Well, this week in Cucuta, in Aeropuerto, has been very trying. Everything is good, we are working with and teaching about 50 investigators which all have been found since me and Elder Arcos got here. We have, at the very least, 10 investigators every week. If you have been a missionary, that's pretty good. The field is white, especially in Cucuta. But at the same time it is tough because we were only able to bring 2 investigators to church today. We went out and hit it hard and tried to bring as many people as we could, along with help from members and stuff like that. It's just been hard. But we do have a really cool miracle that accompanied the church attendance this week and that was that we were teaching an investigator named Evelyn. Evelyn is a reference from the Patriarch, who lives in our ward. You go down the 6th street and over a hill and you look out and you see Venezuela. It's about 10 minutes walking from the border of Venezuela. It is really close. He didn't know my area borders with Venezuela. It's pretty cool, we look out and we see a city called Ureña. You go down the hill and you cross a dirt football field and you get to a house and you go down to a basement apartment with cement floors and cement walls without anything besides one one person sofa and not much more. And there lives Evelyn and her 6 children and well…her husband, they aren't married. But the coolest thing this week was that we went up to the house with the Patriarch and we had a lesson. We taught the Restoration to her, and she responded really well. Then at the end I invited her to come to church. And she said: "well, if I am not working, I would love to come!" and I felt the spirit. We went to Alma 22: 16-18 where we talked about Aaron, when he was teaching the King of the Lamanites and Aaron says (I don't know how it is in English): If you kneel down and pray to God, repenting of your sins, you will gain the things that you desire. The King kneels down and says: "oh God, if there is a God, and thou art God, will thou make thyself known unto me? I will give up everything that I possess to know thee." I had just read that scripture that morning and the spirit filled the room. We made her a promise: "Evelyn, if you pray right now, with that same intent, God will make everything happen so that you can come to church. We promise you that in the name of Jesus Christ." And so she did. She bowed her head and kneeled down to pray. As she prayed, it went something like this: "God, will you let me come to thy holy house? I want to come and get to know this church." And she stopped right there and began to cry. My chest burned within me and I know my companion felt the same. It was incredible. The spirit was there. Then she finished the prayer and gave us her hand to thank us, "thank you. Thank you for teaching me." And we just sat there and talked about how we felt in that moment. The spirit was so strong. Now we felt prompted by the spirit to tell her that if she would pray with real intent that God would put everything in order for her to be able to come. AND HE DID. She didn't call us on Sunday. Or on Saturday. She came to the church with the Patriarch on Sunday. It has just strengthened my testimony that God keeps his promises and the importance of coming to church and having a meaningful experience at church and how much prayer plays a role in the promises that God gives us.
Well, that was the amazing thing that happened. The other thing is that we have been teaching Alberto Salazar. It's hard to find him this week. He kept saying "I am coming to church, I am coming to church!" and I was really excited. And then we passed by his house and he said: " I was working all day yesterday and I am really sore." And even though we tried really hard to convince him to come, he still wouldn't come. That really made me feel depressed, along with 4-5 other investigators that did the same. You know, after so many times of that happening in your mission, it just breaks your heart. Actually, up until last night I was very bitter and mad at them honestly. You just KNOW how much this will bless their lives. You just KNOW that if they would come to church they would feel the love of Christ. Then I had a reoccurring thought, that while I was angry, because I have extended my effort, I have tried, I have called, I have gone to their houses, I have gone to pick them up. They just don't get it! I thought about Christ. How much more does Christ feel frustration for me? Up until last night I was so frustrated, I didn't want to think about it. You all know me, I went to bed so frustrated and all day I was so down. But little by little, starting with my personal study this morning I have been learning a few things about how I shouldn't feel frustrated. I shouldn't feel so down because they are rejecting me, because really it's not even me that they are rejecting. It's not that they wont accept it if just keep trying. But really it's the Lord that they are choosing not to follow at this moment, and it's the Lord that they're rejecting. I just keep on trying. It's really opening my eyes to a big paradigm shift. Just a big changing perspective. I am learning a lot right now in this area. Also, there are a lot of people that are just poor. Sometimes it's just a lack of knowledge and you just want to pull them by the ears to the self-reliance class. Come to this class the Lord has provided. Come and get to know more so that you can leave and get out of these situations! But they don't come! But why should I feel rejected? Even though I do feel rejected sometimes. But why should that get me down, if it never got the Lord down? There are lessons to be learned there and I am glad to be able to share them with you. They are changing me.
Well, more on the kinda "what we did" side of things: This week, on Thursday, I will be going back to Bucaramanga for a conference with Elder Zivic. You may recognize him from conference talk he gave a couple of weeks ago. We are going to have a conference with him and we are going in a bus to Bucaramanga. I am going to see if I can go visit Bucarica, but it's not certain haha. I would LOVE to do that. But ya, something that I'm really excited for is to meet with these men that are…. How do you say it? Special witnesses of Christ. It's really a great experience. And I am playing the piano for it, like usual! You know, I play the piano for all of our meetings, but here, since no one plays the piano, there is just a little 50 key, we call it an organeta here, like a little keyboard. It doesn't have a sustain pedal or anything. It doesn't even have a stand for the music. I just put it up there and hope that the book doesn't press down on one of the buttons that starts the beat on the keyboard. Because it has happened haha. But ya, there is only one real piano here in Cucuta, as far as the church goes, it's in the Stake Center. I have only had the opportunity to play it 2 times. So I am going on about 2 ½ months without really playing the piano. You know me, I'm DYING. Haha.
It's great to be able to send a recording again and let you know what's happening. Maybe next time I will read to you out of my journal. I have started to record things that are happening in more detail. Let me know if there is anything that you guys would like to know that I should share with you. What would you guys like to know about where I am at, what I am doing? specific things. I will try to improve the quality of my letters home, alright? Well, I love you guys, I will talk to you later. Chao Chao!
A fellow missionary's parents sent these pictures to Elder Lewis' father after they picked up their own son following his service in the same mission. Thank You!
Elder Lewis and Elder Goncalves