Monday, January 25, 2016

Up Down and Everywhere inbetwee

January 25, 2016

This week was something else! To start off, we had transfers on
Wednesday and to take to place of our last ever transfer meeting we
watched the worldwide broadcast on missionary work from the church's
general missionary board ft. Elder Bednar and other general
authorities. It was really good, they did a great job of emphasizing
the fundamentals and reminding us that we don't teach - the spirit
teaches. After that I got my new companion, his name is Elder

I had some serious ups and serious down this week... and sometimes
both at the same time haha. Probably one of the hardest parts is
learning how to work in the Tongan ward because it is so different and
when we were combined we mostly worked in the Rocky Butte ward. The
Tongan ward is 100% member referral, but since pretty much everyone
works during the day it's pretty hard to stay busy before 4:00 pm.

But when we can do member visits, it's pretty incredible. The bishop
is having us take a piece of paper to every member's house and have
them write down who they're working with, and when they're going to
bring them to church. The crazy thing is that the members actually do
it and they are way on board with it! Just this week at church, two
members brought their non-member friends. The bishop asked the
non-members to take the discussions and now we're going to teach both
of them this week in their (member) friends’ home! To make this even
more awesome, one of our investigators is named Sunhawk Lonewolf! (I
think she's part Native American).

I'm really humbled by these people for a whole lot of reasons it would
take pages of Email to fill.

As far as the baptism goes ...It was different. It was very Rocky
Butte style haha. It would be way too confusing to try and explain all
the events that happened in sequence, so I'll include the diagram I
drew in my journal that day. Below are some other Key points about
the event:
- It was Rocky Butte's new ward mission leader's first baptism so he
left it to Elder Andrew and his new companion to plan pretty much the
whole thing.
- The baptism was supposed to take place at the Columbia River
building (because that font doesn't have green water), but Surona
requested the rose city building, which caused a lot of the confusion
you'll notice in the diagram.
- On the first attempt to baptize Surona she started moving laterally
instead of going under that water. So we had to try again. So I said
the prayer again, but halfway through the prayer I realized I hadn't
taken a breath in quite a while (in part because I was kind of nervous
and in part because the water was just dang cold) so at that point -
in the middle of the baptismal prayer - my diaphragm decided to give
an involuntary and rather irreverent hiccup to try and restore oxygen
balance. Afterwards Elder Holt told me not to worry.  However, it was indeed
very noticeable.
Oh boy. In events like the one we had on Saturday, it's important to
remember that the AFHGAFHgFHAFGH most important thing through all of
this is that another daughter of God has entered into the restored
church of Jesus Christ here again on the Earth and is on the path that
leads towards Eternal life and Exaltation.

Hope you all have a great week!

My Missionary Commission
I am called of God.
My authority is above that of the kings of the earth.
By revelation I have been selected
As a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is my master, and He has chosen me to represent him-
To stand in his place, to say and do what he would say and
Do if he personally were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me.
My voice is his voice. And my acts are his acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.
My commission is to do what he wants done; To say what He wants said;
To be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the
Divinity of His great and Marvelous Latter-Day work.
How great is my calling!
                                                 -Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 27 and loving it!

January 18, 2016

Happy Monday!

I hope you guys had a great week. It has been a really good week here
in the WVM. The first piece of good news is that President Taylor's
surgery went very well, was preformed by one of the top surgeons in
the northwest, and he is now recovering quietly at home. Unfortunately
he can't act as our President for a while, so they're sending in a
senior couple to take his place temporarily. That's pretty much all we
know. Some other good news is that we got transfer letters and I will
be staying in the Rose City Tongan ward! This is the ward that makes
missionaries in other wards break the 10th commandment! The ward
mission goal is 20 baptisms and 20 reactivations within the year, and
the whole ward is really on board with it! Unfortunately Elder Andrew
will return full time to the Rocky Butte ward, so we can't be comps
anymore, but at least we'll still be in the same district. My new
companion will be Elder Bruciaga.

Other blessings include some really good personal studies, a Tongan
vocabulary book I bought for $10, good service projects to break up
the week, and a whole lot of food. Seriously, I have never been given
so much food in my life. Just at church on Sunday we were given: a
frozen pizza, some lemon squares, a case full of chocolate chip
cookies, two boxes of fudge stripe brownies, four cans of Arizona
juice, cupcakes, and two plates of chocolate waffle cookies made my
Lori Mower who was visiting the ward on stake business! The northwest
certainly has exceptional members.

Unfortunately the baptism did not take place this Saturday. Surona's
Grandpa got called out of town on emergency business and Surona really
wanted to wait until he got back. We've rescheduled for this Saturday.

Twice this week we've had the opportunity to give priesthood blessings
to people who were in both emotional and physical pain. What a
blessing it is to have the priesthood.  Like anything else, blessings take time and faith. But in both circumstances, as we ended the blessing I felt immensely grateful for a God that loves his children so much that he trusts 18-19 year old men to act in his name and hold his authority. I mean I have a hard time
trusting my mission companions to not use too much of my hair gel and
the God of the universe is trusting me to stand in his place and say
and do what he Himself would say and do.

Have a great week!

~Elder Thomas

Adios to the current trio

Monday, January 11, 2016

feifai (happy)

January 11, 2016

Hey family! This has been a really great week. It's been good for a
couple of reasons:

1. We were finally able to meet with Scott and his family. They are
just as solid as they were the first time we went over. They made us
lunch and when it was time for the lesson they brought out their
notebooks and took notes on the lesson!

2. We had a LOT of people come to church. Our chapel is pretty small
and doesn't have an overflow, so it felt like we had even more there
haha. We even had a less-active guy show up with two random kids 
he knows who apparently are really open to hearing the gospel.

3. We got like 6 media referrals this week. Most of them weren't home,
but one turned out to be a really solid Marshallese family. The dad is
a member already and his wife wants to get baptized, all they need is
to get married first.

4. We had two days of sun.

5. We scheduled a baptism this Saturday for Surona! There were going
to be some conflicts with the font because we had a child of record
baptism on he same day, but we worked it out with the family and it's
going to be awesome.

6. We ran out of milk in our apartment so we had Martinellis and
granola bars for breakfast every morning.

7. We had breakfast with the stake President, President Craft. We
couldn't have a better Stake President. He's really enthusiastic about
the work and told us we could call him anytime with any concerns that
we have.

This past week our mission President had a heart attack and is having
triple bypass surgery tomorrow morning, so if you remember, please
keep President Taylor in your prayers!

S/O to dad and Hope who both had birthdays this past week!  22years
old and less than <60🎉

S/O to Lauren Thomas for sending me some much needed and even
unsolicited earmuffs ha

Have a great week!

Elder Thomas

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Years lessons from Mahana and snow in Portland

 ️ ️  ️ ️  ️ ️

As indicated by the emojis (imagine a sunshine, snowflake and wind emoji's here.  They wouldn't copy from Paul's iPad), we had quite a variation in weather this
week. I saw sunshine for three days straight, then the next day it
snowed! Granted, it only snowed about an inch and a half, but
literally the entire city shut down! It was pretty hilarious, after an
inch had fallen we got calls from both bishops telling church was
cancelled and a call from the vehicle coordinator telling us to stay
in all day. We were also told to stay in all day today ha but that
makes more sense because it rained last night and now the entire city
of Portland is frozen over.

We had a good New Year's Eve. We had dinner with a member of Rocky
Butte ward and then went to the mau'ka loa's for our second dinner (we
had two dinners every day this week because neither ward was willing
to give up their room on the dinner calendar haha), which was soo good
and really humbling. They are such a charitable family; they literally
spent ALL day cooking 13 full dishes for just us three missionaries.
When I get home, I really want to remember and apply in my own life
the charity I've seen from the members out here.  After dinner we
taught a really spiritual lesson to our investigator Surona and then
we were told to go in for the night so we watched the 20-minute
version of Jonny Lingo on and went to bed early ha.

Unfortunately Scott evaded us yet again, this time with the
flu. He'll get there, it's just a matter of time. Also our Swahili and
Portuguese Book of Mormons came in the mail and the Kabales were
really grateful for those.

The Johnny Lingo story, as simple and outdated as it may be, really
got me thinking this week. What really changed Mahanah is that Jonny
Lingo not only saw the potential for her to be an eight cow wife, but
he also treated her like one… always. She first had to be bought for an
eight cow price. Then Jonny married her, that's serious commitment!
Then she had to be told and reminded for "many months" that she was an
eight cow wife. Eventually she became an eight cow wife because
that's all she identified with.

I think the exact same thing applies with setting goals, especially
for a new year. It's almost a universal inside joke that New Years
resolutions rarely last more than a few weeks. Why? I think most of us
change our expectations for what we can achieve without ever mentally
readdressing the goal as already ours, just simply in need of
sustained energy and, of course, time. Our mission President is the best
at this. Every time he sees us he tells us we're the best missionaries
in the world. Obviously we're not, but we try dang hard to be because
the standard has been set.

Love you guys! Have a great week

 Snow in Portland
This dog is much bigger than it looks!