Mission Love!

 

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Washington Yakima Mission Reunion 5 October 2018, Orem, Utah

2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (37)

This evening was our very first Washington Yakima Reunion!  We have been waiting for this gathering for 3 years!  I told the missionaries that on the sad day that we got in our car and drove away from Yakima, our hearts were heavy and sad.  The goodbyes were hard, and it took weeks to say them all.

As we were driving home to Orem, about half way through the long trip, something changed–we started thinking about WHO we were going home to–hundreds of our missionaries on that side of “the mission veil.”  We had more missionaries here than we had in Yakima!  We started getting very excited and we started driving faster, knowing that soon we would see so many of these dear dear friends.

Tonight we got to be with a whole gym full of missionaries we Love.  We got to hug and love them freely.  We talked and visited the whole night long, enjoying just being all together again.  There were many we missed–many who are off in other places, in school, and doing good things–and we felt their absence.

But so many were able to come and gather here, just for this special evening.  We had a fun program, some games and great snacks, but mostly lots and lots of visiting.  Come take a look at our dear dear missionaries.

This will be the last live post here on the mission blog.  Tonight it freezes.  I’m grateful to post these last photos, representing our future, our friendship and great things to come!

 

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Reunion (35)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (36)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (38)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (39)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (40)We head into the chapel for a short program, then resumed an evening of visiting!2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (41)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (42)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (43)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (44)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (45)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (46)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (47)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (49)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (50)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (51)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (52)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (53)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (54)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (55)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (56)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (57)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (58)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (59)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (60)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (61)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (62)Rhythm Sticks for everyone!2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (63)Wedding gifts for the married and engaged:2018-10-5 Mission Reunion (64)2018-10-5 Mission Reunion 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My Missionary Commission

Missionary Commission

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Farewell, Dear WYM Friends!

2018-8-25 Ashley Lake (37)

Well, dear friends, we’ve been home for 2 months now and we think about the Washington Yakima Mission every day.  What a blessing it has been to know and associate with each of you during our last 3 years!  We loved every minute of our time there.

I am going to sign off here now, before this blog subscription renews next month for another year (for hundreds of dollars).  That means this blog will become static, or pretty much set in stone.  It means I won’t be able to add to it or make changes in any of the posts.  I think I’ve poured out everything I have during these last 3 years here in these posts.  I’ve loved sharing our Washington Yakima Experience with each of you.

My apologies for any mistakes or imperfections.  I was always sad when I couldn’t be everywhere at once to document the life of every single missionary.  I’m sorry for important things I  missed.  I’ve done my best to share the joy and love we’ve felt for these good missionaries and the work they are doing.  We love them with all our hearts.

This blog will remain as is from now on and will continue to be available to all of you.  It’s my hope that this will become a happy place of memories and history for all of us who served in the Washington Yakima Mission from July 2015 until July 2018.

I knew this day would come at some point, and every time I’ve thought about it, I’ve seen this image of Moroni in my mind, closing his record, and preserving it for future generations.  It always tears my heart out.  I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for him to record his last words.

006B-Image Moroni Plates.jpg

Now I am doing the same, but my words will continue, in other places.  If you’d like to visit or check in on me, I also keep a personal blog (Ann’s Words) and a family history blog (Ann’s Stories).  I’ll put the links below.

We are looking forward to our next Mission.  Please stay tuned to learn where that will be!  I’m sure there will be another blog and more stories to tell and ways to express my love for Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.  He is my Savior and Friend.  I am so grateful for the opportunities He has given us to share His joy as this gospel goes into all the world.  Bless you all!

Ann Lewis  August 2018

Ann’s Words:

https://annlaemmlenlewis.com/

Ann’s Stories:

https://annlaemmlenlewis1.wordpress.com/

p.s.  This blog will remain “alive” until Oct 6th.  After that it freezes in time.  Please leave any comments or make any last corrections before then!

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The Vocabulary of President Lewis!

2018-4-5 MLC (57)

A year ago at our Aug 2017 MLC, I noticed one of our Zone Leaders taking notes.  Afterwards, he showed me a list he’d kept of words Pres Lewis said–these missionaries always get a kick out of hearing new vocabulary words.  They love writing them down, then trying to use them back in conversations with Pres Lewis.  Here’s Elder Vejnar’s list from that day:

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Months later, I thought it would be fun to capture a few more of his words and how he uses them in daily conversation, in trainings, or in talks.  I started a page in my notebook and then kept adding to it.  These words were spoken in our last 2-3 months in Yakima.  I thought I might get them typed up, but that hasn’t happened, so here you go–The Vocabulary of Pres Lewis!

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Those of you who have heard Pres Lewis teach or train, it’s a treat.  This is part of the reason why!

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Homecoming Talk –Sis Lewis 8 July 2018

Here are the notes I spoke from in my homecoming talk on Sunday.  These clips are a few of the highlights from talks and trainings I’ve given during the last 3 years.

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Lessons Learned

God has a plan for us, each individually. He knows us inside out.
In a world where Heavenly Father can turn an apple blossom into an apple, imagine what he can do with someone like me!
If we ask for help or understanding, He will answer.
God’s answers are not always instantaneous.
Often He uses time to teach lessons and reveal new things.
God’s answers are personal and efficient.
God is never wrong. God is never late.

God is hastening HIS work.
This is HIS work not ours.
We are His servants.
He is with us in this work.

The Doctrine of Christ is simple, pure, delightful, and life-saving.
The Holy Ghost speaks with the tongue of angels.
The Holy Ghost speaks to our understanding.
The Holy Ghost speaks the words of Christ.
These words are given to us as a gift.

Missionary work and Family History work are the same (ministering and saving), the people are just in different places.

President Russell M. Nelson:
Too often we split the Lord’s work into parts we think are unrelated. Whether it is preaching the gospel to nonmembers, serving with new converts, reactivating less-active members, teaching and strengthening active members, or performing family history and temple activity, the work is indivisible. These are not separate. They are all part of the work of salvation. Those on the other side of the veil rejoice and shout praises when their descendants accept or return to the gospel, for they know that their descendants are now able to perform vital temple ordinances in their behalf, linking together generations who have passed. (Seminar for New Mission Presidents, 2014)

Writing in a journal is Important.
To live and not have written, save one’s name
Or never to have lived, is much the same.

Leave yourself behind in ways that those who come after you will know you and love you. Then perhaps you will be granted access to them in their times of need. (Might not the reverse be true?)

Ron Barney:
If you do not write your story, your name will be obliterated from the human record and you will not speak from the grave. You will not have any influence on those who come after you. Those who write about the things they have done and learned in life have a huge impact on posterity. Write your story. You have overcome things your children need to know about.

If we don’t remember something, it’s like it never happened.
If we don’t remember someone, it’s like they never lived.
As long as there are words, nobody need ever die. –Betsy Byars
When a person dies, it’s like a library burns down.

Records are Kept and Preserved
We have scriptures because of the faith and prayers and desires of every prophet and disciple of Jesus Christ who has written of Him.
They recorded messages for their loved ones and for us today.
They testify of Christ. This is their gift to us, it is His gift to us.
As we add our testimonies to theirs (or Layer our Testimonies), we can have great power and an outpouring of the Spirit when we teach.

Be the Means Alma 37:7
“And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”
Let your Actions and your Words be the Means (Alma 37)

First seek to obtain my word
The years I lived in Africa taught me that
you can’t draw water from an empty well. We must Learn, Study, and Prepare.
If we learn WHAT to teach, the Spirit can help us know HOW to teach.

Doing vs. Being
We are human beings, not human doings.
Let your goals be focused on who you need to BE more than on what you want to DO. Then make yourself available to go where you’re needed.

Church is not a building. It’s a gathering of believers. It’s a place where we can participate in what Paul calls “the work of the ministry” (Eph 4:11).

Faith is a gift.
Bruce R. McConkie:
One of the gifts God has promised to all who earnestly seek Him is faith. Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith.

Loving as Jesus Loves:
Someone once said, “The withholding of love is the negation of the spirit of Christ, the proof that we never knew him, that for us he lived in vain. It means that he suggested nothing in all our thoughts, that he inspired nothing in all our lives, that we were not once near enough to him to be seized with the spell of his compassion for the world.”

We determine the degree of our likeability.
We can do practical things that make us more likeable.

On getting along with a companion:
(Pres Lewis’s favorite line from Adjusting to Missionary Life, p. 37):
“Your companion’s behavior makes perfect sense to him or her, even if it doesn’t to you.”

We Internalize Things, like Music, Words and Actions
I’ve noticed that music and lyrics to songs lodge in our minds without our consciously thinking about them or memorizing them. Years later we hear a song and still know the words. They are in us, a part of us.

I believe this is also true with words. If we read the words of Christ in the scriptures, His thoughts go into our minds and in time, we begin to think His thoughts, they become part of who we are and we begin to act like He acts.

I believe the same is true of kind things we do, our actions–if we act with kindness, in time, we become a kind person. If we act positive, we become positive. Like music and words, our actions, change who we are. They change our being.

As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be
Sitting on a stand in a Stake Conference, we stood to sing “How Firm a Foundation.” I was exhausted and wondering what would come out of my mouth when my turn came to speak.
As we sang: “As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be,” I knew all would be fine.
Succor is always given. Always. It matches every demand.

Missionaries are Remembered
I found an 1898 obituary of a man named Elisha Davis, written by his son that told me that in 1839 Elisha left on a mission the day after he was baptized, dressed in a pair of thin calf skin boots and suit of homemade clothing, without underclothes or overcoat. He traveled on foot 300 miles across the Allegheny Mountains into Pennsylvania. He said, “The Spirit of God kept me warm.” Elisha and his companion, Henry Dean found and converted Martin and Elizabeth Bushman, in Lancaster County. They were baptized May 10, 1840.
Elisha’s name is remembered in my family.

And OUR missionary’s names will be remembered in the same way by each person they taught. All future generations of faithful descendants and family members will speak the names of our missionaries with reverence and with honor. They probably have no idea of the magnitude of the goodness they’ve started by converting just one.

They may or may not have had any recent converts at the airport when they left. They may never even know the extent of their influence when they went home.
But someday they will be shown in full detail the lives they changed while serving in Washington as a missionary.
Next month John and I will be traveling to Lancaster County, where Martin and Elizabeth were baptized. I am grateful for Elisha Davis. (178 years ago)

Repentance
There are many ways missionaries have taught me to describe repentance:
Change, Progression
Following Jesus Christ
Becoming
A Purification Process
Conversion
Change of Heart
An Action to show Faith
Stop Sinning
Don’t do things that Hurt or Harm
Improving
Sanctification
Learning
Re-alignment
Continuing Course of Correction
Hope
Turning Your Will to God
Godly Sorrow
Refining
Tweaking
Choosing to Act
Keeping Commitments
Keeping Commandments
Repairing
Movement Towards Good
Growth
Development
Relying on Jesus Christ

FOMO = The Fear of Missing Out
FOMO can make it difficult for us to appreciate our current circumstances and environments. Elder Bednar invites us “to embrace what the Lord has blessed you with and to act in faith. Do not take counsel from your fears.”

What manner of language?
Language matters. Grammar matters. Being articulate matters.
Words are powerful.
In 1 Nephi 5 Sariah, Lehi and Nephi are described as complaining, comforting and speaking, each with a different “manner of language.” The difference is HUGE. We can learn from the outcome in their examples.

Take the Plunge!
Every time missionaries saw a river (which happens a lot in the WYM), I hope they remembered my words: Take the Plunge!
Dive in with all your heart! Don’t hold back. Be completely obedient.
That’s when the blessings flow!

Obedience is not a negotiation process. It is an alignment process.
The purpose of obedience is not to negotiate with Heavenly Father about what we want Him to do, rather it is to find out what He would have us learn and do.

Serve from your Strengths.
Find your gifts and talents and use them every day.
Use your Patriarchal Blessing to help you identify your spiritual gifts, other gifts and talents, blessings you’ve been promised, admonitions and warnings.
Your strengths are part of the Lord’s storehouse, from which He draws to bless His children and build His kingdom. A crucial part of missionary life is to cultivate gifts and consecrate your strengths to help others come to Christ. Focus more on what you do well than on what you do wrong.
As you do this, you will Be a tool for the Lord, and an instrument in His hands. We each have specific gifts He needs us to use to help others come to Christ.

God is not a distributor of answers. He’s a creator of situations leading to the exaltation of man.

Enduring to the End = Learning from experiences over time
If Heavenly Father did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of events in our lives over time. They would just be simple, surface experiences and we would move from one to the next without much thought.
We may not always know what we are learning at the time of an experience.
Things unfold.
Sometimes experiences only make sense later.
Sometimes we will see things later that we didn’t see at first.
Often, what we learn comes only after we record, remember, reflect and revisit an experience.
He teaches us, not once, but over and over again as we return to things we’ve learned with added maturity or after additional experiences.
Enduring to the End means being able to say, “Next time I’ll do better.”

Testimony

Extras:

Help from the Spirit World
Stadium –numberless concourses of loved ones on the other side of the veil are cheering for you every single day. They know you are here. They know who you need to find.

Deliverance is an important word in the scriptures. Follow it. Learn from it.

We can and must Ride Faster!

Technology in the latter days was meant for us!

God wants dedicates, not volunteers. Ministering, not checking boxes.

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A Missionary Gathering in Orem!

2018-7-7 Missionary Gathering.JPGOn Saturday, July 7th, after being home for a few days, we had a glimpse of Heaven.  We invited our returned missionaries and their families over for an afternoon of visiting and food and getting reacquainted.  We haven’t seen some of these friends for 2-3 years!  Many families we’d not yet met face to face.

On Friday, June 29th, as we drove away from Yakima, we were so wrapped up in farewells and goodbyes and all the hard things about leaving people and a place we love, that our thoughts were all tied up in Going, not in Coming.

The drive from Yakima to Orem takes about 11 hours.  That’s a lot of time to sit in a car and quietly process feelings.  It was interesting that about half way home, something started to change.  Our hearts started letting go and we started thinking about who we were Going home to:  first of all our children and our little grandson, and then about all of the 100s of missionaries who have already returned home!  The more we considered who was waiting, the more excited we got.

We planned a gathering of missionaries and their families for Saturday from 5:00 until 7:00, or whenever everyone left.  At 4:30 the missionaries began to arrive.  For the rest of the evening, it was one great reunion of loved ones!  It was absolutely like Heaven.  We also met parents and families of many of our missionaries who have served and who are currently serving.    Come see the joy!

These are just some of the photos (it felt so good to take some pictures again!).  All of the photos I took are in an album on our Facebook page.  I think we had somewhere between 250 and 300 friends who came for hugs and visiting.  It was a magical evening.  We served grilled J-Dawgs with all of their toppings, watermelon, chips and salads.  Our kids circulated with boxes of fruited popsicles for dessert.

We made a list of at least 60 of our missionaries who have already married after returning home.  We had wedding gifts for those who came–we never had time to figure that out from Yakima.  It was really fun to meet spouses and significant others.  And it was fun to meet parents and families of these good missionaries.

What a wonderful day in Orem.  Our hearts are here now, on this side of what we sometimes call “the mission veil.”  It will be another 2 years or so before ALL of our missionaries are home, but so many of the 455 we served with are here now and we can be with them here.  This is a nice shift and we have time and a front porch with rockers waiting to receive friends.

Our Homecoming was Sunday morning in our neighborhood Stake Center at 9:00.  I didn’t take a single photo Sunday.  I just soaked in all the love and hugged as many as I could get to.  It was another perfect day filled with 100s of friends and loved ones.

After church, we had lunch with my brother and his family and my Dad and his wife, who traveled from California to be with us.  It was wonderful to be reunited.  Then we got in our cars with our kids and our little growing family headed to California.  Sunday night we got to St George and Monday we arrived in Newport for 2 glorious weeks at the beach.  Life is good, oh so very very good!

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