Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where's the Guinness Book of World's Record guy when you really need him?

May 27, 2014

Talofa! For all of you non-Samoans, that means hello! (I think) The traditional greeting of Samoa (I think) Because I got adopted as a Samoan this week (I 'm pretty sure)......well I got gifted a traditional hair flower thing,. so I'm pretty sure that constitutes a legal adoption....more or less.

I went on exchanges to 29 Palms this week and got to spend about a day in the Samoan branch with a companion that is from real live Samoa! She was adorable, and I absolutely decided that my honorary heritage is Samoan. Lots of food? Lots of hugs? yes, please!

In other and more pressing news, we are having transfers this week! We got the call on Sunday night and...........I'm staying here! For the 8th transfer in a row, mind you. (Where's the Guinness Book of Records guy when you really need him?) Which means that by the time this transfer is over, I will have been here 11 months. Sadly Sister Stuber is moving on to bigger and colder places (namely Redlands) and I am going to miss her. She definitely filled our companionship with plenty of laughter. 

On a more serious note, there was a tragedy in our area this week. A teenage boy was killed. He was the son of one of the less-active families here, and it came as a huge shock to everyone. We had the opportunity to visit the family, in particular the mother the day after it happened, and it was heartbreaking to see her anguish. Seeing her pain just made it so much more important to me to share the gospel. Not only so that others can know what happens after this life, but to help take them out of dangerous situations and show them that there is a better way. We don't have to wander around aimlessly in life, or surround ourselves with things that are only going to end up causing us more pain. The answer is found in following Jesus Christ, and it is important enough to God that He sends out missionaries to help people change their lives. As a missionary I'm not here to just say nice things and bring a good feeling for a while. I'm here to share this good news and help people change. We can't have it both ways. There is a clear choice that has to be made, and if you follow Christ, your life will be much more full of joy and fulfillment and peace. Nothing else in the world offers that.

​There are miracles happening here. There are so many people that are recognizing the truth of what we have, and are thirsting for more. I can't wait to see the people I know so well and love so much progress this next transfer. I really feel that amazing things are coming.

-Hermana Thomas 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ask and ye shall receive

May 19,2014

Sometimes God is direct.

We were walking around some apartments the other day trying to find someone we had given a Book of Mormon to. Amidst our search we saw a door with a hanging ceramic acorn on it. (Typical Indio d├ęcor) The acorn read,  "bless this house."

My companion and I looked at each other and knocked on the door. A lady answered who seemed quite bewildered as to why we were standing on her doorstep. We asked her if she knew where Becky lived. She responded by shaking her head. I asked her if she knew Spanish and her face lit up. "si si!" (hmmmmm....what luck) We told her that we were the missionaries and asked her if we could say a prayer to bless her home. She consented and let us into her house and on to her delightfully squishy sofas. (Did I mention that we've been walking around a lot?) We got to know her, offered a prayer, and when we were finished, she said that she would be interested in hearing our message.

This was a lesson to me that we don't always get direction from the Lord in the way we expect, sometimes when a ceramic acorn says to bless a house… bless the house!

Blessings on you,

-Hermana Thomas

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Priceless Story

May 12, 2014

I am going to tell you the tale of a Saturday afternoon.

So we were sitting at the baptism of an 8-year-old girl in our congregation.  Attending with us was one of the families we are teaching. They have 5 children over the age of 8, and then the smartest three-year-old to ever walk the streets of Indio, California. (When we first met him, we were holding Books of Mormon in our hands, and he said "van a estudiar conmigo? yo quiero ese libro. Me lo reglan? cuando van a regresar y estudiar conmigo?" (Are you guys going to study with me? I want that book; will you give it to me? When are you going to come back and study with me?)

Continuing the story...

So we were sitting there, listening to a couple of short little talks, and then the young girl and her dad entered the baptismal font. One of the investigator's sons who is about 11 quickly changed seats so that he had a better view. As soon as she came up out of the water, he turned to me and said: "Do you have to pay to do that?"
me: "nope, anyone can do it that wants to follow God."
him: "and after baptism, you follow God and He forgives you?"
me: "yep"
him: "....are you sure you don't have to pay?"

When he first asked the question it almost made me laugh. Of course you don't have to pay to come closer to Christ! But then as I thought about it and thought, "He gets it. He understands how important this is, and how special a gift baptism is. In his mind, it would make sense for something so precious to be of monetary value."  He feels like I do. If people understood baptism, I mean reeeeeeeally understood it, then they would be lining up to receive this incredible gift. If Members of the church really understood baptism, they wouldn't be able to WAIT to share it with their friends.

That’s what I learned from an 11-year-old last Saturday.


-Hermana Thomas

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mothers' Day Musing

May 5, 2014

shmee shma.

That is how sister Zamora says "eh. It’s ok." As you probably didn't know but will in about 5 seconds based on how fast you read, I am about to complete a year in the mission.

I would like to accompany this statement with an anecdote.

Every year my parents line us up by the garage doorframe on Mothers’ Day and measure us against the wall. We see how much we have grown during the past year. (I would like to add that tip-toes do not count.....LIZ!). Well, as I will regrettably be absent for this year's measuring (sorry parents) I decided to measure myself in a different way, against the backdrop of my inward growth.

I often think about what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t gone on a mission. I believe I’d still be a good person. I'd probably have a good life. I'd be a year ahead of where I am right now in school. I might have a guy to grab some lunch with. I would be happy. BUT right now I can truly say that I am not filled with only happiness, but with a light I can feel that is not my own. I can feel its warmth and influence within me as I am coming to truly get to know my Savior. As a blessing from my mission, I have plans not only for the immediate future, but grand blueprints for the rest of my life. Through tears, frustration, and mistakes I have learned happiness, repentance, and joy. I am not who I want to be yet, but I am much closer, and even though it has been the hardest thing I have ever done, I wouldn't trade my mission for anything.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you lovely ladies out there! Treat yourself to a large ice cream sundae on me...well actually I'm on a bit of a tight budget and am currently out of town, so it will have to be on you. But know that I love you and wish you well!

Feliz dia de las madres!

-Hermana Thomas