Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Heart Being a Missionary


So it's only been a short five days since I emailed last but so much has happened! I think everyone got together and decided that it was "let's give all the assignments to the sisters at the last minute" week. Haha what a stressful but productive weekend we just had! 

Ok, time for the good, the bad, and the funny :) there was only one bad thing that happened this past week but it lead into something really funny! So we had a dinner Friday night that was probably the weirdest dinner I've ever had. It was with an older single lady in the ward. So you know spilt pea soup? Yeah, well imagine that mixed with mash potatoes. It was this thick, green paste that she poured onto our plates. Haha like you know the brown stuff that Nacho Libre serves the orphans? It was exactly like that but green. Haha the elders and us were trying to hold back our laughter. And then for dessert she cut up on old cantaloupe and served it with warm vanilla pudding on was not good. And then to add to the whole meal, her house was very..."full". Haha like there was no empty space in her house. So all five of us missionaries were sitting at this super small table with stuff all over it and we could not stop laughing. The whole dinner was just too hysterical. And then to add more to the evening, she gave us sisters the leftovers of the green mush. So we door bell ditched it at the elders apartment. Haha it was a funny evening!
It's incredible to see so many miracle each day from our Heavenly Father. And as a missionary, I have seen SO many of them! So as I told you before, our mission has this goal of contacting 20 people each day, teaching 3 lessons every day, and inviting 1 person to be baptized every day. The 20-3-1. And there are definitely days when I think that there is no way we can get the 20-3-1 because of everything we have going on. But God always provides a way! He has put people into our paths and we are able to teach so much! I love having the goal of the 20-3-1! It pushes us to always do our best, and when we strive to do our best, God fills in the rest! I am definitely learning how to work hard out here! 
So Sister Lesser and I had a pretty eventful weekend. Like I said early, everyone decided to ask us to do everything haha we were asked to give the missionary moment at a baptism on Saturday. A missionary moment is where you and your companion get up in front of everyone right after the baptism is performed and you teach a lesson to everyone there. So we taught the restoration in front of everyone. Then we got asked to teach relief society at the last minute. Haha I am so glad that I was able to serve as relief society president before my mission! The things I learned from that were able to help me prepare for teaching relief society. We taught a lesson on the talk "The Gift of Grace". I recommend reading it. It's from this past general conference. SUCH AN AWESOME TALK. But everything went really well while we were teaching! I have found out that I love planning and preparing for lessons. I think teaching is so fun! Good thing I'm teaching for the next 17 months of my life! Haha but then to add to every we had to prepare for this weekend, I got asked to teach at district meeting tomorrow. I was really surprised when they asked me to do that because it's almost unheard of to have a greenie teach at a meeting. But everyone tells me that I'm the most ungreen greenie to ever come out. Haha which is cool, but I still feel like a greenie! But now I'm preparing to teach tomorrow and I'm actually really excited! 
So none of our investigators made it to church yesterday...which is no fun. Mike, has a hard time committing to come to church. He's really nervous about it. If you could, will you pray for Mike? Pray that he will have the courage to come to church. I know that God will give him the strength he needs so the prayers will definitely help! Prayer is awesome and I love it! 
Thank you all so much for the prayers and letters I have been receiving! It really means a lot to me! I love you all!

Love always, Sister Thompson :)

Yes, that's a dinosaur in someone's yard...
We had to wear mustaches during our practices with our comp. study
with the DL! Haha so funny! 
 So this is a drawing that Sis. Poulter(one of the sisters that lives
with us) drew for sis. Lesser and I. Haha its us :) and it pretty much
sums up a lot of our inside jokes from this transfer! Haha I love it
so much!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hola Mi Familia!


Jokes, I don't speak Spanish haha 

So we(my zone) got to go to the Oakland Temple this morning! SO BEAUTIFUL! We took a lot of pictures before and after so I'll send those! I absolutely love going to the temple! I wish we could go more than just once every other transfer! Also the drive from Santa Rosa to Oakland is breathtaking...I have fallen in love with Northern California! 

So this past week just flew by! As a missionary, you are always busy so the time just flies by! So this past week, a lot of things happened, mostly good, some funny, and a couple sad. Let's start with the bad parts first haha so sister lesser and I, after much prayer, decided that we were going to drop(or stop visiting) a few of the less actives we were seeing. And let me tell you, dropping people is one of the hardest things to do as a missionary. The reason you would drop someone is because they are not progressing or keeping their commitments anymore. As a missionary, your purpose is to help others come to Christ and if they aren't choosing to do that, then we should be using our time to find people that will. You grow to love the people you work with so much! So telling them that you won't be coming by anymore is so hard! We had to tell Grandma and Terry that we weren't coming by anymore and we told Bro. Holdway too. It's honestly heartbreaking dropping people. I hope I don't have to do that very much on the rest of my mission!

Ok, now on to the good/funny things! Pretty much everything other than dropping was awesome this week! So I'll just tell you some of the I had my first district meeting last Tuesday! So great! I love my district! Elder Frodsham is our DL and he is just a hoot and a half haha but he is such a solid missionary! A great example of what a good missionary should be! I also experienced my first exchange! I got to go up to Healdsburg with my STL Hermana Reidhead! I got to practice my espanol for the day haha lets just say I am so grateful I got called English speaking! Haha I'm glad I was able to come out and hit the ground running and not have to worry about a language barrier! I also hit my one month mark this past week! Woo! One month on the mission! Haha fastest month of my entire life! Our lessons this past week with our investigators, Mike and Wally, we awesome! They are both progressing so much! Mike is the one with a baptismal date, but it's most likely going to have to be pushed back because he struggles with the Word of Wisdom, but he has such a strong desire to come unto Christ! And Wally is SO close to baptism! I love missionary work! It's amazing to see someone make a change in their life! We did lots of service this week too! Including working at the food bank, helping a lady move, and being the special guests at activity days! It was awesome! Service is such a great way to show people that missionaries are just normal kids willing to help out in anyway! 
Ok, now for the funny things haha honestly, there hasn't been a day without something incredibly funny happening! I love it! Lots of times though, it's something to do with the APs haha since we serve in the same Ward as them we see them a lot and all three of them are goofballs! So this past week the APs pulled a prank on sister lesser and me...we had made a bet with them saying who ever could set the next baptismal date would win and that the losers had to make cookies for the winners. So obviously sister lesser and I won the bet haha so the APs owed us cookies! When they gave us the cookies, they were sooo good! But they had filled one of the cookies with a ton of salt! And I ate it! It was disgusting! I was so upset with them! Haha so now we are at war....sister lesser and I are planning on getting them back later this week. Haha the joys of being a missionary! Lots of other funny stuff happened but like me mixing up the words "sentences" and "sandwiches" at a dinner I accidentally said that I am really bad at finishing people's sandwiches...when I meant sentences. Haha but I love having those funny moments each day! Laughter makes everything better! 

I am loving being a missionary more and more each day! Ive been studying a lot about prayer this past week. Prayer was something I really struggled with before the mission and so it's still something I'm trying to get better at. Ironically, I've been praying for help with prayers. I decided to spend a few days of personal study, studying prayer. I ended up having answers to my prayers through other people more than finding things in my personal study. A couple weeks back, at zone conference, Elder Wright(one of the APs) spoke on receiving revelation through prayer. It was exactly what I needed to hear. He said something that I had never thought of before. So imagine this, have you had someone ask you a question and then they walk away before you can answer the question? That's often how our prayers are. We ask Heavenly Father all these things, but we don't take time to listen. We usually just end our prayers and hop into bed, at least that's how I am. We need to take the time to listen. I received another answer to my prayers by receiving an email for an elder from my MTC district. He just said, i think this is something you need to hear. He then went on to tell me about prayer and some things I could study to help me with my prayers! He didn't even know that was something I was struggling with. He told me to study the last two paragraphs of Prayer in the bible dictionary. I highly recommend reading that. Really briefly, if you don't study prayer, at least think of this: When you pray, you must remember that you shouldn't pray to change the will of God. That won't change. He knows what you want and need. But when you do ask for blessings, if you are given those blessings, it's not because you thought you would benefit from it, it's because Father was already trying to give it to you, but you just had to ask. I don't know...just learning what it means to say "in the name of Jesus Christ amen" will change the way you pray and your relationship with Father for the better. Prayer is such an amazing gift we have been given and I know without a doubt that God is on the other side listening to our prayers. And he is waiting to give us those blessings and answers if we are willing to ask and listen! I love the gospel! 
Hope you all have a great week!

Love always, Sister Thompson

Monday, May 11, 2015

Journal Entries

Journal entries

I'm sorry that my email last week wasn't too detailed! I was still trying to figure out everything so I didn't write in my journal too much, but I made it a goal to do it from here on out! Also, here's more info about my mission so far. My first area is the Santa Rosa north area and I'm serving in the brush creek ward along with the APs. The mission office and the mission home are in my ward boundaries! My companion is sister Lesser! She's from Brigham city Utah and has been out on the mission for a year! We get along so great and I couldn't have asked for a better trainer! Santa Rosa is beautiful! And the weather is perfect, all day, everyday! Mission life is THE life! So here are my journal entries from this past week! Oh and just a heads up! My PDay next week will be on Wednesday because we are going to the temple! I get to go to the Oakland temple next week and I am SO excited!!

5.4.15- PDay!  Woke up at 6:15 to get our exercise clothes on, and then out the door at 6:30 to exercise for 30 minutes. Sister Alba is super big into fitness so she started a program called Shape Up Santa Rosa, where we go outside at 6:30, run for 15 minutes in one direction, turn around, and run back for 15 minutes. Then from 7-8 we eat breakfast and get ready. At 8 we have personal study, then at 9 we have companion study, and then for the greenies, from 10-11 we have 12 week training where we basically go over the basics of being a missionary for the first 12 weeks of your mission! Then on a normal day, we usually go contacting til lunch, eat lunch, more contacting, tracking, and lessons until 5 where we have dinner with a family in the ward with the APs. Then more lessons until 9pm. Then we come back, do nightly planning for 30 minutes, then get ready for bed and have to be in bed at 10:30. But today, since it's PDay, we got to go grocery shopping and we got to clean our car and apartment! We did that until 5 and then we had a dinner appointment at the bishops house! The Skabelunds are so nice and they live in a really wealthy part of town. Most people here serve us really healthy food haha we always have salads and fruits and veggies. After dinner, most of our appointments fell through, so we went finding! We had a hard time finding tonight. Everyone we talked to wasn't interested and some people were super rude about it. So we put up with a bunch of rejection for about two hours, and just to add the cherry on top of the night, the last door we knocked on, an older lady just went at us haha she told us what we were doing was a waste of our time and that God doesn't exist. She threw in a couple swear words here and there and then slammed then door. Right when she closed the door, a Nacho Libre quote came into my head. "And that is a crazy lady." I couldn't help but laugh all the way back to the car! Whenever we get rejected, yeah I'm sad they don't want to hear the good news of the gospel, but I know that every person we talk to, we are planting a seed. Maybe that mean lady will remember how rude she was to the missionaries that one time and feel bad and listen to what the next missionaries have to say. You never know! 

5.5.15- Woke up, exercised, got ready, personal study, companion study, and then 12 week training! Then we ate lunch and then drove to the church to get wifi so we could update our area book on our iPads. We usually have to do that everyday so that both of our iPads are up to date with each other. Then we drove to Slater Street, parked, and started tracking and contacting! We knocked on doors and talked to people on the streets for almost two hours! It was awesome! I'm definitely getting a lot better at door approaches! Some people let us in, others just take a pamphlet, others just a pass along card, and some don't want anything to do with us haha its a pretty good time no matter what though! There we two men doing yard work in their front yard so we went and started talking to them. They pretty much just wanted to bash with us, but they were asking a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon. While one of the guys was saying all these crazy things about the Book of Mormon, my heart started pounding so hard! The spirit told me to testify of the truthfulness of the book. So I did. Haha I walked right up to the man, looked him straight in the eye, and bore the strongest testimony of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He immediately changed his attitude towards us and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was awesome. I was so pumped afterwards! Around four we had a lesson with one of our investigators Mike. He's a 40 year old man living in a clean and sober home. We taught him about repentance and using the atonement. It was an awesome lesson and the spirit was definitely there! At the end, I asked him if he would be baptized and he SAID YES! We set a baptismal date for him on June 6th! Which for him is totally awesome because about a month ago when the missionaries first started teaching him, he wouldnt even pray or commit to anything, so this is so great! Then we went to dinner at Elder and sister Porters house! They are the senior couple over housing in our mission and I just love them! Such a sweet couple! After dinner, we were going to see a older lady living in an assisted living home, but we couldn't find her so we went and visited a sister in our ward named Chris. Turns out she is moving in two weeks and was having a hard time with it. We were prompted to ask her if she wanted a priesthood blessing and she said she had been wanting one for a while now! We told her we would call around to get someone over the next day to give a blessing. But as we were driving away from her house, the Spanish elders just happened to drive by! We called them and asked if they could give her a blessing tonight! So about 10 minutes after we left Chris's house, we were back with two elders to give a blessing! She said tonight was an answer to her prayers! God definitely works in mysterious ways and is mindful of all His children!

5.6.15- (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEANZY!) Zone conference today! We heard from President and Sister Alba in the morning, had lunch(provided by the relief society. Made me think of mom:)), and then we broke off into groups and heard from each of the APs. I absolutely love the APs haha they serve in the same ward as sister Lesser and I so we have all of our dinner appointments together. There are all incredible missionaries! Elder Mulleneaux, Elder Wright, and Elder Morley are like three peas in a pod! Oh, also at zone conference, the y installed DAP into all of our cars. Driver Accountability Program. It's a little box that pretty much acts like the black box in a airplane. It reports everything we do haha. I feel like I'm taking my drivers test now every time I drive! DAP also tells us when we are going too fast, driving too aggressively, and pretty much everything else. You get strikes for every violation you commit, and once you hit 7 strikes, you loose driving privileges. Kinda scary, but I'm feel like I'm a good driver so I should be ok! After zone conference, Sis. Lesser and I went a visited a less active named Tammy. We talked to her about the importance of church attendance and she said she would keep trying but it's hard for her. She has a lot of mental and health issues. She's had a pretty rough life, and things just keep getting harder for her. Then we went to dinner at the McFairlands house! Delicious food and great company! The. We came back to our apartment to prepare for our next lesson. We were going to teach a less active named Terry. He's an older man who lives with his 90year old mom. He has a hard time remember to read his scriptures, so we decided to cut out pictures of the scriptures and of Christ from the Ensign to hang up all over his house! When we got there, we talked with him about the importance of the Book of Mormon and how you can know for yourself that it is true. His mom, we call her Grandma, and a member from the ward, Bro. Willis, were there and they helped us teach. Having a member present in a lesson is so helpful! Its awesome what they have to say and the input they bring! The spirit was so strong and Terry has a new desire to pray and read daily! I love the spirit so much! The spirit is what makes our investigators and less actives want to make that change in their lives! 

5.7.15- What an awesome day! So in our mission we have the 20-3-1 goal(contact 20 people, teach 3 lessons, and invite one person to be baptized every day!), and today we got 27-5-1! It was awesome! After studies and lunch, our zone went to the food bank to volunteer! We go every Thursday usually and work for two hours! It's so fun being with all the elders and sisters just laughing and talking! After that, sister Lesser and I went contacting downtown for an hour. And we talked to everyone! It doesn't count as a contact though unless you state your purpose as a missionary to them. Whether it's saying you're a servant of Jesus Christ, or inviting them to learn more of Christ and come unto him, it counts as a contact. Around 4 we went over to mikes place and did a Book of Mormon reading lesson with him. That when we just read with him in the Book of Mormon and help him understand what's going on. We read about the tree of life vision so it was awesome to explain it to someone who was reading it for the first time! Mike has such a sweet spirit about him! We asked him to give the closing prayer, which he was very hesitant about, but he gave it and it was the most heart felt prayer I have ever heard! The spirit was so strong! After our lesson with Mike, we had dinner at the Wellisch family home! They're a younger couple with four little kids running around the house. Their oldest is 9 and the youngest is almost two! So I decided that with the dinner message I was going to play a game with them haha we played Simon says! It was so fun playing with the kids! We taught them how important it is to listen and obey the words of the prophets! We challenges them to read from the scriptures everyday as a family and I asked the kids to come up to me at church on Sunday and tell me what they learned from the scriptures this week! After dinner we met with a less active lady in the ward named Donna. She's having a hard time I life, she lives in a clean and sober home and can't hold a job. She tries to come to church but doesn't understand the importance of always working at building your testimony strong. It's hard to teach people that don't have any motivation to come closer to Christ! After that, we met with one of our investigators named Wally! Wally is an 68 year old attorney that took the missionaries lessons five years ago and decided about three months ago to start taking them again! He understands and loves everything about this gospel! It's awesome! We taught him the third lesson which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We invited him to be baptized, but he said he wants more time to understand but that he is definitely leaning towards it! He really wants to and he said its going to happen sooner than later! Which is really exciting! After we met with Wally, we met with another less active in the ward. Her name is Chris and she is a single lady that is deaf. She went deaf in her 20s so she can still speak pretty well and she can read lips like a pro so we are able to teach her still! We went just to check up on her and it turns out she has been having a really rough time. She suffers from depression so it's hard for her to find motivation to do anything. Sister Lesser and I both bore strong testimonies of the importance of turning towards God and Christ in the hard times in life and how they can help you no matter what the problem. The spirit was so strong and it was definitely something she needed to hear! God definitely sends us to people right when they need it the most! It's amazing and I love it so much! Being a missionary is awesome!

5.8.15- Weekly planning day! So we did our exercising and studies in the morning and then from 12-4 we did weekly planning! Every Friday is weekly planning, it's where we go through our calendar and plan out the whole next week. What people we are going to teach and when, what we are going to teach them, and what goals we want to achieve in the week to come! It takes forever haha that's why it takes all day! At 4, we had a church tour with Wally! It was fun showing him around the church and what goes on in each room! Then at 5 we went out to dinner with the Heyers. Sis Heyer is a member but her husband is not. They took us out to a little diner in downtown Santa Rosa called Adels. It was really good! Good food and good company! After dinner we went back to the apartment and finished weekly planning and the we went a visited a less active, bro Holdway. He's a older man that is physically handicap so he has a hard time getting around. He has a strong belief in the gospel, but has a hard time making it to church. We go visit him just to help him out and to share a short message with him. He is such a sweet man and loves the missionaries! He has three cats and one of them, Coach, really likes me haha he's the one that jumps onto my shoulder! It's crazy!

5.9.15- Today we volunteered at a big community event called The Human Race! It's a big 10k that is put on by different companies from around town! All the missionaries in my zone went and helped out from 6:30am to 11:30! I was in charge of face painting for the little kids! Haha it was awesome! I got to paint anything from making someone look like a fox, to little rainbows and snakes and butterflies! It was so fun! When we got home, we got ready, ate lunch, and then I made gooey butter bars for the ward talent show tonight! After that, we went downtown and contacted! I absolutely adore downtown Santa rosa! And it's so fun talking to everyone we pass! Then we went and visited sister Peterson in the ward. She lives at a assisted living home and she's starting to get amnesia. Her daughter, who is the ward mission leaders wife in our ward, asked us sisters to go and visit her and just talk with her about her life. At 5 we had dinner with a less active family in the ward, the Hackwells. After that we went to the ward talent show for a little bit and then went and visited some more people! I know I say this a lot, but being a missionary is seriously the best! 

5.10.15- happy Mother's Day!! Had an awesome time at church today! The talks and lessons were great! And then we had dinner with the McOmbers around 3:30! Bro. McOmber is the ward mission leader! He made us BBQ steaks, and they were so good! Then we got to skype home at 5! It was so fun talking with the family again! I feel like I haven't really left yet because I talked to my parents on the phone at the airport like two weeks ago, and now I got to skype home! But now it's time for the long stretch...I have to wait until Christmas now! But I'm sure the time will go by fast! After we skyped home, we went and visit Chris again. She is still having a hard time, so we asked if she wanted a priesthood blessing. She should be getting one in a couple days and I think it will really help! I love this gospel!

Love, Sister Thompson

Monday, May 4, 2015

6 Days...I'm in love!!

Hello Everyone!!

Ok, let me just start out by saying BEING A MISSIONARY IS AWESOME! I love it so much! So I'm in Cali now! My first area is the Santa Rosa North area! It covers pretty much most of downtown Santa Rosa! Also, the mission home and office are in the ward I'm over so me and my companion work along side with the APs! All five of us are over the Brush Creek Ward! So my companion is Sister Lesser! She is an AMAZING missionary and an even better trainer! We get along so great! She even laughs at my dumb jokes haha but i love her to death! President and Sister Alba are pretty much the most enthusiastic people I have ever met! They love everything and everyone so much! And they love having a good time! They live in our ward boundaries so I get to see them a lot more often then all other missionaries! I'm sad they are leaving in July! 
So I arrived in Oakland around 11am on Tuesday! The mission president, his wife, and the APs were there waiting for us! They feed us lunch and then we had to drive about 2 hours to get to the mission office in Santa Rosa. That was the most beautiful, scenic drive I have ever been on!! NORTHERN CALIFORNIA IS BEAUTIFUL!! I'm in love. There were so many vinyards and trees and everything is so green! When we got to the mission office it was transfer meeting so a lot of missionaries were there! They all cheered and clapped for us greenies as we walked inside haha it was really funny! Then we stayed at the mission office all afternoon learning the rules of the mission. Then we went to the mission home and had dinner with the Albas, the APs, and the four trainers that would be training us. Then they took us to a hotel where we stayed there for the night. In the morning, the APs picked us up and took us back to the mission office where we were assigned our trainers! I got Sister Lesser which meant I would be staying in Santa Rosa! I was SO happy! I have fallen in love with this city! Also, I was assigned as the designated driver. So I get to drive everywhere, which I really like! I'm trying my hardest to learn the area as fast as i can! I got settled in to the apartment, and then we went straight to work! We went contacting on the street of Santa Rosa for about two hours! and I LOVE IT! i love talking to everyone about Jesus Christ and His gospel! Its awesome! As a mission we have a goal called the 20-3-1 that we have to reach everyday. Contact 20 poeple, teach 3 lessons, and invite 1 person to be baptized! Its the coolest thing ever. Heavenly Father really helps out with this goal every single day! I have seen so many miracles already and I've only been out 6 days! So on my first day out in the field, we contacted 22 people, we taught 3 lessons, and i invited someone to be baptized! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! i feel so protected and watched over all the time! 
i wish I could give every single detail, but just know that the power of prayer is SO real and that the Spirit is SO real. I have never felt the spirit stronger and i have never prayed so hard! Working with the members is so important! i love having dinner almost every night at different members houses! Each person i meet has such an awesome spirit about them! i have so much love for the people of northern california!! know that i am doing so great and that my burning desire to share and teach has never been greater! I love you all!!

Love, Sister Thompson

ps. my address is 4663 Sonoma Hwy Santa Rosa, CA 95409

Me and Moby(the car) with the mission office behind us
We were at a less actives house teaching and helping out and one of
his cats jumped onto my shoulder haha my companion took a picture