Tuesday, April 28, 2015

¿Transfer doctrine?‏

So, transfers are weird. Let me just tell you that. First off, the zone leaders send out a voicemail Friday night telling us what will happen with each missionary in the zone on transfer day (tomorrow), which they call "transfer doctrine." I think that's weird, but idk. Maybe I'm just weird. Anyways, it's basically impossible to understand and they say things like "elder jones, you're dead (which means going home). Elder smith will be taking your place." Like what? Also, Sister Alba called Hermana nimmer to ask her to be STL and apparently she wasn't excited enough about it on the phone, so she basically told her never mind and called someone else Flushed faceFace with tears of joy. But hey, I won't complain about that! That means less exchanges for us! Haha anyways, Hermana nimmer and I are both staying here in Sonoma and I am super excited! Elder butterfield and Elder tooley are leaving us which is sad. It's crazy how close you can get to people in just 6 weeks... I don't know how I'm gonna do this whole goodbye thing every transfer! But the good thing is that I know this truly is inspired and we are all being put where the Lord needs us. And, added bonus... Hermana nimmer and I will be here for Jeremias' baptism!!

Speaking of Jeremias, let me update you all on him... So his baptismal date was this Saturday, but it wasn't super solid, we were only able to meet with him once or twice the past two weeks, plus there was a ward conflict that day and it just wasn't working out. We were getting sort of discouraged about it, but then we met with him this week and had our best lesson yet! He's been really hesitant about baptism cause his mom passed away and she was a Jehovah's Witness, and he doesn't want to disrespect her by joining another church. But this week we had a lesson on temple work and taught him about how there's missionaries on her side of the veil too, and he can do temple work for his mom one day. That lesson completely turned things around, and at the end we asked him if he was ready to pick a new date, and he told us he really does want to be baptized now, and he chose may 16! We are so excited for him! We're just praying that he'll keep that excitement and desire so everything can fall into place.

So other than that, this week was a lot of service! We got to do service almost every day which was super fun (plus, more service=more time to wear pants). On Saturday we had a stake-wide service project. That was also fun cause our entire zone was there and we got to say goodbye to everyone that will be leaving. Hermana nimmer and I were pruning trees/bushes and must have enjoyed it a bit to much cause by the time we got done with one of the bushes, it didn't even exist anymore. But hey, it was totally dead. We think. Haha we also had the ward talent show Saturday night! Man, this ward is so funny. We had a contortionist, a never ending skit put on by the scouts, and every female over the age of 40 sang some hilarious alphabet song together. I can't even express to you how much I enjoyed that night! Haha. Anyways, that's about all I've got this week! Thanks for all the love and support, I love you all!!

Okay so pictures. (Hopefully they'll work!) 
1- the talent show
2- sonomawood! It's a film festival they have here. Photo cred: elder tooley
3- here's my Davis county crew on a hike! Haha obviously I'm not in it.. But I thought it was a good picture worth sharing. Elder tooley on the left and Elder butterfield on the right are the ones leaving. I'm gonna miss this district!

Love you guys, have a great week!
Hermana Suzanna Lewis 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weirdest experience // Best experience‏

Okay, so I'm officially in week 6 of my first transfer. And we get transfer calls this friday to find out who's staying/leaving! IS THIS REAL LIFE?! I can't even believe how fast time is flying! Probably because this truly is the best place/experience/time of my life. It's hard and exhausting, but amazing.
So, on to what happened this week! First, we had exchanges with the STL. So got to go to Napa one of the days and spend it with Hermana Pulley in her area, which was super fun. I love napa! I mean, obviously sonoma is better, but napa is super gorgeous. So another day I stayed here and Hermana Navarro, the STL, came to train me. So I had to lead out my area, which basically means I was in charge and it was super scary. But we survived! Also I got to be the driver, which was super fun. And Hermana Navarro is so amazing, I learned a ton from her. Definitely a great experience. 
In addition to that, we had a ton of other great things happen. I had my weirdest experience yet and my best experience yet. So first, I'll tell you about the weirdest one. So sometimes, we get stuck talking to old people who have no friends and never get out so when we talk to them, they just go. Forever. And ever. And no matter how hard we try to tie in the gospel or end the conversation or walk away, we just can't. So when we were volunteering at the garden this week, some 93 year old man walked up to us and squeezed our arms. He kinda caught us both off guard so then he apologized to us, we said it was fine, and that's when he just started talking and didn't stop for the next 30-40 minutes. Oh also, his dentures moved up and down when he talked and he spit constantly, so we were nice and wet by the end of that conversation! Anyways, he went on about the wars and the plants and the churches and the animals and the body and who knows what else, but the best part was when he got talking about the body. He was explaining to us how we need to exercise, because apparently we are very weak and he is very strong. So then he started demonstrating for us, and he dropped to the ground in the pile of rocks we were standing on and started doing a mixture of push-ups/cobra/downward-dog (remember this man is 93-he even told us!). This might not sound that funny, but at that point I just lost it. Then to cover up my laughing I tried to tell him we had to leave but we wanted to share a pamphlet with him, and he smacked it to the ground and said "I don't need that nonsense." So we told him to have a great day and that was that. Hahaha I can't put into words how hilarious this man was.
Anyways, on to the best experience yet. So we knocked on this door and a guy answered and immediately asked for help with his homework for his online class. It was on excel, which Hermana Nimmer said she knows nothing about, so she told him I could help and walked away to talk to a guy down the hall. So after I helped him, he got talking about books and I told him about the Book of Mormon. Then he walks over to his desk and picks one up! He said the missionaries taught him 30 years ago in El Salvador and he still reads sometimes. At this point Hermana Nimmer was still talking to people and I was alone trying to teach a lesson in spanish and I thought I was going to die, but then by some miracle I was able to understand everything he said and tell him everything I wanted to say. I asked him to read a scripture, and as he was reading it he started to cry and said "I'm sorry, but I can just feel the spirit that I see in you right now. I can feel the Holy Ghost, and it's been a long time." Of course that made me cry, so then I tried to testify to him through my tears and although it was embarrassing and slightly awkward, it was an incredible experience that I will never forget. That was definitely my favorite miracle of the week.
Okay, so I have a few random thoughts that I wanted to share and since I can't construct a smooth, well-written email to save my life, I think I'll just list them for you. Sorry for my awkwardness.
1. Relief society. Okay, if any of you people in Utah think relief society is bad (like I did), try coming here! All the young people and the older but still fun people are in primary or young womens so it is truly only the boring half of the old ladies here. Oh, and sister nimmer and I. It's great fun. Also, they don't really like us, I don't know why.
2. I heard Utah got snow this week... I'm so jealous! I miss the cold more than anything. I also miss swig. Please go to swig for me this week.
3.The word HAM has been banned from our mission. I'm probably a terrible person and shouldn't be admitting this but I think that is hilarious and wanted to share.
4. For any of you who have/are/will use the paper areabook in your mission, I respect you so much! I don't know how you do it. Us ipad missionaries have it so easy. Seriously. I mean, the mission is still the hardest thing I have ever done, don't get me wrong, but having an ipad is one of the most convenient things ever. 
5. Zayn left one direction and I'm still on my mission living a normal life. Miracle? yes. God truly does bless you if you're doing what he asks of you!
6. I have to apologize to all of you that my emails every week aren't as spiritual as they could be. I just enjoy sharing my experiences/thoughts with all of you, so please forgive me! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Hermana Suzanna Lewis

 Here's me with the giant beans we harvested at the garden this week!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Real pants & barbeques: my new favorite things‏

GUYS! I got to wear jeans on saturday, for like, half the day! It was heaven. We had a service project up at a ward member's cool cabin/house thing which was so much fun. Then after, we had a barbeque. And since we had been doing service, we were still in normal clothes and it was truly the best thing of my life. We just got to sit and enjoy the sun and watermelon and I felt like a normal human again! I'm getting the worst farmer's tan in the history of ever cause we're always doing service in t-shirts, but hey. It's totally worth it.
So, I want to tell you about a cool experience we had this week. To give you some background info, sister alba (our mission president's wife) refers to everyone as lambies. She is momma lambie, we are her little lambies, and our goal is to talk to all the lambies we can and bring all the little lambies unto the fold. Haha so anyways, this week hna nimmer and I found a lost lambie, and it was so amazing! We passed this kid on the street and started talking to him and he was telling us how much he likes the mormons and respects our religion, and then we asked him to come to church so he explained to us that he was homeless and just moved in with a family that is very against mormons. But then he said "but i know what my religion is. I'm still a mormon." so we were like "what? have you been baptized?!" and he said yes! But since he had been homeless he had no records here or anything! It was a super cool experience. He said he wants to find out a way to come back to the church which was super cool!
So, update on Jeremias. We had a lesson with him this weekend and he's gone back to not feeling quite ready again. Super sad. It's hard cause we know he's ready, but he doesn't. And we can't really make him feel ready... so we're just praying he will still be able to take that leap of faith! Also we met a lot with the Bandt family this week. I'm not sure if I've talked to you about them at all before, but they are a part-member less active family. The dad (he was baptized about 20 years ago, but his wife and kids weren't) really wants this for their family, and he is so incredible. His name is Eduardo and I just love meeting with him! We had a lesson with him yesterday and when we got there it was just he and his mom home, but throughout the course of the lesson more and more people kept coming home and by the end of the lesson, we had the entire family there together reading scriptures! It was such a cool experience. Their family is amazing!
So lastly, I have a few things. First, we got word from President Alba this week that we are allowed to read emails during the week! We still can only respond during email time on p-day, but if you send me your emails during the week I'll be able to read them before p-day and I'll have more time to respond! Also, s/o to my amazing sister for making the woods cross cheer team this week! If you see her, tell her congrats for me :) Well, I love you all, have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Suzanna Lewis

So, I forgot to mention last week, but our awesome elders left us some Easter gifts. They got me cherry coke and Nutella, so basically my favorite things in this entire world. They are amazing. I am so lucky to have such a great district!

Also this other picture is some eggs a member gave us. She has a farm with chickens that lay blue and green and brown and speckled eggs and I just thought they were cool. haha. Obviously, the people here in sonoma are incredible. I don't think I'm ever leaving...sorry mom! :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sonoma, you've been egged‏

Although this week passed in the blink of an eye, I'd definitely count it as one of the best weeks ever. Holidays in the mission are the best! Not to mention it was conference weekend as well-- what a week! Let me talk about easter for a minute. Seriously, I wish I could have 100 easters in the mission! So in the morning, my cute comp sent me on a scripture easter egg/scavenger hunt which was super sweet of her. Then we got to watch conference, which was amazing as usual! We watched the sunday morning session in Spanish because one of our less-actives came, and he brought his non-member family which was soo awesome! He wants this gospel so badly for his family and there's nothing I love more than seeing that desire in his eyes. He was so funny cause we took them on a church tour after conference ended and he kept asking his wife "what do you think?" "don't you like it here?!" "doesn't this church feel so much more peaceful?" Haha he is the best. It was such an awesome experience.

So after conference, we egged the city. Haha not really, but sort of. We filled a ton of easter eggs with candy and scriptures/messages and left them on investigators, less-actives, members, and the elders' doorsteps, with notes that said "happy easter, you've been egged!" some of my favorite parts of the day were hiding somewhere and watching some of the families with young kids opening the door and seeing the excitement on their faces, especially since a lot of people in this area don't really celebrate easter cause they just don't have the money for it. So anyways, after that, we did an easter egg hunt with Ashley, Jeremias and Aida's daughter. I can't remember if I've told you all about them, but Aida is a member and Jeremias is our most solid investigator. And even better than that, we set baptismal date with Jeremias yesterday! Definitely my favorite miracle of this week. So to explain baptismal dates a bit (cause I didn't know this before I came out here), we're supposed to set a date the second lesson. So right now, we have somewhere around 7 investigators with a baptismal date, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're solid. But Jeremias has been taught almost everything and truly wants to be baptized, but he just hasn't felt ready because he doesn't think he knows enough. But finally, yesterday, he had enough faith to take that jump and set a solid date for April 25! I am so excited for him. The moment he told us he was ready for a date was definitely the highlight of my easter sunday.
So, we found an awesome new investigator this week that I want to tell you about, cause his son is pretty much my favorite person I've ever met. So this guy's name is Jose, and his son is Jose jr. Jose was out in his yard trying to round up a bunch of hens he has, so we offered to help. We ended up teaching him a lesson and it was super awesome. He has so much potential, I can't wait to teach him more! He was so funny though, and his son was even funnier! He talked to us in english at first, and then saw our nametags and was like "wait, you speak spanish?!" and we were like "wait, you speak spanish too?! you don't even have an accent!" and he just laughed and said "ya, I used to have a white lady. But that was bad. Now I have a spanish lady. We're married." Haha so then we talked to him about eternal families and he was super interested in that. He's just one of those people I can see getting sealed in the temple one day and that makes me so excited for them. Also as we were leaving, his son got home from school and we got to meet him. He immediately ran over to us and acted like we'd been friends forever. It was the cutest thing. And then while we were walking away he said "bye! I wish you were my babysitters!" I don't know why, it just made my day. Kids are the best.
OH! I almost forgot. In case any of you haven't seen the "He Lives" video yet, GO WATCH IT! Actually even if you have seen it, watch it again! I can promise you it never gets old. I have that thing memorized and I still love it! Seriously, it is such an amazing video. I've loved having that the past week to show to investigators or even just people we meet on the street, because without fail, it brings the spirit. And just like that video, I testify that he lives! And I'm so grateful we had this easter/conference weekend to remember and celebrate that. Have a great week everyone!

Love, Hermana Suzanna Lewis

So here's my district! There's elder smith, who as you can see is one of a kind. Haha he's one of the funniest kids out there. Then elder butterfield, who only has 1 1/2 vocal cords and was raised in puerto rico. I asked him on like day 2 how his spanish was so good cause he's only been out 6 months, and he said he grew up in south america. I thought it was a joke until a few days ago. Haha but ya, they're awesome. and they're our district leaders. Then elder tooley, who some of you might know. He's from bountiful and he's super awesome and hilarious. Actually, all 3 of those elders went to neighboring schools- davis, viewmont, and bountiful. They're my davis county crew. Haha and then there's elder mitchell, he grew up in england and new york and he's super proper. Haha and my companion, sister nimmer! She is the best trainer out there. I don't know what I'd do without her! I feel like anything I accomplish in my mission will be thanks to her, cause she's already taught me so much in just 3 weeks!

This picture is from the top of this hill we run on sometimes. Sorry it's kinda dark and there's not a whole lot to see, but I still thought it was pretty. California is so green! I don't think I'm ever going to be able to leave!