Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Final Holiday Poem

October 27, 2014

I bet you thought I FORGOT I am supposed to write you a poem every holiday! well, I didn't. Here is my Halloween poem for this year. 

The scariest thing this Halloween 
will not be midnight cats 
Twill not be boys with werewolf masks  
or girls in witches hats 

the thing to frighten most of all 
with not knock at my door 
won't hide around the corner
will not deafen with its roar 

The thing I dread creeps subtly 
drawing closer every day 
it sits upon my wall and  
looks intently at its prey 

it salivates with waiting eyes 
I'm trying to ignore
it stares at me uncomfortably 
when I walk across the floor 

it draws nearer ever nearer 
though I'll never see it roam 
it’s the date marked on my calendar 
for when I'm going home  

Yes. One of the things I am most frightened of is not doing everything I possibly can while still here in the field. I have loved my mission so much and I know that I will miss it dearly. But I will also begin a new adventure. Here's to conquering scary things! 

-Hermana Thomas 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Down to my last three blog posts

October 20, 2014

"I wrote you every day for a year!" ......O.K. all "Notebook" quotes aside, I have realized that I  have written no fewer than 75 Blog posts starting on May 10 2013. Now I am down to my last three. 

dun. dun. dun. 

Let's begin with a replay of the highlights. (That was very ESPN of me, wasn't it?) 

1. Tomasa got baptized!! She is so sweet. From the first moments with her I knew that she was going to get baptized. There are people who are truly prepared to hear the gospel, and she was one. Two of the people participating may not have shown up and yours truly may have forgotten to turn off the water when filling the font, but despite the stress it was a very special experience and I know that Tomasa and I will be lifelong friends.  

2.Elder David F. Evans came to visit our mission! --He is the Executive Director of the Missionary Department for the church, but even more important, he's family! He is my mom's cousin, and it was such a fun treat to be able to see him and his wife. He gave an amazing talk about how our missions are preparing us for the rest of our lives and how we are learning to go forward with faith. It was so powerful. I remember sitting in the congregation as he was closing his remarks and thinking, "there is nowhere else I would rather be right now. I can feel the spirit so strongly I would love to just sit here for the rest of my life and feel like this."  

So something strange happened to me this week. Three of our neighbors moved. The first two are a couple that lives above our apartment.  We only see them once in a while and periodically bring them home made goodies (it pays to have sister missionary neighbors.) They are very sweet, genuine people. They are moving because his father passed away and they have to go take care of his special needs brother who lives too far away to drive to each day. 

The last is one of the Saudi students that lives next door. He knows VERY little English but has committed to live here for 5 years to learn English and then "study United States" He is going to live with a family a couple minutes away so that he can practice the language more often. 

I haven't had incredibly bonding experiences with either of these neighbors, just little moments here and there. 5 minutes visits every blue moon. But for some reason their decision to move is making me so sad! It feels like a premature closing, like I actually WILL be leaving some day.

I received the letter with invitations to my missionary farewell and flight information and it kind of hit me that one day this will be over. And that is sad. But I guess like Elder Evans said it is preparing me for more happy moments, for a strong family and a different mission. 

-Hermana Thomas 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The greatest message of joy

October 14, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr., Christopher Columbus, Laborers. 

These are the people that conspire against missionaries to make emailing day on Tuesday instead of Monday. What is with all of these random Monday holidays? They're good for burned out fourth graders who want an extra day of the weekend. NOT good for humble servants of the Lord who want to hear from their family and friends. 

I would like to tell you about arguably one of the best discussions I have ever participated in during the course of my mission. We found this 19 and 20 year-old couple holding hands (ew, cooties) on the street and started talking to them. We set a time to go back and see them and teach them a little bit about Jesus Christ. 

fast forward. 

We start having the lesson and realize quickly that although both of their parents are religious, these two didn't learn much about God or Jesus Christ. We started talking about what "The Gospel of Jesus Christ was" when the girl said "I don't know anything. I don't know who Adam and Eve are, or Mary and Joseph or anyone." She was a perfectly clean slate. And besides watching "The Passion of the Christ" so was her fiancee (we found out that they are engaged and expecting the pitter patter of little feet in February) 

We started at the beginning. God loves us so He created a plan for us to grow and become like him. He sent Adam and Eve to this earth as the first people. We recounted the story simply. We then talked about how God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us and to suffer for our mistakes. She stopped us, and I will never forget her face as she made the connection, "So....God and Jesus Christ are two different people?" An incredible joy went throughout me as I was able to testify that I know that they are two separate beings, a Father and his Son. We then talked about the pain and agony that Jesus suffered, and it was like Him paying our debt for us. We talked about how He paid the debts for all of us individually, and that He knows exactly how we feel when we suffer. The spirit in the room was tangible. I said "Robert, how do you feel knowing that Jesus Christ came and paid the price for YOUR mistakes and that he loves you enough to die for you?" he responded "I've never had anyone willing to sacrifice for me. I've been in and out of foster homes, I did whatever I wanted because I knew that nobody cared about me and it didn't matter. To know that loves me and did that for me makes me want to just say thank you. praying isn't enough I want to see him and say thank you." "well, Robert something even better than that is making sure that we live in the way that he wanted us to. He wants us to be happy and when we follow His example, we are showing our thanks for His sacrifice. Will you prepare yourself to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized the 9th of October?" "yes, we will."  This is a former gang member. 

That's what it's all about. It's about helping people understand that God sent His son to show us the way to eternal happiness. It's about giving people hope and releif. These are glad tidings of GREAT joy.

I am eternally grateful to be able to share this message!

Love Hermana Hope Thomas

Monday, October 6, 2014

Warning: a very tired sister missionary wrote this!

October 6, 2014

flute flute twoot twa twoot. 

As I was trying to think of what to write in this blog, the above was literally all I could think of. Inspiration or lack of sleep? It is for you to judge. 

So. General Conference. It's what all the cool kids watch on the first weekend of October and April. Were you there or were you square? Did you care to do your hair? Did you watch it as a pair? Did you listen to each prayer? Would you watch it as a dare? 

If so… I dare you to watch every single talk of this general conference. double DOG dare you. so I mean business. 

“This week” is a horrible way to start this paragraph. I feel like I always say "this week" so we're going to change it up a little bit. “The seven days that we have been out of contact have been interesting….” Every week is interesting on the mission. Two of our investigators have postponed getting baptized so that was an unfortunate twist in the story. BUT they are both resolute in their desire to change, which gives me great hope. 

I killed a cockroach this week. 

Question: I have heard a rumor that cockroaches can withstand an atomic bomb. Yet recent experience tells me that they cannot withstand a gentle tap (ok not so gentle) of my shoe. Can anyone resolve this for me? 

Obviously I am in no state to write anything of real importance as my tiredness level has driven me to speak of cockroaches. It was a great week. We taught a lot of people, I welcomed a former-now-new companion, enjoyed a lot of food, a lot of cleaning, a lot of love, a lot of Lot and his wife who turned into a pillar of salt. (whoa, where did that come from? Sorry, I’ve already confessed I haven’t had a lot of sleep!)

DON'T FORGET OUR DATE TO SEE “MEET THE MORMONS” ON OCTOBER 10th!!!!  I will not stand you up, but I might not actually be at the same theater as you. The success of the first weekend largely determines how long it will be in theaters. Spellcheck tells me that I still spell theatres wrong. 

I love you!

see you at the movies.

-Hermana Thomas