Monday, October 19, 2015

Laramie is just awesome

There is a less active that we teach and she is the best. 
Our lessons with her are always so full of the Spirit. We send 
her talks and scriptures to read
throughout the week, and we asked her to read D&C 101: 7-9. She had a
questions about justice and mercy, she just didn't get it. I had no
idea how to explain it... And then a thought flashed in my head. We
watched a video once in seminary about this, and that' she first time
that I understood better this concept. The only word I could remember
was "Mediator" so I typed that in the gospel library search engine,
and lo and behold, this video popped up! We watched it, and after it
was over, she said "Okay. Makes sense." And that was that.(: Thank
you spirit!! That was such a cool experience. And it's true that he
will bring things to our remembrance.

Our recent convert is doing well! We started the new member lessons with her, and we
went on splits so I went with a member. She had some questions which
we helped answer, and we went into the Restoration more deeply. This
was the first time I'd taught a new member discussion, and I loved it!
She said she noticed just how different everything was after receiving
the Gift of the Holy Ghost, like she could feel it way stronger and
more often, and she could even like pay better attention in her
classes and stuff! Then I learned something new because she
said how God cares about everything we are doing, not just
spiritually. The Spirit can help us in our classes and tests and
studies too! Because the Spirit knows ALL truth, and if He is out
constant companion, He'll be there to help.(: So awesome!

This week was UW homecoming, which means the Homecoming Parade! And
the institute had a float, and so a certain select few missionaries
were able to be in the parade, including us!!(: It was SO fun! Between
us six missionaries, we probably handed out around 1,000 pass along
cards. We had this huge stack and ran out before the parade was over!
So that was pretty sweet.(: We gave out a couple of Book of Mormons
too, and I gave some moms a copy of The Family: Proclamation To the
World! Hopefully at least some of these people will reach out and
contact us!

I love being surrounded by all of these awesome people here.
Especially the leadersthey are always teasing us about "writing our boyfriends back at
home" and that he's going to set us up with someone in YSA here.
Yeahhhh probably not haha! He met his wife on his mission while he was
serving in England, so he's all about that. He's funny.(:

I love being here. I love these people, I've made so many friends and
I really really want to stay here! I cannot believe it is already the
last week of the transfer. We find out Saturday who is staying or
going, so we shall see. Pray that Sister Russell and I will both stay
here haha. I don't care how cold it gets in Laramie, Wyoming! Plus, I
can't abandon my daughter!! But, whatever the Lord has in store for us
is the right thing to do. I'll try and make the most of it while I'm
still here.(: My Ponderize scripture this week: Moroni 7:48. What's


Monday, October 12, 2015

Baptism and Guitar

Wow! This week was so wonderful/hectic/amazing!! Here's some highlights:

First of all, we got our Area Book app. So our area books are binders
full of notes and info from the past ten or so years of missionaries
and their lessons with investigators and less actives. Well, we have
spent I don't know how many hours this week manually putting in the
info from each lesson ever recorded into the app. Soooo that's been an
adventure!(; And we still have lots to add!

Zone Meeting on Wednesday! First time I've seen Elder Coleman since
we got to the field! He comes in the room and squeals "Sister
Thomaaaaaas!" Haha. I'm sad I didn't get a selfie with him. He also
brought out ze German accent (inside joke from the MTC). But anyways!
Zone mtg was so great because we had trainings of Finding. That's one
thing I've become more timid about, I'm not sure why.. But one of my
Zone Leaders, Elder Grossarth, gave an amazing training and we talked
about how if we just walk by people and don't share the gospel with
them, we are going to see them again in the next life. And they're
going to ask us, why? Why didn't you talk to me about the gospel? That
hit me hard. Everyone in our lives is placed in our path for a reason.
Open your mouths and they shall be filled! Then it was time for role
plays, but instead of "role play" it was "real play." We all went over
onto campus, all 18 of us missionaries, and talked to as many people
as we could in half an hour. Sister Russell and I taught a girl the
Restoration and invited her to institute activities.(: It was a great
experience and built up my faith!

Right after exchanges ended, I got a visitor! Chris Ann is from my
hometown and she and some friends were driving through Laramie on
Friday morning, and she brought me my winter clothes and stuff from
home! I was SO grateful!! It was so good to see her cute self(: Also,
thanks Mom for the cute scarves and my warm clothes, and also for all
of the snacks and treats!! I was like, my mom knows me so well haha
she knows I absolutely love candy! Not to mention her delicious
homemade chocolate chip cookies that came with the bag of stuff. Man,
I am spoiled! But so thankful!(:

Biggest event of the week: BAPTISM!! It was so fun to plan it
all out, get everything set up, but especially to see how happy she
was.(: I love that girl!! Her sister (who isn't a member) flew
up from Arizona to be there for her and support her. They fed us
dinner before the baptism, and we had a lesson about Joseph Smith and
the Restoration. Aaaaand her sister basically asked for a BOM, then
Sister Russell whipped one out haha. Becky wants to read it and learn
more, and hopefully sends us her address so we can refer her to the
missionaries there.(: The baptism was so special! So many ward members
came to support, and we even had some investigators come too! I played
the piano, Sister Russell lead the music, Bishop spoke on
baptism and a member spoke on the Holy Ghost, they played
guitar and sang a BEAUTIFUL rendition of Amazing Grace.(: Then the
baptism was performed by Elder Farnes and she bore her testimony after!
We had everyone write a note to her on a notecard, and put them in a
notebook for her and gave her a brand new Quad (Bible, Book of Mormon,
D&C and Pearl of Great Price). The spirit was so strong. I may have
cried. Oh, and her mom Skyped in on the song and baptism.(: I've never
felt such true happiness as I did that day!!

My heart is so full. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and my Father who
is in Heaven. I love this gospel, I love my family, and I'm so
grateful to be a part of this magnificent work! My Ponderize scripture
for this next week is the last half of Moroni 8:16(: What's yours?

Monday, October 5, 2015

General Conference

It's week 4 of this transfer! What?! Time is just flying right now...
It needs to slow down!! It's been a fantastic week full of lessons,
General Conference, and the spirit.

Funny story time: Sunday morning about 2:30am, Sister Russell woke me
up by saying "What?!" really loudly.. I said, "What?" I was groggy but
I was awake. She mumbled, "Which of our investigators need to be
protected?" I heard what she said, but I was so confused haha. I was
like, "Huh?" She was like "ugh" and then got really sassy and said
very loudly and slowly, "Which of our investigators need to be
protected?!" She was talking to me like I was stupid haha! I said,
"All of them!" And then she said "ugh" and fell back asleep. Haha it
was hilarious(:

Taught another investigator on Tuesday, she had questions about temples, such as
who can go there and what they are for, etc. I got the feeling that we
needed to start from the basics before talking about temples to help
her understand better. So, we taught her the Plan of Salvation and
wove in temples and their purposes. The spirit was so strong(: I asked
her how she felt after we bore testimony of temples, and she said she
felt very peaceful and happy! She had a big smile on her face, and I
pointed out that those feelings were the Holy Ghost testifying to her,
and that the Holy Ghost only testifies of truth. It just clicked in
her mind and she was so happy! I love the gospel and I love seeing the
joy that can come from knowing it and feeling the spirit! She still
has the goal in mind to be baptized the 24th of this month. Yay!

Yesterday we watched the afternoon session of conference at
Grandma's house, and then had a lesson with her about the Spirit 
So cool experience: earlier this week, Sister
Russell and I wanted to text a scripture to all of our investigators
and less actives. During my personal study, I wrote down a scripture
for each person, and then during companionship study I had Sister
Russell read the scripture and say who she thought it would help. On
almost all of them, we were inspired about the same person(: So we
sent BJ 2 Nephi 31: 15-21. She told us yesterday that that was the
first scripture the Elders had her read from the BOM four months ago,
and it was amazing to see the difference in herself from where she was
at then and where she's at now. So cool!! I love the Spirit!!

I had the most spiritual lesson of my life this week. It was with a
member who is active and everything. We felt like we needed to
have a lesson with her, but didn't know why. We wanted to also talk to
her about her nonmember roomie and see if she is interested. We
started off by talking about school and the stresses of life.. Then I
asked her how she was doing spiritually. And she is struggling.. She
has her highs and lows (who doesn't?) and just didn't feel that she
was worthy of repenting or even praying sometimes. We were super bold
with her, and she needed it. Because none of us are worthy! None of us
are perfect. That's why we have prayer, and the Atonement, and
commandments, and church. We don't utilize those things because we are
perfect or worthy, but we use them to become clean, pure, and whole.
She said, "If Jesus walked into this room right now, how would I
feel?" And in that instant, I just knew that He actually was right
there beside her and that He absolutely loved her. My heart about
burst, I started crying, I bore my testimony that He was there in that
very moment and He is never out of reach. Sister Russell spoke so
powerfully and boldly, and we all kneeled and she offered the most
fervent, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. It was so incredible❤️

Really quick, thought on General Conference. Wow! It was soooooo
incredible, I don't even know where to begin. One thing I absolutely
loved and am going to do is "Ponderize" one scripture per week.(:
There was such a huge contrast from watching conference my whole life,
to watching it as a missionary with the Spirit. This was the first
time I was attentive the entire time and took pages of notes. I
absolutely loved conference! Just being here and living this life
right now, I realized just how distracted and unfocused I was before
my mission. It's like I was walking through fog, my mind was so
concerned about trivial worldly things, and now looking back, it
scares me how much of a hold Satan had on me and how foggy my mind
was. Because now, it' so clear. Everything is made clear to me, I have
this eternal perspective, and I never ever want to lose this! I've
written down so many goals I want to keep after my mission, and I have
a feeling it'll be a long list by the end of my mission.(:

I love you all! Have a great week!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Brad Wilcox in Laramie!

Dear Family and Friends,

I cannot believe it is already P-Day again. This week just flew by!
It's been full of so many awesome experiences, but I'll just give you
some highlights.

Sister Russell is such a great companion. I am so blessed to have
her! She's always looking for the good and is constantly striving to
be effective and exactly obedient. We work hard together, and build
each other up. She's so caring and compassionate! And very teachable.
Not to mention absolutely hilarious, and we are laughing constantly!
Just all around a great Sister, and I feel privileged and very blessed
to be her first companion.(:

Brad Wilcox came to Laramie for a YSA fireside on Friday night. It
was SOOO good! The first memory I have of him is at EFY when I was 14,
and he talked to us youth about how at a dance, us girls need to be
the "lone zebra" so that the guys won't be scared to break up our
little circles to ask us to dance. So funny! Anyways, back to the
fireside..(; Brother Wilcox talked about commandments, and how they
are not rules which hold us back, but they make us free. They enable
us to jump off of a cliff with a safety harness firmly in place,
instead of jumping without any protection and having our fun and
freedom come to an abrupt stop when we hit the ground. I can't say it
as well as he did, but it was awesome! He also talked about the
Atonement and grace. One quote that I absolutely love is, "We are not
earning heaven, we are LEARNING heaven." That's so true! We need to
"learn" Heaven while we are here on earth so that when we return to
live with God again, we will be comfortable and happy in His presence.
It's about living a celestial lifestyle. Temples are sacred, and we
NEED to be there constantly.

General Women's broadcast Saturday night was just plain amazing. For
some reason, being a missionary helps me so much to focus on the
spirit during meetings and really pay attention and get all I can out
of them. My mind is enlightened and edified, it's so great! With
general conference coming up this weekend, let's all try our best to
focus on what our leaders are telling us, and make notes about what
the Spirit teaches us.

We drove down to Windsor, Colorado on Friday for a meeting with all
of the trainers and their trainees. It was fun to see my missionary
friends and hear about their experiences and areas. I'm just so
blessed to be surrounded by these people!! President Brown taught us
many things that we can work in to become better missionaries, more
consecrated and diligent and prepared. One thing we are implementing
is that we are going to do a role play each morning during companion
study for a lesson we will have that day. I love role plays.(: I love
them because the Spirit is real, it prepares us.

We have been blessed with TWO new investigators this week! Woohoo! 
Sister Russell and I are just SO blessed right now, it blows my mind!

We finally went to our two YSA wards yesterday, which totaled out to
be five hours of church. But, I loved it.(: I love church! I love
testimony meetings! I just wish we would've had more less actives
come.. But we will work on that. I love being in YSA because of the
awesome members. They're mostly all super pumped RMs who are bringing
people to us to teach. That's the way it should be in any ward,
including family wards! Bring your loved ones, friends and family,
into the gospel. It's our duty as members of this church. If we don't
do it, who will?

I love each and every one of you! I'm so grateful for the support
coming from family and friends both back at home and in the mission
field. This is truly a marvelous work, a sacred work, the Lord's work.
And He needs us. He needs you! Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Companion! New Area!

What an intense, fun, crazy week! Tuesday I went to Wheatland to spend the day with Sister Thompson, because she is training too and we didn't pick up our new companions until Wednesday. I love her! She's so sweet and absolutely loves the people she is working with. I can see the light of Christ radiating from her! We were in the MTC together, so it was great to spend another day together.(:

My new companion is.... Sister Russell! She is just the sweetest sister ever! So kind and loving, and has the BEST laugh I've ever heard in my life. She went to UVU last year, the same time I did! She's adjusting pretty well. Going into training, I thought about what I did want to do, and things I wanted to stay away from. I had two different trainers who worked in very different ways, so I've pulled things from each of them and made goals for this next transfer. But, I never expected just how much I'd be learning from my new companion. Sister Russell is incredible, she's always striving to be obedient and she's just so loving and genuine to everyone. You can't help but love her.(: We are both open about everything, and we feel like equals! I don't feel like a "trainer." Sure, I show her the ropes on how things work, but we are both equally qualified and called to this area, we both receive revelation, we both work together and plan together. It's awesome!! She came pre-trained!

We were going to be sharing our apartment with the two other sisters, but they ended up moving out to their own place! So it's just us two, which is fine with me. More bathroom time.(; They're liking it too, it's closer to their area so it all works out! I still have the same address.

I asked President Brown about teaching my cousin still, and he said that "the message is the same" and that I could start it off, but to let the Sherman Hills sisters teach them. I felt so heartbroken! Sure, I won't be serving here forever, but I WILL be her cousin forever.

Being is YSA is sooooo different than a family ward, especially since we are over two wards now. First of all, it was chaotic because we didn't have a phone for two days and we didn't know who we were supposed to teach, but we kept a good attitude about it all and it has worked out great! Got our phone, met with the Bishops and the Zone Leaders. So there are three YSA wards here, and so how President Brown wants us to do it is the Zone Leaders will be working with the brothers in all of the wards, and we will be working with all of the sisters. The Zone Leaders were teaching mostly sisters, so they were super sad they had to basically hand off most of their investigators to us! We felt kinda bad, but we were also like yessss haha this is awesome.(: And, we are having a baptism this Sunday!! She is 19 and has been going to church for several years, but her parents didn't allow her to be baptized until she moved out. She's what you would call a "golden investigator" because she is so knowledgeable about the church and is so prepared and ready. We are finishing teaching her and planning her baptism, I am so pumped! We are so blessed!

We had Stake Conference yesterday, which was amazing. First of all, President and Sister Brown spoke and also the Area Seventy, Elder Hillier, spoke. The meeting was full of wonderful messages and the Spirit taught me many things, both for me and for people we are teaching. One thing said that I loved was "Happily ever after is a choice." So true! In all situations, we can either act or be acted upon. Sister Russell and I acted when we were swept in here, and we have been so blessed for it! After Stake Conference, we were talking with people and we had four different members come up to us and tell us they have a young single adult sister who wants to meet with the missionaries! That has never happened to me before! And, we met with a new investigator and put her on date for baptism October 31st! #soblessed

Thanks for all of the continued support and love and prayers, I'm so grateful for each of you and I'm glad I have so many friends out there on missions! Always remember our purpose, both for our missions and for our lives here on earth. Keep in mind what's most important, and strive to have an eternal perspective. Love you all!

Love, Sister Thomas 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oh it is Wonderful

First off, the news we've all been waiting for... I'm being transferred! I'm going to be over two of the three YSA wards here in Laramie. So luckily, I don't have to move, I'll still be in the same apartment and everything.(: But, I am also going to be... Training!! Crazy huh? I just finished my training, and now I'll be training a brand new missionary. The thought makes me both excited and nervous.. But, if Heavenly Father trusts me with this responsibility, then I will humbly accept and do all I can to make my trainee's first transfer a great experience. I'd feel more comfortable if I was staying in my original ward where I know everyone and everything that's going on, but hopefully being whitewashed into YSA, we will be able to figure things out quickly. Sister Gardner is staying in Sherman Hill, and she will be companions with Sister Tanner.

Second, Sunday night, we had dinner with my cousin! Side note: they made us buffalo burgers, and it was so yummy! Anyways, I've been praying all week that this would go well, that we could rekindle our friendship and get to know each other better and just be open, and that they'd be willing to receive the gospel. And I know my family has been praying! We talked about our family members and cousins, and how we wish we would have lived closer growing up so that we all could've been better friends. I'll ask my mission president for permission to teach them, and I'm sure it'll all work out. Keep praying for them!! What an incredible miracle to be a part of. I'm so grateful.

We also met with our other investigators this week, and had a powerful lesson about Pre-Earth Life, Adam and Eve, and our purpose here on earth. They're more willing to learn and have open minds and hearts, which is exciting! It breaks my heart I won't be able to teach them anymore, but I know Sister Gardner will continue to help them.

Anyways, that's about all I've got for this week! On Tuesday I think I'll go down to Fort Collins and pick up my Trainee (aka my daughter) on Wednesday! I think YSA will be pretty fun, once we get everything figured out.

Thanks for the continued support and love, I appreciate and love you all! This is truly God's work, and there's a purpose for everything. This whole transfer I've wondered why I'm even here, and now I know.

Alma 26:27 is my scripture for this week.


Love, Sister Emilee Thomas


Monday, September 7, 2015

Miracle Alert!

This week has been a crazy one, full of ups and downs! With things happening from getting our hub cap replaced, to playing the piano for Primary again on Sunday, to my companion running a red light, to cutting my hair, to seeing many small but mighty miracles happening, it's been interesting, that's for sure.(;

Miracle Alert! So on Tuesday morning, I was craving subway for some reason, so that's where I really wanted to go for lunch and I told my companion that and she was like "Okay..." Haha so after the soup kitchen, we walked over to the nearest Subway (there's four different Subway's in Laramie). I walk in, and I see my cousin! She works there! I knew she was going to move down here for school and my mom even gave me her address on Monday, the day before I saw her. (They also live in my area!!) But, I talked to her at subway and got her phone number and she said we could come over sometime! Super Awesome!!

Wow, I love being a missionary! I love being immersed in the gospel 24/7. I can't even begin to describe how much I'm learning and growing with every experience I have, whether good or bad. I can't believe I hit my 3 month mark this Thursday, so crazy!! Time needs to slow down!

Sacrament Meeting yesterday was really powerful. Our investigators had their baby blessed, in Spanish! And then half of the testimonies were given in Spanish, just for them. It was awesome and you could still feel the Spirit so strongly, even though we couldn't understand the words. Makes me wish I was learning Spanish on my mission, but that's okay.(:

Transfers are next Tuesday, so we will find out this Saturday what is happening/who is going or staying. I really want to stay!! But, only if it's the Lord's will for me. He knows what's best.

In primary, sharing time was about prayer. And the teacher turned off the lights and said how we can be in the dark about something, and then when we pray, a light comes on (she cracked a glow stick) and we are given light to know what we need to do, where we need to go, or what we need to say, etc. the power of prayer is incredible, and how blessed are we that we can reach our God at anytime, with anything.(: I know this church is true and that the priesthood is real! I'm grateful to be here in Laramie and to be surrounded with so many good people. I hope you all have a great week, and be safe!

Love, Sister Emilee Thomas

Monday, August 31, 2015

31 Lessons!

Hello Family and Friends,

It's been a super awesome, busy week! UW starts today, so Laramie is super crazy right now. Sister Gardner and I worked our tails off and have been so blessed with opportunities to teach the Gospel. The average total lessons per week that I've had for my whole mission so far has been like 20, but this week we taught 31, combined with 15 hours of service. We are being blessed in this great work! It's not because of us that we had so many lessons, it's because of Heavenly Father giving us those opportunities. Sometimes I get down about not having a baptism yet (or anyone on date for a baptism either), but I have to remind myself that success is not measured by the number of baptisms, it's measured by effort. Success = giving our best.

One of many miracles this week: on Tuesday morning at the soup kitchen, there was a guy in there doing the dishes who is about 23 or so. He's there on court order for community service hours. Sister Gardner and I got to talking to him and he was asking us questions about our missions and Mormon beliefs, it was way cool! We gave him a Book of Mormon before we left, and he was like, "Really? You can just give this to me? Wow, thank you so much!" He was so grateful for it!!(: The next day I asked him if he'd gotten a chance to read it, and he said yes! He liked it and was going to keep reading. We saw the Zone Leaders later that day, Elder Farnes and Elder Sell, and we were like you have to come to the soup kitchen tomorrow and talk to him!! (Because they are in the YSA wards right now.) So they did, and he is going to start coming to FHE and hopefully church too. He even has a friend in YSA right now. He's been so prepared for this, it's awesome!

We had exchanges this week! Sister Helsing went with Sister Gardner, and Sister Burden came with me. They both came up to Laramie, so they got the car and we got the bikes! Yay! I've missed biking around here haha it's fun! I absolutely love Sister Burden. She's my ginga sista! We had so much fun(: And she really helped me a lot with things I'm going through, I'm so so grateful for her. She even left me a cute letter on my pillow, because she's the best! 

This transfer I've learned a great deal about charity, which is the pure love of Christ. I was so blessed with my MTC companion Sister Pattillo, who is the most loving, kind person ever! And I'm so grateful that we formed a friendship that will last forever. Same goes for my "mom" Sister Martin. I was only with her for a short time but I'm so grateful for her and her continued love, support, and never ending wisdom!(:  And now, I've been so blessed to have been companions with Sister Gardner! Heavenly Father has given me this opportunity to develop charity when it's hard, and I am so so grateful for that! I truly love Sister Gardner and we've become really good friends, despite challenges along the way. By sincerely praying for charity and understanding daily, the Lord has helped me with this and humbled me. I've been so worried about me me me, when this entire time I should have been worried about my companion. I'm going to love this girl with my whole heart and soul as long as we are companions, and even after that too. Because she deserves it! She's such a good missionary!

Thanks for the continued love, support, and prayers. I love you all and hope you have a great week! Read 2 Cor. 5: 6-7. I also listened to a YSA devotional by Linda K. Burton titled "Tuning Our Hearts to the Voice of the Spirit" which you should all watch or read if you get the chance!(:

Love, Sister Emilee Thomas