Week Forty-Five: Baptism, Tornado Warnings, and a Very Happy Birthday!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a blast. I’m seriously having so much fun in Searcy! The week started off on a huge high note with a trip to the Temple, which was amazing. I am so thankful for the spirit that is in the Temple, for the lessons we learn there, and for the opportunity I had to attend it. It had been ten months since my last trip to the Temple, and I so NEEDED to go back, it was such a powerful and rejuvenating experience!

After that I got the AMAZING privilege of being visited by my grandparents, my cousin, and (surprise!) my sister DeDee! For those of you unfamiliar with the missionary program, one very important element of it is that we leave behind all personal matters, including much of our contact with our family, while we’re serving. Visits are never permitted unless authorized by your Mission President and that happens only on rare occasions.

I was truly blessed to be trusted enough by President W & the Lord that he approved this visit. Again, the visit was refreshing, rejuvenating, and re-energizing. Seeing my family was so wonderful, and while a few tears were definitely shed, seeing them just reaffirmed to me that I am EXACTLY where I need to be, and that the Lord is blessing me with strength beyond my own. Otherwise I would have been a blubbering mess for the 3 hours that we were together! Honestly though, starting my day in the Temple and then ending it with my family, just reaffirmed to me how thankful I am for my eternal family!

This week we baptized an 11-year-old girl named A. Her mom is a member, but her dad isn’t. He sits in on all the lessons and really wanted A to be baptized. He just has some things he isn’t willing to give up yet, in order to be baptized himself. On Friday night while finishing up the lessons with A, we taught all three of them about eternal families. It was really hard for me to teach it to Sister M & A because both of them became really emotional, and I could see how badly it hurt them that their family isn’t eternal right now. The good news is, seeing A get baptized definitely sparked something in K, who asked us for the quit smoking program at the baptism!

So like I said, this week A got baptized, and it was such a wonderful experience! The elders had an investigator getting baptized this weekend as well, so we did the two baptisms together. Both of them come from part member families, and it’s so cool to see the way the work here is Searcy is bringing families together in the gospel! I hope that we can continue to see the success we have been seeing so far. The baptism was really fun. I made cookies, and then ended up singing a song kind of last minute, haha. The bishop baptized both A and Miss D (the elder’s investigator), and the Spirit was so strong!

The next day, Sunday, was my birthday, and it was a day, haha. It started out with a hilarious opening prayer in Sacrament meeting. So the Searcy ward choir has been struggling lately, and it’s not anyone’s fault, there have just been a lot of things going on and it’s hard for people to get to practice. So yesterday, an older woman who is a very active member of the ward choir, gave the opening prayer in sacrament meeting, and she prayed (and cried) that the members of the ward’s hearts would be softened and that they would have a desire to join choir, so that we could have a ward choir….and that was all she prayed for. She chastised the whole ward from the pulpit during her prayer and it was so funny She is a sweet lady though, and I hope more people do come to choir. All three sets of missionaries are in it, and the choir is pretty much us, plus her, and this one YSA guy named J, haha.

After church, we went and had lunch with this recent convert who made me Broccoli Cheese casserole, because she knew it was my favorite. 🙂 It was so nice! After that we went out and had a few lessons with a member, and then at 6:00 we went to dinner. While we were at dinner, our entire county went under a tornado warning and we were not allowed to leave their house until almost 9:15! Thankfully the members we were eating with have a super solid tornado shelter that we got to hang out in, haha. The Searcy elders however, were out teaching, and had to hide out in the baptismal font until the warning was over. 4 tornados ended up touching down, but no damage was done. It was such a good birthday, and I had so much fun! Thanks to everyone who emailed to wish me happy birthday, I really appreciate it 🙂

I just want to leave y’all with my testimony that eternal families are so real, and they are such a blessing. I am so thankful for mine.

Love y’all!

Sister Thomas

Us in the Tornado shelter                      Hannah in a Tornado Shelter

Me with M who made me Broccoli Cheese Casserole!Hannah with Member that made her bday dinner

The baptism! The man in the middle is Autumn’s dad, next to him is his mom. We are going to get those two next 😉Baptism of Autumn

Me with a member’s albino hedgehogHannah with Albino Hedgehog

 

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