Dear Family and Friends:

Hey Y’all!! Man… time flies. I never imagined that your last transfer as a missionary could be scarier than your first, and maybe it isn’t for everyone, but it most certainly is for me. This week I have found myself struggling with the reality that I can’t turn back the clock, that time marches forward, unbothered by our attempts to slow its progress. There has been several moments this week where I have found myself, like Gatsby, attempting to convince myself of the thought “You can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” Only to find myself more upset and disappointed than before, because it is simply not true, and any attempt to stop the progress of time is as futile as an attempt to stop the advent of winter, because you just don’t like being cold.

Our personal preference and desires have little effect on the progression of the world around us, but their effect is monumental on the progression of our personal lives, which is why each of us must strive to keep our desire in line with that of our Father in Heaven. Currently, my Heavenly Father’s desire is for me is to finish my mission strong, to endure to the end, and then to move on and flourish in a new stage of life, full of a variety of different challenges, but brimming with different blessings as well. I am doing my best to remind myself of that.

Anyway, now that y’all have had sufficient time to snooze through my personal crisis, I’ll get down to the nitty gritty of what actually happened to me this week. This week has been a wonderful miracle. Arkadelphia is a great area, but it has been struggling for a while now. In the past it has not been uncommon for the sisters to report 0 after 0 while calling in their weekly numbers, but as we have labored these past two weeks, it has been with a fiery determination to change that, and we have. This week we were able to accomplish the standard of excellence in three of the four categories, and even exceeded it in new investigators. As exciting as it was, my goal is to hit the full standard of excellence before I leave here, which hasn’t happened in a very long time here in Arkadelphia, maybe ever.

So now for some stories: This week we had the opportunity to spend the evening serving and teaching a part member family named the M’s. Sister M is a returned missionary (she served in Romania!), but her nine-year-old daughter, L, and her husband J are both unbaptized. Sister M has been inactive for a while, but has shown a renewed determination to come back to church. She recently broke her foot, and J has some pretty severe nerve damage that makes it difficult for him to move around without a cane, so getting around to clean their home has been difficult. Sister M & L were both at church last Sunday, and they asked if we would be willing to come over and help them clean their kitchen, and promised us dinner if we were willing to help. Being a returned missionary herself, I’m sure Sister M knew that missionaries serving in a small branch will never refuse an invitation to dinner! Ha.

Tuesday night we headed over to help with the cleaning, and we had a great time! J is a talented musician, and he told me all about his past rock bands, and multiple adventures from his time in the 80’s Metal scene. He even played me some of his original music, which he calls “shredneck” (a fascinating hybrid of country and heavy metal). Haha. We had a great lesson/cleaning/dinner with them, and at the end of the night we shared the Plan of Salvation with them. J is Baptist, and he expressed to us that his religious convictions are strong, so we should not expect a conversion from him any time soon, but that didn’t stop him from showing up to church this Sunday to watch his daughter in the branch Primary Program. Seeing them at church as a family was a very special experience, and even though J has several concerns, he stayed at church all three hours and spent time getting to know several branch members. I think he’s closer to baptism than he suspects.

This week we celebrated Sister F’s 20 birthday. Wednesday, we took her out to sushi, and picked up a couple of presents for her at Walmart, aka Arkadelphia’s one available spot for shopping haha. Wednesday night was the branch Halloween party, and they held it on a member’s property out in Bismarck. We were assigned to man the face painting booth (nothing is scarier than me having to paint someone’s face!), and we even dressed up for the party! I’ll be sure to include pictures of our costumes. The whole thing was a success, complete with hay rides, the whole branch participating in the monster mash, and tons and tons of dry ice! The people of Arkadelphia really know how to through a party 🙂

We had great success this week with our finding, and I’d like to tell y’all about a few of our experiences. The first came while we were in Arby’s for lunch after district meeting. While at the counter we struck up a conversation with the cashier, whose name is W. We asked her if she would be interested in meeting with us, and she said yes! We set up an appointment for Thursday. After we had ordered our food and were getting our drinks a young woman came up to me and asked me where I had gotten my skirt, which turned into another conversation, and another invitation to meet with us. The girl, P, told us she would love to sit down and learn more, but that her schedule is really busy, so she would need to figure out a time when she was free enough to meet with us. We exchanged phone numbers. Finally, we sat down to eat our food, and while eating, I noticed an older gentleman wearing a t-shirt for a food pantry. We have been looking for service opportunities in the community, so I went up and asked him if he worked at the food pantry on his shirt, and if so, if they needed volunteers. “Yes!” He excitedly told us, and asked if we could come help that afternoon. He told us where to go, and happily said he looked forward to seeing us at 2:00. The White Handbook tells us to limit how often we eat out, but there is no question in my mind that our lunch trip to Arby’s was inspired. HaHa!

We ended up volunteering at the food pantry for several hours, and it was a very special experience. I have volunteered at various food pantries while on my mission, but this one was different. Everywhere else I have volunteered; we would prepackage the food the people were to be given and brought it out to them. In this food pantry, however, we take each patron through with a runner (that was me) who helps them pick out the type of food they want within the predetermined guidelines. This gives you a great opportunity to talk with each person, and get to know them better. It also gave me serval opportunities to talk about the church with those I was serving. It was very special to get to know each person I took through, and to get even a small glimpse of some of the trials they were dealing with that had brought them to that point. Service opportunities like that give me such an increased appreciation for my Savior and his Atonement, because to bear the pains even of those at the food pantry that day, would be more than I could ever hope to accomplish, but he suffered the pains of the whole world!

Now back to W, the Arby’s cashier. Our appointment with her was scheduled for 2:00 on Thursday. The time came, and as we were approaching her apartment we heard someone call out, “I’m over here!” We looked an it was W, standing near a different apartment building, where she had been visiting one of her friends. We walked with her back to her apartment, and once inside we got to know her a little better, she is a single mom of 3 kids, and she is trying hard to support her family. She expressed to us that recently she has found it hard to get to church, but that she really wants to become more involved. We taught her the Restoration, and she soaked it up like a sponge! She excitedly accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon, and accepted a baptismal date for November 19th!! She is beyond solid, and promised us she would read from the Book of Mormon.

As we were talking from her apartment, we had a woman stop us and say “Hey, you’re missionaries, right?” To which we responded with a confused “yes”. She then looked at us and said “well why haven’t you come to my house yet? I’ve been waiting for you to come over and teach me!” We asked her when she would like us to come over, and she told us her name was K and asked us if we were available Sunday at 5:00. We promised her we’d be there, and she said the same. Sunday at 5:00 came, and we knocked on her door twice with no answer. As we were walking away, though, she pulled up and apologized several times for being late! She invited us in, and we sat down and taught her the Restoration. She told us about how much she loved church, but since moving to Arkadelphia she hadn’t been. We pointed out that our church building was less than a mile from her complex, and she happily exclaimed, “oh, I can walk to church from here!” She also accepted a baptismal date for November 19th, and is happily reading the Book of Mormon.

Sunday, we had another lesson with W, and she brought a family friend, M, to listen with her. M is an older woman who has been through a lot in her life. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation, and before we were even done with earth life, she stopped us and said “now I have a question- what happens to those in between people, you know, the one that weren’t really good, but weren’t really bad either? I’ve been going to the same church for 43 years and no one has ever answered that question for me.” Excitedly we promised her that we had an answer, and by the end of the lesson, both she and W had committed to coming to church next Sunday, as well as to Institute this Wednesday!

This week has been full of blessings. We have worked hard, and the Lord has seen fit to bless us for our efforts. I absolutely love being a missionary, I love it more than anything I have ever done. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity to serve the people Arkadelphia. I know my Savior lives, that he loves me, and that he loves each of y’all as well.



Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas

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Sister D & Iimage2-55


About 900 pictures from the Halloween Party:image7-15





And my new favorite picture quote.image14



Dear Friends & Family,

Hello!! How is everyone? I am here in Arkadelphia, and yes, that is a real place haha! One thing I have learned on my mission is that we always think we know what is going to happen in our lives, but it is rare that we are right. Such is the case with my transfer to Arkadelphia, which hit me out of nowhere like a 280 lb. defensive end. Another thing I have learned on my mission, however, is that even when changes come out of nowhere, God always knows better than we do. Always.

Here in Arkadelphia, where I will spend my last six weeks, I am companions with Sister D & Sister F. Sister D has been out a year and is SO sweet! She has been in as many musicals as I have! And we have spent a lot of time singing Les Mis, Next To Normal, Wicked, and Showboat to one another at the top of our lungs! Sister F has been out for 9 months and is very nerdy like me! She loves cosplay and Marvel and does a lot of voice over acting on YouTube. They are both so sweet, and we have been having insane amounts of fun since I got here.

The area is struggling a little bit right now, not a lot has been happening, but I am excited to change it! Please pray that we are able to find the people who the Lord has prepared for us to find. This is a wonderful branch though, and I am excited to be able to strengthen it!

This week we had a wonderful experience with an inactive member named Sister H. The sisters have knocked on her door at least 50 times since they have been here in Arkadelphia, and never received an answer. But my first day here we knocked again, and this time she answered. She said she was about to head out the door to work, but asked if we could come back Thursday. We said yes. Thursday came and we were running behind. When we arrived, about 15 minutes late, we knocked on the door but found no answer. Assuming that we had missed her, we headed back to the car, but as we were walking away her front door opened, and there she was! She had just pulled in, and if we had arrived at the set time instead of 15 minutes later, we would have missed her. She invited us in and we sat down with her. She shared with us her whole conversion story, and then told us the story of what had driven her away. Several years before, when her daughters reached dating age, a member of the branch informed her that, because Sister H was African American, she would not be allowing her sons to date Sister H’s daughters. The woman was spoken to by the branch president, but not much changed, and it became difficult for Sister H to be there, so she left.

After she finished her story she looked up at us and said “but I know it’s true. I know it’s all true, and I want to come back. These past couple weeks I’ve known I NEED to come back, and now here you are.” She then told us about her work schedule, which would make attending church difficult. She works nights, 7 days a week. We promised her that church attendance is a powerful and important thing, and that if she made the sacrifice to come, that she would be blessed. While we were there, one of her daughters called, another inactive member, who lives in Little Rock. When Sister H told her she was talking with the sister missionaries, her daughter became so excited to hear there were sisters in Arkadelphia. After she hung up, Sister H told us that she too has been wanting to go back to church.

Sunday came and as we were standing in the lobby, in walked Sister H! She had come straight from her job, which she would be going back to later that night. It was truly amazing to see the excitement of the faces of the longtime members of the branch, to see their old friend Sister H back at church after years of absence. It was a very special thing to be a part of.

In my studies this week, I spent some extra time on the scriptures that were given to me during my first My Plan (a program for missionaries in their last transfer to help them prepare for life at home) session. The scriptures were Alma 5:6, Heleman 5:9, and Moroni 10:3. All three scriptures deal with what the Lord has done for us, and one phrase in particular stood out to me. Alma tells us that the Lord has “delivered their souls from hell”. If there is one thing I have learned these 17 months on my mission, it is that being caught in the grips of sin is quite literally hell. That is why I am so thankful for my Savior, because despite the hell that each of us has been caught in at some point in our lives, He can and will free us, if we are willing to let Him.

I want y’all to know that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God lives, and that He loves us more than we can comprehend. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He always knows what we need. Coming to Arkadelphia to be an ASL sister again was not what I wanted, and definitely not what I thought I needed, but I see now that it is going to be the perfect ending to the greatest adventure of my entire life. Serving the Lord brings joy beyond anything we can imagine or hope to gain on our own. The experiences I have had here have added so much depth and color to my life, as my ability to experience happiness increases. Each day I wake up excited to live and serve and be. We are so blessed, each one of us.


Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas (AKA the most blessed missionary in the world)


New companions haha



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Sister F & I accidentally matched haha

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The last train out of Paris during WWII



Dear Family and Friends,

Really sorry for the subpar email this week, but I am being transferred, and it was fairly unexpected! I’ll be spending my last 6 weeks as an ASL sister in Arkadelphia. I will have two companions, Sister D & Sister F. I am excited and a little confused about this last new adventure, but all is well in Zion. I promised I would go wherever He wants me & I’m going. 🙂

Sorry I don’t have more of a weekly to send out, but I left Jonesboro this morning at 7:30, spent some time in Memphis, and now I’m in Little Rock. I’ll be in Arkadelphia tonight = craziness. I love y’all!

Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas – ALRM


Dear Family and Friends,

Hey y’all!! This may be kind of short, sorry if it is!

This week was good. We started out with District Meeting Tuesday, which was actually totally wonderful and spiritual, but at the end of it we made a video of us singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, which I will attach because it is hilarious. Tuesday was also good because we went on exchanges with Paragould! The Searcy STLs called and asked that I conduct and exchange with them, and it was super fun 🙂

In Paragould there is a large population of people from the Marshall Islands, and the sisters there are teaching pretty much all of them! We taught several lessons with Marshallese families, and the kids were so cute!! They asked me about a billion questions about myself, and laughed hysterically at all of my answers! Haha. We also went to visit and investigator named L, who has been meeting with the elders for almost a year. Recently one of the elders offended him, so an elder from my district who used to serve in the area asked that I take the sisters to go meet him so that they could start teaching him. L was so sweet and he gave us ice cream sandwiches and Dr. Pepper! He told us all about how much he loves Jesus the Christ, which he has read twice haha. He needs to get baptized!

This week we met an awesome new investigator named B. She is a single mom of three, and she is so sweet. We met her on Wednesday and invited her to do an FHE with us, which she accepted. Friday night we went over with Sister Gr, a member of the ward, and taught a lesson about God as our loving Heavenly Father. Her kids were so cute, and some of the most well behaved little ones I’ve ever seen! Her son kept wanting to get up, so I invited him to sit by me, and he sat there quietly the rest of the lesson and held my hand! It was so cute, I just about died.

This week H & M had some family in town so they asked for a little bit of a break, but we’re seeing them tonight, pray that it goes well! Even without H & M though, we had some amazing lessons! We taught A again this week, who we had met and taught once the week before while I was on exchanges with Sister D. She is an older black lady and she is super funny. Sometimes she’s hard to read, so we’re confused about how she feels about things, but she keeps wanting to meet with us, and she came to General Conference!

Speaking of General Conference, it was amazing. I tried really hard to glean the lessons the Lord had prepared for me to learn this Conference, especially since it was my last one as a missionary. I’ve officially reached the point where most of the major events that take place on a weekly basis are lasts, but it’s okay. I’m excited for my last transfer, which occurs next week, and for all that lies ahead. A & Y both came to sessions of General Conference, and it was so exciting to be able to introduce them to the words of living prophets and apostles, and to watch their faces as they actively listened to what was being taught by these men of God.

Perhaps my favorite talk from all of conference was Elder Yamashita’s. I loved his urge to “be ambitious for Christ.” It was so energizing and exciting for me. One thing that I am so excited for as I prepare to come home is to figure out all the ways I can keep my life centered on Christ without a tag that literally carries His name. One thing I have realized is that while the name tag will no longer be literal, each of us makes the choice each day to symbolically put on the name of Christ. As I have put my name tag on each morning for the last sixteen months, too often I have thoughtlessly done it without considering the larger implications of my action. To literally take upon myself the name of Christ, daily, is such a powerful concept, and I don’t have to stop doing it once I return home and no longer wear the badge. I am so thankful for my Savior, for all that He has done for me, and for the opportunity I have to serve Him every day.

Love y’all!!

Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas







Dear Family and Friends,

Hey y’all! This week has been such a good week! I feel like so much as happened. So sorry it’s gonna be a long email. Won’t be offended if you don’t read it all.

Monday: After our P-Day ended, we had FHE with the S’s, S (an older lady in the ward), and Sister D. What a party that was hahah! Little background on Sister D. When we go see her, she doesn’t let us leave until like 2 hours later. We just sit there and say nothing. Her train of thought absolutely makes no sense and it’s awesome. She will call us and leave 2-3 min voicemails. She is hilarious. So during the entire FHE, the only person who really talked was Sister D. No one else said like one word 😂. It was fun though!

Tuesday through Thursday we had exchanges, which were fun, but I really missed Sister G. I was with Sister D here in Jonesboro. It was kind of strange being on the non-STL side of exchanges, but I really learned a lot. I am so thankful for the council we are all able to receive from our leaders.

Friday: Miracles, tender mercies, blessings upon blessings. The Lord is so good. So we didn’t have a car for the weekend because President wants us to have bike week every other 2 weeks which kind of sucks but it’s ok. The Elders just don’t need the car because they have Freddy week, so they never walk. So we were kind of bitter about that, but put a smile on our faces and tried being positive haha. After personal study, the member that was supposed to go with us at 10 to go teach Y, our adorable new Japanese investigator, bailed on us. Y lives up on campus at ASU so we were like “umm how are we going to get there…” So we walked to the Elder’s apartment to get the car, then went to ASU to teach Y. When we asked her how her prayer went she responded “when I pray, I never want to open my eyes. It just feels so good and comfortable.” I expressed to her how we can always have a prayer in our heart and that we can always talk to Heavenly Father. She got so excited when I told her this. We then talked a little about Jesus Christ’s ministry and how he established his church. We talked about the Apostasy and Joseph Smith. At the end of the lesson, we asked her to be baptized. Her eyes got wide and she looked at us with a lot of concern. We asked her if she was ok and she responds “I don’t know what baptism is or what I’m supposed to do.” We forgot that she didn’t even know who Jesus Christ was, she didn’t know about the Bible or Book of Mormon, she didn’t know what Christianity was. We all just kind of laughed and we explained to her what it looks like and what it means. She then got so excited and responded “Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes.” We asked her to say the closing prayer and it was the most powerful, sincere, and sweetest prayer. Some things she said was “I’m so grateful you sent these amazing friends to me. I really hope that my relationship with them will last forever. Heavenly Father, I want our relationship to last forever. I always want to have you in my life. I’m grateful for what I am learning.” Sister G and I were so touched by the Spirit and started crying. We expressed to her how strongly she invites the Spirit through her prayers and actions. We expressed how much we loved her and how much our Savior loves her. As we were walking back to our car, we cried and talked about how much we love Yuri. We then drove the car back to the Elders apartment and walked back to our apartment.

Shortly after, Sister Gr came and picked us up so we could go meet with M and H. We were planning on teaching the Word of Wisdom, but it didn’t feel quite right. We knew it wasn’t right when we left the pamphlets at the apartment. So instead we chatted for a bit and then read from the Book of Mormon. Maxine has been reading the Book of Mormon religiously. H on the other hand struggles with it. We invited them to read together and continue to pray together and they both agreed. We talked about how they really, really want to get married, but just don’t know how it’s going to work with the SSI.

After M and H, Ta came and picked us up for dinner. We felt bad because she lives out in Brookland but she was our dinner appointment tonight and she really wanted us to come. During dinner it was small talk and not much happening. She has been struggling this entire week and hasn’t let anyone come and see her. She was supposed to feed the Spanish Elders on Wednesday and the English Elders on Thursday and she canceled both. So when she told us that she wanted us to still come we were kind of surprised. After dinner, we went to the living room and Ta told us everything that was going on. So since she joined the church her dad disowned her, her boyfriend left her, her kids don’t talk to her, and most of her “friends” stopped talking to her. She was close to giving up the church, but she knew that she didn’t want to. Everyone judged her for so call “choosing” this church over her own children. She has tried reaching out to her children, but they want nothing to do with her just because she joined the church. She has been struggling with this for a while. She was doing better until Wednesday. So little background now on her boyfriend. His name is To. They dated and lived together for about 7 years. When Ta wanted to be baptized after taking the lessons, she told To that she wanted to start living the Law of Chastity. To was extremely upset so he left for about 3.5 months. He came back and slowing started moving out without telling her. He got mad one day and punched her in the face and gave her a big shiner. He then told Ta he was done and moved out. So Ta has had to deal with that, her family disowning her, and her kids not talking to her. She hadn’t seen To for a while until Wednesday at Walmart. When she saw him, he was with one of her “close friends of 16 years”. She told Ta how they were getting married and how excited they were. Ta got baptized in April. To left in June. Ta had no words when they told her this. She told us how her heart just dropped and she just wanted to start crying. She then went home and looked on Facebook and realized that they have been having an affair for years. I started to cry as Ta was telling us all of this. My heart was breaking and it still breaks for her. We looked at her and said “Ta I am so sorry.” That’s all we could say. After a minute of silence, we asked Ta if we could show her a video. We felt very prompted to show her mountains to climb. The Spirit was so strong in that room. We all cried has we bore testimony of that powerful message. She then asked me to show her where she could watch that again and read more about that talk. We then shared our favorite Bible and Book of Mormon scriptures. It was about 9:00 and she was like “oh no! I got to still take you home!” We laughed the entire way back. After she got home she texted us and said “I don’t think you sisters realize how much I needed that. Thank you and love you very much!” I love Ta.

Saturday: Ok so funny story. We went to go visit Sister D. She is an old lady and widow that’s in the ward. She is hilarious. She showed us her house, her bathroom that she is working on, and sewing room for over an hour. On my mission I have learned that old people are really lonely and love company. It is good reminder to always visit those we love. She then had us sit down for cookies and milk. I ate about 2 and sister G ate 5 hahah. Sister D then remembered that she really needed help with her tablet. So I helped her figure out the camera, took some selfies of me and sister G and then selfies of all of us, she somehow made her solitaire cards background be a selfie she took (like the accidental kind that’s just her forehead), and then Facebook. Oh my goodness I couldn’t stop laughing. She had no profile picture or cover picture or anything. So I found a cute picture of her and her husband and took a picture of it and made it her profile picture. She just kept saying “aw J would love it. Aw J would love this.” It was sweet. Then she didn’t understand what a cover photo was, so we went to my Facebook page so she could see. She then added me as a friend and added sister G as well. She wanted to just make her cover photo either sister G or I and we got her to veto that idea but then she was set on making her cover photo the selfie Sister G and I took. So we are her cover photo 😂😂😂 it is hilarious. I was honestly dying of laughter but she just loves it and is so excited for people to see her profile and cover photo. She is darling. I sure love her!

Then Ta came around 4:30 and picked us up. She took us to Sonic for ice cream cones and we talked more about how she was doing. She is doing better and just expressed to us how much she loves us and how she views us as her children since her kids won’t talk to her. It breaks my heart thinking about her situation, but I’m grateful that we are able to bring her some company and joy. We went to the S’s for dinner. Sister G and I had lots of energy so dinner was eventful.

Sunday: Y came to church! She is adorable. The second hour we went to Gospel Principles and left 10 min early to go to Brother B’s class to bear our testimony on blessings we receive when obedient. After church S, an 8-year-old girl in the Ward, ran up to me and said “Sister Thomas! I have a pamphlet and temple card that I am going to give to my friend this week. I’m also going to invite her to Activity Days like you said I should!” This made me so extremely happy. I sure love that girl. Her mom stopped me in the hall and said “thank you so much. S says you’re her new best friend and that she loves you a lot.” It made me so happy.

We started to go see M and H, but M is sick, so they told us to come back tomorrow. Then we tried a less active named J but she didn’t answer. We started driving over to a neighborhood when Ta texted us. We felt the Spirit prompt us to go over there. She lives very far. She is about a 20 min drive. When we got there, she wasn’t expecting us but was so happy to see us. She was having a hard day. Just not motivated to leave the house or see anyone. She said she fell asleep crying last night and just felt too sad to do anything. So we talked with her for a bit and I acted stupid and she made fun of me and laughed. I’m glad I was able to make her laugh. 🙂 Sister G was being a dork with me as well. That’s what Ta needed though. Just some laughter and a reminder of how much we love her and how much our Savior loves her. I kept saying things like ” the Elders keep asking if they’re your favorite, but I already know I am your favorite, so I don’t need to ask.” Then she would get all sassy with me. It’s great 🙂 We then had dinner at the R’s, aka a mansion and nicest people ever! I love Sister R! She picked Sister G and I up from training trainees meeting and brought us to Jonesboro. We had a fun talk and talked about Romans 13:12 which has become one of my favorite scriptures. It’s all about the armor of light, and we talked a lot about what a beautiful analogy “the armor of light” is. It’s so interesting that our testimonies, and the light of Christ that is in each of us cannot be hidden to other people, it is visible if we have it.

I love the gospel, and I love my mission!!


Sister Thomas






Selfies! The second one is the one at became Sister D’s cover photo hahah!


The little Asian is Y! She is so cute!!