Dear Family & Friends,
This week was good, but fairly uneventful… We did go on exchanges though, and that was wonderful because I got to reunite with my baby, Sister L!!!! She is serving in Memphis East, which is right in the middle of the ghetto, and we had such a good time! We went into this one apartment complex that was a disaster, and we took many photos to demonstrate why, which I will include in this email! We also went to this fast food place that there’s a few of here in Memphis called “Dixie Queen” which is not the same as “Dairy Queen,” but I did get a dipped cone there that was as big as my head! We also got to watch two police officers break down a door and storm a house two houses down from a door we were knocking on!! It was awesome!! I love Memphis!!
In all seriousness however, it was so wonderful to be with Sister L again. She has grown and progressed so much in the four transfers that we have been apart, and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to be her Sister Training Leader now and observe that growth. She is an amazing missionary, and an even better friend to me 🙂 I also had to say goodbye to Sister A this week, which was very VERY hard. I have been on my mission too long, I have seen too many friends die! We pretty much bawled our eyes out after zone meeting, where she bore her departing testimony. She leaves next Tuesday, so I may get to see her one more time, but she is a very special human. After our exchange we were talking to President Wakolo about our experience and I couldn’t stop myself from crying as I talked to him about Sister L, he thanked me for my sincere feelings, but I think he was a little freaked out! Haha
Also this week we were able to see a ton of success with the G family, a less active/part member family we have been working with. We were able to get Sister G to Book of Mormon class, and the whole family came to church! We’re teaching their young daughter, R, and she will get baptized in August 🙂 This week we also saw some great progression with T! She has been facing some pretty tough trials recently, especially pertaining to her financial situation, but the cool breakthrough she has had this week, is that she has learned to turn to the scriptures to find peace from her current trials! We are so excited for her & her 13-year-old daughter Tr to get baptized later this month, they truly are a miracle 🙂
Transfers are this coming week- Sister S is leaving! That is six transfers in a row that I have gotten a new companion. Maybe I’m hard to get along with!! Haha My new companion’s name is Sister H, and it’s her first transfer as a STL, so I will be training her as a Sister Training Leader, so that’s fun!
This Sunday’s lesson from the Teachings of the President’s manual really touched me, and I feel impressed to share a few things from it. The first is this: It’s kind of long, but bear with me! “I am confident that there are many great, unnoticed, and forgotten heroes among us. I am speaking of those of you who quietly and consistently do the things you ought to do. I am talking about those who are always there and always willing. I am referring to the uncommon valor of the mother who, hour after hour, day and night, stays with and cares for a sick child while her husband is at work or in school. I am including those who volunteer to give blood or to work with the elderly. I am thinking about those of you who faithfully fulfill your priesthood and church responsibilities and of the students who write home regularly to thank their parents for their love and support. I am also talking about those who instill in others faith and a desire to live the gospel–those who actively work to build and mold the lives of others physically, socially, and spiritually. I am referring to those who are honest and kind and hardworking in their daily tasks, but who are also servants of the Master and shepherds of his sheep.”
As I listened to President Hunter’s teachings on what he referred to as “true greatness” I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with emotion thinking of all those I have known who are truly great. I have been so blessed in my life to be surrounded with so many people who have done truly great things that often went unnoticed by the world. Whether it be raising a son with special needs and doing all they could to give him every opportunity, choosing to face severe opposition from their parents and family as they chose to be baptized, raising five wild and often unruly children, serving tirelessly in church callings and on PTAs, or simply choosing to serve a mission. All are acts of greatness, and all have blessed me more than I can explain. True greatness is simple and hardworking. It has dirty fingernails and tired eyes. It doesn’t always appear joyous and inviting, but you cannot help but feel overwhelming love in its presence. It is quiet and often unnoticed, is a love of the gospel and a love of mankind, and without it, our world would crumble. I am so thankful for all the examples of truly great people in my life, and I hope to one day measure up.
As I close my letter I want to leave y’all with one more quote from the lesson. I hope y’all will ponder it this week and find out what true greatness is within you. “The small things are significant. We remember not the amount offered by the Pharisee but the widow’s mite, not the power and strength of the Philistine army but the courage and conviction of David.”
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas