Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Happy, Happy, Happy!


Oh man this week has been so good. So busy but so full of happiness. First off, P-day got switched from Monday to Tuesday because of VICTORIA DAAAAAAAY (which is basically the equivalent of Memorial Day in the states). It was so fun, we got to do a service project in the city of Montreal with a ton of different faiths, where we cleaned up the streets and planted flowers. We even got a free shirt out of it so double yay. 

a few weeks ago when we did service project outside with some members. We didn't bring any jackets, but when evening came it got super cold, so the member let us borrow some winter accessories. We were also eating dinner outside, so double buckets of joy.
This week we had a super cool experience with a couple from Iran. They were baptized in the church a few years ago but haven't really been to church since. The husband is Reza, and his wife Yalda. And we've been meeting with them for awhile, and they said they had a copy of the Book of Mormon in Farsi (which is the same thing as Persian) but that it was only a selection of a few chapters that was translated. Rewind to a month ago, after having first met them, we went to the mission office and found a Book of Mormon in Farsi, but it looked really big, so we thought it might be the entire book translated. Now press play and you'll find us (after several times of stopping by and trying to get a hold of them) FINALLY seeing them and giving them this Book of Mormon we found in Farsi. We told them we thought it was complete and Reza was so surprised, that he check 4 times to make sure it was the whole thing. He counted the chapters out loud, making sure he had each one, from each book. He asked us how many chapters were in Nephi, and Alma, and Mosiah, etc. and made sure that that was how many they in the Farsi translation. And after he was sure it was complete, he went silent and started reading. We continued to talk to his wife about it, but for the rest of the time we were there he sitting there, wide-eyed, reading this book with all the fervor of his heart. AHHHHH it was so cool. To see someone holding in their hands that sacred book, in their OWN language, was one of the most special things I've ever seen. It was amazing to know that the gospel is being taught to every "nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6.)

We also had another lesson with our perfect investigator, Gabriel. He is the answer to so many of our prayers. We were able to have a beautiful lesson on the Plan of Salvation, and after it was over, he asked us what the church thought about men having piercings, he having both ears pierced, but felt it was justified because they were crosses. We began explaining, but he had to leave, so all we were able to tell him was that it was discouraged. We then went back and saw him a few days later, wanting to explain more of the answer to his question, and before we even started talking he lifted up his curly hair and showed us that the piercings were gone. He said that he had woken up the next morning, after we had the lesson with him, and just felt no need to put on his earrings. He said that if couldn't wear them to church on Sunday than what was the point. It was beautiful and amazing to see a person acting as their own personal agent, deciding to do things that God and his prophets have asked us to do. He is such a special person, and both Sister Hoffmann and I feel that it's such an honor to teach him the message of the restored gospel. 

Man, Quebec is such a special place. A place that will have my heart forever. I love being a missionary. 

Hope you all have a safe and wonderful week,

Outside the basilica notre dame in Old Montreal, where we went a few P-days ago. 
It was still super cold and windy, i.e. why I'm wearing the scarf and jacket. 
Stupid Canadian weather.

D'ou stat daram (which is I love you in Farsi)
Sister Thomas

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

j'ai pleuré

Hello everyone!

Hope everyone had a wonderful week. It was so busy for us and it went by so fast but man was it just an amazing week. 

We went on exchanges with some other Sisters and we stayed here in Kirkland, and divided and conquered. We were busy all of Tuesday as we tried to find people to contact and get to all the lessons we had planned, but it was so good and we found 5 people (two of whom are a super cute couple from Iran who were are going to give a copy of the Book of Mormon in Farsi) who are potentially interested in the church and it was just an all around success. 

We also got to celebrate a birthday of one of our less active members. Her name is Bridget she's from Nigeria and she's like 7 months pregnant, but she was SO excited for her birthday. We brought over a cake with Sister Roy and had a little party for her, it was so cute. She's told us before about some of the crazy things that have happened to her, but also about how she is so grateful to God for everything that he has given her. And in Nigeria, it's tradition to name the baby after how you feel, so she said she's going to name the baby Great if it's a boy, and Gracious if it's a girl, because she has felt God's greatness and His gracious attitude help her through this pregnancy. Go figure, but one thing this baby will know is how much its mother loves God. 

Bridget's birthday partyyyyy :)

And finally, I titled this email "j'ai pleuré" which translates to "I cried" because yesterday was just PERFECT. Gabriel, one of our investigators, CAME TO CHURCH! And it was Stake Conference, so he was able to see all of the members of the church in the English speaking side of Montreal. It was an AMAZING conference and he was there to hear every word. We talked to him after the meeting and asked what he thought, the first thing he said was "God is NOT dead!" He was so surprised and happy to see how many people still believed there was a God, and that He was our loving, and merciful Father in Heaven. He said he would come back next week, and that he would bring his whole family, because he just felt so good there. He is literally the definition of a miracle. Donc, (aka "so" in French) it's obvious why I cried. 

Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful week. We watched Elder Holland's conference talk again this last week with a less active member, and I just wanted to attach a little quote, 

"Please remember tomorrow, and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. If you fall, summon His strength. Call out like Alma, 'O Jesus, … have mercy on me.' He will help you get back up. He will help you repent, repair, fix whatever you have to fix, and keep going. Soon enough you will have the success you seek." (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04/tomorrow-the-lord-will-do-wonders-among-you?lang=eng)

What a true statement that is. Christ can help us. He will repair and restore us, He is our Shepard and He is always there to lift us and all we have to be doing is trying. Trying to love Him, and keep His commandments. Trying to be better, trying to align our will with His. Trying to be patient in trials, trying to be more humble, and trying to be more aware of His love. Remember that this week. 

Sis. Hoffmann and I trying to enjoy the sun 
for the literal second that it was out. It's an eternal winter here. SOS.

Love you all!
Sister Thomas

The Gift of Charity


This week has flown by! I have no idea how it's already May, and apparently Canada doesn't either, it's still cold and windy here, so me and Sister Hoffmann are just praying and begging for some sun. Literally S.O.S

Sis Hoffmann and I flashing some shades a member gave us

This week has been pretty rough. Our investigator pool is shrinking and we are desperately trying to find people who actually want to hear about the restored gospel. On Tuesday we drove to an area and spent the day there trying to contact people, and no one wanted anything to do with us. We met a few people who were nice, but mostly got responses like, "please don't come back," and "try someone else." But we did get one that was pretty funny, we went to family who had been investigating the church a few years ago, and we approached the dad as he was working on his car outside and he told us, "You girls impress the bleep out of me, especially when people tell you to get the bleep off their property- you just keep going. Now, I don't have spiritual faith. But, I have faith in my motorcycles." He then went on to explain how he believes in reincarnation and how he wants to come back as a trash can outside of a McDonald's. As you can tell, he was quite the character. 

So because of our lack of success in finding people to teach, this week we did a lot of unplanned service. We had the opportunity to help a member clean her house, a house that had been neglected for years and years. She had reached out to the missionaries after she had tried to contact other members of the ward and she was denied. And because she was desperate, we were more than willing to help. It took hours just to get parts of the house in order. But as me and Sister Hoffmann prayed and pleaded with the Lord to bless us with charity and love for this member, we were able to do difficult work effectively and with smiles on our faces. We truly felt the pure love of Christ working within us and as we went about helping this women. We read in the scriptures how important serving our fellow man is, but one thing I want to emphasize is the huge blessings that come because of the service we render. God truly is mindful of us and our efforts to help one another. That when we "are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death," we are promised that we "may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life." (Mosiah 18:9)
AH, she's an angel the Elder's found and she was baptized yesterday. 
She met some LDS kids on a cruise ship, was touched by their example,
 ordered a Book of Mormon when she got back and started working the with the Elders in Kirkland. 
She is the definition of a miracle. She has such a beautiful and pure testimony and it was 
SO cool to be able to participate in her baptism.

Blessing ABOUND when we comfort people, when we serve people, and when we love people. I have sure seen that to be true this past week. And Sister Hoffmann and I have faith that as we continue to work and to labor as Christ's representatives, that miracles will continue to come, and that we will find people to teach and to share the message of the restored gospel with. 

Hope everyone has a great week and remembers how much God loves us. 

Keeping it chill in Canada,
Sister Thomas