Monday, October 28, 2013

Don't have a lot of time to send the big e-mail today, so the pictures with long captions will have to suffice!

Last P-day.

 Elder Evanson behind me and Elder Campbell behind Sister Sandberg.

I was feeling dead sick, and sister Sandberg thought it would be funny to take a picture of me on the couch. Haha.



We had Stake Conference for the New Brunswick Stake over the weekend (which includes part of Maine). This sweet girl, Stephanie* (8), worships sister missionaries and wants to serve a mission so badly, so she asked for a picture with us:) Did we feel like celebrities? Why yes, yes we did.

I look a little scary in this one. But during the adult session of Stake Conference  on Friday night, we were having a REALLY spiritual, powerful, (and missionary-themed!) meeting. There were about 24 missionaries there total. President Spragg got up towards the end of this powerful conference and said, "Well, the First Presidency for this Stake Conference specifically asked for missionaries to attend, so I asked President Leavitt which missionaries we could hear from tonight, and he chose for us to hear from some sisters, so we'll be happy to have Sister Lewis and Sister Sandberg come up and bear their testimonies now." UMMM OK THANKS PRESIDENT LEAVITT. So we walked up and each bore our testimonies on missionary work. After we sat down, President Spragg spoke and we closed the session. Immediately afterwards, tons of members from across the stake came to us and thanked us for our testimonies, hugging us and telling us that hearing from us was the highlight of the meeting. Let me just say that it was incredibly humbling to have at least 10 families from Maine ask if the two of us could come be their sister missionaries (Maine only has elders right now). This couple has a particularly touching story, and he took us aside and told us his incredible conversion story which was so powerful. At the end he said, "You sisters keep being faithful. You keep being faithful. Because of 2 faithful missionaries, I know about my Saviour. Because of 2 faithful missionaries, I am sealed to my sweetheart forever." We all were touched and crying because I think at that moment, we were all reminded of the "divinity of this great and marvelous latter-day work." How great is my calling!

Hahahahaha trying on costumes at the Wilsons' * house last night for our ward Halloween party this Wednesday night. They thought I'd make a good Cleopatra.

Hahahahaaaaaaaa too funny too funny.

We checked the meal calendar where members sign up to feed us and saw that the elders signed us up for lunch with them today! Haha they've been preparing it for a long time, and we think it's mac and cheese with hotdogs.... Hahaha we're a little nervous.

Monday, October 21, 2013

C'est la vie.

I honestly don't even know what happened this week! Sister Sandberg and I can't remember anything. So this will be a great e-mail.

Isn't it weird that it's been more than a year since the age-change announcement that changed my life?! And now I'm 6 months into my mission in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Life is good.

Ready for an embarrassing story?

Last week after we e-mailed, Sister Sandberg and I walked home to grab some lunch. She was in the kitchen and I sat down on the couch and we were talking about how are families were doing. Then I saw an ab wheel sitting on the floor, so I thought I'd give it a shot since the last time I tried it was several months ago. I was rolling back on forth on it and realized that I was way better at it than last time I tried it! So I got really excited and started acting like an idiot on it, rolling back and forth as fast as I could, and then BAM face-planted it right into the ab wheel. I immediately jumped up and didn't say anything because Sister Sandberg was in the other room and didn't see me biff it. So I ran to the bathroom because I could taste the blood and saw that my tooth went through my lip! Not all the way through, but it was bad. So I was just going to wipe it off because dang it was embarrassing that I fell on an ab wheel because I was being a loser on it! So I felt with the blood, and it was still bleeding a little bit, but it was fine. And Sister Sandberg still didn't know. And then it started swelling and I had a fat lip all through Thanksgiving and had to tell everyone what happened. So I'll send a picture of it, although it is after the swelling went down a ton haha. I embarrass myself.

Recently Sister Sandberg and I have been asking ourselves why we're companions. We've been wondering why God wants the two of us serving in Fredericton together at this specific time--what it is He expects of us. I read this scripture in Helaman 10. In the scriptures, the prophet/missionary Nephi has just been falsely accused of murder, and has shown the people signs that he is a true prophet of God. He's walking home after he's been thrown into prison, after all the people in his city just tried to arrest him. And God tells him this:

"Blessed art thou, [Sister Lewis], for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

"And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will."

After this, he stops walking home and immediately returns to teach some more. I love the word "unwearyingness" here. The most fulfilling days on my mission are the ones that I work unwearyingly, when I work when my feet hurt, my body's tired, I'm hungry, and people won't even listen. Those days are the most important, because they're the ones that determine my faith. Either I move closer to God and work through the discouragement, or I choose to wrap up the day early and go give my body a break, because hey, I worked hard anyway, right?

We had one of those days this last week. Here, the hour between 8 and 9 PM is the hardest. It's already dark out, and the city shuts down. You can't knock because people are either asleep, won't answer the door because it feels later than it is, or will answer and be really grouchy that we're "knocking on the door at near midnight!" So Sister Sandberg and I found ourselves at the church at 8PM on aSunday night. The city was completely shut down, our plans and back-up plans had all fallen through, and we had absolutely no more ideas. It was at the point where if we just went home, we would only get there half an hour before curfew, so we wouldn't really be wasting time. It would've been so easy to go home and call it a night and get in bed a little earlier. And anyway, it would be good to get in bed a little earlier because we're always so exhausted from riding our bikes anyway.

But instead, we dropped to our knees and prayed. We told our Heavenly Father that we couldn't do our plans anymore, and that we still had an hour to work and had no idea what to do for it. We told Him that we weren't going to go home early, that we were going to work until the end. We asked Him for help knowing what could be effective at that time of day. Then we got up and got going, not knowing beforehand the things that we should do.

It would be nice to say we went out and happened to find someone who really needed the gospel who we would never have found if we hadn't been out working. It would be nice to say it was in that last hour that we were able to pull out a lot of numbers. But actually, we went out, and we did the most effective things we could, and we talked to about two people in that entire hour. That was the best we could do. We got to our apartment at 9 and prayed again to start planning.

But we worked with unwearyingness. And I know that we were blessed because of it. I went to sleep that night feeling "mighty in word and in deed".

I love you all. Have a great week.

Sister L

Ma lip.  I couldn't even close my lips all the way!

Thanksgiving--no proselyting allowed say what?!

Isabelle's Wall!  Isn't she the best Mormon?!

Bikin in the rain....No shame as a sister missionary.

We theorize that an Elder kissed the glass.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

It's been quite the week. 

Started out the week with 0 investigators, and ended it with 4. 

Gave a talk on the Book of Mormon in sacrament meeting.

Got rejected at door after door.

Loved my new ward.

Biked till I thought I'd die.

Taught a FAMILY(!).

Received a sweet, sweet letter from the Moncton bishop.

Continued to study General Conference talks.

Sent off family on their missions.

Elder S. Gifford Nielson's talk was one of my very favorites. He said, "This work is NOT going to move forward in the Lord's intended way without the members!" Exclamation point! So, what are YOU going to do? One thing we're encouraging ward members to do is to set a family mission plan. He gives three steps:

1) Pray to bring someone closer to Christ.
2) Pray for missionaries and investigators in the area by name.
3) Invite a friend to an activity, in or out of the home.

This work is exciting! It is remarkable! Go out of your comfort zone and be the Lord's servant.

That's all for this week. Happy Thanksgiving, eh?


Sister Lewis
240 Parkside Dr. #3
Fredericton, NB E3B 5V7

We couldn't find our former. This giant hole was in place of his house.... "Where did Peter go???"

Look, Ma!  No hands!

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference and Transfers

After I last e-mailed last Monday, we worked hard that night and went all the way out to Browns Yard, NB to visit an active family in our ward--the Johnsons*. They're the ones who know Baba. They were so excited that we saved up our Ks all month to see them, and it was a really great visit. Sister Nelson and I made the long, dark, scary, moose-y drive home and it was terrifying and exciting. The next morning, we had personal study at 8, companion study at 9, French study at 10, and lunch at 11. At about 11:10, we got a call from President Leavitt. You know you should just hang up immediately when the first words he says are, "Are you at your apartment? Is the phone on speaker? Is your companion there?" Never answer yes to any of those questions or he'll tell you one of you is getting transferred!

The circumstances are these: Sisters in this mission really serve for about 19 months rather than 18, because people hit 18 months mid-transfer. Sister K got hit by a car and that was kind of the end of it for her. So she'll be serving for 17.5 months instead of 19. She's going home at the end of this transfer (October 27) with Sister Hart. She's finishing up the last 3 weeks of her mission living in the mission home.

So Sister K will be going to Dartmouth. To take her spot in Charlottetown, Sister Rust left Fredericton. I am now taking Sister Rust's spot in Fredericton with Sister Sandberg (who is 19 and has been out just a transfer longer than me). Sister Doherty left Halifax to be with Sister Nelson in Riverview. To make things work, one companionship in Halifax is covering two areas. It's a little crazy right now.

I was really upset to be leaving Riverview, but excited. As soon as President broke the news to us, Sister Nelson got upset and I started crying haha, even though I was excited. Then President asked, "Sister Lewis, how do you feel about this?" And I said, "I'm excited!" even though I was crying at the same time. And he sighed and said, "Of course you are, Sister Lewis. We could tell Sister Lewis she was being transferred to a tent in the forest, there to be eaten by the wild bears, and she'd be excited. Well, thanks for being willing anyway." And hung up. Haha as a side note, whenever he asks how I'm doing, in response to my answer he says, "Now Sister Lewis, are you really doing great, or are you just saying that because you're an optimistic person?" Haha.

So that was Tuesday morning. We called the Elders to tell them and that was horrible, then we called the Calls, and they invited us over to say bye to them since they were about to go out of town until after I'd leave for Fredericton. We had sad goodbyes there--it was REALLY hard to say goodbye to them. I said bye to the Bishop too, which was very hard. He started crying. Then we just continued our missionary work that night. Wednesday we had several lessons planned and I had to say goodbye to the majority of our investigators. Thursday was my last day in Riverview and by then, most of the ward knew I was getting transferred, and a lot of them swung by the church or called to say goodbye. We don't really know what's going to happen with the primary program now. Lots of tears from me and ward members! Sister Nelson was very stressed because she doesn't feel like she knows the area or the members well enough yet, and lots of people have threatened to send hate mail to President for this haha. But Thursday night, we had a dinner appointment with the four Elders with some members (the only time that has happened and will ever happen--so ineffective to take all the missionaries out in an area for an hour). It was a really good appointment and I shared the spiritual thought, which was on prayer (2 Nephi 32), and it was very spiritual as Sister Nelson and I taught our last "lesson" together. It was a great experience. After that we had our YSA bible study at the church with the Elders and our two YSA reps. I lead that as well, and it was also a very spiritual experience. We made carameled apples for the activity afterwards, then we took last pictures as a district, everyone signed my goodbye book, and then we said goodbye one last time. It was a really hard day. Oh yeah, and that morning I was throwing up for a few hours, so it was fun to run to the bathroom all through district meeting.

Early Friday morning we transferred. Sister Sandberg and I are a SUPER motivated companionship. President is excited for the 19-year-old Sisters because they actively chose to come, because they WANTED to serve missions.  I've never been able to put so much into this work before this companionship. She feels the same way. Both of us are on fire. The Hendricksons are FANTASTIC and helped me not feel so homesick for Riverview. Our Elders in this area are the ZLs--Elders Evanson and Campbell. They're great. This is a biking area. In the winter, it'll be walking and bus. I love the bikes, but hate them in skirts. It's really annoying and embarrassing and difficult to ride in skirts. There is a lot of work to do here--we have 0 investigators. Time to get this area on its feet!

General Conference was sad without my family:( I missed you guys a lot. And I've hardly eaten anything the last few days because we have almost no food in our apartment, so I've been starving! So I was daydreaming about your breakfast during the Sunday morning session:) Did you guys set up the tent? I can't believe yesterday marked 1 year since the age-change announcement! Incredible.

Here, for General Conference, people usually watch from home on their computers. But a few members came out for a session or two. I didn't get to meet very many members. Morning sessions are from 1-3PM, afternoon sessions are from 5-7PM (messes with dinner), and the priesthood session is from 9-11PM. So the whole day is kind of thrown off, but it's fun. The Elders bought $50 worth of candy (are any of us really surprised by that?:)), and I'd say that I miss playing Conference Bingo with you guys, but let's be honest, we all know I never played, I just ate all the candy immediately anyway.

In between Sunday sessions, we had a chili lunch with the YSA here. There are real YSA here!!! It's exciting. Most of them are recent converts too. Including ISABELLE PHILLIPS! She came here to UNB for university at the end of August, and I haven't seen her since then. Since she left, she stopped going to church. She met with the Sisters here once, then missed other appointments. Sister Hart was able to get a hold of her from Newfoundland and asked her to start meeting with the Elders here, and she's been doing that, but has not gone to church or anything. So my first day here, she met with the Elders, who told her I just got transferred here, and she sent us a text that said, "Ok, I want to meet again." And since then, she's asked us for a scripture study plan, she's been studying for an hour everyday, she attended all 4 sessions of conference, she's made YSA friends, she's felt the Spirit and recognized it on her own, she's asked for a blessing of counsel from the Elders, and even called her mom after the last session last night and testified to her about General Conference and the Church and she and her mom both felt the Spirit. She's preparing for a mission again. Sometimes Heavenly Father knows what He's doing when He sends you away from the area you love.

I love you, family. I'll get my address to you soon.

Sister L (FREDERICTON Sister!)

Saying goodbye to the Calls.  I don't know why I look so happy.  I was crying a lot that morning.

Casual, romantic swings as a missionary means having one with yourself

I miss Riverview.

Not sure...

Saying goodbye to our investigator, Anna*.  I LOVE HER!

Saying goodbye to Eustace.  :(  We had a special friendship.

Saying goodbye to our French investigator, Edith and her baby, Paul.  This was a hard goodbye.

Saying goodbye to Evangeline, Amelie and Charles.  They are adorable.  Amelie and Charles were my joy!!!

Saying Goodbye to the Pratt* family.  Laughing over an awkward moment that had just happened.


Making "the elephant face" with Soeur Nelfils when we said goodbye.  She was laughing and couldn't really do it.

Sister Sandberg!!!  Our first day together.

I broke a door while knocking.