Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30, 2012

My Dearest Family and Friends,
What a week! Being a Missionary just keeps getting better! I love it so much. The weather here in Edmonton is kind of random. In one day we had a crazy rain (downpour), hail, and sun. It was all within 2 hours of each other. Gotta love it. The hottest week so far has come and past (about a month ago) and now it feels like spring all over again (well, spring in Utah). I love it here though. I also got the package of letters from everyone at the Thompson reunion this week as well. That was a pleasant surprise. It was wonderful to hear from all of you! Thank you so much for your continued love, support, encouragement, and prayers. It means the world to me. I have put the Handcart charm on my bag. :)

So, I'm sure you all are waiting on the edge of your seat for the stories from this week. Hmmm... Where to begin? Our Investigator Chris is progressing SO WELL!!! It has been such a blessing to teach him. He is definitely prepared. We were privileged to teach him three times this week. WE taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End) and we started teaching him the commandments. We taught him the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom this week. We found out that he does smoke (has since he was 15, but only smokes at work on breaks because everyone else is), but has been trying to quit for years. His plan was to quit August 1st when him and Jen go to Hawaii. We are praying that he will be able to quit for sure! Jen (his Girlfriend/ fellow shipper) said, "I'll help you flush your sin sticks down to Hell." It was pretty funny. He is excited to quit and really excited to be baptized. He has now come to church five Sundays in a row. Also, we got permission from our Mission President to Skype Chris while he is Hawaii for a few weeks. We're quite excited about that and to help him continue to progress.
We were also privileged to meet with two former Investigators, Azeez and Jerri. We hope that they start progressing again. We were blessed to have Melanie join us for both those lessons. Melanie just returned home from her mission in the Scotland/ Ireland Mission a couple weeks ago and is a great support. She is really great to have in lessons. We were also able to meet with Zhang once this week, but sadly he isn't progressing like we'd like him to. :( We haven't been able to figure out his concerns quite yet. Millwoods is booming though. We have a lot of potential and triple the investigator pool I have had in any of my other areas. (Which is really fun.) Our goal is to have three baptisms in August. You're probably thinking, "Sisters, that is an ambitious goal." Yep! But why would we hinder God's work by saying that we only want to see one person enter the waters of baptism in August. Go Big or Go Home!!!
As Sister Roberts and myself were teaching one of our members the Ward Mission Plan outside of the Stake Center I noticed a car break down on the street. After our lesson I felt impressed to go see how we could help. We went over and found a lady, Ruth, stranded and her car wouldn't start anymore. We (being prepared with jumper cables for just this reason) helped her jump her car. She was very grateful and we were able to give her a card with our number (to call us if she broke down again.) ;) I'm glad that Heavenly Father blesses us with opportunities to serve his children if we will open our eyes and take the time to do it. Who knows what will come of it, but at least she was able to get home and a seed was planted.
This week I was blessed to follow the promptings I received and to see the benefits of it. I feel I have finally recognized how the Holy Ghost speaks to me and I am grateful that I have followed through. I am also grateful for a companion who doesn't question the promptings I receive and together we are able to follow the spirit even more. We were meeting with one of our Less Actives, Ben, who knows that he should be coming to church, but chooses not to. We had planned on sharing a scripture in Ether with him, but during Companion Study I felt impressed that we should go another way with our lesson. It turned out to be exactly what Ben needed. We were able to find out some of his concerns because of it and the Spirit wasn't hindered. It was a great lesson.
Oh, we did some street contacting this past week using a Spiritual Survey. It was pretty fun. You meet some of the most random people when do. This one guy (native) told us that the Europeans didn't take over North America, "We invited them here so that they could build a spaceship for us." Then he told us that, "Welfare is just the White man paying rent." Super random hey? Ha ha Sister Roberts and I got a pretty good laugh about this. Gotta love people.
I wanted to end with a quote told by President Monson.
"Dare to be a Mormon.
Dare to Stand Alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm.
Dare to make it known."
Are you standing up for the things you believe in? Even if you have to stand alone? I encourage everyone to watch this amazing Mormon Message
I love you all!!! God be with you til we meet again!
Love Eternally,
Sister Thompson
P.S. I wanted to attach a picture of Chris and Jen for you to see. He looks like a Paul Walker with a little bit of Hayden Christensen. ;) (Jen, Chris, Sister Thompson, and Sister Roberts).

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends whom I love,
  Can you see me?
Me with Sister Nash. Something is wrong with this picture. Can you find what's wrong?

First order of business... MY DISTRICT LIVES ON!!!! I'm so happy right now. Everyone in my District is the same. It's transfer call day and nothing is changing with us. Seriously, I'm so excited. I'm like giddy right now. I love this District, I love Millwoods, I love my Companion Sister Roberts, I love our Investigators, I love how it rains 2.5 days out of the week, and I love that I am just plain happy right now. You want to know why I'm so happy? Because the Church is True, the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, and I am having one of the best times of my life. I have permagrin right now. Okay, I'm glad I got that off my chest. :)
So this last week... hmmm. It was great! We were able to meet with a lot of people this week. I went on exchanges back to Beaumont with Sister Nash (new sister as of last transfer) and it was wonderful. I saw a lot of people that I love so much and Sister Nash and myself had a really great talk. Sister Nash lost her mom to cancer almost 3 years ago. We had a good cry together as we both talked about our mom's and how wonderful they are. I'm grateful that I have that connection with her and that we can go to each other when we're having a hard day. She has so much strength and I love that I get to serve around her.
We met with Zhang this week and he said that he really appreciates us meeting with him "From the bottom of his heart". He said while he was praying that he felt that he needs to be more dependant on the Lord. This was so much progress!!! He is still working towards baptism but it wont be this month. He also said that he went with his mom to her Baptist church and the pastor said, "The Mormons will like it if you join them, but if you don't they will leave a curse on your house." We got a pretty good laugh out of that. Zhang said that he doesn't believe that at all and he thinks that sometimes people make dumb comments. That was pretty funny.
Oh, while on exchanges I got to talk to Gino on the phone. He was so excited to hear from me. He said, "Sister Thompson??!? Oh my Gosh! I thought I lost you! Welcome home!" Awe!!! That made me feel so good. I still hope to be able to see him on splits but it was really good to talk to him on the phone and know that I wasn't forgotten. He is so great!!! Sister Roberts and I got to meet with a Former Investigator names Azeez. He is from Canada but his family is from Nigeria. He is 6' 7" tall!!!! He is awesome! We will be teaching him again this week.
On to Chris. He is so amazing and so prepared. We taught him the Plan of Salvation this week and he loved it and accepted it. He told us more about his life story and how he ended up in Edmonton. He was definitely supossed to be here. He was living out of his car for a while and then everything just started to fall into place. He has been to church every Sunday since his first Sunday (July 1st). We set a baptismal date with him yesterday and he said, "Yes! I was planning on getting baptized in August!" So awesome! We also sent around a sign up sheet for a Month Long Fast we are doing as a ward. We are getting someone to fast everyday for the month of August. It was really cool because Chris signed up to Fast! His Fellowshipper Jennipher is awesome and answers all his questions so he is progressing greatly. He already talked about getting his friend to meet with us. Oh and they (Chris and Jennipher) went to the YSA dance on Friday and Chris said, "It was so awesome. I loved it. Everyone was really happy and having a good time and it was clean. After the dance Jennipher and I went for a walk on Whyte Ave (downtown Edmonton) and it was like night and day." Chris and Jennipher met at work. They work for a night club on Saturday nights (Chris is a bouncer). Well, Chris said, "For the first time I realized that the people there aren't really having fun. They don't know what real happiness is." It is really cool how he has already been able to recognize the blessings of the Gospel.
Anyway, life really is so great! I love the people I'm able to serve around. I love seeing the Gospel just make sense to people. I love seeing people become lighter, brighter, and happier as they learn and enter the waters of baptism.
I'll close by sharing a scripture with you found in Mosiah 27:36-37
"And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowldege of their Redeemer. and how blessed are they! For tehy did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth."
Be an instrument in the hands of God to help our brothers and sisters find the truth!
Lastly, I would like to give a shout out to Elise. Happy Birthday Yesterday!!! I hope it was a good one. And to Cyrena, Welcome Home!!! I got your email and I am hand writting you back. Just waiting on your address ;)
I love you all to Canada and back!!!
Love, Sister Thompson

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16, 2012

Dearest people tuning in:
Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, package, emails, cards, etc. I really really appreciate it. Everyone reading this, you're amazing!!! This past week the weather has been kind of all over the place. (take that back, every week the weather is all over the place.) On Monday I played Street hockey for the first time in Canada with the Elders in our Zone. I even scored! :) Very proud of myself. We had a CRAZY Hailstorm on Wednesday. It woke up Sister Roberts and I at 3am and was coming down pretty hard. When we woke up the next morning at 6:30am our parking lot was full of hail and I mean full. It kindof looked like it snowed. We ran out in it and the hail looked like the ice from Sonic. It was really cool. I have attached some pictures for you to see. Something else super exciting- I ran into Tolga on the street!!!! Tolga was my first baptism with his dad Gino back in December. I haven't seen them since their confirmation (since I was transferred to Innisfail like the week after). He was walking down the street with a friend and I pulled over to say hi. He was so excited and surprised to see me. I'm hoping to get the opportunity to meet with him and his dad this week on exchanges. Last Saturday we also got the opportunity to "Blaze a trail" in Devon. We were able to do weed whacking, tree hauling, and bark racking for a park in our Zone. It was beautiful and all our hard work paid off.
So, this last week was a good one (as most are). We officially got a new investigator. Chris! I mentioned him last week and we taught him twice this week. He is absolutely amazing. He said that he believes it's no coincidence that he is here and meeting with us. He has already been to church 3 weeks in a row and is reading the Book of Mormon, almost done with 1 Nephi. We had supper with him at his fellowshippers' house. We went over the Restoration with him and I recited the First Vision. As I did he started to get teary eyed/ emotional. As I invited him to be baptized he cut me off and said, "Yes! Of Course!" He is so prepared and it is so refreshing to teach him. He is a spiritual spongue. He also told us that he stopped drinking alcohol (we haven't even taught him about the Word of Wisdom yet) and after our Sunday School lesson on Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy he said, "We can meet each Sunday. Looks like my Sundays just opened up after that lesson." He really is such a neat guy. I'm so grateful I have the privillege of teaching him. I will try and get pictures for you all to see.
Yesterday Sister Roberts and I got the opportunity to teach Relief Society (I didn't realize how much I missed teaching R.S. until yesterday- I taught Relief Society before my mission). Anyway we taught from President George Albert Smith's Manual Chapter 14 "How to effectively share the Gospel." Dad, I think it's cool that we taught the same lesson on the same day (maybe even the same time depending on when your church starts). Sister Roberts and I decided to incorporate Elder David F. Evans talk from conference "Was it worth it?" in which he talks a lot about Naturally and Normally sharing the gospel. It was such a great lesson. We gave the sisters two examples. A good way to naturally and normally share the gospel with your friends and then a bad example. We decided to play ourselves and role play in front of everyone. So I was Leanna and Sister Roberts was Mckensey. I played the non-member friend and the scenario was that we were eating lunch after seeing Harry Potter 7 Part 2. The Bad example was hilarious. Sister Roberts randomly threw in the Gospel, trying to connect it to Harry Potter and a scene from the movie. She said, "That's exactly what we believe." She really tried to stretch a connection, used tons of big words, talked the whole time, and gave me a Book of Mormon and three different pamphlets all at the same time. Everyone thought it was pretty funny. Afterward we talked about what she did wrong and then gave a good example. The good example was amazing. The spirit was so strong. I almost started crying. It was cool too because both scenarios started the same way, but when Sister Roberts really listened to what I was saying and the Spirit she was able to connect with me in such a stronger way. Overall it was a great success and really got the sisters pumped for missionary work. The following is a quote from Elder Evans talk.
"If we will pray and ask Heavenly Father who we can help and promise to act on the promptings He gives us letting us know how we can help, He will answer our prayers and we will become instruments in His hands to ho His work.... "Never delay a prompting." (President Monson) As yu act on the prompting and do it with love, watch as our Heavenly Father uses your willingness to act to bring about a miracle in your life and in the life of the person yuo care about."
Well, remember that I still love you all so much. Thanks for your continued prayers and support. I can really feel the support that I recieve from back home. Share the Gospel Naturally and Normally this week and become the instrument in Heavenly Father's hands to bring about a miracle.
With all my love,
Sister Thompson

P.S. Pictures= #1 7 Eleven Birthday party! Gotta love free slurpees. #2 Thanks family for the package!!!! #3 Our parking lot covered in Hail. #4 The closest I'll get to "Hail" as a missionary ;) #5 A "Sonic Ice Truck" wrecked in our parking lot and this was all that remained.

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012

My Dearest Loved ones,
What a week! Can I just start by saying I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!! I really really really do. this is the best experience of my life. I am so grateful that I made the decision to come because I know this has really changed my life. Okay, this email might be a little all over the place (as I'm sure most of mine are). I have officially become climatized to the Canadian weather. This week has been HOT!!! It finally hit 30 C (i think that is around 90 F) and I'm dying of heat! Plus, because it really only gets hot for about of month out of the year no one really has air conditioning. Especially in the area we are. Last night was brutal trying to fall asleep. It was just too hot and muggy so Sister Roberts and I came up with a great idea. We took our mattress' on the balcony, sprayed ourselves down with bugspray and had sweet dreams. It was a lot better out there than in our room. When I woke up though, I aws a little disoriented. I thought I was camping or something ;) Anyway it was nice.
I love this area. At first being in the YSA scene was a little difficult, but I love it now. It is great! Sister White (our Bishop's wife) mentioned that she feels like people accepted me right away (I guess, YSA areas don't accept new missionaries very well at first.) Anyway there is a lot of great things happenin. I also LOVE Sister Roberts. We are such good friends. We laugh and sing all the time and for the first time I really feel like myself (that's a good thing). Being a missionary has also become a part of who I am and I am going to miss it when the time comes for me to go home.
I also have the BEST DISTRICT EVER!!! We all get a long so great. Well, this last week we decided to have District Meeting on Wednesday instead of Thursday to celebrate the 4th of July (and my birthday). Well, the Elders went above and beyond. They made us roast, potatoes, corn, and carrots. Us Sisters just brought the drinks (Apple Mango Sparkling Cider) They also made me a Birthday cake that was delicous and sang happy birthday. It was a great day. I feel so loved. It was a great day, but it didn't feel like my birthday at the same time. I'm used to Fireworks, Family Reunions, and big parties. I was excited to have a "Normal Birthday" (As normal as it gets being a missionary) for the first time in my life and although it was a great day and I'm super appreciative I think I like sharing my Birthday with the United States :) that's right family I said it!!! :p

Garneau District! Sister Roberts, Elder Gold, Elder Jules, Elder Fitzgerald, Elder Pieper, and Sister Thompson

Elder Fitzgerald and Elder Jules got a little carried away with the cake ;)

Happy Birthday America and Sister Thompson!!!
As far as the Missionary life goes this past week, it was a good one. Sister Roberts and I did some finding. We knocked on this one house and this girl answered. We started talking with her when another girl came to the door. This other girl was really weird (I don't mean that to be mean, but she was). The first thing she said to Sister Roberts and I was, "I would like to share a message with you about my Savior Lucifer." Silence. Neither of us knew what to say (what do you say to that?!) So I just said, "Well, we have a message about our Savior Jesus Christ, would there be a time this week that we could come by?" Luckily, she didn't mention anything else and just asked us if we had a card instead. We gave her one and then went our way. She wasn't joking with us and it was super creepy. Gotta love the great people/ stories you get from Tracting.
We were also preparing Zhang (Jimmer) for baptism on July 14th. As we were going over the Interview questions he told us that he drank coffee that morning. So, we had to push his Baptism back to July 21st. Last night there was a fireside put on by the Stake Patriarch and we invited Zhang to come. Afterward we met with him and something cool that he said was, "You guys really take this seriously. I should take this more seriously." He explained that he really wants the benefits from being baptized. I'm excited to continue to help him get there.
The past two weeks we have had a non-member coming to church. His name is Chris. He is from B.C. (but originally from L.A.) He came to Edmonton 4 weeks ago to start over. He said, I already found a new job, a new apartment, a new friend (the girl bringing him) and a new church." GOLDEN!!!!!!!!!!! :D He is awesome and we had a great talk with him. His friend gave him a Book of Mormon and we got a text from her last night saying that Chris has been reading and wants to learn more. We will start teaching him this week. I can not wait!!! After I read the text this morning (after waking up on the balcony) I jumped for joy! Literally!!! :)
I wanted to end with a great quote:
"The final judgement is not just an evaluation of a sum total of Good and evil acts- what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts-what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants, of the Gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some Heavenly account. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become."
-Elder Dallin H. Oaks
I love this! It is so true. Life is not a checklist of things that we need to do, but it is those things that we do that help us become. This life is not about acting like Heavenly Father, but becoming like Him. I love you all!
Love Forever,
Sister Thompson

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends whom I love,
What an AMAZING Week we had last week. Best week of the mission so far (but then again each week just keeps getting better.) Sister Roberts and I got 27 LESSONS!!!! The most I've gotten so far. That was pretty exciting. We worked really hard and we even had Zone conference (which took a day of our week.) I love accomplishing goals. It's the best!
Zone Conference was wonderful (as always). President Campbell talked a lot about Real Growth and They are really pushing as a way to do missionary work. I have a profile so if you want to check it out you can If you don't already have a profile GET ONE!!!!! It's a great way for non-members to find people like themselves who are members of the church. Also at Zone conference we were asked to prepare a 2 1/2 minute talk on Listening to the Spirit. Of course I was the only Sister asked to share my talk and for the first time that I can remember I was super nervous speaking in front of people. I think it was because everyone listening to me was a missionary and super amazing. It turned out well though. We also had interviews with President. He is so great and I love each time I get to counsel with him. It also feels good to know your Mission President is proud of you and has no concerns. He is amazing and I know that I was meant to serve under him.
We are really pushing our ward mission plan. Part of teaching our plan is giving our "Spiritual Emergency Preparedness Kits" they include a copy of the Book of Mormon, Plan of Salvation and Restoration Pamphlets and 3 pass-along cards. We invite our members to take the challenge and keep the kit in their car or backpack and then we're following up next week. It's been received really well and it's cool to see how many people are already doing missionary work. This ward has tons of potential and I'm excited to be here.
We had a really neat lesson with a girl in our ward, Sheila. She is amazing, but has been struggling for a while. It was great to see that the Spirit uses us to testify and strengthen others. It was cool to recognize that I was following the Spirit as we helped her with her concerns. I love lessons like that when everyone comes out edified. Doctrine and Covenants 50:22 (Look it up)
Our Canada was surprisingly a busy one. The Fourth of July is definitely a bigger thing in the States than Canada Day, but their were still fireworks and carnivals. At church, our Investigator Zhang bore his testimony. We were not expecting that at all. It was great though. Really funny too. He is from China and there are some fun cultural differences. Well he said, "I never knew that we had a soul or a spirit. I used to think that people were like computers, but then I realized computers could multi-task." That got a good laugh. It was neat to hear him say, "I can't say I have a testimony, but I can say I have half a testimony. I love this church. I remember when the missionaries first told me that God had a plan for me and I know that is true." He then told everyone that he knows how to Fortune Tell. Ha ha I didn't know that! :) When he was bearing his testimony I felt like a proud momma and then when he said the Fortune telling part I realized how it probably felt for my parents when I bore my testimony or spoke in church and said something kind of silly. It's a great memory though. Also, Zhang was wanting to come up with a English name. He couldn't decide on one so he was asking us to help him out. We thought about it for a while and came up with 3 options and gave them to him. He said he didn't want a normal English name, but something unique. So, the 3 options were... Kip..............Jarom (from the Book of Mormon)................... and the last one he really liked and picked was................................................JIMMER!!! :D So now I'm "Teaching me a Jimmer!" ha ha ha he really really really liked it. I told him if he ever goes to Utah he will be super popular. :)
I got to teach Temple Prep this Sunday too. That was really neat. I loved it. It was great and I realized that I really like teaching people.... I might think of it for a future career. We'll see though. It was neat to be able to help others prepare for the temple. After Church we were able to teach our new Investigator Jackie. Her sister is a member in Grande Prairie and she is amazing! It was great to answer some of her concerns. She has met with Elders before, but she never knew there were Sister Missionaries. We really connected and I think that is exactly what she needs, Sisters. I can't wait to continue to help gain a testimony. We had Canada Day dinner at our Ward Mission Leader's house. Mouse Ribs! :) ha ha JK they were teasing us and said that's what we were eating. We also went to another member's house for cake and ice cream. It was her birthday (Cosette) It was great to connect with her and she that she doesn't like having a birthday on a National Holiday either. It's going to be weird tomorrow. My first "Normal" (well, as normal as it gets being a missionary) Birthday. I'm quite excited.
Well, I love you all so much. Continue to be a good example, share your testimony, and live the Gospel. The Church is True!!!!
Love Always,
Sister Thompson

P.S. Attached pictures: #1 Sister Thompson trying to get people to "Stop and listen to our message!" (super small stop sign found in Beaumont). #2 Zone Conference for Millwoods and Riverbend Zones #3 The Biggest leaf I've ever seen!!! I have no idea what plant this is. It's like hafe my size! Gotta love the tropical plants of Alberta ;)