FIRST BAPTISM!

June 17, 2013

FIRST BAPTISM!

I feel like I start out every email like this, but WOW! about this week. Also, we’re halfway through this transfer…where does my life go?

But seriously, Heavenly Father is blessing us so much. SO MUCH. And he sure loves us and trusts us. And he loves this people. We found proof of this all on Tuesday. The alarm didn’t go off that morning (okay it didn’t go off after I hit snooze at 6:15) and we woke up 23 MINUTES LATE. We were devastated, and immediately jumped out of bed and onto our knees. We had a huge day planned for us and we did not need disobedience getting in the way of our plans. I pleaded for forgiveness from Heavenly Father [it’s amazing the things you feel guilty about on a mission] and as I stood up, I felt that guilt lifted from me. We had an incredible lesson with Brad and his mother-in-law, Elida, about the Restoration and the Spirit was so strong. I knew Heavenly Father had forgiven us.

Well, THEN lunchtime came around and we were 10ish minutes late getting out of the house. It seemed like everything was going wrong, and we were forgetting things left and right. We prayed for forgiveness [again] before our next lesson. And we had one of the most amazing and productive afternoons I have ever had in my life. 5 LESSONS BEFORE DINNER. And the Spirit was so strong in every single one. It seemed like we were right where we were supposed to be each second. Like the Lord was literally steering our bikes from place to place. We were so happy going from lesson to lesson, excited to share our message and find more people.

That’s when I knew. Heavenly Father is so aware of us. He LOVES us. And, He trusts us with his children here. He knows that we want nothing more than to be good missionaries and instruments in his hands and so despite our mistakes, he forgives us and allows us to move forward. He knows where our heart is. And my heart is definitely in this work!

It feels like all our hard work, prayers, and fasting are paying off because we have families literally falling right into our laps.  Families that are so ready for this Gospel. People that have been prepared for years. And we are meeting them left and right!

It’s amazing how many people we are teaching and that are actually progressing. Weekly planning was absolutely crazy trying to organize it all. But it’s so worth it. There’s no better feeling than being overwhelmed with blessings.

Also…I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM YESTERDAY!!! Sweet Agustine was baptized and the whole thing was perfect. All 8 hours of being in the church building were so worth it. His mom and 2 brothers came to church to support him and mentioned that they want to keep coming after that! The branch really stepped up and helped out during the baptism and even provided lunch after!

The Spirit was so strong, and I am just blown away by how smoothly the whole thing went. So sweet little Augustine Morales is my first convert to the church. Noe came to the baptism as well and we’ve been working a lot with him. He was interviewed yesterday and is working toward being baptized next week. He says he’s still a little nervous but he feels a lot more calm about it than he did before. He has such a strong testimony and we are so proud of him!

I can’t even explain how blessed we have felt. I feel like there isn’t a sacrifice out here. It’s so fun, and every day brings a new miracle. This work makes me so happy and I love these people with my whole heart. And honestly, if I stayed in this one branch my entire mission, I would be ecstatic. We have such a clear vision of how this area can be and we want to see it through! That must be the hardest part about a mission…leaving areas. I really feel like we’re finding the people we’ve been sent here to find and it’s such an incredible feeling. People know us and love us and we know and love them. I’m currently in the process of trying to hint to president that I don’t want to leave! But, I’ll go where the Lord wants me.

For now, I’m going to enjoy every second I can with my amazing companion.

The field is white.

con todo mi corazon,

Hermana Lewis

Our FIRST BAPTISM!  Hermana Larsen, Augustine, and Hermana Lewis - June 16, 2013

Our FIRST BAPTISM! Hermana Larsen, Augustine, and Hermana Lewis – June 16, 2013

Hermana Lewis and Augustine.... first baptism! June 16, 2013

Hermana Lewis and Augustine…. first baptism! June 16, 2013

Love this family! Augustine with his mom, April, and brothers. Javier and Wakin.

Love this family!
Augustine with his mom, April, and brothers. Javier and Wakin.

Augustine, his mom, April, brothers, Javier and Wakin, Hermanas Larsen and Lewis.

Augustine, his mom, April, brothers, Javier and Wakin, Hermanas Larsen and Lewis.

Our 50th attempt at a zone picture... fail!

Our 50th attempt at a zone picture!

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A Sneak Peak into my Journal

June 10, 2013

There’s a lot that happened this week and I don’t want to forget it all so I’m going to try to just type up a few journal entries from the last couple days. We’ll see how this goes!

Martes, el 4 de Junio, 2013

Hermana Larsen and I just went through all our first sentences for our journal entries and they’re all along the lines of : “Wow! Today was amazing!” or “I’m so exhausted” or “I love being a missionary!” We were cracking up at ourselves, reading them all in the cheesiest voices we could come up with. It’s been like two seconds in the field, and I’m already a cheesy sister mish. It’s fine. But really we were so blessed today. This day was just led by the Spirit, and I’m just in spiritual shock is all! After lunch we went to go contact a couple of Victor’s references in Bowling Green. After knocking a couple houses, we finally found Brad and Olivia.

Actually, we met Olivia’s mom, Elina, first. Brad walked into the back as we were talking to Elina, and I thought, “He’s not going to care about this, but Elina seems interested so we’ll just teach her.” But the Spirit led us to keep talking and next thing we know, we are on the couch inside introducing the Book of Mormon to Brad, Olivia, and Elina. I honestly have no clue how we got there, but definitely not complaining. Brad didn’t seem to have interest until we asked if they had any questions. He just started talking about how there are so many churches and they all claim to be true. We knew he needed to hear the Restoration, but we didn’t want to overwhelm them because it’s a difficult concept sometimes, so we told him we would come back and talk about it next time. We asked them if they pray as a family, and he answered, “No…” and looked at Olivia, “but we need to.” We feel like they have been really prepared, and we are just in love with their cute family! They just had a baby together, and she is only a month old and so perfect! I am so excited to go back!!

Then we went by to see Perla who is about to POP [she’s due this week she said!] and told her we would come back after she’s had the baby and is more settled in. She told us she wants to come to church as soon as things calm down, which is awesome! She has the sweetest soul, I just love her!

I had a feeling we should follow up with Maria, and when we pulled up she came right outside and told us to sit. She told us she went to find the church [for Sunday] and has been reading the Book of Mormon. Wow. We didn’t even know what to do, she’s so ready! Like what investigator keeps commitments before we even extend them? Such a sweetheart.

Renaldo worked tonight so we couldn’t teach that family, but we felt we needed to see Jorge because he didn’t come to church Sunday. As we knocked on his door, his mom, Susana, and sister, Victoria, pulled up. We talked to them for awhile and it was perfect. They are such a special family. We found out that Susana has been to Temple Square a bunch of times and knew LDS families when they lived in Mexico. She wants Jorge to keep coming to church, even though he can’t be baptized, because she knows the men in our church are good examples to him. Which is something he doesn’t have at home, being the only boy. We want to teach them as a family so much but his sister, Melesa, has mental disabilities and cries hysterically whenever God is mentioned or she feels the Spirit. But they are an incredible family and I know they will all be baptized one day!

We had a great lesson with Javi and Augi. Augustine is so excited for his baptism! I’m so glad he’s getting baptized. Those two really feel like little brothers to me now. I just love them both so much!

We ended with Noe and Rosie. Noe told us he wants to be baptized on the 23rd or sooner! YAY. And he told us his neighbors, who are like his second family, have a lot of interest so we want to visit them soon. Rosie is graduating Saturday! She shared with us a gorgeous journal entry she wrote today as she was praying. She said she got up and started writing down her thoughts, and that led to writing all the ways God has touched her life. But, it was all in 3rd person because she felt like Heavenly Father was telling her all these things in her mind. It was so beautiful and such a breakthrough for her! She is realizing her self-worth as a daughter of God. I am amazed at how much light there was in her eyes tonight. Noe is feeling more secure about his baptism, and he’s been watching conference talks on his phone.

I am so in love with today.

Jueves, el 5 de Junio, 2013

I think I jinxed today…no work for us. Well, we saw Tony earlier. Tony is Ofelia’s brother-in-law, and he has a condition where he is basically paralyzed and is getting worse by the day…it’s getting to the point that he can barely talk 😦 He and his wife Orrelia are Baptist and think Mormons are a cult so that’s fun, but they are super nice people. We went over and shared Alma 7:11-12,  and then we came back a couple hours later with Hermano Abrego to give him a Priesthood Blessing. Hermano Abrego said a beautiful one…I think. Spanish is a struggle with just me and Hermana Larsen here now. It’s hard when most people we teach here prefer to speak English. But it’ll come. Anyways, the Spirit was super strong, and I really think he felt the power of the blessing. I just want his family to have hope. Today he said, struggling for breath, “Christ went through a lot more than I did so I can’t complain.” He has so much faith! We are just praying that he will open his heart to this soon.

We finally plugged in and set up our weather radio this morning…just in time for a tornado watch!! It was so scary, at one point there were 3 tornadoes in our county. One was only 2 miles from the Elders’ apartment! We freaked out a tad…but in our defense that alarm was really loud. We bolted upstairs each time it went off (about every 10 minutes til we figured we should just bring it downstairs). We were getting texts all day telling us to stay in til a certain time until finally we got one telling us we can’t go out for the rest of the night. The whole Tampa Florida Mission stayed indoors tonight. That’s crazy to think about!

Luckily today was weekly planning. It turned from a 3-hour session to 4 and a half hours. It was brutal but much needed. We are extremely organized now and ready to work hard this transfer! It’s funny because I’ve really felt like Heavenly Father has blessed me with an increased desire to do the work here and as soon as that happens, we get shut inside all day! We have MLC all day tomorrow, too. It makes me anxious, and a little stressed, but I know that Heavenly Father will help us find the time to work hard and focus on our investigators. And [hopefully] have miles. Here’s to our night of indoor studying. Cheers.

*vanilla diet cokes for planning…that and laugh attacks are the only way we make it through.

*being so dramatic about the tornado watch. “We should plan in the closet under the stairs.”…”What happens if the tornado hits us?”…”say goodbye to our families…”

*the most frustrating fashion show in the world. Blazers can die.

*Journal-sharing and laughing at our first reactions.

Viernes, el 7 de Junio, 2013

Today was kind of intense emotionally. We had to wake up at 5:15 am in time to pick up Hermana Carson and be to MLC by 8:30. It was so good to be reunited again. During the prep time before the meeting, I felt like I should start the New Testament again. I only got through the first 2 chapters but it led to all these cross-references about the Savior, definitions of his name, etc. and I just started thinking about Christ. How amazing and perfect He was and IS. I felt this overwhelming love and gratitude for my Savior and Redeemer. Then our opening song was “Abide with Me, Tis Eventide”, which is already a special song to me. I just lost it. I couldn’t sing because I just had tears rolling down my face. [hi mom.] I kept thinking of the song “Small Enough” by Mindy Gledhill and how sometimes we don’t need a huge miracle, we just need the presence, comfort, and love of the Savior. Just to know He is aware of us. I know he is aware of me. I know he has helped me so much, especially lately. The Spirit was so strong as we, the Lord’s soldiers in the Florida Tampa Mission, sang praises, pleading with our Savior to stay a little longer with us.  I was blown away by my feelings for my brother and Savior. Then as we stood to recite “Remember This” my heart swelled at the opportunity to be a missionary and servant of the Lord. For all his help and guidance. For the chance to help people feel the love I feel. For how close He feels to me as I am obedient and try to carry out his work the best I can. This truly is the best 18 months of my life.

We went to Panera [YUM] for dinner before we drove home. I told Hermana Larsen how grateful I am that we are both at about the same point in our missions and get to serve together for the entire time. Maybe not as companions but always close. We talked about how we can be a support to each other and keep each other in check so we don’t get distracted or slack off in obedience. I am so grateful for Hermana Larsen and the connection we have as companions. It’s seems too good to be true! We love working together, and we’re going to get Spanish and work past exhaustion and make the most of our time together. I just have so much love for her, and I know we were supposed to meet and serve together and be in each other’s lives forever. We will always be hermanas.

We can talk about anything. We were talking about our families, and she said, “Our families are so proud of us.” I just grinned, thinking of all the letters I’ve received that say that exact thing. I replied, “That’s the best feeling isn’t it? Having your parents tell you they’re proud of you.” She heartily agreed and we both sat in silence for a moment. Then, I thought about that moment when I’ll return to my Heavenly Father and how much I want Him to tell me He’s proud of me and how amazing I will feel if He does. I got emotional [again] as I shared this thought with Hermana Larsen. We just want to work the very hardest we can so that we really can make him proud. Distractions, disobedience…those things are just not worth it. I want to use this time I have to serve him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

Sabado, el 8 de Junio, 2013

Graduation Day for Rosie Posie Pudding Pie! We went over at 7 am to curl her hair all pretty for her big day. She looked like a total beauty queen in her bright blue dress and her huge, sparkling smile. On the way home, Hermana Larsen ran over a squirrel. Real life. I mean they’re everywhere and there’s so much roadkill down here but you just never think that kind of thing will happen to you, you know? It made the freakiest sound ever and in the middle of our conversation we just stopped. Absolutely stunned. Hermana Larsen looks over and says, “I just killed that squirrel.” We looked at each other, and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I cracked up. I have no idea why it was so funny [maybe because it was 7:30 am] because in all reality it was gross and very sad. Hermana Larsen lamented, “I don’t know why I can kill hundreds of ants every day without an ounce of remorse, but I feel awful about killing that poor squirrel!” So that’s how our day started.

We tried to contact with no luck for awhile. So we headed to Rosie’s to curl Ellie’s hair [she’s really starting to love us. What a miracle. We’ll take it :)] with our little graduation card and gift. She’s like our daughter. It’s hilarious. As we were curling hair and getting excited for the party, the weather turned from hot and sunny to a torrential downpour of rain. I have never seen anything like it: electrical surges, lightning, buckets of water…way scarier than our silly tornado day. Luckily, the heavy stuff only lasted a few minutes. The rain eased up and the party went forth.

It was so fun meeting Rosie’s sweet fam. Her dad Eduardo has 16 brothers and sisters. I’d be impressed if I hadn’t met Hermana Daines haha. We got to see her sister Maria again too. She loves us. We love her. [and her cute boys and their incredible “pen-tapping” talent] We were the only white girls there at this Mexican fiesta, not to mention we are Mormon misisonaries so everyone was watching us like a hawk. But it was great for them to see how much we just LOVE Rosie and Noe. Their whole family is amazing, and we feel like they are a big reason why we’re here. They’re all going to be converted, we just know it 🙂

When we finally left, we felt prompted to go see Nancy. She invited us right in and told us her story. She has the cutest family! She told us about 4 or 5 different times when she was at the lowest, most difficult points in her life and at those moment, Mormon missionaries would show up. One of those times is when we first met her! They were having problems with their farm and cows dying and that night we showed up! It was amazing. She said that night, she felt peace so strongly and decided she needed to follow these signs that God was giving her. She told her husband Abel, and he told her to do whatever she needs to do, which is more support than he has ever given her [because he currently doesn’t believe in God at all]. So we felt prompted to extend a baptismal date and she accepted! I am just blown away by the spirit in her home and her amazing family! Her son, Andy, is this smartie, little 6-year-old who just loves Jesus. I gave him like 3 different pass-alongs with Jesus on them and he was absolutely stoked about them. He wanted to say the closing prayer so we taught him a little. Hermana Larsen said, “We tell God things we’re thankful for. Are you thankful for books to read?” He responded, “No…well I’m thankful for the Book of…Mor…Morgan.” It was so hard not to giggle! “The Book of Mormon?” I asked. “Yeah, I like that book a lot.” He said. He is too cute! We helped him say the closing prayer and gave their family a Spanish Book of Mormon picture book. Andy was jumping up and down with excitement! I wanted to do the same thing because I just love their family so much!

So we didn’t get our giant 7-lesson day today. But, we have some SOLID investigators and we’re so excited to teach them!

El fin por ahora! I love you all so much!

amor,

Hermana Lewis

xoxoxo

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Rosie, Noe, and Elizabeth ... cutest family ever!

Rosie, Noe, and Elizabeth … cutest family ever!

Rosie, Noe, and Elizabeth-- love them!

Rosie, Noe, and Elizabeth– love them!

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Hermana Carson & Hermana Lewis -- we love her and will miss her!

Hermana Carson & Hermana Lewis — we love her and will miss her!

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

I hope you sung that title.

We officially found out that Hermana Carson is going to be staying in Bradenton to train a couple of sisters. She came back for a couple days to pack and so we had a few farewell lessons with some of our strongest investigators. And took a million and a half pictures. It was so great to have her back and we miss her tons!

Since Hermana Carson was transferred [her last transfer], it is just me and Hermana Larsen here on our own, trying to hablar en espanol. But, we know Heavenly Father will help us.  It’s weird cause Spanish has its on and off days for us.  And after almost 2 days of not understanding an ounce of Spanish [church was brutal yesterday] we came back home for lunch/studies/dinner and just prayed for help.  I had a pounding Spanish headache so I slept for our whole dinner break and probably could have slept all night.  When I got up at 6 pm, I was still feeling it, but I knew I’d be blessed if I worked through it.  So, I took some Ibuprofen, guzzled some water, and we headed out the door on our bikes.  BUT, we saw some miracles!

In 2 1/2 hours [6-8:30 pm] we taught 5 lessons, 4 were with new people we had just contacted, and 3 were completely in SPANISH!  My headache was gone and we were on top of the world. It was amazing!  I know the Lord’s hand is really what controls everything, not us. We have been so blessed already, and the work here just continues to grow!  I feel so blessed to be a part of the Lord’s work.

We learned a hard lesson this week [and I’m sure I’ll have to learn it again and again on the mission] and that is: People have agency. That is one of the most difficult parts about being a missionary. We can do everything right: teach with the Spirit, guide people, extend commitments, love them, etc. But it all comes down to their individual relationship with Heavenly Father and [unfortunately] we can’t force them to do anything. We had almost all of our investigators back out of their baptismal date this week. It was rough. We now only have Augustine on the 9th, but that’s okay because he is solid and this baptism is going to be amazing. And the others will come around. And after a stressful Sunday morning, the giddiness that filled my heart when Augustine walked into church yesterday morning right before the sacrament [alone, after his normal ride had already come] was indescribable.

I feel like such a mother to these people. Missionary work is the ultimate parent prep. Because I just love them so much. I care about how their feeling, what they’re doing, how I can help them, what and how I can teach them…they are on my mind all day every day. I only want the best for them and I’m trying to help them realize that the little things we are asking them to do will bring them happiness.

When they make the right choices and keep commitments, I’m the happiest person in the world. But then when they make wrong choices or reject us, I am devastated. I wonder where I went wrong and what I could have done better. I get so sad when they do things that distance themselves from God because I just want their happiness!

It’s crazy. And a little strange. But I am so grateful for it because I know that Heavenly Father gives me that pure love for the people and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this work without it. The foundation of all missionary work is LOVE. As President Summerhays would say, “It’s a beautiful thing.” 

So, for this transfer it’s just me and Hermana Larsen. We set some high goals for this transfer and we’re ready to work past the point of exhaustion. Riding bikes, talking to everyone, helping people progress, finding families, learning Spanish, and not wasting a second of the Lord’s time. We’re stoked!
Tengan una buena semana todos!
Les quiero muchissimo,
Amor y oraciones siempre,
Hermana Lewis
xoxoxo
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Hermana Lewis, Hermana Larsen, and Herman Carson.  Best friends!

Hermana Lewis, Hermana Larsen, and Herman Carson. Best friends!

Hermana Lewis and Rogelio's famous handshake!

Hermana Lewis and Rogelio’s famous handshake!

Hermana Lewis & Rogelio - famous handshake!

Hermana Lewis & Rogelio – famous handshake!

Stephanie and Hermana Lewis. Steph calls Morgan Hermana Kesha because of her hair! :)

Stephanie and Hermana Lewis. Steph calls Morgan Hermana Kesha because of her hair! 🙂

Hermana Lewis and Stephanie

Hermana Lewis and Stephanie

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Power in the Small and Simple Things

May 27, 2013

Este semana fue LOCO. Pero fue asombroso tambien.

So we started off this week by dropping off Hermana Carson. It was rough…Hermana Larsen and I got back in the car and just looked at each other like, “Can we really do this?” Not that we really had a choice. So we began by saying a mighty prayer…and then drove home in one of the freakiest rainstorms of my life.

Um…indicator of how our week would go?

Of course not!

It took awhile to get into our “groove” but we got it down, and we saw miracles all along the way. We now have 6 investigators with baptismal dates!! Milagros, every single one of them!

Jorge had his interview this past Sunday. I don’t know if I’ve told you all about him. He is 13, just moved here from Mexico (barely speaks any English at all), and is such a people-person with a total passion for telling stories. He is just the funniest thing, and he really understands the gospel and has such an excitement for it! Last week when we were teaching him the Word of Wisdom, he paused and looked down, apparently disappointed. He asked, “so I can’t drink coffee anymore?” Hermana Carson jumped on that, testifying that it would be hard to stop but the Lord would help him through it. Jorge couldn’t keep a straight face anymore and started laughing as he admitted, “I don’t drink coffee…I don’t have a problem with any of these.” Hahaha I just love him. After his interview on Sunday he came in and ate with the ward leadership after Branch Council and he had everyone rolling with laughter as he told some hilarious stories about the missionaries from his perspective [including Hermana Larsen falling off her bike… hahaha]. He made us promise to take a picture with him when we’re wearing pants because he doesn’t understand why we wear skirts all the time. We’ll see what we can do 🙂

Noe is making huge strides in the gospel. This morning he texted us probably 8 questions about his reading in 1st and 2nd Nephi. So that’s what we did for personal and companionship study…I love the questions he has and how deeply he thinks through things. He tries so hard to obey each and every commandment to the letter. I love watching him progress because he is truly converted to the Lord and wants to follow Him the very best he can. It’s absolutely amazing. Our lesson with him on Wednesday was absolutely spectacular…it was spur of the moment because we were actually there to see Rosie [we were giving Noe some space because he said he needed to be alone with God for awhile]. We saw him outside shooting hoops at his neighbor’s house so we asked him how he was doing. That turned into a full on lesson. He expressed that he felt like he wasn’t getting an answer, and he asked if he could get a Priesthood Blessing to help him receive that answer. (He learned about Priesthood Blessings in the Gospel Principles book we gave him. I’m telling you he’s going to be a general authority one day.) We said, “Noe. ABSOLUTELY you can get a priesthood blessing.” So on Sunday morning we asked one of the Elders to give him a blessing and of course they agreed. After church we couldn’t find Noe or the Elders anywhere…til we saw all of them walking out of a room. Noe was wiping tears from his eyes and shaking the Elders’ hands. He had gone right up to them by himself and asked them to give him a blessing. WOW. I am so excited for him. Satan is still working on him so hard though, trying to prolong his baptism so please pray for him!

Rosie is still feeling great about her baptism and is even talking about going on a mission! I love it! Augustine has been coming to church for the last 2 weeks, but we’re still trying to get Javier here. Both are just craving baptism though, so we are confident that they will pull through. And sweet Diamond is still trying to work out a time to be baptized before she leaves to Mississippi for the summer. She feels this so strongly, even if she doesn’t understand it all. That knowledge will come with time and I know that this step of faith she is taking will bless her family and change her life. It’ll change all of their lives…for the better.

I got to do an exchange with Sister Foster in Englewood on Thursday-Friday and I realized how blessed I am to be on a Spanish mission and in an area that is experiencing so much success! It was fun to teach with her though, and I got to see Sister Hale again! Actually we had some members drive us up and back and one of those members was Brother Smith….the great-great grandson of Joseph Smith!!! Real life! He grew up in the RLDS church and was inactive for a long time. He came back right when they changed to the Community of Christ and they renounced the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, he left for good. He hid from the elders for a long time because he was raised to believe that if the Mormons found out who he was they would kill him. But after many missionaries and lessons, he finally came around. He was a hilarious, sassy, 72-year-old convert to the church and that ride up was one of the most entertaining discussions I’ve ever experienced.

We also got to meet Maria, Rosie and Noe’s older sister. She is amazing! Her home had such a peace to it. She has 4 adorable boys: Ricardo, Raul, Gabriel, and Omar, and they were all so respectful. We are so excited to teach her family. When we walked out, she saw that we were on bikes and had a fit laughing. She took pictures of us and sent them to Rosie, and then got her bike and raced us to the end of the road! It was one of my favorite lessons we’ve ever had because it just felt so comfortable with her and I already had this huge love for her because we already love their family so much!

Saturday night was the Branch Fiesta: VeinteCINCO de Mayo. Clever huh? It actually was a really good turnout, considering everything else going on that night. We had a few investigators come and the branch was really great with them. The whole thing was hilarious though…at one point the Branch President’s wife, Sister Martinez, came out and starts dancing in full on Mexican getup. I took a video. It was too great. Fave moment in this branch so far…I love being a missionary.

Yesterday we went to go see a less-active family, but only their son was home. He is out of town a lot but we’ve been meaning to meet with him so we can help him get back to the church and hopefully to the temple soon, so we had a lesson right then and there. It was sad to see him reflect on his life and regret certain things. He was raised in the church and always planned on going on a mission but when he was 19 he just got too involved in his dad’s businesses and ended up working instead of going to church. He said he regrets it, that he wishes he would have chosen a mission instead, but was justifying all his actions now. He said he knows what he needs to do and ‘maybe one day’ he’ll do it. At one point he said, “Satan has no power over me.” At that point, my heart just sunk. So I told him, “Well…he has power over me. I struggle with temptation every single day, and I’m a missionary!” It was interesting to see the clever tactics that Satan has over us. He uses discouragement and pride to teach us that we can do this on our own, that these negative thoughts are our own, and that we can change anytime..so why not tomorrow. It’s small and simple things every single day that add up and bring about great things. Reading our scriptures, praying, going to church, family home evening…all those habits make a difference in the long run. We can’t become complacent and procrastinate. There is power in the small and simple things.

Other significant events:

-Our ceiling started leaking last Monday…and hasn’t stopped. Our ceiling is caving in, like it looks like there is a bubble in the ceiling. It’s something with a leaky pipe or air conditioning they think. They’re going to cut open our ceiling today, so…we’ll see how that goes I guess!

-I learned the word for ants: ormegas. Because they sure love us. Hermana Larsen and I found their highway on our wall by the kitchen this morning and went on an ant-murdering spree. A little bleach spray and a paper towel usually does the trick. They sure are persistent though. Our kitchen is not your playground little ormegas!

Tengan una semana perfecta, todo!

con todo mi amor

Hermana Lewis

xoxoxo

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Branch Fiesta!

Branch Fiesta!

Rogelio's last Sunday.

Rogelio’s last Sunday.

Hermana Larsen and Hermana Lewis

Hermana Larsen and Hermana Lewis

Zone Conference!

Zone Conference!

Biggest Shock: I don’t hate my bike!

May 20, 2013
 
I’m a real missionary now.  AKA, bike week!
 
Yep, you read that right. We were not smart with our miles and had so many meetings in Bradenton and Sarasota this month that we now have 200 miles (we started with 1270) to last us the rest of May. Entonces…Bike riding time! 

Biggest Shock: I don’t hate it. 

[I’m actually falling in love with my bike. I feel like such a triathlete or something when I ride. Dad, awesome job on picking all that out.]
 

Yes, we look absolutely ridiculous. Yes, it is exhausting and I’m now usually asleep before I hit the pillow. Yes, we get weird looks and awkward comments. Yes, Florida is hot, and I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life. BUT, it’s also the funnest, most hilarious activity I have ever done in my life. It’s impossible to not be the happiest person in the world when we’re just riding around, not giving a care for what anyone thinks, sweating our faces off, and preaching the gospel! Plus: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” We’ve still got some investigators that are pretty far out there (beyond biking distance) but the Lord will provide!

This week was a little crazy. As Sister Training Leaders, we have the opportunity to do 24-hour exchanges with the other girls in our stake. It’s so inspired, because we are now able to report directly to President when sisters are having a hard time or if there’s a situation that needs to be handled. On Wednesday-Thursday, we had one of those exchanges. It was crazy because we were all feeling a lot of anxiety about the exchange before it happened and we weren’t sure if we should go through with it. But, it turns out that was just Satan working on us really hard because there was some serious stuff going on in the other area that needed to be corrected pronto. Luckily, we went through with the exchange and it was good. Only now things are going to be changing for us as well.

We had a meeting with President yesterday to find out what would be best to do for those sisters. The first option was that Hermana Carson would go there for her last transfer and help the sisters out. None of us wanted that…we love our companionship way too much and our work here is going amazing right now. So we figured out a compromise: Hermana Carson is going to the other area to train those sisters for a week and then she’s coming back to us. Thank goodness. We’ll still have weekly exchanges with them to make sure they are doing alright, but we’ll take that over giving up sweet Hermana Carson any day! I love President and Sister Summerhays, they are amazing and I’m sure going to miss them when they leave in just a couple months! 

I did get to see sweet Sister Dyan Hale at stake conference yesterday! (We decided last minute to go up to Bradenton instead of watching it on satellite.) It was so fun to see her and hear about all the people from Ocean Springs she’s kept in contact with. She is so fun! 

Our focus this week is to work with our progressing investigators and get them baptized, and to create more progressing investigators out of our new investigators. We have so many solid people right now we just need to give them some more attention and help them realize that they can do this! 

Rosie Posie got her answer this week! She said she was reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, and she got this feeling in her heart. And she felt that she needed to get baptized and go on a mission. We saw her again last night, and she said she was feeling really inadequate. She asked, “Why me?” To which we responded, “Rosie. You’re a daughter of God. Why not you?” I shared with her that before my mission I was feeling the same way. I said, “I felt that I couldn’t talk to people I don’t know or leave my family for 18 months or be a good missionary for the Lord. Sometimes you feel like you can’t do it. And you’re right. By yourself, you can’t. But with the Lord, you can do anything.It was such an amazing lesson.

 
She then took us over to see her cute friend Tisha, who is just amazing. She is 20 years old and has the cutest little baby Elijah. Tisha told us she feels like she fell off the path and has been struggling to get back on. Rosie shared her testimony with her and we testified that Heavenly Father loves her and is so proud of her for the choices she is making and for her willingness to come back to Him. It was such a special experience and she even accepted the invitation to be baptized in that first lesson! 

We also met 2 amazing boys: Augustine and Javier. Augustine is the friend of a member that goes on splits with us a lot, Stephanie. [She calls me Hermana Kesha because of my hair. It’s fine.] Augustine is 13 and has come to church before but has never been officially taught by missionaries. Javier is his 15-year-old brother and they are both so solid!!! They are just the sweetest boys and they really just get it. They want to be baptized asap. We prayed about a date for them and felt like June 9 was right. We asked them to pray about it in the lesson. Augustine said it and in the prayer he asked, “please help us to know if we should be baptized on June 9… or sooner…” How cute right! They are just perfect. They have member support (Stephanie’s family), their mom is just happy they’re going to any church, and they want this so much. Our lessons with them are always so great. Last time, Augustine basically taught the Plan of Salvation for us. And when we give them an assignment to read, they read it more than once and then pray about it. Heavenly Father is so aware of these boys and I am so glad we got to meet them! 

This work is so amazing. Never have I been so happy or so grateful. My companions are perfect, our investigators are golden, bikes are fun, and serving is the best. We are truly blessed!
 
I love you all so much!
Mucho amor,
Hermana Morgan Lewis
xoxo
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My amazing mission companions: Hermana Larsen and Carson & me before
Hermana Carson’s last transfer.  I LOVE my wonderful Hermanas!!
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 Weekly planning with tres leches cake (thank you, Rogelio).

 

 

I LOVE this work!

May 13, 2013

It was SO amazing to talk to you all yesterday for Mother’s Day!  I got off Skype and was just in a daze. Like, “Did that just happen?”  It was wonderful to se your sweet faces.  I could feel how much you love and support me, and I am so grateful for you all.  My family is literally the BEST in the world.  I am such a spoiled sister mish!

Last night, we went and had a lesson with Rosie {Noe’s sister} as we haven’t seen her this week.  She came to church and she said that the lesson we had during Sunday school about repentance really got to her.  She told us she has been mad at herself and the world.  We talked to her for awhile about how even though she doesn’t feel like she’s improving and changing, she really is changing so much!  We told her that Heavenly Father works little bits at a time, not all at once.  And that repentance is such a blessing because we don’t have to be perfect ever in this life.  She expressed her fears about disappointing/hurting God with bad decisions, but we just kept testifying that He is so proud of her.

She was silent for awhile, and I asked her what she was feeling.  She said, “I feel like it’s time to let this all go and let Him help me.”  To end the lesson, we committed her to pray about June 9 (Daddio’s birthday) for her baptism date, and she said she would! And then she said the most gorgeous prayer, pouring out her heart to Heavenly Father.  I love when investigators understand that prayer is a conversation with God and that he listens!  Anyway, she was crying and she said she felt happy again and yeah. It was amazing.         I love this work!!

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Talking with my family on Skype for Mother’s Day!

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Skyping with my cute family!

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Skype!

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Noe and Rosie being their cute selves!  Love them!