Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feliz Navidad

I cant wait to Skype you soon! :) I will give you a brief summary of our week.

We acted out the Nativity with the Timalach's. BEST EVER. Sooo funny haha. Omar was Jose, Magda was Maria, Jayden was baby Jesus, Kevin was a shepherd, Ashley was the angel, I narrated and was a wise man and Hermana Pitcher was a wise man too. Don't worry, we filmed it! But after we talked about it and the spirit was strong and Ashley and Kevin wanted to us all about why they love Jesus and Christmas.

Sunday was incredible. I felt the spirit so strong and my heart was so full. Omar and Ashley got confirmed. They both were just glowing. Earlier in the week we had a lesson with Omar and Hermano Velarde on the priesthood. It was so powerful. I feel like we all came to better understand and appreciate the priesthood together. He kept saying, "I am going to do EVERYTHING I can to be worthy. I won't even drink soda. I want to bless my family". "Quiero mantenerme digno". Yeah, my heart just melted. I can't even tell you how much I love this family. He was able to receive the priesthood on Sunday :) This joy is so hard to explain. He was like a little giddy boy haha. 

Sunday Gabriela was confirmed. Her blessing was so powerful. She will be an example to her family and help bring them into the church. She said she feels like a new person. We also taught Gabriela about service and callings this week and immediately she said, "So when can I get a calling?" She has such a big heart and desire to serve. She went to Riverside to visit her parents for the week and asked us to come over and say a prayer with her to bless her trip. So cute.

We were able to do a lot of fun caroling this week and it really brightened up people's days. Our investigator Tere (I told you about her a while ago, she is a single mom with 3 children) loooved it and started recording us. She came with her children to the branch Christmas dinner and program. It was a night in "Belen" and everything was decorated like Belen, we sat on the floor with tents and ate and it was so cool. We were so happy she came. She is progressing but we are having a hard time getting her to church. Her teenagers Maria and Ruben come to mutual though, so we are working on it.

Oh and I forgot to tell you that last p-day I got to play tennis! It was THE BEST. I was a little rusty a first but everything came back. Some of the Elders played in high school so we all had a great time hitting for a few hours. Since then they got transferred so tennis probably won't happen any time soon, but that's ok! I am just glad we got to play!

I hope you all have a great Christmas as you truly ponder about the birth of our Savior. I am so grateful for him, this love, this life, his example and sacrifice. I love that we get to do our best to learn and be like him each day. What a blessing. Thank you for all the cards and gifts. I feel so blessed and loved. I am grateful that I get to go tell all of my Latinos in Lodi about my love for the Savior. Love you all! 

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas
Feliz Navidad
Nativity with the Timilach's
Night of "Belen" Bethlehem

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

White Christmas in Lodi!

Transfers happened....... HERMANA PITCHER AND I GET TO STAY TOGETHER IN LODI! :) We are so happy. This will be our third transfer together and we feel so blessed. Others are leaving in the zone which is always sad, but we go where the Lord needs us :) 

So let me just tell you about the BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE!!! First, I want to follow up on the Christlike attribute we were all working on this week. I really studied and practiced my patience. It was a great week and learned a lot. I feel like I understand patience a little more but while working on it I noticed I learned a lot about God's will. I love 2 Nefi 10:24. I really learned what it means to pray always. I experimented with this for a day straight and I was more humbled, more grateful and felt closer to the Savior then ever before. Constantly having a prayer in our heart and being able to express our desires to a loving Heavenly Father is such a blessing and gift. I came to better understand the Atonement, service and losing myself in the work. Who would of thought that I would have learned all of that from focusing on patience. I LOVE the scriptures!

Wednesday we had our zone temple conference and it was such a great day. You won't ever believe this, but my companion LOVES to sing, so she signed us up to sing. Hermana Pitcher, Sister Oliphant, Sister Langi and I sang, "Mary's boy child Jesus Christ" and it was really fun. I had a line of solo... haha I actually did it. It was fun and everyone loved our song. We had a little Christmas program with talents and then we were able to go to the temple and do a session with President and Sister Lewis. It was so great to be in the temple with them. I love the temple! It was much needed and I received the comfort, revelation and guidance I was seeking. Aren't we so blessed to have temples?

So Gabriela got baptized on Saturday. It was a beautiful day. The spirit was strong and Gabriela was radiating with joy. We had a great turn out from the branch members and that night she texted us and said it was one of the most special, happiest and best days of her life".

We were going to have the Timalach baptism Saturday night but it interfered with every church building having their ward Christmas party so we moved it to Sunday after church. Sunday morning we went over and made them breakfast and helped everyone get ready so they could make it to church on time! Sacrament meeting was great and powerful and then after we had the baptism! Can I just tell you that it was THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! I have never felt more joy. Ever. Alma 26:20 about sums it up. Omar had teary eyes, it has been amazing to see him change and become converted. Ashley was just beaming. After when she came out of the font she said, "Hermanas. I feel really happy right now". My heart just melted. I can't even tell you how much I love this family. It was also Omar's birthday. What better gift can you give the Savior then be baptizing and making a special covenant? It was just perfect. So Magda said the opening prayer and in her prayer she blessed that she would be able to follow the same path as her husband and daughter. After the baptism we felt prompted to invite her to be baptized! She said yes and is preparing for the beginning of January. We are so happy :). This family will be eternal and I can't wait to come back in a year and watch them be sealed in the temple. 

Ashley quotes, "You two are the best Elder girls ever", then in Spanish "Mom, for Christmas I don't want toys anymore, I want a Book of Mormon, the Bible, Doctrine and Convenants and all of the scriptures. Big ones, like the Hermanas" hahah. She is the cutest little 8 year old ever.

Hermano Ku took six of us missionaries in the branch to a senior living center and to carol. It was so fun and they were cute and funny ancianos. We had a great time and they loved having us!!

I am excited to Skype with you next week :) I hope you all have a great Christmas and really ponder what you can give the Lord. With all these baptisms, we are having a "White Christmas" in Lodi!  Love you all!

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas
Gabriela's Baptism 12.14.2013
Timalach Family Baptism 12.15.2013

Monday, December 9, 2013


This week was so incredible!!!! Seriously though, every week just gets better and better. How is this possible!?

So we had Mission Leadership Council and it was really good! We focused on simple and effective teaching. So President Lewis stood up and did a role play (a role play is when we kind of go through a lesson, someone pretends to be the investigator and the other the missionary), then he had the Assistant's do a role play. After he said, "Sister Thomas and Sister Pitcher, why don't you two come up in front of everyone and do a role play to demonstrate..." WHAT!? I was only a little nervous... haha. See if you know me, role plays are not my favorite thing. But I always learn so much from them and I always receive revelation so I just do it anyway. I'm working on LOVING them. So on the spot we did one and it turned out pretty good! I guess President forgot to call us and prepare us in time but it all worked out and I learned so much :)

Can I tell you how grateful I am for the wonderful branch members here? They are the best thing that has ever happened to me, Sister Pitcher and missionary work. The branch always want to help and have such strong testimonies. Brenda and Hermana Cardona came with us to visit Gabriela this week. Gabriela came to church!!!! We were late, but she made it. Her baptism will be Saturday morning! She is so ready and excited.

Let me tell you a funny story... so have you ever heard of the talk "the missionary next door?" well it sums up the Campos family. Ah, they are the greatest. So Isaac brings friends over (non members) and Hermana has church music playing. Then she went in the other room and called us and said, "Hey so Isaac is here with his friend Samuel. If you aren't in a lesson right now you should come over and watch a Mormon Message and teach him!" hahahah, isn't that the best thing you have ever heard? So we stopped by, watched a Mormon Message and had a little lesson with Isaac and his non member friend Samuel. It was so cool. We hope we can start teaching him soon!

The Timalach's got married this week! Oh, it was the best thing ever!!! They were so happy, we were so happy and a lot of members came and gave great support! It was such a testimony to me that marriage is ordained of God. It is part of his plan and they are on the path para seguir adelante y hacer lo que El quiere! Such a blessing. So this Saturday Omar and Ashley (8) are getting baptized. Magdalena (mom) is still praying and receive her answer. She has gone a whole 3 days without coffee. Please keep her in your prayers and pray for a miracle baptism with her this weekend. It would be so special if they all get baptized together!

My little Brendita got her mission call!!! She is going to the MARYLAND BALTIMORE mission, speaking SPANISH, leaving January 29th!! We are so excited for her. She opened her call after church yesterday in the gym with the branch, her family and the missionaries. I am going to miss her so much love, she really is one of my best friends but I know she will be such a great missionary. We will miss taking her out teaching with us though!

I hope you all had a great week, I love hearing from you. Thank you for your prayers and love. I want to invite all of you to choose a Christlike attribute this week and do all you can to emulate it. I am doing this as well. Next week we can report on how it went and how we grew and noticed changes. LOVE YOU!!!!

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas
 Brenda receiving her mission call
Timalach Wedding Day

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Miracles

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I don't have too much to write since I just emailed on Thanksgiving but in the past few days some really cool things have happened!  We had a great Thanksgiving! We visited with the Ku's, had a feast with la familia Cortes, went to downtown Lodi and took some fun pics and just relaxed, it was really nice.

La familia Timalach is doing so great! They are getting married this week! :) We are soo excited!!!! We had some really powerful lessons with them on the spirit and prophets. They are SO prepared and SO ready to make this special covenant. My heart is overflowing with love and gratitude.  Gabriela wasn't able to make to church because of work :( So we are moving her date back a week. She is so close though!  

We had an awesome miracle happen yesterday! We went to visit la familia Hernandez (a part member family we have been working with for a few months) and Alex was there! We invited him to church and he actually came and sat right next to us! The testimonies were so great and powerful. I think he was really touched by the spirit. After sacrament meeting, before he went back home we invited him to be baptized this month and he said yes!! WHAT!? It was soo cool. So we are really going to focus on him and help him get his life to where it needs to be so he can follow the Savior and be baptized. Such a blessing.

We had another exchange this week! I went into English work for the day with Sister Parkinson. WOW. English work is sooo different but we had a great day! We had some really powerful lessons. The spirit was so strong in our lesson with Anne and I feel like we were really able to listen and be guided by the spirit to know what to say and promptings popped into my mind and she was able to open up and let us help clear her doubts. Sister Parkinson is incredible, so humble and a great and powerful teacher. It was great to see Hermana Sharp again. Her and Hermana Pitcher had a great day in Lodi!

D&C 50:41,44  is my favorite scripture of the week:  41 Fear not, little bchildren, for you are mine, and I have covercome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath dgiven me; 44 Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the agood bshepherd, and the cstone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this drock shall never efall.  I know this is true.  He is there for us and we can build on Him and receive the comfort and strength para seguir adelante!

Can you believe its already December? Time is just flying by!!! So crazy, I can't even believe it. I feel so blessed. I love my life, it couldn't be any better. I love this time of year as we get to really focus on the Savior, his birth and the many mighty miracles that He performed. We are still seeing so many miracles today. What a blessing!! I love you all and hope you have a great week! :) 

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas
Thanksgiving with the Ku and Cortes Families
Hermana's Parkinson, Sharp, Thomas and Pitcher