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