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