Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teach the Children

bonjour mes amis!

Again, running short on time this week. Sorry for that, but this week has been AMAZING, like AMAZING AMAZING. We`ve started teaching 2 new families, both from the Congo, and have had the chance to find several more people who want to come closer to their Father in Heaven. Sister Dinge and I have been working a lot on our teaching skills and it`s been so good, to practice with her as we study in the morning, and pray for these people to find their concerns, and to really just do our best to make sure these people can undersand and accept the gospel. Teaching is definitely a learning process.

And some of our investigators came to church this week! 3 of the children of one of the families, and they loved it. The ward did so good at welcoming them and making them feel loved. We are excited to continue to teach them. Again, they`re from the Congo, and they speak French and Swahili and it`s been fun to learn some Swahili phrases. And we got to give them some pamphlets and a Book of Mormon in Swahili and the mom loved it! Everyone will hear (or read) about the gospel in their own native tongue.

We had a few lessons with Daniella this last week, remember the cutest 10 year old ever? Last night we were teaching her about our life here on earth and what we need to do, we showed her a book for children that goes over the New Testament stories with pictures and little summaries and she loved it. We taught her about Jesus` childhood and about when He was baptized. She didn`t understand baptism at first, but then we taught her simply and her face lit up when she understood. And for a second memories of when I was being taught by missionaries when I was young flooded back to my mind. I remembered the wonder and amazement I felt as I learned about God`s plan of happiness for us, and I remember longing to be in the Celestial kingdom, and to be with our Heavenly Father and Savior again. I saw myself in this cute, innocent 10 year old girl and the feelings of love and hope I had for her almost overwhelmed me. I also felt incredibly grateful for the two missionaries who taught me, one Elder from Sweden and another from Arizona (I think), as a child around the same age as Daniella. They were patient with me and they were kind and I remember how much I loved hearing about the gospel, even if I was a punk little 10 year old. I then felt the incredible love of the Savior and the deep gratitude I had for everything He has done for me. My life has changed a lot in those 10 years since I was being taught by the missionaries, and the only constant thing in my life has been the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I`m so grateful for that. That I was able to hear it, understand it, and accept it at such a young age, and how that decision has changed my eternity. And now I get to be here helping others change their eternities. Now I get to be here and help give children that same sense of belonging and undying hope that I felt. And those sweet experience surpass everything else. I`m so grateful for my mission.

This week truly has been full of miracles and tender mercies. And Sister Dinge and I are filled with gratitude and happiness and hope for the coming weeks ahead.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, rememeber to smile!

Sister Thomas

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hi Everyone!

January 9th

hi everyone!

Don`t have much time today, but this week was wonderful, we continued to find people who wanted to hear about the gospel in the most unexpected ways. Heavenly Father always blesses us with wonderful surprises :)

One of our new investigators is named Daniella. And she is probably one of the smartest 10 year olds I`ve ever met. Her grandmother and her mom are both members of the church, but they haven`t gone for a long time, but after gettting in contact we made an appointment to meet with the grandmother and Daniella was there as well! We`ve started teaching her about the Plan of Salvation and she`s just eating it up. She has amazing questions, and her comprehension for a 10 year old is something else. She is a miracle. So excited to continue teaching her.

And some of our other investigators came to church this week, and it was their first time ever attending one of our church services, but they loved it! It was a testimony meeting this Sunday so it was really cool for the investigators see and hear the beautiful testimonies of the members. I swear, these members are some of the most dedicated, faithful people I`ve ever met. I want to be like them when I grow up.

2 different members shared their expériences as each were prompted to give away a Book of Mormon for Christmas, and their stories were remarkable, it really reminded me of how one of God`s greatest gifts to us is His word, the Holy Scriptures. What a blessing it is to have them. I love them so much.

I hope everyone has a woooonderful week, remember how much I love you, but remember God loves you more :)

Sister Thomas 
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–6).

1) here`s a sneak peek of what weekly planning at a church building/eating lunch/freezing to death because the room isn`t being heated/having fun looks like.

annnnddd it turns out that`s the only thing we decided to take pictures of this week. We have to learn how to photographically capture the miracle-moments. We`ll work on that for next week

Monday, January 2, 2017

le nouvel an

January 2nd


 Happy new year! we had fun at the party, we stayed for 10 minutes. 
don't worry, we were in bed by 10:30.

WOW. 2017 is here. It's finally come. Even though Sister Dinge and I have been praying and asking God to slow down time, it has caught up to us. This year will bring with it a lot of changes, lots of things will be happening, within the coming days and months, and now our prayers have changed to asking Heavenly Father to help us keep up.

The week in between Christmas and New Years is a week of reflection. Of how the year was, and how the next year can be. And after a wonderful interview with my Mission President I know what I want to be focusing on this year. Peace. And the peace that can come into our lives from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to help myself find moments of peace, quietness and stillness, which is difficult in the busy city of Montreal, and even more difficult with the added business of being a missionary. Often times we get too caught up in things that are happening around us, too overwhelmed with the list of things that needs to be done, and I, myself, am guilty of those things, and sometimes those feelings can show on my face. Which is not the best circumstance for a missionary, who is a representative of Christ, who should always be letting the Light of Christ be shown in their countenance. So this year, while I still get to be a missionary, I want to focus on finding that peace, that stillness and tranquility, even in the busiest of times, and letting that be what will draw people to the gospel. 

I think my Mission President summed it up perfectly when he said, "there is a power in being centered in the peacefulness of the gospel." That is true. And that is my goal for this year, is to find that power, and to use that power to help my brothers and sisters to find the way to true and enduring happiness. 

And going along with the theme of a new year, this week included a lot of new people. We found several people who are interested in learning more about the gospel, and the best part is that some of them are families. Families that can grow together in their knowledge and their faith, and families that can support each other in the gospel. Families are so important and sooo special. And we get to start teaching some!!! 

In Haiti, there's a tradition where on New Years Day, they eat SOUP. 
Here's a picture of our soup party!

I hope you all had a wonderful week and that you've made meaningful goals for this new year. Make it the best year ever!!

Sister Thomas

 "Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me."
D&C 19: 23
 Doing service at a members home. 
Sister Dinge prefers that I take the selfies in this companionship.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

le Christ éclaire tout

December 26th
 While Christmas caroling one night, we found the Tree of Life!!!

happy boxing day everyone!! 🎁📦🗃

(it's like Canadian equivalent of Black Friday) I hope everyone had a beautiful and blessed Christmas. There is really no time of year that can compare with the wonderful spirit and feelings that accompany Christmas. This Christmas was very very special for Sister Dinge and I, et pour ça, nous sommes infiniment reconnaissante.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were spent in the best way possible, being diligently concerned for the well being of our brothers and sisters. We spent the holidays mostly in people homes, spending time with them, making crepes for them, eating amazing feasts with them, helping them wrap last minute presents, and lots and lots of singing. Pretty sure I know the Christmas songs better in French than English now. (and yes they are my favorite, French is way cuter than English) 

No Christmas in my life has compared to yesterday, and no Christmas in the future will be able to, so I've continually expressed gratitude to my Father in Heaven for Him blessing me with this amazing area, with my great companion, and for all the miracles He has given us this week.

Making crepes with my favorite Korean family!!

And I know all the blessings that have come to our companionship this week, all the happiness we have felt, has come from our Savior. As we have focused our studies on Him and His life this past week, we have felt ourselves growing closer to Him; and He really has been the light of this whole Christmas season. We sang a song in the choir in the ward, that I really think captures the essence of Christmas. The song is "Still, Still, Still" in English (and honestly have no idea how it goes in English) but in French it is "Paix, Paix, Paix" (paix, meaning peace). And in French there is one line where it says "le Christ éclaire tout" and for me, that has been my theme this Christmas. No matter what darkness we have around us, no matter what is happening in the world, we can know that Christ illuminates, or enlightens, all. 

Eating Christmas dinner with our recent convert family! 
AKA my favorite Congolese people ever!!! 
(Congolese = they're from the Congo, ie, AMAZING food!)

Jesus Christ can give us rest, peace, and eternal happiness. And there are is no better way to explain that by reading His own words when He told His disciples,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Have a beautiful week everyone, and Happy New Year!
Sister Thomas
People in Quebec are super festive. 
the best part is how Mickey and Minnie are scaring the snowmen, 
me and Sister Dinge have been reenacting that throughout the week.

 using the bus system is ALWAYS a party!


Venez tous, fidèles, Joyeuse nouvelle!

December 19th
Hi everyone and happy almost Christmas!!! 🎅💚❤⛄🌨

wow, another happy week, full of happy things.

finishing up an exchange with some of spanish sisters!!

I was thinking about what I should write in this email, and I thought to an experience that happened last week that I hadn`t shared, and I feel like I should share now,

it`s about our investigator Amadou, the one from Mali, who wants to build a giant Church there when he wins the lottery. The missionaires have been working with him for awhile, and he is so ready to be baptized, but he still has to work through somethings. But we had an incredible experience with him last week. One of his problems was accepting the principle of having a modern day prophet, he denied it. He readily accepts and loves Joseph Smith, but didn`t believe that Thomas S Monson was his rightful successor. We talked about it, but his heart just seemed hard. But he said he would pray and ask God, and continue reading in the Book of Mormon. So we went back later that week and he told us he had a dream.
And in the dream, he was in his home, and a missionary (an Elder who was serving in the ward) was there with him. The missionary was asking him questions, and he said «do you believe that Thomas S Monson is a prophet?» Amadou replied no. Then the missionary asked, «do you believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ?» and Amadou replied yes, absolutely. And then the missionary said, «Alors, il faut pour vous de croire.» which translates to, well, then it is necessary for you to believe. As Amadou recounted his dream, we were astonished. And we talked to Amadou about what it meant, but he still didn`t want to accept the principle, even after his dream. So we continued to talk about it, to teach, and to testify. And we helped him understand that it was an answer to his prayers, and we told him that as missionaries, we are représentatives of the Savior, and once he understood that concept, he realized his dream was as if Christ Him-self was actually talking with him.
Then, continuing into the weekend, the Elder`s (the male missionaries) went over and visited him a few days later. And they asked him the same questions, about if he believe in our modern-day prophet. And Amadou said, «oui, maintenant je comprend.» meaning, yes, now, I understand.

We saw his heart change, in just a matter of a week, we saw him understand doctrine. And he is moving closer to baptism, he is moving closer to Jesus Christ. And we get to see that. We saw him this last week, and read in the Book of Mormon with him, and unintentionally on our part, the things we read directly applied to him and his circumstance. It was a Spirit-filled lesson.

I know the Book of Mormon is true, I`ve received witness after witness and I cannot deny it. I know that we have a prophet today, and it is because God loves us, and He wants to give us guidance in these days and in our times, as difficult as they are. And I`m so grateful for that. The truth is restored, and Christ is our Savior, and we get to celebrate Him and His birth in just 6 days.

And yes, I am far from home this Christmas, and yes that can be sad, but I am so happy here, because my heart is here, and it is with these people. And if one Christmas away from home is the price I`d pay to bring people expériences like Amadou`s, then I`d do it every Christmas. (but I won`t, mom, don`t worry, I`m coming home next year)

joyeux noël mes amis,

je vous aime,

Sœur Thomas
After being seperated, only for a few months, I was reunited with my best friend. Olive Arbuckle, aka the most beautiful women in the world. We became best friends in my last area, and it was sooo hard to say goodbye. But we were tenderly reunited this last week at a Christmas concert. happy hearts, knit together!

And here is my other bestfriend, Sister Loute, 
my haitian queen. It was her birthday
 and we got to celebrate it with her. Sooooo special.

noël c`est l`amour

December 12th
Hi everyone!!
Only 13 more days to Christmas, and I`m so sad it`s coming so soon! Christmas time is such a beautiful time of year, when everyone`s hearts are a little softer as the Christmas spirit works its magic and we don`t want it to end! We have found so many people this week who are prepared to hear more about the Savior, and it`s been perfect as we have shared the church`s video (on mormon.org) about how we can be a light to others, and the light is contagious!
This week has been so busy, we`ve gone on three exchanges with the other Sister missionaries in the area and it`s been so fun to learn from them, watch them teach, and then talk together about how we can both improve. These Sisters have taught me so much! From one Sister I was reminded of the importance of saying (and meaning) «we love you» to the people we teach and the members we visit. You can never say it enough. Over the past few months, I`ve found a new favorite phrase in French, it`s «est-ce que vous savez combien je vous aime?» which translates to, «do you know how much I love you?». And people love it! Each time we tell them, or we remind them, they are always touched by our expressions of love. And we always do mean it, because as missionaries, I swear, we have this special, enlarged capacity to love others, in ways I have never felt before. You could meet someone for the first time, yet instantly feel that Christ-like love for them, and I`m convinced it`s because Heavenly Father wants us to realize how important all of His children are to Him, how much He loves them. So He lets us, as missionaries, feel just a little tiny particle of how much He loves His children. It`s a love that can`t be our own. And that`s the spirit we should be focusing more on this Christmas.
And we were recipiants of that loving Christmas spirit this week, as another Sister and I literally walked (unknowingly) into an apartment building`s Christmas party. We were on the hunt for someone who lived in the building that other missionaries had recently contacted, and our search was ended as we found the whole building in their basement/party room. It was hilarious as we walked in, and everyone turned to look at us, and as we stumbled around talking about how we were looking for Jacqueline. Well, then we found her, and she said she was not interested at all in talking with us about our message of Christ (again while everyone was still staring at the few strangers who just walked into their Christmas party) and as we were about to excuse ourselves, the host of the party comes up to us and screams, «You`re just in time for the cake! Stay and party with us as we celebrate this Christmas season!!» The other Sister missionary and I had a hard time not freaking out as we were led to a table where a few other women were already sitting, they all welcomed us with open arms as they started to ask who were were. Then we had cake together and they sang, and it was honestly one of my favorite Christmas parties ever. By they end, we found a few women who were interested in our message, and we talked to Jacqueline again (who`s demeanor had totally changed through the course of the night) and she said that we could come back another time after she got back from her Christmas trip to Haiti. She was so cute. Oh it was wonderful to see all these people just open up to us, love us so freely, receive us and give us cake, and goodies. That was definitely a miracle.
And to close I wanted to share a scripture I found yesterday morning as I was studying for the people we would see that day, and I found a  perfect scripture that simply and beautifully tells us of God and the mission of our Savior Jesus Christ.
It`s found in Doctrine and Covenants section 20: 17-26, where after speaking of the Holy Scriptures, the Prophet Joseph Smith recorded:

17 By these things [the scirptures] we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;
 18 And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them;
 19 And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.
 20 But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man.
 21 Wherefore, the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him.
 22 He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.
 23 He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day;
 24 And ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father;
 25 That as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved...

How perfect are those scriptures? Tears came to eyes as I read and understood the Plan of Happiness our Father in Heaven has given us, and how essential Jesus Christ is to that plan. It is through Him we are saved, and it is He who we should remember at this special, special time of year.

Have a great week, but most importantly, remember the Savior.

Sister Thomas

We forgot our cameras this week so no pictures! :( sorry! Next week for sure.

si tu veux la lumière, il faut de la prendre pour vous-même

December 5th
Hi everyone!

It`s a beautiful December afternoon here in Montréal and it`s SNOWING!! And it`s sticking. We`ve probably gotten at least 4-6 inches today. Nothing to bring the Christmas spirit like SNOW! 😊

Blizzard view from our apartment!!

This is the giant oratory that we can see from our balcony, 
it`s famous here in Montréal, and it looked so pretty all covered in white.

I don`t have a lot of time this week, and there isn`t too much to write. We`ve changed a lot of things about our area where we teach people. We talked with the other set of missionaries they have in the ward and we decided to change it where we will be teaching women and the Elders (the male missionaries) will be teaching men. It`s logical and doesn`t need a lot of explanation, because obviously we will be able to better relate to, and understand, women instead of men. It was an act of faith because it required a lot of change our part (introducing our old investigators to the other missionaries and so forth) but we are excited to see the miracles that come from it.

Here`s Sister Dinge my cute companion

I got to go on exchanges with the other missionaries in the area, they live really close to us, expect they teach and go to Church in Spanish(!!), so it was fun to be in their area with them. We got to visit an investigator they have who is the father of a member of the Church. He`s really special and he loves to read the Book of Mormon and hear the discussions from the missionaries, but he hasn`t been able to come to Church yet, so the Spanish Sisters showed him the video on mormon.org about Christmas, and taught him about how we can find light at Church. His daughter spoke French so I bore testimony of the light we can feel and take for ourselves as we attend Church and then the Sisters translated it to Spanish for the dad, and the Spirit that we all felt together was beautiful. And in the end, he promised that he would come to Church this next week!

The stake put on a huge Christmas concert for everyone
 in the area this past week and it was BEAUTIFUL.
 there is so much talent here in Québec!

We`ve had many wonderful expériences this week as we`ve shared the Christmas video. We`ve shared it several times on the buses and métros and we have a plan to share it even more this coming week. So again, I invite you to watch it and share with other people around you! And to do some of the little suggestions of things we can do each day to prepare ourselves for Christmas.

I`m so excited for Christmas! 
Have a great week everyone! 

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Sister Thomas

 At the concert they gave everyone in the audience little sock snowmen :-) 
 here`s ours and the investigators we brought :)