Monday, July 25, 2016

The best week ever and one year down

July 25, 2016

1 Year Down!

Yes, the title is correct. Although I'm sure it feels like I have been
absent for just a few short weeks, I have in fact been a missionary for
a year. Does it feel like a year? Feels like seven. Am I excited for
another one? I'd be happy with 12 more.

This past week has been especially great. Probably the best week of my
mission so far. Here is the play by play:

Monday- We had a great Preparation day. A member of the ward had made
his own miniature golf course out of supplies from home depot. He came
over Monday morning and set it up going in and out of rooms in the
church. It was a blast! Then later that night we had a great lesson
with a recent convert we had not seen in a while. At the end of the
lesson he pulled a freshly picked blackberry cobbler out of the oven
that i cannot describe in telestial words.

Wednesday- We had a zone temple trip which was sooo good! The temple
was beautiful as always (still my favorite temple), the zone is just
full of awesome missionaries, and I received inspiration I’ve been
waiting on since about the first letter I've written home. Great day.
But to give you an idea of the traffic, our carpool left Astoria at
8:00 am and got back at 9:00 pm. (We took an hour for dinner in

Thursday- We had a really great zone meeting. A set of sisters trained
on working with the youth and it really hit home. The gospel is here
to fulfill our needs. I cannot think of a needier group of people than
teenagers. Of course the gospel is going to appeal to them! The most
powerful converts I have seen on my mission have been Priest and
Laurel age youth

Friday- Kevin and Kaara got married!!! They looked so dang happy it
was awesome. Literally in two days the relief society stepped in and
found decorations and tons of flowers and refreshments and turned it
into an actual wedding. Elder Winn and i were the witnesses, which was
cool, and probably 90% of the people there were not members. Probably
the funniest part about it was our bishop who was officiating. He was
sooo nervous. He kept calling Kaara the wrong name and forgot the ring
ceremony until like 30 minutes later.

Saturday- We had interviews with President McAteer. We were his first
zone he had ever held interviews with so he was pretty nervous but
great. He mostly just asked me questions about myself and then we
talked for a little about faith being 95% action.

Sunday- We had ward conference so the Stake Presidency was there and
we had a really spiritual sacrament meeting. The Stake President
talked about how most of our spiritual learning actually comes during
the week when we are taught by the Holy Ghost in different situations.
Church is mostly for the ordinance of the sacrament.

Then Sunday night a former Assistant who served in Astoria came back
from Australia to visit and he split with us so I spent 3 hours
visiting former investigators and finding with him. He is one of those
guys that you can tell genuinely cares about everyone he talks to, it
really made people open up in a way I had not seen before. Then at the
end of our split, he gave us like 50 formers to stop by and visit ha.

So that was the week. Definitely the best week I can remember. The
church is true. There is nothing better. Christ lives and His
countenance falls upon His true followers, in the name of Jesus Christ

Monday, July 18, 2016

"Driving" the work along!

July 18, 2016


This has been another great week. We had transfers and luckily Elder
Winn and I stayed together. I feel like I say this every week, but we
drove a ton this past week and we have another week of driving ahead
of us. To give you an insight into how much driving - just on transfer
day we put 280 miles on our van ha. We had to wake up at 5:30 to drive
to Longview, then from Longview to Vancouver, back to Longview, back
to Astoria, then because we had meetings the next day we got
permission to sleep in Vancouver, so once again we drove to Longview
and back down to Vancouver. We had about 3 hours total to proselyte
the entire day! Ha Then next week we have a temple trip down to
Portland and interviews with President McAteer. It'll be a drive, but
I'm really excited.

Highlights of the week –

* We had a handoff lesson where we picked up a new investigator, Sam.
He is high functioning autistic and probably the most humble and chill
guy I will meet ever. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, he came to
church, and he said he listens to the bible every day on his hour and
a half commute to work.

* As we were about to check out our groceries at the grocery store, a
woman came up to us and said she loved feeding the missionaries but
her husband would not let missionaries in their home. So she asked if
she could instead pay for our groceries. It was sooo nice of her and
really brightened up our day.

* Jackie had been reading up on Mormons online and read that we
couldn't drink caffeine. Jackie's favorite thing in this world next to
her dog is her rockstar energy drink. But she said she after she read
that, she had been trying to quite it entirely for the four days
before our lesson. Needless to say, she was very relived to hear that
caffeine is not against the Word of Wisdom!

* For the past six months we have had Spanish sisters in our ward
trying to start up a Spanish branch and they have had almost no
success. But this past week 3 of their investigators came to church!

* Our assistant ward mission leader who has been inactive for years
invited us over for dinner, asked us for a picture of the temple and
came to church on Sunday!

Favorite scripture of the week is pictured below.

Have a great week,

~Elder Paul Thomas

Monday, July 11, 2016

Just in case you missed the fireworks in Astoria last week...

July 11, 2016


It has been another good week here in Astoria. The highlight was
definitely seeing Kristen and Mike yesterday at church! They showed up
out of nowhere and just stayed for the sacrament so I couldn't get a
pic, but it was way cool to see them!

Church was really good, Bekka came and stayed all three hours, and
Kevin and Kaara also stayed for all three hours!

The Fourth of July was another highlight. We were allowed to stay out
until 11:00 and watch fireworks with members. So we went to a recent
convert's grandma's house who had a great view and watched the
fireworks and made s'mores. 

Sorry this letter is short, here are some quotes I love

“I testify that He is utterly incomparable in what He is, what He
knows, what He has accomplished, and what He has experienced. Yet,
movingly, He calls us His friends.
-Neal A Mawell

Professionals practice till they get it right; Masters Practice till
they can’t get it wrong.” – Anonymous

Sorry again for yet another short email.  Have a great week!

~Elder Thomas

 The sign reads: Never EVER underestimate the power of Sisters!"

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Meeting President McAteer

July 4, 2016


Sorry this is a quick email because it's the fourth today. But it has
been a really great week. We got to meet President McAteer and he is
so cool! We did a meet and greet with him and both zones present only
wore red and white because we met them on Canada Day and they are
Canadian! He has such a fire for mission work and even gave the worker
at Arby's a pass-along card. He is an adult convert from the RLDS church and
his wife is a convert from the Anglican Church. I'm pretty excited!

It has been another week of tons of driving, but luckily we have fewer
meetings this week so it won't be as bad. Cool 11th hour miracle story
- Yesterday our 8:00 appointment fell through so we were trying to
find some people to talk to. Long story short we ended up at a member’s
house who feeds us almost every week and their street has been
tracted many, many times.   But we decided we couldn't go in for the
night until we found a new investigator. Well at 8:55 we talked to our
last person and found a really solid investigator and his family! Our
focus right now is invitations to church and he was stoked to hear how
close the church was!

All in all it was a good week and I'm pretty sure that Elder Winn and
I will stay together for his last transfer. The church is true.

Quote from C.S. Lewis

“You must make your choice. Either this man [Jesus Christ] was, and
is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut
Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you
can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come
with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.
He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere
Christianity [1952], 41). C.s. Lewis

Have a great week, love you all so much!

~Elder Paul Thomas