Dear Family and Friends,
Hello everyone!!! This was an UP week y’all, seriously. It didn’t start out that way, though. We had 3 really solid member-present lessons set up at the beginning of the week, and then for a myriad of reasons, they all fell through. I was pretty disappointed, and by the time Wednesday rolled around I was feeling really discouraged. I decided that once we got to Arkadelphia Thursday I would ask for a blessing. That night though, something happened that totally picked up my spirits.
Super Bowl Sunday we knocked on a house looking for a potential investigator who’s name we found in our area book, but when we knocked on the door, we found out the person had moved. We started talking to the guy at the door and found out he had a family. We asked if we could come back and share our message, and he invited us back for Wednesday night at 7:00. We agreed, but it wasn’t until after we left that we realized that we had set an appointment right in the middle of Book of Mormon Class…which we interpret for. We prayed about it and decided to go to the lesson and ask someone else to interpret for class. I am so glad we did!
Our lesson with the M family was WONDERFUL. Ch & Cr are engaged, and they have three children, A, Ke, and Ka. We taught the restoration and the whole family loved it! The kids were so engaged, and the parents really connected with priesthood authority. The lesson was so spiritual, and at the end C bore his testimony that he knew God had sent us to them in order to help them get closer to the Savior. After that I went ahead and extended the baptismal invitation and they happily accepted!! Ch, Cr, A, and Ke all have a baptismal date for March 12th!!
Sister K and I walked out of that lesson on cloud 9. It was so great!!! It was such a tender mercy. I have needed this boost! This week has been full of tender mercies, actually. On Thursday before we headed to Arkadelphia we went to visit R, one of our deaf members. While we were there she asked if we wanted to go to the deaf school with her because she wanted to go there and share her testimony with people. That didn’t sound like the kind of thing that we would be allowed to do, but R was determined, so we went along, haha. We got there and they invited us right in to the school! They even let us go into the cafeteria where the 4th-5th grade students were having lunch and let us sit down in there and talk to them! It was crazy! It was so fun though because we got to talk to a bunch of cute little deaf kids and it was such wonderful practice signing. They all understood me, and I was so thankful for that! Haha. We also found out about a great deaf event happening on March 5th, which I am so excited about because it will be my first one!
After that we headed to Hot Springs, where we were able to teach one of our deaf investigators, K. He is really, old, and he has a hard time understanding scriptures, so we gave him a Book of Mormon stories book and invited him to read that. We are going back to see him tomorrow. After visiting K in Hot Springs, we headed to Arkadelphia, where we had a dinner appointment with the sisters and some of their members. Let me tell you, I found real actual Arkansas. This family, the S’s, live on 5 acres of land, and have over 30 different kinds of fruit trees, and a huge garden, and a BUNCH of turkeys and chickens and one peacock. Speaking of tender mercies, Sister S studied ASL in college, and while she is kind of rusty, she is excited to work with us so that she can get good enough to interpret! After dinner with them we got a tour of their land in the dark, haha. We all had lights on our heads, it was great.
That night the STLs texted us to tell us that there was going to be a meeting for all the sisters in the zone, in Little Rock. Which I thought was kind of crazy considering we had just driven to Arkadelphia! Thankfully President told us to just write off the miles. The meeting ended up being so wonderful! President & Sister W met with all of us to discuss how we could increase the unity and love among the sisters in the zone, and I needed it so much. There were so many things discussed that I need to work on, particularly holding grudges and judging other sisters. I was so spiritually edified and uplifted. I am so thankful for President and the revelation he receives! As I have committed to dropping those things out of my life I would ask y’all to hold me accountable to that, I never want to be involved in Sisters drama again. So I am going to work on hard on that this week.
Since we are in Arkadelphia this week, we attended church in their branch and it was SO great!!! The branch is so SWEET, they have been so welcoming. We got invited to branch council, people keep volunteering to feed us, and we even got two deaf referrals! I think I really needed this. Being in the Little Rock ward has been hard because of our strained relationship with the members, but I think in some ways I have become desensitized to it. Coming here was a great reminder of what we want to help the Little Rock ward become.
This has been a wonderful week, I have been able to see so many wonderful people, and learn SO much! I love being a missionary!!
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas