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.


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