Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MILAGROS {miracles}‏

Holy cow. What a week. I want to start out with telling you about Ricardo, cause he is by far the most incredible miracle I've seen yet on my mission. We met him last Tuesday and have seen him almost every day since! And by Wednesday he had a baptismal date set for June 27 :) the craziest thing is he just moved here from Mexico so he has no phone and is staying with a catholic family who won't let us come over, so he told us to meet him at this random bike path (sketch? Ya, we thought so. But worth a shot.) and he's showed up for every appointment! We definitely have to have a lot of faith, because if he doesn't show up one day we can't just call him or stop by his house, and then he's lost. He has a huge desire to learn and we've seen more miracles with him in the past week than I can even tell you. He works two jobs that he works from sunrise to sundown, other than a short break in between jobs which he spends talking with us. He even told us, "I'm sorry, I haven't been able to read a lot in the Book of Mormon cause I need to sleep, but I try to get 30 minutes to an hour of studies in at night." DUDE. That's more than I read before the mission! (Although I didn't tell him that part. Haha. I wish I had the time to tell you all the details because he truly is amazing. As far as being spiritually prepared, this guy could be baptized tomorrow! But he's still working on getting work off so he can come to church, so I would love if you could keep him in your prayers :)

Well, nothing can really top that this week. We did set a baptismal date with the morales family! And Jackie gave us her officially quinceñera invitations :) they need a bit more time to prepare for baptism because this quinceñera truly is consuming their lives right now... Hispanics sure do love their parties! It's been fun though helping them prepare and everything. Oh also, all the Hispanics in the ward are planning a temple trip to do baptisms together which I'm super stoked about! Most of them have never even been which is sad for me because I love the temple so much and I know what blessings they're missing out on! So it was actually really cool cause we had a lesson on temples planned for this one couple for weeks and it just wasn't happening. So, we decided to share it for the family night we do together with all the Hispanics on Mondays. But.. It turned out to be a birthday party and was super chaotic. We were sure we wouldn't be able to share our message and at that point I just wanted to give up the whole temple idea. But just as we were about to leave, someone asked if we had a message, so we got to share it! And a member of the bishopric was there, so he organized a trip for them and told them how to get recommends and all that! It was super cool to see how even though in the end it was nothing like we had planned, it all worked out the way God knew was best. And now they'll just be one step closer to being able to go through the temple for themselves one day and have eternal families :)

So, for funny stories this week.. Not much happened. Haha we did meet one lady who was this super awesome cute old Irish woman who immediately let us in her house. She was interested in letting us leave a blessing in her home, so we did. After the blessing, Hermana nimmer asked her how she felt, and she said "well, I'd feel a whole lot better if you were saying goodbye right now!" I don't know what changed in her, but it was extremely awkward. We didn't really know how to respond to that other than get up and leave! But her daughter was super embarrassed and tried to be super nice. She also gave us a bag of toffee (I think to cover up the awkwardness/bluntness of her mom) which is my favorite, so that was nice! One thing I absolutely love about being companions with Hermana nimmer (other than the fact that she doesn't eat sweets so I get to keep all the treats people give us.. hehe) is that whenever things like that happen that might be a little discouraging, we always get a good laugh out of it and end up with a smile on our faces. Seriously, we have so much fun together! I can't believe I only have 2 weeks (most likely) with my mission momma left! Oh ya, in the mission your first comp is your mom. And your second is your dad. I'm not a huge fan of that haha but it's whatever. On that note, love you all, have a great holiday/week!

Love, Hermana Suzanna Lewis 

Here's me with Ashely and Aida, some of my favorite people ever. Ashley is on the left and she is so adorable. She always asks in her prayers that God will "watch over us and give us fruit." Haha and Aida is on the right, she's Jeremias' wife. She has an amazing testimony and takes her Book of Mormon basically everywhere because she always tells everyone how powerful it is. So ya, I love them.

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Active" less active‏

Alright, let me tell you all about Shari. She's our "active" less active. She loves to talk about how much this gospel blesses her life and how important it is to come to church and read your scriptures... But in the two months I've been here she hasn't read her scriptures or been to church once. Haha seriously, this lady cracks me up. Her husband isn't a member and she'll say things to us like, "he just doesn't know what he's missing! Coming to church is the best part of my week. I just love it." And then she'll always tell us "I haven't been able to read, but it's in the works. I promise." And my favorite thing about her is that every time we go over she says she is so overwhelmed and busy and has no time for a message, but then she won't let us help her with anything and then she talks for 45 minutes. But don't worry, we always manage to slide a few scriptures/gospel principles into the conversation Smirking faceFace with tears of joy 

On a more serious note, we got to visit an investigator who I absolutely love that we haven't seen in a while this weekend! Her name is marina and she has two kids, but sadly they were out with their dad so we didn't get to see them. Their family is so incredible and ready for the gospel. And she even said Yaqueline (her daughter) has been asking about us lately cause she misses us! Smiling face with smiling eyes her quinceñera is next month and she wants to have us bring the elders over to give her a blessing that morning, and she wants our help with getting everything put together. Most of you know how much I love decorating things, so I'm really hoping I don't get transferred and miss it! Not only because of that, but I've truly fallen in love with Sonoma. I can't imagine leaving this place! Actually, a woman who grew up here but has since moved away came to visit church yesterday, and I got talking to her about Sonoma and how this is my first area and she just broke into tears and told me how lucky I was to be in such a wonderful city with such great people. And I know she was right-- the people here truly are amazing and I love them so much. So, I guess the point of this email is that I love Sonoma and all of its weird, hilarious, loving, incredible people. 

But of course I love all you people at home even more Smiling face (black and white) have a great week!

Love, Hermana Suzanna Lewis 

Also, I don't know if this video will work, but it's worth a shot. We got these black boxes put in our car that basically tell us what to do, and ours talks to us a lot. Haha so a took a quick video of a typical ride in the car Face with tears of joy (we think this is a lot funnier than it actually is, sorry not sorry)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Well, I've got almost two weeks packed with crazy‏

Well, I've got almost two weeks packed with crazy stuff that I need to
update you on, so I'll get right to the point! First off, I feel like
I'm officially a Spanish missionary cause I eat carne asada (roasted
meat) and napales (cooked cactus) like every day. Second, Hna nimmer
rolled the window down in the car wash (intentionally... And I have no
idea why) this week and I was covered in pink soap in seconds. That was fun. 
So here's the low-down on Jeremias. We got a call last week from a
member who said he wants us to not contact or visit Jeremias for 2
weeks.. And his baptism was set for this Saturday. He wouldn't tell us
why or what was going on, just to do it. My heart just sank because we
thought Jeremias wasn't interested anymore or something. This was on
Thursday, and the next two days were sooo hard. But, Sunday morning
came and there was Jeremias with his family at church! I couldn't stop
smiling. Everything went well and we were able to meet with them that
night. He was completely honest with us and said he just still doesn't
feel ready but didn't want to let us down, but he definitely wants us
to keep visiting him. We were a little sad that he won't be getting
baptized on Saturday anymore, but still soo happy cause he told us he
really wants this and that we can't give up on him!

I also have to tell you all about Ramon, cause he's one of my new
favorites (shh, don't tell anyone). He's in his early 20's, works at
subway (which the elders go to like every day), and makes fun of the
elders every time we see him cause he thinks they're too proper. He 
said the elders used to visit when he was younger but he would hide
from them cause he thought they were weird. Haha but now, I guess
things have changed cause he never hides from us! :) We give him
reading homework every time we visit, and unlike 95% of investigators,
he actually does it! He's progressing pretty well and we're super
excited cause he has soo much potential!

I got to go to Napa on exchanges with Hermana pulley again! She is the
best. I was also with Hermana Rosas cause they're in a trio now. Being
in a trio is a very... Different. We had to get 30 contacts instead of
20 and we had basically the entire day booked with lessons, but God is
always blessing us with miracles so we were able to do it! Plus we had
soo much fun! And the elders made carne asada for us for dinner, so
what more could we ask for really? Haha all in all, it was a pretty
great exchange.

Well, on to the two best parts of the week- talking to my family and
going to the temple! Best experiences EVER. We got to call home on
Mother's Day, which I'm sure all of you know, but it was truly
amazing. In case you didn't all know already, I pretty much have the
best family ever. I am so grateful for those people. And today, I got
to go to the temple and be reminded that i am sealed to them for
eternity :) I have been so excited to go to the temple since pretty
much the day I flew into Oakland and saw the temple up on the hill.
And going this morning was as amazing as I'd hoped it would be! I
can't even express to you how much I love the temple and how grateful
I am that we have so many all around us. Any of you who can go to the
temple, please go this week! I can promise you won't regret it. You
can even just go sit on the lawn or something. And take a picture to
send to me :)

Well, sorry this is so long again! But i promise Monday will be
shorter cause I'll only have the weekend to report on. I love and miss
you all a lot, thanks for all your love and support!

Love, Hermana Suzanna Lewis

1- my amazing family on Skype this Sunday! Aren't they a lovely
looking bunch? Smiling face (black and white)️
2- me at the temple
3- my lovely comp and I
4- you can see the whole bag area from the temple, but this isn't the
best picture cause it's kinda stormy today. Just take my word for it,
it's gorgeous.

Monday, May 4, 2015

3 months!‏

GUYS, IT'S OFFICIAL. I survived my first transfer here in the wonderful state of California! I can't believe how fast that went by! I've officially been out 3 months, which also means I'm 1/6 of the way done with my mission... Whaaaaat? When I first came out, I kept thinking "good thing I'm not an elder, 2 years is too long." But now I'm starting to wonder, where's my extra 6 months?! Seriously, I love the mission so much. I'll be completely honest (sorry, someone told me missionaries aren't supposed to be honest in their emails home? ....Whoops.) anyways, some days I can't believe how much time I have ahead of me and I wonder what I got myself into. But the other 97% of the time, I am completely in love with this work and can't believe how quickly time is flying! All the rejection, lack of sleep, and discouraging moments are nothing compared to those incredible and indescribable experiences of watching someone you teach come closer to Christ and light up through the gospel. 

Speaking of those experiences, I want to tell you about a family who I have completely fallen in love with. I'm not sure if I've mentioned the Garcias before, but they're a family of investigators that we're teaching right now. There's Maria, the mom, and then she has 4 adorable kids ages 3-10. So we were teaching the plan of salvation last week and we had pictures of everything, so at the end we showed them pictures of the 3 kingdoms with the sun, moon, and stars. So we explained how the celestial kingdom is highest and all the blessings of going there and then asked them after which kingdom they wanted to go to. Her twin girls said "we don't want to go to the sun, we like the stars!" Not really the answer we expected... Haha so then we asked her 3 year old where he wanted to go, and he said "Mexico!" So ya, we didn't quite know what to do with that... But hey, they're still trying to work towards baptism, so they're on their way to the celestial kingdom whether they like it or not!

Also this week we went to black bear diner, which is basically the best place on earth. And their serving sizes truly could feed a black bear. So the elders convinced me to order a plate called "the gritz" with them, which is basically a huge breakfast platter. They bring you out 2 plates full of pancakes, ham, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and eggs. There was so much food, could have been set for days! So I ate about half and was completely stuffed. Then elder smith said "I bet you can't finish that. Actually, I know you can't." So naturally, I had to finish it (duh). Worst decision ever? Probably. But I did it! Haha I was pretty proud of the fact that I proved him wrong, although I still have absolutely no idea how all that food fit in my stomach. To top it off, they talked me into ordering a shake for dessert cause they have the best shakes ever and they wouldn't really let me say no. Haha and people wonder why missionaries gain weight? This is why, people! But hey, a member told me this week that if you gain weight, that just means the members there love you. Heavy black heart
A few random thoughts from the week:
1. Practically everyone here is drunk right now.. I guess they're preparing for cinco de mayo? I don't know. But because of that we've had some pretty hilarious contacts. We met one guy this week who couldn't even get a word out cause he was laughing so hard at me. When I asked him what was so funny he just pointed to my face and kept laughing... thanks dude?
2. I forgot to tell you about our new elders. We got elder Parker from South Carolina, and he is two transfers away from going home. Then we got elder Acosta from Mexico/Southern California (I still don't exactly know), and he's pretty new. Not as new as me, but it's whatever. I've decided the greenie days are fun.
3. I won't be writing next Monday because we're going to the temple!! I am STOKED. But ya, I think p-day will be Thursday.. I don't really know. I guess we'll see.
4. Happy Mother's Day!!! To all the moms, future moms, grandmas, all of you. Thanks for all you do. Seriously, you are incredible and I'm so grateful for you!
5. Pictures: 
1- okay so I didn't get a picture of my dinner at black bear, but I got a picture with my shake outside after. So that's me and my new black bear friend.
2- our district before the elders left on Tuesday! Don't mind the fact that we don't have shoes and the elders are wearing sandals.. We're a homely bunch.
3- I finally got to make cupcakes!! It was Hermana Peña's birthday this week so we took them to her party. Basically the best day ever. I miss baking!!
4- we went contacting at the plaza this week and I just thought this stream was pretty. Enjoy Smiling face with smiling eyes
5- my lovely family sent me a huge bag of crispy m&ms and I was just too excited to not share! And yes, I'll probably eat them all myself Face with tears of joyFlushed face

Okay, sorry that was more than a few thoughts. I always try to keep my emails short but they just end up so long! Sorry! Thanks for putting up with me, haha love you guys!!

Hermana Suzanna Lewis