Dear Friends and Family,
Okay, so if you didn’t know, the weather in Memphis this week has been PERFECT. It has been so beautiful and felt so much like Halloween! I can’t even tell you how great it was.
Monday my email was on the fritz really bad, so if you didn’t hear from me, but felt like you should have, I am really sorry!! Also we played Volleyball with both sets of Bartlett Sisters and the Bartlett elders and I got huge bruises on my knees because I am pretty hardcore. (Actually I am just pretty talented at falling down). It was a fun time though for sure, it’s really, really nice having friends in the mission.
After volleyball and the end of P-Day we had dinner with the Jenson family and their neighbor Elizabeth. Elizabeth had come to church the previous day to hear Brayden Jenson, their twelve year old, speak. She is older and has a lot of health problems, but she is a really sweet lady and she loves Mormons! She wasn’t feeling very well Monday night and had a difficult time listening to what we had to say, but she and the Jenson’s encouraged us to go and see her again, so we definitely will!
We also went and saw Jaleesa and invited both her and her mom to attend a session of general conference over the weekend. It has been a really interesting journey with Jaleesa, she is so golden, so elect, and so ready for baptism, and it’s hard for me to not get upset at the fact that she isn’t baptized yet. Obviously I know and understand how important it is to respect her mom and her mom’s wishes, but I really struggle with seeing how badly Jaleesa wants baptism and her not being able to have it. We have given her mother all the tools she needs to conduct the research she wants, to in order to okay Jaleesa’s baptism, but it’s been two weeks and she has yet to even crack open the Book of Mormon we gave her.
This has really been troubling me a lot, because I haven’t been sure how to help Jaleesa or Jackie (her mom) move forward. So Thursday morning we were studying with the STLs and I had finished my Book of Mormon study and I was going into Preach My Gospel. I had planned to study Teaching Skills in chapter 10, but instead opened up to chapter 4, How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit? I started reading, and all of a sudden I was hit with this really powerful impression that we needed to teach Jaleesa a lesson that focused just on feeling the Spirit.
I wasn’t sure why, but that was the impression I received, so the next time we went over there we did exactly that. We had Bri & Callie Martineau with us and they really helped. We talked about the Spiritual experiences we had had together in the past, what they felt like and what triggered them. How she specifically felt the Spirit, and how she could feel it on her own. She was able to identify specific things about the way she felt the Spirit (goose bumps & misty eyes) and happily committed to daily scripture study and prayer.
Once we extended that commitment and she accepted, I again felt prompted by the Spirit. This time it was that I needed to invite her to share the things she learned in daily scripture study with her mom. I had seriously never had that thought before so you know that it came from the Spirit! She accepted that invitation as well and said she thought it would really help her mom know that what we taught was good and true. I am so thankful for the Spirit, I don’t know how anyone could ever do missionary work without it.
On Tuesday we had district meeting and I made pumpkin spice cookies and chocolate pudding with the first attempt at pumpkin spice cookies in the pudding as cookie crumble. I was thankful for being raised in a family that always makes more treats than we think we’ll need, because President Floyd of the mission presidency and the impact elders, Elder Brown & Elder Wells, were there unexpectedly as well! In district meeting we talked about more effective studies and the vision we have for our area once we leave it. I really didn’t like doing the vision activity because I am now having to face the reality that this is probably my last transfer in Lakeland and I don’t want to leave!! I love these people and I can’t imagine saying goodbye to so many of them.
Wednesday we had to give up our car to the Bartlett Elders and start our bike week, which was not that fun of an activity, but it was kind of worth it when we got to watch 6’6 Elder Maher and 6’7 Elder Trendler try and get into the car after we had pulled the seats as far forward as they could possibly go. It was golden, as was the dirty look we got from Elder Maher when we fell over laughing.
Friday we found this awesome new investigator named Martha. We were actually walking to the home of some members and she was out in her yard with her granddaughters putting up these awesome Halloween blow up decorations. I had been thinking a lot about D&C 61:3 that says: “But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief.” And how need to do better at talking with EVERYONE, and making every moment a finding opportunity, so when we walked by Martha I charged right up and started talking to her. She was super friendly, listened to us, and invited us back! Finding is awesome.
I feel like I just need a whole separate email for all my feelings on General Conference…I mean what a POWERFUL Spiritual experience!! My favorite talks were definitely President Nelson, Elder Holland, and Sister Marriott’s. The vision of Latter Day Saint women that President Nelson shared was both empowering and just a little bit daunting. Elder Holland’s talk on the divinity of motherhood gave me so much joy, as I reflected on my own divine mother, and Sister Marriott’s confident motto that “it will all work out” was hopeful and uplifting. I loved the messages shared that I felt were prepared specifically for me. I love the feeling of oneness that comes from watching general conference and knowing that in doing so you are joined by millions of faithful Latter Day Saints around the world. I am so thankful for President Thomas S. Monson, for his love and faithful service, for the three new apostles and the nine faithful remaining ones. I am so thankful for the service of auxiliary leaders at the local and international level, and for the miracle of modern technology that allows all of us to have access to modern revelation for our day. I love you all so much. I hope you have been blessed by conference this weekend and that those blessings will continue. I love this work and I love this gospel.
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas