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.