Couldn’t Be Happier!

Monday, December 16, 2013

This week has been one of those “I never want to stop being a missionary” weeks. My prayers lately have been funny because I can’t even think of anything to ask Heavenly Father for. I just kneel down and start thanking him, and next thing I know it’s been 10 minutes and I have nothing to ask for. He is blessing us so much for our hard work… it’s incredible! We couldn’t be happier! Thank goodness. [Yeah I just quoted Wicked]

But here goes. Sonia was baptized this Tuesday! And the ward completely pulled together for her. We were worried that the attendance wouldn’t be great or that they wouldn’t welcome her, but OH MY GOODNESS, our ward is amazing and I should have had more trust in them. They not only came to the baptism, but bought her a birthday cake and pizza, and we had a little birthday party for her after the baptism. Never try to do a Hispanic party without food. Hispanics love their comida. But, she was so happy and just felt like a total princess the entire night, just smiling and talking away. It was so beautiful. She received the Holy Ghost yesterday as well. So she’s officially a member. Baptisms are the best. We could not be happier!!

We have so many progressing investigators right now it’s almost hard to keep up with it all! Not that we’re complaining. We’re not. We have a few date sets on the horizon and a few more we’re hoping to set this week. The changes we’re seeing in our investigators are incredible. And new investigators seem to come with no effort at all from us. I guess nothing really happens because of us…it’s all the Lord. We just try to be as obedient as we can and Heavenly Father works out the rest!

Follow up on last week’s email about the Restoration with Manuel and Veronica. I texted them yesterday morning to remind them about church. He texted back a smiley face. 🙂 <—that’s it. What does that mean?? Well we found out what it meant because right as Sacrament Meeting was starting, in walk Manuel and Veronica and little Jefferson. I had the biggest grin on my face from behind that piano. It was amazing! We stopped by their house last night too and taught the Plan of Salvation. Veronica told us, “Before I would go to church every now and then with Manuel and it was so boring. It just made me so tired. Even after working all day, I’ve never felt so tired as I did in church. But this time it was different. I felt alive and energized and I enjoyed every minute.” Manuel followed up with, “She has changed so much since you started doing the discussions with her. She’s a different person.” It was so darn cute. She wants to be baptized so bad and they’re doing everything they can to work things out so that she is able to do that.

We met another family this week too, Rosi and Gledin. A member brought them to church last week and they loved it. He was a youth pastor in El Salvador and has studied about our religion when he lived there. She is pregnant, due in February. She didn’t like to go to church before and that’s why they stopped going, but when they came with the member family it was different. She not only liked church, she loved it. She was so eager to go back. “It feels like a family. You all just support each other and help each other out. It feels so loving there,” she explained to us. And because she loved it so much, Gledin is stoked to learn more. They are the cutest little family and we are so excited to work with them!

WE ARE SO HAPPY.

Seriously, Hermana Finlayson and I have just hit this point in our mission where we don’t want to stop. Ever.

Because missionary work is the best. Pure joy. That’s what I feel every single day.

And every night I sit in our little Christmas corner and just count my many blessings.

I couldn’t be happier.

Love you all!

Hermana Lewis

xoxo

Sonia and Alberto on Sonia's baptism day!

Sonia and Alberto on Sonia’s baptism day!

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Hermana Lewis, Sonia, and Hermana Finlayson

Hermana Lewis, Sonia, and Hermana Finlayson

Sonia's baptism day!

Sonia’s baptism day!

Alberto and Sonia.... so happy!

Alberto and Sonia…. so happy!

 

Decorating our apartment for Christmas!

Decorating our apartment for Christmas!

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Laboring on Labor Day

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

As you all probably knew, yesterday was Labor Day. Instead of having a P Day like everyone else in the world. The missionaries in the FTM labored. All Day. Today is P Day hence the late letter. It might throw off my sense of whole week but like….it’s fine.

I don’t know if I mentioned this last week but. We’re on car share. AKA this week was bike week. AKA I have never been more hot or sweaty or tired in my entire life. Riding a bike in the middle of August in Florida is no walk in the park. Luckily I’ve got my Heavenly Father and my handy dandy Crystal Light energy on my side. [The Lord expects us to use our resources.]

I did get a letter off to Garrett a little late, I don’t know when it’ll arrive but I swear. It’s coming bud. And I got the package and letters from you all! The bran muffins were PERF. I still have one left. I’m savoring them. YUM. Nothing like mamma’s bran muffins 🙂

Anyways back to Garrett. I have to admit the other day in church I had a little “moment” during sacrament. I was up on the stand because I was leading the music that day in sacrament meeting. I looked out at the deacons that were passing the sacrament and I saw Garrett out there with them. Garrett: I cannot believe you are 12 already! I got a little emotional [that seems to be happening a lot lately] and just thought about how proud I am of you and how amazing our family is. I don’t know how I got so blessed. But I am the most blessed hermana in the world pretty sure. You’re gonna be a  pro at that sacrament-passing business when I get back. And I cannot wait to go do baptisms with you!

Hey you all remember Jorge? Welllllllll, they ended up moving to Tampa. And when I was sitting up on the stand, guess who I saw in the very back row? JORGITO HIMSELF. I got butterflies and went right up to say hi to him after sacrament meeting. Elder Casey, Ator, and Hawkes are teaching him and his family right now. It could not have been more perfect! Ahhhhhhhh #missionaryhigh!!!

This week was really great. I’m getting used to tracting. Kind of. And we’ve been really blessed with the people we’ve met. I really feel like the Lord leads us in these days when we don’t have our set appointments or plans and we’re just out tracting. I mean, He has to. We’re just two 19/20-year-old girls. We have no clue what we’re doing.

There’s sometimes an advantage to bikes. We were out Saturday night by Candida and Hector’s house, and got on our bikes to head home. We drove by a guy sitting on one of those little powerline box things just staring at the ground. I rode past, and then found myself turning my bike back around to go talk to him. “You waiting for someone?” I asked. “No…just sitting.” he replied. We started talking to him and introduced ourselves. His name was Jordan, and he is a 14-year-old kid [I thought he was at least 18. He’s super tall like Blind Side status.] and the biggest sweetheart I’ve ever met. Within a couple minutes of talking we started into the Plan of Salvation. “Jordan. God has a plan for you. He knows you and loves you so much.”

“I know that. I believe Jesus died for our sins.” He then opened up to us about some things that he went through when he was younger. It was so sad. He is only 14 years old…Makayla’s age…and has already been through so many trials in his life. I felt the love of Heavenly Father for Jordan specifically and I just wanted to give him everything. We prayed with him and as we started to leave, he said, “Thank you…for stopping…” I knew we had been led to him. But I wasn’t sure if we’d ever see him again.

The next day [Sunday] we found ourselves in the same area. As we were talking to a couple people on that street, we see Jordan walking his dog on the other side of the road. We walked over to him and started talking again, and the first thing that comes out of his mouth is, “I just found out today I have a brain tumor. It’s been growing since I was a baby. The doctors don’t know if it’s cancerous or not yet.” I was in total shock. I had no clue what to say to him. So we walked a little ways with him and sat on the side of the road again. He told us he had read part of the Plan of Salvation pamphlet we gave him. So we gave him a Book of Mormon as well, and I read my best Alma 7:11-12. He had so much sadness in his eyes and seemed to almost just accept that he wasn’t going to be living much longer. I told him I knew that we were supposed to see him again. He said, “Yeah…I felt that about last night too.” We asked if we could come pray with his family but they weren’t home so we set up an appointment for the following night. As we rode off that night, I kept thinking, “What if we hadn’t talked to him? What if we hadn’t given him the Plan of Salvation pamphlet? What if we hadn’t even been in the area at that time?” I knew we had been led to him. And then I had a total breakdown. Me and Hermana Newbill both. It’s so sad to see things like this happen to people. But I am so grateful to have the opportunity to give them the hope and peace that comes with the knowledge of the gospel.

The sad part of this whole story is……Jordan is English. So we called up the English sisters in our area and told them about our appointment with Jordan and his family. 8pm last night, we were there. The sisters were running a little late so we sat outside and planned what we wanted to talk about a little bit. Then Jordan’s stepdad walks out. We introduce ourselves and he calls out Jordan and his wife, Linda. We began talking to them all about the things we taught Jordan, and they understood the concept of the Book of Mormon really well. Then Jordan piped in, “They taught me that we lived with God before this life. And we chose to come here. So that we could get bodies because we only had spirits.” Wow. He is amazing. Linda and Darling were both super open to what we had to say and we told them how we knew that we were supposed to meet them. “The timing of it all is amazing.” Linda told me. Well….you can’t beat the Lord’s timing. He rocks. Then the English sisters, Sisters Kenagy and Davis got there. Perfect timing again. And Sister Kenagy said one of the most inspired prayers I’ve ever heard. And then they shared that they had been feeling prompted to go tract on that same street for the last couple days but hadn’t had the opportunity. Heavenly Father is so aware of this family! And I just knew that these sisters are supposed to teach Jordan and his family. We were absolutely guided to them. I can’t wait to see what happens 🙂

Heavenly Father is so involved in this work it blows my mind sometimes. But in District Meeting we learned how Missionary Work is NOT 3 things:

1) Missionary work is not a routine. It’s different every day.

2) Missionary work is never not recognized.

3) Missionary work is never wasted.

We often don’t see the fruits of our labors. But something good comes of every contact, every slammed door, every testimony borne, every Book of Mormon given out, every invitation to come closer to Christ. If we’re inviting, we’re being successful. And we are doing the Lord’s will.

I love all of you so much!

amor,

Hermana Lewis

Hermana Lewis and Newbill biking around Tampa

Hermana Lewis and Newbill biking around Tampa

Sup Tampa...

Sup Tampa…