Monday, May 30, 2011

There are PICS

I found a thai temple in my area as we were looking up a fake referral and i was super excited! So naturally we took a pic.

This is a little 70 year old lady. Hermana Bilboa that comes with us out to appointments. She is my hero. One of the lovely ward missionaries. I love her! She comes to week every single week without fail and she is so faithful to the gospel. Some of her family is inactive but she is a trooper and she comes without them. One time she got confused for one of our appointments that she was coming with us so she was like running. Imagine this little 70 year old lady running at a jog when we saw her. I told her tranquilla and that she could have come next time but no, she was going to serve the Lord! That woman is dedicated. Love her! Going to be just like her someday.

Domican family we are teaching. Michelle is the 13 year old girl we were supposed to baptize this month. She is awesome love her. She has been way to busy though and so I don't know. We want to get her mom in on the whole thing too. Michelle is funny though. She stole my camera one day and took a bunch of pics.

This is the zone at the service project. We helped the patriarch of the stake be a part of this city service project. We were in charge of going around New york and painting over some of the graffitti tags. So we went painting.

Today is My Birthday! Weird

Man, it is boring trying to come up with good titles and beginnings for these emails. Same old, same old. Thanks for all the wonderful cards, emails, and packages family and friends! I feel so loved. Sometimes it feels like people forget you out here in the good old mission but I was proved wrong! Thank you so much. Seriously mom, The avocado pie was so good! Best thing in the whole world! Hit the spot and seriously dissappeared. Everyone was kind of curious when I told them I was making avocado pie. Even the elders next door wanted to try it and President. Sorry to say president won't get any because everyone consumed it in like one sitting but seriously was the best birthday treat ever. I think I made it almost as good as you mom. Shirts are perfect. I love the white one! It's perfect for summer and I like it because it has sleeves and I can wear it by itself. It is SO HOT here! I know it's not as hot as Thailand but we are out in the heat and it is killer. SO humid! If we don't have appointments and are out and about talking on streets and doors the sun takes the energy right out of you. But we have no fear our bodies will adjust right? lol. We did get an air conditoner for our room though this week so that was good. I'm enjoying that immensely. Symbria thanks for the little confetti cake rock thing. IT's so cool where did you get it? Emerald stuff is my birth stone did you know that? :) Mom you'll have to give Cheryl, and Crandalls a special thanks for me. They are always so good to me. Just know it was a very special birthday.

I'll try and find some pictures to send you today since you sent me the card reader. The sisters in the pad decorated the living room for my birthday and then made me this halarious card. The elders next door rang our bell early this morning and made me a cake to give as they sang happy birthday. Our zone is going to go to lunch later today and it will be fun. People are super nice here. Later tonight we are going to teach a less active family and after we teach the restoration we will be having a little birthday party. So its been good. It is so crazy to me to think how many people I have met in the last 6 months. So crazy.

So I have a funny story to share about one of our lessons. One of our investigators Alfonso and Rita. They are a cute couple from Mexico that we have been teaching her and there. He reminds me a lot of grandpa wells. He is very sweet but his diabetes keeps him from having motivation for doing a lot of things that he needs to do. He has had a serious infection in his foot that won't heal up and his cute wife has been so stressed about all the medical complication, bills, and caring for the family its been a little chaotic but they are really awesome and smart people that are giving us a lot of really cool lessons. So his foot is trying to heal right now and he is in a lot of pain. We are praying for them a lot. I can't remember if I wrote this story down a couple of weeks ago or not but it was pretty funny so I thought it would be good to write about. So Sister Nelson and i were sharing the plan of salvation and teaching abou tthe kingdoms of glory. Alfonso had had a rough day and was on a lot of pain medication and not really coherent and it was mostly his wife that we were teaching because he was super tired but we asked them which kingdom they would like to live in after teaching the kingdoms of glory. Of course rita said the celestial and alfonse said "la luna" or the moon. We asked why and he said , because I think the sun would be too hot for my feet. It would hurt. Rita was kind of embarrassed and reminded us he was on medication but we loved it. We thought it was great. We explained to him he would be fine with his resurrected body or algo a si. I love this. Life is good.

Jonnathan seemed to drop off the face of the planet again. He broke his foot so he's on crutches and then his phone went out and no one is at his apartment so I don't know where he went. That's the problem sometimes here. People go in and out of touch like crazy. They are you best friends one day and then gone the next. Hopefully I see him before transfer meeting to say goodbye but he'll be good after I leave. I've seen a lot of growth in him over the last 5 months and he's not even the same person anymore. I pray with all my heart he takes the next step of being baptized to seal the deal but even if he decides to take more time the gospel has impacted his life and given him tools to live his life in a way that he never thought possible. It will be interesting to see where he chooses to take his life and what he will place as important.

Mission is so weird. It's like another dimension of life but I like it. I can't believe I'm half way done next week. Seriously where does the time go? Love you all pray for you everyday. God bless.

Hermana Lewis

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time Distortion

Well can't believe I'm already writing another email. The time is such a weird concept on the mission. Seems like Mothers day was forever ago but I swear I was just emailing you yesterday.

None of our investigators came to church yesterday so that was a little downer in that we have to push their baptism dates back and I don't know if I'll be here to see them go through. It's a good thing that sister Nelson is so awesome and she will keep them going strong after the transfer this month. Sister Nelson and I had some fun stuff happen this last week. Whether it be creepers on the train that call us up and tell us in their broken english, "hey do you remember me? Cause I remember you a lot, during the day." hahaha oh man who says that? They don't even know that they are being socially and completly awkward. We seriously live in Mini ecuador.
Yesterday we went by to visit the Arriaga family to see why they didn't come to church. They are an amazing less active family that we are working with right now. I've never met a family that is more sensitive to the spirit and loves everything we teach them A LOT. It just kills me they won't put whatever it is that is keeping them from coming to church. They have the most darling little boy named Joshua. Joshua is 10 and just begs his mom every week that they can come to church. He wants to get baptized so bad so hopefully as they come back to church we can see this happen with them. They are super awesome. I just love them. Joshua and his 6 year old brother oscar are always outside playing after school. If we are ever walking by they are always more than willing to come to the porch and listen to us teach. I don't know very many school boys that drop their soccer game to come learn about Jesus Christ. They are so awesome. I pray that we are able to help them continue pressing forward.

Yesterday we had this really awesome lesson with a middle aged couple we are teaching. I really love them a lot. The wife has a lot of doubts and skepticism about why we need the Book of Mormon if we have the Bible. She is a great Christian lady with great faith. The lesson that we all took part in was so good. We had Darwin our ward correlator come up and taught with us. It was so cool to teach to the need directly as the spirit directs. After I get the priveledge of being a part of that type of lesson I always feel so motivated and see the hope of missionary work and the true importance of it. That's what happens when you are all "edified by the spirit." I think a lot of her questions were answered and I know that the spirit was there to help her understand a little bit more.

We had a really good lesson with Jonnathan. He had a really good friend get in a tradgic wreck and die so we had a really cool lesson wih him and the importance of the plan of salvation. I have been teaching Jonnathan the longest and have had so many miracles with him. Sometimes I think that there will be no greater joy than to see him finally see him get baptized. he is one of those people that I know that once he chooses to get baptized he will do it for himself and the right reasons. Not for anyone else and he will do it forever. He is so awesome. Keep him in your prayers. He needs it at this moment in his life.

I love this gospel. I am very grateful for everything that has happened in the mission. I have come to love this area so much. The hard times make the miracles and the good times so much more rewarding. I am so grateful for the gospel I know it it works and that if we put it first in our lives it makes our lives rich and worth while. Have you ever made a mixture of corn starch and water in science class? If you get the perfect combination the mixture is a solid as long as it is being worked or has pressure on it. When you let it rest and don't exercise it, it become a liquid until it eventually just oozes off your hands to nothing. This can be compared to our testimonies. Our testimonies can become stronger and stronger. God will continue to help us receive personal revelacion for our lives to strengthen and expand our testimonies on him as long as we are exericising and working to strive for it. As soon as we stop doing those things that bring us closer to god and strengthening our testimony aka (CHURCH, prayer, & scripture study) the testimony sits idle and starts to liquify like the cornstarch. It really was a solid substance but with time it will decay and run off until there is nothing left. Interesting how it works but so true. Jesus is the Christ and he did restore the gospel. IT is TRUE.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Love You

Otra vez,

Hey fammilia! It was so good to talk to you last night! I love you so much and I really think the world of you! I very much enjoyed talking to each one of you. Family is such an important part of life and the sooner the world realizes the sacred nature of the family the closer we will be on the road to creating eternal families.

Well I just talked to you... so I'm not sure what to do.

I've had some neat thoughts on trying to form reality lately. Seriously New York has given me a new dimension of what people view as reality. Guess what, that reality doesn't work. Reality is definitely a form of perspective. Like I said talking on the phone last night on the phone, faith is easy to have when it is something that is going to happen. It becomes a little harder when it is making the impossible, possible. Christ was half god, half man? Kind of like one of those greek mythogy books Symbria reads, they made a movie of a while ago? There is a little bit of truth in almost everything you read these days. Anyway Christ had to learn line upon line, precept upon precept, just like everyone else. He probably just had a little bit more of an accelerated rate right? lol. Anyway, Christ knew his "purpose" he knew what his calling in life was and kept his eye focused never wavering. He had that to do it in a way where he became the leader, the example. He was perfect but did everyone worship him? Did everyone love him? Did everyone accept him for what he was and who he was? NOPE. Yet he never let his purpose be detracted and he kept his eye single to the glory of God. Did the perspectives of others ever deteriorate what he really was. NOPE. So por eso, don't you think as members of his church we do the same?

In the mission I'm working on increasing my level of faith. Sometimes I feel so dang analytical for a sister missionary. God expects a lot on the mission and you know what you get out of a mission? Exactly what you put into it. :) The perspective you have of what you think the mission should be is exactly what it becomes to be. Expect the miracles in the mission because it is the greatest time you are able to receive them in the mission. I witness small miracles every day in the mission.

Sister Nelson and I are doing well. She seriously is like Heidi Wells. Best friends on the mission for sure. We already have this huge bucket lis of things to do when we get home from the mission. her mom told me I have to call her when I get home to go to lunch so she can tell me all the stuff about Sister Nelson while she is still serving. lol. I think we are making some good progress here in good old Rego Park. I have some goals that I'm working towards in the mission. Spanish is a pretty legit language. The gift of tongues is amazing. I am very grateful for the opportunity that God has given me to aprender and progress. Diligence and work reveal capacity. Eternal principle right there. Good things in life take effort and that's why they are good.

Oh mom! I thought of something you could send me for my b-day. lol. A cleanse kit. You know the ones dad gets every now and again? I've been out for a while and I think I need to do some sort of cleanse of my system. The rice here from the member is going to be the death of me. Luckily I'm saved once again because Sister Nelson is Diabetic so we have food restraints for health reasons. The people are a little bit more understanding because of that. Yet still that would be delightful. If you find some sort of summer clothes that are light weight, and will be good with my garments that would be nice. It's getting super humid. Can you send me the recipe for those baked scones with berries that you make? I've been craving that lately. Honestly thanks for just remembering me out here.  If you want you could send me a visa gift card or something then I could just spend or buy stuff out here as I'm out and about and on the run. Your always super thoughtful in what you decide to send but those are just some other ideas I thought about when I got off the phone with you last night that I could use but I'm good for whatever.

Love you all so much


Monday, May 2, 2011

Dia de la Madres

Dia de la Madres! :) Tengo la mejor mama en el mundo!!!!!

Hello Familia!

So Hermana Nelson has informed me that I am leaving the best parts of my week out of these emails and that I need to try to redeem myself. Being Sister Nelson's companion we have funny experiences at least weekly almost daily. Okay so....

Story #1

So Sister Montes, la hermana de Mexico, still lives in our pad with us. One time we were standing to get on the train so I told her I liked her hair. "Me gusta so pelo." Well she thought I said pedo, which has another entire meaning. So she started laughing and gave me a funny look. Pedo means fart. I would only learn this type of stuff through a native. So that's how I came to know that. Hermana Nelson has this book that she studies her spanish in and she found this phrase that says, "?Quien se pedorreo?" She asked me if I would say it to Jonnathan one day. I asked her what it meant, and she didn't tell me so I said i'll think about it once I find out what it means. Later we go to our dinner appointment with Hermana Cuesta. Hermana Cuesta is this ancient little old lady from ecuador in our ward that loves to have us over to her house for dinner every week. She is a little bit crazy but I love her to death and I look forward to visiting her. We were sitting at the table waiting for Hermana cuesta to come out from the kitchen. Sister nelson was talking about Jonnathan and then something about our lesson for later that night and then out of no where it clicked. I totally knew what the phrase meant from earlier. We both started laughing as we both enjoyed the moment of what it meant. Then Hermana Cuesta came out and asked us what was so funny. I didn't want to really tell her exactly cause its bathroom humor and we are missionaries so you have to be sensitive to that type of stuff. Yet sister Nelson presented it in such a way that by the end it was perfect and we had Hermana Cuesta laughing so hard there were tears rolling down her face too. So it just turned into this big joke.

Later that night we were walking off the train with Jonnathan after the bomb lesson that was taught with this member Joel. All of the sudden i turn around after talking to this man on the train about a passa long card that I had and Jonnathan turns to me and asks me .. ?Quien se pedorreo?" I looked at sister nelson and was so embarrassed. Nelson and Jonnathan just laughed at me hysterically seeing my embarrassment now that the joke was out in the open. Then Jonnathan in his little english/equadorian accent he says, i don't even know how to say that in English.

Story #2.
We are teaching this family from Ecuador. Diego is the husband and he is married to Fernanda. Fernanda is pregnant and they have one little girl named Genesis; age 2. Super cute family. We found Fernanda through English class. We started teaching her English class through her home and then we would share a little bit of the gospel with her at the end. She was nice but wasn't quite sure how much interest there was. She wasn't reading in the BOM that we left her. Then we randomly volunteered ourselves to help them paint their house.... so we helped Diego paint the house which turned out to be a great few hours to talk about the gospel and teach him some great principles. Anyway so we got to talk about the gospel and then they fed us some good food after. I think that kind of confused him actually but sparked more curiousity which is cool. They fed us some really good ecuadorian food which was fun. She went to the market to buy the crabs and came back and put them in the sink. Sister nelson was vegetarian before the mission keep in mind... so I thought it would be funny to call her over and introduce to her what would be dinner shortly. Diego shortly comes over and starts ripping off the legs. Sister Nelson wasn't sure quite how to react to the dying crabs and Diego didn't quite know how to react to her reaction. lol. Then eating the crab soup was a totally new experience cause you have to peel the shell and break it open. Dig all the goodness out of the middle. Pretty sure Sister Nelson's crab flew half way across the room as she tried to open it. So funny. She was a little frazzled as we left but I was proud of her for overcoming and eating the crab soup. lol Then when we left, I bet you can't imagine what we smelt like.... lol. Yep - congrejo, aka crab. So we were under the gun to get to our next appointment and we were running from one place to the next. We got on the 7 train which was packed and headed to the next stop. I'm sitting next to this little peruvian guy talking to him about Temples and sister nelson has gotten pushed up to the back of the train with a little group of Mexicans. She is sitting there and pretty soon this Russian lady next to her says "Wow, it smells like fish." Sister Nelson hesitantly says sorry we just ate crab soup from ecuador. The lady offered her some lotion to try and cover up the smell but she politely declined thinking that crab and fruity lotion wouldn't be a better combination. Then the little group of mexicans behind her start talking in Spanish about how she smells like fish and it smells really bad ( thinking sister Nelson didn't understand them). Finally, at this point poor little Sister Nelson has had a enough so she turns to them and says, "Permiso, Hablan espanol?" The reply "si, si".... Then sister Nelson looks them in the eyes and says, "Yo tambien! (me too)" lol. You should have seen all their little eyes. It was so funny when they realized she knew exactly what they were saying. We smelt like crab the rest of the day all the way until we went to correlation that night with the ward leaders and other missionaries in the district. It was really funny as we walked in and we told them our story and they all started giving us a hard time. Anyway i hope something good comes from our Painting house, crab soup story. Diego really wants to be a good father and have a strong family. So he became really curious and asked us if he could come to church when we painted. We said of course. They still haven't come because Fernanda is draggin her feet about taking the kids but hopefully things will start to progress. We thought that we lost them for a little bit because they weren't answering our calls but then we bumped into Fernanda randomly at the market yesterday and she invited us back over on Tuesday. She was really nice and said she has been really tired. She is due in about 4 weeks. She told us Diego has been reading in the book that we left her and that she read a couple of pages as well. We were really excited about that.

Story #3.
So a couple of weeks ago we went tracting and we had the miracle and opportunity to teach 3 new families which all became new investigators. Which according to PMG just means you have taught one lesson and have a specific return appointment. So one of these families are from Ecuador. Juan is the father and very religious evangelist. Yet he says he has a friend from our church and I don't know if that friend really is a member but he really did have a book of mormon already and he told us he liked it very much and that he had read in it a little bit. Said it was pretty much the same as the bible because it had similar parts and such. The mom Rosa is nice but also has a hard time paying attention to us. Then they have a girl Alexandria. So I was able to teach them the restoration and they told us they could come back the following week. As this return appointment was coming up I was trying to get a hold of him to confirm but we decided to just stop by to remind them instead. We got off on the wrong stop so we were going to have to walk a couple of extra blocks coming from the wrong direction. So we were walking down roosevelt st when some guy approaches us on the street. I look over and see that it is Juan. The exact person we were going to see. Coincedence? I think not. :) So we start talking to him. We asked him about our appointment and he said yes but wasn't very commital which always turns sketchy. Turns out he's "working" he's a salesman for Herbal life and so he starts showing us all the products and all the cool things they have. I actually like Herballife. It was really big in Thailand too. Sister nelson being the Genious that she is asks if she can get a pamphlet. But he doesn't have one with him so he asks us if we want to go to the building with him. We didn't really want to but something else told us we should, so we did. Then while we were there he offered us a tester thing for $4. Honestly and truely I had no desire whatsoever to do it and neither did Sister Nelson so we politely told him we needed to get on our way. We already had our backpacks on and ready to go when I felt like very strongly i was passing my appointment for the following night away. So I stopped mid sentence and said. Actually, Juan i do, I would like to try your aloe, bebida, smoothie whatever thingy majigy. You should have seen Juan's face light up like a lightbulb. He was so happy so then his supervisor came out and I tried all this stuff. Aloe, Protein shake, and this herbal tea stuff... it was all good but it was just comical. I had no desire whatsoever to drink it but I was just hoping it was some sort of inspiration and that it really was helping our pool grow. lol. They told me the aloe could have a "cleansing affect". I finished the 3 testers they had and was about to leave. It only took about 20 minutes. They asked me if I needed to use the restroom before I left which I thought was weird. I told them no. I put my back pack to go and then it hit... On second thought.... where is the restroom? lol. My comp. just gave me that look like, you have got to be kidding me. Just thinking the whole situation was hysterical. So while i went to the restroom, Hermana Nelson taught Juan a 5 minute lesson on the word of wisdom. Which he absolutely loved and told us he totally agreed with. So we wished him well and told him we would be stopping by the following night about 7. Don't worry the scenerio goes on. I'll try to not make the story gross by giving details but just know that it was really funny. So we start walking down the street. I'm feeling good but I can tell things are moving around in the intestines. Which isn't a bad thing since some days I feel like nothing is moving from all the hispanic food we eat. So we are walking I'm talking to sister nelson and telling her I'm never sacrificing myselt again for an appointment where all of the sudden this burp just comes out of nowhere. It wasn't loud or anything but it STUNK! One of those things where you surprise yourself and the the person next to you that happens to be sister nelson. Smells like garlic and a little mix of other stuff. I'm mortified and she is laughing trying to compose herself. We are both in shock. I didnt even eat garlic, to my knowledge but maybe it was part of the health drink. not sure... I don't even think burps usually stink. At least mine don't... lol. This one definitely did. So my body was sacrificed a little, yet our appointment was savaged for the next night. We went with Darwin ( our ward correlator) to teach this family. Juan wasn't in house but when he heard we were there he came back. We got more of the family in on it. I'm SO glad darwin was there to help me because sister Nelson's voice was still gone and I had pretty much every Christian background there in the room with us. Catholic, Evangelist, Jehovah Witness, and nondenomiational Christian. All in the same lesson. It was a little overwhelming but they were really cool. They kept asking all these questions so of course they answered them but it ended up being really long. We were all ready to get out of there by the end of the night but it was good. Hopefully we will go back there too. Juan ended up coming to sacrament meeting the next day which was good. He said that he liked it. So the Herbal life experiment was worth it! Maybe we will go visit again. lol jk.

Ya so those are my funny stories for the last little bit. I hope I was able to write them in such a way that you were able to enjoy them.

So I g2run Hermana Nelson is having a freak out attack from her email. Her older sister just sent her a picture of her dog that she left home; Butch. Butch is a little shizsu? How do you spell that? I have no idea. Hermana Nelson's mom asked Kim her older sister to take the dog in for a hair cut. So Kim took it in for a haircut.... shaved it all the way with the exception of a mohawk that starts at the head and goes down the back until the tail. Then dyed the mohawk red and gelled it to stay. Sister Nelson doesn't know quite what to think :) I think it suits the dog just fine. :) Oh and here's another food for thought. What would you think if I told you I saw this person that had a tattoo across the bottom of their back that says, "We all make mistakes" blown up in big lettering. lol i don't know who would want that for the rest of forever. She also has really cool sleeves of tattoos that actually looked kind of cool in comparision to the others I've seen. There are so many crazy people in New York and when i saw that tattoo it just really made me laugh.

Gospel is true. I love you!

Hermana Lewis

Mommy!  You are the coolest mom ever! Hey I finished the BOM this week! Just like you! You rock! Seriously those chapters in Moroni are the best aren't they? It was so cool to take a clean book of mormon that has never been written in and just mark the daylights out of it. I never realized just how much it is a testament of Jesus Christ. I marked yellow in the book for every time it said Jesus's name. I don't think there are more than 10 pages that don't have yellow on them. Then next color in there is red which is anything that talked about the great plan of redemption and the atonement. The book of mormon talks so much about the atonement and the importance of the savior in our lives. I am so grateful for the atonement. i love it so much.

Happy Mothers Day Sunday! Can't wait to talk to you! i love the letters that you sent me this week. Just think from here on out I'll be home for your next mothers day. Weird... where does the time go out here. Some days it feels like it will never end but I know I'm going to blink and it is going to be completely over.

Thanks for being so good to my friends mom. You are a wonderful person. There are very few people I can think of that are as influential as you. You are a great source for good. Way to lift others to better and brighter places. Sometimes its hard not to suck in the bad energy around you and just to not loose faith. We are so capable of anything and everything, such potential.