August 4, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #52

Dearest family,

How is everyone? From reading mom's email everyone seems to be doing well. I loved reading all about the football drama. Mom can no longer say that her girls are more dramatic. It just can't be so. (; hahaha I do miss football though. I just came from a zone ultimate frisbee activity. It was so much fun. My comp doesn't like going to activities so we haven't gone to a single one in three months. I was SO happy to go and get out and do something. I really like the missionaries in this zone. They are all super nice. I will be attending all of the zone and district activities with next week's changes.  It is truly much better to play with the other missionaries.

Anyway, I hope dad and Bo have a good football season. I wish I could be there to cheer him on. I miss cheering him on. By the time I get home he is going to be so big and grown up. He will be a teenager!  Nooooo. :( I am excited for him. Junior high is scary, but it is a time of learning. It can be hard, but we all have to go through it and it can either make or break us. Hahahaha.  I know Bowen and he will be fine if he just stays on the right path. He is pretty great, pretty strong, and so loveable!

Hannah is almost an official senior.  She will do fine her senior year of high school. She just needs to believe in herself. We can all cheer her on and support her, but if she does not believe in herself, nothing will be good. Regardless of rejection or dissapointment or friend drama, if she can find the truth in her heart and can see herself the way her Father in Heaven and loved ones see her, she will be happy.  She will understand her worth.  She just has to believe.  I love her. Let her know that.

As for Courtney, she is awesome. There is a little girl in my ward who is severely ADHD (or at least, that is what I have diagnosed her)!  In the Philippines, they don't really diagnose things like that. Everyone just puts up with her behavior instead of trying to help her learn discipline and learn to focus. Every time I see her I think of how much good Courtney could do for her. Court is so talented with children, especially those who have extra special needs. I am sending something in the mail for her today, it should be there by the end of the week. She is gonna love it! Hahahahahahahahaha. :)

This week has been a huge blessing. I can't even explain it fully, because I think I am still trying to soak it all in. I have been praying and praying for weeks for some new investigators. I have been praying to find a family to teach. This week, we were working hard and looking for an address for a referral we were given by a member. We got super lost and ended up clear on the edge of our area, in a place we have never been before.  We found a cute house but it wasn't the address of the referral.  We felt like we should go in and start talking to people anyway and look for the referral's address later. We met three different people in the home. All of whom were willing to listen to us. They were so prepared to hear our message. They had so many questions and so many experiences in their life so far that have prepared them for the gospel. I couldn't even believe it.  We have more appointments set up to teach them more!

Then last night we were struggling to find a way to teach more lessons. In our mission the standard is 40 to 50 lessons per week. Our companionship has struggled the last few weeks to get over 30. I have been praying so hard for help. I love this area and really want to do my part to help it grow.  I felt impressed to go and visit a family in our ward.  This is a family that we have never visited before, outside of church. We went and talked with Nanay and Tatay. They are great!  They have two missionaries serving right now. We left them a message and I felt so inspired because of the special spirit inside of their home.  Before we left we asked if they knew of anyone who might be interested in hearing the message we have to share. Nanay was like, "why yes!" What?!  She led us and we definitley followed her. Haha, she is so funny. We ended up at a tiny little shack that had no electricity or running water. But inside the house was a young, 19 year old mother, a father, and two adorable children. One is 2 and the other is 4 months old. They welcomed us in their home and let us sit on the only piece of furniture they had in the whole one room house. We sat down and started talking. The spirit was so strong and we hadn't even shared our testimonies.  The father is 24 years old and works all day...everyday to provide for his family and offer them the humble life they live. The young mom stays home with the kids. They are not married yet, but have such a sweet family. After we shared our testimonies, they just wanted to hear more.  They were so kind.  Me and the two year old boy really bonded. Haha! He is so cute!  They prayed with us and invited us back to pray again and to teach them more.  They were so receptive to our message. My companion and I just felt their receptiveness and we know that they are looking for something to bring light and hope into their lives. The father, Reynaldo, had so many questions, especially when we taught about the Book of Mormon. He had no idea there was another volume of scripture. Then out of nowhere, the mom, Gennalyn, stood up and was like, "just a sec!" Okay, we were really confused. She walked away for a minute and came back holding a copy of the Book of Mormon. Sister Ponitini and I were like, "what???" She said she had found it back when she was a young teenager. She had never read it, but couldn't bring herself to throw it away.  Everytime she wanted to throw it away, she couldn't because she just felt that it was important.  We opened up her copy of the Book of Mormon and read the introduction, and Moroni's invitation together. They agreed to read together and pray about it. I am so excited to go visit them again!  Best member referral ever!  I love how the spirit works...if we are receptive and listen, miracles can happen!

I have gained a huge testimony of prayer. I know that God hears us. He will answer us. I have been praying for weeks for new people to teach. I thought for a time that He wasn't hearing me, or that we just weren't worthy of His blessings. But the blessings came. Not in my timing, but they came all the same. I came home last night and cried tears of gratitude as I realized that we had FINALLY hit the standard of excellence. 40 lessons! YES! We did it after several long weeks. has been hard work, but so worth it!

I know this church is true. I know that we are given challenges to shape us and mold us and make us better. I know that He does answer our prayers. Not in our time but in His time. His timing is much greater and grander than our own.  We just have to be patient and persistent!  Missionary work is the best!  There are miracles all around us!

I love you all. I can't believe how fast time is flying. I can't believe it is August already!  Press on.

Have a great week. (:

Sister Thomas

I love this amazing family!  Good times during FHE!

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