Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

Dearest Lovely People,
Missionaries love mail! I've hit my half way point and the mail has shown that. Write Away!
A clock showing the time and how light it was outside. The longest day of the year happened and it was super light outside when we went to bed and super light outside when we woke up. Gotta love Canada!
This week went by kind of quick. I don't have much time to share, but I will try and mention some highlights. Sister Roberts and I did A LOT of Finding this week. Everyday we spent at least an hour or so. We were able to talk to a lot people and find some potentials for the Elders. That's one hard thing about YSA, when you tract you usually don't find people for yourself, but for other missionaries. I did however feel glad that I could help find other missionaries people to teach. This isn't about who gets to teach who, but about the fact that God's children are being found, seeds are planted, and people are listening to our message. I have this "problem" with being positive all the time. okay, so it's not a problem, but sometimes my companions make comments about how I'm positive in every situation. For example, we met with a less active guy this week who doesn't want to come back to church. During the lesson we weren't able to make much progress, but afterward I said, "Isn't he great!? I'm glad we were able to meet him." Sister Roberts looked at me like I was crazy. Tuesday night as we retired to our bed (I felt like we had had a pretty successful finding day). Sister Roberts mentioned how she was bummed that we weren't able to have more lessons and that a couple of our lessons fell through. I looked at her and said, "If we would have met with those people we wouldn't have met Cheryl, Mandy, Kerry, or Mike." I know that being optimistic is a blessing from my Heavenly Father.
We were able to meet up with a potential at a place called Twisted Yogurt. Her name is Jackie. She is a member referral from her sister who lives in Grande Praire. She is amazing! We had a great meeting and she is sincere about learning more. She was supposed to come to church, but something came up and she wasn't able to make it. We also tried the houses of some less actives in the ward that no one knows. We tried 4 houses, of the four, three people answered but told us that the people we were looking for didn't live there anymore. Two of the three said we could come back and teach them. God works in mysterious ways. :) While street contacting a guy that was in his front yard I asked, "Do you have a religious background?" He replied, "Yes, I'm Agnostic." With out skipping a beat I said, "That's great!" As the words came out of my mouth (too late to draw them back in) I realized that saying "That's Great" to someone who is agnostic is not the correct response. Good thing I have a companion who has my back and naturally changed the subject. Gotta love being a missionary.
Well, I love you so much! Hope to hear from you all very soon. (Sorry I don't have more time)
Love always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

So this pastweek was crazy! Tons of changes and exciting stuff. As you know I am now serving in Millwoods YSA with Sister Roberts and can I just say she is amazing!!! I love her so much! She is absolutely hilarious. We have had so many funny times already together. She makes me laugh so much. I'm also down to timed computer times so sorry if my emails aren't as long anymore.
On Monday and Tuesday it was a lot of saying "See ya later" to all the wonderful people of the Innisfail area. I am sure going to miss every single one of them so much. I also hit my 9 months on Thursday! Crazy! I can not believe I have been a missionary for 9 months already. It's crazy how quickly time flies when you are serving the Lord.
9 Month Picture!! It's tradition for Sister's to take a Prego picture at 9 months ha ha hilarious sorry if it's a little blurry
Sister Westover and Sister Thompson at 9 Months!!! Ha ha

 I found out Thursday morning that a dear friend/ sister in the Innisfail ward passed away that morning, Sister Gudim. She was in her 90's and was absolutely amazing. We would visit her twice a week and she was wonderful. I will miss her, but am so grateful she was a part of my life.
Coming into YSA is quite different. On Saturday we had a baptism. Kris Schneider is the newest member of the Millwoods YSA ward. It was very exciting and I look forward to teaching him the new member lessons.
Kris' Baptism. Sadly we didn't have time to get a picture before in his whites.

We also got to meet with one of our investigators named Zhang (sounds like Jong). He is from China and really nice. We set a baptismal date with him for July 14th. Church was defintely different from Family Wards (so quiet) I felt kind of out of place and like I was back in my Provo ward. That will take some getting used to, but overall I'm excited to work with those in this area.
Sister Roberts and I did some finding. We knocked on one door and a young man answered. He was semi-interested and we gave him a card and pamphlet. Well, just as we were about to leave I said, "One last question. How old are you?" "23." "Are you single?" He looked at me like I was hitting on him or something. "I have a girlfriend..." "Oh Great! Well, we have a congregation of unmarried adults 18-30 that meet together and you and your girlfriend are welcome to come." He thanked us and we went on our way. Sister Roberts and I got a good laugh as we walked away. Ha ha I wasn't trying to be awkward, but it kind of came out a little creeper. Now it's a new joke with us. About an hour later we ran into the Elders serving in Strathcona (they were walking so we stopped and talked to them). As we were talking someone drove pass and yelled out the window, "Witness the Jehovah!" We laughed and then the Elders said, "That's the second time that's happened today." Ha ha gotta love people. Well, to make the day funnier than it was we were pulling into our parking lot and there were some kids riding their skate boards. We waved to them as they got out of our way. Then while in our apartment our intercom buzzed. "Hello?" I asked. Sister Roberts looked out the window to see who it was and saw that it was those same boys. They replied, "Why were you waving and blowing kisses at my friend." Sister Roberts and I bust out laughing. Pretty funny.
It's been great serving here so far. I got to see the Acorda family and Tammy Ward from my time in Beaumont again. Tammy's son Logan is YSA age so we stopped by to invite him to come. When Tammy opened the door she was so happy to see me. It's nice to feel loved. :)
Well, I wish I had more time, but know that I love you all. The Church is true and being a missionary is the best decision I've ever made.
Love Always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,
Transfer calls were this morning. I have only served with Sister Atkinson for one transfer, but have been in Innisfail for 6 Months already (crazy how quickly time flies by). I was uncertain what would happen, but I kept having the feeling that I was leaving. And leaving I am. I will be back to Edmonton serving in the Millwoods YSA (aka the Single's Ward that covers Beaumont!) I'm so sad to leave Innisfail and Sister Atkinson. I wish I could serve with her longer, but I am excited to serve with my new companion Sister Roberts (Sister Atkinson's MTC Companion). She is from Las Vegas (Summerland area if you're familiar with Vegas). Last week I actually got the opportunity to do Exchanges with her here in Innisfail and we got a long great! She is so wonderful. However, it is so sad to leave Innisfail. I feel like Innisfail is home. The Ward here is the BEST and I feel like I grew up in this ward. I am also going to miss all the wonderful people that are here. It will be different serving in YSA too. Wish me luck! I'm used to teaching kids and families so this will be a new experience.
Sister Thompson and Sister Roberts, new companion, on our exchange. Also, I made the skirt I'm wearing in this picture. Super cute!!!
This past week was super random and our routine was a little thrown off. We found out at the beginning of the week that we had to move. Sister Stanford's (who we lived with) daughter and her family (who live in the ward) sold their house quicker than they could find a new one so they needed a place to live. Since they have teenage boys we couldn't live with them. So we packed up and moved out Saturday. We are temporarily living in our Bishop's house in town that they are trying to sell. So, before we had a fully furnished house to ourselves (since Sister Stanford was gone for the summer). And now we have a completely empty house to ourselves. It's so nice of Bishop to let us stay here. This ward definitely takes care of their members. Last night we had supper at the Ellis' and they gave us some pots, pans, etc. And the Kinder's in the ward gave us dishes. I really love this ward.
We also got our investigator Avery (9) on date to get baptized. June 30th! So excited. It's actually kind of funny how it all finally happened. We have been trying for some time now to get her on date. It's was kind of a touchy situation since Avery's dad isn't a member. Well, as we were finishing talking with Avery in their kitchen/ dining room Sister Atkinson turned to Sister Sorenson (Avery's Mom) and said, "I'm going to be bold." I was a little surprised and wondered how Sister Sorenson would respond (thinking Sister Atkinson was asking her about a date for Avery to get baptized.) Sister Sorenson's face was priceless. She looked a little nervous, "Yes?" Sister Atkinson then asked,"Can I have a cookie?" The look of relief across Sister Sorenson's face was priceless. "Yes, you can have a cookie. I thought you were going to ask if Avery could get baptized this Saturday and I was nervous, because there is no way I get all the family here by then." We all got a big laugh and then I said, "Well, since we're talking about it, have you thought of a date yet?" It came up very casual and Siser Sorenson felt a lot more comfortable with us and she set the date of June 30th when her husband is off work. I'm so excited for Avery to finally get baptized.
President Campbell surprised us this week by showing up to our District Meeting. Our District Leader, Elder Penrod said that President Campbell would be coming, but none of us believed him (Elder Penrod is a big tease and sometimes it's hard to take him seriously.) Well, just as we were taking District Pictures President Campbell walked in the door. Surprise!!! It was good to see him.
My District; Elder Bodine, Elder Lee, Elder Severe, Elder Penrod (lying on the table), Sister Thompson and Sister Atkinson.
We went to meet with a less active lady in the ward named Becky. As we got there she asked us to help her sew on letters onto some of her son's lacrose team jerseys. That was a lot of fun. I'm always grateful when people give us a way to serve. Dear Family and Friends: If the missionaries or your home or visiting teachers ever ask, "Is there anything we can do for you?" GIVE THEM SOMETIME TO DO! It's so great to allow people to serve you. Plus, as you allow people to serve it give you an opportuniy to love each other more. Even if there isn't something for them to do physically ask them to pray specifically for something you or your family needs. Believe me, it's amazing!!!
Sister Atkinson and Sister Thompson helping with the Innisfail Food Drive
I wanted to end with a quote that we included in our Missionary Corner in the Sacrament Program on Sunday.
"Remember, brothers and sisters, we're not marketing a product. We're not selling anything. We're not trying to impress anyone with our numbers or our growth. We are members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, empowered and sent forth by the Lord Himself to find, noruish, and bring safely into His church those who are seeking to know the truth."
-Elder M. Russell Ballard
I hope that quote is a call to action for you. Help the Lord find those who are seeking the truth. They are out there. They are just waiting for us to open our mouths and tell them. Share the Gospel, it's true!!!
I love you all! The is the Best 18 years of my life!
Love always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012

Dearest people reading this email,
This week was pretty great. The weather has been quite nice (some rainy days here and there) the sun has been up from about 6am- 10pm, and work is good. I have come to realize something this week. It's wonderful to find new people to bring into the Gospel, but helping rescue those who have left is just as rewarding. I love being a missionary. I love seeing lives change, and I love watching my own testimony grow and myself progress.
This weeek was Sister Atkinson's Birthday. We went out to dinner with some people from the Red Deer YSA Branch (her last area) on Tuesday and it was a nice surprise. They came to Boston Pizza here in Innisfail. There were so many people who came to celebrate. It was fun, but I felt socially awkward. I tell ya, I don't know how to interact with people my age anymore, but put me in a room full of old people in wheel chairs and I'll be right at home. ;) This week was also Brother Votary's birthday. They are less active and we visit them every week. We celebrated by making cake and playing cribage. Super fun!
While at service at Rosefield (Old Folks Home) this week, Brian (one of the residents who isn't confined to a wheel chair and is probably no older than his late 60's) started flirting with us. He has been doing that ever since I've been here and is a little on the creepy side. He says some inappropriate things and always puts his hand on our shoulders. This week he started flirting with us again (usually I just ignore the things he says and interact with the other folks there). Well, finally I said, "Brian, you're not allowed to flirt with us." "Why not?" He asked. "Because we're missionaries." "So?..." "It's like flirting with a nun." Well, that worked. He backed away a hasn't done it anymore. I'm glad I finally told him to stop. Usually I'd just ask him not to say some of the things he does around us or to not swear. It's interesting how much the world has changed and how we really need to stand up for the things we believe in. If something is inappropriate we shouldn't just ignore it, but take a stand so others know what we stand for.
This last week Sister Atkinson and I got the opportunity to go to the Innisfail Farmer's Market. It was pretty fun. I found some really cute scarfs there. :) As I was talking to a lady at one booth, I overheard Sister Atkinson talking to the couple at the booth behind us, "Do you know for sure you're going to heaven?" The gentleman asked Sister Atkinson. I joined them as she replied by saying, "Yes, according to the works I do here." The man was absolutely upset that she'd even say such a thing. They began to explain to us that we all go to heaven because of Grace and that we are all saved and it doesn't matter our works." I then brought up the scripture in the Bible "Faith without works is dead." They didn't really have a response to that. They asked who started our church and I explained, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same church that our Savior established when he was on the earth, but has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith." They expressed that there is no such thing as modern day prophets and that Christ was the last one. I then explained about how God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. I explained about the Book of Mormon and the Bible and how we teach from both. "Well, we only believe in the King James Version of the Bible." "That's great. We use the King James Version of the Bible as well." I pulled out my personal scriptures to show and the lady pointed out the bottom where it says, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." I explained that we have the King James Version, but it is the LDS edition that includes footnotes that connect it with scriptures from the Book of Mormon. I then gave the woman a copy of the Book of Mormon to have. "Here, you can have this copy of the Book of Mormon to read and find out the truth of it for yourself." She then replied, "I'll read it, but only to disprove it." My first thought as she said that was 'well then, I want it back.' But then I felt the Spirit testify to me and say, "It's true isn't it? Then how could she disprove it? Invite her to take Moroni's Challenge." So I said, "I know that the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ and we are promised that if we read it with real intent and pray about it, honestly seeking to know if it is true, we will find out for ourselves that it is true." I then pointed out the Introduction to her and invited her to read. She didn't say anything after I testified. We also gave them both their own copy of the Restoration pamphlet and The Plan of Salvation pamphlet. They gave us a little pamphlet about Jesus Christ (which is super interesting I might add) and we went our separate ways. As we got into the car it doned on me, I had been so caught up in testify and saying things to this couple that in my over zealousness I had totally monopolized the conversation and didn't allow Sister Atkinson to testify. I felt horrible after and asked her to forgive me. (My over zealousness can be a vice).
This week we also got the opportunity to go to the Discovery Wildlife park with the Teskey's (part member family). It was so much fun. We had a great time. They have tigers, jaguars, monkeys, moose, reindeer, bears, ostriches, etc. The bears there are Hollywood Bears and have actually been in a lot of movies, shows, and commercials. They did a show for us, which was so great (sadly we weren't allowed to take pictures during it.) It was really fun. Who would have thought that Innisfail, Alberta would have something so fun.

Sister Thompson with a Bear at the Discovery Widlife Park (they wouldn't let us take a picture, without paying$20 with the Hollywood Bears so this is the closest I could get.)
Sister Atkinson and Sister Thompson with matching T-shirts :) It has a picture of a Beaver and Bear playing hockey and the Bear said, "Quit eating the hockey sticks eh?!" Ha ha so Canadian!
On Sunday we got to teach Sharing Time for both Junior and Senior Primaries. We taught about prayer and used cups and string (one side representing us and the other side representing our Heavenly Father.) It was fun to have them talk through it. It turned out really well. Also, yesterday was Fast and Testimony meeting. It was so great. I have made a goal to bear my testimony every Testimony meeting because you only get the opportunity to do that 18 times as a sister missionary. It was also really neat because Lindsay bore her testimony. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time she was bearing her testimony. I kind of felt like a proud momma. I have absolutely loved watching her gain her own testimony and grow in the Gospel. She is amazing and I'm so grateful she has become a dear friend of mine. Like I mentioned before, helping people come back to the church is just as rewarding as bringing new people into the church.
Well, I wanted to end with this quote:
"Missionary Work is the lifeblood of the church and the lifesaving blessing to all who accept it's message."
-Elder Ronald A. Rasband
I love you all!!! God be with you 'til we meet again!!!
Love, Sister Thompson