Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,
I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of the Millwoods YSA Ward. Brother Chris Keene was baptized on Saturday!!! I feel like a proud parent. :) Seriously, that was one of the neatest Baptisms I have been a part of. I need to back up a little. So, the week of anyone's baptism seems to come with some additional opposition. Chris is such a strong person, but Satan tried to attack him in anyway he could. Tuesday evening we got a call from Chris explaining that the guy who took him in when he first moved to Edmonton totally flipped out and kicked him out. He had no place to go and was going to live in his car for the next couple weeks until he could find a place come September. We went over and helped him pack up the few items he had. We found a place for him to stay with some guys in the ward and it turns out they actually have an empty room for Chris to rent. So, it turned out to be a blessing. Chris has had such high spirits through it all. Every trial that comes his way just strengthens his faith. He wasn't discouraged at all. He said, "Heavenly Father has made everything work out so far, he'll do it again." Chris was beaming at his baptism. Jen (his girlfriend) spoke on the Gift of the Holy Ghost, her mom spoke on Baptism, and her stepdad baptized and confirmed him. It was so neat. Chris even cried :). It was really cool to see the difference between the pictures we took before his baptism and then after. The change is definitely apparent. The gospel really has had a great effect on him. It's been such a blessing to witness it. For a baptism gift, Sister Roberts and I made him a journal (covered in pictures of Christ, temples, and us from teaching him). We also found a sticker that said, "Sister Missionaries make me happy" which he absolutely loved. After Chris' baptism and confirmation I had the thought come to mind, "I can go home now. I found my "friend." I can't describe the feeling I have after seeing Chris make those covenants. It was almost as if the reason I came on a mission has been accomplished. However, it makes me want to find more people and work hard until the very end.
This week I also got the opportunity to go on exchanges with Sister Westover. She is amazing!!! I would say we are best of friends and we haven't even been companions (which is probably why we get a long so well ha ha ). It was a great opportunity to work with her. Also, our investigator Raj is progressing so well. He came to church for the third time and is reading the scriptures morning and night. He says that he can't get enough of them. He is truly hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
Well, I don't have much time. This is the last week of this transfer. It's so crazy how quickly time flies. I'll let you know next week if there are any changes. I love you all. I encourage each of you to share your testimony this next Sunday in Fast and Testimony meeting. You never know who needs to hear what you have to say.
Sister Kuroki, Sister Thompson, Sister Westover, and Sister Nash on Sister Nash's birthday. Gotta love DQ!!!
#1 Sister Thompson, Chris, and Sister Roberts with Chris in his whites.
Sister Roberts, Baptized Chris, and Sister Thompson. Notice how he physically looks different :) It's cool!!
 Brother and Sister Carter (Jen's Mom and Stepdad), Jen, Chris, Sister Thompson and Sister Roberts after Chris received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. He was beaming. :)
Love Forever,
Sister Thompson

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012

 Downtown Edmonton
 Chris, Sister Thompson and Sister Roberts cheering on the Esks!!!
 Sister Roberts and Thompson at the Eskimos Game
 Jasper!!!! I love the Mountains!!!
 Sister Thompson and Roberts at Athabasca Falls

 The Gang!
 Elder Pieper Sacrificing Elder Jules :) Ha ha ha
 A shirt about Canadians. Pretty funny :)
  Da District with the World's largest Squirrel. A lady from the Edson paper saw us taking a picture and came over and took a picture of us to put in the paper. She asked us questions and got all our names. :)
Elder Pieper and Sister Thompson on the World's Largest Squirrel! 
There were a ton of Japanese Tourists at the Falls so Sister Roberts asked them if we could take a picture with them. Ha ha ha So funny!!! I'm the only Blonde one there. :) (This picture is So Asian!)

August 21, 2012

Dearest Loved Ones,
Oh Boy! What a week!!!! Highlight of my mission for sure! So a lot happened this previous week. Again, you're probably all wondering "why didn't we hear from our Favorite Sister Missionary on Monday for the 3rd week in a row?" The reason? JASPER!!!!! Once in our mission we get the opportunity to go to Jasper National Park. No one in my current district has been before so we planned a trip and it was fantastic!! We borrowed a members 15 passenger van, got a member to drive us and then headed on our adventures! It was our District (Elders Pieper, Gold, Fitzgerald, and Gold. As well as the Spanish South Elders, Erenzeller and Ashton). It was an absolute blast. We left at 4am yesterday morning so that we could make it to Jasper by 8am to have more of the day to spend there. As we got close to Jasper I saw Mountains for the first time in 11 Months!!! It was crazy! I forgot how much I love living in the mountains. I loved it. We started at Athabasca Falls (which was absolutely beautiful) and then drove around to see the different sights (lakes, look outs, etc.) We didn't have time to do any of the hikes (since most took about 2 hours and we'd rather see more of the sights.) The Town of Jasper has a Park City/ Jackson Hole feel to it. It was fun to be together as missionaries and we had a lot of fun on the ride there and back. The Spanish Elders slept pretty much the whole way. I took a ton of pictures that I'll attach in another email for you to see. On our way back we stopped in Edson to take pictures with the world's largest squirrel! That's right. I have a picture with the world's largest squirrel (I can now cross that off my bucket list) ;) Anyway, all in all it was a fantastic day!
What made this week great as well is that we got a new legit investigator. The Rainbow Valley YSA Elders started teaching the friend of a girl in her ward and found out he is in our ward boundaries so they passed him over. His name is Raj. He was born in Canada, but his parents are both from India. He is so cool and is already reading the scriptures twice a day and praying. (Twice a day! That is more than most members) He came to church on Sunday and is scheduled for baptism on September 29th. He is truly amazing and Sister Roberts and I feel so blessed to be able to teach him. Also, a random Chinese Girl showed up at church on Sunday and said she wanted to learn more. I know that a lot of this has to do with the Ward Fast we are doing for this month. Everyday in the Month of August someone in our ward is Fasting for the missionary work in the ward as well as specific needs of the investigators. It has been a really neat experience.
On Saturday we had the great opportunity to do a service project for a family in one of the family wards (their son is in our YSA). Once when we were meeting with their family their mom asked us what she could do to have the spirit more in their home. Their home is really cluttered and messy so we explained that if they cleaned, got rid of a lot of their clutter they could have the spirit more. As we gave suggestions I had the thought that we should come and help them clean everything. I decided to run it past my companion before volunteering her for such a dirty job. We got the home ward Elders involved and then it went from their. In the end we were able to help them out A LOT. 5 sets of missionaries from the Stake came to help and we were able to get a ton of stuff down. I loved it! (Even though it was a really really dirty job). It was great to be able to help out that way. I'm so grateful for the opportunities we have to help our brothers and sisters out in anyway we can.
On Friday we had an amazing day! We got permission from our Mission President to go to an Edmonton Eskimos (Football) game with our Investigator Chris. It was so much fun, but boy were my eyes open to the world. This was my first CFL Football game and the only other football games I have been to have been BYU (once) and High School, both of which do not serve alcohol. I will just quote our Chris after seeing some people act really silly because they were so drunk, "That is why we live the Word of Wisdom!" Ha ha yes it is Chris! yes it is! Sadly, the Eskimos lost, but it was a fun game. Did you know that CFL (Canada Football League) has two 50s on the field, they only have 3 downs, and their end zones are bigger? Just some random trivia.
We were able to meet with Chris many times this week and we got to teach about Tithing and Fast Offerings as well Enduring to the End. Both went so great. Can I just say that teaching someone who has a member friend is so much easier than someone who doesn't. As we taught Tithing, Chris already talked to Jen about it and when we committed him to live the law of Tithing he said, "That was the plan." :) Gotta love it. One of the best parts of Sunday was when Chris and Jen walked into Sacrament Meeting and Christ was in a White Shirt, Tie, Dress Slacks and shoes. He looked So Great!!!! That was the first time seeing him in a white shirt and tie (because when he moved from B.C. he left all his nice clothes with his mom.) He had his mom mail it to him. He looked so sharp. :) Our lesson went so great. We watched the Mormon Message "You know enough" by Elder Anderson and had a really spiritual lesson with Chris. He was so grateful to have us in his life and is so happy to get baptized this weekend (aka Elai's First Birthday). As he shared his testimony with us and thanked us for all we've done he got pretty teary eyed. It is moments like that and people like Chris that make me so grateful that I chose to serve a mission. I am eternally grateful and know that Chris and Jen will be a part of my life forever. Chris also talked about he realized that when he has children, he will have the responsibility of raising some of God's children. He wants them to have the Gospel in their lives and he wants them to grow up doing what's right. It was in that moment that I realized again that when you baptize someone, it is never just one person. I then pictured Chris in the temple with Jen (they are planning on getting married) being sealed forever. I imagined Chris as a Young Men's President, a Father, a strong leader in the church. You truly never know the impact you can have on one person. There is a quote that I've heard many missionaries say before, "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can't count the apples in a seed." We will never know the impact that the seeds we are planting today will have on future generations. May each of us work a little harder to plant a seed. May each of us become a little better to be that example that someone else needs to live the Gospel and have the blessings that we all enjoy. We would be selfish to keep it to ourselves.
I love you all so much! I am grateful for the Gospel and the blessing it brings of bringing us all together. It really comes down to this, God loves us! I know that is true!
Love Eternally,
Sister Thompson

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,
You are probably wondering, "Another Canadian Holiday?" Nope, but our Preparation Day was switched to today since today is Temple P-Day (aka all the City missionaries got to go to the temple today!) It was so wonderful. I was so excited last night that I could hardly sleep. It was like Christmas.

I love the temple and I wish I could go more often. I love the peace you feel as you pray and ponder. I also loved the fact that every single person in our session(besides the temple workers of course) was a missionary. :) Two Senior couples were there along with President and Sister Campbell and then there were 32 Elders and 8 Sisters. It was so awesome. One of the greatest sights I've ever seen is so many faithful, worthy, good, young men who are totally set apart from the world, giving their time and talents to the Lord and overall just doing the right thing. It's so awesome! Elders are so cool!!! A blessing of being a missionary is seeing that there are so many worthy Priesthood holders. I have gained a new respect for men because of this experience. I can't wait for the day to find and marry a worthy Son of God in the Temple and start our Forever Family. (Don't worry family, my eye is still single to the Glory of God. I just feel that a blessing of my mission is Heavenly Father showing me how amazing some of his sons are and that if I live worthy I can have the blessing of being married to one of them.) Every time I go to the temple now (which I have now been Endowed for more than a year now. I love it!) I think of how important marriage is to our Heavenly Father. Can't wait! But I will ;)
Also, today is my 11 month mark! Elder Penrod (who was in my MTC District) wished me "Happy 11 Months today!" at the temple. Time flies so fast. I can't believe I only have a short time left. Somedays I wish I could be a missionary forever, other days I can't wait to be able to hold babies again or see my family. Overall, it has been an amazing 11 months and I'm so grateful I chose to serve. Words cannot express the joy that comes from teaching, serving, loving, giving, and being a missionary. What an amazing, unique experience this is. To anyone who is reading this and contemplating serving a mission (old, young, boy, or girl) DO IT!!! You will not regret it and you will never understand the joy you will feel until you do. This is the Best 18 months for my life!!!! Seriously, if you are thinking about a mission- write me! I'll convince ya! ;)
Last week was an interesting one. Not super successful (as far as numbers go). We did have a head on collision with Anti-Mormon stuff two lessons in a row however. First happened Friday night. At the end of June we tracted into a guy named Mike. He is Chinese, grew up mostly in Austrailia and married a Canadian. He met with Missionaries in Austrailia and when we knocked on his door he was excited to tell us that we were not Christians and how the Book of Mormon is false. Well, in our discussion, our testimonies sparked his interest and he invited us to come back for dinner with him and his wife Sheryl. Well, finally we went over for dinner on Friday night. (First time I've ever had a non-member invite me over for dinner.) Sister Roberts and I were a little nervous, but we decided all we could do was pray and rely on the Spirit. We had such a great time at their house. Mike and Sheryl are such great hosts. We got to know them and built a great relationship with them. After dinner we had our main discussion. Although we couldn't answer all his questions we testified and it was a really good discussion. Oh boy did he have a lot of questions and to be honest I didn't know what to say to half of them. However, the conversation was never contentious and in fact his questions etc strengthened my own testimony. One thing he mentioned is that most Christians send out their missionaries to do more humanitarian things. He was surprised that our church had our missionaries be more proselyting than service. That concerned him. It was neat to feel the Spirit speak through me as I testified, "Our primary role is to be Fishers of Men, just as Christ did with Peter and Andrew his brother. Although we do have many opportunities to do service as missionaries our role is to invite all to come unto Christ. Instead of giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day, we are teaching men to fish so that they can be fed for life. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that truly changes people." Until that moment I had never realized just how much my role is to help God's children become something more than they are. The next day we met with our Investigator Jerri and he brought us 6 pages of questions about things he learned from ex-Mormons, "Neutral Ground" and from church websites. He brought up some of the same concerns as Mike. Both talked about how there is not a need for the temple today. It really comes down to two questions, "Is the Book of Mormon true? And is Joseph Smith a Prophet?" If you can answer yes, then you know that God does speak to us today. I am so grateful for the blessing temples are in our lives. The Gospel has been Restored! "The Standard of Truth has been errected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumy may defame, but the Truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independant till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say 'The Work is Done.' " (Joseph Smith) How Great is our Calling?!!!? When we are truly converted we cannot be restrained from testifying. Share the Gospel!!!
I love you all so much! Thank you for living the Gospel, sharing the Good News, and helping God's purposes be accomplished.
Love Forever,
Sister Thompson

 #1 Something is wrong with this cat. Can you figure it out? #2 This boat is in the Backyard of Brother Tolley's house. He is in our YSA Bishopric. He built it in 6 weeks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 7, 2012

My Dear Loved Ones,
First off, Happy Birthday Grandpa Thompson and Happy Birthday Cyrena!!!! I hope your birthday today is a blast!!! As, I'm sure you've already researched (since I didn't email yesterday) we had yet another Canadian Holiday yesterday AKA Heritage Day! It was actually a weekend of fun that I'll fill you in on shortly. 
So, next on the list: Adventures of a Canadian Missionary! I had a pretty exciting weekend. Being Heritage Day yesterday, the City of Edmonton put on a huge Festival Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All the "City Missionaries" got the opportunity to help out on Saturday and Monday for the Food Bank. The Edmonton Food Bank put on the Festival which had 87 countries represented. (Edmonton has a lot of culture!!!) There were a ton of tents and tons of yummy food and great entertainment. It is estimated that the Foodbank makes at least 3 Million dollars just in ticket sales, let alone all the actual food donations. As per our volunteer duties we stood at the bus drop off and pick up to collect food and money for the food bank. Entrance to the Festival is free, but everyone is encouraged to donate to the food bank. You then buy tickets to get food from the different tents. It was pretty much a Gongshow! Tons and tons of people! I think there was an estimated 300,000 people that came. Seriously, tons of people! So, we greeted people and held milkjugs for them to donate money or their food tickets. It was a blast. There were two shifts of missionaries and we were on the second shift on Saturday. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Edmonton has bipolar weather. So Saturday night the whole park had to be evacuated because of a Tornado warning and severe thunderstorms. It started down pouring at about 7:40. We had all come over in 3 travel groups in the Mission 15 Passenger van. So, the Assistants took us, the first group with them to get the van. We ran through the downpour for like 10-15 minutes and boy were we soaked to the core. It was so wet. (Closest thing to swimming we can get as a missionary). I loved it though!!! So much fun! Good memories.

Well, then Monday we were on the day shift and it was Hot!!!! So hot! I'm in Canada so I didn't think to wear sunscreen. Well, by the end of our shift I looked like a lobster ;) I have a tan today though so I'm not complaining.

All in all it was really really neat. A ton of cultures! We got an hour break each day to get food (they gave us free tickets). It was a ton of fun. I wish I could have spent more time at each tent.
Oh another random thing that happened while there is this guy came up and talked to me while I was holding my jug and started talking to me. He was nice and we had a good conversation, but as he went to say goodbye he put his arms out to give me a hug.... I chuckled a little and said, "Sorry I don't give hugs." Ha ha ha so random. he was pretty sad.
On to Chris (our progressing investigator). Him and Jen are in Hawaii and we got special permission to skype him while he is gone for two weeks. It was a great lesson!!! Now, I can say I served an hour of my mission in Hawaii :) ha ha ha. He is still so amazing and I am so grateful that I have the privilege to teach him.

Also, last Monday, President Campbell asked Sister Roberts and I to take their family friend Carlie (20 yrs old) out with us. She was in town with her family visiting the Campbells and bringing President Campbell's daughter from Utah. So, of course all our appointments fell through so we were left to go finding. We went tracting and had not success for most the night and then the last house we decided to tract he invited us in. His name is Patrick, he is 27, and super curious. He had a ton of questions and it was a great discussion. We hope to meet with him again this week. The cool thing is Carlie said she has been thinking about a mission and that's why she wanted to come out with us. After our lesson with Patrick she said, "I decided I'm going to serve a mission. That was so neat and I want to be a part of this." It was really cool to have her there.
 Oh, I almost forgot- I got to see Gino this week!!!!!! :) I was so excited to see him. I went on splits with Sister Nash so that I could teach him again. He is doing so well and he was so excited to see me that when he did he gave me a side hug. Ha ha Oh man it's been almost 9 months since I last saw him. I got a picture with him and when he saw himself he said, "I am a handsome man!" Ha ha ha It's so good to see those you've taught and see them beaming.
Well, I sadly don't have anymore time. I love you all!!! The church is true and it's great to know this!
Love Eternally,
Sister Thompson