Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I'll [stay] where you want me to [stay]

August 29th


This week Sister Morgan and I finished our first six weeks together and her first six weeks as a missionary. And man it was a busy week. We taught more lessons than we have in a while and found a handful of new investigators that we are super excited about!

And all of our new investigators were found by miracles. One, named Serif, was a surprise as we went over to teach a lesson to his mom, who had been taught a little bit before by other missionaries, but now wanted us to teach her son. He opened the conversation by asking us why we are here. HA. Easiest/best/my favorite question ever. I immediately flipped open the Book of Mormon to Alma 34 verse 32 that reads, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." After asking him what he thought the verse meant, he pondered his question again and said that the scripture made a lot of sense. And then we started talking more about our Heavenly Father's plan for us, about how we were with Him before and are working in this life to get back to Him. He then asked why we had to leave God's presence in the first place, and Sister Morgan and I got to explain to him that it was because we had to come to earth and receive a body and have experience. It was so cool to explain that when we were with God as spirits before this life, we couldn't have progressed anymore without receiving a body. And when we finished talking, he left the lesson very satisfied, with a Book of Mormon in his hands, and with a commitment to read it and ponder it's message. 

 We also found another investigator named Jean Claude, he's an older Haitian man who had a stroke 7 years ago. He only speaks French and his stroke has left him with physical challenges and it's really difficult to understand him, so we just read pamphlets to him in French and talk to him about what they mean. We know we can keep going when he says "Oui, je crois ├ža" which translates to "yes, I believe/think that." We have a lesson with him and his family (a wife and three daughters) tomorrow and the other Sister Missionaries for the French area are going to take over. We are super excited.

And finally, I titled my email "I'll [stay] where you want me to [stay]" because I've been thinking a lot about the Hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" (https://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/ill-go-where-you-want-me-to-go?lang=eng). Heavenly Father has asked me stay in this area for awhile. I've been in Kirkland since I got to Canada in March, and the next transfer ends in October. That's a good chunk of time but I know I'm supposed to be here, in this area, for a reason. I've learned a lot and it's obviously that Heavenly Father wants me to learn more. So sometimes in life it's not all about the going going going, but instead Heavenly Father wants us to stay, and to continue, to grow for where He has already placed us. And we shall see what this next six weeks brings to The Kirkland Adventures of Sister Morgan and Sister Thomas (copyright pending). 

Have a great week everyone! Remember that someone in Canada loves you!

Sister Thomas
 Our dear friend Katie got baptized on Saturday!
 Her mom, Helen (I wrote about her in May) was baptized a few months ago
 and since then Katie has been receiving the discussions and 
she decided she wanted to be baptized before she went back to college for the fall. 
She is so stellar and we love her so much. So excited to see what life has in store for her.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Week 29

August 22 2016

Woooow hellooo!

It's been a fun week here in Kirkland and I'll just catch everyone up with the highlights. 

We had some awesome dinner's with the members here and shared a spiritual thought about the Book of Mormon. We have a goal as a mission to teach more from the Book of Mormon and to teach the doctrine it contains very simply to the people we visit, members and non-members alike. We watched this video together (I know I've attached it before, but it's just too good to not share again) https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2011-11-018-a-book-of-mormon-story?lang=eng&country=ca and talked about how the Book of Mormon can really provide answers to the questions we have and help us learn more about Jesus Christ. And it was so fun to promise them blessings that I've seen come as I've read it in the past, and especially since I've been a missionary. Reading the Book of Mormon everyday does make a huge difference in our lives. A young man even gave a talk about it in church yesterday! He said that he made a goal to read it every day for 30 days and he said that as he did that, he came to see the scriptures with new eyes, that the stories became new and more meaningful to him as he actually read with the intent to know if the book was true. And that's a thing we promise every person we meet, we promise them that they can come to a knowledge for themselves about the truthfulness and divinity of the Book of Mormon. And that's so cool! Because it's true. And it's because Heavenly Father wants to answer our prayers. Because He loves us SO MUCH.

We also had some lessons with our investigators, and they're doing so good! We taught Salman a little about the Plan of Salvation, and we focused on the question "Where did we come from?" and it was wonderful to see him make connections with the things we taught him. He basically had all the right ideas, we just filled in the little wholes and made his puzzle complete.

I found a scripture that really resonated with me this past week, it's found in the Book of Mormon and it's a prophet, Alma, who's talking about his own missionary experience; and I found how much in common I had with him. The verse says "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me" (Alma 29:10 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/29.1?lang=eng). I have felt that same joy Alma talks about. As I've seen people come unto Christ, I've been able to reflect and see in detail all that He has done for me! And it is soooo much. His arms of mercy really are extended out towards all us, and I have felt them in the moments I've needed them. God and Christ are aware of us, They know us and love us so much. That is something I know is true. 

I hope you all have fantastic week, and remember how much the Lord and I love you! 
Sister Thomas

beaucoup des choses

Aug 15 2016


They were felt, and the blessings were reaped. Both Salman and James came to church yesterday! And James wants to be baptized. We are aiming for next month, and I have complete faith that he can do it. He even told us this last week that he told his dad and his dad's side of the family (who live super far away) about it so they can come down and see it. AH SO COOL. He's progressing, he's changing, and he's becoming. And me and Sister Morgan are just sitting here in happiness.

We also had a lesson with Salman (our investigator from Pakistan), and he's doing really well. Yesterday was National Day in Pakistan (i.e. their Independence Day) and so we made a little video, because he just loves videos, at church where he taught us to say "Happy National Day!" in Urdu. It was really hard and I couldn't remember the sounds. But it worked out nicely after a few takes. He also told us he's been having experiences reading The Book of Mormon and praying. Like really good experiences. And he hasn't told us the details yet, but we have a lesson on Tuesday with him, and he said he would share then. So we are PUMPED.

This week we also had exchanges with the other Sisters in Montreal. I was with Sister Hoffmann (aka my trainer) again and it was just like old times. And I swear, it must be something about us being together, but the craziest experiences always happen to us. We were confronted by several different people in the city, all of who were almost hostile towards the church (or any organized religion for that matter), and it continued into conversations about they thought we were crazy. But I swear, I have never felt more sane, more stable, or more sure in my life, than those times where I was defending my faith and what we teach as missionaries. Truly the Lord does fulfill His promise when He says "lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men" (D&C 100:5). Neither Sister Hoffmann or I were confounded before the people who were trying to tear down our faith. 

Time after time, this week and weeks that have past, Heavenly Father has truly shown to me that He is a "God of miracles" (Mormon 9: 9-37 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/morm/9?lang=eng). And these miracles have come to pass in many different and unexpected ways. And they happen every day! I am so grateful that God does perform miracles in our lives, and for the fact that I do know that He is there. That He is our Heavenly Father and that He does love us. Lets not make the mistake of limiting God and telling ourselves that He can't work miracles within our lives. That just results in denied blessings and missed opportunities. Instead, lets have the faith it takes to make those miracles possible. Because we know, "For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith" (Ether 12: 12 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/ether/12?lang=eng).

Have a faith-filled week and watch the miracles unfold,

Sister Thomas
Last Saturday Canada weather went psycho and DUMPED rain on us. 
This is a picture taken after we had just run to our car from an appointment. 

 hehe, me and Sister Morgan wanted to buy matching night gowns and founds these raccoon ones at Walmart. We tried them on first to make sure they fit. But don't worry, we bought them!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Time and Prayers

August 8th


Sisters temple trip with my trainer Sister Hoffmann!

Another great week in Kirkland! The work is continuing here, and we are just here to be helpers in it. One thing I've learned this week is just that I'm the messenger of the truth. We can't force anyone or push annoying into accepting our message, nor do we want to, but all we do as missionaries is just lay it out in front of them and invite them to partake in the blessings it brings. And when people do choose to partake, to pray, to read, to change ultimately, I can honestly say that it is the happiest process I've ever seen unfold.

ahhhh so much love for our Sister Training Leaders
So that process is what we have to keep in mind when, we as missionaries, are rejected or shrugged off, because when we can remember what CAN happen it helps us keep our eyes focused on what is ahead of us, of the potential of the people around us, and the blessings the gospel WILL bring into lives of these people.

Our investigators are doing well. Progressing and reaping the rewards that come from feeling the spirit more abundantly in their lives. Sister Morgan and I are doing well and we are excited for this coming week and the potential it brings. I would like to ask, if I can ask, that you pray for us and our investigators. Pray that we can find people to teach, people that will receive us and the gospel, and pray for our investigators so that they can have the courage and faith to continue on in learning the gospel of Jesus Christ. We feel your prayers already, but we have seen the blessings that can come from specific prayers. They are powerful. Specific prayers can bring specific blessings. I know that to be true. 

World, meet baby Great :) featuring Awesome.

I've also thought a lot about time this week. Last week I hit 6 months as a missionary. And at the same time I hit two years since I had left for Basic Training. What a remarkable thing it is to look back at what's happened over the course of two years and the growth and the different experiences I've been able to have. Each experience has changed me and shaped me into what I know the Lord whats me to become. It reminds me of that scripture in Isaiah, 

"But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." (Isaiah 64:8)

He is the Master Potter, and through our experiences, He is changing us and molding us into what He wants us to become. And I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for time and the consequences that come from it.

That's all this week, hopefully next weeks email will be more dynamic (and hey that should come with the help of your prayers), but know that I'm grateful for blessings that come from being a missionary and the support I have from friends and family. 

Sister Thomas

And the Work Continues

August 1st

Helllloooooo everyone,

 A cute Chinese couple that we contacted and gave a Chinese book of Mormon to.
 We asked if they could take a picture of us at the pier, 
but then they wanted one with them too. Ohhhhh I love them.
This week was so wonderful. I know I say that every week, and I know that some weeks have been harder than others, but every time Monday rolls around and I come to email, all the cruddy things that may have happened during the week are forgotten and all I can remember are the miracles and the happy things. So yes, another successful week. 

Sister Morgan is adjusting well to the mission! She officially completed her first week in the field, and she's still smiling, so things must be going okay. Sometimes I forget that she's so new to everything, and that I have to explain everything, even the little things like how they sell gas here or how milk, for whatever reason, is sold in bags. I just got used to Sister Zobrist and I being on the same page with everything, so training is just a little different. But she's learning and so am I. 

We helped Bridget a lot this week (the pregnant Nigerian) with setting up her house and cleaning for the baby. I'm so stinking excited to meet this child. She went to the hospital yesterday so he should be here sometime soon. I've only ever known Bridget as pregnant so that'll be a weird transition. And then on Saturday the ward threw her a baby shower and it was the cutest thing. The women here really take care of her. They took care of everything! The crib, the clothes, the stroller, diapers, wipes, and a baby bath, readily supplied and freely given by people who genuinely care for her. And Bridget is just so overwhelmed with gratitude. Man, she is a special women. She showed up to her baby shower looking like a Nigerian Princess. She was so beautiful. Even at 9 months pregnant she was wearing a beautiful gown and fabulous make up. She's my favorite.

the FABULOUS BRIDGET at her baby shower. OH man, she is the Queen. 
A Pregnant Nigerian Goddess.

We also had not one but TWO investigators come to church! I about died. James came and all of Sacrament meeting was about how we can grow our testimonies, and it was everything he needed to hear and more. He's making great progress. And then we picked up another investigator this week. His name is Salman and he's from Pakistan (so he speaks like 5 languages) and he is AMAZING. He grew up Catholic in Pakistan and was super persecuted for being a Christian (which is a real problem there). But he found the Church when he moved to downtown Montreal and the missionaries started teaching him, but then he moved to the West Island then he called US and we've been teaching him since. And he's come to church twice now, and the ward loves him, and he is just smitten with the people in the ward. He always talks about how nice they are and how good of an atmosphere it is. Then we taught him the restoration this morning and he was very attentive the whole time, and he had a lot of questions, but he said that he would pray and ask God if what we taught was true. So send prayers his way people, because he is something special. 

I've also learned a lot about prayer this past week, as we've explained it to people we've contacted on the street and as we've explained it within the walls of peoples homes, I've realized it is such a special thing. It's so tender to express the fact that we can talk with the Divine Creator of all things, and that He does listen to our prayers and hear the pleadings of our hearts. And it's all because He loves us. The Maker of us all actually knows each of us individually. And He wants us to talk to Him! The Father of our spirits is much like our earthly father, in the fact that He loves us and wants to communicate with us. To see how we're doing, to have us ask for advice, so that He can help us and guide us along the way. And as I've prayed to Him more sincerely, I've felt Him comfort me and guide me, and I truly do feel closer to Him. And that's because I am. It's because I was making the time to talk with Him, to listen to His promptings, and then to do what He wanted and needed me to. Prayer really is so special. So please, don't forget to pray. 

And, of course, a lot of other things happened this week, as they usually do, but time won't permit me to explain everything, but I promise a lot of great stuff is happening here in Kirkland, and I'm excited that I get to be here for it, especially with Sister Morgan. 

But have a beautiful, wonderful week. I love and pray for you all,

Sister Thomas
 A scary sign we found this past week. 
It translates to something like "pay attention to our children, it could be yours," 
and that may not be super weird, 
but it's really the picture of the mutilated child that's disturbing.

New Compainions, Training, and Faith

July 25th


On Wednesday I picked up my new companion and welcomed her to the mission field! Her name is Sister Morgan, and she grew up in Oregon (Salem), and then moved to Eagle Mountain, Utah, so like me she has two homes. She learned Spanish growing up and was actually called to serve in Spanish, but learned French in the MTC, and now she's in an English area, so that's fun for her. The members already love her, and so do I. I'm looking forward to spend this next 3 months with her to show her the ropes of missionary life!

Me and Sister Morgan pointing to our area :)

James is still doing great. He said a few prayers after lessons with us this past week, and it's been really cool to see his progression. He is getting more and more comfortable talking to his Father in Heaven, and his prayers are more and more meaningful. He has some problems understanding the Book of Mormon, but we are working on that with him by reading it with him and explaining some of the things that are happening. We are also reading passages in the Book of Mormon as we are teaching him the lessons to help give him good experiences as he reads and learns the principles of the gospel. So keep praying for him, because the prayers have obviously worked so far.

We also taught Denise this week, which was all in French, and that was interesting to say the least, because my French is still soooo bad, and Sister Morgan's is still so new, but Denise was so patient with us. It was fine displaying the doctrine, the only hard part for me was actually being able to answer the questions she would ask. But it'll get better, and Sister Morgan and I will both improve. We have the faith to make it happen. 

This week I've also learned a lot about following the Spirit and acting on the promptings. Before, Sister Zobrist was always so intuned to the Spirit, so I would always look to her when we needed direction on where to go or what to do. And now, that I'm here with a new missionary, she is looking to me to figure out what to do. So this week I've been doing my best to listen for promptings and then acting upon them. For example, there is a family that is moving out of the ward in the next few weeks, and one time at church they expressed that they might need help packing. Then on Friday, while we had other things planned, I kept feeling that we should go see this family. So we dropped in, unannounced (a typical missionary thing to do) and ask the wife what we could do to help them. She put us right to work and we were able to get almost a whole room packed away, and we really helped them start the actual packing process. They kept expressing how grateful they were to us and how we had come "at the perfect time" and that was a huge testimony to me that that was the place we were supposed to be at that time to help them. Several other similar experiences happened, where we visited people we hadn't planned, called people we hadn't thought to call, or walked where we hand't been before, and amazing things were the result. I know that if we follow those little promptings, or nudges, by the Spirit, we can really align our will with Heavenly Fathers, and we can truly make miracles happen. 

I pray that we can all listen a little better to what God may be telling us, because it really could be a direct answer to someones prayers. You could literally be saving someone.

Have a great week, and know that someone in Canada loves you, 

Sister Thomas
 The essential first picture with the mission president and his wife. 
President and Sister Phillips are seriously the best! 
We love them sooooo much.

Week 24

July 18th

Hello Friends and Family!

Another beautiful, hot, week in Canada. 


This week we contacted, met with members and less actives, and taught lessons to investigators, therefore, making it another successful week. 

We had a really cool experience teaching from The Book of Mormon to a part-member family. We had the objective of teaching them the Gospel of Jesus Christ that being, faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Concepts that we'd talked about before, but this time we wanted to have a formal lesson on. And what better way to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ than by using the scriptures, which we believe to be the words of God. So we read 2 Nephi Chapter 31 (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/31?lang=eng)  together. It was powerful. And then their 10 year old daughter had a question about faith, so we answered it by having her read Alma 32: 21-28 (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32?lang=eng). And it had answered her question perfectly. It was a beautiful experience teaching and reading out of The Book of Mormon with a family. Because our goal as missionaries is to help bring families together, and there is no better way to do that than by reading The Book of Mormon. Prophets for decades have promised that by reading of it's pages we will be strengthened and sustained in every sphere of our lives. I know that to be true. I know that The Book of Mormon is true. I have been blessed by reading and abiding by its precepts. It's such a special book. Please read it. Everyday. "Et puis" (And then in French) watch the blessings flow. 

 Just trying to gather the wheat from amidst the tares (hehe scripture reference)
Update on our investigators:
James: Is doing great! Still reading The Book of Mormon and praying. We are seeing him again tonight, so pray for him!
Denise: She's doing great. We are going to start teaching her family and we are so excited. 

We also go our transfer calls this week. I will be staying here in Kirkland, my first and only area so far, and Sister Zobrist will be leaving to Ottawa this Wednesday. We will be super sad to be separated after only 6 weeks together, but these past weeks have been a huge blessing to us and I'm forever grateful that the Lord allowed us to be companions. She's so wonderful. But I will be receiving a new missionary, and I don't know her name yet, but I will tell you all next week! I'm super excited to show her around Kirkland and just help to love the heck of these people. 

And because Sister Zobrist is leaving, we went and stopped by some of our members houses yesterday, so she could say goodbye. She said goodbye to Bridget, a member who we love so dearly, and we both bore testimony of the Church and its truthfulness, and then Bridget opened up to us about how much we'd helped her in just the past 6 weeks. She told us all of the ripple effects of all the things we'd done with her. We laughed together, and cried together as she told us how grateful she was for us. Never before had I been so humbled and full of love as I had been at that moment. We had no idea the magnitude we'd had on her life in just that short time. And just seeing at least a little bit of the fruits of our labors was so inspiring to Sister Zobrist and I. We were so grateful that we had gotten to serve this women, and obviously I will continue to serve her as long as I'm here in Kirkland, but long story short, you NEVER know how much good you do. You never know the ripple effects you have on people's lives. WE are one of the ways Heavenly Father administers His blessings to His children. WE are HIS hands. So please, don't ever be discouraged when you don't think you've done enough to help, because you've probably done more than you'll ever know. But also, never be afraid to give more. To help more. To comfort more. To love more. Because people definitely need it. And God needs you to do it. So give freely, and love will freely come to you. 
 Bridget and Jesse, loves of my life

AH okay, I'll get off my soapbox, but really I'm so happy doing the Lord's work here. Nothing has been a greater blessing to me. 

I love and pray for you all,

Sister Thomas

Scripture of the week:
1 Nephi 4:6-7
"And I was led by the spirit not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless, I went forth..."

 An Elder finished his mission in Kirkland, so we made him a strawberry-rhubarb pie. 
Oh my gosh, pretty sure I should be a baker now because it was
  SO GOOOOOOOOD. and it's beautiful and artsy,
 so here's a picture

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Promising Blessings!

July 11th

Hellloooooo world,

Wowowowow, what a week. We, again, spent a lot of time contacting, but didn't have the mass amounts of success as we did last week. And I think that just goes to show that everything that happened last week, was truly a miracle from the Lord. But it was successful in a lot of different ways. We visited a lot of our members, and helped them cultivate a greater vision for missionary work within their own homes and that was cool. 

And yesterday we decided to go contacting in this park we've visited a few times before, it's beautiful and it's right on the water, so usually there's a lot of people who are walking through. And in previous times, we've went and walked around and have run into people from literally all over the world, and then after talking to them, finding out their first language (then realizing that we had a copy of the Book of Mormon in their language in the car), we'd tell them we'd be right back and run back to the car and get them a Book of Mormon. This process happened severally times for a few different languages. So last night, we decided we'd be prepared and so put in our bags and carried in our arms about 15 or so copies of the Book of Mormon. In an assortment of languages. We had several French and English, but then we brought Arabic, and Farsi (which we've given out quite a few of recently), Romanian, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Creole. And then we walked around for about an hour and half and tried to give these sacred books of scripture to people. And we even met a few Arabs and a Chinese lady, but they didn't want a copy of The Book of Mormon. So by the end we still had almost all of our copies and our shoulders and our arms tired, and we were a little bummed, but we knew the Lord would provide us with a miracle that day if we had sufficient faith.

Which leads me to the miracle of the week. James. James is a young man who is a young man who is the nephew of one of our members. We visit his aunt once a week on Sunday evenings and we read scriptures and watch conference talks with her. And we would invite him to come join us, but he never wanted to. Then last week, we went over a watched the new Children's Bible Videos the church has released, and we invited James to watch them with us and he said yes! He watched all of them with us and he said he really liked them. But then we had to leave to make curfew, so we gave him a Book of Mormon told him we'd be back next week to talk more. Sooooo, finally we get to last night and we get to the house and no one is home. We call our member and she tells us to wait, so we do, and finally like 15 minutes later they show up. And I start talking to James about the book, and he said that's actually started reading it. Then we started talking about prayer, and he said he felt like he couldn't pray, mostly because he didn't feel like he was able to actually talk to God after some decisions and the way his life has turned out. But then we taught him about repentance. We taught him about how God will always forgive us, because He has and will always love us. He said that he's kept a lot of anger in his heart, and that he didn't like it. We promised him that that anger could go away. That Christ could heal him and that he would be able to be let it go. He said that he felt like he wanted to give up sometimes, but I promised him that it didn't have to be that way. I promised him the Gospel of Jesus Christ could, and would, help him. Before we left he offered a prayer, asking for forgiveness from God, the spirit was so strong as he offered his simple but fervent prayer, angels might as well have been there. It was a beautiful lessons filled with heart-felt pleadings for help coupled with heart-felt pleadings of promise. We are meeting again with him and his aunt tonight, to talk about the Restoration and The Book of Mormon. So please keep James in your prayers.  

With our new best friend Laurie (she's Jewish) 
We stopped by her pizza shop right before Zone Meeting and had this amazing pizza 
and she told us that we could come back so we love her.

And that is the miracle I have to report to this week. It was a good week, we didn't get to teach many lessons though, because no one wants to schedule a time with us, but we are optimistic for next week.

Speeeeeaking of next week, it'll be the last week of the transfer for me and dear ol' Sister Zobrist. Can't believe six weeks has actually gone by already. We will get our calls on Saturday night to see if we will be staying in Kirkland or leaving the area. So that will be exciting.

Hope everyone has a beautiful and safe week!
Remember that God loves you! 

Sister Thomas

"But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."
Mosiah 7: 33

Children's Bible Videos
 We saw this and our hope was reassured that at least some people in Quebec
 are still aware of the commandments. hehe