Ok, so before we get to birthday business, you have to understand that my mind is everywhere right now, so I'm sorry that the only birthday I can remember at the moment is...
CHRISTOPHER FREAKIN LEWIS!!!!! Holy moley bro, you're almost as tall as I was when I was your age! Hahaha crack myself up. But seriously what the heck! My Cry Baby is growin up... You're a TEACHER, HOW COOL IS THAT?! I wish I could be there to spoil you, Row-Row. I love you.
So, Happy Victoria Day! I have no clue what it is, all I know is that the grocery stores are closed today...:( Which means I have another day to pig out on all the food in the apartment. Let's just say that the people of Moncton, New Brunswick know how to feed the missionaries!!!
Wow. I read almost all my e-mails before writing this one and I am so overwhelmed right now. In a good way. This past week has been by far, no question, the best week of my entire life. I have never been so deeply happy or more at peace. I love being a missionary. I love this work. I love Jesus Christ. This is exactly where I'm supposed to be, and I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. So this morning I was already feeling the best I could feel, then I came here and got to read about home, and I'm feeling even better. Wow.
So in response to what friends and family told me today:
1. John-John, I love and miss you like crazy. None of the Elders I work with get me quite like you do. I tell hilarious jokes all the time and they're just not gettin it! Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but all I know is that I miss my big/little brother John.
2. Umm Matt Savas?! Goshhhh I want to hear about your farewell and your whole life, so could you please write me a dang letter?!?! Is it weird to say I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!! Sheesh, I mean Korea isn't as cool as New Brunswick, but I'd still love to hear about how you're doing right now... I mean it's not like we hung out everyday before I left or anything.......
3. Daddy, please let yourself heal dang it. Don't make me worry about you. Sending prayers to you, Pippy:)
4. Bell. I love and miss you. I wish I could see you.
5. QUINN MY ZONE LEADER JUST GAVE ME YOUR LETTER THIS MORNING, I AM SO HAPPY, I CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT. LOOOOOOL.
Yep. Thank you for letting me do that. Now back to my mission haha.
Quote of the week:
Sister Hart--walking into the kitchen where I was: "SISTER LEWIS!!! Third lunch?! Seriously?!?!"
Haha... Guys, I have never eaten more food in my life. It's become this huge joke with the missionaries I work with--I have become known as "Hobbit" because of second breakfast.... I really don't know what the problem is. I'm eating waffles, french toast, eggs, oatmeal, toast, sandwiches, pasta, crackers, pizza, pudding, soup.. So I'm eating really good foods.. Just all in the same meal haha. Don't worry, I'm not planning on coming home a chunk haha, and I'm working out since I have to, but I'll just say that my work-outs consist of mostly crunches hahaha. But really I have no clue why I'm suddenly eating like a pig. Seriously people, 6 or 7 HUGE meals everyday. Aye aye aye, Fast Sunday's gonna be fun.
YESTERDAY I ISSUED MY FIRST BAPTISMAL INVITATION (my favorite of all the invitations). Let me tell you the story.
Isabelle* is 18. Her mom is a devout Catholic, and her little brother is 14. That's her family. She decided that Catholicism wasn't what she wanted anymore (after having attended a Catholic school her whole life) and started looking for another religion. On YouTube, she found a critical documentary on the LDS Church, and as she was watching it, she realized she loved the Church. She got super interested in it and studied LDS beliefs and doctrine, and started developing a testimony of it. She requested a free Book of Mormon online (oh, you referred yourself? Want to just baptize yourself too?) and after a few days, when it still hadn't come to her, she decided to call someone about it. So she called the only LDS meetinghouse in Moncton--mine--. It's a miracle that someone happened to be here, and the relief society president, Sister Leger (AWESOME lady), answered the phone. Isabelle explained that she requested a Book of Mormon and no one had brought one to her yet.
I was working on creating a wall area map in the church library with Sister Hart when I said, "I'll be right back" and opened the library door and stepped out in the hall (still within sight and sound of Sister Hart, don't worry:)). I noticed Sister Leger on the phone down the hall and she turned to me and said, "Sister Lewis! Someone on the phone needs to talk to a missionary." I was really confused and I answered the phone. Isabelle explained to me her situation. I was practically worshiping her and trying not to scream out of excitement!! I got her address and number, the next day we brought her the Book of Mormon and gave her a mini lesson about what it is, andwe had our first real sit-down lesson with her.
She came prepared with questions about temples (YES!) vs. meetinghouses, what it means to be sealed (she loved that), tithing, the law of chastity, fasting--all these questions that are sometimes tough to explain because they're not easy commandments to follow. But she LOVED our answers and was so willing to live them!
Then she asked, "So what are the steps you need to take to be baptized?"
We taught the restoration to her. I got to tell the First Vision (best part), and the Spirit was so strong. Then Sister Hart asked her, "What do you think of that?" Isabelle answered, "Obviously Joseph Smith was called of God. He's the real prophet and has the priesthood." OH MY GOSH.
So then I said, "Isabelle, as you come to know that things we've been teaching you are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?"
"We will be holding a baptismal service on. Will you prepare yourself to be ready by that date?"
SO I WAS FREAKING OUT, SISTER HART GAVE ME A LOOK (SHE GIVES ME THIS LOOK FREQUENTLY) THAT MEANS I CAN'T START SCREAMING. I WAS SMILING SO HUGE, PEOPLE.
After the lesson, as we were walking back to the car, I kept whispering, "Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh." Sister Hart said, "Not now, Sister Lewis. Not yet." And since I couldn't stop freaking out she said, "Fine. Go run to the car." So I ran about 200m in a skirt and a huge bag to the car, got in, and screamed my head off. "THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!! I LOVE THE GOSPEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Haha guys, this is my life!!!!! We have another appointment with her tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One more story and then I'll wrap this up. Last week, Sister Hart and I went to a part member family's house with Elder Call. In the Choret* family, the mom is less active, the dad is non-member, and their sons are non-member (Benjamin* is 8 and Lawrence* is 12). We got to know them and played some music with them (apparently there's a video of our mini orchestra--violin, clarinet, viola, flute, and me singing--on Facebook now haha). I got to know Rachel* (Sister Choret) really well while everyone else was rehearsing, and I LOVE her! Seriously, an incredible woman. She loves the Church, and knows she needs to go more, but it's tough with a non-member family. So I asked her questions about her husband. Apparently he LOVES missionaries. Loves them. He wants his sons to be baptized. Long story short, it turns out Ryan* (Brother Choret) has had all these competitions with missionaries in the past--he invites them over for hot wings and sees if the missionaries can handle the heat! So Rachel called Ryan and told him that there were new Sisters in Moncton (Moncton hasn't had Sisters in years) and he said to invite us for wings! Then he said, "Tell them to bring some towels--they won't be able to handle the SWEAT!" And I said, "I can do it without the towels! BRING IT." And he said, "IT'S ON!" Haha I'm gettin into this story.
Butwas the dinner appointment with them. We got to invite the Elders too. I met Ryan* and he was not opening up very well. Kinda quiet and reserved. He's really stalky--a big, shorter guy--and he's in like, his late 50s. So I decided that if I wanted him to like the missionaries, and get to know us, I'd have to get cheeky with him haha. So when we started eating dinner, I finally got the guts to try these bright red wings and immediately started crying. They were SO HOT. I was sitting in the "hot seat" right next to Ryan and he started cracking up and said, "What? Too hot for you, Sister Lewis?" And I said, "Are you kidding me? This is nothing, I thought your wings would actually be spicy." Hahaha he gave me the best death glare then started laughing really hard. Then later Sister Choret said, "Ryan's always loved having the missionaries over. They're fun and young!" And Ryan said, "Don't say young, that makes me seem old! I'm not old, am I?" Sister Hart and Elder Nzojibwami said, "Noooo way! So young!" And I said, "You are so old. I didn't know people got that old until I met you." or something stupid like that. And thus came my new nickname: "Motormouth" hahaha. He's cooking something spicier for me , and every after that. Ryan doesn't know it yet, but he's getting baptized this summer. I'll make sure of that. Love him.
Okay, wrapping things up. AKA why do I write long letters.
Last week I got really sick and I'm still not over it--I would love the extra prayers so I can get back to feeling my best. I really don't want to miss a day of work, and this is day 8 of feeling like this, so any prayers people have would be SO appreciated:)
And no, I haven't gotten your letters yet! This morning I got my first letters since I've been in Canada (Quinn and Erin Clegg!!!) and they're dated May 11, so I think it takes about a week to get to me (they really arrivedor ).
And lastly, I was tested on my French this week by a Quebecois Elder, Elder Morin! It was terrifying, but I guess I passed because he said, "Thank you Sister Lewis, I am definitely recommending you to President. Your Frens ees very gewd." Haha. Elder Nzojibwami told me this week that President's dream is to have French-speaking sisters, and that I'm top of the list right now. Which is really scary because I have no gospel vocabulary at all, and I feel like I couldn't have more than a 10-minute conversation with someone, because after 10 minutes it would start to get too deep for my vocabulary! And it's hard because all the French-speaking missionaries spent 6 weeks in the MTC and have French-speaking investigators and a French-speaking companion, but I'm completely teaching myself. It's tough. But my favorite sentence this week has been "Je suis missionaire de l'Eglise de Jesus-Christ des Saints des Derniers-jours." I hope that's correct because I've said it 80 times a day.
PS I got to go to Amherst next week, and I get to go again! It's the cutest little town until you see the statues. Everyone turns their trees into giant statues of people and they paint them... It is the creepiest thing I have ever seen in my life. I am so glad I'm not serving there hahaha. I'll have to take some pictures.* .
ANYWAY, I'm really ending this now. See ya! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!
Link to see examples of creepy Amherst tree statues.
Link to see examples of creepy Amherst tree statues.