Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 35

Simone* was confirmed a member of the Church yesterday! Brother Lee was able to do it in Korean for her. I asked her how she felt and she said she couldn't explain it in Korean, let alone in English. She is so sweet!

Jeanette* was baptized last night! It was such a sweet and simple service. We asked the missionaries to wear pink because is her favorite color. When she came out of the font she was just beaming, and gave everyone watching an ear-to-ear grin. She cannot wait to be called Sister Jeanette! It is so sweet to see certain members of the ward wrapping their arms around her and taking her in. She has two really amazing ward members who are so loving to her. They are doing those things that really matter, and making her feel so loved.

We had some super hot days this week, but this weekend has been windy and rainy! There have been tree branches lining the streets. There have been a couple uprooted trees as well. It's crazy. It's not that stormy, but it looks like we had a couple mini tornadoes! The power has been out for a lot of people!

We had a fun lesson with Val on Saturday! She made us crepes and smoothies and we read the Book of Mormon with her. She has a baptismal date, and Luis's birthday (Luis has been a member for about 2.5 months or so) is this Wednesday. We decided to keep it a secret, and we are having a surprise birthday party for him, and Val's present is going to be baptismal clothes for them to wear. We announced the surprise party in the Filipino Sunday school class, and members offered to make Filipino food to bring. We're so excited!
It was a great week to be a missionary!

I was reading in Alma 9, and one of the verses was talking about misery and woe. We feel stuck in a state of misery and woe when we do not have the gospel, because Jesus Christ is the source of all hope.

I was thinking about a friend's funeral, and him and his family were not members of the church. They were all distraught and in so much pain. The preacher at the service didn't know him or his family, and talked about condemnation. There was no talk about salvation or eternal life, but that this was the end for him. It was really sad! When we don't have hope, we are in a rut filled with woe and misery.

 In Alma 9:15, it says, "Nevertheless I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment than for you, if ye remain in your sins, yea, and even more tolerable for them in this life than for you, except ye repent." Without the gospel, the Lamanites are in the state of misery and endless woe, not knowing or having faith in Christ, but at the same time, the Nephites were worse off having had the truth, and knowingly disobeying. The state of the Nephites as they sin is much worse than a state of misery and endless woe, because they had a knowledge of the truth.

One of the synonyms to Joy was obedience in the Guide for Studying the Scriptures. We came to Earth to be as happy as Heavenly Father was, and we have to be obedient to achieve that happiness. As we are obedient to the commandments, and make and keep sacred covenants, then we are blessed and feel joy. The Lord promises the Lamanites (the non-covenanted people) throughout the Book of Mormon mercy and prolonged days, and that they will be brought to believe in his word, brought the gospel, and brought to Salvation (Alma 9:16), while the Nephites (the covenanted people) are promised destruction and damnation if they do not keep their covenants and the commandments. Not because God wants to punish them, but because he wants us to attain everlasting joy, and at the same time has to satisfy justice. It is up to us if we will choose to accept and apply the Atonement, or not.

I love the description of the joy Alma felt in Alma 29:16: "my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy." I have definitely been able to feel that kind of joy before, which has come by helping other people understand these principles of the gospel, through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love that it is just one big cycle of happiness and joy if we do what we are asked!

And that joy is not just available to me because I am a missionary, but to anyone who will make sacrifices to help others come closer to Christ!

"All men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been." -- Alma 9:28

Hermana Lewis




Family scripture study!

At Josh Santana's farewell party a little over a week ago

Snack break somewhere in the middle of 8 hours of church

One of the cutest dogs ever!

Savannah* and Harmony*! (2 of Mae*s kids)

Lesson crew before ESL!
Grace* (RC), Sister Cobb, Simone* (RC), Sister Cendreda, Me, Luis (RC)


Crepes and Smoothies!

Jeanette's Baptism!

Elder Petersen, Sister Cobb, Jeanette, Sister Cendreda, Brother Stancliffe, Me, Elder Smith

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 34

Simone was baptized yesterday!

The baptism was so sweet. The Spirit was so strong and Simone was just glowing. She walked out in her baptismal dress and looked so beautiful!

We had a lesson with her before her baptism and went over the promises she was about to make with God, and talked about her feelings. She was determined to never sin again, and was excited to keep all the commandments, although she told us she still might J-walk every morning. It was so special. She was excited to be "re-born" and to be "Heavenly Father's little baby". 

The service was absolutely heart-melting. Brother and Sister Lee, who are also from Korea, took Simone under their wings and became such great friends with her. They sang a version of "Abide with Me" as a duet and the you could feel so much love in the room, more than there were people.

On Tuesday, it was Lucinda*'s birthday! She invited us to her birthday party, so we went for a little bit to say happy birthday. We showed up and there were all her friends from Taiwan and China, and then one from Romania, and then us. We got numbers for a lot of people to teach, and had a lot of Quality Gospel Conversations. The food they had was traditional Taiwanese food and it was so good. I'm pretty sure there were 500 different kinds of mushrooms. As one of the desserts, there was a box of cream puffs, just like you would buy at Costco.

Sister Cendreda [as she grabs one]: "Dairy." (Sisters Cs don't like eating dairy)
As we are leaving, Sister Cendreda grabs a cup full of the cream puffs. 
Sister Cendreda: "Mmmmmmm"
Monica walks us out as we are leaving, and while we are riding in the elevator
Sister Cendreda: "These are so good!!!! Are these from Taiwan?"

Hermana Cobb and I lost it.

We had an amazing lesson with Briana* on Tuesday night. She just got married 2 months ago to a life-long member, Matthew. We went with the plan on teaching one thing, but all of a sudden, we were teaching baptism and the spirit was not going to let us teach anything else. We were able to set a date with her for September 20th!

The Van South Elders, Elders Cedeno and Whitley, have run into a inactive member in our ward who we didn't know about. They gave us her number and I called her. At first she asked if I was from Coasta Rica. I told her I was from the states and she got all excited "I love states people!" We set up an appointment to see her the next day, and she told us why she wasn't coming to church... wow. We called to confirm her address because we couldn't find it anywhere.

Us: "Hola Hermana. Estamos en camino, pero no podemos encontrar la caille Heron."
Carla*: "Esta por S. Marine y Victoria".
Us: "Vemos Harrison..."
Carla: "Si! Eso es lo que dije! Haron, Harrison, la misma cosa".
Us: -_- what?

In the lesson we prayed, and we said we were grateful we could meet "Carla" and she shouted at us, "Carlita!!" in the middle of the prayer.

On Saturday we had a Zone Conference! Elder Daniel Johnson and Elder Mike Murray spoke to us! It was such an amazing conference! They are definitely men called of God! I've been doing my best to apply the things I learned! I took so many great notes, but I left them all in the car, along with study notes from this week, so you'll have to forgive me. But, they talked to us, the missionaries, and the members, about talking about the gospel in every conversation, but also getting to know who we are talking to. We need to be friends with everyone we are around. We should work up to the point where we can share the gospel with our neighbors, and said that if we don't know who are neighbors are, then there is a huge problem. They told a story where a ward had a ward leadership meeting and they decided they would do everything they could to have 20 baptisms in a year. By setting the goal and accounting throughout the year, by the end they had 30 baptisms, and the next year they had 50 more. We all have a special part in missionary work, and we covenanted to do it when we were baptized.
We taught Erin a couple times this week, and every time we go over, her kids all fight for an order to pray! It's so sweet! They say the cutest most sincere prayers!

We met with Jeanette a couple times this week! And we met her husband! Jeanette was able to teach us back the Plan of Salvation when we met with her a few days later, and taught it to her husband when we met him! Phillip is completely blind. They have been married for 25 years and treat each other so purely. When Phillip was 18, he had a harder time with some commandments, and then in 1982, he drove his 1966 Mustang down the road at 95 MPH, and hit a light pole and it fell and shocked him. He was in a coma for 3.5 weeks, and when he came out, he was completely blind. His family disowned him, too. He has had a really rough life, and it was so awesome to hear Jeanette talk to him about the Plan of Salvation, but more specifically the Resurrection! Sister Cendreda said, "When we are resurrected you will be able to see how beautiful your wife is" and Phillip got so excited! It was so sweet. We felt the spirit so strong when were teaching the resurrection because they both have physical problems, but God has promised us all perfect bodies, and we could really see the Atonement in action. Phillip loved learning about it, and we are working on getting him on date for baptism! We also moved Jeanette's date to this Sunday! She couldn't be more excited! She came early to Simone's baptism yesterday and offered to help out! She couldn't stop talking about how excited she was to join the family and be called Sister Jeanette!
We taught Val and her friend on Friday night, and Luis was there, too! We watched finding Faith in Christ. We also taught her last night after the baptism with Luis and TJ, another member of the ward. Val was asking such amazing questions about the Atonement and Christ's life. She is thinking a lot about baptism, and Luis's birthday is on September 2nd, and the plan for right now, is that if she feels ready, to surprise him with her date, or her baptism! We'll see how it all goes!

One of the young men in the English ward had a farewell party on Saturday, and I ate so many new foods and it was all so good! Filipino food! He had his farewell talk yesterday, and the whole meeting was so powerful! His mom also gave a talk and sang a song and you could see how much love they had for each other. It really made me think about Heavenly Father's point of view on having to send Jesus Christ into the world and watch him go through the Atonement, and knowing how hard it would be before hand, but that it was something he had to let Jesus Christ do. Church is amazing!

All for this week! Replace your fear with faith.

Hermana Lewis

An hour before the baptism! Jeanette came early to help:)

Awkward family photo.

The Elders stole Hermana Cobb's camera, and then asked me to take their picture. (Whitley, Jang, Sarmiento, Cedeno, Salazar, Zamano)

Matthew and Briana took Jeanette and her walker home!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 33

Today has been crazy. So this is going to be a crazy email.

Three girls on a mission in a beautiful city were in their study room, when all of a sudden, the youngest Hermana, Hermana Lewis smelled burnt air. They inspected their apartment, but no problems were found. They felt like they were being gassed, like rats in a home, but continued to study the beautiful gospel. They walked out of their basement apartment on a sunny summer day. The eldest, Hermana Cobb, decided it would be a good joke to have us take transit today instead of a car. The younger missionaries were not too excited because taking transit on preparation days means you have no time to do anything but email. We moaned and complained, and realized that Hermana Cobb was just joking. We walk out the front gate of the house and one Hermana says to the rest "Where is our car?" They all paused and glanced up and down the empty street. There were no cars in sight. No humans. No nothing. How did we get home last night? Did we leave our car at the church? At the home of an investigator or member? What? WHAT? The road was torn up. Hermana Lewis decided to call the mission office. They gave her the number for Vancouver City and she waited on hold, listening to odd music for 7 minutes as they walked to take the bus. Finally they were told that it had been "towed for an emergency". They towed it 4 blocks south without any sign saying where the cars were or what happened. No nothing.

Then they ran all over, trying to find a library that was open on a Monday and that had 3 computers free, let alone in sight and sound of each other.

But here I am.

Simone's baptism is this Sunday! I am so excited! She is so sweet and prepared! She couldn't make it to the English ward yesterday because she had some things to do, so she came to the Spanish ward, and I got to translate for her:)

We taught Christina a couple lessons this week, including the Word of Wisdom! She has to work on a few things, but she committed to quitting! She was also able to receive a priesthood blessing for health and strength.
We met with Val a lot this week! She is really thinking about baptism now and always asks amazing questions. She came to church yesterday and all the talks were so perfect for her to hear! We have been teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ one section at a time and introduced it all to her by saying there are 5 things in total. At church, the talks were based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she asked, "Did you tell them to talk about that? That is exactly what you have been teaching me about!" Her dad, Luis, is being such a strong example to her, and it is so cool to see how her relationship is growing with him as she is learning about the gospel.
We met with Liliana and were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation and was so receptive to it all!
Cassandra was at church yesterday! It was so good to see her again!

We have a new investigator, Jeanette! (English). The Coquitlam Elders found her and passed her to us. She has a date coming up soon. We met with her for the first time on Saturday and taught the Restoration, and then she came to church yesterday.

We got to go to a baptism for the Van South Elders, Elders Cedeno and Whitley, on Saturday. It is the father of Brandon, who got baptized a couple weeks ago. My favorite part was right after he was baptized, he looked up at his children and smiled. So cute.

We met with Grace, a less active member in the English ward and had a really good visit with her! She is having a really hard time with a lot in her life, but she is improving little by little!

We met with Edouard* and we are helping prepare him to receive the priesthood!

We met a potential, her son, and her friend this week! Cereslinda* is from Mexico and her son is Benito*. Her friend is Lupe*, from Venezuela. 

I love being able to help people out, and seeing the difference it makes in their lives.

We have been teaching a lot of commandments recently. When I think about my life before my mission, I knew we should read our scriptures daily, and so I did the best I could to read something every day. It didn't really hit me though, that it was a commandment to read the scriptures daily. It is not just something we should do, but is something we should take seriously! Not solemnly, but seriously! Being on the mission, I have found so much joy and excitement in scripture study that I was definitely not getting daily at home.

The commandments are given to us from God, through prophets and the Holy Ghost, so that we can be happiest in this life. God is all knowing. He knows everything, and because he loves us so much, wants us to be safe and happy. Which is why he let us come to Earth, but also gave his perfect son, Jesus Christ, to die for all of us. He knows what is really going to bring us happiness now, but most importantly for eternity!

Since our spirits do not change after we die, our desires remain the same. As we remain free from any type of addiction in this life, our spirits are free to continue to progress as we move on in the Plan of Salvation.

We were listening to Mormon Messages this morning as we cleaned the apartment. One line that I loved, although I am not sure if I remembered it right, was by T.S. Elliott, and something close to "We lose wisdom in knowledge, and knowledge in information". I love that so much! As a natural human tendency, we begin to forget the things that are really important, and think that mere knowledge is good. We focus on worldly things, rather than things of eternal importance. And we begin to think that information is knowledge. The world throws so much at us, and we lose track of what information really matters. It reminds me of 2 Nephi 9!

 28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
 29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

Anyhow, that's all I have time for!

Love you!
Hermana Lewis

We took this picture from a bus stop ad on our phone during my first transfer. It was the Hermana District. Hermana Lee, Hermana Lewis, Hermana Cobb, Hermana Williamson.

Breakfast poutine

Another piano. This one is at Science World.

Kitz beach with Val (who took the picture:))

With Val<3

Love them.

Sister Cobb, Sister Cendreda, Val, and Luis!

Sister Cobb, Sister Cendreda, Val, and Luis!

We had a fancy dinner last night at a member's house. He's a chef!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 32

I'm sure you were all dying to know how this past week went.

Hermana Cobb: Did you see that Restaurant we passed? It's called Thai Away Home. Do they know that doesn't even make sense?
While eating Thai food at a Thai restaurant (no, not Thai Away Home)...
Hermana Cobb: What level of hot did you get (scale of 1-5, 1 being nothing and 5 being you are addicted to spice and need a beer to help you out...)?
Hermana Lewis: I don't know. They never asked. But I think it was a five.
We used the washroom in a library before we met with Rufino, a recent convert, and his non-member daughters, for dinner. We were sitting waiting at a table in the library, and just immediately went into this huge production of us being secret agents and talking about the secret file we had to destroy. Hermana Cobb was going to back out of the operation, but we couldn't let her for fear that she would sell us out. The best part was that we just went right into it.
Hermana Cendreda: We were companions for only two days. We were on the island but neither of us knew how to drive. And we couldn't ride bikes. Because we were too short. So we were emergency transferred.
Hermana Cobb: [to Hna Cendreda] Tell us your favorite quotes from Emperor's New Groove.
Hermana Cendreda: [completely uninterested in the game] I don't want to be a squirrel.
Hermana Lewis: Have you ever seen that movie? 
Hermana Cobb: Probably NOT!
Hermana Cendreda was sending a text to someone and it sounded so fast.
Hermana Cobb: I'm sorry ma'am, but I'm going to have to arrest you for going WAY over the Speed Limit.
Those were just pieces of the crazy week we had. We had a moving day, where we moved everything from Hermana Cobb's and Cendreda's apartment to mine, and then got back to work.

We ended the week with 9 hours of church on Sunday. We saw so many miracles and tender mercies. We had 3 baptismal dates, 3 investigators at Sacrament meeting, plus one who came after, 21 member present lessons, 7 other lessons, 8 progressing investigators, 1 received, 1 contacted, 4 new investigators, and 13 LARCS. It was just teaching appointment after teaching appointment. We have been exhausted, but a good exhausted!
I'm not sure where to start off! There was so much that happened this week!

In our companionship, we have been having such amazing studies in the morning. We are learning so much from each other, and every morning we leave feeling super edified.

On Thursday, a member texted us and told us they, Brother and Sister Lee (from Korea), had contacted one of our investigators from Korea, Simone*, and that they set up a lunch with her and invited us, too! We went to a Korean-Chinese restaurant and the food was amazing! We talked and taught her the Word of Wisdom. She would drink tea and coffee. Sister Lee bore her testimony about the Word of Wisdom, and we told her about one of our recent converts who had a problem with coffee and that we told him every time he wanted to drink coffee, to drink something else instead, and now we always see him with chocolate milk. She said she would live the Word of Wisdom, even though it made her so sad at first to be giving those things up, because she knew it was what God wanted. She had only been taught 2 before, but was so prepared by the Lord!

Sister Lee told us she was texting Simone Sunday morning to make sure she was coming to church.

Simone: I woke up so tired this morning. But I drank chocolate milk.

We taught her the Plan of Salvation on Friday, and she loved it. It was such a cool lesson. We reviewed part of the Restoration with her and asked about the apostasy and she applied it to her life talking about how God gave her a benefit (to learn about the gospel) in Korea, but she rejected it. And then he gave her another benefit to learn, but she rejected it. And that this was her third benefit and she would do whatever God wants because he gave her 2 other benefits and she can't reject it again. She is getting baptized August 23rd!

We met with Christina and set another baptismal date with her. We met with her twice last week and taught the Plan of Salvation, and did a follow-up lesson on the Book of Mormon and other principles we have talked about with her. She is still reading and loving the Book of Mormon. She also told us that her father really approves of her wanting to join our church because he sees how happy it is making her! She is so excited to be a part of the "beautiful Mormon religion". She came to Gospel Principles yesterday and participated and took notes during the whole class, regardless of how much anxiety she felt.

On Saturday it was Hermana Cendreda's birthday! The whole day was filled with lessons! After lunch with Brother and Sister Lee and Simone, Simone found out it was Sister Cendreda's birthday and bought her a Mango Pudding Cake from Saint Germain's. We put it in the car, and relied on it being a cooler, overcast day. By the end of the day, we checked on the cake, and part of it had melted in the heat and was falling apart. When we got home, we put it in the freezer and tried to save it a little bit. Sister Cendreda was sad, especially since we weren't going to be able to celebrate together like we had planned. We quickly did nightly planning. Sister Cendreda then took a call from our new district leader, Elder Zamano (his companion is Elder Salazar. We are now in a Spanish Zone!), and we left the room. We fixed the cake as best we could and tried to light the three candles that we had by the burner, but it just melted the wax. So it started to smell like a candle. We quickly made flames out of sticky notes and tape and stuck them on the top of the candles. We got it all ready, and celebrated! We got the end result on video! It was such a fun day! I love Hermana Cendreda!

There is so much to say and not enough time to say it all. But the church is true. Jesus Christ lives. And I know that with all my heart.

Love you!
Hermana Lewis

Simone! And Brother and Sister Lee!

Christina wore a long skirt to match us:)

Between Saturday sessions of General Conference earlier this year, we ate at a Chinese restaurant, and dessert was a mango Hello Kitty.

And Chancho was there.


Susan and Hermana Cobb<3

Hermana Cendreda spreads everything with a spoon

Nancy and Hermana Cendreda!

Driving in our car.

Happy 21st!

Lunch with Simone! (Simone on left, Sister Lee on the right)


With the cake!


West Vancouver

Us with Luis*, Val*, and Estelle*!

Happy Birthday!

Remember Miriam? We love her!