Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Malo a lelei!

March 28, 2016

Malo a lelei!

I asked my companion what we did this week and this is what he said;
“We put someone on date yo! We have been reactivating less-active
members like wild fire. We were sick but we still went hard when we
went out."

That's a pretty good summary of our week. The biggest obstacle was our
both getting sick. Literally like every missionary in the zone is sick
:(. But it's all good because we have been trying some "all-natural
Tongan remedies" and they've been…....kind of working ha.

I learned this week that one of our less-active's daughters threw
javelin for the University of Oregon. She told us some stories about
it and it made college track sound way fun....and hard!

We put our investigator Frank on date for baptism, which was very cool.
His daughter got baptized last year and is now like the most solid
member I have ever seen. She's working on her mission papers and is
hoping to get sent to, of course, Tonga.

Easter was really good, but to be honest it kind of felt like a
normal day. Probably my favorite part of the day was reading the account
in the gospels last night when I couldn't sleep. I don't know Jesus
perfectly, but I know him better after serving as a missionary and
this has just made me more grateful for him.

Oh also our shower got fixed so we don't have to go to another's
apartment to shower anymore :)

Stay well and enjoy Conference, I know I will!

~Elder Thomas

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ending the week on a high note

March 21, 2016

What a week. (Notice I didn't say "it was a good week." I'm trying to
add a little variety to my opening sentences). Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday were some of the hardest days I've had in a really long
while. But we had zone conference on Thursday, which changed the tone
to having some of the best days at the end of the week.

I don't really want to go into the first half of the week, so I'll
start off with zone conference. This is one of the last times I'll get
to hear from President Taylor (He goes home in July and there are no
more transfer meetings), so I took copious notes. He and the rest of
the mission presidency talked a lot about work and about love. As far
as work is concerned, we just have to do it. Ultimately our actions
make up our experiences here on earth, so we have to work to make
those actions. He shared one of my favorite quotes in preach my gospel
which is now on my wall.

“I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is
work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the
Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit,
he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There
will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and
talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work,
work, work--there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in
missionary work.”
                                                –President Ezra Taft Benson

He also talked about love and making sure our investigators feel our
love, and for them to feel our love we need to actually have real love
for them. When we love them, we make contact more than just once a
week and think about them even in our down time. It was a great

Then on Friday the ward hosted a huge dance to celebrate the birthday
of the Relief Society. They had been planning the food and
choreographing the dances since January. Needless to say, it was
pretty dang good. A lot of members invited their nonmember friends and
put them in the seats of honor right in the middle of the gym.  We
were also invited to sit there with all of the nonmembers, which was
pretty dang cool.

Saturday was a day I doubt I'll ever forget. To start off, the sun
came out. Then in the morning we spoke at a baptism of a child of
record. It was Brother Ika baptizing his daughter. I'll attach a
picture of Brother Ika, he's the one with a shaved head. Then we drove
into north Portland for the farewell feast of Anna Kalamafoni.  The feast
took care of our lunch and dinner for the day. Again, we very blessed
to be invited to sit at the table of Honor with Anna and her family.
There was enough food just on our table to feed the nation of Croatia.
Literally, there were three layers of foil wrapped food on each table.
So they said a prayer and we ate and ate and ate. Then they had some
members of her family come up and sing in Tongan. Then Anna's mom and
dad and most people there got up and said things they loved about Anna
and the memories they had. Sitting there, watching all of this happen,
I had four thoughts: 1) wow. I actually like Tongan food now. 2) what
are they going to do with all of these leftovers? 3)I think this is
probably what is was like before each of us came to earth. We probably
also gathered around with all of our closest friends - people we had
known for an eternity - and shared stories. If there was food up
there, I'm sure our Father spared no expense. And then tearfully
(because he really does love us) told us about how he would miss us
and the honor that we would bring to him, and most of all the even
grander homecoming party He would have waiting for us once we come
home from our mortal experience. 4)I am so blessed. I could never have
anticipated how much I would love these people when I got my missioncall
letter a year ago.


Elder Thomas

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day and some familiar faces

March 14, 2016

Pie day and some familiar faces

I feel like I start off every weekly email by saying "it's been a good
week" but it's true, so I'm going to keep saying that. Ha I do lesson
reports the same way. Every single lesson report starts of with "it
was a good lesson." Sometimes you just need to state the obvious.

What made it good? I'll tell you.

1. I got to have lunch on Thursday with Riley Langston and Hannah
Knowles! It was sooo good to see some amigas from back home! I thought
I would make me miss home a lot, but thankfully it just made the week go by quicker!

2. We had stake conference Saturday and Sunday, which was really good. Both the Tongan Ward and Rocky Butte Ward were there so I got to see a lot of friends. During conference, President Taylor spoke about Easter and he walked through Luke chapters 20, 21, and 22. There is really a lot in those chapters. Unfortunately, I didn't see the Mowers there but I assume there were there as well

3.We went out with some priests from our ward yesterday and they were so hyped about the work!  We went street contacting with them for like an hour and a half, and talked to literally over 100 people. Then we told them we had to drop them off at home because it was dinnertime. They refused to be dropped off at their house, so they tracted the area for an hour during our dinner appointment. After eating, we picked them up again and took them to a lesson. We had an active-member lesson lined up after that. The priests opted to tract around the house during that lesson as well. Ha it was a pretty dang fun day. I'll see if I can add a video.

4. We found a couple REALLY solid investigators yesterday.

5. One of the pics below is of one of the legit officials for the world indoor track championships. I met him at a bus stop and he didn't really want to take a pic with me.  But I convinced him to so we can reenact the same pic in 5 years with a medal around my neck!

Love from Portland,

Elder Thomas

Monday, March 7, 2016

Short on words, long on pictures.

March 7, 2016

Hey fam and friends!

It has been a pretty killer week out here. One of the best parts of
the week is that we got a new workout app on our iPads. I know that
might sound insignificant, and hardly like a miracle. But trust me, it
was an answer to prayer. It lets you choose how long and how hard you
want to work out and even has little animations to show you how to exercise correctly.

We had a cool lesson last Monday, it was pretty much the definition of
“having a member present.” We were teaching a Jehovah's Witness, and the
bishop organized the lesson so that her husband (member) was there as
well as the bishop himself (member) and his returned missionary nephew
(member) and my companion and me (members). Ha hopefully she didn't
feel ganged up on. The spirit was definitely there.

I also had a really cool experience on Sunday. I was fasting to
understand better how to be a consecrated missionary, and then at
church I ran into Elder Tuateoli, a former assistant from the mission
who was back for a baby blessing. He was obviously one of the best missionaries and he was able to: 1) give us a great Less-Active to work
with and 2) give us a ton of really inspired advice. Definitely an answer
to prayer.

I hope you all have a great week and believe in the power of fasting and prayer!

~Elder Paul Thomas

Spring in Portland

Food of course

Visiting with a former AP

Our Zone at the Stake President's home

A referral we received turned out to be from someone inside the prison.  We left a Book of Mormon rather than pay for a video call.