Saturday, March 30, 2013

Letter #7

I get another P-day! Because their p-day isn't for a while, we get a mini one today.  I can't remember right now what day our new pday is... I think it's Thursday but I can't remember.  Ok so here's what happened.  I went in on Thursday for a check-up.  Told the doctor that it was still hurting a little but that I felt like I was kind of improving... sort of.  He said we should go ahead with the MRI.  I begged him not to.  It's at least 1000 dollars... and I just can't imagine that they will actually find anything.  Let's be honest.  It's just sore... right?  I don't know.  I begged him for more time.  He said something along the lines of "Here's the thing, if you can't walk you can't be a missionary... and you can't just be here forever."  He saw the panic in my face and gave me until Monday.  I have to walk around in the boot until then and really figure out what's going on.  I know you told me not to walk at all... but that doesn't really seem to be an option right now.  So I'm walking/crutching to try and give it a break sometime.  It's weird going from absolutely no walking to walking all the time.  Yes, it does hurt.  But it's not constant.  And I use the crutches/boot for long distances.  I'm trying to do an off-and-on type of deal so I can figure out if it's really pain or if it's just stiff. I just don't know.  I'm a little frustrated because it's kind of impossible to tell what's going on with me.  Maybe I should just get the MRI?  But oh what an absolute waste.  I just don't know!  I"m pretty sure the office is clsoed today... but if you have any suggestions and feel like calling the doctor, feel free to do so.  My appointment is for 8:00 Monday morning, but I think I'm going to push it back to the afternoon.  I don't want my poor companion who only has 12 days here to miss any class.  Speaking of that.  It's crazy.  I am not actually in a threesome.  Another "surprise" sister also came in who couldn't get her visa to the Peru MTC.  So there are six of us in our room.  The other four are all latina, along with the four elders in our district.  Four elders, six sisters.  Crazy huh?  I was told in Wednesday that for the entire incoming crowd, there were only six less sisters than elders.  It's almost 50-50 here.  How awesome is that?!  Anyway.  I absolutely love my district.  It can be pretty hard sometimes for my companion and I.  We're both the only gringas.  Our teachers are more gringo even than I am though.  Well, not really, but sometimes it seems that way.  I am at a point where I can understand absolutely anything a "white" person says... and I'm working on the rest.  It's tricky because I have to be SO CONCENTRATED to make sure I really understand what they're saying to me.  If I tune out for a second, I lose it.  But it's good.   It's teaching me how to be a better listener - a skill I'll really need with my investigators. 
Telling me that you are going to have a family fast was BY FAR the best part of my day yesterday.  You are all so sweet.  Please don't feel like you have to do it, though.  I mean, it IS Easter.

I guess I have a package this morning.  If that's from you, thank you so much!  I'm going to pick it up in a little bit!  Hermanitos, keep keeping me posted.  In your letters you always say you don't know if you've told me something yet.... but you never have.  We met a senior couple yesterday who is going to London to serve a family history mission.  It seriously sounds so cool.  I'm so excited for when you, mom and dad, get to go!  It seems that the call to serve for younger people created an excitement for Los Mayores as well.  Everytime we have a devotional it seems like the senior missionary section is more and more filled.
For Easter we are having a very special meeting.  We've heard we are to expect at least two apostles.  Everyone will be together - except for those in the overflows I suppose and the sacrament will be passed.  Imagine that!  A sacrament meeting with the whole entire MTC together.  I'm pretty sure that this is the first time it has ever happened.  We are so pumped.  We're planning on getting there at least two hours early.  I bet it's going to be INSANELY packed.  Then we have an additional devotional that night and WHO KNOWS who that's going to be.  We're just pumped that's all.
I'm still icing my foot and trying to remember to keep it elevated and take ibuprofen.  It's all going to be fine.  I so DESPERATELY want to get out of her on April 8... but it's all in the Lord's hands.  I just can't be sent home.  I really just can't.  Someone from my old zone (I was companions with her for a few hours in fact on Tuesdsay) got sent home two days ago.  It's so sad.  It was for medical problems.
Anyway.  Keep sharing that gospel!  Spread the good news!  I love you all so very much!
Hermana Mara Thomas

Of course there was more to this letter, but it again had to be edited.   Please just understand that there was a lot of frustration and confusion in the last weeks of my MTC time.  I'm sorry, but that's the honest truth.  Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Letter #6

Dearest Family,
I love you all so much.  As a missionary, your capacity to love is somehow miraculously extended, and you are no exception.  I have never loved you all so much in my whole life.  I'm sorry you had to hear me sad last week.  I promise it was just one day, and then I was over it and I was actually excited!  I'm actually glad to be here.  So many things have already happened just in the past two days where I have realized that the Lord just really doesn't make mistakes.  Thank you for your AMAZING package.  That was probably the best thing that has ever happened.  Like ever.  We are going to set up an easter egg hunt, maybe this afternoon in our classroom.  Also, last week, I was filmed while singing in the choir for a special they are going to do on the MTC during Conference.  Look for me!  I think it'll be on Saturday afternoon.  

On Sunday, I met with President Wilkins.  It was a very power-packed, Spiritual meeting where we decided what my course of action would be for the next few weeks.  I told him that I was honestly ready and willing to do anything and everything the Lord asked of me.  I am His servant and I am here to serve, not to just waste a couple extra weeks.  My purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ" and that includes everyone I come in contact with - even those in the MTC.  I was ready to have President Wilkins tell me what the Lord wanted.  He refused.  He put me on the spot and asked me to search my heart for my righteous desire.  I was stumped.  What?  I'll do anything.  Just tell me. It's fine. NO, he said.  You need to make a decision and present it before the Lord.  He reminded me of the three Nephites who had a righteous desire but were unwilling to ask it of the Lord.  He knew anyway and granted them their desire.  I sat in silence for a few minutes. Confused.  Then I realized that what I really wanted to do was be in an advanced class.  I told him, but told him that I felt like I was being so selfish in that desire and that it could hardly be righteous.  He asked why I wanted to do that and I replied that I really just wanted to progress as well as I could to be better prepared for the field.  He told me that that, of course, was not an unrighteous desire, because I just wanted to be the best misisonary I can be.  It all felt so right.  I had presented my decision before the Lord (through President Wilkins) and He had accepted it.  I went about my day in excitement!  This was my new calling and I was going to be able to help the new sisters in whatever way I can.

I am staying within my zone until 1:45 on Thursdsay afternoon at which I point I will join the new advanced spanish class - all of which speak spanish as their home language - and will begin my new calling!  Well, then again, it really has already begun.

The rest of this letter isn't really appropriate for public viewing.  I go into a story that is very personal for me... but hopefully this is good enough!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Letter #5

Welpt,  I have been officially delayed for two
weeks.  April 8th will be my departure date.  I cried for about half
a second and then I got over it.  It’s fine.   Maybe if I went on
Monday I would have gotten in a car accident or something.  Probably
not... but you never know.  But it's fine.  Anyway, I'll try and call
you later and give you the medical details.  Right now I guess I'll give
the normal details! (Mara broke a toe while we were in Mexico over Christmas break and although it has healed, she has been in a lot of pain. They have put her in a boot and on crutches and delayed her departure to Chile for two weeks.  She says she is fine in the letter but actually called us in tears.  She will be o.k.)
First of all, Bren, and anyone else, NEVER EVER
apologize for writing too many letters, especially when it's only TWO. 
Send them always! Second:  I am going to be sending quite a bit
home.  I have realized that I over-packed and I only want to bring the

Things I need?  Maybe adapters... but I'm
actually thinking it would be easier and less weight to just buy appliances
down there.  I really only need a straightener and a hair dryer.  It
would be easier to just send what I have home. Yes I do have my Patriarchal
blessing.  I got it laminated and shrunk for my scriptures.  Also, I
bought a skirt here.  They have cheap but really nice, durable,
wrinkle-free skirts and I felt like I desperately needed one more walking
skirt.  Some of the ones I have just aren't really appropriate for the
field.  The camel skirt would be lovely though.  Also, Welch's fruit
snacks are ALWAYS greatly appreciated.  OBVI.

(Mara’s “Third” had to be edited out of the letter. Not
that is wasn’t appropriate.  Just not for
the public viewing.) Thanks for understanding.

Fourth:  I wrote you all letters last week and
somehow none of them got sent.  I'll send them all today with the other
ones I write.  My bad.

 Ok.  Anyways, about what's been going on
here.  I continue to get more and more ripped.   Just
kidding.  Except not really.  My back and shoulders and upper arms
have never been so strong - not to mention my left calf. (Because
she is currently on crutches trying to heal a broken toe.)

My companions and I are SERIOUSLY BEST FRIENDS.  I
just love them so so so much!  We can talk about anything.  We
literally laugh ALL DAY LONG.  And we love to serve and work.  These
days we almost always study together because we just love to hear each other's
input and partake in the revelation that each other is receiving.  I am
going to be really sad to see them go, but I know that they are going to be so
awesome.  Hermana Heeb has made the most astounding progress in the
language.  It's unbelievable.  I didn't even think something like
this was possible.  She is seriously at a point where she can say pretty
much anything she wants.

My teachers are also amazing.  I don't think I
have told you about them, Hermano Galvez
and Hermana Perez.  H. Galvez is from Guatemala.  He is stern,
sometimes scary, and makes us feel a need to be VERY obedient.  And yet he
is so neat.  He is so in tune with what we need to hear and how to teach
it and everything else.  Hermana Perez is not Latina despite her
name.  She served in Houston, Texas and is the sweetest girl on the face
of the planet.  She is so in tune with the Spirit and always knows what we
all need.  We absolutely adore her.I'm hoping that since I have to be here for extra time
maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to switch branches and be in an advanced
district where it is ALL Spanish ALL the time.  Maybe, I'll even get to
have a Latina companion.  That would be awesome.

This week, my companions and I have been so utterly
and completely obsessed with FRUIT.  Not like apples and bananas but like
FrutO as I talked about in a previous email, particularly el fruto del Tree of
Life and Nephi and Lehi's dreams and the fruit from the Olive Trees in the
parable of Jacob 5.  We're obsessed.  It's all we talk about. 
We have done everything we can to figure out all of the symbolism and all the
dispensations and the prophets and everything else and how it ALL ties into the
temple.  We are going to the temple this afternoon and boy oh boy are we
going to be there for a while.  I'm just so obsessed with the
temple!  I feel like I had to hate it at first so that I could come to
love it as much as I do.  It all just makes so much sense. 
Everything.  It's perfect.  The Gospel - the Doctrine of Jesus Christ
- is perfect.  God planned it out from the beginning, knew it would work and
sent us here to fulfill it and gave us a Redeemer to allow us to fulfill it and
gave us prophets to tell us how to fulfill it and gave us scriptures and prayer
and a Comforter (TWO comforters really - that's the very best part I think) and
families and TEMPLES and so much more.  And all of that because...
why?  HE LOVES US so much.  More than we can possibly fathom. 
And all I want to do is just tell people about it!  I just want to tell
them that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is literally the TRUE
Church of JESUS CHRIST.  Our Lord and Master and Redeemer and Savior and
Brother and (after our rebirth and true spiritual conversion) Father of our New
Birth and the Messiah and the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Perfect
Example and the Only Begotten Son of the Almighty and All-powerful God.  I
feel so incredibly selfish and embarrassed for never really sharing the miracle
of this Gospel before.  I am mortified of how scared I was to serve a
mission or even just to be here in the MTC.  How could I be so
selfish?  All I want to do now is just share it!  All of it! 
Every last word of it until all of God's children have become truly converted
unto Christ and have made the necessary redeeming covenants to get back. 
The plan is perfect.  We can live together, forever, with our families and
with God and with His Son.  What a marvelous work this is!  The Lord
will stop at nothing to bring about His work and His glory.  We are in the
fulness of times and it is time to gather Israel. We have it all.  The
Restoration of the Lord's Doctrine has been made and we stand prepared to
finish it off.  The blessings that await us if we can just persevere
are... unimaginable.  It's so frustrating how easy it can be to just
forget, forget those moments when we know that this is true and when we know
what we need to be doing and when we know what's right.  It's so easy to
just not remember.  But We Have To Remember. Press forward!  Share
the gospel!  Teach people how they can achieve true and absolute happiness. 
Even though today was a rough day, I've still probably never been so happy in
my life. 

Love to all!

Hermana Thomas