Thursday, September 18, 2014


Last district meeting

Helping Hands Day of Service

The Patriarch and his wife.  I love how she is always having to bend
over so she doesn't tower of the cute Chilean people.

Hiking Cerro Renca

More bending!

September 15, 2014

This week is going to be so crazy.  Today we hiked Cerro Renca.  IT WAS AWESOMEEE!  Seriously.  Had a blast.  My poor companion and the sister we brought with us were nearly dying.  But they made it!  I half-dragged Sister Florcita up the mountain.  It was awesome.  She´s a grandma!  And she did it!  Tomorrow we have mission conference nearly all day.  Miercoles, I went to the temple. Jueves is the 18 of September... which MEANS PARTY!  Seriously.  The Chileans celebrate their fiestas patrias for like two whole weeks.  But we just got the news that we get to participate in the activities on the 18th.  Know what that means?  All of Chile is throwing me one heck of a going away party.  Looks like they liked me after all.  Friday and Saturday should be normal days unless I have to go to the doctor, but I think I´ll go in for last time on Miercoles.  Then Sunday I´ll give my testimony.  And Monday I will leave the most beautiful country in the whole wide world.  But you know what?  I´m tranquila ya.  I´m going to be ok.  And there´s actually a little tidbit of excitement deep down in there starting to surface.  I´m excited to put into practice everything I´ve taught in my own life.  Of course, it´s WAY easier to solve other people´s problems than to solve my own problems.  But I´m ready for it.
OSCAR CHARPINTIER de las isla se bautizooooooooo!!! YIPPPPEEEEEEE!  Gotta say that´s a real life miracle. 
I don´t even know what to say today.  I´m just so... pumped!  This week is going to be awesome!  And I know next week will be just as great.  Just in different ways.
You better believe I am enjoying every. single. second.  This week will undoubtedly be the VERY best week of my whole entire life.  Gonna run it to the end. 

Love you and see you soon,

Hermana Thomas

Monday, September 8, 2014

Still Don't Want to Come Home!

September 8, 2014 (15 more days)

What an incredible week this has been!
Last week, Marite was baptized who I was able to teach in my short time in Compañia and yesterday ANDRES SE BAUTIZOOOO!  It was maybe the greatest day of my life.  What´s more, Ricardo gave the talk!   I forgot to mention that we had a little mini sector change.  We decided with the elders to take a part of their area that had never seen hermanas before and they took a part of our super rich area plus the apartments where Andres lives.  And oh, has it worked out nicely!  We are finding so. many. people.  Anyway, they told us we could keep teaching Andres because he was SO CLOSE, but after a few days we decided  that just wasn´t the Lord´s way and that the elders would be able to help him progress quickly.  And so it was.  I´m guessing you´ve already seen pictures on Facebook. That´s why I hardly ever send pictures, because I know you´re more updated on my life than I AM.  It´s weird how that works out.  
This week was tough.  Mentally.   I just couldn´t grasp the fact that I have to leave all of this.  And I just REALLY didn´t want to.  Still don´t want to.  BUT,  I asked for a blessing from the elders and wow I´m like a new person.  I´ll be ok. My heart will break into a million little pieces, but that´s happened so many times before that I´m used to it.  And it´s ok when that happens, because it gives the Lord a chance to rebuild..  I like when He does that.  It hurts so bad at first.  But it just feels so wonderful after.  The more pain and sorrow we are subjected to, the more glory and joy we can come to have.  
So anyway, just living the dream, rejoicing in the great fun of being one of the Lord´s servants.  Watching blessings unfold in my family and in the families of those I meet.  Feeling like I am really doing my part to build up the church here in Jose Miguel Infante.  Loving the Atonement.  Wishing I could stay forever, but realizing  that simply cannot be.  And coming to know my Savior better and better each day.  I am so blessed that I didn´t have to go home in August.  I would have missed SO MUCH.  So much growth.  So much opportunity.  So many people.  I'd love to  go home in October..... of the year 2050.    It sounds like a joke.  But it´s really just not. (I'm trying not to take this personally!)
I´m going to the temple next wednesday.  I can hardly wait one second more.  I´m dying to get back there.

What plans do we have for that first week home?  Do I have an appointment with Dr. Primack?   Dentist? Hair? Chiropractor? 

How are the elders?  Am I allowed to accompany them or do I have to be a man?  If not, get ready dad.  Are there lots of less actives that need help?    I´m becoming an expert in gluten free cooking.  I´m still not gluten free, because people give me stuff and cry if I don´t eat it. But I experiment at home sometimes when we have like 30 seconds of downtime.  I´ve made some yummy stuff!  Today we are going to fly kites, which is a Chilean tradition in September, the windy month and the month of their fiestas patrias.  The 18th is their fiesta patria day, but it´s really the whole month.  It´s gonna be a SWEET last week.  Anyways, all is well in my world.  May the Lord bless you and may you open your mouths to bless those around you.

Sister Thomas

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Don't Want To Come Home!

September 2, 2014 (She returns 3 weeks from today...but who's counting!!)

Well, this week has been sad.  It`s actually starting to set in that I soon have to leave my beloved Chile, my beloved Santiago.  Of course, it`s hardly mine.  The island taught me that.   It was always the Lord`s.  And what belongs to the Lord will always go forth.  His work will go forth.  Whether I am here or not. There will be new sisters, new elders, far better than I ever was or ever could have been.  There will be new mission Presidents with energy and fire.  There will be new bishops and stake presidents and new situations (like the recently occurring recession) to make people humble.  There will be rainy days.  But the sun will always come out tomorrow.  There may be wars and political turmoil and fights in the streets and protesting dentists (like the hundreds I saw today).  There may be racial disputes and religious hatred and social class ire.  But He will win.  He always has, always does, and always will.  The Master will return in glory and power.  I see Him do it every single day in the lives of those I teach.  Perhaps He doesn`t physically enter their homes... and perhaps He does.  But more often than not, He enters their hearts.  He opens their eyes.  And if they are willing, they are changed.  Then that majesty becomes a part of them.    
Today we went to Cerro San Cristobal, a giant hill in the middle of the city with a zoo and a virgen Mary on top.  As we hiked up to la virgen, we were able to see all of Santiago.   All of it.  And  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to just die inside because I couldn`t bare the thought of leaving all of it.  But I didn`t.  Instead, I got goosebumps, thinking of how hard I`ve worked and knowing that I can say that with confidence.  Of course not a day goes by in which I think about all of the ways I could have done things better, all the things I screwed up,  and all the ways I could have been a better instrument in the Lord`s hands.  But I suppose that`s the enemy`s way of trying to discourage me.  He`s pretty much always used the same approach.  You start to catch on after a while.  So I try to cast out such thoughts - doubt, discouragement, frustration, fear of the future.  And just try to think of the good I`ve done.  It`s certainly keeping me humble.  Mom asked  me to be honest.  If I want to come home.  I really just... don`t.  I`m sorry.  I love you all so much but... I know you`re ok.  You`re well.  You`re protected.  And even if you weren`t, you have the tools necessary to maintain a life of order and happiness.  You can have the confidence of knowing that even if I never returned, we would be reunited for eternity in a kingdom of celestial glory.  But these people?  They have no idea.  They suffer abuse in their homes and failures at work and secret depressions in their mind and inability to pay for bread on the table and divorces and deaths and incomplete joy.  And they don`t know how to make it better.  I know there are others that will come to take my place.  But that`s just it. I want my OWN place.  Of course, that place will continue on in Denver or in Provo or wherever life will take me.  But I love Chile.    
So I`m sad.  Devastated really.  And working harder than ever to finish the race running.  Don`t think I will slow down for even half a second.  My poor companion is nearly dying because we literally run all day everyday.
I love you all dearly and thank you for the  support you gave me to let me help these people find a fullness of joy.
Sister Thomas

August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

 Welpt, apparently we`re down to less than month seeing as how everyone has taken great care to inform me.  Today I have little time because there were a few important letters that needed a little more attention.  Anyway.  This week has been fantastic.  It`s true what dad says.  There are lots of ups and downs... but in the end, it`s pretty much all just up.  Even in down moments it`s so crazy... like nothng can actually get me down.  And I HAVE A ROCKSTAR COMPANION.  Seriously.  This week, her second week in the mission, she did her 70 contacts.  WHO DOES THAT?!   It`s seriously so fun.  We run around all day laughing and preaching and just having a great time. Seriously, we have so much fun all day everyday.  It`s a blast.  I love that I get to finish here.  And I love that we get to finish together.  We work so hard!   Like I wonder how the missionaries that don`t work hard can possibly enjoy life?  I guess they don`t.  I guess wickedness never was happiness now was it?  Yesterday at church was the best church day ever.   Ricardo Ahumada blessed the sacrament!  And Cristian, one of our focus family less actives gave the closing prayer.  And Andres came.  And Ingrid, an investigator that we hadn`t seen for two weeks came out of the blue.  And I taught the tithing class.  And it was all just so awesome.  Can you believe it!  My sacrament was blessed by Ricardo!  Then Ricardo and his new wife accompanied us later on to teach Andres.  It`s just a tree of converts.  I love the work.  I love the Lord.  I love my tag.  No matter how much it may weigh.  I love my branch, my district, my zone, my city, my country.  I love my leaders, my President and his wife. I love the prophet and the apostles. I love you.  Each of you. Especially Cody-dog because he`s the only man I`ve got. (is he dead yet?)  And I love the Lord.  So much.  May He and His armies open the heavens to bless our home this week.  You know I pray daily for all of you.
Sister Thomas

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Had No Idea!

August 18, 2014

I hadn`t even the slightest clue that somebody could acheive such pure, complete, and unending JOY.  I am so inexplicably happy!  I don`t even know how!  It`s like nothing in the whole wide world can possibly get me down.  I pass every second of every day smiling and laughing and loving life and loving the people and loving my Maker.   I don`t know how to describe it.  I wish you could just see me in action here.  I wish  you could watch me walk down the streets and talk to people and teach repentance and love them and prepare them for salvation and to enter in the temple.  It`s just so much FUN!  I was thinking about it this morning.  It`s like Alma.  I had to suffer.  A lot.  Let`s be honest.  To get this point, I suffered in the mission. Even though I always thought I was happy, but now I feel TRUE JOY.  The depth of suffering leads to the greatness of joy.  It`s like this light that just jumps around inside of me all day everyday and makes me want to dance around and declare the restored gospel.  So thats pretty much exactly what I do.
Do you possibly know what kind of fun I am talking about?
I am sorry, but I am just SO NOT IN THE MOOD to come home.  Please pray for me to come home.  I know life has to go on, that I can`t be here forever.  But I would appreciate your prayers.
We have seen SO MANY MIRACLES THIS WEEK.  Things I`ve hoped and prayed for all my mission.  Like real live leaders of our branch out doing real live things to HELP US!!!  They actually invited our focus families, all of them, to a special dinner and to a temple tour that I organized and they are providing means to help them with their family history work.  We have been entering in houses where missionaries hadn`t entered in months and months.  And I TRULY feel like I am doing my part to edify and build up the church.  It`s JUST SO FUN!
I love you all. AND I LOVED SEEING YOUR PICTURES.  I HAVE SUCH A HOTTTTT FAMILY.  Seriously.  You`re so BEAUTIFUL. All of you.
Much love!
Sister Thomas

August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

WELPT.  It was a nice week in Compañia.  In the end, it turned into a real change and I stayed until last night... when we had new real changes!  Haha it`s all so crazy!  I`m going to stay in RENCA for my last change!!!!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  And I am going to train again - a nuevita.  I`m going to train where I was trained!!!!!!  It`s so nuts!  And so awesome!  But that`s not all.  The two people that were baptized on the island are here on the continente and Presidente gave permiso to Sister Pederson (she served there after me) and I to go visit them!  So one is driving in from Viña del Mar right this second and the other is in the centro.  And we are about going crazy nuts to see them.  Can you imagine the joy I felt when President Videla said YES?   I`m just so excited.  Like so unbelievably excited.  I can't even contain it.  But that`s not all!  My hija, Hermana Alonso is ALSO GOING TO TRAIN!   She`s got like 4 months!  Barely.  Rock. Star.  It was really cool this week because we had a training meeting for all trainers and the assistants asked that those who had experience  share ideas and testimonies.  Obviously, I`ve only trained once, and I`ve always felt like even though I did my best, I just really didn`t do enough or do it well or... I don`t know... so I wasn`t even about to raise my hand.  But guess who did raise her hand?  Sister Alonso.  She testified about how she just barely finished her training and will now be a trainer thanks to everything I taught her and the great example I was.  I WAS IN SHOCK.  She said that she didn`t know much about teaching such things to someone else, but that she was a product of an excellent teacher and ojala all trainees could have the same experience.  Seriously couldn`t believe it.  It was so... NEAT.

You asked about my health.
Mentally:  Better than I`ve ever been in all my life.
Spiritually:  Better than I ever imagined was even possible to achieve in this life.
Physically:  Just... hoping I don`t randomly shatter into pieces like when you put hot glass in cold water.  Nah.  It`s not that bad.  Honestly.  I went to the doctor this week.  Looks like I`ve got a small meniscal tear in my knee... nothing grave.  Like I can live with it for life or have a small surgery.  It`s weird like sometimes it feels like it`s gonna dislocate backwards.  But it hasn`t so far.  So that`s good.  My back looks forward to my bed at night.  So that`s good.  At least I can sleep.  I`m 90% sure I have celiac disease.  So that`s a test I would really like to have done.  My feat are hanging in there.   

I can`t believe that this is my last change!  It`s so weird.  This morning, all my MTC friends left.  All  15 of them.  It was sad and strange.  But I am so happy that I don`t have to leave with them.  Sorry.  I love you all.  A lot.  But I just am really not ready to come home yet.  I do prepare myself every once in a while.  Don`t worry.  I won`t be one of those miserable missionaries who comes home and hates their life.  The mission should be the happiest time of my life... up to this point.  And from there, every day should just get better and better.  I know things will be hard after,  but I will finally be able to put into practice everything I taught here to others in my own personal life.   I love to work, more than anything in the whole world.  It just makes me so happy.   

Tell Linds to have fun being married!

Sister Thomas

You'll Never Guess Where I Am!

August 4, 2014

You`ll never guess where I am!
We had changes.  Early.  Sort of.  Actually, it`s more like an extended interchange, but either way I`m assigned to Compañía now.  The most centro centro that you can get in Chile.  All the most central metro stations, the "white house of Chile" and everything else for that matter is right here. It has been my dream all my mission to work here.  

I tried to go gluten free until I got here.  It`s too complicated.  But I`ll be back (hopefully) in my sector in a few days anyway.  

Yesterday we taught two Haitian guys in French.  I don`t speak french, but as I prayed to have the interpretation of tongues, I understood nearly every word.  And they understood me.

Saturday we had a SWEET human fooseball activity.  We had invited the world and knew yes or yes that it was going to be awesome.  BUT when we got to the chapel, the lights had gone out in the whole area.  Remember, chapels in Chile are usually in really dangerous areas because they were built back in the day, and, well, anything back in the day becomes dangerous today.  We started to hear explosions and whatnot and got scared that nobody would come.  So we knelt, the three elders, sister Adamson, the leader misional, and I, and offered a humble prayer, pleading a miracle.  As we stood, we heard the voice of a sister arrive.  She asked "Isn`t anybody else here?"  I replied, "Well, we have a small problem, in the whole sector they have cut the _____________"  As I was about to say lights, suddenly the chapel lit up from within.  I couldn`t believe it.  Not 30 seconds had passed from our prayer.  And... LISTO!  It was cool.

I lived up to my name this week.  Thomas.  Doubting Thomas.  I doubted the schedule.  I ranted and raved.  But I obeyed.  Never have we seen more miracles.  The whole mission is teaching like never before.  The appointments don`t fail.  There are people in the streets. And we have time to not break our knees and hips.  

A few weeks ago I contacted a young man who said we could pass by one day.  I noted the direction and we passed by.  We found that he had given me a false direction (what`s new?) but the man knew the kid I was looking for and told me where he lived.  We passed by and nobody came out even though they were clearly home (what else is new).  A few days later, we passed by that same house.  Once.  I felt so strongly.  Knock it.  But I refused, knowing that I had already done that to no avail.  We passed by again.  Knock it.  Nah.  For what?  Passed by a third time.  Knock it.  Ok.  That was enough to make me get my behind over there and knock that door.  A woman poked her head out.  "YEAH?  Whaddayou want?"  (What ELSE is new  Hahaha). "Ma'am.  We felt that we needed to come to your home and offer our service.  How may we help you?"  She nearly began to cry.  She explained how her son is a drug addict and all her life story and how maybe just maybe WE really COULD help her.  We made an appointment to come by another day when all would be home.  When that day came, we testified with such spirit and the entire family knew without doubt that all we said was true.  It was cool.

Sister Thomas