so funny to watch them they squeal at everything and almost die when they talk about them! ha
Also you know how you hear about
missionaries going to other countries and having ladies breast feed in front of the missionaries like it is no big deal?? Yep we had that experience this week. It was awful. Life is so awkward sometimes!! Also remember the 18 year old boy who thinks we are cute? We went over this past week and he was drinking straight vinegar from the bottle!! Um I think something is wrong with him ha ha 
Ok I guess I didnt have that many stories after all. It has been a great week though. and Next week are transfers! I will probably stay and Sister Burningham will probably get transferred! We are anxious to find out next Wednesday! I hope that you all have a great weeek this week and stay warm!! Love you all!

Enjoy the game tonight! Go Buckeyes!
Sister Zwahlen

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy 2015! Bucks Vs Ducks!‏

Happy New Years Everyone!! I hope it has been a great one!! I cannot believe that it is already 2015!! Its crazy! 

"The Lord has a plan for us in this life. He knows us. He knows what is best for us. Just because things are going well does not mean that we should not from time to time consider whether there might be something better. If we continue to live as we are living, will the promised blessings be fulfilled?" -Carlos A. Godoy

First off, Thank you mom for the New Years Package!! It was a surprise to get! ha It was really fun to get, we took it to the members home that we have New Years Eve Dinner with. So we counted in the New Year at 8:30 then did poppers and took pictures then Sister Burningham and I left and went to bed!! No better way to start off the New year. ha
We also have started doing a Book of Mormon Study group for the Recent Converts and Investigators. We have been working with and investigator named Gail. She has been coming to church  for almost a year now. She is what we call a dry mormon. but she is coming to the Book of Mormon Study groups. We have only had one so far, but we got a really good turn out so we are going to keep doing them. 
This week has been a really good one!! For our area we have been praying for and increased amount of faith, especially in our finding. We wanted to be more optimistic and trust more that the people we were talking to were prepared for our message of the restoration. While on Exchanges with Sister Garza we knocked on a door and the lady pulled into the driveway right as we were knocking. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon for a few brief moments and set up a return appointment. I watched as we walked away and the lady wasnt home for more than a couple minuets before she left again. The first miracle of knowing that we were at the right place at the right time. The next miracle happened as Sister Burningham and I went back for the appointment and taught the first lesson. It was such a spiritual lesson. One of the most spiritual that I have had in awhile. The spirit filled the room with love and because the spirit was there we were able to boldly testify. It was such a blessing and we are very excited to see her again today. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and I also know that he has a sense of humor. We prayed for faith and the woman's name was Faith. He literally gave us Faith. I still need to work on the attribute of faith as well. ha ha

Last but not least, I hope you all have heard about the Buckeyes beating Alabama! and now we are going to the National Championship, Playing the Oregon Ducks.  Remember how Buckeye Football is a religion here? Yea it is some serious stuff everyone is freaking out and talking about making the Game Day a holiday with no school. Ha people in Ohio, really have pride in their teams and state! It is great, unless you are trying to knock doors during a game. ha 
Well I guess that is about all for this week!! Love you all!! Have a great week!!

Sister Zwahlen