Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Birthday and Merry Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2013

Just in case you are reading this after Thursday; and you've  eaten so much that you're now more turkey than human, and there is an illegal percentage of gravy in your bloodstream, I decided to make things easier for you. Instead of making you read a whole long blog post with lots of words and syllables and thinking (oh the horror!)  I'm giving you a week in pictures. so. Picture this:

In honor of Hermana Deroche's 20th birthday, Hermana Thomas made a pianta complete with letters from everyone in the zone. If it looks like it was finger painted, that's because it was. finger painted with love.

Obviously our parties our not quite up to Mexican par. (piƱata tied to a ceiling vent hit with an empty soda bottle.)

For post- birthday P-day we went to a European car dealership to? look at pretty cars? (can anyone explain this to me?)

 And then got free lunch at a member's restaurant. (No need to explain this one. I am very fluent in the language of melted cheese with beans on the side.)

Happy birthday Hermana Deroche!
And a very merry thanksgiving to all of you!
~Hermana Thomas

Monday, November 18, 2013

I almost cried. Yeah, yeah, I'm such a sister missionary!

November 18, 2013

The things of which I have to tell you are so many. The time with which I have to write you is so little. With these unspecifically vague numbers (that redundantly meant the same thing) I invoke the olde tyme saying "you do the math."   

cosa numbero UNO:

 (if you don't know what "uno" means, you were severely deprived of card games as a child): This week we had a MISSION CONFERENCE!!!! i.e. every single missionary within the Redlands mission drove to the mission office and had the most spiritual 6 hours of our lives!!!!

There were speakers from almost every stake in our mission and they gave the most eloquent talks and suggestions and insights and promises. I love being a missionary!!!! One of my favorite parts of the conference was when a stake president read a scripture with us that says "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." (D&C 82:10) He talked about how, as the Lord, He literally cannot lie. There are Specific blessings for each commandment and when you keep them he WILL give you those blessings. It's not subjective; it's as much of an equation as 7 X 7 = 49.

yeah. Being a missionary is so amazing!

next cosa.

So we have this investigator named Enrique (my alias for him) He's AWESOME! He’s 19 and we've met with him about 3 times.

-------necessary insert-------

One of the HARDEST things to ask people to do is go to church. It's amazing how many excuses there are and how many of them sound valid. With work, family time, caching up on sleep and a million other things that are "more important" it's hard to help people put into perspective how much MORE important it is to go to church. We’ll talk about it at a later date.

So we asked him to come to church about 2 times, but he always has to work on Sundays. We talked about why church attendance was so important and how much it could bless his life, but as a new employee he didn't think he'd be able to come for a while. So this week we forgot to call him before church to remind him (bad Hermana Thomas.)  And half way through the first hour I look over and ENRIQUE CAME!!!! all by himself, nice clothes, singing the songs, pretty much a rock star. and not only THAT, but he stayed for all three hours, AND told us that he asked for all Sundays off so that he could keep coming.

I almost cried. 

Yeah, yeah, I'm such a sister missionary. But I can't even describe to you the joy that you feel when you see someone start to take ACTIVE steps to come unto Christ and learn more about his church. It's like that moment when you give someone a piece of your favorite treat, and you know that they're just about to taste and LOVE it! Only times about a million bazillion. Or round abouts there.

cosa three:

Decided to take two pictures of my new "typical" 

1. Officially turned into a Californian. I get so cold in 70-degree weather that I have to study Spanish in sweat pants.

 2. This is the story of my life. Everybody in my apartment gets a letter except for Hermana Thomas. So they "LETTER" open the junk mail so that she doesn't feel left out.

 ladies and gentlemen, I love you.
-Hermana Thomas

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tamale and Tamale and Tamale...(apologies to Shakespeare!)

November 12, 2013

Surprise! My mission president told us that we could email on Tuesday instead of Monday due to the fact that yesterday was a holiday. whoop.

speeeeeeeeeaking of yesterday, I have two tidbits of Hermana life. 

tidbit number one is a story. buckle up.
So: yesterday I was suuuuuper hungry so I basically ate my weight in food for both lunch and dinner. (To spare myself the embarrassment of showing you how NOT exaggerative that is, I will refrain from telling you ALL I consumed. let it simply hitherto be known that it was mucho) -anyway- so we went to this party (see second tidbit of my blog) and they served tamales, beans and rice. I was already STUFFED, but they had bought over 60 tamales, and the party was in large part planned to help missionary work along, so..... I squeezed in one tamale, beans, and rice.

Flash forward a whole ten minutes later when we drove to -----DINNER------ where the kind person serving us had spent ALL DAY cooking us......tamales.

Brief interruption: there were two tables at our generous dinner appointment because, including the 8 missionaries and the family serving us, we needed 10 seats. The family and 4 missionaries were at one table and the four remaining missionaries sat at the other. I was at the table without any members of the family. End of interruption.

So we each get served 4 tamales (and not any of those wimpy limp-y tamales either. we're talking big, hunkin', probably 600-calorie-each tamales), rice, and two different kinds of pasta salad. The Elders sitting next to me had apparently eaten as much as I had that day, and were reallllly struggling to finish their food. What ended up happening? I had to help the elders finish their tamales and ate SEVEN -not including the one at the prior party. plus rice. plus the elder's rice. plus ice cream. oh yes. I definitely got heart burn last night and could barely even move let alone sleep.

tidbit numero dos (2):
Here is an EXCELLENT example of sharing what you know with everyone around you: So there is this young woman in our ward named Julie. super awesome. She has shared the gospel with many of her friends in the past and basically has the most radiant light around her. So she --all by herself--- organized a party with all of her friends so that she could invite the missionaries and introduce them to us.

She bought food (see tidbit (party) one), planned activities, opened her home to everyone, and basically invited her whole school. It was amazing. We came, we ate, we played, we talked, we got to know each other, we had an incredible experience. And all because this one young woman was willing to go out of her way to share something that she knew to be so important and precious.

Think about it. Why would a 16-year-old girl go to all that work and risk her reputation to tell her friends about a religion? Because it's true! And when you know it and when you feel it, nothing else matters. You simply want others to taste the indescribably joy of it. You realize that there is a bigger picture and that what others think of you, or worldly success, isn't nearly as important as sharing the plan God has for us with our spiritual brothers and sisters:  We ARE LOVED with a perfect love, we were sent here to be happy and successful. And this church, set up by Jesus Christ and restored through Joseph Smith, teaches us how…along with a ton of other saving truths!

love love love and intense feelings of extreme gratitude for readers,

Hermana Thomas

Monday, November 11, 2013

My week, newspaper style

Sorry for the week late post! Via la mom was out of Internet range for the last 11 days. The good news in you'll get two new posts from Hope back to back!

November 4, 2013

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's seven investigators at an "Oktoberfest" party held in November!

Confused? So was I. But who can complain when there are tostadas to be eaten, dancing to be watched, and friends to be made?! Plus, the night ended with a free frosty from my very generous and oh-so-Wendy's-loving companion. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot.

In sadder news (the obituaries section in the newspaper of my week) nobody came to church this week. None of our investigators, I mean.  It's funny how they all show up when there's dancing and free food involved, but take away the tortillas and suddenly everyone has much more important things to do. (Sigh) Probably one of the worst feelings as a missionary is waiting before church starts, eagle-eye-ing both doors while the clock clicks from 10:55 slowly to 11:00. As the minutes pass you realize that everyone that promised-promised-promised they would come, is probably still asleep. Which is no excuse because it was daylight savings for crying out loud. Sad. Obituary of the spiritual awakening it could have been.

Flipping on over to the comic strip section of my week, I got locked into a member's front entryway just outside their door. ---I was on exchanges with Hermana Howe, and we went to go see one of her members and have a lesson. It turns out that they weren't there, but they have a little cage thing that you have to go through in order to reach their doorstep. I guess we shut it a little too hard and got locked in! Luckily it wasn't for very long, but we must have looked so strange to anyone passing by: two little sister missionaries trying to wrestle their way out of a cage!

In the international section, I made two (count them TWO) puns in complete Spanish this week!! Granted, they weren't my BEST… but still!

Please enjoy this randomly placed photo of me standing by a sign that doesn't say my name..........but close enough.

I suppose the Headline of this week was: learned, had fun, need a nap.

-Editor in Chief
Hermana Thom