Good morning from a balmy winter morning in Canada--it's only -1 today!
Quote of the week:
The four missionaries were grabbing a quick lunch in the kitchen after a meeting earlier this week. The elders had made us run to the store to grab lettuce for Cesar salad chicken wraps. Then they made us actually put the dressing on it (either my mission has made me lazier or a better worker. Sometimes I can't tell). So I was thinking about how lazy the elders were when Elder Wolsey decided to diss me. Well, that was the last straw, so as he turned away, towards the sink to start washing dishes, I started glaring at his back while the others laughed at how rude it was. Then...
Elder Wolsey: "That's right. Go ahead and glare at my back."
HE KNEW I WAS GLARING AT HIM AND HE WASN'T EVEN LOOKING AT ME. Haha I was astonished to say the least.
Ok, that was a dumb quote, but he was feeling pretty good about his capabilities, so he told me to write that experience in my journal (not gonna happen). And then Sister Vera just suggested I write home about it instead. So there ya go.
We're working with a Brazilian family right now who speaks Portuguese. We visited with them last night and they fed us this amazing lime mousse. We started a Sportuguenglish discussion about the pronunciation of the words "moose" and "mousse". This resulted in the verdict that they are going to begin teaching me Portuguese if I'll help them learn English (the ward had a fast for the mother, Samara*, to learn English).
One of the Muslim families we're teaching right now is here from Iran. They are an adorable family and we love them. Omid* is the father, Sadaf* is the mother, and Parviz* is their little 8-year-old son. Because they don't have a Christian background, we devoted a lesson to teaching about Christ's life. It was a powerful lesson. There's a big language barrier since they speak Persian, but because we were all working so hard to concentrate and communicate, we all depended a lot on the Spirit and it was incredible.
A little more than a week ago, Sister Vera and I visited with a member of the ward. He is a sweet older man with an even sweeter testimony. We asked him for his conversion story and felt the Spirit so strongly and were excited to go do missionary work afterwards.
But the thing I remember best about what he was telling us is this:
"I've seen a lot of people walk away from the Church. But I think that there comes a point of no return. There comes a point where no matter what happens, you could never leave. I could go to church next week, and the members could all suddenly betray me--walk all over me. They could be rude and tell me never to come back. They could be completely unaccepting and show me I'm not wanted or needed... But I would still know the Church is true, and I would still go back."
What a powerful testimony.
There are lots of people I downright adore--people I respect and love and look up to--who have "walked away from the Church." And it doesn't change how much I love them, but I remember it affecting me a lot as a little girl because I saw the two sides of people. I saw each person living what they knew to be true and saying they could never deny it, and then I watched them stop living what they knew to be true and then later deny it. And I could see a complete change in them. They were different people. It made me sad to think that someone could be convinced of the truth and then go back on what they believed. It was as if they couldn't control it because one day they would say "I know this is Christ's church, and I can't deny it," and the next day, the Church wasn't His anymore. It was like inactivity happens to people, like they don't actually choose whether they're active or not.
I've become convinced that this is Christ's Church. And I think that I've passed the "point of no return." In fact, I know I have. I have seen too much to deny it ever.
But now I am sure that I won't "walk away from the Church." I can be sure of it because I know I won't stop reading my scriptures, I won't stop praying, and I won't stop going to Church. And those are things I can control.
I have become very grateful for trials because they convince me of the truthfulness of this gospel. I've learned to depend on God through them which has confirmed my faith over and over without fail.
On a different note, all 140-ish of the missionaries in the Canada Halifax Mission are reading the Book of Mormon in the month of January. The Bible is a good book and I love it and read from it often. But there's something about the faith required to read and believe the Book of Mormon that makes its words precious and powerful. I firmly believe that there is real power in its words--that by reading it sincerely, people receive mighty changes of hearts and become closer to their God. I'm grateful that God loves us so much to give us the tool of the Book of Mormon to be closer to Him.
I hope that with this new year, we can each have increased testimonies of the Book of Mormon, and becomeconvinced that this is Christ's church, whether the imperfect people in it are accepting or not.
I love you all!
Sister Lewis' camera is broken! So she didn't send any photos this week. But the senior sister in the below photo did. The sisters were teaching her how to wear scarves.