Dear Friends and Family,
My favorite thing about my mission so far is that I keep telling y’all in my weekly emails that I just lived the craziest week of my entire mission, and then a couple of weeks later another week comes along and kicks it right off the top of my list of crazy weeks! So I will say for now that this week was the craziest week of my mission so far, but I have a feeling it may not hold the title for very long!
On Monday I sent Sister M off to Arkansas and we said goodbye for the last time as companions. I was very sad to see her go. I really love her, and have so enjoyed these last three months together! But, since Sister M had to head over to Arkansas early, I got to be in a trio with the STLs for two days!! I am ALWAYS down for a chance to be companions with Sister B!
We had a really good time together, except for on Tuesday night I had to go to this weird meeting with them that the Zone Leaders, a member of the stake presidency, President F from the mission presidency, and multiple members from Lakeland attended, and during this meeting I made a comment and accidentally used the phrase “don’t know crap” in front of everyone in this meeting. President F followed up my comment with “Well she’s from Texas, so she has an excuse I guess!” Everyone got a good laugh at that, so it was okay. But just in case you were worried that I had matured past the point of embarrassing myself in formal, public situations, I have not. It’s beautiful.
But more importantly, on Tuesday the STLs & I went over during the day and visited J, J’s mom! She had invited us over, because she wanted to ask us some questions about our beliefs. She obviously had been reading some sort of anti-Mormon literature, because her two main questions were about racism in the church and Heavenly Mother, but, in one of the hugest blessings of my mission so far, we were able to teach with the Spirit and she happily accepted our answers to her questions!! I was so thankful to have the STLs there with me. They are both such excellent teachers and examples. I love them and look up to them so much.
So Wednesday was the big day, TRANSFERS!! I was so nervous I didn’t really sleep Tuesday night. I have kind of been freaking out about getting a baby. It is such a huge responsibility. If motherhood is ANYTHING like mission motherhood then I am going to need A LOT of help! I have been praying a lot for strength from my Heavenly Father. Strength to be diligent, strength to teach clearly, strength to love the way I need to love, and strength to set a good example. Going into transfer meeting I was so nervous. There were only three new sisters coming to the Tennessee side, so I spent so much time staring at them trying to figure out which one was mine, I bet they all thought I was the creepiest person ever!
My new companion’s name is Sister L, and she is a DREAM! I love her so much! She was a little quiet at first, but now that we have spent some time around each other, I cannot tell you how much I adore her! She is smart, funny, and such a hard worker! I have been so impressed by her, and I am so blessed to be able to be her trainer! She is from Livermore, California (Bay Area) and she is also the oldest of five kids, and just like my family, there are 4 girls and 1 boy!
Since things went so well with J, on Tuesday I broke Sister L in real quick and had her extend the baptism invitation to J that night! She did a wonderful job. The Spirit was really strong, and J accepted the 21st of November as her baptismal date! We then discussed the date with J and she told us she would pray about it and get back to us on whether or not she would support J getting baptized on that day. She also invited us over to do an FHE with her family that Friday. I couldn’t help but cry that night. I had J with a baptismal date, her willing mother, and my brand new companion, who had just extended the baptismal invitation on her first night as a missionary in the field! November is going to be a pretty great month.
Another really interesting thing that happened this week is that I got a call from a woman in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday night. She turned out to be a recent convert, whose daughter, also a recent convert, had been placed in the Youth Villages here in Arlington. The Youth Villages are temporary homes for troubled children. They offer mental and emotional care for kids struggling with a variety of issues. Her daughter had requested that some people from church come see her, and her mom was able to find our number! We told her we would happily go see her, and hopefully in the future bring some Young Women from our Ward with us. We went to visit her daughter on Friday and she was so sweet! Her name is A and we loved her! We are excited to go back and visit her again.
Friday night we had FHE with J’s family and it went so well!! J cried and cried, and told us she will absolutely support J’s baptism on the 21st!!! Miracles, miracles, miracles!!! I am so blessed, and so thankful for the opportunity to serve here in this area. I am so thankful for J, for her testimony, and for the chance that I have had to see it grow.
Another miracle this week is that E, another one of our investigators who is elderly and has health problems, came to church this Sunday! She had a great time, and we are going to see her on Thursday. Also, J has already invited at least 4 non-members to her baptism. How blessed are we?!
I have had a few people ask me for my opinion on the policy change, so here it is: My personal initial reaction to the handbook change was pretty negative, but I realize that the policy is such a small thing, especially when compared to things of which I have a testimony, that I cannot doubt. The atonement, the Book of Mormon, and Priesthood authority. There are things that I just cannot deny, so even if I don’t understand all of the policies and practices of the church, it doesn’t matter because I KNOW this is Christ’s church.
I love this gospel, I love His work, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve and do something I love so much!
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas
Me and my new companion Sister L
A birthday celebration for a sister in my district!