December 1, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #69

Dear Family,

I guess I should start this email off by giving thanks. I am grateful for the Webers, the senior couple here in Camiling, that made us an AMAZING Thanksgiving meal for P-day last week. But I will be honest, my favorite part of the meal was the chips and salsa appetizer! Hahaha!  I am grateful for the miracles the Lord has blessed us with here. I am grateful that I am in the greatest place in the world to serve the Lord. I am grateful that I am teaching people whom I love dearly. I am grateful for all they teach me. I am grateful that the Lord is hastening His work and truly showing forth his power in our area. I am grateful to be here. I am grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for a family that loves me and provides me more than just material things. I am grateful for friends that have never left my side and I am just grateful to be alive. 

I am full of gratitude today as I sit here at this sauna of a computer shop. It is so hot!  But hey, at least the internet is fast! I am happy to read about Thanksgiving and that it was a success. I wish I could've had the chance to watch Hannah shine on the stage, but I know that there will be many more opportunities for her to sparkle and shine. I can't wait to see her. I can't imagine a tall Bowen. I guess I will see for myself soon enough. 

This week was good. We are still sifting through people. We have run into a lot of "I was born a catholic, I will die a catholic even though I know that what you are saying is true." Aargh!  When they say that I am like..... what????? How does that even seem the make any sense? It kills me you know, sometimes I really hate "brushing the dust off my feet after them" but, there are some things you just have to do. 

Cindy was baptized!!! She was baptized with her 8 year old brother and another child of record. It was a beautiful moment. The whole Pilar family are now members of the Church and they are now complete! Cindy had had some experiences in her past that were really rough. She was carrying a heavy burden. After her baptism she told me she felt light for the first time since she was 13 years old. I felt it too. She looked absolutely stunning in white and so pure. Man, oh man, the Gospel is a wonderful vindicating thing. I am grateful for the power that it brings into the lives of those who choose to live it.

We also had Nanay Holofa's entire family (everyone above 8) accept a baptism challenge this week, including Tatay. We are now teaching ALL of them and preparing them for baptism. Yesterday they came to church together and sat as a family. It was so BEAUTIFUL. I don't know what it was, but the sight of them sitting on the bench at church, all together, brought me tears. I am just grateful for the miracle they are and that we were directed to them by the Lord. 

I have been studying a lot about the Spirit this week. Pretty much the same topic Hannah spoke on in Sacrament meeting yesterday! Sometimes, I worry so much that I am doing things by my own knowledge and not by the Spirit. I am so worried I will do something wrong and I feel like  the salvation of  all "these people" hangs in the balance! I just want to know that I am feeling the Spirit when I am teaching or finding or whatever. I have prayed for a "sign," something to tell me I had the Spirit with me and I have followed the promptings. Then, as I have studied, particularly my patriarchal blessing, I have realized I have had the Spirit with me all along while doing this work. He speaks to all of us differently. For me, personal inspiration doesn't come in the form of dreams, revelations, or huge impressions. Rather, the Holy Ghost speaks to my heart. The Lord knows this daughter and He knows that I am very much driven to do things by how I feel. So, that is how the Spirit works with me. It has been such an amazing blessing this week to see that the Spirit has been there the whole time; working with and through me to the edification of others. I feel so humbled and blessed that even someone as imperfect as me can be blessed with such an amazing gift and that gift can be used to bless the lives of others.

This gift is available to all of us. Our journey is to figure out HOW it works with us. As we find this, we discover a lot about who we are. We find our strengths, our weaknesses and we discover that through the Atonement, we can become instruments for the Almighty God in Heaven. This power is not limited to those who are "grand" or labeled as "greater" in the world but to all who worthily and humbly seek after it. WHY HAVE I NOT REALIZED THIS BEFORE! I don't know, but I am grateful that I have realized it now. There is a power available to us family. We can use it to know what college to go to or what to study, what to tell to a struggling friend, how to deal with discouragement, how to know whether a relationship is worth saving or not, and even how to understand our self worth. We can know who is ready for the Gospel and who simply is not. We can brighten and change lives. We can give hope. We can bring light to a home filled with darkness and discouragement. It can help Teddy Delacruz quit drinking and strengthen his relationship with his spouse. This gift can do all things! 

I love this work. Although I only have two weeks left (still cannot comprehend the two weeks), I can honestly say I have never felt more like myself in my entire life.  I have never felt this much joy. I have been able to not just help bring others to Christ, but bring myself there as well. 

I love you all. I can't believe there is only one e-mail left after this one. What?!  How is this happening?!

Be Safe!
Mahal Kita!

-Sister Thomas



It was a "White Thanksgiving!" 




Me and my companion...rocking the hair flowers!

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