Dear Family & Friends,
Last Monday was a weird jumble of random activities. We started with watching Elder H eat a Firehouse sandwich covered in Mad Dog 357, which is a ridiculously powerful hot sauce. Everyone was in tears; us because of laughter, and Elder H because of the pain. After that we played Settlers of Catan & volleyball. It’s really fun having a lot of missionaries around on P-Days and I’m thankful that, with the exception of my two P-Days in Dyersburg, it has been that way my whole mission.
Some highlights from this week include instructing in Zone Meeting, attending leadership training in Little Rock, some great progress with A & L (our part member family), our really sweet new investigator named P W, and some hilarious church signs. So I’ll start with zone meeting.
As a mission right now we are focusing on Chapter 6, (Christ like Attributes) and Chapter 10, (Teaching Skills) in Preach My Gospel, as well as reading the New Testament, so in Zone Meeting we decided to instruct on Ch. 6 & the New Testament, and the ZL’s instructed on Ch. 10. While we were discussing our plans for the meeting, Sister A and I had the brilliant idea to make the meeting Primary themed. We found scriptures from the NT in which Jesus demonstrated each of the Christ like attributes and then wrote them on pieces of paper and put them in eggs and had an Easter egg hunt. Everyone sat in baby chairs with their districts, (but the DL had a big chair) and the big chairs had things on them that said “Valiant Jacksonville” “CTR Brinkley” etc. We also had Popsicle sticks with everyone’s names on them and every time we needed someone to do something, we pulled a stick. It was so fun!! We related it to humbling ourselves and becoming like little children in order to better serve the Lord.
On Wednesday we got to travel to leadership training in Little Rock and it was so cool. President instructed on how we can better utilize the lessons we learned from General Conference into our missionary work and our leadership responsibilities. He talked to us a lot about how important it is that our areas be model areas for other missionaries, and how even more important it is that we are model missionaries. I have been thinking a lot about that and I want to improve in so many areas! One thing that I am working on is finding the balance between having fun and avoiding casualness. At the beginning of my mission I think I was kind of a Nazi about this kind of stuff, but sometimes now I think I’ve swung too far in the other direction. I am still working on finding the balance.
So I can’t remember if I’ve told y’all about them or not, but right now we are working with this family, A & L, (A is a member, but she has been inactive since she was 17) and L is not. They called us out of the blue one day and asked if we could come over and start working with them. We have been over there several times now and L loves the gospel!! They aren’t married, and A is in the middle of a divorce so they can’t get married, but as soon as they do Louis is totally gonna get baptized!
We taught them the plan of salvation this week and at the end we asked L the question: “How do you see God’s love in this plan?” He thought about it for a long time, and then he said “I think I see it most in the fact that no matter who you are, God has a place prepared for you.” I thought that was just such a good, thoughtful answer! I am so thankful for awesome investigators 🙂
Speaking of awesome investigators, this week we met a really cool new investigator named P W. She is an older woman; a widow, and she was a former investigator that our Area Book told us to follow up with. We knocked on her door and she couldn’t talk with us right then, but she happily scheduled a return appointment for the next evening. We got there at the time of the appointment and she answered the door in her robe, saying that she’d forgotten all about the appointment and asked if we could come by a different time. We agreed, and went back the next night. As we sat and taught her the Restoration she started to share some of her struggles, including the death of her husband, and because of that we were able to veer off from the lesson plan a bit and teach her the doctrine of eternal families through the power of the priesthood. We taught her about temple marriage, and testified that these blessings were available to her. Towards the end of the lesson, she told us that she actually already had a copy of the Book of Mormon and that when she read it she “felt something come over her, like chills all up and down her body,” and that she knew that it was good. It was such a cool lesson, and she has been so prepared to accept the gospel!
I love being a missionary and I love serving in the South! I am so thankful that people here already have an understanding of, and a love for Jesus Christ. I love that when I go places and people find out I am a missionary they say things like “Wow! It’s so good to see young people who care about the Lord, we’ll pray for you!” I love that there are churches on every corner and that so many of them are so beautiful! I love being here, and I love that the Lord knows me perfectly and knew that I needed to be here. Finally, I love all of y’all, and I hope you have a great week!!
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas
All the sisters in the Searcy Zone
Us at lunch with some of them
Our legit GREEN apartment complex, it looks like something from a Wes Andersen movie