Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tornadoes and Good Times.

What a crazy week! On Tuesday, we were doing Mormon.org time in the public library, and all of a sudden the librarian comes over and says "Okay, we have a tornado warning, so you can go into the basement and hang out there if you want to, but you don't have to.." ...so we didn't. We heard the tornado sirens going off in the distance. A few minutes later, she comes back and says that she now has orders to make us all go down in the basement for shelter, no exceptions! So everyone in the library goes down there and sits in the basement. We were there for like five minutes, and then she said the warning has officially been lifted so we can go back upstairs! I've never been around tornadoes in my entire life, so it was pretty exciting for me(: Apparently the tornado touched down once like five miles south of town, then disappeared immediately after. No big deal!

Before the whole tornado extravaganza, when we first came into the library we sat down at the computers. I sat next to this older lady with long grey hair. She turned to me and said, "I hate you." And I was like..... Huh? I didn't know what to say haha and she said, "I used to have hair like yours, and everyone loved it, but now look at it! I'm so jealous of you!" Then she laughed(: We started talking and I told her I was a missionary and she said that she was a Mormon once. I asked her what religion she was now, and it was some weird name I've never heard of before. She told me how she just graduated from UW in religious studies and loves learning about all religions. What broke my heart though, was that she said she'd even been through the temple before, once upon a time. And she said, "And by the way, that is the most poorly performed ritual that I have ever seen!" It just made my heart hurt to think that one of the most sacred things on this earth was put to shame like that. But after she shared what she believed, I told her what i believed and she was very sweet and nice to me. When she left, she told me good luck and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I hope I'll see her again around Laramie!

On Friday we taught a less active who is struggling with some family things right now. She has siblings who are Mormon, other siblings who are Jehovah Witness, and her dad used to be Mormon but is now totally against it and tells her all of this weird stuff. So, we taught her the Restoration of the Gospel. And I was very surprised, because she really did not know a lot of things about it! What an awesome lesson. The spirit was so strong and my eyes were opened very wide. When I thought of less actives before, I just assumed they knew everything because they were once active in their lives. But they have lost hold of those simple truths and doctrines, and that's truly what they need in order to gain their faith again and to repent. I learned this week that less actives are just as precious as investigators.

I know I've said this before, but our ward missionaries are the best. They truly care about what we are doing and how we can improve and ways they can help hasten the work in our ward! In our meeting on Wednesday, they asked me if he could look at my planner, so I gave it to him and he gave many compliments and suggestions(: They told us that they were telling us all of these things we could do and work on because they trust us, and they can see our potential in becoming even better missionaries. Sister Martin told me later that they've never had a missionary correlation mtg like that before in this ward. She said that the ward is changing and the attitude towards missionary work is changing, and the ward members are catching the spirit of missionary work like never before! It's exciting!

Yesterday (Sunday) was a great day. We didn't have any investigators come to church unfortunately, but we'll try harder this week! So our ward mission leader wanted us to come into priesthood meeting for opening exercises. So we came in with him, and he had us sit in the very front facing all of the priesthood! Before they opened, the first counselor asked us if either of us played the piano... I said I did(: He was so grateful that I was willing to play an opening hymn for them! It made me so grateful that I at least know like 10 hymns I can play in case anyone ever asks like that. One of my biggest regrets in life is fighting those piano lessons for eight years mom... I never thought I'd admit it, but it's true. I'd be so much better now if I would have just embraced it. That's one thing I'm going to improve on when I'm home! Anyways, so after the opening prayer and announcements, He had Sister Martin and I stand and he basically told everyone to look at us and see the light and spirit that we have, and told them that "these sisters need people to teach! And they're doing all of the work themselves! We need you all to step up and invite people you know and love to be taught in your home. It's a glorious experience." It's true, we need their help! Missionaries can't do the work alone, they need members. 
My invitation to you this week is to give the missionaries in your ward a referral, either someone you care about or someone you just barely met. And if the missionaries want, then offer to go with them to teach or maybe invite them to teach in your home. They need your help! I know, because we need the Sherman Hill Ward's help. 
The church is true! Love you all,
Sister Thomas

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Month!

Things are going great here in Laramie! Monday we went shopping after emailing, which pretty much meant that I bought a watch at Walmart and Sister Martin bought some shampoo haha. We played soccer with the Elders in Laramie and also a member family, so that was way fun! Monday night we went tracting and no one was interested, so we decided to try one more door and this man answered and came out onto his porch, and talked to us for like 40 minutes! He's catholic and was telling us about all of these crazy abstract things he believes that I've never heard of before.. And then was asking us a lot of deep doctrinal questions about the Mormon religion and what we believe. We just simply testified, we told him what we believed and knew to be true, and we kept it simple and used scripture references to support! And to his questions that we didn't know answers to, we just simply said we didn't know, but told him what we did know to be true. It was intense! At one point, he said that he'd talked to missionaries before and "no Mormon could convince me" of this and that, mainly about repentance and sinning and things like that. Honestly though, he's right. No Mormon will ever be able to convince him of anything! We don't convert, the Holy Ghost does. We can't touch his spirit or his heart, but the Holy Ghost can. He and his wife and family are going on vacation for a few weeks, but they want us to come back next month and teach them again. I can't wait! I'm going to prepare and study and be ready for the next time we see them(:

Anyways, that was probably the most exciting thing that happened this week! We've still been doing a lot of less active teaching, and we've tried to visit Larissa again but she wasn't home all week. But we will keep trying(: I've learned that missionary work, takes work! In order to be successful and fulfill our purpose as missionaries, we have to work. We have to be obedient. We have to try our hardest, and I know if we do those things then Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and especially the Holy Ghost will be there with us every step of the way. I just love this gospel so much(: Hearing what other people believe and telling us that our religion isn't right, it just strengthens my testimony that much more! Because I know for a fact it is true. And I know that because the Holy Ghost has reaffirmed that to me many times in my life, and no one can take that away from me!

We are starting a new program in our ward called Feed My Sheep, and it's a two week program for families to follow. By the end of the two weeks, after exercising faith and obedience, they will prayerfully come to know of at least one person who needs and is willing to be taught the gospel. I'm so excited for this! Our wars mission leader and wars missionaries are helping us out with it, and we are going to start with six different families doing this. We need the ward members help very badly! Hopefully this will motivate them more to get involved with missionary work.

Sounds like the reunion was a good ol' time and that everyone is doing well! I'm sorry that you've been sick Mas :/ that's always a bummer. Thanks for all of the continued support and prayers.(: I love you all so much! My challenge to you this week is to study the talk "Come What May, And Love It." I studied it this morning and loved it so much! Have a great week!

Love, Sister Thomas

Monday, July 6, 2015

Roasting S'mores on the 4th of July


Things are great here in Laramie!. The teaching has been great so far! We mostly teach less actives, so I haven't really taught a lot of actual lessons from PMG yet. That's been a little discouraging, but it's also motivating us to get out and find more investigators to teach! We go tracting almost every day, and I like it.(: We found a new investigator that way. Her name is Larissa! And she's a young mother who is from Salt Lake and has a lot of Mormon friends. We are going to teach her for the first time this week, so I'm excited! Jennie is a less active and she's a tough one, she gets all caught up in government conspiracy theories and everything, but we try and get her to focus on Jesus Christ during our visits with her. We see her once a week! And yes, we volunteer at the soup kitchen every day for an hour(: That and helping at the care center for the old people are some ways that we can fulfill our service hours each week. I love it!

So for the 4th of July, there was a festival thing at the park (sort of like at Inkom, but a lot bigger!) and so we missionaries set up a booth and handed our otter pops and pass along cards. We got to talk to a lot of people about the church! It was awesome! The people here are really friendly and courteous, even if they aren't interested in the gospel. That night, we couldn't see the fireworks from our apartment, so Sister Martin and I roasted s'mores to celebrate haha. It was fun(: 

I'm still adjusting to missionary life, and am still missing the mtc a lot! In Elder Bednar's talk at the mtc titled The Character of Christ, he says "Your mission is not about you! Get over yourself!" That hit me hard again this week! It's not about me, it's about others who need the gospel, which means everyone I come in contact with. I need to stop turning inward like the natural man does, and start turning outward like the Savior does. I'll send you that talk, it's a great one.(: 

Thanks for all you do for me! I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you so much!
Love, Sister Thomas