Dear Friends & Family,
Hey y’all!! This was a great week! I love Jonesboro. I am thoroughly convinced this is the best place to die ever!! Haha.
This week we had specialized training in Lonoke, Arkansas, which is 2 hrs and 45 minutes from Jonesboro if you go the dumb way, which our GPS did, obviously. We had to leave at 6:00 am, and President had to give us permission to drive with the elders, because we had to take both our cars down, and there are three companionships, two cars, and both sets of elders are trios, so they couldn’t fit in one car. We picked up the English elders at like 5:50, and there was something really funny about driving up to three white boys in suits standing by a dumpster in the dark, especially when we got closer and realized Elder T was holding three huge boxes of cereal he had brought along for the trip! Haha.
Specialized training was wonderful, even though we had to get flu shots before the meeting started. Elder T was probably the most scared out of all the missionaries, but I think President Wakolo was the second most scared! Haha. We talked a lot about the “dead horses” in our missionary work, and what we can leave behind in order to be better. I received a lot of revelation from the meeting, and I’m so thankful for the process though which Heavenly Father selects and qualifies his spiritual leaders.
Part of a specialized meeting is that we blitz the area we are holding the meeting in and try to find a bunch of investigators for them, which I always enjoy, because I think street contacting is pretty much the most fun thing ever. While we were out, we ran into three different people who were already pretty familiar with the LDS church and had known Mormons in the past. All of them had great things to say about the Mormons they had known, and confessed that if they had not known those Mormons to be such good people, they would have never talked to us missionaries. None of them accepted a specific return appointment, but I know that they are all one step closer to conversion, because they spoke with us that day! It was such a testimony builder to me of the power of example. Each of us has a huge responsibility on a daily basis to live our faith, so that others may see our good works and glorify God. Every person I have met on my mission so far, who has been baptized, has said something about the example of other people, and the influence that had on their conversion.
John Bytheway tells a story about a small town in Russia just following the fall of the iron curtain, when missionaries were once again permitted into the country. The Mormons were preparing to send missionaries to the town, and the townspeople got together to make a plan to keep the Mormons out of their town. Present at this meeting was an American reporter, and eventually, because he was American, he was asked for his opinion of the LDS faith, and whether or not it’s people should be permitted to enter the Russian town. The reporter responded, “Well, I’m not a Mormon myself, but I grew up in Chicago, and I had a friend named Pete who was a Mormon, and he was one of the most honest, hardworking people I’ve ever known.” Based off that comment from the American reporter, the town decided to allow Mormon missionaries into their town, and the work was able to move forward in that part of Russia. You NEVER know the power or influence of your example, and it is so important that we do all we can to make sure we are living the standard we are called to live, because the consequences are truly eternal, for ourselves and for those around us, and in some cases, for people halfway around the world.
Another powerful lesson in the importance of a righteous example came through our experiences at church this week. H & M were able to make it to church, and they LOVED it, and M was smiling from ear-to-ear the whole time. Afterwards, we went and had a lesson with them, and they went on and on about the people at church and how good they had made them feel. The people made such a difference for them, and it was really cool to see how much they effected their experience. On top of that, H went on and on about his lifelong friend who was LDS. They both talked about how excited they are to come back next week.
We also got a new investigator named Y, she is a 19-year-old college student, who is from Japan. She previously lived in Salt Lake with a host family who was LDS. She loved their family and her experience in Utah, which is what motivated her to come to church! She was super sweet and we set an appointment with her on Wednesday.
I hope we each can work on our examples to others and identify ways our lights can shine brighter this week!! I love y’all so much!!
Love, Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas
Lots of selfies.
I also got a kid’s meal at McDonalds with the tiniest French fries ever!! So cute!
Sister G & I also LOVE FG, who is a member who goes out all day, every day with the elders.
Sister G & I had a super white girl day with chick fil a & Starbucks! Haha