Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween in New York

Happy Halloween you crazy little goons! okay so this week has been a trip.  I will tell you my cool miracle for my week.  His name is Juan little old Salvadoranian from El Salvador.  This is how the story goes.  So.... once upon a time, my companion sister gray and I were walking around looking up a former investigator.  It was a part of the area that we were unfamiliar with and we had accidently plugged the wrong coordinates in the GPS(which didn't help) so what did we do, we started talking to everyone we saw on the side of the street and making our way towards the correct address about 2 blocks away.  On the way I felt like we needed to take a picture so knowing that sister Gray is absolutely a pictureholic I suggessted it and she definitely concurred.  So, I bust out my little camera and pretty soon this little salvadoranian guy walks down the side of the street and offers to take a picture of the both of us.  Never seen this guy in my life so gratefully we accepted.  Then as I hand my camera over to him, I notice a Forteleza de Juventud(strength of youth phamplet) in his hand randomly. So I say to myself, this guy has to be a member.  I nudge sister gray and ask her under my breath if she has ever seen this guy at church before I ask who he is.  She looks at me like I'm crazy so I take that as my sign no.  So I ask him right off how long he's been a member and he looks at me like I'm crazy and tells me a couple of years. I ask him where he lives and he says just a few streets down. I was pretty sure he was LA because I'd never seen him at the church and I have been getting pretty familiar with faces. So I say great! when can we come over and visit?  Looks at me a little surprised and we set up an appointment to go visit the next day.  So after he goes on to tell us he moved out of his moms house and that he lives alone.  oops. Okay so maybe not no worries... we willl get a member to go with us which will be better for fellowshipping anyway.  So that was my plan.
So next morning comes along.  Everyone is working and no one can come with us to Juan's.  I was a little bummed.  We were also trying to find a member to go with us to these awesome investigators we had found the week before and were brand new.  So I was stressing a little.  I don't know why, if there is one thing I have learned on my mission is that stressing does not help you in the work.  So I was giving myself a calm down lecture, personal study, and trying to figure out who I was going to get to go with us to these appointments.   I'd been praying for something to happen where we would be able to find someone. Then it came. I walked over to the big map on the wall. PErfect. Why not get Juan to go with us as the member present to our new investigators homes who just happened to live 5 blocks up the road from him?  Perfect.  So I call him up and he agrees last minute to come and help us.  The appointment went so well and the investigators accepted the invitation to come to church on Sunday all 4 of them.  Pefect.
As we were walking back from the appointment with Juan he told us that he hasn't been active in the church for a while.  He told us that he has been reading and praying a lot lately. His desire to church has been growing and he'd been praying that he would bump into the missionaries.  Then guess what happened.  He found us on the side of the road.  He bore his awesome testimony about prayer and how God always listens to us.  Then I told him that he was an answer to ours because he came to help us teach.  We invited him to church and he told us he couldn't promise but that he was going to try and work something out with the other commitment he already had. He said right now he wasn't able to but that he wanted to come to church so he knew since it's what god wanted too it would all work out. We told him we would call him Saturday to see.  So we call him saturday and he tells us that he arranged everything to come to church on Sunday.  Not only that but he calls a second time later that night to see if we would like him to go pick up that house of investigators on Sunday for us.  Ya, i know this guy is legit.  Every missionaries dream to have a member like him.  So we were thrilled and told him that would be wonderful. 
Sunday morning comes along and dissapointingly our investigators called to say one of the kids was sick and that they weren't going to be able to come to church.  I was so heartbroken.  We tried to talk them into it but we decided on the next week.  So we called Juan and he said okay sounds good but then said.  Maybe I'll just go over to their house anyway and act like I didn't know to see if I can talk them into it.  We said okay,  because honestly it's like pulling teeth to get investigators and the details arranged to come to church for the first time.  I mean honestly if I think about it I think I would feel a little weird going to church by myself for the first time on foreign territory.  So he did, they still politely declined but he said that the visit was good and that we could all come over a little later.  Ends up he is from the same part as our investigators. How cool is that?
Anyway so he comes to Church.  He just is going to town.  Helped the sisters out with their investigators as well.  Then he offered to help Sister Gray and I teach any appointments we had later in the day. Asked sister gray what he could study in Preach my Gospel to be ready for our appointment that night. WE told him Resto.  We didn't have any super set visits and I was nervous to take him with us if the people juked because I wanted to make sure that he would come teach again.  Then sister Gray, the little miracle worker that she is says,"oh come on Hermana Lewis have some faith girl.  We will get in to teach!" So I said okay, lets take him and off we went.  So we decided on a house we had knocked earlier in the week and told him to meet us there at 7:30. Sister Gray and I decided to stop by a persons house we had started teaching a couple of weeks ago to find her home.  We had a really good lesson with her and her son and then ran over to meet Juan at this house.  Then guess what happened? We knocked the guy opened the door sister gray said something and away we went.  In the house and we taught this amazing lesson with Juan so we had a member present. Like I said this member is legit!  Hence why I had to write this awesome email to tell you all about it.
I hope you all havea  wonderful Halloween.  I have some other stuff I g2do so I'll let you all go for some Halloween fun.Don't rot your teeth with too much candy. love you!
Hermana Lewis

Halloween Pics

 Primary Kids that we are preparing for the primary program
Me and angie. She wants to be a hermana Lewis someday just like me. :)
People here on the island decorate their houses for Halloween like the Christmas or something. It's pretty intense
Auntie Cheryl these decorations are insane.  I thought you might get a kick out of these peoples halloween decorations.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ward members Saura & Jeanette with SIster Lewis

Morning at Montauk Light House

Krisina dn Sister Nelsen at a Ward members house

Krisina at Montauk Light House

Happy Day! Christian and Maurice get Baptized

Yes there is a lighthouse

P Day at the Beach

Sunrise at the Beach

Sister Lewis, Jewkes, and Nelsen

Who knows what this is. They are visiting a light house

Children from the Ward where Krisina is serving

Just need to say I Love You

Wow, I can't believe it's another week come and gone. Padres, you're going to Japan this week right? Lucky.  You should bring me back some really cute jeans or something. I just don't know where the time goes nor do i know what i want to write this week other than I love you all and hope all is going swell.

We had stake conference yesterday. It was out in Plainview.  The theme of the conference was welfare.  There are three parts of welfare: mentally, spiritually, and physically.  Most people just think of welfare in terms of the physical part but that's not what it is about.  The temple president and matron came to the conference yesterday. They gave a beautiful talk on the importance of families.  It was quite beautiful. Parents have not only the stewardship but the responsibility to teach and rear their children in the teachings of the gospel. D&C 67&68?  We are to spend quality time with our children and teach them what the true meaning of what life is.  He talked about things like facebook and texting and how when individuals get to the point where they avoid human contact and don't want others to "bother them" while on the computer doing tedious monotonous tasks there becomes a problem.  Family is one of the greatest gifts that god has given us.  He also talked about how Satan is focused on destroying the family because he knows that if he can wedge in between the family he destroys God's great plan of happiness.

We taught some really cool people this week. We have seen god really bless us this week in finding and teaching people according to their needs.  One of the more unique lessons that we taught was when we knocked into the Alberto Family. They are from El Salvador and her husband is a pastor for their Iglesia de apostoles y profetas. ( church of prophets and apostles.)  This church is strict and I have a lot of respect for how much faith and self control they exercise.  They don't ever wear pants, makeup, jewelry, or cut their hair.  The 12 year old girl in the family had a comprehension of the scriptures unlike most of my investigators I've taught out here and they are very strong in their faith.  It was kind of refreshing. I know I'm a missionary but as part of the culture experience I am just in awe with all the different people I meet from different religions and how it molds the type of person that they are.  It's really cool.

This whole missionary work is such a funny concept to the outside world. We leave our homes for a couple of years to preach in a foreign land to people we don't know and through the tender mercies of god and hard work we find prepared people that are literally searching for the gospel just didn't know where to find it.  Then they hear the message of the restored gospel pray about it, receive a witness for themselves, experience all this opposition as they try to organize their lives to align back with God and ultimately through their faithfulness take the step of baptism which is their first step to entering into the kingdom of god. Its pretty miraculous in and of itself.  And the cool thing is that it works.  People find a type of happiness and a change in themselves that they never really thought that they would experience.

Primary Program is progressing. Just a couple of more weeks until the actual Sunday.  This upcoming Sunday is the Sunday por la obra misional which means that we have a few talks from the missionaries and a special musical number. It's pretty cool.


Hermana Lewis

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I am sick of trying to come up with subject lines

Hey what's going on?

Symbria and Aunt Cheryl, I hope you had wonderful birthdays. I'm sure you're one year older and wiser too.  Jael Happy birthday later this week.

Anyway, I cant believe it was the first week of a new transfer!  Where did it go?  Anyway a lot has happened in the last week.  Let me try and fill you in on a few of the highlights.

Tuesday was transfer meeting.  Went to transfers super nervous about what was going to happen.  I don't know why, it's always a new adventure but it just always throws me for a loop.  Anyway so Sister Jewkes went to Jamaica in Queens for her last transfer.  Sister Nelson and I knew we were staying on the island and splitting up the area. Pretty much exactly like last time.  President gave me a brand new ford fusion and a brand new phone and said "ok sister lewis, go." So we are going and it's super fun.  Sister Nelson kept the majority of our investigators so that would leave me and my new comp a lot of room to build the new area and find.  Well I said a mighty pray in the morning and lo and behold,  God sent me Hermana Kaitlin Gray from Gilbert Arizona.  Kind of Ironic considering Sister Porter was also named Caitlin and from Arizona. Anyway I think it was meant to be.  Sister Gray is awesome!  She is 21 and one of the best missionaries you'll find.  Her dad served a mission in the Concepcion, Chile mission.  He only talked to her in Spanish as a child so she learned spanish when she was young.  She then attended a bilingual school that taught classes in English one day and then all the classes were taught in Spanish the next day. She also did study abroad in mexico every summer for 4 years.  So we call her the white Mexicana.  She basically is and her spanish rocks.  She is in her 4th transfer in her 2nd area. She is a little fireball and I love it. Always helping me out and a really great teacher.  She is a former gymnast and was studying exercise science and sports medicine before the mission.  She also was working towards being a dental hygienist. Ya, this girl is legit.

This week has been hard in some ways but really rewarding in other ways.  It's hard in that we don't have any progressing investigators yet but its been rewarding because we have received and sought after the spirit which has blessed us with little miracles through the week.

First miracle was first night with Hermana Gray.  We made an appointment to see the Primary President.  She is really overwhelmed and hasn't been to church since I got here.  Relief Society President asked if we would go visit her so we set up an appointment. We went over Tuesday night and had a visit.  We talked to her about the atonement of Christ.  Sister Gray is an amazing teacher.  In that lesson as I was listening I got a strong prompting that I needed to bear testimony of the love of our father and his son Jesus Christ.  I needed to remind la Hermana just how much God loved her and is proud of the effort she is putting in and is not abandoning her.  So I did it even though I'd never really met this lady before and had no idea what her life was like.  She just started crying  couldn't contain it anymore.  Spirit really hit her, like a brick!  Spirit is so cool!  I learn more from it everyday but it is just so cool and such a powerful tool.  Basically the only important tool.  Anyway so guess who came to church on Sunday?  Yep she did and we helped her do the primary program that is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I think I'm going to become the chorister for that grand affair and sister gray the pianist.  I've made a lot of friends though the primary kids are just so loving and fun. 

Wednesday we had a baby shower for Erika Fuentes(Honduras). She is one of the members that comes out and helps us sisters pretty regularly.  Anyway it was a surprise and she did a great job with everything.  We helped the relief society president, Hermana Duran, decorate and put it together.  It turned out really good.  We also had an investigator show up at the church that night. We'll see if anything comes from it. Hermana Duran took us to a members home return the violin I used for sacrament last week.  Mom did I tell you that we played in church last week?  Sister Jewkes played flute, me on violin, and then the relief society sang grand eres tu.  It was really pretty.  The ward loved it.  I was also able to fix Hermana Cabrera's violin for her so it all worked out.  The bonus to that was that we found that a whole family of theirs had just moved in a few months ago that weren't members so we made friends with them to start teaching them.  We figured out after they are in the other sisters area so we will hand them over to them but they are so going down.  Super legit dominicans.

Thursday we did tons of planning trying to brainstorm what we were going to do to in order to get the area fired up and going.  We went and visited the Majano's sister who is inactive. We found that she has a daughter living with her that isn't a member so we are going to try and see if they are interested this upcoming week.  I got really lost to and from from our dinner appointment at the Montenegro's.  It's a good thing that I have a very patient companion I would be going nuts at times if I had me for a companion that didn't know what she was doing at times but hey we are in this together and I'll have a GPS soon... hopefully :)  We also contacted a lady named Hildalia (El Salvador) on the street while driving to ask her if we could come visit.  She randomly said yes which was awesome.

So Friday we had our appointment with this lady we contacted named Hidalia.  She warmly invited us in.  Then she called her whole family to the living room to listen to us.  It's a family of 5.  The parents and their three kids. 2 girls and a boy.  Jenny, Natalia, y Christopher.  We had a lesson on the Restoration. It was one of the best lessons I've had on my mission I think and they really seemed genuinely interested including the father and wanted to read and come to church on Sunday.  We figured out after that they are in the other sisters area as well so we will be handing them over too but it was still such a highlight for my week. It would be my dream come true to see a beautiful family such as them all get baptized sometime during my mission.  I would love that.  They called the morning of to tell us that one of the kids or something was sick but that they wanted to see us on later in the week and that they would come the next week to church.  I'm hoping everything with them continues to go well.

We received a member referral this week and also started teaching her. She has been really sick and really wanting a change.  Hopefully she can see that the gospel is the best way to do that. 

We also had a big wing eating competion this week with some less actives and other missionaries at Buffalo Wild wings.  Sister Nelson, man that girl thinks the spicier the better.  I've never seen a girl eat peppers and spicy food like she can.  I'm going to have to get her some of those peppers that grow in the Cowley's yard. 

The Elders had another 2 baptisms on Sunday so that was pretty exciting.  I don't know if you rmember me writing about Maria that got baptized when those two boys, Maurice and Christian, got baptized?  anyway her two kids got baptized YEsterday. It was a great day.  Baptism as a symbol of your conversion and desire to follow Christ is one of the best things in the whole world.  You can't get much better than that.

Love you much family. There were a couple of other things I was going to write about but I've run out of time. Love you. Until next week.

Les Quiero mucho,
Hermana Lewis

Monday, October 10, 2011

Beunos Tardes mi amors

Querida Familia
Como estan?  Les extrano mucho.  How's Utah? the Weather? The Family?  Anyway....  Life here on the island is good stuff.  I can't believe another transfer has come and gone.  Lots of exciting things are going to happen this upcoming transfer.  I think President and the AP's love to spice things up and keep the dynamics rolling.  They definitely have a sense of humor.  Anyway so Sister Jewkes is leaving our lovely trio.  Sister Nelson and I are staying here on the island but president is going to split us and the area up so we will be receiving 2 more sisters.  I will be recieving a new companion and opening up the area again.  That's pretty exciting.  The way that the area is split up we will have to build a new pool because all of our investigators are still in the old area except Mirna and she should be coming back at the end of the week. And like always we will find new people to teach.
Speaking of.  Mom that means that I am in charge of an area that I am not familiar with.  Finding a street is like finding a needle in a haystack.  I have a good map I bought this last week but I have a huge favor to ask you.  Can I borrow our GPS for 6 weeks?  Would you please send it to me?  I could use it as soon as possible.  I know I owe you so much but if you could send that to me I
would be forever grateful... the sooner the better....what do you say?
Last Tuesday we did sister exchanges and Sister Jewkes and I went to Hampton Bays with sister Smedley.  Sister Smedley looks and acts exactly like my sophomore roommate Sydney Lewis.  She is super awesome and i am really grateful for the day we were able to spend with her.  I had some really cool experiences as well.  Monday night we drove down and went to a dinner appointment with her ward correlator. Marco is their ward correlator and a convert to the church.  He shared his conversion story and such of the book of mormon .  He talked about sister winterton and how she had written him a letter after she left and told him she knew he was ready to get baptized. So after praying about it he thought well it's very good advice and did it.  He was introduced to the gospel through his girlfriend Sheila.  Just so you all know the majority of the baptisms I see come through the members and the referrals.  The atmosphere was only one you would find in New York.  Marco and Sheila are from Italy and had 2 friends visiting from Italy that don't speak english.  However, these 2 Italian friends did live in Costa Rica for 3 years so they spoke spanish. But Marco and Sheila don't speak spanish so during dinner we had Spanish, Italian, and English going on amongst us talking about everything inbetween.  It was quite fascinating and there are actually quite a few similarities between Italian and Spanish I decided.  The meal was delicious.  Marco used to be the owner and head chef of a 5 star Italian restaurant in Manhatten.  As you can imagine the food was really good.  Culture is a huge factor in lifestyle and switching from El Salvador to Italy gave me a little for a loop but I loved it. 
Tuesday we had some really good lessons.  Something I love about teaching is all of the different perspectives and feedback you come across.  We went and visited a lady that was baptized some years ago but was never really taught the significance behind any of our values or teachings.  She is having a lot of persecution from family members and such.  We also went to go visit a recent convert that introduced us to her catholic mom. Just so you all know, I hear "Catholics make the best mormons."  It wouldn't surprise me at all.  We had a nice lunch of Chinese food and her mom seemed to warm up quite nicely.  We sang "Abide with me" and the spirit was there. After we went to look up 2 referrals both really funny and the other sisters were getting a kick out of me and my quirky ways.  Not going to lie I felt like a little fish out of water in the English Program.  So the first referral was really funny.  Her name is Star....she's white..... and we found her the Elders area book but she was in our area so we decided to go look for her.  We drove to and area of Hampton Bays that had lots of wood and this womens house was set back a little bit in the trees. We had to walk her long twisty driveway to get to the front porch. Sister Smedley is rather new in the mission of 2 transfers and so she was like oh no... what are we going to say? What's our objective.  So I just said.  Okay, well our objective is to get in the house because we are not going to convert them at their door.  We look for clues or something that will help them connect to what we are trying to share with them. etc. We couldn't find the exact house number so I knock on the door and some lady comes to the door.  I ask her if it was the right house and if her name is star.  I'm a little skeptical because the lady is probably 50 and has a blue streak and feathers in her gray/blonde hair, yet she answers affirmative to both. Great. well we found star.  Well I introduce us as the missionaries from the LDS chuch and she politely tells me that she is Buddhist and actually has 3 traditional Buddhist monks in her living room and that we are interupting their movie pajama party. Obviously thinking that she isn't going to let us in. Evidently they were watching a documentary about a Buddhist monk from Asia.  Ya you don't get that scenario walking down the streets of Utah do  you? lol.  Both my comps were a little bit in shock so i just went a long with it trying to think about what I had in common with this Buddhist lady.  So Thailand came to mind and I asked. "Oh cool, your buddhist. That must mean you have a buddhist room and shrine?"  She was a little surprised that a little utah girl like me would know all about that stuff so she said well of course.  I said "awesome.  I used to live in Thailand for a couple of months.  I loved the  Buddhist rooms can we see it?"  So she warmly invited us in.  Awesome cool, we are in. So she showed us a bunch of stuff then we started quizzing her on how she knew the missionaries and what she knew of our church.  She introduced us to her 3 buddhist monk friends. 2 of them were from the UK and then the other from Malaysia.  They were really traditional, shaved heads and tunics.  All that jazz.  Super nice women though and it was very fascinating.  Anyway their documentary movie really was going and they wanted to get back with her but she invited sister smedley over again.  Pretty sure sister Smedley was in shock as she was walking back to the car but it was really funny and quite the story.  She just said, Wow what are the chances that Thailand Buddha girl is with us when we decide to look up that referral.  That is inspired!  hahaha... i don't know about that but I dont believe in coincidences.  Only in New York...
The next referral had moved and it wasn't as big but it was still one of the better door approaches.  It was fun because after the door had opened and he told me the family had moved I just right on to try and tell him what we did as missionaries and interest him in the message of the gospel.  It went quite well.  We got his number and a return appointment for his family.  I noticed sister Smedley slide in a line about his statue of the fox in a kilt and ask him if he was scottish.  He replied, yes and then she went off on his connection there.  It was cool and I also decided to come home after exchanges and make a list of all the countries I have met people from in New York.  It was a quick list and I just did it off the top of my head but I made a list of 51 countries.  That doesn't happen in every mission now does it.  Werd. :)
Lets see what else?  We were able to go to the temple with Sister Nelson's recent convert Sandra Salinas on Saturday to do Baptisms for the dead. That was a very special experience.  It was a little  chaotic as always but it all worked out in the end.  It was special to be able to go there and do baptisms for the first time.  We had gone earlier in the week to help Sandra find family names to do at the family history center.  She was so excited to find out that a lot of the names of her family had already been done by someone else that is related to her in Peru.  She didnt' know that she had familiy that were members.  So she was excited.  Sandra has been through a lot and just like many she had many challenges and struggles placed on her as she was preparing to get baptized last transfer.  I loved going with her to the temple.  the Majano's came with us as well and we all had a great time.  I feel like the Majano's take care of us like their own kids.  They are so good to us.
Anyway love you all.  The other sisters are done so i g2g
Hermana Lewis

Monday, October 3, 2011

Conference was Sooooo Good!

Wow, so conference was SOOO good no?  I loved it so much!  President Monson is the man!  He just brings such joy to my soul as he talked about the temples and all the good stories.  He still reminds me of Grandpa Wells.  Mom, I totally agree with you about Elder Richardson's talk and teaching by and with the spirit.  I don't know if its just because I'm a missionary right now but I feel that they have talked so much about the importance of missionary work in General Conference.  All three general conferences I have been a part of in the mission they have put a huge stress on the importance of missionaries and that we need more capable, confident, and competent missionaries in the world.  It is a privilege to be a part of this work.  I really enjoyed the talk by that japanese guy and how he expressed such a deep love and gratitude for the missionaries that touched his life.  He may not have understood all the doctrine they were teaching but he felt of their sincere love for him.  I had a lot of questions written down and that I wanted gods opinion in regards to the mission, investigators, etc. All of them were answered during conference.  I enjoyed it immensely and God never ceases to amaze me in his little tender mercies.

Soraida came to church to listen to conference for the first time. She is the best I love her.  She had disappeared for a day last week and her member aunt called us up to know if we had seen her. She evidently had not been feeling good and ended up not coming home.  We eventually found her in the hospital. She had been diagnosed with a tumor.  Her tumor had been causing a lot of head aches and such.  It was all up in her sinus area.  So we got special permission from president to go and visit her in the hospital she was staying at outside of our area. She is home now and preparing for surgery this week.  Keep her in your prayers if you can. She is a really awesome lady from the D.R. that just came over a couple of months ago.  She is 20 and has a little baby boy that is still in the D.R.  The people from the D.R. are so loving and kind I just love the good energy and care free spirits that they have.  They believe in god with all their hearts and think he is in everything.  But she made time to come to conference on Saturday and I think that she quite enjoyed herself.

Will you pray for this awesome lady named Zulma?  She was baptized in her country back in the day and then when she came here she didn't find the church until recently.  We have been meeting with her but she works sundays.  Last week she called us and asked us to please pray for her that she will be able to find another job.  She really decided that it's really important to her to come back to church and that she is going to look for another job.  She asked that we would please pray for her to be successful in her efforts.

Also pray for our amazing amazing R.S. prez Hermana Duran.  She is legit and that woman takes the whole world on her shoulders.  Her husband is el obispo (the bishop) and we like to call her obispa.

Also pray for Wendy Hill and that she will come back to church and be a support for Soraida as she is investigating the church.

Well tonight should be fun. We have sister exchanges and since there are no other spanish speaking sisters out here on the island, I 'm doing exchanges with the English Hampton Bays sisters. Supa stoked!  I'm going to the English program for a day with sister Jewkes and Sister Smedlly.  While Sister Graves come to Brentwood with Sister Nelson for the day!  It's going to be a trip!  Woot Woot!.

Anyway, peace and blessings to you all!

Love Hermana Lewis