Monday, February 23, 2015

Vancouver Spanish

Hola! There is so much to say! And no time to say it in! I haven't written for over a week and a half. Where do I even begin.

The week leading up to heading out to the field was amazing. We had some wonderful classes and devotionals. Our teachers rekindled our fire to go out and serve and we felt the spirit so strongly.

Last Wednesday, Hermana Cobb and I got to go to the temple for the last time together (for a long time). It was so beautiful. What a blessing that we have temples!

Last Friday, we had our in-field orientation where they got us ready to work with members of the wards we would be serving in, and other skills that are needed for the field. Missionaries who went before us talked about how long it was and how it was boring, so Hermana Cobb and I went with the attitude that these things were what the Lord needed us to know and that we really wanted to be there. We loved it so much and I really do think it prepared us so well for the field.

On Saturday, Hermana Cobb and I made Valentines for our Zone and for the teachers and the ZRT teachers, and we decorated our room. It was the cutest. We took our last pictures as a district with our teachers.

Sunday was good. Hermana Cobb had to give a talk and so did Elder Arce. I didn't but I think it's because I had to play the piano. For the movie, we watched a talk by Elder Holland. I think it's called "Missions are Forever" or something like that. It's amazing. If you can figure out what it is really called, I would suggest reading it. It applies to life just as much as it does to missions. We said bye to Elder Passey and Kaze  because they were leaving early in the Morning on Monday.

Monday was different because There were so many people gone. For one of our last classes, the first hour and a half was just Hermana Cobb and me. Everyone else was getting ready to leave. We cleaned our residence during gym on Saturday, and we finished backing in the morning so that Tuesday wouldn't be crazy.

Tuesday was filled with doing everything we needed before we left. We tried to fit in  as much as we could. We said bye to friends and had a great night. The devotional was a good one to end on.

Wednesday. Oh my goodness. We woke up at 2:45. We got ready and carried, or dragged if you're Hermana Cobb, to the travel office. Her suitcases aren't much smaller than her, so it was hard. Poor Hermana. We checked out and met some of the other missionaries leaving. We expected there to be no food for us, but then we rationalized and thought that would be inhumane to not provide one last snack for the missionaries leaving, so we expected there to be food. There was no food. Ah. We waited until about 4:10 for the rest of the missionaries to show up. They say every week that the buses will leave with or without you, but they wait. We drove to a UTA bus, and we rode that for about 45 minutes until we got to a station downtown where we switched to a frontrunner. We took that for just a little bit until we got to the airport. We dragged all our luggage, for the 5th time and checked our bags. Then we headed to the gate. We made calls home, and then waited for our plane. It got delayed though. and so we waited. Hermana  Cobb and I were just about to go talk to someone when they started boarding. I hope they get the gospel soon! We got on the plane and flew to San Fransisco. I studied various things on the flight over. When we got to San Fran, we had no time to waste. Because our flight was delayed, we only had 15 minutes until our next plane left, and we had to walk to the opposite end of the airport into the international gates. We were hurrying so fast. When we finally got there, they had the flight delayed for 40 minutes. So we sat. Took pictures. Talked. Then after those 40 minutes, it was delayed for another 30 minutes, and then they started boarding. 20 minutes later we started driving down the runway. Now it is lunchtime. On the flight to San Fran we got no pretzels, no peanuts, no nothing. This flight we got nothing. The flight to Canada took about an hour and a half. Elder Erasmus and Elder Fitamant (France/Quebec--going to my mission English speaking) sat next to a woman and they had a discussion about the Book of Mormon and pretty much everything else. Later, Elder Fitamant and I talked about French, English, and food and anything else to fill the time. A line I guess I was saying was "I am starving". He asked me what it meant and I said it means you are really really hungry. At the end of the flight, we had to fill out an immigrations paper. We unloaded and felt the humidity, although it's not that humid here right now. We grabbed our bags and went through the immigration line. Elder Erasmus and Elder Fitamant had a really short line because they are Canadians and went out to meet the Mission President and the others, but the rest of us had to wait in a really long line and then go and get our visas. We were in there about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The lady getting me my visa was asking me why I was serving a mission and how it all works, except not in a curious way, but in a bothered way. She also asked if I had ever been arrested along with other questions. Was anyone else asked that? No. We made it through finally, although for about 6 of us, they only gave us visas for 1 year, so we have to renew those later, we went out and met the Mission President and his wife and some of the Senior couples, as well as two of the APs. They are all great.

President and Sister Burt are amazing. I cannot picture a better President to be leading me for the next 16 months. I cannot get over how wonderful they are! Honestly. I am super blessed.

We drove to the mission office. There we had some meetings and President Burt talked to us. Then we got to eat! First meal of the day!!!! I ate three plates full. It was so good! Then we had various people talking to us for the rest of the night, and President took us out, one by one, for interviews.

After we were all done, we went to a hotel 15 minutes away where we stayed for the night. I stayed with Sister Lai (Australia) and Sister Zundal (Utah). We were finally able to go to bed around 11.

In the morning we woke up, got ready, and ate breakfast at the hotel. It was so good. Then we drove over to the mission office where we had study time and President finished interviewing everyone. Then it was time for companions! We said one last prayer as a group before we left to meet everyone.

We got into the meeting and President Burt shared a message with us, and then he announced companions. There were only two Spanish speaking sisters, and they announced Hermana Cobb and her companion first, so I knew the other one was mine. I went over to her and we hugged and sat down. Once President got to my name, he saw we were already sitting by each other and made a joke. 

My companion is Hermana Williamson. She is from Mapelton, UT. She has been out for almost a year and a half. This would be her last transfer, but she got an extension, which is super rare, but President Burt said he needed her to train. She is absolutley amazing and I love her! Hermana Cobb is with Hermana Lee.

One of the things President Burt shared with us was Mosiah 18:30.
 30. And now it came to pass that all this was done in Vancouver, yea, by the waters of Vancouver, in the forest that was near the waters of Vancouver; yea, the place of Vancouver, the waters of Vancouver, the forest of Vancouver, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.

We had meetings for the rest of the day. The APs are amazing. Oh my goodness. Can't even explain it, so you'll just have to believe me. After the meetings, we got back to our apartment around 7:30. We unloaded our things, went to go get our area map, and then we had to go to the grocery store because we had no food. It was about 8:30 when we got there, and we contacted 3 people before we went home.

The past few days have been super busy. I'll be able to write about them more another time, but I'm pretty much out of time. I'll also write about the more spiritual part of the mission next time, too. Promise. Cause there is a lot.

Friday, we had a ward fundraiser for the young women and young men. They try to go to Utah for conference, and they made pupusas and they were delicious. 

The ward mission leader is Juan Pablo and he is from Chile. He is great and him and all the members are really dedicated to helping with missionary work. The ward has a lot of inactive members right now, so we have a lot of lessons with less active members. There were about 12 people, including 4 missionaries, at the beginning of Sacrament meeting yesterday.

This week we had a couple lessons. One of my favorites was when we met up in downtown Vancouver. My area is Vancouver Spanish, which covers so much area because it is Spanish speaking, and the Spanish speaking people are spread out. We have a Chevy Cruise as a mission vehicle. Anyway, we went downtown to meet with Jennifer*, who is an investigator. She brought a friend, James*. As Hermana Williamson talked to Jennifer, I talked with James and we talked about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the similarities between our faith. We were sitting on the steps of a busy street center, but we were just talking about things that really mattered. It was beautiful. He is a member of a different church, but we both were able to talk about the love God has for us and how we have seen the Lord's hand in our lives.

By the way, Downtown Vancouver is beautiful. The whole area of BC is gorgeous.
I heard the Bruins won the game! Although I don't know what the score is. On Friday night when we were contacting, I used it a couple times to start a conversation about the Canucks, but people don't like to talk about hockey with random strangers in skirts, I guess.

A lot of people are really quick to just reject missionaries here. It is really sad and they have no idea that we are sharing with them how to get salvation, but it just increases my desire to find those people who are ready now.

We got 62 contacts from Thursday evening until Sunday night. I love doing street contacting. We have actually contacted 4 separate times in Spanish, which is really rare. Last night I also had one in French. And you'll never believe this one, and we didn't count it towards the total, but I had one in Russian! Turns out trying to learn Russian is paying off. I said hello and that it was nice to meet him, that I was Sister Lewis and that I was here for Jesus Christ. That was it. And my accent, I'm positive was horrible, but I loved it so much. I really just felt, what I think is pretty close, to Godly joy. I have felt so much simple joy out here. It's the best.

Side note. Since I am Spanish speaking (<3), I have the additional hour of language study in the mornings. And since it is the first 12 weeks of my mission, we also have the extra hour of 12 week study. It's a lot of studying.

Love you all!
Hermana Lewis

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