Hello Family & Friends!!
So this week was everything all rolled into one…I don’t even think I have the brain capacity to write about all the things that happened this week, but I will try! There are at least four major things I need to mention in this email along with several smaller things that deserve mentioning.
The first big thing was exchanges. This week we exchanged with the Collieville sisters, Sister S (my last companion) and Sister D, her trainee! I went to Collierville with Sister D and it was so fun! They just pink washed (took over the area from elders) this past transfer, so they have been doing a lot of building work, but it’s been good. The area has a lot of potential and they are working hard to take advantage of that! While I was there we drove down to Byhalia, Mississippi to contact some of their investigators down there, and I found a Piggly Wiggly! They had a list of about seven people they wanted to see, and we struck out on each one of them, AND it was raining, hard. I could see Sister D getting more frustrated by the minute. This was her first ever exchange with an STL and everything was going wrong! I felt so bad for her, but we decided to say a prayer to ask for direction on where we needed to go next, and to ask HF why he had directed us here, to Byhalia. After the prayer we decided to visit a potential investigator, and when we got there she let us right in! Turns out she had requested a Book of Mormon & a Bible and had been waiting for someone to deliver them. We sat down and talked with her and her parents, and all three invited us back. She even said she would make cookies for the next appointment the sisters had with her! As we walked out of their home we realized the rain had slowed down, and as we drove past the miles of fields on our way home, the grass was full of fireflies. I love the little things HF gives us to help us find joy in every moment.
I loved being with Sister D, but I was more than ready to get back to Walnut Grove the next day, because Wednesday’s in Walnut Grove are always my favorite! We had Book of Mormon class, and we decided to bring R with us to class. We are trying to get her to interact with the Ward more so that she will have better feelings towards the members and stop threatening to leave the Mormon church. She was thoroughly entertaining the entire time, including after when we went into the gym to asked our district leader a question and there were a bunch of guys in there playing basketball. She walked with us, and when we got in there she shouted at the top of her lungs “OH, you’re just coming in here to flirt with these guys!” She is certainly not subtle, and certainly has not read the talk “Lock Your Heart”.
Thursday we had Zone conference and it was so wonderful! The whole Memphis side got together in Bartlett, and after about an hour of instruction President Wakolo stood up and told us that for the rest of the meeting he wanted each missionary (there were at least 65 missionaries) to have the opportunity to bear their testimony, and so we spent the rest of the 2 & 1/2 hours doing that. It was so powerful, and so strengthening to hear the testimonies of my fellow missionaries. One senior missionary stood up to bear his testimony, and as he looked out over us all he could say was “Behold, a royal army”. His comment sent chills down my body as I contemplated all that it implied. We truly are Royal, and this fight is real. I have been so blessed to stand at the front lines of this conflict on a daily basis these past 15 months, and as my time draws to a close I am afraid, but excited for the next chapters. This work is so important.
The #1 reason this week was so out of this world was T. Freaking. N. She was baptized this Saturday and it was such a miracle! I have never met a person so prepared to accept the gospel. After her interview on Friday we went over to talk with her and make sure everything was finalized for the next day, and she told us all about how she has felt recently that she knew us both before, that we were friends before we came here, and how much she has been affected by us. You probably would have guessed, but we just sobbed 🙂 Her baptism Saturday was so beautiful and well attended. The joy we all felt is impossible to capture with words, but the spirit can lift us in unimaginable ways, and I am so blessed to have been a part of her conversion.
Sunday we had four investigators to church, and the best thing about it is that all four were brought by members! T brought her mom, C, W came with her dad & siblings, J came with the B’s, and Brother D came with Sister D! This Ward is so set to just explode, and it is so exciting!
Something else exciting (and somewhat heartbreaking) happened on Sunday as well. I received what will in all likelihood be my last transfer call. I have been released as an STL, and called as a trainer for my last two transfers. I will be pink washing in Jonesboro, Arkansas, which is a Ward in the Searcy stake. I am overjoyed at the opportunity to train again and so blessed to be able to go back to Searcy zone, but I am devastated to be leaving behind so many wonderful people here in Walnut Grove. This truly has been an amazing experience. I am so thankful for the many varied opportunities I have been blessed with thus far on my mission, and I look forward with excited anticipation for this last great adventure!
I know my Savior lives and that he loves me. I know His Atonement covers all, and I would be lost without Him. I love y’all, have a great week!
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas
us+roselda+funny faces= goals
Making cookies at 6:30 am is a truly glamorous activity