Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gratefully Faithful, or Faithfully Grateful

19th June 2017

 Thomas, the best last name ever.

Hi everyone!

Happy Late Father's Day to all the amazing dad's in the world. We are so blessed to have you and you are inspiring and changing people everyday through your hard work!

It has been a special week. So many special experiences that I feel so grateful that I get to have. And now, today, starts the first day of my last six weeks as a missionary. In the mission, we go by six week periods of time that we call transfers. And for each of those six week periods we have a little planner where we plan out everything we do during our days. And today I start my last planner. How crazy is that?

There were some things that happened this last week that I want to share, it was with one of our investigators Godlyn and her six year old daughter Murna. They came to church the week before and really loved, but they were going on vacation this last weekend so they couldn't come, but Godlyn wanted to have us over to have a lesson. To give more background, Murna is a sort of rambunctious child, (kind of like me as a child, mom, I'm sure you can picture it) very easily distracted and hard to settle down. We've had several lessons with them, but Murna hadn't been too involved, so when we arrived last Wednesday, Godlyn started by telling us that she wanted Murna to be more involved that lesson. So we started sharing more about Faith in Jesus Christ with them, and we opened with them in the Book of Mormon to where a prophet compared having faith to planting a little seed and nurturing it and letting it grow. We talked about this idea with Murna, and she really loved it. She started telling us ways we could help our faith grow, she told about how she now understood what faith meant, and also, she repeatedly told us what faith did, she kept saying "faith makes you happier! If you want to be happy you have to have faith!" We were so happy, Godlyn included. We almost didn't recognize this little girl who was telling us all these amazing things. But that phrase "faith makes you happier" kept ringing in my ears even after we had left the appointment.
Later that night we had another special experience with one our members named Sandra, a recent convert of only one year, and we talked to her about Sundays, and why it's important and about how we can come each Sunday to re-sign our agreement with God to try harder the next week. She loved it, and we laugh and ponder the scriptures together and it was a tender time. And then as we were driving home, after the day was almost done, I was looking around me, on roads that I had driven for the past 5 months, and I just started crying!! I kind of took me by surprise, but I was smacked with the idea that this wouldn't be my life for very much longer. That I wouldn't be able to have experiences like that (in the same context, with the same people, in the same way we do as a missionary) everyday. And it hit me, that I would be leaving this place that I come to love with my whole heart, way sooner than let myself expect. 
And that's a sad thing. I've seen so much growth and so much happiness, in myself, but more importantly in others in this past hear and (almost) a half that I'm left marveling. Being a missionary is such an incredible blessing, is such an incredible privilege, that I'm left just feeling eternally grateful to God that I have even been given the experiences I've had to grow. 

A few months ago a very wise man told me, "this is not your mission; this is the Lord's mission for you." And how true I have discovered that to be. Everything that has happened, all the smiles given and tears shed have been a gift from my Father in Heaven, as He has given me experiences to change the hearts of others as well as mine. And I'm just left feeling.. happy.

Nicole, Malcom, and Sister Bolander, my favorite people!!

I hope you all have a happy week. We deserve one.
Sister Thomas
 Tandoori chicken from a local indian restaurant (!!!) 
it was only a 5 minute walk from our house, it was just discovered this week. SCORE

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