Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

To: Owners of RMs
From: Canada Edmonton Mission

Dear Brother and Sister,

Congratulations!!! You will shortly become the proud owners of one of the most fascinating creatures ever to have walked the Earth-- a returned missionary. She will be a source of entertainment and joy for hours on end as long as you follow a few simple guidelines and are aware of some of the oddities that come with the return of your daughter. Follow the directions outlined here and we guarantee a lifetime of enjoyment.

Your returned missionary will most likely introduce herself as "Sister Thompson" to everyone she comes in contact with for at least 4-6 weeks. You should also not be alarmed if she addresses you as "Elder" or "Sister" during this time also. It is also likely that she will speak in the plural form whenever she relates a story about what she has done (ie "we did" or "we are") and will probably look to her side as if searching for agreement from an invisible friend. This is a result of her having been with a companion constantly during her last 18 months in RM training.

Be patient if she repeatedly arises at 6:30am, showers, exercises, dresses in a skirt and tights, and starts studying. Also don't be surprised if she asks ward members who visit your home for referrals. After concluding family prayer she may insist that everyone recite D&C 4 before anyone can leave the house. Or may pray before driving the car or getting out of the car to visit someone. When she answers the phone don't be surprised if she does this by announcing the name of the Church and her name in Canadian, this is very common.

Also, important, don't take it personally if she shies away from any male members of the family of male visitors who may come by. She will probably prefer to stand at least arms length away for the first little while. ***WARNING*** Be aware that all men are cute to an RM and if she finds out that it is okay to be with them it would not be safe to leave her unattended until she has had enough time to adjust.

Never ask how many people she baptized while in RM training (since she doesn't hold the priesthood her answer will always be none). Avoid serving her roast, potatoes, and carrots. She has had enough to last her a lifetime. Don't let her drive the family car without first reminding her that the numbers written on the signs are in mph not kph. Don't let her carry a missionary daily planner after her arrival, no matter how much she tries to convince you that her week will fall apart without it. Do not discourage her from trying to hand out copies of the Book of Mormon but remind her that she must turn the referrals over to the missionaries in your area.

She has become accustomed to being with a companion all the time, so don't mind her following you around the house, stores, church or anywhere else for that first few weeks. Let her know, though, that it is okay for her to use the washroom in public places without having you or anyone else in the family come with her. Tell your RM that it is okay for her to relax on Sunday afternoon and that she doesn't need to go tracting. It may be necessary to explain to her that Monday is not her day off and that she has to go to school/work. Be patient with her if she gets confused when $200 doesn't magically appear on her allotment card each month and make sure and explain that gas and all car repairs are not free.

Be willing to look at pictures of her mission 2 to 3 times a week and listen with patience to all her mission stores, no matter how many times she has already told them. Don't make fun of her if she uses the words "Oh For Sure", "Eh" or "Hey" frequently. Also, be advised that there will a lot of words that she'll pronounce a lot differently now.

Be aware that this is not a complete list. Each RM is different and will react differently depending on the conditions she encounters upon arrival. One thing is sure, though, she is returning with a deep love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She has seen it change people's lives and has felt it change her own. She has been through the greatest trials of her life and has also experienced her greatest joys. In many ways she will resemble the daughter whom you sent off to RM training 18 months ago, but in others she will be quite different. She is returning with an increased appreciation for you, the owners, and is excited to prove it by supporting you as much as she can as she goes on to complete her formal education and start her own family.

If you have further questions regarding your RM, please contact other RM owners in your are. They will gladly share their own experiences with you and serve as a support group when you don't quite know what to do with her once she is there. Thank you for sending her into RM training and good luck breaking her into life in Babylon!

The Canada Edmonton Mission

March 25, 2013

To the greatest people in the world,

It's official. My last email I will ever send as a full time missionary. To be honest, I'm quite sad about it. I wish I could go home for a month and then come back. However, I am really excited about the future and all that it brings. I have very mixed feelings. This has definitely been the best decision I have ever made and I wouldn't change this experience for the world.

This last week was a great one. I'm going home wet! :) (Meaning I had a baptism right before I leave). I'm so grateful I got to be here for Bill's baptism. He has become a dear friend of mine and I would have been super sad had I missed it. His baptism was on Friday and it was fantastic. One of the best (although all baptisms are great!) I cried with joy. It was great to see him make that covenant. His baptism seemed to be in slow motion. He said, "I felt like I walked into the church with a pocket full of change and I just cashed it all in. I feel so much lighter." As he walked in after changing he was wearing a suit and tie. He looked so sharp and he was quite happy. I'm so excited that I've had the chance to help him in his journey back to Heavenly Father. He was confirmed a member of the Church on Sunday in Sacrament Meeting. Since it was my last week, our Branch President, President Henriksen, asked me to bear my testimony. Yep, I totally cried. I love this place! I love these people and I am truly going to miss them all! Sunday was also Cody Cressman's mission farewell. It was neat to see "the circle of life" as one missionary goes home another begins.

Another exciting thing from this week was exchanges! My last exchanges and they were in Red Deer with Sister Roberts!!!! IT WAS SO GREAT! The weather was pretty bad, but we made it there safely. It was great to work with Sister Roberts again. It was fun to see how much we've grown since we last served together, but also how close of friends we really are. I loved serving with her for the three transfers we had and I'm glad I got to serve with her one more time. We had a good time tracting together. We decided to do harvesting one last time together and we had some great visits with people. We had a 30 minute conversation with a young couple whom were interested. John and Ploy were their names. They were so sincere and so nice to visit with. It's moments like that, that make doing this so worth it. I was sad to know that I wouldn't see them again, and not just because I wouldn't be in Red Deer, but that I wouldn't be in Canada. :( So bittersweet. This exchange, however, helped me realize how many wonderful people there are and how I've gained so many new friends. Sister Roberts will definitely be a friend forever.

In companionship inventory at the end of weekly planning I asked Sister Bunker, "How can I help you?" Her reply, "By not going home." ha ha ha I'm really going to miss her. She's amazing! Oh, transfer calls came. I decided to just let Sister Bunker answer the phone since I already knew my fate. President Campbell told Sister Bunker, "I know we already talked about what would be happening this transfer (her training), but I figured we'd throw a curve ball. We're sending a couple of Sisters to Yellowknife!" (Those of you who don't know, Yellowknife is super far north. Salt Lake City is closer to Edmonton then Yellowknife is.) President Campbell was just teasing though. Then he said, "Tell Sister Thompson I don't know who her new companion will be, but I'm sure he'll be great!" :) We got a pretty good laugh. :)

One last funny story. Saturday night we were driving back to our apartment and there was a car in front of us at the light. I was confused because it looked like the person in the front and passenger seats were waving at us, "Why are they waving at us?" I asked Sister Bunker. Her reply, "Sister Thompson. It's two dogs." Ha ha ha I hadn't noticed that there were dogs in the car and I was super confused why people would be waving at us. We got a great laugh out of that. :)

I just want to end with a short piece of my testimony. I know that this church is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth once more. I know that this Gospel changes lives. I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that President Thomas S. Monson is a Prophet today. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that we will see our loved ones again. I know that the Atonement is real! It's True! I know it, I live it, I love it!

Well, to all the Canadians reading this- I love you! Farewell! Remember, it is not goodbye, just see you later. To my family and friends back home- I love you and will see you very soon! God Speed!

Love Always,
The one, the only, Sister Thompson :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013

Dearest Family and Friends,

First off, I received a call Thursday from Sister Campbell informing me of Grandma's passing. I was sad to know that I would miss seeing her in just a couple short weeks when I get home, but happy to know she is at rest. I've taken it quite well and I know that has a lot to do with the many prayers, the blessing I received and my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. When we lose a loved one it isn't the end. We will see those we love again.

This last week has been a good one. Quite successful. Bill is ready for Baptism this Friday :) There was a slight set back when we found out that he needed his wife's permission to get baptized since their divorce isn't final. Boy did that require us to exercise a lot of faith. Sister Bunker and I fasted and prayed fervently that she'd give her consent. Sunday afternoon brought good news. His wife emailed our Branch President giving her blessing to the church and approval for Bill to be baptized. I know that Prayer is Real and no matter the things that get in our way we must have faith and keep enduring. Never give up!!! Bill is excited to be baptized, but really sad that I'm leaving. It was sad to see him cry. As a missionary you meet some amazing people and get quite attached. I think that's why it's going to be so hard to say goodbye. This has been so much a part of my life now, I don't know what I would do if I didn't get to testify everyday. I guess I get to be a living testimony and good example. Plus, this doesn't mean that I have to stop being a missionary.

On a funnier note. Wednesday at a dinner appointment with the Willets we got talking about the new pope. Sister Bunker mentioned that when she was at the Vatican she saw dead bodies of past Popes in a glass case. Being a blond I asked, "How would they perserve their bodies? Do they taxidermy them?" Oh boy did that get a laugh or what. Obviously I don't really know what it means to taxidermy. Ha ha ha So funny. Also, I guess I've been talking in my sleep a lot this week. Around midnight I sat up in bed and asked Sister Bunker, "Could you close the closet?" "Why?..." "There might be people in there." The next morning I asked her why the closet was closed and she told me what I said. Pretty funny. ha ha ha

Well, I love you all! Hope this next week is a great one for you! It will be for me :)

Love always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

Dearest Family and Friends,

Oh what a week. I don't have much time so I'm going to try and hit all the highlights from the past week. First off, I received a phone call from President Campbell early Wednesday morning informing me about Grandma's condition. He gave me permission to call her. That was wonderful! I'm so glad I got to talk with her. I know I will see her again. Whether that is when I get home or not until the next life I don't know. I do know that Families are Forever and that we will see our loved ones again. Although it is hard to say goodbye here, it is only see you later. I love you Grandma! I know you will have a great welcoming party. President Campbell expressed to me that he honestly believes that we will have the same socialites that we have here in the next life. I know that is true as well. Isn't it great that we have an Eternal Perspective through hard times? Brother Nickle and Curry from the Branch gave me a Priesthood Blessing Wednesday morning. They both work at the High School and after talking to Sister Nickle to use her phone to call Grandma, she called her husband and arranged for us to meet them at the school to give me a blessing. We met in an empty classroom where Brother Nickle gave me the Blessing. It was amazing. In it he talked about God's timing and the blessings of Forever Families. He also mentioned how proud Heavenly Father is for me serving and that there are still people her that I need to teach. What a blessing that was :)

Also, last Monday Sister Bunker and I were enjoying a relaxing P-day. I looked out our window of our apartment and noticed a lady in a wheelchair who seemed to be struggling due to the snow and ice on the sidewalk. I continued working on whatever it was I was doing and looked up a minute or so later. She hadn't gotten more than a couple feet and I could tell she was exhausted. I pointed her out to Sister Bunker and we threw on our boots and coat to go to the rescue. We crossed the street and approached her, "Can we help you?" She was surprised to see anyone there. "Oh yes! This sidewalk is so bad. Were you just walking by?" "No. We were in our apartment and saw you outside here so we figured we'd come help." "Really? You came all the way from your apartment? Wow." I walked her backward (because the bigger wheels did better in the snow) for 7 blocks to her house. We had a wonderful conversation with her. Her name is Lianne. Pretty close to mine hey? Once we got to her place she was so grateful. She couldn't believe that we had walked her all the way home. We gave her our card and told her to call us if she needs anything. I also explained that we'd love to come visit her again and do any service for her and asked for her phone number. She gave it to us and we were on our way. I had such a good feeling after this. About an hour later we got a phone call from a number we didn't recognize. "Hi, this is Lianne. You helped me earlier. I realized that I gave you the wrong number. I said 5 instead of 4. I wanted to make sure you had the correct one and didn't think I was lying." How cool is that?!?! That never happens! It wouldn't be the first time someone has given me the wrong number so for her to call and correct that was a miracle in and of itself. :) Super neat experience. Hopefully we can contact her this week.

Another Miracle from the week happened Sunday. While Sister Bunker and i were teaching Gospel Principles and random Asian lady and her baby joined us. Brother Stark brought her in. Since we were teaching we didn't get the chance to talk to her. She got up and left only about 10 minutes later. After I asked Brother Stark about her and he said she just walked in off the street. She lives close by and said, " I felt like I should be here." That is super neat. He mentioned that she wanted to come next week. Hopefully we can get in contact with her again.

Well, the mission still brings miracles everyday! Bill is scheduled for baptism on March 22nd :) He found out I was going home on the 28th and asked if he could be baptized before I leave. OF COURSE! :) He is amazing and making great progress. He's been praying for me and for Grandma when he found out that she wasn't doing well. It's amazing to see so many people prepared to accept the Gospel. I love it!!!

Love always and forever,
Sister Thompson

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Dearest Wonderful People,

We had Zone Conference this week. My last one ;( It is very sad to be coming to end of my mission. You start to realize that soon you'll be missing out on a lot of upcoming events, baptisms, changes, etc. I wish I could do this forever, but I have also come to the realization that "All good things must come to an end." (President Campbell said that to Sister Roberts and I when he called us for transfers.) What a great thing this experience has been in my life.

Zone Conference was great! We went into Edmonton Tuesday night and slept at the Ellerslie Sisters' Apartment (what was Beaumont aka my first apartment in the mission and next door to Millwoods). We had Zone Conference on Wednesday and received some great trainings. After Zone Conference Sister Bunker and I got permission to go to the temple. Because of time restraints we decided to do Initiatories instead of a session. That was AMAZING! It was just what I needed. I haven't done them for 18 months and Sister Bunker hadn't done them since her first time. I love the temple!!!! After that we had dinner with the Orr's from our Branch (who live in Edmonton and are assigned to our Branch). They are fantastic. Super down to earth. I love them so much! Then we met up with the other sisters to do splits. Sister Bunker went back to Ellerslie (which was her last area) and I went with the Millwoods sisters (Williams and West). They set it up so I could see Chris and Jenn first and then Ben. It was so good to be back in Millwoods. I felt like I was home. It was so good to see the three of them. Chris is still doing so good in the Gospel. He got his Patriarchal Blessing since I left AND he is getting the Melchizedek Priesthood (either yesterday or next Sunday)!!!!! I'm so happy for him. Ben is also doing so well. :) The next morning I went with Millwoods again to visit Naomi from the ward (Love her!!!!) and then Sister Bunker and I had Interviews with President Campbell. Sister Bunker went first and then it was my turn. The first thing President Campbell said was, "What did you do to Sister Bunker?!?" A little taken back I asked him to expound. "She is so happy, excited about the missionary work, loves Drayton Valley and serving with you. She is a completely different person from our last interview only 2 months ago. What did you do?" I guess Sister Bunker has been struggling, especially with her last area/ companion. Serving with me has been night and day for her. I've seen the change in her and I'm excited that I'm able to help her reach her potential. With three of us sisters going home next transfer, five coming out, and only five sisters available to train, I've been helping Sister Bunker to be ready to rock the training scene. You could say, "I'm training a trainer." :) Talking with President Campbell was so good. He told me, "Sister Thompson, I've really appreciated having you in this mission. I've always been able to trust you and have never had to worry about you. I don't know if you've realized or not, but you've grown so much. You're family isn't going to recognize you when you get home." What a great compliment! I love the person I am today. I'm excited for y'all to see how much I've changed for the better. (I haven't grown taller or wider- thank heavens, but I have grown).

Saturday we got to meet with our Investigator Robert (he's progressing SO well!!!! ) and we got a new investigator Bill. He has been attending for at least a month now and he asked that we meet with him. He is so sincere and really wants the joy that the Gospel brings. We decided to teach him about the Plan of Salvation first (since it was after a lesson about Eternal Families in Sunday School that he asked to meet with us.) The lesson went well. I cried a lot as I testified about seeing our loved ones again. Bill cried too. The Spirit was there and I know he could feel it. Testifying has to be my favorite part of being a missionary. That and the opportunity I have to meet so many amazing different people. It really is the best 18 months of and for my life!!! After our lessons in Evansburg/ Entwistle with Robert and Bill we slowing made our way back to Drayton Valley. Very slowly because there was a huge snow storm. A foot of snow, 4 cars in the ditch, driving no more than 60km per hour (roughly 45mph), and an hour long drive we finally made it home. Gotta love Canada! More like, Gotta love Alberta!

Yesterday in Sacrament meeting marked a moumentous occasion for the Drayton Valley Branch. The Stake Presidency was there to organize the first ever Drayton Valley High Priest Group! Wahoo!!! That is so exciting hey? The Branch, this time last year averaged 62 people in Sacrament Meeting. Now, it's been averaging in the 90s with last week at 109! That is so exciting. This area really is on fire. I'm loving it so much!!!

Well, my time has far spent. I love you all! Thanks to all those who wrote me recently. I appreciate it! My prayers are with you all! Especially Grandma Haymore at this time. I love you Grandma!!! I hope you get better so that I can come see you when I get home.

Love Always,
Sister Thompson
P.S. While Sister West and I were together we totally saw a plane and had to take a picture with it. "How far away is that plane? 24 Days!!" Attached is that picture. Ha ha ha Don't worry, I'm not trunky promise- it's just funny!

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013

To the many amazing people reading this (and who write me back),

What a successful week! The weeks go by so quickly and the days are long. Write Sister Thompson a letter. At the end of each day I fall asleep the second I hit my pillow. It's actually a great feeling to know that I am working hard and am able to have no regrets at the end of each day. I love it! I love going and going and going.

The first of last week was filled with a lot of Goodbyes for Sister Randall. We were able to meet with the Welch family Tuesday night. It was wonderful. We decided to teach them about the Temple and Eternal Families and invite them to be sealed as a family March 2014. They were very excited and said they'd love to progress toward that. We then explained that they would need to be baptized a year before they could be sealed. "We have a baptismal service coming up on March 16th, will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?" They looked at a calendar and said they didn't have anything that day. Then Wade explained that he wasn't ready yet and that he needed time to pray and think about it. I know how great this will be for their family and I want it so much for them, but I can't rush anything. Write Sister Thompson a letter. It has to be on their time. We explained that we wanted them to pick a date and that we'd work toward that. I hope they can find their answer soon. :)

Wednesday I said goodbye to Sister Randall. It was a sad goodbye and a huge realization that Sisters West, Westover, and myself are now the senior sisters in the mission. AH! That's so weird. Write Sister Thompson! I think it's really starting to hit me just how soon I go home. I don't like it one bit. I feel like I finally got the hang of everything and sooner than later I'll have to leave it all behind. It's such a sad feeling. Anyway, enough about all that. So, one of the new sisters is from Spanish Fork!!! :) Her name is Sister Graham. I don't know her, she's 19! (she was 4 years younger than me in high school- which makes me feel super old.) She's really nice though. You should write Sister Thompson. I've attached a picture for you to see. Working with Sister Bunker is wonderful. We get along great!!! I really like her and she is super fun.

We've had a success start to our companionship. We were able to meet with our Investigators Robert and the Welch's. Plus, before our supper appointment on Thursday with the Courchesnes we decided to do some tracting in their neighborhood. It was awesome we met two people, Dale and Ken. Both of which invited us to come back in the next day or two. We met with Dale and his wife Helen on Friday and that lesson was awesome!!! Dale and Helen are so nice and Dale is really interested. He said the closing prayer and is excited to have us back and learn more. Two new investigators there! Hey, you should write Sister Thompson a letter before it's too late. Then, Saturday evening we met with Ken. He is kind of quiet, but said that he'd like to quit smoking. (He's in his late 20s or early 30s). Anyway, it was a good lesson... or so we thought. After leaving we got a text from Ken. He pretty much told us that he wasn't really interested. We asked him why he let us come back and he said, "Well, Sister Thompson I felt attraction to you and that was one of the reasons I invited you back. Plus, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt." Oh No!! What do you say to that?!?!? My reply, "Thanks for your honestly. We appreciate you letting us come back. We know the Gospel can really bless your life. We'd love to teach you more so you can find out for yourself. Plus, we want to help you quit smoking." Well, we text back and forth for a little bit, but we're still not sure how interested he is. We plan to go by sometime this week, hopefully it goes well. Oh boy! Write Sister Thompson- you know you want to.

Well, that's all I can think to say this week. Until next time.... WRITE ME!!!!!!
Sister Thompson and Sister Graham from Spanish Fork!!!

Love Always and Forever,
Sister Thompson

P.S. Attached Picture- Sister Thompson and Sister Graham from Spanish Fork!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013

Happy Family Day Everyone!
My last transfer call came today and my new companion is..... Sister Bunker! :) I'm really excited. It will be fun to work with her. We lived next door to each other when I was in Millwoods and so I already know her really well. She's awesome! So, this is the start of my last transfer. It's really weird to think that I'm one of the "Senior Sisters" in the mission now. Crazy!
Well, my last week with Sister Randall was fantastic. First off, Tuesday was the 43rd day of the year!!! Loved it!!! Wednesday we Heartattacked the Nickles in our Branch. While they were all at the church for Mutual and meetings we got into their house (don't worry we have free access) and left hearts everywhere. It was lots of fun.Thursday was Valentine's Day. We had District Meeting (always fun) and some members surprised us with a couple huge heart shaped cupcakes. YUM!!! They also had a really cool Scripture to go along with it that was as follows:
"For God so loVed the World
That he gAve
His onLy begotten Son
That whosoEver shall believe
iN Him shall
perIsh, but have
lifE." -John 3:16
Friday was a good day too. Our Branch had a Valentine's Bash. We were invited to help with the food. They had a lot of fun activities and a Dance. It was fun to be there with everyone. I really feel like I'm at home here in this branch. Everyone is so nice and welcoming. I love it and am sad that I can't serve here longer. Saturday was an amazing day! In the morning we met with our Investigator Travis. (He's 18). We planned to teach him the Word of Wisdom and the Stop Smoking program. Well, He shows up to the church with a coffee. How ironic hey? While waiting for our other members to show he ran outside to have a quick smoke. Again, super ironic. After finishing his cigarette he came back in and asked if he could turn on some music while we waited. We explained that as missionaries we don't listen to non-church music. He then began to tell us that his favorite song is "Smoke a little smoke. Drink a little drink." Sister Randall and I had to contain our laughter. Again, super ironic. As we started and began to explain what the Word of Wisdom was Travis said, "Oh this is kind of funny isn't it? Considering that I brought a coffee, smoked right before walking in, and told you about that song." We all chuckled. As we continued discussing the Word of Wisdom with him he explained that he's never really had a reason to quit and that he doesn't really see that he has much of a future. We then read the blessing listed in the pamphlet, "As you keep the Word of Wisdom, the delicate, sensitive, spiritual part of your nature will be prepared to receive guidance from God. Learn to listen to spiritual promptings and feelings. You will be warned of dangers and will be guided by the Holy Ghost. Your Wisdom and knowledge will increase. You will have greater peace of mind, increased self-control and a confident attitude toward life and the future." How cool was that? It said it right there. That took him off guard. It was EXACTLY what he needed to hear. We talked also about all the money he'd be saving by quiting. He explained that he thinks he probably spent close to $17,000 on cigarettes since he started smoking. $17,000!!!!That's crazy! We then went through the Stop Smoking program. As we were reading through the steps Travis randomly stood up and said, "One second, I'll be back. I have to do something." The rest of us looked at each other, a little confused as we waited. Next thing we know Travis walked back in and handed Brother Orr two packs of cigarettes, "Here, I need to do this." Joy overwhelmed me. I had to keep myself from crying with happiness. Not 30 seconds had gone by when Travis then said, "Wait, can I have them back. I need to do one more thing." Brother Orr gave him them back and Travis proceeded to crush them in his hands to break them in half. As he got to the second pack to crush them, to his surprise his debt card fell out. He had been looking for it for days. "Promised blessing fulfilled. We told you you'd save money by quiting smoking." :) Travis was elated. We were all so excited for him. Brother Orr then took his cigarettes and coffee and threw them in the dumbster. We gave him his needed supplies (grapefruit juice, cinnamon mouthwash, and a new toothbrush- courtesy of the travel toothbrush I got for Christmas ;) Thanks Lin! You're helping my investigator quit smoking.) Travis and everyone in the room all signed his certificate signifying that he is now officially a non-smoker. And then we took a picture which I've attached. It was amazing! The Spirit in that lesson was awesome. As we left that appointment I thought to myself, "Now, this is why I'm on a mission. To help people change their lives." What a great feeling that was!
 Sunday we had an unexpected surprise/ blessing. When we moved into our new apartment an older Sister in the ward, Sister Bondy, was moving into a Lodge and needed to downsize. She gave us most of her furniture and kitchen supplies. She left her vacuum and mop with a lady in her old building for us to pick up later. We decided to stop by and get it from her. She was super nice, invited us in and we chatted for at least a half hour. We brought up the Gospel, why we were serving as missionaries, what our church services were like, the Book of Mormon, etc. She was interested in learning more and after leaving her with a prayer we set up a time to come see her on Tuesday. New investigator! Woot! Woot! Her name is Doreen and she is super nice. It's interesting how the Lord puts us exactly where he wants us. Sometimes it takes borrowing a vacuum to a neighbor to share the Good News. :)
Well, I love you all! Until next week,
Sister Thompson

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013

My Dearest Loved Ones,

Another week has come and gone hey. To be honest, this last week was quite busy and I don't remember any specific stories. Sister Randall and I did a lot of walking around and tracting (which I love- weird I know.) We talked to a lot of people and invited them to our Branch Valentine's Bash. :) Oh, currently it is a warm 10C outside today. I couldn't be more over joyed. Oh for sure! (I can't remember what that would be in Fahrenheit but believe me it's warm). :) I'm not even wearing a coat today- go figure hey!

Hmmm.... what else to say. My mind is all over the place today. It's Sister Randall's official last week of her mission. She's finishing strong. (which is a blessing so that I'm not trunky.) Oh and HAPPY 43RD DAY OF THE YEAR TOMORROW!!!! I hope it's a day of Dreams come true for y'all. (Sister Randall says y'all because she is from Texas and I have found myself saying it often too.) Anyway, Sister Randall and I got figuring and turns out that the 43rd day of the year (aka tomorrow) is 43 days until the day I go home. I'm sure that sounds super trunky of me to say, but if you know me you know I love the number 43 so figuring that out made me happy (not to go home, but just to know that the 43rd day of the year marks 43 days left. Coincidence? I think not!)

Okay, now onto more stories. So, we met with Robert this week and he is progressing so well. We taught him the Word of Wisdom and he accepted it no problem. We were also trying to get him a ride to church since his normal ride couldn't. Well, he hadn't heard from us yet so he took it upon himself to stop by Sister Kyle's (from the Branch and someone he knew before) work and ask her for a ride. How cool is that?! You know that your investigator is progressing when they do all they can to find a ride. Believe me that is more rare than you think. Also, Travis who we just started meeting with came to church. He is doing well. He had been kicked out of his house a few weeks ago and was living with a friend. Well, they decided to charge him an outrageous amount for one room so he started living out of his car. When we found out we had him meet with our Branch President and now he is staying with him. Which will be awesome because now he will have a great role model and a wonderful environment to live. We're planning on starting The Stop Smoking Program with him this week.

Well, I honestly can't think of much else to write. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoys the week. Hope to hear from y'all soon. ;) You only have 43 days to write me! ;) ha ha
We Street Contacted Superman. :) Did you know he resides in Drayton Valley?

Love Always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013

To the many people I love,
Every week in Drayton Valley has been an adventure so far. This last week was no exception. In fact, I would venture to say that this week was a week of Miracles! Not to mention we moved into our new apartment finally. It's a beauty! I feel like I'm living in a palace. It's a two bedroom apartment and it has a kitchen and a shower that actually works :) We use our extra bedroom for our "Study". We finally feel like we're missionaries again and it's been a lot easier to get back into a routine.
The focus of my week however had to do with a 18 year old guy I mentioned 3 weeks ago. Below is a refresher of meeting him.
"Thursday we had a really neat experience. We went to lunch at Subway and as we we're waiting in line a guy in front of us [Dallin] said, "So, how long have you been on your missions?" This was a young guy we thought looked in his 20s. Turns out he is 18 and a less active member from BC who is working in the oil industry out here. He is super nice and offered to buy our lunch (first time that has ever happened to me as a missionary.) Anyway we talked to him at Subway for about an hour and he's thinking about coming back to church. He is amazing! I know we were meant to be there and run into him. It's great how much our Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. We really connected with him and he really opened up to us."
Well, since then we have been trying to get a hold of him, but since he worked in the Oil industry it isn't the easiest. Wednesday night we got a text from him that was pretty exciting. "Hey Sisters! This is Dallin, I just want to let you both know that I am going to rejoin the church! I have prayed and I want to repent. I will attend church this Sunday in Drayton Valley so I will see you then :) " When I saw that I was elated. Well, the next day was a day full of Miracles. We met with our Investigator Robert in Evansburg. Our Relief Society President Sister Seely came with us. Evansburg is about 40 km from Drayton Valley. Now Alberta winters can be pretty bipolar. The day before -40C but Thursday turned out to be around 2C. This is a problem because it means the roads can get pretty icy. As we were headed back to Drayton (Sister Randall driving, Sister Seely in the back seat, and myself in the front seat) we saw a truck pulling a trailer, headed in the opposite direction of us, start to lose control. We were headed right for them (they were only about 50 feet away). As the trailer jackknifed, coming at us at perpendicular rather than parallel. I have to admit I was concerned but calm at the same time. I heard a voice very calmly and firm say, "Go into the ditch." Just then Sister Randall calmly turned off the road into the ditch (about 15 feet away from the truck). Later I asked Sister Randall if she heard that voice and she hadn't heard a voice, but felt impressed to head for the ditch. It was either the Spirit or Sister Seely, but either way it protected us. Hitting the snow almost felt like we were on Splash Mountain Canada Style. There was so much snow and boy did it go EVERYWHERE! The car finally stopped, everyone in our car safe and alive, we took a deep breath realizing that we could have died. We got out of the car to go check on everyone else. The snow was pretty deep (to the top of my boots). The way the car was situated I couldn't get out of my door and had to climb over the driver's seat. The truck that lost control was on the other side of the road about 15+ feet north of where we ended up. They were alive and we were alive. The road was quite icy. Everyone walking on the road was sliding all over the place. We waited about an hour for the tow truck. I got to sit in the back of an RCMP truck to fill out my report. It was all quite an adventure. After helping us out the Police hurried off to a roll over accident about 2 Kms up from us. Back on the road we drove past where the other vehicle rolled as we drove past my heart dropped. 'That's Dallin's truck' the thought came to me. Immediately I started praying that if that was Dallin, he'd be alright. We planned on calling him later that night to make sure he was alright. Just before we got into our last appointment our phone rang, it was Dallin! "Hey Sisters it's Dallin." "Hey Dallin, we've been thinking about you all day and were just about to call you. Is everything alright?" "No actually. I hit some black ice and rolled my truck. I was calling to see if I could get a ride to church on Sunday." It was Dallin! Turns out he spun out, rolled his truck and walked away from it without a scratch. I know this wasn't a coincidence. God definitely puts us in people's lives at the right time for a reason.
Thursday night, while trying to fall asleep, my mind reviewed what all had happened that day. I was certain of two things. One God puts us in people's lives for a reason and two we have angels watching over us. In the middle of the night I awoke to an impression, "Dallin is a prospective Elder!" I sat up in bed, overjoyed with the idea. As a branch we have a goal to help 5 prospective Elders receive the Melchezidek Priesthood by the end of February. I felt very impressed that Dallin would be one of them.
Sunday rolled around and Dallin came to church! We got him a ride with Brother and Sister Kyle. It was so exciting to see Dallin again. We hadn't seen him since we first met at Subway. Being Fast and Testimony meeting, Dallin was the first to get up and bear his testimony. It was amazing!!! He talked about his journey, meeting us sisters, and reading his scriptures for the first time in 2 years. He said, "Knowing the missionaries has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I know God is aware of me and loves me. I plan on turning my life around, going on a mission and get married in the temple." Later Dallin told us that we are angels God sent and that he will never forget us. He is so amazing!!! I'm so grateful that I've been a part of this miracle. Brother Bowie from the High Council bore his testimony and said, " We are seeing miracles in this branch." I agree! I know that's true! I love the work of the Lord!
Love Always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013

Dear World,

Life in Drayton Valley is great! Every day is a new day and an eventful day that's for sure. Hmmm... I never know where to start. Let's start with last Monday. We had Family Home Evening with the Boehme family. They are a young family and they are so cute. Spending Monday Night with them made me super excited to have Family Home Evenings with my future family. The Family unit really is ordained of God. Dear Family- I LOVE YOU!!!

So last week I informed you about falling on the ice- well, it happened once again. This time a lot harder. To save on klicks (as missionaries we can only drive so many kilometers a month) we decided to walk one day. While walking by 7 Eleven we noticed a lady walking close by, my thought "Let's go talk to her." As we got closer, we heard her say to herself, 'Wow, it's pretty icy here.' Just then I totally ate it! I went down pretty hard. Boy did it hurt my leg and my pride. Since we were walking I had to walk the rest of the way home on a hurt ankle. I pushed myself though. I kept telling myself, "'The Pioneers walked hundreds of miles, the least I can do is 4 or 5 blocks.' I couldn't wait to get home and put some ice on it, then it occurred to me that we don't have a freezer which meant no ice. Sister Randall was unaware of this conversation I was having with myself in my head. Needless to say she got a pretty good laugh when suddenly I blurted out, "We have no ice!" Don't worry though, my ankle/ foot/ leg is doing a lot better today. We iced it the Canadian way. All you need is a Ziploc bag, some snow, and a scarf. Gotta love it! See attached picture ;) (I was trying to look really sad that I had fallen).

This week we stopped by a less active lady in the Branch. She wasn't home so we decided to shovel her porch/ steps/ sidewalk on our way out. The next day we stopped by again to see if she was home. She was outside and invited us in. We had a wonderful visit. She told us that she had just woken up from a nap when we knocked and didn't get to the door until we were just finishing and walking away. She was very grateful that we did that. I'm glad that we could take those little moments to serve. I invite everyone to take some time to slow down and look for random opportunities to serve those around you. It's a blessing for sure!

I am officially a missionary! I got bit by a dog on Tuesday. ;) We stopped by a lady in our Branch's house. She had a HUGE dog (can't remember the breed). Anyway her dog is super protective and so Sister Hutton comes to the gate to let us in and out so that her dog doesn't get us. Well, we followed Sister Hutton to the door single file, me at the caboose. Just as we got to the porch steps the dog bit me right in the rear and pulled at my skirt and jacket. That was more of a shock than anything. No worries, I came out alive and now have a story to tell. ;)

On Saturday our Relief Society had an activity about being Ambassadors for the Church. I loved it. It gave some great ideas on how we can do missionary work without being overbearing. I loved the following quote shared by Elder Ballard, "This isn't 1830... and there aren't just six of us anymore." This is so true!!!! Love it!!!!

Sunday we were able to be a part of a really neat experience. Cameron Nickle (a young man in our ward that just turned 12 years old. His Grandparents are in charge of our Housing as missionaries) received the Aaronic Priesthood. It was really cool to see his father, grandfather, and two uncles surround him and give him the Priesthood. I actually got emotional the spirit was so strong. It reminded me of this Mormon Message about the Power of God. I can't remember if I've attached it or not, but either way it's awesome!!!! :) Watch it:

Here is a scripture chain you can all check out. I love it and found it during one of my recent personal studies. :)
Alma 57:27 Why were their minds firm? Because they obeyed with exactness (Alma 57:21) Footnote for Firm= Jacob 3:2 Here we are told that we may feast upon His love if we are firm. So, how do we feast on His love? John 15:10 We keep the commandments which means we obey with exactness! :) Pretty cool hey? I loved it!

Well, my time has come to an end for the week. I love you all!!! Do something for someone else this week, pray harder, and share your testimony with someone new.

Love Always,
Sister Thompson

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

To the greatest people,

Life in Drayton Valley is anything but boring. We are teaching a lot people and having a lot of adventures. I'm loving it though! We are teaching the Welch Family. They are fantastic. We met with them earlier this week and invited their whole family to join. We taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and used the "Egg/ Bottle demonstration" It turned out great and the Spirit was really felt. Brother Welch (Wade) asked us a question about the Resurrection and children who die as babies. The Spirit was so strong as we testified. I love lessons like that. It makes every hard day worth it.

We also had Zone Training Meeting on Wednesday and then Interviews with President Campbell on Thursday. It was weird, I only knew 4 or 5 missionaries in my Zone. Everyone in our zone is super young and the majority of Elders have only been out 8 months or less!!!! So weird. I feel so old! Sister Randall and I were definitely the oldest companionship. Interviews with President the next day were great!! I love meeting with him and Sister Campbell. Oh yeah and my "Trunky Call" came this week. Yep, it's official. The office called me to find out what airport I was flying home to. I told them Calgary. That way I can stay in Alberta and don't have to come home. :) Good idea hey? I thought so too.

Later this week we met with a sister (young mother) in the ward, Sister Phipps. She is the one who knows about Western Wats. Anyway, while visiting she got really dizzy and weak and her hands started shaking. She put her 4 month baby in a bouncer and we grabbed her some things to eat to get her blood sugar up. It reminded me of the times dad had low blood sugar, which made me grateful that I knew what to do. We kept her baby happy and kept her nourished until her husband came home about 45 minutes later. I so wished I could have held her baby. It's times like this that I wish I wasn't a missionary and could have just watched her kids while she went to the hospital. I'm grateful we were there to help in any way we could though.

This week was pretty warm until the Sunday. It got to -30 C with the windchill. Brrrrr!!!! No one showed up for our 830am missionary meeting so we shoveled all the sidewalks instead. The snow is so dry and light. I actually enjoy shoveling. :) Later that night while getting out of the car I totally ate it on the ice. Sister Randall was talking to me and then all of the sudden I was gone. ;) She couldn't see me so she ran to my side of the car and found me on the ground. She quickly ran to me and helped me up. It was funny because as she did the song "You raise me up" came to mind, but I changed it to be "You raise me up so I can stand on frozen water" instead. :) Gotta love it.

One last thing- So I spoke in Sacrament meeting my first Sunday hey? Well, One quote that I said was, "7 days without prayer make one weak." Good quote hey? Well, as we were driving through town and past our Branch President's car repair shop I saw that he put that quote on the markee sign. :) That made me super happy so of course I had to take a picture.

Love you all!!!

Love, Sister Thompson

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013

Dearest Family and Friends,

Oh Boy! What a crazy crazy week! Seriously, if I've ever said that a week was crazy before this past week just trumped it. First, my last day in Millwoods YSA was a sad one. We were able to eat dinner with Chris and Jenn and then see Raj after. I love Recent Converts. They are amazing! I am really going to miss seeing them so often, but I know I will be staying in contact with them for sure. Transfer meeting Wednesday was fun. The Ellis' and Sister Quinton from Innisfail came to say goodbye to both Sister White (who I served with in Innisfail) and Sister Reece- both of which were going home. It was really fun to see them. They just put Elders in Innisfail so we got a picture of all of us Sisters there that served in Innisfail and the order that we were there. The only person missing that hadn't gone home yet was Sister Kuroki. After Transfer meeting and heading out of Edmonton we finally made it to Drayton Valley about and hour and a half drive. After our dinner appointment and mutual night we got to the apartment to settle in for the night.

The next day was a full day of stuff. We are on fire here in Drayton Valley. It's a branch, but we currently have 10 (almost 13) Investigators, 4 of which are on date for Baptism in February. :) Thursday we had a really neat experience. We went to lunch at Subway and as we we're waiting in line a guy in front of us said, "So, how long have you been on your missions?" This was a young guy we thought looked in his 20s. Turns out he is 18 and a less active member from BC who is working in the oil industry out here. He is super nice and offered to buy our lunch (first time that has ever happened to me as a missionary.) Anyway we talked to him at Subway for about an hour and he's thinking about coming back to church. He is amazing! I know we were meant to be there and run into him. It's great how much our Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. We really connected with him and he really opened up to us. :) Random thing on Thursday, a lady in our ward that we met with knows about Western Wats. She is from the Philippines and knows lots of people that work there. That was a fun connection.

Our area is HUGE!!!! It takes us an hour and a half to drive to Wildwood where our Investigator Grace lives outside of. She is Native and super sweet. She has a really cool story. So her great grandfather was Cheif Yellowface. He had a dream that he would find the truth and it would come from a group of people that would be accepting of his people, something else (can't remember) and that they would have a book. We'll Chief Yellowface met members of the church in Southern Alberta and they were very accepting and the other one that I can't remember. Chief Yellowface told them this and said, "Too bad you don't have a book, I figured you were the ones who knew the truth." Then they said, "We do have a book!" They gave him a Book of Mormon and his whole tribe was baptized. Well, a couple generations later we meet Grace who was never baptized but wants to be. So cool hey?

My first Sunday in the Branch I was asked by the High Councilman to speak with him. That was super fun. I love speaking in Sacrament meeting. I spoke on prayer and used my Farewell talk since it was so last minute. Turned out awesome!!! I ended up speaking for 25 minutes. Whoops!!! ;) Oh well, it's a branch so the sacrament only took like 10 minutes totally so there was plenty of time for us. Anyway, I love this Branch! Everyone is so welcoming. It's a great area and I'm feel at home. I feel like I've already been here for months and Sister Randall and I are super excited about the work. We have a potential investigator named Travis who is 18 and really cool. He works with a couple members at The Max and we went and helped out there so we could visit with him. I'm so excited to start meeting with him this week. He loves coming to church!

So the place we live is kind of........ interesting. There is a long story, that I don't wish to repeat, as to why we are living where we are, but I'll spare you those details. Needless to say we are living in the basement apartment (if you could even call it that) of a old Baptist couple. I don't wish to worry you about our living conditions so I won't give details, but know that we do have roof over our heads and well, it's an adventure. (I'll explain more when I get home.) Well, we will be moving into a new apartment at the end of the month (SO EXCITED!!!) Anyway, last night when Sister Randall and I were starting to plan I felt kind of weird. She stopped and said, "I feel kind of weird. I don't feel very safe right now." We talked about and felt strongly that we should not stay at our house. So, we talked to our District Leader who told us to call President. I don't want to freak anyone out so needless to say, we stayed at a member's house last night and are safe. We haven't been to our apartment since leaving it last night at 10:30pm. Don't worry family!!!!! I'm okay and who knows if anything bad would have happened. We just knew we should follow that prompting and we're glad we did. Brother Curry from our ward gave us each a priesthood blessing last night too so we're all good. Oh the adventures of being a missionary!!! ;)

Well, I love you all so much! Oh to explain my subject line "You could say I'm in the middle..." I decided when i got transferred here not to tell anyone how long I've been out or when I go home. So, when people ask i say, "You could say I'm in the middle." It's funny because our Branch President announced that I was a new missionary ha ha. Brother Albers who taught Gospel Principles asked me, "are you really a new missionary? Cuz your talk didn't sound like you were." :) ha ha ha guess they will never really know until I pack my bags and go home.

Love you all!!!
Sister Thompson

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013

Dearest People That I Love,
It's another Transfer Call day and Drayton Valley here I come!!!! I am going to the place where my trainer died (aka her last area before going home.) It's about an hour and a half west of Edmonton! It's where I went on my last exchange. Which I'm really excited about since I already met the Branch President and talked with some Non-members. (The Thompson's from Scotland and Viletta that I testified about life after death.) It's interesting because while I was there I had a feeling that I would be transferred there. :) I'm quite excited. It's also interesting because every time a transfer has happened it has also been with the area that I most recently exchanged with. :) (Exchanged with Kingsway- Sis White then went to Kingsway. Exchanged with Millwoods- I then went to Millwoods. Exchanged with Kingsway- Sis Roberts then went to Kingsway. Exchanged with Drayton Valley- I am now going to Drayton Valley!) Also, Sister Jones (my trainer) and I have now officially served in the same places. Beaumont, Innisfail, Millwoods and Drayton Valley. Pretty cool eh? So, my new companion is Sister Randall. :) Super excited. We went on Exchanges before and I think she is so wonderful. This is also her last transfer so, she'll go home this transfer and I'll go home next. Time to Endure to the End!!! :)
As for this last week- oh what a week. New year's Eve we had to be in our apartments by 6pm.We had dinner with the Ellerslie Sisters (Bunker and Nash) and then enjoyed the evening being goofy with them. We were allowed to count down to midnight, but by the time 11pm came around we were exhausted to so we counted down to 11pm. :) I can't believe it's now 2013!!! So crazy!!! Hmmm... what else to tell you about this week.
Friday evening we met with Ben Nicolson. He is so awesome!!! He has struggled with being active in the church since one of his best friends pasted away in the spring. I've been meeting with him almost every week since I've been here and it's been amazing to see him change. Well, on Friday we talked about setting goals (because of the new year). One of the quotes we read was by Elder Richard G. Scott "We become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to become each day." I absolutely love this quote! Well, as Sister Williams read it to Ben, I realized that I had shared that quote with Ben before. After he said, "I really like that quote. I remember when you shared that quote with me before, Sister Thompson, it really got me thinking. It was after hearing that, that I became really reflective and started making more changes." It was almost like my mission had come full circle. That was awesome to hear. I know as missionaries that we are making a difference in people's lives, but it is really neat to see the fruits of our efforts. Sunday, Ben taught Gospel Principles (which is has been his calling for the past 10 months, but since he stopped attending for so long he hadn't taught it until now). He is amazing!!! I'm so grateful I've had the opportunity to help rescue one of God's children.
Since Sunday was Fast Sunday I took the opportunity to bear my testimony. I had a feeling I was getting transferred and so I didn't want to miss this opportunity. Well, once everyone kind of realized this would be my last Sunday in the ward I got a lot of people saying Goodbye. I am really going to miss Millwoods YSA. It has been a highlight of my mission for sure. I'm excited for what Drayton Valley has in store for me. I know that I am needed there and that it's going to be awesome.
Until next week, I love you all!!!
Sister Thompson and Ben Nicolson
Love, Sister Thompson