Monday, August 12, 2013

Woo Hoo! We're opening a new area!

August 12, 2013

I lied.

I'm not in Palm Springs, I'm in Palm DESERT. And Desert it is. I break into a sweat walking to the car so........sun dresses it is! Also. I am currently homeless which means I am currently home-address-less. Thus: When (notice my deliberate use of "when" and not "if") you decide to send me mail, just send it to the "Highland" address listed conveniently to the right side of this post. High fives for Highland. Also, some parties have asked who was driving when the car crashed......the person filling out the accident report is in this picture.


I don't even know where to begin. Which is exactly how I felt when I arrived in my new area be-cauuuuuuuuuse… it hasn’t been opened to missionaries for a long time! Woo Hoo! This is the paperwork part of missionary work--where you are re-writing lost information--finding lost data and updating outdated info. *SNAP* open up the binder rings, add new pages to the New Area Book and presto we’re excited and ready to get to work!

(Missionary Dictionary: The "Area Book" is a binder containing all the records of the people who were/are interested in meeting with the missionaries.  It includes important facts like what we've already taught and discussed with each interested person.  This is helpful to subsequent missionaries so when they start meeting with these same people, they don't sound like a broken record or a broken record or a broken record or a broken record or a broken record)

Anyway, there is a LOT of work that goes into opening a new area, but a lot of work and a lot of love is a great combination. And SPEAKING of love, I LOVE my new companions!!! I am in a trio again, and my companions se llaman (call themselves) Hermana Sudweeks and Hermana Taboada. y ellas son de (" They are from" ...see, my blog is educational and everything. Watch out Dora, I'm teaching people Spanish!) North Carolina (shout out to all of my fav North Carolina-ers) and Venezuela (She's the only person I know from Venezuela, so shout out to the whole population).

They're pretty much the best and we've already spent enough time together that we basically all say the same thing at the same time. At this very moment they are probably writing the exact same sentence home to their families.

Adventure of this week:
well. I ate a fish.

Yeah. Not like grilled fish or breaded fish, like an actual whole complete fish with eyeballs and fins and bones and a spinal cord and everything. The family that fed us just *PLOP* put it in the deep fryer for half an hour and served it to us with a side of lime.

It. was. delicious!!!! minus the spinal cord which Elder Sloan dared me to eat (oh goodness I'm turning into an elder. must remember to put nail polish on the grocery list)

Something I have grown a testimony of, especially as a missionary, is that receiving challenges is a gift from God. Some people I talk to say that God cannot exist or be merciful because if He did, He wouldn't allow such horrible things happen to us. I say that God can ONLY be merciful by letting us go through trials. We rarely grow when we keep ourselves in our safe daily routines.  Most of us, left on our own, wouldn’t deliberately choose difficult, stretching challenges.  There is a really great chapter in the Book of Mormon that likens the Children of God to a vineyard, and likens God, to the "Lord of the Vineyard." Many times the Lord goes down into the vineyard and does everything He can to help it grow. It says that He prunes it and dungs it and digs about it. How could a loving Lord of a vineyard prune a tree? How could He not let the branches keep growing however they want to?  How could a loving Lord of a vineyard "dung" it? It smells bad; it’s unpleasant, and gross! How could He do that to a vineyard that He loves? Well, because he wants it to grow and flourish and bring forth much good fruit. He knows that cutting it down and dung-ing it will yield the best results for the tree eventually, even if at the time it seems harsh or unpleasant. God doesn't make us go through trials to punish us, He allows us to go through trials to bless us. And if we invite Him, He wil love and guide us through every step of our trials.  He walked through a storm to help His apostles and He will walk through our storms to help us too!

He is the perfect, loving gardener and with His care we will reach our greatest potential and be our happiest selves!

(If you want to read that chapter, it is in the Book of Mormon in the book of Jacob, chapter 5)
(here is a video related to Hermana Thomases preceding thoughts, titled: God is the Gardener.  This insert is via la mom!)

I love you.
Hermana Thomas

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