Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Week 44: "Courage, brethren, courage, and on, on to the Victory!"

Muy Buenas Tardes de Suba Rincones en hermosa villa,

Well, here in Suba, things have gone pretty well this week! My companion just said that it is 100 degrees Celsius, which would make it, I think, about 140 degrees Fahrenheit… ya… I don’t know what he had for breakfast haha.

But really things have gone really well. The area has made progress, and so have me and my companion, it’s a good time to be in the mish. I am really enjoying my last 3 weeks with this companion. I have really learned to love him. It’ll suck to leave. He’s just super humble, super ready to go and ready to work. He is not easily offended by anything. I have seen his personality really come out and flourish, and he has gotten used to the mission life. I think that’s the best thing as a trainer, is when you see them turn from a greenie into a missionary. That process over these 12 weeks has really helped him and really helped me. He has taught me so many things for which I will forever be grateful and it was really just what I needed to build me up after the one transfer that I had before.

This week there are a couple of things that I would like to tell you guys about, first of all, there’s an investigator named Viviana, Viviana Gonzalez. She is somebody that we found in the street. We were actually lost, and somebody flagged us down and said: “ You’re the Mormons, right?” we said: “ya! Ya we are.” “You guys use another book, no?” “yes we do.” And then Viviana steps out and she wanted to talk with us. So we talked a little bit and then the lady that we were trying to find actually walked past us in the street. So we borrowed her a Book of Mormon, and we left and said that we would come back on Tuesday. We came back on Tuesday and she had read! We had an appointment there, we explained the Restoration, she had lots of questions, it was awesome. We came back on Thursday, had another lesson about the Book of Mormon, we were talking about the scriptures and she said that she had been searching the scriptures about the truth. What was the truth? How could she know the truth? The next day is when she found us. She said that she was looking in the Bible for the truth, and the next day we came along. She was talking about it with us and reflecting on that and she said “you know, I don’t think that was a coincidence!” At that moment, I couldn’t even speak, because if I did, I was going to yell. I was so excited. I had always heard about things like that happening to other missionaries, but I never dreamed that it would be happening to me and my companion. We encouraged her to search her heart, and ask God if that was an answer to her question, which, of course, it was. So that was something really really cool. We also found Aura, I think I already told you about Aura, she is coming along. The both of them have got baptismal dates for the 12th of August, which will be the week before I leave. I am hoping that materializes. We have a baptism planned for the 5th, and it’s not just any baptism, it’s the “white night”, Noche Blanca. That’s going to be where all of the missionaries in our zone have baptisms for that night, and we will all do them together. I am really excited for that night. It’s a rare thing to have that, but we are going to do it. Elvira will be baptized on that night. Well, what else….

I think that’s about it for this week. Well, I am sure there’s more, but I’m not thinking right now haha. Wait just a second and I will continue this grabación….

Well family, I just got done listening to all of your messages…. It sure had an interesting effect because everyone is so different. I don’t know. Something that really affected me was Jayson’s comments. Realizing that I’m almost halfway done! That’s not real! I still have a year left. Just seeing how time has gone on. It didn’t make me sad, per se, but it just made me reflect. It’s weird. It’s weird that things are going that fast. I just remember everything at home like I left it, and it’s a bit different. It sounds like the Campout was another success, I am guessing that It was Paris Canyon? I didn’t notice until Saturday in the evening that the campout was going on. I didn’t have time to be trunky. It was a crazy week.

Well I told you about the good experience, and then there was a not so good experience that hit me hard. Familia Guerrero, while they are moving, we finally got to meet with them the other day. I don’t know what more we could have done. There’s one thing when you don’t do all that you can, but I don’t know what the worst thing is, but we called them, we stopped by, we tried to get them going and we called them at least 4 times a week to try to meet with them. I don’t know. I know that it’s not the end, they are going to go and we will get the missionaries going to them, but they were just too busy I guess. We stopped by, and I just felt empty afterward, after the talk we had with Jennifer. I guess it’s because I know the potential, that if they do this, they can be with Gerson again. It just hit me hard. As we went away, (We were with Hermano Arenguli, who is our ward mission leader) and we were on the Bus getting back into Rincón. Right there on Alementador, I shed a couple of tears. I was just frustrated. I just don’t know what more there was. I guess as well it’s just wondering if I could have done something more. If I could have called more, if I could have followed up more with their reading, just when they don’t accept it these doubts come to your mind. I can’t do it. I really had to go to my Heavenly Father for comfort. For instruction. We are still seeing what will happen. To my knowledge, they haven’t moved yet, but they have to get out of there soon. I don’t know. We were in Alementador, and Hermano Arenguli, told me “hey, animo Elder!” Cheer up! It’s not over. There are other people. I don’t know, I just felt so bad. I just looked at him and said “sometimes this mission is a rough thing.” But I am looking forward to the better days, and I know it has made me come closer to my Heavenly Father. I have had to get on my knees and beg him to help me. To help us. I know that he listens to my prayers, because he gives me strength. Even if it’s just that from that point on, I can get up and go. Now there are people progressing, and there are people that are going to be baptized, but it just makes me sad whenever I think about them. That they are not willing to put in the price to have their son again. Not willing to come to church. They just let the things of the world get in front. It’s not that they are bad people, its just that they let the world get them. Satan threw everything at them. Financial problems were the biggest part, and the doubt on the part of Daniel. He just can’t figure out how religion and science go together. I guess we are going to try to combat that. We found that out the other day, Jennifer confided in us. It’s just hard you guys. Please pray for them. Honestly, at this point, I am not sure what we need to do. But I know that God knows. And I know we will go to him to find out. And if it’s that we need to do it, or other missionaries need to do it, or they just need more time, I know that God knows. I just love that family so much. I couldn’t even speak when they told me they were going to move away, I felt embarrassed after because I was crying. I don’t know you guys, it’s just hard. But I know that the Lord has them in mind.

Well, I don’t want to leave that on a depressing note, but that was on Wednesday night, and Thursday night we had that experience with Viviana, where she was looking for the truth and we showed up the next day. It was a tender mercy of the Lord, because before that, I was down. It was bad enough that before that I really couldn’t feel the motivation to do anything, but we went out anyway. In that experience, it was kind of a rebuke, on my part, where the Lord says “look, son, this isn’t about you. I know my children, and I know what they need. I know what you need. So leave it to my hands, your responsibility is to get out there and work. Now go do it.” I felt that gentle rebuke from him. But I know that he loves me. I know that these things are going to be for the good of the people here. I know that as much pain as I feel for them, that Jesus felt so much more. My disappointment is not even a tenth of what he paid, so who am I to question, who am I to get down, when he never did. Who am I to give up when I am sure that my Savior has been just as frustrated with me all my life. I guess that’s my message: that if we ever feel down, that if we feel like God has forgotten us, that if we ever feel like nobody listens, pick yourself up and dust yourself off, and take a bit of humility as you realize that the Savior of the World suffered so much more. Jeffrey R. Holland said that the road to exaltation always leads through temptation. It’s not easy, salvation is not a cheap experience. We have to pay a token. And in a sense we aren’t even paying a token, but the analogy is required. It is required of us, Like Joseph Smith, to trust in God and go on. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

I leave these things with you with all my heart, I am so grateful for these hard experiences. They have taught me about my Savior, more than I could have ever known. I know these things. I know that my Savior lives. That his depth of his love for us in unimaginable. That his humility is staggering. That the grandness of his majesty is awe-inspiring. I invite you all to get to know him. To not be afraid to take the hard steps, because it’s the only way. That being said, what I have experienced is not that hard. I don’t want to come off sounding like I am suffering, because I am not, and it would be a little self-centered to say that I was. What I can say with certainty, is that I have gotten to know him a little bit more this week. Thank you so much you guys.

En el nombre de Jesu Christo, Amen.

-Elder Lewis

Elder Lewis on P-day at an indoor rock climbing place. 

Fun Fact: In Colombia, you have to wear a hairnet under your helmet. So attractive. 

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