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 story...so our library card numbers are on the key chain to get on lds.org, 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 appointments....so 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 door...so 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