WEEK THIRTY-NINE: CHARITY, SACRIFICE, A NEW COMPANION…AND SHIPLEY’S!

Dear Family & Friends,

Hello everyone!! This week has seen a change in my companionship since I killed Sister L. (Not literally, she just went home hahah). Sending my first companion home was sad, but I love her, and I know she is so excited to be back in Provo! My new companion is Sister K, and I will tell y’all more about her later 🙂

The area continues to struggle, but Sister K & I have committed to changing that. We received bishop’s blessings on Tuesday night, and afterwards spent some time with him discussing what he believes the ward needs, and how we can help with that. We decided that our plan of action going forward is to do all we can to help the members both temporally and Spiritually. We are putting a big focus on working with less actives and part member families, but we also are going to spend time working with the active members of the ward who face challenges as well.  The bishop expressed his deep concern for the Spiritual welfare of the members, and we want to help. We are going to focus on spending time in members’ homes outside of dinner appointments, performing acts of service, heart attacking people, and just stopping by to say hello and thank them for all they do. We are also preparing to come into people’s homes and offer to do FHE with them, and we hope that as the members learn to see us as a resource, and as friends, as people who care about them, and not just as people who need their help, I think we will see this ward change. I hope we can accomplish our goals.

Our companionship is great. We work so well together, and I am so blessed to have Sister K. She is a hard worker and her testimony is powerful! She drives me to be better and I am so thankful for that, I NEED that! We get along so well, and we have just had so much fun! Her light is beautiful, and I am basking in it!

This week we spent one whole day contacting a list of 15 less actives the bishop had given us to visit, and it was so fun! We decided that for every less active we visited we would knock two or three doors in that area, and on our first visit we discovered the address listed for the less active no longer exists, but as we went to go knock our couple of doors we came upon a man and a woman talking in the street. Their names were N and S, and they are neighbors who live on the street we were on. We started talking to them and ended up teaching a great lesson on prophets and receiving revelation! At the end of the lesson, before we could ask for a return appointment, S said “I really hope you girls come back and see me!” Of course we promised we would, and we set a return appointment for this Tuesday. We are so excited to see her again 🙂

This week we also got to meet a deaf girl named T. We met her in Boyle Park and she was so cute!! She has studied with the missionaries in the past and she loves the Book of Mormon and reads it as much as she can. Unfortunately, her mom is a pastor at another church and doesn’t want T to get baptized. T is 24 and could make the decision for herself, but she lives with her mom right now and it’s just a complicated situation. But, she is taking us to lunch of Wednesday and we are going to talk more about the Book of Mormon then 🙂

We had Stake Conference this weekend and it was great! I got to interpret a lot, and even though I am still not amazing at it, I am improving. The Spirit was so strong, I just love Stake Conference, and I am so thankful that as a missionary I have the opportunity to go to it way more since I keep moving around to different stakes! Haha

This week in my studies as I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Alma 43, I was so struck by the account of Moroni’s conversation with the Lamanite General, because even there, on the battlefield, amidst terror and bloodshed, as he addressed the leader of the men who took the lives of so many of Moroni’s soldiers, he stood and shared his testimony of his Savior, Jesus Christ. I was so struck by this powerful example of missionary work in unlikely circumstances.

This week I have also been pondering a lot on the difference between charity and sacrifice, and as I was reading I came across a verse in Mark that really stood out to me. Mark 12:33 reads “And to love him with all thy heart, and with all thy understanding, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” In this verse a scribe is addressing the Savior’s answer to his question about the greatest commandment of all, and following the scribe’s response, Christ looks at him and says “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” As I read these verses they expanded my understanding of the difference between having charity and making a sacrifice. Both are good, but one is better. The natural man can master sacrifice, in fact in Christ’s own time there were many who sacrificed of their own wealth and time in the service of the poor and the sick, but it is easy to sacrifice, because when we sacrifice, we tell ourselves that we have done something great, and often, we expect praise. We point out to others what a great thing we have given up, and we take pride in our own accomplishment of will. To sacrifice implies a focus on ourselves, and the impact that our actions will have on our own personal lives, but when we have charity, we don’t ponder on that thing that we have given up, or on the praise we will receive, or on what reward we believe we deserve. When we have charity, we act without thought of ourselves, and do so because we love other people, and we love our Savior Jesus Christ. We act out of a sense of responsibility, and love, and don’t expect praise or reward in return.

Charity is so difficult to master, and I am so far from being there, but that is what I want to work on giving up this week. To not focus on the sacrifices I make, and to focus instead on other people, and how I can serve them.

I love all y’all, thank you so much for everything y’all do for me!!

Love,

Sister Thomas

P.S. Caden Haws, the OL from Arkansas that is signing with BYU is totally here in my Ward hahaha

I’m so happy to be able to get Shipley’s! 🙂

Hannah at Shipley's

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