Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I made it to California!

Dear Family,

We were told to come email and let you know that we made it safe!! There are 3 sisters and 23 elders. We got a great pic at the airport, I will send it next week. We were met by President and Sister Lewis and the AP's at the airport. We are now at the mission office, we have had lunch and interviewed with President Lewis. He seems so kind! I am excited. All the cute older sisters give you hugs and it's just like a big welcome and you feel at home. We have meetings, presentations, dinner and orientation the rest of the day. Tonight the 2 sisters and I are staying at the home of someone in the bishopric. Tomorrow we get to meet our trainers and new area's so I will be working hard!

Sacramento is BEAUTIFUL! There is so much green, sun, palm trees and farmland. SOO much farmland. I am already loving it. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me here in the next 18 months.

It was so fun to talk to everyone today! I love you all so so much. I think our p-day is Monday so that is when you will here from me again. Know that I am safe and in good hands. I have like 10 moms in the mission office right now, so don't worry. Thanks for letting me leave you for 18 months. It will all be worth it!

We get to go to the Sacramento temple 4 times a year, how great is that!? Today around 4 we will be taking a tour around the city and we get to go see it! Te quiero!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Yesterday, Hermana Henrie and I went to the travel office to pick up her flight plans for her re-assignment while she waits for her Visa. We walk in and they start asking her where she is going. Another lady comes over to me and says, "You are Sis. Thomas?" so I said yes... then she says, "Taylor Adeline Thomas?" Whoa, I haven't been called that in a while..haha but I said "yes". So she says, "Oh perfect. We just stuck a little note in your mailbox to have you come here. We have a new assignment for you". WHAT!? A NEW ASSIGNMENT!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN? I was freaking out and saying all these things in my head. Why do I have a new assignment? I am going to Sacramento. I don't need a Visa, I wasn't supposed to be reassigned! After a few minutes she comes back and notices the TERRIFIED look on my face. She then says, "Oh no, no, no, Sister. I just meant we have new flight plans for you". Relief. You can't just start a sentence with that. I was freaking out. But don't worry. Everything is o.k. and I'm still going to Sacramento but SURPRISE!! I get to leave earlier now. My flight is now at 8:41 on Delta, Tuesday (the 26th) morning. So I will do my best to call between 7-7:45 so Tori can talk to me too! I hope you don't have any plans that morning! :) Hermana Henrie got reassigned to Richmond Virginia! She leaves Monday morning. We hope it's still Spanish speaking but not sure yet. The Elders got reassigned to Houston South (E. Reynolds), Charlotte, North Carolina (E.Decker) and Carlsbad with the 2 sisters already going there (E. Pickle).
It was the greatest thing ever to see my cousin Karissa at temple this morning. Such a tender mercy. She is so beautiful and happy. I want to look like that when I get home!! Elder Decker loved the donuts from Debbie so make sure to thank her. He is getting really suspicious so it's probably good he leaves Monday haha. I hope you had fun with the Meier's while they were here. I hope everything is going well!
The oldest district and our dear friends left last week, it was like saying goodbye to your family all over again. It was weird being here without them this past week. Elder Trusty and Elder Earl are serving in the Provo Mission (Spanish speaking of course) so you could see them and have them over for dinner haha. Hermana Sheffield and I are going to visit them when we get home in a year and a half. It will be so fun!
On Sunday in RS Linda Reeves came (2nd counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency). She talked about the importance of trying our hardest to role play. She said, "It can be real. If you truly prepare, the very words will be put in your mouth so never fear". This has been a challenge for me. Sometimes it's hard to role play because you know you are just really teaching your teacher, companion, or another missionary. But Hermana Henrie and I decided to take the challenge. We prepared as hard as we could for our lesson with Jonathan. The lesson was amazing. It didn't feel like we were teaching Hermano Wood, it felt like we were teaching Jonathan. The spirit was so strong and we had fun in the lesson! We wrote down all the blessings of being baptized and now he truly understands. It was great. I can do this!
So on Tuesday for our service project we got to set up the flags around the MTC outside. 32. It was SOO much fun. We got to choose which countries and everything. Then Hermana Sheffield and I were dusting inside and we ran into Elder Murray from the district. We got to talk to him for a few minutes about everything and it was so cool. He was very nice.
Thank you again for the bread. I loved it. It is my favorite thing in the world. Sis. Donakey also sent me some of her amazing bread. "Man cannot live by bread alone..." Well I'm not so sure about that haha. I did this week :) The Weenigs are so great. Polly sent me a dear elder and package this week with cute "golden" stuff since I'm going to the golden state. I love seeing Hermana Weening everywhere I go. She is amazing. She just radiates and is such a great example to me.
I was so sad to hear about Louie's accident. (Her friend Lauren Richardson was skiing and fractured her collar bone.)  Tell her I love her and that she is in my prayers. I know this is a hard trial for her before she leaves, but she will be an even stronger missionary now. She can just sit in bed for the next month and memorize all the lessons, role play and invite people to be baptized. Of course, this will all need to be in French... Bro. Richardson can take her to the General offices to practice. Perfect! Her teachers will love how prepared she will be! :)
So being a HOST this week for the incoming missionaries was probably my favorite thing ever. We got to show them around, (I know I have been here almost 6 weeks but remember how I'm not good with directions? haha.) Well I took my sister to the 5th floor in 17M. Wait, there isn't a 5th floor. Wrong building..haha. It was great though. Usually on Wednesdays we are in class watching out our window when all the new missionaries come. Its like a movie and Christmas. We act it out, watch the tears and hugs and get so excited for their new adventure. Its like watching a real life movie kind of haha.
We had in-field orientation yesterday for 9 and a half hours. It was SO long but I learned SOO much. I am so excited to get out into the field. I truly know that inviting people is the key. It is so simple but yet we neglect to think about how powerful it is. They had Elder Murray and Elder Christensen from the district come. Elder Christensen was in this play thing they did. It was like a celebrity walked in the room. Everyone got so giddy and hung on his every word he said. We watch parts of the district in class all the time for teaching methods. Grandpa and Grandma would love it. But really, some girls were like going to cry they were so excited. I played it cool, don't worry.
It's going to be hard to say goodbye to Sis. Donakey Monday :( If you send me an dear elders past Monday at 12 (noon) I won't get them, so make sure to send them before noon on Monday. Thanks! Esperso que todos tienen una buena semana! I can't wait to talk to you Tuesday morning. Te quiero muchisimo!! I will send pics later today when we do laundry. You will love them! :)
Con amor,
Hermana Thomas
I will miss  Sister Donakey
Russia to California, only 18 months!

Missionary Children
Elder McGinn, Frankfurt Germany Mission

Mail is delivered daily into a sock so it's like Christmas everyday!

Provo temple with my cousin Karissa Bosco,
who just returned from her mission in Cordoba, Argentina

Sister Weening who is leaving for Cordoba, Argentina
Her father, Karl Weening, was my Aunt Karen's (Karissa's mother) 
teacher in the MTC 28 years ago.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day in the MTC

Happy Birthday Daddy! I hope you have a great day! Also, Feliz Dia De San Valentin!! Thank you so so much for the packages. I loved them!!! You are the greatest family in the world. Thank you for sending stuff to Elder Decker for us. It was like watching a little boy at Christmas when he got his packages. He has no idea we in are on it, so thank you! Tiff wrote him a letter too? I didn't even get a letter from her this week! She has some explaining to do...
Please tell Hermana Petire "Gracias por el paquete!!" It was such a fun surprise! Thank you for thinking of me. I try to teach everyone the songs you taught me in second grade, they love it. "Mi Barba tiene 3 pelos" is a real hit! :) Thank you for starting me out early on developing love for this beautiful Spanish Language!
Oh YES!!! I see Hermana Weening all the time! It is so great. She is on the same floor as me, has all her meals and gym at the same time and her class room is right down the hall. I love her to death! I also said hi to Heston Goodrich this week.
So at dinner the other night Elder Whitfield comes up to me and says, "Hey, Hermana Thomas. Have you been asked to the Valentine's dance? (Naturally this is a joke, so I thought it would be fun to play along with it). So I said, "Yeah. Elder Buxton asked me last night." Then Elder Lusk sitting next to me says, "Wait, there is a dance? But we are missionaries... is it just ok for Valentine's day?" then all the Elders tell him that yeah its fine just for that day and that he needs to hurry and ask someone. So Elder Buxton walks by (I hadn't even said anything to him) and another Elder says, "So you are going to the Valentine's dance with Hermana Thomas?" and without hesitation he says, "Oh yeah. I asked her last night." hahaha. Hilarious right? So we all know its a joke, obviously. We are missionaries. Obviously we can't go to a dance. Well not Elder Lusk. He went up to Hermana Jensen and asked her to go with him.....haha. Don't worry, they finally told him it was a joke, like 10 minutes after. So our zone joke the past few days has been about "The MTC Valentine's dance".
Our lesson with Jonathan was SOOO powerful this week! He hadn't really been sharing or doing the things we asked him to so we finally just told him why we are here. We are missionaries and our sole purpose is to invite you to come unto Christ. This is not just a bible class where we talk about God, its a message FROM God! He finally opened up to us and shared about his life, he prayed and started doing commitments and is now getting baptized! The spirit was so strong as we bore testimony of the Savior and his plan for Jonathan.
Mom, every Sunday before Relief Society we get to watch "Music and the Spoken word." I always think of you!
Sunday night for the devotional we had Mark J Lusvardi come. It was by far my favorite devotional yet! He talked about the importance of being sincere and worthy of trust from our investigators. He served in Argentina and flew out some of his best friends that he converted! They spoke in Spanish and it was so powerful!
We got two new roommates this week! They are both going to the Houston South mission speaking English. Dad, what mission is your home? They leave the same day as me and they just got here....haha.
For Tuesday night our devotional was by Gregory Schwitzer of the 70. He talked about the importance of conversion. It is so important for the missionary to be converted first, so that they can convert others through the Lord. He gave us "5 C's of missionary teaching". These are the things we should be teaching. 1) Commandments. 2) Commitments. 3) Consecration. 4 ) Covenant making. 5) Conversion. I have realized a lot in my short month of being a missionary. I am not here to baptize. I am here to invite others to come to Christ and help them gain their own conversion.
Yes, I got my flight plans!! Yahooooooooooooo. I leave the 26th and my flight is at 11:19. So they tell you how many is in your travel group. Everyone else I have heard of has like 27 or around there. I have 3. Me and 2 other Elders haha. Guess Sacramento isn't as popular right now haha. I am so excited to get to the field! Are you a little excited I get to call you? haha.
I love you all and hope you have a great week! Thank you for all the mail, I love hearing from you. I am glad Karissa made it back safe and that Amber's baby is doing well. Te quiero muchisimo!!
Con amor,
Hermana Thomas
Sister Donakey and Sister Thomas (Best friends serving)

District and Roommates

We have an "Elder Wallentine" in our zone.  
"Will you be our WALLENTINE??"

Twinner "compants" day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bursting at the Seams

The MTC is soo full. Its crazy! We have huge lines for everything, so I am practicing patience.   Last week we received over 800 new missionaries! I saw the news lady here. It's amazing how many people can be fit into rooms and buildings haha. Every Wednesday is like Christmas. Instead of presents, we get cute new little missionaries. It's so fun to see how excited they are and ask where they are going. It also makes you feel like an older sibling. Yes I saw Maddie and got a pic with her. I also saw Deborah, her classroom is on the other side of the hall. I am still looking for Cameron and Heston so hopefully I will see them soon! Tell Jon congrats on his call! Spanish is the best and that is so cool him and Tyson are going to the same mission!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY EASTON!! I cant believe my little best friend is turning 3. I hope you have a great day and that you are good for your mom. I love you!
ANOTHER BOY!! Yay! I am so excited for Kandace and Glen. 3 nephews now!? What could be better? Soon (or when they grow up), they will be 3 great missionaries!!!
We had our first experience at the TRC last Friday. Our first lesson went awful haha. We didn't know what to do, I was nervous and it just felt weird. We are teaching members that already know about the gospel but its our job to figure out what they need. So obviously I was dreading our second one but we decided to say a prayer and just talk about what we felt being prompted. We talked about starting scripture study with a prayer. The spirit was so strong and the 4 of us all learned from each other. We have it again today and I am excited this time! :)
Every week we set district goals. This week we really focused on 3 and they really helped us improve. (sorry for the bad spanish but I am trying to type everything fast. Dad can translate). 1) Hablar por todo el dia en español cada Lunes, Miercoles y Sabado. 2) Reconocer y compartir la mano de Dios en nuestras vidas. 3) Leer un capitulo del Libro De Mormon juntos cada dia en voz alta. It has been such a blessing to look for----how the Lord has helped me multiple times throughout the day!
For Fast Sunday we had our mission conference. President Nally spoke (he randomly came up to me in the cafeteria and asked me about my mission. it was cool) and gave us 3 tips to make the best out of our missions. 1) Regular study and prayer, 2) Patiently and persistently living the gospel, 3) Inviting and waiting upon the Spirit.
Tuesday night at the devotional Don Clark of the 70 came. My favorite thing he said was, "Every convert is a great and serious responsibility. You can't ask them to do what you yourself aren't doing. We need to RETAIN and rescue every member." He then had everyone stand up that had an immediate family member who was less active. There were probably 90% of the missionaries standing. Then he asked everyone to stand up that is a convert to the church. There were soo many missionaries, it was an amazing sight. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to grow up in the gospel and I cant wait to help retain and rescue out in the field, but we can all do it at home right now! That is your challenge while I'm gone k?
So I love Argentina a lot, but I am very grateful I am not going on my mission there right now. The council came and half our district had to go to these meetings for their visas. They had to do a fingerprint test thing and if you messed up at all, you had to retake it, but only if there was time. My companion had to do for it 2 days in a row. Then they had to sign their name perfectly in this box. If they went outside the line of the box, they got a permanent reassignment. So in the 2 days of meetings my companion was gone for 6 hours so I go to to splits with Hermana Rich. I love her so much! But it was a few stressful days as everyone worked with the council but my companion finally got everything approved and is now just waiting for the visa to come. They said the fastest it would get here is 3 weeks but it can take up to 23 weeks. I'm glad I'm going to California! haha. Our district met an elder who has been here for 23 weeks waiting to go to Argentina. Mata me. The MTC is great and all, but no way could I do that haha.
This week I learned I need to be more BOLD. I talk a lot, everyone knows that, but when I get in lessons I am pretty quiet. I don't always know what to say, and I don't want to say something just for the point of talking. (Also Hermana Henrie LOVES teaching haha). En Predicad Mi Evangelio Elder Holland dijo, (lo siento but I only had my PMG in spanish with me but you can follow along in English around page 8 I think), "Muchas veces somos demasiado casuales encuanot a todo esot. Estamos hablando de la vida eterna, de la salvacion de los hijoes de Dios. La eternidad esta en juego... Enseñen con poder y autoridad y despues sientanse desechos se no se toman con exito los primeros pasos." 
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “The first thing you will do when an investigator tells
you he or she had not read and prayed about the Book of Mormon is be devastated! . . .
Much of the time we are just too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the
salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance. . . . It is the most important
path this investigator will ever walk. But if he or she doesn’t know that, at least you
do! . . . So take control of this situation. Teach with power and authority, and then be
devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have
not been successfully begun” (“Making and Keeping Covenants,” missionary satellite
broadcast, Apr. 1997).

I have the greatest message in the world to share so I need to be BOLD! I love this gospel and being a missionary is the greatest privilege I have ever had (even if it still doesn't feel real yet).
I should be getting my flight plans next week so I will keep up updated!
I love you and pray for you every night. Sorry I didnt' have any funny stories this week, I guess Karissa and Cy hold the title for now. I am so excited for the Bosco's that Karissa gets home this week! CRAZY! I bet she secretly wants to stay out on her mission forever. By the way, I am probably never coming home.....
Te quiero muchisimo!
Hermana Thomas

Friday, February 1, 2013

My zone left to right (Hermana Sheffield, Hermana Jensen, Hermana Henrie, Me, Elder Pickle, Elder Reynolds, and Elder Decker (our new District Leader)

MTC Familia Sanchez

Me and Hermana Henrie holding our Mission Temple pictures

Me pointing to my mission in Sacramento, CA 
Hermana Sheffiled, and Hermana Jensen pointing to their missions in Carlsbad, NM 

2nd Letter from MTC

What a great and long week it has been aqui en el CCM! I have a lot to tell you so I hope you are ready!
I have decided to stay in the intermediate class. I really want to focus on refining my grammar while I am here. So that means my expected departure date is Feb. 26th. So I still have forever here... haha. But it will be worth it! Its a good thing I love Spanish!
So everyone in my district can sing. They all harmonize and make every hymn sound really nice. I think they are all learning patience by having me sing with them.
So funny story. Hermano Painter was helping my companion and I prepare for a lesson. We wanted the investigator to know that God loves him. So he said it would be a good idea for us to write down all our feelings and emotions... I just smiled and tried so hard not to laugh out loud. Since when have I ever writen down my feelings and emotions....haha. Well, maybe the mission will help me become more emtotional and like a girl haha. We will see.
For Relief Society this week Sis. Burton came! It was a great talk about RS. She said we sisters in the gospel have a vital role. We make covenants. We need to be aligned with Heavenly Father so we can carry out his work. We need to listen and respond to His call. For the Tuesday night devotional our zone got to usher. It was pretty cool since we got to go back stage and stuff. Elder Clayton of the 70 came. He talked about how serving in companionships is a divine pattern and can be a great blessing for us. Just to name a few: Power, serivce, recognizing the spirit and protecting each other. My favorite thing he said the whole night was "Plant the seeds of belief". We are here to work our hardest and plant those seeds of belief. We work our hardest and the Lord still doesn't owe us a baptism or anything. That was very humbling!
In class Hno. Tidwell does teaching presentations to give us ideas. When he teaches our district we are an investigator family. I convinced everyone that we should be called "Familia Sanchez". I LOVE IT!
Thank you for all your letters and packages. I LOVED the bread mom. Best surprise yet! Grandma, thank you so much for the fun Valentine treat's! I shared with the whole zone and they loved it and told me to tell you thank you! Yes I love getting dear elder's. How the mail works is the District Leader checks the mail after Lunch and then again after Dinner. If we have a package, they give us a slip and you can go pick it up before 5 but it can be in the middle of scheduled time. The District Leader hands out the mail at 9:20 PM. The Elders LOVE the fact that they get to see who got letters and who they are from all day, and us sisters have to waitl until night. They put it in this stocking we found and then pass it out later. Sometimes when they leave the room we take a quick glance though, so jokes on them!
We currently have 2 new "investigators". Christhian and Jonathan. We are doing so well with Christhian, the spirit is always so strong and he coming around. Jonathan... well he is difficult. He doesnt really care about anything and so we are working on that. We get to go to the TRC tonight for the first time and I am so nervous!
YES I HAVE SEEN SIS.DONAKEY!! It was the greatest thing ever. Wednesday night at dinner I was going to sit down and I saw her out of the corner of my eye and ran to her. She looks great! We have dinner at the same time everyday so I should be seeing her a lot!! :) She seems to have a had a good few first days! Yes, if you could send me the flag whenever it comes I will give it to her personally. Thank you so much!
Claro que si mama! I would love if you tried to write me in Spanish. The question is, will it be as good as Robbie's? haha.
Bob, you can have Sunday as your day for Dear Elders. They won't print it off til Monday but I would love that!
I saw Grandma Carter at the temple this morning! She is so cute. We are so blessed to have the temple to close! Even though it is a chilly walk in the mornings!
Dad- Yes, it is great to be here! I can't wait to be out in the field teaching real investigators though. This is great practice. Teaching is hard, but I love how simple Spanish is! I truly feel the most comfortable in my Spanish when I am teaching, it just seems to flow. How did the Trek celebration go? Any stories? How is work? Excited for your travels soon?
I love you all so much! And I miss you... but just a little! :) I hope you have a great week and I can't wait to hear from you soon! Be safe!
Con amor,
Hermana Thomas