Monday, June 24, 2013 semana de mi cumple y sin investigadores


Pues...gracias a todos! Seriously thank you everyone who sent me a birthday card, letter, or package! You all are the best! (I´m pretty sure I´ve gotten everyone´s besides Audg´s but maybe that´ll come today!). On my Birthday we had a district meeting so afterwards we made brownies and everyone sang and the elders were quite grateful for them thanks to Amber and Ben ;) seriously though like 10 or more elders plus 5 other sisters soooo that means I only got one piece but sharing is what´s important right? And that evening we had dinner with a member family. Oh also I got to pet cats that day too so that´s how we know God loves us and answers prayers. (Kidding?...but it´s true). 

Training is still going well! The biggest struggle for Hermana Brown is the language and she´s always telling me I speak too fast and I´m like ¨whattt?" so I guess it´s hard to see my own progress from my point of view. Oh and I gave a talk in church on Sunday. I was stressing out a ton but apparently it went well, Spanish and all. Oh and thanks for sending me the Ensign I read it a ton and it´s one of the more exciting things I get to read (besides the Book of Mormon obviously which is the best). I didn´t end up going to Málaga during this week because my card wasn´t ready but I do go back tomorrow! Roadtrip! 

So this week was a bit crazy teaching and investigator-wise. Because we literally at the beginning of the week only had one investigator, Felisa, who we can never get a hold of. She didn´t end up getting baptized AGAIN because apparently she was being held by the police since Monday. So that explains why she never answered calls or was at home. Apparently her husband has his papers but she still doesn´t have hers so she has 6 days to fix the problem or she is sent back to Gabon in Africa. But she seriously is the best and always surprises us. She showed up at church and told us the whole story and was like "I am getting baptized this week! Without a doubt I am getting baptized! But...I don´t want to get baptized in the plastic font in the church, I want to get baptized in the sea." So if she doesn´t get baptized this week I think we might go a little crazy haha. We are going to try and get permission to baptize her in the Mediterranean Sea in this secluded little beach (where they usually have baptisms here) from President but normally it is not allowed so we´ll see. But how cool would that be?! 

We fasted for more investigators this week and the Lord provides, so we have three new ones and maybe one more after the days ends! One man we are teaching today is Muslim but super open and nice, so we´ll see what happens! We have done everything and visited everyone (formers, less actives, etc.) we possibly can in the city of Benidorm so we officially have no backups plans anymore besides knocking doors so that´s been interesting. And by interesting I mean people think we are Jehovah´s Witnesses and slam the door haha. But you know. And suddenly it has gotten hotter and more and more tourists are here too of course. People usually think I am from England or Holland usually and it´s apparently I´ve been told it´s because I don´t dress like a normal American haha, score! 

Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I am starting to love serving more and more each day. And how much I am needing to change as well, missions really are the refiner´s fire. With each day my faith is growing as well. I love this Gospel so much and in case anyone ever had any doubt know that I am here because I know with all that I am that God lives, Christ is our Savior, and that is their church. I get the wonderful opportunity to share that with people everyday and to spread the hope, peace, and happiness that the Gospel brings. I have seen how the gospel truths change people and how the spirit works to testify within them and I love it. And thank you to all who are faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord needs you. Being in a branch I feel that more acutely than ever, and I am so grateful for the few strong members and families that we do have. Keep spreading the restoration through your examples! And go where the Lord needs you most! Love you all!

Share the Gospel!
Hermana Thompson

ps- pictures!
1: with the Wong family who live an hour and a half away by train but always invite us to eat. but they are moving back to Ecuador :(
2: with Felisa! pray for her baptism!
3: In Málaga from 2 weeks ago when I went to pick up my trainee. Reunited with Hermana Johnson who is also training! :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

1st Week of Training!

¡Buenas Tardes!

Well I don´t have much time today because earlier we had a zone pday of futbol (i just watched of course) and we still have to make it back to Benidorm. But first of all training is not as hard as I thought it would be! And something weird has happened...I actually want to speak only in Spanish all the time. So that´s how we know that prayer works. Spanish and I are more or less friends right now and I feel pretty comfortable with speaking and understanding. I know I could train by myself if Hermana Martín left so I don´t think she´ll be sticking around for much longer. President said for sure she is leaving after this transfer but it might be sooner. Trios are difficult to navigate for sure but hopefully soon it will just get easier and easier like everything always does. It´s probably one reason why I´m training, the Lord never wants us to be comfortable because then we aren´t progressing. 

So, my new hija (trainee) is Hermana Brown! She is from the tri-cities area in Washington and is 21. But she also doesn´t speak very much Spanish at all so she never understands Hermana Martín and I when we speak, let alone the people we teach, poor thing. But I will try and help her and hopefully soon she will start to get the hang of it so she can teach with us. I loved getting to go back to the mission home and see missionaries, get training, and talk to the President and his wife (pictures are on the mission blog). And Pres Deere gave me a really great blessing too, he really is a wonderful mission president and always seems to remember everything about me- he often asks me about you dad :)

Felisa, our investigator who is getting baptized, has been out of town a lot so we moved her baptismal date to the 22nd, this Saturday! So pray for that! She is seriously the best, we love her. But she is so hard to get a hold of, like the rest of the world. It seems like everyone stands us up or ignores our phone calls. And we have a lot of work to do because we basically have no investigators right now. Especially since we just lost 3 investigators once they found out we couldn´t date them haha. 

So I am going to Málaga again to the mission home to pick up my residency card this Thursday so I will leave my 2 comps behind and get to see all the others from the group I came in with :) It´s a long bus ride, like 8 hours, but I love going back! Not much else has happened this week but thank you all for the birthday cards, emails, and packages! Tomorrow we have a district meeting so we will have a small birthday party and it´s one other sister´s b-day in my district as well on the same day! Also we are moving to a new apartment on the 1st of July so don´t send things to my current address if you don´t think they will get here on time. You can send stuff to the mission home in the meantime until I get my new address if you want :) But no worries because we are friends with the doorman anyway haha. 

Love you all!
Hermana Thompson

ps- i will send pictures later hopefully because the computer here isn´t reading my card :(

Monday, June 10, 2013

2nd Transfer...and I´m TRAINING...

¡Buenas Días!

Soooo as you can tell from the title I am already training after being out in the field for 6 weeks. But I´m not totally alone so that is a comfort. Hermana Martín will be staying and we will be a trio. But President Deere told me I am the one to train the new sister. Hermana Johnson (my comp from the MTC) is training too (but alone) and 2 other sisters from my group as well. So out of the 12 or 14 sisters that I came with 4 of us are already training! It´s kind of overwhelming but I also know it´ll be just fine. My second week in the field Hermana Martín told President that I could train (I thought she was crazy) and has been teasing me about the possibility ever since...and now it came true haha. I also said I didn´t want another trio since I had one in Provo but here I am with both those things! Haha. It´s okay though and I´m excited for this new change! I head back to Málaga tomorrow alone to pick up my new comp and get some training while I´m there. It´s a lot of traveling and I don´t get back until Wed late at night so Hermana Martín will stay behind with someone else. We have rearranged everything to fit another sister which means that we took apart our beds and barely squeezed three mattresses side by side on the floor. But we are moving to a new piso in July so that is good news :) But from here on out more and more missionaries will be coming each transfer and President is working miracles to get them all trained. 

This week has been CRAZY! I thought I had seen most everything but Benidorm continues to surprise me. Yesterday we were in an area that was a combination of Las Vegas and Miami. Literally Babylon I´m convinced. And I´ve had some very awkward experiences as well but I won´t talk about those haha. My companion says they should only put ugly sisters in Benidorm. This week we tried our hardest to reach the mission standards of excellence and we got close but...just under. And we basically dropped almost all our investigators this week...all in preparation for our new comp I guess! Felisa (the girl from Africa) is scheduled for a baptism this Saturday the 15th so please pray for that! She is seriously the best and has such a great testimony already. She even brought a friend all the way from Alicante for us to teach. And the friend told us that she would travel every week (1 and 1/2 by tram) to come to church in Benidorm but we assured her that there is a church and Elders there for her haha. Such sweet people. They are both like, we don´t know anything and don´t understand everything but we will do everything we need to because it´s true. 

I LOVE THE RESTORATION! Seriously it´s my favorite lesson to teach. When we recite the first vision in Joseph Smith´s words the spirit is so strong every single time, testifying of the truth. We watched the Restoration video with Felisa in the chapel and during the whole this she was like, "that´s my question too! i want to know which church is true too!" (Oh and Dad, we watched it in French too!). That video always puts me in tears, I love it. Afterwards we testified of what we had taught but Felisa still wanted an answer for sure. I had been explaining how the spirit works and answers to prayer earlier but she still had questions. Felisa said the closing prayer and it was so sincere, humble, and beautiful. That put me in tears too. During her prayer I was praying too that she would receive an answer. Afterwards she told us that while she was praying she felt something good, as if someone was next to her. And I of course was like, that´s your answer! that´s your answer! She prayed again that night and felt the same thing. God answers prayers and I love it. The next time we met with her was when we were teaching her friend too and she told us how grateful she was for us and for showing her the right path. I love those moments. She even bore testimony to her friend of the Book of Mormon and how it helped her one night after feeling really bad. She´s the best. 

I´ve been contacting people more and talking a lot more as well so that´s been good progress. I feel like nothing has changed and then I look back and I´m already way different. Especially with Spanish. I feel like I can get by just fine for the most part, but of course I still have a long way to go. It´s amazing how much better I can speak and teach when I am confident and have the spirit. But when those two components are gone the rest goes out the window. So we´ll see how this whole training business goes. Make sure you pray for me on that one. Also, we haven´t been back to Javea yet to visit the family of the Lewis´. And since I´ll be in Málaga for two days we probably won´t be able to go until Saturday...but keep me updated through the Lewis family please!

Thanks for all your love, prayers, support, and letters! 
Hermana Thompson

ps- pictures!
1- oh you know just hanging out in the branch president´s office watching Mormon messages and making pizza in the chapel because our oven is the worst
2- in the coolest elevator you´ve ever seen (from the outside it´s much cooler, like a glass willy wonka prism)

3- a picture of the little tower from our hike last last week (just to remind you all that Spain is kinda pretty)

Monday, June 3, 2013

More than 1 month in the field!

Thanks for those who emailed me! You´re the best!

Last p-day after my email we hiked up to a little tower that overlooks all of Benidorm and the coast. Seriously incredible. I think we might just have the prettiest area in the mission. It was so nice to be able to hike and just enjoy nature. Although the next few days I had to recover from the use of extra energy haha. On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders. I took a bus to Cartage's and got to be companions with Hermana Nelson who will be done in two months. She is so amazing and I learned a ton from her about contacting and teaching on the spot. As soon as I met her in the train station amazing things started happening. A girl from the states ran up to us and asked us for all our pamphlets and then as we were waiting for our next bus we taught a full 40 min lesson to a couple from Peru. The on the bus another lesson with a younger girl who was so nice. She talks to everyone easily and people want to talk back. The whole time I was like uhhh this girl is a machine. I was with her until the next afternoon and then returned to Benidorm feeling like I could talk to everyone and teach in Spanish. She´s from Utah and so it was SOOOO nice to finally ask every little questions I wanted to in English. And I finally could express all my thoughts and concerns in English. Everyone tells me how well I am doing with Spanish but I still feel like I know nothing in comparison to my comp haha. But it is coming more freely and I get more comfortable as the days go by. But everyone is sure to remind me of how timid I am all the time...I am working on that too. 

On Thursday we went to the funeral of one of the convert´s wife in our branch. She was one of the people we were visiting in the hospital with cancer. She was a Adventist so their church directed the funeral. They read a lot out of the bible and sang songs and said prayers but the whole time I never felt anything of the spirit. The people were nice and meant well but I knew that something was lacking. The family is strong and faithful and I loved seeing all the members come together to support one another. Times like these make me so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and temples. 

On Friday we had a special zone training with the President Deere and the APs. It was so nice to see the mission president and during my interview I told him the full story of my trip to Javea to visit the family of the Lewis´ mother. I could tell he was really excited about the whole thing and how inspired it all was. I had been wanting to go back to Javea and see them again and so I asked him about it. He said that even though it is farther away and costs more money and time to get there that we should follow the promptings and go back if we can get an appointment. So that is the plan! I am really just so excited that he is encouraging it. So hopefully soon we will be calling them to see if we can go back this week or the next. Our mission president is so great and I love his young enthusiasm for the work. 

Remember the investigator, Felisa, from Africa that came solo to church and how she kinda fell off the face of the planet? Well apparently she was out of town and we finally got in contact with her and taught her again and set a baptismal date! It is set for June 8th but we are thinking it´s a little too soon so we might move it to the 15th. But she came to church Sunday and is so sweet. Antonio our other investigator with a date is really busy so I don´t know when he´ll get baptized...hopefully soon, I´ll keep you updated. 

Sunday was great! Five of our less active members we have been teaching came to church! It was also testimony meeting so I loved hearing all the members share. It´s a small branch but everyone is so willing to get up and speak and their words are so sincere. June is the month of invitation in Europe so we are trying to get all the members to get involved. Anyway, hope you all are doing well and keep praying for me and missionary work in general! 

Love you all,
Hermana Thompson

ps- pictures:
hermana martín and i at the top overlooking benidorm
our bathroom door broke and i got stuck for a while...we had to squeeze in and out of a little slot all week haha
and the view of the coast!