Dear Friends and Family,
(I am typing this on my own actual iPad, which is like, hecka exciting, seriously.)
This week has been super good. On Monday we spent our P-Day baking with the Bartlett sisters. Sister S. in our ward (she’s super awesome, we’ve eaten dinner at her house three times already and she helps us out constantly) let us come over and use her kitchen, which was great because she had The Other Side of Heaven, so we watched that while we baked. We made two pies, a cake, and snicker doodles. One of the pies was for our Zone Leaders since they put us on full car, the cake was for our District Leader because it was his birthday, and the cookies/other pie were for us. Everything was really good except we accidentally got distracted by The Other Side of Heaven and didn’t hear the timer go off for the cookies, so they got a little burned…. But we scraped off the burned part and they were still good!
The not so fun thing about Monday though was that our investigator family The B’s. didn’t show up for dinner with the member family the Bu’s. 😦 I was pretty upset because I was really excited to be able to teach them in a member’s home, but it didn’t happen. Thankfully The Bu’s still were happy to eat with us and they were really nice about the B’s not coming. We ate our other pie with them and after a little family time with them I felt much better. The other funny thing about the Bu’s family is they have a daughter named S. who just graduated from high school, and she and I get along really well, but then I’ve been to at least 5 dinner appointments where the person has gone, “You know who you remind me of, S. Bu’s!!” And then one of the Elders thought she was me the other night at Book of Mormon study and we both laughed our heads off. It’s a thing apparently.
On Tuesday we spent a lot of time just out and about, mostly trying to contact less actives without much success. That night we had dinner with a family in our ward named The C’s. He is a professor at University of Memphis, and she has a master’s in French. They have three boys and all three of them are smarter than me and none of them are older than eight! All three boys are learning French and German. They are a very unique and interesting family. That night we also watched and studied General Conference talks with Sister W., a recent convert. I really don’t remember if I told you guys about her last time, but I am too lazy to go back and check so whatever. She is like, at least 80 years old and got baptized last September. She is super super fun to listen to, but she can talk, A LOT. Her husband died in 2001, so she lives on her own and all her family is in Canada. She is very good at puzzles and needle point and I love her. She’s been having a lot of health problems recently though, so please keep her in your prayers 😦
Wednesday we tried contacting less actives, and still were met with no success, but while we were in one of the less active’s neighborhoods we started knocking doors. While we were walking down this street, there was a mom and two daughters doing some yard work. We always offer to help people when we see them doing stuff like that, but people almost always say no. This time though we asked the girls if we could help and without even asking any questions they said yes! It was kind of strange, but we were really happy. As we talked to them we learned that the mom’s name was T., and her daughters were named A. and R., and they used to take lessons from the Spanish sisters! That’s why they were so willing to let us help them! We went inside after we were done with the yard work and taught them a brief lesson. She told us they were Catholic, but agreed to let us come back and teach them next week! That night we went to dinner with a lady named Sister L. Her story is so awesome. She was inactive for a long time, and then in 2008 she felt prompted to start reading the Book of Mormon again, so she did and has been active ever since! She is so awesome and hands out Book of Mormons to everyone!
Thursday was the glorious iPad delivery! We had Zone Meeting and that’s when we got the devices. We spent a lot of time getting them set up and what not, and since I have tons of problems with technology already, being away from it for a while meant that I didn’t know how to do ANYTHING, and messed up EVERYTHING! The Office Elders were not happy with how many problems I had! But then we had a miracle! We stopped by our investigator family the B’s just to see if they would talk to us because they hadn’t been answering our texts, and the father D. was in the front yard talking on the phone. He was super happy to see us! He explained that his son had been in the hospital all week and that is why they had missed dinner and hadn’t been responding. He told us they are still really anxious to learn, and we set up a teaching appointment for next Tuesday, invited them to church this Sunday, and got a referral!!
We also saw our less active Sister G. on Thursday. We are working really hard to help her understand the importance of the Book of Mormon, so we read with her every Thursday. She is so much fun to be around, we love her! She works a lot and Sundays are hard for her, but I am really hoping we can get her back to church soon.
That night at Book of Mormon study group Sister W. told us she’d been to the doctor earlier that day and found out she has shingles 😦 she was really upset and cried a lot, so the Arlington Elders gave her a blessing and I think it helped. She’s worried that this will interfere with her getting her service dog next month. Pray pray pray for her!!
Friday we spent some time finding with a laurel in our ward. It was really fun, and we were able to teach a few lessons on the street. We had dinner with The S’s that night and it was wonderful, as usual. After our dinner we stopped by to see Sister W. She was doing a little better, the pain medication is working for her, but she is still having a hard time with the pain. We talked to her for a long time about life, and the blessing of the Atonement. I really love her and hope she will be able to begin to feel better.
Saturday morning we helped our investigator J. move some stuff around in his house because he is getting two roommates. I think it will be really good for him, ever since his wife died he has been really lonely. He did tell me he is thinking about pushing back his baptism date though, and I was not so happy about that. 😦 Hopefully we can get him to where he needs to be to feel good about that date! Pray for him to get the confirmation he needs to take the plunge (literally!)
After we finished with Jacob we decided to go looking for some former investigators, and decided to try and talk to a young guy named Ja. that the Elders before us had taught. We knocked on the door at his house, and his 15 year old sister answered. Her name is J. and she told us she remembered the Elders. When we asked if we could talk to her a little she said sure and sat down with us on the porch. We ended up teaching her the full 45 minute Restoration lesson! The spirit was SO STRONG, and when we asked her how she was feeling she told us she knew God had sent us to teach her that message!!! We set up a return appointment and I am just so excited.
Later that night after we had dinner with some members (The S’s again actually, ha! They feed us when no one else has signed up for dinner!) We decided to make cookies to bring around to all our new neighbors. We actually got back to the apartment late though so we were only able to visit with one set of neighbors, but it didn’t matter because the one set we met with was so awesome! It’s a family, her name is Sh., his name is R., and they have a son named K. We knocked on the door and they invited us in immediately. They were super friendly and kind. They asked a lot of questions about what we taught and we set up an appointment to teach them on Wednesday!! They were very neighborly, and offered help and even pointed out where a police officer lives in our complex. They are so super sweet and I am feeling so blessed to have met them. K. knocked on our door Sunday after we got home from church and had written us a note and brought us freezer pops! He is so cute!
After church yesterday we went and visited Sister W. We had the sacrament brought to her since her shingles kept her from coming to church. When we told her she could have the sacrament brought to her in her home, her eyes welled with tears and she thanked us profusely, saying she hadn’t even known that was possible. Her reaction made me ponder how much importance I have put on the sacrament in my own life, because I have missed plenty of church for a variety of reasons and never even given not taking the sacrament a second thought. Even when I take the sacrament sometimes, rather than ponder the blessing it is to receive it, I just go through the motions of taking it. What a blessing to have Sister W’s example to make me think of it in a different way! The sacrament is vital to our salvation, but for those of us who have had the opportunity to take it our whole lives, it doesn’t always hold the importance it should. This week I have committed myself to pondering and appreciating the blessing of the sacrament not only on Sunday, but every day, because to appreciate the sacrament is to appreciate the Savior.
Sunday night we ate with the N. family. They are seriously the best. They have five kids, the oldest is named J. and he’s 17, then M. is 14, A. is 12, C. is 10, and G. is 2. They are super crazy and loud and they run around like maniacs, but they remind me of home sometimes (: Sister M., the mom, is seriously THE BEST cook. Dinner over there is always a blast.
All in all this was an amazing week. We got six new investigators, had the opportunity to serve investigators and members, and grew closer to Christ through our continued service of him. I love my Savior and I absolutely love this gospel. My blessings are so numerous. I cannot list them all, and try as I might, I know I will never be worthy of them. How loving is our God?!!
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas