Monday, November 28, 2016

Gratitude for the Good Shepherd

November 28th

Hi everyone!
We`re back at the Library today, so here goes to another email of weird apostraphes (`) and probably incorrect grammar/spelling! But, it`s okay.
This week was wonderful, lots of changes and great expériences. My new companion is Sister Dinge, who like I said last week is from France, and she is spectacular. She is SO good at contacting everyone around and always sharing the gospel with them, and I`m so excited to get to learn from her these next few weeks, which includes her helping me improve my French! She speaks fantastic English and is able to help me know how express myself in French. I`ve been able to practice telling stories, learn more vocabulary, and learn more about French grammar. Such a big blessing!
This week we got to teach the seminary class (an every day out of school class for 14-18 year olds where they study the scriptures, and this year they are studying the New Testament) in our ward to some amazing youth. We taught about the 3 parables found in Luke 15 ( and it was amazing to hear the youth's responses and their thoughts about the scriptures. The rising generation is truly remarkable. And then we got another treat just yesterday in Church when the little kids presented their primary program. There was a pretty large group of them and it was so precious to hear them sing songs about Jesus and then hear some of them give little talks about simple principles they learned throughout the year. And it was all in French, which makes them even cuter. I was basically crying the whole time it was so touching. Nothing is sweeter than hearing a child teach about faith, or about how they feel when they are praying, or how following the prophet has blessed them. They basically taught the whole restoration of the Gospel, which was perfect because we had an investigator that was attending Church for the first time, and she loved it. It is no wonder in the scriptures Jesus tells us «Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.» (
Those expériences directly relate to the gratitude I felt this last week. Here in Canada, they already celebrated Thanksgiving, so we didn`t get to celebrate and we definitely didn`t get to have turkey comas, that`ll just have to wait for next year, but we did have some time to reflect and ponder about all the miraculous blessings Heavenly Father has given us. Those children are a blessing, teaching people about the gospel is a blessing, serving the Lord is a blessing, but most of all, being able to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ and improve and change everyday is a blessing. As I sat pondering I was looking at a picture of Jesus Christ holding a lamb (here is the link for the picture and I was reminded of how individual our relationship is with the Savior. No matter where we are in our lives, even if we`ve left the knowledge we once knew, or have never had the chance to know about the gospel, no matter how dark and troubled our world maybe, due to our circumstances or the circumstances of others, Christ comes to us and only He can pick us up, relieve our burdens, and carry us back to our Heavenly home. I looked at the face of the lamb in the picture, and I saw that it was calm and content, and I knew that that is how we all can feel as we let Christ come into our lives, by metaphorically opening the door, and letting Him help.
I`ll finish with a scripture that perfectly describes what exactly Christ did for us, and how perfect the timing with Christmas approaching, for us to truly remember our Savior during this time of year.
Alma, a prophet, in the Book of Mormon prophesied of Christ saying,
10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
 13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

That is true. I love the scriptures and what they can teach us about Christ. 

Also! Watch the AMAZING video the Church just released for Christmas, we`ve been sharing with people, and they`re loving it. (ìt`s only 2 minutes and 37 seconds, I think you have time and if it doesn`t work the first time, just refresh the page)

Have a beautiful week and remember the Savior,

Sister Thomas

sorry no pictures this week, we`ve been too busy working! we might have time next week!

«et conserverez toujours le pardon de vos péchés»

November 21st

Hi friends and family!

Winter is officially here in Montreal. It snowed last night and it's snowed all day today as well. It's beautiful, the whole city covered in white. It's like a little fairytale, until you walk outside and the wind nearly blows you over. BUT, all is well and I am still loving the city.

Guillermo's baptism!!!!

This week Guillermo was baptised! (he's the one that called me the spiritual gangster) and it was sooooo awesome. We saw him almost every day the week beforehand and taught and shared little principles. It really grew my faith as I saw him accept the gospel and as I watched him change his life. He first met missionaries in June of this past year, and he met with them and they starting teaching him and he started reading the Book of Mormon. But when I met him back in October he wasn't really progressing and our lessons with him were kind of repetitive as we told him about how the gospel could help him. But, finally, at the very end of October, while I was on exchanges with another Sister, we got serious with him and talk about him being baptised. He'd read a lot in the Book of Mormon by that time, he knew it was true, he'd been to church a handful of times, he loved the church services, all he needed was just a little push. So we pushed him a little, and helped him see how much he already did now, and how ready he was for the next step, that being baptism. So we committed him to be baptised that day and he was so excited. So after then we worked with him and taught him and helped him grow his testimony.
 awhhh so much love

Then last Saturday he was baptised, by Brother Melcançon, who really took him under his wing these past few weeks. It was a beautiful service as I and Sister Torres offered talks on baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (first talk in French check), and Guillermo himself talked about his spiritual journey toward the truth. We all got a little teary-eyed. 
 Dinner last night at the Melançon's with Guillermo. These members are too good!

Other than that, this week was super busy. We taught more lessons this week, with members and without, than we have in awhile. And I fully believe it was because we really showed the Lord how much we wanted to work by talking with everyone that was around us, keeping the lessons we did teach short, but filled with love and looking for ways to help these people to keep their commitments. 

Also, this coming week I'll be receiving a new companion because Sister Torres will be moving to Quebec City for the last three weeks of her mission! Why? We aren't sure, but, Sister Dinge (who's from France and I love her so much) will be coming here and she'll be a Sister Training Leader with me! Ohhhh I'm so excited. 

Things are looking up here in Montreal, even if the temperature is dropping. So happy to be here.
so in Canada they have black squirrels,
 and this week we discovered that they don't like oatmeal cookies. 
little snobs.
 to continue the rodent theme, here's a picture from a few weeks ago, with one of the members of the ward. She looooves rats and has a bunch of them at her house. One of the rats just had babies and she was showing them to us, and then we decided to name one of the rats (the one I'm holding) Thomas! There ya go everyone, my legacy with live long in Montreal (while as long as the rat lives). Oh also, the one that's holding, she named him Jesus. Because he's pure white. Cute.

Have a beautiful week,
Sister Thomas

Sister Abellard! My love. She's so cute. 
Sometimes (well a lot of the time) she speaks Creole to us
 and we have no idea what's she's saying. 
She's a favorite.

Mosiah 4: 9-12
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
 10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
 11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
 12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

Becoming Completely Sacred

November 14th

Bonjour mes amis!

This week was so special and filled with so many blessings. The mission had a visit from a member of the Seventy, a general authority, or leader of the Church, named Elder Bennett. Elder Bennett and His wife came and visited different areas in the mission and taught us about a lot of things. He helped us see what we needed to do, as a mission, and as individuals, to really improve and help the work of the Lord move along here in Montreal. He told of us of things we needed to change, such as our attitudes, our teaching techniques and our overall commitment to serving the Lord.

He spoke a lot about consecration, a word that isn't used very much in every day language, but a word that he promised could change our whole eternity. The prefix con meaning "with" or "thoroughly" and the Latin noun sacer, meaning "sacred" tells us that consecration, or being consecrated means making something completely sacred. And Elder Bennett taught us a lot about how we can make our time here as missionaries, and our lives after, completely consecrated to the Lord. 

He spoke of serving a "consecrated mission" meaning that missionaries give all their heart, might, mind, and strength to doing the Lord's will, every second of every day. He reminded us of how that means using every second to help fulfill our purpose. He reminded us of our purpose as missionaries, which is to: Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And how that purpose should be running through our minds as we do everything we do. 

And I think that's something I want to really work on, to really make my mission, my time here, more consecrated to the Lord, more holy and more sacred. Understanding the importance of missionary work, and the urgency that is behind it. To not have fear in talking with people, but to be lovingly bold in helping them come unto, and understand, their Savior. That's what I want to be focusing on, for the next 9 months at least, and then ultimately for the rest of my life. 

Now there was so much that happened in this week, so many miracles that came from just making the small adjustments that Elder Bennett taught us, and I can't wait to see what other miracles the Lord has in store for His missionaries here in Montreal. Big things are ahead of us. 

We have one investigator who will be baptized this coming weekend, Guillermo. We are super excited for him, and more information on that will be next week. Pray for these people!

Here's a picture of our Zone (or group of missionaries, grouped together by area)
 and Elder and Sister Bennett in the middle, 
and to their right our cute Mission President and his Wife. 
They're the best.

Love you all!
Sister Thomas

¿month 9? WHAT

November 7th

bonjour mes chers amis!!!

What a fun week here in good ol` Canada. (and yes I am aware of the élections this coming week, EVERYONE talks about them here, and as soon as I tell them I`m America ohhh man they`re ready to talk my ear off, but then I kindly say that I have no opinon - because we can`t voice our political opinions as missionaries - and then they continue to talk about their own opinion, sometimes rather loudly, its fun)

 (don`t worry I wont get toooo fat here, we run around from bus to metro, 
so I`m getting my exercise)
 street art in real life (my favorite picture of all time, ever. I love Sister Johnson)

We found a few new investigators, thanks to some other missionary teams on the island of Montréal, and we had some amazing lessons!

First, I want to talk about Panh. He`s from Ivory Coast (btw, Africa is my new favorite continent, THEY`RE READY FOR THE GOSPEL) and we took a member with us and we planned to talk about the Book of Mormon. On the metro ride there I was ready in my French bible and I thought about the verse every missionary knows in John 10: 16:
      And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.

And as I pondered that on the busy and loud metro my mind turned to the scripture in the Book of Mormon, 3 Néphi 15: 21 where Jesus Himself declares who His other sheep are, 
       And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd.

These two scriptures provide the perfect link from the Bible to the Book of Mormon. These two scriptures prove that these two Holy books stem from the same God and are meant to have the same purpose, to turn us closer to Jesus Christ. The one being the testamant given by the people who lived in Jérusalem, and other parts of the middle east, and the other being the testimony given by those who inhabited the Americas at the same time, two records born and engraven for our benefit in these days, to give us a source of consolation and comfort. I am so grateful for them. And it was perfect as we explained this principle to Panh. He loved it. He was raised Catholic and was familiar with the Bible, and when we made the link between the two he was immediately interested in the Book of Mormon and what it contained. We read some of the Introduction ( together and helped him understand why the Book of Mormon is important. We bore sincere testimony of the Book of Mormon, and of it`s divinity, and it was beautiful as the spirit filled the room and touched our hearts. AHH I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY

some of our favorite sisters <333

Okay, and then we found another great investigator, thanks to other missionaries (who proselyte in Spanish) being in the right time at the right place, opening their mouths, named Jose. Who is also from Ivory Coast (aka my favorite place). He`s wonderful. We taught the message of the restoration and he accepted all of it. And he said it was because he knew we spoke the truth. He said he knew he could trust us because of our countenance, our demeanor, the way we acted and spoke, it all resonated to him as evidence of the truthfulness of our message. That was cool. He too was also very excited to read the Book of Mormon and ponder it`s message for himself.  PRAY FOR THESE PEOPLE.

And okay, lastly, our investigator Amadou is doing soooo good! He should be baptized soon, and he`s really growing his testimony. We attended a baptism with him this last Saturday for the English ward in the city and he really liked it. Afterwards he said that he «felt something deep Inside» that he was «touched» by watching another person make sacred promises to God. Sister Torres and I are soo optimistic for his future. After the baptism was over we went to eat with him at this African restaurant where he ordered us a dish called tchap (pronounced chap) and it was really good. Lots of rice. and fish (I think). And we got this ginger drink and it was SO SPICY. He kept saying it was «bon pour votre santé» (good for your health). So know that I`m staying good and healthy here in Montréal.

my African feast!

happy hearts and happy stomachs

This week really was good. Difficult at times, but really a week that caused us to grow and to stretch and to reevaluate how we can become better. And I`m so grateful for that. That Heavenly Father has given me this time to really grow into the person, and missionary, who He wants me to be. chaque jour, je suis tellement reconnaissante d'être ici. L`eglise est vrai, je le sais sans doute.

à la semaine prochaine!
Last Thursday after a meeting with some other missionaries I got a package from Debbie!!!!! 
Thank you so much! 
And it was so fitting and perfect because last Thursday was my 9 month mark as a missionary!!! AHHHHH half way done 😭😭😭
 look Debbie everything is perfect!!!!! I was so happy :):):)
Je vous aime,

Sœur Thomas

goblins, ghouls, and gangsters

October 31st
I love Sister Torres!!
what a beautiful week in Montréal. We`ve had lots of great lessons this past week and, as usual we`ve seen soooo many miracles.

we went on a few exchanges this week with the other sisters in the area, and I love to see how much I can learn from them. One of them taught me of the importance of keeping a study journal. Obviously I have a journal to write my personal thoughts and feelings of what happens each day, but I hadn`t really been using a journal to record what I was learning in my studies each morning. She showed me hers, and how she used it, and how it helped her, and I`ve been using one since and I can say, it really does help. When we record the things we learn and the thoughts and impressions that the Spirit gives us, it shows Heavenly Father that we care about what He`s teaching us and that we want to remember it.  
 here is a picture of my facial expressions when I have to call people (IN FRENCH)
 who previous were learning about the Church and then stopped for whatever reason.
 It can be stressful but sometimes people are really happy to hear from missionaries again. 
We got a few appointments for the next week so we shall see how it pans out.

We had a really good lesson with one of our progressing investigators this week. He`s met with missionaries for awhile (I haven`t talked about him before) and he knows this is a good path for him. He`s been reading the Book of Mormon a lot. He was in Mosiah 2 the last time we talked with him (!), all he needed was a little push. So, while on exchanges with a different Sister we talked with him about the Book of Mormon and what it can do for us. I asked him if he had prayed specifically about the Book of Mormon, and if it was true or not, he said no, we then testified of how important it is to ask God when we have questions, or when we are making décisions in our lives. I told him how I received an answer about the Book of Mormon and then he stares right in my eyes and says, (in English) «Sister Thomas, you`re a spiritual gangster.» Me and Sister Bradley had a hard time not laughing because it was just so out of the blue. He went on talking about how gangsters were cool (kinda) but powerful in what they talked about, and I guess that was how he saw me and my companion in that moment. So let us all be spiritual gangsters and powerfully spread the truth, as a gangster would.

me and sister Bradley on exchanges, with our little Québec poppy pins. sooo cute

Funny story,
On that same exchange with Sister Bradley we went to visit a family in the ward, who I`d never visited before, so I was excited to get to know them and talk with them. When we arrived we were greeted by THIS HUGE FEAST OF HAITIAN FOOD (which I`ve eaten like 4 nights in a row because there`s so many haitians in this ward, i love it). It was like 3 in the afternoon and neither of us were really hunger but the mom comes and says (in French) «EAT EAT EAT!!!!» so, being obedient and slightly scared, we start eating. And every time we were almost done with our plate of food she would say «no noooo, sœur thomas, il faut de manger, il faut de manger!» meaning nooooo you MUST eat. So. we kept eating. we ate for a long time. and she had already eaten so she was just staring at us as we ate, and her family came in and out of the kitchen and we chatted with them, and then she would say «I spent all day cooking this, and I`m sick, so you have to eat my food!!!» ahhhh! It was quite the experience. But finally, she mericifully let us stop and we shared a spiritual thought, and then I had a hard time moving because I was so full. But eventually we made it out of the house and me and Sister Bradley felt like we just walked out of a war zone. We were sing «all is well... all is well..» then we walked off the food as we tried to find the bus to pick us up. Ìt all works out somehow.

Guess what!
We had a lesson with Christian (the one we found because of my wet socks and his mexican music) and he is SO AWESOME. We brought a member of the spanish ward and we had a lesson in spanish, with again me piping in with French, and man he was sooooo cool. He has been looking for answers for a long time, and as we testified it was awesome to let him know that God has given us answers, that He doesn`t want us to be confused, and that He loves us. We are going to see Christian again on Thursday and we are soooo excited.

Okay that`s it for today,
hope everyone has a safe and fun halloween! (and noooo missionaries don`t get to wear disguises, but me and Sister Torres decided to switch our name tags, so that`s almost the same thing)

the ward halloween party!!!! 
 Frere Morin (the man in the wig) is seriously one of the funniest people ever. 
He danced (by himself) for about 5 minutes when no music was playing. 
He is the proof that Mormons know how to have a good time.

The pirate is my new favorite person ever. 
His French is sooooo Québecois (which means his accent is super thick) 
so sometimes I hardly understand him, but he`s so great!

 Some hispanic members, Aunt Jemima and some mummy. They`re cuuute
à la semaine prochaine!

Sœur Thomas

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

big city livin'

October 17th

Wowowow the week went fast. I can`t believe it`s already been one week in my new area!! Things are so exciting here. (FYI, I apologize in advance for this email, and my future emails, we are emailing at the Library and they have french keyboards here, so if spelling and punctuation may be way off, know that I`m not becoming illiterate, just that things are a little more complicated).
 Montréal is the most beautiful city EVER. the autumn here is nuts.
 Sister Morgan, my last companion, would count how many times in a day 
I would scream about the trees,
They`re soooooo pretty!
My new area is wonderful. I`m in the city and it`s so exciting and lively and full of potential.

My companion, Sister Torres is great. She`s about to finish her mission so I`m going to try to squeeze all the information out of her that I can. She`s from Nevada but her family is from Mexico, so she speaks fluent Spanish. Making her the 3rd spanish speaking companion I`ve had on my mission. You`d think I`d be fluent by now too, but alas, not yet. I`m still Learning how to pray in spanish though! And that`s fun. 
 here`s a picture of me and sister Torres, taken literally 5 minutes ago. I already love her lots.

French is going great. It felt like a really natural transition. My time in my English area was up, and now Heavenly Father is helping me improve my French. What a blessing! We`ve had a lot of really good lessons this week, both with members and non-members, and it`s been such a testimony building experience as I`ve watched Heavenly Father give me the words to say to these people, whether it was talking and testifying about the Book of Mormon, or whether it was challenging someone to quit smoking and drinking, Heavenly Father helped me and gave me the ability to speak to his children.

My new ward is wonderful. The majority of the members are Africans or Haitians and they`re all so amazing. Such strong testimonies. I can`t wait to learn more from them. We had a potluck yesterday after Church and it was a perfect time for me to get to know some of the members. I think that`s one of my favorite things to do as a missionary, to get to know the members Ì`m serving with. They all have such different lives and backgrounds, but the gospel of Jesus Christ brings us all together.

We teach this family that moved here from Korea and the dad made us some DELICIOUS korean noodles. 
Best asian food I`ve had thus far on my mission. 
This is the cute mom, Sister Yun. (we are helping her learn English, 
but her kids speak french) she`s already a favorite

I`ll just share one experience quickly, again with some people from Iran. We were taking the Metro to Church yesterday and I sat next to this mother and her daughter. I started talking to them and I learned that had moved here from Iran within the last few years. I told them the one Iranian phrase I knew, d'où stat durham, which is I love you, and they were so excited about it. I asked them to teach me a few more phrases, things like, hello, how are you, I`m Sister Thomas, etc. And they wrote down how to pronounce them for me as well. Then we parted our ways as I got off the metro, and then the next person I sat next to on the metro was also Iranian! His name was Ali, and he was super cool. I told him the phrases I had just learned, and he loved hearing a little bit of Farsi. We got his information and he said he`d be super willing to learn more about Jesus Christ. Every contact we`ve made this week has been super promising. There is soooo much work to be done in the city and I`m excited that I get to be apart of it!

Well everyone have a great week, talk to you next Monday!

Sister Thomas
 One more picture of the food!

Monday, November 7, 2016

J’irai où tu veux que je sois, Seigneur

October 11th


The members in Kirkland spoil us missionaries.

Yes, yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving, which is why I didn't get to email, and yes it was super fun, and yes we did have a beautiful feast (pictures to follow), and no it didn't really feel right because its still so early in the year for Thanksgiving. But hey, when in Canada, be Canadian, eh?

And lots of exciting changes will be taking place in the life of Sister Thomas as of tomorrow!

Tomorrow I will be transferring, after almost 8 full months in Kirkland, to Ville Marie! An area closer to downtown Montreal and I'll be taking care of the French speakers there (so yay, I'll finally learn French!). My companion will be Sister Torres and she'll be helping me figure out how to be a Sister Training Leader (details of that position to follow next week) which is just a fancy title for me getting opportunities to help the other Sister missionaries in my new area. 

So this weekend was full of a lot of goodbye tears and hugs and laughs. Kirkland truly become my home away from home, and these people have subsequently become my family. But, just as He has always done, Heavenly Father is giving me new opportunities to learn and to grow from new people and new situations. 
  One of theeeeee hardest goodbyes by far. BRIDGET, MY NIGERIAN PRINCESS.
 It's so funny to see who can work their way into your heart, and just make themselves at home.
 Bridget has my whole heart gosh dang it. It was so hard to say goodbye to her and Jesse and Great,
 (so the smiles are just to hide our tears) but now another missionary 
will get to experience their beautiful special spirits.

So this email won't be too exciting other than the exciting news I've already shared.

But, I do want to share an experience we had with our investigator (I bet you can guess who it is by now...), none other than the wonderful perfect, beautiful, Sabina. She's been doing really well. We finally got to teach her the second half of the Plan of Salvation, where we address what happens after we leave this mortal body. And it was so special as we shared with her how PERFECT God's plan for us is. How He is both so perfectly merciful and just, and about how He has prepared a place for all of His children. And how it is left up to us to decide, for ourselves, what we plan on doing with the information of His plan, and if we will do what it takes in this life to be able to live worthy with our Heavenly Father again. It was a fantastic lesson. Making the goodbyes we had to say yesterday even harder. But I assured her that the missionary who would be replacing me (her name is Sister Sully and I had met her a few times beforehand) would just be perfect for her and would be able to help her continue on in her spiritual journey. Sabina truly has been a blessing in my life. 
 Saying goodbye to the lovely Sabina and her cuuuuute family.

Please know that I'm doing great, and that I'm (still, as always) loving being a missionary. Heavenly Father has kept me safe and healthy, and I couldn't be more grateful for that. 

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sister Thomas

 A parting picture of Sister Morgan and I from the temple a few weeks ago.