Dear Friends and Family,
On Monday we went with the Bartlett sisters and participated in some much needed retail therapy. I forgot all my jewelry, so we went to the mall and all spent some time (and money) at Charming Charlie’s. I got several pairs of earrings and my new sunglasses, which I will include a selfie of. It was super fun just hanging out and relaxing. I love malls and I love the other sisters! That night we had dinner with the J. family; they have the five kids, three girls and two boys, all under the age of 12! They are a super great family, and they gave us a referral for their neighbor, who we will be seeing this week.
Tuesday our Sister Training Leaders came down and went on splits with us. It was a really good day, I spent it with Sister F., who I really enjoy. She is going home next transfer, but it was really good getting to know her better. We focused mostly on less actives and recent converts, and visited both Sister W. and Sister G. Crazily enough, Sister G. now has the shingles too!:(Teaching with Sister F. was great, she is ultra-good at listening to the Spirit and allowing it to guide her to the exact thing that the person needs to hear. I really admire her closeness to the Spirit and it has really driven me to try and develop that ability.
The next day was not as good of a day. We stayed up too late the night before because the sister training leaders stayed with us and we were talking. We were also irresponsible and didn’t really plan for the next day, so Wednesday was a bunch of random knocked doors and basically no lessons. We did have lunch with the G. family though, and it was interesting. Sister G. is a super intense lady. It was cool to eat with her, because she has a lot of connections to Liberty Mississippi, and we know a lot of the same people there. This day really reminded me of the importance of working hard and being organized. It doesn’t feel good to spend an entire day doing nothing of real worth or purpose.
Thursday was a much, much better day. We met with a guy named C. who had met with the elders previously. We were able to help him with the concept of living prophets and schedule another appointment! He is a really cool guy, and he is super interested in religion, but he works every Sunday, and that is probably going to be an obstacle. We also saw Sister G. and her son G., and this visit was the real miracle of the day! First of all, G. who is really really shy, and hasn’t ever been willing to talk to missionaries, has totally been opening up to us lately. He and my companion Sister M. have connected over Anime, and he and I have been able to discuss Cosplay, so now every single time we go over there to visit he comes down and talks with us for a while. We invited him to come to a family home evening with The S’s & J. our investigator, and he told us he would be willing to go! Anyway, on Thursday we went over there and he came down and asked us if he could draw us a picture. Of course we said yes, and I am so excited to see what he makes for us. THEN, we read Jacob chapter 3 with Sister G., who as y’all know, likes to be difficult and doesn’t really have a testimony of the BoM or Joseph Smith. I was worried about this chapter, because while I think it is an amazing chapter of scripture, there are many opportunities to ask difficult questions. Thankfully, however, that is not what happened. Sister G. loved the chapter. She gave spiritual thoughts on the scripture, agreed with what we taught her, and the Spirit was SO STRONG. It was a breakthrough. I am just so thankful for my Heavenly Father and his ability to soften hearts. He makes the work easy and my burdens light.
The one bad thing that happened this day though was that we have to drop A. & D. as investigators. 😦 They missed our appointment again this week, and we went over there every day, and they were never home! Then, on Thursday we got a call from a woman who had seen our number on their door. She was looking for D. because he had sold her a stolen car! So I think they may have skipped town. I’m really sad, but maybe someday they will be more prepared to hear the word.
Friday was maybe the most spiritually edifying day of my mission so far. We all headed to Little Rock at 6:00 am and had a six hour instruction from Elder Kopischke of the 70. He structured it like one of Elder Bednar’s question & answer sessions, and it was so amazing. He invited us all at the beginning of the meeting to write down questions we needed answers to, and promised us that even if we didn’t mention those questions the whole meeting, that we would receive answers. I wrote down multiple questions and received answers to all of them. Heavenly Father is so good at using every situation to teach us personally and powerfully. As I listened to Elder Kopischke’s words I was testified to over and over again that I need to be here right now, and that my mission is exactly what I need to be doing right now. Then, on the bus ride home, a couple of missionaries began talking to our bus driver about the gospel. Then we sang hymns and had a testimony meeting, and by the end of the bus ride we had committed our bus driver, Brother Jones, to baptism!! He set a date for July 25th. It was such a miracle. We didn’t get back to our area until almost 8:30, so we just went and got dinner with the Bartlett sisters and spent the night at their apartment.
Saturday we visited with Sister W. again and I brought her some tea that I thought might be this African tea she used to drink a lot, but couldn’t find anymore. I don’t know if it was the tea she was looking for, but she loved it anyway! I left the whole canister with her. (Side Note- this tea was Word of Wisdom approved, I promise!) We talked to her for a long time, she has a short surgery on the 30th because she has a collapsed vocal cord. This is a same day surgery that is not very intensive, but if it doesn’t work she will have to go in and have a more serious procedure done, so please continue to pray for her, and pray specifically that her surgery on the 30th will go well. She really appreciates the prayers. Saturday night was the only time this month we did not have an appointment with a member for dinner, so we decided to party it up and went to this crazy sushi buffet with nine million kinds of sushi and tons of tempura and this super good miso soup and a bunch of different desserts. We stuffed ourselves, and I was feeling it all night, hahahaha. How ironic, the southern food hasn’t contributed to weight gain at all, but if I keep eating sushi like that I’ll gain my mission 40 in no time! We spent the rest of the night contacting less actives and it went okay, there is a lot of reactivation work to be done in this ward.
Sunday we went to church and I got to participate in my first ward council as a missionary! It was cool to be able to discuss how to better help our investigators on so many different fronts. After church we went with the priesthood to bring Sister W. the sacrament since she is still in too much pain to come to church. Man that woman has a powerful Spirit. Spending time with her makes you so appreciative of the gifts of the Spirit, while at the same time, so ashamed of how lightly you have been taking your blessings. After we finished the sacrament she started crying and told us how much love she felt from the ward and that the treatment she was receiving from everyone was better than she could have ever imagined. She is such a blessing to know.
Sunday night we were with The N’s again, and I love those crazy kids!! She made Navajo tacos and they were AMAZING, and a really nice throw back to home. Being over there is always a blast, and Sister M. is the best, she has ordained herself my mission mom.
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas