WEEK EIGHTY-ONE: TO ARRIVE WHERE I STARTED AND KNOW IT FOR THE FIRST TIME

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, here we are. This is the last letter I will write and send out a missionary in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. I spent hours trying to figure out how to write this letter, what to include, and how, in so few words, to capture all that the past 18 months have meant to me. Finally, I decided that was an impossible task, and contented myself with doing my best. I apologize for the somewhat stream of consciousness style of this letter. Hopefully it’s not too hard to follow.

This week has been special. It has also been hard. It’s amazing how easily we skip over the most beautiful parts of our lives when we get stuck in the routine. This week, for me, was all about finding the beauty right in the middle of the routine.

Monday, we took a trip to Hot Springs, which is a beautiful town here in south central Arkansas. Hot Springs is not one of those towns that requires you to love it before you can see that it’s beautiful. The moment you get there, you fall in love with it. It sits on the banks of the Ouachita River, and rolling hills make it a far cry from the flatlands of west central Arkansas. It is particularly beautiful in the fall when those hills are covered in a swatch of colors; bright golds, crisp oranges, and deep reds, with patches of evergreen poking through the toasted blanket of fall colors.

We went there to eat and shop, (two very limited recreations in the city of Arkadelphia), but the highlight of the trip for me was a stop we made on the outside of town. As I have been preparing to leave these last few weeks, I have felt an urgent need to capture the beauty of Arkansas. I think I’m afraid of forgetting. When we reached a certain point outside of town I asked Sister F to pull over into the parking lot of an old church. On the other side of the road was a cemetery. We got out and began walking through the graves, reading names and dates, trying to find the oldest headstone, and enjoying the inscriptions of love and affection found on several of the little memorials. As we were walking, I noticed several headstones with the maiden name of a friend. The name is unique and fairly uncommon, so I excitedly began taking pictures of the headstones, thinking perhaps this could help with her family history.

As I took those pictures, I laughed a little to myself. A year and a half ago, family history would have been the last thing on my mind as I walked through this graveyard. I’d never taken any real interest in my own family history, let alone anyone else’s, but that’s just one way in thousands that I have changed over the past 18 months. I took a quick inventory of myself, then, wondering in what other ways I’ve changed. There are plenty. Some more obvious than others, but the feeling I got as I went over it all in my mind was that each change was truly for my benefit, even my increased interest in family history.

Tuesday was a hard day. We left Arkadelphia at 8:00 am to travel to Little Rock for my final Zone Conference. I had expected my final mission meeting would be difficult, and somewhat emotional, but even I was taken aback when I began crying during our recitations. For 18 months, I have stood and recited Our Purpose, 3 Nephi 5:13, D&C 4, and the Standard of Truth. If you are unfamiliar with those, I would suggest you look them up. Each is a stirring reminder of our dedication to Christ. I want to share Our Purpose now, though:

“Our Purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” For a year and a half that has been my purpose, to invite others to come unto Christ. To quote the White Handbook- “How great is [my] calling!”

Tuesday the tears also fell as I bore my departing testimony. You hear hundreds of departing testimonies throughout your mission- often meetings will feature the final testimonies of several missionaries preparing to return home in the next few days. I’ve always loved departing testimonies, but it’s easy to get used to them, especially when you hear the same things over and over again- “I never thought this day would come” “18 months/2 years, it’s so short,” etc. Usually, following the testimonies of those departing missionaries, President & Sister Wakolo, and sometimes the APs, will bear their testimonies to end the meeting, but this time was different. Both the Wakolos & the APs bore their testimonies following their instruction, and I am the only missionary in the Little Rock Zone returning home at the end of this transfer, which left my testimony as the only one to end the meeting. As I walked up to the pulpit, I suddenly felt so alone, and even afraid. I hadn’t expected that.

I looked out over the pulpit and tears filled my eyes. It took me several moments to compose myself, but eventually the words came, and they kept coming. Very little of what I said that day came from myself. To be honest, I can’t fully remember what I said, but I could feel the Spirit guiding me through it, something I might not have been able to do on my own. As I finished my testimony the fear was gone. It had been replaced with a warmth that spread from my chest outward, like a hug coming from inside of me. I remained at the front of the room as I led the music for our closing hymn, How Firm a Foundation. Once again, the tears came, but this time I welcomed them as I basked in the Spirit present in that room.

It is a rare thing to be able to dedicate all your time, talents, and energy to serving the Lord, and when it happens you are also awarded an extra measure of the Spirit. It is a rarer thing to be in a room full of people in the exact same position, but when it happens, that extra measure of the Spirit cannot be contained, and it fills the space around you, filling all the corners, until everyone is bursting at the seams. That is what I felt as we sang that beautiful hymn to the Lord.

Wednesday took us on an adventure that is unique to serving as a missionary in an extremely rural part of the country. We had received a Bible request from a woman who lived in Malvern, a town about 22 miles away from Arkadelphia. Somewhere around the 2/3 mark of our trip the pavement ended, the rest of our journey would be on dirt roads.

There are moments along those little dirt roads that the trees on either side seem like the whole world- but then the tree line breaks and a green field stretches out in front of you for what seems like miles. In those moments, I feel incredibly small, but at the same time, infinitely loved. I am a part; one moving cog, in this incredible creation. The beauty of this earth is too overwhelming and diverse to be an accident. It is the gift of a loving father.

When we reached our destination, she wasn’t home. A year ago, this situation would have irritated me. We made an appointment, drove 22 miles to get there, and then she wasn’t home. Now I just smile. It’s all part of this ecstatic experience.

On our way home, we drove through Donaldson. It’s a town of a little over 300 people, and at least twice that many cows. The tallest structure for miles is the crane they brought in to work on the Interstate bridge. I like to imagine the people who live there are friendly and industrious, they aren’t bothered by the 40-minute drive to the grocery store. They’re happy to live among the quiet trees and emerald green fields. Peace is important to them, and here is where they find it.

I think a lot about each of our individual quests for peace. It’s a universal need, I think, to feel peace. Many people seek it in validation for their work or fame or looks. They try to find it in financial security. Others still think it comes from a life of total seclusion. Completely ascetic in nature. Some seek it here, in quiet communities like Donaldson, where they can work out a quiet life with those they love.

What I have learned from the gospel of Jesus Christ is that peace is completely independent of outward circumstances, but comes instead from an inward steadiness from a surety of purpose, and a knowledge of one’s divine origins. When one knows their place in the universe, and is sure of their standing as a Child of God, it doesn’t matter if they’re standing at the top of a mountain surveying the valley below, or in the middle of a crowded street in Hong Kong. They feel peace, because they know who they are, and they know who God is.

I Know Who God Is. People are confused. Many people are confused about many things, but perhaps the most important, and most startling thing that people are confused about is who exactly God is. Everybody has a theory, and many have spent years in earnest study and prayer, developing their understanding of the Great Creator.

Some think he is concerned most of all with His own glory, a creator who hung the stars and put the planets in motion, all as a demonstration of His power and omnipotence. He saves and rejects at will, with no apparent order to who receives salvation and who does not- after all, it’s His world, His creation, and He may do with it as He pleases. Other’s view God as a billowy mass, who provides a completely free ticket to heaven for anyone and everyone, regardless of their actions. A God who is truly governed by the will of men, and who has no real concern for right or wrong, truth or deception, good or evil.

I know that God is neither of these. I know He is a father. Fathers are complex figures, representing earthly examples of the heavenly principles of both justice and mercy. They punish when required, but not out of anger or hatred, out of love, and a sincere desire for their children to grown and learn. They provide not only the necessities of life, but the joys of it. They understand their children, and would do anything to protect them. Truly, as James E. Faust said, “Noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine.”

Wednesday night we attended Institute at the church. The topic was a powerful one – The Trial of Jesus. I was excited and engaged. Dr. B’s Institute classes always offer new insights. As we began the discussion of Christ standing before the Sanhedrin, however, the Branch President opened the door, and quietly beckoned my companions & I to come with him. We did, but as we walked out, I was sad to leave the lesson. He led us into his office, and told us he had a sister in the branch he would like us to visit. He got very anxious as he described her situation to us. It was very special to see how much he cared about her. As a missionary, you have a unique look in to ecclesiastical leadership in the church, and the experience has only proved to strengthen my testimony of the process of revelation that guides the leadership of the church.

We finished our conversation with him and headed back into the class. We sat for several minutes more, listening as the class discussed power. We contrasted the power of those who condemned Christ, and the true power that Jesus himself possessed. I think personally, that power comes down to one concept, truth. In the face of Christ’s mission to bring truth, Pilate asked, with world weary tone “what is truth?” The world often draws the conclusion that there is no absolute truth, and the powers of the world, then, do all they can to control what is perceived as truth. If you have a monopoly on truth, then you have power. Politics are nothing but people trying to convince others of their “truth,” so that they may gain power over the political system. As we see in politics, what is considered truth shifts often. Christ’s power; God’s power, is far greater, because it is based completely in absolute truth. Truth that will never change. Truth that has existed for eternities, and will continue.

Once again, we were pulled out of the engaging lesson. This time by a member of the branch. Once again, I was a little frustrated to leave. Sister A has been a member of the church for a little over two years, and during that time she has struggled in and out of activity. When she pulled us into the lobby she looked confused, and a little upset.

“I’m not sure if y’all can even help me with this…” she started. “But I didn’t know who else to ask. When people join the church, and they want to be with more members, so that they can be better Mormons, they move to Utah, right? How do you go about doing that?” My heart broke. Suddenly I felt terrible for my attitude moments before.

I am a missionary, I am called to serve, not called to sit through very interesting Institute classes. Sister A was a tender soul, just working her way back into the church, but feeling inadequate. She needed comfort. She needed someone who could tell her she was a wonderful Mormon, and she could become an even better one without moving to Utah. We sat with her for a few minutes, and talked to her, but mostly we listened. I am so grateful for the experience. There will always be Institute classes. I can go to one every night of the week when I get home if I want to, but I will never again have the call to serve the way I do now.

Thursday, we had our final dinner with the M family. It has been such a joy to get to know them these past weeks. Brother M played his electric guitar for us, and I was delighted to sing every word to Hotel California at the top of my lungs. Brother M has a really hard time being open to any message that has to do with the Prophet Joseph Smith, so he went into the bedroom while we had a lesson with Sister M and L.

During the lesson, Sister M really opened up to us and bore a powerful testimony of the Temple. I felt prompted to ask her how long it had been since she had been to the Temple. It had been a long time. I challenged her to do whatever she needed to get back to the Temple. The Spirit entered the room immediately, and she burst into tears. There are things you can do as a missionary that you just can do when you’re home, and one of those is call people to repentance and still have them feel your love! She told me how much she loved me and that she knows I was transferred to Arkadelphia for her. What a tender mercy.

I have learned so many things as a missionary, but the most important thing is love, and the source of all love. No love we feel originates from inside of us- all love comes from God. He gave me so much love on my mission, I am bursting at the seams. It truly feels like I will overflow any second and all that love will spill out over everything around me. At first, it’s a terrifying thing to love for real- you are so vulnerable. What if this person drops you? What if they decide not to come back to church? When you’re a young missionary, you try to squelch this love, to develop a shell that leaves you impervious to the pain of rejection. What I learned on my mission is to embrace it. Yes, there are disappointments that you fear you will never recover from, but each hard thing just increases your capacity to love if you let it, and the next joy that comes into your life is greater than anything you have previously experienced. Our Father loves us infinitely, and my mission has brought me so much closer to understanding what that means.

The title of this email comes from T.S. Eliot, and it captures so well all that I am feeling. The only thing that closely compares to my feelings, leaving my mission, are my feelings in arriving here in Arkansas. My mission has been the greatest adventure of my life thus far, but today I woke up with a sense. Just a little nagging, somewhere in the corner of my brain, that the adventure I begin now will be far greater, and ultimately, far more rewarding.

I know my Savior lives.

Love,

Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas

WEEK EIGHTY: ENDURE TO THE END – JOYFULLY

Dear Family and Friends,

Hola Y’all!

This week was great. Hard and weird and wonderful, which, I think, all the best weeks on the mission are. I always knew going on a mission would change me, that I would learn, and that it was important, but I never imagined how much I would fall in love with it. My mission is joyful.

This week started out with my last district meeting ever. 18 months ago, I never thought I would be crying about district meeting, but that didn’t stop me from doing it on Tuesday. Our district meeting was held in Hope, which is one of the smallest units in the mission. They average about 15-20 people to sacrament meeting, and almost half of the Melchizedek priesthood holders are men assigned to attend from other units.

Having district meeting in Hope, made things worse on my emotions I think. The Hope building is tiny, consisting of a chapel with a max capacity around 70, and two or three classrooms. The kitchen is smaller than some walk-in closets, and there is a single basketball hoop bolted to the wall on the back end of the chapel. It’s probably the only building in the church where I could make a basket from the pulpit.

The Hope building is a reality in the church that was so foreign to me a year and a half ago. 15 people at sacrament meeting? There were days when we had more people in my youth Sunday School class. At first these kinds of realities scared me, but over time I have fallen in love with them. There is something very special about the church in places like Hope. Much of the pomp and circumstance, the issues of church culture that so often plague larger units, are missing in places like Hope. The gospel is stripped down to the very basics of what it is, and that is beautiful.

The district meeting went well. My district leader asked me to instruct for part of the meeting on Weekly Planning, trying to gain from my “ancient wisdom”. Little does he know, planning has always been one of my weaknesses as a missionary! It didn’t matter, though. If you pray for inspiration, no matter what the topic at hand may be, the Lord is going to grant you with what you need to teach others.

Following our district meeting we traveled outside to take a district picture, another thing I will miss. The senior couple in Hope, the P’s, took our picture, and afterwards Sister P (who misses so badly the comfort of her home and family in Springville, Utah), started telling me just how lucky I was to be going home in time for the holidays. Her eyes welled up with tears as she told me about some of the family traditions they would be missing this year, exchanging them for a humid Christmas in Hope, Arkansas. I cried too, but for different reasons. I couldn’t tell this to Sister P, but in that moment, I felt she was the lucky one. Christmas in the mission field is so special, and I would give anything for another one.

Tuesday night we had dinner with the H’s and W. We knew W needed to have an experience where the Spirit would be invited strongly, so I volunteered to ask Brother H for a blessing during the lesson. What a sacrifice on my part, right? Haha. The time for the blessing came, and when he asked me what it was for, the tears came again. I explained to him my fears about going home and my sadness in leaving all of this behind. At first I was worried Will would be uncomfortable, but he listened quietly, and at the end he thanked me for my service. Brother H then sat me down in a chair and gave me a blessing. The Spirit was beautiful, and in the blessing, he focused completely on the things I would do at home. At first this made me upset, but as I listened I felt the Spirit testify to me that I yet have a great work to do, and that my service will not end here in Arkansas. The Spirit was very strong.

Following the blessing, we had a long discussion about how we can know truth, which has been a reoccurring discussion with W.  He has always felt that truth only came from the Bible, that he could only know something was true spiritually, if he could read it from the scriptures. He has been having a hard time finding the Book of Mormon in the Bible. Previously, we had spent time finding every Bible scripture we felt testified of the Book of Mormon, to convince W of our views, but during the lesson the Spirit prompted me to take the conversation in a different direction. I asked him how he had come to trust in the Bible so well, he couldn’t have learned that the Book was true simply because it said it was, the teaching meant nothing until he had received a spiritual witness. He was quiet for a little while, and then someone else shared a scripture and the lesson went in a different direction. It was a very good lesson, and the Spirit was strong, but I was worried that he hadn’t understood what I was trying to help him see. Following the lesson though, we received a text that read “Sister Thomas, I want you to know that your point about how we know something is scripture was not lost on me tonight, I will be praying on it.” I am so thankful for the Spirit.

My other “last” this week was exchanges. I went to Pinnacle Mountain with Sister K. I am so impressed by the spiritual capacity of other missionaries, and Sister K is no exception. Several transfers ago I was her Sister Training Leader, and we went on exchanges several times. I could tell in the beginning she was a little nervous, probably thinking I wouldn’t want to listen to her, but I was excited to learn from her. As we went through the day I was so impressed by her abilities to use the scriptures in lessons. I think using a scripture is so much better, because then they know it comes from God, not from me.

Exchanges helped me so much. Sister K was truly inspired as she helped me come to terms with some things. That’s another thing my mission has given me so much perspective on, our leaders are absolutely entitled to revelation and they receive it. I have always been happiest on my mission when I actively do my part to listen to and sustain my leaders.

This week we saw a huge miracle because W came to church, which was something he said he would not do a month ago. He sat through all three hours, and enjoyed it all, Even the Sunday school discussion on the literal gathering of Israel. After church, he was missing, and we went out into the parking lot to see if he had slipped away without talking to us. Instead, we found him in the parking lot, pulling his truck up to jump an older woman’s car. She was visiting the branch from out of state, and didn’t know anyone. She probably didn’t even realize W wasn’t a member, especially because of how quick he was to help. He came off very Mormon-y. 🙂 As we stood watching him help this woman he didn’t know, I had a flash of a thought that someday W is going to make the best Elder’s Quorum President ever. I couldn’t help but smile, in that moment I received the spiritual confirmation to know that he will be baptized. It might not be in the next couple weeks, or even in the next couple months, but he is going to be baptized.

Sunday, I spoke in sacrament meeting, and once again became so thankful for the Spirit in the Arkadelphia. This branch is special, and they make me feel special. I spoke on Enduring to the End, which was particularly poignant for me. I love writing talks, because I always learn so much. One scripture reference stood out so strongly to me while I was studying:

 3 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

 4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

 5 Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow. (D&C 58)

I found a lot of comfort in it, especially the part about not being able to behold the things which shall come hereafter. I was surprised and delighted, then, when I opened my My Plan and found the same scripture at the beginning of the module, where they asked me to start my Life Plan. I cried plenty then.

If there I was one thing I have learned these past 18 months, it is that God is fully and lovingly aware of each of us, and His fingerprint is everywhere. I would challenge each of us to find it more often, and when we do, to offer a prayer of thanks for His loving care and guidance. He is the master of all.

I love y’all, and I hope you have a great week!

Love,

Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas

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Sunlight makes for great selfies.

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Exchange picture. I forgot how to make normal faces in group photos a long time ago.

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Squad pictures are important, very important.

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Happiness is…

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The all important Camden District.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me with a small girl I met on exchanges- after we took the photo and were looking at it she said “Look! Your teeth are clean, good job!” 😂

 

 

WEEK SEVENTY-NINE: HALLOWEEN WEDDING, INSTITUTE, & PRIMARY IS MY FAVE!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week started off with a Halloween wedding! A member of the branch’s sister was getting married Halloween night, and they invited us to the wedding under the pretense that there would be lots of less active and non-members there, but mostly they knew we would need something to do the night of Halloween. (: The wedding was super fun, and we DID get to talk to several non-members and less actives. They did the wedding and the reception in the backyard of the S’s home, which was totally decked out for Halloween. Everyone in the Wedding Party had Dia de Los Muertos make up, and they had tons of Sugar Skull cookies which were beautiful and delicious! It was a really fun wedding, and a great way to spend Halloween, but it reaffirmed to me how much I want a Temple marriage. The ceremony Monday night was sweet, and it was clear that they loved each other, but as the man officiating the wedding spoke the words “As long as you both shall live” I felt a pang of sadness in my heart. Their wedding is for time only, but we know that it can be so much more. Eternal marriage is such a gift; the knowledge of eternity with one you love is so sustaining, and the faith that you can be with your Father in Heaven forever is more motivating than any other belief or concept. I’m so thankful for this knowledge that comes from the restored gospel.

We’ve had tons of district meeting this transfer, and it’s been so fun! Sometimes the simplicity of a district meeting, as opposed to a huge zone conference, is such a powerful vehicle for the Spirit to testify and teach you. We also had a district P-Day last Monday where we carved pumpkins and ate Elder H’s homemade chili. I’m not a chili person, but some things are just so right for an October day spent carving pumpkins.

I don’t remember if I’ve told y’all about Institute here in Arkadelphia yet, but it’s the best! The class is taught by Brother B (otherwise known as Dr. B, but we usually just call him Brother Dr. B haha) who is a history professor at Henderson State University. He has a PhD from Georgetown, and he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He also had a degree in Theology, and his Institute class goes so deep. Right now, we’re studying the New Testament, and we recently finished a study on the miracles. It’s been so cool to see all the symbolism behind each of Christ’s actions. His healing miracles especially are rich with symbolism. I love learning about the Savior and I can’t wait to begin attending Institute at home!

On Thursday we had a super fun Relief Society Activity where we made crafts, and it was a huge success!! We had several less active sisters show up, which was awesome. We painted these little wooden snow man blocks and I accidentally gave mine angry eyebrows. Crafting is not my strong suit apparently.

We had a lesson with W this week, where we talked some more about our understanding of faith and how we get answers. It’s so interesting to listen to his perspective of things. He has great faith, but believes that his answers can only really come from one source- the Bible. He has a hard time understanding the concept of personal revelation, and doesn’t understand the need for a modern prophet or the Book of Mormon, even after reading it cover to cover. He isn’t combative, and I think he has a real desire to understand, but I’m not sure he can accept the concept that his basic understanding of how God talks to us might need to shift. Talking with W makes me all the more thankful for being born into the gospel, because it can be so hard to accept and understand it when the world has time to get in the way.

We had dinner with the M family again this week, and it’s so cool to see Sister M come back to full Activity. Brother M is still pretty set in his ways, and doesn’t seem too excited about learning from us, but he is willing to let his wife and daughter participate, and he is always excited to cook for us!

At church this week Sister S, the Primary President, was somehow the only Primary worker who showed up, (yay branches!) so she asked us to come and sit in with her during singing and sharing time, and it was so fun! Primary is my absolute favorite place to be. Sister S is an amazing woman. She has 4 children, and three of them sit somewhere on the Autism spectrum. She is so patient and kind, and I am constantly in awe of her. Her youngest child, J, is six years old, and his autism is the most severe. He is verbal in the sense that he can say words, but doesn’t often use them to communicate, and when he does, it’s difficult to understand what exactly he’s trying to communicate. But he is very sweet, and if you’ll just put a little extra effort in to paying attention to him he will love you forever! I helped him put his shoes on after junior primary, and he refused to leave and go to his class, so he spent the third hour in Senior primary next to me asleep in his chair! He is so cute.

Overall this week has been full of service and bittersweet moments. Nothing brings joy quicker than serving others, and nothing makes me more wistful than thinking about this period of service coming to an end. I am so thankful, however, for the time I have been blessed with. I’ve been thinking a lot about how blessed we are to be able to bear testimony. Each time we bear our testimony, it grows, and over the past 18 months, I have had the opportunity to bear my testimony over and over again, and as I have, it has grown tremendously. That’s the amazing thing about Heavenly Father, he never asks us to do something without including a powerful reward. I know my Savior lives, that he loves me, and that this is His church.

I love y’all so much,

Sister Thomas

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Me in my ridiculously not matching pjs, wishing y’all each a Happy Halloween! Haha

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Arkansas has some killer sunsets.

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Sister Companionship pictures, featuring Laura Mann, as we helped her clean her room.

WEEK SEVENTY-EIGHT: I DON’T WANT TO EVER LEAVE!

Hey Family & friends! How are y’all?

This week was really good, but kind of challenging. It was amazing because we found some great success, but challenging because every single day I realize how much I just don’t want to go home.

This week we found a lot of success with the members. We had five member presents, which has not happened in a VERY long time. And all we had to do was ask! We had district meeting on Tuesday and the zone leaders were there, it was super satisfying to be able to report all the success we’ve been having.

We also had the impact sisters come and visit and that was super exciting! We were able to get SO MUCH work done!! And I got to learn a lot from them as well.

This is going to be super short, but here is an amazing miracle from the week!!

This week we invited W to church early Sunday morning. We got to her apartment and she was still in her pjs, but assured us that she would be there! We headed to church, and she never showed. It was disappointing, because we had just seen her! Then, halfway through sacrament meeting a member came in to the chapel and told us we had investigators waiting for us I. The foyer. We went out, and there was W!! With all 4 of her kids!!! Her ride hadn’t worked out, so she had walked to church! It was amazing!

I also got to do singing time in Primary, and it was so fun!! We played “Musical Measles” which involves lots of stickers, I will include a picture! Primary is different in a branch with a total of 10 kids…but it was so fun! I loved being able to serve and help out the branch.

On Tuesday, we had an amazing lesson wit W at the H’s home! We had pot roast for dinner and it was so good! Will said it was the best meal he’s ever had…probably because it’s the first meal he’d ever had with Mormons haha. It was amazing though because both of the H’s are converts and we able to spend a lot of time helping him understand the sacrifice is worth it. After our lesson, he promised he would come to church in a couple of weeks. That was huge progress, because he is a Youth Minister and has always refused. Things are changing, and the spirit is so awesome!! Members are so essential, and I am so thankful for Member Missionary work!!

I love y’all!!

Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas

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WEEK SEVENTY-SEVEN: GREAT WEEK OF FINDING AND SERVICE IN ARKADELPHIA

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.

 

Love,

Sister Hannah Kathryn Thomas

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER FIFIELD SELFIEimage3-42

About 900 pictures from the Halloween Party:image7-15

 

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And my new favorite picture quote.image14

 

WEEK SEVENTY-SIX: UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WILL FOR US

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.

Love,

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

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New companions haha

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CATS!!!!

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Sister F & I accidentally matched haha

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The last train out of Paris during WWII

 

WEEK SEVENTY-FIVE: LAST TRANSFER AND GOODBYES

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

WEEK SEVENTY-FOUR: BE AMBITIOUS FOR CHRIST

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

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WEEK SEVENTY-THREE: TENDER MERCIES AND BLESSINGS UPON BLESSINGS

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!!

Loves,

Sister Thomas

 

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

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