Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Transfer, Training and Timalach's

It's transfer Tuesday.... I am staying in Lodi and Hna. Cardullo is coming from East Sac to join me as my new companion!!!! I am really excited, I love her and now she will be a Sister Training Leader too. We both kind of picture our moms jumping up and down (they are friends back home).  I must be honest, I am going to miss Hna. Pitcher so, so much. She is one of my best friends but I know she will do great in North Sac and that is where the Lord needs her to be!

MIRACLE!! Magda accepted the date of Feb 15th for baptism!!! Yahooo :) we are soo excited. She progressed leaps and bounds this week. She commented in Gospel Principles, Relief Society and at the fireside Sunday evening! She was talking about and inviting people to her baptism. We are so happy and the best part is, she really wants to make covenants with Savior. It's her desire now, not just our desire for her and that makes ALL the difference.

We were blessed to have training with President Martinez (Counselor of the Sacramento Mission Presidency). He is THE best. So funny. We learned a lot about contacting. We decided to go put into action what he taught us. We went to this Spanish market and immediately started going into a message of the Restoration and asking people about their prayers (although I must admit it feels more comfortable to say "hi. how are you today' or things like that) but It worked!! Within 15 minutes we had talked to 5 people, got 3 address' and made 2 appointments. It was such a wonderful experience.

Funny quote from teaching Ashley this week. We were talking about temples and how they are all over the world. Ashley then asked, "There is even a temple in Guatemala?" then I said, "Yes, I have been there!". Then she said, "Wow, was it a cute one?" haha. We went over the Plan of Salvation with the whole family and she asked us about 50 questions, no joke. She is the smartest 8 year old I have ever met!

We had a great charla fogonera (fireside) on Sunday!!! We focused on the importance of Visiting and Home Teaching. We had little workshops and it worked out great! I think it really got everyone excited and pumped up to do their visits. I think everyone was catching the vision that if we take care and look after one another we are following the Savior (Mosiah 2:17).  We even offered to help members make visits and they are starting to take us up on it! President Martinez came and spoke and the branch loved it. It was a special Sunday. Fun surprise---Hna Sharp one of my first companions came to the fireside.  Reunited and it feels so good.  It was so great to see her again.

Our cute little Brendita left for the MTC today to serve in Baltimore, Maryland. She gave a great talk on Sunday. I will miss her so much! We got to snag a quick pic with her (all of us missionaries in the branch) before she went to get set apart!  I will send you her address so the whole family can write her.  A valentine package would be fun for her too mom.  

Well I hope you all have a great week! Love and miss you all dearly! Los quiero mucho :)

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas
 Baby J Timalach
(Cutest boy ever next to my nephews)
 Charla Fogonera
Reunited with Hermana Sharp

Monday, January 20, 2014

Las Tiernas Misericordias

I just want to say to thank you to the best family. This week has been really hard with the things I have seen-- broken hearts and broken homes. I feel ever so blessed for our gospel centered home that I love and have. The spirit was there and everyone spoke with love. It truly is a blessing and something I yearn for here. Thank you for being the best parents. I know we aren't a perfect family, but the Lord truly has blessed us! LOVE YOU!  This week was a little difficult but at the same time we were so blessed. I decided to write down little tender mercies that I saw each day. I feel so blessed and grateful for the Lords hand in our work.

Our 16 year old investigator Maria said her first prayer out loud. So humble and thanked the Lord several times for sending her "these wonderful sisters to show me the path".

We went and saw Marilu and brought Hermana Cazares with us. She bore a powerful testimony of the divinity of our calling as missionaries. The Spirit filled the room as she told Marilu that we were directly sent from God to help her. Wow.

We read the Book of Mormon with Ashley (Timalach) and her friend was over. She read out loud to her and tried to explain what we were reading. Cutest thing ever.  Kevin (Timalach, 7)  now says a lot of the family prayers. The other night he said, "Que la Hermana Thomas puede comer las cosas que yo puedo". haha, so sweet.
Introducing the Book of Mormon to our investigator Alma. As she started to read a few lines, she looked up and said, "Wow. This is BEAUTIFUL". One of my favorite moments ever.

We have really been trying to talk with EVERYONE. Elder Ballard invited our mission to really go out of our way and contact at least 20 extra people a day. Thursday, Hermana Pitcher and I did our absolute best to talk with everyone and it was the best day ever! We had soo much fun, met so many people, and got some great referrals for other missionaries as well! We even did speed walking across the street, but don't worry, we did everything in a dignified manner :) haha. So we met this lady Juanita. We went back on Thursday and she said she was busy doing chores but that we could talk with her daughter. We went in and taught her, her mother, her daughter and her niece! The spirit was so strong and they want to learn more! They said they are catholic, but it never hurts to learn more about God and visit other churches :) They are GOLDEN!

We had been visiting la familia Rivas ever since I got to Lodi (so almost 5 months). They are less active. We really tried hard to get them to come back but they just haven't had the desire. Always believe, never give up on anyone.  On Sunday in walks Hermano Rivas and his son to sacrament meeting! Such a miracle and blessing. He also brought with him his friend from work, who we happened to contact during the week and randomly invited her to church!! The Lord works in mysterious ways but everything has a purpose!! It was so great to see the fruit of our labors from trying to talk to everyone!

I was also able to do exchanges here in Lodi with Hermana Crane. I love her so so much. I learned so much and we had an incredible day! We had so many great lessons. I also stayed in Lodi another day and Hermana Kennard came with me! We had a great day as well and had fun at English classes! (the details from exchanges are all from the miracles above).

Magda is still progressing... she is going through some hard things right now so we are hoping she will turn to the Lord even more. Please keep her in your prayers to overcome her challenges, and desire to be baptized. Love you all so much. Thank you for your love, support, examples, prayers and fasts. It means the world to me.

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas

 Exchanges with Hermana Sierra
Exchanges with Hermana Skidmore
Exchanges with Hermana Kennard

Monday, January 13, 2014

Miracles on Exchanges!

This was a fantastic week! 

January 6th we celeberated "Rosca de los Reyes". Its a tradition in Mexico. There is this huge bread sharped in a circle. Each person has to cut a slice and there are these little random dolls inside the bread. If your piece has a doll, you have to host the next party! It was really funny. They do this to remember the wise-men and the gifts they brought to the baby Jesus. We were able to celebrate it with the Lopez's, Rodriquez's, Nava's and Timalach. So funny.

I was able to do 2 great exchanges this week! First I went down to Manteca and I was with Hermana Sierra. It was a great day! We did a lot of teaching and finding and just spoke Spanish the entire day. She is so great and it would be so fun to serve with her someday!

Then I went down to Tracy with Hermana Skidmore! It was the best day ever! Oh how I have missed her. She updated me on everyone in East Sac and what happened after I left. We had such a miracle. So we went to visit this referral. Adrian. He went online and referred himself. We walked down to a subway and taught him. WOW. He is one of the most prepared people I have ever met. He has such strong desires to learn about his Savior and to change. He said that he has been to almost every church but hasn't found what he is looking for. Then he asked if we could help him find it. We said yes and testified, taught the Restoration and parts of the Plan of Salvation. He had so many great questions and we were able to answer all his questions.  The spirit testified that each answer was true.  It was so fun to teach and testify to him of my love for the gospel and watch him start to gain that desire. Hna Skidmore said he came to church yesterday too! I'm telling you... miracles always happen on exchanges!

Since I was on exchanges I don't know a lot about what happened in our area this week but everything is going great. We started English classes and are trying to use it as a finding tool. The Timalach's came and LOVED it. Magda is doing great, she is starting to talk about her getting baptized, loved church on Sunday and even went to a lesson with us (and Omar, we went and taught his sister) and she bore her testimony. We are hoping to give her a date for the end of Enero tonight! Please keep her in your prayers :)

We had interviews with President and Sister Lewis this week and they were great. They are so amazing, I truly admire and aspire to be like them.

A scripture that really stood out to me this week was 1 Nefi 17:50, "Si Dios me hubiese mandado hacer todas las cosas, yo podria hacerlas". What great faith he had! We must all strive to be like that. Through our faith and great works the Lord can help us to do anything and see miracles. I LOVE being a missionary!!

I am also so glad you had a great time with Hno. I forgot my camera today so I will have to send the pictures next week! sorry :( But I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas

Monday, January 6, 2014

Joy and Miracles 2014!

Cousin Ashley and Zach are married!  She looks so beautiful and happy.  Thank you for sending pics.  Give her my love.

Well we started church at 9am this week. Lets just say it's a whole new ball game. Waking people up for church is really fun haha. The Timalach's still came! This is a big deal, they are usually late for 1 o'clock church so it was a big deal that they showed up at 9:30 haha.

We have started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning as a family with the Timalach's. It is so great. We read slow and talk about things and ask questions. The spirit just filled the house and it was the best. Best thing ever was when we walked into their house and up on the wall they had the huge Family Proclamation to the World framed on the wall with the picture of the family from their wedding underneath it.

We had a really great Mission Leadership Council this week. We set the baptismal goal for the mission for the year 2014. Wow. It was one of the most powerful meetings. The spirit was soo strong and we all left with this huge excitement and determination. President shared 1 Nefi 16:28 and I love how it says "de acuerdo con la fe, diligiencia y atencion". Anything is possible with our diligence, faith and when we give the Lord our all.

Let me tell you of the biggest miracle of the week.  Hna Campos gave us a referral. We went to go contact her and knocked on the door.  This lady says, "Quien es?" we said,  "Somos las misioneras de la iglesia de Jesucristo...." then she said (through the door), "Oh, no las conozco" (I don't know you). I thought that was pretty funny. We just decided we would try to go back with Hna. Campos. Well on Sunday guess who came to church!? Maria, Hna Campos friend and referral! The members play the biggest parts in missionary work. Nothing would have happened without that invitation. We are going to start teaching her and her family tomorrow and are so excited!

Thank you for all your prayers, fasts and support. I love and appreciate you all. I hope you have a great week and continue to look for miracles. love you all!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Thomas

 Timalach's Family Proclamation
Spanish Missionaries in MLC

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's 2014 Already?

It was so great to Skype with you last week :) I love you all so much! I hope you all had a great week! Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2014. Let us all strive to really focus on missionary work and being a friend to those in need.

This week was great! Hermana Timalach is making a lot of progress. Hermano Velarde has been coming over with us and really helping us TEACH the restoration. She feels like she is really starting to understand the scriptures better and has more of a desire to learn. She is still preparing for baptism but doesn't feel ready yet. She really is ready, so we are just praying she will know it for herself. She did tell us she had a mini revelation the other day and KNOWS her faith is growing. She is so ready, but we are just helping her to feel the spirit and being patient. Hermano Timalach said one of the most humble prayers I have ever heard. I just wish you could all meet them. They are the best family ever. We love being with them and watching them grow TOGETHER in the gospel. There is nothing more beautiful. 

I have had the opportunity to review conference talks and I am learning so much. We are so blessed and I am so grateful we have a living prophet and apostles. The scripture of the week for me is Helaman 3:35 
No obstante, aayunaron y boraron frecuentemente, y se volvieron más y más fuertes en su chumildad, y más y más firmes en la fe de Cristo, hasta henchir sus almas de gozo y de consolación; sí, hasta la dpurificación y esantificación de sus corazones, santificación que viene de fentregar el corazón a Dios.
( 35 Nevertheless they did afast and bpray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their chumility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the dpurifying and the esanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their fyielding their hearts unto God.)

So Dulce (our less active 14 year old) has been having some struggles these past two weeks. We have been able to help the family out and added her mom Dalia as an investigator. She loves having us over and feels the spirit we bring. We were able to go over with the Elders and Hermano Ku and they gave her a blessing of comfort and the spirit was so strong. She came to church this week too. She is starting to notice that she needs to be the example for her kids and her heart is starting to soften. It is such a blessing.

We went over to the Lopez's Christmas eve and they gave us soccer jerseys with our names on them. What? So nice of them and the best present ever! After, as a family we all went to the park and played soccer. It was so much fun! Also, everyone loves the snowballs from Bob Midgley. We have been playing a lot of scatter ball with them as missionaries on p-days for sports. So fun. 

Have a great week!
Future missionaries---Timalach Family

Christmas with the Lopez Family

I have always wanted a personalized soccer jersey.