Monday, September 25, 2017

Last Day in Tahiti

From one of the people he baptized:  Merci d'avoir envoye ton fils pour me sauve, moi et mon epoux.

Monday, September 18, 2017

18 September 2017

Sorry we went to Moorea today and came back late so I wont have time to send my email, but I'll try to send it later!!

(That was the entirety of his last email home.  However, a couple he taught posted this on facebook with photos)

Bientot le depart de notre elder Lewis il rentre chez lui a Los Angeles tu va nous manquer enormement on taime fort moi et mon epoux merci pour tout seke que tu fait pour nous merci encore grace a toi tu a changer notre vie gros bisous a lundi soir pour ton depart bisouss

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Lord is Good

Here are a couple updates on our investigators:

We had a really good lesson with Natia, and she wasn't sick of it. She had to go give her bike back to her friend who lent it to her, and she came back on foot for another two hour lesson. We were at the chapelle and as we were discussing she asked who two men were outside in the hall. We explained that one of them is in the Presidency of the stake and the other one was a ward missionary (those two just happened to be there) and she asked to meet them. So we brought them in and she had a nice little interview with president and a little later a member who just happens to live across the street from her came into the room also and we just talked and she quickly became friends with all of them. Then, that member who lives across the street invited her to dinner. Now that is good missionary work.

Natia also talked about how she knows this church is true, just based on her experience this far, not actually knowing a lot of the doctrine. She just has a lot of faith. The only downside to this experience is that she didn't show up to the next lesson, and we've lost contact with her. We're hoping that we'll be able to find her again. We're not sure what happened, we're just going to put our faith in God and let him do the rest.

Things are going pretty well with Ivan. He talked to his copine and apparently she wants to get baptised with him. They're just planning their mariage and haven't chosen a date yet. His wife is thinking of doing it on her birthday, the 9 november. It's still not sure yet, we'll see.

When we told Brigitte that we were bringing by the shelves that she had asked for, she was super happy. She said that in her church they didn't do things like that and she was super thankful that we would do something like that for her. Service makes miracles. Remember that. If you want people to be happy, and if you want to be happy, serve others.

So that's the big news with our investigators. Other than that I have a few fun experiences to share with you:
Elder Marae came home. For those of you that are wondering if you should know who that is, look back at my pictures at the MTC. You might find a few pictures of me and some other elders with a tahitian elder. In the MTC we were always with eachother. He would tell us about the tahitian culture in very broken english because he was just learning to speak and we would try to talk to him back in very broken french. He taught us some tahitian and we had a lot of fun experiences.

Anyway, he's back from his mission, and we were invited to the homecoming Tamaaraa here we ate some delicious maa tahiti and he talked to me in really good english and I talked to him in really good french. It's cool to see that difference that two years can do to a person.

We were called to give a blessing at the hospital. It took us about thirty minutes to find this woman because all the information we had was that she was in room number five. We finally found her and talked a little bit and asked if she wanted a blessing. She kind of just ignored the question and kept talking. She showed us her book of mormon and kept telling us that it was proof that she was "mormon". She would show it to the doctors and nurses, and anyone else that came in (including the missionaries) to show them that she was mormon. She also talked about how she knew that the missionaries would pass by that day. We tried asking her if she needed a blessing, and maybe she just didn't understand because she just kept talking, so I tried in tahitian too and she still didn't answer. Basically in the end she told us to come back the next day to talk some more. Maybe all she needed was a little bit of company. It's just a cute little mami that's proud of her beliefs.

I saw Hamuera this morning. He was driving to his new house in Tautira in his new car. He told me that he had gotten the melchizedek priesthood and was able to bless his son when he was sick, that he and Sefina had gone to the temple, and about the calling he had received in the church. I am positive that they have received all these blessings because of their choice to become disciples of Christ. I was so happy to see how the gospel has changed their lives. There are a lot of people that I talk to here that say that they will change when the have their own house our that they will keep a certain commandment on condition that they receive a temporal blessing.

That's not true.

Read jacob 2:18,19. If you want temporal blessings, first turn to the Lord with all your heart, then you will receive all the temporal blessings that you need. That's what this couple did and the Lord really blessed them.

That's all for this week. The Lord is good. He watches out for all of His children. He's calling us home and if we listen to his voice we will succeed.

Orometua Lewis

Monday, September 4, 2017

Good News

Iaorana tou'u mau taeae e to'u mau tuahine!

Mark got baptised! It went well. He was a little scared at first, but he pulled through and now he has entered by the gate that leads to eternal life. He still talks a bunch about doing missionary work with us so we're excited to start going with him. 

There's one really cool experience that I wanted to tell you about this week. We had a Multizone Confernece this week and right after we had a cours d'anglais so we had the other elders drop us off at the chapelle instead of out our appartement to get our bikes. No one showed up at the Cours d'anglais so we were just stuck on foot the rest of the evening. So we decided to go visit an old investigator that told us that she's too busy right now to take our lessons. We went to her house and she wasn't there, so we walked back to try and visit someone else. As we crossed the street a woman suddenly came up to us and asked us if she could take the missionary lessons. We ended up talking for a while and found out a lot about her. 

It turns out her copain is a member inactif and right now they're separated. She's deep in the Catholique church. She's been searching a lot lately for something better in her life, and there is a member that she works with who has told her a lot about our church and proposed that she talk with the missionaries. She also has a close friend who is témoin de Jéhovah who set up meetings with her church, but everytime they had a rendez-vous it got cancelled and she took that as a sign that it wasn't the right path. And then, the evening that we walked down the street she happened to be reading a catholique thing(I'm not really sure what it was exactly) that talked about a light coming into her life and she looked out the window and saw us. WOW. That was a really cool experience. God set that up perfectly. If our english class hadn't been cancelled, or if we had gotten our bikes, or if we hadn't tried to see that old investigator, or if that member hadn't talked to this woman about the gospel, maybe she wouldn't have known what to do to find what she's been looking for. She kept thanking us, she was just so happy to see us.

That's definitely the best experience for the week. Her name is Natia* (the american). We'll see how things go. I'm so grateful for the gospel and how it blesses our lives. God is preparing people to receive this good news, and I know the the Gospel will bless our lives more than anything else in the world.

Okay, I have to go. Faaitoito noa ia outou. Ua here au ia outou!

Orometua Lewis

Monday, August 28, 2017

Called of God

This was a good week. It's just one of those weeks where you feel accomplished, even if you didn't have a whole lot of success. In this secteur we don't have a whole lot of time to find new people, it's just going to our fixed lessons. We tend to always be late, too. Right now we're just focusing on the investigators that we teach, and things are going pretty well with them. I think the reason why we're always late is just because everyone talks a ton. A TON. Normally one visit shouldn't last more than an hour, but sometimes we're stuck talking to people for two and a half hours. It's crazy. It's a little stressful because a bunch of people expect a bunch out of us and they won't let us take care of other things. But it's all right, that's just life.

Actually, this week Elder Tiatia and I got a new companion. His name is Elder Teriitahi and he'll be staying with us until the end of my mission, then he takes the plane to Madagascar which is his real mission.

Brigitte* and her inactif boyfriend, Afu* the other week and at the end they asked us for a few things. They felt a little embarrassed to ask us to help them, but when we said we could, they asked for more. One of the things they asked for was shelves. I'm not entirely sure why they need shelves, but we said we would help them. So we brought it up in our Conseil de Paroisse and randomly someone there told us that he had a spare shelf that he was getting rid of. So we set up a few plans to help them with those needs. I hope it will help Brigitte to open up her heart more. In our last lesson we talked about charity and she realised that she needs to change too, not just Afu. Afu has been working hard to change his life. He comes to the chapelle each week, he's respecting almost all the commandments, he's just waiting on Brigitte right now. We're praying so that they can become a family united for eternity.

We had a great lesson with Ivan. We learned a lot of key information. We talked about the Word of Wisdom and we engaged him to keep it by the 10 September. He prayed about the date of baptism that we gave him, and said that he didn't get the answer, but after talking about it for a while we showed him that he DID feel the Holy Ghost. So he wants to pray again and if he feels the same way, he'll take that for his answer. Also, one of his member integrators is his brother who came here from Huahine to see the doctor. Ivan was there to see his brother's baptism three years ago, and he wants his brother to be there for his baptism before he goes back to Huahine. He has a strong testimony, he's working hard to change his life, and it's really cool to see the gospel change his life. Right now we're hoping that his brother will go back to Huahine quickly! haha but either way, I'm glad to be able to help these people. It's awesome.

The big event of the week was Saturday. Elder Stevenson came to Tahiti and we were able to do a conference with him. He's definitely called of God, I have no doubt of that. He gave some really good points on missionary work. I feel like if I were to right them down you wouldn't care that much so I won't do that. But for part of it he talked about obedience and the blessings we get from being obedient. That can apply to all of us, not just missionaries. One of Satan's tactics is to get us to think that obedience (or righteousness) is misery, and that disobedience (or wickedness) is joy (Alma 41:10). If you think that by being obedient to the commandments of God is stopping you from being happy or if you think that you can be selectively obedient and that you will still receive blessings, you are being tempted by the devil and you need to get rid off these thoughts. That can be dangerous.

He also had us unlock our hearts for two minutes and gave us advice on the second mission, but don't worry, we locked our hearts right back up haha. I've still got the final stretch of the first mission, and I'm not slowing down. I hope by the end I'll be able to quote 2 Timothée 4:7

Oh, by the way, the bapism of Mark got pushed back one week, partly because of the arrival of Elder Stevenson, partly because of some other things, but it's still solid. He's getting baptised the 2 September now.
That's all for this week. God lives. He always talks to us through his messengers that he chose.

Jesus Christ can save us from everything that is bad. Je vous aime! à la prochaine!

Elder Lewis

Monday, August 21, 2017

Blessings and Blessings

Iaorana tatou!

Wow, it's a crazy difference going from the cool life of Papeari to the fast life of en ville. This week has been packed full of lessons and giving blessings and inviting people to come unto Christ.

So it's been a week now with my last companion. It's super cool being with Elder Tiatia. For the weekly groceries last week he bought seven big packs of chicken, sixty eggs, and a bunch of cans of tuna. Wow. That's polynesian. We have lots of really potential people we teach here. Lots of couples and families, so it's my goal to unite these families in the Gospel. We have a baptism this week with someone named Mark. He's been taking the lessons for the last four years, and he just decided that the twenty sixth is the day he needs to get baptised, so he's been working on the Word of Wisdom and has finally repented of everything. He's ready to make an important covenant with God. We are probably going to do the baptism on Friday, though, because on saturday Elder Stevenson comes. We'll have a missionary conference with him, and he'll be doing a fireside at Papeari (too bad I got transferred). I'm pretty excited for that conference, I'm sure it will be great.

All right, so I mentioned last week that the Hospital is in our secteur and that we would probably be giving lots of blessings. I didn't think we would be giving just so many! we probably gave about twenty this week. We get multiple calls a day from random people from all of French Polynesia that need blessings because they're sick. We give blessings to all sorts of people, from mildly sick to on the point of passing away. It's really interesting to see how the power of God works in these situations. It really requires faith to perform healing blessings. Also, school starts back up, and everyone is asking us to bless their kids for the new school year. It gets kind of crazy, but it's rewarding, too.

We have an investigator named Ivan* who accepted baptism this week. He has a lot of faith and really wants to follow the example of Jesus Christ. He also wants to get baptised in Huahine, so we'll figure out how to make that work.

Okay, I have to go. I know that God lives and that He loves us. He knows us all personally, and wants us to be happy. He's waiting for us to turn to him, and then he will pour out countless blessings on our heads. Jesus Christ is our Savior. If you think that you can get by without His healing power, you're wrong. I'm so grateful that he loves us enough to have sacrificed his own life for us. The best I can do to thank him for that is to share the joy I have felt with everyone else. Bonne semaine!

Elder Lewis

Engraved pearls

Big Spider

Monday, August 14, 2017

Transfers Struck Again

Well, yeah, I'll start by talking about the transfers. I had a feeling that I wouldn't end my mission in Mataiea and I was right. This was a huge transfer because 35 missionaries are going home and 30 are coming today. Only four companionships stayed the same, so that was probably the biggest transfer call I've had on mission. Right now I'm in the ward of Pare in the commune of Pirae. Looking back, I realize that Hamuera prophesied that I would go here, but I thought that he was wrong. My new companion is Elder Tiatia. He comes from Utah, but his parents come from Samoa. It'll be fun working with him. In the secteur of Pare is the Hospital, so it looks like we'll be visiting it daily to give blessings to people.

This week has been rough. Not only is Mataiea a hard secteur to work in normally, but the transfers started on Thursday, and since then we have done almost no missionary work. However, the Lord never ceases to give us miracles, and we saw some blessings this week.

We taught Rarahu* and figured out what's blocking her from engaging herself. It turns out she's kind of scared of how her family will act if they find out that she joins this church. I hope that she will continue and put her trust in the Lord, not fearing what man can do, but what the Lord can do. She came to church without us even inviting her, so that was pretty cool.

Since this week was pretty hard, in our planning we decided to not just make a plan and a backup plan, but also a plan c and a plan d because we knew the first two wouldn't work out and then we would be left with nothing. So we set plans to contact some people that we've been trying to see for a month. We ended up seeing the first plan, and the second, and the third, and the fourth. What!? That was a blessing that we needed. So we got several new investigators this week that are all more or less potential.

That's it for this week. The Lord is Good and he's always ready to help us out. We just have to make an effort to receive His help. I'm grateful for everything I've learned so far on my mission and I have complete faith that things will continue to work out well. Even if I don't help people get converted to the Gospel, I've been converted myself and there's no one that can stop me from staying strong.

Alright, à la prochaine! Je vous aime!

Elder Lewis

Monday, August 7, 2017

That They Might Have Joy

Teie taime, e papai vau i  roto i te re'o tahiti no te mea, e mea fiu ia parau i roto i te re'o marite. Aita vau i rave i te mau mea e rave rahi e te faahiahia i teie hebedoma, e'ita ra vau ia hinaaro ia papai i te hoe rata poto roa. No reira, teie to'u mau mana'oraa 

Okay, I'll stop writing in Tahitian so that you can understand me. Not much has happened this week. We're still working with the same investigators, and there isn't much news from the last time except that we've pretty much lost Manava. It's super hard to contact her. I think it's still good for the mariage this month, but it's not looking good for the baptism.

Other than that, the theme recently for missionary work is helping people have joy. That comes through repentance, baptism, and the temple, so we've made a bigger effort to bring people to the temple because we know that they will experience so much more joy in going to the temple than any other activity. It is the house of God, after all. 

So this week we were able to go to the temple with some recent converts and we're setting up a time to go with Maeva. It was cool to see the change in the new convert as she went through for the first time. Afterwards she told us that she wanted to come every week, and that she didn't want to leave the temple. That's the joy that comes from the temple. Here's the deal: are you sad, upset, or worried? Go to the temple, and you will find peace and joy. Take advantage of it, it's really worth it. 

Well, I don't have much else to write this week, so I'll leave you with a scripture and my testimony:

2 Nephi 2:25, 26

Adam tomba pour que les hommes fussent, et les hommes sont pour avoir la joie. 

Et le Messie vient dans la plénitude du temps, afin de racheter de la chute les enfants des hommes. 

God placed us here on earth so that we could have joy, and because of the great Atoning Sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can not only have joy in this life but eternal joy after this life. I know why I am on this earth, it's so that I can be happy. I know why I'm here in French Polynesia, it's so that I can help people have the same joy that I have felt from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I love you all and have a good week! 

Orometua Lewis

 Conseil des dirigeants. 2nd photo is with the cook, Julie, who is retiring after many years working for the mission. The Elders and Soeurs love her food!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

"I didn't think I'd ever have to use the How To Begin Teaching points in English"

Iaorana tatou!

Well, the highlight of the week was the baptism of Poenui. It was good, and her dad showed up! We talked to him. He's super nice, and said he would come to the confirmation also, but he ended up getting sick and not being able to make it. C'est dommage, but we're going to keep trying. Poenui's awesome, and I'm sure that she'll stay strong when she goes to England next month.

Things are going really well with Fetia*. Every lesson she tells us that she prayed to know if it's all true, and every lesson she says that she didn't get her answer yet. So we really focused on helping her recognise the response. At one point we asked her if she believed it was true and she said yes. We asked her why, and she started telling us a story that happened and ended up saying "I already know it's true." Woah. I've never had an experience like that. Basically she already got the answer to her prayers about two years ago, but she just didn't realise it until we asked her that question. You could really feel the spirit when she was talking. So know she knows it's true, and we're moving on with the next step.

We visited and inactive family last week and they directed us to some chinese guy named Alexandre* who wanted to do the missionary lessons in english. We didn't really know at first if he really wanted to do the lessons or if he just wanted to perfect his english, but we visited him anyway. So this week we got hold of him and did a lesson. It turns out that he is from Laos and went to france when he was really young as a refugee. Then later he made it to Australia, New Zealand, and finally here at Tahiti. He has a really cool story and we explained that the gospel can help him in his situation. 

It was hard to teach him, that's sure. We had google translate off to the side to help us out. I didn't think I'd ever have to use the How To Beging Teaching points in english, and definitely not the one that says that we might not speak the language well, so if you don't understand, ask questions. I also realized the importance of the spirit in teaching. You can't be too focused on what you're going to say or the spirit can't guide you.  Another thing I realized is how hard it must be for these people to try and understand a young missionary's thick accent. Te haere. It's also a good thing I memorized scripture mastery in english. I didn't think that would be very useful. 

But in the end, he said he felt something warm in his heart, and we know that was the spirit. I really hope that we'll be able to show him the importance of the gospel and how he can have an eternal family if he follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Well, those are a couple fun stories, I wanted to write more, but I got to go. See you next week!

Elder Lewis

Monday, July 17, 2017

Heiva Week...

Well, this week flew by fast. There wasn't a whole lot of interesting stuff that happened either. Heiva is going on so work is slowing down a ton. I'm not sure how much we're going to accomplish during July but we'll see what we can do. Last year our mission President encouraged us to take advantage of it to find new amis. Last year I was on Takaroa and it was a little different, but we'll so what we can do on Tahiti.
There were just two really cool experiences this week:
One of my first days at Mataiea my companion showed me an inactive family. The two parents served missions, but do to some problems with other members, they stopped coming to church, and they are pretty sensitive. They have two daughters who aren't baptised, but they won't let them take lessons because they don't want anyone to force them to get baptsed. So at that point that we met this family it was my goal to get to the point where they trusted us enough to let us teach their kids.

So last week we were trying to find people to visit and I had a sudden impression to visit this family. We passed by their house and invited them to come to the concert. It didn't seem like they would show up, but the whole family came! Afterwards they wanted to talk to us, and I was excited because I knew they would let us teach their daughters. So we went up to them and they asked us for the number of an elder who is from france. Well, we almost got in.
On monday night we were going home and we got a phone call from the family again. This time it was for the daughter! She said that her daughter had a lot of questions that needed answers. So the next night we passed by, and we answered all of her questions. It was about life after death, but we ended up teaching the entire plan of salvation. This girl is only about eleven years old, but I've never gone that in depth of the Plan of Salvation with anyone ever in my life. She's so smart. So we're coming back tomorrow. We just have to be careful so t doesn't seem like we're trying to force her to do anything.
The other story is with Manava. We finally found her again. It was the spirit that led us all the way. When we talked to her again she said that "ça fait du bien de vous parler encore". I don't know how to translate that well, so good luck. We had a good conversation with her. We'll see her again this week. It turns out she's getting married in August, so the baptism might be good, just pushed back.
So the moral of the stories: Always listen to the spirit! It's definitely hard sometimes to know when the spirit is talking, but if we're always ready to act, even on the smallest promptings, we will do good.
Also I was able to go back to Faaa to see the baptism of Paul. So awesome! Those were some of my favorite experiences working with him, preparing him for baptism.
Alright, that's the fun stuff for the week. Je vous aime et bonne semaine!
Elder Lewis

Monday, July 10, 2017

"If we can make families eternal, it's worth every minute."

Well, We don't have much time today for emails, so I'll try to be fast. As usual, we've seen more miracles this week than we deserve. It's been a little hard this week to find new investigators. But we have found a couple good families, and each day we see their testimonies growing, and we're going to focus on that. It's no use trying to help someone that doesn't want help. It's sad that they don't want it, but there's nothing we can do. However, if we can make families eternal, it's totally woth every minute.
The lessons are so cool with Manava. In our last lesson, we came and she told us that she had a surprise for us at the end. We taught the lesson (in depth plan of Salvation) and at the end we started closing our books and she said "That's all?") So we reopened our books and started going into even MORE detail, I'm talking the book of Revelation and the Millenium and stuff like that. And She just soaked it up. And at the end, she presented her surprise. She and her friend (the member integrator) had spent the five previous hours making cakes for us. Yes!! You can't say now to a homemade cake, even when you're about to go to a pizzeria right after for dinner.
Poenui got an answer to her prayers. We haven't actually talked to her about it, but we heard from her friend that she couldn't stop crying because she felt so stongly the spirit. It's really interesting-she prayed the night that we first engaged her to do it, and she said that she didn't get an answer. We thought that she just must have not recognized the answer, so every lesson we talked about praying and finding the answer. And she's prayed a lot. She had prayed four times the first night alone, and plenty more sine then. But she felt nothing. And then this time, and she really felt the spirit. I don't know what changed, but she knows it's true now. Maybe it was that the spirit was trying to really test her faith, or maybe something else, but it's really cool that she got her response. And she already asked her dad, and he said it was fine if she wanted to get baptised. Everything worked out so well!
On wednesday we all said goodbye to President Bize, and on thursday the new president came, President Fox. We saw him at the missionary concert last night, but didn't really have the chance to meet him. We'll do that tomorrow. It's weird having a change like that, we'll see how that goes.
I have more things to say, but I've got to go. I'll try to write later, if not, next week. I love you all! Have a good week!
Elder Lewis

Random pics with my old DMP of Tautira

The baptism of Sefina

The baptism of Oliana

This was my last sunday. We took a picture with all of our investigators at the class of gospel principles.