Monday, September 26, 2016

He prayed! He prayed!!

Sept. 26, 2016
Hi family!

This week has been awesome! So many good things happened this week! I would have to say the best thing this week was that Gabriel finally prayed all on his own!! We had a lesson with him Wednesday night about the importance of having daily individual prayer and we committed him to say personal prayers more often. Gabriel hasn't prayed on his own for a LONG time and he was very hesitant about it, but we texted him right before we went to bed Wednesday night and reminded him to pray, and he responded telling us that he knelt down and prayed right after we left his home earlier in the evening!!! We didn't see his text until the morning, but let me tell you, that is the best thing to wake up to in the morning! We asked him how it went and he said that it felt really good and peaceful and that he was feeling really happy that day!! Ahhhh!! He prayed! Crazy how one person praying can bring you so much joy! We will continue to help Gabriel make baby steps towards baptism this week!
Beautiful Santa Rosa!

We helped pick a lady's pears from her tree, so we climbed in the tree to get the ones at the top!

So we had transfers this week! My new companion, Sister Smith, is seriously the sweetest person I have ever met in my entire life! There is not a mean bone in her body! She's from McCammon, IDAHO! My first, and only, Idahoan companion! She's has been out on her mission for about 5 months and we get along super well! People think we are sisters when they first see us! Haha we are two peas in a pod!

Four of my companions! I got to see them all on Friday at MLC!!

We also had MLC on Friday which is always a good time. I love hearing from President and Sister Wright and the assistants! It was a really good MLC! After, the Zone Leaders and I met and discussed what we wanted to do for zone meeting tomorrow! It is going to be soooo good! We have a epic zone vision this transfer that we came up with! We are focusing on the Key Indicators and we are have a District vs. District competition using the key indicators! Each week we are focusing on one of the key indicators and whatever district can get the highest numbers that week for that key indicator, wins for the week. At the end of the transfer, what ever district has the most wins, gets to have a big dinner/party at President and Sister Wrights home! President loved that part haha! The zone vision to go along with it is "Its All About K.E.Y.S" and KEYS stands for Keep Emulating Your Savior. So at zone meeting tomorrow, I'm going to be teaching about the key indicators and how Christ use key indicators also in His ministry! This transfer is going to be super good!

Watching General women's Meeting! Haha we watched it with Sister Wright so we took a picture of us pretending to be asleep to send to President! Haha he got a good kick out of it!

This past week was a little slow because of all the meetings and what not, but Sister Smith and I are determined to work hard this transfer! We are pumped for the zone challenge we have and we want to win! Haha I'm working on a tshirt design right now for our zone vision! This transfer is going to be so good!

Well know that I am doing good and loving every second! I am so grateful for the things I have learned, am learning, and will continue to learn in the next five weeks! I love my mission and I love my Savior! I hope you all have an amazing week! Love you!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Beginning of the End

Sept. 19, 2016
Hello family!

So today marks the beginning of my last transfer on my mission. It's
crazy how fast it has gone by! 6 weeks left to give my all to the
Lord! Since we have transfers tomorrow, let me tell you what's
happening! I will be staying here in Santa Rosa in the Rincon Valley
Ward for my last transfer and I am getting a new companion! Her name
is Sister Smith! I've actually never met her yet, but she sounds super
sweet! She's only been out for about 4 months! Sister Porter is
leaving me :( but she's is going to Vacaville so she's is going to a
great area! Also, get this, they are taking sisters out of the Brush
Creek Ward! My greenie area no longer exist now! Crazy! So now, it
will just be sister smith and I living in this apartment! It's going
to be so different, but I'm excited to work super hard this transfer!
Also, because it is my last 6 weeks on the mission, I start the
program called "My Plan". It's a program that all missionaries going
home must do. It helps us set goals and plans for after our missions!
I'm not too sure how I feel about it haha I think it's a great idea,
but it also means I'm close to the end of my mission. Mixed feelings
right now for sure!

This past weeks was awesome though! On PDay last week, Brother Bingham
took Sister Porter and I golfing! It felt so good to swing a club
again after 17 months! Surprisingly, I didn't do all that bad for not
playing for so long haha I tied with Brother Bingham in the 9 holes we
played. It was a cute little Par 3 course! It was so fun! We also went
to the beach that day with our zone! We drove about 40 minutes to get
to Bodega Bay! Such a fun PDay!

I went on exchanges this week with Sister James in the Brush Creek
Ward! Sister James has only been out for two transfers now, but I love
her! Haha it was so fun being back in my old greenie area for the day!
We visited a ton of people, some that I use to teach, and some new! It
was a great exchange!

Oh! Get this! So early Thursday morning, I get a Facebook message from
Ulita Fifita(the mom of the Samoan family I was teaching in Petaluma)
and she's tells me that they are being evicted from their home and she
asks me for help. At this point, I have to stop and think, "I'm only a
20 year old girl. What am I suppose to do?". I've thought that a lot
on my mission. But I said a quick prayer, and called President Wright.
President knows a lot about the Fifita family because we were teaching
them for so long and then the dad stepped in and wouldn't let any of
them get baptized. President gave me permission to call the Petaluma
sisters and Bishop Dame. Bishop Dame also knows the family because
they came to church last year and he had come to a few lessons. Bishop
Dame gave me a couple of resources that I could give Ulita to help and
then I called the Sisters and asked them to go over and just comfort
Ulita as much as they could. What ended up happening that day was that
Ulita ended up calling a couple of those resources and ended up in a
legal aid service here in Santa Rosa! She's asked me to come visit her
while she was here so I did! It was SO good seeing her again! She was
able to figure things out with the legal aid services because she is a
single mom with 8 kids so she has a lot of benefits she didn't know
about. They are giving her til the end of the month to find a new
place to live rather than be evicted that day. So grateful everything
was able to work out there! And Ulita told me that her husband is
legally out of the picture now! So that means they can come to church
now, and read the Book of Mormon now, and get baptized!!! Ulita said
she wants to come to church again and wants all her kids to get
baptized!! So exciting! I love the Fifita family so much!

We were able to have a couple of awesome lessons with Gabriel this
week! He came to our Book of Mormon class on Tuesday night and now he
is listening to the Book of Mormon on his phone(we showed him the
gospel library app)! He loves learning more! We also had a lesson with
him at the Woods home on Friday night! We taught him the plan of
salvation and it was SO good! He offered his first vocal prayer that
night!! That's a huge step for him! He told us that he feels peace
when he is learning everything. We told him that it was the spirit
testifying to him that these things are true. Gabriel knows that this
is good, but he's scared to move forward. We committed him to come to
church yesterday, but he didn't show. Hopefully, as we teach him about
faith this week, he will take that leap of faith and trust in this
gospel! He's awesome!

On exchanges with Sister James! And a photo shoot on our way to an appt.

For the majority of the week we spent less active finding! Our relief
society president gave us a long list of names to go visit and find
out more information about! We also did service this week at the
Foodbank, meals on wheels, and on Saturday, we handed out clothes to
the homeless! We learn in the scriptures that we are to feed the
hungry and clothe the naked and that's exactly what we did this week!
So fun! I love service!

In a member’s backyard.

I'm so pumped to give it my all in these next 6 weeks. It's going to
go by so fast but I am going to cherish every last second! I love this
gospel with all my heart and I know it is true! True joy comes from
living the gospel and its commandments and then sharing the good news
of the gospel with others! I love you all and I am so grateful for
each of you! Have an amazing week!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Awakened to a Remembrance of their Duty" -Alma 4:3

Sept. 12, 2016
Hi friends and family!

Wow. I learned a lot this week. This gospel is truly miraculous. I
want to start out by sharing a poem with you called "Highs and Lows"
by Jack Brinkerhoff.

A mission is a strange experience. It's a trial and a test.
A mission throws at you the worst yet teaches you the best.
They told me this would be the best period of my life. But I guess
they didn't explain it all too clear.
I came out looking for a bed of roses. I just wasn't expecting all the
thorns I've found out here.
Since I've been out, I've never been so happy. I've never been so depressed.
I've never felt so forsaken. I've never felt so blessed.
I've never been so consumed. My mind has never been so clear.
I've never felt my Heavenly Father so distant. I've never felt Him so near.
I've never been so discouraged. I've never been so full of hope.
I feel like I can go forever. I think I've come to the end of my rope.
I've never had it so easy. I've never had it so tough.
Things have never gone more smoothly. Things have never been so rough.
I've never traveled through more valley. I've never ascended so many peaks.
I've never met so many neat people. I've never met so many freaks.
I've never had so many ups. I've never had so many downs.
I've never worn so many smiles. I've never worn so many frowns.
I've never been so lonely. I've never had so many friends.
Man, I hope this is all over soon.
Gosh, I hope this never ends.

I love this poem because it perfectly describes my mission. So many
highs and so many lows. The past couple of months, I've been feeling
pretty low. It was rough. I won't go into detail, but just know that
life was super hard for me and my mind was starting to give up on me.
But with the help from a dear friend and the Savior, I'm working my
way back up. I have learned a lot about the Atonement this past week.
I'm very grateful for repentance and the chance it gives me to change.
I've been awakened to a remembrance of my duty(alma 4:3) and I plan on
working so hard until the end.

This week has been crazy good though! We worked so hard. Soooo much
happened this week though so I will just hit a few of the best parts!
So remember Gabriel, the guy we met on the street last week and had a
super cool street lesson with him? Welllllll, we were able to meet
with him twice this week and teach him more! He is awesome! But you
can tell that he's scared for a change in his life. He said he was
going to come to church, but he didn't show. But he has a desire to
learn and to come closer to Christ! Hopefully we can meet with him
more this week and get him to church!

We visited a ton of people this week. We just hit the ground and tried
visiting everyone we could and we ended up having some awesome lessons
this week! We also did a lot of service! One of which was running
around someone's backyard trying to catch chickens and clean up their
yard. Haha it was super fun. It was at a Spanish members house and
afterwards they fed us carne asada and it was super good. Also, I ate
a chili de Diablo which is this tiny black chili that is from the
devil(hence the name haha). But it was soooooo hot. Haha I was dying.
Good times though!
With the sister we live with!

Chicken service! We had to wear mask because it was super dusty and dirty haha

Also, get this, yesterday was Josh Groesbecks farewell and guess who
came in town and surprised me for it? MICHELLE AND BRENNAN RAY! For
those of you who don't know, the Ray family is like my second family
back home. And so seeing Michelle and Brennan totally made my day!!!
It was SO fun talking with them again and telling them about my
mission!! It was crazy, but so good!

Overall, this past week has been so good! We had dinner with President
and Sister Wright last night and I just adore them. Haha President and
I have the funniest relationship! We tease each other relentlessly! I
love it! But they both are so great! Definitely huge role models in my
life! I have been so blessed. Even though life has been pretty rough
lately, I have still seen the Lords hand in my life each day. I am
surrounded by amazing people with amazing stories and backgrounds.
I've had so many tender mercies from the Lord this past week
especially. He is truly aware of each of us and He hears our prayers.
I know that for a fact. How grateful I am to be a missionary for The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and how grateful I am to
be able to share the good news of this gospel with everyone! Thank you
so much for your prayers and support from home! I love you all!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ

Monday, September 5, 2016

He is ALWAYS within Reach!

Sept. 5, 2016
Hi family!

Do you know how much I love being a sister missionary? A lot. I love
it! There is truly nothing better than sharing the good news of the
gospel with people! Especially with people who are hearing it for the
first time! Watching the spirit touch them is truly amazing! Good
things are happening here in the Rincon Valley Ward!

Last week on Monday, we went to the redwood forest called Armstrong
Woods with the Coons! It was my first time ever seeing a redwoods
forest and oh my goodness gracious....those tress are HUGE! Haha I was
in such awe and wonder the whole time! Such an awesome experience!

Tuesday we had zone meeting in the morning! It was super good! Sister
Bender and I team taught the section about using the scriptures more
effectively! We are trying to memorize scripture references for each
of the 42 principles in preach my gospel, so we played a few games to
help them start memorizing! Super fun! In the afternoon, we had a
lesson with a less active and then we went and tried visiting a
potential family! They couldn't meet right then so we set up a return
appointment with them for this week! But as we were walking back to
the car, we stopped to talk to a man out walking with an old lady. He
basically stopped us haha he started asking us questions about what we
were doing, why we do it, and why we were dressed so nice! Haha his
name is Gabriel and he works as a care giver for the older lady he was
out on a walk with! We ended up having a super spiritual street lesson
with him. Gabriel said he would normally never talk to people like us
and that he usually just throws away whatever pamphlets or books
religious people give him, but he said this time was different. He is
going through a hard time right now and he's been praying for a way to
get closer to God and Jesus Christ....God heard his prayers because it
was no coincidence that we crossed his path. While we were sharing a
short lesson with him, you could physically see the spirit entering
his heart. He looked at us, with tears in his eyes, and told us he was
speechless. He couldn't believe that God had answered his prayer. We
bore strong testimony to him of the reality of our Heavenly Father and
how much He loves him. We got his contact info and we've been texting
back and forth with him all week. He's been reading the Book of
Mormon! But here's the down side...we don't know where he lives. Which
could mean that we might have to pass him off to other missionaries if
he lives in a different Ward boundary. But Gabriel was an answer to my
prayers. I needed to meet him and be reminded of what it's like to
share the gospel with people who are hearing it for the first time. It
brings so much joy to my heart. My heart needed to meet him.

Wednesday I was on exchanges with Hermana Bazzelle in the Spanish
area! It was so fun! I tried to participate as much as I could during
the lessons with my broken Spanish, but for the most part, I just sat
and enjoyed the spirit haha I did get asked to sing at dinner though.
That took me by surprise haha but it was overall a great exchange!
While I was on exchanges though, the other sisters picked up a couple
new investigators! Woo! They were trying to find some potentials, but
ended up finding two new people! Their names are Alan and Jenna! They
are a couple and we are going to see them again tomorrow!

We spent the rest of our week just finding and visiting less actives!
We also did service for brother coons Saturday morning which was fun!
We helped him paint pieces of a bunk bed that they are going to build
soon! Church yesterday was incredible. Wow. Fasting+prayer=spirit
revealing things to you. It was awesome! I posted something about our
relief society lesson on Facebook because it really hit home for me
and I knew of some people on Facebook it would help too. Jesus Christ
is the one who will heal our broken hearts and contrite spirits. We
just have to reach out to Him. I feel like I've hit rock bottom
multiple times on my mission, where I was truly broken hearted,
humble, and reaching out for my Savior. And each time, He has taken my
hand and made me whole again. Ive gone through a lot in the past few
months, but with each step of faith, whether they be big or small
steps, Christ is making me whole again. "Daughter, thy faith hath
made thee whole." And that's something I am eternally grateful for.

I love you all so much. I am so thankful for your prayers. Those carry
me throughout the day! Also, thank you mom for sending me the talk,
The Character of Christ! I needed it this week for sure! It was an
answer to my prayers! God is real, Christ lives, and They love us all
so much! Never forget that!

Love always, Sister ThompsonšŸ