Hello from the wonderful city of Longview! For those of you keeping track back home, Longview was my first city and by far the city where I had the most near-death experiences. In other words, get excited for some exciting emails in these next coming weeks!
It was pretty interesting these past weeks but also pretty good. I was sad to leave the McLoughlin Ward but I also just kinda felt like it was time. The people I'll miss the most are our bishop, our investigators obviously, and our district. Below is our district minus the sisters. S/O to Elder Glovers grandma for hooking us up with the sweat pants
The Mint valley ward is awesome. It is honestly a relief to just have one set of missionaries in our ward. We get dinners every night and we have a car . Life is good.
Cool miracle - On Friday we had an appointment set up with an investigator and brought a member with us. Unfortunately the investigator was a no-show, so we asked the member to pray for an area for us to find a new investigator. She selects one for us and so we go there and commit to talking to everyone we see. After like 45 minutes we had not found anyone interested. Then we turned a corner and found a 15-year-old guy cleaning out his crock-pot into his trashcan. We started talking to him and found out his mom is a LA (less active) member but he has not been baptized. We asked if he wanted to be baptized and he said he wanted to decide that before he turned 16. When does he turn 16? Oh just three weeks from now!!! Cool miracle huh? Wait, there's more. THEN we were at the stake center the next day for a random meeting and as we were walking out of the building we ran into that teenager's grandma! She lives over an hour away but just happened to be at the stake center that day! We were able to talk to her and get more info on how to help that family!
The following parable came to me last night while I was flossing my teeth (yes dad, I was flossing my teeth).
The parable of the yellow shirt: The principle of repentance is like a new missionary with a nice white smile and white shirts fresh from Jos. A Bank. Said missionary knew how to wash clothes but in high school had a supervising mother who made sure everything looked clean and pristine. After a couple of weeks in the mission field he realizes that his shirts are not looking quite as white as they once did. It's kind of a bothering thing because a white smile exposes how yellow his shirts actually are. But without knowledge on how to whiten them he just continues to be quietly annoyed by it. 18 Months later he realizes the yellow shirts don't bother him as much. When he wonders why, he comes upon the realization that once again his shirts and teeth are the same color. [Not white].
Same is true in life. We are all born with the spirit of Christ and a pure heart desiring to be righteous. Over time our environment becomes tainted and there is a bothering conflict between who we are and the world we are juxtaposed with. Eventually we choose to change our environment to match our natural spirit or we just continue until it doesn't bother us anymore. When it doesn't bother us anymore we realize that we have become the environment we choose to spend our time in. [Not white]. Solution - Burn the yellow shirts. Eventually the conflict will lead you to get your teeth whitened again.
Parable by yours truly,
Elder Paul Thomas
Former district minus the Sisters