Dear Friends and Family,

So this week was not as eventful as some past weeks, but we are working on it!

Monday was fairly uneventful, except that we did take Sister M to get her ears pierced, which was really exciting! She was super happy, and it was really fun to go with her and help her pick out earrings and stuff. That night we had a Family Home Evening with J at The Mars, and it was so much fun! We got so into our conversation and talking that we kind of forgot to have a lesson until the very end, so I just shared a brief scripture and testimony about the blessings of missionary work and the importance of developing the desire to share the gospel with anyone and everyone! Now that J is getting baptized on Saturday he is in a unique position to share the gospel, and his testimony, with tons of people. He is an amazing person, I just cannot wait to see what a blessing he is going to be in the Lakeland Ward as a baptized member. I am overjoyed that I have been able to be even just a small part of Jacob’s journey to baptism.
Tuesday we had district meeting and we talked about using The Book of Mormon more consistently in our teaching, and this is something I REALLY need to work on. Sometimes I get so focused on proving that we use The Bible, and and that The Bible supports what we teach, that I forget to use the BoM, but if we never use The Book of Mormon while teaching, how are our investigators supposed to understand how important it is to us, and just how much we need it? I am committing to using The Book of Mormon more and better in my teaching, starting by really focusing on memorizing Book of Mormon scriptures for each of the lesson points because if the first scripture that pops into my head when discussing a certain topic is from The Book of Mormon, I will be more likely to use it consistently.
We role played resolving concerns with the Book of Mormon, and it went really well both times we taught. Role Playing is another thing I really want to get better at. Man, sometimes I just feel like I have so many things to get better at, I feel bad for the people I am teaching right now. But I really do want to improve at role play because I feel like it helps me work through the MANY things I need to improve on as a missionary, I just need to get better at doing it consistently.
Following district meeting there was some strife within our companionship. We just communicate so differently that it has lead to problems, and  Tuesday afternoon was kind of the culmination of all of that tension. I feel really upset with myself for once again allowing personal issues keep us from the work, but there were some things we really needed to work through, so ultimately it was good, and I think we will be a stronger companionship and we will both be better missionaries because of it.
Wednesday was the start of our blitz with the STLs, who were with us most of Wednesday, spent the night with us, and were with us part of Thursday as well. I was with Sister M during the blitz, who I love so much. We got in contact with a less active recent convert named M, and it went well. He’s working a lot, and that is keeping him from church, but his biggest issue is commitment. He has a hard time taking things seriously consistently, but I know he has a testimony, and I know that if he can remember what it feels like to have the blessings of church attendance in his life again, he will come back. We also visited Sister Wilson and saw her off for her trip to Nashville the next morning, she is finally getting her service dog! She was so excited she was just BEAMING, and I don’t think she stopped smiling the whole time we were over there. I just love her so so so much, and I will really miss her these two weeks she’s in Nashville.
While I was with Sister M, we talked a lot about what it feels like to sometimes think you don’t fit into the sister missionary stereotype, and how it can sometimes be discouraging to feel different, but that if God wanted only one type of missionary, he would have only called one type of person. I know that so much of what makes Sister M a great STL is unique to who she is as a person, and likewise I know that so much of my potential as a missionary is specific to who I am, and the different gifts I have been afforded by my Heavenly Father. The important thing isn’t to try and fit your specific gifts into an imaginary box of what you think you should be, but to utilize your talents to the fullest extent they can be used, and to never shy away from those things that make you unique because often times that is the very thing that helps you connect with someone in a way that no one else could. I am working hard to embrace and accept my differences, while still working on my weaknesses, and doing my best to become the servant He envisions me being.
The other big fun thing that happened this week is that on Saturday we had a Ward Pioneer Day activity, and it was way fun!  A few people brought non-member friends and we then had the opportunity to meet and talk with them briefly about what we do as missionaries, and the Gospel in general. Unfortunately this did not result in any return appointments, but they responded positively to us, and they have our number, so hopefully one day they’ll be ready 🙂 The whole thing was a blast though, there was tons of great food, a stick pull competition, and a presentation of the history of the church in the Memphis area. It was so cool to hear the history of the area and really reflect on the fruits of missionary labors. It gives me hope.
We also met with Sister G this week, who is as fun, but as stubborn as ever. I hope her heart is continuing to be softened as we work with her on the Book of Mormon.
Sunday both J and L (Without B!) were at church, and we were able to spend time with both of them. I am really committed to finding out this week what it is that’s holding L back from baptism, I know she feels good at church, and she comes consistently, I often wonder if it’s just fear of taking the leap. I am going to ask her this week, and commit to do all I can to get her to baptism.
This week was kind of emotional, and there were times when I was disappointed with myself and the work we were doing, but all I can do is repent and do better the next week, and that is what I plan on doing! Thank you all (There may come a day when my courage to say y’all won’t fail, but it is not this day!) so much for your support and your love and your prayers. I hope that the next week brings blessings and missionary opportunities!
 Sister Hannah Thomas
hannah 4th of July

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