Monday, March 27, 2017

What lack I yet?

What we think our zone looks like (zone conference)

What our zone actually looks like

Y'all it was such a good week! It was nothing like we planned but that's the beauty of doing this work. We get to see how somehow it all goes according to His plan. 

- Our car is in the shop this week so we're on bikes. Well my bike was having some issues so we spent a few days walking! We moved a lot of things around but there was one appointment we couldn't change. So we walked for an hour and a half to get to there and one our way we ran into our branch mission leader. He felt so bad that he couldn't give us a ride that he tried stopping the police to have them drive us! Haha we explained to him that that wouldn't fly either so he drove away and called us every five minutes to make sure we were safe.
- We volunteer at the First Baptist food pantry twice a week and this 50 year old guy told Sister Pedro "When you get to be my age, I'll be here". She complimented his haircut so now he thinks she has "the hots" for him. We had to explain a few things! 

Quote of the week: "Everyone keeps telling me that Mormons are bad and wrong but all I know is that I come to church and I feel love. I was hungry for it. This is real. This is it." - Dorrish (she's on date for baptism! We are so happy for her!)

There's a talk I really like by Elder Larry R. Lawrence that I studied this week. It's called "What lack I yet?" and it's about the story in Matthew 19 about the rich young ruler who asks Jesus what is keeping him from moving forward, or in others words, what he is lacking. As we're on this path to return to Heavenly Father we need to ask for directions every once and a while. I know that when we pray in specifics the Lord will answer in specifics. When we ask Him what we need to do to improve He will answer us! It might not be the answer we expect but as we are willing to do whatever the Lord asks, even if we don't understand why, He will lead us where to where we will feel the most joy.

Have a great week y'all!! I love you and pray for you.

Sister Thomas

Y'all I couldn't even finish half of this hamburger. It was huge.

Lunch with Sister Carroll

We grew pretty fond of this lil guy after we walked past him 4 times this week

Monday, March 20, 2017

Crawfish boil or bust

Luling is soooo beautifu

Weekly sidewalk inspiration

Pray more, worry less

Cute Hermana McCombs and I in Chalmette

Exchanges in Luling with sweet Sister Paulo

Y'all this week was on for the books!! So many happy moments and so many good changes. Something I love about serving in a small branch is we get to see real change. We see the members grow and change, less active members come unto Christ and change, and new members change and embrace the gospel. This happens in every area but I find it especially true in lil old Chalmette. There are always disappointments but there is no need to let them get us down because this is His work and it will continue to move forward. That's pretty cool!

On Friday Sister Pedro and I experienced our first crawfish boil! (pronounced bowl). We had a branch activity in President Farrell's backyard and it was a blast. Sis and I were exhausted from back to back exchanges this week (I went to Luling, she went to Westbank) but we were lifted by this activity. It was beautiful to see everyone making lasting memories and friendships. And hey, the food was really good too! 

I hope y'all have a rad week! Keep on doing those little big things. Whatever our circumstances we really can find joy as we live the gospel and keep up on the "little" things that matter. I've met some of the happiest people out here living in the saddest situations. The gospel is the good news and I am sure blessed to be sharing it. 

Sister Thomas

CRAWFISH (you boil 'em alive)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sacred Music Festival

Sister Hansen bought me this cool head wrap from Haiti (ft. Elder Stewart and the festival)
We had a rad opportunity this week to perform at the annual New Orleans Sacred Music Festival. It's basically a festival where people from all over the world come to share their culture, vision, and beliefs. 

The crazy thing about the festival is we found out about it only a few days before it happened. Our mission president's wife, Sister Hansen, called us and asked us to take charge. We figured we'd just be singing a few hymns. But when we called the lady in charge of the festival she told us we had a 45 minute set to put together in a couple days. So we ended up putting our appointments and plans on hold and focused on creating a musical fireside to perform as a zone. Heavenly Father 100% carried us through all of this. Me and my small/weak self could not possibly pull together something like this unless I was on the Lord's errand. But because it was His will and because we have some talented missionaries in the zone we arranged 12 musical numbers (group numbers, solos, duets, and quartets) with testimonies and spiritual thoughts in between. The spirit was powerful as these missionaries sang. I know there were angels lifting us through it all. 

We practiced patience this week and learned to work hard and do our best and then place our worries into His hands. On Saturday we were two minutes away from where we were supposed to meet for a "peace march" that was part of the festival. We left super early so we weren't worried when the bridge went up. But then the bridge broke. We could do literally nothing about the situation so we prayed hard and laughed and took some selfies. When we do our best we don't need to worry about what we didn't accomplish. If things aren't going according to our best plans, we need to remember that it's not about us. It will go according to His plan.

I love y'all! Have a bless'd week <3

Sister Thomas

The lovely broken bridge (RIP)

Backing down the bridge

Sis and I laughing at the whole situation

Schedule for the festival

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Because God is great"

Such a happy day with this gentleman

"This suit makes be look fat" - Leonard

I am beyond stoked to be with Sister Pedro for another 6 weeks!

 Sister Amezcua has changed my life. She will be the best member missionary California has ever seen.

9 y/o Abbie taught us how to play baseball (I obviously had no idea what I was doing)

Who knew?

Quote of the week:
We were visiting Leonard a couple days before his baptism and he was practically glowing. He was grinning and laughing for no reason. I was pretty sure I already knew the answer but I asked him why he was so happy. Leonard said, "I can tell you exactly why I'm happy. I'm doing the right thing. I've been praying and reading the scriptures every day and God is blessing me." 

His baptism was beautiful. Leonard is such a brave soul to be embracing the gospel at 72 years old. He is humble and willing to endure to the end following Jesus Christ. The spirit was strong as this sweet man covenanted with Heavenly Father. I feel so blessed to know Mr. Leonard.
This week flew by and was packed full of happy moments. Mardi Gras was craaaazy fun! It was a wild and wonderful once in a lifetime kind of thing. We were happy and laughing and jumping to catch beads from the beautiful/weird floats in the parade. We saw a lot of drinking, crazy costumes, and wild lifestyles. It makes me appreciate the perspective the gospel gives us about what brings genuine happiness and joy. It was such a good day.

Sister Pedro and I got a call from president this morning. He told us that we are going to be the new sister training leaders for the zone! I feel very weak and inadequate but at the same time there is an overriding feeling of peace. Sister Pedro is such a boss! I'll still be training her but we will be STLs together at the same time. It's her second transfer and she's already going STL? I am lucky to be serving with such a spiritual giant. 

"None of us are called because we are great, we are called to lead because God is great" - Sister Amezcua. I am thankful for Jesus Christ and trust that through Him we can do all things. I seem to learn that again and again each day. Tomorrow I hit 9 months as a missionary and I've been thinking a lot about where I am at and where I would like to be. I set some goals for myself to reach higher and become the servant the Lord needs me to be. With the help of the atonement I hope to grow a little each day. 

I love y'all! Thanks for the love and support. Y'all are always in my prayers. Have a bless'd week!

Sister Thomas

Our pre-parade show featured a group on a megaphone telling New Orleans to repent

MARDI GRAS (they even decorated the porta potty)