Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Em's letter :) It's long but a good one!‏

Hello Family!!
First of all, I know you are all dying to know where I'm at. I am in Laramie, Wyoming! I've been here for 6 days now. My Trainer is Sister Martin, and she is awesome! There are 5 wards in Laramie, and one YSA ward during the summer. We are over one ward, the Sherman Hill ward. Then there is a pair of Elders for every other ward. My address is 1010 1/2 Steele St. Laramie, WY 82070! (yes, include the 1/2)  Please send me mail!! I love real mail!(: 
Okay, I'll try to answer all of your questions! The last few days at the MTC were awesome of course. We went and did a session at the temple with our whole zone, and it was so special. I can't believe that I won't be able to go again for a long time! We also finished teaching our investigators and it was so sad to say goodbye to them :( All three of them accepted the invitation to be baptized! Sister Pattillo and I taught relief society on Sunday because we were the STL's, and it went pretty well. Sacrament was especially wonderful! 

So Tuesday morning we left the MTC at 3:30am, and there were 108 of us missionaries leaving all together. We took buses to the frontrunner station in Provo and then rode the train to SLC, where we got on the trax or something and made it to the airport. My whole district stuck together that whole time, which I am so grateful for! The Three North Carolina elders in my district left Monday morning, and it was so sad saying goodbye to them :(  But good too! Anyways, we got to our terminal at the airport and that's when I called you, and then we got on our flight. It's funny to me how now that I'm a missionary, everyone in the airport would stare us down. Our flight was about an hour long, and Elder Perkes had never flown before so it was really funny to see him flip out haha(: We landed in Denver around 10:30, and President Brown was there to greet us with his wife and the two AP's! They helped us with our luggage, and then we got all loaded up into the cars and headed to Fort Collins. President and Sister Brown had to wait for a few hours longer at the airport to pick up a Hermana coming from Mexico, so he asked me and Sister Thompson to stay with them. I was sad that he split Sister Pattillo and I up :( While we were waiting for Hermana Wheeler, President Brown interviewed me right there in the airport! It was awesome. We met the sister and made it to the mission home, and then they let us take a nap (thank goodness!!) for about an hour. We started orientation, and we were all so tired that it was hard to absorb all of this info they were throwing at us! That night we met up with missionaries around the area and went out on splits with them and taught lessons. It was so cool(: That's when it became real for me! We spent the night at the mission home, the elders slept at a different home, and we all came back together the next morning and finished orientation. Finally, at the end of orientation, President sat down with us newbies and studied 2 Nephi 31 in depth with us. I finally felt the spirit since entering Colorado. That chapter is the Doctrine of Christ, My Missionary Purpose, the 4th Article of Faith.. It's all the same.(: President Brown is incredible, and very bold and stern, but funny too! 
Then our trainers showed up, and they paired us off, and that's when I met Sister Martin! I said my goodbyes to my mtc friends and then we drove up to Laramie. I got all unpacked and then we went right to work! The first lesson I taught on my mission was... The Word of Wisdom! Crazy huh(: We taught it to a less-active member named Jennie. And she kept shooting down everything we were saying and all we could do was testify of what we knew to be true. That's when I woke up, and I realized that things were going to be very different from the MTC out here in the real world. I'm not on dedicated grounds anymore.. and I'm not feeling the Spirit being sprayed at me from a firehose anymore. These past few days, I've literally felt starved for that same Spirit, but I think I'm just going through MTC withdrawals or something ;)  Morning study has been a blessing! I love those few hours where I can feel the Spirit strongly again. 

So Sister Martin is whipping me into shape.. haha she has us running I don't even know how far first thing every morning! I know it's good for me!! I just die everytime, but it's totally fine. We have a car and bikes, and biking has been hard for me too, but that's alright! It's good for me! Right..? We've been tracting, teaching investigators, but mostly less-actives. We volunteer almost every day at a soup kitchen, and we also visit rest homes and play bingo with old folks who are disabled and can't play on their own. It's a good time(:  Yesterday (sunday) was an awesome day because I finally got to meet a ton of ward members! They have all been so nice and welcoming! Bishop Wilson, man he is one funny guy. And he helps us out a lot too with our work. Our ward mission leader, Brother Robertson, sort of reminds me of you dad because he is always telling all of these "funny" dad jokes. He's already made a few jokes about my red hair..(: So in sacrament meeting yesterday, I looked around and realized that I stuck out like a sore thumb because everyone has blonde or brown hair. Well, that's a good thing I guess! They called me up to the stand first thing so I could bare my testimony because I'm the new sister.. I was scared, but glad for the opportunity to introduce myself to everyone and share what I know to be true. 

Well, sorry for the crazy long email! I am loving Laramie, it is beautiful and reminds me of Idaho, except there's no sagebrush here.(: There is an old lady here who all of the missionaries call Grandma, and she calls all of the missionaries her grandchildren. She is the sweetest, cutest thing ever! In order for you to be an official grandchild of Grandma, you have to sing her a solo. So I sang Lord, I Would Follow Thee. Every Saturday night, our district goes over to her house and sings her hymns for an hour. I love it so much(: Also, we are the only sisters in our zone.. So that's weird. At zone meeting, all of the Elders sat of the left side of the room and Sister Martin and I sat on the right side haha. Like we have some sort of disease or something ;)  Elder Klingler is in my zone! He was in my MTC district! So that's cool. 

 I am doing so great and learning so much, and I am just trying to put myself out there. Kade Barker's quote "There's no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone" is my mission motto haha. I've said it in my head so many times. I know that I can't do this alone, and I know that Jesus Christ is with me every step of the way. We can't do anything or get anywhere without Him. I know that He is real and loves all of us so much, and wants all of us to turn to Him. My challenge to you all this week is to say hi to someone new at church, and then have a conversation and get to know them. Make them feel welcome. Show them that you actually care and see if there is anything you can help them with in their life! I love you all so much and I'll talk to you soon!

Sister Thomas

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Here's a message from Emi's first letter home:

Hello Family! It's been so spiritual and they are taking great care of us newbies! It feels like EFY but crazier! We started off with a devotional and then right away we started teaching "investigators" so that was a shocker. :) My companion is so sweet and we're getting along great! Her name is Sister Pattillo, from Ogden, UT. I love you all so much! Love, Sister Thomas

Thursday, June 18, 2015

First Email from the MTC!

First off, I LOVE THE MTC!!! This has been the best week ever! It is so different from how I pictured it, and I can honestly that my life has been forever changed. My first day was insane! I got all of my stuff and took it all to my room and then went to my classroom and met my district. Then that night, we all went into a classroom with other new missionaries and began teaching! I was terrified. Some of the "investigators" at the mtc are real and some are just members pretending... But it felt so real. And my whole perspective changed in one instant where I felt such a strong love for these people! And I didn't even know them! But Heavenly Father gave me a glimpse of His love for them, and now I will never be the same. My companion is Sister Pattillo, and I love her! We just clicked like instantly and have become best friends! My whole district is awesome, its so incredible that through learning together and having all of these spiritual experiences together that we could form such a close bond with each other. Our classroom has become holy ground.(: Plus, we have a lot of fun! My other roommates include Sister Thompson and Sister Mauss, and we've had so much fun together. Then there is Elder Klingler, Elder Coleman, Elder Barton, Elder Leach, Elder Burrell, Elder Perkes, and Elder Randall. Three of the Elders are going to North Carolina but all the rest of us are going to Fort Collins. The next few days were a lot better! We met our Branch Presidency and their wives, and Sister Pattillo and I were called as the Sister Training Leaders of our whole zone! I was so excited to receive this awesome responsibility and chance to serve others. As the week went on, our schedule started to become the same every day which has made it a lot easier. I never knew the meaning of planning out my day until now haha. Every single minute of every day is planned, and I love it because it helps us focus and accomplish our purpose!
Sunday was amazing. My first time taking the Sacrament as a missionary was a great experience.(: And then Monday, we received three assigned investigators and have been teaching them every day. I used to be TERRIFIED of role play! But guess what? It's now my favorite(: The reason why is because the Spirit is so strong while we role play. It's real! The feelings I have during role play are real, and this is because role play is the way that Heavenly Father trains His missionaries. And I just love it so much(: Another awesome thing that I have learned is that my purpose is not about teaching lessons, it's about teaching people! I've learned the hard way that when I'm focused on me and getting through a lesson with an investigator, it doesn't work. It's an awful feeling actually. But when we let the Spirit direct the conversation and when we are actually focused on the PERSON and not the lesson, that's when the magic happens. That's when the conversation feels natural, is when we are teaching with the Spirit. He is our third companion! How fortunate is that?? I never knew that before! My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by HELPING them receive the Restored Gospel. By LOVING them. By focusing on bringing them closer to Christ, not by focusing on me teaching them everything. I've had incredible experiences and feel so much love for my investigators here at the MTC and also my future ones in Colorado. It's awesome(: I know now that I have been called to a people, not a place. "When your call of duty changes to a call of love, your whole perspective will change."
I've only got a few minutes left, but I just wanted to say thank you to you all!! I am so sorry that I haven't responded to any letters I've received, there's just no extra time here. But I am SO grateful for them! Getting mail is like the BEST thing ever!! Dear Elder is such an awesome thing! Please keep doing that, it boosts me up and gives me strength!(: I love hearing about funny things that have happened in your lives and just anything really. Thank you so much for all of the support and prayers, they are helping me so much. God is good, Christ is the center of all of this, and I am loving every minute here. Of course there are hard things too but when I'm being spiritually fed so much, it blocks out all other trivial things. Thanks again and I love you all dearly!!!Black heart (cards)
Sister Thomas

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's time to say goodbye folks!

It's time to say goodbye folks! Thank you for all of the support and love shown to me as I prepare leave everything behind and serve the Lord for 18 months! Here is my email and my addresses, you know, just in case any of you would like to write me(: (which I would love).

Provo MTC Address:
Sister Emilee Rachel Thomas
2009 N 900 E Unit 147
Provo UT 84602
Mission Address:
Colorado Fort Collins Mission
Sister Emilee Thomas
500 Hillspire Drive
Windsor, CO 80550

Also, I have been instructed to deactivate my Facebook account before I leave. I don't know exactly the reason why, but I want to be obedient! So no one will be able to search my name or tag me or anything for 18 months, so write these addresses down and receive updates that way, or whatever.My mom will be posting my emails on this blog but if you want to stay in contact send me an email/letter/package/or whatevs :)

I'm so thrilled for this opportunity to serve and for the many experiences awaiting me! See ya in a year and a half!!

Love, Em