WEEK THREE – ARKANSAS (Well actually Tennessee!)

Dear Friends and Family,

What an insane, crazy week!

We left The MTC at 3:30 am Tuesday morning, and since Sister Cawley and I are such special spirits we decided it would be a good idea to pull an all nighter and just not sleep at all before heading to the airport! It was a horrible decision and it made my day really hard, but I just love Sister Cawley so  much that it’s okay. The flight here was okay, when we got to the Atlanta Airport, where we were supposed to  be able to call home there were no working payphones so I missed the opportunity to call and I was really upset. I cried on and off the whole rest of the day.

When we landed in Arkansas President Wakolo & The AP’s where there to pick us up. Most of the other missionaries were seriously dying in the humidity, but it was all too familiar to me (: We then headed to a church building there in Arkansas to have a short orientation. It was good, but I was kind of stunned so I honestly don’t remember much about it. I do remember however, that there was a little boy running around in the church that sounded just like Jeb. That caused the tears to flow, lemme tell ya. I cried all the way though my interview with President Wakolo, so I think he probably was not very impressed with me, but oh well, it is what it is. We spent the night in the mission home and it was really nice. The food was great and the spirit was strong, but my head really wasn’t in it. My head was at home with my family and I honestly spent the whole night feeling like I needed to go home. Thankfully other people are much better at being tools in The Lord’s hands than I am.

As I showered that night I cried and cried and cried. Then I got in my bed and was laying there feeling  more depressed and upset and homesick than I have ever felt. As I was laying there however I felt impressed to look through the binder they had given me in orientation. At the back of the binder I found an envelope with my name written on in in what I assume was President Wakolo’s handwriting. I opened it, expecting some more paper work, but instead I found a letter from my mom all about how proud she was of my decision to serve a mission and how even though she missed me, what a blessing she knew it would be. All at once I remembered why I was there, and I remembered that I also knew what a blessing it was that I have the opportunity to serve a mission. The Lord knew I would need that comfort, and thankfully my mom and President Wakolo are excellent tools in his hands.

The next morning was the transfer meeting. Sister Cawley stayed in Arkansas in an area called Bryant, which is pretty hick. We were really really really sad we had to separate, but we have been texting and she seems to be doing super well. I am serving in Lakeland Tennessee! It’s a suburb of Memphis and our area actually has quite a bit of Memphis in it. Our ward is really interesting because we have several neighborhoods full of million dollar homes, but we also have areas that are fairly poor, which makes our ward a very interesting mix of demographics. My companion (and trainer) is named Sister Mendicino, and she’s from Midvale Utah & graduated from Hillcrest! She and I don’t really know any of the same people though. Our companionship has gone super well over all. We aren’t best friends like Sister Cawley and I, but we get along.

We are reopening the area for sisters, and we don’t have an apartment or car right now, so we’re staying with sisters in a different area and we are relying on members for rides everywhere. Thankfully the people here are AWESOME, and so willing to help out. We did service for this woman named Sister Wilson and she’s like, at least 80 years old and a recent convert. She has a lot of health problems but she’s super active and I LOVE her! She’s lived an amazing life and loves the gospel so so so much. There are also lots of YSA girls who are ready and excited to come out teaching with us. This is a seriously great ward.

I am so thankful and excited to be out here on my mission. I love the Lord and I love these people already, but I also love all of you so much.

Love,

Sister Thomas

ALRM

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