Friday, August 23, 2013

Letter Dated August 19, 2013

Hello, Hello! :)
This week was awesome! First of all, let me just tell you...when I heard everyone talking about P-day I just thought it was the best day and you had all this time to do whatever you wanted and you'd just have so much time to take a super great nap (which I miss...soooo much!) but it's a lie! haha! P-day is seriously just as busy as every other day, if not it busier! haha! but it's good busy! we have time to do things that we normally don't get to do during the week! and the best part is I get to write to all of you! :) yaya! But last week right after Pday ended, we went to dinner at the Greenways! and they are so sweet! They are the cutest little family and they make amazing dinners! haha! They're so fun! and then right after that we had to jet home because last week was Exchanges! which means I go for a 24 hour period with a different companion and my companion does the same! I got to go to Ephrata with Sister Kirk who is our Sister Training leader! and it was so fun! I learned a lot! At first I was really sad about exchanges because I love my area and Sister Walborn so much, I didn't want to leave! Especially because on Tuesday we had some lessons planned for some of my favorite people! But it was a really good experience! Sister Kirk is soo awesome! she has a super funny sense of humor! and she also is very knowledgeable and in tune with the spirit! the lessons that we taught were awesome! Oh...and also, did I forget to mention on Tuesday morning we had a flash flood warning....yeah! it was raining sooo much! hahah! Aand...we had a leak in the sister Kirk and I had a lovely adventure that morning going to the leasing office and all that fun stuff bright and early! we actually left the apartment and did our studies in the car in a random parking lot while they had someone fixing out leak! and later that day we were out doing our work and getting to our appointments and such and we had to find long roundabout ways to get to different peoples homes because the water was so high in some areas the roads were closed! I'll send you some pictures! it was so fun! :) anyways then I got to come back home! and I was really happy about that! ha! oh!! oh my gosh! and how could I of the members in Ephrata fed us ham loaf...ick! sooo yucky! there are some really weird things that are served here in Lancaster county! haha! but anyways! now I can tell you some really cool stuff that has happened...Do you remember me telling you about Ciara? well, on Monday we had a lesson with her, and we got to talk a lot about putting our faith in Heavenly Father, and she had mentioned that she was really nervous about telling her parents that she was wanting to become a member of the church and that she wanted to be baptized...and so we shared some scriptures with her and testified that things would work out like they should! And at the end of it we asked her if she would be willing to talk to her parents about it before we met the next time, and she agreed! and on Wednesday night we got a text from her saying, "Hi sisters! I know its late but I just thought I'd tell you I talked to my parents tonight!!!! I told them I wanted to be baptized and they were so supportive!! I am so excited and relieved! Now I didn't get to delve into a huge amount of detail because I brought it up so late but yes! haha! I'm just so overwhelmed with emotion right now and just had to let you know! :)" Ahhhh!!! how exciting is that!!! Sister Walborn and I were sooo excited! We called her up and told her how excited we were and how amazing that was she then told us that Ether 12:27 was her inspiring verse that gave her the courage to talk to her parents! That verse says, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." How amazing is that! the importance of the scriptures!! The Book of Mormon is amazing and is our most important tool as missionaries along side of the Holy Ghost and the power of prayer! This was such an amazing testimony builder to me! The scriptures are amazing and have brought me so much joy since I've been out here and I have learned so much from them! I challenge you guys to be more diligent in your studies in the Book of Mormon, especially if you have a question or a topic in mind as you read! I promise  you, that you will benefit from this, that your testimony will become strengthened, and allow your Heavenly Father to talk to you through this wonderful book! However....on a different note, It was so exciting that Ciara has come to the decision to be baptized!!! I am so excited for her! she is just the most amazing person! her faith is so strong! but sadly...we don't get to baptize her. :'( She is moving back to college this next weekend, and even though she is sooo ready to be baptized, President told us that she needs to be baptized in the ward that she'll be living in to build those relationships there. which is okay! I am just so glad and so happy that I had the opportunity to teach her for the time I did, she came to church with us this sunday and everyone was just so surprised that she was an investigator! She seriously just glows! :) we actually had two investigators with us at church on sunday, and we had seven less active members that we teach there too! that was AWESOME!! ahh! we were so excited! and little Athena that got baptized last Sunday was confirmed in church yesterday! :) We've just had a really amazing week! I wish you all could be here...because words just can't describe how amazing my mission is! I love it! and I can't believe that I've already been out here for a whole month! ahh! It has seriously gone by so fast! I'm sorry this email is so jumbled....all of them are! haha! I hope you can understand me! and know just how grateful I truly am to be here! I am so blessed! I love you and I miss you all! Thank you so much for sending me your love! :) I pray for all of you all the time! I know that Heavenly Father hears every one of your prayers! and he loves you so much! I can feel his love so much more now that I'm a missionary and I am so grateful for that! it truly is an amazing thing to testify of the love that our Heavenly Father has for you, and that our Savior has for you! I love you!!! ahh! :)
Love always,
Sister Thomas
Pictures of the week!

Sister Thomas, Ciara, Sister Walborn

Friday, August 16, 2013

Letter Dated 8/12/13

Hello Everyone! :)
I cannot tell you how much I love getting to email home!! This is seriously what gets me through the week!! I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to hear from all of you! :) anyways, I'll let you know a little bit about my week! I have had the most amazing, frustrating, wonderful week! haha! the life of a missionary is sooo bipolar I swear! you have so many ups and downs all in the same day! But it is the most amazing thing to rely completely on the Lord and allow him to lift us from our disappointments and to rejoice with Him in our triumphant moments!! First thing first...WE HAD OUR FIRST BAPTISM YESTERDAY!!! YEAH!! :) :) I can't technically claim her as mine, because the sisters before me taught her the most...but! it was still an amazing experience!! I had the opportunity to teach little Athena about three times, as well as a couple other visits just for some service, her and her mom are moving to the other side of the ward later this week (so they won't be in our area anymore. :( the good news is we'll still see her on Sundays!). Athena is a cute little ten year old, and her mother is a member, however she is less active, and it has been such a blessing for us all to be able to go into their home to have some lessons with her. :) Her mom is very supportive and she knows that the church is true and that she needs to be better at attending and living in accordance with the gospel.  She is just struggling with some addictions right now and it's hard for her to want to go to church, but she supports Athena so much she is willing to attend church for her, which is awesome! They were both at church yesterday and it was amazing! sacrament meeting was the best! there was a young man in our ward that was giving  his farewell talk and it really touched Jen a lot (Jen is Athena's mom).  He talked a lot about how through the Atonement we can be forgiven of our sins, but we must also forgive ourselves of our sins, and that really touched Jens heart.  She went up to him yesterday and thanked him for his talk and expressed how much it meant to her! it was amazing! And she was just so proud of little Athena for deciding to be baptized on her own and to covenant with her Heavenly Father!
We had the baptismal service right after church, (this was the first baptism I had ever been to that was on a Sunday! ha!) and Athena was soo nervous to be baptized in front of so many people, so we had the opportunity to go into an empty room and pray with her that she would be able to feel comforted and to not be nervous anymore, and after she got out of the font, she told us that as soon as she touched the water her fear went away! it was such a neat opportunity to hear how Heavenly Father had answered her prayers! :) Next Sunday she will be confirmed and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost!!!! How amazing that is! :)
Second! last Tuesday we had the opportunity to meet with Ciara at her home, she was the girl that contacted us after she ran into us at the gas station and hers is the house that we tracted.  It was amazing! She is just the cutes thing ever! She was so kind and loving and her heart was so open and prepared!! She had expressed that after she had turned 21 she would go out partying with her friends and things, but that she just felt like she needed to stop, and so she stopped drinking alcohol as well as coffee and tea without anyone telling her!! how awesome is that!!! and we just got to talking and she was expressing how she felt like we were kindred spirits and how thankful she was that we had come in contact with her! It was an amazing day for Sister Walborn and I. We went into the day fasting that we would have the spirit to be with us in our lesson with her, that we could truly relay the things that our Heavenly Father wanted us to tell her, and it was amazing! I felt the spirit so strongly during her lesson, as I got to share some of my favorite scriptures with her, and testify of our Saviors love for her, because I could feel it soooo strongly! I got to tell her about my background, and that I was the only active member in my family and the strength that that brought me, and how I knew that if she continued to do things that she knew to be right, even if her family had a hard time accepting it, Heavenly Father would bless her immensely! and would give her the strength to carry on! Sister Walborn got to testify of how much the gospel blesses families, and how much it would bless her and her future family as well as her current family! it was just  so wonderful! She had had some lessons before hand with other missionaries before us as well as she had been to church quite often on her own as well.  I can't express the love that I felt there, the love that I had for Ciara, whom I had just met, and the love that our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ had for her! It was so thick in the air!  I know that she could feel it too! we get to meet with her a little later today and I can't wait to get to meet with her again! :)
 I miss you guys so much words can't even express! it has been really hard, but this has been the most amazing experience of my life...already and I've only been in PA for two weeks!! haha! this Saturday is my "click day" which means I will have been out for a month! HOLY COW!!! It has gone by sooo fast! I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be so close to my Savior, and to study the gospel everyday! it has been such a neat feeling for me to be able to feel the spirit so strongly! I have never felt him with me quite like this! It is so comforting to know that I'm never alone, not only for my sweet, amazing companion, but also for the fact that the Holy Ghost can always lead us, and keep us out of danger, and to truly be the senior companion in our companionship to lead and guide us in lessons as well! I am so thankful for every one of you! I love you all so much and pray for you all the time! :) and send me letters! :) It's so fun to get letters throughout the week! :) definitely a boost! haha! I'm so sad! there is so much I haven't got to tell you yet! darn computers! but don't worry! I can still send you some good ol' hand written ones too! I know that my redeemer lives, and his hand is always in my life, and that He is very mindful of me and of every one of you! Just have the strength to reach up and ask him! He will help you. Ugh I hate saying goodbye....just until next week! :)
Love you always!
-Sister Thomas :)

(these are some of the pictures she sent with her email this week. I am not sure what is going on because she didn't have time to explain.)


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Letter Dated 8/05/2013

Hello all! :) Wow!! I have so much to tell you!! I feel like I haven't talked to all of you in the longest time! And I guess I can start from the beginning...the crazy night that I left the MTC!! We got up at six am on Sunday to get ready for church and stuff cause we had to be in our class room a half our earlier on Sundays, so we had to get up a half hour earlier so that we could get ready on time...not to mention that we still had some last minute packing to do.  But anyways, we went through our personal and companion studies like we always do...everyday! :) and all that good stuff, and then we get to go to Music and the Spoken Word, and Relief Society, which is sooo awesome in the MTC. They broadcast the MOTAB playing from the conference center in Salt Lake, and then for Relief society all the sisters meet in this massive gym thing and listen to some really awesome guest speakers! probably one of my favorite parts of the week! and so that was awesome! then we got to go to lunch and then back to the room for more studies until sacrament meeting started. For sacrament we just meet in a room in the building that our zones classes are in, and the Elders bless and pass the Sacrament and the Branch President's wife or someone speaks and stuff....its pretty cool! But guess what else...President Terry (our branch president) just calls on people to give talks and you dont know its you until he announces your name at the pulpit...welp...guess who got selected to speak, THIS GIRL. Ahh I was soo nervous! not only did our zone have to sing in sacrament that week, but I also had to get up and give a talk that was hardly prepared...but it went okay! it was actually a neat experience to rely on the spirit so strongly! and so yeah! Then we get to go on temple walk and things like that, we  had dinner and two devotionals that night, right after the last one got out we had to run back to our dorms and grab all of our luggage and head over to the travel office at the MTC, we left the MTC at 9pm.  Then we made our way to the airport, which was sooo fun! it was bitter sweet to leave the MTC. I loved it sooooo much!! I was soo blessed to have been there! I had the most wonderful district, and the most amazing companion, and we all grew to be such good friends. ugh it was soo hard to leave them, I miss all of them sooo much! But anyways, then we got to the airport, went through security (which was actually a breeze because it was late on a Sunday night) and then we got to call our families!! YEAH! It was soo hard...I loved that I had the chance to call and talk to them...and you better believe that my eyes were very wet and red, accompanied with a swollen ugly cry face by the time I got done talking to them.  I miss them sooo much! Words cant describe...I miss my momma and my daddio, and my sweet cooper and hagen! the little buggers! Anyways we got on our plane at 1am and took off to Atlanta Georgia!  it was such a long flight! Luckily I got to sit by Elder Wells and Elder Trotman! so that made it really fun! I didn't get to sleep at all! I don't even know what time it was by the time we got to atlanta, but the sun was coming up! and that airport is HUGE!!! Holy cow it is sooo big! we got to ride a little train thing to our next gait! and then we got on our next flight to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania!! yeah!! I caught a few winks on that flight though! so that was nice! We finally made it and the weather was beautiful!! Its gorgeous here! sooo green! but...there are no mountains!! it is freaky!! I dont like that part! lol anyways then we got to go to the mission home, and sister hurdsman and I got to stay there that night with sister pugmire, and quite a few of the elders stayed there as well! it was a blast, we got to take a nap!! yay!! the mission home literally looks like a little cottage straight out of a disney movie! anyways, the rest of the day we just did a bunch more training! ohh and they have Glow Bugs here!!! thats soo awesome to see!! On Tuesday we received our assignments! yeah!! The anticipation was seriously like waiting for my mission call all over again! ugh! but, I got called to the lovely Elizabeth Town North area!! yeah! it is seriously as far east as the sister missionary areas go! So we spent all day in the was probably about like driving from home to St. maybe a little further! but it was long, and we had a lot of assignments along the way, as far as driving other Elders to their areas and stuff. Sister Hurdsman got assigned to St. College area! man do I miss her! but I've got another amazing companion! Her name is Sister Walborn! She is amazing! we also have a lot in common! and she just is as sweet as can be! she's also only been out 6 weeks and she's me trainer! if that tells you how awesome she is! she is just so kind and loving and I love that I have the opportunity to work with her! We work hard, but we still have fun and joke around a lot!! It has been amazing here! My first actual day proselyting was awesome! In my very first lesson here we got Terrianna to commit to baptism!!!! WOOO!! :) Her date is set for August 31 hopefully she follows through!! she was supposed to be at church yesterday and she didn't end up making it, (probably because its freaking FOREVER away from E-Town!! It seriously takes us 40 minutes to get to church!). We also had a few more visits and we ended up doing some tracting, and that was an interesting experience! man there are some really interesting people around.  But we got a few Potentials and taught one quick message, and placed a couple Books of Mormon! all in all, it was a really awesome first day! we got a lot done! and things have been going really great since then! And I've only had the door shut right in my face once!! It's been great! most of the people here are soo sweet! It is soo awesome to be so close to the spirit! oh my lanta I love it!! I cant wait to feel it stronger as I grow stronger in the gospel! Oh! and I have to tell you the story of the first amazing miracle that I've had! So...thursday night, we stopped by the gas station, and we ended up running in and stuff and that was great! (I got me a Dr. Pepper! :) :)) and anyways, we didnt think much of it, finished our work and went back to the apartment. Well the next morning Sister Eggburt (a women from the ward) called us and said that on the ward facebook page a girl had commented and said that she  has been investigating the church off and on for a while and had ran into the sister missionaries at the gas station and took it as a sign from God that she needed to get in contact with the missionaries, so she had asked for our numbers.  Sister Eggburt said that a ton of people commented leaving our number and all that good stuff! so we were soo excited! hoping she would call us and get in contact with us! okay, well later that night we had decided to end with some tracting, so we picked a street that we felt good about, and just started knocking doors, we've been experimenting with a bunch of different door approaches and we had a few interesting experiences, but one of the strangest ones was right after we had this SUPER AWESOME talk with this guy who showed sincere interest in investigating our church and stuff, we placed a Book of Mormon and everything, we went along the way and saw this little duplex type thing clear in the way and it was kinda we decided to go down the hidden driveway and tract the little house down there...and by the time we got there...we think it might have been the back was the weirdest set up ever...they had patio furniture and stuff out there....but there was a doorbell, so we decided that it must be the front (the houses are weird here, there are a lot where its hard to tell which is the front and which is the back) but anyways we got to the door and there was a man sitting in the chair and a younger women sitting on the couch and the screen door was one got up to talk to us or was super awkward! but we introduced ourselves and the man just said "we're not interested" and so we went on our way tracting....well then later that night we got a text from that girl saying "hey thanks so much for coming to find me so quickly! my parents dont know that I've been investigating the church, and I didnt get a chance to say anything before my parents just piped up and said that they werent interested. I"m soo sorry, I feel so bad." and Sister Walborn and I were so taken we gave here a call and everything and had explained that we didn't have her address that we had just felt prompted to tract that street and what a miracle that was that it just happened to be her house!! It was amazing! seriously! The Lords hand is in all things!!! so we have an appointment set up for tomorrow night and I can't wait to meet her! How sweet is that!?!? I really hope that made sense!! haha!!! But yeah! That's my super great story for the week! I feel like I still have so much to tell you all and I'm soo out of time! but I love you all! I am sooo happy and soo blessed to be here! I know that this is the one true church on earth today, and that a 14 year old boy, Joseph Smith restored this gospel.  I know that he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that our Savior and Father in Heaven truly know each of us individually, and that they are so mindful of us and our needs, and the true intents of our hearts! I know that the Savior not only suffered for our sins, but for our pains and afflictions too, and that through him all things are possible. I know that because of the loving Atonement of Jesus Christ, we are never alone, he knows us, and wants to help us.  We just need to reach up and ask for the help that we need.  He loves us and wants to help us, and I am soo glad that as a missionary I am able to feel the love that the Savior and our Heavenly Father have for each of  my brothers and sisters! I am so blessed to be called to this work and look forward to growing more in this gospel! you all are great! oh...and write me real letters too!! my companion gets a thousand letters every week and its so fun!  

-Sister Thomas 

Her Address: 

6 Williamsburg 
Elizabeth Town PA 17022

(weird address I know)