Monday, October 18, 2010

*"Email Cargo" to the US*

Dear Home,

For Becca:

Go to Homecoming xD! you'll enjoy it (if you want to.)[...] Just dance...the mormon way. its the funnest. and its actually what everybody actually is looking for, a good fun time. (if guys are looking for anything else, you give them a nice punch in the gut.) if you can find a date, great! if not, its ok! who needs a date to a dance?? Dont think i ever did =P! too much fun finding lots of friends. try and hang out with all types of the people, rebecca. during this year in high school, or at this dance, etc. Make some friends wherever you can. Not just one group.
Remember what I told you, Be smart. Get your studies done. And Have fun. You decide how much fun you'll have...if your a shy person and tend to stay shy though (but dont want to be...) just know, that for it to change,
it just takes a lil courage to be outgoing, even to strangers or people you know but think arent "your group" you can talk to anyone...and have fun with anyone... and if you say, you know this, then do it!

anddd... cool news, well...

I was pretty much freaked out of my mind on an adrenaline rush last night xD! Sooo... i've been telling elder Compton for a while, that all i really want, is to have a life remembering moment, of lightning coming right down and striking the ground nearby. Just like... ZZzzschhhwwwmmmmphh!
Burst of purple white pillar. Explosions in the Sky. (because lately... its been very rainy and thunder and sometimes, a nice light show at night)

sooo... last night, around about 9pm... pretty much got that chance. pouring like crazy. we have about a 20-25 min walk from masville on a straight stretch of highway road, no buildings or anything, only sugar cane fields to the left and right with some very small mango tree groves... pretty much just a 20 min walk stretch of road...
and we were trapped right in the middle of a lightning storm.
The Booms were BIG. My companion threw his umbrella so many times because he leaped into the air with fear. We were hallucinating how many times because we thought we felt a tingle. We saw actual STREAKS of BIG lightning thrust all around the sky above us, behind us, everywhere! And so... we were freaked out of our minds... I had the audacity to whisper to elder compton my wish again... "this is kinda scary its awesome... im still holding out for the moment that it comes and strikes right next to us and we never forget it." and then... it came. And not just once. We were THIIIIIIIISSSS close to an actual pillar of energy, and saw the actual debri of electrons from the tail of the lightning in the sky disintegrate...and whats so freakkyyy... is the scary moment, is SILENT. Like all you see is absolute glory radiate, no darkness whatsoever (even tho 3 seconds earlier it was pitch black!) and you see the bolt just strike the Earth one hundred meters from you, and you are terrified because you finally realize... you are just one puny lil man amidst the elements. Just a perfect white flash, is all you can see for a second, you are BLIND. And then... your heart begins to come back, just only to get terrified by the boom. It was perhaps one of the most amazing sensations of sheer power-terror i've ever felt...
and it was amazing.

Dont worry... we made it the next 15 minutes safely... but man, were we praying! (came close again maybe 3- 4 more times... reaaallyyy closee... but the one i described was the the middle of the storm... wowwww. xD)

For Mom:

dugay kana diri tonto kappa gihapon

grabi sa imo, no? ano ko bay?
nagasiling ang mga tawo pirmi, nga ako ang isa dungol dungol nga misyonary,
tikalon kon kisas, kag sobra bug-oy =P!
Kala-in si Elder!


Dear Mother,
I need your help. There is a woman here, a mother. Her name is Sister D... And, I don't know, I just felt like I could go to my mother for help. I was wondering if you could write her a letter. By email. Send it to me. I absolutely love this Sister. And for some reason, she's hurting. Has her eyes set on the temple... will never ever leave from the church... she knows its true...

But she's experienced a lot here. A misunderstanding with President's wife. A Best friendship broken. A husband still working out his bisyus (member, he drinks occasionally). Her daughter has left home and she has not seen her in over a year. "eloped"... at the age of 16. She feels like she missed out on the love of the ward, that when she needed love it was not there...until now, whenever I leave this house, this woman is in tears. Very strong testimony... it just seems like she is hurting so much. "she doesnt know if she can... as in, if she physically can..."(emotionally cant handle it... there's a difference in illonggo for two words "pwede" and "kaya"... the first is "can" (as in permission or when asking a question), the other is "the ability to") ...
To talk to president. Or come to church.

She just keeps saying, she needs time to heal. She's hurting. She does need to heal... but it may take more than time.
You are my mother. I was wondering what you might say to this mother. Please, if you could, it would be much appreciated.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, October 11, 2010

Conference was Greeaatt!!

Well...i've good news!
ive finally sent out that package of letters! today, 2 hours ago. yayyy! when you receive it...please
1) Rebecca share the letter I wrote you with Amanda, please
2) Send out the other letters to the other people... but try and find their real addresses first...

i only have their temporary ones... college ones... and its been a year...
sooooooo... might need to do some detective work or asking through facebook =P

also! will send another bunch of letters shortly... decided that if i didnt send that thing out now, i never would...
but the next one should get to you much faster.. probably send the next one in two weeks.

oh, i dont know if ive said this before... but in previous package things i sent to you containing letters,i wrote ethan once or twice...
he said he still has not recieved them. sooo... can you forward them to him? hes on a mission now =P

oooook! ay, and Mom! i have the picture... ill send that in just a min to you.
I saw it and was like...whoaa!
you look so young! likeee... at first i was wondering if it was a wicked ol pic and the boy was david or something... you look good mom xD!

List of my areas...

Manapla & Caduha-an (Negros) (near Cadiz)
Lapaz & Lapuz (Ilo Ilo)
Hinigaran (Negros) (near Binalbagan)
Masville (Negros) (near La Carlota)

Ha. 10 yrs eh? mmm... i still remember wearing white booties and walking around that temple when it first came out...also remember all the hype bout our temple being built there. I love our temple. It may just be my favorite...followed secondly by the picture mom always had in the house of the San Diego temple. beautiful picture.

Sister Guimar. love that woman. she makes me smile. sorry for what i did to her car...i liked that car...remember her Husband too...loved his rocks! such a professional looking wisdom kinda guy (with cool square glasses)

And brother blasburg! err... doctor... i should write him. He really has turned out to be a life ol friend hasnt he?

a NEW karate kid??
The Karate Kid. times one. two. three. dason... The Next Karate Kid (female)... dason... The NEW Karate Kid?? (black?) wow. haha.

Ilo Ilo is doing alright... dont know too much...they are doing their best with their start up... numbers are a lil behind/low kono... but they can do it! its new. Negros is doing great! (as far as I know, the boundaries havent changed... not yet one mission of negros yet...)
we are actually doing quite particularly the La Carlota zone... President is focusing here...and we may be able to help him out... Masville seems like its abut to be a huge center of many LA's have/ are coming back, and we have an anticipated 15+ baptisms (7 so far have accepted their dates) in the next month and a few more before December. Prolly wont be around to see em... but sure can get them ready.
I love how much revelation is being received... personally and as a Mission. I don't know how I never saw such things before...we can help these baptismal candidates have desires for the temple. They can make it.
I hope i can help at least that much, to leave them with a burning for the temple.

hows the foot? fungus?
hows that? my foots the one thats always wet! (had some reallyyy rainy days lately...and i gave my umbrella away last transfer... im pretty much waterproof now...dont know if ill ever need an umbrella again =P)

OH! you ask a question i sometimes puzzle at dad...calling in the ward...
everythings in working order a Missionary. and the higher ups are helping them learn their callings xD


--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brief Again!

Dear "Home"

I will be brief once more, I apologize. [...] Just figured i should send something out before times up.

cool news!
Today I received a letter from an Elder Powell.
It was nice... first actual (hand written) letter I've received in about 7 months.

Sister Canaya saw my letter and whisked it away,
so i listened to her read it to me. Twas very nice.
i like the fact that he mentioned he thought it might be awkward
him writing me. Makes me feel better... yup. Awkward is always fun.

soo... in the past two liahona articles... ive seen friends!
the first was... oh darn forgot his name now...i know i know it... basta, he was once the "DJ" at stake dances wore glasses... Anthony something? (Z?) friend of ethan, and me, hingham stake.

basta... saw him and a lil quote...ANDREW H! that was it. he had a lil something bout Missionary prep and music and ipods/ distractions.
Then, last edition (before october... so september)... theres a section on Preach My Gospel...and basically my singles ward from Franklin are all there... and some kids from the Stake and whatnot...found it kind of cool haha! Massachusetts! Cape Cod! This Guy! I knew him! ... That Guy! I know him! ... etc.

I had fun telling everyone at church. (i also remember something else... how weird it would have been... because back in the day...someone in our stake had been phone calling people for the church magazine about their practice and prep using the Preach My Gospel... brody and I both backed out because we realized... yah, itd be cool to be in a magazine... but we would have bluffed it all!...didnt have any experience with the book =P! so how weird it would have been... to have seen my OWN face haha!)

Anyway... hope all are well.
Only one spiritual aspect that has been on my mind lately:

I want to be more careful with making promises. Not necessarily that I will make less promises to people, no... rather... i may just start making even more. However... i want to stand accountable for them. Every. single. one. Those promises... sacred. To mean something. To know exactly where it comes from, and by what power. To know of a surety, that they will happen. Meaning... i must purify myself more... account for those promises between the Lord and myself...

but truly... ponder on it... being worthy to stand accountable for all those promises... to stand before the Lord, and know, without doubt, that every promise said in word... was backed by full faith and heart. And then, even after, further personal prayer, for those promises to come true to those people. I want to be accountable, for every single one. To Promise, without a Doubt.

I can become at least that much.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

p.s. Ethan's in the MTC! write him! XD! salamat!
maybe send him some cookies! or something =P!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dasig lang!

Apologies Dad!

just read your last letter, as well as last weeks letter.
(last week had no time on the computer because we were given an hour before auto log off, and my comp went over so i was on 15 min, and couldnt print)

and right now, after having just finished reading all the emails
(except one... havent read that one yet, from my MTC teacher)

im out of time. sorry!
will try to write a handwritten answering your questions,
but thank you so much!

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sorry for the Wait!

Dear Family...

sorry... last week we pretty much ubos'ed (used up/ had no time) the PDAY...i became a member of Uga Uga... ill share THAT one with you for an FHE when i get home =P! and so we were going to try again on tuesday morning (or wed.) forget which day we tried...BASTA... not successful... brownout. Oh well... =P!

Read most of your emails from last week before the brownout...
finished em up today... and read the new ones.

So.... and in doing so... im pretty much out of time... 30 minutes still is the limit... one computer per companionship...hasnt been restored to regular computer terms... so... ill be brief!

ONE! can you please, in the next email, send me a list of all the Recent Convert baptisms? their names? I'd like to write them (ive wanted to for some time, but havent yet)

TWO! thank you so much for being the people you are for Sister Marjorie. It has been said that we, as a people, being Mormons, are known for many admirable characteristics. And the greatest of these, which we pursue... is that we "love one another." Let it be said of Us... that We loved One Another. This is worth striving for.

I would like to write Sis. Marjorie as well =)

Elder Gardner makes me think of Mom a lot. Not anything in particular, except that he has full range of voice, is into ol' country stuff
(johnny cash soundin') and can imitate any voice like "seven brides for seven brothers" ol school types of voices. Makes me think of Mom =P she likes the classic movies and classic singing. (He is on darneddd good Bass!)

FOUR! Doing good with the Goals for the Area!
40 attendance back in the day... when I arrived here about 48... shot up to 70's... now 84. We can get 100. And the amazing thing is... it's completely the members. They are starting to be a Family =)

The youth program especially is being an example for us all... they wanted to help. they missed their friends. they loved their friends...fellowshipping. visiting. seminary. activities. Now they are at 23 kids at church in one room. What a wonderful example...of the church functioning, as it was ordained to be.

Many many Priesthood and Less Actives and Part Members are showing wonderful potential. It wasnt this sunday we were able to see them all at church. But it will be soon. (and we did see some)

FIVE! I'm glad for the puppies xD
I feel it a blessing for our Family. No, prolly not permanent (nope... not for mom!) however... at a time where our family could use some bonding... look at this wonderful gift the Lord has blessed us with.
Something to unite us! To laugh. To enjoy the house. to just be silly. I hope you all see this for what it can be xD

Thank you Sis. Marjorie. Thanks to our Father's Blessings.


Hey. Yo. Sis. mmm... happy birthday?
haha! Nah, really, Happy Birthday!
You know kiddo... you're like the only Birthday I have NEVER forgotten. EVER. for some reason Aug. 22 ALWAYS has stayed in my mind. Others i take some time to remember. But i've never not known yours.
Been excited to tell you Happy Birthday. I will send you a small letter soon...awww man! now i have to send 2! A birthday one as well! *hmph*

Hope youre having fun! xD!

only one thing more to send... the one thing I wouldve send last monday because i had no time...but I absolutely love this one apostle... and i felt we all could benefit from what he shared.
(Learning to laugh xD!)

titled, (love this)
Come What May... And Love It!

Life is so...Amazing xD

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Good Moment for Me xDD!

Well... looks like I've only got a lil time, and there are a few items to be addressed:

ONE! sorry... however, i dont remember if i mentioned that this latest transfer, the one I will be in until Friday morning, has been with Elder Hill from Utah. (before him was Elder Hernandez from Idaho); Elder Hill i had seen in the MTC. He's the batch behind me. And we have been serving in Hinigaran 2nd Ward, somewhere between Pontevedra and Binalbagan (between Bacolod and Kabankalan). And i must say, having served two transfers in this area has been quite the experience for me. Quite. It would be some of my greatest hope that I follow through with how I feel of this past transfer... and take the initiative and change my being. Change my life. I'm so excited.

No...nope, sorry! Not on Ilo Ilo. Transfer announcements were earlier this morning. I'm transferring... and so is my companion, Elder Hill. He'll be going Senior now; exciting for him. He needs this responsibility... to lose the comfort of having 'someone else' to understand or adapt or decide. He'll grow amazingly... despite his charades of dismay about it =P!

The area will be whitewashed... 2 new missionaries; and we will need to prep the area for new missionaries. There is a lot of excitement going on in Bacolod Mission right now... President Tobias is a man who I could have never picture I might obtain as a Mission President... basta, in his humble, quite manner, I have learned more about being Called of God, Receiving Revelation, and being Inspired... than I might ever otherwise have been. I know that this Man Humbles himself before the Lord...
and thus, I know by whom come the commands. And I have faith, that The Lord Knows his Fold. "Do It." Has come to be a phrase that comes through my mind again and again.

We leave this area with many potential investigators, wala pa bunyag (hasnt been a baptism in this area for quite some time),
and a few progressing, as well as these key: 5 Families, the mothers and some of the children, active in reading the Book of Mormon, and excited about the Church; as well as 3 individuals who's conversion is at the same, a hunger for the scriptures, and a willingness to submit to the will of the Father. 8 potential baptisms for this area in the next month or two... followed by their family members as well. I am so Happy for them. And the Ward.

It seems the Mission is changing, Family. It seems it is changing. Today changed my life... for I felt a bit of truth, as it were, undiluted, poured from Heaven upon me. But a small realization. But if real... my gosh the Wonder.

The world is about to change, Mother, Father. Make no doubt about it. The Mission is changing, not just here, but the World over. Not the lessons. Not the Gospel. But the Committment. Even as Ammon, from the get go... from the moment, a person meets is... obtaining the desire to be baptized... inviting them, straightway... in power and testimony. Even from the first Moment...Let the World Recognize their Christ. It will take a great look within. It will take a great pondering on why we do what we do. But as one of the General Authorities remarked, "We are in a Hurry."

There's no longer time to be but a helper. It's time to Go forth with Faith. With Power. In the Spirit. And the Promise... They Shall Know, Who We Are.

The World is about to Change... when all Shall Know their Maker. I Believe in this. And I Hope to be a Part. From the President, the Apostles, the Prophet...

Let's Change the World. Do we believe in miracles? (we all want to say yes...); Then, Let's do It.


aaaaandd... time's up! 30 minutes na!

Transfers! Tell ya where I end up!

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back to Basics!


Well... I'm doing Great! I've finally found out why I've been so heavy as of late. And interestingly's not anything in particular... its actually just a lot and lot of build up of small things! Especially Prayer, i had for a time forgotten the miracle of this great communication... how great the wonders come from even the smallest degrees of faith. And my language... i've stagnated a bit... still fairly well off... but my progress hasnt been as I know it could be. I haven't really been helping it... and when my stresses and pressure that I mention cultivated in my gaining a fever... i realized that the Lord had also withdrawn the ability to speak from me. I could still understand everything
I hear... that hasnt left. But the Lord, even up to now, is humbling me... and its been a bit of an effort to work my way back to the language consistency. I believe he's trying to help me develop a habit to master the language... its no longer just going to "come"

But in all actuality... its not just those things! Surprisingly... when I decided I was going to change to become a Missionary again...I realized as I listed what needs to be done, that its a very... odd list! I want to brush my teeth twice a day! (not a habit yet...sorryy); want to shave every day! (a rule... ive been doing only every 2 days) I want to wake up before 630am... much before. Because there is much I would like to get done... writing, stretching (especially stretching... id like to start that every day), shower twice a day. BED SHEETS! I never realized how much not having a pillow or sheet or blanket of any kind affected me. Or sleeping on just an old mattress! I havent had bed sheets or a pillow since the MTC! so went and got some last week. makes a world of difference.
Updating the Area Book always. Shining my shoes. doing laundry, once a week! (i usually go as long as I can without... and i can make it stretch! sometimes 3 weeks! but all that laundry is stressful to do all at hand) Writing in the Journal, everyday! (ill start next week!) (and just...writing. not thinking "oh this will be exhausting, some great thoughts need to go here..." no. just write whatever! what happened!) And writing letters! Weekly!

There's so much more as well. A list of seemingly menial tasks... lots of them. But all have been weighing on me for a long time. I can't wait... to get them all straight xD!

And, these stresses being out of the way, focusing again, on these People. It's been a wonderful week. We had lost a lot of investigators two weeks ago; when I arrived in this area there were perhaps 3 children investigators, 12ish... who we ended up dropping rather quickly for there was not enough desire. So everyone that is an investigator now are people recently found. Some unfortunately...we had to let go... others... moved. And others, schedules have changed so much we are not sure if we will be able to continue. But the Lord has been gracious unto us... and there are many people we expect among our Investigators who will soon find their way to Repentance and Come unto the Fold.

Basta... I'm very excited for the Area again. I believe in Miracles again. I believe in Christ again. For truly, if He is there. If we are His children. And If He loves us. And If this truly is His church... His very Gospel...

If He loves us... He will do everything and all manner of miracles without overstepping our agency, to bring His children Home. Having this Faith again... is such a joy.

I do not know how or why I forgot this...

Basta, I'm ready to Change. I'm ready to listen, and once more, Be a Missionary.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

P.S. wow these kids are very loud in this internethan... shouting and screaming and World of Warcrafting...
gotta love the philippines... funny thing is... all these kids (12/14 yrs?) are on "lunch break" for an hour and a half... 1200 noon
in about one hour... they'll be back in school... and they decide to spend all their break at the internet... pffttt =P!
That's the culture!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lil' Rough Spell

Dear Family,

Another week in the Philippines =P! kind of an exhausting one... i'll tell you guys about it (although the rainy season will be over in august... and it was nothing like I imagined it would be...floods and hails of wind and rain all the time, palm trees tossed about like madd, always kind of a grey lurk to the sky...every hour all day rain rain rain. That's what I had in my mind... and I was thinking... ohh deaarr...but its actually not that bad... lil grey occasionally... strong rain, but in spurts. Only a lil colder. and theres often the sun around at least once in the day. If not, meh... its just kinda like a fall day here without the color. Lot's of rain spurts though. yup. (place sure looks wet.)

I'm fine =P It's interesting, I keep hearing about those things happening across the way, but no... they haven't touched us. i hear them long down the line after they are over, kinda of like an "oh really, that happened? huh..." afterthought....because here, apparently in Negros...

we're smack dab at the perfect spot to not got storms, nor floods, nor earthquakes, nor any other of the such. shucks =P!

Thanks Mom for the write. And dad, good to hear you're around. Bumped up, wow. Dad's got class now. I'll have to shine his shoes for Him when he gets home. He'll be too busy =P! Next thing you know he'll be wearin' cuff links. Have fun in shang hai!

Sooo... for my interesting week...
and please don't take this contradictory to my other email, both emails absolutely true... just this one more of a realization of a lurking feeling of mine, that I had time to reflect on. Soo... about Wednesday evening, randomly, all of a sudden kind of got a large pain in the head... and went to sleep and had perhaps the most uncomfortable sleep of my life. Woke up the next day, pretty much knew it was a fever... went out anyway and worked. Tiring day. Came home and that was pretty rough as well. Couldn't think straight for planning... couldnt get the Spirit (though it would come for somewhat in teachings) to help guide the plans... rough. Frustrating. And hadn't been able to get studies in that day either...tired and couldnt focus. (hurt to much). Went to "bed" waking up pretty much every hour... already dreading it because i knew what that night would be like... the EXACT night before... no possible comfortable position (on bed or couch or floor or chair or table), large pain in the head and chills...couldnt get warm even though I was burning (kinda felt like my blood was getting drawn... that cool sensation... but then I could feel it come back so it would get hot again...just kind of an uncomfortable weird sensation of chills.... AND so... even WHILE sleeping, my mind was messing with me so much, that every time i went to sleep i thought i "HAD" to teach someone a lesson in my dream... and every time it was a horrible exhausting feeling of defeat as I woke up a few minutes later....

just a very rough night. next day same... couldnt do planning, still couldnt do much reading or anything at all else accept try and wait out the time and the chills... best thing felt at least walking around outside going about the missionary day (wicked tiring, cuz my body was exhausted, but anything to get the pain off my head) (dont like the house.) Elder made us come back... apparently I had a 104.4 fever =P! Gone now... but mannn... i sweated it out! Done to shorts and my top and just sat and sweat for hours...I feel better now.

Anyway... i had a lot of time to reflect and think and whatnot... and I realized very shortly that I was quite sad. While sweating it out, I realized how many investigators we had. how many started good. how few were now progressing... because we just cant find time to teach them (and in essence... a desire issue), and my many, many small things holding me back. I realized, to my great saddness, in a large way, I had stopped being a missionary, and had been doing something else. Not entriely... but yes, much so in a way this transfer. And I take this as an opportunity that God would have to teach me... to remind me what it does mean to be a Missionary.

This area... its only been two months... and yet I grew a little too comfortable with my calling. I stopped looking for other people. I stopped believing in our investigators. Started doubting. Not all in a big way... I never noticed. But little by little... in some regards...
I stopped caring. (not intentionally... but yes, it "happened"... because I didn't constently nourish and seek after "caring for them")

And it made me so sad. Because I knew it was true. Because I know the promises of God. And I know this is His work. He loves His children, so much Greater than I, and will do everything for them. If this church is true, and If this truly is his Gospel, and If He truly loves His children... He will do everything to bring a child from without the fold, within. Everything.

And I, in some way, lost sight of why I am here. A little bit. Because it was no longer caring. Finding a way to get them at church. Or baptism. Or lessons. Or any other goal, that started out righteous... little by little I forgot the true purpose...and little by little... it didn't matter that I stopped doing the smallest of Missionary activities that help us focus on the real intent: a person. Whether it be in praying or studying or pondering... I let some things get away from me.

It was very sad, for me to have to admit it. But it is true. And it was so necessary. I am Happy the Lord taught me this lesson.
This area, I may have only 2 weeks left. I grew very tired here, and I don't know why. And I'm not entirely sure what I am to do with that time. But... I hope the Lord will permit me back to His work... if it so be I humble myself enough.

It's forget caring about someone. I hope I never do again.
Pray for me. I hope I have something more to offer this area before I leave.

But All is Well. I am Happy Again.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, July 12, 2010

Yup Yup!


Well... mmm, thanks for all the input! I enjoyed reading all of your stories! And yes... i really do need to start some new goals...
in terms of Check-List things and whatnot...I can't tell you how much I've come to enjoy Studying.

Scriptures, Investigators, Lessons in my Head... just spending time thinking. I really do believe it is quite possible, and quite necessary, opening up that full joy that can only be experience by the "humble seekers of happiness" live "all heart, might, mind, and strength"... focused on His Purposes.

Not to claim in the least that I have come anywhere close to this...
but even for me, I see the challenges set forth to us as missionaries.
Just by being missionaries, much time is set aside as "consecrated & devoted" (in essence, it should all be, but much is somewhat of a 'given', if one is even only somewhat obedient) but that challenge... to consecrate all of it... to give up a little more... and there always is a lil more
that can be changed.... lets just say I see it as an interesting & exciting challenge...which I am honored to have signed my name
saying I would so strive.

A friend of mine, Elder Theolbald, once remarked to me (we often have many discussions, drawing us both nearer to our God)concerning the use of our time. Concerning the Spirit. Concerning the rules. Concerning how we adapt according to needs o investigators. I have always been intrigued by that "grey area" in between what is inherently right and obedient, and what is inherently wrong. Between what is good. What is better. and what is best. This is more than being obedient to divinely inspired commissions. It is rather, ourselves, becoming divinely inspired. For should thus the Lord speak to us, then there can be no question as to what must needs be done, or what is truly best. And no one else can say otherwise, no matter what, for if ye spoke with God concerning the matter, ye know of a surety. And he will consecrate you. Thus Elder Theobald invited me to embark on one of His own journeys, with the declaration: Define Success for You. What is 'Success'? For if ye can ponder, and define this... ye will never have to wonder concerning any such thing ye so do... if that True Success is what you believe, all your actions will follow.

So for me... again, I have not answered that question yet, and have not given it enough pondering, to my discredit... however I do hope to do so. Yet for me... I have come closer. Praying. Studying. Pondering and Role playing and teaching in my mind. Coming closer with my companion. Devoting more of my heart and my thoughts to Him and His people. It brings such great joy.

No... I may not always take that hour for lunch... perhaps 10 minutes only. Or laugh as hard at certain things. Or spend the time comfortably chit-chatting where ere the wind may take us. Nor sing or revel in songs which are good... but not quite hymns of praise. Grouping together with other large assemblies of missionaries... finding american elders to chat with. Spending more than 300 pesos on food a week (we're allotted 700-900), for i truly would have no need of it. Sleeping more so (unless it is felt necessary); certain practices in teachings; if needed, changing the lessons. Straying from the plan. Using things not typically used. Re-evaluating How we plan. How we do anything. Changing the seemingly "common" practices... that I feel, never were the visions of them who did give unto us our Guide; who did extend unto us with Great Power, our Call. For what we do, as missionaries sometimes, is not always as we speak when bearing fervent testimony of those same principles. We can be a better Man. We can be a Better Missionary. The Lord be our Guide.

So much more. So many little things. So many... I marvel at the moments when that phrase comes to mind.. "what is better? what is best?"

Not to say I am any more than another, but just to say

I may not do quite as other missionaries do... But I do know when I am with my Father. And there is the place, in which I pray I may never leave. For I am so Happy. And I let that be my guide. He will speak to me. And thus, I doubt not what I do.

Ay gali! I've strayed! sorry...
all I actually wanted to say...

as far as all that goes in Being a Missionary, I feel, at least for myself, the time is well spent.

I do, however, believe I will make some goals for some other items, however. Such as exercise in the morning, namely push-ups... and stretching! (soccer in a year and a half...wouldnt it be awesome to FINALLY be flexible??); writing in my journal (its been about 5 months...); writing letters, sending letters, and improving my language. I believe I can do these things. And my happiness shall increase xD!

I will write LALA!!

Thanks Amanda, Mom, Dad!!

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence Day!!

Dear Family,

Nothing too extraordinary to say. I'm finding words to be a very special gift from the Lord. In a day, I wish I could remember all that is said and heard. But I know enough of it...if I truly am listening, finds its way into my heart, and cannot be forgotten, so long as I keep listening to the Spirit.

That has always been a dream of mine... I wish I could remember everything.

But I am always amazed... somehow... is really is never forgotten.
At far as testimony wise, that is. Or spiritual learning. It doesnt leave.
But it never quite stays the same. But that same Spirit.

Said and felt in so many ways... I feel it such a joy, to dwell in the Presence of God. Seemingly as one man so poetically stated, "These were days never to be forgotten sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom!"

I solemnly profess... that 'these days' of which Oliver Cowdery captured in such Simple of a feeling, every one of us may embrace, when enraptured by the light and the fire, even the Third Member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost. Directed by this voice...dictated, inspiration from Heaven, in the very Presence of the Father, I do believe Oliver Cowdery captured, in term, the very essence of our lives.

And I do believe, to some small extent, I've lived and pray to continue to live, within this moment of which he hath spoken.

I have oft had the opportunity to reflect on two points of doctrine... in particular, I believe it has become yet another turning point of my life. I do not profess to understand perfectly this thing, only that now I understand somewhat more fully than before. It is a fire I hope to cultivate in my being, a manner after which I would have become my life.

The first... is so simple. It is perhaps exactly as you have all heard, exactly as you all know. We have always heard this. We have always believed this. But do we understand? It is a question... in humility, we must find the courage to ask ourselves. Do we truly understand... so simple a thing?

The first revolves around the truths of which we all hold dear. The very core of who we are. Whatever they be... can we trace them here: There is a God. There must be. He loves me. And I am His child. He is the worker of miracles. He is the maker of dreams. There is nothing beyond him. There is a God. And He loves me. And if He loves me... and can do any miracle, because he is able, doesn't it just make sense... that He would love me enough, to hear my prayer... and Answer Me.

I have gained such a witness... through seeing the Spirit awakened in man once they know... and seeing another, remain...never having found the faith to ask. I have seen, questioned, asked, promised, prayed... pondered enough in my own heart concerning this promise, to know... this simple truth, to be of the Greatest. I say this, day after day, moment after moment, and I am so Happy... because I believe now, that I finally believe. He will answer. He will always answer.

And the second, revolves around those things which we deem as "what matters most" To such a manner of life, to such a pursuit of happiness, to every man, woman, and child that undertakes this life... I echo the promise of Mosiah:

"And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep His commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you." (Mosiah 2: 22)

This is perhaps one of the greatest truths of which I know. It is perhaps one of the Greatest truths of Life. We cannot live this life, and become who we must become... and find the Happiness reserved by God for His children, unless we come to a knowledge of this simple phrase. These are the words that resonate, in my being... these are the words, from which I recall the Power of the Priesthood. These are the words.

No matter what. No. Matter. What. If it is a commandment of God... we shall be able to do this thing. As Nephi had promised us concerning commandments of the Lord. In Ilonggo, the term is "ipasarang": "ipasarang niya Kita" "He will make us able" ("he will cause us to be able"; "he will enable Us"); I love the meaning in Ilonggo. That simple phrase.

For every possible obstacle. He will provide a way. And he will grant unto us a Happiness countless-fold. For keeping his Commandments is Happiness. If we want to live this life... lets do it the right way. The One Way. His Way.

I often tell people... another truth, of which I've come heavily to rely... 'No, I apologize...I don't know what will happen if... [..] ... I only know, that I can promise you, of a surety, what will happen, if [we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ]'

I don't know the answer to anything else... save the one certain promise... if we live His way. And that is enough for me.

(A note for myself: future reference ... this second principle came in particular strength to me this week in overcoming all obstacles of the Less Actives (LA), of all obstacles to Investigators coming to church or keeping their commitments, and also in particular when explaining, truly for the first time, at least from my heart, while on my mission, to someone I had barely met, the subject of Fast Sunday, Fasting and Offering, and Tithing) ( P.S. 82 in attendance up from 65... aiming for 100... we can do this. For the miracle, is for someone else. It will be His miracle. And these LA's, and the Vision of this area, I know...
is Divinely Inspired, for this time.)

I know now. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

P.S. Happy 4th of July!!!!
My companion and I have been chit chatting all about it, and are celebrating later and spoiling ourselves with chicken and ice cream and the works!! (and Pledge of Allegiance and other wonderful songs and anthems and good ol' American Pride!!) xD!! Thanks for the stories. God Bless America! (please xD!)

Monday, June 28, 2010


Dear Family,

I was about to inform you of all the people here in this Area, the progress, the goals, and the obstacles to be overcome, as well as a 3 sentence biography on all the fun people i've met and we are teaching. Actually... i think it will be fun xD!

But i think I'll save that for next time...

Upon reading the emails, and also seeing as a new mission rule is to shorten the internet time (for a couple transfers... 30 mins only)
(commandment from President to deal with some issues... so we ought to support him. He said if we're good, it'll change soon. So...
easiest way to get something better is to obey, might as well obey! =P!)

I apologize, but the email won't be about me or my area. But rather...
I don't know...haha.


You know something thats interesting? Two examples...
One, scriptural. Everywhere, in the scriptures, we see the Lamanites and the Nephites, and we say to ourselves... come on, why are you doing that? Come on, dont you know history? Dont you remember? This just happened to you. Why can't you see and understand something so simple?

Second, in movies. We always see when someone should or shouldnt be doing something, because the whole story is made known to us. And we often think to ourselves, or shout at the TV, or etc...saying, no no no! or don't do that! or this is gonna happen... etc.

Amazingly... even though we can see this everywhere else... we often fail to see it when we ourselves, living our own lives, are the main characters. If only we had the power, and humility, to check ourselves.





I find it amazing... almost always... we are the prolongers of our own Happiness. Often times...we are the only obstacle, to being happy. Ain't it weird? But it's true. We hurt ourselves.


People think its impossible to be Happy, always. That's why in there lives, there is a great deal of misery... they've been taught its impossible. They believe its impossible.

I promise you... if ever theres a minute in our life we are not feeling this Ecstasy of Life... something could, and ought, to change.
It is NOT impossible, to live a life full of happiness. Yes... there is opposition. So what? That will never change. It's the world.
It's our choice... to be Happy, or to be Miserable.


Neverthless...suffer as many stripes [...] However long it takes, until finally we understand.




I love my Family.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, June 21, 2010

sorry its late!!

Late cuz havent been around BUSYY!!!


Dear Rebecca,


p.s. go to Trek. It's worth it. So worth it. and you'll have fun.... focus on people...on friends... have a good time
with good friends...make some new good friends!

It's worth it rebecca. No one else outside church ever gets these opportunities. And they are amazing. Trust me. As long as you go and are thinking "Hey, this'll be fun!" "I'm gonna have some fun"

Do it... hahaa... my first trek was kinda interestingg... xD
i'll tell ya the story about the whos and the whats and the "oooo!!" 's when i get hoooomeee. Basta i never forgot my trek xD for several reasonsss...being a teenage mormon is fun xDD!

GO! ...go happy! [...]
AND BE NICE AT CAMP!! with your lil sister. "play nice with the other kids!" (Mulan) Seriously. Imma whack you if you dont.
ooohhh you know i will, if i hear you werent. Just cause i got nicer on my mission doesnt mean im not still gonna whack ya. even if am across the globe ill find a way. You remember the spatula. i know u do.

hahahaha...ahhh rebeccaa =P thanks for all the stories. I love hearing them. I'd say more... but i have no time today... sorry! but i love readng bout your life. however...about the road trip. Sounds great! would be awesome! So much fun! [...]


spent the letter on becca... only have 20 min today because ysterdayy got WICKED busy!! im staying in Hinigaran this transfer, Elder Hernandez is leaving. I bought a new camera, a very nice one at that!
(and might i add...the BEST QUALITY low priced camera...cameras here are WAYYY expensive... and the cheap ones from 80-110 dollars usually are baddd... but i found one! a samsung something...ill write what it is next time!)

Mom... did you ever receive the letters for ethan and megan? and bro martin in the ward? and others? and give them out?
aaandd... let me know if you guys will send the pics or whatnot to me of all of you for me to give out to good investigators XD!!

... i have no idea why i added popeye... basta its the first thing that came...but you DO have some big forearms. =P!!

Thanks Dad for raising me right! Sorry that it took so many complaints/grumbling on my part!
but thanks for stickin' it through!

Thats it for now! Byeeeee!! Sorry!

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, June 14, 2010

Re: late again!

Dear Mother,

It is good to hear of the Inspiration you received to hold a Family Council Meeting. It sounds wonderful to me. And it sounds like it came at a very key time. I must say mother... I hope you never grow to weary because of our reluctance in these sorts of endeavors, for we do so need your consistency. It is this we will always remember. That our parents always prayed. Always taught us to remember who we are. Always attempted to gather us for family prayer. Always read the scriptures. Always taught us, through their examples, how people ought to live. How people ought to be treated. They taught us... through their consistency, how to be more than just another person, but how to be a Child of God. People always see this... they don't know how to describe it... only with words such as 'nice' or 'different'...or others, but always, words of praise.

We will remember... that our Parents, never. gave. up.

I know, and I remember... and were I there... I would most likely have fought you on it or found a way to avoid it or complain or not participate... even if forced, i would have given you little attention or feedback. I apologize. I can only hope my siblings will be of greater character than I. But I know... that it is this consistency... that will one day bridge the gap we place between our parents and ourselves... and tear down the wall... because one day, it will no more be awkward, but rather, in comfort... we will know whom we can trust.

I do hope my Sisters realize this. Even if they don't want to... and you may tell them this... even if they do not want to participate in the slightest... I ask their patience and their trust...
please, you two, Rebecca and Amanda... use this time... speak from your heart... give your real thoughts on the Family... but before spouting off bad things... and all the problems...think first of the good things that can come by overcoming the obstacles... think of how amazing we would be if we could remove these obstacles. Then... speak to Mother and Father, and with One Another, on how. What must we do... to achieve this. How can we do this thing. And together... it will be done. You are not alone. We are a Family... and all of us need each other, if we want to be Happy.

I am amazed by the missionary program. I am amazed how there can be avoided all forms of contention by simply communicating.

Every night... an opportunity to relate our feelings on the day, begun and ending with a prayer... finding the great things, and complimenting one another... and if we fell short... reestablishing that we shall overcome. Apologizing and overcoming. Every Thursday... an actual time set apart,.called Companionship Inventory, where the Companionship discusses the strengths of all that has come from one another, seeking to uplift and inspire. And then, in the Spirit of the Scripture, "reproves betimes with sharpness, but showing forth afterwards an increase in love" (D&C 121: 43) ; that's the key. Love needs to direct all things. Its not a time to point fingers or to blame. For such brings a spirit which can quickly burn wild and ruin all that might otherwise have been built. But rather... all things that are said concerning faults... are said in love with suggesting how they can be overcome, and the promises and blessings that would follow. Not that, "i don't like that you do this..." but rather "i think that if you tried this, instead of this... you would become..." always, always... the focus, is on them. That you want them to become a better person. If this is so... if they are the focus, and not our unruly emotions, but them, we would never dare say anything to offend. But only to edify and improve.

And this happens... every time. It's interesting... especially trying not to be offended when someone tells you a "fault" that you may be able to improve. But if we can get past the prideful thoughts and realize we are NOT perfect.... and if we can avoid the tendency to want to shoot some fault back at them... and realize they are doing their best to help US grow...then miracles can happen. It's all about being slow to anger. It's all about love.

And every week... the District leader takes each one of us aside... and simply asks... How are you? And hows the area? And then... you can speak of anything. And it is always so much better... when we know we will have these conversations... that we prepare beforehand... truly thinking on our thoughts, perhaps throughout the week... reviewing the night before... How IS everything? Find your real thoughts. And then... that interview actually will mean something. Not just a repetitive, same interview every week... but rather, a chance to speak your mind, and receive revelation and advice from another person.

Twice a transfer Zone Leader interviews...
And then... the monthly interviews with President.
Same focuses. Same opportunities. New Revelations.
If we see them as the Amazing Opportunities they are.
If not... of course, they wont mean much.

My Hope is that Rebecca, you, and Amanda, you...
will become excited and prepared for these interviews with Mom and Dad... these talks...that you will look forward and want to talk to them. And that... even daily... you start talking to our parents. They are Mom and Dad. Come on! Even their names imply they are our Best Friends! Please... get to know our parents. Let them in. It Changes everything.

And speak with one another... in all things... What are your Dreams? What do you want Your Life to Be? You All Decide... If You Are Willing to Speak with one another... I know your lives...can be EXACTLY all you dream them to be. You Decide.

Thank You, Mom and Dad. I Hope the Council Meetings continue. I Pray Rebecca and Amanda will speak to you often, daily... about any and all things. Even to the smallest... tiniest details. And I do pray... that the young children, will see everything of Rebecca and Amanda's examples... and will be bettered, because their older siblings were strong in the faith... and always were Good Examples. In all things. I know that it is upon Rebecca and Amanda... who those children become.

Love You, my Family.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis


Witnessed the Cebu Temple Dedication just the other day... Sunday.
Prophet, Apostles, Seventy... others.

I am so Happy... Ours is an Eternal Family. Thank You.


Please... if ya'll can... take a Family Picture?
And send many many copies to me? With all of your signatures on the back?
Saying some small message about Families perhaps? About love? Or prayer?
Just a sentence or two?

I want to give them out to many many people... and let them know...
that My Family believes....

that this Church is True. And that Families can be Together Forever.
So please... if you can, take a picture of ALL of you, if you have one...
make many many copies (small preferably... but not too small.... maybe 3x6's?)
and write all your names. Thank you...

I really feel that these people... will benefit greatly, from our Family, if we do this thing.

Thank You Family!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sorry, not quite what i expected!

Dear Family,

Hahaha... ahhh after writing Ethan a lil smething...
i lost that spiritual umph! i had when i woke up excited to write ya'll today.

Sorry! Maybe it will come back...

In any case... this for Amanda: Thanks for the write! Kadlawan Ka gid! (funny... you. Laughable. kinda thing =P)

Annddd... so far no new baptisms in this area. But a very very nice teaching pool. And a lot of soon to be reactivated people.
Annndd... everywhere... video-oake. Especially at night. Occasionally that drunk man in the morning or noon time??...but at night... everybody. And the thing is... everybody thinks they are the greatest!

Welll.... they're wrong. Very wrong. But at least they are a happy people =P!

I laugh... a lot... at night xD.

Annddd nowww...
OH! names and location of myra's relatives? where/who?

Annddd... haha! I meant to mention in the last email...
but only read it later... when i read dad's email at the house...

the Haircut thing and Megan. hahahahaha. Those Pansies! =P!! I just got my haircut...and decided... mmm... well... anyone in the house wanna give me a haircut. Elder Newman was like, yeah sure! Never done it before. Cool! Go for it!...about 10 minutes later... done! how's it look? oooo....ummm....and then a nice good hour of laughing and having fun. Fastest haircut i've ever had. Shortest haircut ive ever had. Most uneven.

interesting gid! hahaha. However, whatever! its hairrr xD!
i looked like a black hip hop singer, just didnt have the earrings. Chris Brown kinda thing...tiny bit of hair haha! but not enough to be "detracting" from missionary work. def. shorter than most missionaries though!

i looked like i needed a thug cap, from the slums of India. it was cool. Lotta get kinda loose on your mission =P!

another chance next month for a haircut! AND i saved 40 pesos. (about a lil less than 1 dollar)

However... just to go to a different note... ay gali... Hahaha...
i totally dont got it right now...

i had some words to say... because there were some very strong spiritual events which happened to me this week...but i just dont got it right now =P!

Ill wrrite it handwritten. And send it... TOMORROW! With beccas letter!

... MAYBE!!!!!!!!!

hahaha... ohh man.. ambot sa akon ("i dont know about you" phrase... but directed toward myself)

we shall speak later!

But temple dedications coming up! Next Sunday! cant go to Cebu, but will go to a nearby stake center, Binalbagan. Excited xD! 2nd one in my life (Draper & Cebu).... (unless i attended another i dont remember... boston? but i dont think i did...) (open house, yes...)

Currently YM teacher Ako... because apparently the youth have gotten quite attached ta me. And actually... the entire ward...they like missionaries... and there are 3 of us... but it seems their favorite missionaries are the ones who are People Person's.

And i love a good laugh. While keeping the spirit of course. Just showing that we can have fun and care about each other and be spiritual as well. Uplifting Spiritual Experiences. Family. Friends. Fun. That's church. Learning, having fun, and thus wanting to learn. It's a good life right now.

(i think i kinda stole some of the other elder's ward members to me as well... they like them... but still... trying not to be prideful,
but ive just found ever since i got here my personality just FITS. AAAAND its not just fun and games...

this ward and its missionaries, in three weeks, has grown, a lot. Not in number just yet (because when the less actives come... the regular actives stay home... so we are at about 70 attendance as usual... they need to all come!)...but innerly... our Ward has become quite strong. And i am loving the Youth. Something I feel so strongly... i believe they are gaining now. The teacher, my first sunday, kinda asked right after class if i wanted to teach next time....

ever sincethen... its been great. Next sunday (no church next sunday because of dedication... so next next sunday) will be my last time teaching because i want it to return to the teacher. However... they are reading. and are excited for church. And i truly believe...
testimony has made all the difference. Not just verbal born testimony... but character.

I love my ward.

Segi! Next time na lang! Bye!!!

--Elder Christopher Lewis

(Sorryy... haha! I got nothing at the moment... im just blank... blame ethan! =P!)


Dad... its You. And Brother Raymond. This is the Dream Team. I remember those days. Whatever the task is... however hard... you guys Got This. Its You Two!

yeaaa brody! (we going to byu! when i get back! =P!)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Whoaaa... myyy loveeee... my darrrlinggg"

(hahaha... videoke... heard that song the other day... Unchained Melody. Love that Song. Unfortunately... the Filipino was quite drunk and his voice matched his sobriety. =PP)(had a lot of laughs though! XD!)

To Ya'll at Home:

Just ta let ya knoww...
I'm Doing Good.

dao dalaga and kickin!
... but in a nice, motherly way.

**dao dalaga means... "like a dalaga (a young, unmarried woman)" **

wow... not gonna lie, was gonna try and use the word "sexy and kickin' "
but that doesnt work for me. For my mom, even in joking, dont feel comfortable saying that. Occasionally, children are close enough with their parents to be able to say that...and its wonderful, because they are so close with one another its kinda of cute. But i know im close with my mother, enough to know that, at least to me, I know she's a Lady.

And sorry... but Lady's is just a whole different Class.
Can't even compare.

if anjelica calls you sexy its ok though.
but i've always known that to me
My Mother's a Lady.

Commands Respect.
And a Wonderful Personality.

Basta... you're not a La-on. (an old wrinkly maid, no husband, that you see in other peoples houses) =P!!

Te?? I can be charming... but come on, im Chris. to much compliments or chamr gets boring for me =P!
i like sarcastic humor xD

i love living life like... those moments like...
for example, Miss Congeniality. At one part of the movie, the refined english man says of Miss New Jersey, "A brief, shining moment... and then. that. trap."

i like living life like that xD!

OH! So i asked about what you could send and whatnot.
And in particular, i was thinking about which wards or whatnot... and i decided Lapaz/ Lapuz... they are set. Dao...they are a strong group of people, a very strong ward and they are living things great as they are.
Manapla... mmm... didnt kno em extremely well nor their situation... just that i know i dont think they are prepared enough...maybe a little more building...

HOWEVER! this ward would be PERFECT to receive a package from ya'll.
We spoke about the Clothing and the Testimonies/ Letters from our ward and from the Primary. That would be wonderful. AND! if you wouldnt mind... Toys would be perfect! liikkeee... i know they would go good use here.
sometimes... if i just pictured them given to random families... i feel like perhaps it really wouldnt be effective. HOWEVER! Primary and nursery would love toys, all and any kind! it would be much appreciated.
I spoke with Bishops wife and the Primary President... and they said it would be wonderful!

So maybe yeah, for the Primary or anyone who wants to be involved... and perhaps if Plymouth wants to be involved too...
Perhaps give up one thing of clothes per person, one toy per person, and one letter per person. And that would be an amazing outpouring of Love and Spirit for the people here! And Mom... if you have toys you would like to get rid of... ya can toss em here =P!

Basta... if you want to organize it... theyd be overjoyed to recieve a package from a ward back home. clothes, letters, toys.


thanks sooooooo much for the pictures of the Quince! Saw the three you sent. And not gonna lie, i was gawking for a few minutes. My sisters look good. And my brother looks like he's a Bouncer (with that nice lookin pony tail and vest xD!)

Looveeddd the picture of Rebecca punching david. "Good Form, Pan! Good Form."

Well... I've been very well so far this week. I need to think a bit more on what needs to be done for this area. I feel as though our time can be used more effectively...what it may involve is scrapping a few ideas and starting over. (unfortunately... i just hope i can do it with love and conviction, especially for my companion... he's been here longer, 2 months in Hinigaran... however... i feel like the "plan" he's been perpetuating from his former companion is not quite what the area needs... and his understanding of the language is such that... hmm... he "thinks" he knows exactly whats going on, because hes been here 2 months... and hes so enthusiatic from what he thinks he knows, which is wonderful....but... hehe... we'll just say that peoples situations are not exactly as he believes them to be... and as such... its time for a new plan! Hope he's in to follow me a lil bit on this one... cuz he's attached to the people here... but i believe our focus is being hindered a bit and the progress hindered a bit by some practices that are not working here... So... Here goes Nothing!)

I am reminded of a quote that came to me, very powerfully, from Brother Leslie, my professor at the MTC. Said he, "Don't be afraid, to tear up the foundation... if you go forth to rebuild it stronger." And more was said. The basis... sometimes, we need to have the courage... to start over, in order to Achieve. Patch ups may work sometimes... here and there...
but sometimes... it would be best, to tear up the foundation, and begin again. Build it Better.

In any case... that's all I have for today... out of time... until next time!

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Assignment: Hinigaran Area

Dear Family,

I thank you, very much indeed, for writing me concerning the Quinceneara. I quite enjoyed the details. I am glad you included all the names you did, because I could clearly see every one of them...from David, to President Volpetti, to Curtis, and iban pa gid.

I am glad for my Sister. And it is pretty amazing... that our Family is growing up. Kind of too amazing. Myself, being 20... however... in his two year pause... i feel like i am without an age. And i feel when i return...
i will be starting out as 18... even though 18 was long back when I graduated high school.

I don't know how long it will come... before I realize that one day, not far off... my age will call me an adult. I do hope... that when this hits me, perhaps around 30 years old...that i will forget it soon after...
and enjoy the years 60-80 years old as that crazy-old grandpa who never grew up or, at least, grew up, knowing the things he need never give up xD
because, for me... perhaps just like so many of us out there...there's something fun... about just being a lil crazy and kiddish.

But for now... Rebecca... being 16. Who'da saw that coming??
and David 23 and Anjelica 22...
meh... for some reason that strikes me as about right...
for some reason the years 20-26 just kinda seem like they mesh,
one big blurr, as it were. You're just... you.
Not like 30... when all of a sudden... ho dang. I'm 30. Wow.

Time is so fleeting, isnt it?
I have so many wonderful memories...
times that cannot come back, nor be lived again.
But, at least for the time they were, they were quite a wonder.
And i can only imagine... the new ones to come. As we grow up.
Family Memories... man... we really do grow old together, dont we?
things dont just 'stay' as they were back when, eh?
i guess thats the fun of it xD

i cant wait to see Dad with a cane...
not that he would need it...
but kinda as a 'right-of-passage'...
so he can call himself "an old man"
and just whack everyone with it.

Well... dont know a whole lot about the Mission splitting yet... probably will hear more later on down the line...
next month should make things final/ announced.

As for now, I'm here in Hinigaran... still not sure where that is... somewhere near Binalbagan and a bit of a distance from La Carlota.

My companion is Elder Hernandez. He's from Idaho. (wow... arent those always the first two sentences that come when introducing companions... =P!) This will be the start of his 3rd month in the area, end of his 2nd. And... im his follow up trainer.

At the moment, there are 4 of us in the House in Santo Rosario (...oh... by the way mom... on several occasion, in my last area, i've come across your maiden name, Bautista. Extended Relatives maybe? everyone always finds that interesting when i tell them im half mexican, that youre full mexican, and thats your maiden name) (sorry if you dont want me to use it... its just is a cool way for them to see my connection to their heritage)

Elder Scott (my companion from the MTC) is companions with Elder Newman (Australian, 6 foot 6ish, nice accent =P and wants me to write his sister (19); this is his 3rd companion, so he's still a bit new), Myself, and my companion, Elder Hernandez. He writes his Girlfriend every week. I laugh xD! ahhh... i should write some of my friends more often =P
started to on occasion... never finished em. 'cept for Cristina from BYU, dad met her... i have a couple for her, just havent sent.
elder hernandez needs some work on his language skills. But its alright... its that drive, that fire... a testimony and desire to do the work... knowing why, that will inspire his mind, encourage his diligence, and release his tongue. It's not about learning a language.
Its about touching someone's heart.

Thats why i know, not too far off, it will come. Because i feel in our lessons, especially in our companionship studies, his drive.
His testimony. Its there. It will become a wonderful power for him, as a missionary.

I do marvel, however, in moments, at the miracles which have happened for me. Not to say i'm the slightest more capable than another sincere missionary... but for some reason, that which the Lord has suffered to loose upon me.

Among my batch, even among the batches several transfers ahead of me... I can speak, like those missionaries who have all diligently sought for and earned the trust, the privilege, from god, i can speak, in Moments... with the Tongues of Angels.

And even more so... this began, for me, from day one. The end of my first month. My 2nd month. You know my story. And in moments, i marvel at the miracle. I try hard... to avoid the temptation, though on occasion i may fall short, of thinking something of myself... and rather, truly focus, on the miracle.

This is why I am excited for Elder Hernandez. I know what can happen. It has meant everything for my mission. Because I've found a way to love this people. And I am excited... because i feel i may have many, many more opportunities...
to help other missionaries, perhaps some more experienced, and perhaps... many very new, missionaries...
to experience similar miracles.

For now, in Hinigaran, there is about a weekly church attendance of about 65. And as I came here... there seems to be a very small teaching pool. No real backups. And those being taught... around the ages of 8 to 14. Perhaps 4 or so of them. And, yes, we should be very happy. To be teaching. But there is more we can do. I know it. This week... i was given the opportunity to follow the lead of Elder Hernandez. I learned much. And i hope... as now, if he shall let me, as I begin to lead... that we can find the way the Lord would have us work here, in Hinigaran. The focus, as it seems to be in many places, is Retention. With some emphasis on Reactivation. However... i am finding that many missionaries have their own... "ideas & thoughts" concerning this. In any case... there is a way to accomplish this. And bring many. Very many, Investigators unto Christ, unto membership... Retain Them...Retain All Existing Strong Members... AND Reactivate several Families. There is a Way.

And... I Do Hope we Find this Way. For, my feelings on this area for now, are such that something needs to change... this week.
I have a few thoughts... Hopefully... God shall aid our Plans. But i do feel... like we are about to find the way.
And how wonderful... if we begin this right, now. At the beginning of this transfer. Let's Go to Work.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

P.S. by the way... all the members think I'm crazy...
but they like it =P I'm glad to be who I am.

It makes me reflect often, on a simple phrase Sister Carrie Truscott
sent me once in a letter, "There may be something different about you...
that gets you in somewhere... where others could not."

I am finding this... to be very true. I am glad to be who I am.

(hinigaran, philippines negros)
(google map?)

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Alright... well...
I'm sure somehow we'll get that call in... eventually...
But just to tide ya'll over for a lil bit...

here are a couple highlights for this week:

ONE! I played SOCCER!! last monday, at the plaza. It was great! apparently they are having a little tourny right now...and they saw us americans, and thought itd be funny to let us join. xD! we did. Our team won.

(Last Monday, we also played soccer... myself and an Australian missionary, Elder Claven, however... it was with a much more youthful we played nice... there were just a bunch of kids at the plaza we see occasionally (we were hoping to come across the older ones... not so
this attempt...), so... we asked if they wanted a match... all said yes... bunch o lil tikes ages 6-7 to 14-15... a BUNCH. maybe 15 on 15? it was fun.
we made sport... and actually...despite these kids being young, a couple are pretty good for their age. however... by far my favorite... ang isa ka lalake, naka-red shirt siya. He seemed about... 8 years old tops. He was short. very shy. he and his brother asked about half way through to join. we said yup...and soo... i just really liked him from the start... tried to give him opportunities for the ball... because it seemed all the other kids wouldnt... kinda scoffed at him, laughed a bit (he's soo small!)... but boy! were they surprised! he needed a good head start and some room.. but that kid could move. i cant tell you how many kids he could either get the ball from them or completely fake them out. The only times he ever ran into trouble was on a break away... he'd have NO ONE around him... and them... he'd get the ball and run! but his legs are so short...very quickly... 13 kids would be on his heels. it was so funny. I loved that lil runt. He's my favorite out of them all... and i do believe actually... in time, as he gets faster and taller...he'll be better than most of them. needless to say... even though at the beginning, when the kids avoided him, thinking him a handicap...they quickly found out, as he proved himself with the opportunities given him, he was quite the player. They used him a lot more often afterwards. That lil' runt =D!

So... yup... came back last monday... Elder Claven and I, hoping to find the older guys, and stumbled upon a tourny. (by the way, Elder Claven is Elder Headman's companion, mine is Elder Mateo... there are 4 of us at the house, Jaro area and Lapaz/Lapuz area)... they let us join, thinking theyd get a nice laugh. Cuz occasionally they see us around the city/area.

Well... we joined. We played. And despite my glasses falling off now and then... we won xD. Our team was pretty good...they covered all my faults. little out of shape, but still got it xD. And afterwards... got in some good BRT and OYMS. missionary work even in soccer! yup yup.

basta... i had alot of fun. and was very sore the next day.

(oh... dont know if i mentioned... but right now in the house... we have an interesting mix: One American, One Mexican (ako), One Australian, and One Filipino =P!) (fun times!)

(OH! and also didnt mention... that other game... with the lil kids... while we were playing.. something interesting happened. So... we invited our investigators, Angelie, John, and Nestley (soon to be given baptismal dates) (16, 17, 18 years old) (and mothers soon to follow... as well as other siblings) (but those three will be the first)... we were going to build a kite at the plaza... so that fell through... so we were all goingto play soccer... but they decided not to... so they just kinda sat and watched...

sooo... while we were playing... the baptists found them (they have some people who go around talking to people... kinda like missionaries... but not really anything like a missionary) (NOTE: earlier... Elder claven, being the bold man he is... (which is sometimes good, sometimes... interesting...) sought a few ought and basically... umm... well... lets just say they didnt have much to say after he was done with them...
im still not sure how i feel about it, but to appease my feelings, i just bore my testimony. (all things should be done in absolute love for another... seeking to inspire them.) Anyway... so they were a lil uneasy around us from then on... because they couldnt match a conversation with Elder Claven... (his mixture of scripture and testimony "interrogation"... and again, i dont say that this is inherently a bad thing, if done right, it can be very wholsesome and enlightening... its just not quite the approach i like to take =P)... haha...

Well this happened... they are about 20 to 21, two of them... and they, while we were playing soccer, happened to find our investigators watching on the sidelines...and began to 'preach' to them. After a while... elder Claven saw... told me, and said what he was going to do... so he began a lil jog in their direction. immediately upon glancing on the jogging figure of elder claven coming towards them... the baptists ran! ahhaha... it was funny. again... im not sure if i like completely how things went... but it was interesting. Continued with th game for a while... and then afterward, i spoke with elder claven becauseit was almost time to go home. So he said he just wanted to talk to the "leader" of those guys (cuz apparently there were about 15 of them at the plaza...) i told him to be nice... and said id join him shortly.

Spoke with our investigators and had them reflect on their feelings... because it was evident... and they soon doesnt feel they spoke...what they said. scriptures they spoke without understanding. So different from how we speak, always. missing smoetime... that being a heart of love. the spirit. Power of Heaven to confirm our words. and this, was the moment i knew... these 3 were ready. Yes... i knew they were almost ready for quite som time... but this was when i decided...they could tell... no one else... spoke "from Heaven. and from the Heart"... only this Church. These Missionaries...that was the highlight of my day... that their unique experience gave them something very great to think about... to compare... that truly...
no where else can say so magnificent things, beleiving them, understandingthem... loving them... with all their being. I am so Happy.

...and as a side note... i found elder claven not far off... with about 10 baptists around him... and, got a worried vibe...
i came over... and realized everyting he was saying to be very true... but again... the spirit... still... not quite that one of "edifying... for anothers well being"... so we testified, and left in love. by the end... 15 baptists had gathered to cross us. And... they were trying to cross... because elder claven had been able to asnwer every question and could not be moved. but it is so true... it doesnt matter what we say. it was an experience i am very grateful for... because those baptists never knew our purpose... until just before we left. We loved them. And we knew. Without a doubt. And they felt... something they never had before. It came in those last minutes... when I came to elder claven... and we ended the "crossing session"; and spoke boldly... in love.

The Church is True xD!

other highlight... hmmmm....
i felt my first earthquake this week! it was a small one... and ill tell you later about it.
just ask me on Wednesday.

record high! 104 degrees fahrenheit last tuesday! here in filipines highest its been in about a century.

i used an umbrella!!!!!
... but for rain. not for sun =P!!

im out of time... we'll talk bout my highlights Wed.


--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, April 26, 2010

From my Heart to Yours

This email... is but to describe a small, personal experience.

As of late... as my thoughts have been turning, more and more...
to my departure of this area, I have been wondering: have I given them my heart?
Soon, stewardship will pass... love will continue, and the work will go forth.
But my time, here... as hereto called... may be approaching its final days.
It has been on my mind much... this last transfer, as I have been acting Senior,
for I know my area. I know this flock. And as keys have been granted unto me...
for care of this vineyard... I have come to ponder, our unique role, even as Christ.

These dear people... and the power I possess, even the calling, to change their lives...Have I endured worthily of my charge? "What more could I have done, for my vineyard?" (Jacob)

And, in these past two weeks... I've come closer... so much closer... to what it means "All Heart, Might, Mind, and Strength" of finally... caring for someone else.

I would not profess to know the meaning of such the word, to "care." To love. Yet, I know, in some small way...
I've come closer.

There have been many deaths here, as of late. For investigators, and members alike. There have been hearts... full of emotion.
There are, as of now, so very many burdens on these People in the Philippines. People who wish to return to the church... but "can't." Investigators, who have tasted of the truth... but, the world would stop them. Even their own emotions, unbridled, would stop them. We have given so many blessings. Consecrated by oil. But consecrated in heart. We have blessed and anointed the sick and the ailing, those who are failing, young children, women who are without... and I know the Lord has heard, and will continue to hear and answer, every single one.

I am so happy. I have so much joy, for these, my people. Our people. For even if but in passing word... we are pronouncing blessing. Words have become so sacred to me. Time. People. Even if only but a minute, for a passing word...

Ours in the power... to give Meaning to Life. Meaning in every Minute. And in these People... I See It.

I See the Lord. And I See the Way. I Do not have much time left here... but I Promise... come the day when I must leave...
I will have given them, even all that I hath. I promise. I haven't yet. I've two weeks more to give... and for that I am so thankful.
I know these people, so personally... in a way, that only Christ could know. And has granted me this tender mercy, that I might be acquainted... with this special relationship. Even His relationship, with all His children. In some small way... He has granted me this minor miracle. And I am so Happy.

It came to me, as it does often, but in particular, with fire, just the other day...I have grown up, been raised, here, within the Gospel of Jesus Christ, within the Church. In safety. In peace. With knowledge. And Spirit. Always, abounding in love. These are the conditions, unto which I was born. And yet... it pains me. This is one of the greatest blessings of my life... to have known such miracles, all my life. Even if I never truly understood... they were known unto me. Even unto this day... wherein, always, all my life... I have known Joy.

But there are people... yes, even these very people... who have never known. Never known any, even unto the least of these, this Work and a Wonder, the very Beauties and Miracles and Purposes of God. There are people... who have not known this Joy.

Yes... I know in their Heart, their Spirits do recognize... yet, only now, they are coming to a knowledge of why. Why is it their Hearts do burn within their Families. When a child is born. Just watching their children. Being a mother, or father. The great desires of the Human heart... they finally are coming to know why. Oh, how Great the Love of our Lord, even such that He doth never forget His children. That He would have them come to a knowledge of Him, and of Happiness! And oh, how Great the mercies of the Lord, that He doth suffer... to send me, even I, oft unworthy... that we might together, bring some soul unto repentance. That their hearts "might rejoice." To bring to pass the Immortality and Eternal Life... of their Families. That He would send me!

And I can only reflect on those words...and that Broken Spirit, that shall e're flow from those words

"Oh it is wonderful, that He should care for me..."
"Oh it is wonderful, so wonderful... to me."

I know not why He would love me so. Suffer it to be so. Yet, even as Nephi replied, of all things...of one he was sure, "I know I know the Lord God loveth His children." I know He doth. I know His purposes. And if I know such... I am have been called. I shall honor this great Calling. I shall love... these great People.

An active Seventh-Day adventist minister, with whom I've come to gain such a great friend, recently responded to our Testimonies, as witnesses of all we know to be True. He is a searcher of that Great Light and Knowledge. He is a searcher of Truth and Happiness. But in His great searching... though He believes these wonderful scriptures of the Bible... he has yet to do that which he must to gain everything... He must open his Heart, and His Mind... and search these things... and Pray. And Ponder. Then will he feel that familiar Spirit... which I know, he shall recognize, as the very Spirit of God. Then shall He know... all we say to be True.

In response to our Testimonies -- after giving all he could for scripture, and questions, and cross questions, eventually found himself, bereft of any more to ask or say... save it be a small statement... to this extent, to which you could feel the exhaustion of his soul.

"Please... please, give us a minute. You must try to understand... you are asking us to believe in this book... of which we know not, of which we have never known..."

And a few more words... which meaning went on to say something as thus:
That we are speaking to them, as if to say we expect them to believe everything we say, and all which we testify, coming from a book from which they've neither read nor ever heard of, us professing this to be the very word of God... and telling them, in essence, that all that they've ever experienced in their entire lives... all they've ever searched for, and all the answers and all they've ever learned... basically that all they've come to, in their search, their entire lives... and they still have not found that Truth...which we Profess we have, from something they've never known or heard of before.

And I realized... oh Great the words and Testimonies are of which we Give. That before, in every testimony I ever gave... I always fully expected every person who heard, to believe and know of the truth, which of a surety, I had affirmed. I am so grateful for always having this expectation... for I truly did believe. Yet, know... I am even more grateful... for realizing how hard it ought to be for them to believe in my words. How great things they truly are of which we testify. Of this great Miracle, that happened to a boy, and this Book, which was hid, and came forth by power of God. The fullness of the Gospel... being able to affirm, that even without the Bible, the Gospel and Church of Jesus Christ would still stand, because of this Miraculous record, the Book of Mormon, which is the very word of God. I am asking them... to believe in a Miracle.

And no one, in their right mind, by any sense, ever ought to believe in any of this... it were true. And the Testimony of Joseph Smith... be the only answer... to this Work and a Wonder, which has now come forth... being called, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I will continue to bear my testimony, in full faith, that every word I say, shall be recognized by the Spirit of every Man...
as divinely inspired, coming from that Source of Truth, even the very God. Because, it does. I Know.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, April 12, 2010



Swiss Miss
Starburst (x3)
Baby Ruth
3 Musketeers
Prego Sauce
Chocolate, lots, and any kinds

THAT, is what the members ... like ... a lot of people were around when I opened my last we had a lot of sharing xD!

OH! But i would like some jelly beans...
the good kinds. Starburst or jolly rancher are best xD!

I dont have much need of stuff... so dont feel obligated to send me packages! They are very nice, and I appreciate them all and if in like 6 months, you wanna send me one, yeah, ok...i am just am a lil fickle on expenses, sorry. =P

(but you guys are my parents, and I have been taught by you all, so you have good judgement, so I'll trust that)

(again though... i have no NEEDS, at the moment... i save a lot of my support money, but splurge occasionally for candy for kids or for me, or someones birthday or something... so i have plenty in reserve, so...
just letting you know im ok. =P!)

HOWEVER! packages, yeah they are nice... but i would LOVE handwritten letters. those mean more than a package xD!
pictures drawn, or actual pictures, or anything inside the letters, i'll love. A handwritten letter is a very nice treasure...and they are soooo. much cheaper.

Perhaps try what i do... send one big envelope of lots of letters xD! Thats all i want.

Sorry... I don't have a whole lot to say, didnt print out the letters last week, so havent been able to answer them (will next week answer this weeks letters and last weeks)

I wish I could talk a lot about everything that happens here... but...

Basta... You're Son just wants to Work.
And I intend to absolutely exhaust myself.
Until I've nothing left. And somehow, He'll help me do so.

Missionaries, can & ought to Do. So. Much.
It is my desire, along with a few others...
to Help All the Missionaries realize...
That There is so much More we Can Do.
And how wonderful a blessing this is.

'Consecrated.' Coming to know what that means.

You're Son just wants to Work.

(... the feelings behind this phrase, is very very real)

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Nearer, my God, to Thee

To my loved ones,

What can I say? What advice could I give, or experience could I share...I am not bound by time, but I have naught to say. I wish, I could go on forever... but to you all, my beloved, I have naught to say.

Have you ever looked, into someone's eyes? Gazed deeply...
and lost yourself...And for a few minutes... all there is, is a feeling.
But it means everything.

It could begin by a conversation about anything...but the bridge... to a reverent acknowledgement and in those small moments... when no words are said.But the universe unfolds, in that feeling, that someone cares.

It doesn't matter... save it be that in that moment... we know that there is More. That someone Cares. That we are Someone. That we have a Purpose.

And that if Love, and Hope, are real...There must be More.

Nearer, my God, to Thee. Nearer. To Thee.

I live for those Moments, beloved.
We live, for these moments.

When Hearts become One.

I can do this, all. my. life.
I hope I do. I know, I will.
I apologize...but I cannot find the words.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Perhaps, we can come a bit closer to the understanding... through the Prophet, President Monson's own words,

I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not.

And what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.”

Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed.

Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. ~

Go for a small walk. Look around. Smile at something beautiful. Spend some time with the children. Sing something lovely. Listen to the Tabernacle Choir. Spend time with a Friend. Help someone else. Say thank you. Reminisce on the happiest moments of your life. Think on your Family. Read the Scriptures. Pray. In all things...

Ponder. That word, is really the only way, to understand, the things I have not the tongue to say. Ponder. On all things. And the great Mysteries of the Universe, become so simply beautiful.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Change of the Heart

Dear Family,

I shall speak but in brief. For I've but a few moments.
Yet, this is all e're I do need.

There must come a time, in every man's life... when he knows, and cannot doubt, the True and Living God.
But not all men feel they can believe. Not always. They feel. But are not certain. They want to believe.
But how can they? And yet, the Lord doth say, "this is enough."
For, saith He, "even if ye can no more than desire to believe" (Alma 32: 27) this shall be enough.
Such, who have even the desire to believe, which desire is inherent within us all, being the very offspring
of God, whose very essence can be seen within ourselves, are they who shall one day Accept Him.
And such, one day, are they who shall Be Received. And there shall be a Great Many. Even Countless.

Yet, what of Us? Who do believe? Who knoweth the light and the truth. The very children of God, unto whom Alma saith,
"And now, behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love,
I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (Alma 5: 26)

Let me say this, very reverently, very tenderly.
In words that are, in and of themselves, not my own, but of those... I know ye all have felt.
And of those... my heart has known.

"Yea, we believe...all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts,
...that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 2: 5)

Brothers & Sisters, this is a Child of God. And we are they. And thou knowest who thou art. Remember, always.
For unto me... in no special place, no unique moment in time, no wonder or miraculous particular passage of scripture...
Nothing. Save it be, the small... overwhelming touch... in a moment, when my Heart was open... of the Savior.

Years, of my life. All I know, and all I am. And, in particular... even while on my mission. After studying. Praying. Reading. Pondering. Observing. Teaching. Testifying.
Applying. Living. Loving. Delighting... in the Words of Our Savior. Be they through His prophets, His sacred scriptures, His servants here on the Earth, each and every one of us,
by His angels, which I promise, do attend us all, even God and the Savior themselves, who Come to Walk Among Us...
Through Consistency. And Earnestness. And Diligence. Of Hope. And Love. And Joy.

In One Moment... I Received My Change of Heart. And I Can Say... even as they Have said... that I Do Desire to do no more evil, but to do good continually. To stand as an ensign to the world. To be His child. To consecrate my performance unto Him; to Glorify our Father, which is in Heaven; to serve Him with all heart, might, mind, and strength; to labor all my days without ceasing; to waste and wear out my life...

I know, we all have felt this Song. We all Have known The Love. It is within Us.
Nothing else, nothing, is greater than this witness we have received, which we must honor
and uphold. For in a moment of doubt, or fear, or weakness... we may forget.

But remember... it is not a moment, that has made you a Child of God.
It has been an Eternity. And it shall continue to be.

Diligence. So we may Never Forget. Let Us Live as Disciples.
He Shall Never Forsake...He Shall Never Forget...
(1 Nephi 21: 14-16; 3 Nephi 11: 14)

Let Us, as well, Always Remember.
Our Change of Heart.

We know what must be Done.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

(Mosiah 18: 21-22; 3 Nephi 18: 7)
(3 Nephi 27: 21)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Always and Forever, the Family

My Family...
It has been such a wonderful opportunity, unto the nourishment of my Spirit, to share with you the passions which
have oft come to overwhelm me. I have loved this. And continue to do so. However... as I have thought on these passions...
and the people from and for whom these tender mercies have been made manifest unto me, there is such great desire,
to help you all see, in a new way, The Testimony here, in the Philippines.
It would be my greatest joy, to take a moment... to Introduce you, to those who have Touched My Life, for Good.
Brothers and Sisters... this is Our Family.

Brother and Sister Loreno... a young family, of perhaps their 30s or so. The mother, a somewhat inactive member of the Church. Her husband, not a member. And constantly busy
with work or other doings. They are living with two other somewhat inactive members... the parents of Sister, both tigulang (elderly), the father a former bishop. And, in old age... somehow became more or less inactive. They are among the first people whom I met when I arrived. The Loreno family consists of a young daughter, Sister Lalane Loreno, 9 years old... with perhaps one of the greatest testimonies I've known of a youth her age. She knew Him. But in such situations... it is hard... for a family, seemingly too busy, too much work, no time for the luxury of church or the gospel...
And with another daughter, but a few months old, now long in care at a hopsital far off, unsure of the situation... sometimes...
But the gospel can work wonders. It does work wonders. It Changes Lives...for Good. And Forever.
Just this past sunday, Their sick infant was blessed, and given a name. And the name... Celestial Joyce Loreno Ladoa. And the father, Brother Loreno... asked me, to pronounce the blessing and name upon His child. This family, now, I promise you, is closer and stronger and more eternal now, than ever before. Greater than anything of mere temporal worth. The Father has been baptized... the daughter as well... the Mother's passion rekindled... as well as the tigulang bishop and his wife. And soon... they all hope to be sealed together, for time and all eternity, as a family. All because... they could feel the tender mercies of the Lord, pierce their hearts. We welcome them, with open arms.

Jonah 18 year old girl. Just beginning college. At first, a mere referral, the Sister of an Active member of the church... quite humorous and free-spirited the Brother, Marvin, and his entire family (His wife, and two children (Boy and Girl, about 10 and 8, Chester and Shane)). They have found great place in our hearts. And they have for the most part, been quite active. But truly... now, they are seeing that the Gospel, once again... is the True Plan of Happiness for His Children. For Jonah, who we have been seeing for the past month and a half, is ready. To be baptized. In the next few days...
we are excited. For we do believe she shall soon enter into the covenant with the Lord... to seek a new life, a life of everlasting Joy, with Jesus Christ. She has come to church... every sunday... for the past 5 or 6 sundays... even on her own. And that family... so humorous. so loving. She can see why this is a gospel, for Families. We welcome her, with open arms.

Sister Aguirre, whos eccentric nature is astounding! Such love and life, even though sometimes it may seem like she doesnt understand... I know she does. Her one large question... as it should be...
"what does it mean... to endure, to the end?" Rather hesitant, she asked this. And all her worries... could be answered... with the person in whom all doubt ought flee: Jesus Christ. Who is He? Who are We? If there is infinite hope and love in Him... what does this mean? We are here in this life... to improve. To discover our true desire... and that be our lifelong journey. And that almost all mankind may be saved. Because He loves His children. She was recently baptized... and is endeavoring that her children (disinterested seemingly... two young rambunctious boys) might be baptized. (Her husband, a somewhat less active member); she has, since her baptized, proven of great worth to her father in heaven... in sharing her love for the gospel, with all she meets. Eccentric, yes. A little crazy, of course. But of such pure intent of heart... I love this woman. We'd welcome her, but her arms were open first. =D!

The Lentoco Family...
the father, a member. His wife working abroad, who hasn't returned for the space of over a year, perhaps 2 if I remember correctly. However, the will of the father is so strong. And the love of His children... so evident. Sister Shane (9) (recently baptized in our time here) and his other daughter (8), filled with such love and gratitude for their father, who works all day as a tricycad driver (bicycle with a side car)... and yet somehow... he always finds time... so much time... even while working, to play with his Children. Despite seemingly that he ought have no time, for his low income and laborious travels. His smile is among the greatest I have ever seen. And I see this man daily. Daily. He knows... despite all else... that Happiness is Family. And, even if only this, it is Enough. He knows we are One Family. We embrace him, our Brother. And his wonderful Family.

The Jenneth family. A young family. All members... less active. Still in a struggle. Sister Jenneth, Brother Jenneth, and their two children 12 and 8? (Son and Daughter); despite their simple means... despite the inactivity of the Brother... they love one another, so dearly. The father, still a boy. And sometimes...the Mother, feeling so... alone. But she is not alone. And they have come to see this. The wife... depsite all obstacles... somehow determined... and her efforts do not go unnoticed. I am proud to say, the Gospel has once again found center in all their lives. And the priesthood responsibility and blessing... we hope soon to help Brother realize the magnitude of the calling: Father. How sacred. They have once again, found their way back to the fold. We shall continue, to nurture them.

Sister Reya...
She, in the past, was known to be a strong member of the church. Came and loved sundays. And somehow... someday... stopped coming. Her sister still comes all the time. But as for her and her daughter... they just stopped. Time passed away. Her daughter became involved with the Baptist schooling... and slowly... church became somewhat of a memory. And for missionaries and members and going to church... it seemed as though it was too embarrassing. Or she was too shy. Or things of like manner. But finally... one day... they were home... and they welcomed us into their Home. The result... after many subsequent visits, was thus: She could not deny, the Spirit. And the be welcomed back with loving arms, at church. From the first sunday, that she returned, she has not missed a sunday. And her countenance has completely changed. I am so happy for her... for truly, it seems as if she never left. And I have hope, and pray, that she shall never find herself too shy... to come see her Family. We love her.

Brother Jun Jun Jadulos... and his family. Wow...there are many, many of them. All of them members... except for the mother (all 8 of the kids are? some come to church regularly, the others dont... mostly the younger ones come) (the 18 and 20 year olds dont) However... after two FHEs, they are such exciting and fun loving people. The Brother, Jun Jun, a recent convert, though less active, so strong... and attempting to help his fiance become a member. And in the next few weeks... we may just see this come to be. The first steps. But all in all, Jun Jun (20?) and his brothers and sisters (5 to 22 years old) (8 of them or so), we are excited for the day they ALL come to church.

Sister Martos, an elderly woman, suffering from a sickness of tabacco (so now, she has a tube in her throat to help her speak), who had seemingly lost her testimony... entertaining visits from other religions, including the 7th day adventists... having now been long time inactive... we found her at a time, that I can give thanks for. For when we arrived to see her for our second time in my time here in this area, the 7th day adventists were over to share a small message. From the bible. And it was wonderful, for both parties, missionaries and them, were here with Sister Martos. And the other couple (50s, a man and woman (married)) shared their message (we had introduced and chatted a little bit before and found out the wife's father was a very strong endowed member of the LDS and her family as well... it was a very fruitful visit) (and they said we could share if we wanted... but instead, the spirit seemed to direct to allow them to share); it was on the bible, and the importance of scripture study. And it was all wonderful. So true! and after their message was over, we, the missionaries, took about 5 minutes to testify of the truthfulness and spirit of their message... and then... expounded... just a little more. Those simple truths, which can only be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And sister began crying. And all were edified... for there was a Spirit of Harmony. And i do hope... i may see all parties present at that time, one day, at the church. We are waiting, to welcome them all.

Sister Conchita, a very elderly woman, who, in her time, never missed a temple trip to manila, despite being quite far and expensive to go. And, through sickness and old age, eventually found herself seemingly forgotten in the history of the church. It is hard... No one wants to be forgotten. And i could only help but think on Sister Mormon, and for those sweet opportunities i may not ever have truly realized, which father and I were able to share with Sister Mormon. I love her, and her Spirit shall live on, with me, for I do remember her. And sister Conchita as well, shall well be remembered. And is. And has found, as of the past few weeks... that this, her family, shall never forsake, nor forget her. Family is Forever, that shall never be forgotten.

I Shall continue perhaps in the next email, next week, with more on the people of Whom I Know.
but for now, let me close with thus, something I've come to find has brought all these people... to a remembrance of Our Eternal Family.

Truly...I am ever so grateful for this Church. And the opportunity we have, to see one another every Sunday, to remember Our Family, and its Divine Design. Jesus Christ doth visit us all, every Sunday, at Church. He doth come within the very midst. And always, His Presence doth reside in all our temples. "Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord." They have been called the beacons to the world, An ensign, The place of purity and peace, the closest place to heaven on earth. And Yes, this is all true. This is the closest place to heaven on earth. Within his holy temples. And attending Sacrament, every Sunday, to testify unto the Father, "that we do always remember Him," these are two of the closest places to Heaven on Earth. But there is One More. And Perhaps the Greatest. It is answered in a Primary song, as well.

Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you here and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven, is far away...
but I feel it closer round me as I pray.

The Sacred Gift and Power of Prayer...of a prayer offered in Faith, in Humbleness of Heart, in Love, to the Father... this is the closest one can come to Heaven on Earth...
For His Very essence doth shine all around us...

"And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white
as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof."
(3 Nephi 19: 25)

Now image... this is Us. Every time we pray, in pure, fervent passion. This is the closest, to heaven on Earth.
For all miracles, and all majesty, that has come to the Earth, even unto the Restoration of the Gospel and the vision unto Joseph Smith,
did come... from one pure prayer.

Prayer. And to add to this... consider the words of Thomas S. Monson
"there is nothing more beautiful in this world... than the sight of a family, on their knees, praying together."

We are meant, to be so close to Him. We are of Him.
We are a Family. Let us ever, continue... to have his countenace round about us.
For unto this reason, are we here.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

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