Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 15: Merry Christmas/ Feliz Navidad from Elder Lewis!

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you had a fun and safe holiday. We got the privilege of talking with Elder Lewis for quite some time on Christmas day. He is happy, healthy, and safe and loving the work of the gospel. He sends his love to all of his family and friends that read the blog. Here is some of what he had to say about it, and below are some pictures that he sent: 

About talking to the family on Christmas:
I really enjoyed talking to you all, It seems like everything is going well. I am praying for you, Dad, for your surgery on Tuesday, but I have confidence in Dr. Murphy. I am not worried about it. Cici and Carson have sure grown up. Carson is a big chunk of man! He’s a big kid! He also has a lot of hair too. I also really enjoyed talking with Conrad in Spanish. That was a real treat for me. I was super excited about that. Also, Andy and Carol it was good seeing you guys and your kids. You seem like you are doing great. You deserve that! Thank you all for singing O Holy Night for me last night for two reasons, One, Colombians don’t really have a sense of pitch whatsoever at all. Great rhythm, just no pitch haha so it was really nice to hear your voices. That sounds really conceited…. But one thing is that when they sing here they sure mean it. The other thing was the message of the song. I sure do appreciate that message more than I ever have as I come to know my Savior.

Elder Lewis talking in Spanish with his brother in law, Conrad on Christmas Day. 
(Jared's Spanish is getting very good, and very fast!) 

Details about P-Day and the pictures included in the blog today: Today we went out for our p-day on a really old bus. There was an old lady who didn’t know how to drive it. A couple missionaries wanted to kick her out of the seat and drive it, but we aren’t allowed. So we had to push it at least 85 times. Then it stalled going up a hill. Eventually we made it up the hill to where we were going. In the picture you see a house, that’s the house of the people that own the land that all the waterfalls are on. You go up to the house and ring the doorbell, and they were home, but they didn’t want to come to the door. So after about a  half an hour we went back down to the bus, where the lady that was driving the bus was using her brakes so much that they started smoking. Some of my mechanic knowledge kicked in and the people thought the engine was blowing up, and I thought “No, its just the brakes, you’re just not sure how to use the bus.” So we pulled off to the side of the road and just leave it for a minute to cool off. While that was happening, by the side of the road there were some little falls, and that’s where all the pictures were from. The other missionaries were too lazy to climb all the rocks haha. But Zuniga and I did. The water, where it pools, is pretty deep and it has a blue tinge to it. Its so green. I don’t know if you consider it jungle, but its so green. Then we came back down and we were tired. We went back to the house for lunch and crashed for awhile and then here I am writing you!
The house described in Elder Lewis' writing


Elder Lewis and the guides and missionaries (blurry but you get the idea)

Elder Lewis 

His New Year’s Message: My message to you all today is this: This time of year is a great time to establish some things that we can do a little better. One thing that I have learned here is that we shouldn’t expect perfection of ourselves. Just try to do a little better every day. A lot of the time I would stress about being a perfect missionary. Elder Zuniga has helped me realize that that isn’t reasonable. That I need to set more reasonable goals. So as you set your New Years resolutions, just do the small things this year. Not this week but in the next month or so, as you start to take down the Christmas decorations, its always a little depressing, but I hope that we never forget Christmas and what it means, and how it brings people together. If we can accomplish being as generous and thoughtful as we tend to be in this season all year around, then we can accomplish great things. Well, I think that’s enough preaching. Love you all and I will talk to you soon!

-Elder Lewis

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Week 14: Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way....

WHEW! this one is a long one folks, but its great! enjoy!

*ps. The Lewis Family will be speaking LIVE with Elder Lewis via Skype on Christmas Day! SO... nows your chance... want to ask him a question? hows the mission? is is his spanish coming along? whats the food like? etc.... leave it in the comments, and we will read him those questions and get you an answer! 

Its been a great week! Zone Conferences this week, and lessons throughout the week…. Wait there’s a lizard on the wall… Anyway, 3 zones, and had trainings with President Laney and the Zone Leaders. I really learned a lot. And then we taught lessons again. We had a lesson Thursday. We went to the familia Bautista, they are all members except for Angie, and we taught her the plan of Salvation. At the end we challenged her to be baptized. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “I would love to, but I sin too much.” She has a little girl and is pregnant, and is living with a guy. He is actually a good guy. So she has some problems. But in that moment, the spirit was in the lesson. Elder Zuniga and I testified with all of our hearts, with all the power of the Spirit that we could muster, that His grace is sufficient. That we cannot go too far and that his arms are always waiting to receive her, but that yes, it might be hard, but it is never too late. And when we testified we truly felt the love of the Savior. She was crying and I was crying. As we did this and closed in the name of the Savior, after a moment of silence, I realized right then that I am powerless to help these people, that it is all in the Savior, that he is all powerful. It is one of my favorite moments when this happens. Next time we will teach her about the 4 principles of the Gospel. I am excited for that.
Friday, we had half the mission come to Bucaramanga, to a chapel that is about ½ an hour away from here. Expensive by taxi. About 1200 Colombian Pesos, which is roughly $4.00. so super cheap, but expensive. We went there and an Area Seventy spoke about living for the principle not for the law. Am I obeying just for the law or am I looking for the principle? We will only be happy if we are living for the principle, doing things for the purpose not the law. The good thing is that even if we are living for law right now, we can find out the reason why. There is always a reason, and when we find out we are grateful, and when we are grateful, we are happy.
After that, we went and played games. I got to see Elder Watts who was in my CCM group, which was super cool because we were both talking in Spanish, which was way more than we could have done a month and a half/ two months ago. Right now, me and Zuniga, who speaks perfect English, we have started to alternate between English and Spanish, and it just kinda happens we don’t even notice it. I have started to screw up my English just a little bit. The other day I was asking somebody where they were from and I said “Que Este.. . Where?” and Zuniga laughed at me and I said “what?” and he said “really?”. I mess up sometimes. Anyway, if you have never played games with a group of Elders and Sisters, its super fun. We also did sketches. Ours was a huge success!  We also did gift exchanges! I got an American Football from Elder Lopez. The thing was that it was double wrapped in tape, so it took me a good 15 minutes to saw it open with my teeth. He was laughing the entire time.  We had a dinner as well, and each zone prepared an American Christmas Carol. After that we all got together in our native nationalities, and we talked about our Christmas traditions. A little trunky, but cool. Then we got gifts from the mission. We got a tie and a hymnbook cover, that is personalized with my name and mission on it and a directory with all the missionaries in the mission on it.
Then Saturday we helped move some things for a member in a store right by our house. Whats nice about living here in Floridablanca, is that there are a lot of things very close. Sunday we went to our meetings and then had a lesson with an Investigator who was having a hard time with her son, and she wasn’t going to celebrate Christmas. Well, we walked in and all her decorations were up! This was kind of an emotional moment. The son was really kinda despondent, he didn’t want to talk a lot, and then Zuniga started joking with him and I chimed in. We taught from Jarom in the Book of Mormon, and Elder Zuniga told him that he wasn’t reading his scriptures, that’s why he had fallen away, after only 6 months from returning from own mission in Bolivia. So we talked to him and I felt the spirit fill me and I talked to him about his mission and what he did. He said I just cant find the motivation to read the scriptures. The spirit is kinda funny, sometimes it prompts you like “say this”, and other times it just takes over and the words just come. This is what happened this time. I talked to him about his mission and how every morning its hard to exercise, and shower because its cold. But in the end it feels so good. But by the next morning, we forget again. And then I asked him “Have you forgotten? Do you believe what you told those people those 2 years? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior?”  He got uncomfortable and said “ok, ok I do believe with all my heart, but when I came back everybody expected me to be some superhero. I just cant live up to that.” So he fell away for a short time. He told us that he was insecure about that. After he said this, it was a moment where we felt “NOW we can help you!”  Now we call him every morning and tell him to get up and read his scriptures. So that was really cool.
We had a lesson with familia Uribe, a couple of cool things happen. First, Sofie, Andres' daughter, (reminds me of Cici), her Spanish is so funny! Anyway, we asked her to say the prayer (she is 2) and she did!  And Andres and Elisa were standing in the doorway, watching her pray, and I know that they felt something because Andres walked back in with tears in his eyes. Anyway, we talked to Hermana Uribe and her daughter about “is the gospel still beautiful to you? Have you forgotten?” and they felt something. We are working with them and are seeing progress. Hermana Uribe is like a mom to me here in Colombia.

Anyway, We will talk to you all on Sunday. Hasta Lluego!

Elder Pace and Elder Lewis 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 13: A week in the life of a missionary... and snoring companions

Elder Lewis wrote specifically for the blog this week. Enjoy! 

¡Bienvenidos a la Julio perpetual!
I´m very sorry for the lack of writing that has been going on, but I´ll try to make up for it! Many things have been going on in the last week, and I have very little time, so here we go!
-Transfers happened this week, which meant Elder Leiffer from La Cumbre was with us for a couple of days while his greenie companion arrived. We had to pick him up at the bus port at 2:30 a.m Wednesday morning. We didn´t sleep. And Bucaramanga is very quiet at night! Holy cow! It was just a little eery.
-Elder Zuñiga was sick from Wednesday to Saturday. Being in the appartment that long for a missionary is torture. I studied for 7-8 hours on thursday, and have now read half of the mssionary library in English. I´m working on the Book of Mormon in Spanish, which is actually surprisingly easy!
-Elder Zuñiga was snoring Super loud Saturday night, and after waking up 5 or 6 times to it, half awake Elder Lewis (myself)  Said ´´ Elder... Elder... ELDER!´´ ´´What?´´ ´´ SHUT UP!´´. He said okay, and we went back to sleep. We´ve been laughing about it ever since!
-I´m so very sick of rice and raw onion and tomatoe. What I wouldn´t give for something else! Also, a hot Shower. We don´t have hot water, so it´s a struggle in the morning jaja!
So this week, with being in the house, I learned a bit about patience. It is hard to be patient, but the important thing is always submitting to the will of the Father. I have a testimony of Him whom we celebrate at this time of year. I love Him, and I know that He lives. I can´t explain how other than that as I´ve strived to learn of Him, and have heard His voice, that I´ve come to know that He is truly magnificent, worthy of every song of praise and joy we can sing about Him. His joy is to be felt in living as He did! If you haven´t look into the Church´s Service initiative for Christmas 2016. I love Him with all that I am. In the His magnificent name, Amen.
Elder J. Lewis

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 12: Lighting the World and a "full moon" over Bucaramanga....

A note from Jessica: Elder Lewis has lately been writing us via voice recordings. We love hearing his voice and listening to his stories firsthand. So, the format of this blog will change just a little bit. I am not able to upload the recordings, so I will type up the highlights and most important points from his messages and post them here! 

The work goes slowly forward this week in Colombia. One of Elder Lewis and Elder Zuniga's investigators, Paola, has disappeared and they cannot find her anywhere, which is sad and discouraging. There is another couple investigating that haven't been to church in a couple weeks due to various reasons, but are still strong in their testimony of the gospel and are expected to keep their baptismal date sometime in February. Elder Zuniga told Elder Lewis that he (Elder Lewis) will likely have the honor of performing those baptisms, and he is very excited about that.

Elder Zuniga has been sick the latter part of the week, so Elder Lewis cleaned and studied, and "beat my head against the wall". Elder Lewis hasn't had the typical experience of being violently ill in Colombia yet (crossing his fingers), and believes that some probiotics that Mom sent him with are helping. Elder Goth (another Elder in their area) had to return home this week due to severe illness, which is very sad, because he was a good missionary. The tip to know about not getting sick is that it is NOT a good idea to eat from street vendors, as there is no clean water to cook with or drink. So they stay away from the street vendors.

A High Council member from their area joined the Elders this week. (Jared gives names, but they are so fast and in Spanish that I cannot understand if I wanted to!) This High Councilman is a Taxi Driver by trade, and in Colombia it is the law that Taxi Drivers have the day off on Sunday and one other day during the week. This particular man chooses to use the last half of his Sundays off going with the missionaries, which helps the Elders get into homes that they otherwise could not. They are very grateful. Members are a great help in the work.

STORY OF THE WEEK: The High Councilman, Elder Zuniga, and Elder Lewis were walking down a street and a man came running past them who was clearly a Gringo (Spanish slang for foreigner). All of the sudden this man proceeds to drop his pants in front of them, giving a "full moon" and starts saying terrible things about Mormons and Joseph Smith, etc. Elder Zuniga smiled and said "Thank you. God Bless you!" Both of the Elders found this experience to be absolutely hilarious, but were confused by 2 things:
1. Whats a Gringo thats not an LDS missionary doing in the suburbs of Bucaramanga Colombia?
2. He really had NOTHING better to do than moon the missionaries?
Elder Lewis says "Ah... The life of a missionary. :)"

Elder Lewis answers Rebekah's Questions: 

Rebekah: Have you served anyone?
Elder Lewis: YES! we serve everybody. thats what we're here to do. A lot of people need physical and spiritual service. We serve them (cleaning, putting up Christmas decorations, etc.) and then ask if we can share a message. The gospel is the solution to every problem. What a joy it is.

Tonight is "visit someone sick" and we are going to visit a lady that is the aunt of one of our investigators (Again, name trouble on my part, but I think the investigators name is Christia...?) I'd appreciate your prayers on her behalf. She has some super hard things going on with her family. This is our first visit. I'm super excited!

the 25 days of Christmas (Light the World) is a great thing. I'd encourage you guys to do that with us. There's a cool thing online where you can take pictures and document what you're doing. Share your faith and service with the whole world!
***To accept Elder Lewis' challenge to Light the World this Christmas, please follow these links:


"I love you all a lot. I hope all is well. Talk to you all later! Hasta Lluego!"

-Elder Lewis

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 11: Prayers and a Dr. Pepper Thanksgiving in Colombia

Elder Lewis gave us some short notes and a picture to share this week. Please keep his investigators and less actives in your prayers. The work moves forward in Colombia and although Satan is trying his hardest to discourage, we know that "Like a mighty army, moves the church of God..." :)
-The Lewis Family

Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving was nothing like at home, but we managed! We even found Dr. Pepper! Elder Zuniga knows a really good way to cook a chicken and although it was not turkey, it was delicious!

Thanksgiving Dr. Pepper! 

For the reader: This post is about the familia Uribe, a family in Jared's area that is currently inactive for one reason or another, and one that they are trying to help come back...

we are actually, after this, going to take a cake to Hermana Uribe for her birthday! They are great! They are less active, but we're working on that. They sure give me a heck of a time, because Morelia, her daughter, thinks it's funny to try and get the gringos to blush. She'll throw out either a pick up line or an insult, and Zuniga says Ive got to throw them back, but man... easier said than done. It's hard, but I'm adapting haha! but as for her, we've been helping her with odds and ends like Christmas decorating and things. I traced a fairly good Santa on their wall! But Mostly, I just hope that we can help her come back to church. They have such good hearts, and we know that their reading the Book of Mormon. They are even helping us reach her Son's girlfriend that lives with them (I know, not ideal, but we're working on it). I dont know as far as projects and things, I'll think about it, but as for now, please pray for Familia Uribe, and for us to help us know what they need to come back.
As for Sofia, well, she is like Cici in a lot of ways! She speaks really intently, but then runs out of breath, stops in the middle of the sentence to breath, and carries on! haha She's funny! We play soccer in the entry of their house quite often!


Elder Lewis' address is: Calle 7, 14-10 Piso 3 Floridablanca, Bucaramanga, Santander Colombia 680011

That being said, he would LOVE cards and notes, as they would mean a lot to him especially this time of year. Also, if you want to send a package, he would love SMALL toys to give away to children in his mission. IT IS NOT CHEAP TO SEND PACKAGES... so here are some tips to help you do so (since he would LOVE it!)

1. Use your own box, or a small bubble wrap envelope that doesnt weigh hardly anything. Please keep it as light as you can, because we have found that even 3 pounds costs about $30 to send!
2. Be prepared to know the price and size of everything that you send as you will need to fill out a Customs form and everything needs to be declared and accounted for!
3. Place stickers of Santa Maria (the virgin Mary) and Christ in a triangle on whatever you are sending (this assures that the package wont (or shouldnt) be opened by others attempting to steal from its contents on the way there)

Letters and Notes are amazing and so appreciated, and packages are a real treasure to Elder Lewis. SO if you feel inclined this Christmas, please send your love to this faithful missionary in Colombia :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 10: Every Member a Missionary...

Here's the latest from the good Elder. Enjoy!

I realized that I have not written something of very good substance for this blog in a while! Sorry!
The work in Bucaramanga goes forward, at a slow kind of pace right now, but we´re hoping for a very productive week with the things that we have planned to work especially with members on. I think that when I come home, I will definetly try to be a better help to missionaries in finding and retaining people. Even in Utah! We see the hand of God every day in our work, and it really makes a person feel good. Sometimes it´s dissapointing when things don´t work as they should, but still. The members are starting to really work with us and I pray that this will be an ongoing trend!
-It is the Christmas season in Colombia! They are super festive! It´s weird to see that and then keep on wiping the sweat from your face...
-I´ve really learned a lot about budgeting in the past two or three weeks. My card from home doesn´t work, so I live off of 180,000 Colombian pesos, which sounds like a lot, but it´s about 60 dollars. Good stuff! I´ve learned about a lot of really cheap meals! That are really good, actually!
I don´t have a ton of time, but I would like to share something that has really come into effect in my life as of late. I have really come to know that our Savior loves us, that He did suffer for all things, and that this was not just a past event, but something that takes significant meaning and real effect in our lives, if we allow Him to reach us. I have really found out the things that I must do have the influence of the spirit, and therefore the love and healing and enabling power of the atonement, in my life. I know this gospel is true, and how amazing it is!

Elder Lewis

***A note from the Lewis Family: There was a miscommunication with Jared's debit card/bank and it was cancelled due to being used out of the USA. Currently, he is literally "without purse or script" aside from his small monthly allowance. :) His new card is on its way, but please, if you can, keep him in your prayers, specifically that the card will get to him without trouble. THANK YOU!***

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 9: "The hardest thing I have ever loved to do...."

A few excerpts from this weeks messages: 

From his letter to me: 
My true conversion to this gospel is an ongoing process, but the Lord is showing me great things. It's just a bit rough right now. It's funny how I was so comfortable I was at home, just staying the same and never becoming better. That can not be now, and it is a refiners fire, but everyone goes through it, and I will go foreward with faith. It's super hard, but "nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted."- Nephi 4.

From his letter to Mom: 
I love you guys too. With all my heart! I will continue to pray for you, also continue to pray for me. I'm finding it difficult to put my time I wasted as a teenager behind me. I am finding myself in Colombia, trying to become truly converted to the gospel, and it is a process. Just like the talk from Elder Bednar, it comes like a sunrise, not like a light switch. I'm working toward the day when I see the entire landscape of the gospel, and all the beauty of His plan, and a clear understanding of His doctrine. But for now, I must learn to follow him with the light He gives me. I do love Him, and I'm coming to understand His love for me. Wyatt's words come back to me: I knew of my Savior, but I really got to KNOW Him in Colombia!" This is the thing that I'm striving for, and I appreciate and need your prayers.

Love you all!
Your missionary,
Elder Lewis

Jared's friend Sarah Young also contacted me this week and shared with me a transcript of a voice recording that Jared sent her offering friendly advice. An excerpt of that is included here. Thank you Sarah, for sharing with us. :) 

Continue to study and pray, and voice your concerns to the Lord. Remember that He is all knowing and all understanding. Continue to pray and if it is just your choice, then whatever you decide to do, go forth with faith. Sorry, I don’t mean to preach to you haha. That's the last thing I mean to do. Umm, mmm… Let's see.. So, about a mission. The mission, and I think I sent you a message… Maybe, maybe not. The mission is the hardest thing I have ever loved to do. It's super hard. Sometimes I struggle to know fully why I'm here. I'm here to invite other people to come unto Christ. But it's hard to see all the time. And it's really made me learn what faith is. Learn how to come close to Him on my own, and really have a good relationship with Him. I've found that my faith in Utah is different from my faith that I'm building here. My faith that I'm building here is not founded upon temple square, you know? It's not founded in what I know. It's so different and it's so hard. But the spirit that you feel is real. And it comforts you when you need it and it compels you when you need it. It's really becoming a sacred experience. I've learned more here in the past two months than I probably would have learned in ten years at home. Just about how the gospel works. How in actuality it blesses people's lives. I'm coming to know it. And I'm working on my conversion more and more every day. Finding that although I've never doubted the gospel, that I was never truly converted. And so that's what I'm working on now. And I'm working more and more converted every day.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 8: Mountains and Mighty Miracles (with pictures!)

Elder Lewis didn't have a whole lot of time to talk this week, so here are some great details he sent us and some amazing pictures of his P-Day activities:

- Colombian spanish is kinda weird. We do use the "j"sound. Por ejemplo: Como se llama? is pronounced 'como se jama.' It's not a hard j sound, but yes. Also, there is a bit of slang, but nothing compared to Mexico! We use "chevre" as a word like "cool." "Vaina" is used to describe "that thing." Que Vaina means 'what the freak?" haha It's weird, but not nearly as weird as the coast speakers! That's called Castello, and that's hard spanish to understand!

-Ya I've actually talked to Elder Pace! He's here in Bucaramanga, but he's in the other zone. Also, Elder Zuniga was companions with Landon Cornwall, and in the same house as Pace, so he actually knows quite a bit about Bear River and all of that!

- (Talking about essential oils) I use all of them pretty frequently! I use wake up a lot, also tranquility, lavender, deeper, whispering hope the last few days, and some others. I don't think I'll be out of any for a bit, I have a couple of them that are about 1/4 or halfway gone.

- You have no idea how much I'd love to have Cici come to Colombia! Actually, probably not because it's not really, well... safe? But it just kinda makes my heart happy to know that she remembers me!

- I recieved pictures of everyones desfrases! As Grandpa would say, they were 'Smashing!' Andy e-mailed me with some of theirs too! Que Chevre!

- Mike, I sure do love him. He is my best friend, and I miss him something terribly.
From his letter to me: 

Haha I wish Cici could come here too! well... maybe not... it's not... safe? haha but it makes my heart happy to know that she remembers Uncle Jared! Cool experience for you: We were teaching Alfonzo, a less active, when his dog would not shut up! It was a big dog named "Simba." It was important that we have the spirit there as we were at a critical juncture with Alfonzo and his progress in reading the scriptures. As Simba ran past me, I felt the spirit, reached out my hand, touched the dog, and the words "be still" came into my mind and out my mouth. He growled a bit, and then layed down right there and went to sleep. The priesthood is real, and we are able to do amazing things through him, for the benefit of His children. So awesome! Alfonzo is doing very well!

Image one: Went ziplining in the Andes on top of a mountain top amusement park! We rode a cable car for 30 minutes just to get there! We were standing above the clouds! So cool! The park is called Chicamocha!

Go karting at Chicamocha! Conrad, you would love this! They put you in a little one seater, and say go! It's a sweet mountain track and I got air several times! (yes, it is allowed by mission rules! haha)

The cable car descending into the clouds! This was so cool! This area isn't jungle because of the elevation, but it is VERY green and beautiful! Lot's of mountain goats!

Below is an awesome experience that Elder Lewis had this past week that he sent to Dad:

My Companion and I were teaching a kid that struggles believing in God because of "science." We taught a good lesson, and then I asked him how he felt on his baptismal day. He said he didn't feel anything. The spirit was very strong, and my companion told Andres he was lying to us. Wow. After, I asked him how he knew, and he said right then that even though we'd never met with him before, that he knew everything about him. He saw him on his baptismal day, crying. I get chills even when i tell you this. This gift is real, and we seem to be having lot's of power house lessons with it. I just hope that i'm worthy of such a spirit all of the time, and that as i pray and work, that i can be like Elder Zuniga. So cool. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 7: Colombia- beautiful, new, and humbling experiences.

Hola everyone! 

I am now in Bucaramanga. It is a sizeable city situated in the jungle of Colombia. It is hot, and humid most of the time, but right now it just rained, so it's a bit better! The city is kinda gross in some parts with garbage piled high in the streets, but other's are very beautiful! Our apartment is not the nicest, But, compared to some homes, it is a suite! However, there are also lots of nice places around here. All the shops and restaurants are tiny, but the food is SO good. We eat lunch with members almost every day, and man... It's good! Outside the city in a place called Monte Villa, kinda out in the jungle, There are some way nice homes, and we ate there a couple of times this week. The water is clean in Bogota and Bucaramanga, so I am still going strong!

-Metrolinea: the bus system exclusive to Bucaramanga, and the scariest, but also funnest experience of my life! Colombian drivers are crazy!  But it's never boring haha!
- I've done an insane amount of walking this week. Eventually my legs will not feel like theyre going to fall off... eventually.
-Colombian money is not worth anything. I pay about 7,500 pesos for some empanadas. 
- Spanish has been very humbling. I can speak half decently, but sometimes people would talk to me y yo no entendi nada! 
     Now all joking aside, I am very humbled and very grateful for this opportunity. Some people live in pretty dire straights, and some pretty mixed  up positions. But My testimony is this: That I know that Jesus Christ lives. That He call heal any wound, if we can find it in us to leave our vices, our addictions, and our pride, and come to Him with broken heart and contrite spirit. I don't mean to sound repetitive, but it is true. This is the Gospel of the one true Savior, and it really heals real wounds. His love is infinite. The Book of Mormon is another Testament of His divinity, This, combined with the bible, and modernday revelation, is a guide to our lives, a precious gift. Therein, lies healing. Please pray for me, my awesome companion Elder Zuñiga, and the wonderful people of Colombia. 

Sin chistes, tengo mucho humilde y estoy muy agradecido por este oportunidad. Alguien están muy pobre, y son confuzado, algo veces. Perro este es me testimonio: Yo se que Jesucristo vive. Que Su iglesia, si, su palabra y evangelio fue restaurado. El Libro De Mormon es su palabra, y tiene la plenitud de su evangelio. Este, con la biblia junto, y revelación personal, es un guía por nuestras vidas. Un don muy precioso.

Elder J. Lewis

Elder Lewis and Maestro Ordonez at the CCM in Mexico, Maestro Ordonez is, according to Jared, a very wise and funny teacher. 

A parrot in Bucaramonga that Elder Lewis says "speaks better Spanish than I do!" 

From his letter to Mom: 
Hola Madre! Como le va? You should send me pictures of everyones costumes!  Calle 7, 14-10 Floridablanca Bucaramanga Santander, Colombia is my address. I asked my Comp and he said that things shouldn't take terribly long to get here. So you talked with Pres. Laney? Isn't he great? Imagine the nicest person on the earth, and then make him twice as nice and 5 times as wise and that person is President Laney. Hermana Laney is so funny too! Her brownies are TO DIE for. 
         I have SO much to tell you! First off, I am safe and sound. The city is such a crazy new experience! I'm understanding about 25 percent of what I hear, and the Latins say I speak like I've been here for months! But it still kinda stinks to sit in a family's living room and everyone's laughing because of something I couldn't understand. Irronically, however, I am learning to be happy! I am learning much spanish and how to laugh at myself a bit! I'm finding that I have to make a conscious effort to be happy, and it is wonderful!...
 I just want you and Dad to know how much I love and appreciate everything you've worked to hard to give and teach me. Here in Colombia, morals are a pretty huge problem. I've seen incredibly sad things due to people not having been taught to have integrity or morals really. However, that makes our message so very sweet. The Savior is all powerful, and this message of His can heal any wound. His grace is sufficent. I love you all very much and am grateful for what I have. I am very humbled and hope to remain that way, because of the miracles I've seen. Gracias, eternalmente.

From his letter to me: 
Bucaramanga is amazing! Ive gained a very new perspective, including new empathy for Conrad. I really like fried plantanes now, and I'm in a city, but the surrounding areas I've been to are JUNGLE. Our apartment is a DUMP. But compared to some of the houses I've taught in, it's the nicest mansion in the world. I'll attach a few images and things, but it sufficeth me to say, that I've seen wealth in some parts and absolute poverty in others. These people have nothing. It makes my heart hurt. But, I love them, and this message and these people in the Bucarica ward are amazing, and can help them. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Week 6: Bienvenidos a Colombia! and a little language laughter ;)

Elder Lewis is in Colombia! Here is the letter from his Presidente and Hermana Laney.

Elder Lewis is the furthest back on the left

Letter from Mission President, also check out the mission blog!

A handwritten letter from Elder Lewis. A translation is provided below if you cant read it ;) 

Hola! I have arrived safe and sound in Bogota! I met with my mission president and he is amazing! I have a deep respect for him, and Hermana Laney. Bogota is beautiful! The first night I stayed with the office missionaries in the nicest apartment in the mission, where I was assured that I would not ever have such a nice apartment. They got it by a freak off-chance. It was great! I am now bidding a sad goodbye to my great friends from the CCM. I am going to a different area then all of them. 
My new area is... Bucaramonga! My comp is a Chilean named Elder Zunega. Not a lick of English. I dont have much time, so i want you to know how much I love you all. Sorry we got cut off at the airport! It was so good to hear your voices (at 4 am) 

Ustedes me amo! 
your faithful son, 
Elder Jared M. Lewis

****READ IF YOU NEED A LAUGH: As we were reading this message, we got to the end and noticed that the Spanish seemed a little off. Jared's brother-in-law, Conrad, speaks Spanish and immediately began to die of laughter because.... 

"Ustedes me amo" translates to: "You guys, I love myself!" LOL oops! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Major Update from Jessica: Elder Lewis took off for Colombia early this morning. He called Mom and Dad at 4:30am and they said that he sounded great and is doing well. He landed safely in Bogota this afternoon! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Week 5: Saying goodbye to Mexico and the CCM

Last week in CCM! This place has been amazing, and I've had so many wonderful experiences, gained many life long friends, and seen the hand of the Lord in all of it! It's bitter sweet, but I'm excited for the field!
- I'm leaving with the 7 other Elders headed for Bogota at 3:30 in the morning on monday! I'm the travel leader, so I'm responsible to make sure they get there in order without doing anything stupid! Fun fact: I was told very emphatically that I was not to let them preach or read Preach My Gospel at the airports as we could all get arrested! Fun stuff!
-Bonnie L Oscarson of the Gen Young Womens presidency vistited CCM this week, and everyone was so excited!
-Mexico City air has been the worst this week! I miss fresh Utah air! 

In closing, I'll send some spanish.
Dios es nuestro amoroso padre celestial. El quiere bendice nosotros, pero, necesitamos guardar Sus mandemientos para recibir Sus bendiciones.
From Mexico for the last time,
Elder Lewis

The next post refers to Jared's maternal grandfather, who passed away on Oct 18,2006. This week marks ten years since his passing. We love and miss him and his wisdom every day. 

Haha ya! I actually realized halfway through they day that it was the ten year mark. I felt sad at first, but then reflected on the last time I went and visited him the saturday before he passed away. I was filled with a deep feeling as the spirit testified to me that ten years to the day, I am doing exactly what i promised him I would do that day, and he is very proud of me. I am filled with the same feeling now. I still feel close to him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Week 4: Leading and Learning the way (and pictures)

Curve Ball! Este semana en la CCM fue un poco differente! Elder Nielson and I were made Zone Leaders this week, which is an amazing opportunity to pay forward the love I felt from Elder Lemon and Elder Kesler in the last 4 weeks. Now I get to serve and love like they did, and it's so cool! 
The weather here in Mexico has cooled off a bit this week, which is nice!
I'm sorry about the shortness of this one, but i want to send pictures, so I'm going to have to make the next one longer! 
Yo appredido este semana que este mission no es para a mi. Estoy aqui para servir en la vina de El Senor!

From his email to me: 

Tell Jayson hi for me, and I hope he's doing well! I'm beginning to see why coming home is hard. The spirit here is guiding me all the time! I know how Cici feels. We watched The Testaments on Sunday night and I sat there trying not to, but when he was crucified, it came in heaving sobs. I have had some experiences where in my mind's eye, I can see him suffering in the garden, and my spirit feels heavy for him. How unfair it was, but I know that with His stripes, we are healed. 

His email to mom:
your son is a Zone Leader! This was quite a curveball, as we figured the guys that were more experienced DL's would be it, but we got called out in priesthood meeting. I love this calling because my job is to Love my district, help them seek Christ, and organize sunday meetings. There is more  to it than that, but that's the essence of it! The ZL's before us are amazing. They left on monday, but they a huge part of the reason I'm doing as well as I am. They are the personification of just loving someone. When i met our new district we got today, and stood in front of them in a classroom and told them "We love you guys," I felt my Savior's love. The first week at the CCM is hard, and I am so happy that i get to pay forward the help that I got. Please pray for me in this new calling, as I feel the sacredness of the small, but meaningfull responsibility. 
There werent any explanations that came with the pictures, but from what I can tell, these are views in and around the Mexico CCM (MTC)