Dear Friends and Family,
This week was the best! Sister M and I hit the ground running right at the start of the week and it paid off! This week was maybe the best of my mission so far, because we just worked our butts off. We tracted every day for at least an hour, and there were several days this week that we were on the streets for 4 or 5 hours at a time. This is what I thought missionary work would be. Going hard, pushing yourself, knocking just one more door, and then coming home that night exhausted, spent, but unbelievably happy!
The coolest thing about the week we had is that we have seen the immediate blessings of our hard work in the form of new investigators, return appointments and really solid, spiritual first lessons. We taught a girl named J who is 15 years old, and her brother had taken the lessons in the past. She told us that she is confused about religion right now and is really searching for a church that is right for her. We met with her for the first time Friday, taught her about the Book of Mormon, and then taught her again on Sunday. She is super excited about the Book of Mormon, and we are teaching her again on Wednesday! She agreed to a reading schedule for the BoM, and the spirit was really strong both times we taught her. She is super sweet and earnestly searching for something more!
Then, across the street from her, we are teaching a guy named C. I have met him a few times, but he has never moved off our potential investigator list because he has never been solid about setting up appointments. But with hard work comes blessings, and this time when we tried him he was happy and excited to meet with us! We had a really solid first lesson with him, and have scheduled a return appointment for Tuesday!
On Tuesday when we were finding in the area behind our neighborhood we met a guy on his doorstep on his way to work named Q. He didn’t have much time, but he talked to us for a little bit and told us that he and his brother live in the house and they both are currently in need of kidney transplants. He was happy to pray with us, but as soon as the prayer was over hurried off to work. We walked away from the house and I really didn’t think too much of it, but Sister M felt very prompted that we needed to return and knock on the door, so we did, and Q’s brother B answered! We talked to him for a long time, said a prayer, and B eagerly asked us to come back. We are seeing them again tonight! I’m thankful for a companion who is so in tune with the spirit. J
Now for a funny story. So we went to knock on the door of some former investigators, and while we were standing on their doorstep (they didn’t answer by the way) I noticed this pamphlet on the ground that has a list of times you should call 911, and times you shouldn’t. It was kind of folded over and I couldn’t read all of it, but I thought it looked kind of funny, so I picked it up and brought it to the car with us. When we got to the car it looked like there was a hair sticking out of the folded part of the paper, so I went to pull it out, AND IT WAS NOT A HAIR! It was the antenna of a grasshopper! Well I accidentally pulled the antenna and one of the grasshopper’s legs off, and flung it into the well of the car at my feet. Because it was missing a leg, it was trying to hop around, but couldn’t hop in any direction, and so it was just flinging wildly around and kept hitting me legs. I was screaming the whole time, and I literally flung myself into the back seat and Sister M had to get it out of the car. I am once again thankful for such a wonderful companion.
So we have been praying a lot lately for L T, who’s husband B. is a member, but she is not. She has never expressed interest in taking the lessons or being baptized, but she comes to church almost every Sunday. She has been on my mind quite a bit lately and I have mentioned her in all of my personal prayers, as well as all of our companionship prayers. I love her so much, and I know how much joy the gospel would bring her, but the situation is very delicate, and I have been lost as to how to help her. Well this week I received revelation, an answer to our prayers about L. After our lesson with C I was hit hard with the revelation that we needed to ask the T’s if we could teach C in their home. B would be the perfect fellowshipper for C, they have similar backgrounds, interests, they even kind of look similar! The other serious advantage of this situation is that L would have to be present for the lessons because C & B are both men, so it is the perfect non-threatening way for us to begin to teach L without her even realizing that we are teaching her! We were so excited about the idea that we drove straight to B & L’s house to ask them. B was super enthusiastic about it, and L said she was happy to sit in on the lessons! I am so thankful for the answers we receive to prayers.
In our zone this transfer they have asked us to study a different attribute of Christ each week, and this past week we studied Hope. It has been a really uplifting spiritual experience to study hope, and there are a few things I have learned since studying it. Hope is a powerful thing to have because if you have hope, then you also have faith, because in order to hope for something, you have to believe that it is a possibility, no matter how remote. If you have hope then, as we learn in Alma 32, you can act on that faith, no matter how small, and you can see it grow. Hope sustains us when we cannot see the lights on the shore, hope carries us through our darkest nights and our deepest sorrows. In the words of Jeffery R. Holland, “Believe in miracles, hope is never lost”
The Christlike attribute that I personally am trying to develop, however, is Charity. I have spent a lot of time studying it as well this week, and there are many really beautiful passages of scripture about charity. As I have studied the word, the vision of charity that I have formulated is that charity is not something that we do, charity is something that we have. The Bible Dictionary defines charity as “The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ. It is never used to denote alms or deeds of benevolence, although it may be a prompting motive” Unfortunately society, as it so often does, has warped our perception of what charity should be. The secular definition of the word is “the voluntary giving of help to those in need, particularly in the form of money” How cold and without meaning or importance is that definition? In Mark 12:33 we see that “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Charity is a love greater than sacrifice, because if we truly do something out of charity and love, then we think of what we do not as a sacrifice. Charity is about where you look in times of trouble, because if you truly have charity you look first to your Savior, and then second, to those who your Savior would have you look after. I have seen this principle work miraculously in my life these past few weeks. Coming off a difficult transfer, I was worried about my dedication to the work. I often have felt homesick, tired, and unmotivated, but now, in my time of need, The Lord has sent me someone in Sister Mart who needs my help, and who has in turn helped me. As I have had the opportunity to serve her these past few weeks I have felt my desire and dedication for the work grow. I have been more motivated, harder working, and I have begun to see the fruits of our labors. Joseph Smith saw God. The Book of Mormon is true. Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. God is real and he loves each of us.
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas