Monday, September 30, 2013

Panda wisdom, a Haiku, and Prophets

Alright, I had Panda Express this week, so I'm feeling pretty wise and ancient wisdom-y. Let's try a haiku.

missionary life:
I have never worked so hard
watching miracles

This week was fuuuuuuuuuuuuull (and I'm talking super-size-buffet, no-charge-for-seconds full) of Miracles.

First of all: a less-active member that hasn't been to church in 3 years came all by herself!

Secondly: So we were sitting in a less active's house (politely forgetting  we were supposed to be eating the syrupy jello and cream cake in front of us) waiting for everyone to gather so that we could have a lesson. The mom and two of the sons are members while the other son (who is 16) and the dad are not. The mom came in very excited saying she had convinced her 16-year-old son to at least come say "hi" to us.  Let's call him Ryan. So Ryan comes in all teenager style with the headphones in the ears, and the phone in the hand, and the hands in the pockets and the pockets in the low riding jeans. (Kids these days.) We said hello and invited him to come to our lesson, which he declined.

Five minutes later:

We were still inviting him to come to the lesson, and he finally agreed to attend on the condition that it would take 10 minutes. (Pressure!) --So we open with "What do you think about God?" to which he responded "based on the world right now? "Pretty horrible."

That is.......not usually the answer we get. So we started talking to him and asking him questions, and in turn he started talking openly and asking questions to US. We talked about how God has to let people make their own choices, and people are the ones that bring so many bad things into the world, we talked about how God loves all of us, and we talked about why it's important to get baptized, and why it's a necessary step in God's plan for us. By the end of a half an hour, WE were the ones who had to stop the lesson (to be on time for curfew), and he said that we could come back in two days and teach him more and answer more of his questions.

The spirit in the room was as strong as I've ever felt it. His mom shared her testimony of the importance of our message, and the change in both him and us from when the lesson started was unbelievable. God really does work miracles.

Lesson 1 part 3:

BECAUSE God loves us, He blesses our families by giving us certain tools to help navigate through life successfully and happily. One of these tools is a prophet.

What is a prophet?

A prophet is someone who is called by God and given the permission or "authority" and the power to do and say certain things to bless and guide the world as God directs him. This authority also gives the prophet permission to:

1. Receive revelation for the world (Learn the will of God for the living people at that time)
2. Teach eternal truths (the plan God has for us)
3. Guide us through the challenges unique to our time.

A few examples of ancient prophets are: Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jacob.   God has called prophets in our day too.  We have a prophet on the earth today, (President Thomas S. Monson) and he and other leaders of the church are conducting a semi-annual worldwide broadcast this Saturday and Sunday called "General Conference." You can watch it live on Check for you local times.

Watch at least ONE session during those two days. I know God inspires the things these speakers will say. Come listen to a prophet of God; listen with a question in your heart. 

-Hermana Thomas    

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's all about families!

choo choo! what's that coming down the mission track?

A Train(er) and her Train(ee)!!!!

So yes, being a trainer has been fun. My new companion's name is Hermana Deroche from the exotic land of West Jordan, Utah.  She's 69 inches, and has a full head of brown hair. Congratulations, it's a trainee and I couldn’t be more proud of her!

So I guess that every transfer I must go through some intense bodily turmoil because this week I picked up a really bad cold from one of our investigators. We're sharing all sorts of things over in Cali. the gospel.....germs.....great times!

Lesson #1 part two:
First things first, did you keep the commitment and write down ways that the Lord has blessed you? I hope so! If yes, go treat yourself to a small ice cream or something. If no, today’s a GREAT day to start.

O.k. Part two of this lesson is all about how the gospel blesses families.  The gospel is: the truth about all things, including and specifically centered on the teachings of Christ about God's plan for us. This Plan includes what happened before this life (where we come from), What we need to do while on earth (why we're here) and what will happen after we die (where we're going.)   

Knowing these truths blesses our families by helping us become more unified, bringing peace into our home, and giving us a place of refuge from the turmoil and confusion of the world.

God gave us families to be a blessing to us in this life. They are often our closet friends, and sources of happiness and comfort. Although no family is perfect it still is the most important social unit in the world.  Embracing these gospel truths will hopefully motivate us to treat our family members more lovingly and to be more patient with each other.  Living the gospel principles as a family will invite the much-needed spirit of peace into our homes.  This is indeed good news!

For your commitment this week I invite you to give a compliment to someone in your family every day, and see how this strengthens your relationship.

Thanks for all your love, encouragement and prayers!  I’m truly grateful! 

Hermana Thomas

Monday, September 16, 2013

From trainee to trainer in a twinkling. YOWZA!!!

(Please read in your best announcer voice)

Aaaaaaaaand the results are in! After much deliberation about transfers it has been decided that (drumroll in the background. A perky blonde assistant in a sparkly black dress hands you an envelope.) Hermana Thomas will an annoyingly long time to build the suspension)...............aaaaaaaaaaand we'll tell you right after this commercial break.

Just kidding, I'm going to be staying in Palm Desert!!!! AND I'm going to be a trainer (gulp!) as in: I finish being a trainEE today and will be a trainER on Wednesday.......yowza. I am really looking forward to it though. It will also be my first non-trio companionship since the MTC so....the changes, they are a'comin!

I thought I would take you on a virtual tour of my highlights this week, excluding lessons (which are always highlights): in order of appearance:

1. So we were walking to our car from an appointment, and on our way this gentleman stopped us and said
"Hey I work at a mango plantation and I have a lot of extras, do you girls want some?" and he proceeded to give us 8 of the most gigantic mangos I have ever seen! As mangos are my fruit of choice, I spent this week eating on cloud nine.  

2. Number of ingrown nails I had before the mission: 0. Number of ingrown nails I have had ON the mission: 4. And I have decided (for the sake of time, money, and lack of trusting anyone else with my appendages) that I would take them all out myself. Thus when Hermana Taboada got a very bad one this week, she let me play doctor and take it out all by myself. Picture follows. Don’t be fooled by the sweatpants, heart tweezers and Easter-themed bowl. I'm strictly a professional.

3. I received the most adorably-cute and wonderfully-beloved hand towel from a one Mrs. Joan Boren in the mail. The squealing’s of delight were heard by all within 2 miles of me.
4. A man attended relief society at church because he wanted to make an announcement. I assumed that it was about a ward activity or something, but it turned out to be a public declaration of love for his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary. For (reverent) cutes! 
5.I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Redlands temple with a few of the surrounding zones. I cannot describe to you what a source of guidance, peace and joy the temple can be. The personages below are those of my zone! old zone as of this week.

Lesson # 1 Part one:

Thank you for letting me come into your home and start teaching you the lessons. You were so gracious to offer me a glass of water and let me sit in your most comfortable chair. Today we're going to begin by talking about who God is, because this is an essential principle, and often a source of confusion for people.

When you think of God, what comes to your mind? Someone Near? Far? The vast creator of the very universe, or a disembodied feeling? 

God has many important attributes. Yes, he is an all-powerful and omnipotent Being with flesh and bones, but he is also your loving Heavenly Father. He is the literal father of your spirit. He knows you personally and intimately, better even than you know yourself. He cares for you with a perfect love that can never be destroyed or even diminished by the slightest degree. He is aware of every aspect of your life and wants more than anything for you to have eternal joy and live with Him in heaven again.

Think of a loving father who sends his children off to college. His greatest hope is that they succeed, learn, grow, and find joy. The same is true with our Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth (we will talk about that in a later post) so that we could succeed, learn, grow, and find joy. Like a father who gives his children rules to guide and help them (homework before playing, curfew, doing chores), he gives us commandments (we will go over those later as well) to do the same thing. Sometimes we may not understand why we must or mustn't do certain things (as a child doesn't always understand the rules of the parents) but they are ALWAYS for our benefit, with our eternal joy in mind.

Thus, God is a ruler, perfect, omniscient, and all-seeing, but as Mormons we like to refer to him as "Heavenly Father" because he is just that: Our perfect, encouraging, comforting, Father in Heaven and He loves you!  He truly loves you.  

Homework or "commitment" to do before our next lesson: look for the hand of God in your life. Every day, write down (in a journal, or a piece of paper) one way God has blessed you that day. I WILL be following up.

-Hermana Thomas

Monday, September 9, 2013

Current status: Missionary/coupon clipper/sleep laugher

Be worried for me. I have finally started doing the unthinkable. I have conceded to do that which I never have done, and as such, am morphing into a super-market super-villain.

I am a cashier's worst nightmare,

I’m the “in-a-rush” mom's worst fear.

I am the sworn enemy of all 10-items-or-less lanes.


The Coupon Clipper!

Yes, yes, you may make a grave for my youth, for my frivolous spending, for my blind, oblivious teenager-esque grocery trips. 78 cents for macaroni and cheese? No more!  "The Coupon Clipper" has a 20 cent coupon from this week's penny saver. (Oh woe to the fact that "penny saver" is now in my vocabulary)

Well.... I guess it's not as bad as all of that, but it does cause quite a delay for: "My name is: Rosa"…who was hoping to take her break in 5 minutes.

Why have I started clipping you ask? Because I, (the former, oblivious, frivolous me) learned that I had $6.15 left on my food card the last week of the month,(the week before the card was reloaded)… and buying a week’s worth of food for six dollars was.......a challenge. Therefore I have decided to go against every teenage grain in my body and start to actually spend my money wisely. ALSO, we're using the leftover coupons to make THIS…   

da-da-DAH! piñatas!!!! piñatas. These are pictures of my companions by the way. Have you met? Oh good, I can introduce you to them before we have transfers next week. On the left is Hermana Taboada and on the right is Hermana Sudweeks.

I love these people!

So, kind of a slow week as to actually teaching lessons (boo.) BUT we were able to FIND a lot of people, so hopefully next week we can teach a lot more!

In this week’s blog post I’m going to do something a little bit new. Instead of a WIWTK, I'm going to start lack of a better word, Segment titled:

Do you want to take the lessons from me through this blog?

Reasons why you should say “yes.”

If you are currently a member:

 1. You can actually know exactly what the missionaries are going to teach your friends or referrals, and you won't have to be nervous.

2. Haven’t you wondered what missionaries are teaching anyway?

3. It’s always good to review the fundamentals of the gospel in their simplest form.

4. They are guaranteed to be a spiritual pick-me up!

5. They are a REALLY good way to invite your friends to check out the church without any pressure. You could even (here's an idea) read the lessons WITH them! (Just in case they have any questions, and if you want to bear testimony of a principle)

If you're not a member:

1. To find and better understand the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints  

2. You’re thinking about inviting the Mormon missionaries into your home, but aren't sure because you don't know what they'll teach, here you go!

3. Spiritual edification!

4. There is absolutely no pressure. AND you can always write to me and I will answer your questions. Or you can get in contact with the missionaries in your area and they will answer your question happily in person!

If you're a returned missionary:

1. See " if you're a member"

2. It’s yet another chance to bear your testimony by leaving a comment!

Anyone is free to comment. Everyone is encouraged to invite someone else to read. Sound like a plan? O.k. next week I will begin with the first principle of the first lesson.

You’re awesome. Pretty much you just make me smile. And sleep-laugh (which is apparently something I do? I didn’t know about this but all of my companions have told me I do.)

lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove times in-fin-I-ty

Hermana Thomas