Dear Friends and Family,
This week was interesting, Monday we did what we almost always do, we hung out with the Bartlett Sisters, hahaha. That night we ate with the D’s, but our dinner appointment was brief because we had an appointment with J. and A. at The M’s home. It went well, but I am struggling with them, J. in particular, because I am unsure of his actual dedication to learn. He came to church, he always wants to meet with us, but he only wants us to answer his questions and doesn’t really let us teach him. All his questions are about deep doctrine and anti-things that he has read, but he doesn’t understand that he is trying to learn multi variable calculus without knowing basic algebra. We have tried to teach him the concept of line upon line, precept upon precept, but he feels like because he is well versed in the Bible he doesn’t need to read the Book of Mormon. I am really struggling with how we can help him to understand the Book of Mormon, and that if he knows that it is the literal word of God, then nothing else matters. I just don’t know how to do it; I pray about it a lot. I just hope I can help him understand how much more there is for him to learn, and how much more joy there is for him to feel.
Tuesday we spent some time with Sister W., who continues to improve health wise, but who is still struggling emotionally with the operation. She really is having a hard time with the things she can’t do that she wants to. We help her out by sending emails and mailing her bills, etc., but she still gets very emotional whenever we are over there. She’s really excited about getting her dog on the 24th though, and I pray and pray that it goes well! If you guys could pray for her too it would be much appreciated; she needs it!
Wednesday we had zone meeting and we talked a lot about baptism and how we need to help our investigators understand what a blessing it truly is. Speaking of the importance of baptism, J. set an official date for August 1st!! It IS happening, J. IS getting baptized, and I am so thankful that Heavenly Father has blessed me so much by allowing me to be even a small part of his journey to baptism! He is so solid, I just love that man and I cannot wait until I get to watch Brother M. baptize him. Honestly, how did I get so lucky??
After zone meeting we met with J. and M. again. We issued them the challenge to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days, they said they were willing to try. I am hoping that they will do so with an open heart and mind so that they may know the truthfulness of it. While we were there M’s mom came over and invited us over to her house to teach her a brief lesson! We did and we are going to see her again next Thursday.
On Thursday we spent some time with Sister L., stopped in to visit some people, and tried to catch some former investigators. Sister L. is such an amazing woman. Her testimony is SO strong, and she has such an earnest desire to serve others. Every time we go out with her, I am just in awe of her consistent love and charity towards her fellow man. She’s who I want to be when I grow up! We also completed our Area Book training that day, and soon enough, our whole area book and planner will be on the iPad! It’s going to be a really useful tool, but I will kind of miss the paper copies for sure. Writing out a teaching record is just more fun. It will be such a blessing to have easy access to everything though, and it will be much more organized.
Friday we knocked doors for a long time, and while tracting in the Tennessee summer heat is not exactly my idea of fun, it was a really productive day. We met and set up return appointments with two families, and also met an awesome lady named K. and her son C. She invited us in from the doorstep, let us teach her the restoration, and told us she could feel the Spirit so strong with us. We invited her to church and she promised to try her hardest to be there!
She did not make it unfortunately, and Sunday was kind of a disappointment since we didn’t have a single investigator at church, when last week we had 5! I am trying my hardest not to be disappointed in us, but I feel like recently we have been handed miracle after miracle, but somehow we mess it up, and the people don’t progress. Now that we’ve had 5 investigators at church I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied with 1 or 2 again, but I know that the key to consistent success is hard work, and if I want to continue to perform on that level as a missionary, I just have to work that much harder.
On a positive note, we spent Sunday evening with the H’s and B. & L. came! We got to teach a lesson about the importance of the Sabbath, which was particularly applicable considering they missed church this Sunday. The lesson went really well, they responded positively to it, and we had such a fun time talking with them and the H’s. Everyone got along so well! I can tell that Heavenly Father is preparing B. for reactivation, and that if we will just be kind, loving, and consistent with him we will be able to get him there. And if B. is reactivated and coming to church consistently, then our chances of teaching L. and helping her towards baptism are exponentially higher!
I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary here in the Lakeland Ward, I know that I have been prepared to teach these people by a Heavenly Father who loves me, and them, very much. I am striving to become a better teacher, and to develop patience for when things don’t go my way. I hope that as I work to develop those skills this week I can be consistent in my application. I continue to work towards exact obedience, but like always, I have a long way to go. I am getting there though. I am improving slowly but surely. My biggest hope for this week is that when Heavenly Father hands me miracles, as he has so consistently done, I will be prepared to do with them what He would have me do, and to love His children, and serve them as He would.
I love you all so much. Your prayers and words of friendship, kindness, and encouragement lift and support me. Thank you all so much for what you do.
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas