Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Letter dated December 23, 2013 - Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!!!
I am so excited that it's finally Christmas this week! I get to call home, and have so much fun spending Christmas with my sweet companion Sister Winkler, and the awesome Elizabethtown Ward! oh man, I wish you all could have been there for the Christmas Sacrament Program yesterday! It was sooooo good! and SOOO pretty! Oh my goodness! The spirit just filled the  chapel with such pretty musical numbers and wonderful narrations.  This Christmas season Sister Winkler and I have been sharing messages of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, and we often times would use the story of the Wise men in Matthew chapter 2:9-11, that reads: 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
 11 ¶And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
and we would focus on the star, how wise the Wise men really were for following the sign that was given to lead them to the Savior, and what are some of the "stars" that are in our lives that lead us to the Savior? What are those stars in your life? We had some of the most amazing answers, we had people that said the scriptures, prayer, the temple, families, the Spirit...ect.
and then how marvelous that was that the first thing they did is fall down to their knees to worship the Savior, and how we get to do that, every morning and every night to get to kneel down, and show our love for the Savior as we pray.  And that the Wise Men presented gifts to Christ.  What kind of gifts can we give the Savior? we had a lot of answers of Service, and keeping the commandments, and all of these wonderful things, but the one that struck me the most was that we could give him our will.  And yesterday in the program someone said something, and they were quoting someone..but I can't tell you who exactly...but they said, "when we give our money- we give much, when we give our time- we give more, and when we give our will- we give all." and that is so true....the only thing that we can give with all of our whole heart, and all of our mind, might, and strength, is our will.  Everything else is a gift to us. So I would just like to invite each of you this Christmas Season, and always, to find at least one way that we can change our will to be more in harmony with the Savior and his teachings.  To be able to give back to the Savior, and our Heavenly Father.
I'm so excited that I have the opportunity to experience Christmas on a mission! :) I feel like I'm gaining a better understanding of the true meaning of Christmas, it isn't about receiving (even though I've loved all of your packages in the mail :)) but it's about giving back, Serving the Lord for the next 13 months with all that I have, because this time is not mine, but His.  And for the opportunity I have to quickly learn from the spirit how to be changing my will to be more in line with His. I'm thankful for the Spirit of Christmas that I have been able to feel from all the members, and the  non-members as this season is directed toward Christ, and His birth, and not only his birth, but the life that he lived.  I'm so thankful that I have a savior that loves me so much, and showed me every step of the way, how I can become a better person, how I can be learning and improving in the gospel, and learning how I can better help others come unto him, and join his fold, or to help Him find his lost and wondering sheep that they can come safely back into the fold once more.  I love my Savior. I'm growing a deeper relationship with him as I pray often, and I read the scriptures, and keep his commandments.  I'm thankful for the love He shows me, and each of you! This is a season of so much love! and I am so thankful that I get to experience it this way.
I hope you all have a very Happy, Merry, Joyful, Loving, Christ Centered Christmas! :)

Thank you so much for thinking of me! and sending all your love! :) :) :)
Love always!
Sister Thomas! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letter Dated December 16, 2013 - Crazy Week :)

Oh man! I'm soo sorry! I'm so lame and I've missed a couple weeks of weekly updates. BUT man oh man...this week was CRAZY! :) in a good way of course! :)
Okay, so last Sunday Sister Winkler and I and the Elders in the ward set up a meeting with the bishop just to see what more we could be doing to make his job easier and what else he expects of us and so forth.  And he pretty much said that everything has been going well and that he wasn't expecting any more from us than what we've already been doing.  SWEET! so then we go back to class and continue on throughout the day, no big deal. And right before the meeting that we have with our Ward Mission Leader the bishop asked if he could speak to Sister Winkler and I.  So we go into his office, and he tells us, "I don't know what you two have done...." oh great...I'm already getting into trouble. haha surprise, surprise. but then he went on, " Evan want's to be baptized this next Sunday." ....wait...what? We haven't even been teaching Evan.  Evan has been good friends with the McBride's and they have been inviting him to come to church for almost a year now. His parents wouldn't let him be baptized for the longest time and apparently they had finally agreed to let him make his own decision and were allowing him to be baptized.  AWESOME!! Evan is such a golden Child! He comes to church religiously, almost every Sundayhe's there! and he is so involved with the quorums and with attending mutual, he's enrolled in early morning seminary, he reads his scriptures all the time, get's up in fast and testimony meeting to bear his testimony, and so on! he's just a boss!  He was so prepared! and then bishop proceeds to tell us that it's a super secret because Evan wanted to surprise the McBride's when he was going to announce it.  Bishop said that he had already done a mini interview, and he had passed with flying colors, so what we needed to do as missionaries was to have the District Leader interview him, and then have us quickly teach him all the lessons and commandments in a weeks time. So we called the next morning and set up appointments to have us come over and teach him, and called and got the District Leader to come over on Tuesday to interview him.  Evan was seriously leaps and bounds ahead of anyone I've ever taught (not that I've taught a million people since I've only been out 5 months...but still...very impressive.) We told him that most people take the discussions over a longer period of time and get an interview at the end of all the lessons the week before they're baptized....but Evan was being interviewed before any of the discussions had been given, and within the same week that he's being baptized.  He is seriously a miracle child! he's awesome! So we got to go over, and Brother McBride actually came to a couple of the lessons with us and he jumped right in and was such a huge help! He did all the hard work for us! He made the programs, and got all the songs that Evan wanted to be sung, who would be speaking, who would say the prayers and be the witnesses, and then Brother McBride was actually the one that got to baptize Evan! It was such an amazing process and truly touched my heart.  Evan just has such a desire to learn more about the gospel, and he's already so knowledgeable, heck I think he knows more than I do! And he wants to be a missionary so badly, and do what's right, and live the way he should. He's already such an amazing missionary, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for him! it was amazing! We got to teach all the lessons and commandments in three lessons.....they were longer lessons that normal, but they were just solid lessons, and he knew all the right answers, and has such a strong testimony! So amazing!
Monday night to Tuesday morning, we got a pretty big snow, and so we parked the car, and after we had a lesson with Evan we went out and shoveled peoples driveways. It was fun! :) and the snow had stopped, so later that night we got to go to Tina's for dinner! :) it was SO fun! I've never made a ginger bread house before so I was so excited when we got there and she had made little ginger bread men for us, and shared a wonderful spiritual message to us, (that's always a nice change :) and afterward we got to make a cute little village! haha...but don't let me fool you.....I totally cheated! I tried so hard to put it together with the frosting...but it kept falling apart. So....I suggested to Tina to get the hot glue gun to make my process go by a little bit faster. :) haha We got to decorate them and everything! it was a blast! :) She's so sweet! She just takes such good care of us! and her and her husband even actually bought us a cute little Christmas tree with some little ornaments to put on! :) Soooo fun! and so cute! so when we got home we put the village under the tree! :)
We are now teaching Brandon, who is Jalinn's husband. She's a member, and her family is so awesome! :) We are so excited that we get to go over and teach him and their family. They are so nice and are always making me laugh! hahaha they have the greatest personalities! I love them so much! so we got to have a lesson with him on Monday night, which was fun! We got to talk more about the Restoration, and prophets.  He grew up a lot of different religions and is having a hard time with the concept of prophets, but enjoys the church, and has begun reading the Book of Mormon! :) It has been so much fun to begin teaching him because he has a lot of really good questions and is truly seeking to find truth. :) I'm excited  to see where it goes from here! :) we get to have another lesson with him tomorrow! and we got to just go see Jalinn last week, and she was telling us that it's really cool to see small changes in Brandon, and how excited she was when he picked up the Book of Mormon and began to read it on his own.  :) She had a strategy of putting Books of Mormon all over the house hoping one day he'd subconsciously pick it up and start reading it since he sees it so often.  I think it paid off! ;) haha! She was telling us that she has always wanted so badly to be able to be sealed in the temple. :) its always so touching to hear people talk about things like that and express the importance of the things that draw us nearer to our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ.  :) I'm definitely serving in the best mission ever! :)
Carol, another member in our ward that we've been working with took us out to a yummy Chinese dinner! :) it was sooo yummy! and we had so much fun just talking for so long! She has some really wonderful stories that are so touching, and you can just feel the spirit so strongly when she's speaking them! :) She and her husband were converts to the church, and she's faced a lot of really hard things in her life. But she's just a superstar! :) I love her! SO much!
Did I ever tell you one of the ladies that we visit has a pig for a pet? well....they do. and they named it Scrapple. hahaha! Its a Pennsylvania Dutch thing that really is made out of pig.  If I understood correctly, Scrapple is I don't know what part of the pig...but pig, mixed with corn meal and they eat it with breakfast....kinda like's not very good.  I didn't like it.....but I thought it was soooo funny to hear that they had named their pet pig scrapple. haha! :) we also got to visit them this week! :)
We also go to go see Erin! :) She's so awesome! :) She is just always so sweet, and she is such a good mom! she's a member, but has been less active for a long time.  But we always just have the best time when we get to go visit her.  :) She's so awesome! We got to help her put her tree up a while ago, and she also let us borrow a baby tree for our apartment! :) It has been so fun! We got to go teach her more about the Plan of Salvation, and had a really good conversation on what the Plan of Salvation could mean for her and her family! :) it was so fun, and before we ended up leaving, she had us open up a gift that she got for Sister Winkler and I.  We each got one, and we opened it up, and it was the most precious ornament that her mother had made for us, that she had cross stitched, and it was so sweet! :) Erin has the most elaborate cross stitched Christmas  socks for each member of her family that her mom had made, and we had been commenting on it the time before when we were there, and later that night she had called her mom and asked her mom to make them for us! They are so cute, and on the back it has their family name with the town that they live in! It is going to be something that will always remind me of them and the memories I've made by serving in this area! :)
oh man, and Friday, we had Zone Conference! It was SOOOOOO good! we always get the best training on how we can become better missionaries! :) They're so fun because our Zone gets together, and we get to see some of the missionaries that we haven't been able to see in a while, and we get to come together to study the scriptures, to recognize the way that the Savior served and how we can apply that to the way we serve! It's the most amazing thing! I wish I could elaborate more, but I'm almost out of time.  But I got to see my MTC companion Sister Hurdsman. :) :) that was soo fun! I tell you what, I better get to serve with her again before my mission is over! she is amazing! :) and she quotes Nacho Libre with me! :) hahaha!! I've missed that!  But it was such a fun, spiritually uplifting conference. :) and after that was over we went on exchanges. 
Exchanges is where we get to change companions for 24 hours for the purpose of learning other ways of doing things, other ways of teaching.  :) its fun! and so we got to go on exchanges....and one of the missionaries cars battery died during the conference, and we rode with the Zone Leaders, and they had to take the other missionaries to not just one store...but two stores to find some jumper cables, and so Sister Denney and I were stuck at the chapel alone for a while, while they were on a trek for Jumper cables.  That took a while, and was quite an interesting way to start the exchange..but we finally made it  home, had dinner, and taught a couple lessons that night.  The next day we had our last lesson with Evan, and taught a couple other people and had lunch before it was time to switch back....well while we were at our late lunch appointment it started to snow...and it was sticking pretty good.  We were supposed to meet at the church at 4:30 but didn't get there until about 5 because the roads were so bad. By the time we got to the church to switch companions back, it was dark and still coming down a lot.  So the Sister Training Leader called Sister Topham, our mission Presidents wife, and got permission for us to stay at their apartment that night.  It was so much fun...but also very interesting....because I didn't have ANYTHING. nothing. not even a stinkin toothbrush because I wasn't planning on staying the night I wore the same outfit two days in a row...didn't have pajamas, I didn't have a blanket or a pillow or anything..Sister Winkler had some stuff because she stayed at their apartment the night before...but I didn't have anything.  So after I showered I got to get in my yucky dirty clothes again....and that's what I ended up wearing to church the next day because our house is too far from the church to drive back to change and do everything I I went to church with no makeup....having brushed my teeth with a tiny little mini toothbrush thinger....and wearing the same clothes I had been wearing the day before. haha! awesome! It was still way fun, and we got to have a "movie night" at the apartment and we watched 17 Miracles and it was so fun! despite the fact that one of our investigators got kicked out of his house the same night it was blizzarding and freeze he called us in distress and so we had to make a bunch of phone calls to get it all worked out.  In the end it worked out since Brother Raleigh is the best Ward Mission Leader in the whole world and took care of it for us....he pretty much risked his life by going to pick him up and take him to a friends house in this kind of weather, but he just rock so he did it anyway. He's the best! :)
And then Sunday, we got to have a baptism! :) :) Yay!! :) it was so exciting! and so worth it! Evan's family came and supported him, and it was just a great experience! the speakers did a great job! Sister Calvert did the talk on baptism, she is Evans Sunday School teacher, and Brother Greenway gave a talk on the Holy Ghost! It was really good! He used an analogy of a pen, and a cap to explain the gift of the Holy Ghost! It was really good! (I just have to give a shout-out to Brother Greenway and his family for just being so awesome! :) they always take such good  care of us, and they tell us some of the funnies stories! :) especially when Brother Greenway takes all the missionaries out to for pizza! haha) and the McBrides did a beautiful musical number! and at the end, Evan bore his testimony! He's such a good kid! It was so fun! and a great experience! even though I was smelly and I didn't have any makeup on! ha! It was awesome!
We just have the worlds best ward! They've made sure that we have somewhere to go on Christmas and Christmas Eve, and a place to Skype, and that all of our needs are taken care of! Sister Greenway even made us a Christmas CD, and Brother McBride gave me some music! They just rock! I love them all so much
I also have the best family in the world! :) I love them all and am missing them so much in the Christmas Season. 
And, I have THE WORLDS GREATEST AUNT PEGGY!! !:) :) She sent my companion and I the 12 days of Christmas :) and it has been so fun to open something. :) It totally has made our week! Thank you sooo much for everything that y'all do for me! I love and miss you all!
I'll talk to you soon!
Sister Thomas :)   
Ornaments that a member hand made for them 

Evan and the family 

Evan's baptism day

The alarm clock didn't work... 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter dated December 2, 2013 Happy Turkey Day

Heeyyy Everyone!
I'm sorry I'm so lame and I missed email last week! But man oh man! Thanksgiving was awesome! :) I was so nervous, because that was like, my first major holiday away from home, and of course I missed everyone! But it was just a neat experience to have it out on the mission! :) We got to wake up and go to the Turkey Bowl and play two touch football with the ward! :) It was so fun!! and no one got hurt, so that's a bonus! It started at 8 and it was reeealllly cold! thank heavens we were all running around to keep warm! haha! There were so many people that came out, we had huge teams! Sister Winkler and I had a blast! And I guess its tradition to go over to the Kenley's house for breakfast afterward! We all made our way over (well except for the super hard core football players that wanted to keep playing. :) haha) and we had some really yummy pull aparts and chocolate milk and we just had a chance to visit with everyone and get to know people better! :) The E-town ward rocks! They are just so close to one another! They truly are a ward family! its so neat! :) Then we had to go shower and get ready for the day, since we were smelly from playing our little hearts out. :) and we got to go over to the Jacobs for dinner! :) Sister Winkler and I got to go over early and help finish cooking dinner and getting everything ready! :) The Jacobs are the best family ever! they are just so sweet to always be taking care of us and having us over for dinner! They also had the Elders over, Elder Jones and Elder Cooper and another family from the ward, The Allens, and then some of Sister Jacobs family was there! It was a big fun crowd! With tons of yummy food, and TONS of dessert! haha it was a blast! Then we got to play some games!
Then we went to a less actives house and put up a Christmas tree! that was so fun! We had the best time! Our day went by so fast, and it was awesome to just have the chance to reflect back and think about all of the many things that I'm grateful for!
We also had a great week as far as teaching goes, we got to have some of the most wonderful experiences with Grace, she's a lady we've been teaching for a while to get her to come back to church, and she totally just came out and was wanting to come to church, and to pay her tithing and to receive her temple recommend again so she can do work for the ones that she loves!! What? Yeah buddy! We were so excited!!! I love Grace sooo much! She is just the greatest sweetest old women! She just rocks! :)
I'm sorry my stories are so short! We've got a crazy day today! but I love you all, and I'll save some stories for next week! I hope you all had a wonderful turkey day! :)
Sister Thomas

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Letter dated November 18, 2013

We had a BOSS week this week! hahaha :) we got so much more accomplished! :) It's amazing what happens when you have successful planning! :) hahah, PA has been awesome! and the last few days have actually warmed up! It's been so nice! :) I swear, Thanksgiving can't come fast enough! I am having Christmas Fever! I want it to be Christmas time sooo badly! hahaha I want to hear some happy Christmas music and see everyone's cute decorations. :) ahhh, best time of the year! hahaha minus the cold...but you get my point! lol This week we got to have a lot of really amazing lessons where the spirit was so strong! We got to teach the Restoration to our friend Matt, He's a new investigator and Brother Barnum was there, and he's just like a missionary! haha He's so on the ball and so in tune with the spirit and so willing to ask and answer questions! There is such a special spirit that coms with Covenant keeping Members that come.  This week we get to have a lesson in Brother Barnums home with his family! We are so excited! :) Matt has been reading the Book of Mormon and understanding it very well! :) There is nothing better than feeling the spirit that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. :) Every time we talk about the Restoration, and the Vision of Joseph Smith, you can't help but feel the spirit so strongly! Every time I have the opportunity to quote Joseph's Smith's words, I get the chills! I have such a sure testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that he did in fact see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  I know that because of a sincere, heart felt prayer, of a fourteen year old boy, I am able to enjoy the blessings of being a member of this church today.   And I can't imagine being anywhere else in the world, than here, teaching this to those in Elizabethtown Pennsylvania area. :)  We have such a special amazing ward! They do sooo much for us and are so willing to help us! One of my favorite sweet ladies actually invited Sister Winkler and I to come over one P-day and her and her husband are going to teach us how to paint! :) Even though Sister Winkler already knows how.  haha She loves art! Man, I love her! She's been such a great companion! I have so much to learn from her. She has such a sweet, happy, patient heart.  And she just loves everyone and is always striving to be her best self! I want to be like her some day.  When she testifies it is so tangible, it's like you can reach right out and feel it! I want to be like that!
Earlier this week, Valerie, our Investigator sent us a text saying that she was feeling so overwhelmed with her life and was thinking of taking a step back from the church for a bit. I was devastated. My heart was crushed....totally ruined my day.  I was so worried and sad! She has come so far! and was sooooo sincere about everything that she did, and was just so willing to repent, and be her best self, and I had no idea what had gone wrong.  We had decided to call Brother John and see if him or his wife and heard anything from Valerie for a while, because him and his wife had become really close friends with Valerie.  He said he hadn't heard anything but was so concerned for her. He said his wife had made some bread and that they would take it over that night.  Well later that night we had an appointment cancel and we decided that we would go stop in at Valerie's house, and we actually got a call from Brother John saying that his wife wouldn't be home until nine so they weren't bringing the bread by anymore.  We had told him that we were headed over to her house and he wanted to meet us there to be with us, and so we met him there.  She was so sweet and had us all in, and we were able to find some of her concerns, she was just crying and crying.  I felt sooo bad.  Kind of one of those moments where you just want to cry because someone you love is hurting so badly...and she just told us she didn't feel worthy of the things that were happening in her life.  after we had talked to her for a while, Brother John was actually able to give Valerie a Priesthood blessing...and I was beautiful! You could just feel the love that our Heavenly Father had for her fill the air! it was amazing! She had said she felt much better and was so thankful that we had stopped by. I love her sooo much, and want her to receive the blessings of this gospel soo much.  I know how much it can help her with her life.  She's the greatest.  and I'm truly praying and hoping that all goes well. :)
These were just a few of my highlights this week, but I have to get going! I love you all so much! and I miss you tons! :)
Love, Sister Thomas

Monday, November 11, 2013

Letter Dated November 11, 2013

Oh man, another good week in PA! :)
You'll never believe! but the leaves here are still very pretty and changing colors! some of them are looking pretty bare about now...but the fall season is still going strong! :) Yeah buddy! NO SNOW....yet. haha! It is getting pretty chilly though. man, when the wind blows, it makes your ears freeze off! haha But I'm not complaining, because we don't have any snow! :) yay! The holidays are coming up, and I'm loving it...before I was a bah-humbug-er and didn't like it at all when people put Christmas up before thanksgiving....But I'm loving it this year! It's making everything more cheery seeing everyone's Christmas lights coming up and seeing the Christmas stuff in the aisles at the grocery store.  :) the only damper is I don't get to watch Elf or Grinch this year! haha....but I think I might be able to get over that. ;)
My companion is awesome! I'm getting to know more about her as the days go on, and she's a little rock star! haha She is one though cookie! and She is so kind to everyone! She's just so sweet, and couldn't hurt a fly.  haha! We were able to find three new people to teach this week with a few other potential investigators! We picked up Heather and Andrew (who I called MARK in a lesson on accident...where the freak Mark came from? I don't know...but I was so embarrassed! Good thing he didn't seem to mind too much! ha!) We actually found them by just knocking on their door one day as we were trying to get in contact with someone else....and theirs was the only one we knocked on, and Heather invited us back. :) When we had a lesson we had actually found out that she had investigated the church a long time ago before she moved to E-town, and she was talking to us about her experiences with reading the Book of Mormon, and she testified to us that the Book of Mormon brought so much peace to her life before, and that she was really interested in us coming back to re-teach her all of the lessons.  and Andrew is her foster son! We're hoping to end up teaching the whole family! But by small and simple things are great things brought to pass, right? :) oh, and another girl named Brittini! :) She was also a former investigator, and we found her in our Area Book, she expressed to us that she was looking for a church, and that she was having a hard time finding one that she liked, and everything that she was expressing that she wanted in a church, is what we have. :)  She's pretty boss! We can't wait to continue teaching them more!
We got a chance to visit some people I didn't know very well and have never met with, and was able to set up some appointments with them. :) that was really awesome and exciting! haha! some of them were suuuper warm and fuzzy and so fun to visit with...and well...others not so much! But I still love them! :)
Oh, and funny/stupid story for the week.....well, Sister Winkler and I switch off driving and it was my day to drive...but we had decided to walk that day to the library to save miles and try to OYM on the way down, which was really awesome! We got to talk to a lot of people and I saw the most amazing moustache of my whole life!!! :) hahaha! It was the kind that twirls up at the ends....he said he got it to do that with bees wax and petroleum jelly...but the mixture has to be just right! :) hahaha! it was a sweet old man, and he talked with us about it for a while! :)...anyways back to my our library card numbers are on the key chain to get on, and so we get on and look up all the stuff we need to and then we head home....well, because we didn't drive there...the keys weren't on the front of my mind, and we got to our apartment and I searched my bag for the keys to get in.....and I had left them at the library. AHH! Thank heavens Sister Winkler is so patient, and we didn't have any set we started our hour long treck back to the library! Does it surprise you? haha...I'm an idiot! But I'll be sure I don't leave them here today!
Oh man, I'm sorry, I've got to go.  But I love you all sooooo much! and I miss you tons! Thanks so much for all the fun letters! I don't know what I'd do without you! The book is blue, the church is true and I can't wait to talk to Yinz again soon! :)
Love, Sister Thomas

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter Dated November 4, 2013

This week was pretty good! :)  We didn't get to teach as many people as we would have liked, but it was still really good! :)
This week was a little bit different! :) haha we'll start with P-day.
So on P-day's we normally get to go to the church and play volleyball with the other missionaries in our district, but last week we didn't get to because it was the end of the month, and so we didn't have very many miles left that we could drive, and we decided it would be more wise of us to use those miles to teach people instead of going to the church to play, but it was still a really fun, productive P-day.  We had the opportunity to go do our shopping and get all of the good ol' necessities, and it was pretty nice because Sister Winkler needed to get some stuff to get settled in, and still needed some time to unpack.  :) so we got to clean our apartment up and get all settled in. :) And write letters and all that fun stuff! then We had dinner at the Greenways. :) yay for that! man I love them so much! :) They're always making sure that we're okay and taking really good care of us! :) and their kids are soooo adorable! haha! I do think that their little boy is sad that Sister Walborn left though...maybe now I'll become his favorite ;) haha Just kidding! :) and then we just set out to meet up with potential investigators for the rest of the evening.
Well then Tuesday we had the amazing Belen come out with us to come to a lesson with a man named William that lives near us.  We tracted into him and he accepted a Book of Mormon and then invited us back for a lesson! :) So we were really excited! We had planned for him in our studies and had a lesson plan and then....we knocked and no one answered the door....and I don't mean like, "oh, he must have forgot.  No one is home." he was intentionally ignoring us, which is always frustrating.  Especially when you have a member with you for a lesson.  Ugh.  Later we stopped by and he answered and tried to give the book back and said that he had been at the doctors earlier this week and so that's why no one was home to answer the door...uh-huh..that's why I could hear you talking and walking around in your little trailer home huh. haha! no it's fine.  But at least he told us he wasn't interested.  So now we know and we aren't bothering the heck out of him by stopping by all the time. haha But anyways, later that night we had a lesson with Valerie! It was so awesome! oh man! I love her so much! I wish I could just carry her around with me all day in my pocket! haha She is always making us feel so good about ourselves, and is so uplifting all the time! oh man, I just love teaching her! She's one that really wants to learn and listens so intently and is always asking questions! She's the best! The spirit is always so strong at her lessons!  I wish you all could meet her! :) Oh!! aand, We had a super awesome experience! we were walking around town because we were about out of miles and still had places to go later in the week, so we decided to walk to find potentials and go tracting.  Well after a real long time of nothing, no one being home or not being interested, we decided to walk down one street in order to find another that we were unsure where it was, so we walked down and started tracting along the way, and we continue down, and there is this lady just staring at us through her screen door...and her door was the next we had an awkward moment of do we continue, do we talk to her...what in the freak is she doing? So I stop in front of her house and make eye contact with her, and she opens the door really excitedly and asks if we are doing a bible study, so we ask if we can come and talk to her for a little bit about what we're doing. She immediately let us in and just started spilling her whole life story to us! She goes on and on about how hard her life was, and how she got caught up in drug abuse, and how she suffers from bi-polar, and how she had been sexually abused and promiscuous and so on...(let me tell you, as missionaries we hear a lot of crazy stuff.) But it was so sad, and she told us about how she knew that God was there and that she had been searching for the right religion for the longest time and that we were just an answer to her prayers.  She told us that she had been praying for a long time to send someone to help her get on the right path, and that we were the answer! She was immediately asking for our "literature" and setting up a time that we could come back and help her to learn.  She was so excited and happy that we had come.  I could just feel how sincere her heart was, every time she'd talk about Christ or our Heavenly Father she would start to tear up and cry.  You could just feel how much they meant to her.  and it was super neat because after we got out of there, Sister Winkler and I were talking and we both had been praying in our hearts to find someone to teach, and then there's Amy! oh man! it was so awesome! We get to go teach her tomorrow! and we're so excited!
OH MY GOSH!!! I CANT BELIEVE I ALMOST FORGOT TO TELL YOU!!  One of our Less Active Part Member Families came to church for the first time since I've been here! It was sooooo awesome! They finally got a car and all came and sat In church with us (not this last sunday but the last, on the 27th) It was so awesome! and then on Wednesday they  came to the trunk or treat! :) can I just tell you how much I love our ward out here! oh my gosh! they are so cute! there were some of the cutest costumes, and their trunks were decorated so cute and awesome! I loved it! They were so welcoming to everyone and made everyone feel at home.  :) it was so fun to get to go to the Trunk or Treat! :) that was a fun experience as a missionary!
and then Halloween! :)
Thursday at about 2:30 we got another companion for the next little while because her companions (she was in a trio) are sister training leaders and they had to drive to Pittsburgh for a leadership training and so she got to stay with us.  It was Sister Averett! We had a lot of fun! on Halloween we had to be in at 6pm and so we had worked for quite a while and then Sister R picked us up for dinner! :) They fed us mummies for dinner. :) haha they were so cute! it was like pigs in a blanket, but they cut the hot dog to look like a person, and they wrapped them up! it was so cute and fun! haha after dinner we got to go to the apartment to clean and replenish our 72 hour kit. :) we also made some yummy cookies and played a game when we were done! It was tons of fun! haha and probably one of the only times that I'll get to be in at 6 as a missionary! :) It was fun with three of us, we had great fun and conversation! :)
Those are pretty much my big moments this week! haha we had so much fun! :) I've learned so much! We are able to learn to love others so much more than we ever imagined as we serve them, any kind of service, big acts or small ones. :) and I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers.  Even the prayers of our hearts.  I'm soooo thankful that I get to be here! I am learning sooo much! I love all of you so much and I can't wait to get to talk to you again next week! I hope you're all doing great!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Letter Dated October 28, 2013

Hey Hey! :)
This week was a little bit different!  Monday was my last P-day with Sister Walborn. :( It was really sad, but we had a great P-day.  We got to go play Volleyball with the other Sisters and Elders in our district! It was so fun! :) and then we had to go home and finish packing her up. 
Tuesday, I got my new companion Sister Winkler, She's from Utah too! She's from the St George area.  She's into visual arts like painting, drawing, photography, she loves animation stuff, her favorite color is pink, her favorite candy bar is a fast break, and she is so sweet! She loves everyone! haha she speaks so quiet though.  Which is not a bad thing...but lets be real here...I have a really loud mouth. haha! so maybe I'll learn how to use my soft voice for once.  :) haha! She's definitely different from my last companion, but we're going to have a great transfer together!
We actually got two new investigators this week! which was awesome!! We got Bob and Mat! Bob, we found tracting, and Mat was actually a member referral! I just want to tell you really quickly, that I have such a strong testimony of member referrals! Especially when that member comes with us to the lesson! Man! members ROCK!! :) there is such a special spirit and such a strong connection when members come to the lesson and share with them their love of the gospel! The investigators really feel like they are loved, and cared about.   That we as missionaries are not just there to "win them over" but that we love them, and the members love them, and we want to share something that is so special, and so much a part of their lives.  :) We get to teach Mat again later this week! :) I'll tell you more about him later!
I love you guys so much! I'm sorry this is such a short lame email! but I love you all! :) I hope everything is going well for you all! :)
Sister Thomas
Meeting her new Companion Sister Winkler 
Saying goodbye to Sister Walborn 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Letter dated October 21, 2013

Hello, Hello! :)
Oh man! what an awesome week! :) So I have to finish telling you the story from last week that I didn't get to finish! haha so anyways, last week toward the end of the week it rained like two days straight! it was POURING!!! it was so crazy! So anyways, we had a dinner appointment Marietta on Friday night at a members home and we got there nice and safe, and we parked on the road...this was a one way street, and so we were on the side opposite of Sister K's house and she came out on the porch and hollered at us and asked if we would move to the other side of the road because we had parked in someone's parking spot, so we quickly agreed.  Sister walborn and been grabbing her bag out of the back seat, and when she had hear Sister K she shut the back door to get back in the drivers seat....only problem was, the Keys were in her bag in the back seat.....of the locked car.  Oh, no! haha! so...we had to call the fleet coordinator Elder Bentley, and ask him what we should do...second problem, we get terrible service in Marietta! so the call kept dropping....We borrowed Sister K's phone and finally got into contact with Elder Bentley and he told us we had about three options, call the Chevrolet dealership in our area and see if they had a key and if they would drive over and unlock it for us, call the police and see if they could break in for us, or call a locksmith and pay out of pocket to have their service.  So obviously we tried the first two options.  We called the dealership and they said that they did in fact have a key, but there was no one working at the in-service that could do it for  us because they were closed to the public after 5pm.  so then we tried the police to see if they could break in for us...well, no bueno.  They just transferred my call to some locksmith that didn't even cover our area. then Sister K tried to break in for a while with a plunger and a coat hanger....but no go. Then she told us that she had a friend that she worked with that used to be able to break into cars, so she texted her, and she was we thought for sure we'd have to be calling a locksmith.  But, I had one last idea, the Jacobs live across the street from Sister K and so I thought I'd call over to see if brother Jacob knew how to break into cars, because he used to work at a prison and was in the military and cool stuff like that so it kinda just made sense in my mind.  haha well I could only imagine how strange Sister Jacob thought we were calling her when it was dark outside, asking her if she or her husband knew how to break into a car....this coming from the sister missionaries! haha after she found out that we had locked ourselves out she sent her husband over to try to help us here we are, all huddled around this car in the pouring rain trying to break into our car, doesn't look suspicious at all right? haha! Anyways, long story short, after several different attempts Brother Jacob remembered he could call AAA to come and get into our car for us for free, so he made the call. :) and then him and sweet sister K waited with us while we were waiting for them to get there to unlock the car. :) I can't tell you how blessed we are! the ward members really take care of us around here! and its kinda funny because Brother Jacob kinda reminds me of my daddy! A big sweet man who is so kind and loving and would do anything for us, including getting soaking wet trying to break into our car. :) one of my many tender mercies! :)
Anyways we finally got our car unlocked, and all was well...until we discovered that every road we knew to try to get home was flooded out and we couldn't drive our car through it.  haha we tried sooo many roads, and finally we had to call the zone leaders to ask what to do because we couldn't get home...they told us we'd have to call president and ask to get permission to stay at a ward members home...well one little old man came to our rescue and told us that he too had tried every road, but he had one more trick up his sleeve, and told us to follow him.  He kindly led us back to Elizabethtown! :) Safe and sound.  That was a huge blessing! Heavenly Father always pulls through! :) Needless to say, we had a night full of adventure! :)
This week though, we had a lot more success than we've had in the past couple weeks, which is always exciting! :) we had quite a few lessons, and I have to tell you about this one! oh my gosh, I think it was the coolest lesson I've had on my mission! I've kind of been having a hard time, and I was letting me get in the way of myself if that makes any sense.  I was so stressed and concerned about teaching with the spirit that I think it was hindering my ability to actually be teaching with the spirit.  haha, but I had a lesson with our one investigator Valerie, who the elders gave us, and it was the neatest lesson I've had! oh man! We got to talk to her about The Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And when we got there she said she had been reading in Alma and really felt like Heavenly Father was bringing her to repentance.  We were so excited because that's what we had prepared to share with her that day! :) so she got to tell us all about her concerns and her challenges, and it was so awesome, because instead of the little promptings I feel during lessons, I felt calm and peaceful and I could feel the spirit stringing me along the entire lesson and guiding me to the things that should be said.  :) The spirit was so strong, and sister walborn was doing amazing too, as always, and it was just awesome.  We talked about baptism and Valerie was concerned about not making the date we had asked her to be set by and asked us to keep that date between us.  We said of course and reassured her that we would do everything we could to help her be prepared by then and overcome the addictions and stuggles that she was having.  She hesitantly accepted, and then I felt really strongly to take off my CTR ring and give it to her, so that in her moments of weakness she might be able to see the ring and it would help her remember how important it is to continually be progressing toward Heavenly Father and making sacred covenants with him.  She immediately burst into tears before I could finish my sentence and she had expressed to us that she has been praying for a long time that she would be able to find a ring.  She said that her and her councilor came up with the idea that she would write a letter to herself, forgiving herself of things that have happened in the past so that she can move forward, and after she was finished writing her letters she was going to burn them and she wanted a ring to celebrate the ceremony and represent everything that she has overcome! it was SOOOOO AMAZING!! oh man! it was so awesome! :) and then she continued to bare testimony to us that she knew in that moment that Heavenly Father was mindful of her, and that He did hear her prayers.  I was so overcome by the love that I could feel for Valerie and the love that our Heavenly Father has for her too. 
I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers.  I know that he loves us so much and is very mindful of us and our needs.  Even though our prayers may not be answered like we want them to be answered, he is always there listening to every word, and doing what He knows is best for each of us! man guys, prayer is sooooo awesome! I can't tell you how much it has helped me on my mission!
We also had exchanges this week and I got to be the senior companion for a day, and that was fun! :) we did a lot of work and Sister Kirk came and worked with me in E-town and Sister Walborn went to work in Ephrata for the day.  It was really fun and I learned a lot! Sadly transfers are also this week...and Sister Walborn is leaving me. :( But man, I can't tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity that I had to have her train me! She is sooooooo awesome! and so knowledgeable and she has such a strong testimony! she just has such a drive to do what's right, and she seriously loves everybody! everyone is just drawn to her for how quick she is to just love everyone! hopefully one day I can be more like that! she I such a boss!! We've seriously had the best two transfers together and learned so much! I didn't know it was possible for me to love someone so quickly! she really has become on of my best friends and I hate to see her go...but she gets to go be a sister training leader!!! what what!! :) she's awesome! she's only been out for one transfer more than me and she's already a sister training leader! If that tells you how awesome she is! man, I can't wait until I get to see her again.  But I'm also looking forward to getting to know and love a new companion! More news on that next week, cause I don't even know who she is! haha I'll get to meet her tomorrow! :) and I get to stay in awesome E-town with an amazing ward!
I love you all so much! and I miss you tons! man, the holidays are coming up, and I can already feel how much I'm going to be missing you in those times.   But how awesome It is going to be to experience these holidays in the mission field! :) You all rock! Thanks for all of your love and support! and prayers! man, I can really truly feel the strength of your prayers! They give me additional strength when my own definitely is not enough. :) I love you, I love you, I love you!
Sister Thomas

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Letter Dated October 14, 2013

Okay! What an awesome week!!! :) :) haha it all started with last P-day, which was sooo much fun! We got so much done! aaannnd.....I box died my hair! hahaha and it actually turned out really well! :) Sister Walborn is a total boss and did it for me, and she did a great job! :) and then we got to go to Sister Greenways house at 4.  She invited us over to her house to learn how to make applesauce! It was sooooo much fun!! Sister Greenway always makes such yummy food, and she is so creative! so it was so fun to go into her home and see how she does things.  We had a lot of fun peeling the apples and cutting them up while we were having great conversations! and while we were waiting for them to finish boiling she taught us how to make a really yummy crisp desert! It is such an awesome thing to be able to go into all of these different members homes and see all the different ways they parent their children, and achieve different things in the home! I hope that one day I will be half the mom that these amazing ward members are. :) I've had so many wonderful examples in my life and I'm continually learning more. :)
Tuesday was a lot of work around town, trying to meet with former investigators and potential investigators, we got to talk to quite a few people but we didn't find tons of success.  We did get in contact with one referral that we have been trying to find forever! So that was a huge blessing! and then after a day of really hard work we got to go to Sister E's house! :) She's such a rock star! Her and her husband made us a really yummy dinner and we talked a lot about a lot of different things that are going on in their lives.  They are such a cute sweet couple! They both served missions and they taught us so much, and offered wonderful words of encouragement to help us continue in the work.  :) They just rock! I wish you all could have been there.  Sister E is such an example to me, she is so down to earth and soo willing to heed to Gods will.  She is so patient and kind, and she is such an amazing missionary! she's so willing to allow us to have lessons in her home, and come out with us when we are in need of a member at a lesson.  She is such an example of hastening the work.  She was asking us the names of our investigators so she could listen to the council given in general conference to pray for each of the investigators in our area by name, to help us with the work.  She is just awesome! I want to be like her when I grow up.  :)
Then, on Wednesday, we were soooooo blessed!!! We got to have an awesome day listening to Elder Mervyn B Arnold of the Seventy, and his wonderful wife! Oh my heavens!!! talk about a spiritual feast! I was so thankful for the uplifting words they spoke! They gave us so much guidance and council on how we can be doing a better job at working with our priesthood axillary leaders, and others to be hastening the work.  Sister Arnold did a meeting with all of the sisters to kick off the morning, and the words she spoke just sunk into my heart.  She was giving us so much council and scriptures that offer help in times of need...when we're struggling.  And she used an analogy that I loved...she said, "like the chicken in the egg...we cannot live without the struggle."  We have to have struggles and trials to learn and become who we need to become, and often times, its not until after our trials have passed that we are able to look back and see what we've learned. She told a story about a man who was hired to work...and the man that hired him told him to push this bolder with all of his might all day, and after a few days the worker became discouraged and went to his boss and told him, that he had just been trying his hardest, pushing and giving every last ounce of effort to push this rock and it just wasn't moving....and then the boss told him....I never told you to move the rock. I just told you to push it.  Holy cow did that hit me! I thought that was the coolest thing! It's so easy for me to get discouraged, because lets be real...I'm really impatient, so when I'm working my booty off trying my hardest, and I'm not seeing the effects right off, its easy for me to get down on myself.  But...that's not the point of our work.  the point is to work our hardest to "push" the work be obedient, and to be trying all that we can, talking to everyone, and being an example and ambassador of Christ at all times. That's the job.  Heavenly Father helps us take care of the rest.  And Elder Arnold gave us so much advice and council.  Ugh, I wish you all could have just been there to hear how amazing his words are! I took a lot of notes. :) The thing I think that would be most beneficial to share with all of you though, was how important members are in missionary work.  We can't do it without you! He promised us that the more you have members at your lessons...the more baptisms you'll see. We really need all the help we can get from members. :) You all rock! I wish I had more time to share more with should look him up on's got a few conference talks.  I'm sure they're extra awesome! I haven't gotten to read them yet, but you better believe that I'm going to read them in the near future! :)
Oh my heavens!!! I'm out of time...but remind me to tell you a funny story that involves locking the keys in the car....:)
I love you all so much! and I can't wait to hear from you!
Sister Thomas. :) 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Letter Dated October 7, 2013

Hello again! Oh my heavens, how did you all like General Conference?!?! Amazing right? I'd love to hear all of your favorite parts! I couldn't help but to feel the sincere love that our Heavenly Father has for all of  us as I listened to words of our holy prophets.  It was so uplifting and inspiring and I know that it was as if the Savior himself was speaking to us.  I know that our prophets are inspired men of God, who truly deliver the messages that we are in need of. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to watch conference in Members homes both on Saturday and on Sunday. :) Saturday we spent morning and afternoon sessions at the Jacobs home.  :) it was amazing! We had homemade chicken noodle soup for the first session, (since it starts at 12 out here) and the second session we had some yummy pizza! :) they took really good care of us! I felt really spoiled, and soo thankful that I had a comfy couch to watch conference on instead of the not as comfy benches at the church. ;) it was really neat! And the Sunday sessions we spent at the Campbells home! :) they are amazing as well! We got to watch both sessions at their house as well! :) The Zone Leaders (Elder Cooper and Elder Jones) also watched conference with us andon Sunday they brought one of their investigators. :) her name is Cat and she is the coolest person ever! oh my gosh, I wish you could all see her willpower and her drive to do what's right to become a member of this gospel! :) I'll tell you more about her later because we've got to go to a lot of her lessons even though she's not our investigator, and thank heavens because she's AMAZING!!! oh my gosh! anyways, we got to spend time there and have lunch/dinner between sessions at their home! and it was so yummy! I can't express how much it means to me as a missionary to be in an environment that feels homey and welcoming! It was so comfortable in their home, and they were so kind and made sure we were all feeling okay and such! Their home was beautiful. and Sister Campbell made the yummiest apple dumpling dessert! that was my first experience having that and it was TO DIE FOR!! it was really yummy!!
General Conference was an amazing way to end the week.  And I sure started it not on the brightest note.  Monday night I got soooo sick with the stomach flu! I felt so bad for Sister Walborn because she felt so helpless and didn't know how to help me as I made the bathroom floor my new friend. She called Sister Topham for me and then called the doctor.  She was so kind and helped me soo much.  After a while of not feeling any better she called our ward mission leader and him and his son came over to the apartment to give me a blessing! I was so thankful and felt so loved! I felt so comforted and I could truly feel the power as they placed their loving hands on my head and gave me a blessing with the most wonderful power, the priesthood. I cant express enough gratitude for their willingness and worthiness to come to my rescue! The next day they continued to take really good care of my by bringing me soup and Gatorade! :) I have such amazing ward members who take such good care of us! It's not hard to feel the love that everyone has for one another in the ward, it truly is an amazing ward family! I can't express how blessed I feel to be here serving in my current area with the most wonderful companion! I know we won't have the opportunity to serve together my whole mission....although that would be ideal! :) I love her very much! She has been the most wonderful trainer, and has been so patient, kind, loving, motivated, and so willing to teach me to help me become a better missionary, and eventually become the missionary that the Lord needs me to be.  I have been so blessed to have had her as an example of the companion that I want to be, and of how I can eventually become that missionary.  I wish you all could meet her! She rocks!! haha we have so much fun while we're working. :)
I love you all so much and thank you for helping me get here! I couldn't have done it without you all! I'm sorry this is such a short update. You all rock! try to reread the talks given in conference as they come out on the website and in the ensign, and see if you can get something new out of them as  you study them more in depth! I'm looking forward to printing them out and reading over them again! one of my favorite quotes though from President Uchtdorf, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." :) he's such an awesome guy and always has something awesome to quote! haha I love you all! and I'll talk to you soon!
Sister Thomas!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Letter Dated September 30, 2013

Alright! Update for this week! :) Let me just start off by saying that fall here is the most amazing thing!! :) There are soo many trees in Pennsylvania and they are all changing at different times and the more days that pass, the more colorful Elizabethtown gets! :) Sister Walborn and I have been loving it, and really getting into the fall season! :) we bought a yummy fall smelling candle and a candle warmer (since we can't have open flame) and we got some baby pumpkins that sit on our study desks! We have been LOVING it! I wish you all could see it! I feel like this time of  year is making everyone happier! We've definitely noticed when we are talking with everyone, they bring up the upcoming holidays and the beautiful weather! Its cooling off, but its not too cold yet. :)  We're very grateful for the awesome whether, because our teaching pool has decreased.  :( Dalitza is moving to Lancaster, and Dale had dropped us a couple weeks ago, and Mikey told us that he wasn't interested at this point in his life...he feels he's just too busy and doesn't think  his life will slow down for at least four  years.  He was really sweet about it though! And then, Ken and Deb, seriously I love them sooooo much! but Ken is feeling very involved in his Methodist religion, and deb is really interested in our church, but the conflict is causing problems in their we're no longer having them as "investigators" investigating the church, but we're just going to be the best support we can for them and try our best to just help build their faith! We love them so much, seriously the other day Deb told Sister Walborn and I that she thought of us as her daughters! (I'm sorry if I already told you this....I forget what I've told  you and what I haven't) We really enjoy visiting them, last week we got to help Deb plant some succulents and a butterfly bush! It was so nice to be working outside in the beautiful weather! :) Even though our teaching pool has decreased, and its been hard for us to find people to have lessons with, its been so nice tracting in the cooler weather! The other day we were driving to go visit a Less-Active in our ward, and Sister Walborn and I have been trying really hard to find unplanned service opportunities, and there was the cutest old women outside across the street from us pulling some weeds along her white picket fence, and so we decided to stop and go ask her if she needed any help.  We started talking with her and she had said that she didn't need our help, that she had two of her daughters living with her that gave her all the help she needed (however they were both just sitting on the side porch...haha) so we sat and started chatting with her.  We had talked to her about a lot of different things, and got to know her a little bit better.  She said that she didn't believe that God hears her prayers, that she had been praying for a long time for her husband but he ended up dying of cancer and she truly believed that God had just abandoned her, and did not hear her prayers.  It was so heartbreaking to hear about her broken faith, she talked about how she doesn't believe that there is anything after this life, and just a lot of really sad things.  But Sister Walborn and I were able to talk to her about the church, and the happiness that it brings to our lives.  Anna had expressed to us that she really enjoyed reading Amish literature books, because they were easy for her to understand and they made her feel good, and peaceful.  She talked about how she really enjoyed reading, so Sister Walborn invited her to have a Book of Mormon, and to read it.  Anna said that she definitely wouldn't promise anything, but she started right then to open it, and skim through some of the verses in First Nephi, and the power from the scriptures was just tangible for me...and she accepted it, and said she'd put it with the other books that she was reading, and if she felt like it sometime, she'd pick it up to read it.  It was just a cool experience for me.  My strength definitely is not just randomly talking to people we see on the streets, but the thought that just came to me to stop and offer to help her, and then the feelings that I had while we were talking with her...It was just so amazing, I felt so sad, and so sorry that she had felt so bitter and negative towards our Heavenly Father, and I wanted so badly to share the light and knowledge that we had with her.  Sister Walborn and I definitely walked away from that experience feeling very hopeful for her...she was searching for hope, even if she didn't know it, there were just some things she was holding on to that that hope and faith can build on.  We  can't wait to get to see her again sometime soon.  :) There was also another super cool thing that happened! The Zone Leaders in our area have this really awesome investigator, her name is Valerie, and she is sooooo golden! Oh my heavens, they just met her on the street one day while she was walking home from the grocery store, and they just invited her to come to church, she accepted! and so the Elders arranged a ride for her, and there she was....sitting in church! :) (this was a few weeks ago.) Her first Sunday there she was so content and sat listening so closely to the lessons in all three meetings, and after church, she participated in the choir practice! That day in Relief Society they talked about the priesthood, and it wasn't very basic stuff, so I just leaned over and tried my best to describe what the priesthood was and kind of tried to keep her up to speed throughout the lesson, and afterwards, she said that she knew it was true, even though she isn't married and she doesn't have children, she knew that the power there was so important and that she could also benefit from the priesthood.  At the end of choir practice she volunteered to say the closing prayer, and she expressed in the prayer that she was thankful for the priesthood. What? She is AWESOME!!! the only problem the Elders had was that she is a single women and it made it hard for them to teach her, and she is right on the border between our mission boundaries, so guess what? they got permission form President Topham to hand her over to us! :) YAAY!!! :) We were so excited! she told us that she is so excited that we get to teach her, and we can't wait to have our first lesson with her! She is just a rock star! :) Sister Walborn and I had an amazing week, we worked hard, and had fun, and we can't wait to see what this next week has in store for us! I love you all so much and I can't wait to get to talk to you all again next Monday! :) Have fun watching General Conference! I can't tell you how excited I am about that! We get to watch the Saturday sessions at the Jacobs home! and I can't wait! Love you all!!
Sister Thomas

6 things :) Letter Dated September 16, 2013

Okay, so this week....kinda crazy! Thankfully no one in our district was transferred!! YAY!! :) I love them all so much!! But, we did get new sisters in the Lititz area, so we did get an addition to the area.  They seem super sweet! And one of them is a newbie! :) guess what that means, I'm not the youngest one anymore, (according to how long we've been out on our missions!) can you believe it, tomorrow will be my two month mark! I can't believe that I've already been out that long, sometimes it feels like I've been away from home for a long time....and then other times, I feel like I've only been out for two weeks! haha! I can't believe it! I have already learned so much and I am enjoying my time here sooo much!! I really love it here! We had a really good week! We decided to focus on less active work this week, and we had some really amazing things happen! There is a less active, part member Family that we just love here! They live up the street a ways from us, and we visit her every week.  She is the member, and she has a husband and three children, none of them are members. day she just asked if she could have us over for dinner, and set up a day where her husband could be home and there as well, so we set up for Friday, and ended up visiting her on Tuesday last week as well. Well, she has had a hard time with some people that meet at our building in a different ward, and every time she's tried to come to church they always give her a hard time, which is really sad! but her husband had expressed to her that he thinks that they need to start going to church....what the what?? He's not even a member! :) He has been expressing interest in the church for a little while now, but they want to move closer to her parents and all that good stuff, and she said that when they move that they were planning on going to church up there because they'll have a new start and everything.  Well, her husband just got his license back, and they're looking for a car, and he wants to take everyone to church because he feels that it will be beneficial for the family.  :) So on Friday when we went over for dinner, we were able to have a lesson with them about the importance of families, and he was really involved in the lesson we shared.  It was really awesome! We're very hopeful for that! :) but we also visited Grace, she's one of our regular less actives that we meet with each week, and I can't tell you how many times we have invited her to come to church, we always have a ride for her and someone to come pick her up, and she always says no...ALWAYS!! and she tells us all the time that Heavenly Father wants her to go to church....but she just wont come.  But we've been working really hard on trying to have her come to the conclusion that she needs to come to church, instead of us inviting her, and instead we're extending other commitments, like this week we asked her to read a story out of the ensign and she said of course she would....I think my jaw may have dropped! We've never had her agree to do anything! haha! and then we asked Vicky, (another less active) to call her and ask her if she wanted to come to church...well low and behold, while we're singing the opening hymn, I look over and in walks Vicky and GRACE!!!! ahhh!!! I was soooo excited!!!!! :) Sister Walborn started to tear up, and I was just so overcome with gratitude that Heavenly Father allowed the spirit to work in Grace, and for her to have that desire to come to church and ride with a women she had never met before! it was sooo amazing! :) I was so thankful! and Then, we also had Brother Brown at church....with his daughter! :) he also comes from a less active part member family.  He has been inactive since he had graduated High School, and Sister Walborn and I were able to go visit them for the first time ever! We were able to get into their home, and the wife was soooo sweet! I loved talking with her! She was a little bit stand offish at first and you could tell that she didn't want us to sit and talk with them, but her home was soooo cute! She had a lot of damask pattern everywhere, and I complimented her on it, because lets get real! I love damask!! and she invited us into the living room to see more of her home! It was sooo pretty! and we were able to talk with them for quite a while, and when we left she sent us off with some cake and tomatoes! it was so awesome! and then Brother Brown came with his daughter!!! We were sooo happy and so surprised!!! :) it was an amazing week for less actives at church! :) We also had two investigators at church.  We met with them last Monday night, (that wasn't our first time meeting with them) it was Ken and Deb, they were the ones that we met from helping Jen and Athena move. And they live just across the way from us. :) It was so sweet when we met with them because Deb because we got to talk to them to tell them kind of what to expect when they're attending our church, and before we left Deb made a comment about how much she loved us, and she said it was like they just got two new daughters! It was the sweetest thing ever! She is just sooo sweet! and I love her sooo much!  Her heart is so open and willing to learn, Ken's on the other had is not. He's sooo sweet and kind to us, but he is Methodist to the bone...And last sunday we went with Ken to his Methodist Sunday School! haha! it was definitely different, we didn't get to stay for the service though because it was the same time as ours, and so they came with us this Sunday to church, and it was awesome! :) we got to help them understand some of the differences, and they stayed with us for Sunday school, and actually participated in the discussions.  It was pretty neat! they didn't stay for the third hour, which was really sad because I think Deb would have loved relief society. :) But she seemed to like it a lot, we get to meet with her again tonight! Ken has a meeting of some sort, so he wont be able to be there, but we're excited to talk to deb. :) It was a good week! Not everything was hunky dory though, we got dropped by Dale, you know the one that was going to come to church, but then the ward member forgot to pick him up? yeah that one....That ward member came to a lesson with us and it was awesome! we talked about the Word of Wisdom, and the member that came with us was a convert so he testified to Dale that the Word of Wisdom is such an important thing and he told him how it had blessed his life....well Dale likes to drink occasionally and he likes to smoke....he didn't like that too much...he said he was trying to quit smoking, so sister Walborn and I told Dale to call us when he was having a hard time with wanting to smoke and we'd talk with him and come visit him, all that good stuff...well the next morning, Dale called  us.  He said that he had been thinking about it again, and he didn't remember anywhere in the bible it talking about coffee and tea, and that Mormon just wasn't for him.. :( it was sad.  But the good news is, we have planned on different ways that we can find more people to teach this week! So we're going to try our best.  I love every one of you! and I miss you all so much! :) thanks so much for the letters and emails! You have no idea how much they mean to me! I'm sorry I'm just terrible at getting back to all of you but, I promise I'm working hard on it.  and in case any of you forgot....which I know you haven't, but Heavenly Father is amazing! He loves us so much! and He gives us so much! And I know how much he loves us!!! He is always mindful of us and had provided so many tools for us to be able to return to him! The scriptures and prayer are definitely ways that He talks to me, and helps me realize the ways that I can be better, and how he lets me know how much He loves me, and blesses me.  I pray for you all! and I hope everything is going okay.  :)
a few quick things I wanted to share about Pennsylvania,
1. I swear....NO men EVER wear shirts here! Even the nasty old ones with big gross beards and their butt cracks hanging out.
2. Where I'm serving, it smells like brownies a lot of the time because of the chocolate factories that are around! it's amazing!! :) and really bad, because it makes me crave chocolate ALL the this rate I'm going to be 1000 pounds by the time I get home
3.  Everyone LOVES pork chops and saucer kraut smells disgusting. :) but When I eat it, I just smile away! haha!!
4. I saw the fattest cat I've ever seen in my whole life!!! hahah!!! it was awesome!! :) his name was boots and I don't know how his itty bitty legs supported his big fat body! haha!
and 5. They have yellow watermelon here! and it is sooo yummy! it's really sweet! maybe I've just been living under a rock my whole life and its really common everywhere...but the first time I had it was here...and its good! :)
oh, and 6. Pretty sure I have the best companion in the case you were all wondering! :)
The church is true!
love you all tons!
-Sister Thomas

Moldy biscuit they found in the fridge when they were cleaning it out  

In the Vineyard


Sister Thomas, Sister Walborn and Belen the ward missionary.