Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Transfers!

I <3 Sister Gelwix

 I'll miss Jamie, even though I'll be happy to never be flashed again!

Hey y'all! We got news this morning that I am being transferred out of Opelousas. (We won't find out where I'm going until we drive to Baton Rouge tomorrow). It will be heartbreaking to say goodbye to all my family here in Opelousas. I love these warriors with all my heart and I'm sad to leave, but I know that wherever I am going there is work for me to do and Heavenly Father will give me the strength to do what he asks of me. I'm excited for this new chapter and I'm ready to go where the Lord wants me to go (even if I cry a good bit lol). 

I am so happy for Rebecca. She is getting baptized on Saturday and I have never met anyone so prepared for the gospel. She told us she wants to bring a bed to the church and just live there! Here is a sample of some of the things she has told us this week:
      "My life finally has happiness and meaning"
      "I can't wait for God to give me my mission and place in the church. I am ready. No more wasted time."
She has a strong testimony of this gospel and the Book of Mormon and she has already been doing missionary work! She has given copies of the Book of Mormon to her family members and is inviting them to come to church. This week her granddaughter Ny'asia, who we've been able to teach one lesson to, came and it was incredible! Opelousas had better get ready for Miss Rebecca because she is coming in with a bang. I love this lady and I'm really going to miss her!


Sister Thomas

Ny'asia, Rebecca's granddaughter at church!

Rebecca always gets silly and so so happy after church <3

Monday, December 5, 2016

Joy to the World

Rebecca with the "Holy Ghost giggles" after church. This sweet lady is ready and excited for her baptism on December 17th! (and Michael will follow right behind)

 Jazmine spilled makeup on herself and exclaimed, "Look! I changed colors! I'm white!"

Happy December y'all! Sister Gelwix have been enjoying the Christmas spirit in wild and wonderful Opelousas. Here were some of our highlights:

1. Rebecca bore her testimony in church yesterday. It was only her second time at church and she boldly told the congregation, "I know this church is true. Whatever God asks me to do, I'm ready to do it." Needless to say she is very excited about her baptism on December 17th! 
2. I know I've said this a thousand times, but we meet some crazy people in Opelousas. We were visiting a less active lady this week who was giving herself a sponge bath as we talked with her. That's not normal, but at least she had her clothes on. Not for long! We were reading a scripture with her when all of a sudden she pulled off her shirt and just sat there like that. We love this big crazy lady but she just sat there topless for about five minutes. Sister Gelwix bolted to the bathroom and I started fixing her blinds and doing other things to keep busy. It was nuts! Classic Opelousas
3. Sister Green has some bones that are sticking out of her body and making her bleed. She is determined, however, to go to church and fulfill her calling. When she was told that she didn't need to go to church if she was bleeding too bad, she responded with "Did you think I was going to not do my calling because I'm sick? Jesus didn't stop when he was persecuted. I'm going to church!" What a warrior.

This Christmas season is the perfect opportunity to reflect on our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love the first lines of the hymn Joy to the World:

Joy to the World, the Lord is come! 
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room

The "good tidings of great joy" we feel this Christmas season come not only because Jesus Christ was born, but because He lives. Because of Jesus Christ we can live again! There can be joy in the world and peace on earth because of who He is and what He did for us. Let us all "prepare Him room" in our hearts and focus on others this Christmas season. As Jesus Christ lifts us up, we can lift others. 

I love y'all! Have a blessed week!

Sister Thomas

 Decorating the Jarnagins Christmas tree 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Light the World (and glow for Jesus!)

The view from the shack each night <3

 S/o to my mom for sending cute Christmas decorations so we can deck "the shack" with boughs of holly (the "shack" is what missionaries have nicknamed our apartment)

 Sister Green decided to start wearing sunglasses so when people look at her "they won't know I'm blind, they'll just think I'm being cool!" <3

This week was beautiful and packed full with miracles and tender mercies. I hope y'all are enjoying the holiday season! 

A few highlights from this week:

Heartfelt prayer. We were visiting a lady named Jamie and she gave a 23 minute closing prayer! I've heard some pretty long prayers on my mission so far, but this one set the record. So many of these people have a close and personal relationship with God. Way cool!
Superhero church calling: Sister Green is in constant pain and has been going blind. The doctors don't know what is happening and aren't doing anything to help so she's been going through a really hard time. But she was given a calling last week as a ward missionary and I don't think I've ever seen her so happy! She lights up when she talks about her calling. She is going to be a superhero in this ward. She has a list of people to call and told us "I am going to get them to church if it kills me!" I've never seen someone so devoted to serve and fulfill their calling. She is an inspiration.
Glowing with the light of Christ: Our investigator Rebecca is on date for December 17th! She soaks up everything we teach her and always yearns to know more. She calls us her "glowies" and tells us that every time we come she glows a little bit more. She can't wait to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost to really "get that glow"! 

Miracle of the week: Rebecca and her husband Michael have absolutely nothing. They lost everything in the flood and she was telling us that the only clothes she has are the jeans and shirt she wore to church and a couple pairs of pajamas. She's not one to complain but she really wants a skirt or something to wear to her baptism. We really want to help her so we asked her to text us her size and we could have a clothing drive at the church. She called us after she got home from church and told us that there were three garbage bags full of clothes sitting on her porch! She has no idea where they came from because she didn't ask anyone for clothes. She said they are beautiful and there are clothes for Michael to wear to church too! This is nothing short of a miracle. God is watching over sweet Rebecca! She is excited for baptism and has been sharing the gospel with all her family members and neighbors. 

I am so blessed to be serving in Opelousas, Louisiana. There are so many people here I consider family and it is a blessing to have them at this special time of year. Sister Gelwix and I are excited to spend this holiday season serving Jesus Christ. What better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior than to love and serve Him? The church has created an awesome service program following the example of Jesus Christ and His service. There's a cool video that talks about it and there will be videos posted every day in December leading up to Christmas. I encourage y'all to watch the video and think of ways you can #lighttheworld by doing 25 acts of service in 25 days. Watch it here!

I love y'all and I'm so thankful for the prayers and support. I am always praying for y'all. Happy holidays! Remember the reason for the season <3

Sister Thomas

Proof that Louisiana really does have Autumn (even if it gets a late start)

Bacon wrapped deer meat and bacon wrapped green beans for dinner last night!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Blessings and serenity

Pictures don't do the Louisiana skies justice

 Nathan, a recent convert just received the Aaronic Priesthood! He was so proud and ran up to show us. He sure loves the sisters! (ft. Nathan putting his arm around me and me awkwardly leaning away)

Happy Thanksgiving y'all! 'Tis the season to remember our blessings and give thanks for all we have. Gratitude brings true joy. No matter what stage of life we are in I am sure we all have more blessings than burdens, so let's give thanks to our loving Father in Heaven!

It was a blessed week. This week:

·         We walked Opelousas: We cover a large area and we are blessed to have cars to drive. We're allotted an amount of miles for the month, and we're running low. Since our bikes were stolen a few weeks ago, in order to save miles we walked across the town! It took an hour to get from one place to another but we had fun on this little adventure :)
·         I hit up the city: Sweet Sister Gelwix took over Opelousas and I went to Alexandria on exchanges for 24 hours. Missionary work in the city is sure different than in the country! I met some rockin members and we volunteered at Salvation Army. God gives us exactly what we need and I learned a lot about myself and areas I need to improve. What a blessing to get a glimpse of God's love for me and how He wants to help lift me higher. 
·         Sister Green practiced being blind: We were working in Opelousas Friday evening and all our plans kept falling through. We thought about seeing Sister Green but it didn't make sense because we had just seen her the day before. But the thought kept popping up so we decided to give her a call and stop in. She was in bad shape. This darling lady never complains or lets others know when she is hurting but she was in bad shape. She couldn't move any of her limbs, she was in a lot of pain, and her eyesight was going. The Elders were forty minutes away so we called a member of the ward to give her a blessing. Sister Green is a warrior. Since then her eyesight has gone in and out but she is practicing dialing her phone, using her computer, etc. with her eyes closed so she will be prepared if/when she loses her sight. I am blessed to have this special lady in my life. 
I am humbled to serve in Opelousas, Louisiana. This place has opened my eyes and changed me. It has helped me see how blessed I truly am. There are some days where everything seems to feel out of control. Like when our investigator with cancer goes to the hospital because she is malnourished and doesn't have the money for food or water. That is humbling. As missionaries it is hard for us to lift people out of these circumstances. I always wish I could do more for these warriors. But Heavenly Father always reassures me that the most important thing we can do to help these people is to bring them the message of the restored gospel. I might not have much experience, but I know this gospel is true. I know God loves His children and I know He has restored His truth to the earth again. I am blessed to get to share this message every day.
There is a "serenity prayer" that is popular around here:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I hope y'all have a beautiful Thanksgiving and remember where all our blessings come from. Life is beautiful! Thank you for the love and support! My prayers are always with y'all <3

Sister Thomas

The 9 primary kids celebrating after the primary program

A friendly sign we found on our walk

Monday, November 14, 2016

We're on the winning team!

Happy fall y'all from the sisters in the Alexandria zone ft. President and Sister Hansen

I love my sweet Sister Gelwix

I feel like a broken record but it has been a crazy week y'all. The mission, just like life, is full of some ups and downs. But the great thing about living the gospel is that the joy is greater than any of the hard moments :) I hope y'all are happy and doing well!

Some funny moments this week:
- A woman contacted church headquarters asking for a bible and Book of Mormon. She works late so we knocked on her door around 7 pm and it was dark outside. We knocked on the door and about 30 seconds later a shirtless man opened the door and screamed really loud and ran away. Apparently he was cleaning up and was playing loud music. He didn't hear us knocking but he opened the door to take out the trash and got really scared when he saw us standing there! His wife wasn't home but we had a good laugh with him and we'll go back when she is home. 
- Sister Green invited us over and told us she was bringing some kids over that wanted to hear about the gospel. We got really excited about this of course! Long story short she didn't have any kids over and she told the Elders some fibs as well just so she could feed us some hamburgers . After we were done eating she said, "Okay, let's go play basketball!" What? Lol it is always something new with Sister Green. 

The work was good this week. We had some disappointments with some of our solid investigators though. Some of them dropped and one of them doesn't want us to contact her ever again. I learn over and over that Heavenly Father is so involved in this work and I'm also continuing to learn that Satan is consistently opposing the work. He does not want our investigators to change and come closer to Christ so he is doing all he can to keep that from happening. This is a very real battle we're a part of. But there is no need to get discouraged because we are on the winning team! 

Our investigator Rebecca is incredible. She has cancer but she is optimistic and happy. She knows the church is true and she is excited for baptism! She had been sharing the gospel with her friends, family, and neighbors. We love her a lot and we know Heavenly Father is so proud of her for choosing to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. 

Sometimes it seems crazy that God calls 19/20 year olds to do His work. I don't know much and I have a lot of areas I need to improve. But we had a great instruction from our mission president this week and he talked about how God calls us weak things of the world to do this work because we are humble and have the faith to do what is asked of us. I need a lot more faith but I am thankful for my weaknesses because they help me turn to God and rely on Him for everything. I know this gospel is true and I know He is with us through it all. Life is good y'all! I am so happy here and I'm thankful for all the love and support I get from y'all. Have a great week! Remember to turn to the Lord in all things :)

Sister Thomas

I am in awe of the amount of faith in Louisiana <3 (also these murals are all over the place - beautiful!)

 Crazy Opelousas celebrates birthdays once a month with birthday cake. It's a pretty sweet tradition! (lol sorry, I had to throw that in there) 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Seekers of the Truth

Hey y'all! This week was full of blessings on blessings on blessings. 

The beginning of the week was slow and a little tough. Our investigators that were on date for baptism decided the gospel isn't for them. It was sad because we love them so much but we hope they are happy. They know the Book of Mormon is true so maybe they will be ready to accept the gospel a little bit later. Sister Gelwix and I were feeling a little bit down. I have been praying really hard lately that we will find what my mission president, President Hansen, calls "seekers of the truth". This basically means those that are earnestly seeking to know spiritual truths and are prepared to follow God's will for them. Y'all, I know prayer is powerful because as I opened up my heart to Heavenly Father He blessed us more than I could have asked for.

The last three days have been miracles. On Friday, God led us to 48 year old Rebecca. She has cancer in her uterus and she told us "It is just not working without God". So she sent out messages to the LDS church, Jehovah Witnesses, and one other church. She told God that whichever one responded she knew was the answer to her prayer. Well we were the only ones that responded! She has so much faith. She knows that whatever happens to her is God's will and she is okay with it. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and she was so excited! She told us she will be finished reading the Book of Mormon by next week. What? She is awesome!

On Saturday God led us to another seeker of the truth! She lives next door to our investigator Becky. We asked her how she was doing and she said "honestly, really bad". She said she never opens up to others but for some reason (the Spirit) she opened up about some hard things that are going on in her life. When we shared a message about the Restoration she was just crying and kept saying "this is exactly what I need". We love her and are so excited to see her again! 

Then on Sunday, God led us to yet another seeker of the truth! Three incredible new investigators in three days. God is too good to us! We had been striking out all day and finally a spunky lady named Lacey let us in the door. She grew up Pentecostal and was telling us that a lot of it doesn't make sense and she has a lot of questions. She opened up to us about her life. She is going through a really hard time. The entire time I was just thinking, "you know, the gospel is the answer to all of these problems and questions!" She is genuine and down to earth and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and see us again.

I am realizing over and over that I have nothing to do with this work. All of this is in God's hands and I just need to do my best to be a worthy vessel of the Spirit. God qualifies those whom He calls so even though I can feel inadequate and unworthy of so many blessings I know God will raise me up to be the missionary He needs me to be for His children. I love my Heavenly Father and I love this gospel! 

Heavenly Father is literally our Father and He is watching over us. He is sad when we are sad and He cares more about us than we could ever comprehend. How can we ever fear when we have Him on our side? The more that we turn to Him and focus on others the more He will show us the way and help us become like Him. The gospel is beautiful y'all <3

I love y'all! Have a blessed week! 

Sister Thomas

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Shaved heads, stolen bikes, and transfer news

Alexandria Zone sister pic

 I'm the luckiest to get to stay with Sister Gelwix another transfer

Opelousas is full of fun murals we got to enjoy as we biked through (zydeco is cajun music)

Transfer news: Sister Gelwix and I are staying in Opelousas! I feel so blessed to be able to stay in this area for another 6 weeks. I love the people here more than anything.  

Y'all this week was action packed. I sure love Opelousas and all the crazy adventures that come with it. This week:

1. We biked for the first time and counted our blessings the whole way
2. We shaved Sister Green's head with disposable razors (wouldn't recommend). We thought she was joking when she said she wanted us to give her a haircut. Lol she is the craziest! She told us, "When I feel my head, I want to feel only skin. I want to be a skinhead!" I sure love this funny lady!
3. Our bikes got stolen. We walked out of an appointment to find a bike lock that had been cut open. We didn't know what to do so we just laughed it off, counted our blessings again, and filed a police report. Everything happens for a reason and we know God is watching over us so it's all good. 
4. I did the "mega death sauce" challenge (I am the biggest wimp when it comes to spicy food so this is quite the accomplishment)
5. Lance (our recent convert) said "this is my favorite part" as we took the sacrament on Sunday <3

This week was a tougher week for the work here. One of our investigators who is on date for baptism in a couple weeks said her brother won't let her join the church. He makes all her big decisions for her so she won't go against what he says. Paul, Marcella, and Melvin gave us the same disappointing news. They all love the Book of Mormon and know it is true, they quit smoking (huge change), they know the church is true, and they want to be baptized but they texted us on Sunday saying they can't go against the commitment they made to another church. It's disappointing when people come to know our message is true and then they choose another path but it just makes me more grateful for the gospel in my own life.

Prayer is powerful y'all. I have a firm testimony that our Heavenly Father hears our prayers and He is watching over us. Life can be tough but when we truly understand who we are and we know Heavenly Father is on our side then nothing can keep us down. Life is good y'all! Thank you for the prayers, the love, and the support. I love y'all and my prayers are with you!

Sister Thomas

I wouldn't recommend using cheap, plastic, disposable razors to shave a persons head

Happy Sister Green with the new cut

The Jesus mural outside the police station

Monday, October 24, 2016

Blessings and birthdays

Elder Stoddard made PIZZA for district meeting

Our favorite sisters stopping in to district meeting before physical therapy

Sister Green is officially a missionary (thanks to construction paper and tape)

Temperatures are dropping and Louisiana is just as beautiful as ever. It's been a real good week y'all. We've had  disappointments this week but as usual the joy we experience is greater than any hard moment. It has been cool to see how every disappointment has a bright side. What a blessing!

Marcella fell back hard into drugs and alcohol. Paul is still solid but he has been busy trying to help her. She was off the radar for a few days and then she was in the hospital and now she is back with Paul.Paul is still solid and trying to stay strong but obviously this is hard for him. He says he is just so happy he has the Book of Mormon to turn to now because it gives him comfort and strength. He didn't come to church like he promised he would and we are going to have to set a new baptismal date for him but we know he will get there in his own way. We are trusting in the Lords timing.

Connie, one of our new investigators loves the gospel and is excited to get baptized! The only problem we are running into with her is helping her get to church. Poor Connie really wants to come but she needs to have staff with her at all times. Her staff member that works on Sunday doesn't want to bring Connie to church because she likes to take Connie to her own church. We're not sure how to deal with this one, but we know God will provide a way.

Lisa started smoking again. But we had a really good lesson and heart to heart with her and she decided on her own to rip up all of her cigarettes. We helped her and it was pretty fun!

Happy moments:

 - Sister Amezcua had physical therapy in Opelousas Tuesday morning so she and her comp stayed with Sister Gelwix and I Monday night. I've missed her so much and it was fun to see her again!
 - Becky told us she has been practically glowing since she came to church last week. She said she catches herself smiling all the time and she has this crazy urge to read the Book of Mormon 24/7. She is definitely committed to the gospel and is always eager to learn more. 
 - Sister V, our relief society president, is one of the few people in Opelousas with a car. She drove us to a far out place in our area and we had some great lessons with her. It is always a blessing when the ward members help us out!
 - Sister Gelwix is a rockstar of a companion. I turned 20 on Saturday and she made me breakfast, made a birthday sign, and wrote me some sweet notes. I am blessed to have this sweet sister as my companion <3

One of my favorite parts about serving a mission is watching the atonement work miracles in the lives of those we teach. It is beautiful to see how this gospel can bring light into their eyes and help them feel joy. I have definitely felt its strength in my own life. It must be frustrating to Heavenly Father to have such an imperfect tool to work with but he has been lifting me up and helping me fulfill my call. Like Ammon I can say, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever" (Alma 26:12). God is good, this gospel is perfect, and life is beautiful. 

I love y'all and I hope you are doing well! Thank you for your love and support; it means the world to me. Have a blessed week!

Sister Thomas

Sister Gelwix making me breakfast on my bday <3

S/O to mom and fam for the awesome birthday package <3

Our ghetto birthday cake 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Miracles and cigarettes

Pictures don't do it justice but the skies here are stunning. They make me smile every time I look at them. I've never seen such gorgeous clouds or brilliant sunsets. God is so good to us!

The whole fam (aka district) on the same row at zone meeting (this didn't last very long)

Opelousas has a bunch of these rad cellos all over town

It's been a week full of miracles, testimony building experiences, and happy days. I wish I could describe the joy that comes with missionary work. There are  hard moments of course but this week has been packed full of straight blessings. Life is beautiful!

Miracles of the week:
 - Paul and Marcella are still on date to be baptized on the 30th! We had a lesson with them about the word of wisdom and it was powerful. Paul has smoked at least 2 packs of cigarettes a day since he was 15 (he's 56 now) and Marcella is an alcoholic. But as soon as we taught them about the Word of Wisdom they were ready and excited to live it. They were like, "well if it is a commandment from God then we need to do it." They are so prepared for this gospel! They both got a priesthood blessing from the Elders to help them and they have been praying and reading the Book of Mormon like crazy. And guess what? They haven't even had the desire to smoke or drink! The atonement is so real and so powerful. Paul and Marcella are incredible. 

 - We met with Becky, one of our new investigators last week, for the second time and she loves the Book of Mormon like no other investigator I've seen before. She told us she is memorizing the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, which is three pages long! She really identifies with Joseph Smith and has a firm testimony of him. She had a hard time accepting that she needed to be baptized with the priesthood authority because she has already been baptized in another church but she called us the day after our lesson and told us God answered her prayers and she wants to be baptized! She's on date for November 12th. 

 - We were visiting Miss Frances this week and she collapsed and we were able to catch her. It has been really beautiful how God always sends us to see her right when she needs it the most. She is an angel in my life and I love her!

 Funny moments:
- Nathan, a recent convert the Elders have been working with REALLY likes the sister missionaries. The first time he came to church he tried to kiss us on the lips lol. But the Elders talked to him about that and now he just gives us really long handshakes. This week the Elders told us that in his prayers he always says "And please bless the Sisters, who I love the most". Nathan is the funniest!
- Sister Gelwix made some awesome homemade Mac n Cheese for us yesterday. We ate a few bites before we realized there were little bugs crawling in it.... sweet! We found out that our flour was infested with little bugs (that goes to show how much we actually cook). But we got some good protein in the mac so no complaints here!
 - We did a musical number in church yesterday and a third of the room was clapping and the rest of them just looked confused. Haha it's always funny to see LDS culture and southern culture come together

This week has helped me realize again and again that the atonement of Jesus Christ is so powerful. If it can help Paul who has been smoking for over 40 years have no desire to smoke, what miracles can it perform in our own lives? If we have that same level of conviction and faith and put our trust in Jesus Christ the atonement can continually change our hearts and change us. Our biggest weaknesses and our "favorite sins" can be improved and changed. This gospel is perfect!

God is so good y'all! He loves us and He is so happy when we turn to Him. Every good decision we make helps us change and become more like Him. So keep on serving, changing, and loving. I love y'all and I'm praying for y'all! Thank you for all the love and support <3

Sister Thomas

Making real food (carrot cake lol) in a real kitchen. It's been a while!

Happy Sister Gelwix in happy Opelousas

Monday, October 10, 2016

Opelousas Louisiana has my heart

Sister Amezcua heart attacked our door while she was in town for physical therapy. I wanted to cry when I saw it because I was so happy and because I love her so much <3

Baby Sophia after our little surgery

I think I fall a little more in love with Opelousas every day. This is by far the weirdest place I have ever been but I love it! I would do just about anything for these people. They are wild, weird, and wonderful. I am sure blessed :)

Sister Nations passed away last Monday night. She was an incredible woman. She and her husband have both changed my life. I have gotten really close to this couple in the last couple months; they feel like family. Brother Nations calls me his "daughter" every time he sees me and it makes me happy because I love them so much. 

We saw Sister Nations a couple hours before she passed away because we came over to sing hymns. It was a beautiful experience. Their home truly felt like a heaven on earth. Brother Nations was holding her hand as we sang and the spirit was strong. Sister Nations couldn't speak or open her eyes, but even her nonmember family members remarked that she looked like she wanted to join in singing. I hope I don't ever forget the spirit we felt in their home that night. 

We have been really blessed this week. We have a few new investigators and it is incredible to see the way the gospel has already changed their lives in just a short period of time. Paul and Marcella told us a couple days ago that they were up until 2 am reading the Book of Mormon because they felt so good and they wanted to keep going! People here might not be able to read very well but they can still feel the power of the Book of Mormon. Another new investigator, Becky, told us she had been in a deep hole for a while and she was praying to know what to do in her life and then that's when we showed up! God is just so good. He is the perfect father to His children and He knows just what they need and when they need it. 

Funny moments:

 - Sister Green loves to "crank" (prank). She told us that next time she goes to the doctor she is going to stuff a pillow in her belly so she looks pregnant and then she'll have her daughter on the phone making baby noises....what?? Haha it is always an adventure with Sister Green. She is a hoot.
 - Sister Green has a baby doll she pretends is a real baby. Its batteries were running low so she had us perform "surgery" (changing batteries) on the poor thing. The operation was a success!
 - Prayers here are always a good time. When people pray, they mean it and they definitely say what is on their mind. Sometimes they pray for their hair to turn out good so they can make it to church and sometimes they pray for their neighbors to stop performing witchcraft and to burn. We always have a good laugh :)

God has been so good to me lately. He blessed me with Sister Gelwix, who is an incredible missionary. She is hard working and we have a lot of fun together. We have seen a lot of tender mercies with our investigators and the less actives we visit. Sometimes being a missionary is sad because you love the people so much and when they fall or make choices that lead them to be unhappy it hurts. But I am thankful that God has given us agency, the ability to choose, because that is what makes the plan of salvation possible. Our decisions determine our destiny (Thomas S. Monson) and we can commit every day to follow the Savior and receive His strength and peace. That is a beautiful thing.

I love y'all and think about you often. Keep loving life and choosing to follow Christ! It is so worth it, I promise. I hope y'all have a blessed week!

 Sister Nations a couple hours before passing away

 Serving in Opelousas Louisiana is just the happiest thing

Monday, October 3, 2016

"Help thou mine unbelief"

I <3 Sister Gelwix

Lisa at Nathan's baptism

I love Opelousas Louisiana. I don't have a lot of time but it has been a really good week y'all! I have just been so blessed. I am seeing so many tender mercies and God is lifting me in every way possible to fulfill my calling. I am incredibly inadequate but with Him I can truly do all things. It has been beautiful to see His hand in my life this week. 

Happy moments:
 - GENERAL CONFERENCE YALL. It was an incredible weekend. Thomas s. Monson is a prophet of God. I have been inspired and humbled by the messages in conference. I have a lot of changes to make in my life! 
 - We met Paul, one of our new investigators. He plays music at his church and he is so humble and ready for the gospel! We love him a lot already. 
 - Nathan, the elders' investigator got baptized this week. A less active woman, Lisa, that we have been working with came to the baptism. She committed to quit smoking and she has been making some serious changes in her life. It is beautiful to see how the gospel is truly for everyone. I love watching the atonement at work in the lives of people here

Lately I have been pondering a lot about the Savior and I've been trying to develop a more personal relationship with Him. So it was an answer to prayers to hear Elder Bednar's talk on this very subject. I love Elder Bednar and they way he puts things into perspective. We can know about Jesus Christ but do we know Him, truly know Him personally? sometimes we can get caught in a web of believing that Christ can perform miracles, just not for us. We might think that some blessings don't apply to us. But when we give away all our sins to really know Jesus Christ we will find peace and love and joy like never before.

This gospel is real y'all. The atonement is powerful and it can enable us to become more than what we are. I love y'all and I am always praying for you. Have a blessed week!

Sister Thomas

 I love playing with sweet little Aubree (Sister Nations is in really bad shape. You can see her in the mirror on the wall)

Everyone here has like 4 dogs