Dear Friends and Family,
I am not even really sure how to write about this week. It has been so bizarre, so I think I will just write about the three major events of the week and then call it good. P.S. If this were a hand written letter, and not electronic, there would be tear stains somewhere on this page. It’s been one of THOSE weeks.
So the first big thing that happened this week was exchanges with The STLs. SISTER’S THOMAS & B, BACK IN BUSINESS. Going on exchanges with Sister B was THE BEST. I just love her so much, and I am always floored by her drive and ability as a missionary. So we spent our two days or so of exchanges in Bartlett, during which we had a couple of pretty crazy experiences. The first one was amazing! We were finding in this apartment complex, and we saw a woman sitting on her porch and we decided to go and talk to her. We walked up, started chatting and we were teaching her, when all of a sudden tears welled in her eyes and she said: “Y’all may not believe this, but I was literally praying to God for guidance when you walked up, and I didn’t even see you walking towards me, so I just looked up and there you were, standing in a ray of light.” It was 3:00 in the afternoon and very sunny, but still! It was so amazing to see the immediate effects of the Spirit.
It was especially cool because our District Meeting just hours before had been all about the importance of the people we teach having spiritual experiences and being able to recognize them. The whole meeting was an excellent experience. Elder M taught really well, and the whole district participated in the discussion. It was so awesome to learn about that subject, and then to have such a quick and powerful illustration of the concept. I believe in miracles.
The next experience was equally intense, but not nearly as positive. In his same apartment complex we went to go contact a potential investigator, and when we knocked she called for us to come in. We got into her apartment and found her curled up on the couch, barely able to keep her eyes open. After talking to her for a few minutes it became clear she was in the middle of some kind of overdose. She has taken 4 anxiety pills not prescribed to her, she had been drinking, and there was a half smoked joint on her stove. She also hadn’t eaten in three days. Sister B and I were really unsure of what to do, so we knelt in prayer and asked for guidance. We received the revelation to buy her some food, so we headed to Kroger. We bought a sixteen pack of frozen corn dogs (the only thing she said she would eat) and made her eat two of them. We left the rest in her freezer, and there was literally no other food in her apartment. The situation was really sad, but there was not much else we could do for her. We tried to call an ambulance, but she wouldn’t let us, probably because she was on parole. Finally, we prayed over her and asked Heavenly Father to give her the strength to help herself. I am so thankful for divine guidance.
The next major thing is we had a first sit down lesson with the girl named J this week on Wednesday. (I talked about her last week). We had talked to her about the Book of Mormon before, given her a copy, and invited her to read. When we got to the lesson on Wednesday we asked her if she had taken a look at her BoM, and not only had she taken a look at it, she had been reading in AND underlining scriptures, AND applying them to her life! She told she had even been reading the book AT school! The entire lesson was really spiritual, she cried during the first vision, and when we invited her to be baptized she started crying again. She accepted the invitation and we set a date for September 19th! She feels the spirit so strongly, and is really earnestly searching for truth.
She came to Book of Mormon Study Group Thursday night and she actively participated! Friday night we taught her again, and this time we brought MN with us and the two of them are already best friends! M invited her to the youth boating activity on Saturday and J went and had a great time. She came to church on Sunday, and after the meetings were over I was talking to her about how she liked church and she told me not only did she love all three parts of meetings, she could not wait to get baptized! I literally cannot believe how blessed I am to know and teach her. She just gets it, and she has been so prepared by our Heavenly Father, it blows my mind.
So the last thing is kind of a long crazy story. Sister M and I are in Little Rock right now for her therapy session, and a few days before we left she wanted a blessing. This session is to help her deal with the death of her mom, so I thought it was a really good idea. Saturday morning we met the elders at the church building for the blessing, and when we got there we were talking when one of them said: “We heard you’re defecting”. I was totally confused, so I asked him what he meant and he told us that the Zone Leaders had told them we were switching areas with the elders in Dyersburg. When they said this I honestly thought this was Elder M playing a kind of mean joke. Dyersburg is a teeny tiny town in the middle of nowhere, and it’s one of those areas they just don’t send sisters.
Later that day, however, President Wakolo called us, and it is 100% true. Apparently all of the Dyersburg elders’ investigators are single women, and so President wanted to do an “experiment” and have a set of sisters switch places with them for two weeks. He prayed about it, asked the Zone Leaders & Sister Training Leaders for advice, and decided that we were the companionship of sisters that needed to switch.
I am absolutely freaking out. I strongly believe in revelation, and I know that there are obviously people in Dyersburg that we need to teach, but the idea of leaving my area for two weeks in the middle of a transfer, especially with a baptism coming up, is making me pretty stressed out. I am also really worried about not being able to accomplish President’s vision for what this experiment should be. Last night however, on my District Leader call in, I was expressing all my fears about this crazy change to my DL, in particular my fear about being the sisters that prove that sisters just can’t hack it in Dyersburg, when he gave us some awesome/comforting praise. He pointed out that other sisters way before us set the standard that Sisters can’t hack it in Dyersburg, but for the first time in 3 years there is a set of sisters in the mission who The Lord thinks can hack it! I am working really hard to believe that, but I could really use y’all’s prayers right now. This is a big change. We are going from a huge family ward to a branch of 25 people in the middle of a transfer, and we only get two weeks to make a difference. I will need the support of extra prayer to do all that the Lord has prepared for us to do there.
Over all this week has been really good, and we have seen the blessings of our hard work constantly. I am thankful for a loving family and friends who support me, and for an area that I love, full of people whom I adore. I am thankful for a companion who makes me better, and for a Savior who makes me brave.
I love you all,
Sister Hannah Thomas
Hannah and J who will be baptized on Sept. 19.
Hannah’s District in Lakeland/Bartlett
LtoR: Sister M, Sister Thomas, Sister B,
Sister J, Elder P, Elder M.
The sisters were being silly in this one! 🙂