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