Monday, June 27, 2016

I am so blessed to be a missionary

June 27, 2016


It has been another good week in the WVM. Mostly it has been a big
testimony builder for me. Notable things include:

- Exchanges on Tuesday. Until I become more persuasive with Elder
Winn, I can only run on exchanges haha. So Elder Kendall and I ran to
the Top of the Astoria column, which was really cool

- We have had some good lessons with Devon. Devon's (18 years old) is
one of the coolest recent converts I've worked with on my mission. He
recently told us he wants to go on a mission, so we've been taking him
to lessons with us and reviewing Preach My Gospel with him. His mom is
against the church but He's so solid. He said now when he gets
frustrated about something he'll just throw on a conference talk until
he calms down

- I went on exchanges with Elder Smith (my Mtc comp) and there's a
tennis court right by our house so we got up early and played for an
hour in the morning!

- Two of our investigators are trying to quit smoking, so we decided
to give up a vice with them. I choose blizzards from DQ and it's been
harder than I expected!

- On Sunday we had a day of driving to different interviews, so we got
to see a lot of missionaries and different wards being conducted. I'm
not exactly sure why I thought it was so cool, but it made me think
that if there are this many people worshiping God in the same way in
just this small stretch of Oregon and Washington, think of how many
there are all around the world! And then think of Utah!!

I am so blessed to be a missionary. I am blessed to serve in this
mission and with President Taylor as my Mission President. If you have
room in your prayers, please pray for him, the Lambert family, and
President Mcteer coming in on Wednesday.

Love all you guys!

~Elder Paul Thomas

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hurrah for Israel!

June 20, 2016


It has been another good week here in Astoria. The high of this week
was also the low, and that was our last zone conference with President
Taylor. We are like an hour and a half away from the stake center that
the conference was held in, so like half the zone carpooled in the
minivan with us down there.

Stake Presidents from both stakes spoke. President Marshall talked
about the significance of the restoration and the courage it took to
come about. President Updahl talked about the famous quote from The
Other Side of Heaven, "Hurrah for Israel!" That same line was first
trumpeted by some of the earliest missionaries that had to leave their
families to go on a mission. To dispel the gloom of leaving loved
ones, they stood up in their wagons near the edge of town and shouted
that triumphal phrase. When we think about how large and great this
missionary effort it, we should also think to ourselves "Hurrah for

President Taylor spoke at the end. It was probably the shortest time I have
ever heard him speak, no more than 15 minutes. He outlined the formula
for success: VISION + DISCIPLINE = DESTINY. Then he used some scriptures
to back it up. Alma 26:22, 27 Stood out to me. After the meeting we
all said goodbye to him as we left the chapel. It was really sad.

Besides that it was a pretty normal week. Another highlight was an
exchange I went on in Longbeach. Elder Winn doesn't like to run so
Elder Clanton and I woke up at 6 and did a 45 minute run on the beach.
It was soooo nice, the sun was up but not hot at all and we saw like 4
people total.

Sunday we got a call from the hospital telling us a member of our
congregation was sick and wanted a blessing. We got there and
apparently it was a bigger deal than we thought because we had to put
on hazmat looking suits and gloves. Pretty crazy, But she looked a lot
better after the blessing!

In other news it was Father's Day on Sunday, so S/O to Allan Thomas.
Definitely my pick for the #1 dad award!!

Have a great week! 

Elder Paul Thomas

Monday, June 13, 2016

Heavenly Father has profound love for His children!

June 13, 2016

This has been an incredible week. Sooo many miracles. But I'll just go
in chronological order through the week.

Monday - We had a great Pday and met with one of our part member
families. Apparently the wife is less-active and doesn't say much
about her faith to missionaries. But for some reason she opened up a
ton and told us all of her concerns about coming back to church and said
that she really wanted to. Then her husband who is not a member spoke
up and he was like "excuse me... I found a sticky note somewhere that
said Moroni 10: 3-5. What does that mean?" We were very happy to tell

Tuesday - We had exchanges. It was a ton of fun and we broke a record
in that area for the most Book of Mormons given out in a day. The only
downside was that we had an hour and a half of moving hay bales for
service and I didn't know we were doing that so I didn't bring service cloths and
ended up moving the hay in my church shoes. It also turns out I'm
mildly allergic to hay… haha

Thursday - We were visiting a few people and ran into a lady power-washing her porch in the middle of the pouring rain. She was super
embarrassed but took our number and a book of Mormon. She didn't seem
interested at all, but later that night we got like 30 texts from her.
It turned out she was having a really terrible day and took us showing
up as a sign from God. She asked where to read in the book of
Mormon. She asked if she could highlight verses she liked. She asked
if she would be allowed to come to church at 9am even though she gets
off of work at 3:30 am in the morning. She asked how she could know
if the church is true, and asked to be baptized if she found out it
was true.

Friday - We had a church tour with Jackie (the new investigator) and
she absolutely loved it! She said it all made perfect sense to her and
she wished she had heard of this sooner. The church tour ended in the
Chapel where she bore and incredible testimony of her love of God and
then we put her on date for baptism for June 25th.

Sunday - Jackie came to church! she loved it.. even on four and a half
hours of sleep. She took more notes than anyone I have ever seen! She
started rereading the hymns after Sacrament meeting and asked the
speakers for their notes on their talks! It was pretty incredible.
Also on Sunday we had a lesson with Kevin (investigator) and Kara
(less-active). They had some pretty big issues that came to light
that day, which had made them really distraught. After they explained
the whole situation, I really had no idea what to say. But God does
not do random. Unbeknownst to us, the member we brought with us had
had the exact same problem 30 years earlier and knew exactly what counsel
to give to them.

This week has made me think, yet again, of the profound love that
Heavenly Father has for his children.  Such great love that in the
midst of all the great and important things He is doing, he has time
to make sure an experienced member and distraught power washer
are exactly where they need to be.

I love this God we worship!

~Elder Thomas

Monday, June 6, 2016

Moving out to the coast!

June 6, 2016

Hola from Astoria!

Life has been good this past week. Elder Petitta and I found a few
more really solid people to teach and left the area in pretty good
shape. Then we had transfers and after two days and hours of driving,
Elder Winn and I moved in to Astoria.

Probably the biggest downside to serving in Astoria is that everything
is so dang far away. We have district Pdays instead of Zone Pdays
because we are so spread out. Luckily my district is on the coast so
we can go to the beach. Also, the weather is great here. It stays
around mid 70's with a slight breeze coming off the delta. It feels a
lot like San Diego.

Sorry I don't have time to email anyone today, we spent the whole day
playing soccer on Canon beach. I, of course, took a picture reenacting
Mom and Dad 30ish years ago.

The best part of the week was probably church. We had a lot of
tourists visiting during their vacation so church was packed. A major
theme of the meeting was gratitude. My invitation this week is, try
saying as many prayers of gratitude as you do prayers asking for blessings. I
promise this week will be different if you try it for 7 days!

Love you all!

Elder Thomas

Sunset in Astoria

My dad proposed to my mom on Cannon Beach in front of Haystack Rock 30 years ago.

Saying good-bye in Vancouver

A look out at the sea from Astoria

Saying more good-byes in Vancouver with Elder Petita