Monday, August 1, 2016

Well done, good and faithful readers

So, considering this is probably the last time I will write, I thought
I would do my best to compile the amazing past 18 months of my life
into an email. Idea credit on this one goes to my lovely Hermana
Traub, a friend of mine who just finished her mission last month and
did this same thing. So, here's 18 things I've learned in 18 months:
1. SPANISH! Finally :)
2. This gospel is completely and totally true. I think that before my
mission I strongly believed it and knew certain truths of the gospel,
but I now know without a doubt that it is completely true.
3. Being a missionary is a privilege, responsibility, and a blessing.
If you take it as such, it will have the most incredible impact on
your life.
4. If someone gives you a chili pepper smaller than your pinky finger,
it's probably going to make you cry. If it's bigger, you're probably
safe. Unless you're a wimp.
5. Christlike attributes will get you a whole lot further in life than
you think.
6. Trials and tribulations are a huuuuge blessing. Without them, we
could never become who we need to be.
7. When the spirit prompts you to do something, DON'T question it! If
you do, it might be to late and you'll regret it forever (okay maybe
not forever, but no degree of regret is fun, so just don't risk it).
8. When you stop thinking about yourself and just turn outward, life
takes on a whole new meaning. And it's a better one.
9. When a gate has a "beware of dog" but you assume it's just the
typical Hispanic home with a chihuahua, ALWAYS have an escape plan,
just in case. If not, you may get chased by a Rottweiler and have to
bang your way through a broken gate.
10. Repentance is a blessing, not a burden. And we should be doing it daily.
11. In the grand scheme of things, the only person you can really
change is you. So rather than trying to take away the agency of
others, use your agency to teach lead by example, showing people the
right way.
12. The atonement is there not only to heal and redeem us, but to
enable us and let us be strengthened. Christ didn't just suffer so we
could be forgiven, he suffered so that we could turn to him in any and
every circumstance and have him help us to be perfected, little by
13.  Taking a "my way or the highway" approach with God is a bad idea.
I know it's easier said than done, but his way is always better so
just take it. The thing is, God has a perfect plan for each and every
one of us, but he will never force us to follow it. Although if we do,
it will bring us more happiness than we could imagine.
14. There's not much comfort in the growth zone, but there's also not
much growth in the comfort zone.
15. Spending all day every day for 18 months with a female has been a
lot more fun than I thought it would be. With that said, it makes me
very grateful that the person I will be spending eternity with is
going to be a male, not a female haha
16. If you just have faith (and I mean actual faith- the kind you
actually act on, not just something you believe and don't do anything
about) things are gonna turn out okay.
17. Morning essentials: a glass of milk, guacamole takis, sincere
prayer, and scripture study. If you have those four things in the
morning, the day is always better :)
18. Nothing in this world makes me happier than the gospel of our
savior Jesus Christ.

Well, friends, that just about sums it up. I couldn't have asked for a
better way to spend the last year and a half of my life, and I
couldn't be more grateful for the things I have learned. It sure
doesn't feel real, and I sure don't feel ready, but I guess my time
has come to start the next chapter of my life.
If any of you would like to be at the airport when I arrive, I believe
my flight is scheduled to get in at 2:12pm on Tuesday august 9th!
Also, my homecoming will be on the 14th at 1:00pm. If you have any
questions or whatever just talk to my mom :)
I am so grateful to each and every one of you for your love and
support through this incredible journey. And I applaud you for putting
up with roughly 78 emails full of awkward stories, details you don't
care about, awful grammar and writing structure, random spiritual
tangents, and one weirdly happy sister missionary.
"Well done, good and faithful [readers]" -Matthew 25:23 :)
Hermana Lewis

1. MLC this week with my faves :)
2. Just a lovely reminder!

Monday, July 25, 2016


Well, friends..... This is one of those weeks where I'm just drawing a
blank. I'm not quite sure what to write today! The time just keeps
going faster a faster and I keep trying to slow it down but I just
can't! I'm starting to feel like I'm in reverse quicksand. Like rather
than being sucked in, I'm slowly being spit out (of the quicksand, aka
the mission) and the harder I try to fight my way back in the further
out I go. Just to be clear, that isn't a very fun feeling! But with
that said, I'm enjoying and cherishing the moments I have left more
and more every day.
So..... One of the highlights for me this week was our road trip up to
pope valley with sister Garate, the branch president's wife. She drove
us up there to see our investigator gamine, the one who is getting
baptized next month. Now considering that it's in the middle of
nowhere and it takes a million years and tons of windy mountain roads
to get there, it's quite a commitment to go out there. So she took us
and we also went and visited all the less actives and potentials we
could find out there. We had an awesome lesson with gamine, got to see
a few other people, and had a surprising amount of fun. And sister
Garate had us all equipped with water bottles and snacks, including
some killer good farm-fresh peaches :)
We also got to do a ton of service this week which I enjoyed as well.
You know, there's just something about serving others that makes me
outrageously happy. A woman actually called us this week and said
she'd been given our number about a year ago by some missionaries who
said to call if she ever needed anything. She told us what she needed
and was like "okay so what's the catch?" And of course we explained to
her that there wasn't one, we just love to serve people. She just
couldn't get over it and kept asking why and what was up and who was
forcing us to do this and on and on. Honestly it got to the point
where I just wanted to be like "LADY. Have you ever tried just giving
up a few hours of your day to serve someone voluntarily? Cause in all
reality, when we serve people, sure they benefit from it, but the real
benefit comes to us. You can't replicate the kind of happiness it
brings." But, I'm working on being more charitable and loving right
now so I figured I'd just keep my mouth shut. Haha but it's true,
service is great. I just love it.
Plus, serving others=serving God.
{ M o s i a h 2 : 1 7 }  
Love you all! 
Hermana Lewis

1. Hermana Navarro came to visit me!! 
2. And Hermana Gonzalez 
3. One of the biggest lessons I've learned recently. 
4. My comp and me being candid hahaha

Monday, July 18, 2016

Buckle up!‏

Alright, buckle up for this one. Idk what got into me but this email
is a long one!
I swear, every week gets faster and faster. Sometimes I think God is
trying to be funny by playing a trick on me, cause I for real don't
feel like it's been a week since I wrote. Heck, I don't even feel like
it's been a week since I came out on the mission sometimes. But, here
we are again.
I think reality sunk in this week, which was really not fun. You see,
for the past month I've been trying to convince everyone (including
myself) that I don't go home for another two transfers. I thought I
was doing a pretty good job, cause even the APs believed me. Then,
zone conference happened. So every 3 months we have a zone conference,
where a couple of zones combine and president and sister wright come
and teach us, as well as the APs and tech elders. At the end, anyone
going home before the next zone conference has to get up and give
their departing testimony. President always announces beforehand who
will have to get up, and then it happens at the end. So during our
lunch break, me and a few other missionaries tried to convince him he
had made a mistake, but he laughed at all of us and changed the
subject. When I got up there and started to share my testimony,
something just hit me. I realized that I really am leaving soon, but I
also realized (to an extent) what this mission has done for me. As the
words came out of my mouth and I shared the testimony that I have, I
realized that the testimony I have now is a testimony I never even
dreamed of having before my mission. It was a such a bittersweet
experience and it made me so much more grateful for this wonderful
experience. And grateful that it's not quite over yet! :)
Speaking of zone conference, it was great. My zone leaders and I were
asked to teach a section together on language which was terrifying
because we've never had to do that before, but I actually really
enjoyed preparing for it. It's incredible how big of a role our
language plays in who we are not just as missionaries, but as people
in general. From gossiping, to speaking negatively, to using
inappropriate language, they all matter and affect who we are. So just
avoid them! It's as simple as that :)
Oh! I forgot about some cool news! Yesterday at church, our cute
investigator Gamine was there, and she said she wants to be baptized
on her 13th birthday, August 28! So we're excited about that :) she
lives with her grandma, who is an inactive member, but gamine has
recently been interested in the church more and now wants to join
which we are super excited about :)
Lastly, I wanted to talk about the Morgans. Oh my goodness, how I love
the Morgans. They are super active members who live up in the crazy
town of angwin and they are some of the sweetest, most incredible
people I have ever met. They have a beautiful house and view and yard
and everything, and along with that are incredibly humble. I tell you
all this because we get the privilege of going up there to do service
for them. It's fun because we go up, and we work in the garden with
Wanda, who isn't a member but her sister is one of the members here.
Then the zone leaders come up and work in the yard with Juan, their
worker who lives down in the zone leaders' area in Napa. We sweat and
work and chat with them, and then we all get together and enjoy lunch
after. I tell you all this because this week at lunch sister Morgan
said something that really hit my heart. We were enjoying talking and
eating when she thanked all of us for coming and working together,
because she always feels such an incredible spirit when we're all
there and is grateful to be surrounded by good people and for what we
each have to bring to the table. As I looked around, I don't know what
it was, but something helped me get a glimpse of how God sees each of
the people who were sitting at that table. Each of us- me, my
companion, the elders, Wanda, Juan, the Morgans- come from such
different backgrounds, but there was just such a spirit of love and so
much goodness surrounding that table, and I was grateful to be able to
see that. So today, I'm grateful for good people. And I'm grateful for
a Heavenly Father who loves me and each of his children so much, and
even lets me see through his eyes for a second every once in a while. 
Hermana Lewis  
1. My new best friend, juan's puppy!
2. Again. Cause he's adorable. 
3. Typical moment with us. My comp always takes selfies and I'm always
in the background doing something/being dumb haha 
4. Another picture of me being dumb.... Our investigator gave us roses
and my comp was taking pictures of them so of course I had to get in
it haha 
5. So, I ate a cricket you guys! This was a while ago but I think I
forgot to send it

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Missionary life is funny. And also fun.‏

Alright, so here's the deal. I had this lovely email written to you
all and then my stupid iPad deleted it. The entire thing. So now this
one will be of much lower quality. Sorry. this week the
speakers didn't show up at the veterans home and brother graham asked
me on the spot to get up and speak, so I did. I felt inspired to talk
about prayer, so I shared a few stories/scriptures about it in the
Book of Mormon, shared my thoughts, and sat down. Our investigator
Lance, who was sitting next to me, said in his "inside voice" (which
is practically yelling cause he is going deaf) "huh. I didn't think
you were smart! You're a lot more intelligent than I thought you
were." Haha I didn't know whether to take it as a compliment or not,
but the congregation got a good laugh out of it, so it was alright.
Also this week we had quite a few miracles happen with referrals,
which is a miracle alone because nobody gives us referrals. Like ever.
But a few members introduced us to some family and friends, and we're
teaching them all now so we're pretty excited about that! :)
Well, that's about all I have time for now, so for pictures this week..... 
1. Typical car pics with my comp 
2. So, the other day it was 109 degrees at 7:00 at night. It was
awful. Hence why I look so awful.
3. Our thanksgiving dinner in July!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Happy 4th!‏

Dearest family and friends,
1. I apologize in advance for the terrible quality of this letter
2. I love you all, and I also love the work I get the privilege of
doing here. Don't take this short email as an indication of anything
3. This week we picked up 3 awesome new investigators and I love them dearly
4. MLC was this week and that is always a highlight for me because I
feel like I'm spiritually drinking from a fire hydrant and it's
exhausting but I love it so much
5. We had a thanksgiving dinner after district meeting on Thursday but
unfortunately I forgot to get the pictures so those will come later.
But I made mashed potatoes and it was a heavenly experience. I've
missed them. Hence why my breakfast, lunch, and sometimes late night
snacks this week have all consisted of potatoes.
6. Please enjoy this beautiful picture of my area. I can't take photo
credit though, one of our members took it the other day. Don't I live
in heaven!?
7. And........ Happy 4th of July!!!!!

Hermana Lewis

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dying in Heaven!‏

We got transfer info this week, and my companion and I are both
staying here in st. Helena! I am so stoked I get to finish my mission
in this wonderful place. Hence why my subject line is "dying in
heaven." It was a very weird feeling getting transfer info for my last
transfer of the mission- it just doesn't feel real! But I am stoked to
work my tail off and have a great transfer :)
So as far as things that happened this week, we got our mini
missionary! It was such a blast. Her name is Dani and she is just the
most adorable ball of sunshine ever. It was so fun to have her energy
for a few days and see how willing she was to do absolutely anything-
I sure learned a lot from her example!
This Sunday I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting, and I wanted to
share something I learned as I was preparing my talk. So I spoke about
how we need to be the Lord's hands, and I decided to research a bit
deeper on what that could mean. So I was researching the word "hand"
and I'd never really thought about it this way until now- but when you
put it in literal terms, the brain typically has an idea of what it
wants to do (aka, purpose) and most of the time, it has to send the
message to the hands, and the hands get the task done. Well, that
applies to us because the lord has a purpose and things he wants to
accomplish, so sometimes he has to send a message to his "hands" (aka,
us) to get the task done. So as I was thinking about all this, I had
to ask myself the question of whether or not I was putting myself in a
place where I could receive that message and follow through with it.
And if I wasn't, what I needed to do to get there. Now I'm not even
sure if any of those thoughts I just threw up onto this email made any
sense, so if they don't, just ignore it. But if they do, ask yourself
the same question, because at least for me, a whole lot of guidance
came out of it. So anyways, I hope you all have a lovely week and
enjoy the first few days of July!  
Hermana Lewis  
1. Us with Dani! 
2. I got to see my faves this week :) 
3. My favorite woman, sister cross. Haha everyone calls her corky. She
asked to see this picture and when I showed her she said "aw man, I
look like a fat old lady!" 
4. One of my good friends, Hermana Figueroa! She finishes her mission
tomorrow :( 
5. Our zone! Minus a few of the elders 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Embarrassing... (Probably should be my subject line every week)‏

Happy late Father's Day everyone!
So, basically have a bunch of random thoughts for you all this week. First off, this happened a while ago and I think I totally spaced writing home about it, but do you all remember my investigator, Jeremías, from Sonoma? The one whose baptism got cancelled the week of? Well, he finally decided to take the leap of faith and he was baptized! I just wanted to let you all know because it made me sooo happy :)
Next item of business.... Well, this is more just funny, but this Tuesday at district meeting, my awesome district leaders brought me a bacon maple donut (my favorite) to celebrate my birthday. Then they brought normal donuts for all the rest, and at the beginning of district meeting they passed them out. Well, just as I was taking the first bite, guess who decided to make a surprise visit? Yep, president wright. OF ALL PEOPLE. he immediately started laughing (not knowing the background to why I was the only one eating a huge maple donut with a big greasy slab of bacon on top) and as the district leaders tried to explain it was just to celebrate my birthday, president said something to the effect of "I just can't believe Hermana Lewis is about to put that in her stomach! What has gotten into you?!" Let me just say, it was a very embarrassing experience. And sister wright may or may not have texted me that night and told me I have a problem and need to talk to the mission nurse... (Haha of course she was just joking, but to be fair, president and I had an agreement that neither of us would tell sister wright, because he ended up eating a donut as well and didn't want her to know... But obviously he broke his end of the agreement)
While I'm on the topic of embarrassing situations, this week some kid crashed his bike into a car in front of us so we pulled over and got out to see if he was okay, and of course then a nun walked over and I immediately started sweating and having a panic attack... But I'll have you know I didn't cry and I even smiled at her! :)
What else... Umm we got a call from the AP's the other day and they asked us to host a mini-missionary (someone who is planning to go on a mission and comes to stay with us for a few days to see what mission life is like) this week! So basically we'll be a trio for a few days and we are super stoked! Aside from that, we've just been walking all over trying to save miles so we are exhausted, but it's a good exhausted! One bonus of that is we are walking around by where we live a ton and we just started teaching one of our cute neighbors and she is awesome! She's read parts of the Book of Mormon before and as we were talking about it with her she just lit up with excitement :) so we are praying she continues to make progress!
Anyways, have a great week everyone, love you all!
Hermana Lewis 

1. my comp and I 
2. Jazz! A cute less active who has been living here for the past 2 months but she moved to Arizona this week :(
4. No shame. Haha we saw this sticker the other day of one direction in their tween days and the immature kid in me came out...