Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

Dearest Loved ones,
Well Family and Friends. It is yet another week of being a Missionary and can I just say, "I LOVE IT!!!" The people here are fantastic and I feel so much at home here. Innisfail is one of my favorite areas. (Granted, I've only had two, but still- It's wonderful!).The following might be random, but I know you will enjoy the different stories I have from this week. Hmmm... Where to start?
Tuesday while at the Food Bank (doing service) one of the ladies there and I got talking about quilting. She does a lot of quilting and invited us over to have some of her fabric. She said she had tons of fabric she isn't using and asked me to come by and take some. I thought, "What am I going to do with fabric as a missionary? But hey, this is a great opportunity to talk with her." So we went over there and she wasn't kidding. She has TONS of fabric. We talked to her as I went through fabric and took some with me. It was great to talk with her. She is a widow (almost 80 I think). She wasn't super interested in learning about the Gospel, but as we left she said, "I really appreciated you girls coming by. You are welcome anytime. It meant so much to me to have you visit." That made me feel so great. I made a new friend and planted a Gospel seed. Sometimes it's just about planting the seeds. Well, with some of the fabric she gave me I whipped up a skirt in about a half hour during lunch one day. It's super cute! I don't have a picture, but I'll send one next week.

Me with Iris (the lady that gave me the fabric.)
Later this week Brother McLeod (Recent Convert) ended up in the hospital for stomach pain. While visiting there we talked briefly to a woman that was in the visiting room. She was there for a broken leg. Anyway, the next day Brother McLeod called us and said, "That lady that you spoke to briefly yesterday is a member. I didn't get her name, but she said she hasn't been to church in a while." We decided to go stop by and talk to her. We didn't know her name or her room number (or if she was even still there) but we just walked around the small hospital and poked our heads in each room that was open. As we walked past one room we noticed a broken leg in a wheel chair and decided to check it out. It was her. We started to talking to her and as she said her name I recognized it from our ward list. She is a less active that lives in Bowden and we've never been able to contact her ever. We started talking to her about the church and she explained her story. It was a great visit and we went backt the next day to take her for a walk outside. We sang " I am a child of God" to her and talked about our Heavenly Father. She loved it and was so sweet. Her name is Eva Walker and we were able to let her Visiting/ Home Teachers know she was in the Hospital.
This week we tried multiple times to get a hold of Sister Bateman (less active). She never answered her phone and wasn't home when we stopped by. We had planned on sharing a message based on a quote by Elder Oaks. Saturday morning Sister Atkinson and I were studying and I said to her, "Maybe we haven't been able to visit with Sister Bateman because we're not supposed to share that with her. Let's pray about what we should share." As we finished praying we both said at the same time, "God is our loving Heavenly Father." Sister Atkinson immediately said, "Let's test that theory." She called Sister Bateman... Two rings, "Hello?" She answered and said we could come by that day! After Sister Atkinson hung up we both shouted with joy and were astonished at how perfect that was. Our lesson with her went great and was exactly what she needed. It's great to see how the Lord uses us as instruments in His hands.
Saturday evening Sister Atkinson and I were in Penhold. We decided to do some finding. As we walked up to this one lady's house we noticed a potted plant with what looked like a real butterfly on it. We took a closer look and it was a mechanical one that looked really pretty. Anyway, we knocked on the door and the lady that answered wasn't interested. As she said goodbye I said, "I just wanted to mention that I think your plant and butterfly are beautiful." I motioned to the plant on the front lawn. "That's not my plant." "It's not? Well, it's beautiful." She followed us off the porch as she went to expect the plant. She explained that she hadn't seen it before and that she had just retired so maybe someone left it there for her. Without skipping a beat (being my silly self) I threw my arms out and shook my hands (jazz hands motion) and said, "Surprise!" The lady looked at me like I was crazy and my companion muffled a laugh. Yep, slightly embarrassing. In the end she still wasn't interested. We got a good laugh about it afterward.
As we were driving back to Innisfail from Penhold I noticed a semi truck stuck in a ditch and a man sitting on the side of the road. I mentioned what I saw to Sister Atkinson and we decided to turn around. We pulled up and started talking to this gentleman. He is originally from India, his name is Sindra (I think), and he was just headed to Vancouver from New York. We talked for a while and then he asked (kindof out of the blue actually) "Do you have a book?" "Yes!" We went to our trunk and gave him a Book of Mormon. "Do you have a smaller book. Shorter to read?" We gave him the Book of Mormon and The Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and Family Proclamation pamplets. It was great to talk to him. He said we were the only people to stop by in the whole half hour he'd been there. It's amazing how Heavenly Father puts people in our paths. If we're too busy we might let them pass by.
Lastly, we had a special Stake Conference. It was Stake Conference on Sunday for all of Canada!!! Pretty sweet. They broadcasted it from Salt Lake City to all 47 Stakes and 3 Districts in Canada. Elder William Walker who had just visited our Mission conducted and Elder Christofferson, Packer, and Sister Stephens from the Relief Society Presidency all spoke to us. It was so neat. Some of the things they focussed on were temple blessings, developing daily gospel habits, being centered on Christ, serve others, and don't be ashamed of the Gospel. It was wonderful.
Well, I have run out of time. I love you all!!!
"Here's my Heart, oh take and seal it!"
Love Sister Thompson

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,
The reason you didn't get an email yesterday was because of May long weekend (can be compared to our Memorial day weekend kind of). The library was closed so we are here today. I have tons I want to talk about so hopefully I can get it all in. Time permitting.
This past Wednesday we enjoyed Mission Tour (aka a General Authority came to visit) Elder William R. Walker (select the following link to learn more about Elder Walker ) He was pretty legit. He is the Executive Director of the Temple Department. He had a lot of great insights and his voice sounds just like Elder M. Russell Ballard. It was funny because Elder Lane (one of my Zone Leaders) said, "He sounds just like Elder Ballard. I just close my eyes and it's like we are recieving instruction from Elder Ballard." Anyway, the following are some random insights that I enjoyed from that conference. Sister Walker spoke and one thing she said that I specifically said was, "When you find out (in the next life) who you are you'll be sorry you didn't try harder." She talked about our Divine Potential. Elder Walker talked a lot about quotes from some of the Brethren on Missionary Work and then he went through Alma 8 with us about Alma and Amulek and the amazing missionaries they were. Some insights from that chapter were:
Alma 8:10-Pray for the Spirit to pour out on the city you serve.
Alma 8:15- Be happy Missionaries. Rejoice you're keeping the commandments. If you're a Latter-Day Saint you should be happy.
Alma 8:18- Do things speedily. When you recieve an assignment or prompting, do it now! Also, if you aren't having success do something different. Change is good.
Alma 8:19- Open your mouth all the time. Don't miss the opportunity to speak. The Lord had someone prepared for Alma, He has someone prepared for you.
Alma 8:22- Bless the homes and people you come in contact with. Prayer is one of the most powerful tools you've got. Use it!
Alma 8:22-24- Cite your authority. While introducing yourself say, "My companion and I have been called by a Prophet of God to be a missionary."
Alma 8:27-31- As missionaries we have power given to us!
I loved all these insights! It was amazing to go through that chapter with him. Another thing he talked about I thought all my "Thompson Uncles" would appreciate. He compared Missionary Work to a Batting average. An average batter has a .250 batting average. If someone has a .300 batting average they would be considered Really Good. And a .350 batting average is considered Exceptional. So, what's the difference between an Average Batter and a Really Good Batter?... 1! 1 additional hit in a week can make you a Really Good Batter. The difference between a Really Good Batter and an Exceptional Batter?... 1! 1 additional hit in a week can make you an Exceptional Batter. So, let's translate this into missionary lingo. What can make you a Really Good Missionary? 1 more door knocked, 1 more lesson taught, 1 more person contacted, 1 more testimony shared. To become an Exceptional Missionary is just to improve 1 or 2 things a week. Less overwhelming when you look at it that way hey? I loved it! It was a call to action for me. A call to go a little longer, push myself a little harder. He also said, "If we're not going to work hard for the Lord, who are we ever going to work hard for?" So great!!! Loved it! He then took questions at the end and one Elder (who goes home this transfer) asked, "How do you not let yourself get trunky and not fall into old habits when you get home?" Elder Walker's answer? Run through the tape. Act as if your mission isn't ending and that this is all you do. Work until the last day. Keep looking like a missionary. He specifically said, "Elders, do not grow facial hair, wear colored shirt, etc. when you get home." When he said that I immediately thought of my brother Matt. He always says that. :) Great advice big brother!! He also instructed us to still pray, study scriptures, go to the temple often, pay your tithing, etc. Don't put down your devotion. Be proud to be a Returned Missionary! These were the best years of your life and they don't really have to end when you are released. I really loved that.
We also got the opportunity to attend the Edmonton Temple. It was beautiful! It was the smallest temple I've been in. Only one Endowment room with about 40 seats total. 20 on both sides. It's been almost 8 months since I had been so going last Wednesday was a treat for sure.
Well, I love you all! I hope you're all having an amazing day!!!
Love Always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

My favorite people in the world,
It was amazing, wonderful, fantastic, awesome, great to talk/ see you yesterday for Mother's Day.
Skyping home :)

 I decided to put S.T. Phone Home instead of E.T. Phone Home. ST stands for Sister Thompson (too bad I'm not an Elder, that would have been perfect!) It's crazy to think that I only have one more "phone home" before I go home. Missions go by so fast. It was weird hearing my name too. It almost sounded quite foreign to me. I'm sure I'm going to be a weird RM when I get home. ;) I thought I would start with my quote of the week. Given that it was Mother's day yesterday I thought it would be appropriate to share with you a quote about mothers. Sister Atkinson and I made Mother's Day cards for the widows/ older ladies in the ward and we included this quote. Enjoy!
"Sisters, we, your brethren, cannot do what you were divinely designated to do from before the foundation of the world. We may try, but we cannot ever hope to replicate your unique gifts. There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman... All women have within their divine nature both the inherent talent and the stewardship to mother."
-Elder M. Russell Ballard
I love this quote. It is so true. There are some things in life that women/ mothers are uniquely good at. This past Sunday was a great reflection of my relationship with my mother. What an amazing woman she truly is. I am so grateful that she sacrificed for me and my siblings her time, love, space, and energy in raising, comforting, and supporting us. She truly is wonderful. While reflecting on my own mother, thoughts of my future children, as well as my Heavenly Mother brought me a great sense of my divine nature and divine potential. Being a missionary has also brought me a great desire to raise a righteous family and teach Gospel truths to them. It's amazing how meaningful life is when we have an Eternal perspective.
This last week was a busy one, yet I don't have a ton of stories to share. We had District Meeting here in Innisfail, met with a lot of ward members and less active members and were able to meet with Patrick (one of our investigators) last night. We finished teaching him the Plan of Salvation and that lesson went quite well. He still mentions that he is just trying to learn about his wife's church and has no intention of being baptized. I also took Matt's advice from our conversation and asked him to offer the closing prayer. He did it and it was wonderful. We'll see if we start actively teaching him anytime soon. It may be a while until then, but we can have faith can't we? :)
I'm excited for our Mission Tour this week. We are having Elder Walker (in charge of all the temple dedications) coming. I can't wait!!! It's going to be a blast. Also, the sun is out and it's actually gotten pretty warm 80+ F :) I even got a sister missionary tan AKA tan from just past the elbow down. Gotta love cardigans!!! :) Oh yeah, Congrats Kevin and Michelle on your marriage!!! I wish you both the best of luck in your journey through Eternity.
Oh, I forgot to mention last time a little more about Sister Atkinson. She is from Rexburg, Idaho. Her Birthday is May 29th. She has been out a transfer less than me and served in the Red Deer YSA Branch before here. She is so great. We get a long great! I love her. We've had some pretty great laughs.
Well, I love you all. Look for opportunities to share the gospel with those around you. I promise the Lord is preparing people. Open your mouth and He will fill it!
Love Always,
Sister Thompson

When in doubt eat cookies!!! :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

Dear Loved ones,
A lot of new stuff this week. I had my first official week of being Senior Companion and it is definitely a responsibility. I'm responsible to make sure we are being as effective as possible, that we get appointments, and that we're out of lessons on time until Sister Atkinson knows the area more. It's been fun to rise to the challenge. I am sure going to miss Sister White. She really helped me grow and it was a wonderful time serving with her. I'm excited to serve with Sister Atkinson. We are both short blonds so that makes it fun. Already we've had some pretty great laughs and great teaching moments. I'm so excited for what this transfer brings. Wish me luck!
Monday we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows with the Darby's. They are so wonderful. We were nervous that it was going to rain, but it held out on us. Tuesday was full of goodbyes and a few lessons. We were able to meet with Lindsay and finish teaching the Plan of Salvation. She is doing so well. She invited a less active friend who just moved into the ward to join and we had a great discussion. Her daughter Jade (4) calls us her "Teachers" and said to her friend that was visiting, "Do you want to come to church with me? It's really fun." Look at her, a 4 year old doing missionary work and it was so natural. If she can do it anyone can do it. (Invite a friend to church this week everyone!!!) ;)
Wednesday morning plans changed. We were supposed to meet the Lacombe sisters and then Sister Milburn and White would go to transfer meeting and Sister Heo and I were to stay in Lacombe for the morning. Well, there was no way that we could fit both Sister White and Milburn's stuff in one car. We pushed, and shoved, and pushed, and squeezed, but no success. We were even tempted to tie stuff to the roof. We had to call the Assistants and get approval to take two cars. Sister Heo and I were elated when they said we could go. So, all the sisters were at transfer meeting except for Drayton Valley (Jones and Wotherspoon). It was sad to say goodbye to Sister Kafu and Jankowski who went home. It's crazy how quickly missions go. After transfer meeting we went to Ihop with a bunch of missionaries. It was great to see other missionaries. That night Sister Atkinson and I got to teach the Activity Days Girls about missionary work. It was really fun to work with them and help them practice telling their friends about the gospel.
Sadly, however, I found out that Sister Nagel (who we visited at the old folks place in the hospital every week) passed away today. It was very sad to hear, but I know she isn't suffering anymore.
Saturday we had a full day of finding in Penhold (part of our area). It was actually quite successful. We got to talk to a lot of different people and two of them invited us back. We're hoping to meet with them this week. I love tracting. (Sometimes it's hard to motivate myself to do it, but after I do, I love it!!!!) I love the opportunity I get to testify to so many people about the gospel. Plus, it's exciting to see if they accept or reject what we say. Yesterday at church, Sister Kirkpatrick in the ward felt really weak and and almost fainted in Relief Society. People were asking everyone if they had apple juice and no one did. I mentioned that I had some at home so we rushed home to get some for her. She is doing a lot better, but it was pretty scary for a while there. After church Sister Teskey (her husband, Patrick, is Catholic and is the most active non-member in the ward. He has a calling in scouting and comes to Sacrament meeting every Sunday- even if she can't make it.) came up to us and told us that Patrick had some questions about the pre-earth life because of some things that were mentioned at a camp out. She asked him if she wanted us to come by and he agreed. So we went over and taught him the first half of the plan of salvation. He made it clear that he is not converting, but just wanting to understand what we believe. Bishop gave him a triple combination a couple weeks ago and we gave him a Gospel Principles book. It was a really good lesson and he loves us (the missionaries). We have a great relationship with him and he invited us to come back and finish the plan of salvation. It's so exciting. I know he will gain a testimony for himself, it will probably just take time for him to accept it all.
I love the following quote (if I have already shared it, forgive me. Maybe I was supposed to share it twice.)
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up their friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."
-President Ezra Taft Benson
The church is true. The Gospel can and does change lives. Our Savior did live again and because He lives, each of us can live again. Families are forever. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. We have a living prophet on the earth today, President Thomas S. Monson. Following the commandments brings happiness in this life and eternal life in the life to come. Live the Gospel. Love the Gospel. Share the Gospel.
I love you all!
Love Eternally,
Sister Thompson
Pictures, Pictures, I'm sure you want some pictures. P I C T U R E S!!!!! (I wish you could hear me singing about pictures.)
Sister White and Thompson roasting hot dogs (it was weird wearing jeans)

Me with my new companion Sister Atkinson! :)

The Sisters of the Canada Edmonton Mission! (Just missing Sister Jones and Wotherspoon).

Gotta love Friends and Family! - Sister Heo and Thompson at IHop