Dear family and friends,
Wow, I can't believe we have been here in Baltimore for almost a month.
We finally had our computer hooked up last Thursday and it feels good to be able to check email etc. without having to use my little iPhone.
After returning to Gainesville from the MTC in Provo, Utah, we packed our car - to the top - and started driving north Wednesday morning, September 9th. On the way we visited Fred and Sylvia in North Carolina, Ken's cousin Mack and his wife Martha in Richmond, and lastly Linda and Clyde in Lorton VA. We truly loved spending time with each of them and are so grateful for their hospitality.
We arrived at the Mission Office Saturday, September 14th, and was met by Sister Jones who works in the office. She gave us the keys to our apartment and a large welcome basket and off we went.
The following Monday we went back to the office and met President Richards and his wife. Oh my goodness - they are the most wonderful people and were so gracious to us. After talking to them for a while, we all (President and Sister Richards, Elder and Sister Pascoe and Elder and Sister Jones who work in the office, and us) went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. It was really fun to get to know them.
We have been living temporarily in an apartment in Odenton for three weeks, about half an hour from where we serve, but we are now in our "new" apartment in Halethorpe and much closer to the Brooklyn Park Branch and all the members here. Today our bedroom furniture and all the "kitchen stuff" was delivered and carried in by our young Elders. Now I can start making this place feel "hyggelig". Most of you know how I am. I have to have plants, candles, pillows, etc. etc., around me to feel at home.
Speaking of home ... I have had a few pings of homesickness from time to time, but I think it's because we have not really felt settled until now.
The Brooklyn Park Branch is wonderful. We already feel at home and very much needed. The members are loving and have welcomed us with open arms. Because of General Conference we have not received callings yet, but expect that to change this coming Sunday. Many of the members live in what we call row houses, very small apartments that they pay too much for. The so called slum lords don't do anything to keep them repaired and looking nice and charge way too much in rent. I have already threatened to contact the Mayor. :)
We have met so many wonderful and interesting people and recognize the Lord's hand in sending us here. We mainly spend our time visiting less active members and try to help where we can. Many have opened their doors and hearts to us where others have not been able to get in. We have listened to the most heart wrenching stories of broken lives and broken homes. I thought I knew a little of suffering and heart ache but I don't. We are both amazed at the strength of the human spirit and how people survive in spite of abuse and evil.
Missionary work is a wonderful way to "forget one self and go to work." We are so grateful for making the decision to serve the Lord and hope we can make a difference.
We love all of you and are so grateful for your love and support.
Elder and Sister Lewis