Monday, August 29, 2011

New York Earthquake and Hurricane

Que Honda Familia?
Well this was definitely an exciting week.  Wasn't too effective as far as numbers for the week go but do have lots of stories to tell.  As you can imagine the Hurricane was quite the event.  I'm SO glad to hear Jacki is okay.  It's funny because  as I felt the earthquake and later the Hurricane I knew Sherryl would be worried and I wish I had some way to let her know that both her babies were just fine.  :)  I knew Jacki was fine too even though I bet she got a lot more of the hit.  Mission Presidents are great things and they really take good care of us.  I know that these are inspired men of god.  Way earlier this transfer president started stressing our 72 hours kits and making sure that we had all our equipment and water. That was way before we knew natural disasters could be underway. So we were all pretty much ready when we got news of the hurricane.  He took every measure and precaution to make sure that we were safe.  Queens is a lot higher up and so we didn't have to worry too much.  All the missionaries were indoors by 5:30 on Saturday and he had us indoors all day on Sunday until the storm passed.  They had evacuation plans for areas like Far Rockaway and the islands that are closer to sea level.  Little Flushing was good to go though we had lots of rain and wind but not too much damage.  I think the mayor did a really good job though being prepared and the people of new york are really lucky to have him. It was a little annoying not to have the transit system after noon on saturday and also down on sunday but I think it was okay. It's always better to be prepared and not have to use it than to need resources that you don't have.  I learned that one from my wise and all knowing father ;)  Love ya dad.   
So basically Tuesday with the earthquake.  We went to visit a less active, Flor Camacho, to help her put up some curtains in her house.  She is super old and can't do a lot of things for herself and she is halarious.  She cracks me up.  She bought my groceries a few months back when we were with her for that Whole food mint pie that I love so much.  So I told her we would bring her a peice of it.  So we went over and were just finishing up the curtains.  I sat down because I wasn't feeling too good.  I was really sick the weekend before with a virus and so I sat down to catch my breath and recoop.  Then sister young walked over the the other side of the living room to start putting the covers on the couch.  We were almost finished.  Then I could feel a little rumble.  It kind of felt like when the trains went by a building when i was in Rego and it shook the buidings a little bit but I hadn't felt that in Flushing.  The trains don't run through flushing and their too far away so then I was thinking if maybe something funny could be going on with the elevator outside.  Then in the midst of this thought process sister Young looks at me like, " what is going on?"  Then I realize the rumble is getting worse and it's not really a rumble anymore because the mirror on the wall is about to fall off from shaking so heavy.  It was really weird because of all the random thoughts that were going through my mind at the time.  I was thinking to myself, I know I shouldn't sit here and do nothing.  Yet at the same time I couldn't really believe I was experiencing what we call an earthquake on the 6th floor of an apartment building in New York.  If the earthquake did decide to get worse it doesn't do me a whole lot of good to try and run down 6 flights of stairs in 100 year old building because I'll probably get smashed anyway.  Not to mention the little 80 year old lady I'm with wouldn't be able to run down stairs and we couldn't just leave her there.  Then we have Hermana Camacho that starts freaking out that the building is shaking and she starts praying at the top of her lungs while trying to hold the mirror from falling off the wall. "Senor, Poderoso! Ayuda nos! Senor Poderoso Protegenos." etc. etc. etc.  It's just this little 4' 10" little lady and Sister Young grabs her being like 5' 10 and just envelopes her in this big hug of love.  "Esta bien hermana. Todo va estar bien. No se preocupel."  Then like a few minutes later the earthquake stops and Hermana Camacho tells us we have to stop what we are doing so that we can pray.  She says this big old prayer and asks hiim to protect us and the house.  It worked pretty good I think.  I'm still here :) No damage done.  It was kinda a funny though to hear other people's experiences. There were people that were running in the streets and all scared that it was going to be the end of New York.  Then there were other in the park or walking down the street that didn't feel anything at all and thought the rest of us are all crazy.   We only got the leftovers from Virginia I think.  I hear it was pretty big there.
Tuesday Night we went on sister exchanges and I left and went to the new area that they just opened up in Woodside this last transfer.  Sister Jasso and Sister Montes opened the area last transfer and they are working to build that area right now.  Sister Young stayed in our area and worked it with sister smith.  I went to woodside with Sister Montes.  Sister Jasso left and went to Rego with Sister Reed.  It was really good I always enjoy exchanges and getting a new flavor of missionary work with different people.  It was fun because sister Montes is from Veracruz Mexico and it is fun to be with the natives.  Spanish just bond to their native missionaries and relate in a way unlike other missionaries can and i always love to observe and see how I can build stronger member connections.  I really enjoyed learning from sister montes and seeing what types of things I could improve and other skills I developed since I last saw her.  I got to sleep in the old pad that I used to live in when I worked in Rego because we live with the other 2 sisters.  That was really fun and I enjoyed it immensely.   One of the things we did on transfers was go to visit this really sick lady in their ward.  She is 94 and has a son in the quorum of the 70 right now.  She has a home attenedent that let us come visit.  This little 94 year old was so sick when we went but she was so glad to have us.  She is a pretty good humored lady.  Despite being sick the last time they were there Sister Montes was telling me she was cracking jokes and had them all laughing on the floor.  This time the lady was barely strong enough to lift her head out of bed but you could feel the spirit and she had such a sincere love for the missionaries she asked us if we were working hard and building up the lords kingdom.  It was clear how important she knew missionary work was.  We also visited this sweet lady in the ward that has been a member for about 20 years now.  She told us how she still keeps in touch with her missionaries that taught and baptized her.  She shared how much the gospel has changed her life and how grateful she is for those missionaries that chose to serve so that her life could be blessed for the better.  She is so willing to help the missionary and support the work in any way that she can. 
Thursday Sister young and i had to go to Rego Park because she had a meeting with President and Some other missionaries that will be training the Greenies that are coming in.  Sister young is training this upcoming transfer which I am so excited about.  She is so excited!  She is ready and i think it will help her become and feel the missionary that she wants to be.  I'm really excited for her and she will love it but I'm sad because that means that i am leaving and off to a new area.  I've only been in Flushing for 2 transfers which seems like practically nothing but I do believe that i have made the impact that I am suppposed to and that it is my time to leave. Sad news but with changes come other experiences and other opportunities.  So mom, hold off on any mail that you are planning on sending to the pad.  You can just send it back to the mission office until I get you my new address. They will send it to me from the mission home.  I think I'm going to Brooklyn or Long Island.  We will have to see.  I'll let you know next week.   But to go along with that I got to go on splits with Sister Smith and visit Rego Area again which I loved! We went and taught one of their investigators Felipe.  He is thinking about maybe getting baptized on the 4th of Septembeer and he said some really great things during the lesson.  We taught with Jonnathan Vargas our member in the bishopbric and then we talked to him about church and the law of chastity.  It was funny because I just kinda got thrown into the lesson. Sister Smith is newer in the mission and she didn't tell me before the lesson that she didn't understand when Felipe was talking.  So I was just going to let her lead when she turns and looks at me right after his first comment and I almost died of embarrassment because I hadn't been listening intently on what he was saying. So from then on I just took turns asking the 4 of us in the room different questions and it worked out well.  I'm excited for Felipe.  He said that from the moment he started meeting witht he missionaries he began to notice his life change.  He was so excited and he could feel the difference and the goodness start to enter his life.  He is!  I love being able to teach those good moments.  They are just so rich and I forget so quickly how when I think I'm teaching, in reality these people are teaching me. 
Thursday night I was running around with sister Young trying to see all of our investigators to say goodbye. It was kinda crazy. We were over at the familia calle when we went outside and noticed the sun!  It was so awesome!  It was huge and was setting against the Manhatten skyline.  It was so big and was just pure red.  It kind of looked like an eclipse except it was the sun not the moon.  I think they call it the summer solstice.  We called David and his friends out and they told us that the summer solstice only happens onnce a year and it only happens for about 8 minutes.  I could barely get a picture before it went down.  It set really fast but it was so beautiful.  I will have to try and send the picutres.  They don't do it justice but I barely had the time to even snap a shot much less play around with the setting before it had gone down.  It was really pretty though.
We went on Friday morning to play soccer with all the missionaries, Youth, recent converts, and any investigators that want to play at college point.  I met this blonde guy that looked so familiar but I couldn't place where I had seen him before.  He was from the English ward and he said that he went to school at Utah state but I still could not make the connection.  Then I found out that his wife is Natalie Clank!   Small world, pretty sure that their wedding announcement was on our fridge or maybe Kris Craddock's last year and so I had seen him in their announcements.  So then i told him that I had know Natalie in Highschool from Dance and Cheer and so I asked him how they like new york and such.  It was really funny to finally figure out where I knew him from. 
Friday afternoon we went and said goodbye to the Leons.  They are doing good but there are a lot of things they still aren't getting.  We talked about Reading and praying in order to find revelation for our lives and that it is the only way that we will be able to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God.  Moises has a really hard time believing that Joseph Smith saw God the Father considering there are very very few times that The Father has ever appeared to man in the flesh.  One of the only other times that I can think of in the bible is when chrsit was transfigured in the presence of his 3 apostles, Peter James and John.  Even then it says he was in a cloud.  But Moises did say that he likes the church a lot.  He loves learning but he said unlike Lina it is going to take him some time to decide if he wants to be baptized but when he does it he will do it for reals becuase it is where his heart is.  I told him all I ask is that he does his part by praying and reading and attending church and working towards that goal of finding out if it reallying  is the truth.  Either Joseph Smith is a prophet and it all is true or else it didn't and all these miracles, love, good works, and salvation are a big fat lie.  There is no inbetween.  It is god's church.  Plain and simple and we can see it through the fruits that come to pass and the way that people are when we are living the gospel.  It works that's how it is.  Moises paid me a really nice complement and told me that besides being beautiful on the outside, I'm just as beautiful on the inside if not more so and that it shows.  He thanked me for all that I had done for his family and that out of all the missionaries that had visited his house, Sister Harry and i were the first that were able to help him see why this church was important.  That felt really good and Lina just told me that I have to come back and visit and I told her I would be back for her baptism.  I hope they keep going and progressing and really understanding why they need this for their family to be complete and whole.  The gospel blesses families and helps them heal and become what we have always wanted. 
Then we went home because the storm was starting to set in and the rain had started.  Sister Young being the example that she is gave her umbrella to some little homeless lady that was getting soaked in the rain.  She is always a Chrsitlike example to me.  I love her and she has taught me a lot about love and service.  So we rean home and that and i think Sister Young just about died of boredom in the house. We did some major studies, baking, and games but after runnning around as a missionary all the time it is a little bit different being grounded to the apartment for over 24 hours.  lol.  You would not believe the rain and the wind we had.  It was crazy and we didni't even get very much of the storm in Flushing.  It was really fun.  There was NO ONE in the street.  Which is really weird being in the city of New York.  there are always people out and about doing things.  So this was serious.  All the buses and trains had been shut down. Church was cancelled on Sunday and the Mission President  asked all the missionaries to do sacrameent among themselves.  That was really cool because I have never been a part of sacrament outside of the church.  Usually people are pretty strict about blessing sacrament outside of sacrament room meetings so that will be Something that was very special and memory I will cherish.  It's funny I knew that there was a lot of hussle and bussle about the Hurricane but as missionaries we were just excited to see what was going to happen.  Being a missionary I've never felt more safe in my life.  I know I'm still human but I do feel pretty much like I can't loose either way.  Chances are, God is just going to protect me.  But even if anything did happen to me in the slight chance that it did, I think Celestial kingdom seems pretty good anyway. :)  God loves us.  AS WE do our part we never have any reason to fear.  Being a missionary or not, the only reason we ever feel fear is when we are not prepared.  Why do you think god gives us the gospel?  So that we can be prepared..  It makes sense don't ya think?  IT's like you said dad.  It's our 72 hour kit back to eternal life.  We can say that our mortal life is only the 72 hours in comparison to the eternities that we have after this. 72 hours is not that long but it's still enough time that you have to have some supplies to make it though.  You can't do it cold turkey.  We need food, clothers, shelter, water etc.  Just like here on earth you can't do it cold turkey and expect to make it well up to meet god.  You still need the scriptures, prayer, church, and prophet,   Do you think that we can use the kit god has given us to face the currents and challenges that face us here on earth so that we can successfully face god in the end and he can say " Well done my good and faithful servant".  72 hours really isn't that long.  Having that kit though sure makes all the difference and can make life a lot easier to face the disasters that face us.  Right? Right.  Well I'm safe and well.  Hope that was enough details for ya all.  I"ll let you know more about the new area next week.
Love you all,
Hermana Lewis

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