Monday, July 28, 2014

The Ties That Bind….

Hello lovely people!

This week has been everything but normal, crazy ranging to surprising. First things first, we have another candidate for baptism (soon to be 2). Her name is Lola. She is one of our recently rescued member´s mother. Her teaching record is about 10 years old and since I have been here she hasn´t been too interested in listening (especially since she has a lot of medical problems) but we asked if we could seriously teach her the lessons again, she said yes, and know she has a goal to be baptized. Fun Stuff. 

We also met a 35 year old man named Jesús through the same member. He is super spiritual and has a lot of potential. He was asking us lots of questions and telling us a lot of his past experiences, many of which are pretty abnormal. And the weirdest part was that we believe him, he said it all with sincerity and we didn´t feel a bad spirit either. Here´s the deal, we aren´t sure how to respond to him so maybe you all can do some research and get back to me next week. He said has teleported- when he was little is was just with his spirit and recently without notice he said it was his body and spirit. He has also had experiences seeing spirits, almost dying, and hasn´t had anything to do with black magic. Without too many details we were wondering what you all think. Let us know!

What else? Oh we are working on family history a little bit more in our mission and we need to fill out our little booklets but on the family search website it doesn´t let me see info and dates for the people who are living so if someone (mom/dad) would like to send me dates and places for Gma/Gpa Wampler, and Gma Thompson that would be great. also heh heh i forgot some birth years of a few siblings so that would be good too. Thanks! Family history is actually really interesting now, funny how going on a mission changes certain things!

This week was another hard one but I know that God hears my prayers (and yours) and that our spirits can do hard things and that the Lord chastens us because he loves us. 

  • Mosiah 23:

    21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
    D&C 95
    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you—
    Well there is one week left of this transfer and then I will get my next (and last) companion! One transfer left?? Crazy. Feel free to write me your last letters haha! You have 7 weeks.

  • Love you all!
    Hermana Thompson
    photos:
    plaza de España with elders Queirolo & Mercado in Cádiz

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 Also Kraft Mac & Cheese! America Rocks…

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Monday, July 21, 2014

16 months down, 2 to go!

Okay, reading that title freaks me out a little bit. I reached my 16th month mark this week which means I have a little under 2 months left until they kick me out. Every now and then I freak out when I think about it but then it goes away. "Real life" seems a little scary now. 

This week we had exchanges and I got to go to Jerez again and this time I was with Hermana Johnson, it was a lifesaver of an exchange and it will probably be the last time I get to serve with her before she goes home on Aug 22nd. 

Isi is going well we did the baptismal interview ourselves with her and she passed all the questions except one so we are gonna work with her on that until she completely understands and has a testimony of it. But she is progressing really well and her baptismal date is for the 16th of August, so pray for that! Chari also has a baptismal date still but is thinking about waiting until Sept so pray that she will be able to be ready beforehand if it´s the Lord´s will.

Not many other interesting things have happened this week...still just developing more love and patience. What´s going on with all of you? Sharing the gospel? Hope so! Love you all!

Hermana Thompson

ps-

photo of Hna Johnson and i in the train station in Jerez

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Love, the Essence of the Gospel

Hello lovely people!

We are now entering week 4 of this transfer, so that means that I have about 9 weeks left in the mission... :O / :( crazy stuff. So much to learn and do in so little time! But the Lord isn´t letting me get by that easy without a few learning experiences up His sleeve before I finish. 

First things first, Chari and Isi went to church on Sunday and are still progressing. Chari wants to put off the baptismal date until Sept but I´m almost 100% positive she will change her mind and just needs a little down time so that her life calms down a bit. She wasn´t going to go to church and then we explained that God needs to come first and in an instant she changed her mind and basically said Okay, God gives me everything so if that´s what God wants I´ll go. I love how the Lord changes peoples hearts in a split second! It´s my favorite. 

Here´s a small miracle. Remember my last comp Hna Crockett? Well her dad served here in the same mission and more specifically here in Cádiz. We were passing by inactives on Wednesday and met a family who is very offended and very bitter from past experiences with church leadership. We talked for a long time about the topic and the importance of forgiveness and my comp changed the subject and asked them about the missionaries that first taught them. He talked about them as if they were angels, with a smile on his face and a gleam in his eyes. Then she asked him their names, something I never would have thought to do. He said his favorite was Elder Crockett...I jumped on that and asked for more details. Allan Crockett, my last comps Dad was his missionary! Small world? No. God puts us where we need to be at the right time for his purposes. I got his email and now her dad will be a able to contact him and hopefully work with him. I love the plans of our Heavenly Father.

We got to see the Boullosa family again this week and gosh I love working with them! They are so ready to come back to the church! They are having some issues in the family and so in comes the youngest son (if you remember, Javi, 30+) and basically solves everything for us. He was quoting scriptures and citing prophets like an active church leader, amazing. At one point I asked him why he wasn´t wearing one of our nametags as a joke haha. He knows that he has to come back to church and says that over the past years he started to study science in depth and is convinced more than ever that God lives and that the church is true. He quoted someone saying "A small amount of knowledge bring us closer to science and a lot of knowledge brings us closer to God." I fully agree. His mom, Angelita went to church on Sunday and loved being back :)

The longer I am out in the world the more I see that almost everyone is depressed. Church members, non-church members, it´s how Satan is attacking people, making it so that they feel awful and don´t have the desire to do anything. But to that I would like to include a quote from our wonderful prophet from last conference "each person has within himself or herself the “power to increase the sum total of [the] world’s happiness … by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged.” Said he, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”

Like I mentioned earlier I am love God´s plan and I am learning a lot. This week, transfer, area, I have been here to learn about love. How to understand it, have it, and show it, even when you think you can´t or when you don´t want to. And I have come to realize, (at least for me) that in order to truly love God and others completely and fully we have to first learn patience, faith, humility, trust, and obedience. I had learned about the others from my past time spent and experiences had in the mission, and so lately I have been praying to understand and acquire love. All those of you who are married know exactly what I mean and this shouldn't be anything new to you but for me it is different when it is not only a theory or a topic of conversation, but something that has to be lived. 

Not only God, but others have to sincerely be more important to you than your pride, your opinion, your impatience, your fears, your doubts, and your weaknesses. But when you don´t feel that love, and want to feel it what do you do? You pray (Moroni 7:48), you work acts of righteousness (aka service), and you trust in the grace of God, the one thing that overcomes all and helps work miracles and masterpieces in us. And all of those traits that you have already developed become necessary, they become crucial. It takes all your humility, patience, and faith to trust that God will give you that type of love.

Moroni 7:

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

3 Nephi 12:

44 But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good.

48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

I think that become the hardest thing for us sometimes, the thing that stops some of us from that perfection we are seeking. Our thoughts, our words, and how we treat not only family and friends but also enemies. But when it becomes difficult I think of Christ and the words of Nephi in Ch 1:9

"And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."

We suffer because he suffered for all of us that we may repent and be perfected in Him, because he loves us. So the words of a song from Moulin Rouge come to mind in that "Come what may I will love Him" no matter what trials I have and no matter what happens, and that kind of love takes faith, trust, and a humility to accept His will and plan for me and for others. 

I know that God lives. He cuts me down because he loves me. He sticks me in the fire so that I come out purer and more clean. He gives me trials so that through my perfection I later can be truly happy, forever. And so now more than ever I can say that I truly look for and accept His will because I know that it is the best thing for me. And because he loves me I can sincerely say that I love Him more than ever. 

And so I leave you with this last scripture,

D&C 122:

7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

I LOVE ALL OF YOU! Thanks for your support and for taking this journey with me.

Hermana Thompson

ps- still waiting for people to send me photos so until next week i hope!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Happy 4th of JULY !


Hello fellow Americans and freedom-lovers! Gosh, America is the greatest place on the planet. Mark my words, I will kiss the ground when I get home (if I can bend that low haha). We celebrated 4th of July in Sevilla in a tri-zone conference with President Deere. The only American thing we did was sing the national anthem which was kinda disappointing (but better than nothing). God bless America. 

 

Tuesday we ate with the Boullosa Family (the inactives that we found by a miracle) and it went reallyyy well. Everyone was there including other nonmember relatives and we have an FHE with them all today. 

 

Chari is progressing really well still but we have moved her baptismal date forward since she couldn´t go to church yesterday and both her and Isi have dates for the 26th of July. My comp has been sick a few days so I went on splits with with a member, Inés, that had is a distant relative and they had known each other from before. It was a huge testimony builder for the both of them and the spirit was there really strong in the lesson. Chari has a huge desire to get baptized and Inés was recently rescued from being less active and now is just on fire! The elders gave Chari another blessing to quit smoking and we took some of her cigarettes away and threw them out haha. So pray for her that she will be able to quit! 

 

Jose, the homeless inactive man we met went to church out of the blue and one of the members is helping us out, but it just shows that the gospel is the best thing for everyone no matter what situation they are in. 

 

What else? Not much honestly. In the zone conference all of the missionaries going home 3 weeks early from my group (for school and stuff) bore their final testimonies. That includes my MTC comp Hna Johnson. It was surreal and I know that it´s coming up soon for me. I´ve been reflecting a lot on everything that has happened, especially since I sent some voice recordings to Audrey with stories and things, and I am so grateful for all I have learned and how I have changed so far and I know that there is much more to do and little time to do it! 

 

The church is true, and GOD LIVES, I know that now more than ever. Love you all! And share the gospel!

 

Hermana Thompson

 

photo from my bday!

thanks for all the cards and packages! you´re the best!

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Birthday, Miracles, and GIBRALTAR!

OKAY, sorry for the wait folks! But finally you have my double email for this and last week! A lot has happened and there are a lot of photos coming your way!

LAST WEEK´S PORTION:

Well I am now 22 years old people! Can you believe that? I sure can´t. It sounds pretty dang old to me but I will have to live with it now. I guess it´s not so bad. My comps decorated a bit for my bday and gave me some small gifts. That day we ate with Juani a member who feeds us a TON but she´s the best. (but seriously you can´t walk after eating at her place). All the appointments basically fell through that day but oh well haha. And like a good and true American I treated myself by buying root beer, chocolate cake mix, and pancake mix from the American shop here! wooohooo! So I made us all pancakes and my own cake for my bday haha :) And we went to this really cool tapas place where it´s like a buffet of small appetizers

On Friday we went to the branch of San Lucar to do a "cosecha" or harvest with the other missionaries. We all went on splits with members and contacted in the streets to try and help move the work along there. It was fun, my comp and I didn´t have much success at least, but they they got contacts out of it and there was a lot of support from the members. 

On Saturday we had the coolest lesson ever with Isi! It started out with her asking us A TON about Book of Mormon history (let´s be honest, I didn´t even remember all of the answers to her questions...I have forgotten a lot of details on the mission haha) and the lineage of all the prophets. Then we talked about the spirit and receiving answers. Anddd then she said something that surprised us all! She said that the law of chastity hadn´t been a problem for her the last two weeks and her and his desires have changed! I was stunned. It was a specific answer to our specific prayers. She was talking about her baptism again and we set a date. She said that an overwhelming feeling comes over her when she thinks about baptism, it´s almost paralyzing. She is nervous but in a good way. The elders gave her a blessing and she described in detail what she felt- smoke that filled her mind, went throughout all her body, went back up, left her head and all she felt was a warm happy feeling left over. Cool huh? I´ve never heard anyone describe it like that. She is progressing really well. She whipped out her old baptismal calendar from the beginning and it was all marked up with stickers and tons of details. She is truly something else.

Sunday we had a Music and the Spoken Word type of fireside and sand Savior Redeemer of My Soul. Others sang and played piano and violin. Isi read the scriptures for us :)

OH AND MARICARMEN GOT BAPTIZED ON WEDNESDAY! If you remember she is Juan´s wife from Murcia and he got to baptize her :) it´s such a miracle. She is going the the other ward´s sacrament meeting and in the meantime hopefully she will change her job!

THIS WEEK´S PORTION


So Monday we went to Gibraltar and it was definitely worth it. A member took us up in his van with the elders and also the Hnas from San Fernando. We officially left Spain and entered into British territory! It was weird. Everyone spoke both English and Spanish fluently and it had lots of little shops from England with British products :) We took a cable car lift thingy up to the top of the rock to see the gorgeous view and monkeys. And the funniest thing of the day happened. Hna Fumero had her back to one of the monkeys on the rail and since her backpack was open it hopped on her back and she started screaming and crying and ripped the bag off. Everyone on the planet was watching and laughing. The rest of the day she held her bag around the front and freaked out every time she saw a monkey. It was hilarious and made the whole trip worth it (for us at least hahaha).

Friday we went to Chiclana to help with a girl´s camp activity. Half of the sister missionaries went on splits to contact in the streets and Hna Fumero and I went to and elderly home to talk with them and write mini bio´s in handmade journals. That night one of our plans fell through and so we stopped by an inactive family that had recently moved and the bishop had been able to talk to on the street. Normally when we do this they either aren´t home or don´t want anything to do with the church. The mother, Angelita, opened up, and first said she didn´t have time but after talking a bit let us in. She began to talk about how she completely regrets leaving the church over small thing and that she feels in her chest this great feeling of sadness and longing to come back. She had been reading the bible the day before and thinking about it and said that it was a miracle that we came the day after. Her husband later came in along with her sons and other family members. Her youngest son, Javier, was extremely nice. He had been sealed in the temple at one time and everything and also regrets what happened. They both gave really sincere and beautiful repentative (is that right?) prayers and invited us to come back and eat this Tuesday. I LOVE MIRACLES! They are the best. 

This week we have also been contacted by three homeless people, 2 members and one investigators. One´s name is Jose and since he is sincere, we are trying to help him repent, quit drinking, and turn his life around. We will see what happens! Today we went bike riding with a lot of other missionaries to the two castles. We are now a combined district with San Fernando.

Love you all!

Hermana Thompson

photos- Gibraltar!

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In the lift

Hna Moreno and I with the monkey that attacked Hna Fumero haha

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the Rock of Gibraltar!

Hnas Brown, Moreno, Fumero, me, Ridlisbacher

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Hna Moreno and I on the path

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look closely in the last photos i sent and you can see Africa!

the crazy monkeys

and we met some American tourists that served their mission in Spain!

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 WAIT…. THERE’S MORE….

our old district with Elder Queriolo and Mercado

new district on the castle with elders Buttars, Adamson, Mercado, Queirolo, and Hnas Brown and Rindlisbacher

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paintball flashback! i finally got the photos!

the group

and me on the hunt!

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 What a way to scope out contacts! Smile

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hello!

So we went to Gibraltar today and got stuck in a ton of traffic coming back out from customs so that´s why I´m getting on late. I won´t be able to write my normal weekly email but I´ll make up for it next week! My birthday went really well and I got the packages from Amber and Carola, Audrey´s still hasn´t gotten to me so I´m not sure what´s up with that. But know that everything is well! Hna Moreno is getting transferred to the Sevilla zone on Wednesday and Hna Fumero and I are staying here together. Have a good week! Pray for Isi, Chari, and Antonio, they all have baptismal dates :D

Love you all!

Hermana Thompson

Monday, June 16, 2014

Baptismal Dates!

Hello! This week was intense in many ways but ended well because we set two baptismal dates on Saturday and then they both went to church on Sunday! We celebrated Chari´s birthday on Tuesday and decorated some pre-bought cakes for her with her daughter. They are still having problems but are doing a lot better. Chari has changed a ton since the priesthood blessing she got. Her daughter Ana has problems with drugs and is only 16. We were talking about faith, hopes, and dreams, and she told us she never has had hopes or dreams because everyone her whole life has always told her she is worthless. We assured her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, that he loves her, and she has great worth. We had her think of dreams and write them down. Her mom says that she has been reading our dedicatory note in her Book of Mormon ever since. We take for granted sometimes things that are simple but mean a lot. I had never supposed that someone could never have hoped or dreamed. It´s incredibly sad because it´s free and one thing that everyone can do. But oh how things change when a person understands who they are and that with the Lord all things are possible!

Chari accepted her baptismal date of July 12th with enthusiasm and wrote alongside it in her calendar "be baptized with someone that holds the authority of God" haha we were so surprised at the change that has been affected in her! At church it comes to find out that she already had a lot of connections with the people but they remember her as a completely different person and some had their doubts but we know that it is true progression. 

Antonio is the other. He has a date for the same day. We found him last week through another investigator in park and the first time we taught him I invited him to be baptized and he said yes. He´s from the Dominican Republic and truly has a desire to listen and learn. He showed up to church just like he said he would! So here’s to praying that he will keep progressing!

This week I will turn 22 on Wednesday and then complete 15 months in the mission on Thursday. It´s hard to believe. But oh I still have so much to learn and so much to improve on. Just when I think I am doing really well on attributes like patience, love, and humility, the Lord shows me that I still have a long way to go. But lucky for me I have good examples for companions that truly show me how to do all three of those things. And of course the best example of all is Jesus Christ. 

Love you all! And thank you all so much for sending me your love for my birthday! 

Hermana Thompson

ps- Hna Fumero cut my hair for me this morning and well...since it hadn´t been cut in over a year it was pretty ragged. So my hair is now quite a bit shorter :/ I´ll send a pic next week.

pps- photos!

me, Ana, Chari, Sara (YW from the ward), Hna Fumero, Hna Moreno

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Exchanges, Tourism, and More Miracles!

So this Friday we had a zone meeting and then afterwards I went to Jerez for exchanges with Hna Cameron and Hna Johnson went to Cádiz with my comps. It was fun but there isn´t anything out of the ordinary to share. On Tuesday we went with the elders to give Chari and her home a blessing. It went really well and she cried a lot. You can tell that she is feeling better and is wanting to progress more and more. Wednesday was her bday so we heart attacked her door. When we went back on Thursday as first she said she wasn´t feeling up to letting us in and then stopped, thought, and said "Okay, maybe just a prayer." God told her to let us in and she opened up as we talked and we all knew that we came at just the right time. She and her 16 year old daughter, Ana, had been having a lot of problems and we were able to counsel them through it and talk about true love and forgiveness. It came with tears and kind words and now the daughter wants to go to church and listen to us :) We have faith that they will get baptized once we can get them to church a few times...and once they both quit smoking! (She also said the heart attack was the best part of her bday. Little things really do make big differences.) 

We taught Isi about tithing and fasting this week and she accepted them both readily. Less so on all the logistics of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, but that one won´t be much of a problem. On Sunday it was her birthday and her mom, Encarni, came to church! She loved it and told the whole family about it! The parents had been opposed before but God has been working on their hearts. Isi invited us to her Bday celebration and another YSA member. At the end she had us share a message and her parents and a family friend asked us all the questions they wanted. They are really great people and have basically all the same beliefs. And now the father wants to come on Sunday too! It is such a miracle! (plus a fat little bulldog was sucking on my sandals the whole time and wouldn´t leave me alone hahaha it was quite the night).

Well I have no more time, but I love you all!

Hermana Thompson
Me in front of the castle just above, and us on bikes
and on the castle (which is on its own little island) in 3 photos below