Monday, January 27, 2014


January 27, 2014

First serve.
This week was so different and I just have no idea where to start. Probably with the fact that our "maintenance required" car light has been on for a week. No, wait, I don't want to start with that.

Second serve.
Well. The last week of my life was all about service.
Funny thing, when I pictured "missionary service" I pictured teaching lessons instead of hauling dressers and basically the contents of a house from a storage unit, to a U-Haul, up a flight of stairs, and into an apartment. But I guess that when we go to toil with our "heart, might. Mind. and strength," It really means strength.

It also means might…as in I miiiiight die from lack of oxygen, which is how I felt at our second service of the week. We blew up about a bajillion balloons for a less active member, as it was her son's birthday party. Let me just say that I was surprised at the strenuousness of that activity! Forget your P9X, and Google the nearest Mexican fiesta! Seriously. the verdict is still out on which of the aforementioned activities was more physically taxing. Although… the second included bacon-wrapped hot-dogs wins for preference by a MILE.

This was all done as our car was supposedly being serviced, but the car shop was unusually full both Friday and Saturday, so here's to hoping that the “maintenance required” light is just a malfunctioning bulb. -But the opportunities we had to do service this week truly were such amazing experiences. Some people say that the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach, but I have to disagree. It is up the stairs, carrying a box full of little boy's shoes for a new investigator. Service is the easiest way to make a friend because you are showing your love and effort to them through an action. 

When Jesus Christ was on the earth he taught: 
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" Matthew 23:11 
The only way to BE a servant is to serve.

Serice rids one of guile, opens the door to charity, and practices the law of patience. If we love one another, then we will serve them.

Game. Set. Match.

As always, great love from…

-Hermana Thomas

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match...

January 21, 2014

matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch.

If you were not humming the familiar tune of Fiddler on the Roof as you read that, I suggest catching up on classic musicals as a worthwhile hobby this week.

Also, that song is becoming more and more applicable to me as a missionary. No, not like THAT, but because I often feel like a matchmaker for our investigators. --Let me explain.

People often have the desire to hear our message, but have a hard time accepting the commitment to come to church. Why, you ask? Because they feel uncomfortable going to an unfamiliar church in an unfamiliar building to attend a service that is currently unfamiliar to them. So we try to make them feel more comfortable. How, you ask? By introducing them beforehand to people that are going to be there. Who, you ask? (Wow, you are just full of questions today, aren't you?) The members!

But not just any member. No, we handpick the most ideally suited-to-your-needs-and-personality member that we know of, and set up a place and time where we can all meet together. Hence- I feel the thrills of matchmaking the investigators that I adore with the members I so admire. This is where my story begins today.

So we have this amazing family investigating the church. We've been teaching them for a couple months now, but we haven't been able to think of juuuuuust the right family to introduce them to. Then, during a lesson, the dad said something that sparked a name into my brain, and we immediately informed an amazing family that lives in our ward: we’ll call them the Ramos family.

Well, the day comes when our investigator family (let's call them the Hernandez family) and the Ramoses are supposed to meet at the Ramos home.

Enter stomach full of butterflies. I feel like this is a blind couple-date and if it doesn't go well then our investigators will never come to church and miss out on all of the blessings....but no pressure or anything.

So the Hernandezes come, and we walk them up to the door of the Ramos' house.
we enter.
we sit.
they immediately get along and-start-talking-so-fast-that-they-barely-have-pauses-in-between-words.


But this wasn't the best part. Better than them both being 27 and 33 years old (wives and husbands respectively), the same number of kids, kids the same ages, and the same life experiences (true story), was the most tender moment I think I have seen on mission.

Brother Ramos was talking to Brother Hernandez about how far he and his wife had come from a life completely different to the one they are living now. He emphasized their struggles and flaws and horrible situations that they had overcome through the gospel and joining the church. He then stops, looks at his wife, holding their month-old baby, and says to our investigators: "I love my wife. She is an incredible mother, partner, and person. I am SO proud of her and who she has become, I love her so much."

The wife's eyes filled with tears and I saw between them a love that had blossomed inspite of situations and events that I cannot even begin to describe. I could hear the pride in his voice as he professed how much she meant to him, and I could see an eternal tie between them. I wondered how they would have felt five years ago when their lives were completely different, to see that evening together, and how far they had come. I'm sure they would have thought it was impossible to change and grow so much, but with the miracle of the gospel, they have both changed completely. I am so grateful for that moment of such pure love, and for the gospel of Jesus Christ that makes it possible.

-Hermana Thomas

Monday, January 13, 2014

Just keep walking, walking walking...

January 13, 2014

Dearest Darlingest readers of this, my mission blog:

First and most importantly…thank you to all you kind people out there who made my birthday so amazingly wonderful!!  What an incredible surprise to open my inbox and find so many of you there, wishing me wonderful things and making this mission birthday such a happy memory.  What a most unexpected happiness.  Thank you, thank you!

You are looking fantastic today. No, really, is that a new shirt? New haircut? Oh come on, it must be SOMETHING.
No? Hmm. Well I suppose you've just always been this amazing.

Well. This week we tried something new to find investigators. It is something our mission president has mentioned in zone conferences a few times, but has been hard for us to do because our area is so big.


and walk and walk and walk and walk.

and while we're walking, find new people and talk.

and talk. and talk and talk and talk and talk.

But try not to gawk at the squawking hawks wearing socks. (Sorry, sometimes my rhyming gets a little bit out of control. AWK...ward)

After walking our entire area

But really, we probably put about 7 miles on our shoes this week looking for new investigators as we have walked from appointment to appointment. The overall response? rejection. Actually, that was the ONLY response. Nicely, of course, but rejection nonetheless. Mid-week I began questioning our decision to start walking to and from appointments. It seemed like more than anything it was wasting time, and we were getting fewer lessons than usual. But, as always, the Lord showed us that obedience to the counsel of an inspired mission president is never a waste of time.

NO, we didn't have any success talking to people on the street, but on Friday, the English-speaking sisters gave us a call. They said that a man named "Mark" had contacted them and set up a lesson. They said that he had given our names, and that we had met him. Well. Rewind to Christmas day. We decided to walk from one appointment to another (since it was a really slow day) and we met this man named “Mark”. We talked to him for about and hour, and he knew a lot about the church. His friend had stopped doing drugs and completely turned his life around to join our church, and Marco had grown up around it his whole life. He basically told us the story of Joseph Smith, but when we asked him if we could set up a time to come talk to him, he said that he wasn't interested, and that he already knew a lot about our church. Nevertheless, we gave him the missionary number and told him that he could always call if he changed his mind.

Then. THIS week, he decided to call the sisters, who in turn called us right in the middle of the week when we were wondering if street contacting was really doing any good.

This is the way of the Lord. He doesn't always answer you in the ways that you expect, but he is ALWAYS mindful of you. This week, I challenge you to write a letter to someone who wouldn't expect it, in an effort to lift, inspire, appreciate and encourage them. If you pray before you write it to know what to say, I TRULY BELIEVE that you will be an answer to their prayers, and have a great impact on them.

Thanks again for all the birthday love!!!!
-Hermana Thomas

Our ward mission leader's birthday with tres leche cake!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baptisms and a birthday, the perfect start for a New Year

January 6, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I fondly address you today, on January the Sixth of the year Two Thousand and Fourteen. On this day it would please me to offer a few written sentiments......

Ok. I tried to sound more sophisticated as a twenty year old, but I'm going to go ahead and give THAT up. How are you my lovely friends and amistades? If you are familiar with my life, you will note that today is the twentieth anniversary of the first day I cried. well....I assume that I cried when I was born. I'm kind of fuzzy about the details...

I would love to tell you about all of our festivities (hooray for birthdays on p-day!) and offer a few words on the feelings of today, but first, I would like to gift you a few pictures of a happy week.

Starting the first day of the year in the best way possible

Yes, you did infer correctly. This week Hermana Wong and I had the privilege of seeing three of our investigators get baptized. The first two, a Cuban couple, were the most spiritually prepared people I have met on my mission. The first time we met with them they told us that they wanted to get baptized, and they wanted it to be on the first of January, to start off the new year following the steps of Christ. They were such a testimony of faith and love for the Savior. even the wife, at over 8 months pregnant insisted that she did NOT want to procrastinate her baptism. 
The things we do to prepare 

The next investigator that got baptized, Juan (name changed), is such a special person to me. When we began teaching him he rarely did the things that we asked, and didn't really seem to know what good baptism would be for him. By the end of our lessons he was saying things like "I just can't wait for it to be Sunday so that I can go to church!" and "you want to come over in 3 days? Can you come over sooner?" He is eleven years old, but he read the Book of Mormon, and highlighted the words he didn't understand. Then, when we came over, he asked us what they meant.

This is true conversion. People who truly want to follow Christ and be baptized because they understand that baptism isn't the end of the process, rather the beginning. Christ didn't get baptized at the end f his life, rather before he started his ministry. What a great week of baptisms to start this year!

Thoughts about being 20:

Well. Another decade has come and gone. I sadly say goodbye to my teenage years that have seen me through so much. Braces (twice), tears, laughter, riding to school on a bike, getting my ears pierced, my first date, the first time I ate a tamale, exactly one pedicure, way too much time on social media, even more time studying for AP tests, learning how to cha cha at 8:00 in the morning (Tuesdays and Thursdays), playing the flute at Highland football games, deciding to wear mascara on occasion, and many memories that I will cherish until I'm 98 and probably can't remember much anymore.

I thank my teenage years fondly, and spend a moment reminiscing, but after that I look to the future, and all the promises of this next decade of my life. What new experiences will I have? What things will I learn? Regret? Hold close to my heart? I anticipate my second pedicure, maybe learn another language (one every ten years seems pretty manageable) and probably start wearing a ring on my left hand. Oh what joy to have endless possibilities ahead of you, and to know that you are just at the beginning.

But for right now, I am so grateful to be spending the first 10 months of the next ten years in the service of the One who has seen me through those crazy teenage years, and will walk with me the rest of the way. Happy new year(s)!

What 20 looks like....just in case you were wondering.
con mucho amor,
Hermana Thomas