May 19, 2014

Me and Hermana Fin are back to normal!!
We just felt the biggest burden lifted off our shoulders and we laughed til we cried for the first time in way too long.

There’s not a lot to say but I want to tell about yesterday. Bishop gave us permission to do a training for everyone during the 3rd hour. The subject? What else. HASTENING THE WORK. We taught the members how to invite and reach out and be friends and bring people to church. And it was really incredible…we got really positive feedback from the members and they are already excited to help.

But the most powerful moment happened pretty abruptly. Brother Newsome stood up and interrupted us, basically mid-sentence, so they could ordain one of the young men to the priesthood because they didn’t have opening exercises.
The young man being ordained was Camilo.

I don’t know if I have ever talked about Camilo. He’s special. He comes with Hermana Lupita and has come to church since he was around 6. He is the same age as Lupita’s son, although they are not really close friends anymore. He keeps coming just because he likes church. He was baptized when he was 8. One day, Hermana Fin asked him, “Camilo. When were you baptized?” He responded quickly, “September 11, 2010” “Wow, how do you remember that??” ……..”Because it was one of the best days of my life!!”

Camilo has become part of our Bahia family. He talks to everyone he sees. He is notorious for eating all the food in the kitchen, whether or not he knows whose it is. He is a hugger. He is the only member in his family. And he loves more purely than anyone I have ever met in my life. His parents support him, but are not involved in the church. Regardless, Camilo has the biggest desire to go on a mission.
Everyone loves Camilo.

He sat down in the chair in front of the room and Brother Montes explained that he would be ordained to the Aaronic priesthood. As he proceeded to give him that blessing, the Spirit was strong. At the end, the majority of the room was wiping their eyes. Camilo leaned into Brother Montes and sobbed. He could hardly stand up he was so ovewhelmed. We all know Camilo’s story. And we all know how pure he is. But none of us could imagine the weight this strong 12-year-old boy must feel as the priesthood leader in his family. He is leading his family in faith, hoping that one day they will follow his example. He wants more than anything for his mom to be baptized and be part of the church. And despite her disinterest, he continues to hope, staying firm in the things he knows best.
It was a moment I can never forget.

We got back up and were more or less speechless. “This is why we are here.” We explained. “We want everyone to feel this happiness, this unity, this love that we feel. Camilo is bringing that to his family. We want to bring it to the world. This is the best work on the earth. We have a front row seat to the miracles of God. And we want you all to see these miracles as well. The feeling when someone is baptized or ordained to the priesthood, or even just reads the Book of Mormon for the first time is indescribable. But it’s the best feeling in the world. We want you all to feel that.”
And we continued with our training.

But that moment had such an impact on me. Really. This is why I’m here. To help people receive the blessings that God has in store for them. And he has so many. More than we could ever imagine.

I am so grateful for my own family, and for the fact that we can stand strong and grow in the gospel together. They are my rock and my support. I have so much respect for people like Camilo or Hermana Reyes or Hermano Maldonado who are doing this completely on their own. Walking in blind faith that one day their loved ones will accept the gospel.

I know the things we teach are true. And they bring happiness. Without a doubt.
I love you all and I am so grateful for you!
Hermana Lewis.


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