Monday, January 15, 2018

Week 70: Climb Every Mountain!


It’s been another great week here in Sogamoso, the recording will be kinda short I think. Things are looking up here in the area, Adali is going to be baptized on Saturday if everything goes as planned. We had some really cool lessons with her where the Spirit just really took over and helped us to resolve her fears about being baptized. One of those was watching the video “finding faith in Christ”. After watching that, we read a scripture with her in 2 Nephi. We had talked about “well what did you feel during that movie?” “Well I felt a love for Jesus Christ like I should follow him.” So Jesus Christ in that chapter of 2 Nephi 31, he says “Come Follow Me”  and then the Father says: “repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Son.” SO I read that scripture and after we read that scripture the Spirit just filled the room and she said: “I’m ready.” It was a really awesome spiritual experience. She knows everything is true so we are gonna press forward and it’s a really good feeling because I got to be the one to knock on her door for the very first time about 3 months ago. It makes me feel good that the Lord could guide me, guide our steps in that manner.

Today for P-day we went on a hike to a place called “El Paramo”. It was a bit of a long hike but we found some really cool stuff. I should be sending some pictures along. We went with Hermano Jorge Mariño who is a Geologist. That was a lot of fun as we walked up the mountain and he explained everything. I sent you guys a picture of the King’s Coffin. That was actually a big block of stone that was moved by a glacier and then it finally just sat down where it is right now over thousands of years. It was just really really cool to go with him and it was a great chance to go and see Colombia. Colombia is a very diverse country. A lot of the scenery looked like Idaho, the other half looked like Switzerland. Haha. So it was pretty fun.

Well, like I said, this is a short recording. But I love you all, and I will be talking to you next week. Love you guys. Chao Chao!

-Elder Lewis

Elder Lewis atop the rock formation called "King's Coffin" 

El Paramo

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Week 69: Suffer The Little Children to Come Unto Me


Well family, how are you? Just wrapping up another week in Sogamoso. In two days I will hit 5 months here. That’s crazy. So ya, I have just been thinking about everything that I have learned while I have been here and it’s been a lot. Sogamoso has really been great. I have been able to see a lot of peoples lives changed.

That being said, we did have two baptisms on Saturday. Bryan y Jason Medina. Two boys that have gotten to be brothers to me. They joined their other two brothers in being members of the church and next week they are gonna be priesthood holders. They will have 4 priesthood holders in their house by next week and that’s pretty exciting. They have had a hard life where their father left them when they were little and then their mom died. They don’t know where their father is at. SO they are orphans. Jason says all the time that he misses his mom, and it breaks my heart. It’s really great, because every time we go there, Jason greets us and he says “Hermanos!” Being able to be the missionaries that got to teach him and his brothers has really been fulfilling. I had the opportunity to baptize Jason and confirm Bryan a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I felt such a great spirit in both things, even though the water was so ICE COLD, it didn’t dampen the spirit. It was very awesome. The thing is is that my camera is out of commission so I wont have photos of it for next week. Sorry! But I will get them.

This week I had a cool experience. I was on divisions with a member named Jonathan. We had up to plan D and all of them fell through. So when we went to plan C, on our way, two little kids ran up to us and said “her who are you? what are you doing? You aren’t from here are you?” and I said “No, I am from the United States.” They asked me what I was doing and I told them that I am a missionary. They asked “what’s a missionary?” and I said: “well, I teach people about Jesus Christ and help people to have a better life and to help their families.” They were really intrigued by that, well, at least the little girl was, her little brother didn’t have much interest in it. But we got to where we were going, and well, Johan the little boy kept going, but the little girl, I found out her name is Luna, stopped. It was funny, she looked up at me and said “Hey, missionaries, can you pray for my brother?” I said “why?” and she said “he’s got a problem with his eye.” And I said “ya I will pray for him.” “and for my daddy too? He’s living in Cucuta and I really miss him. Will you pray for him?” and I said “ya. “ “and for my uncle too? Edison.” So I took out my planner right there and wrote down their names. I told her we would be praying for them. And then I gave her a card with the Savior on it. I kinda got down on her level and told her “Luna. This is really important. You need to give this to your mommy. You need to tell her to call us, because we can help your family.” And she said “Ok. I’ll do it.” Very dutifully. I double committed her to do it and show it to her mom, and she went away running. I looked at Jonathan and a wave of the spirit rushed over me. I just felt like the little kids have so much faith. She was able to see, normally when we do contacts, we have to almost beg people to listen to us. We really have to work hard to get people to listen to us. But that little girl, all she needed to know was that I taught about Jesus Christ and that the message that we have can bless her family. So with that faith she asked me to pray for her family. If I was having a good missionary moment, I would have said to her: “hey Luna, will you present me to your family right now?” but by the time that I realized, the time I came to, she was gone. I have been looking for her ever since on that same street. I have been fasting and praying to find that family, because I sure felt the spirit really strong when she asked me that. A little girl of about 6. The scriptures came to my mind,… I don’t know how to say it in English… “Let your little ones come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven.” It’s so true. It really just touched me. I hope that we can have faith like that little girl, and have such complete and total confidence in the Lord and in his servants because I know that that brings forth the kingdom of heaven. It was a beautiful experience I had this week.

So it has been a really good week, it has also been a week that really stretched me. First of all, I felt bad that I didn’t recognize that prompting right off. I was talking with Jonathan about it and my chest burned inside me. If I would have come to just a little bit sooner, I would have run after her and asked her to introduce me to to her family, but I was just slow. I actually had to go repent. I hope I can be more sensitive to the spirit. It’s something that really humbled me, and I am hoping that I can find that family again. It just hit me hard. I explained it to my companion and my companion kind of consoled me. If you have ever heard the story about Thomas S. Monson where a man from his ward, when he was bishop, asked him to come to his bedside when he was dying. And President Monson didn’t give heed to it in exactly the moment when it was needed, when he got to the hospital, they said “I’m sorry, he just passed away.” That’s how I felt. That feeling is how I felt. But I know that they will come to have the opportunity to accept the gospel, whether through me or through another missionary, I know it will happen. It is just so important that we are ready to me instruments in the hands of the Lord and that we are ready for those promptings.

So that was the other news, heard from a member on Tuesday morning that President Monson passed away. I know he was a prophet. I had the choice opportunity to read his biography. (I actually have his biography signed by him that a friend gave to me. It’s down there in the room I believe.) and that’s when I got the spritual confirmation that he was a prophet of God. It’s all true. Now I know that Russell M. Nelson will be called and set apart to be the next Prophet, and I hope to be able to sustain him with all my heart. What a wonderful opportunity we have to be in the restored church of Jesus Christ. We can always feel that gratefulness.

Well, I think this has been long enough. I love you all and I will talk to you next week. Chao Chao!

-Elder Lewis

We are going to start with the top of the list. The first picture is of us at Subway. There is a Subway in Sogamoso! I am kinda looking out the window, but whatever haha.

The next photo was in a place called Branges Burger and I am eating an arepa regina, or a filled arepa. Its like a cornflour pancake filled with meat and cheese. We were really happy to find this place. It’s kind of weird because there are pictures of cows. It’s relaly kind of morbid but whatever. And then there is another picture of us in Branges Burger.

The next one is a poorly taken picture of us making arepas. They are cornflour and water and a little bit of oil, and the brown ones that you see are actually made with a thing called Chocolisto, and it’s like chocolate powder, like NesQuik. They actually turned out really good. I will have to make arepas for you guys when I get home.

Elder Varillas

The next one is the picture of me taking a picture of Elder Varillas taking a picture at the lake. It’s really cold up there actually

The District at Playa Blanca

 The next one is a picture of us at our table at our apartment. This was on Thanksgiving, and we were eating something called a Salchi Papa. As you can see there are French fries and then sausage and then hot dog and ham, and cheese. It’s absolutely delicious. It’s a heart attack in a box but… all of that was like 10 thousand pesos or like 3 bucks, so it was a steal.
The next one was on the mountain by Playa Blanca, or white beach. That was a fun beach. I have been there twice now.

The picture of us all gathered together, we are all wet, because it started raining really hard. We had to come back to the apartment to change because it was super hot and then it flipped around and rained on us really hard. It is like that every day in Sogamoso, you  never know what the weather is going to bring.

Elder Varillas and Elder Crespo

The next one is us by the lake. From L to R is Hermana Bartra, Hermana Jines, Hermana Gonzalez, Hermana Tito, Me, My companion Elder Varillas, Elder Coop, and Elder Crespo.

The district at Multi-Zone conference, including Elders from Yopal.

The next one is out in front of a nice restaurant right by one of the churches in Sogamoso, there are two.