Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

What a wonderful time we live in.
And what beautiful circumstances we've been born into.
For all people who may read this, or who may know you, or see you...or even hear of you...have someway come closer to that step: Discovering Who We Are.

Dear Family, we know who we are.

In particular this week...I have oft been carried to awe...
because of one, simple book, whose words, to quote the scriptures, are "Plain and Precious."

I ponder on those Plain and Precious things we Know.
For a Moment, do so with Me. What do you believe? What do you know? What have you heard? What do you feel? What do you desire? What are your questions?

What Matters Most?
And then...ponder on these few phrases:

There is a God. We are His Children. And He Loves Us.
Families are Forever. And are Central to His Plan.
There is a Plan. We were with God Before the World; Are Here on Earth--for Our Experience. To Find Him. To Choose Him. And We Will Return to Him Again.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is Our Savior--and with Him, We Can Endure & Do All Things.

We Speak to Him through Prayer. And He ~Answers.~ We are Meant to Be Happy Forever.
Our to Love One Another. And to Share What We Know. To Proclaim His Love, Hope, and Light. To All.

What Do You Think Of? Whom Do You Think Of?
And Who do You Know...Who Is Looking for This...
for their Family? For a Child Come and Gone from their World? A Lonely Old Man. Or a Single Mother. Someone seemingly without Love. Or Hope. Who Labors and Still Cannot Support Their Family. Or Whose Family is seemingly being Torn Apart. Children seduced by Drugs, Sex, Alcohol. Parents...too Busy. Who has an addiction; abortion; has loved and lost; a difficult decision; confused; hurt; suffering; tired; searching for a Better Life?

Who needs Help? Maybe even You Yourself...

There is Nothing, from Which Ye Cannot Be Cured.
There is Nothing that Can Stop You, From Being Happy.

But All That is Required is Thus: Ask Yourself, in your Heart...what Am I Looking For? What do I Truly Desire?
And perhaps do what seems to be so hard sometimes...
Offer this your Plea: "I Need Help. Please, How Can I Be Happy?"

And the Answer Is, and Always Has Been, and Ever Will Be:
"Come Follow Me."

Brothers and Sisters, My Dear Family, I Invite Us all to take a Moment, and Ponder in Our Hearts, 'What Matters Most'

We Know. And within Every Human Heart...They Know.
This Gospel is Everything. To Prepare to be Eternally Live with God Again, as a Family.

And Here We are On Prepare Our Family. All. Of Our Family.

This is Our Sacred Duty. In Our Hearts...we Know.
Now, Once Ever Are the Righteous Called...
We Are Called to Prepare for the Glorious Day.

The Answers to Everything...Lie within this Gospel.
And the Way Ever will Remain: Through Jesus Christ, the Savior.

"Come Unto Me. And I Will Give Thee Rest."

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

--Elder Christopehr A. Lewis


This has been the topic dominating my Mind for the Past Week...for Truly...It All Starts with that One Small Something...that Caused Us to Believe.

In Lapaz and Lapuz...Our Focus is Retention. Yet I fervently sustain the notion that One of the Greatest Ways to in the Simple, Sharing of Testimony...from Those Members. Help Them Remember. And Help Them Give to Someone Else what They Know.

I Love that which President Hinckley mentioned of the three things which all Members Need: A Friend, An Assignment, and to be Nurtured by the Good Word of God.

Absolutely. And How do we do This? Every One of these Items...Requires Love from Someone Else. That Testimony.
Let Us Nurture One Another, As Home Teachers or Presidencies or Ward Missionaries, Relief Society. Let Us Be Their Friends. Let Us Love One Another. And Remind One Another Always...of These Things Which We Know.
And those People Shall Remember...and Come Tearfully Back into the Arms of the Savior...and through Showing Our Love For Others...we will assure Ourselves, that From His Arms we Never Leave.

The Work is Doing Wonderfully Here...I Do Hope I Remain in this Area for another Transfer or So...because Finally...these Members are finally beginning to truly understand what it means to believe: "This Church is True"

Thus...we've begun, all the work WITH one another, for the purpose of helping members in need, spiritually and temporally, and encouraging one another to share what they believe to their close friends, for truly, they who are closest to you, shall believe your words. They already love you. And They Shall Love You Forever...for you are about to give them: What Matters Most. And they are accommodate all new investigators, fellowshipping.

And not only the auxiliaries...but we've begun visiting every members house, to strengthen their testimonies and love for one another...and help them realize our Purpose as members of this Gospel: To Share. This is What All Our Friends Are Yearning For.

Thus...Lapaz and Lapuz (in particular Lapuz; Lapaz We Shall Continue to Endeavor, but they are progressing) Have Begun to Realize Their Calling: A Ward Family.

And From This, All Things are Possible. The Kingdom to Come.

My first week here, there was a baptism of the daughter of a long time member...(April Joy) (11?) And this past week, the baptism of the daughter (Shane Lentoco (9) ) of a less active member, a 'single' fully active.

We have an expected 6 Baptisms to come in the next 2 weeks... Friends of Members. A Family of Three (Mother: Sister Aguirre, and her two sons); A Related Uncle of a Member: Jonard Loreno (21+). And another daughter within that family tree: Sis. Lalane Loreno (11?). As well as a close friend of a now very active family, Sis. Jonah Caboverde (18)

And a Young Woman, Sis. Mary Joyce Oro (14) from a medyo active, long time grandmother member. And Hopefully, the mother and 3 other children will follow. We do so Hope.

So the Program is as Thus Far Working...and the Ward is Excited...and We Do Hope to Continually Spur them Up to Remember their Cause.

But this is only the beginning for this Ward, and this Program Elder and I have been supporting has only just begun in the last 2 weeks... so I Know the Future Shall Be Bright.

Thus, if I Do Transfer...I Hope the Spirit Carries Onward Here. But I Do Hope to Remain. Nevertheless...perhaps There is A Vineyard That Shall have Need of Me Elsewhere.

Brothers & Sisters. The Gospel is True. These People Believe...with all their Heart, that we Do Teach. And I I Speak to them, I Speak from My Heart...and I Realize & Remember Anew every time I Testify or Speak of this Gospel...This is True. And I Believe This With all My Soul. Therefore...If We Seek to Be Joyful...and Ever Remember and Keep the Spirit within Us to Abide, the Greatest to Share from Your Heart. Often. Yea, Always. With Someone.

I Have as of thus decided on Something...
Often...we Think of Those Amazing People...
People in History, Successful Persons Now, Even for Us...Certain Missionaries. And for a Moment the thought Came to Mind: I Want to Be the Best Missionary. The Best.

And While the intent here is good...there is a Greater Way. There is Something Much More Wonderful Than Being 'The Best'... Be it the Best Missionary, or Soccer Player, or Singer, Or Businessman...or Aspiring to Be Like and/or Greater than The Seemingly Great People in this World.

Shall We Not Rather Seek Thus:

"I Want to Be...As God Would Have Me Be."
And thus, we Shall Become the Greatest, of E're We Could Become.

I Want to Be, The Missionary, That God Would Have Me Be.
And For All Our Lives...I Pray We Feel Thus:

"To Be the People...the Sons and Daughters...that God Would Have Us Be."

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Sunday, January 24, 2010

For When We Can Do No More...

Dear Friends and Family,

Never Hath there been a Greater time in our Lives, than the time at Hand Now. The time that has gone before us, for these very moments. The time that shall come after prepare for His very Coming. This is a Chosen Generation. I have heard this all my life. And in a way I've never quite seen before...I Know This is True. This Generation shall be the Herald.

Can we think of a time when Ever Our Purpose has ever been so clear? "To Invite Others to Come Unto Christ"

All we're asking, my Dear Brothers and Sisters, all that i being asked of all of us, is to be a friend to our friends. And share what you know is true. Your Testimony. Not to teach. Not to Preach. Just show that we care.

It's all they say...our friends are asking for our Testimony... their thoughts on their family, on a death occurred, of a new born child, of love, of God, marriage, Church, something they've found and felt...something they've thought is missing. Difficulty with their teenage children. Struggle. Lack of Peace. Contention in the Home. Financial difficulty. A Yearning to be together. Questions, questions. There's a reason our friends are our friends. And why they enjoy being so. And all the while...they are waiting...for a few kind words: our testimony...that spur the question: How Do You Know That?

Brothers and Sisters, How Do We Know This? For one, it might have been through a tragic experience. Through another...the scriptures, and revelation. And yet still others, from another's testimony.

However it came, Remember This: It Came. From God. And through his Holy Spirit. How Do You Know?

Can I Just Say One Thing More:
Regardless of How...You Know. I Cannot 2 short months...even in not but one month in each area...I have established stronger relationships with mere acquaintances than most other people in my life.
I am in Awe...when I Think on Who I Know.

There's a word in ilonggo for getting to know someone: Kilala. And i can say, though I may have met these people several times or even but once...for those Moments, I Knew them, as The Savior Has. I Can Say, Nakakilala ako sa ila.

A Woman. Strong Member of the Church...two daughters, batas sila, but maybe a couple months and a 2 year old, who lives in among the most humble conditions I've ever seen: perhaps a 10 foot by 10 foot room. And her husband has of yet, not become a member...despite various elders attempts. Nor does he come to church. Yet she makes the trek, by herself.

An SA Male, with no real strong income, salvaging what he can to serve a mission, while at the same time finding time off from work to serve with the missionaries. He makes the equivalent of maybe 150 pisos a day..and he WORKS for it, with his might. thats perhaps $3 or save so that he can go on a mission. He's already older than I. And he looks forward...that perhaps in a year or two...he can serve a mission.

A Single Mother, Long time member in a church, whose progress has seemingly fallen backward...despite 7 years of missionary work. And herself...among the strongest and most enduring, of the very last beacons of hope for her ward, has begun to fade away.

A Young Father, Member, Medyo Active Siya, two girl preparing for baptism...who has not as of yet seen his Wife for two years...perhaps she will return this year Home.

A counselors. no support from YM or High real leadership. Save it be for perhaps two, both of which have not been see for quite some time...and all affairs fall upon Him. And He Can Padayon no further...

A Councilor in the Bishopric...two in fact...who all i ever see, when i see them, are Pisan gid sa simbahan. Pisan, ever pursuing how to help the missionaries and move the work forth...And how for granted i take them... until i see them, pedaling & pedaling their little carts all the day long, just to make enough to barely support their extended families, who live all together with their own immediate family. And every spare moment of rest, which are few, they Work in the Service of God.

A Mother of three...who works every day, save it be sunday she can make a journey, the farthest of all the investigators i've known in Manapla, to Church...perhaps 3 tricycle rides and perhaps a Ceres as well...which would cost her her much labored income which already is not enough to bring them all to she would WALK. And she does this...with a hope... that maybe, just maybe... this church can help her find her Husband, a bit of a drunkard, eventually led to suicide...but her husband whom she loved nonetheless.

An RM...who did not complete her mission...who had somewhat of an affair, much gossip by church members and has since been "shamed" out of the church...taking some baby steps back to the some lil corner of comfort she had once felt within the chapel walls...

I Have Seen and Felt, through the Hearts of Others, Time and All Manner of Experience pass away...

and I Cannot Explain...for I Am Still Broken...every time i see a Filipino Cry. It is Different. It is Hard. They do not cry...Until they are Absolutely without.

And that Very Moment...though all Has Passed Away...there is One who Has Not. And Somewhere...They Feel This. For though they Cannot, They Padayon. They Continue Gid.

Believing in Something. Something. Brothers and Sisters...This is Real. I Promise You. There is a Piece of Them Left, even after they are All Broken...and it is the Savior. They Believe. For He Hath not Forsaken Thee.

I ask Remember. Not only for Ourselves...but for those Who Need Us. The Greatest Thing you could ever do for Sharing Your Testimony with Someone Else. For When You Do This...they feel it: You are Saving Them. But what You Feel: He is Saving You. The Savior.

Stop. Just Stop. Sometimes...we Don't Do This.
The World is So Loud. Can we Take a Moment...Just One...and Remember: Why Are We Here?

I Promise You, Brothers and Sisters...I Have Known People. I Have Known People...Greater Now, than Ever in My Life. And This is What I Have Seen:

There are Those, Amidst the Worst, Who Still Believe.
And there Are Those, amidst the world, Who Believe they Cannot.

But What We Know: We Can. We are Never Alone.

This is Perhaps one of the Most Impossible Things to Believe...for We Say That There is Always Hope. How Can This Be? It Cannot Be...
And Yet, Once You Believe It, You Know, That This is True.

"Some poor fainting, struggling sea man, you may rescue, you may save."

Someone, of your friends, even them all. Are waiting. For You. Not for a lesson. Nor the missionaries. A teaching or a preaching. But the kind words of a dear friend, a testimony, with conviction of heart, that testifies: I Know.
And finally...let them know how you know.

Believe in your Testimony. Believe in God. Believe the Very Promise of God: They Need You. Believe that we are One Family. Believe that the Missionaries Shall Testify with his Very Own Power. Believe... and Remember all that Ye Believe. And Please. Know That I Believe.

This is a Choice Generation. Because there is a Work that Must Be Done Now...that Shall Forever Determine the Future. And, Blessed are We...We Are Here.

And if Ever You Doubt. EVER. Remember This: There are countless concourses of Angels...many of which in the form of Saints on this Earth...Praying for You. Because They Believe. So when Ye Feel Ye Cannot...Remember, They Believe. And Their Prayers Shall be Answered...for You.

Because I Have met those angels. Because those people I Have Mentioned, who's trials and opposition have come amidst the worst which can be called forth...still Believe...and Pray for the Cause with which We Have Been Entrusted as Members and Missionaries: The Gospel...Families Forever...Life Eternal...Joy Ever More.

Praying for You.

And Don't You Dare. Dare.
Think that He Wouldn't Answer Their Prayers.
Don't You Dare Be that Selfish. For I Have Known these people. And their Faith, despite the Devil lashing at their backs. And yet, they suffer the whip, and pray on for you.
Ye Shall Be Saved...even for Their Sake. Because they have suffered for You. So amidst the discouragement, or fear, or sadness, or pain...or all the world coming down upon you...Remember: They. Waver. Not. Because they love you.

We're a Family. And as the scriptures say so tragically poetic:
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; *and with His stripes are we healed*."
"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him." (Mosiah 14: 5 &10)

I Have Seen Christlike...and what it means to, in some small degree, walk the path of Christ. I have Seen these People endeavor to do so. And I Christ, oh How they Cry. Not because the pain is too much to bear. But because, for at least this stripe, Ye Didn't have to Bear. And for this, The Great Weight of that Tear of Pain...forgotten, swallowed up in the Tear of Joy that followed with It. And Thus, we See, "By [their] stripes are we healed."

We Will Do Anything. For Our Family. Because We Love One Another. Remember Them. Remember Your Friends, in the World. And Remember Christ.
Yea, Remember...Remember. The very Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Liahona for the World

Just the other day, My Companion and I were walking, late at night...into a rather Bukid area on the outskirts of the main proselyting region. Here, we were to visit a quite less active family, and to cheer up their hearts. Along the way...I noticed how I never lost sight of my companion. Though night was growing great, and barely visible would ones hand be in front of the face, I kept my focus on Him, marching ever forward...somewhat a ways from me. And I never lost sight of him...because of the brilliance of the White Shirt he was wearing. He was at length more than the distance farther apart than we should have been. And yet, i noticed, that whether i happened to be closer to Him, or some distance Manner of Darkness could diminish that Bright White shirt. Only that it seemed so much further, and my pace Slackened.

Directly adjacent to the house we were visiting, nearly pitch black now, I glimpsed the flickers of some burning embers of a fire that had once been. And again...that timeless Legend, of Dark vs. Light, came so wonderfully into my Mind.

I Speak of the Light, that is within Us All. Though small a light may be...No Manner of Darkness can over it overcome. For Infinite is Light. Infinite is Truth. Only if we look away, do we miss the light. Or shouldst we slacken our stride, do we begin to lose hope. But the Truth is Forever: Light. If one lights a candle in the night, no matter how small it may be, So Long as there is a Source for it to nourish, it shall Never Fail. And No Manner of Darkness can Ever Overcome the Brilliance of Light. The Same is true of the Other End of the Spectrum: In A Glorious Day, Brimming with Pure Sunlight, there can Be No Shadow in its Presence. Not even the smallest of Darkness can abide in True Light of Day.

Family and Friends, Brothers and Sisters, We Hold Within Ourselves, the Light. The Very Light of Christ. And His Source is Infinite. This is Your Testimony. And no matter How Small it may Be...The Source of Your Testimony is Boundless. Now, the Question is: How Do You See Your Candle? Your Light? Are You Encompassed by Darkness...the Great Presence of Evil, Overbearing and Fearful...because you've but only a Small Light? Or Will You Stand Proud, and See not the Darkness that Shrinks from your very Presence, but Only All That is in the Light? The Source of your Light will Never Change. The Truth of this Tale is Eternal. Darkness shall Never Overcome Light. So...if the darkness right now seems to great to bear, you feel lost or confused, hopeless or despair, discouraged...that on all sides it engulfs you, and you've naught you can do...Hold On. Check Yourself. You've a Candle...and Nothing Can That Overcome.

I'm Reminded of the Scripture, "That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day." (D&C 50:24)See Yourself in the Glory That You Are. That He Sees of You. Search your Scriptures. Come to Church. Ask of a Friend. Prayer. My Dear Brothers and Sisters, oh I would remind you that we need to Pray. In as Deep Conviction and Humbleness of Heart that we can offer. And Give Unto Another. Serve Another. Share Your Little Candle with Someone Else, no matter how small. Offer them Light, in the midst of their Darkness. And I Promise You...when You Glimpse Back upon Your Own little hath Begun the Journey...Unto that Perfect Day.

We Have the Light, Brothers and Sisters. We Know This Story, and We Know We Shall Overcome. Have Hope. Give Hope. Remember...Ye Are a Child of God. A Child Born of Light. Born of the Very Christ, through His Atonement. Come Unto the World...To Remind One Another of Your Divine Heritage. He is God, the Eternal Father...and Dear Brothers and Sisters, He is Eternal. This I Testify, in the Name of the Son of God, the Very Light of the World, Jesus Christ, Amen.


We are doing wonderfully, Family.
Lapaz and Lapuz are much more city, its quite a change of pace. However...all men need to hear. And that small moment had a profound effect on my Heart...and how Perfect this Plan of the Father Is...and the Inspiration he doth give, even unto the smallest, unto his Apostles and Shepherds o'er the Earth. Even such as to why a Missionary Bears a White Appearance. There is So Much Truth, in all things, and I am Ever Grateful, as we behold the mysteries and secrets and treasures, even the tender mercies of God, coming unto our minds.

I Do not recall if I happened to mention in the last letter, however I Will Make short note of it here, liwat.
Within the precious time of my first area, my companion and all the people therein...I've Begun to Understand what it Means to Love Someone.

And in this My Second Area, this resonates once more. And this ward...I See such a Vision! For Truly...this Spirit has Come Upon this Ward...and the Moment the Missionaries are ready to Truly Pour their Heart unto these Members and this Area...I Promise you that in those Days...this Ward will Have Known what it Means when the Scriptures Dictate, "The Kingdom Shall Be Built!"

The Ward...each and every member...and the leaders therein...oh how so true it is, that every aspect of this gospel, every activity and calling, to do thus as Joseph Smith Directed: "The greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel."

And together...we've amassed so many ideas...and the ward as well, is willing! And we shall try those we feel most of the Spirit. And lo, miracles shall be Wraught.Thou the focus is retention, carefully detailed unto us, we can do both with great stride!

A Moment Like This...Oh, How I'd Weep if I Did Knowingly Miss Thus! But I See This Vision! And Mother, Father, It Can Be!

Last Sunday about 72/75 attendance in both wards, 2 Baptismal Candidates...and this is just the beginning...The Lord Has Entrusted Us All, Based Upon Our Faithfulness in Obedience, with Certain People in Our Lives. Therefore...oh How We Ought to Open Our Hearts!

For a Moment...Close Our Mouths. For We Confuse Ourselves far too much between the mind and the mouth, trying to work in harmony. But there is One that Can: The Heart. Let it Speak.

I Marvel that too often, we somehow separate sharing the Gospel, with Sharing what we Love about the Gospel. Why we love the Gospel.

Brothers and Sisters, this ought not to Be! It Is One. You are Who you Are, Because of Just that: The Why. Help them Feel the

Testimony. This is something I Struggle with every day... such testimony...i know it! I Feel It! Perhaps I could and would share it in english! But I've a Different Tongue now...And Yet, I've the Same Heart...different from the first...Born of Christ...I've that same Heart.

Dont think about the Gospel. Feel It.
And Then will our mouths and our minds be appeased, by our hearts.
"God is no Respecter of Persons"
"An Eye Single to the Glory of God"

These words give me great comfort...for if I Believe them...i will "Open My Mouth" as it were, to all people I Meet. But rather, as its meaning truly implies, "Open Your Heart." Love them think that they might absolutely say no. And yet, that you know, they are forever changed.

I've Begun to Dream. Always...its interesting. He truly Does Change Your Thoughts and your Heart. For in my Dreams, I'm still a Missionary, and tired just as ever. But either I'm serving here, or in the Ward back home...going unto all. And I Know this shall be My Calling Forever.

The Greatest Duty...our Greatest Joy.

If we Think on the Words of President Hinckley:
"Do you want to be Happy?"

"Forget Yourself, and Get Lost in this Great Cause."
He is to Come, Mother. He is to Come.

He is the One Way. He is All Hope & All Love. All Our Dreams and All Our Desires. Safety and Peace. He is Our Liahona Home.

I Feel the Prayers of the Faithful, all over the World, Members and Non-Members alike. And I know...he hears each one. Be Patient...He is Answering, and Will Answer All. And You May Just Be That Miracle for someone Else. Yea, I Promise You, You Are A Miracle, for someone Else.

May We Ever Seek Him. May We Listen. And May We Ever Be Happy. For Always, we were Meant to Be. Let Us Be Happy. A Bright Hope for the Future. I Pray, in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Comfort Their Souls in Christ

"O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our Brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our Brethren, again unto thee." (Alma 31: 35)

To my dear Family Serving at Home,

I Thank you so Much, for your Examples.
It is amazing, what our responsibilities are. And it is even more amazing, to find out that it is thus that brings us our Joy. Even through the times of greatest trial...somewhere, there Cometh the Greatest Light. Therefore, if we, who know, that these things must be, Shall We Not Do as the Lord Directs?

"Yet Shall ye be patient in long suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and i will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls."

Dear Family...I Do not life in the mission before the past few days. Nor the words I Have said. In fact...i feel quite renewed and refreshed.

I am no longer on Negros, serving in Manapla and Caduha-an. But rather, I am one of a few who have been transferred to the island of Panay. Serving now in the area of LaPaz and LaPuz (spelling?).

Elder Stockton is now the Zone Leader, and he is staying in Manapla. In any case...there are many memories from back during the past month i will endeavor to find some time to write in my journal, for as of yet, i have not written of them, and i have found that after coming to this new land, much is leaving my remembrance.

These scriptures i read some time ago, however, they keep coming to my remembrance. And how Ammon spoke of the lamanites as "those whom he had termed to be His Brethren."

When I Left Manapla and Caduha-an, i had the opportunity in passing to see a few families, and say farewell. And it was wonderful. For many of them I Deemed to Be My Family. But even more so...they Called Me Theirs. I've a Home here, in the Philippines. I've a Home among His People.

(Said of, to name a few, Sister Alagban, Sister Alvez and her Family, Mamma Flor and her Family, The Nolan Family (inc. Sis GiGi), and Sister Pinky w/ Princess)

Glory to the Lord and his Wisdom, my new Companion is Elder Garcia.
"Every Moment, a Beautiful Opportunity. Each. One." I Truly believe this. And thus far, with this in My Heart...It Has Come to Pass. He is a Filipino. And Also Happens to be the District Leader. It has but been three days or so...and yet, We've Become Kin. For He is a very peaceful and pure way, in his testimony. Of the love of God. And, in harmony, we testify not only with eachother, but to one another. And not in word lang, but in deed.

Brother Leslie once mentioned a concept of Pakikisama. I Do not know exactly what that might mean...or if it exist here. But i can say thus...I Love my Brother, Elder Garcia. And in some small way...he too of Me. And as i felt when i heard of the concept Pakikisama...i feel a resonance here with Him. And i am so grateful to have found a friend...whom i know, shall be with me for Eternity. And thus we see, that truly, all people are Family.

To go further with this...I Will Speak on Family.
As I left Manapla...I pondered on the Hearts there. I Prayed to the Lord for them. That he would Care over my Family. And that my Mission, and my Obedience, and my Love and Service to the Lord...just as he Promised to Bless my Family in America as I Go forth, so too would he Bless my Home in Manapla and Caduha-an. And I was able to depart...overjoyed and with peace...for they shall be Well Attended by the Lord. I Have this Faith. For I Feel His Love. And i thank Him.


The first night i arrived here, in LaPaz...we were already moving to kilala the members and investigators. And something profound touched me, at our last appointment at the bishops house. The bishop did not attend, saw him for a moment (not knowing he was the bishop) and he was gone. But as we were welcomed into the House...instantly, the Spirit Came. And friendships were formed immediately. Between two Sister SA's, the Mother of the House, and eventually, All the Seminary Students (as i later learned was going on next door and when it ended, they were all outside and i decided to say hello to some random people and they all eventually entered into the house to chit chat); their number was not a few. the House was crowded. YM, YW, SA, adults...all within the house of the Bishop. And I conversed with them. And there was not a single word spoken that did not grow our immediate friendship. How Strong these Saints! And they might not even realize it...but Great is their Joy! And this is their Strength! For their Strength of Friendship and Bonds with One Another will Bring the Wonders. And Wonders to All Others. Some 25 people that night...

And Yet Again...I Felt at Home.

(Sidenotes: Bishop Madjas House...and I Met a Sister, Sister Daffodelle Panes...apparently she served as a Companion to my teacher at the MTC, Sister Rather. Please inform her of this (Her email was the jessacats email i sent before.) and that her friend is in High Spirits and Doing Quite Well, among the people I admire above)

Saturday...there was a Baptism, for Sister April Joy...i met her the night before to teach her somewhat and BRT her. The elders before me and their investigators have been dwelling wonderfully in the Spirit, and now...i Believe i can aid them in Coming Unto Christ. To Bear my Witness unto them and Love...i Believe many that Those other Missionaries Have loved shall come unto the Fold of God...and damo pa mga less active mieyembro to return unto Him. And April Joy is among the but the first...of this Family of God.

I've met many members now, in but these short few days, and hve met many less actives and investigators...
and through the Grace of God, every single One of these Meetings has been overwhelmed by His Presence...and I Believe Their Lives are forever Changed, even NOW. For I Shall see them in White. And I Shall See them at Church. This i Know. The Spirit Testifieth to Me.

This past Sunday, I Was to Bear My Testimony. And So...Unexpectedly, actually. I Will Remember it is somewhat customary in order to get to know the members to introduce yourself (who'da thought that one! ;p!) But so...there are two wards here. This Sunday there was about 85 attendance in sacrament for Both LaPaz and LaPuz wards. One starts at 830 and the other at about 1000

And i was able to Bear my Testimony twice.
And i Couldnt help it...but i was overwhelmed by the Lord's Love. For I Don't even know these people. But from my last area, from the love i have for my family, and dear friends, and those Special Members i met the night before. And i do not recall what i said...but what was in my Heart: I Do Not Know You, But I Know This. We are a Family. You are my Family. I Testified to them of Love. The Love of God. And of Our Purpose in Life. The Purpose of God. The Purpose: Family. And This Land. Consecrated. This People. Consecrated. I Promised...with All My Heart...That He Lives. And We Shall Go Hand in Hand to Heaven. For To Understand our Purpose...we Must Know that this must Be. This Must Be True. Hand in Hand. And I Could Barely utter these words. I Spoke soft...and i was crying...barely visible. Only discernible slightly from my voice. I Believe only I Knew. But I know angels did attend. And Christ to Hold Me. For a Moment...we All Knew. Even someone like Me.

If He Can Love Someone Like Me...oh How Great the Love He Hath for You! Can You Imagine...Being Held in His Arms? Know that This is True.

Dream a Little. We Are Meant to Dream.

Father...You asked me my Favorite Scripture.
Thus Far, it is Alma 26: 16

And there is A Story, I Wish to write to Brother Leslie of this Scripture. Much I Desire to Say. But I Will Let you Ponder on its Wonder.

Just keep in Mind: "Dream A Little..."
And Yet the Gospel is Greater Still.

God Hath Given Me A Family. Families are Eternal.
I've a Home Here. I Love My Family. God...I Love Our Family.


There is much I've realized since leaving to this, the City.
Elder Stockton was in tune with the Spirit to be my Trainer. The Spirit did Abide with Me. And Though...i did not actively hold study sessions, something i shall remedy...and am remedying even now. But Through every Desire of Obedience that I Promised to Him through my Daily Life... He Hath Granted Unto Me the ability to Speak of My Heart. Even in a Different Tongue. There is Much I Can do to improve. But From Day One...I Spoke from my Heart. And matter how broken. I Truly Believe it is Possible to learn this Language in 2 weeks. To Speak Thus through the Power of God and Love. I Felt that when i First Came to the Field...that Truth. And I Let the Desire slowly slip from my sight. But it is True. And I found that desire again...that even after 3 or 4 weeks of slow progress, even no matter WHERE you are now...the pamangkot: Where do You Want to BE? Is This a Pure Desire? And do you Believe? And if you Do: "Show Me You Believe"

Heaven, and All Power Therein, can Come Down in but a Moment, If We Believe.

Remember This. For all This. And I Too, WIll Remember This...Always. Oh, How I Need this Testimony. But know that also, i have witnessed a minor miracle.

I Spoke fair Ilonggo with Elder Stockton...there were many who thought i was quite smart, or talented. But still...a minor. Great for the time ive been in the mission, sagad gid! (talented!) but...far ways to go from being fluent.

That was perhaps less than 5 days ago.
Something changed...from the Moment I Left Elder Stockton. And I Believed...more fervently than Him. And in this Purpose.

My first day in Lapaz...testimony meeting...and every day, even up unto this day...There is Someone who comments, that I Sound So Fluent! (Yes...minor things here and there, but quite good Ilonggo)

And then when they speak back to me: i just go..."huh?" or "palihog, liwat? Hinay palihog" (please, again? slowly please.)

When I Am Carried Away in Sharing of My Heart, in Spreading His Love...i Can Speak. Family...Friends. I Can Speak. And it has only Been One Month. Elders quite admire and Members joyfully surprised! I Speak This Gospel, and I Speak to the People in their native Tongue, Ilonggo. And They Understand. How they Understand! And I Do not say this to boast, as Alma 26 states (and no...that scripture is my favorite for OTHER reasons, before i ever knew i was being transferred...but this applies as well!). I Boast of My God. For in Him, My Joy is Full. For I Proclaim from My Heart What Joy Is! And He lends me His Words, which Words are the Same, wherever Ye Be.

I Used to say, with elder stockton and members there and investigators, epsecially if ever they asked, "yes, i understand quite well. its just difficult to speak."

and it was true, then.
but now...its changed.
they'll say: Sagad gid Ikaw!
and i'll reply
"indi Gid, Sister. Mas hapos agud Makahambal sangsa makaintidihan para sa akon"
(much easier to speak than to understand for me)

and its true.

But Know that I Say This, to Proclaim to The World:
Miracles are Real. This Gospel is True.
And if Ye Do Whatsoever, In the Name of Truth, By The Power of God, I Witness, All is Possible.

Nothing...Nothing Shall Stay His Hand.
Therefore, Ask...and Ye Shall Recieve.
If Ye Ask in the Name of Truth. And if Ye Believe.
And Ever After...Show, "I Believe"

Two Thoughts I Mentioned far Earlier:

"Bear with Patience...that Ye May Be an Example In Me."
We Are Everything...for a Moment, to Someone. Never Doubt This. In All Things...In all Joy and All Sorrow, and All Hardships, Bear Witness by Example Unto Him. And I Promise You! Every Moment You Do This: You Have Changed a Life. A Life! Glory to God, They Know Him.

And second, "He termed to be his Brethren"
Who Are our Brethren. And if Ye Say All Men...Do Ye Truly Feel This Way? If So, Bless You, Please Show Your Love.
As for me, I Felt a Testimony of This. But truly, I Didnt quite understand what it meant. But now, I Promise You: These are My Brethren. My Dear, Beloved Brethren. I Shall See You All Again.

Family...the Time is now Far Spent.
And My Time is Precious. All our Time is Precious.
Please, always Remember: If We Know This is True, And We Know these Things Surely Must Be, Then How Shall We Live? It is true...No Man Can Live a Perfect Life.
But in Christ, We Can. And Man Need Not Live Life Alone.
Live Life, Time Being Precious...Live it Preciously.

I Pray, for all of You,
and Testify, as does the Father,
I Shall See You Again. All.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

--Elder Christopher A. Lewis

Sunday, January 3, 2010

To Be a Missionary

Dear Family,

Happy New Year and Christmas!
(those just seem to blend into one here)

Sooo...the christmas music is gone now...
however...the music is as plentiful as ever...
occasionally you'll see my companion and me nodding our heads to the beat =P!

But anyway...this week has been a wonderful growing experience for me. My companion, Elder Stockton, being the District Leader, is constantly going on Splits. And when he's with me, we exert ourselves and our efforts. However...i have found that when he is gone...i find myself Quite Overjoyed. No, not because he is "gone." But rather...all of a sudden, i feel such responsibility. And i love it. A new companion...a chance to share the Wonderful Spirit of Missionary work in my heart with them, and to learn so much from their own personal testimony. All of a sudden...i feel such a wonderful obligation to the people in my area. And when we teach...the Spirit comes in such Love.

Tuesday, we went on splits. And Elder Firth became my companion. And this was a wonderful experience...because Elder Firth goes home in 5 months...and yet, as I have known him until thus...i have felt there is something he is yearning to feel. So, despite a certain "fear" at first of being companions with him, wondering how the day would go... The Spirit helped me Look with Great Hope towards It. And i promise you, the Spirit was so Correct. He needed me. And I He. You can feel when there is some new spirit added to your being. And we found that, that uniqueness, for eachother and for ourselves.

He is not amazing at the language. He is a little "trunky." And his passion seemingly was hibernating. But I saw a beautiful miracle, as we worked together...somehow...He Found the Fire. And He helped give it to me. I do not know how it happened, but i can give my Thanks. Every One is such a Blessing in Our Lives.

And through this Passion...we believe we've found some Elect...just through an OYM ("open your mouth") and short lesson. They are prepared. And through our diligence to bring the spirit, they shall soon become members. Sister Silvia Alayon, Brother Gilbert Delatore. And a few other members we briefly testified to in a happy group we happened by at 8pm.

Church Attendance was wonderful this week. About 90ish in each area. Still are trying to get the investigators to church...still low numbers there...however...the Spirit is Spreading in these areas. And Members within themselves are Growing and Sharing. This is Wonderful.

With a Purpose. Every thing, for a purpose. We Need Always Remember This. If we go to a House...there Ought to Be Such a Presence There...for Our Calling is of the Highest! And I promise you, it is! FHE at a members house reactivated one family's beautiful testimony, and sparked the heart of their friend. New Years Dinner strengthed a great, active member, Sister Pinky and her Daughter, Princess...and a long time less active family (her sisters). The Sister and her son...are such marvelous people! Such cheer! Such energy and Fun! They are mormons, you can tell! And They need the Church, and oh how the Church Needs Them! And I Know...soon. They shall Fulfill their Life's Calling, to its Fullest. There is such Good They Have Yet to Do. God Bless Them.

One other story: Lenny.
She is a single mother. 3 children I believe. And of very humble means. She is one of the furthest investigators from the church. And yet...when she bore her testimony, and she might not have known that what she was speaking is called a "testimony", but it was, of the Lord, of Family...we knew. And our testimony of the Life to Come, The Purpose of this Life...the Love of the Savior...and Hope for All Men, our loved ones who have died, the very Celestial Kingdom to which all people are Promised. Where we always were meant to Be. Based upon our Handum. Our desire. She nearly was crying. Her eyes were Beautiful. And despite her humbleness and income, despite needing to bring 3 children, and being furthest away from the church...I Do Believe She Shall Come. And what a testimony this is to me! feel in such a Show Forth such Love and Faith. Oh shall we not, of such different situations, be like unto Her? Christlike. This is a part...of what it means to be Christlike. For He Did the Spirit of the Father. If we too, have ever known such Spirit, shall we not Follow His Example? Yeah, even Her Example. Yes, I Pray, we Shall. And may I Always Remember This, for More than but Pray, I Shall Do.

The Work Shall Go Forth! And I See the Fruit of our Labor. Now. Yes...but in Moments, I See the Vision. And I See the Glory. My task, as I Have come to find within my not to but glimpse this Vision, but retain it always. For if We Do This...In All We Do...We Shall See the Kingdom. Never be discouraged, or lose hope, for when we do, we shall Pray in Faith...and Go Forth with MORE Heart...and we Shall Overcome. For We Can See.

Perhaps in the upcoming future emails i shall write somewhat of our other investigators, but for now, suffice it to say there are a good number that have great potential to Become, others that the Spirit doth well abide, and yet others whom we have just met that have potential...that perhaps we shall see a miracle in them.

We have had those we have given our plea. Showing our love...and telling them our testimony of the work, and how precious our time truly is. We Have let them go. For truly...we shall teach and prepare. Yet We Seek the Elect. And Who Shall They Be? Yeah, they shall Decide. And we Shall Know, through the Spirit. It can sometimes be quite difficult...and yet perhaps this is just what some people need to complete their spiritual journey, or to help be "dropped." We Never Give Up on Any One! But Those Who are Crying Out to Our Lord Now, We Shall Save. We Love them All.

to Quote a Wonderful Movie:
"As Fast As I Can. As Hard As I Can. As Long As I Can."

And to keep this true...we are ever striving for that which works best. New methods. reach them all as best we can. Our next task: Two Sundays from Now: Bring One Friend to Church Sunday.
Perhaps we shall make this a pattern for the members in the future (3rd Sunday) or perhaps not. However...we need to advertise this to the members, and help them feel it with such Spirit that THIS is something they truly desire to do. And i know, if they truly feel that desire, and the magnitude of the miracle they shall be performing, many friends shall be brought to the truth.

And one other...two Saturday's from now, Elder Stockton and I Have decided to hold a showing of the Restoration at our two churches (ideally...perhaps only one of them...we'll see); and we shall advertise. And spread to the members to spread to their friends. And to come also, to be a strength to those people who come. And we shall mention this to all we teach...and through all honorable means necessary, we shall make this known. And when the day comes...the Spirit Shall Pour through this Movie unto them...and After...we Shall Confirm This, with our Steadfast, Heartfelt Testimony: For this is True.

And they Shall Know. Yeah, They Shall!

I Am Ever Grateful...and Ever Desire to Be, even Until the End of My Life, as so beautifull Ammon did say, to serve Among His People.

A Miracle, to Be A Missionary.

--Elder Lewis

I've a Scripture I've Found Father.
I Shall Send it to You Next Email.

Love You All.

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