Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Choosing Joy + Transfer News

We met this rad guy at bible study named Joseph who goes by "Moses"

Our entire district was training this transfer so of course we took a baby and mommy/daddy picture

Life is crazy y'all! We got a call this morning that Sister Amezcua will be doubled in training in another area and I will be staying and training in Opelousas! Sister Amezcua has become one of my best friends and I am heartbroken to see her leave. She will do incredible work, of course <3

I feel super inadequate to be training right now. I still feel so new and I really don't know much about missionary work. I'm just trying to trust that God knows what He is doing and He will help my fulfill my calling. I know that those God calls, he qualifies so I'm sure it will all be good! I just need to rely on Him completely. I am very imperfect but I know it will all be okay. It will be hard but I know with God I can do all things <3

Funny moments this week: 
 - A 7 year old girl anointed us with oil at bible study this week
 - The Elders dared Sister Amezcua to lick a little black frog. She did, of course, and discovered it was poisonous. Her tongue was tingling and hurting for a couple hours
 - The Opelousas Elders tried to prank us! They put Koolaid in our shower head and saran wrap in our toilets, but we caught them so it's all good
 - The Elders left a bunch of pool noodle light sabers at the church. The primary kids discovered this and we found them all whacking each other after church. At least three kids left crying, it was crazy

This week was crazy. Something that Sister Amezcua and I have been working on is seeking out peace and joy. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the hard moments of life. But if we stay stuck in those moments we are not moving forward! Sister Amezcua is such a good example to me of consciously choosing joy. It is not enough to allow joy to come into our lives; we are so much happier when we actively seek it. Life is crazy but God is good. 

I love y'all so much. I hope you're all doing well and loving life! I know that when we turn to God, we can find peace and joy in the hardest moments. I love y'all! Have a great week!

Sister Thomas

District pyramid

The Opelousas crew doubling as seminary substitutes

Canes canes canes

Monday, September 12, 2016

"There is Sunshine in my Soul Today"

Sweet lil Aubrey with her Grandma's hospital bed in the background

Sister Green getting ready for her zombie debut

Hey y'all! I hope y'all are happy and well! Life is good in Opelousas Louisiana. This week was crazy and beautiful. Classic.

Sister Amezcua is a warrior. She had a high fever again for a while, but that went away. We're happy about that! She's been doing physical therapy which seems to be helping. We are thankful for all of the prayers! She is positive and she teaches me about choosing to find joy in life. I love her a lot and I already know I'm going to miss her so much when we aren't together. 

Funny moments this week:
- We "pranked" the Elders! Sister Green is a sweet and crazy less active lady in our ward that we visit often. She has cerebral palsy and she is the funniest lady! She wanted to prank the Elders so we suggested we hide behind her bed and jump out with silly string when they come to visit her. She agreed...but she took it to the next level! She asked us to cover her in fake blood so she could really freak the Elders out. It was crazy, but we agreed! The blood/zombie/silly string prank was a success!
- Sister Amezcua got DUNKED! We were doing some service for a member of the ward who just gave birth. Another member was helping us out and after we were done with all the yard work he pushed Sister Amezcua into the kiddy pool in the yard and pushed her head under. I guess he didn't know we aren't supposed to swim! 

The people here in Louisiana amaze me. I am in awe of their faith and their strength. There is one woman in the ward that has been in the hospital for kidney failure. She came home a couple days ago because she wanted to die at home. We visited her and her husband on Saturday, intending to have a short visit with them but we ended up staying all day to help them out. It was sad and heartbreakingly beautiful. We sang hymns to her, read scriptures and conference talks to her, and even planned her funeral with her. It is beautiful to see the love that she and her husband have for each other. Their love is so pure and so strong. Obviously it is a hard time for them but their consolation is they know where she will be going. This gospel is so true! Christ is with us in the hardest of times and in the happiest of times. 

This gospel is truly the remedy for everything. Jesus Christ is the answer to every problem; He is the healing needed for every wound. Sometimes I catch myself wishing I could do more for these people. I love them so much and I want them to be happy! But I am understanding more and more that this gospel is literally the most important thing I can give these people. I am so lucky to know about the gospel and I am so lucky to get to share it as a full time gig! 

I love y'all a ton! Keep on keeping on. When life gets cloudy, find the rays of sunshine through the darkness. There is always joy to find somewhere. Have a great week!

Sister Thomas

Monday, September 5, 2016

"On fire for Jesus”

We made the zone jealous with our matching ties and headbands

Service gets LIT in Louisiana

We had a rad week y'all!

Yesterday was fast Sunday which is the best thing for a couple reasons. Fasting is a great opportunity to receive blessings from Heavenly Father. I've appreciated fasting so much more on my mission. It is powerful and it brings miracles! Another reason I love fast Sundays is because this ward has some really great testimony meetings. We call fast and testimony meetings "Open Mic Night" here because the members will get up front and say whatever they want. We had some good laughs!

We went to a bible study this week for another church and it was the best thing. They spent the first 45 minutes having a "party for Jesus" where everyone danced around and went ham to gospel songs. It was pretty crazy, but it was cool to see the love these people have for the Savior. One woman we met at the bible study came to church on Sunday which was really great! She bore her testimony in the meeting and talked about how she loved meeting the missionaries who are "on fire for Jesus". The elders are going to start teaching her and we're excited to see how she progresses! 

The people in this area are so good. They have pure and loving hearts. They truly care for those around them and they let their actions speak louder than words. I feel so blessed to be able to serve in this portion of the Lord's vineyard. I love Opelousas!

Have a great week y'all! I promise that when we root ourselves in Christ, nothing can shake us. Keep on doing the little things that bring us closer to Him! "Our decisions determine our destiny". We can all choose to be a little kinder and to love a little more. I'm so thankful for the love I receive from y'all! I love y'all and I'm always praying for ya!

Sister Thomas

Miss Frances holding the sweet letter my Aunt Jenny sent her <3

Disco district