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

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