Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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 http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#you-know-enough 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

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