Monday, March 2, 2015

A donde me mandes iré?

What a great week. I don't things get much better than this.

When I first got my mission call, I honestly was fine going wherever. I had ideas of where I thought I would go, but when I read Canada Vancouver, and Spanish speaking, that was nothing I ever even contemplated. It was something that was really weird to think about. I don't know why, but I definitely wanted to know that it was where I was supposed to go. I wanted to know what it was in Vancouver that was going to be part of my bigger picture. The parts I couldn't see, but that the Lord could. Now that I'm here, the experiences I am having are amazing. I'm sure that they are similar to any missionary, but also different. I maybe have not received a huge understanding that this is where I am supposed to be, but I definitely feel so blessed that I am here and I am learning, and I know it's where I am supposed to be.

A little bit about my mission. For starters, there are two Spanish speaking areas. On is Vancouver Spanish and the other is Surrey Spanish. I am in Vancouver Spanish. It covers North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Port Coquitlam, and the surrounding areas. Right now, a lot of the work we are doing with members, less actives, and investigators is mainly in the Burnaby area.

The ward members and all other Spanish speaking people we work with find some way of calling me the big Hermana, and Hermana Williamson the small one. They think it's really funny, too. I'm probably taller than 94% of the ward, meaning there are probably 3 people taller than me. It makes hugging and besos a lot more interesting than they already are. We were doing service at Hermana Leiva's house a couple days this week because she is moving. Hermana Williamson, Marta Iris, a member, and I were cleaning out and washing the cupboards. They were both standing on chairs, and I was standing on the ground, reaching everything. 

Driving is probably the most interesting or different thing here. I rarely see speed signs. I started driving on Friday, and I have only seen three signs. The average for everywhere is about 30 km or about 18-19 mph I believe. So it's really slow. On the highways, from where we have been, it's 50 60 km. For the most part, the streets have 2 lanes going either direction. They don't have turning lanes here, so if you are turning, cars just have to wait behind you or swerve around you. If someone is turning left and someone is turning right, you just have to wait. The yellow lights are really short here, too. I have to be careful with that one. Pedestrians are loved here. The majority of the lights blink green, and that means if there are pedestrians, the light will change to yellow when they press the button, so you have to be ready to stop.

The work here is interesting for sure. I think I wrote about Alejandro* last week, a man we met while contacting. He went to church with us last week, where we introduced him to the English speaking elders. They set up a lesson for after church yesterday, but he got called into work on Sunday, so he couldn't go to church or have the lesson, but they have another one set up. He texted us on Friday and was just asking us how we were doing. He's a good guy.

One of the guys we talked to on the streets actually talked to missionaries before, but never had a lesson or anything. His name is Eduardo*. Then it was about a year later, when we talked to him. And he speaks Spanish so we could even teach him. We texted him last week and asked if we could set up an appointment with him. We had two lessons this past week with him, and were able to have Luisa, a member of the ward who is amazing, present. The first lesson we had was just getting to know him a little bit, and then we talked about the Book of Mormon. By the end, I invited him to be baptized. He said he would listen to us, he would pray, he would read the Book of Mormon, and he would go to church, but he couldn't change his religion. The next time we met with him, we taught the Restoration. This time I invited him to prepare to be baptized on the 22 of March. He said he would think about it. On Friday night, the ward has a Family Home Evening night, and this week, they were watching "Joseph Smith: the Prophet of the Restoration", so the missionaries in the ward could also invite investigators. We invited him after our lesson, but he couldn't. He said he could come to church, though. Yesterday, he came to church! He told us he would stay for Sacrament meeting. It was fast and testimony meeting, and he asked what was happening. He also asked what the Sacrament was and what the water symbolized. I was able to explain both because the gift of tongues is real. Then he asked if Hermana Williamson and I were going to go up. I said I was, and a little into the meeting nudged me and told me to go up, so I went up next and bore my testimony. After Sacrament meeting, we told him there were other classes he could go to. After explaining a little, we got him to come to Gospel Principles this week, which Luisa happened to be teaching (She is also a ward missionary, was just released yesterday as a primary teacher, and also plays the piano for Sacrament meeting. She is amazing). He came to class and participated. At one point, one of the Elders' investigator was saying something about Joseph Smith that he read online that wasn't true, and Eduardo told him that what he said was wrong and a lot of the things on the internet aren't true. It was super cool. WE HAVEN'T EVEN TAUGHT HIM THAT MUCH ABOUT JOSEPH SMITH. Then we got him to go with Juan Pablo, the ward mission leader, and the Elders to Priesthood. After church, I asked him how it went. He said it was the best day of his life and that it all just makes sense.
What a blessing.

We also are meeting with him tonight and watching the Restoration because he wanted to see it.
After Sacrament meeting, a couple members came up to me and commented on my Spanish. They said I don't have a gringo accent! I sound real! What a blessing. But that means they also think I am fluent. There is opposition in everything. 2 Nephi 2!

On Friday, we were out contacting and I ran into this guy. I asked what his name was after talking a little bit and he said it was Jose*. So of course I asked if he spoke Spanish, and the rest of the contact was in Spanish. And it wasn't even hard. And I got his number, so we hope something will come from that.

We had district meeting on Wednesday. Hermana Williamson is our district leader. We are the only mission in the world with Sister District leaders. The first presidency was trying it out, although it probably wont last for much longer. But in our district it is us and then Hermana Lee and Hermana Cobb. It was so fun seeing them again!

This week we had 170 QGCs. It was rougher than last week. People were really quick to reject what we wanted to talk about, most not even reluctant to say whatever it was they thought about the church and our beliefs. It really made me think a lot about the Savior, the prophets, and apostles and all they went through. It really makes me appreciate Jesus Christ so much more. You cannot be converted to this gospel, you cannot be converted to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ without action. That is something that is really big for me right now. The more I apply the atonement in my life, the more ways I find it applies. The more I act on the faith I have, the more faith I gain. The more I notice the Lord's hand in my life, the more miracles I recognize. The more I go out and talk to everyone, even those who do not look ready, the more I find. One thing I have noticed, is that the people who look the least receptive to the gospel are the ones who give us our number and want us to teach them. I have learned a lot about Godly love, and I have been blessed to be able to see people more the way our perfect Father in Heaven and our Loving Redeemer see them. Not near close to what they see, but definitely more than before.

Act on what you believe. Act on what you hope is true. If I could redo anything in my life, it would be acting more on my faith, and not just being satisfied with a hope or knowledge. The more you act, the more you can grow. Keep an eye out for how merciful God is, and then thank him for his love and grace.

Con amor,

-Hermana Lewis

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