Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!! I can't believe 2012 has already come to a close. Time flies way too fast!
So, this last week was an eventful one. I love the Holidays! It's such a magical time of year. Christmas Eve was a fun day. It was preparation day so we got to spend a lot of time with the other missionaries in our Zone at the Stake Center. Since it was Pday I decided to make Cinnamon Twists. It was a hit. We also did a White Elephant gift exchange with everyone. (I, of course, ended up organizing it all). ;) Funny how that always seems to work. We had all the presents off to the side and then everyone had to shoot to pick a present. If you made a basket you could pick either a present from the pile or one that someone else already grabbed (all presents remained wrapped.) That turned out quite funny. Especially since most the Elders were fighting for the gifts that Sister Williams and I brought (even though they had no idea what it was.) The rule was you could only bring something from your apartment. We randomly had a snowglobe that you could put your own picture in, so I put our "Christmas letter" picture inside. It was so funny! Finally, when everyone had a picture we all sat in a circle and opened all the presents. I got a stuffed camel that said, "You finally made it over the hump!" ha ha (a little late hey?) Elder Shreeve ended up getting our snowglobe with our picture that said "Merry Christmas! Love Sisters Williams and Thompson" He absolutely loved it!!!! Ha ha ha There were definitely a lot of really random presents. It's crazy what you can find in a missionary apartment. :) Later we had dinner at the Acorda's and then went to the Meldrum's. It was like going home for Christmas to me since I went to both their houses last year for Christmas and Christmas Eve. At the Meldrum's the Elders from Beaumont were there. We played the paper bag game where you have to pick up the paper bag with your mouth while on one foot. It was hilarious!!! I got a lot of video, so you'll have to wait in suspense for me to show you when I get home. Christmas day was wonderful! We did stuff with the Ellerslie sisters in the morning briefly and then Melanie picked us up and took us to Wetaskwin where her family lives. It was a blast! There we got to skype with the family and we played a lot of fun games. It was fun/ weird to just relax, not worry about how long we were there or that we had to get to another lesson. It was fun for a day, but I don't know if I could do it everyday.
I woke up the 26th with a really bad cold. :( It was a pretty slow day too. I'm grateful that it was Sister Williams birthday so we were able to celebrate. We had a "Birthday Dinner" at the Whyte Ave Chapel with Sophie (her birthday was on the 24th) and the Millcreek Elders. It was so much fun! Sophie brought us some Chinese dishes. One of which was pig hoofs. That's right! I said it, pig hoofs. That is now officially the weirdest thing that I have eaten on my mission. It's not so bad as far as taste go, but the texture sure gets to you. We took the left overs to Zone Meeting the next day and I convinced some Elders to try it. ha ha ha Friday I fell on the ice/ snow so now I owe doughnuts to my district. Gotta love Canada! Sunday (yesterday) was the mission farewell of two guys from our YSA Ward. Christian Hinman and Logan Orr are serving in the Toronto Canada mission (one goes this week and the other next week) Logan is speaking English and Christian Mandarin. It's been fun to work with both of them. They have both been awesome fellowshippers for our investigator Robert. Since we didn't have our YSA ward again this week we went to the Hillview Family ward (which is Christian and Logan's home ward) for their farewell. It was cool for Robert to come and say bye to them as well. I love seeing new missionaries leave. They have so much fire in them. The Lord's work is really moving forward. Speaking of missionaries. We met with a prospective elder in our ward, Michael Kastendieck. He lives in the Beaumont ward. It was fun to visit with his family. They mentioned that Joe (serving in Montreal) has now been on his mission for over a year. That was an awakening moment for sure. I spoke at his farewell in my second transfer! I can't believe that time has flown by that quickly. He's already been out just over a year. Crazy!!!
This week we have been focusing on Goal setting with members. As missionaries we focus on goal setting every month, week, day, even hour. Goals are so important and with the new year we have a great opportunity to focus on what is really important. I think it's no coincidence that we focus on the Savior at the end of the year and then have the opportunity to set new goals a week later. Elder M. Russell Ballard said, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life." Alma 5:14 asks each of us some great reflective questions. "Have I spiritually been born of God? Do I have His image in my countenance? Have I received a mighty change of heart?" We all can improve. Each of us can become more like our Savior. It doesn't have to be overwhelming. It takes a little each day. Elder Richard G. Scott said, "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." I encourage each of you to go forward, set goals that help you reach your potential as a Child of God. It is in the little things we do that we grow the most.
 Skyping with the family!!!!
I love you all so much!!! Make this next year really count!
Love always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas! The Library will be open on December 24th so I should be able to email one more time before Christmas. :) Today I have the pleasure of going to the World Famous West Edmonton Mall with Sister Williams and Sister Roberts and Reanna in our ward. I'm so excited! Because we're going today, I don't have a ton of time to email today.
This last week was fantastic! We had a Sister's Training on Tuesday at the mission home with all the sisters. That was a blast! We had a special training from President Campbell and then did some fun crafts/ Christmas activities with all the Sisters. It was fun to be all together there. Pretty soon we're not going to be able to do that at the mission home. Our mission is expected to have up to 50 sisters by the end of 2013! So weird. The first 19 year old sisters called to our mission have received their calls and are coming in February. One of them is actually from Spanish Fork I hear. That's pretty cool. I don't know her though (seeing that she wasn't even in my high school when I was. That makes me feel really really old.) Friday we had our annual Christmas Conference at the Millwoods Stake center. It was amazing!!! I love getting together with other missionaries, not to mention President Campbell always gives amazing trainings. As a Christmas present, President and Sister Campbell gave us all a temple recommend holder with a picture of the Edmonton temple that President Campbell took (he's a photographer- it's an amazing picture). I love it!!! Also, we had a talent show. My last district put together "The District 3" kind of a spoof of the PMG The District 1 and 2. It was super funny and everyone really liked it. I'll have to show you it later. Our zone also performed a Christmas Parody Mashup. (Some how I got suckered into putting it together ;) I had a lot of fun writing it and it turned out pretty funny.) Here are a few lines from it.
"I'm dreaming of a warm Christmas
With every email that I write....
Tracting through the snow, in a pair of worn out shoes
O'er the hills we go, sharing the good news.
Working with our might.
Making Burdens light.
What fun it is to testify and see all dressed in white.
I don't want a lot for Christmas, There is just one thing I need.
I don't care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree.
I just want some Baptisms. A few more before I'm done.
Make my wish come true. All I want for Christmas is two!
5 Potentials!
4 QGCs (Quality Gospel Conversations)
3 Less Actives
2 Recent Converts
And a Golden Baptism!
Oh the weather outside is frightful and a car would be delightful
We got places to go, Please don't snow! Please don't snow! Please don't snow!
He knows who you are texting. He knows when you are late.
He knows when you are driving fast so slow down for goodness sake.
Oh you better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout I'm telling you why
President is coming to town
It's the most trunkiest time of the year!!!!"
Well, I hope you can guess what Christmas songs you sing those with. It was super fun to write! That's for sure!
Other things worth mentioning- Chris Keene (Recent Convert) passed the Sacrament for the first time yesterday. I felt like a proud momma! :) Our Investigator Robert accepted baptism for January 12th:) We got a new investigator named David (who is pretty sweet. He's originally from Ghana.) Oh and if you haven't checked out you totally should. You can join the conversation which asks "What does Christmas mean to you?" I was reading through some people's responses last week and to my surprise I saw that Brady Brunson commented! That was really cool to see a friend from back home. I encourage everyone to answer that question.
Well, I love you all!!! Merry Christmas! I can't wait to talk to you next week.
Love, Sister Thompson

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

"Oh the weather outside is frightful! Investigators to teach would be delightful! We got places to go. Please don't snow, please don't snow, please don't snow!" - The song of a Canada Edmonton Missionary ;)
Hello family and friends!
This week it has snowed quite a bit. Just keeps piling up. Gotta love Edmonton in the winter. :) We had our ward Christmas party on Monday. Best Christmas Party Ever!!!! Santa and Mrs. Claus came. The theme was Elves and Reindeer. The girls dressed like Elves and the guys like Reindeer. It was so fun. We even had Karaoke. During one of the numbers our MCs Sonja (RS President) and David (Executive Secretary) ran around the room with mistletoe on a stick and had the Bishopric and other couples in the ward kiss. It was super funny. We also had some performances by members in the ward. One of which was a stand up comedian/ magician. He was pretty good. My favorite line of his was this- He randomly grabbed a Windex bottle out of his trunk, took off the lid and took a drink out of (don't worry, I'm sure it wasn't real Windex) he then said, "Public speaking freaks me out. I get super nervous. This keeps me from streaking." ha ha ha get it? Streaking. So funny. Anyway. The Bishopric dressed up as Reindeer but used real antlers. Super creative. I'm going to try and attach some pictures from the evening. Sadly, we had to leave early before it was done (gotta love the curfew of a missionary) so we didn't get to see all the performances. It was a success though.
On Thursday at service we got to see a musical performance. It was really good. During the performance however we had a surprise (well, the Elders had a surprise). Two police officers came in looking for a driver of a Chevy Cruze. Elder Schiess was the driver. Turns out somehow their OnStar button got pushed and they called the police who came to find if someone was in trouble. They tracked down the Elders. Elder Schiess didn't even remember pushing it. Super funny. Well, it gets better. Turns out the other Sisters were there, but visiting a resident when the police came. While they were putting the parking permit on their rear view mirror they accidentally pushed the button, but thought they turned it off. They too drive a Chevy cruze, but since they weren't there when the police came they didn't have to talk to them about it. It was pretty funny. We all got a good laugh from it.
So, a really neat story from this week happened yesterday at church. There is a couple in our ward Justin and Emma that are getting married on the 15th of December. Justin served his mission in Australia, Mandarin speaking and Emma is from China, but went to University in Austrialia where she was baptized. Justin actually taught her and after his mission they stayed in contact. She decided to move to Canada after her degree and after living here for a while her and Justin started dating and are now getting married. Emma's parents flew out this weekend for the wedding and came to church yesterday. Emma was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting and while she did Justin translated for her dad and Sophie (recent convert) translated for her mom. It was really neat. Well, just before the last speaker Brother Orr got up and asked that Emma bear her testimony in Chinese for her parents. The Spirit was so strong. It was so amazing!!! Her parents then attended Sunday school and Priesthood and Relief Society. In Relief Society Emma said, "My mom would like to say something and have me translate." This is what her mom said, "When we found out Emma got baptized we weren't very happy to find that out. Then to hear she was moving all the way to Canada and now marrying a Canadian. We were very worried for her and wondered if she was alone or taken care of. I have never been to a church before. But coming to church today we have realized just how many friends she has and how much love there is here. We know now that she has been taken care of. We have really enjoyed being here and we feel so warm while we've been here. Thank you so much." That was one of the most touching things I've ever been able to observe. The love that they have for each other is so evident. And you can tell that the Gospel truly blesses families, even if all of our families aren't members. That was so neat!!!! Over and over I have seen how much the Gospel really touches people's lives. I see it in my recent convert Chris' eyes when he talks about Eternal marriage and his excitement for the family he will one day have. I see it in the Ben Nicolson who is coming back to church when he testified of how the Candy Cane represents the Atonement to him (He said that the red and white stripes don't change width even when the candy cane bends. He connected that to the Savior and how no matter where we are, even if we turn away from him, his Atonement is still there and the same.) The Gospel is real!!!
I love you all!
Love always Sister Thompson
Sorry, ran out of time to attach pictures. Next week for sure!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

Dearest Everyone!
What a week! Sister Williams and I rocked it this week. We got 25 lessons, two new investigators (Brody and Tasha), and an investigator on date for baptism (Robert). I love how the Lord supports us when we have righteous desires. My time as a missionary just keeps flying by. I don't want this to end and as more and more of my mission friends depart out of the land reality seems to hit me more and more. New goals, a new transfer, new motivation to work hard until the end. I can't take any of this time back. I have to embrace each moment! Really, each of us should embrace every moment of our earthly mission. To quote President Hinckley, "Too soon you will only have the memory of the great experience you are now having." Live each day like it's the only day that you have to become like our Heavenly Father. In that is happiness.
I love the Christmas season. It seems like the Christmas Spirit is everywhere. I love the snow! I love the lights! I love Christmas music! I love testifying of the Savior. It brings so much hope. The Christmas Devotional last night was wonderful! We were able to watch it at a member's house with one of our investigators, Kristin (who is their roommate). I loved everything that was shared, but I liked what President Uchtdorf said about being good receivers. That made me really think about the Savior's Gift of the Atonement. How often do we let it sit on a shelf, wrapped up and say, "Isn't that nice. The Savior gave that to me!" We NEED to open it and use it!!!! It's not just meant to look at or talk about or even show off, but to use and re-use EVERYDAY, and to share with others. Don't do like the man who received one talent and hid it in the ground. When we give we get more. Share your knowledge of the Atonement with everyone!
We do service at St. Joseph's hospital every Thursday. While there we went to visit a lady in her room. When we came in she was laying in bed crying. I asked her if she was okay and she said she was fine, but not up for visiting. I grabbed a tissue and wiped the tears from her eyes. Her face lit up and for a moment I could feel the love the Savior had for her. I'm so grateful I got that opportunity to represent the Savior. To stand in His place. To do what He himself would do if He were here. "He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul's complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart." I know that my Redeemer lives. A funny story from service- we do a crossword with everyone and usually I get the microphone. Well, the word they were guessing was Ensign. E was listed. I gave the hint, "A six letter word; the hint is Naval Flag." No one had any clue. I decided to throw in a hint of my own. I knew the missionaries would all get it. "It's also a magazine." Almost in unison all the missionaries (about 6) started laughing and said, "Ensign!" ha ha we got a good chuckle out of that one. :)
We've been sharing a Christmas message with our members. One question we ask is, what does Christmas mean to you? One member replied, "Family Togetherness." Immediately I came to this realization, because Christ was born our families can be together forever!!!! Christmas really does mean family togetherness. I love that concept!!! Make the most of the season! Spend time with your families and cherish that time you have together. Family doesn't just have to be our immediate family, but we are all part of God's family!
I love you all!!!
Love, Sister Thompson