Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 61

iQue semana! Caution: This email is super scattered! And forever long!

First, I want to start off with a miracle. For the past two and a half weeks, Sister Schroeder and I have not bought groceries because of extra expenses we had from travelling to and from Osoyoos and Oliver. We had to get really creative with what we had at our apartment, and it wasn't easy, but we survived! We can buy food today!

We started out the week with YSA FHE. Sue*, a new investigator the Elders passed to us, came. She also came to church the day before and said she would be back this past Sunday (although she didn't come because she got super sick). She came and hit it off with some of the branch members, but before we got too far into it, I left with Sister Lai for our exchange. We went and knocked a street. We still had rejection, but it was amazing. We always had a pamphlet in our hand and tried to teach whatever principle best fit with who we were talking to. It was so cool. We met so many wonderful people and told them we would be back to follow up! We probably gave out 10 pamphlets in 40 minutes!

Tuesday, a lot of our lessons fell through, and we ended up doing a lot of finding and seeing a lot of miracles. The same thing happened like the night before. We taught SO much as we were finding! We were on a street and no one was answering at all. We wanted to leave, but felt like we shouldn't, but still nothing. Finally we met two guys in a row on the street and we had amazing conversations. The last one was with a cute, old guy named Greg*.

Me: Are you enjoying your day?
Greg: I am are you about to ruin it?
Me: No way! We're just out sharing the good word! 

Sister Lai and I started talking to him. He was very closed off at first. Eventually he said that if we knew what he had been through, we wouldn't want to pray or act on a belief in God. I just decided to ask him what was on his mind. He said we wouldn't want to know. After talking for another couple minutes, he told us his wife had died 4 years before, and that he is still feeling very broken from it. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and did some How to Begin Teaching with him. He told us where he lived and said we could come back later that day to keep talking to him about it. We couldn't go back later because we couldn't find a female member, but we did pray with him. We walked off and he was crying as he walked the rest of the way home.

The Sisters got to visit him last night and he was so excited. He made them promise to come back soon to keep teaching! 

We saw so many miracles! 

We exchanged back after teaching a mom and her two girls. One was so excited to pray and it was so sweet!

We exchanged back just in time for a meeting with the Stake President, as well as President and Sister Burt. We reported on how the wards and branches were doing with the missionary work. It was a really good meeting and it was great to see the Burts!

On Wednesday, we prepared the Kelowna 1st Sisters apartment to be open for some Elders this coming transfer. Then we headed to our last District Meeting in West Kelowna. I got to give a training on helping investigators recognize the Spirit. It was so good. I'll miss that district!

As we were heading to district meeting, I found $10 on the ground. That was an answer to prayers, seeing that we had no food and no money. 

We went finding the rest of the night and it went well. 

Thursday, we had a great planning session. We had the idea to do a Meet the Mormons YSA movie night and get the branch doing more missionary work that is a little easier for them to manage. We made some great plans! 

After, we had a lesson with Sue and reviewed the Plan of Salvation. She had so many questions and it was so cool to answer them! And she's right on track for having them answered when we teach the Restoration! 

We headed to Kamloops to do exchanges with Sister Cosman and Sister Nelson again. We were almost all the way there (about a 2.5-3 hour drive) when there was a horrible accident and the highway was closed both directions for 4 more hours. So we had to back-track and take another road. But we got there and did some finding. 

Friday morning, Sister Cosman and I went finding and throughout the day, we invited 3 people on the streets to be baptized. It was so fun and definitely pushed us to do more! We then had a bible luncheon with the students on campus at TRU put on by the LDSSA. It was super cool! We had a phone lesson with Doreen*, an investigator, and it was so cool! 

We came back to Kelowna and went finding.  On Saturday, we met with a really cool girl, Jennifer*. We met her at the beginning of transfers, but were only now able to meet up with her. It was such a good lesson, if I do say so myself. We taught about God and His nature and then how to pray. She said her first prayer and it was beautiful.

Yesterday at church, all the missionaries in Kelowna sang for all 3 sacrament meetings. It went alright. People enjoyed it! 

I found out my camera broke. For no known reason. It stopped turning on and wouldn't even charge. But I am pretty sure someone prayed because right now as I write this, it turned on! Thanks! God has not ceased to be a God of miracles!

All in all, it was a great week. 

Almost forgot! We got transfer calls! I'm headed to the Surrey 1st Ward with Sister Yonk! I'm still in English work, but there are tons of Spanish people in Surrey. I'm excited!

I think that's all for now!

Con amor,
Hermana Lewis

And I keep forgetting to tell you, but Aimee was baptized a couple weeks ago!!

Hermana Lewis

Sister Lipps gave us hats and scarves she made:)

Eatin' cold spaghetti in our little paper cups. No time to go home to eat when your busy reaping! Also, we do not recommend eating cold spaghetti.

Exchanges from a couple weeks ago with Sister Cosman <3

Bald eagle! God Bless America! 

Sara Bousfield gave me a Valentine! #oneandonly

Outside of the chapel!

Leaving Osoyoos and Oliver

From Brother Card!

Exchanges with Sister Huszti last week!

Sister Schroeder's dinner on the left, mine on the right.

These cute Sisters fed us last P day!

Picnic after emailing. I can't take pictures.

Exchanges with Sister Lai!

On exchanges with Sister Lai! 

Sister Lai, Greg, and Sister Tripp on Sunday!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 60

We had a great finish to our time in Osoyoos and Oliver, and on Wednesday morning we left dark and early to head back to West Kelowna for District Meeting. It was a really good training and I received a lot of answers and revelation! 

After District Meeting, we went and grabbed some A&W cause we had no food with us and no food at our apartment, except for rice and BBQ sauce. We were sitting there, eating, and this lady, clearly from off the streets, comes over to us. She asked us if we were students and UBCO. I told her we weren't, but that we were the missionaries on campus and that we help others come closer to Christ. She made space for herself where I was sitting on the bench and started talking to us. She started telling us what we believe, or more correctly, what the world says we believe, and I told her that it actually wasn't true! I told her that we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that it is through him that we can be cleansed and made holy and perfect to be able to live with our loving Heavenly Father again. 

She was surprised and was more engaged. She started telling us that she had made a mistake and how it made her feel. I got to whip out my trusty Law of Chastity pamphlet, and pretty much taught her the lesson right there. Promised blessings and all. It felt good! Especially since it was an answer to prayers. Not necessarily to teach the Law of Chastity to her, but to be able to help someone. 

And then you wouldn't believe what happens next. She starts saying thanks and was getting so excited. It was all happening in slow motion. I knew it was coming. Terror struck my body. Fight or flight? Fight would normally be my response, but I am a representative of Jesus Christ. Flight sounded good, but again, I was a representative of Jesus Christ, pinned in a booth. Man. So I just sit. And waited for it. My whole body was screaming move!!! But I just sat there in anguish for what was coming. And boom. I felt so sick. I've got a tough stomach, but this one just kept getting to me. It took all I had not to freak out. She just planted a kiss. Right on my left cheek. OH MY GOSH. I thought I would die. Heavens! 

But all is well. I just calmly got up once she left, walked into the washroom, and washed my face. I can't believe she kissed me. What the heck? I mean, I get it. But still. I think Heavenly Father was just joking around with me a bit. He knew it would make me squirm. When we were leaving, she started smoking in the other booth. In A&W. Another lesson for another day.

And don't worry. For dinner we got to eat the rice and BBQ sauce. 

We have been really focusing on finding by the Spirit. We recently did away with QGCs as part of our Key Indicators and part of hitting the Standards of Excellence because it was effecting how we viewed and executed the work. We have seen so many miracles the past few weeks as we have really focused on what the Spirit is telling us, how to recognize the promptings, how to know we are doing the right thing at the right time, etc. It's fun! It's a lot of concentrated work. 

We planned Wednesday night for Thursday. Come Thursday night, we were following our plans that we felt were so inspired Wednesday night. And we went to each place and we tried to do what the Lord wanted us to do, but nothing seemed to really be happening. People didn't really want to talk to us, and we were starting to get a little confused on what we should do. But each time we went to our next plan, we felt like it was right. We took a minute to talk about it. We decided to each read something from the Book of Mormon to help us out a little. I prayed, asking Heavenly Father to help me find something that would help me know what to do, and hopefully opened to Ether 15. I kind of laughed in my head a little, and started reading. What did He want me to learn from this? I'll take anything! I got through the end of 15. Coriantumr killed Shiz. Alright. Cool. Then I started reading Moroni. I loved that Moroni said, "wherefore, I wander withersoever I can for the safety of mine own soul". 

Moroni was commanded to leave to be safe and to preserve the plates, but he did not receive directions for exactly where to go or what to do. He was left to do that on his own. I know he didn't do it all on his own, but he wasn't "commanded in all things". That gave me a lot more confidence it what we had planned. We are commanded to do something, and we may wander a little in the meantime, but as long as we are ready and willing to do what the Lord needs us to be, and we are out trying to see why we need to be where we are, then that is what I have to do. And I finished off with the Sacrament prayers. I love that we have the promise to always have the Spirit to be with us! 

So we hopped out of our car after praying, and walked into Walmart. Yes, again. We were walking around and we run into this guy from Mexico! Now that it's starting to warm up, all the orchards are bringing in help from Mexico. His name was Moises. We had a good conversation, I got his number, and we invited him to church. And he came! Moises came to church!! And he said he would come next week! 

We went on Exchanges with the West Bank Sisters, Sister Wright and Sister Huszti. I was with Sister Huszti in our area and we saw so many fun little miracles. We were going on campus before meeting with Stacy, and we met this girl, Joy*, who said she lives next to President Burt! We talked to President, and he told us that they were really good friends with Joy* and her parents and that they have been working with them for a while. We haven't been able to set anything up so far, but hopefully soon.

Sister Huszti and I were able to find a lot of joy in the work. I loved being able to spend time with her. 

For park-your-car Saturday, we borrowed bikes from so x-YSA members (they got married). We rode our bikes all around town. And we stopped and talked to everyone on the way. They were so much more interested when two girls on bikes in skirts stopped to talk to them. We met some really cool people. 

My favorite part, besides the great exercise, was when we were near the mall. I saw this group of men and they looked Mexican. We rode over and I started talking to them. Sure enough, they just arrived the day before and were here to work on some Orchards. There was a school bus-full of Mexicanos! And I talked to them about the gospel, church, the whole deal. They didn't have a phone, but said they would call if they had time to meet up. Even if they don't, at least we were able to have a good conversation about Jesus Christ. But I loved it. And I'm happy to announce that they asked me if I was from Mexico. Soy mexicana de corazon!

We got to teach a potential, Doug*. He is from mainland China and doesn't have much of a background about God or Christianity, but he has seen the example of one of his friends and loved how confident she was because of her belief in God. We taught the Restoration and it was a really good lesson, if I do say so myself. He texted us yesterday and said he was grateful for what he has learned, but right now he isn't interested in joining a religion. One day. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess. 

Well, that was a long one. I got to play the organ again yesterday in church... Also, I ran into a lot of other cool latinos. We might as well open a seasonal Spanish branch here.

No pictures this week.  It's not working.  And I keep forgetting to tell you, but Aimee was baptized a couple weeks ago!!

Los amo para siempre! Paz y bendiciones!
Hermana Lewis

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 59

Hey hey! 

This week was fantastic! It also went really fast! 

We did a lot of member visits this week, less active visits, and non-member visits. 

Brother Card, a member of the branch, set up almost every lesson for us this week, and they have been experiences for sure! 

He introduced us to one of his renters, Deanna* (In her 70s). He said she was negative, but that it would be worth a try! We walked into her home and she had muffins, cookies, pastries, chocolate milk and apple juice set up for us. We ate a little snack first, and got to know her a little. We sat down and were going to watch the Restoration movie, and started to give a little background. She cut us off immediately and said that the problem she has with us is the Book of Mormon. She pretty much screamed at us for the next half hour. Then we watched the movie. The Spirit was so strong. Afterwards, you could see the change of heart she had. But she still didn't want to believe in the Book of Mormon or the truth about Joseph Smith. We testified and left on a good note. 

Brother Card had set up another appointment with her last night. We first listened to her tell us about how she knows the Bible is true because of mathematical patterns. We told her we believe and study the bible as well, but she didn't like to hear that. We talked to her a little about the Bible and the Book of Mormon and bore testimony. She had read a little from the beginning in 1 Nephi on her own and then prayed and asked for a passage that would giver her an answer. She told us about that and I was so excited to see what passage she went to. 2 Nephi 2. Awesome. That one is so good! Her heart was definitely not broken. We read through a couple of the scriptures she had read previously and she told us that the Bible doesn't agree with it at all. She took us to Genesis and sure enough, they did agree. Brother Card bore a beautiful testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and we followed. We left again on a good note somehow...

We took the 3 hour drive to Kelowna for Zone Meeting on Friday, had 3 hour Zone Meeting, and then took the 2.5 hour drive to Kamploops to have the Vernon Zone Meeting. They both went well. We got to do mini exchanges with Sister Cosman and Sister Nelson! They are the best! 

There is so much I could talk about, but I have run out of time again. One day I'll get this thing down. I know the Book of Mormon is true! I know it is the word of God and it has helped me know Christ better. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called to do His work. 

Con amor,
Hermana Lewis

The little branch building.  So cute!

Last P-day we pretty much ran out to this little strip of land in the middle of the lake. It was a lot further than we thought. 

Look at that ice

We are staying in the building on the right.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Week 58

Operation Osoyoos: Week 1

We got a call last Monday night from our Stake President, and he told us he was going to send us to an area in the stake where they don't have missionaries right now, to see how it would do if missionaries were to come. We packed up and left Tuesday morning. 

We had a spiritual confirmation that we were supposed to go, and it just worked out perfectly because in Kelowna, all the students at UBCO and Okanagan College have midterms and Reading Break. We arrived and were welcomed by Brother and Sister Whitesell, and then Brother and Sister Fields. We had a nice meal of soup and grilled cheese and then the Fields took us on a quick drive of Osoyoos. We then got to work! We picked a couple ward members to stop by (active and inactive) also walked the streets to meet some people. 

And we've done that since! On Sunday night, we got the old area book for Oliver from the Penticton Elders, and we were able to stop by some formers. 

But we have had so much fun and joy come from relying on the spirit! 

1. We were tracting on Thursday in Oliver, and it was a street we didn't know, but had planned in. No one was home on the entire street, and we were thinking about leaving and heading somewhere else. But we felt we should stay. And we knocked on a door, and a cute old man, named Elliott* invited us in immediately! We were shocked! Inside was his wife Maisy*, and we met with them and did some How to Begin Teaching, where we found out they have toured outside the Cardston Temple, the Salt Lake Temple, and the Laie Temple and were interested in the Mormon religion. They were so kind! We are excited to meet with them again this week! 

2. We dropped by a former family, and they had moved, but the people living there invited us right in and told us how they would do anything for the Lord! They were so excited in asking us who we were and what we did! We also are visiting them later this week! And, Victor* is from Buenos Aires and his wife, June*, is from Columbia! Spanish!

3. On Thursday, Brother Card, a member in the branch called us and said he was setting up 3 appointments for us while we were here! 

4. Sister Fields, right when we arrived, gave us 4 referrals.

5. We spent the day in Oliver yesterday, and we had nothing to eat. We stopped at this pizza place and ate delicious pizza. And then the workers were speaking Spanish! So as I paid for my food, I started to talk to them and have a QGC. Then later that night, we visited with Dean*, one of the investigators Brother Card set up a lesson with, and we found out it was his daughter! So cool! 

There are so many more miracles, but I don't have the time to write them all! I'll keep you updated! 

Amor, amor, amor,
Hermana Lewis

A couple weeks ago, before transfers, we had Japanese food with Sister Tripp and Sister Lai. It was fantastic. 

The Japanese owners know us by name!

We had dragon fruit for breakfast the morning Sister Madson left!

We love pizza. Every time we go to UBCO, we have to pay for parking passes, which cost between $3-$5 at the cheapest. It really adds up on your missionary budget, and we ran out of money last month because of it. Which really was a miracle, because we found a spot where we can park for free! It's only a 10 minute hike on a mountain, but it works! We brought pizza along to keep us energized!
The minis!

All the past missionaries in the branch<3
The border!

That's Osoyoos. The Desert of Canada. Everyone treats it like it's the wild west and Arizona. Haha people walking around in cowboy hats and all. But it's been averaging below freezing the past couple weeks, with snow every once in a while. 

Sisters at MLC

Bottom, left to right: Ritchie, Wilson, Wright, Zundel, Driscoll, Yonk, Jeppson, Grant, Hemenway, Madson, Gamble, Bell, Schroeder, Lewis, Sister Burt, Ditto, Miller