Tuesday, February 22, 2011

13 Pieces in 20 Minutes

Elder Lewis is loving the MTC. He can't say enough good about it. Something interesting about his companion: He hides hilarious poems around their room and waits for Jordan to find them. Sounds like they are getting along smashingly!

Jordan loves his district. Everybody is already really close even after just two weeks. They are in a tiny classroom together for 11 hours a day! He has great teachers who know the gospel and language really well.

He says his Spanish is coming along and he knows he is being aided by the Spirit.

His district had a pizza eating competition the other day and Jordan won. 13 pieces in 20 minutes. He paid for that one afterwards.

"I know I am doing the work of the Lord. I feel the Spirit all the time here, and I am learning so much. I am so excited to give everything I have to the Lord. All is Well. Life is good."

Sounds like he's never been better!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm ready to serve with everything I have!

Jordan thought he would be ambivalent about getting letters and email, but he has discovered that "it is the best thing ever." And he wasn't sure what he would think of the MTC either, but he really loves it! It's "awesome!!" He loves his companion. "Could not hope for a better companion." He was asked to be district leader, which includes getting the mail and other simple duties.

Sounds like he's taking advantage of the MTC cafeteria food. All who've eaten there know it has quite an effect on the digestive system. You'll have to ask him for details about that.

"Its awesome here, and I can feel the Spirit wherever I go. I´m learning so much... Im ready to serve the Lord with everything I have I´m more excited than I ever thought I would be."

He promises to send pictures soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Letter Home

Here is an excerpt from Jordan's first letter home:

They took my picture for my MTC ID right after I said goodbye. My eyes are poofy and red. I look awful. There are 8 elders and 2 sisters in our district, 8 going to Arg, but not my mission. I am the district leader. I feel a little weird about that. I call on someone to pray, lead the music, and I pick up the mail. I'll be here for 8 weeks, leaving on April 11. Dear Elder is the best way to write to me. I feel the spirit a lot.  I'm super excited to serve. Pray for me. Times up, gotta start the 10:30 bedtime routine.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

30-Year Egyptian Dictatorship Toppled

The world rejoiced (and some people bit their nails) as an oppressive dictator in Egypt was forced to flee the country yesterday. The world will march on and continue changing while Elder Lewis serves. Some changes will be big, others small.

While I was on my mission, the internet came of age. I came home to email and websites. While my brother was gone on his mission, the Columbine shootings occurred. Some missionaries were gone during 9-11, but even if they were serving in the far reaches of the Earth, they still felt the effects of that tragic day.

What else will happen while Jordan is gone? Well, for one thing, the Lewis family will continue growing! Three of his sisters are pregnant, due to deliver this summer. Perhaps there will be others. Maybe even some marriages? Time will tell, and Jordan will hear all about it from afar.

String Cheese Incident

Fred and Patty drove Jordan out to Utah on Monday so they could drop him off at the MTC on Wednesday. Unfortunately, they drove right into a major storm. The road got closed somewhere in Wyoming. Had they been about 5 minutes earlier, they would've made it through. Maybe it's for the best though. There was a nasty accident up ahead that took some lives. They spent the next 15 hours - all through the night - waiting in the car. At a standstill. They had to turn the car on for 10 minutes every half hour through the entire night to keep from freezing to death. Luckily they didn't run out of gas. No bathrooms, no beds, and even the food ran out. It was a miserable experience.

Patty gave us an update when they got back home but we all wanted to know more! She whetted all of our appetites nicely with a detailed email. Here's the majority of it:

We got to Erin's about noon on Tuesday, showered and went shopping for a few last minute things for Jordan at about 2. We took Ashton with us. Jordan got three more short sleeved shirts, and found another pair of Ecco shoes on sale for $100 at Mr. Mac's. He bought a hymn book and a missionary book packet: Jesus the Christ, Our Search for Happiness, etc. at Distribution. He got a few things at Walmart. Linda had told us where to find all these stores in the same strip mall, so that was pretty easy.

We went to Jason and Julie's for an hour or so and met the dog. Then we went to Linda and Warren's with Erin's and Jason's families. Warren had a little FHE planned: advice and kind words for Jordan. Then we went back to Erin and Paul's. Fred and I were exhausted, and Jordan went to bed pretty early, too.

We had missed our planned museum of art exhibit and our planned trip to the Salt Lake temple, and thought about trying to do one of those activities on Wednesday morning. But we decided to take it easy and spent a little time with the children and Erin before school. Then we got ready and left there around 11 or so.

We drove to Provo on State street, which was just as fast and more interesting then the freeway. Dad pointed out all the places that were familiar to him. We got gas at Costco and Jordan and Fred went in for a few minutes. Then we met three of Jordan's friends at the Marriott Center parking lot and he talked with them for a few minutes and shook hands and said goodby!

He was too nervous to eat much, but we went to the Creamery and he got a cheese stick!

Then it was time to go. We were greeted at the gate by an older volunteer brother. There were numbered parking spots along the curb- about 20. Each spot had three or four missionaries waiting to greet and help with luggage. We got out, unloaded Jordan's bags (we had practiced how he could stack them, etc and handle all four, but he didn't need to do it alone) We hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more. His helpers took his bags and led him away. We stood there for a few minutes, feeling a little sad and wanting to run after him for one more hug, but controlled the urge and left!

It is so hard, when we are used to almost anytime communication, to not be able to call or text and see how he is doing.

This is the first time in 41 years that we have not had at least one child with us. Adjusting to empty nestedness will take some time.

We love you all and miss you.

Thanks for filling our nest for all these years, and now filling it with your families, as well!


Jordan's "Farewell" Talk

The entire Lewis clan came out to see Jordan off. He gave a great talk. Mindy, Jessi, Ashley and Rachel sang a beautiful rendition of "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". Jordan bore powerful testimony and spoke of his love for his family and gratitude for all they did to get him where he is today.

Whispers overhead from a certain Daddy and daughter during sacrament meeting the day of Jordan's talk:

Daughter: Why is everybody being so quiet?
Daddy: They are thinking about Jesus and God and stuff.
Daughter: And the devil?

Introducing Elder Lewis!

Jordan was set apart on Sunday, February 6, 2011 by President Millett. Most of his Colorado family was there for the blessing. We didn't meet over at President Millett's until 8:30 that night so the parents and Nana were all worried about whether the kids would be able to hold out or not. At first, it seemed they would. Max was entertaining. Kept laughing for no apparent reason, and then the rest of us would laugh, and then he laughed some more. He finally lost it and Sister Millett was kind enough to come to the rescue. Bless her.

President Millett opened the scriptures and taught us about charity. He said that the people in Argentina are very proud of their culture, their country, their way of life, even their Spanish. Sometimes they would be unkind and unapproachable. Jordan will have to love them. He will also have to love his companions, and that will not always be easy. But for Jordan it will come naturally because of his loving, accepting nature. Even so, President Millett counseled him, and all of us, to have charity. To love his companions and the people of Argentina. He was told that the people will be able to see it in his eyes. They will know whether he loves them or not. We know those people will be blessed by his love as we have been.

Jordan was also counseled to listen to the Spirit. Sometimes the Spirit will whisper, and sometimes the Spirit will yell. Jordan will be protected as he heeds those promptings. We will pray for him.

After the blessing President Millett invited Jordan's parents and siblings to share whatever they wanted to about Jordan and any advice they might have. There were many special things that were said. Fred and Jessi shared words of warmth and wisdom. They are confident he will serve well and touch many lives. Patty commented on how Jord was the baby of the family and how loved he has been. Mothered and fathered by many. It shaped and molded him. He is full of love, confidence and happiness because of that love. Josh talked about some of the special gifts Jordan has. He encouraged Jordan to savor his mission and spoke of the fondness he still has for his own mission experience. Meg expounded on some of Jord's special gifts and talked about how special we think he is. He has such a kind, good, loving heart. Oh how we love him!

After that it was time for photos and goodbyes. We had to do it in the freezing cold of the Millett's driveway. It was tender. Lots of tears and hugs. Max was defiant and wouldn't give any kisses or loves. We will prepare him to receive Jordan with joy upon his return! They will be buddies.

Lots of tears on the way home and thoughts about Jordan this week. We miss him so. But we are overjoyed that he is serving the Lord and know he will have so many unforgettable, life changing experiences. What a privilege it is to serve a mission.