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.
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!