Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

"Do you get paid for this?"

Dearest Lovely, Fabulous, Amazing, Wonderful Family and Friends,
I'll start by explaining the subject line. Sister White and I go to this Rest Home/ Assisted Living place called Sunset Manor about twice a week. Anyway we always see the same nurses as we visit some of the members there. One evening as we were leaving one of the male nurses asked as we said hi to him, "Do you get paid for this?" "Nope." "Serious?" "We're missionaries." "Missionaries? I thought missionaries go to foreign countries." "This is a foreign country. We're both from the States." "Serious?! I didn't know that. Why Canada? Why not somewhere in Africa?" "We were assigned by our church to come here." "Cool. Well, have a good night." He had to get back to work so we weren't able to talk to him more. It was pretty funny. After we left I commented about how we do get paid, just 'more than he could ever imagine.' :)
So I mentioned a headquarters referral we got last week. Sister White and I stopped by Monday night. Turns out she, Lindsay, is a member. She's on our ward list, but we didn't have an address or phone number for her so there was no way to contact her. She has been less active since she was 14 (about 12 years), married a non-member and has two kids. We set up a time to meet with her Wednesday. Meeting with her was amazing! She is so ready to come back to church. She said that although she hasn't been to church in a while and said a lot of negative things about the church in the past she always knew it was true and has kept praying. She ordered a Book of Mormon because she got rid of hers a while ago. She had never read the Book of Mormon before so she decided to read it. One of her close friends served a mission and is getting married this weekend. Her friend bore her testimony to her and it really touched her so, she decided she couldn't fight it anymore and she needed to come back. She explained that she didn't realize how much she had missed having the Spirit as a constant companion until she invited the Spirit back into her life. We had a wonderful visit with her. The Spirit was so strong. As she was telling us her story and her desire to come back I had the impression to tell her to write all of this down. As I did I felt the Spirit fill my entire body, I felt so warm, started to cry, and my whole body started to tingle. I remember not knowing exactly what I was going to say, but as I know that the words that came to my mouth were not my own. After explained my impression and encouraged her to write it down she explained that she has been prompted multiple times to write it down, but felt like it wasn't that important and just brushed it off. "It's no coincidence that you felt prompted to tell me to write it down. I guess that's my answer. I need to do it." I'm so grateful for every opportunity the Lord gives me to be an instrument in his hands. I know that we receive promptings more often then we realize, but we just don't recognize them. We must write them down so that we can remember the feelings and the impressions we had. Lindsay came to church yesterday with her two kids. She is so excited to come back. I'm so grateful that I get to invite everyone (member or non-member) to come unto Christ. This is my purpose and I love it!
I had another "Small World" experience this week. Sister White and I were trying a potential investigator. As we got out of the car we noticed an older gentleman walking down the street on the opposite side. Sister White waved to him and said "Hello!" He waved back and then crossed the street to come an talk to us. (First off, that usually doesn't happen to us. Most the time people walk away, go into their house, or completely ignore us when we say hi or start walking toward them.) We chatted about the weather (because that is all everyone ever talks about in Canada) and then the conversation turned. We asked him about his religious background. He explained that he wasn't religious, but that one of his daughters was. We asked him about his family (he's a widower) and he mentioned something about one of his daughters that caught my attention. "One of my daughters, the religious one, lives in Texas right now. Her husband works for Chevron and they've lived in New Foundland, Calgary, and now Texas." Hmmm... That all sounded a little familiar to me. We asked him if he has ever been to the states and he said not really. He asked where we were from. "We're both from Utah." "Oh, are you Mormon?" "Yes!" "My one daughter that is religious is a Mormon." Bam! It hit me why what he said before was familiar. 'Brittany!' I thought. In the Fall of 2010 I visit taught a girl named Brittany that was from Canada. She told me that her dad worked for Chevron. They lived in Calgary, New Foundland, and now Texas. I had to make the connection with him. "Do you have a granddaughter named Brittany?" He went bug eyed and seemed a little surprised by what I just asked, "Yes...." he said, a little questioning. "I know her! When you mentioned about your daughter living all those places it sounded very familiar. Then when you mentioned she was a Mormon I knew it had to be the same person. She was in my ward. She went to BYU right?" It's crazy how surprised he was that I knew his granddaughter. We talked about her for a little while. Personally, I was quite shocked. I knew the world was small, but it just keeps getting smaller. I would never have guessed while visiting teaching Brittany in the Fall of 2010 that a year and a half later I would be in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada as a missionary and randomly run into her Grandpa. Crazy hey? It reminded me of Mom. It seemed like she always ran into someone she knew or could make a connection with anyone. I guess I'm my mother's daughter. :)
Well, I wanted to close by getting everyone excited for conference. Sister White and I have made some pretty legit "General Conference Pass Along Cards" that we've been handing out to people and telling people about. We're using it as our new door approach this week. "Hi, we are representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ. We want to testify that we have a living prophet on the earth today who will be speaking to us this weekend." Sometimes I just want to shout to everyone, "Guess what?! We have a prophet of God on the earth today! Do you realize how cool that is?! He's going to speak to us! Come Listen! It will change your life!!!" We gave everyone in our ward one of our pass along cards to give to a friend and invite to conference. We also made a couple signs to put on the community boards around Innisfail. I'm so excited. President Uchtdorf, in the September 2011 Ensign talks about conference and how it is 'No Ordinary Blessing.'
"Since the world began, God has raised up prophets who speak the will of heaven to the people of their times. It is our responsibility to listen and then apply the messages the Lord provides for us. Our merciful and loving Heavenly Father has not forsaken and will not forsake His children. Today, as well as in times past, He has appointed apostles and prophets. He continues to reveal His word to them. What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God's messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants. For this is no ordinary blessing."
-President Uchtdorf
He gives us three basic concepts that help us prepare for conference. 1. Members of the Church are entitled to personal revelation as they listen to and study the inspired words spoken at general conference. 2. Don't discount a message merely because it sounds familiar. And 3. The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months. I encourage EVERYONE to watch every session of General Conference. This is word of the Lord we're talking about. Please do all you can to listen to the prophet's voice. I can promise you that something said (in a song, sermon, prayer or an impression) will be the answer to a prayer or help with a concern you have. Test it if you don't believe me. Make conference a priority!
I love you all! The church is true! We have a living prophet on the earth, President Thomas S. Monson, who leads and guides us. I can testify with President Uchtdorf that this is No Ordinary Blessing!
Love Eternally,
Sister Thompson
P.S. To read the full talk by President Uchtdorf follow this link http://www.lds.org/ensign/2011/09/general-conference-no-ordinary-blessing?lang=eng

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

Dearest Loved Ones,
Today was Transfer Call day.... and..... no changes in Innisfail! I'm staying with Sister White for another Transfer. We were almost certain that change was happening. This is now her 4th transfer here and our 3rd together so we thought change was imminent. It was so hard to pay attention during studies this morning. Every phone call we got our heart skipped a beat. It just goes to show that you shouldn't spec (speculate). We did get some great news this morning however, we got a call from the office with a headquarter referral for a lady in Penhold. :) I'm so excited. My first headquarter's referral! She requested a Book of Mormon from mormon.org, So, we'll be taking it to her today.
Speaking of referrals we got a referral last week from a less active guy in our ward. We had him come to supper with one of our members and we asked if he knew anyone we could be teaching right now. He thought for a moment and suggested his neighbor, "He's a really nice guy. Good family man. I think he'd be interested." So, we stopped by his house after church yesterday (he drives trucks during the week). It was such a great contact. We were able to testify about how the Gospel can bless his family and he invited us to come by next Sunday. I can't wait. He was super receptive. We also worked really hard to get through our car book (a book we keep in our car with potential investigators from finding efforts). We went through all the past potentials that previous missionaries found (who were semi-interested). There's quite a lot of people in it and we made good progress. Two families we will be seeing this week, so I hope something comes of it. Wish us luck!!!
This week was a really busy week, but sadly, there aren't any really big stories to tell. We just had some great times teaching members and less actives, tracting, eating at member's houses etc. Brother Ellis gave Sister White and I each our very own Hockey Puck. That was pretty cool. The Relief Society in our ward had a birthday party for the Relief Society. It was a lot of fun. They had everyone sit by birthday month so Sister White and I weren't at the same table. In fact we were across the room from each other. It was so weird. I can already tell I'm going to be socially awkward with out a companion when I get home. We made cookies for different people in the ward for St. Patrick's day. They turned out SO good. I've attached a picture.
For a spiritual thought this week I would like to share something in preparation for General Conference, which I am so excited for!!! It's like Christmas to a missionary!!! :)
"You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then Go and Do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then Go and Do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you."
-President Henry B. Eyring
That is so cool!!! I encourage everyone that is reading this to think of a specific question or concern and then pray and listen for your answer in conference in a couple weeks. I know that our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us. I know that he wants to bless us and sometimes all that is required is to ask. Continue to keep the faith. Continue to love the Lord. Continue to honor and remember your covenants.
Love Always,
Sister Thompson

P.S. Attached pictures: Me with a plate of cookies, A house with the Canadian Flag painted on the side. "Canadian Pride!" Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012

Dear Lovely people I love so much (YOU!)
Where to begin?... This week was an eventful one. That's for sure. This upcoming week aka Pie Day (3.14) is my 6 Month Mark!!!!! Crazy I'm a third done with my mission. It has gone by so quickly!!! I can't believe it! Also, I realized how small of a world it is this week. At the Darby's in our ward I saw a wedding announcement on their fridge and it was for Trevor Olsen (who was a grade older than me in High School). He is marrying the granddaughter of the Nagel's in our ward. Small World hey? Ha ha
Monday; we had Zone Pday. Everyone in our Zone got together at a church in Red Deer to visit, play basketball, ultimate Frisbee, etc. It was a lot of fun. It had started to snow while we were there and by the time we were to leave it was coming down like crazy. A whole foot of snow was already on the ground and it was still coming down. My District (outlying) was the last to leave and we couldn't decided what to do. We had many members calling us sisters and telling us to not be on the roads. Especially the Highway. We decided to kneel down as a district and say a prayer. Us Sisters felt like we should stay and the Rocky and Olds Elders felt like they should go. So that's what we did. We met up with the Red Deer Sisters to stay with them for the night. We didn't have any other clothes or a toothbrush ;( We hoped that the next day would be better for us to drive home. The next morning the other sisters had a doctor's appointment early and on their way out they got stuck in their driveway because of all the snow. So, Sister White and I had to push them out. The snow was up to my knees (granted I'm short, but still). We finally were able to push them out and push them down the alley. Success!!! Next was our turn. We made it slowly but surely to the highway were the roads were plowed and great. It was definitely an adventure. The sun was out and shining so driving home was great. We're glad we stayed. We had to get home, shower, change and pack to get back to Red Deer for interviews with President at 1pm (Tuesday). Interviews went so well. I was glad I got to meet with President. I asked him for a blessing and it was really neat. I really love all the insights he gives and the encouragement he gives. He asked each of us to set a goal and then he would follow up with it next interviews in June. After interviews we went on splits with the Red Deer Sisters and worked in their area. That was an adventure. Only got stuck once. ;) The Lacombe sisters came up that night to stay for Zone Conference the next day. It was a full house. Tons of fun though. We are the only zone with 6 sisters in it. Most only have 2 or 4.
Zone Conference was amazing! I loved it. I took 10 pages of notes. ;) President Campbell started off his training by asking, "Who were the first missionaries in this dispensation?" We thought about it... I couldn't think of anyone specifically. The answer, "Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith was seeking truth and the Father and the Son came to him and gave him truth." He then began to discuss how we needed to be like them. It was a great! We went over a lot of numbers (like how many first lessons we need to teach to get a baptism, how many Books of Mormon placed to get a first lesson etc. ) It was really cool to see the statistics. It also showed me that I need to work harder. No pressure right? We also had additional training from the office staff, Assistants, and the Zone Leaders. President Campbell closed by having us listen to a address that Elder Bednar gave at the MTC last June (while sister white was there). He talked about how to be Preach My Gospel Missionaries. 1. Understand that you represent Jesus Christ 2. Worthy 3. Treasure up the words of Eternal Life 4. Understand that the Holy Ghost is the Ultimate teacher and 5. Understand that teaching is much more than talking and telling. He gave a lot of good insights (that were on the overwhelming side). However, Elder Bednar closed by saying "YOU CAN DO THIS! You will have His help and strength." I've set a lot of goals and I've come to realize that Sister Thompson can be a goal accomplisher. President Campbell said, "If all you learn/ take from your mission is how to accomplish goals, it would be a success." So, here I go! Please pray that I will be able to accomplish my goals. :) At the end of Zone Conference Elder Hayward got to bear his testimony since he was going home the next day. I cried. I have come so close to the other missionaries in this mission. They are all dear friends and every time one goes home I am saying goodbye to a friend.
Although Sister White and I ended up not being in our Area for about 3 days we still reached our goal of getting 20 lessons each week this transfer. :) Today is the beginning of the last week of this transfer and so far we have gotten 20+ lessons each week. It's amazing!!!! Our first week together (Dec. 28-Jan 1) we only got 11 lessons. I love seeing that we have improved. I know a lot has to do with answers to prayer. I also have come to realize that if you want to achieve a goal, don't try, DO!!!! So, we've been doing. We don't have any investigators right now, but the work is progressing. We have seen a lot of miracles. One particular miracle happened on Saturday.

There is a sign by the cemetery here in Innisfail that I really like. So on our way to the library/ home we decided to stop and take a picture. Just as we were finishing an older gentleman pulled out of the cemetery. He stopped and rolled down his window to talk to us. As I came around the car to say hello he glanced at our name tags ans started to cry. We asked him if he was okay and if he was visiting a loved one's grave. He nodded his head, too choked up to talk. I ached for him. I knew that I had something that he didn't and I knew I had to share it with him. "You know, it is really hard to lose a loved one. I lost my mother just over a year ago. But through the Savior Jesus Christ I have found peace and I know that I'll see her again." He wiped away his tears and began to tell us his life story. He was born in Romania and has lived in Germany, Austria, and East Germany. He's seen a lot of really hard things and has lived under two dictators. He explained "I believe in Jesus Christ and I know he is the reason we can have joy but there are all these different churches. I wish there were just one." Sister White then spoke up. "In the bible it talks about how there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism." He agreed, "Then why isn't there just one church." I took this moment to testify about the restoration of the gospel. "Well, that is exactly the question that a 14 year old boy had back in 1820....Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came to him. They answered his prayer. Through him Christ's church was restored on the earth. There is one church on the earth today that is Christ's church. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is this Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that gives me comfort and the knowledge that I will see my loved ones again." We talked to him for quite some time. During, we found out that he is catholic and his wife died a year ago in January. I asked him his name and he got choked up again, "Aschenbrenner" He motioned to where his wife's headstone was. We testified again and asked if we could share a message of Jesus Christ with him. He replied, tears in his eyes, "You have already given me so much. Thank you for talking with me." Sister White grabbed a pass along card and the Plan of Salvation pamphlet from the car for him. As she handed it to him she said, "Here is our phone number. Please give us a call. This pamphlet will explain how you can be with your wife again." He thanked us and as he did he grabbed each of our hands and gave them a squeeze, "God bless you." Although, he wouldn't give us his address or phone number I know that we made a difference in his life. After he drove away we went to his wife's grave. As we were there, we felt such a yearning to share the gospel with him. Sister White turned to me, " I felt like his wife was here. I can't explain it, but it was really cool." Now, we are praying that we can make contact with him again. I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to represent the Savior Jesus Christ, to wipe away some one's tears, to give them hope, and to testify of the Plan of Salvation.
Later this week we found a random phone in the snow. We put it in some rice to dry out and were able to get it back to the owner. Talk about creative finding ;) Now, they will remember that we are honest people. :) Also, I forgot to mention last week about Scottish Dancing. At one of the Old Folks' homes they had some Scottish Dancers come in. It was really cool. I know Dad would have really enjoyed it. I got some video of it and they asked me to participate in one dance. That was pretty cool. After, however I wondered (since being a missionary) if I was allowed to participate or not, so I asked President Campbell and he said it was fine. :) I have included a video for you to see. :)
video
video

For a spiritual thought this week I wanted to share something from Preach My Gospel that meant more to me after my experience with Fred Aschenbrenner. It is as follows:
"Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before…. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, ‘Come over… and help us.’ He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, ‘And now, Lord, … grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word’ (Acts 4:29)”
-President Spencer W. Kimball
It is so true. The time is NOW to share the gospel. Who are you letting pass you by with out testifying to them of the hope you have? Be bold! Do, don't try! This is Christ's church once again established on the earth. Share it with everyone you know!
I love you all! God be with you 'til we meet again.
Love, Eternally,
Sister Thompson
P.S. The pictures/ Video attached are as follows; 1. 1/3 Gone (Notice how a 1/3 of me is covered by the snow) ;) 2. Me by the Innisfail sign at the cemetery 3. Video of the Scottish Dancers 4. Video of me with the Scottish Dancers 5. My Zone at Zone Conference Enjoy!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

Dearest Eternal Family and Friends,
This week was an interesting one. The weather is super bipolar. Right now it's snowing. Can you say white Christmas? Too bad it's March! Gotta love Canada. Things in Innisfail are going. Sister White and I just keep on Trucking. Thanks for your continued prayers on your behalf.

This week we had exchanges with the Lacombe sisters (Sister Heo and Sister Milburn). Sister Heo came to Innisfail with me and we had such a great time. I spent a ton of time with Sister Heo when I served in Beaumont and she was in Millwoods so it was wonderful to see her again and get to work with her. She is an amazing missionary. I look up to her so much. She has so much fire in her little Korean body it's wonderful! :)

We taught a member lesson to an older couple (The Campbells) in our ward that lives on an acreage. Brother Campbell is very proud of his pig that they have so Sister Heo and I made the trek through the snow to go see him. So cute! I had to get a picture with it.
The most eventful thing this week however was a funeral that we attended. There is a family in the ward, the Hetchler's, who lost a grandson/ nephew a couple mondays ago in a car accident. He was 15 years old and all 4 teenagers in the car died. It was very sad. We were invited by our Bishop to support their family and attend the funeral. The funeral took place in Red Deer at the Cross Roads Church. (Most of the Hetchler's extended family is less active or not members.) Well, Sister White and I expected this funeral to be different. (To be honest I think this was first funeral I've ever been that wasn't in an LDS chapel) However, the funeral turned out a lot different than we expected. The Cross Roads church is huge. They have this huge auditorium (kind of like a high school auditorium). On the big stage was a glass pulpit and a huge cross. There were tons of people there. Mostly teenagers. All the teenagers in the room were pretty rough looking and a lot of them were outside smoking before they came inside. The Pastor was pretty good, but didn't talk about anything really religious at all. He only spoke for about 5 minutes and then the rest of the service was a video of the life of the boy with pictures of him growing up and music in the background. At first the music was fine but once it got to his pre-teen/ teenage years the music in the background was this heavy rap/ punk. Sister White and I looked at each other questioning what we should do. The music was super loud and swearing A LOT. Here we were, the Bishop and 6 other members from our ward on our right and some teenage girls sobbing on our left. We didn't feel like it would be appropriate to leave given the circumstances so we just leaned forward, stared at the floor and plugged our ears. I could not believe the type of music that was playing, let alone that it was being played at a funeral and that we were in a church. I'm surprised the Pastor allowed that. Not only was the music offensive but some of the pictures shown were of him drinking and partying with his friends. I was definitely not in Utah or a mostly LDS environment anymore. As I stared down at the floor, my ears plugged, singing hymns in my head, two things caught my attention sticking out of our bags. A Plan of Salvation pamphlet with a picture of Christ on the front and the Book of Mormon. The knowledge I have gained from those two things alone have truly given me strength to get through the loss of my mother and other loved ones. There was no comfort or hope given at this funeral. I ached for those around me that had no understanding of life after death and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The feeling was very hallow. After, Sister Hetchler thanked us for coming and apologized for the music/ slideshow. She had no say in what was done and the other side of the family made all the decisions. She told us it wasn't how she would have done his funeral. About an hour after our Bishop called us to see how we were doing. He felt really bad about it. I'm just glad that I have the gospel and that there is hope. There also was a pretty funny poster in the Washroom about baptism that I had to take a picture of, so I attached it for you to see.

Well, this week I've been thinking a lot about what it takes to be a consecrated missionary. A quote that I saw at a member's house has really given me encouragement and I think applies to any aspect of our lives.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased."
-President Heber J. Grant
I really liked that idea. If you want to be better at something or just become better then you must be persistent. As you do so you will have more power to accomplish that which you are striving to accomplish. Well, I love you all. I hope life is going well for you. Continue to be persistent in the gospel. Continue to Endure to the End. Continue to put your faith in the Lord. Until next time, God be with you 'til we meet again.
I love you all!
Love,
Sister Leanna Thompson
P.S. Pictures attached are me with a pig, me and Sister Heo, Sister Milburn, Sister Heo, Sister White and I, and the Baptism poster from the Cross Roads Church. Enjoy!