Tuesday, August 12, 2014

PA Rocks - letter dated July 14, 2014

Hey There! :) 
How is everyone!? I miss you all so much!!
I'm so excited to tell you about how awesome Pennsylvania is! :) haha! 
things have been going really good here on my mission! I can't even begin to express to all of you the happiness I feel as I'm out here serving in the Lords vineyard! It is just the most rewarding thing that I've ever done in my whole life.  There is no feeling that compares to how I feel when I get to share my testimony with people that I've grown to love so deeply, and to see it click within them.  To hear the testimonies that they have gained through the experiences that we have shared, and to hear them bear testimony to us as missionaries, that the things that we are teaching them are true.  Yes, we haven't been having people flock to the baptismal font to be baptized here....there are always a lot of roadblocks,and it seems that the commitment of joining the church is too much for a lot of people.  Some people gain the witness that the church is true, and still choose not to overcome their roadblocks to do things about it...but it doesn't eliminate the great feeling that I get when I see peoples testimonies grow....weather they be active members, less-active members, or not members at all, my life will be forever changed by the people of PA and the effect they've had on my own growth and testimony!  There is a scripture I read this morning in my personal study that really touched me that kind of explains this feeling that I have.  It's in Alma 29:13 and it's where Alma is expressing the joy that he feels in the Lords work, it says:  Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.  and I thought about that for a minute.  We have a wonderful Father in Heaven, that loves us so much that He has provided a way for us to have the church that Christ himself formed while he was on the earth, to be restored to us in THIS day.  and I have the most amazing, sacred opportunity to be called by that very same God that Alma was called, to be here serving in Pennsylvania.  To preach the gospel to every person that I come in contact with, weather they accept it or not, and it is remarkable the joy and happiness that it brings to me! And I have seen great success in my mission! and it hasn't been in the number of Baptisms, but in each and every day I see some sort of success...and I think the greatest for of success is the person that my mission is changing me to become. Man...I just keep ranting...just know that mission life is great! :) and I love it sooo much! and it really  makes me happier than anything!
Sister Jones is a total BOSS! :) I love her so much! I've been having such a blast being her companion! We are seriously having so much fun! :) we laugh a lot, every day! And she's a big movie buff, so we're constantly quoting movies. Sure makes slow points of the day go by much faster:) We've been working our tails off and it's really been showing great effects! Our teaching pool has really increased the past couple weeks, and we're having the great opportunity to teach a lot of people. :)
This last week was so great! We got to pick up an investigator who I love so much! His wife is a member, and she is SOOO great! :) She calls us her kids, and I just love it.  She really takes care of us like we're her kids, and her husband is just as great! We invited him to learn more after a dinner appointment one day, and he actually accepted the invitation. :) He is worried about being able to balance work, and school, and learning about the church and keeping commitments, but he is really sincere to learn more about the church and understand it a little bit better.  So I'm excited to see where this goes. :) We got to teach him this week before we left to MLC and we talked about Prayer, and the importance of prayer and how we can receive answers to prayer, and it seemed to go pretty well! :) We're excited to go back and follow up on his experiences.
Then we had MLC on Wednesday.  MLC is Missionary Leadership Council, and it's where all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders meet together once a month with the Mission President and his Assistants to receive training and council, as well as discussing things in the mission.  And it was AWESOME! :) We got a new mission President, his name is President Johnson.  He's just a rock star! :) He's soo funny and so much fun! and he is so sincere and diligent in everything.  I really just love him and his wife so much. And you can just tell how much he really wants to do his best as a Mission President to strengthen us as missionaries as well as the mission.  There have been changes that have been made to the mission, but they're good things. :) And I'm so excited to see the mission continue to grow! :) I do miss President Topham, but I'm grateful that for all of the mission Presidents that could have come to PA, it was President Johnson.  I get to have interviews with him this week, and I'm excited to get to know him more. :) 
MLC literally took all day though...we stayed at a sisters apartment nearer to Pittsburgh, and the meeting started at 10 wednesday morning....we didn't pull into Butler until 8.  So not too much work was done that day...but the spirit I felt during our training was totally worth it. :)
OH MY HEAVENS!!! I have to tell you! There is a family here that just LOVES the missionaries, and they give us all nick names, Mine is Lightning, and Sister Jones doesn't have a set one yet...he's called her beach bum, ski, and mermaid....so we're not sure which one it is. haha! anyways...they take the missionaries out to this place called Ponderosa...and it's pretty much like a golder corral...and they told Sister Jones and I that we had to eat FOUR plates of food to beat one of the other missionaries that was here before us....I was SOO full I wanted to DIE! haha! It was so funny!! I love them! They crack me up! 
Later that day we had a great lesson with our new investigator Angie! :) She's awesome and really wants to learn....the problem is she has two grand kids that she takes care of, and they DEMAND attention every time we're over there, so it makes it kinda hard to teach.  But we're making progress, and we're having members come to help in lessons, it seems to help the kids stay more calm. haha keep them in your prayers. :)
Oh, and one more quick story....we were on exchanges on Friday into Saturday, and we were teaching a lesson to a new guy we have never taught before, and we're outside teaching him (he lives in the projects) and while we were out there teaching him, people just started to come sit down and talk with us to see what was going on...none of them ended up being interested, but it was pretty cool anyways...it was my celebrity moment of the week! :) haha!
Anyways, I love you all so much! Thanks so much for all of your love and support! I sure couldn't do it without you! :) The Church is True! :)
Sister Thomas

Note from Kelsey: I apologize this is out of order I just found it while going through emails and realized it never got posted!