Monday, November 17, 2014

I Made It! I'm Back On My Mission!

1st Day Knoxville TN Mission
Sister Weight My First Companion
My Mission Pres. and His Wife

Hey everyone!! I'm finally back on my mission!!! Can you believe it!? Tomorrow will be my week mark! Alrighty then...Just so you all know, I can read emails during the week, I just can't reply till Monday, so....WRITE WRITE WRITE!! And for snail mail, I should be here for at LEAST 12 if not 18 weeks....
                                                   Sister Thomas 
                                              19440 midwest cir. #11 
                                                 Abingdon, VA 24211
Alrighty then...I'm going to give you a sneak preview of my lil moments before the airport and from then on:
Tuesday morning I just couldn't wait any longer (on & off sleeping) and woke up officially at 4:30 AM. I went to get ready and came back into my room to see Julianna springing up from the bed and admitting she couldn't sleep either. Everybody else woke up around 5. Papa Don came and once we got everything in the car, Phillip came and gave his last goodbyes. 6:20 a.m - went and picked up my cousin, Jingyi. 
7 a.m. - arrived at airport. On the way there, the butterflies in my stomach kept getting stronger and stronger. As we checked in my 2 suitcases, one of them was one lb over the limit. The lady checking them in was really nice and let it slide. SO GRATEFUL! 
7:20a.m - started doing many pictures. The kids sang their "you are my sunshine" parody that goes like, "You are my sister, my oldest sister, you make me happy when you're with me! you'll never know sis, how much I'll miss you, when you leave on your mission today!" My dad then sang his own parody, and mom could barely sing her parody through her tears. It made me feel so loved! Jingyi then wished me farewell in Chinese then translated in English! Was super cool!  
8a.m - went through security waving goodbye to my family the whole time.  I finally made it to my gate, checked my rolling carry - on, then waited for boarding. 
8:30 - started boarding. WINDOW SEAT! WHOOOOO!!! 
Took off at 9, was a 45 min flight. 
10:15 - found next gate. waited there for two hours. Finally about 12:00 the 3 Elders and 1 sister from the Mexico MTC arrived at the gate. Apparently their flight was 45 min late. I went over and greeted them. I became quick friends with the Sister. We were all talking so much we missed them calling our zone. Good thing it was assigned seating! We walked onto the palne, and there was barely anybody on it! AKA - us two sisters could sit next to each other! YAY! We talked the entire flight! 
1:30 - arrived in TN, Mission pres and wife with some Elders met us right out of security. TINY AIRPORT! We all went to Baggage claim. Everyone got all their luggage vs me who got two out of the three. My black one was mission with all my medicine, vitamins, contact stuff, etc. In the end we realized someone else accidently took mine mistaking it for their own. They lucily came back and we switched out our luggage. Thank goodness for tages with numbers on them! We waited for the next flight of missionaries to arrive, then piled in to the vans. I rode with a sister who had already been out for 11 months. Us two got along great! We made it to the mission office, gave some info, took some pictures, then headed to the mission home. HUGE!  We all ate dinner and talked a lot. And you know what? I wans't shy! I fit right in! I was amazing~
The Pres. had one on one interviews with each of the new missionaries, then after showeres we all went o our designated areas to sleep. All the sisters were upstairs in one room; and all the elders were in the basement in one room. There was this one sister who was confused how to respond to a certain way people might act. Sister Orton (11 month sister) told her to role paly with ehr. Sis. Orton acted like a person at the door offending the LDS religion. The other sister just started at her unsure of what to do. In the end I became the missionary in the ole playing. I testified and taught about Christ and HF being one in purpose (like i did in the MTC) then bore tesitmony of the Book of Mormon (BOM). The spirit was so strongin the role playing that I even started to cry! It was amazing to see that even when just role playing, when bearing testimony of truth, the spirit will be there and back you up! 
Going to bed that night, the sister that I met up with at the Atlanta, GA apirport said to me, "Thank you for coming up and talking to us. It helped a lot!" That meant a lot to me! 
I had a hard time sleeping. 1 - outta excitement. 2 - I had such a dry throat I coulndn't swallow. I woke up at 5 and got some water. I got back to bed thirty min later. I prayed that my throat would be better for transfer day.

Wednesday  - I woke up and I could swallow!!! Was so amazing! Just something so little, God took the time to help me with! We all ate breakfast, got our stuff into the vans, then walked over in the Brisky chilled TN air to the stake center only a few blocks away. We all gathered in to the relief society (RS) room and went over different rules and regulations. There were two different meetings. WE started our second meeting around 11am. We finally found out who our new comps were and where we were going to serve. I was the second one called up and my new comp is.....SISTER WEIGHT! As soon as we walked up to the front everyone was like, "They look like sisters!" And we do! haha! Arbingdon, VA is where we were called to! 2 1/2 hour drive! At the end of the meeting, our trainers went to the chapel while we took pictures with the mission pres and wife (pres and sister Griffon). 
The third meeting the greenies came in to the chapel and everyone's companions were named off and where they were going to serve (transfer meeting). Eventually my comp and I got my stuff and loaded them into a member's car and drove 2 1/2 hours to our apt. Sis Weight has already been serving in this area for 3 months (as long as I was in MS). As soon as our apt door opened, my jaw dropped! Our apt is HUGE! There's an upstairs, kitchen, dining room, living room, corner bathroom. Then upstairs - 1 bedroom with closet ( my clothes), study room with two very nice study desks and  more with closet (her clothes)  and bathroom. It's amazing! There were things left here from the other sis missionary that I got. 
I didn't have time to unpack bc they don't make transfer day PDAY. It just stays on Mondays. As soon as I put some warm clothes on (freezing outside!)  then drove off to an appt with an investigator named Gene. We brought the ward mission leader with us and had the lesson outside. He was really kind and gave me an extra coat n gloves. We taught the word of wisdom (W.O.W) lesson. it went really well! Sis. Wright and I were teaching like we had been teaching together for years! I spoke up a lot, and we were backing each other up, was just amazing! The spirit was very strong! I shared some personal experiences and he was so tuned in to them that he was even leaving forward - real intent! He then spoke up and admitted he was a strong willed man and could stop; and he wanted to and be obediant to God. That made us real happy! Just to be perfectly clear and simple, I asked, "from now on, will you follow the WOW?" This was after finishing the rest of the lesson. He siad he would. YAY! It was really fun though, bc as we were pulling out, we saw Gene light a cigerette. We figured he was starting the next day. :)
After Gene we went to Beverly's house. She is a widowed old woman living by herself who has been a member for 3 1/2 years! I guess missionaries are always over there with her. We read some of Mosiah with her and had fun talking. 
I got to bed around 11pm.

Thursday - I did really good and woke up as soon as our alarm went off at 6:30. 
9:30 - left for Feeding america (soup kitchen we help out with every thurs). 
12 - At lunch with Beverly and watched a mormon message video. 
1 - did comp study at apt. I then came to notice I had a severe head cold. I couldn't breath, my whole head was congested and it was hard for me to focus. 
After all the fun stuff we went tracting. Everyone here is nice whether or not they wanna hear the message! 
Got a dinner to the Paffords by the Coopers (She's only 22, married and prego! THAT'S ONLY ONE EAR OLD ER THAN ME! Crazy crazy!!!) 

Friday - My comp makes the best smoothies!!! 
10 am - district meeting! There'[s only one church building AND SO MANY PPL SO FAR AWAY! My comp says that it's almost like a branch instead of a ward bc there aren't that many ppl.  WELL NO WONDER! They have to drive a whole universe away! District Meeting was really good. 
Afterwards we went to Shawns house. wreaked with smoke!! yuck! Even though we were outside, I STILL couldn't breath! Shawn = strong accent, funny, already a member, probs with drugs and smoking. Wants to improve.
We later went and saw H.G = funny, older man in old folks home, special needs. He loved telling us about the ppl there - what they do and what they should / shouldn't do. 
Next was Suzy=  such a sweet heart! strong accent too! 

Saturday - Sister Conference b4 comp study. It's where all the sisters in the mission get on a conference call and our mission mom shares a message with us. Was really neat! Apparently they do that the first sateruday after every transfer (every 6 weeks).
For lunch we went to a member's hosue. We went to Kroger's (grocery store) afterwards to get some cough drops for me. We saw Bro. Lee there. He bough some flowers for us and when he found out it was my birthday the next day, he asked me what my fav cake was. I said red velvet. Apparently that was his too. 
We went tracting on a really rich rd. There was a house that looked like a senate's house! HUGE!
We went to dinner at the Stake pres's house. SPAGHETTI!!! After dinner, the wife drove us and her three kids to the ward halloween bonfire an our mission leader's (ML) home / barn. There were some hay rides, sweets, hot coco, bonfire and lots of members! 
When we got back home / apt I got a package with the extras I couldn't fit in my suitecase. YAY! 

Sunday / MY 21ST BIRTHDAY!!! - As soon as we woke up, My comp said Happy Birthday! I got all ready, even put foundation on! By my study desk, I saw a paper colored saying "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER THOMAS!" I felt so loved! I grabbed a crassaunt and brownie (that Bro. Lee dropped by the night before) along with my vitamins and we ran out the door. It was so hard not shouting out it was my birhtday...but I'm a sister now so I need to keep my composure and there are more important things anyways. 
After ward council my comp and I were door greeters. H.G sat with us. I got to say the opening prayer for Sacrament Meeting. During Sacrament, I prayed that someone would remember it was my bday and say Happy bday. During the second part of the sacrament, H.G leaned over and said, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" I tell you...Heavenly Father (HF) is amazing! I know He's watching over and loves me very much! The meeting was the primary program! 
Gospel Principals was intense! We figured out that Ratpure meant the translating in the twinkle of an eye during the milinium. 
RS was so amazing! The spirit was very strong! The topic was faith. I wasn't planning on sharing, but the spirit was so strong that I neded up sharing my mission / back / faith story / testimony. 
For my bday lunch we went over to Bro. Lee's house. He made us chips and salsa (both homemade). Then 3 diff types of bread samples with butter. DELICIOUS! Finally lunch rolleda round. We ate pork sandwhiches with rice & muchrooms! Dessert = bite of peach cobbler and bite of cherry pie! YUMMM!! 
After lunch we went back did our studies. 
For my bday dinner we went over to the Granadoes. Mexixan dinner!! yay! And they made a full cake for me and gave me presents! SUPER cute family! 
Afterwards we went to someone's house to do missionary work with Sis. Granadoes, and when we went up there, apparently the mom's daughter tried to break in with an Axe, and the mom had called the police. So she was scared for our life, so we were scared for our life, so we left immediately. YIKES! 

Monday / today - did cleaning of apt, laundry, and studies. Now at church, writing letters, and emailing. LOVE YOU ALL!

Well, makes sure to write. Sorry if the words in here are scrambled. I don't have much time to email, and I have a lot to write today! Pictures will be in seperate emails! Please send me lots of letters, emails and pictures!
From Ms. Southern Tennesee,
Sister Thomas

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