Hello Everyone! :)
I cannot tell you how much I love getting to email home!! This is seriously what gets me through the week!! I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to hear from all of you! :) anyways, I'll let you know a little bit about my week! I have had the most amazing, frustrating, wonderful week! haha! the life of a missionary is sooo bipolar I swear! you have so many ups and downs all in the same day! But it is the most amazing thing to rely completely on the Lord and allow him to lift us from our disappointments and to rejoice with Him in our triumphant moments!! First thing first...WE HAD OUR FIRST BAPTISM YESTERDAY!!! YEAH!! :) :) I can't technically claim her as mine, because the sisters before me taught her the most...but! it was still an amazing experience!! I had the opportunity to teach little Athena about three times, as well as a couple other visits just for some service, her and her mom are moving to the other side of the ward later this week (so they won't be in our area anymore. :( the good news is we'll still see her on Sundays!). Athena is a cute little ten year old, and her mother is a member, however she is less active, and it has been such a blessing for us all to be able to go into their home to have some lessons with her. :) Her mom is very supportive and she knows that the church is true and that she needs to be better at attending and living in accordance with the gospel. She is just struggling with some addictions right now and it's hard for her to want to go to church, but she supports Athena so much she is willing to attend church for her, which is awesome! They were both at church yesterday and it was amazing! sacrament meeting was the best! there was a young man in our ward that was giving his farewell talk and it really touched Jen a lot (Jen is Athena's mom). He talked a lot about how through the Atonement we can be forgiven of our sins, but we must also forgive ourselves of our sins, and that really touched Jens heart. She went up to him yesterday and thanked him for his talk and expressed how much it meant to her! it was amazing! And she was just so proud of little Athena for deciding to be baptized on her own and to covenant with her Heavenly Father!
We had the baptismal service right after church, (this was the first baptism I had ever been to that was on a Sunday! ha!) and Athena was soo nervous to be baptized in front of so many people, so we had the opportunity to go into an empty room and pray with her that she would be able to feel comforted and to not be nervous anymore, and after she got out of the font, she told us that as soon as she touched the water her fear went away! it was such a neat opportunity to hear how Heavenly Father had answered her prayers! :) Next Sunday she will be confirmed and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost!!!! How amazing that is! :)
Second! last Tuesday we had the opportunity to meet with Ciara at her home, she was the girl that contacted us after she ran into us at the gas station and hers is the house that we tracted. It was amazing! She is just the cutes thing ever! She was so kind and loving and her heart was so open and prepared!! She had expressed that after she had turned 21 she would go out partying with her friends and things, but that she just felt like she needed to stop, and so she stopped drinking alcohol as well as coffee and tea without anyone telling her!! how awesome is that!!! and we just got to talking and she was expressing how she felt like we were kindred spirits and how thankful she was that we had come in contact with her! It was an amazing day for Sister Walborn and I. We went into the day fasting that we would have the spirit to be with us in our lesson with her, that we could truly relay the things that our Heavenly Father wanted us to tell her, and it was amazing! I felt the spirit so strongly during her lesson, as I got to share some of my favorite scriptures with her, and testify of our Saviors love for her, because I could feel it soooo strongly! I got to tell her about my background, and that I was the only active member in my family and the strength that that brought me, and how I knew that if she continued to do things that she knew to be right, even if her family had a hard time accepting it, Heavenly Father would bless her immensely! and would give her the strength to carry on! Sister Walborn got to testify of how much the gospel blesses families, and how much it would bless her and her future family as well as her current family! it was just so wonderful! She had had some lessons before hand with other missionaries before us as well as she had been to church quite often on her own as well. I can't express the love that I felt there, the love that I had for Ciara, whom I had just met, and the love that our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ had for her! It was so thick in the air! I know that she could feel it too! we get to meet with her a little later today and I can't wait to get to meet with her again! :)
I miss you guys so much words can't even express! it has been really hard, but this has been the most amazing experience of my life...already and I've only been in PA for two weeks!! haha! this Saturday is my "click day" which means I will have been out for a month! HOLY COW!!! It has gone by sooo fast! I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be so close to my Savior, and to study the gospel everyday! it has been such a neat feeling for me to be able to feel the spirit so strongly! I have never felt him with me quite like this! It is so comforting to know that I'm never alone, not only for my sweet, amazing companion, but also for the fact that the Holy Ghost can always lead us, and keep us out of danger, and to truly be the senior companion in our companionship to lead and guide us in lessons as well! I am so thankful for every one of you! I love you all so much and pray for you all the time! :) and send me letters! :) It's so fun to get letters throughout the week! :) definitely a boost! haha! I'm so sad! there is so much I haven't got to tell you yet! darn computers! but don't worry! I can still send you some good ol' hand written ones too! I know that my redeemer lives, and his hand is always in my life, and that He is very mindful of me and of every one of you! Just have the strength to reach up and ask him! He will help you. Ugh I hate saying goodbye....just until next week! :)
Love you always!
-Sister Thomas :)