Dear Friends and Family,
So this week, everything changed! Missionary life is nothing short of exciting, and this week was truly evidence of that. On Monday I said goodbye to Walnut Grove, and hello to the Train the Trainers meeting in Little Rock. Driving over the river into Arkansas kind of killed me, because I realized I most likely won’t make that drive again until my final temple trip in November.
On Tuesday the greenies arrived and I got mine. Ours will be a blessed companionship because her name is Sister G. She is an absolute doll. She is from Valencia, California, which she tells me is 45 minutes out of LA. She is the middle child of five kids, and she is a former gymnast! She’s a tall blonde, and she graduated in 2015, so naturally the whole time I have been thinking about DeDee, and I think it’s really cool that I get to train and have some similar experiences to what she is experiencing right now!
The Train the Trainers meeting is awesome, because it feels like a youth conference or something. We stay three nights somewhere else, have instruction and workshops all day, broken up by meals all together, & multiple testimony meetings. The only thing missing was a dance, but somehow I can’t see President letting that fly! Haha. I was in charge of the music for the three-day meeting (picking hymns & conducting) and the tears flowed as we sang Called to Serve with all the new missionaries their first day.
Tuesday evening, we had the opportunity to hear the testimony of each new missionary, and it was exhilarating to feel the fire burning in each of them. The longer you’ve been out, the easier it is to become complacent, but even the trunkiest missionary would have been inspired that night.
Wednesday we broke in the new missionaries by going on a blitz of the area for an hour and a half, during which each companionship was challenged to hand out three copies of the Book of Mormon. We handed out five!! Sister G is a total stud and she was super excited to talk with everyone. As a group we demolished our goal of 60 copies of the Book of Mormon, and handed out 80!!
Wednesday night we had a testimony meeting where we heard from every single missionary who had participated in the meetings; trainers & trainees. It went long into the night, but the Spirit was so strong. It had all the same feeling of a testimony meeting following EFY or Girls Camp, charged with exhaustion and tears, but full of the Spirit; the kind of Testimony meeting that cements a dedication to the truth in a young heart, and that’s exactly what it was. Our closing hymn was How Firm a Foundation and I swear we had a choir of angels behind us. As we sang verse seven it seemed as though every missionary in the room was suddenly a world class singer, and the voices filled the room seemingly 500 strong. Conducting it was a powerful experience.
I was obviously not the only one who felt the Spirit during the song, because following the closing prayer President Wakolo stood up and asked every missionary present who enjoyed singing as a hobby to stand up. He then looked at me and instructed me to put together a musical number with all the missionaries standing to be presented the next morning at our final meeting. Everyone was super tired that night, so I decided that I would organize said musical number the next morning during our breakfast. After I had given everyone the chance to eat, I got on the microphone and made a very threatening announcement that everyone who stood up needed to come into the Relief Society room for practice. This announcement was aimed particularly at the Elders because I know Elders, and I know their tendency to shrug off things like a last minute choir performance, but thanks to my delightful personality (and threatening’s) all those who had stood up, and a few who had not stood up, filed into the Relief Society room and we ended up with more elders than sisters. Who’da thunk??
We performed God Speed the Right, and I’m trying to get a video from President Wakolo because I know he took one, and if I can I will send it out! The choir was great, and it was so fun to be able to put it together.
Thursday we got to Jonesboro and I love it!! It’s a town of about 70,000 and there’s a college here. Our area was kind of struggling when we got here, but we are determined to turn it around. We have already found four new investigators, and two them have a baptismal date. Their names are H & M, and they have lived here for three months. They both have known members in the past, and they are super excited to learn! I love being a missionary, and I love being here and working hard!
See you in a few months!
Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas