Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Change of Plans

So while the plan was that we changed from six weeks to twelve, no one really knew for sure. Some said eleven weeks, some said nine weeks. We got official plans today and We will be leaving the MTC on November 16. 2 weeks of learning Tahitian and then I'm out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I look forward each day to the strong spiritual experiences that I pray for and God blesses me with.

​Hey, guys!

So since the big shock of staying twice as long, nothing really big has happened. Studies have continued, food hasn't changed. The leaves have fallen more, but that's not that exciting. On Wednesday for TRC, we changed it up, though. Instead of giving two 15 minute lessons to two different french speakers, we gave one 30 minute one to someone over skype. We talked to a Peruvian Quebecois. Not the easiest accent to understand. He had been a member for like a year and a few months, so teaching him really felt like inviting others to come unto Christ compared with the former missionaries who had been members their whole lives that we have been teaching.

We are also starting teaching less actives. Our teachers have been pretending to be less actives from their missions and we come and visit with them. Our first day doing that, another teacher came in to help. Elder Edmunds and I taught him, while the rest taught our teacher. It's hard! So the two of us are teaching him as well as our teachers, and we've been working hard to find his needs.

We're also finishing up with our teachers. We have one more lesson with them as our investigtors, and we're starting to say goodbyes. We'll get new Tahitian speakers. We'll also gain in our class some french speakers who are learning Tahitian. Being fluent in French, they're just coming six weeks after us.

We got flight plans for leaving for Tahiti on the second. Super frustrating when you know it's wrong. The Elders going to Barbados who came in with us are leaving in a week, too, so it's tough.

One thing I've noticed here is that when people are assigned a lesson, and are guided by the spirit, everyone says things that they wouldn't normally think of, and everyone ends up learning stuff. It's really cool, and I've seen a lot of that here.

I'm super excited to start learning Tahitian. We've been slowly collecting Tahitian stuff like a hymn book, a bible from the old Tahitian district, etc. I can't wait to actually get my studying materials and get fluent! I've learned more Bislama than Tahitian recently. I actually wrote a story in Bislama.

Ol dakdak laekem  blo kakae fish. Hem laekem tumas kachem fish. Wan dei, Hem wantem kakae shark. hem swim lo sal wata wetem faet ol shark. Ol dakdak happy from se hemi kakae ol shark lo first dei.

Petty good, eh?

Okay, and more spiritual. We watched a video on the Atonement with some of a talk from Elder Holland and some of President Eyring. It's something like "Missionary work and the Atonement". It was super good, and the spirit was incredibly strong. Watch the video, or find the talk. We talked about the Atonement and I'm telling you, my testimony of it quadrupled in that 45 minute discussion of it.  I can't remember any specific parts anymore, but I felt the spirit super strongly. I've been been praying super hard lately, and between praying, feeling the spirit like that, and focusing hard on questions I have, I've felt really close to God and my testimony has really strengthened. I've recognized God's hand in my life each day better. That's the best part.

Things are great here in the MTC. I look forward each day to the strong spiritual experiences that I pray for and God blesses me with. I've come to love everyone here, and I've grown close to my district, my teachers, and most of all God. I know he's there for us, and I know he has a plan.
Until next week!

Elder Lewis

Moriah face

We take pictures whenever we catch someone sleeping.

Random class pics

A small portion of the food we collected from packages.

Elder Edmunds picked up a bee...

And fed it jelly.

Action shot of Elder Marae

p-day lunch

Elder Edmunds died.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Big News!!

So far in the MTC it wasn't what I expected. I expected to be thoroughly soaked in the spirit constantly and magnify my testimony times ten. I expected everything to be perfect and easy. I expected my companion and I to not have any problems. I expected to learn enough french to get me by in the first week, and I expected to be able to quickly teach unto conversion the investigators I teach. The MTC wasn't like that at first.

I didn't feel the spirit like I wanted to, I didn't learn french as fast as I wanted to, or be able to teach investigators, or constantly gain spiritual knowledge. However, through prayer and diligence, and obedience, and more prayer, I've been able to see just how much the Lord has given me. I've seen how much I've improved, and although I don't feel the spirit constantly, each day I have strong spiritual experiences that have strengthened my testimony and helped build my relationship with God.

I've realized I can have a conversation entirely in french, and I can speak pretty fast (although not perfect). I can teach gospel principles with much more ease than when I started. I've definitely learned how God answers my prayers and I've been getting better at recognizing those answers.

Time here at the MTC is going by fast! Four weeks gone by. Fall is definitely here. I never thought I'd have to explain why leaves change colors, but I spent a good while explaining to Soeurs Jimmy and Saroni (in french) what happens in fall and winter-describing colors of leaves, why they fall, what snow looks like and feels like, etc. Weird. 

Over this week, my teacher told us a story. A young man, getting ready to leave on a mission, is giving a farewell talk. He tells about a dream he had. In the dream, He's in heaven with another guy. They're friends.They were talking when a messenger gives him a letter. It tells him about his life- that he's going to be born in the U.S. and be born into the gospel. They were really excited for him. Then his friend gets a letter telling him he won't be born into the gospel, and that he would live in Costa Rica (I think). Although they were sad that he wouldn't get the gospel, his friend made him promise to bring him the truth. The missionary then said in his talk: "Brothers and sisters, I've been called to serve in Costa Rica." Later in his mission he sent home a letter saying: "I found my friend."

That story really encouraged me. It made me think. I haven't had a dream like that or anything, but that doesn't stop me from believing that there are people waiting for me.

I know the Lord is preparing people right now for me to teach. It's my job to prepare and find them. And I have faith that the Lord called me to Tahiti. I don't know why yet, but I'm supposed to be there.

This Sunday Elder Edmunds and I taught the lesson in priesthood. the topic was enduring to the end. We weren't really sure how to teach it- everyone here is faithful to the covenants they made at baptism and there isn't a whole lot to talk about.  But we prepared, and we could've talked for another hour with what we had planned. It went super well, and we all learned a lot. That was definitely the Lord working thorough us.

Okay, the worst part of teaching an investigator:

Investigator: What did you do over the weekend?
Us: Uhh...ate...studied...slept...

We set a goal not to ask the investigator how their weekend went so they wouldn't ask us.

Best part of teaching investigators:
Watching them keep commitments and see their faith grow. Yeah, I'm not actually teaching investigators,but it works just the same way.

Okay, ready for the big news? I'm pregnant! Okay, that's not actually it. We found out Wednesday morning that we're staying in the MTC for 12 weeks. Hard blow right to the jugular. Yeah, I know. I thought I was half way done. Turns out I'm a quarter of the way done. Honestly I don't know how I'm going to survive off of the MTC food for that long.

Apparently, the last group of missionaries was the guinea pig group. The Tahitian mission president didn't think it was necessary to have us learn Tahitian in the MTC, but to just learn it out in the field.The group is struggling. They are having a hard time speaking to the people because you really need to learn Tahitian. I'm grateful I don't have to learn it out there and struggle with it, even though it's not my favorite idea to stay here for an extra six weeks. The Lord has a plan.In two weeks we'll get new teachers and new studying material and start over from scratch. We will be learning Tahitian through French, so we still won't speak English. I'll tell you this, I'm super excited to learn Tahitian.

Now for some fun stuff. We decided that since we're staying here for so long, we might as well get jacked. We started it off Sunday night by eating cereal. We had to try to eat an entire container of cereal. I don't know why we chose Cinnamon Toast Crunch, because it has so much sugar, but we did. It was the seven Elders in our district, although we ended up getting a little help from the Barbados district. We each ate between five and eight bowls of cereal (minus the Barbados Elders who just ate a few bowls). Then a worker came up and asked if we just did the Tower Challenge. It has a name!?  He told us that if they catch people doing it they send them to talk to the MTC presidency. Whoops. But don't worry, we're not doing that again. I don't think I can eat another bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my life.

Anyway, there are lots of good experiences, and lots of fun ones. I thought I was ready to get out of here, but maybe six more weeks won't be too bad.

Elder Lewis

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"That's all the unusual stuff that's happened this week, the stuff that isn't sitting in class, eating, and going to the bathroom which takes up 90% of the day."


Things are going good. we've been continuing to teach les amis de l'eglise and I'm improving my knowledge of French and the gospel a lot. I think I'd be fine if I left for Tahiti right now, although I'm glad to have more time. This Sunday was our only normal one so far( we had fast sunday, then GC). More than half of our branch left for France and Canada the other day, so we got new leaders. We made an OJ bet on who the new ZLs would be. It was basically between our district and the Barbados district-We're the oldest now. Elders Prete and Packer became ZLs. Edmunds and I were the only ones not to drink th OJ. Elder Edmunds and I became Sacrament Coordinators, and we also got to pass the sacrament, which I haven't done for a while. 

Yeah, Elder McLoughlin and I are the best [at soccer], mostly because we've played several more years than anyone else. It's super fun. Maybe I won't lose all my skills by the time I get back.

We learned Tahitian for 30 minutes just for a day, and are picking up some more from Elder Marae. I'm going to send all my pictures once I get this adapter thing to put my SD card in the computer. sorry, I'll try to get them sent ASAP!

That's all the unusual stuff that's happened this week, the stuff that isn't sitting in class, eating, and going to the bathroom which takes up 90% of the day. I promise I do spiritual stuff too, guys!

GC was awesome! We all go into a gym and sit in uncomfortable seats. I loved all the talks, although Elder Hollands was great, and made me think of you. I love you mom! I wrote Amber about my comp, so you can ask her, cause I don't have a lot of time. I feel like I've been here forever, but not long enough. I love how good your family history stuff is going. I wish I could sit and talk to you about it for three hours while the kids are at school. Keep telling me about your life, and asking me questions is good because I remember 30% of what happens throughout the week.

Anyway, I'm learning a ton here, and I love it (besides the food). I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Je sais que Dieu vit. Je sais qu'Il a un plan pour nous et quIl nous aime. Je croi en Jesus-Christ et son expiation. Je sais que Dieu nous ecoute et qu'Il repond a notre questions. Je sais que le Livre de Mormon est vrai.

Not the best french, but it works.

Au revoir!
Elder Lewis

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"I still have things to work on, but I'm becoming better each day."

Iaorana! Hu churu?

We've progressed a ton this week! We finished teaching our first investigator, and now our two teachers are pretending to be people from their missions that we will be teaching. We had our first lesson yesterday. Before I went in, Elder Roylance noticed I was wearing my magnetic name tag (I couldn't find my other one. He pulled it down to the bottom of my pocket, and I forgot to fix it. In the lesson, Sophie (Soeur Vance(our teacher)) noticed that we had "Jesus Christ" on our name tags. I looked down and notice my tag was tilted and at the bottom of my pocket. Sophie burst out laughing and the rest of the lesson just went downhill.

I am learning a bunch of French. A lot of it is relearning what I learned in school, but I'm also learning new stuff. We got surprised by having a teacher who served her mission in Tahiti teach us for half an hour. Also, there is a Tahitian elder, Elder Marae, who comes into our room each night and talks to us. He tells us about Tahiti, the culture, and teaches us some words in Tahitian. The other night I had him list a bunch of useful words. He wrote down words like sister, woman, this is a pretty lady, i love you, marriage, stuff like that. He also taught me and Elder Edmunds how to pray in Tahitian. He was pretty excited to write down and entire prayer for Edmunds to say in class. He did, and no one noticed he was reading off of a paper. Soeur Vance was pretty impressed.

General Conference was amazing! I learned a ton. I definitely paid more attention this time than any other time. Elder Holland's talk stuck out to me a bunch along with Ballard's and Hales's although there were a lot of good ones.

For the past week, after Elder Costa talked to us for our Sunday Devotional, we were talking about how he could be the next apostle. It ended as kind of a bet, where whoever lost had to drink a glass of orange juice. Let me tell you... don't drink the orange juice. Elder Edmunds was the only one to think he wouldn't be an apostle, sooo....yeah, that was way fun.

I showed my district games like Johnny Whoop and Who's dead. It's awesome when they can't figure it out. That's pretty much my pastime in between eating and studying.

Anyway, throughout the week I've become a way better missionary. I still have things to work on, but I'm becoming better each day. I'll try to send pictures next week and have more details. I'm getting along great with my companion, no problems, and my district is super close. The mission life is great!

O Orometua Lewis