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

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