Friday, January 16, 2015

Letter Dated January 12, 2015 - Love Yinz

Helloo from PA! :)
I don't really know why, but people in Pennsylvania never call it Pennsylvania...they always call it PA. just a fun fact I guess. :)
I hope you all had an awesome week! :)
Sister Kerby and I had a really good week!! We started out by doing service for a former on Monday night after our dinner with the McBrides. :) I seriously love that family! :)) But it was really cool to do service for this former. He was someone I taught the first time that I was here, and he was super awesome the last time I was teaching him! He always had good questions and was engaged in the lessons, but after a while decided that it wasn't quite for him at that point in time. he stopped scheduling appointments and so forth. But this last time we were there helping him paint, he had amazing questions about the Plan of Salvation! he had a really traumatic experience since I had left where a loved one had passed away in a not very good way. And it was amazing to see the change in his questions. They were so sincere, and out of desperation to know what happens to us when we leave this earth, and what happens to them if they died without baptism, or the forgiveness and judgment aspect of the Savior. It was amazing to feel the spirit testify so strongly as we answered his questions! And to see the light in his eyes for the Hope that comes through the Plan of Salvation! I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation and the happiness, and hope that it brings! I am so glad know that death is not the end, but a wonderful step on our way back home!
on Thursday we got to go do service for Delores. :) she's the one that had us over for Pork and Saur Kraut. we had a great time cleaning out a closet she had and seeing all her fun knick-knacks and things. She is the funniest, cutest little lady! She told us that we better not leave the apartment without having our fingernails painted pretty and fresh without any chips in it. :) I guess I needed a little fashion advice. :) haha! Luckily my nails were painted nicely when she told us!
But we got to begin the Restoration lesson with her and her friend Norma. :) It was super great! Norma was so engaged and had a lot of questions about our church and the things we believe and prophets. :) We've started teaching her the lessons and are really excited to see where it goes. She is adorable! :) She is just so sweet!!
Friday we had another cool experience. we went to see a less active sister we don't normally see on Fridays..but felt like we needed to. We went to her house and as we were walking up she was just sitting on the porch..and it was kinda awkward at first. haha! as we made our way into her house she had informed us that we had come just at the right time. She was getting ready to light up a cigarette, and she told us this would have been her first one since she last quit smoking, and she recognized it as a sign from God. :) Seriously, Heavenly Father has perfect timing! :) We had an amazing lesson and really got to know her on a deeper level! it was so awesome!!
and last Night we had an amazing lesson with Alyssa and Yvonne. :) It was so great! the spirit was so strong, and we were able to see a lot we had in common! it was cool to feel such a strong connection to them...we were probably friends in the pre-earth life. :) haha! it was really cool, at one point I was testifying to Alyssa about something and I had the chills like crazy, and I mentioned it to her, and she told me she had the chills as well! It was so cool to be able to recognize the presence of the spirit together! I seriously just love them and I'm so excited to continue teaching them and learning together! :) They are seriously awesome! :) Alyssa also mentioned to us this time that she didn't feel that it was a coincidence that we met! :)
I had a lot of amazing experiences this week...i wish I could mention them all! These are just a few. :) I love you all! and want you to know how true I know this church is! It is the best thing that I could ever have! The gospel makes me so excited, and I love to teach about it! :) My mission has changed my life, and I have had some of the most amazing experiences! keep up the good work and "be loyal to the royal within you" -Sister Dalton
Love yinz always!
Sister Thomas

Monday, January 5, 2015

Letter Dated January 5, 2015 - Happy New Year! :)

Hey Everyone!!
Happy New Year!! I hope you all had fun and celebrated the coming of a new  year! :) New Years really is such a good time to reflect, and decide what we'd like to accomplish in the next year. I've been thinking about goals a lot lately and I really don't think it's my biggest strength yet, but my mission has totally taught me how important it is to set goals and make plans to help us achieve them! :) It's so important to have a vision for ourselves and what we'd like to do and achieve, and who we'd like to become. And what better time to start than now. :) 
We had a good New Years, it wasn't anything big or crazy...that's for sure! :) I didn't even stay up to welcome the New Year. haha! I just woke up and to my surprise 2015 was already here! I can't believe it has come so fast! It's actually kind of sad to think about. My mission has flown by, and I wish I had just one more year ahead of me. :) but good things are to come at home too. :)
This week we've had some pretty cool things happen! :)
Monday we got to go to Hershey Chocolate World for P-day :)) Later that night we got to have Family Home Evening with a family in our ward....actually we had two family home evenings...but we only taught one of them. :) haha But it was so fun! We talked about the importance of the Holy Ghost and what he does for us, and then we played a game with them to demonstrate kind of how the Holy Ghost works. The kids loved it, and they were actually extremely reverent during the whole lesson! It was amazing! haha!
On Tuesday we had the sweetest old lady named Delores invite us over to have Pork and Sour Kraut to begin the New Year with good luck...because apparently eating a specific food will determine the kind of year you have. :) haha! looks like all you out west are in trouble...because I can imagine you didn't have Pork and Sour Kraut to celebrate the new year. :) I don't even know if that's how you spell it...but get the point. lol
But it was really awesome! We met her a while ago, we were talking to a man that was out on his porch and he wasn't interested in the gospel or want any service, but he pointed us in her direction. He told us her husband had recently died and that she might be in need of some help. So we went over and she welcomed us right in and was showing us her boxes of things that she was going through and donating, and invited us back another time to come get some hot chocolate mugs and plates and things...she's sooo funny! and so cute! :) Anyway, she has this sweet lady named Norma who works for her and helps her out around the house and stuff, and they invited us to come have this Pork and Sour Kraut with mashed potatoes for lunch, and it was amazing! We got to talk a lot about the gospel, and this was the first time she was really open to hearing what we had to say. Her husband was a pastor before he died, so she wasn't extremely open...but she and Norma listened to a message that we had to share. And they were asking tons of questions and bouncing all over, but the spirit was there...and it was exciting for them to see the things we have in common. :) They both agreed to listen to the missionary lessons, although they don't think they'll be changing religions. But it was so good. :)
and we had such an awesome lesson with one of our investigators Tammy! We hadn't been able to see her for a while, and the first thing she said to us after she invited us in the door was, "Before you start I want you to know I've fallen in love with another Church."  and normally that would make me feel a little sad. But for some reason, I just felt peace. And so we sat down and she described the things that she loved about this new church, and how we had given her the desire to start going to church again. And in my heart, as a missionary, it still feels amazing to know, that regardless of whether or not people decide to join the church, their faith in Christ is still growing. And we expressed to her how wonderful and important that is to be moving toward Christ. But then we also invited her to come and worship with us at least just once, to see what it was like.  We talked about the concept of Good, Better, Best with her, and sincerely shared with her that we want what is best for her. And it was an amazing lesson and the spirit was so strong! We talked about the spirit, and what it feels like, and how he testifies of truth. And we talked about the principle of baptism, and she loves being baptized...she's done it a few times in her life. haha! :) and she was expressing how she would like to do it again sometime soon so she could feel clean again..which lead to an awesome opportunity to talk about baptism in our church and the amazing gift of the Sacrament. We talked about how after we are don't have to be physically baptized again, but have the opportunity each week to take the bread and the water and renew the covenants that you have made at baptism. and how you can be confident each and every week that you are clean again. And she just loved that! You could see in her eyes that she was feeling the spirit and the enthusiasm that she had! It was a total turn around for her from when we walked in at first, to the countenance she had at the end. We're having a lesson at the church on Wednesday to give her a tour. Hopefully things will work out and we'll be able to have another wonderful lesson. :)
On Thursday we had such an awesome thing happen! :) So...remember how we went to Delores' house on Tuesday? Well..on our way over there was a girl sitting on the curb and we stopped to talk with her and see if everything was okay.  It turned out she was just waiting for a friend. But we got to talk about the gospel, and her and her family have been going through a hard time, and moved to Marietta fairly recently and haven't found a church to go to yet, and we asked if we could come by and she said yes. She gave us her contact information and everything. Well we went by on Thursday night to go see them, and unfortunately the girl we met wasn't home, but her mother was and answered the door, and was very polite. She eventually let us in and we had such a great time meeting her! It was amazing to hear her hopes and values that she has for her family and how they matched perfectly for what we believe and practice. And the experiences that she has had that prepare her for learning about the Plan of Salvation. and how she's been wanting a new beginning and has been looking for a church. The spirit was there and so strong, and though we didn't get to have a formal lesson, we had the opportunity to testify. and before we left we said a prayer together, and after the prayer she shared an experience she had earlier that day with us. She was telling us that her and her neighbors were getting together for new years dinner (take a guess of what they were going to eat:) haha!) and she needed to go to Rutters to grab some milk to make her mashed potatoes because her neighbors were going to bring the pork and sour kraut, and on her way home the song "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood came on, and she said that she took the long way home so she could listen to the whole song, and sat in her car and cried. And then she proceeded to tell us that only a few hours later we showed up at her house, and how strongly she felt that it wasn't a coincidence. I know that Heavenly Father is so mindful of his children! And I too know that it was no coincidence that it happened to work that way. Heavenly Father is so much in all the details of our lives. I know He hears and answers prayers!!
We also had a great lesson with our investigator Ken, who really let out some of his real concerns that were keeping him from progressing in the gospel. It was a powerful lesson, and he ended up coming to church on Sunday!! :) :) it was seriously the best day!
Church was FULL on Sunday! and it was amazing! We had so many people come that we got visit throughout the week! and some very unexpected people came! :)
I have such a strong testimony of Fasting and Prayer! I know that Heavenly Father works miracles in our lives, and teaches us so much! And that our Faith is a huge part of his heavenly equation.
We had a great week full of miracles, amazing lessons, and wonderful people..these were just a few highlights. :) I wish I could just share all the details of my week with you..but I've already got a crazy long email going! haha! Sorry!
I wanted to share one last thing before I close up...I was reading a story in the ensign this week that prompted my thoughts on the story of the Brother of Jared...and this is probably one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon (it seems like it always changes based on what I'm reading...because they're all super awesome!! :)). And I love it because I've been able to apply it in so many different ways. :) So, the Brother of Jared and all who are with him are supposed to go to the promised land, and so they build barges to carry them there, and the way that the Lord steers the barges is by wind. It says in Ether 6:
 5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
 6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

and I thought about how our trials feel that way at they feel like there is no way that we will be able to surface again...that we're constantly being buried by the storms of our trials, and that they're mighty and terrible tempests...but then in verse 8 it says something really cool.
 8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
the wind never stopped blowing toward the promised land. so I thought about it...what is OUR promised land?? Eternal in the Celestial Kingdom with our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ, and our families forever!! We are promised if we keep the commandments, make covenants and endure to the end, we will receive our promised land. So even though we have trials, and mountainous waves in our lives, they are all for the purpose of blowing us to the promised land. This is a quick version of what I was learning..but I wanted to share it. I know that no matter what is going on in our lives, we are never alone. that our trials are for our benefit, and that there is so much peace and happiness that we can achieve in this life by living the gospel, and incomprehensible joy when we return to our Father. :)

I love you all so much! Happy New Year! :) Love, Sister Thomas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Letter Dated December 8, 2014 - He is the Gift

Hey Everyone!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Okay...I know it isn't quite Christmas yet..but it is the Christmas Season and I'M SO EXCITED!!! I LOVE CHRISTMAS! The song is totally is (by far) the most wonderful time of the year! :) People tend to get a little more excited this time of year, and seem to be a little big kinder and more tolerable. :) Which is always a bonus as a missionary!
I had an amazing week! One of the highlights being Zone Conference on Friday. It was a really long meeting, but it was amazing! it was full of testimonies, training, singing and other musical numbers, and the best of all, learning about the "He is the Gift" Initiative! It was amazing!! and a little bit sad for a minute....this was my VERY LAST Zone Conference! :( and when it's your last Zone Conference, you are asked to bear your departing testimony. And I was seriously dreading it all week! I remember my very first Zone Conference and hearing all these old, experienced missionaries get up and bear their testimonies on things they've learned, and things they knew to be true, and when I would hear them give their testimonies I had two main thoughts... Number One: I am NEVER going to be giving my departing testimony, because I'm NEVER going to be going home....I've been out a month and it's already felt like a lifetime (Luckily I don't feel that way anymore. haha! :)) and Number Two: I don't know that I will ever be as wise as those missionaries bearing their testimonies.
It was a really weird feeling to be the one that was up there bearing my testimony, and it really was a very sad thing for me. I have LOVED my mission, and I wouldn't trade my experiences here for anything in the world! I have never learned so much in my life! and in such a short period of time. My mission has flown past, and I really am sad that it's coming to an end. I sometimes wish that my whole mission has been a dream I've had at the MTC and I'll wake up and still have an entire mission ahead of me! It was an amazing opportunity to stand before so many of my friends, and testify of our Savior, and the enabling power of His Atonement along with many other things that I have learned on my mission! I still don't know if I'm as great as those other old missionaries, but I definitely feel like I'm coming close! :)
We had so many people participate in musical numbers and I felt the spirit so strongly! It's just something about Christmas music that gets me! :) I love it! We have a lot of talented missionaries in the mission!
We had an awesome time with our Mission President and his wife. They are ADORABLE!! I love them so much! They talked about having a "Christmas to Remember" and they talked about what Christmas has been like for them, and sang one of their families favorite Christmas Carols in French! and then they gave us a booklet, with a  letter from them, and tips to serve, as well as Christmas stories and Hymns for Caroling in the back.  This is something that President Johnsons mission president did for him, and he said it's been a part of his Christmas ever since! :) It's really cute and I'm excited to share it with others when we go caroling around the nursing homes and families in the ward ect. :)
I don't know if you've all seen the "He is the Gift" movie's like 2 and a half minutes long, and it is AMAZING! It's on or you can find it on youtube, or facebook I'm sure!! It is super awesome!! If you haven't seen it, watch it! and if  you have seen it, share it with a friend, post it on fb....share how you share the gift... :) It is becoming such a great tool for us in our missionary work! :) If you get the ensign you probably got a little booklet thing about "He is the Gift" with 9 pass along cards you can tear out.  Those are the same cards that we've been given as missionaries to share the gospel, and that that Christ is the reason for the Christmas Season. And that He is the only perfect gift for every single person in the world, that ever has, and ever will live. He is an eternal gift, from a loving Father that helps us more ways than we can imagine! Seriously, what better gift can we give to the world, than the gift of a knowledge, or reminder of our Savior! I'd invite all of you to share the gift this season! :)
It was super awesome! Right after this conference we had we went to go get some dinner, and I had the strongest, strangest impression to share a "He is the Gift" card with the lady standing in front of me, and I pushed it off the first time...and it came back again! So, I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if I could share it with her, and she was SOO excited about it! She asked if she could have another card with her daughter, and then gave me her contact information for the missionaries serving in her area! Before she left she gave me a big hug and thanked me for sharing that with her! That was not at all what I was expecting from sharing the pass along card with her....but it was such a cool experience! :)
We had a wonderful week full of miracles and happy experiences! We had an AWESOME ward Christmas Party and had a lot of people come out! :)
I am so blessed! I couldn't imagine life without the gospel and without the Savior! I love you all SOOO Much! :) I hope you're all having an awesome Christmas Season! I love and pray for you all!
Sister Thomas

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Letter Dated November 24, 2014

Hey Everyone!!
Can you believe it's already here? I swear it hasn't been long enough for Thanksgiving to be here again! I hope you all have fun plans for Thanksgiving, and experience the true spirit of the season! :) I LOVE this time of year, with Thanksgiving, and Christmas on the way.  Everyone seems to be so much happier and cheery.  They seem to have a lighter countenance about them, and experience some gratitude for the things in their lives...and a lot more people open to hearing about Christ because after all, he is the reason for the season of Christmas. :) I'd like to invite you all to seek out opportunities to share the happiness the gospel brings you, with a friend.  This time of year peoples hearts tend to be softer, and enjoy feeling the spirit of Christ in Christmas.
This week I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the things that I'm thankful for.  It would be impossible to list every single person who is and has been a blessing in my life, and every blessing that I have obtained that I am truly thankful for, but I can list a few. :)
First, I'm so thankful for my family! I could not have been blessed any more for the opportunity that I have had to come to this family! Both immediate and extended family! I have been so blessed to be raised by such wonderful parents who have taught me, and helped me to grow. I have been so blessed for parents that have encouraged me to dream big, and work toward those dreams...and to have them there supporting me along the way! I have been blessed to have my two cute little brothers, who are such a great love and support in my life as well. :) they've always been good at cheering me on, and helping me feel loved...even when we express our love by wrestling and pestering...not to mention the name calling. ;) haha! I'm a little nervous I'll come home and I'm not going to be able to hold my own anymore...I may finally have reached the point where they'll beat me..and I'll never see the day to win another wrestling match against them again. haha! Let's hope not. :) I have been so blessed with the most loving Grandparents who have taught me a lot in life...a lot about the gospel, about hard work, how to love more, how to serve others, and truly be grateful in each and every situation. I have been blessed immensely by their examples and great love! I have been blessed with the most amazing Aunts and Uncles...I feel bad for everyone else who isn't part of our family, they don't get to experience how truly great it is to have close families, and feel the support that is there! Not to mention all the fun we all get to have! :) I have wonderful cousins who I've got to share some of my favorite memories with, and to have such a great opportunity to grow up so close to each other! :) And a long list of friends that have taught me so much, and had so much fun with throughout the years! :) Some old friends that I've had for a very long time...and a lot of new friends, that I look forward to seeing in the years to come! :)
I have been so blessed, and I am so grateful for the many opportunities that I have had in my life to grow, and come to a knowledge of the truth of the restored gospel. I am SOOO thankful for the P.14 Ward who have always been a huge help to me in my life! I couldn't have gained and solidified my testimony without the people in our awesome ward and the experiences that they provided for me throughout my youth!! :) Worlds BEST Young Women's group, with some of the most amazing leaders!! :) So many of you in the ward have been an immense blessing in my life, and I'm so grateful for every single one of you!!
I couldn't be more blessed and more thankful for the amazing opportunities that I have had to learn and grow on my mission! There isn't any place I'd rather be...I can't imagine my life without having the opportunity to serve a mission! I am so thankful for the age change that made this option so readily available to me and the countless blessings that have come, and are to come in the future because of missionary work! I am so thankful for every person that has been a part of my mission, and for all their work that they do to make me (and all missionaries) feel loved and welcomed!! I have been blessed to serve in the BEST wards in the mission!! (shout out to E-town, Monongahela, and Butler!! :)) I think one of my favorite things I'm thankful for this year is the amazing opportunity that I've had to share the gospel, and to literally see it change lives! I could not be more blessed!!
And above all, I am thankful for my Loving Father in Heaven and for His Son Jesus Christ. Earlier this month I was studying the Atonement a little bit more, and I was overwhelmed by the great love that is demonstrated in the Atonement on all accounts. I was reading in John Chapter 15:9-10
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
I was so touched by the great love that the Father expressed to us, by sending his Only Begotten into the world for us, so that we could be redeemed and once again enter into his presence.  And how He loves us so much He WANTS us to be with him again in his presence.  I was touched by the Love that the Savior had for the Father, to be obedient to his commandments, and to love us enough to lay down  his life, for us, his friends. His Brothers and Sisters!! And the great desire the Savior has for each of us to partake of the joy that he brings into our lives!! and the great love we can show to both our Father and our Savior, by being obedient to the commandments, and showing great gratitude by using our Saviors Atonement!
What a wonderful and remarkable blessing it is to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!
I love you all!
Love, Sister Thomas

Monday, November 10, 2014

Letter Dated November 10, 2014 - What the what???

Hey Errybody! :) So, I have the most bizarre news ever! I'm back in Elizabethtown!! haha! I don't know if you all remember but this was my first area in the mission, and now it could very well be my last area of the mission. :) It has been such a neat experience to be back! I seriously love it here! It's been amazing to see faces of so many people I know and love, and to see some new ones, that I have just had the opportunity to meet. We've had some remarkable families move out of the ward, and we've had some new ones come in with some boundary changes that have been made.
It has been such an awesome experience to see Evan, one of my Recent Converts, excel in the gospel! He is such a boss! And I can probably hardly call him "My recent convert" because he was totally already practically a member before I even came on my mission. :) He's the one that got baptized in December of last year. And he's a ward missionary now, and he goes on team ups with the Elders practically every week! He's so solid it's crazy! He is seriously a rock star! I went and visited his family last week, and his mom was SOO excited to see me she just cried and cried! It has been such a neat feeling being back in E-town.  It almost feels like coming home, is how I imagine it really. I mean, lets be real...there's no place like home. But E-town comes pretty close. Especially seeing so many familiar faces. :)
It's been amazing to see that some of the Less Actives that I remember working so hard with that have been reactivated, and attended the temple to receive their own endowments! And talk about how excited they are to go back and do that same work for their ancestors! :) It's been amazing to hear their testimonies, and their strengths, and to truly see how much they've grown! Words can't begin to express the joy that fills my heart from seeing so many people grow so much in the gospel.
I was very sad to leave Butler, It was probably one of the hardest things of my mission actually. I truly love it there, But I can't think of anther place that I'd rather be than here. I seriously LOVE E-town!

Sorry, my email is so short today.
I love you all so much! :) Hope everything is going well for yinz! :)
Sister Thomas

Monday, November 3, 2014

Letter Dated October 27, 2014 - Fun, Service, and a Baptism!!

Hey Party People! 
Happy Halloween!!! I hope you're all going to do something fun! Think of me while you're out doing all that fun fall stuff! :) haha I'm dying to go to a haunted house, or a corn maze...or anything Halloween related at all. :) haha only one more year! lol
This week was a super awesome week! :) We had a week full of Service!!
We did Exchanges with Beaver on Monday to Tuesday...which actually turned into Wednesday morning. I was with Sister Wilde, and we had a lot of fun! We spent most of Tuesday doing service.  We had one appointment that morning, and then went to thins thing called Bundle up Butler, and it's a thing that the community comes together and donates a lot of different coats and things to bundle up in, and then people can come through and get one coat in their size, and for their children and things, all free of charge. And it was a really neat experience. :) I just LOVE doing service! I feel like when I do service, I truly forget about myself, and I'm able to feel a portion of what the Savior must have felt with helping others. And it was a good day for people to come get coats...because the weather was FREEZING that day! Oh man, I was so cold! But the past few days have been really that's a plus. :)
After serving a little bit at Bundle up Butler, we went to a members house and helped her clean her new house.  She and her husband just bought a new house and they're doing some remodeling and reconstruction stuff and she has had a really sensitive nose lately, and the dust and stuff from the reconstruction has been irritating her nose breathing and stuff, so we were able to go up and clean up all the saw dust stuff, and the dust from drywall, and clean widows and things like that, it took us a while, but it was a lot of fun!! :) Her husband is super nice! He's not a member of our church, and he was just floored that people would come in and do things like that for free. haha he kept insisting to his wife that they needed to pay us. So his way of paying us was he brought a bunch of stuff up for us to make sandwiches, and he brought us drinks.  It was super sweet, and it was really yummy! Then we had volleyball that night with some ward members, and we had them bring our investigator Shana and her siblings to come play! It was a blast! Our District Leader and his companion were blitzing the elders area so there were six of us missionaries there playing, with several people who weren't members of our church, and a few others who were members. It was a blast! :) I personally think that is the best way to do missionary work. :) haha! It's fun! and it's not threatening, but we stilll get to talk about the gospel.  And the family that started the volleyball group thing always start and end with a prayer.  It's awesome! :) But anyways, the exchange leaked into wednesday morning because Sister Jones and her companion in Beaver had an appointment that went over too long and they didn't have enough time to drive back to Butler before it was too late. haha so we just had another sleepover. :) 
Wednesday morning Sister Wilde and I drove out to Beaver to switch back, and then we left straight from there to a couple different missionary meetings, and when we were done with our meetings we went to help  make mints for Brother T's baptism at Joe and Robertas house. :) It was a lot of fun! I had never made mints before, and Sister Jones and I were having a good time and we were just busting up with Brother T's wife, Jeanette. :) 
Thursday we did more service at that members house...We were painting this time though. It was fun! I really enjoy painting! I think it's like super relaxing! :) Sister Jones and I were having a good ol' time! haha the member left and ran other errands, so we were singing, and laughing. :) I seriously love doing service! :)
Friday we had a really good lesson with one of our Investigators.Him and his wife had us over for dinner (his wife is a member and is a TOTAL BOSS! :)  I love her!! :)) But it was super good, because we read out of the Book of Mormon with him, from the reading assignment he hadn't completed, and he really enjoyed reading together.  We've been working really hard to know how to help him progress.  And he finally expressed that he doesn't like reading, but he enjoys reading with a lot of people because he's able to understand what is going on in the scriptures. So, we have a new method to try...this next time we're just going to read with him out of the Book of Mormon. :)
Saturday was Brother T's BAPTISM!! :) :) it was awesome! :)
We started that morning by doing more service! :) there was a stake activity of service in the park, so we all gathered together at Moraine State Park, and we did a lot of different service activity things. :) We went and did painting,and we painted this whole huge building! :) It was awesome! Sister Jones and I got to get on the roof and paint from the roof down, because there were only limited ladders, and we had run out of things to we got to climb up there with the park ranger. :) it was fun! and I got to wear one of those awesome Yellow Vests for the Mormon Helping Hands. :) it was sweet! I've never got to wear one of those before! :)
And then we had Brother T's baptism! :) it was super awesome! :) There were quite a few people that showed up, and it all seemed to go pretty smoothly! :) Sister Jones and I sang a musical number for part of it...that was nerve wrecking, but it turned out okay. Brother  T was crying when we sang to him. :) He loves it when we sing. It was amazing to see his wife's reaction to his baptism. :) She was just crying and crying, and you could tell she was overwhelmed with the spirit, and happiness! And Brother T was excited the day had finally come! :) It was definitely a highlight of my mission! :) No questions asked. 
And Sunday, he was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. :) It was such an awesome moment! :) Brother T was moved by the spirit a lot in his blessing. It was super great! Happy moment! :)
We also taught Shana, and picked up her mom as an investigator as well. :) I'll keep you posted on that as well! :)
well, Transfers are on the 7th of November, so I'll probably be getting transferred.
I love you all so much! :)
The church is so true! :)
The Gospel is great! :) 
hope all is well with all of  you! :) Love and miss you tons! 
Sister Thomas

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Letter Dated October 6, 2014 - Butler Rocks

Well friends and family,
I love my mission! Words can't express the joy that I feel that comes through missionary work! Didn't you just love that story that Elder Bednar told yesterday about his sons? I loved how perfectly it described the way we want to share the gospel.  Just like the little boy who found relief and comfort through his older brother cleansing his owies, applying ointment, and protection with bandages, we too find relief and comfort in the gospel.    And once we feel that joy of the gospel, and the effects it has on us, we desire to share that with others, we desire for others to feel the redeeming effects of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Or to use Elder Bednar's example, we desire to share our bandages and ointment with all of our friends. :) The gospel is true my friends! and the joy that truly is felt as we become more converted is very real, and life changing! I know this church is true, and we are lead today by very inspired men, called of God. They truly are our Prophets, Seers, and Revelators.  How awesome was that to be so uplifted through General Conference this past weekend. :) we truly are so blessed!
So, some very exciting news going on here in the Butler ward....we're going to have a baptism! :) Remember a while ago the story that I shared with all of you about the man, T is what we called him, that just broke down during one of our lessons and we finally discovered his concern? Well, T is getting baptized! We had some very awesome lessons with him, and he shared with us that he's finally receiving answers to his questions that he's had for such a long time. 
We had a lesson with him last Saturday (so the Saturday before conference) and during the lesson he told us he was going to be baptized, so Sister Jones and I asked him when.  And he mentioned he wanted to do it soon, because he knew transfers would be here sooner, rather than later, and wanted to be baptized before Sister Jones and I left.  He made sure to let us know, that he always knew that the church was true, he was just waiting for the right two missionaries to come along. :)  but he also had many other awesome missionaries that helped him in the process of softening his heart to be prepared for this time...and for that I am sooooo grateful! But he told us that he would tell us when he was ready, so we mentioned if he wanted to be baptized before the transfer, all the things he would need to accomplish and the lessons we'd need to complete. We told him that we'd need to be meeting twice a week, and not just on Saturdays, his response to that was that he likes to learn on Saturday and then think about what he taught on that just wouldn't work.  We told him that he would need a little help with additional commandments, and he told us he'd live them when he was ready to live in short...T wanted to be baptized, but wasn't quite ready to make the commitment of doing the things it took to get there in the time he wanted to.  Which was okay, we didn't want to be shoving T into the baptismal font kicking and screaming :) haha We know how important it is, and that baptism is a covenant we make with Heavenly Father that we commit to live, and keep forever, so it is very important that they truly desire to be baptized and make the steps it takes to get there according to THEIR desire. So, we left it at that, though we still had an awesome lesson with him. 
The next day after church, we got a call from his wife asking us to please come down as soon as we can, that there is an emergency and T would really like us to be there. So as soon as we were able, we were at their house. We were told that T had a very sacred, special experience that night after we left, that had given him a total change of heart. And Sunday morning he had received a blessing from his father-in-law and close family friend, and was told to step it up, and be prepared to enter into the covenant of baptism. This time when we got there, he told us when he was going to be baptized, rather than us asking him.  It was probably one of the neatest experiences I've had on my mission, to see the change that was made in this man's life. He had told us he wants to meet twice a week now, and he wants to be living the commandments that he hadn't been.  He truly wanted to make that change, and has been going strong and working hard to get there! 
I know, whithout a shadow of a doubt that this gospel changes lives. And we truly are able to see modern day miracles.  There is truth of this written in the scriptures in Moroni chapter 7-
 33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.
 34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved.
 35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?
 36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?
 37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men...
Miracles truly have not cased, and how amazing it was to see that T had the faith necessary to receive a change of heart and witness a modern day miracle in his life. Since then we have had the opportunity to meet with T twice a week, and have very awesome spiritual lessons.  We even got to watch a session of General Conference with him and his wife. :) it has been wonderful! I wish I could send through email the joy in my heart, because I don't think that words do justice the feelings I have in my heart. But know, that I have a burning testimony that this gospel is true! and that we find guidance and testimony through the scriptures, prayer, attending church, and personal revelation.  Applying the principles of the gospel in our lives truly brings forth a mighty change.
Other than the good news of T, it has still been a wonderful week! We have a new investigator that we have begun teaching.  We'll call her Shay-Shay. We had a lesson with her on Saturday night, and her mother kept coming in and hearing portions of the lesson.  We taught the Plan of Salvation, and I was so overwhelmed by the spirit when we were talking about the Pre-Earth Life, and as we were talking about it with her, and as I was testifying to her, I could just feel so strongly that Shay-Shay was a diligent spirit before she came to earth, and that she embraced the plan our Heavenly Father had for us. at the end of the lesson her mom wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon, and we gave them a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation....we ran out of time and we didn't get to finish.  But it really was an awesome lesson! :)
We also had MLC on Friday, and as always it was AWESOME!! I love MLC! It is by far my favorite meeting! President Johnson is an AMAZING Mission President, and has already done so much for the mission! If I could grow up to be like him and his wife...then I've definitely succeeded and will totally get a ticket straight to the Celestial Kingdom! ;) haha no, but they really are so awesome! We got to go on a morning hike for our exercise with President and Sister Johnson, and the Missionary Leadership Council, so all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders, and it was wansn't much of a "hike" it was more of a nature walk...because there are NO "mountains" here by the definition of Utahans :) just hills.  But it was still very beautiful! There were awesome leaves that had changed, and the weather was beautiful! :) super awesome! 
Missions are great! we also got to see 30 minutes of "Meet the Mormons" and it was AWESOME! I totally could feel the spirit so strong! Even when they were playing football! :) We get to see the movie as a zone this wednesday, and I can't wait! You all should see it! :) I'll let you know what more I think about it next week!
I love you all! I hope all is well! 
And always remember, happiness is a choice! a quote I heard this week that I loved was this, "We can choose to laugh our way through life, or to cry.  I choose to laugh because crying gives me a headache."  I'm not even going to say that it was a word for word quote...because I couldn't find it...or who said it, if you find out exactly who it was and what was said, let me know. :) But, regardless, I still loved it! :) 
Sister Thomas