Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28, 2012

My Dearest Family and Friends,
Last week I mentioned the Mission Wide Fast we had. It was amazing. I loved the opportunity Sister White and I had to start and end our fasts with members. It has been such a blessing and already I can tell a difference (still no new investigators, but it will come soon I'm sure of it.) A scripture I read recently reminded me of the Mission Wide Fast and the importance of coming together as members and fasting for missionary work. It is found in Alma 6:6 "Nevertheless the children of God were commanded that they should gather themselves together oft, and join in fasting and mighty prayer in behalf of the welfare of the souls of those who knew not God." Pretty cool eh?
A member in our ward who does woodworking made Sister White and I bangles. :) They are pretty sweet. He has a really big shop and he showed us how he did it and had us sand them down. That was pretty sweet. I can now say that I know how to use a lathe. We got video and some pictures. Super legit! It also snowed a ton this week!!! Finally more of a Canadian winter. Sister White and I decided to load our shovels in the car and inbetween appointments shovel driveways and sidewalks. It was super cold!! But, this is the only time in my life that I'm really going to get the opportunity to shovel snow in -20 C and a skirt! Gotta love it. People probably think we're weird as they drive by. 'Who in their right mind shovels snow in a skirt?! Mormon Sister Missionaries, that's who! Good thing we're filled with the Spirit to keep us warm.' ;p The best quote from the week was Saturday. Sister White and I were talking about our success from the day. We got 6 lessons in a day (which is pretty legit in this mission and the most I've ever gotten in a day). Sister White said, "Six lessons and frost bite!" No worries, it was just super cold- no real frost bite.
We had District Meeting in Innisfail this week. It was our District Leader, Elder Hayward's last one. We decided to make it a good one. I was asked to do the Doctrinal Discussion on "Faith Proceeds the Miracle." One of my favorite insights from my study on the topic was from the Bible Dictionary. It says, "Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the Gospel and is more than belief, since true faith always moves it's possesser to some kind of physical and mental action it carries an assurance of the fulfillment of the things hoped for." Faith truly is an action word and does come before a Miracle takes place. Through Indya's Baptism and my burned eye months ago, I have been able to really witness the miracles that come from Faith. No wonder Faith is the First Principle of the Gospel. I'm glad I was given the opportunity to study it a little more this week. After our meeting we had District Lunch at our Church. Homemade Pizza by Sister White. YUM!!! It was so good. We also had banana splits. Sister Stanford (who we live with) was so nice and bought us all the stuff to make everything. We had some Cool Whip so, I demonstrated our game of throwing it into the air and catching it in our mouth. We all went in the Gym to do it and had a good time. Some Elders were definitely better at it than others. Super Fun though!!! :)
I'd like to end with some insights from companionship study this last week. As Sister White and I were studying the Plan of Salvation, specifically Judgement, we came across this scripture;
"For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts." - D&C 137:9
We discussed this for a while and Sister White showed me a great quote by Elder Oaks;
"Let us remember that desires dictate our priorites, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. In addtition, it is our actions and our desires that cause us to become something, whether a true friend, a gifted teacher, or one who has qualified for eternal life."
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks
What do we truly desire? If we desire the Kingdom of God, do our actions reflect that? This idea of desires has really inspired me. If I want to be a better missionary I must first truly desire it, make it a priority, and then choose to do those actions that will make me better. I encourage each of you to re-evaluate your actions. If there is anything you need to change, ask yourself, 'What do I desire to become?' I hope it is ultimately the best that you can be and to dwell with your Father in Heaven. I love you all. This is Christ's church. I am grateful I get the opportunity to share that truth with those around me.
Love Eternally,
Sister Leanna Thompson

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012

Dear Lovely People,
I'm sure you're all wondering 'Why didn't our Favorite Canadian Missionary write yesterday?' Well, as you all were celebrating President's Day in the States, here in Alberta we were celebrating Family Day! :) So, the library was closed. I think it's awesome that they have a day to celebrate families. :) Hmmm.... I think I'm going to hold you all in suspense and wait until the end to tell you about Indya's Baptism. So, Valentine's day (aka Missionay 'Lock Your Heart' Day). Our supper appointment cancelled due to sick kids so Sister White and I were left to ourselves to come up with something to eat. We thought, 'Hey, it's Valentine's Day. Let's go out to eat.' So we went to one of the only resturaunts in town, The Red Ox. Oh boy, did we stick out like a sore thumb or what?! We were the youngest and only non-couple there! Ha ha it makes for a good memory. I swear everyone there was between 50 and 70yrs old. As people left they gave them a Valentine, but sadly Sister White and I were never given one. ;P Oh well!
Our Mission is having a Mission Wide Fast with all the Stakes/ Wards in the Mission. It started Monday at 6pm and is going until tonight at 6pm. We are fasting that the hearts and minds of those we come in contact with will be open to the message of the Gospel, that members will find opportunities to share the gospel with those they come in contact with, and that as we teach we will teach with power and by the Holy Ghost. I've seen how fasting and prayer can bring miracles so I'm really excited for this fast. Sunday night we had an adult fireside at the Stake center. It was on Eternal Marriage, so of course Sister White and I had to be there! ;) Brother Brinley (who used to be a professor at BYU- I think) came and spoke to us. It was REALLY good, but kind of deep. He started out with an appropriate, but awkward joke that made all us missionaries blush. ha ha He talked about everything from the nature of God, our Heavenly Mother, and the Godhead to Marital Problems and Divorce rates. It was really good, but Sister White and I were glad we didn't bring an investigator. It was not the best fireside for someone who didn't really have a concept of marriage or eternity. The Red Deer YSA Sisters brought two investigators (they are currently living together and are both married to different people who won't approve a divorce. Not complicated at all eh?) Well, after we asked them what they thought and all they could say was interesting. I hope they don't lose them over this. Like I said, it was really great, but maybe not the best fireside for an investigator. Some of the things I learned were as follows. President Hinckley said, "A happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the welfare and comfort of your spouse." And the single thing you can do to help your marriage is pray together as a couple. I love both of those things. I learned so much, but they would be more appropriate to share in a different setting. On the way home from the fireside (we rode with some members) it was snowing like crazy!!!! It was finally snowing like I always imagined it snowed in Canada.
Okay, I won't make you wait any longer. Indya Rae Herbert in BAPTIZED!!!! It was so amazing! Sister White and I went an hour before to check on the font (which took 4 hours to fill!!!) When we got there, there were a ton of random people we didn't recognize and the gym was decked out in decorations. Turns out a family in the ward was having a surprise Birthday party at the same time as the Baptism. They had music and they were all dressed up like the 50's (that was the theme). There were a ton of people at the church, but when it came time for the baptism the spirit was so strong in the Relief Society room. Indya was beaming! And.... her dad came!!! That was a miracle! He didn't stay for the refreshments but he came. It was so good. I just want to restate that Miracles happen. Prayer is answered! Indya had a lot of family that came and pretty much half the ward was there.The whole program went so well. I feel so blessed that I got to be a part of Indya's Baptism and help her get in the water. The next day was her Confirmation and when she went up to be confirmed she was just beaming. I loved seeing her glow. :) It was also neat for her uncle Rawle to baptize her. He was baptized 5 years ago and she is the first person he's baptized.

Well, I wanted to share some insights from Ether 12 :27;
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto mean weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
My Trainer taught me a great lesson in regards to this verse. She said, "The more weakness' we have the stronger our Heavenly Father can make us." So, don't look at your weakness' as a negative thing, but as a way to learn, grow, and to become stronger. I want to add my testimony to this. I have seen a lot of my weakness' as a missionary and I know that each time I turn to him and pray for strength I am given it.
I love you all. Continue to press forward seeking the Kingdom of God.
Love Always,
Sister Leanna Thompson
P.S. The attached pictures are; Indya with her Uncle Rawle, Indya with her Mom, Dad, and brother Adrian, Sister Thompson, Brother Joseph, Indya, and Sister White just before her baptism, and Sister White and I celebrating a successful day. Enjoy!

February 13, 2012

Dear Everyone I Love,
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice and sing praise."
Psalms 98:4
Prayer is real! Since we invited Indya to get baptized we have been praying for her to have the courage to talk to her dad and that his heart would be softened. It's been a few weeks now and her scheduled baptismal date is February 18th (the day before her 13th birthday) aka this Saturday. We decided to teach her as if she was getting baptized on the 18th and not wait for her dad to say yes before we moved forward. It was really hard for her to have the courage to talk to her dad, but we continued to pray that she would. She talked to him once and he said he would think about it. Then we encouraged her to talk to him again and she kept putting it off. She was nervous to talk to him again because she was afraid he was going to say no. We met with her 3 times this week and each time she hadn't talked to him again.
The Bishop asked her to speak in church yesterday on "Preparing for Baptism" (not a coincidence). When we went to her house Saturday night she had just finished her talk and practiced reading it to us. It was AMAZING!!! This girl deserves to get baptized! We taught and encouraged her and told her she has to talk to her dad after we leave. The next day at church she just said Hi to us as she went to take her place on the stand to speak. Her mom came up to us and said, "Indya talked to her dad last night and he said he was still thinking about it. So, I talked to him and said, 'We need to know. She's scheduled to get baptized this Saturday!' Turns out Indya never told her dad what day, she just asked him if she could. We didn't get a chance to talk to him again before church." Sister White and I were nervous that because Indya hadn't mentioned what day he wouldn't say yes for this Saturday. We continued to pray. We met with Indya after church and told her that she had to talk to her dad tonight by 8:30 so that we could tell our District Leader during Stewardship tonight. She agreed.
7:30pm... no call. 8pm... no call. We started getting nervous. 8:15pm finally the phone rang. It was Indya! We put it on speaker, " Hi Indya. How are you?" "Good." "Did you talk to your dad?" "Yeah I did and he said, 'Do what you want.' So I'm taking that as a Yes!" Sister White and I couldn't contain our excitement. We congratulated her and shouted with joy. After we hung up we danced around in our living room. We texted our District Leader Psalms 98:4 and he replied 'Prayer is Real'.
This whole experience has been a testimony builder to me. Our prayers are answered. When we align our will with the Father's we can find joy and satisfaction that our prayers will be answered. "...each time you exercise faith you're inviting a miracle." There were a lot of missionaries in our last combined district meeting that didn't think it was going to happen, but Sister White and I kept the faith and moved forward. Ether 12:6 What a great way for me to celebrate the 43rd day of the year!!! (Feb. 12th; for those that don't know 43 is one of my favorite numbers and I celebrate the 43rd day of the year every year).
Another experience this week. We have stopped by a potential named Sam Brittain. She had a baby 2 months ago. We stopped by and saw her a couple times but she didn't have time for a lesson. We saw her last week on Jan. 31st and she said to call her sometime next week. She also told us (as she held her son) that he had stopped breathing in the night a couple nights ago and she was prompted to check on him. She's been in and out of the hospital with him. He was super alert and smiling while we were there. We called her this last Wednesday to see if we could stop by the next day. "Hi Sam, it's the Sisters how are you?" "I'm doing okay." "We wanted to see how you were and see if you had time tomorrow for us to stop by and share a lesson." "Well, I don't want this to sound rude but my son passed away last week and I'm mad at God right now so I'd rather not talk to you guys right now." We were heartbroken. Turns out he had stopped breathing again and died in the hospital on February 3rd, 3 days after we saw him. Each time we have stopped by to see Sam we planned on teaching her the Plan of Salvation instead of the Restoration like we normally do. Now we know that we were inspired and now, more than ever, she needs our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and needs to know she will see her son again. We decided to buy her flowers and write our testimonies in a card. We included a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and left it on her porch for her. It's experiences like this that make me so grateful that I know I will see my loved ones again. What comfort this brings.
I wanted to give everyone reading this a commitment. How have you been blessed by obeying the commandments? (Including, tithing, word of wisdom, keeping the sabbath day etc.) Pick one and write your experience or testimony down and send it to me. :)
"It will be a Great day when our people not only PRAY for the Missionaries throughout the world, but Ask the LORD to help them assist the missionaries who are laboring in their own ward."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley

I love you all! HAPPY VALENTIMES DAY!!! This is a great work! I am so grateful I am a missionary at this time. I wouldn't have it any other way. Please write me :)
Love always,
Sister Leanna Thompson

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012

Good Morning, Day, Evening Everyone!
I'm writing from the newly opened Library in Innisfail. :) I hope everyone is doing well. It's pretty warm here in Canada (Go Figure!) I think I might have gotten a tan ;) It is also the start of a new transfer, my 4th transfer!!! My, how time flies. I will hit my 5 Month mark this next week and my 6 Month Mark this transfer! Still in Innisfail with Sister White. Crazy. I am loving the Innisfail area more and more. It's been great to get to know the members more and really starting to feel like home.
Last Monday we had a lesson with the Ufland family. (They have 3 teenagers right now). We taught about the influence that media and technology has on us. We started with a bowl of ice cream with all the fixings and asked their son to take a bite. He said it tasted really good. Then we put wet dog food on it and asked him if he wanted to finish it. He replied, "Of course Not!" "Why?" "Because Dog Food is gross. I don't want to eat it now." "But you said it tasted good before, we thought you'd still want to eat it." We then sat them down and talked about how often we listen to music or watch movies that are "good" but they might have a couple swear words, suggestive things, or inappropriate scenes. Sometimes we think things are okay or don't have an effect on us, but even the little things can have an effect on us, even if we don't realize . It turned out great and the kids really liked it. Well, in Testimony Meeting their daughter Emily (who is super shy) got up and bore her testimony and told everyone about this lesson and the impact it had on her. It was good to feel that we made a difference. I kind of chuckled to Sister White, "Now we can't give that lesson to anyone else in the ward." Ha ha.
We were at a less active woman in the ward's house this week. She has a dog and for most of the lesson her dog was sitting on the floor and really nice to us. Well, suddenly the dog snapped and started growling and barking just at me. It scared me really bad and it was hard to control her and calm her down. I've never been afraid of dogs before, but that sure was scary. I was shaking pretty bad. I swear everyone has a dog too.
We visited Sister Gudim in the ward who is 91 and not doing very well. She always enjoys our visits. This time we decided to read her the lyrics to Mom's song "Life's Journey" She has written some poems about families before so she really liked it. It was realy special to be able to share that with her.
Sunday evening we stopped by to see Sister Votary in the ward. She is completely Blind and has been most of her life. We see her and her husband once a week to share a message and play crib, but we felt impressed to stop by and see her. She was having a really hard time and we were able to visit with her. It was quite neat to just sit on the floor in front of her in her chair and just listen to her. She is such a strong woman who never gets upset. Sister White and I were able to sit with her and just cry with her. It's times like this that I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. One of the things she said was, "Joy stands for Jesus, Others, and Yourself. You find true joy as you focus first on Jesus, then on Others, then Yourself." I really liked that.
Lastly, in personal study today I was reading in Jacob 1: 10-11. It says, " The people having loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them, having wielded the sword of Laban in their defence, and having labored in all his days for their welfare-- Wherefore, the people were desirous to retain in remembrance his name..." It made me wonder, what if we were called after what we loved. If we love TV we'd be Televisionites. If we love Facebook we'd be Facebookites. So, what do you love? What would you be called? I would hope Christian. This brought more meaning to what we covenant at Baptism. We covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. To always remember Him. Interesting thought eh? I encourage each of us to really remember what we convenanted at Baptism and live up to the name we took upon ourselves, the name of Christ. What are you doing today to live up to His name?
"Do you want to be Happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people... Stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ!"
-President Gordon B. Hinckley
I love you all!
Love, Sister Leanna Thompson

Friday, February 3, 2012

January 30, 2012

Dearest Loved Ones;
Hello from Canada!!! So this week was a successful one for Sister White and I. We have been trying to get 20 lessons for the longest time and finally we did it! We worked really hard and pushed forward which was very rewarding. It's funny because we weren't focused on our numbers, but instead just meeting with as many people as we could and we finally reached our key indicators. :) Success is sweet!

I had supper with the Smith family (Aunt Becki's aunt.) It was great to make the connection. I showed her the picture/ newsletter I got from Ethan and Becki for Christmas and she loved it.

I got my haircut this week. I was getting sick of the constant static from the cold/ my jacket and my hair always covering my name tag so I went to a member and got it cut. She cut it shorter than I expected, but I really like it. :) I feel like I look totally different/ older. So that's nice. :) You'll also notice the cold sore I currently have :( With the weather changing from really cold to slightly cold so randomly I guess my lip couldn't take it. So I have a fun friend on my bottom lip now. It's not so fun to go tracting with. I feel like everyone is staring at it. Sister White told me, "It's not that noticeable" Well, 15 minutes later 2 people pointed it out. Note to the world, if someone has a cold sore, don't point it out. I'm sure they are already aware. ;) ha ha.
We had a fun time tracting this week. We decided to go around and do "Surveys" (my specialty eh?) We knocked on people's doors and said, "Hi, we're new to the area and we are trying to get to know people. We have just a couple questions about religion we'd like to ask you." (Then we'd go right into asking them a question). "Do you have a belief in Jesus Christ? How has that belief blessed your life? Have you ever wondered why there are so many churches? How would it feel to know there is a prophet on the earth today? Have you heard of the Book of Mormon? Do you have any service we can do? etc." It turned out great! (It's nice to know that working for a survey company for 5 1/2 years has finally paid off ;)
I'm sure you're all wondering about Indya and if her dad has approved her to get baptized yet. Well she talked to him right after we left last Sunday and he said, "I'll think about it." That is so great! His heart is definitely softening. He used to say "No, and don't ask again." But now he's actually thinking about it. We have been praying for her and her dad in every prayer we say. We're so excited to find out what he says after she talks to him again.

I was asked by a member of the Bishopric to draw a picture of the Innisfail chapel for them to put on the Sunday Program. No pressure right? Well, I took some of the little time I've had during Lunch and right before I go to bed to draw and I finished it yesterday. I thought you'd like to see so I've attached the picture I drew of the Innisfail chapel. (Don't look too closely ;) I'm pleased with how it turned out though.
Lastly, we had a very interesting, awkward, weird, hope it never happens again, experience this week. We decided to try a potential investigator while we were in Bowden last Tuesday. We knocked on the door and a guy answered... Without Pants On!!!!!! Sister White and I kept our composure and just kept our eyes up and quickly explained that we'll come back later. As we walked away I said, "Awk!" and Sister White replied, "Word!" Once in the car we had a pretty good laugh. Note to everyone reading this; don't answer your door without pants. Super Awkward! Ha ha
Well this week during companion study, Sister White and I had a great discussion on Doctrine and Covenants 64:32-34 which states;
"But all things must come to pass in their time.
Wherefore, be not weary in well doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."
I know that as we continue to do good and keep the commandments, serve others, and strive to be like our Savior, we will reap the rewards that come from that. But, we must give our heart and a willing mind. Ask yourself, are you willing to accept the callings you're given? Are you willing to do your visiting and home teaching because you have a desire to serve and not just because you're asked to? It's the small things that pay off and shape us into the people we will become. Think, what are you doing today for the kingdom of God? If you can't think of anything, change it!
I love you all! Until next time- Love,
Sister Leanna Thompson