Thursday, September 18, 2014


ONE WEEK LEFT!!!



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 HAD NO IDEA.
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.   
AND I AM WORKING HARDER THAN EVER.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

New President, New Changes

July 28, 2014 

Well, this week I did not even try to go gluten free.  It was impossible because i couldn´t communicate myself wih the members well until Sunday.  But starting today, I am gluten free.  I´m in conact with the nurse and another sister who actually has celiac and we are going to just work it out and go hard.  Should be fun!  I´m excited for the challenge!

There have been some huge and unexpected changes around here.  First, Sister Ibarra is no longer with us.  A sister got sent home for knee pain and Sister Ibarra, with just two and a half weeks left, left to Catemu in Los Andes to replace her.   So, I am now Sister training leader 1 and Sister Adamson is number 2.  It´s weird without Sister Ibarra.   It was a good ride with her.  And now it´s a good ride with Sister Adamson.  It´s always a good ride.  

But wait.  There´s more. 

I now only have one hour for internet.
I now have an extra hour on p-day.  
I now have weekly planning after p-day for a hour.
I now wake up a 6:30 and study from 8-10 and work from 10 to 1, eat fom 1-2 and study from 2-3 and work from 3-6:30 and eat DINNER from 6:30 to 7:30 and work from 7:30 to 8:30 and sleep at 10:30.

 I know I need to trust in the revelation that my President has received.  But I won´t lie.  I´m devastated.  The hours we most teach and find are from 6 to 10.  At 10 in the morning?  HA!  With SUERTE they are even awake around here.  Or they´re working.  At 10 at night, the men are home.  They want us to build up the church with priesthood holders... but they tell us to work when single moms and grandmas are at home.  It is a serious test of my faith.  I have no idea how it´s going to work. They changed it because they are worried about our health.  Lots of sisters in particular are having mental breakdowns and their knees don´t work, their feet don't work, etc.  It is true.   My body hurts.  I keep working.  Everyone started to celebrate because they can now eat dinner.  I started to cry because we will now have no one to teach.  I´ll take the leap of faith. 
Ok. my rant is over.  Maybe a little inappropriate.  Or a lot.  But just trying to keep it real.  

It´s sure been fun working with Sister Adamson.  We work well together.  We´re going to see lots of miracles here!

Tell everybody sorrry I can´t respond.  The time is so limited from now on.
Love you all!  Keep up the good work!


Sister Thomas

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 21, 2014

So little time AGAIN!!!  Sorry!  Let me know if you prefer a longer family email or better individuals.

Anyway.  After a couple of weeks of ... hard...ness... this week was AWESOME.  We have been diligent and hopeful despite the difficulties of the past few weeks.  Ricardo Ahumada was married Saturday  9 am!  He passed his interview Saturday. And he was baptized yesterday after church.  I think he was the world´s most-wanting-to-be-baptized investigator.  He has been investigating since the change after I left here!  His now-wife was a a once-member-turned-atheist who now believes in and dearly loves her Father and Savior and feels the presence of the Spirit at every turn. It has been such a humbling and wonderful experience to work with this family.    The restored gospel is for everyone and can restore even the most broken families.  I love being a missionary. I want it to never end.  But I know my time is running short.  So I´m working harder than ever.   And I will run through the finish line, knowing that my Father is proud of the work I have done, and knowing that He has accepted my sacrifice to Him, and knowing that that sacrifice, will NEVER end.

Sister Thomas

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014
HOLA CHIQUILLOS LINDOS,
Puessssss, this week was AWESOME.  Just like every other week.  BUT, I was down and out for two days, sicker then I`ve ever been except maybe when I had apendicitis... but even that was better because at least I was in my house/hospital with medical attention.  As you know, I do lots of exchanges, at bare minimum 6 per change because this change we have six sisters in our group.  Thursday I had an exchange in the centro - Compañía (MY DREAM SECTOR) - where I seriously lived the dream.  IT WAS SO FUN.  Not to mention it was with Hna.Rivera from Mexico who is a true rockstar.  We worked so hard all day long and had a blast! But.  That night!

Oh my word.  Pause.  This drunk guy.  If you could hear him. He is singing so loud and thinks no one hears him.  But boy oh boy do we all hear him.

Anyway! That night was very very cold. Friday morning, I work up feeling a little cold coming on, but nothing to worry about.  We returned to Renca where I packed my bags again and went to another centrico sector.  I started to feel a little bit lousier and lousier.  As we walked and worked quickly, all of my average daily back and hip and leg pains started getting more and more excruciating. And then we were teaching a lesson and I had to stop in the middle because I nearly passed out.   So we went home for the lunch hour and I got back up to work.  But oh my.  It was terrible.  We came back around 7 and I just collapsed onto the floor in the fetal position and hoped I could die right there.  It would have been so much easier.  Straight to the Celestial Kingdom.  But I didn`t die. And the next day, I got up to go back to Renca. That day I stayed with our branch president and his wife while my diligent companions kept up the work.  Sunday,  I woke up unwell, but had to go to church.   Obviously. So I decided that after church I would rest. 

PAUSE: This drunk guy.  Seriously.  You would not believe him.

I needed to make up for my lost days of conctacts because we have to be examples.  So we went out and worked.  And you know what? There I was, contacting on the street when I suddenly saw a woman walking her baby in a stroller.  She was a little far away.  So I kept walking.  But something said,"Stop.  Turn around.  Talk to her."  So I chased that poor lady down thinking she was going to be terrified of me because I ran up like a crazy person and you know what she said?
"Right now, my husband is coming home (and he passed by right then going home), but I want to invite you girls to my house.  I have a friend who is in your religion and she has such a special spiritual peace. And I have had some problems lately and I want to have the spiritual peace that she has.  And so I told her to send her missionaries to my house because I didn`t know how to find them.  I know that you will be able to help me.  Could you come over this week?"
 Being diligent is the best.
 Being a member missionary and an example of the believers and inviting nonmembers into your temple-like home is even better.  Hats off to that sweet sister who has preserved her spiritual peace despite the difficulties of the world and has been an example to her friend who, rest assured, will soon be baptized.
 I worked all the rest of that day.  Imagine if I had given in to my body`s desires to rest!  HA!  I`d rather rest when I`m dead.
 I love you all and I am SO NOT TRUNKY.  If anything, I`m considering extending.  Let the party go on.

Sister Thomas

July 7, 2014

July 7, 2014
Well, due to having written various personal longer letters, again this one will be relatively short.  First off,
RODRIGO CORTEZ SE BAUTIZOOOOO!!!  He´s from Santa Maria.  Do you know what that means?  In every sector I´ve been in, at least one of my investigators has been baptized.  It´s exciting.  And what´s more, Sister Alonso recently showed me a foto of four young, missionary-aged men that we had worked to activate in suits and ties at church.  That is "building up the church" as the brethren have instructed us.  Baptizing and reactivating missionary-aged,  priesthood-holding candidates, that can go on and build up the church more.  It´s an exciting time and the obra se esta apresurando.
I ate Peruvian food this week in a restuarant that had english translations (I´m guessing from google).  Papas fritas is french fries.  The translation?  Dad´s fried.  Hahahaha we died laughing.
Our third companion, Sister Adamson came back!  Party!
Our new President and his wife are AWESOME.   SERIOUSLY.  They are so cool.  They are already making a whole lot of changes.  Some are questionable, some we´re all excited about.  But it´s a good new start.  Should be fun to see them shine.  They are from the south of Chile, Puerto Mont I think.  It´s probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. 
I need a little bit of help with Sister Arroyo.  Could you please find out when she needs to turn all her stuff in, have tests taken, etc. in order to make it into winter?  I personally think it would be better that she applied to spring.  Also, if you could find out all information possible about the ELC.  How to apply, get in, how much it costs, etc. 
I´m glad to hear that you are all doing well.  It´s an exciting time in our lives dear family!  We are truly working to bring the world His truth!

AND….SOMEONE FOUND MY CAMERA!!!  I´ll get it this Wednesday and try to make up for all my lost picture time.

Questions and Answers

June 30, 2014
For my letter this week I will respond to the questions you asked me because I have VERY limited time.
 Today we moved houses because the dueños are coming back to live there.  It was a long processs, but it´s all finished now!  I have a lot of respect for you parents having moved all of us several times.  I officially solemnly swear to never buy a big house.  Ever.
 Our Average Day?
9-12 Study
12-2 Street Contacting
2-3 Lunch
3-10 Street Contacting and appointments.  We try our best to never knock doors.
 Companion?
THE BEST OF THE BEST.  Sister Adamson left this week, which was sad, but she was needed elsewhere.  But it´s fine because Sister Ibarra and I get along so great and work really well together. 
Favorite food?  Least favorite food?
Favorite food is pastel de choclo.  You can only get it in the summer when they grow corn. People don´t use canned stuff.
Least favorite food is blood sausage.  It tastes alright, but just knowing that it´s bllood...
 What are some common foods people serve you?
casuela, carbonada, charkikan, chicken with rice
 Who are you teaching these days?
We have two yes or yes baptisms for July - Maria Pinto and Ricardo Ahumada.  They´re THE BEST. Seriously.  So prepared.  And so pumped to be baptized.
 What kind of service are you doing?
Apart from serving the Lord all day everyday?  Last week we painted a fence.  We have very few scheduled service projects because it´s a rich area and the people look bad if they ask us to help instead of contracting someone. But we are always contacting the people carrying groceries and whatnot to help them.
 How is your new mission president?
Ummm... not sure. Don´t know him yet. Tomorrow we should meet him I think. Just know that there was a minor crisis yesterday and our third companion had to leave us.
 Were you sad when Pres. Essig left?
Devastated.  Like you can´t even imagine. But I´m sure the new President and his wife will also work wonders.
I have to go.
 Love you all,
 Sister Thomas

June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

Today´s  letter will be very random.
 This week we finally got the Conference Liahona!  There is a picture of the HR Stake center!  REPRESENT!
 It´s fun here in Renca.  Sometimes I contact people and they remember me from a year ago.  It´s awesome.
 I met some Venezuelans the other day here on vacation.  It´s scary.  There´s no more food in their country.
 I have "Chimpanzee ridin’ on a segway" stuck in my head.  Now you do too.
 Yesterday at church, nobody really was there when it was supposed to start.  I was playing prelude.  I prayed that some more priesthood holders at least would get there and began to play "Venid los que teneis de Dios el Sacerdocio" (is that a song in English?) and the chapel, within minutes, was full.
 The new President and his wife come this Friday.  It´s pretty bitter-sweet.  But it´ll be neat to have a new, Chilean perspective.  But I sort of fell in love with President and Sister Essig.
 I have decided that two more months is simply not enough.  I will be staying until September 23rd.  How in the world could I possibly cut the best thing that has ever happened a month short when God permitted me to come here?  Ni loca would I cut it.  And HE doesn´t want me to either.    So, if President Videla by chance asks me to extend, I will.  But I doubt it. I assume that I will be home the 23rd.  With that being said, if it is possible, please make me doctor appointments including physical therapy sessions and chiropractor sessions.   Not that I´m having problems, just that, as Elder Holland once said, I very well may come home on a stretcher.
 I´m guessing you already know, but Chile beat Spain.  It was a REALLY BIG DEAL.  Like you can´t even imagine how big of a deal that was.  And today they play Orlanda.  We´ll be spending our p-day in the house.  Fun.
 Sister Duffy, the new mission nurse is in my sister group!  Cool right?  She´s a nurse.  And a missionary. And she´s awesome.
 I´m livin’ the dream.
Sister Thomas

RENCA AND THE WORLD CUP!

June 16, 2014

You´ll never believe where I am!  
I actually stayed in RENCA!!!!!!!!!!!!  And not just that.  WE STAYED TOGETHER!!!  You cannot possibly imagine how pumped we were.  How pumped we are.  And not just that.  We´re in a trio with an awesome sister named Sister Adamson.  She has like 7  months in the mission and is a rockstar.  This change is going to be another dream team time.  I´m so excited!  Presidente is so inspired.  Every change that happened was just... so inspired!  We will continue as leaders and the Sister Adamson is here  to maintain order and learn and prepare to be a leader.  I will continue doing the intercambios - this time all my sectors are in the centro centro, so it should be fun!
Can you even believe that we stayed together here?  Here´s the unfortunate part.  Two weeks ago, the owners of our house asked for it back and gave us 30 days to find a house. Here´s the thing.  There are NO HOUSES FOR RENT IN RENCA.  So in two weeks we will be left homeless.  Darn.  I´m guessing we will live near the office that is like an hour commute each way.  We are praying hard to find something, anything where we can live.  We have found some options but they are in sectors where they have gun fights every night.  It´s hardly ideal.
The World Cup has been pretty darn exciting around here!  Every time there is a Chile game we go home to plan and study, but don´t think we miss the game, oh no.  The drunk neighbors let us know all about it as they scream there chants and run out on the streets and fill the air with barbeque smoke and blow their horns and bang their drums and explode fireworks (or were those guns?... still not sure.)  But boy do they know how to throw a party around here. Vi-vi-vi ve-ve-ve viva Chile!
This week, a seventy came to visiit.  His name is Elder Robbins.  And he is the bomb.  When I heard he was coming I printed out one of his talks  - https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/what-manner-of-men-and-women-ought-ye-to-be?lang=eng#watch=video - and studied it.  RIght after I learned my lesson about being instead of just doing as I recently shared with you. He held a question and answer session, and to one of the questions, he answered basically with that very talk. I was so excited!  It was all very inspired.  I think my favorite part was where we talked about 1 Nephi 3:7.  Possibly the best known scripture of the Book of Mormon apart from the first verse of that same book.  He explained the reasoning behind it.  How it was that Nephi was prepared in such a moment to respond in that way.  If we turn back to the anterior chapter, we find the following verse.
 16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that did believe all the words which had been spoken by my fatherwherefore, did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.
He had worked hard to gain a testimony and build his firm foundation so that when tough times came he didn´t even think twice.  He simply went and did.
I like that.
Also, I went to the doctor this week because I´ve got some... issues.  My back isn´t really... working.  It´s cold right, so I have to wear a scarf and a jacket, right?  But those things weigh a lot (or rather, they hardly weigh anything but it feels like a whole lot of weight).  So that´s not normal.  The doctor is not willing to do anything big while I´m here because, what´s the point?  I´m on some serious drugs.  Strong stuff.  And I feel good!  But he mentioned some things that I may have.  I'll have to get it checked out when I get home.   But I do know that it´s worse than your typical "I´m a missionary and my back hurts cause I´m stressed."  But don´t freak out.  I feel good now!  I just wanted to keep you updated so maybe I can have a good doctor visit when I get home.
Anyway.  I´m so happy.  Couldn´t be happier.  There is nowhere else in the whole wide world that I would rather be.
With much love,
Sister Thomas

Friday, June 13, 2014

Freezing Cold and Dog Bites But…Never Been Happier!!



June 9, 2014


Well,  it sounds like you truly enjoyed your vacation to Costa Rica.  It must have been amazing.  But believe me when I tell you that I`m not jealous.   I still believe my week to have been better.  And that there is no where else I would rather be than contacting people on the streets, soaking wet in freezing rain, feet wrapped in plastic bags so the water that enters my boots doesn`t make my feet TOO cold, etc.  Sounds terrible?  Wrong.  I`m the happiest I`ve ever been in my entire life.  Every day is so awesome.  Every single day is just so... FUN!  Seriously.  Like I feel like there`s NOTHING in the whole world that can possibly get me down.  I would much rather be teaching and contacting than doing anything else at all.  Crazy, right?  I thought that by now maybe I would start feeling the temptations of getting lazy at the end,  but NADA QUE VER. I`ve got more energy and umph than ever (even though it`s hard for my poor body to keep up with that energy).

A street dog bit me last week.  It hurt.  I didn`t even do anything.  He just ran right up and bit my calf and then ran away.  Like, "Tag, you`re it."

They just recently played that "Here in My Car" song.   It reminded me of dad.

Today we had our sister activity.  We went bowling here in Republica en el Centro.  It was WAY fun.  So awesome.  We were pretty much all terrible,  SO that made it much more enjoyable.

We`ve been doing a whole lot of intercambios.  It`s fun to go to other sectors and watch how the work is unfolding there.  But it is more fun to see how inspired the intercambios are.  How in the precise moment, I am there to help a sister in need or how just in time they come to our sector to give the testimony that an investigator needed to hear.  I love being a sister training leader because I get to learn so much from so many other sisters.  There is pressure, true, because our sector is supposed to be a model for all others to follow.  But with Sister Ibarra, everything is alright.  I LOVE working with her.  I can`t even tell you how awesome it is to be her companion.  We work so hard every single day and we just enjoy every single second.  She will be leaving in August (started the same day I did)…which, by the way,  I also may be leaving in August.  It looks like I have a couple of different departure options.  But either way, we both leave soon.  And by NO means are we at ALL willing to waste one single second.  Our time is running out and we are going to use it to the fullest.

Sometimes I feel more like a marriage counselor or drug therapist or mental health nurse than a missionary.

I am so excited to apply for the nursing program, by the way.  Sister Ibarra is also going to try out for the program this semester. 

Chile plays Australia on Friday I think around 4:00 your time.  It is going to be crazy here.  Don't worry. We will not be on the streets.  We will be home doing our planning.   You will have to watch the game!

Anyway, all is well here.  Just living and preaching the gospel of Christ.

Love, 

Sister Thomas


Monday, June 9, 2014

Two worlds colliding!




June 2, 2014

As many of you know, Mara often writes very personal letters that aren't always appropriate to publish here on the blog.  Sometimes she asks me not to publish a certain portion but most of the time, I just know what she wants published and what she doesn't.  Unfortunately, I had to cut out most of this letter because it was very personal.  I think sometimes she forgets she is writing a letter home and makes it out to be more of a journal entry.  It is great for us as her parents because we get to see what is really going on in that extraordinary mind that she has.  Not so great for the rest of you who read her blog just wanting to know what is going on in her world.  Anyway, I tried to leave in as much as  I could.  


Welpt! Have fun in Costa Rica!  I think it`s so funny how you always try to not tell me these things... but someone ALWAYS leaks it. It`s great.  Don`t worry about me!  I can`t possibly get trunky.   HAVE SO MUCH FUN!!!! (It is true.  We decided when she left that we wouldn't tell her when and where we are traveling.  Thought it might be easier that way since we know how much she LOVES to travel. But, yet, somehow it always gets back to her.  I think Jessie takes the blame this time.) 

This week has been uncommonly fantastic.  It seems like I say that every Monday... which would mean it`s relatively common.  But today is Tuesday.  So it`s fine. (Just when we think it can't possibly get any better for her in the mission field, it somehow does.  Every week is the best week of her life!)


After sacrament I saw the Jenson family!  What the weird?  EN SERIO!  I was like, "WHAT?  You just saw my family and took this same picture and now we`re taking one here in Chile on the other side of the world!"  So crazy!  Sister Jenson could not have been more inspired. She spoke with us three sisters for quite a while of the miraculous blessings that come to a family with a child on a mission. It was SO COOL to see the power of her testimony, to hear firsthand from a real live mom who speaks english about the blessings that she has been a witness to.  Sister Ireland was getting ready to leave that day and it was such an awesome experience for her to hear all of those things.  Plus, they all flew home together last night!  I sent a letter for you all with her to give to them so they give it to you. And today I sent two postcards in the mail of places I`ve been recently.  They`re cool places.  
And yesterday was Zone Conference.  The last one with the Essigs.  It was WHEW!  Powerful!  Afterwards we all got to shake hands with them.  I gave Sister Essig a big hug and she began to cry.  And then I shook President Essig`s hand and said only this "Gracias por enseñarme como cambiar mi caracter y no solamente mis acciones."   - "Thanks for teaching me how to change my character and not just my actions."  Because that is what he did.  I am so excited to see them when I go to BYU. (Mara's mission president will be released shortly and returning to Logan, Utah where they are from) To have reunions, invite them to my wedding, and watch the BYU- Utah State games at their house (they already invited us!  Hahahaha they`re so funny!)  
Anyway.  That was my week.  Send me pictures from Costa Rica por favor!  Y practiquen su español! Ni crean que les voy a hablar en ingles cuando regrese.
Sister Thomas


Picture taken on May 25, 2014 in Parker, Colorado.  Elder Jenson served in Mara's mission and is also related to our good friends, Eric and Debbie Jenson.  We went to hear him speak at his sacrament meeting.  

Picture taken on June 1, 2014 in Santiago, Chile. Elder Jenson returned to Chile on Monday, May 26 with his parents to tour the mission.  They ended up at church with Mara and took the very same picture one week later.  How cool is that!!!  Thank you, Sister Jenson, for giving my sweet girl a big hug from me!!! 


May 26, 2014

May 26, 2014

Mi querrida familia!
This week has been... SO CRAZY.  And what`s crazier is that your week was CRAZIER!  Sounds like you`re nearly reaching the limit of "stuff."  FELICIDADES to Brenna who is a freshman again!  Way to go Jess, movin`up to Sophomore year (aka the best of high school), and Justin in middle school.  Can`t even believe it!  And like... Justin has a deep voice... that`s not normal.  AND, WHAT THE AWESOME!!! WAY TO GO TEAM THOMAS!!!  I actually taught a lesson last night where I related putting a baptismal to date with running as a family.  The Spirit was powerful and the girl accepted a baptismal date.  It was cool.  And it`s cool to see you all in action.  Loved the pictures. 
This morning we went to Cerro Santa Lucia.  Look it up.  It`s sweet.  and there were some American tourists who told us today is Memorial Day.  We had no idea.  
How weird to see that picture with Elder Jenson... or... Brother Jenson?  Not sure.  It`s like my worlds are colliding.  I`m glad you enjoyed his talk. Hope you got to see a little piece of what my life is like.  That`s a pretty unique opportunity.  Anyway we`ve got big news!  Sister Ireland is going to finish her last week in the mission with us in trio!  It`s gonna be AWESOME!  Seriously a power week.  The three of us are going to kill it together.  Even though I may not be here much because I`ll be doing intercambios... but either way.  Should be fun.

FYI, Next week we have zone conference on Monday and P-day on Tuesday, just so you don`t think I`m dead. 

If Brother Spear really is coming, here are some ideas that I`ve thought of.  If it`s too late, don`t even think about wasting the money in a package.  
icy hot cream-bengay
new black inserts from good feet (41 cm)
those face wipes you sent me (I don`t remember what they`re called), that same company makes a cream in a little white tube that`s awesome... I would love that.
and of course, if he is going to bring those things, feel free to throw in fruit snacks (WELCHES PLEASE) and peach rings.

This week has been fascinating.  I came to this sector about a year ago and worked hard.  So hard.  And came back a year later to find that nearly every person with whom I worked is inactive.  I sort of died inside, wondering what I possibly could have done wrong.  I was so frustrated because everyone that saw me and knew me freaked out and hugged me and kissed me and all those things that Chilenos do... and then, when we had a powerful lesson and extended the commitment to go to church... they said "Absolutely Not."  Time and time again.  It was HORRIBLE. One night, I opened my scriptures to Jacob 5.  I read about how the Lord had worked so hard in His vineyard as well.  And how his dear plants, over time, became corrupted.  The Lord wept and asked His servant the same question that I had asked my companion and myself and my God, "What more could I have done for my vineyard?"  But several verses later, the servant responds "Leave it a little more."  And so I have been left here a little more.  And I know that we will see miracles.   I shared this experience the following day in a lunch with a family in the ward - the husband on high council, the wife the relief society president.  This Sunday, that husband was called as the new branch president.  He sought me out after the meetings and asked me "Sister, now do you know why you were sent back here again?"  I looked at him a bit confused.  He replied to my look:  "What more could I have done in my vineyard?  Leave it a little more?  We will work together sister.  And we will rescue EVERY SINGLE  ONE of those lost sheep."  You can imagine the spirit that we both felt in that private moment.   It is important that we always believe and remember the sacred promise the Lord has provided that "the field is white and ready to harvest."  It is already white.  And it is time to harvest.  May you see your "area" in the same way and may you harvest in the white field.
Sister Thomas

Monday, May 19, 2014

Renca

May 19, 2014

WELPT... You will never guess where I am... again. 
 I seriously cannot even believe it!  I´m BACK IN RENCA!  Same branch.  Same sector.  I´m going to be a sister training leader again, this time with Sister Ibarra.  Sister Ibarra is awesome.  We´ve worked together several times.  She got to the MTC the same day I did.  She has been seeing some serious success here in Jose Miguel Infante.  It´s definitely going to be interesting.  I know the streets, the people, the members, the old investigators, and even the recent converts because of the interchanges I´ve done here.  It´s going to be a little weird but  I´m pumped.  This change is going to only be for four weeks.  I have no idea what will happen after that.  Sister Ibarra leaves August 11th, which would have been my original release date.  I have a new official date,  September 23.  That means 3 more changes.  I´m the only sister that can choose if I am going to extend or not because of my "situation."  I have the option of extending until November 4th.  But I don´t think that´s what the Lord wants.  I may also have the option of extending into the middle of the change (October 13th), but that will depend upon President Videla.  I don´t think that´s what the Lord wants either.  For now, I am feeling really good about September 23rd even though it broke my heart at first.  It´s soooo soon.  Way too soon.  I just love being a missionary.  I know I always say that but I really do.  It´s the greatest joy that there can possibly be.  I can only hope to serve to the fullest of my abilities.  I am excited to work with Sister Ibarra because I know she feels the same way.  Not a second will go to waste. 
It was hard leaving my hijita and all of our hard work in Santa Maria.  But I am sure that the Lord has his purposes and that He knows exactly what He is doing.  Sister Alonso has sort of been left to direct the sector... as a trainee.  Sister Ostler will finish training her, but as I mentioned, she only has 4 weeks to finish up.  Santa Maria is going to be seeing some serious miracles.  


 I am now in one of the nicest homes in the mission.  This house is so awesome.  It´s got three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a nice kitchen, and a giant open area to study.  We have a patio in front, to one side, AND behind.  Pretty cool.  It gets cold, but I don´t think it will possibly get as cold as the Santa Maria house.

Lately, on our p-days, we pretty much just did shopping and internet because sometimes we had to travel really far to get to the good stores, but here we´re definitely going to do some fun stuff!  We have to take advantage of this time together close to Santiago!



Love you all so much!  I will see you real soon.

Hermana Thomas