Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  How was it?!

My thanksgiving was really great thanks for asking. :)  Much better than last years thanksgiving when my trainer was sicker than a dog and had to stay in bed all day.  This year we went out and played Football at a turkey bowl.  Zones 7, 8, and 9 got together and we could invite any ward members or investigators.  It was really fun.  There are some new Missionaries on the island so it was fun to meet all of them. We visited some members and ate dinner with the Fuentes, and Lee family.  They took such good care of us.  Wendy Mendoza also invited us over. We are teaching her and her family right now. They are so cute. The two little girls that are 5 and 6 were so excited when we got there. Wendy said they had been running to the window every time a car drove past since 6pm waiting for us.  We didn't even have our appointment until 8pm with them.  Ashley and Rachel came running to the door when we knocked and just about tipped us over as they gave us hugs.  We played some games with them that they learned at FHE the week before at the Durans and some magic tricks. They also sent us home with lots of yummy food for the coming week.  They have a special place in my heart.  They also have a 13 year old boy named Anderson who was messing around on the computer while we were there. I glanced over at the screen and noticed he was messing around on and watching videos of members and such.  I asked him right before we left if there was anything we could do for him.  He looked around for a second and then caught me off guard by saying yes.  He then asked me if I could assign him a part in the BOM to read.  Naturally I was tickled pink to give him a reading assignment.  Why can't all my investigators be like that.  They still have a long way to go but they seem to be chugging along well.  I love them. 

It's been kind of cool to reflect on this last week.  Hermana Gray and I have had some really edifying and powerful lessons this week.  I've never had a companion that it's been so easy to teach with before.  She is so awesome.  It's been rewarding to me to reflect on how much I have learned since this time last year.  I love my mission and I feel so grateful to be a part of this work at this time in my life.  It is amazing to think all the people I have met, the language, culture, areas, and knowledge I have attained over the last year.   You never realize the day to day changes but time seems to speed up and you realize how much we can change as we look back and reflect on how circumstances have changed.  My testimony has grown a lot on how God has a plan for everyone and when you do your part its all in the bigger part of the plan.  I love it. 

 Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I still did our Thanksgiving tradition with the kernels of corn.  I did it with all the sisters as we ate pumpkin pie in our little pad and it we had so much fun.  I also did it in a couple of lessons.  We did it with Hermana Majano downstairs after she cooked for us on Saturday.  You should know it was really really awesome.  Sister Majano started crying as she gave thanks for the gospel and all that it has given her in her life.  Of course with every blessing comes opposition just as strong but the blessings always outweigh the bad in the end.  We all cried together and it was just so gratifying.  No wonder god commands us to have gratitude.

Our pad of sisters is really awesome.  Sister Simplicio is here now with Hermana Gray, Hermana Nay and I. I've decided I'm going to learn Portuguese.  Sister Simplicio said she would help me learn and what better opportunity than to have a native in the house? lol.  Oh and mom, I've already got a trip planned to Brazil to go see her. Do you want to come with me? She lives in Fortaleza which is up in the north part. Her father used to be the mission president in San Paublo a few years ago. She's pretty legit I love being with her.  Mom, we LOVED the package that you sent us. All of us sisters were so excited to open it we could barely finish planning.  lol.  All of the sisters were so touched that you had written their names individually on their little gifts.  I told them they were countdown calendars for Christmas.  Is that right?  I assumed as much.  You are the best mom!  Thanks for the Japanese socks and stationary!  They were very much enjoyed.

Hermana Lewis

Thanksgiving pics

1.  We had an FHE at Helen Tejada's last Monday.  These are her two kids.  I'm eating ice cream with Andrea.  These two little dominicans are crazy wild hooligans.  I love them tons.

2&3  This is with Hermano and Hermana Lee with Sister Gray.  We ate dinner with them for Thanksgiving.  Hermano Lee is in el obispado ( bishopbric).  Him and his wife came out teaching with us to teach the Zelaya's (denis and mirna).  It was pouring rain, so I took a pic of all of them.  It rains here a lot.  I don't know if I mentioned that.  I can't wait for the snow.
4. Sister Gray and I are modeling our Count down calendars that you chillens made with us from almond roca.  This is in our kitchen.
5.  This is a picture of football Thanksgiving morning with the missionaries

6.  YOu have the Hermanas modeling how tuff they are and are completely competent in the turkey bowl.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I am still in Central Islip

Well my dear friends and family how are you?  Life is good here in the good old Suffolk County New York.  I've decided the mission ages you. When I entered New York everyone told me I was way too young. They thought I was 18 or 19 and couldn't believe I was 21.  Now I'm 22 and people think I'm 25 at the youngest.  Usually they tell me I look 27 or 28!  Come on people!  I even had this old lady tell me a couple of transfers ago that I looked 30!!!!! I told her no, I was older so then she guessed 40!!! people come on this is not happening! Her 30 year old daughter was embarrassed for her mom and then kindly told her, "no ma she is only 22!" It was super funny but seriously the Avon lady just sold me some anti-aging cream like last week.  I need it.  I don't know what it is because honestly I have not gained any weight.  I weigh the same amount that I did in college about this time of year 2 years ago. But it much be stress, wrinkles, no bangs, longer hair,  or something. I have no idea. We'll just say it's because I"ve matured spiritually and it shows on the outside? bahahbaha, i don't know.  All I know is that it needs to stop. I don't want to get home and have people think my parents are my kids.  THat will be the day... not going to happen. Although I'm prretty sure they could do a triathalon easier than I could right now.

This week was good. Last week of transfers so naturally we got transfer calls Saturday.  Looks like president listened to my request and he is going to leave me here with sister gray for another transfer.  Sister Gray is a halariious and a little ball of energy always going. Sister Nay is staying but Sister Nelson will be leaving to Brooklyn.  She is going to Dyker to take over the missionary that sister Harry just trained.  Sister Harry is one of my companions from Flushing if you remember me talking about her.  I'll miss good sister Nelson.  She is the best! I'm pretty sure Hermana Simplicio is coming to take her place which should be good.  Hermana Simplicio is from Brazil so because portuguese is so close to Spanish she picked up spanish really easy.  She is really awesome.  I"m excited for the next transfer.  We should be moving pads too in the next couple of weeks.  The majano's just built a brand new apartment for us sisters on the side of the house so I'm excited to move in at some point.  Hopefully we will move in before december.  We will have to see.  Change is always exciting.

Yesterday was the primary program.  i was a little nervous for it but it turned out well. It really came together in the end. The little kids are so funny and just crack me up.  They sang so well and I was so happy to be a part of it.  It brightened up my day because the majority of our investigators that seemed to be doing so well backed out last minute and couldn't come to church.  W and R decided to work and so that was a bummer deal for everyone.  But do you want to hear what is so cute?  W and R have 3 kids.  A, A, and R. R and A are 5 and 6 and the two cutest little girls you could ever imagine.  Everytime we come over they always run to the door excitedly and shout " the hermanas are here! the hermanas are here" and greet us at the door with a big hug.  W says that the girls ask her everyday when the next time church is.  A is so sensitive to the spirit and is really close with her mom.  They have visited lots of churches in the past and she tells her mom exactly how she feels.  W told us that one time they went to a church where they were singing and "speaking in tongues" and A just looked at her mom and said mom, what are we doing here? this is crazy!"  So the fact that her kids really like our church really means a lot to W.  (it's because it's the true one ) :).  Anyway so we get a call from A the 13 year old boy and he asks us if we can find them a ride to church. His parents had gone to work last minute and him and his sister wanted to come to church.  He said his sisters really wanted to be a part of the program like they've been practicing for.  We were so tickled pink.  Of course we found them a ride and A and R did great in the program!  I was so happy!  This A kid is such a stud!  I want an older brother like him! So they came to church and it was really good.

THe program really pulled together nicely in the end.  The kids sang great and they were so excited to be on the stand.  I thought they behaved better than a lot of their teachers in the primary. Many of the members came up afterwards and told me how much they enjoyed the program.  The Lee family are some of my favorite members in the ward and Hermano lee is in the bishopbric.  he came up afterwards and told sister gray and I how much he enjoyed the program.  then he went on to say and ask if we remember being in the primary ourselves as kids.  WE told him yes. Honestly I don't remember much of the primary.  Just singing time and some of my favorite teachers that taught me and the way that they made me feel.  He then just said.  Exacto and looked at me with that look of,  think about how much influence you have made  on those kids and that they may not remember a lot of what they learn in primary but they will remember you and the spirit that taught them that these things were good for their life.  How true it is.  The Primary president gave a really great testimony at the end of the program about what a privilege it is to be parents of the the future generation of the church.  She talked about how the in the primary we teach correct principles and try to teach the scripture stories, however it is in the home that the children learn the gospel and it is through the parents efforts that the gospel is instilled in their souls.  It is a parents responsibility to nuture and help the testimony of their children bloom into a knowledge that will last them through the eternities.  It was really beautiful and I really liked it a lot. 

Sister gray and I went to the second class with A after sacrament.  It was also good.  Bishop taught the youth about our divine plan and timing that god has in all things.  He started it off with parents and their children.  There was a young woman in the crowd that made a comment I really liked.  She said, My father has always told me that I am an image of my parents.  I remember through my childhood always having that in the back of my head and sometimes when things would come up I would ask myself what my dad would do in the situation and I would act accordingly.  I knew that I was to act at least to the level that they were living.".

To take that a step further.  Yes that is so true.  We are images of our parents.  We can only expect our children to live to a level that we are willing to live.  As children we should have the mind set that we will accomplish what our parents have and one step more to create a more united and eternal family. I can't tell you how many times I see a mother be annoyed or disappointed with a behavior of her son or daughter and then 2 minutes later turn around and do the exact same thing on a whole new level that fits their lifestyle. mmmm... read 3 nephi 13.   mmmm... wonder who they learned it from... yeah. To work towards the great plan of happiness that god has prepared for us.  Our parents work to give us every opportunity.  Every parent deep down wants the best for their child, as human being we still have mistakes and sometimes don't have the capacity to everything we aspire but the thoughts are the desire to lead to actions, The actions of our lives eventually become our lifestyle. So on and so forth. The church provides a lot of structure for a family unit. Because god is god of coarse it is founded on principles that work, that give lasting results, and in the end people want to know what makes members of the church different.  They can see it as well as feel it. It's amazing.  the church is true, the book is blue, I love you, and hope you all have a wonderful week. 

Mom, thanks for the wonderful letters.  I received a postcard from Japan, I loved it. Thank you1

Hermana Lewis.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Letter from last week Mom was in Japanubject Noviembre hide details Nov 7 (8 days ago) Can you believe it's november friends? Where does the time go? Some fun things happened this week. I can't believe that this is all going into winter. God's really been blessing us in the work here. We finally have somewhat of a pool going and we had 2 families that came to church for the first time yesterday. They seemed to like it fair enough so hopefully they will keep coming. I felt like I was running around with my head cut yesterday like a chicken at church trying to get everthing and everyone accomodated. I just had to laugh when I met this new 7 year old girl in the primary who had just recently moved to new york. She had come to New York with her dad and they were members. I asked her where she was from. She told me she was from the United States. I told her great, what part. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, " the united states". So I tried rephrasing the question. ok so we live in New York in the united states, what state are you from. So the 7 year old girl politely corrected me and told me no... I live in new York, not the united states. I"m from the United States, not New York. So I just laughed and decided I was better off just asking her dad when I met him after church. - they are from Utah by the way. Sister Gray went to a baptism in Jamaica for a former investigator she had been teaching so we did splits. I stayed with sister Nay so that she could help me with the primary program and sister nelson went to the baptism. The baptism took place at woodside after Queens stake conference, so Hermana Nelson was able to say hi to everyone at Rego. Sister Gray said the baptism was so rewarding and just reminded her of why she was on the mission. This particular investigator had worked with so many misisonary's and it truely was another miracle in the work to see her finally come unto christ through baptism. She had to take a huge leap of faith to change her life so that she could take this step. What a beautiful thing. I was a little sad I didn't get to go back with sister Gray to say hi to everyone but so many good little miracles happened back here in Brentwood. So we are teaching these two crazy houses of wonderful people that we just barely found. Denis and Mirna are cousins about 24 or 25 and they decided to come to church with us on Sunday. I took sister Nay with me to their house. Sister Nay is companions with Sister Nelson right now and I call her the angel. She is so sweet, shy, and is about 6 ft. All the hispanics always comment on her height but she is pretty much like a super model. I asked the zelaya family how their week was and what their favorite part of the week was. They told sister Nay their favorite part of the week was when sister gray and I came over to teach them a "special" song. hahaha. I just about died of laughter remember the night before. We decided to start teaching them english a couple of times a week because they are newer in the states and want to learn. So anyway they were trying to learn the body so we taught them the song head shoulders knees and toes. They just laughed. But they thought it was really fun, evidently. I'm glad I could make their week. Wendy brought her 2 girls and boy with her to church as well as her neighbor Ada. I don't know why Rey her husband didn't come because he was home and it slightly concerned me but I hope he will come sometime soon. That would be good. Right? Right. So I took ashleigh and racheal with me to primary. They loved it. I told her that they need to come each sunday so that they can all be in the program at the end of the month. I'm so excited for everything. We got different cars today. All 4 of us have 2 identical cars. President asked that we trade cars so that all the sister had good four wheel drive cars for winter. He takes such good care of us. So we gave good old Dalila (ford fusion) away for a Subaru. Change is always fun and I"m going to be grateful for it when the snow hits. Did I tell you that it snowed for a little bit a couple of weeks ago? It was right before Halloween. It was crazy and it was super cold. We had a good lesson with our good investigotors teresa and David. They are so awesome. They were formers but never got baptized because they had not been married and couldn't make it to church. So we went by to meet them and we found out that they had just recently got married and that they were going to catholic church every sunday. Wow, so maybe who knows, they will be ready to accept the gospel now and make the changes in their life that they need to. Yeah! Well life never ceases to amaze me. You want to know another cool story? So we have this referral that we have been trying to contact forever! Their telephone doesn't work and every time we go by they are never home. So we decide to give it one last try. We pull up and it doesn't look like anyone is home so, sister gray and I decide to say a prayer that we will be able to contact them. Then in the midst of our prayer guess what happens? Lo and behold a car pulls up and guess who pulls up. The very people we are looking for. That is a quick answer to prayer if I have ever heard of one. It works out. We also had zone conference on Tuesday. President and the Ap's said some really powerful things. Always inspired. You know? They speak and its almost like they are speaking directly at you. Things that you know you have been more prompt about in the past but let slide because other people do it or other things push in front of it in the priority list. It's like they watch you and know the behind the scene thoughts or something. It was so cool! I loved every minute of it and it really did me some good. The sisters and I did a intermediate musical number and it turned out all right. anyway I love you all. I'm done for today. I get so sick of emailing peeps. No offense. Jenna, it's been a few months.... your due for a letter girl. Are you still allive? I think your friend Ari writes more than you do... that's .... well we won't say it. P.S. she is a very talented harpist. I'm giving you a major hint though chica. ;) If you couldn't tell... I miss you. I love hearin from my sista's. Mom, dad, have fun in Japan.... bring me something cool home. Maybe some hip jeans or something. I 'm sure you will find something cool. Mu

The Zone

Pday at the Mall

Eating bagels at Zone conference and a hug with Sister Nelson

Happenings in Central Islip

Last Week of Transfers

Well life is good. Mom, dad, I hope you are enjoying your trip in Japan.  What's the weather like over there right now? We had some new people of church yesterday which brightened up my day considering our baptismal commit for next week didn't show up for church which means he won't be getting baptized this transfer.  He is super awesome and if I get moved I will be super sad not to see any baptisms this transfer but hopefully there will be many more to come.  Everything happens for a reason and maybe he just needs some more time or his conversion just quite isn't there yet.  Just because you can baptize the person doesn't mean you should baptize the person.  Without the true conversion it's not going to do them much good in the future.  Anyway, I know that this is good and I know that God has a plan for everyone.  Me included.  Mission has definitely given me new definition for the word "patience". :)

Time is now flying by.  I blink and another transfer is over. I remember like yesterday when I was the youngest sister in the mission and now I'm the oldest spanish sister in the mission.  That is the weirdest thing in the whole world.  I don't know if I will have another transfer here in Brentwood or not.  I would have loved to have all these things.

Mom I've got some people for you to pray for. It's the Zelaya family.  Pray that their spouses will gain interest in the church and that we can have a marriage work out in this area.  That would be tight!   I would love to see a marriage happen on my mission here at some time point in the mission.  I've seen just about everything else.

I think sister Nelson is probably going to be leaving pretty soon.  I love that girl so much.  She is the missionary that has changed my life forever.  She is such a good example of faith and pure love.  Everyone she talks to she helps them to be them best selves.  Sometimes I wonder if I would have survived the mission w/o her lol.  I have 3 transfers left I think so I will probably leave this transfer and go to my last area.  Otherwise I will just stay here for one more and finish next transfer in my next area.  Life is good. i love it. 

Hermana Lewis.