Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011

My Dearest Family and Friends that I love SO MUCH!!!!
I'm so glad you got my package :) I can't wait for you to open your presents on Christmas! I'm so grateful to the Laurie Family from my ward that dropped it off on their way to Arizona. They are a really cool family and Brother Laurie is a Ward Missionary. So the snow has stayed and the temperature is slowly dropping (but more at a steady rate) I've pretty much gotten used to not having any feeling in my toes. The sun doesn't rise until about 8am or so and it sets around 4:30pm!!! Crazy. Sometimes it makes me tired earlier because by the time 7pm comes around it feels like it's 10pm. So last week I know I mentioned that we aren't allowed to hold babies. Some people are wondering why. Well we're told in the White handbook that we aren't allowed "Because of increasing legal complexities, be extremely careful around children...Avoid any behavior that could be misunderstood or could appear to be inappropriate, including tickling, changing diapers, holding children, and allowing children to sit on your lap. Never babysit children." Super sad eh? In the last couple of weeks our ward has had 4 new babies born!!! They are adorable!!!!
The following story is not meant to worry or concern anyone, but to testify of the power of Priesthood Blessings. I was the personal recipient of a miracle last week. On Tuesday, during our lunch break, I was curling my hair. I somehow dropped the curling iron and quickly went to grab it. In the process I jabbed my extremely hot curling iron into my right eye. The pain was instant and very intense. Immediately I set my curling iron down and ran into the washroom to look in the mirror and see the damage. I couldn't open my eye and the pain was overwhelming. I immediately dropped to my knees and poured out my heart to my Father in Heaven asking that the pain go away and that I would be okay. I sat on the floor of the Bathroom sobbing for a few minutes. I knew I needed help from someone and I needed help now. I pulled myself off the floor and went towards the bedroom to get Sister Jones. "Sister Jones?..." I explained to her what happened and went back into the washroom. She ran to the kitchen to get me some ice. I sat on the floor sobbing, not finding any relief from the pain. Sister Jones knelt next to me feeling helpless. Finally I spoke up, "I need someone to help me." She asked if I wanted her to call Sister Campbell (our Mission President's wife in charge of medical) or Elder Graul (Our District Leader). I decided on Elder Graul. She left the bathroom and called him. We met up with them at the Chapel where Elder Stanke anointed and Elder Graul sealed the anointing. Part of that blessing went as follows; "... Your Heavenly Father is pleased with your Faith and that you'd seek help from the Priesthood first...You will be blessed as you continue to seek help... Your eye will be healed as you rely on the Holy Ghost and exercise Faith. Your Heavenly Father cares about you and wants you to continue to serve... You are a Stalwart Daughter..." While the four Elders had their hands on my head and were giving me a blessing I felt no pain. After the blessing I was able to open my eye just enough for Elder Stanke to look at it, "You definitely burned it. You can see the burn across your eyeball." We called our Mission President, President Campbell, and explained what happened. He told us to either call a member doctor or go to the emergency room. He asked, "Call your District Leader and ask for a blessing." "Already did, President." Sister Jones explained. "We did that before we called you." "That it great. Sisters are always good at calling on the priesthood first." Elder Stanke then called Brother Butts from his ward (He is a Eye Doctor) and we drove there for him to look at it. When Brother Butts looked at it he seemed very concerned, "You burned 2/3rds of your Cornea. I don't know if you will completely get sight back in that eye." I was a little heartbroken but I remembered the words of the blessing and I had no doubt that everything was going to be okay. He gave me some eye drops and asked me to come back then next day. We went back to our apartment, the pain still intense. I called Brother Butts and asked if their was something I could do for the pain and he got me a prescription. Finally by 10pm I was able to fall asleep with out pain. Before I did, I prayed and put all my trust in the Lord that I would wake up and be able to see in the morning. Morning came and my eyes opened without any hesitation. I could see!!!! The gray burn that had been across my eye and blocked my vision was gone and the pain was no more. We went back to see Brother Butts and he was amazed at how well I could see. I was seeing 20/40 the day after burning 2/3rds of my cornea! Elder Stanke and Elder Graul had dinner over at the Butts and Brother Butts told them that he honestly didn't think (medically speaking) that I would be able to see out of that eye again. He told them that a miracle took place. I'm so grateful for the power of the Priesthood and the blessing it is to have it in our lives. The following scripture means more to me now than it ever did before; 2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith not by sight." Prayers are answered. Faith can move mountains. Miracles have not ceased. The Power of Priesthood Blessings is real! Psalms 146:8 "The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind...the Lord loveth the righteous." I feel so blessed! This whole experience has been a faith building one for sure. Thank you for your continued prayers. I'm so grateful to be a missionary serving at this time. The Lord is mindful of each of us. My prayers are with you all back home as well. God Bless!!!
I love you all so much,
Sister Leanna Thompson

November 28, 2011

My Dearest Family and Friends,
Hello Everyone!!! How was Thanksgiving? I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday. Thanksgiving day was just like any normal Thursday for me. We had District Meeting and as a District went to Red Robin for a Thanksgiving Feast. We did service at St. Joseph's Hospital as usual and did teaching as normal. It was a good day. Canadians think Americans are crazy with their Black Friday sales. Everyone was asking Sister Jones and I if we were sad we were missing out on that (not that we weren't with family for Thanksgiving).
Our progressing investigators, Geno and Tolga, are progressing quite well. :) We taught them on Saturday and Tolga asks some really sincere questions. Tolga's Birthday was Friday and we bought him a candy bar. He was pretty excited about it. Also, one night Tolga texted us and asked, "What's it called again when you get a sign from God?" "Revelation or an Answer to your prayer" We explained. "Oh okay, I think I got one." He then texted us a story that is as follows, "I've been praying before I sleep. So one time I was watching a movie on my computer and it was working fine, but suddenly the computer broke and down and it went black. It wouldn't turn on for 30 minutes or so. I had the thought that I could pray and it would be fixed, so I started praying (I asked to fix my problem) when I was done it felt really warm around my body and the computer miraculously turned on. It was kind of scary, but cool. I don't know it that's a revelation though. It could have been coincidence." You can imagine how excited Sister Jones and I were to read the experience he had. We explained that our Heavenly Father cares about even the little things we think are important in our lives (there are no coincidences) and that the warm feeling he had was the Holy Ghost. Tolga responded, "Wow, that's pretty cool. Thank you!" He sent us one last text as we said Good Night, "Ok, I'm gonna pray then go to sleep. Good night :)" Tolga is such a great kid. It's been great to see both Geno and Tolga's progress and hear about the Holy Ghost testifying in their lives. Geno has told us that every morning before he starts his car he prays and after he is done praying he doesn't feel alone anymore. He said that he can feel someone in the car with him and it's very comforting. It's so wonderful to be a witness to the Gospel changing lives. I love being a missionary!
Sister Jones and I have a goal to visit every family in the ward before Christmas and send a Christmas message with them. I really love this ward and each day it feels more and more like home. It's sad to think that as missionaries we are kind of nomads. Picking up and moving about every six weeks or so when we get a phone call saying to do so. I joke with Sister Jones that we are not only nomads, but hunters and gatherers. We "hunt" them and then "gather" them into wards. :) I love this work! I love getting the youth more involved in missionary work and seeing their testimonies strengthen as they witness lives change. I love being able to teach Gospel Principles after being asked to teach as you are walking into the classroom (this has happened about 3 times now. It's a good think Sister Jones and I teach well together and know how to teach by the Spirit.) I think the hardest part about being a missionary is not being able to hold babies or children. The Beaumont ward has some of the cutest babies and I just want to hold them so much. Dear friends and family, someone better have a baby right before I come home or right after so that I can just hold them for hours. That's all I ask ;) Please make it happen!
Well I love each of you so much! Continue to put your trust in the Lord and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths! Make the most of the Christmas Season.
I love you all!!!
Sister Leanna Thompson

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

My Dearest Loved Ones,

I finally feel like a Canadian Missionary. It is COLD!!!! Last Saturdayit hit -22 C with the windchill it was around -32 C (Cold!!!!). I have been wearing my thermals under my tights, plus socks and some big boots I bought when I first arrived. My big coat from Landsend is my Best Friend (Thanks Devan and Becci!)
I'm sure everyone is excited to hear the update on our wonderful Investigator Geno. Well, we met with him last Friday and he brought his son. We taught them both and told his son, Toga, about the Restoration. It was wonderful! Toga was really excited to learn more and Geno was beaming to have his son there. He was a very proud dad. The next day we met with them both again and Geno quit drinking coffee!!!! :) So excited. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with them and then invited Toga to get baptized. He said Yes!!! Geno was so excited. We extended a baptismal date with them both for December 17th. They have been praying together and reading the Book of Mormon together. During lessons as we will be explaining a principle to Toga that Geno already learned he will testify to his son and teach his son about it. It's so great. Now they both have a support system at home. They also both came to church Sunday.
I made a fun connection with a ward member this week. It's a couple that served their mission in Las Vegas . They heard about the "Bird Man" in Allamo (uncle Ron) but never met him. Then Sister Portsmouth asked if I was related to any Thompsons in Spanish Fork other than my immediate family. I explained no, but asked their name. "Do you know a Chris Thompson?" "Yes!!!" "He is one of the missionaries that taught me when I got baptized. He confirmed me!" It was so cool to make the connection. She showed me a picture of him and sure enough, it's Chris Thompson. She's stayed in pretty good contact with him too so that was really neat. I have attached a picture from her baptism as well as us so you can see. :) It's definately a small world in the church, but as a missionary, my goal is to not make it so small ;)
Well, I love you all!! I hope all is going well with everyone. Thank you so much for your emails everyone! I love each of you so much and wish I had more time to email each of you. Expect Mail soon.

Love Eternally,
Sister Leanna Thompson

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Hello my loved ones,

Well this week has been crazy! I'm going to try and remember everything so I can let in on everything that is happening in Beaumont . It finally snowed. The first snow fall of the year was on Thursday (only about an inch if that and it hasn't stayed.) It's getting colder though.
Let me start with our wonderful progressing Investigator Geno. We taught him a couple times this week. At one of our lessons we read with him 1 Nephi 8 (Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life). It was such a great experience. As we read we applied the story to him. He told us that he wanted to get baptized with his family (but none of them are taking the lessons right now. They aren't quite ready to.) As we read the account of the Tree of Life I pointed out to Geno that Lehi partook of the fruit before any of his family and after he did then Sariah, Sam, and Nephi partook. We likened that to him and explained that he is like Lehi, he should partake of the fruit (be baptized) first then he can share it with his family. It was wonderful. He looked at us and said, "I want to get baptized. When is the soonest that I can?" That was like music to a missionaries ears. :) We extended him the date of November 26th and explained that he would have to give up coffee completely for 2 weeks before he could get baptized. (He is yet to give it up). He was very excited to get baptized. The next time we met with him we talked about the commandment, Follow the Prophet. We showed him a clip of President Monson's closing remarks at the last conference. The whole time he watched he just smiled and nodded his head. After we talked about President Monson and Geno said, " I know he is the prophet." We showed him some pictures from the Conference Ensign and when he saw the Salt Lake Temple he was blown away. He just held it in his hands and stared at it. It was so great to be able to introduce him to the prophet and the apostles. We had another lesson planned with him later in the week, but when we called to confirm he had to cancel. He said, " I can't come today because I got the job to lay the tile in the temple. Have you seen this building?! It is so beautiful. This is the nicest tile I've ever worked with!" Sister Jones and I were so excited for him. It's not everyday that your investigator cancels your appointment because they are working on the temple. :) Well on Sunday we called to confirm him coming to church. We asked him how he was doing with coffee and there was a long pause on the phone, "I drank coffee yesterday and Friday." He sadly told us. My heart ached. :( I told him, "Geno, we understand it's very hard to quit, but we want you to know we have been praying for you and we believe you can do it. However, because you drank coffee we have to push your baptismal date back." He was devastated. We were devastated. But we knew that this would be the best thing to motivate him to quit. You can really tell how dedicated a person is by if they can give up those bad habits. We will be setting a new date with him this week.
There is a Less Active family in the ward. Her name is Cindy and she is a single mom. She has two kids, Destiny (4) and Beau (2). They are so cute. Well we've had another family (The Purnells) in the ward fellowship them and we stopped by their house last night to share a message. They have 2 kids the exact age and gender as Cindy's. When we asked the Purnells if there was anything we could do for them they said, "yes, can you play Santa Claus." I was a little confused by this and they explained, "We know Cindy probably doesn't have a lot of money or time to get Christmas presents this year so we had our kids help pick out presents for them." Their little girl and boy then went to the table and grabbed a doll and some toy cars/ planes. Sister Purnell turned to her kids, "Give them to the missionaries." The little girl brought us the doll, but the 2 year old boy had the hardest time giving us the cars/ planes. When he finally did he just cried. It was one of the most tender moments. Then their little girl turned to her mom and said, " Mommy, I feel really good inside but I want to cry." The love this family had for another family that didn't have much, was so tender. We went over thinking that we were teaching the Purnell's but the Purnells were teaching us. What Charity and love they showed. Then, to add to it, in conversation, somehow it was mentioned that we didn't have any blankets (don't worry family, I have the sheets and one fleece blanket that I brought with me- I'm fine, so no worries.) They immediately said, "You don't have more than that?! We can give you blankets." Sister Purnell stood up and went to the linen closet and pulled out a blanket. Brother Purnell said, "We can't give them that ratty old thing. We will buy them 2 blankets tomorrow." We insisted that we were fine, but they wouldn't let us say no. As Sister Jones and I left their house we were in awe by their sincere generosity. This family is such an example of the pure love of Christ. We talked about it on the way to our next appointment and we realized that we are representatives of Jesus Christ. We literally wear His name over our heart. Why people give us their best food, dessert, or blankets is because it's a way for them to serve Christ. Just like the wise men gave Christ their best gifts, so do many of these members. It was a great conversation and learning experience. I'm really excited for the Christmas season and the spirit that the season brings.
Well I love you all! I hope this email finds everyone well. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Love, Sister Leanna Thompson

November 7, 2011

Dear Loved Ones,

Hello from Canada !!! How is everyone doing? It was so good to hear from each of you at different times. This last week was an interesting one. Not quite as successful as the previous week, but we need to stay humble right?
So the Temperature has dropped. No snow yet (which is super surprising but I'm not complaining). It got to -9 C this week! Pretty cold. I think that's in the 20's. Either way it's cold (and just beginning). Also, yesterday was Daylight's savings. This is the one day in the mission that missionaries look forward to like Christmas (the one day you get to sleep in and it's okay.) Well, Sister Jones and I have been really excited for it and then Sunday came. We woke up at 6:30am got ready and were out the door and headed to our Ward Mission Leader's house at 9:20am for our meeting. Just as we were getting to his house we got a text from some Elders in our Zone, "Daylight's Savings! Enjoy your extra hour!" Turns out we were an hour early to our meeting! We totally missed out on our one opportunity to sleep in. Bummer!!! We had a good laugh about it.
We taught Geno three times again this week. :) He is progressing well. We are hoping to have him for sure decide on a date this week. Something cool is he might get to work on the tile in the entry of the Edmonton temple which they are renovating. He was really excited about that and said that the tile they are using is the nicest tile he has ever seen. My trainer went to a leadership training this week so on my one month mark in the mission field I got to spend it with Sister West and Sister Westover who were in the MTC with me. It was so much fun. We also saw a miracle. Sister Westover and her companion had street contacted this lady at a Bus stop named Sophia. They had gotten her number and she was super interested. Well, when they went to call her they couldn't find her number anywhere. They were so discouraged and prayed for a miracle. Well when Sister Westover, West and I were street contacting we ran into Sophia again! It was AMAZING!!! We got her number again and talked more. She is super interested and the sisters will be meeting with her this week. It's great to see God's hand in our lives.
Sister Jones and I also made contact with a woman named Cindy Blake. She was baptized when she was 18 but fell away from the church. She isn't married, but has 2 kids and has recently moved to Beaumont . She googled the church and we got in contact with her via her phone number. We went and stopped by and it was a great experience to talk to her. She has had a lot of struggles that have humbled her and she realized the church brought her peace. We are helping her come back to church and it's great to see her desire.
So a funny story, Sister Jones and I's dinner appointment Saturday never got back to us so we were left on our own. We decided to go to the food court and eat at the mall. We walked up to the automatic door and it didn't open. I was so confused by this. Then we noticed that there were no cars in the parking lot. Turns out the Mall closes at 6pm on Saturdays. What the junk?! What's up with that? So we went to Taco Bell and ordered food. When I went to pay the guy said, "Only Cash or Debit." We didn't have either so we had to leave there. We stopped by Wendy's and it seemed that everyone who only had credit and couldn't eat at Taco Bell was at Wendy's/ The line was so long and we had to get to an appointment. We left unsuccessful. I remember coming out of Wendy's and turning to Sister Jones and saying, "I just want to eat!!!!" However, we went to Denny's after our appointment and it turned out to be a blessing (I love French Toast!).
Our Relief Society Lesson this Sunday was wonderful. The topic was "Love thy neighbour (spelled the Canadian way) as thyself." As we discussed how to love our neighbours the teacher finally said, "Do you love yourself as you would your neighbour?" It was such a thought provoking question. Often we are so caught up in serving others and being kind to others, are we ever kind to ourselves?
I would like to pose a question, Why do we do Missionary Work? Read Alma 29:9-10. My favorite part is in verse 10 where it says, "...then do I remember what the Lord has done for me." We do missionary work to remember how blessed we are. That is why I'm out serving right now. I realized that the Gospel has blessed my life so much and I wanted to share it with others so that they can know. As I share my testimony about the Gospel I am continually reminded about what the Lord has done for me. So, I encourage everyone reading this to write down at least 5 things the Lord has done for you or how the Gospel has blessed your life and then share at least one point with someone else this week (preferably not of our faith). Then let me know about it.
I love you all so much! God be with you 'til we meet again. The Church is True!!!
Sister Leanna Thompson

October 31, 2011

My Dear Family and Friends,

Hello everyone!! Happy Halloween :) Because it's Halloween, today is a non-proselyting day. So after our dinner appointment tonight Sister Jones and I will have an additional 3 hours of our PDay to write letters. I hoping to get many out, so expect some coming your way. :) Also, because it's Halloween Sister Jones and I decided to dress up. I'm Sister Jones today and she is Sister Thompson. We also dressed like each other and it's quite funny.
Normal Selves
Halloween Switch

It's quite entertaining to go tracting with everyone's Halloween decorations. Knocking on someone's door with a skeleton hanging next to you. I was kind of tempted to say something like, "Hi we're missionaries and we want to tell you that there is life after death and that our bodies won't become like this skeleton you have hanging on your door, but that it will be resurrected and you will live again." Ha ha Good times. I actually love tracting and we found out this week that if I'm having a bad day Sister Jones just has to take me tracting and I'll be happy again. That happened earlier this week. We were having no success with our referrals or appointments (people not showing up) and I got pretty discouraged. Sister Jones said, "Well, the next thing on our list is tracting, are you up for it or do you want to stop by members?" I said "Let's go tracting" and after the first 2 doors I was my happy bubbly self again. I think I must be weird or something. I like talking in Sacrament mtg and tracting makes me happy.

We also got to meet with Geno three times this week. :) He is progressing really well. He knows he needs to get baptized and we're working on getting him to accept a date. Soon, I know he will soon. It was really neat he told us that his daughter Selin (7) said to him, "Daddy, where were you? God was sitting right next to me while I was reading that book (referring to the Book of Mormon) and you weren't here to see him." When Geno told us this story I got goosebumps. It's so great to see how thin the veil is for children. I'm so glad that Selin is there to continue to testify to her dad.

Another really cool story, Sister Jones and I were gasing up. (We always go to the same place on Saturday evenings so we can talk to the same workers). Well, we went this last Saturday and as we were paying a older gentleman in his 60's was standing next to me. I noticed him looking at my tag and I glanced over at him and smile. "Hi, what's your name?" "Bill." "Hi Bill, I'm Sister Thompson, but you probably already read that." I didn't get to really talk to him more because of the line and such so I waved Goodbye as we walked out the door. Just as we got out the door I turned to Sister Jones and said, " I have to go back in." We turned went back in and I pulled a Pass along card out of my coat pocket. I walked right up to Bill and said, "This is for you Bill, I know it will bless your life." He looked at me with such a tender smile and said, "Thank you so much! God Bless!" "God Bless you too Bill. Have a good night." I left feeling so great and glad that I went back in. We aren't really allowed to proselyte in businesses otherwise I would have stopped and talked to him more.

Well, I love each and everyone of you. Good luck with life everyone. Look for those small moments to testify of Jesus Christ. I know God puts people in our lives for a reason. Be an angel for someone else!

Love (always and forever),

Sister Leanna Thompson (AKA Sister Jones for Halloween).

October 23, 2011

Dearest Family and Friends,
Hello from your favorite sister in Canada ! I love preparation days. It's wonderful to be able to tell each of you how I'm doing and share some inspiring and fun stories from my mission. I have enjoyed the correspondence I've gotten from many of you via emails forwarded from my dad and letters (that take forever to get here it seems, around 10 days or so). But most of all it's wonderful to hear that everyone is doing well.
I love working with Sister Jones and I'm so glad she laughs with me. I was nervous that I wouldn't laugh very much as a missionary, but so far it's been wonderful. Our mission president says that "soberness does not mean you're spiritual. Enjoy the mission." :)
This past week I had a moment when I finally felt like a "Real Missionary" Sister Jones and I had decided to stop by a lot of the members. We mapped out their houses and decided to knock the doors in between as we went. :) It was fantastic. The sun was shining, I had my backpack, Sister Jones had a Book of Mormon we parked our car down the street and walked for hours. :) It was so great. Especially having the wind blow in our hair and to see our shadows on the sidewalk in front of us as we walked. I'm a real missionary!!! I actually feel like one now too. While doing this we saw a lady racking her leaves. We stopped and asked, "Do you need any help?" Her reply, "No! What church are you with?" "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." "Definitely Not! I'm a Born Again Baptist. I know what you guys want and I'll have none of it." Surprised and slightly taken back, we thanked her for her time and went on our way. Gotta love Tracting.
We got to teach Geno again this week. We focused on the life of Christ because of his Muslim background. It was wonderful! We talked about everything from his birth to the Atonement and we talked about how the Savior knows exactly how he feels, the Spirit was so strong. We testified to him and then I asked him again if he would be baptized and gave him the date of November 26th. He didn't say yes, but he didn't say no either. He told us that he knows that God it there and that Jesus Christ is His son, but he wants his family to be baptized with him. Right now his wife and him are struggling a little bit so he says it might take more time before he can be. We have tried to meet with his family more and it's going to take a little more effort to meet with his wife just because she works a lot. I hope and pray that everything will work out and that eventually this family can be sealed together one day. Geno has come to church twice in a row now. :)
While visiting members we got a referral of a lady from Ukraine . The best part, her name is Leanna!!! (I'm not sure if she spells it the same but that is her name) When the members said it I got really excited and asked her name again just so I could hear my name said again. As Sister Thompson I don't ever hear my first name and I miss that a lot so this was wonderful. We'll be stopping by this upcoming week and hopefully we'll start teaching her. :)
Sister Jones and I got the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday. My topic was the Plan of Salvation and Sister Jones talked on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so great. (I'm really weird, I love talking in Sacrament meeting, I think I enjoy speaking too much). Speaking of talking, we were at a member's house and they asked us the usual questions. They happened to have a daughter living in Vernal, Utah so they asked a lot/ talked a lot about Vernal. I didn't say anything because I know hardly anything about Vernal (where Sister Jones is from). Well you'll never guess what Sister Pratt said, "Sister Thompson, are you going to talk?" I laughed really hard inside about that. Usually people are trying to get me to be quiet. :) So, I am now here to testify that I can not talk Dad. Ask Sister Pratt. :)
Right as we were leaving for our meetings and church yesterday we got a call from the Gospel Principles teacher saying he wouldn't be there and asked us to teach Lesson 38. We had no time to plan so we just taught by the spirit (good thing the manual lays the lesson out pretty well). So here Sister Jones and I were, the only 2 people in the room not married in the temple talking about Eternal Marriage (our investigator had to leave so he wasn't there). It was pretty funny to us. Ironic right?
The ward we are serving in is fantastic. They are really excited to have us and to do Missionary Work. We got 5 Member referrals this week (I guess that's not normal.) Next week we'll be teaching the combined Relief Society and Priesthood lesson. (It's a good thing that wasn't this week because we would have spoken in Sacrament mtg, taught Gospel principles, and taught the combined lesson.) Oh the joys of being a missionary. :)
Well, I love each and everyone of you. Continue to put all your trust in the Lord. He is there!
Sister Leanna Thompson

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 16, 2011

Dear Family (or as the say in Canada ; Dear Family)

Saturday (Mom's Birthday) was a good day. I cried a lot, but felt her love and support. I did get to write a letter and put it in a balloon for her.
I'm so grateful I have the knowledge that I will see Mom again and that we are a forever family! I love you all so much!!!
So a funny story from this week. Sister Jones and I were doing personal study in our apartment. We could hear someone unlocking the door, but it sounded like it was coming from the apartment across the hall. Then, suddenly our front door opens and in walks a woman about 40 or so carrying a bunch of stuff. We were surprised and went over to talk to her. She apologized and said, "Sorry, wrong floor. I'm the building manager, nice to meet you!" We talked a little and then she said, "You know there is a family downstairs that are Mormons like you. Their mother isn't, but their family is so great and have a lot of integrity. You should convert their mother to your church." It's not everyday that a non-member walks into your apartment and gives you a referral :). Got to love the Edmonton Canada Mission.
Every time we go tracting someone always invites us in. Sister Jones says it's super weird and I must have a magic touch or something. I guess that's not a normal thing :). I like to think that the spirit is just prompting me to say the right thing to get them to invite us in. Sister Jones says that if she could describe me in one word it would be Fearless. I LOVE tracting and knocking on people's doors and I'm never nervous to start talking to someone about the church. She said that another way to describe me would be converted, because I know what I'm teaching and I'm not afraid to share it with everyone. That definitely made me feel good. Edmonton is also very cultured. 90% of everyone that has invited us in has been Hindu, from India or Muslim.
Speaking of Muslim. We are teaching a family that is Muslim now :). They're from Turkey and they all came to church yesterday. Our 2nd Sunday in the ward and we already had three investigators there :). We were teaching the Father one evening and we were teaching him about the Restoration. Sister Jones recited the First Vision to him. We've been "trained" to recite it from memory and pause for a least 5 seconds to allow the Spirit to testify after we say, "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him!" Well Sister Jones had paused for maybe only 2 seconds and he asked with excitement and curiosity, "And then what happened?!?!?" He is so great to teach! As we were teaching him this last week I invited him to be baptized. He said, "I want to learn more before I do, but once I know more then of course Yes!" We're excited to continue to help this family come unto Christ. We also gave him a tour of the church Friday night so he's be more comfortable when he came on Sunday. He was also very excited to hear that we have a living prophet on the earth today.
We had training with my Mission President and I really loved what he said in regards to our wards and the members we are serving with. (Note: President is a very quite, polite man). "You Love the Crap out of your ward!" Gotta love it!!!!

I love you all!
Until next week,
Love, Sister Leanna Thompson

October 11, 2011

Dearest Family and Friends,

I'm here! Canada is wonderful. This past week went by so quickly. My Pdays are on Mondays, but because of the holiday yesterday (Canada Thanksgiving) we didn't get to email home until now. There is SO much I want to tell you all about so, I will try and get as much in this email as possible.
My first area is Beaumont and I am serving with the wonderful, amazing, fantastic Sister Jones. She is from Vernal Utah! We are actually white-washing this area. We are the first sisters to serve in this area in about 3 years! (No pressure right?) The last baptism this ward has seen was back in January too. So our goal is 3 by the end of the year. Wish us luck (pray for us please!). I met my first real investigator. She is in her 30's, has two daughters two and six months, her husband is Hindu and she is from India. Some Sisters from the Millwoods YSA area tracted her out and passed her on to us. We stopped by her house about an hour after getting my new area and companion and visited with her. Her daughters are so cute and I want more than anything for them to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives. This investigator is interested in learning more, but doesn't always have time to meet because of her husband's work schedule. She has a Christian background and her husband is supportive of whatever she does.
Later that night we stopped by the member families house for dinner. As they were serving us dessert one of the kids asked me, "Is that too much?" I replied with, "Go big or go home! But don't go home big!" Everyone laughed and that has become Me and Sister Jones' new motto. :) After dinner we walked back to our car. As we were driving away I noticed someone moving stuff from their house to their car. I had the feeling we should turn around and go back. I mentioned it to Sister Jones and she turned around. We parked the car about a block or so away and walked back to the house. As we did so another car pulled up and a man got out. We approached them and started talking to them. I told them we were representatives of Jesus Christ and that we'd like to share a message with them. One of the guys mentioned that he has been looking for a church. We got some of his information, invited him to church and left a card with him. I was on fire after that. My first street contacting! It felt so great! I just wanted to talk to everyone at that point.
We have another investigator that the Elders were teaching before. We had scheduled to meet her the next day so we decided to pray about and discuss what day we should ask her to be baptized. We were deciding between Oct. 29th and Nov. 5th, but we decided on Oct. 29th. In our prayers I asked Heavenly Father to bless something to happen or let us know if Nov. 5th is the date we should go with. Well, the next day we got a phone call from her. She had to cancel because her kids were sick. we rescheduled and invited her to come to church. She said she'd be out of town for Thanksgiving so she couldn't. We hung up the phone and I was so excited. I turned to Sister Jones and said, "Our prayer was answered. We're supposed to invite her to get baptized on Nov. 5th." Sister Jones was so surprised by my reaction to our investigator cancelling a lesson on us. She thought it was great that I could have a positive attitude :).
There are so many people I wish I could talk about all of them, but I will for sure in more letters or emails.
We went tracting (we call it finding) for my first time! It was so much fun! We knocked on a lot of doors and got some people who were semi-interested and others definitely were not. One Baptist told us that if we wanted to argue we were totally welcome to come in, but other than that he didn't want to talk to us. We asked if he knew anyone that would be interested. He said he didn't but if he did he wouldn't recommend them to us. Sister Jones said to-sha', (don't know how to spell it but it means like dido) and we said goodbye. As we were walking away she said, "Did I really say that out loud?" (Referring to the to-sha'). We laughed about it. We also found a house that the doormat said "Go Away". No one was home, but I took a picture :). The best part was we tracted into another potential investigator. She used to go to Young Women's with her friend when she was younger and invited us in to visit with her. She is pretty much golden. She is married and has a nine month old daughter. we are meeting with her later today :). We can't wait.
During companionship prayer Saturday night we decided to fast for our investigators. Sister Jones gave the prayer and it was very long. So long that I actually fell asleep. Sister Jones ended the prayer and looked over at me. I guess subconsciencly I noticed she stopped talking and I woke up and said, "Amen!" It was pretty funny. I have a problem with falling asleep. During Sacrament Meeting I fell asleep during a baby blessing. Stay tuned to find out where in the world Sister Thompson will fall asleep next.
The best part of the week (besides testifying of the Savior of course) is that Beaumont has a 43rd Ave and when the Millwoods Sisters and us went to Denny's for lunch our total came to $43.43. Coincidence? I think not!! :) Best ever!!!
Oh yeah- facts about Canada. Canada has roughly 2 million lakes! Crazy eh? Also, you have to buy your own grocery bags and you have to pay to use a cart. Weird.
Thanks for everything! I love all of you so much!!! The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored and we're so blessed to have this knowledge.

Love, your favorite Sister Leanna Thompson

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

She Landed!

Dad has been watching Leanna's flights this morning via Flight Tracker. Her plane landed in Edmonton at 11:37 am this morning. She's in Canada now!!

October 3, 2011

Dear Loved Ones:

This email will probably come as a surprise since it's not Wednesday, but since I head to Canada tomorrow morning we were allowed time to email home since I'm not sure when my PDay will be yet. So, Hello!
Conference was absolutely amazing! I loved every minute of it. I took 27 pages of notes!!! Everything was so great:). Some of my favorite talks are as follows:
First off- HOW COOL IS THAT!? We are getting another Temple in Provo! I literally cried with joy when they announced that. How neat is that?! SO EXCITING!!!
I loved every talk from all sessions so it will be hard to pick just a couple things to talk about. I loved Elder Bednar and how he talked about "Becoming Saviors on Mount Zion." We truly have the covenant   responsibility to seek out those around us and our ancestors and do the work for them. This is our duty and a great blessing. I also really liked what Ian S. Ardem of the Seventy said about managing time. "Let us be quick to kneel as we are to text." I loved that. I also loved that he said, "Don't waste our time checking status's, farming online, or catapulting angry birds at walls." :) Ha ha ha so funny. I really loved Eldar Hales and his talk on "Not my will, but thine be done." Angles are here to bear you up (D&C 84:88). I also thought of the fact that I'm a "Real Missionary" now when Matthew O. Richardson of the Sunday School Presidency was talking. Overall, I don't have time to go into every insight and talk, but I loved every moment of it. I kind of forgot it was General Conference because I felt like they were talking to just the missionaries. It was SO Great!!!
Guess what?! I ran into a cousin!!! :) Elder Ryan Haymore!!! From Mt. Airy, North Carolina. He is going to the Orlando Florida Spanish speaking mission. :) It was crazy, I saw him in the bookstore and said, "You're a Haymore?! I'm related to you! My Mom is a Haymore!" He then asked if I was related to Franklin Damarcus Haymore :) It was crazy!!! He lives on Haymore Road and we made a lot of connections. I got his address and will be writing him. I also got his home address. We took a picture and I will send it home with my stuff so you can see. What was so cool is he grabbed an Elder by him, (Elder Hiatt) and said, "Elder Hiatt, this is my cousin!" Turns out Elder Hiatt is from Mt. Airy too. Aren't we related to the Hiatt's too?...I really wish I had my pedigree chart right now.
Well I am completely out of time. :( I love you all so much!!!

God be with you 'til we meet again!

I love you with all my heart!

Sister Leanna Thompson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sept. 28, 2011

Dear Family and Friends;

I can't believe I head to Canada already. This is my last Pday before I head out at 4am Tuesday morning. Honestly, I can't wait and I'm so excited for what Canada holds in store for me. :)

So a very humbling experience this week. We have been teaching a woman named Lawanna. She is definitely a "spicy black woman." She has been so great to teach. Well, earlier this week Sister Lambert and I decided to teach her about the Plan of Salvation (Happiness) and through some of our classroom role plays it was suggested that we teach a little more by the lesson and go in the order given in preach my gospel. So, we prepared our lesson and went in ready to teach. As we were teaching she didn't seem very interested and honestly seemed bored. I paused and asked her if she had any questions or concerns about what we had mentioned so far and she said, "Nevermind, I don't want to be rude." We assured her that we wanted to here. She then said, " I don't know, I just think ya'll a skit. Like I'm seriously bored right now. You talk about this being the plan of happiness, but as ya'll teachin' it to me you just a skit. If this is supposed to make me happy I don't want it. What ya'll teach me is borin'. You say ya'll happy, but I don't see how." I was completely shocked. I was not expecting that response at all. I was blessed to have Sister Lambert right there, because if it was just me I probably would have just started to cry and left the room. Sister Lambert apologized and asked if we could start over. She agreed and I started by asking Lawanna if I could begin by telling her what makes me happy. She said she'd love to hear that and I began by speaking from my heart. "Lawanna, my family makes me happy. Going to church each week and partaking of the Sacrament makes me happy. Reading the Book of Mormon and getting answers to my prayers from it's pages makes me happy. My mother makes me happy. (At this point I began to cry). Knowing that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ my family is able to be sealed together forever and that I will get to see my mother again makes me so happy. Obeying the commandments and teachings of our prophet Thomas S. Monson and seeing the blessings from it makes me happy. Teaching others about the restored Gospel established once again on the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith makes me happy. Being baptized and knowing that the Savior died for you and for me so that we can return to our Heavenly Father one day makes me happy. Having the constant companion of the Holy Ghost makes me happy. Lawanna, I know you can have this happiness too. By excepting the message of the restored Gospel you can the same joy and peace I feel, but it only comes through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ." My companion then brought up the hymn 136, I know that my redeemer lives. She read the first verse and I the last and we both bore a strong testimony that our Savior lives and that through Him we can receive true happiness. After we bore testimony we paused and waited for Lawanna to respond. She looked us in the eye and said, "Wow, I'm speechless. I can tell now, that you really are happy. I want to be happy like ya'll." We bought her, her own hymn book and put our testimonies in it. We gave it to her the last time we met and she loved it.

This experience really taught me about the fact that we aren't teaching lessons, we are teaching people. It is through the Holy Ghost that we can be led to say the right thing at the right time for each person we come in contact with.

On a funnier note, Elder Massey from my District (A convert of just over a year) was sitting with his companion outside one day. He turned to his companion after watching some sister missionaries walk by and said, "Elder Albretsen, do girls have foot garments?" "What?" "Do girls have foot garments, I see all the sisters with these little sock things on their feet. Are those special foot garments that only the girls have?" Elder Albretsen laughed and explained that those are just socks you can buy at the store for flat shoes. We all got a pretty good laugh out of that. ;)
Well, I love you all to Canada and back ;) I hope you have the best week ever! Advice; Pray without ceasing and study the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY!!!!

Love you with all my heart,

Sister Leanna Thompson

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sept. 21, 2011

P-Day couldn't come faster ;) (Actually it came quite fast now that I think of it. I can't believe I've already been here a week! One down, many to go, but don't worry, I'm not counting.)
So, my time is limited. We only have 30 minutes to be on the computer. I will try and type as much as I can.

First off, WOW!!!! The MTC is Awesome!  Our first night we were in workshops where we got to meet 3 different investigators. If we wanted we had the opportunity to talk with them in front of the group too. Arnold was our first investigator and he talked about how he was angry with God for taking his wife away from him. Well, my heart started pounding and I felt this overwhelming love and hurt for him. I couldn't contain it, so in front of about a hundred other missionaries I raised my hand and bore testimony that Arnold will see his wife again, that through our Savior Jesus Christ the bands of death have been broken and we can live with our family forever. He looked me in the eye and said, "I've met a lot of people in my life and I can tell when someone doesn't really believe what they are saying. You however, have this confidence in your eyes. I can tell that you honestly believe that to be true." And I do! I know that families can be together forever. That's why I'm out here. I want everyone to know this.

During our first District meeting we didn't have a whole lot of direction. A lot of the Elders were focused on the logistics of getting the investigators we were talking about home so we could meet with them. This went on for like 10 minutes and finally I spoke up and said, "That is all important, but let's focus on what we'll actually teach them." We tried to focus more, but still the Elders just weren't grasping it. So, I got up in front of the class and said, "I'm an investigator, teach me the Plan of Salvation." After this exercise I had everyone go over what went well and what we could improve. One Elder commented, "Too bad Sisters can't be the District Leader. You're an awesome teacher Sister Thompson." The Elders and Sisters continue to compliment me on how amazing I am. WHICH IS SUPER FRUSTRATING. I actually find it really annoying. I know I am not perfect and I have come to understand even in the past week that speaking Eloquently doesn't make you a good missionary. IT IS ABOUT TEACHING BY THE SPIRIT. I'm sure all of you know how much I love to talk and give my imput, well I have set a new goal. To talk less! It has been such a struggle. Especially since my Companion Sister Lambert is not confident in talking at all and continutes to tell me that I should just lead the lessons. What a blessing and challenge it has been to hold my tongue and all the other missionaries to say something so that ultimately they learn.

Elder Russell M. Nelson came to our Tuesday Devotional which was really neat. Sorry I don't have more time to tell you about it. I have to wrap things up. 

I love you all so much!!!! The Church is true, the Book of Mormon is the Word of God and we do have a living prophet today. Good Luck and I hope to hear from you all soon.

Love, Sister Leanna Thompson

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Letter Home!

:)My First Letter Home(:
Sept. 15, 2011
I did it! I'm here at the MTC. The joke with my companion and roommates is that I know everyone here :). I've already ran into at least 5 to 6 people I know personally and then today at immunizations I met pretty much every lady there. They all gave me a hug and told me how much I look like Mom and have her smile (Best compliment ever) plus they all spoke so highly of Mom and how much they love her. I got a couple of pictures with some of them. I can really tell that Mom left an impression. So the MTC is awesome. It's quite busy, but there is actually more downtime than expected (At least so far there has been). When I woke up this morning I was a little confused as to where I was. I guess I thought it was all a dream a dream at first , but no- it's reality and I love it!
The MTC is wonderful! I really do like it. It's great knowing where everything is and answering some of the missionaries questions :). I'm so glad I volunteered here. I feel like I'm a step ahead of everyone else a little.
So my Sister- I mean companion, Sister Lambert is going to the Utah, St. George Visitor Center Mission. She is really great. She really understands the basics. Which is great and keeps me focused.
Funny story- While in class, one Elder (Elder Atwood) pointed to the picture of Christ holding a lamb and said, "That's me". There was a short pause. We all looked at him a little shocked and confused and quickly (after realizing what he said) he said, "I meant the lamb- not Christ." We all laughed really hard because I guess we all thought he was saying he was Christ. We laughed for at least a minute about it and even after I find myself giggling a little when I think about it. :) Got to love MTC humor. I swear if we find something funny, everyone finds it really funny :) (we don't get out much :)).
Well I wish I can write more but since it's not Pday (Wednesday) I don't have any other time. I love you all- And the Church is true! Hope to hear from you soon.

Love Sister Leanna Thompson

P.S. Sorry if I repeat stories I say in emails and letters.
P.P.S. If you already wrote me- We haven't gotten the mail yet so I don't even know. Thank you if you did. I'll write soon (again).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Called to Serve

June 15th, 1:43pm- I went to check the mail and there it was! A large white envelope from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints with my name on it, Sister Leanna Ruth Thompson! I let out a yelp of excitement as I raced back to my house. This was it, the day had finally arrived for me to find out where the Lord would need my service for 18 months. Once inside the house I couldn't control my excitement. I danced around the living room for at least 10 minutes. Then, once I finally composed myself, I called my dad and siblings to let them know the good news.

Above is a picture right after I got the mail.

I had to work from 2-7pm that day, so I quickly put my mission call letter in a safe place and headed to work. It seemed like it took forever to get off work. Then the moment arrived. I was back at the house, mission call in hand. I had all my immediate family, some close friends, and about six other friends on the phone excited to find out where I'd go.

"Dear Sister Thompson: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Canada Edmonton Mission... You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, September 14, 2011..."

I'M GOING TO CANADA!!! I was overjoyed. Words cannot express how excited I am to serve the people in the Canada Edmonton Mission. I can't wait!