Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Week 87: "As Zion's Youth in Latter-Days..." (and Mother's day call report)

Note from Jessica: We got a chance to chat with Elder Lewis via skype for the last time in his mission on Sunday. He is looking great, happy, and dedicated to the work in Cucuta. We had a great time talking and listening as he bore a powerful testimony of the work in Colombia and Venezuela. He is, as always, true to the faith and sends his love to everyone. -The Lewis family


So this week has been a little bit more of the same, like I told you yesterday…By the way, it was really fun to talk to you guys yesterday. It’s good to know that you are doing well, and the whole family looks different! The craziest was Michael! Crazy alto! He’s really tall! Bekah as well. I dunno, you all just looked really good. I hope you are all feeling good. Mike, you’re about done with your Junior year, moving into being a Senior…. And time is moving right on!

This week on my end, not a whole lot has happened. We fasted two weeks ago, and we fasted this week as well to try and help our investigators to progress. We have seen a couple of miracles from that I think. Isabella, who is reading the Book of Mormon like you wouldn’t believe, she’s 17 years old and she is pregnant. We are teaching her and her family but up till right now it’s been her that has been most interested. Her boyfriend or her husband isn’t really that interested. He is more interested in going out to drink and party. So they separated, for family problems, and looks like she will be able to progress now. It’s hard when you are 17, and you’re going to be a mother, and…. I don’t know. I feel like they still want to do teenager things. But we are going to try and help her as much as we can. That’s how it is. People make mistakes. Pretty bad mistakes. But they will get worse if they don’t start living the commandments NOW. That’s our mission with her and her family. Her family is not really that interested. We are going to keep trying. We have been trying to work with the members more lately, the young men have actually really stepped up and have been giving us good references. Sure is cool to go out with young men, teacher, priest age and they give us good references. It’s just the people that they have talked to. They aren’t even good friends of theirs, just like “it’s my friend’s mom that found out that I was Mormon and she asked me about it so I want you guys to come over with me and visit her.” That’s really cool! We are going to try to start working more with the young people. They’ve been encouraging us to stop using as much… like if a young man has a problem or a young man needs fellowshipping, then we should go to the President of the Teacher’s Quorum, not the President of the Young Men. The President of the Teacher’s Quorum has Priesthood Keys, so what are we doing going to the Young Men’s President when he is just an advisor? So, they told us that from the Stake. So its’ really cool when you go up to a young man and say: “Hey, President, I need your help with a young man” how they really step up and they help. The youth of the church are amazing! It’s funny because here in Cucuta, this is like, they are starting up the second generation of the church. The first generation is getting older and they are about ready to pass the torch to the next generation. So they are telling us, “hey, we are not good leaders. We didn’t have the gospel when we were young. But these kids have the gospel while they are young, so help them become good leaders.” So we win because we get references and GREAT fellowshipping, and they win because they get to learn how to lead and how to really care about someone else. So it’s a really good situation.

Let’s see… we have really just been learning the value of references, or referrals. We are also teaching an English class, and I want to start a piano class because I think I could bring some people in for that. But ya… that’s about it for this week. Ilvanis, we have been able to talk to her husband, Richard, a little bit more this week. We are hoping to continue. There’s not a whole lot else. This week we have a good bunch of stuff planned, so we’re looking good. Well, what else can I tell ya? I think that’s my recording for today. Today for P-day we went up into the remote parts of our area up past La Conquista to go and see what the countryside is like. The countryside is actually pretty desert-y. Where inside the city is green you would think it would be like a jungle outside, but there’s patches the size of your house out there. It’s a green desert. It’s really weird. Maybe I will show you pictures. Before, that’s what all of Cucuta was like. Frank was telling us that when he was a kid, you had to go from one place to another with a machete. Not because of thick forest, but because of thick, thick brush. Not brush, it’s like foliage. It’s not like jungle-y it’s just thick. Thick green desert. I’ll have to send you pictures. But I cant even imagine trying to get through that.

Well, I think that’s all for today. We went to the house of Frank and ate arepas reginas, you take arepas like normal, and like a BLT with arepas. I will have to make it for you when I get home. But ya, I have learned how to make Venezuelan arepas. Really good.

Well family, I will let you go then. I love you all and it was good to see you yesterday. Have a great week. Chao!

-Elder Lewis

Elder Lewis and the zones of Cúcuta at Multi-Zone conference. 

Elder Lewis showed us (his family) this photo on our video call yesterday. The mountains that you see in the background are the city of Ureña, Venezuela. the distance from where Elder Lewis stands at the top of this hill to those mountains is only about 15 minutes by car. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 86: The Death of the Fan

Note from Jessica: Elder Lewis' recording didn't transfer this week, so we have some pictures this time and probably a 2 for1 next week, along with a Mother's Day call report. Stay Tuned, and enjoy!

Bolivar Bag!

"because the money is worth less than the paper it's printed on..." 

In memory of our beloved fan... Delgadito. Fallecido a las 2:40 de la madrugada, 7 de mayo, 2018...
We woke up to hear our faithful fan dying in the middle of the night and smelling burnt plastic. 
Worse was the prospect of sleeping without a fan... 

That moment when you come back to the house at 1:00 in the afternoon to finish weekly planning, and you both have to hang up your shirt to dry...

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Week 85: Cultivating the Heart of a Servant in El Salado


So this week has gone really well. We started out the week with Elder Prestwich because Elder Gulla, the… how do you say it… the Filipino, went to Bucaramanga. We had transfers this last week and we were with him for the first part of the week and we enjoyed getting to know his investigators. Had a good time, I don't know what else to say about that haha. But then on, I think on Thursday, we went to the terminal to pick up his new companion who is actually DUN-DUN-DUN-DUUUUUN! (fanfare sound) Venezuelan. He is a Venezuelan that came over here, to Colombia, he went to Cali, which is a city in… well it's pretty dang far away from here. As I understand, it is one the west side of Colombia. He passed through Cucuta on his way there, so he already knows Cucuta pretty well haha. So it was just funny. His name is Elder Mayér. And he is a good guy.

So then we got to work on our area uninterrupted for a couple of days and then one day, I think it was on Friday, or maybe Thursday, (even though I battled a migraine on Thursday and then going to the terminal doesn't help because it's so chaotic…) Cucuta's bus terminal is ridiculous. It's like that movie you've seen… I dunno. So chaotic. If you aren't careful, you're going to get run over. So that didn't help my migraine. Later that day, we were gonna go contact in an area called Panamericano. Our area is a series of like 3 hills. On the other side of one hill, if you stand on the top of the hill, you see the city of Ureña. Ureña is in Venezuela. Our area borders Venezuela, and there is a part down below called El Salado that we felt inspired to go to. It's right on the border with Venezuela. We went down and we knocked on a house, and nothing happened. We went to the next house and they said to come in. so we went in and shared a message with 6 people and we have had the determination to be more in touch with our investigators this week, more constantly, so that they can stay progressing. So we went back a couple of days later to see how they were and found that they had already been sharing it with their family and friends and coworkers. So it was really good. They are a really good family. We should have some good news with them. We are going to try to stay in contact with them every day. But as I have tried to keep in contact more with my investigators, I come to love them more. There are sometimes when you don't get around to seeing your investigators for like 3-4 days between appointments. So, you just need to hit them up with a call, or go see how they are, you just need to go be in contact with them. We have seen a lot of miracles from that. We have seen miracles from reading Preach My Gospel. But ya, we found the familia Puerto, like Puerto Rico. 

Well, today for P-Day we went to a place called Calobos (?), and we played soccer. Then, half way through we started playing American Football, because Elder Wood brought his American Football, so we enjoyed a little game of two-hand-touch. It was fun! My companion was just about dying because he hadn't played football in a transfer, but he is alright. He is functioning again haha. He had a shot of football, so we're good. Haha.

I am very happy to be here in Aeropuerto. Very grateful to see the progress of our investigators, like we had another family, her name is Rosemarie, and his name is Luis, and they are kind of older, and they don't read very well, so we downloaded the Book of Mormon on my USB drive, and dropped it by their house. They have been listening to it non-stop for the last couple of days. So we are super excited about that. I am just so happy to be here. I just hope that President leaves me here for awhile. They made me District Leader again, which is a great opportunity, I was reminded how it was being a Zone Leader last night when I was making all the phone calls, when I was filling out the call-in reports, and I am really happy to be a District Leader because I learned a lot from being a Zone leader, but now I get to apply it with a smaller group of missionaries. So I am really excited about that. We are going to see what we can do.

Let's see… what else… Frank made an amazing dish the other day. It was funny because we got there a little early so that we could see him make it, and it was like pork with mango, with pepper and onion and just a ton of salsa. It was SO GOOD. I found out that he is actually not coming to the United States this year, because the missionary that baptized him invited him to go to Barranquilla to see the new temple dedicated here in December. So he is going to go do that in place of going to the United States. But he is going to come the next year is what he says. I guess we will save him a place at the table for Thanksgiving or something like that. I just know that it is his dream to see Christmas in the United States.

Well, that's all for my report today. I am grateful for you guys, I heard that the play was a hit, so congratulations with that, I know that makes a great difference in the lives of those kids. If nothing else, to see something well done through hard work and the effort. That's something that I really appreciate about my family, is that when they do things, they don't just do them halfway. I am trying to learn how to do that myself. What else can I tell you… I'm not sure what you guys want to hear from my recordings…I don't know if I am telling you what you want to hear or whether I am missing the mark completely, so tell me. I am grateful for all of you. What I have learned this week is about the patience that Christ has with all of us, that He has had with me and not given up on me in these two years. I am starting to be a different person because of it. May we never give up on a worthy cause. Somewhere deep inside me the Lord saw someone who could be a good missionary, and He has been very patient with me and allowed me to become a better missionary; and will continue to be patient with me as long as my transformation process takes. I know that extends beyond the mission, so we have no reason to think that it stops right there.

Well family, I love you guys a lot. There wasn't much in this recording, but I love you. I love my Savior. I love this Gospel. I also love Colombia with all my heart. I am grateful for everything. Talk to you later then. Chao!

-Elder Lewis

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Week 84: Ministering 101 with Elder Ardila

Hi Family!

Well I want to start the recording this week with part of my letter to President this week. I recorded it in my journal and I was going to bring it here to make my recording with my journal entries, but I forgot it. So, I wrote it all down in detail to President, and I am going to read it right now.

President, this has been a week full of inspiration for me. I guess I know that God is really watching out for me this week because I have felt his love and his awareness of even me. Here’s why: we were walking on our way to the church from lunch when we received a phone call. My companion answered, looked confused, and handed it to me. “Hello, you’re speaking with Elder Lewis.” “hello Elder Lewis, you’re speaking with Elder Ardila. Here is the list of 8 new converts that should be attending institute and aren’t. Please get their addresses and we will see you in the house of the Bishop at 3:30.” I jotted down their names right there, knelt down in the street, cell phone pressed against my ear with my shoulder while I wrote the names in my planner. We walked around for the next hour collecting all the information and arrived at the Bishop’s house at 3. Miraculously, we had nothing planned on the agenda for that afternoon. Something that’s really unusual. I don’t believe in coincidence. Well, we arrived at the Bishop’s house and they greeted us and asked us what they could do to help. We told them “well, Elder Ardila will be getting here in a half an hour to speak about some recent converts.” I watched them go from surprised to incredulous and then grab their broom and start sweeping the patio.

I want all of you at home to know who Elder Ardila is. He is an Area Seventy, and he is in charge of the church education system here in Colombia, in Venezuela, in Bolivia, and in Peru. So, when he called my companion didn’t know who it was so he passed the cell phone to me. I was in a multi-zone conference two years ago during Christmas time. SO that really surprised me when he said “I’m Elder Ardila” you know, he’s an Area Seventy, so when he says “I’ll see you at the Bishops’ house at 3:30, please have the addresses ready” uh… ok… we’ll go. Haha. So we got there, and to my surprise he was very happy.

Backing up… I watched them go from surprised to incredulous and then grab their nearest broom and start sweeping the patio. We all sat down and waited. Then he arrived, walking into the house with a bright smile and a bag of Mr. Brown’s Brownies. After greeting everyone, he sat down, handed out brownies, and pulled out his laptop. To my surprise he was very cheerful, not like the strict Area Seventy that I had imagined. He first exchanged a pleasant conversation with the Bishop, whom he already knew. Then got to know my companion and I. Then he pulled out a laptop and we began to talk about the recent converts. We talked about each one, deciding who we should go visit. As we conversed, he remembered a member in Aeropuerto who had just lost a baby girl. He asked about her and expressed that he would like to go visit her. No sooner had the words left his mouth then the same member came walking down the street. Bishop waved her in, and after speaking with her for a few moments, Elder Ardila asked her if she knew who he was. She said no. He said: “I believe my wife was visiting you and your daughter in the hospital in Bucaramanga.” Her face lit up. Sister Ardila had visited her and her husband while they were in the hospital in Bucaramanga awaiting the heart operation of their daughter. She began to thank him for what they did. You could still note the deep pain in her face but the gratefulness for someone who is willing to minister. Then the Bishop made the announcement that “Sister Jesica, did you know that Elder Ardila is a seventy?” she looked surprised and said: “No! your wife didn’t mention that.” It just so happened that Elder Ardila was in Bolivia that week, where his duties as an Area Seventy took him. Jesica left and we started to talk about Javier, a recent convert. We decided to go visit him when… lo and behold, here comes Javier walking down the street! Bishop waved him in. After a few minutes, Elder Ardila invited him to institute and gave him a form to inscribe his name onto. He then turns to us while Javier wrote and tells us how we should visit the members and if we are looking for more people to teach, it didn’t matter where we were, or how they came, but that they would come. I felt the spirit in that promise. Elder Ardila ministered wherever he was, and to the one, not necessarily to a big group. What a good example that I have been reflecting on ever since. We then went to visit some people, Javier accompanying us, for he knew the only person that we didn’t have an address for, which was another miracle. We entered into the car and instantly felt such peace. General Conference was playing in the car. We then went to visit someone, and it was amazing how he introduced himself. He said: “Tell (?) that Elder Ardila of the Seventy came to visit her.” She wasn’t there, but it was amazing how he said that with authority, but with humility at the same time. Well, we didn’t have any more time to visit, and he had a training to attend, but he dropped us off to our 5:30 appointment and then took Javier to his house. After leaving, I asked my companion: “did you feel what I felt? I feel like I just got out of the temple.” That was true. The spirit lifted us, and we went to go SERVE, where earlier that day, we had simply planned to WORK. It was an experience that lifted us both.

Later the next day, we went to Bucaramanga, getting on the bus at 2 o’clock that Thursday, and then going 6 hours through twists and turns up to Bucaramanga. We got there to go to a conference with Elder Zivic whom you might recognize from his talk in General Conference. He was the General Authority Seventy whose voice was kind of shaky. So, we went to a conference with him and the moment that really stuck out to me was that he told us missionaries that if we wanted to have a greater desire to serve, that we should repent. Now that’s not to say: “if you don’t have a desire to serve, repent.” It’s more like if you want to have the desire to serve, you should feel the influence of the atonement in your life. That really struck me, and as I have tried to apply that and really try to get better at repenting, consciously, I have actually studied a couple General Conference talks about it and really tried to figure out how to repent. It has really blessed my life and I have been able to have more patience, I have been able to have more love for people. I have certainly felt lifted and the desire to serve. I still have a long way to go but I have seen a difference.

Last night, Sunday night, we saw the promise of Elder Ardila fulfilled when he said that if we would go visit the members, with the intention of finding someone to teach, that they would get there and that we would find them. It was true. We got there, and we found some of the family of the Patriarch. We went to the house of the patriarch, but we found some of his family who are Pentecostal. They are not my favorite people. Sometimes, here in Colombia, when you talk with Pentecostals, and the way that you talk to them, you feel like they are bullying you. When they listen to you and talk with you, they talk to you with… how do you say it… superiority? It’s just really hard to get to them. All of the Pentecostals that I have ever met have just wanted to fight. So, I was really hesitant about starting to try to teach them, but as I talked to them, I found that they were different than the others. We started talking about the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she just started to talk about how she wants more spirituality in her life, how she wants more… She said “sometimes I pray to God and ask him what he wants me to do. Then I go, and I try to do it.” That really shocked us, because that’s not something that they teach, that’s something that WE teach! But it’s the workings of the Spirit of God in a person who is willing to listen. As we continued to talk to her, after that I showed her the scripture in Mosiah 2:17, and as we talked we started to share the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that described how she was feeling. She felt it connect. She said: “you know, I have always had these ideas and you expressed them perfect in these scriptures.” We gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to read, and we are going to return on Thursday. I just felt the spirit so strongly and I felt so much happiness for her. What I learned from that experience is that the scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants is true, there are people among all religions that are looking for the truth, they just don’t know where to find it. It was a great experience.

Well, this has been a long recording I think, but It was a great week. Well, I love you all and I look forward to talking to you soon. Love you all. Chao Chao.

-Elder Lewis

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 83: Prayers, Persuasion, and a Piano

Alright! So I am going to be able to start making recordings again, which is really exciting because I haven't had the means to do so because I had a virus on my micro SD which was inside my cell phone. So if you are wondering, that's why I wasn't able to do so for some time there.

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!

-Elder Lewis

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

Monday, April 9, 2018

Week 82: Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with God.

 First, we´ve start to work in a new area called "La Conquista." It´s a new part of Cúcuta, so it´s in the first stages of a neighbourhood on a border town. They are houses of tin siding and wooden slats with dirt floors covered with a tarp. It surprises me that some people can actually make that look and feel comfortable! Hapiness has very little to do with your resources, but much to do with how you use the resources you have. We went on Tuesday and again on Friday, and both days were very fruitful. Our ward mission leader lives there, so we should be able to give a lot of hope to these people through the restored gospel. There is also lot´s of service to give, like throwing frogs out of the houses when it rains!
   Our military investigator is taking big steps towards discovering the truth. He says that before, he had connections with very high places in the venezuelan military, and proved it to us too. We saw him in pictures in his military uniform with dignitaries like Hugo Chavez, and the former head of the department of defense. He says now he is here in Cúcuta, and as he can´t go back for being part of a resistence group, he feels that this is the moment for him to get to know God before he goes back and resumes his fight. We are introducing him to the Book of Mormon, which will help him to know how his ancestors dealed with threats to liberty, namely captain Moroni.

   Well, I was thinking, and it never ocurred to me to ask you what you guys want to hear from me?

   I want you guys to know that God lives and loves us. His gospel enrichens and enlivens and fixes life. I Have a huge testimony of that. Micah 6:8 has become my favorite scripture. When you know why, it will change your perspective on the gospel and how God can guide your life.

-Elder Lewis

Such a good picture... This is "La conquista," a new area we´re working in. Pure houses of tin siding and wood. And no roads:)
There was a little bit of rain on thursday night... we had water up to our knees haha!

and the next day... jaja! 

 This last one was an activity that we did in the ward about a month ago:)
(Elder Goncalves and Elder Lewis in white in the font, Elders Prestwich and Gulla in the front explaining baptism) 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Week 81: "...I Will Give Away All My Sins To Know Thee...."

We continue teaching our miracle investigator, Ilvanis. Satan is puting a lot of oposition in the way. She is seperating from a boyfriend that ended up hitting her this week, and leaving black and blue marks on her arms and around her collar bone. It was crazy, but maybe it was the push that she needed to seperate from him. He asked forgiveness, but she is firm and wants to leave the house. The ward has been and is a big help to us in helping her with the things she needs. She continues so firm despite the overwhelming circumstances. 

We were walking in the street one day to an apointment that wasn´t that, well, "fijo?" (I forgot how you say it.) While we were walking, my companion and I were speaking in English, and he noticed that some people noticed and were talking about us. I was going to keep going, but he stopped to ask me if we should contact them. I agreed, and we did. Ten minutes later, we were in an apartment complex kind of a thing, with 8 Venezuelans listening to our every word. The next day, Alan, one of the 8, told me that he had had a dream about us coming. He said he was brought to meet God, and he pleaded for Venezuela. Then, the Lord, whose face he did not see, told him to change, and then two "generals" stepped out. The Lord then said, "They are coming to visit you, and you should listen to them." He then started to vomit, a black liquid, that turned yellow and then clear. He woke up and immediately. 

As I listened to him tell me of the dream, I felt deeply the spirit. I felt humbled to be on the Lord´s side. I love Him, and I´m very excited to teach Alan and all the others in their house. I´m also very grateful for my companion who was in tune with the spirit to be able to see someone the way the Savior does. I recognize that His dream meant that we are to teach him how he can become pure and clean through Jesus Christ. He recognizes that iniquity has brought his country to where it is, and this creates a place for us to bring light into his life. It´s a great responsablity. Please pray for him (Alan).

I was very impacted by this frase from conference. Elder Lynn G. Robbins said, "Success is not the abscence of failure; Sucess is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Failure is a tutor, not a tragedy." Does that not sum up our existence here on the earth? I believe so. Thanks to Jesus Christ, Failure is not tragedy, but a teacher. The atonement makes our sins temporary and surface. Let´s all use his atonement so that one day, all of our mistakes and errors will be "gone." I´ve come to know this in a special way, and still have much to learn.
Con fuego en los Huesos,
Elder J. Lewis