Monday, August 31, 2015

Week #9 (Tanner thought it was only #8!)

Hello Hello Hello
This weeks email will be short because I did not really prepare to write it but this week was pretty great. I went on my first exchange which was an adventure because I exchanged with another elder who was also being trained so we had no idea what we were doing. But it was cool because I was able to teach and lead a lesson because although he has been here a whole more transfer than me, I think that I know a little more dutch than he does. So, I was able to save the day in our lesson which was pretty cool. My bike decided to be very difficult and decided to pop twice so there was a lot of walking that was done. It seems like everyone just wants to cancel on the elders lately. But, we have two really cool people who we think will get baptized here in the next month (hopefully). We had zone conference this last weekend with our mission president and also a member of the 70 came down. It was super cool to learn from him and his wife, and also from President Egbert, and his wife. Not a whole lot happened this week mostly because I didn't really Think about what I was going to write prior to coming to the cyber cafe. We have just been super busy.Next week will be more interesting, I promise,  to the probably 5 people who actually read this. (I know how it is hahah) Anyway, have a good week everyone!
-Elder Lewis

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week #8

Hello Everybody!
Twas good in Paramaribo this week.
So, there two zones in Suriname and there are 6 sisters and the rest elders, not sure how many but I am in the Paramaribo-Munder/Rainville area.  It’s half jungle half city and its kinda crazy because you'll see some rich and other really poor, and then REALLY poor. There are Hindu, Bos Creole (or forest black) and the City Creole (People born in the city.) So it’s really interesting--the diversity here-- and I am like the only white person here, I feel like.  They call us Bakara (which means white person basically or Dutchman) It's supposed to be offensive I think, but we just think it’s funny. The AP's live in Trinidad and they come to zone conferences with President Egbert which is on Friday, so that is cool. Most likely I will be here in Suriname but at the beginning of this transfer they put the first Dutch elders in Curasoe, so hopefully by the end of my mission I will be able to go there. Oh my goodness I have so much good food to make you guys when I get home. Things like Roti and Bruine Bonen and Marsala Chicken.  Man it’s all so good!  And I am learning how to make this stuff here that they call peper and, yeah, its good, and very spicy. It’s so hot here and if we aren't drenched in sweat then we are soaked to the bone with rain. I have never seen it rain so hard in my entire life and we just roll up to houses drenched in rain. It's a good time. I am trying to get used to sweating all the time.
Today we went to the Paramaribo zoo and that was an adventure for sure haha. It’s so funny because they just have monkeys walking around freely and swinging from the trees above and they have this hugeeeeeeeeeeeee alligator and people were just in its cages casually cleaning it.
This week we biked almost 80 miles. It’s crazy how far we bike, but I really do love it here. The people are so nice and inviting. On the bright side we have this boy named Onesimus who is getting baptized on the 19th of September and he is super nice. Also we are hoping to start teaching this family from Guyana who apparently went to our church for two years, didn't get baptized, and left all because some elder offended him. We are hoping to teach him and get him and his family back. He longs for knowledge and truth so we think he has been prepared for us. My companion in on his last transfer so he is a little trunky but he's holding on strong for me. It's so funny. Anyways that was pretty much my week. One of the funny things that happened this week was we talked to this man who had these "seeing crystals" that he sleeps with and he can see angels lol. He showed them to us but said we couldn’t touch them because we would disintegrate.. We were like....uhhhh ok bye! God loves you we have to go. It was a good time. Also, side note, if you were to send me a letter it’s pretty pointless because it takes like three months to get here.... haha but if you happen to send one I would be grateful but I am basically telling you now, don’t waste your time lol.

Something I read in the scriptures the other day was Alma 49 and 50. It speaks about Moroni's preparation for war and attacks from the Lamanite army and the whole thing I got from it is we need to be prepared before Satan and his army or cast out spirits attack us. Satan can only attack us if we are not prepared. It also speaks about how the only weak part was the entrances, where he put his strongest soldiers and army men to protect them. The only way Satan can get in is if we let him in through the front door. Build up your defenses and have a plan BEFORE he attacks. I can’t tell you how much I wish I understood that council when I was in high school and just growing up in general. I am sure it was explained to me but I probably just didn't listen. It's so important and then it goes on in 50 to say how that preparation for the enemy never stops, it keeps on going and never stops. If we prepare Satan cannot and will not destroy us.
Have a good week everyone!
-Elder Lewis

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week #7 ish I Have No Idea

Hello Everyone from the beautiful country of Munder/Paramaribo area in Suriname!! Wow it’s been an adventure so far but I have loved every second of it!
When I first got here we spent a few days in Trinidad, had orientation and what not, which was fun. We got to hear from the mission president and his wife and she cooked us yummy food. I've probably eaten the best fruit I have ever eaten here in Trinidad.  We flew off to Suriname on Wednesday and got there at about 8:30 where we met our trainers.  To sum up Suriname in two words it would be first, Humid. I have never sweated so much in my entire life, and two, Jungle Cruise (the ride at Disneyland. Picture those two things and you've pretty much got Suriname.) That and every grocery store here is run by Chinese people and all their prices and product names are in Chinese, so that's super fun LOL,  but it’s so great!  In the last 5 days we have biked almost 50 miles teaching all the time and just working hard.
   I can barely understand people here but I have been able to get in a few words here and there so that's been really good.   People are telling me I speak very well and they can understand me so things are on the up and up.
   I really do love it here, sorry America I may not come back. Our tiny branch is the best and although a lot of the members are inactive the few that are are so loving and nice. They laugh at me because they will try and talk to me and I'll just be like "I have no idea what you’re saying" and they will just laugh it’s so funny. My companion, Elder Whetton, is awesome! He's so helpful and also forces me to talk in lessons which is really awesome and something I need.   I for sure went into a little bit of culture shock at first, but it’s just so fun.
  The food here is so good. It's mostly just Chinese food but there are these two dishes called Bami and nasi which are extremely good! I am , at this point, not being able to speak the language very well, am trying my best to listen and soak in my surrounding because this is a whole different world. It's very simple world and I just already love it! I feel like this is super rushed but we just don't have a lot of time to email. But don't worry everyone, I am alive and well here in Suriname.
  One thing I witnessed yesterday as we were riding along on our way to an appointment, we saw a pit-bull fighting and in the process of killing another dog... It was so sad. Things are going well here. Pray I don't get hit by a car here, they like to see how close they can get to us and also nobody pays attention to the speed limit haha anyways, until next week!

This is my address: 
Elder Tanner J Lewis
P.O Box 2932
South America


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mission Address

You can send mail to Elder Lewis at:  

The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS

P.O.Box 2932

Paramaribo, Suriname

South America

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Arrival in Trinidad

Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Dear Parents of Elder Lewis, 

We are so pleased to welcome your son to the Trinidad Port of Spain Mission! He arrived safely in Trinidad & Tobago on 10 Aug 2015.  On Tuesday, he and several other new missionaries from the MTC were given a tour and brief training in the mission office, were interviewed by President Egbert, and then received instructions from the assistants to the president. We spent the remainder of the evening with him in the mission home for a welcome dinner and a spirit-filled devotional. We have loved getting to know him and we love him already. He is a bright and thoughtful young man, and is clearly excited to go to work teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Yesterday and today, each new missionary is either flying or driving to their assigned area. Elder Lewis has been assigned to labor in Paramaribo, Suriname North Zone. There is a growing population of members there, and the missionaries enjoy much success working closely with them. His new companion is Elder Whetten, an experienced faithful missionary who will guide your son through a 12-week training program. 

Elder Lewis's faithful studies in the Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel and the 12-week training program will prepare him to be an inspired teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please encourage your son as he begins this challenging but extremely rewarding work. His gospel study and diligent obedience will help him teach effectively by the Spirit and to grow in his own testimony and conversion, which will be a foundation for his mission and also for the rest of his life. 

Your son is encouraged to email his immediate family and his mission president every week on Monday, our preparation day. 

We look forward to getting to know him and working with him in the great work of salvation in the Trinidad Port of Spain Mission. Thank you for sharing him with us! 

President and Sister Egbert

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Week #6.5

WEEK 6 1/2
Today is Saturday and we have all morning to pack and get all ready to go which is very exciting. These last couple days have been so long but we only have 2 days left in the MTC. It's so crazy. Since Wednesday it has been a lot of speaking and just trying to get down the last little grammar principles down before we head off into our foreign land. Do I know how to speak the language? uhhhhhh no but I am sure I will figure it out when I get there (hopefully).  I forgot to say in my last email but this last Monday we were able to listen to Russel M Ballard, President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles and it was a very cool experience. I said goodbye to my good friends Jaren (Elder Hofeling) and Keaton (Elder McPeek) this week and I know they are all going to do so well in their respective fields. Also, for those of you who know the Doan family, I ran into Dallas Doan at the MTC. He was one of the instructors for our In-field Training that we did just yesterday. I just want to take a second and thank all of you who have all been so supportive in the adventure so far. Family, friends and everything in between, thank you so much. So, I am off to a foreign land trying to speak a language I don't know very well but oh well, come what may. I am so excited and I will try and keep you all posted on this adventure from the country of Suriname!! 
-Elder Lewis 
Our Teachers, Brother Vizante and Sister Larson
The Sister Missionaries in our District drew us our Spirit animals
My buddy, Keaton McPeek
Dallas Doan

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Week #6

This has been an extremely long week for sure but it had its benefits. I've been able to make some very good friends with the Nederland missionaries in our zone. So that has been really nice. But this week we have had amazing devotionals, Travel Plans, shenanigans and all that. 
1. Dear Jane:
A sister in our district Sister Jorgenson unfortunately received an email with terrible news from her boyfriend saying he was done. It was so sad, BUT what comes after that is even better. So the next day she received a package with a lot of things to make her feel better but what also was inside was even better. There was a pinata with his face on it (insert laughing crying emoji) Us five in our district destroyed that thing because It's funny,our district has become like  a family and we were all just so mad so we brutally destroyed that pinata. Also because there was candy inside but that is besides the point. (there will be pictures on my blog that my mom makes which I dont know if any of you have even seen that)
The language has been coming very well. On Thursday we do a skype lesson with people and our guy, MartinX is from Belgium. They speak a dialect of Dutch called Flemish which is so hard to understand but I finally understood him this last time we taught him! And the best part is he told me I spoke good dutch! Now I don't know if he was just saying that or not but either way I am going to take it! We have been speaking out language as much as we possibly can before we head out to the actual field on Monday!!! We are all so excited. Our favorite teacher brother norton left us so we had to say good bye unfortunately but he showed us pictures from his mission and it made me so excited. He says the people there are amazing and so nice and I just cant wait. 
We received our travel plans and it was an amazing day!! We are just all so excited to get out in the field and start teaching and serving the people. We leave the MTC at 3:30 in the morning and then our first flight is at like 7:55 to Houston and then we have a straight shot to Trinidad! then we stay the night in the mission home and then we head off to Suriname!!!!! I am so excited but packing might be a little bit of a challenge due to my stuff stroon all over my residence since I have been here for so long so Ive made a home of it. But we are so excited to leave. Our Norwegians in our Zone have had so much trouble with their flights since monday they have been back and forth to the MTC twice now so I hope that doesn't happen to us. 
4.Spiritual Thought:
We had amazing thoughts this week. We had an amazing lesson on the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. and the two things that stuck out to me were how we need to love our weaknesses, which I am terrible at. In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about his weaknesses in how we need to glory in them, because guess what they do? They do two things. 1: Is to humble us. In order for us to be accepted into the kingdom of God we must be as little children, submissive to our Father in Heaven just like a little child is submissive to his own father. and 2. It reminds us that we cannot do this on our own. We are given weakness to remember our Savior, so that we can be humble like said before but also remember our Savior and his atonement and how through him those weakness are made strong. I didn't quite understand that statement of scripture growing up, but I now understand it. I will glory in every short coming, trial, mess up, hardship and so on. Through Christs atonement, he does not take away your weaknesses which I thought was extremely profound until I thought of it this way. He says "Here keep this weakness and I will make it a strength for you." How amazing is that, when you think of it that way and have faith unto repentance and Christs atonement we cannot fail. We cannot do this alone, we NEED our savior Jesus Christ every single day. I am so grateful for my weaknesses which is something I never thought I would be able to say but through Christ, they are strengths. The quote from that entire lesson was whenever something goes wrong just think to yourself. "For Christs sake? Heck Yeah" I know that can help a lot of you who may feel alone of like you do not add up but that it not the case. Because of our Savior there is not outside source that can completely vanquish you. As long as you are trying and keep trying, YOU ARE PROGRESSING. The only thing that can vanquish you is, through your own agency, is yourself and that is if you quite trying. So my invitation to you all this week is to continue walking and trying with "Faith in every footstep" and love every weakness you are given, I know that by doing this it will bless your life in ways that you can't even understand yet. 
5: Hosting
We had the opportunity to host the Senior missionaries this last Monday and it was such a sweet experience. It was POURING rain and we had the job of escorting the couples from their cars to the front desk and back to their cars which made us get extremely wet because our job was to make sure they did not get wet at all, but it was so fun to talk to them and to hear that it was their first second third missions and where they were all going. It was awesome!

I hope you all had a really good week. I pray for all of you every single day and wish nothing but the best for you all. I leave the MTC on the 10th so if any of you would like to send me one last thing you should send me a 'Dear Elder'. And, if you would like to look at the blog my Mother has so greatly created she will send the link out so you can see my whole MTC experience. I hope you all have an amazing week!
-Elder Lewis