Monday, December 12, 2011

Feliz Navidad

December 12, 2011
Wow December is flying by yet then again it always does.  We have some REALLY awesome stuff cooking up here in good old Brentwood so send all your faith and prayers this way.  :)  I'm hoping next week I will have lots of cool stories to tell you.  Pues, I have lots of cool exciting stories to tell you from this week too.

This week we made cookies for Ray because he didn't drink coffee all week long!  Yeah!  He told us in the beginning he didn't think he was going to be able to do it but little by little he is proving he can do a lot more than he thinks he can.  So we made him home made Oreos on his request.  So we went to go pick up the stuff on an odd day.  I just wanted to get in and out but as always sister gray is so good and is constantly talking and contacting people even in stores and such.  So, we were walking out of the store and there was a 19 year old young man taking donations for a program he was in.  I rushed by to get to the car and then reached the car only to realize sister gray was still back talking to the boy.  So naturally, I run back to be with my comp. She has started in on a contact message and was trying to get his info to go and teach him and his family.  It ends up that this boy has been through a lot.  Granted I live in an area which isn't your cozy little Murray UT and so most people grow up thinking that it's "normal".  Anyway this boy had grown up in the streets of Long Island and had started drug dealing at age 11 to bring in a little extra money.Shortly after that had started using some of his own products and became subject to his addictions.  He was thrown from program to program in and out of Jail and very rebellious not wanting anything to do with anyone or God. He talked about how alone he was and how upset and frusterated he felt inside.  He related how after one hard night in jail after being kicked out and having trial the next day to determine his sentence he finally knelt down in prayer.  He poured out his soul for hours and prayed to know if there really was a god in heaven and if he really was there to get him out of there and he would dedicate his life to God.  He related a little bit of his spiritual experience and how he will never deny God again. Over and over he prayed until he went to court the next morning.  The judge released him the next morning and sent him to the program that he was now currently taking donations for which is a Christian based program that teaches things centered upon God and Christ.  He had been there for about 5 months.  I just kind of thought about that and how different my circumstances were at 11 years old.  I think of Symbria and I can't even imagine her going through the things that this young man had participated in at such a young age.  It really gives me a deep sense of gratitude.  At the same time I think its amazing at how the Lord's hand plays a role in each of our lives and he will reach out for us whenever we look to him.  This young man had found a truth that will help him change the rest of his life.  God gives us the tools and knowledge that we need for the circumstance and as we use that well he chooses to expand and give us more.  This young man found God, is increasing his faith, now he has met the LDS missionaries that gave him a book of mormon.  We bore a powerful testimony of how the Book of Mormon contains the power to change lives, bring us closer to the savior, and help us understand the great plan of Salvation.  He was so excited and I am excited for him to read it. 

All of the missionaries in Long Island have been practicing the last couple of weekends to perform and put on a Christmas Devotional.  It is kind of like our Christmas Present for the members, investigators, and leaders here in New York.  I know I'm a  little bias but I really feel like I have the Best mission in the entire world.  Obviously for more reasons than just one but one of those is because of the high caliber of missionaries that I've found here.  These missionaries have some serious talent and of course like everything else in the mission when you use it to build up God's kingdom, God magnifies it a hundred fold.  So this program was pretty spectacular last night.  Elder Josh Wolfe was there and he was singing in the choir.  I actually bump into him a lot more than I thought I would.  He is currently serving in the neighboring zone and so he is at activities and such.  I see him now and again.  President and Sister Nelson came to support us missionaries last night.  All the other leaders and such went and sat by their families to enjoy the program but President and Sister Nelson came up and sat on the stage with us.  I liked it because to me it was kind of like they were saying you are our family.  We are her in the journey with you.  It was all just really nice.  We probably had 30-40 missionaries put on that program last night and the spirit really was just so strong. I was asked to play a special violin part for Away in a manger and it was just gorgeous.  Hermana Gray sang a solo and then Elder Kim and Elder Hall played the piano and organ to go along with it. Mom some of the elders introduced me to a website that i think you would really like. All of the music is free and that is where I got the arrangement of away in a manger.  It turned out really nice. You should take a look at it.  Elder Kim is from China and he let me borrow his concert violin.  I felt privileged to have a few thousand grand resting on my shoulder.  It was really nice of him to let me borrow it for a night.  I had several parents come up after the show and introduce me to their children and tell me their son/daughter also played violin.  It made me think back to the days when my mom would take me to a concert and then tell the violinist of the show that someday i was going to be performing numbers like them. We had some investigators come which made it all worth it.  The place was packed all the way to the back of overflow.  We had a few people on the stage.  All 4 of us sisters were on a spiritual high last night driving home.  It definitely was a night to remember.

We had some new faces at church yesterday. We had a new family that we have been teaching all come to church!  WE knocked into them  a couple of weeks ago and it ends up that while we were at church with them a member came up and started talking to them like from times of old.  I guess they are family and haven't seen each other in a long time. Weird no?  Small world.  We also found 2 new investigators.  They are 18 and 21 years old.  They live in the upstairs part of the house of a referral that another investigator gave to us.  It ends up that their mom is a long lost member of the church from back in the day.  It was kind of funny because the two girls invited us in and then we hear in the middle of our beginning of our conversation, "SOY CATOLICA!" come from the kitchen.  I guess the mom was in the kitchen listening to us and was telling us that she was catholic.  that's what they all say. lol.  Anyway we invite her to come in and sit with us but she politely says no.  Then a little ways into the lesson she pokes her head in and asks, "ustedes son Mormones?"  Which means are you the Mormons? we told her yes and then she says oh I used to go to your church all the time in the DR.  I asked her if she ever talked to to the missionaries over there.  She said of course!  Then I got the gold winning question and asked her well did you ever get baptized over there?  She looked at me for a second like if she wanted to really tell me the truth and then admitted, yes I was baptized over there!  Oh snap this lady's a member!  Bahahahha. And she thought she was catholic.  She can't fool us!.... Anyway so we are going to try to activate her and baptize her daughters. The lesson went really well.  Liony the younger daughter explained how her sister and her used to be Jehovah witness but didn't agree with a lot of their doctrine so they got out.  We explained to her the restoration and why there are so many churches.  She accepted a soft baptismal commit and in the closing prayers she says, "thank you for sending the hermanas to bring me the truth that I've always been looking for."  OH SNAP!  Too legit to quit now!  Right?  Ya I know.  She so going down-with the lords help :)

It was a really good week.  We also stopped by to visit this referral of a member that just returned to her country in Puerto Rico. Ana is the referral and from Panama.  She hasn't been returning our phone calls but she is pretty legit.  She is a sweet heart and has a lot of faith in Jesus Christ but just doesn't quite get it yet. She has a 23 year old son that means more to her than  life itself.  She knows that we sisters are about the same age and she just can't quite grasp our mission life.  She doesn't think she could let her son go to some foreign land for a couple of years where she could only talk to him 2 times a year.  She can't understand how a church so centered on families could do that to their children and parents.  She also thinks that we are so young and beautiful, if we don't go out and "live our lives to the fullest" we might have regrets looking back on life.  She just didn't want us to "miss out" on any opportunities.  Man does this lady have a weird way of thinking....  I mean I get it but she has no idea what she is saying.  I could think of no better way to live my life to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity than to be serving a mission in New York in Long Island city.  There just is no better thing out there.  I have never felt so happy or rewarded in all my life.  Is it hard? Yes. Is it discouraging at times? YEs. Do I meet crazy people? Yes. Did I make sacrifices to be here? Yes.  Is it worth it? Completely and fully.  I just want to give a special thanks to all those parents out there that have sons or daughters serving full time missions right now.  We are on the Lords errand. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life and I feel like I had a pretty good life before I came on the mission.  It's hard for me to have thought how it could get any better. On my mission I do miss my family to Answer Ana's question but i do know that I have come to love and appreciate my parents and family in a way that I never have before.  If it is a sacrifice for us think of how much greater the love of our father was when he sacrificed his only begotten son in our behalf.  I know that each Worthy missionary that decides to give their whole heart and soul to God for the very short time that they are here has a change of heart that will affect many generations to come.  I know that missionaries that come and serve touch many lives in a way that no other person could and as a family you receive blessings in way that you never have before.  I know this is the true church. I know that god is a god of miracles.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  Conversion to Christ is beautiful thing.  I love you all very much and I hope you have a great week.

Lots of fun stuff.  Didn't you say Hermana Cowley comes home this week?  Weird... well give her my love and a big hug and a kiss.  Let her know that I'm proud of her and that she means the world to me.  Best of luck this week friends.

I love you all very much. Have a great week.

Love hermana Lewis

Hey mom!  I just want to thank you for all you do for me.  You have been such a dear faithful support for me in the mission.  I love the letters you send me.

Hey mom, I was just thinking I really want to get the majano's(that we live with) and one other family that we are teaching a gift for christmas. I was thinking like a picture of christ/temple or something like that.  What do you think?  Do y ou have any other ideas?

Anyway let me know what you think.  Am  i including enough details in my emails? Are they a good length for you? Not too long?  Is there anything you want me to write about in particular? Sorry the grammer is bad.  I read it and want to die sometimes.  Did I really go to school?  I 'm just going to blame it on the spanish. lol.

Anyway just let me know. Love you

Hermana Lewis

Hey this is a photo from after the fireside last night with President/Sister Nelson and the other missionaries.  It was a lot of fun.  Can you find me? I'm in the middle.  There aren't very many sisters to choose from.

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