Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Letter Dated November 24, 2014

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

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

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

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

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