Monday, March 26, 2012

Last Letter


See you in 2 days. We sisters had another baptism yesterday. It was a miracle. I'll tell you about it when I get home.


Monday, March 19, 2012

This is hermana Jasso and my favorite member in the whole wide world so we had to get a picture with her, Hermana Arevalo. Her son just recently finished his mission in Utah and so she said she is going to come visit utah soon. I told her she could visit whenever she would like.

Hermana Pena and me. She is the aunt of Oliver and Antonio, my first 2 baptisms. She says that they are doing good. They are back in Puerto Rico right now enjoying life. She said that Antonio has gone back to professional boxing and lost a lot of weight. She says that he takes his book of mormon with him to all his matches and reads it inbetween his matches. hahah. It was so good to see her.

Hermano Ovalle i saw last night at the concert. he says he will be in Utah on April 6th and he wants to come over for family dinner. I told him game on.

Last night we had a concert for the queens stake that some of the missionaries put together. We went with Charbyl and Marisa because they are such music lovers. It was fun for me because I saw a ton of people that I have not seen in ages and it was a good way to say goodbye to everyone. Everyone from Rego was there. It was fun because my spanish has imporoved so much since the last time I was there at the beginning of my mission. I saw that same columbian family i saw on exchanges with sister jasso and the mom always makes me feel like cloud nine becuase she calls me the paisa. Which is what they call colombians from the south? I can't remember which part but anyway she thinks I talk like a columbian which makes me feel good. She couldn't believe my parrents weren't even hispanic. Too bad my spanish won't last me. I don't know how im going to keep it up but I'm going to enjoy it while i can. lol. Anyway it was really good to see everyone. These are some photo's I took with people last night.

This is after Charbyl's baptism. Hermana Fifeild, Hermana Simplicio, and Hermana harry all got permission to come back and see his baptism. He was so excited to see all of the sist

Charbyl's wife Marisa. She has been a member for a long time but recently married Charbyl about a year ago. She was so happy on Saturday and she just hugged me after the baptism crying. She is great. Love her much.

This is Charbyl Martinez and Hermana Alvarado, me, and Hermano Bonafacio Alferez that baptized Charbyl.

This is when Hermana Alvardo and I got to go to the temple to do baptisms with the ward last Friday. We took our recent converts A and Hermano M. It was so great!

Miracles of miracles

March 19, 2012
Ok so I sent some photos and as you can guess C got baptized!  Miracles of miracles! I'm so happy for him and so many miracles took place.  I just want to thank you for all your prayers and good energy you sent my way. I felt them and I know it was due to the love and prayers of each one of you. 

 Dad, I swear C is Mitchell reincarnated in Hispanic form. Not that we believe in reincarnation. lol. It is so weird.

Anyway C got his act together and he started reading in the Book of Mormon. That book does miracles and it has power.  I love it. about 2 weeks ago I was really praying a lot because I knew C had the desire to be baptized but I wasn't sure if he had really had that change of heart.  We were going over the interview questions with him to see what we still needed to teach.  We came to the question about repentance.  He gave a beautiful explanation of how repentance means taking off the old, leaving it behind, and changing to put on the new.  We asked him if he had felt like he had repented.  He said yes.  It got quiet and then C began to weep.  He bore a powerful testimony about the cleansing power of the atonement and all of us felt the spirit.  We all were in tears by the end of the visit.  I know that god hears my prayers and that he answers them in his own time.  Sometimes I forget I don't have as much to do with their conversion as much as I think I do.  Their conversion is in Christ and as they prepare their hearts god is able to penetrate their hearts. 

The whole ward showed up for C's baptism on Sunday.  His wife baked 100 empanadas home made.  They were delicious.  She is from Argentina.  C was really touched with all the support from the members and thanked them during his testimony in the baptism.  he talked about how he didn't have family or friends to call his own here in the states.  He was crying as he came up from the font.  Hermano A is the member that baptized him.  This man is one of the most spiritual men I have ever met in my life.  How many 86 year olds do that?  C chose wisely.  Hermano A has shared many personal, spiritual experience with us sisters that are just inspiring.  I don't think Hermano A will know Christ any better after the veil than he already does now.  He is a man endowed with power.

Anyway, thanks again for all your prayers.  It has been a week of miracles.  I love you all and I'm excited to see you.  Pray that I keep going strong and that by some miracle we can find someone to baptize this week :)  If not the baptism with C was pretty awesome.  Can't get much better than that. :)

Love you!

Hermana Lewis

The Powerful Book of Mormon

March 12, 2012

Well Mom/Jael that's exciting that you are in Cali.  I am excited for you. Play hard visit the beach and go swimming for me okay? :)

I had a really great week with lots of good experiences.  I had the opportunity to go to Rego on exchanges with sister Jasso on Monday and it was one of the best exchanges I have ever been on. I absolutely loved it and it was really exciting to be back in Rego.  Hermana Jasso and I were laughing all night about all the funny things that had happened to us in the beginning of our mission when were together.  It's fun to look back on how much we've changed and how much we have grown.  It was fun for me to see some of the members.  I even got to go to our favorite Thai restaurant and speak Thai to the people at the restaurant.  Mom I ate som dom and it was so good!!   Best papaya salad I've had in the states. Pretty darn authentic, and a Spanish member took us sisters so it made it even better because we didn't have to pay. ha!

Friday night we had the great privilege of going to do baptisms for the dead with the ward.  We went with Hermano M and A for their first times.  it was really special and it was so cool for me to see how much they have grown.  Hermano M got to go do baptisms as well and he took his younger daughter.  The thing I like about his wife is that even though she doesn't want to get baptized, she keeps going to church every week and she is way involved in the ward.  She was waiting for us after the temple so that she could greet her family.  One day I know she will walk into the temple with them.  That will be a great day when they all get sealed as a family.  I am especially proud of A and all of the sacrifices he has made because of his faith.  He never had some crazy dream or miraculous experience where God told him to get baptized but he acted off the very initial feelings he had when he started reading the Book of Mormon.  He never doubted because of  his great faith.  He is passing his own trials but the fact that he is choosing to overcome them rather than weigh him down is just incredible to me.  I'm so so happy for him. 

You know I've been thinking a lot of concerns of investigators and people that I have come in contact with on my mission.  It doesn't matter what knowledge they have in the church or how long they spend in the church in the end the most important factor in a person’s conversion is the Holy Ghost.  If an investigator does not let the spirit work in their souls and does acknowledge it for what it is, they will never have a lasting conversion.  The spirit is what it is.  It’s never going to change and it's never going to come about in a different way.  The spirit has a purifying effect and has a way of healing us spiritually.

As people read the book of Mormon it testifies of Jesus Christ and it can't help but help you feel better.  The spirit will ALWAYS be a more powerful than facts but I still think that these facts are interesting about the Book of Mormon as the word of God and that it was translated by a prophet of God.  These are some conditions I think are interesting to think about that would have to be in place in order for someone to produce a similar writing.

1. They would have to start this project between the ages of twenty-three and twenty-four years.
2. They cannot be a college graduate, or even a high school graduate.  In fact, they are allowed to have only three years of formal schooling.
3. What they write must be based upon what they know, without any research or background investigations permitted.
4. They would need to write a book with 239 chapters: 54 about war, 21 of history, 55 of prophecy and its fulfillment, 71 of gospel doctrine, 17 about missionaries, and 21 concerning the mission and sayings of Jesus Christ.
5. They would be writing a history of an ancient people in a distant land, covering the period from 600 B.C. to A.D. 421
6. They need to include in the book the history and writings of 2 tribes of people and separate leaders and customs, and would need to describe and carefully follow a detailed history of nations and peoples that nobody has ever heard of before.
7. Their writings should describe the religious and social culture, the economy, and the politics of both nations.
8. they must include in the history the gospel of Jesus Christ and the model of Christian life as it applies both in ancient and modern times.
9. Once they begin this 1000 year book of history and doctrine they mush finish it within eighty days. The copy dictated to the scribe will be the final draft, with no revisions or updates necessary.
10. They would have to announce that the writings are not fiction but are truth.  They would claim these are sacred writings of history.
11. When they have finished the writings they must not make any changes in the text.
12. The writing would fulfill prophecies from the Bible with this book. satisfying both the words and intent given in these prophecies: Isaiah 29:24, 11-14, Ezekiel 37;18-21, Psalms 85:10-11 john 10:16 etc.
13. They must publish this book with the intention of spreading it to every nation, tribe, people and tongue.
14. They must include in the writings a promise.  If people read, meditate, and pray about he book, they can know that it is true by the power of the Holy Ghost.
15. During the next 170 years, millions of readers will testify that they know this book is true because they followed the promise and received their answer by the power of the Holy Ghost.
16. Thousands of great men and women, even intellectual giants and scholars, must become disciples of the book, even to the point of giving their lives for it.
17. The descriptions of the culture and people of these civilizations must include the manner of their written and spoken language, the types of buildings, geographic locations, tools, building materials used, and other items that are were a part of their society.
18. There cannot by any inaccuracies in the history.
19. They cannot make any absurd declarations, or state as fact anything impossible, contradictory, or not in keeping with the historical setting.
20. They must invite expert scholars and all types of people to examine the writing and try to prove its fraudulence. The book must confound these experts.
21. Research, scientific evidence, and discoveries in archeology and anthropology for the next 170 years need to prove that the history is absolutely true., even to the point that descriptions accurately depict the clothing, streets, and weapons of war that this people constructed in ancient times.
22. Evidence of the fulfillment of both external and internal prophecies must occur during the next 170 years
23. 3 witnesses, honest and credible, must testify to the world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the plates from which this book was written.
24. 8 witnesses must testify that they saw and touched the plates that this translation came from in full daylight.
25. The first three witnesses and the other eight witnesses must testify of the book not for pay but for personal sacrifice; they will affirm their testimonies despite general disbelief and persecution, until the day they die.
26. Someone must finance the publication of the book, and h must know that he will receive no pay or profit for his assistance. The book must be sold at or below the cost of production.
27. They must tell the world that the history they have translated was written on gold plates, at a time when nobody knew that ancient people wrote on such material. It was not be until 100 years later that other ancient records are found to be written on gold plates.
28. Finally after enduring many trials and persecutions for nearly twenty years after writing this book, they must voluntarily give their life as a testimony to the truthfulness of the book and its teaching.

Even with all these situations above until people accept a witness from the spirit it will not be enough.

Former prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said in April 1977 concerning Joseph Smith.

"It is a constantly recurring mystery to me how some people speak with admiration for the Church and its work, while at the same time disdaining him through whom, as a servant of the Lord, came the framework of all that the Church is... of all that it stands for.  They would pluck the fruit from the tree while cutting off the root from which it grows."

One of my dear friends gave me this testimony of the Book of Mormon and I just love it. 

This is another Testament of Jesus Christ.  It is scripture and contains the words of God, who is our Heavenly Father.  Far more precious than any of mans inventions, I know this Book contains eternal truth that has the answers to our biggest questions, and the key to a higher level of awareness and understanding.  The principles and doctrine in this Book are without exception the most powerful and important learning a person can obtain which must only come with the aid of that loving heavenly Father.   I know this Book is God’s word, and its affected me in a tremendous way.  The simple truth that this book is truly an ancient history and truly god's work means so much!  It means that there really is a God!  It means that he loves us! He wants us to be happy and that the sore spots in life will all be only temporary.  It means that Jesus Christ is God's own son and it means that he and his gospel have provided a way for us to become completely sanctified and perfected and that our mortal weaknesses and ungodliness are temporary too.  It means that in love for us, our heavenly Father gives us specific guidance and current instruction by sending prophets and that the window of revelation is always open. What a privilege and a blessing it has been for me to have been raised with the light of those simple, powerful, truths shining around me.  I know I am a child of the almighty God, that he loves me, and he wants me to grow.  I know there is a great purpose in life, and I know that there is a more meaningful existence after this one.  An existence made possible by our Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I too bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is true.  It is a testament of Jesus Christ that bears witness that Jesus is the Savior of the world.  He is the only way that we can receive eternal life.  I know Joseph Smith is prophet of God.  This is Christ's church and it will go to all corners of the earth and every man shall have the opportunity to accept the word, it is our decision to accept the invitation that Christ offers to every one of us.

Love you much.  Pray a lot for me these next couple of weeks!  See you soon!

Love Hermana Lewis

Monday, March 5, 2012

Three to go!

March 5, 2012

So sorry I'm apologizing in advance.  I have 30 minutes to get to Woodside and it takes me 20 to get there so I hope that you will forgive me ahead of time.  This is going to be short because it took me some time to get through my emails.

This week was a little better we were very fortunate to teach more lessons this last week than have been taught here in the area in a long time.  We found some new people after dropping everyone.  Suzi and Lisette are officially dropped. No news from Kati and Charbyl still has some work but he's a work in progress.  I still believe in miracles :)  We were fortunate to get into some new houses and found some good potentials to start working with.

I have exchanges tonight with the sisters.  Sister Alvarado is staying in our area and I will be going into Rego for exchanges.  I'm super excited.  I think it will be good closure for me.  I'm going to be serving with my first born Hija Hermana Jasso so I'm really excited to be back in our training area together working once again.  It should be fun.  I think it’s so ironic how everything works out perfectly. She's actually been training for the last 3 transfers there and there is a good chance she could have 5 transfers there like me which is very rare for missionaries.  I'm really excited to go back to Rego and see how much my perspective has changed since last time I was there.   It's kind of surreal to think I started my mission there yesterday.  It feels like yesterday and now I'm going to back in Utah in 3 ish weeks. That's so weird.  I’m trying not to think about it.

Anyway I really appreciate all your prayers.  I feel them and I really appreciate it.  I love you all.  I'm well.

Love Hermana Lewis

Friday, March 2, 2012

Adivinanza: una viejita con un solo diente y hace correr a toda la gente

Feb 27

So what do you think the answer is. What does the title of the email describe?  The answer is..... la campana! Great! nice work.

Anyway I can't believe we are into another week!  This week was really hard but with every hard experience comes an equal miracle story so this week I'm waiting for the miracles.  First hard part was that President called Tuesday morning to tell Hermana Tapia that she was going to be leaving us.  He told her to pack her bags and that she would be getting midnighted to Bensenhurst.  We were so sad to lose her!  I really loved having her around she always kept Hermana Alvarado and I in good spirits.  She also served as a good translator in times of desperate need lol.  Hermana Alvarado and I are now learning patience understanding the others foreign language.  jajajaja.  But it's all good.  So ya, President took sister Tapia out and sent her to Brooklyn.  Not only that but she is now serving in the English program which she was a little nervous about.  It's kind of cool that they can take the native speakers and put them interchangeably in the English and Spanish programs.  Hermana Tapia is going to rock it there.

Ok update on the investigators: 
So I was getting quite excited for all the wonderful things that were happening here in Richmond Hill. I was thinking its going to be a wonderful way to finish my mission. We are going to be baptizing machines.  I'm going to hit my numbers as far as goals I've set and its going to be dandy.  We had 4 commits and several investigators that were really progressing but this week I don't know what happened it all kind of went to pot.  Things that I had no control over and I was just thinking to myself why does God give people agency?!  Bah!  Oh well life is moving on.

Kati was progressing along really nicely.  Her baptismal interview was coming up this following week.  We taught her everything and she had excepted everything and making big changes in her life.  She loved the way she was feeling.  She was telling us the blessings she was seeing as she started living the commandments.  When she received her witness of the Book of Mormon she almost cried because the spirit was so strong.  She told us with the most tender and grateful way that she knew it was true. She had some family pressure that was building up because she wanted to change religions but nothing she couldn’t  handle. She was reading every day, coming to church, and we were teaching her 4 or 5 times a week.  She was doing great.  And then the same morning of Hermana Tapia's departure we wake up to a text that says “Hermanas, I'm sorry but I never want you to come over again.  I'm sick of the problems with my mom and I've decided I don’t want to make the changes in my life right now.  I'll keep reading the book but I'm not going to talk to you again until I'm truly ready”. And that was that.  I told her she needed to include God in hasty decisions like that and that we would also be praying for her; that we would know how to help her.  She said she was praying but that she would know when she wanted to get baptized for reals. These people cannot understand what they are actually giving up. She was the one that prayed to God to find  a way that she could find the things he wanted her to do.  If people really understood the principles of baptism they would be fighting each other to be getting in that font.  When good investigators drop you as missionaries its worse than a break up man.  I'm telling you that was a rough morning and I just had to go out and work to try and forget about it.  So Kati has officially dropped until the Lord tells me to go back and break down the door. lol.   I remember when I left on my mission and I thought my problem was going to be people not believing the divine message we share.  It's quite the opposite.  The majority of people feel the reality of the message we share but choose not to live it because it’s easier to live the life of sin they are already living.  We can apply that to our own lives.  The majority of us know what we should and shouldn’t be doing. We know what is good and not good for us.  I have Never ever asked anyone to do something in my mission that would not take them to bigger and better places in life.  Yet change is hard and just like those that won't come unto Christ to receive salvation, there are those who would rather live in sin and find happiness for small moments than find the happiness that will give them eternal life.

Suzi and Lisette are the 2 girls we committed last week.  I felt like they were so good but they just won't make the time to meet with us which will probably become another drop.  they've already come to church twice and they have desire, but they  have called and canceled our appointment this week.  We had an awesome lesson with Lisette.  She called us because she was in a pickle because her expenses are building up and she didn't know what to do.  We had this sweet lesson on how God offers us something much better than anything of the world.  She was just sobbing at the end offered the most sincere prayer. She called us later to tell us how much better she felt.  She really felt the spirit I know she did.  She also says that she has been reading and knows the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.  The next morning she called us to tell us that someone had called her to offer her the money she was looking for.  So that was a tender mercy and a miracle of the Lord.  When we do our part, God always holds true and does his part. We just have to obey the commandments.

Charbyl is good.  He hasn't been reading in the Book of Mormon and so it was amazing to see how he had taken a turn for the worse.  His perspective and way he interacts in the lesson is completely different when he reads.  I walked into the house and I knew before we started that he hadn't read.  This Book of Mormon is amazing!  It's incredible and no false prophet could have made it up.  I know the Book of Mormon is crucial in the conversion of a soul.  It is a testament of Christ and it is the evidence of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  We recommitted Charbyl to read and he did come to church which is a good sign.  Keep them in your prayers.

We also had this cute little lady show up to church with her 3 kids. She is a referral from a member.  She is really overwhelmed with being a single mom in New York. She is really sweet though and we had the chance to meet with her yesterday.  She has good potential so I hope that she continues to progress.

Our district won the regions for the Preach my Gospel Bowl this last week.  Hermana Alvarado is a champ. She is an incredible teacher and I feel so lucky to be working alongside of her this transfer.  She is amazing.  One of the things I love most about serving a mission is all the people that I get to meet and work alongside of.  I learn so much from my comps, members, converts, and investigators.  There is always more good to a person than anything else.  Anyway i g2g Hermana Alvarado is waiting. I love you much! Have a wonderful week.

Hermana Lewis.

So when are we coming back to New York mom?  Jaci you know you want to come with us :)