Monday, November 3, 2014


November 3, 2014

I thought I would change things up a bit and put my picture first. This (cardboard? paper mache? linoleum? ok probably not linoleum) Pumpkin sits proudly at the Northern end of our area. -- after a year and a half things like random (wooden? plastic? metal?)  entrance- size pumpkins have ceased to phase me. I just have grown to adore the random oddities of California. 

The original plan was to take a picture IN the pumpkin but Hermana Wong said “no”. This was my reaction 

​and hermana wong just said, 

​“I certainly love that girl.” 

Rewind 18 months:

She stared at the much anticipated envelope. It was thick but not too thick. Foreign or state side? foreign or state side? Her future was there sitting in front of her with a first-class stamp. Rush delivery to know where in the world she would spend the next year and a half. 

“Oh please let it be out of the country. oh please oh please oh please…” 

Her family gathered around her: Uncles, aunts, cousins, a fluffy white poodle whose tail was wagging at a caffeinated rate. Every three wags was another three wags closer to knowing. 

German? Spanish? Swedish? A white and gold flag? green, yellow, and red? Eating baguettes and cheese or rice and beans? 

The family settled down and sang a hymn. She wished she could change the tempo from 4/4 to 100/4. 

"Dear sister Thomas, 


"You have been"...........whereisitwhereisitwhereisit? "called to serve in the"
She stopped talking. She read it. She did not say it. She wanted to say something else. She didn't want to cry in front of anyone. Everyone actually. She thought about the cheesecake that her mom had prepared. She did not want to say it. 

"California Riverside mission." 

The disappointment that should not have been there was evident and settled like a bleak mist chocking her mood. She was frustrated with herself. She had been so excited to go where the Lord had called her. So excited to be a missionary. But with a sister and mother who had both spent time serving missions in California, she hadn't even considered it as an option. She was excited to serve, but why would the Lord call her there? 


I sit at the computer not typing. What shall I write? What shall I write? I bite my nail. What can I say that will convey my feelings about my mission? What can I say that will capture the magnitude of the journey? Shall I even attempt to dust off my writing skills? I haven't told a story like this in a long time. 

As I think back on all of the experiences that I have had I am filled with gratitude for every blessing I have received on my mission. I am so happy for the tears of sadness and frustration as well as the hugs of happiness and smiles of utter surprise and delight. The things I have learned from successes and the things I have learned from the days that wore on me like sandpaper. back and forth, back and forth on raw feelings. I am grateful for the companions I have had. Each of them has taught me so many invaluable lessons. Things you learn when you are with someone for 24 hours a day. I am filled with gratitude.

There are no breaks. No time-outs. Sometimes it was learning to be patient with each other. Many times it was the privilege of learning about companions' pure goodness inside and out. I've loved learning that the people I live among  are kind and forgiving and generous regardless of setbacks. 

I am grateful for the friends I have met here who will be part of my life forever. I LOVE that the Lord sent me to Redlands California. and Indio California. And San Bernardino California. 

I love my mission with all my heart. I am sad to leave the California Redlands mission. Very sad. But I know that this is just the beginning of MY mission. I was called to serve the Lord. Now the Lord is saying: I gave you a year and a half in a beloved part of my vineyard. Now YOU decide where you want to serve next. 

I cannot wait to continue in my missionary service....wherever the Lord may guide me!

Thank you for your love, prayers and support! 

-Hermana Thomas      

1 comment:

  1. Dear Hope, congratulations and thank you for serving a beautiful mission. We love you, and appreciate all you have done for those fabulous latinos! May the Lord bless you as you fly into your new phase. We'll be thinking of you especially at this time! Fondly, Auntie Lark and that Handsome Uncle Craig.