Dear Friends and Family,
Okay, so as the title suggests, this week was a struggle, but I will get to that later. Monday we went to the Memphis Zoo and it was super, super, hecka fun. It was Sister M’s birthday so we went with the Bartlett sisters and a ward member, S. and we had cupcakes and presents, and I made chicken salad, and we all just had a grand old time. It was probably the first time since I’ve been on my mission that I got lost in the moment a little bit, let myself go, and completely enjoyed myself without thinking about home or being far away or anything like that. That evening we ate with the J’s, who are the cutest family ever. We were able to commit each of the kids to handing out a pass along card to someone that they knew, and they were all so excited.
As good as Monday was, Tuesday was bad. I found something out relating to my personal life that really upset me, and I found myself too sad to do the work. We came back to the apartment and I cried in my bed for an hour straight. I was upset about the thing I had found out, but I was even more upset with myself for allowing it to keep me so down. I never wanted to be the missionary that let some dumb thing at home distract them from the people around them who desperately need the gospel, but on Tuesday that’s exactly who I was. We didn’t have a dinner appointment that night so Sister M. took me to McDonalds knowing that if one thing could cheer me up, it would be McDonalds fries. McDonalds worked like a charm, but not because of the fries (well, not COMPLETELY because of the fries). While we were there I got onto the wifi to check my email and found one from my Mom.
Jennifer K. Thomas is the single greatest blessing that I have been afforded in this life. I had an email from her telling me that for some reason I had been on her mind all day, and that she just wanted to remind me that she loved me, and how proud she was of me. I broke down right there in the McDonalds, and I’m sure I was embarrassing my companion, but I didn’t care. I am so thankful for a mother who listens to the Spirit. I read the email at least six times, and after French fries and an email from Hennifer I felt exponentially better.
Wednesday I asked the Elders in our district for a blessing, and it really helped me as I continued to deal with some issues. The blessing was exactly the comfort I needed to know that I can handle the things placed before me because I am here to do the Lord’s work, and He will always give me the strength to do it. That day we also had an apartment check and I had a call to repentance about my lack of a 72 hr. kit. Next P-Day project, yay!
That night the STL’s came and stayed with us because we had zone conference the next morning. I know they were guided by the Spirit to be with us, because having them there to talk to was just added comfort and strength for me.
Thursday’s Zone conference was a really enjoyable experience. We were introduced the Area Book Planner app that we will be using from now on, and they also taught us how to upload all the info from our paper copies onto the app. I, as a somewhat technologically challenged individual, will really miss paper teaching records, but I am praying for the desire and ability to utilize this new tool to the fullest extent possible. (I just need to figure out how to use the dang thing 🙂
I was so thankful for the instruction we received from the APs and the Wakolo’s, my mission president and his wife. Much of it was a call to repentance for me. I have a long way to go when it comes to diligence and consistency in many areas as a missionary. To have leaders who consistently push us to be better missionaries is a blessing to me, because it helps me know they love me and the people of this area.
That night we saw J. and had a big come to Jesus with him. We explained that we cannot continue to meet with him if we do not see that he really is making an effort to read the Book of Mormon, and gain a testimony. He is just so stuck on the anti-Mormon stuff that he has been exposed to, and he is having a hard time giving the Book of Mormon the chance it deserves. Sometimes I wish I could just shake him and tell him how much better life could be if he would just accept the gospel. Obviously that would be inappropriate, though. During the lesson he told me that I yelled at him, and that made him not want to read the Book of Mormon, so I left the lesson really upset and discouraged about my own abilities as a teacher.
Thankfully, though, Ja. still agreed to read something from the Book of Mormon that we gave him, so we went home and prayed fervently for what God would have us tell Ja. to read. We received the answer to have him read Mosiah, Alma, and Heleman, and to have him study them alongside Titus and Ephesians from the New Testament. We told Ja. this and he promised us he would pray about it and tell us Monday if he would read it. I pray that he will be able to accept the reading and allow the Holy Ghost to work in his heart.
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas