Dear Friends and Family,
Hello! So this letter might be kinda short. It was somewhat of a weird week. The ASL sisters set up a secret Santa for us, them, the STLs, and the elders. We drew names on Monday and the ASL sisters were very intense about the fact that we weren’t allowed to tell anyone who we had, ever. So of course as soon as the ASL sisters left, we all told each other who we had and found out who had us, hahaha. We suck! Then we went to the mall and bought our gifts. I have Sister B, and I bought her this all plaid green dress from The Salvation Army, hahahaha. I bought myself a red one to go with it ☺️ (See pic below!)
Monday night was not so good. I started to not feel very well, and then everyone we tried to see either wasn’t there or dropped us. L Right after this one lady told us she wasn’t interested, I tripped stepping off her porch and scraped my foot really bad! And it was raining! Not a good night hahaha. We are still staying in Bartlett until the heat is fixed, so we headed back there at the end of the night. Tuesday morning, I woke up and I was not feeling well, but I kind of ignored it, thinking I would be fine. I made cookies for district, and then it was time for studies. Once I got into studies, I realized I really didn’t feel well. I told the other sisters after personal study and they told me to stay in. I didn’t want to though because we had district meeting! I was planning on going out and not worrying about it, until I threw up in companionship study. So we stayed in all day Tuesday, except we went to Book of Mormon class and our dinner appointment because the people who were signed up to feed us had never fed us before and we didn’t want to cancel and have them never sign up again! So I pushed through hahah. Then once we got to Book of Mormon class, I threw up again, so I just laid on the floor in the back for the rest of class. It was really special.
Wednesday morning I woke up and I thought I felt better, but then I threw up again at lunch time! Another day inside L Thankfully I got to nap and catch up on my Jesus the Christ reading though! Hahaha.
Thursday I was finally better, and we got to go out again! We contacted this media referral named D, who initially denied making the request, but after we did our normal little door approach, let us in and confessed he had in fact made the request, he just wanted to make sure we weren’t Jehovah’s. Hahahahahaha. The lesson went really well and we are seeing him again tonight! We also taught his aunt C, who is kind of crazy and thanked Jesus a lot for the fact that she had 3 strokes, but whatevs hahah.
Friday we went on exchanges, and Sister B and I were in Lakeland. We went to go contact this lady who moved into our ward from the Bartlett 1st ward almost a month ago, but hasn’t shown up to church since then. We brought Sister L with us so she could meet someone from the ward, but when we got there all we could hear was this loud crashing and B yelling. At first we thought she was trying to corral her dogs, but after standing on her front porch listening to that for 10 minutes we decided to go in and see what was happening. We walked in on B lying flat on her back in the middle of all of her living room furniture which had been knocked down. She was in the middle of some kind of drug overdose! (Note-this has already happened to Sister B & I on exchanges once). This one was accidental though. She has been really sick, and her steroid had a negative reaction with one of her anxiety meds. We got her in bed, made her eat something, and then Sister B & I literally RAN down the street to get a member from the Bartlett 2nd Ward and ask him to come give her a blessing. It was crazy!
Saturday was much more low key. We got to see E and make some soup with her. We also taught a lady named R who has 7 kids who are all eight years old and under. It was crazy hahaha.
Sunday we went to church and got to bring A, who we have been visiting in the youth villages, with us! She had a great time, and so did we. Later that day B, the STLs investigator, got baptized!! It was a WONDERFUL baptism, and I am so happy for them! The spirit was really strong, and their ward did a great job of supporting her. After that we went and watched the First Presidency Devotional at Sister W’s house, and it was great. I LOVED Sister Burton’s talk, and that she used the phrase “my cute husband.” It felt like an appropriately hilarious equivalent to “my sweet wife.” Overall it was a good week, even if it was kind of difficult. Some verses that really stood out to me in my studies this week were Alma 36:20-21 “20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! 21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.”
I have been thinking a lot about how much of a blessing that trials are. H. Burke Petersen said “Let us remember, trials are evidence of a father’s love” When I first read that quote at the beginning of my mission I had no idea what it meant. Now, I feel like I understand it much more clearly. Our Heavenly Father gives us trials because without sadness we could not feel joy, just like without the dark, we can’t appreciate the sunlight. Through trials we grow, we become more, and as we become more our capacity for joy increases. That is why people often look at good righteous saints and do not understand how they can be so happy. They have not been expanded by the process of trial and atonement to be able to comprehend the eternal joy we receive from the gospel. We are so blessed! Our Heavenly Father is amazing!
Hannah Kathryn Thomas