my dearest family,
hello, and happy 2014! ha! i can't believe it is already here. i can remember last new years eve like it was yesterday. time out here is weird, sometimes the days feel really long, especially when we get punted, nobody let's us in, and it's deathly hot outside. those are the hardest days to keep going. but, then before i know it, it's another p-day! it's really strange.
i am happy to hear that your new year was so fun! haha that does sound like a huge party. i wish i could have seen Ed slide down the bowling lane. the mental picture of that moment brings a smile to my face. i hope Katlyn is feeling better. i miss the Zunks!! send my love to them when you see them again.
my new years was good. definitely memorable. on new years eve we had a curfew of 6 pm because of how dangerous it is! HA! EVERYONE gets drunk and EVERYONE shoots off fireworks while they're drunk. so, we were inside of our house while we heard the endless hours of firecrackers and karaoke. we had fun though. my companion cooked some of her "special pancit." it's what she eats at her house every year. it was delicious!! then, sister marcucci's mom sent us some sugar cookie dough, frosting, and sprinkles! the filipinas had never decorated a cookie before! haha! we had a lot of fun with that. we made lots of "elder snowmen", aliens, and of course, we all had to make a cookie that looked like our companion. haha. we laughed. it was fun. then, after that we played multiple games of UNO. that's the only card game allowed in the mission. it was way fun. the filipinas don't get very competitive, but me and sister marcucci sure did. haha, i totally stomped her (lots of practice from home)! it was awesome. then of course, being obedient little missionaries, we were in bed by 10:30. but, i could not sleep because of all the fireworks. they went until 2 in the morning! and, they don't light up all pretty in the sky like at home, they just make a lot of noise. graaaaaaaaaaaabi. there was not much sleep for me that night. haha but, it was fun. i will always remember my new years in the philippines. (:
i have some good, and bad news. bad news first....... both R-rizz, and Brother Sunday didn't show up for church on sunday. which means, we have to re-count their church attendance, and bump their baptismal dates. i was so upset. we were even fasting for these two because we felt that they would for sure be baptized this month! i sat in sacrament and stared at the door the whole meeting just praying i would see one of them walk in late. but, nope. i don't know what happened! they were so sure and committed to attend so they could be baptized. i shouldn't have been so upset, but for some reason it hit me really hard. i just wish i could help these people better understand why this is so important! sometimes i struggle because the people here don't take a lot of things seriously..... which would be part of the reason there are so many less active members. *sigh* anyway, we are going to visit them this week and figure out what went wrong and maybe start over, if necessary.
so, i was really upset. i felt like, of course, that if i had done more for them that they would have come to church and they would still be on track for baptism this month. then, God humbled me (once again) and presented us with a miracle. one of the members of the ward, Sister DeGuzman, came up to us after sacrament and pulled us aside saying she had a question. her 22 year old son had just married his girlfriend on Jan 1. she was a non-member but had been attending church with the family. she expressed a desire to be baptized so, she was referred to us! we talked to the investigator, her name is Angelie. she is darling and really excited! we found out that she is only 17..... but they decided to get married because she was pregnant. she is due in July. when Sister DeGuzman found out that her son was to be a father, she acted the way she should have, and told them to get married. what a good mom. (:
anyway, we set an appointment with her after church that night. (since now our ward just got moved to 2 o clock church. yuck!) we went there at 6. they were really cute together. we taught the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon. her husband, who is a member, was there and actively involved too! it was an awesome lesson! (: Angelie is really excited, and accepted our baptismal goal date for February 1! they are already looking forward to being sealed in a year from then, with their baby. how exciting! we encouraged them to start family scripture study, and family prayer. i feel a lot of hope for these two! i hope her progress continues. Sister DeGuzman is an awesome member and will be very helpful as well.
the Lord is really working hard to teach me out here in the field. i am realizing i am not the most teachable person, but the Lord has not given up on me yet! i can feel my thought process changing, and my views about myself and others. it's an amazing process to undergo. how grateful i am for the sanctification process. i truly feel i am building a relationship with my Savior in a way that has not been there before. i will always be grateful for what i am learning here.
tell hannah, i love her. i know that doesn't mean much, but it's true. tell her that i know how she feels. when i was in high school i NEVER got the solo or the lead part. i was ALWAYS on the side kicking my butt to be noticed. and i NEVER felt like i got the recognition i deserved. i worked so hard to get all those good grades so that i could attend BYU, and it didn't matter how hard i worked, they didn't award me a scholarship (until after two years at Snow). i spent endless hours twirling, falling, and working so i could have perfect fuattes so i could be in dance routine..... and i didn't get in until my senior year, and even then, i didn't get put in the "turning" section. i know how she feels. being Thomas', for some reason we are blessed with the trial of disappointment and/or heartache. tell her to look at what courtney experienced with soccer! what you and dad have felt with low paying jobs! she is not alone. but, as hard and as heartbreaking as it is right now, i know she will be grateful for these experiences later. out here, there is disapointment and heartache everywhere, but i know how to work through it now while there are many missionaries who have no idea what to do or how to endure it. they don't empathize well with others because many still don't truly understand disappointment. trials and heartache are a part of the sanctification process. the Lord is shaping her for something much more grand than a lead role. i know that it's hard right now, and trust me, Hannah deserved that spot more than anyone! but, the Lord is in every little crack of our lives, and as hard as it is, we just need to open our mortal eyes and try to see that. she is talented beyond measure, and one of the most beautiful girls i have ever met, and also one of the strongest. "all of these trials shall be for her good." i know that's true. i love you hannah. you can get through this, just like you have pulled yourself through everything else. i am so proud of the progress you have made. you have experienced trials beyond that of most others, but you will come out on top. you may never get the lead role..... because maybe that is not what the Lord has in mind for you. but you will find that someday, he will provide you with a destiny far more beautiful than any leading role in a high school play. you are talented and amazing, and everyone knows you should have been given that part, and that is all that matters. let the Lord santicy you, let him heal you, and let him shape you, so that he can bless you with more beauty in your life. even if it comes in forms you don't expect. when one door closes, the Lord opens another one for us. i know mom told me that many times and it is true. i know he will hannah. i know it. i testify to it every single day. i love you.
i love all of you! tell Bowen to just enjoy school while he can! he still has recess for crying out loud, ENJOY IT! tell courtney she is in my prayers, always. i can't wait for her to apply. she is amazing and i believe she can get anything she wants out of life. (: i love my mommy and daddy too. i have been born of "goodly parents" and i feel so blessed to have the family that i do. (:
i love you all!
ps mom. if you could send my pointe shoes, and some black spandex shorts as well (the mission president said i could work out for exercise with my pointe shoes) that would be awesome! they should all be in a backpack in my room! (: thank you so much for everything and all the support! i love you!