Monday, March 27, 2017

Spanish BOM's, the cookie approach, two almost amazing investigators, Conference

March 27, 2017

Hola amigos y amigas y familia. Era una muy buena semana en Longview. Vi el sol dos veces! Una cosa divertida: accidentally la zona ordenado todos los libros por la mes en español, así tenemos muchos libros en español pero muy pocos en inglés! Así ahora busco todo el tiempo por latinos!! Jajajaj

So yeh besides the fact that we have like zero copies of the Book of Mormon in English haha life is really good. Something we tried this week that I have not done in forever is the cookie approach. Despite our underwhelming reception with the pies we tried approaching our tougher to reach Less-Actives and investigators with freshly baked [and possibly over baked] chocolate chip cookies  . Wow - it was beyond successful haha. every single person wanted to see us and asked us to come back! Mind you none of them had tasted the cookies at that point and one investigator did get really sick the next day... but yeah good stuff.

This week we also found a really solid investigator that ended up not being that. We were walking out of a lesson with a member and saw a lady half way down the street picking up some of her kids toys. We called out to her and asked if she wanted a Book of Mormon and she said that she had one. So we walked down there and asked if she read it and she said all the time. We asked if she wanted to come to church and take the missionary discussions. She said that would be great. We came back for a lesson two days later and felt the spirit nice and strong so we committed her to be baptized.. and she accepted! Then finally we were brought back to earth when she asked if she really needed to be baptized again cause she was "baptized Mormon four years ago in St. Helens." So sad haha we thought we have found the most elect person in the world haha. But she did come to church in Sunday and bring her granddaughter with her!

We also had a cool experience while we were teaching a guy named Thomas (pretty classy name, I know) and at the end of the lesson we were like "There has been a wonderful spirit here tonight, if you could share this same message with anyone else you know who would it be?" And he was like "yeah this is awesome I would love to tell my neighbor Chris about it" and like literally at that exact moment Chris walks through the door and sits down in the couch and was like "what's up guys, what are we talking about" haha pretty sweet.

Love you all!  Listen to Conference.

Elder Paul Thomas

The Amazing Longview Zone

Monday, March 20, 2017

St. Patricks Day and Pie day all in one week!

March 20, 2017

St. Patricks Day and Pie day all in one week!

You know it has to be a good week with that title! 

Tuesday- Finally after being in the same mission with Elder Russell Brown for over 18 months, I finally got to go on exchanges with him. It was way fun to catch up and talk about old SHS memories and reminisce about Hectors together haha. It also happened to be on Pie day (3.14) so to celebrate we went to our Local Winco and bought two pies. The theory was that we would walk around knocking doors with our pies and when people saw that we had pies that they'd ask us about it and we could be like "oh yeah we're celebrating pie day, here you go, have a free pie!" The sad reality - and I promise I’m not exaggerating - is that after 2 Hours of knocking doors with our pies not a single person asked us what they were for. IDK maybe people in Washington just expect Mormon Missionaries to be exceptionally snack oriented and sugar driven. Whatever the case may be, we ended up getting pretty desperate to give away the pies. Here was the response of our last pie give away, "Is it ok if I take your pie but not the Book of Mormon?"  "Well the Book of Mormon is free..."  "yeah I’ll just take the pie thanks!" Hahaha  That's Washington in a nutshell.

Wednesday - We had a church tour with one of our new investigators, Gina. Definitely the best church tour I’ve ever been on. She walked into the church, saw the pic of Joseph Smith having the first vision and started crying.  She was like, "what the heck, I don't even know why I’m crying!" Then when we were concluding the tour in the chapel she started crying again. When she came to church on Sunday - cried again. 

Thursday was a nice day of getting lost in the boonies.  We realized that we had left the phone at home when we went to call in for directions. We also started trying to keep appointments to 30 minutes and that's been working really well.

Friday - Friday is my favorite day of the week, 17 is my favorite number, and St. Patrick's day is one of my favorite holidays. So Friday was a really good day. We had planning time for most of it, but then we went to Heavenly Donuts and the worker there randomly gave us free donuts. Then we taught some great lessons and ended up at dinner with one of the best cooks in the ward. She made corned beef and cabbage with homemade soda bread and key lime pie for dessert. After dinner we had some more really good lessons. I just realize that I spent an entire paragraph talking about food…but then again I don't think it would be a great day, in my opinion, if food weren’t part of it!

Saturday and Sunday the good times continued to roll. I love serving a mission and I love being here in Longview.

The church is true!

Elder Paul Thomas

“As we study the scriptures, we notice that the Savior ministered to people according to their specific needs. …
“Jesus showed patience and love to all who came to Him seeking relief for their physical, emotional, or spiritual illnesses and who felt discouraged and downtrodden.
“To follow the Savior’s example, each one of us must look around and reach out to the sheep who are facing the same circumstances and lift them up and encourage them to proceed on the journey towards eternal life.”

—Ulisses Soares, “Feed My Sheep,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, 98
March 20, 2017

 Our Zone

Monday, March 13, 2017

Do it!

March 13, 2017

Hey Fam!
Great week in the 360. Notable things include rain, rain, and rain. Did I mention the rain? Or the fact that morning and night it has been raining without stopping? So I wake up in the morning and guess what the weather is? Rain. I go to bed and guess what the weather is? Rain. Sleeping? Rain. Eating lunch? Rain. In a meeting? Rain. Three weeks ago? Rain. In the shower? Rain. So much rain that I even came up with a hypothetical question. If a tree falls down in the woods in Washington, can you hear it over the rain?

Ok, enough ranting about the rain it has been a really good week. Good lessons, good people, and the good news of the gospel. Probably the most interesting thing to me is the inspiration of working through the keys. We asked our bishop the other day what focus he wanted us to take in our proselyting efforts and he said to focus on the youth. Ever since then all we seem to be able to find are youth. It seems like every door we knock on are the houses of teenagers.  And with the less-actives we are working with, it is the youth that want to come back to church.

Well as long as I have already ranted once in this email, I might as well do another: I realize that I haven't really talked much about my mission has impacted me. In two words - a lot. I'll write more about it later, but if there is any particle of doubt in your mind as to whether or not you should go, do it! I promise it will be the hardest thing ever, and 100 % the BEST!

Love y'all!

P.s. Sorry we had our Pday at the house of one of our mission presidency members, thus no wifi all day, thus I don't even have time to read most of my emails today but I promise to email back!

 Mom note: crossing my fingers this isn't a missionary fridge!
 Stake Center
 Last District Meeting with the Gardners

Monday, March 6, 2017

Our Bishop is so missionary minded

February 27, 2017

Holla Amigos!

Life is good like always, the church is still true, and mac n cheese is still the perfect lunch time snack.

Probably the most notable event was getting sick these past couple of days. I'll spare you the details, suffice it to say I rediscovered what the words "violently ill" means. The closest thing I can compare it to is when I took typhoid pills in my jr year of high school... And yeah those pills kicked in right in the middle of the ACT haha  

Cool miracle this week: Our bishop is way cool and missionary minded but also really busy because he owns his own company. On Tuesday night we asked if he would be able to meet with our investigator Alex with us. He said unfortunately he was busy all week. Then Thursday like 30 min before our appt with Alex he texts us and asked when he were meeting with Alex and if he could come. It was perfect timing and a lesson where it was soooo helpful to have bishop here to talk with Alex!

"Because of the infinite Atonement, the Lord is not disappointed when you fall or transgress. The Lord is only disappointed when you don’t learn the lesson and get back up and go again. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is continuous and real, which means that pain is a signal to grow, not to suffer. And once you learn the lesson the pain is teaching you, the pain goes away. In life there are no mistakes, only lessons."
-Dan Clark

Love y'all, don't be a stranger!

~Elder Thomas

 Looks like Berkeley but it's not.

P-Day Nap installment 2

March 6, 2017

Pday nap installment 2 today. How was it? Just as good  .

Life as always is great out here. The rain is literally driving me nuts haha - I wake up and it's raining and all the way until I go to bed, day after day after day. Best parts of the week? Ummmm we had some pretty sweet lessons. I know that sounds pretty undramatic but the truth of it is that probably the best parts of missionary work is just when you're in a lesson with an investigator and you feel the spirit. Simple.

We have an investigator we have started teaching, her name is Rainy (yeah ironic I know) but it's pretty insane how familiar it is to be around her, as if we had known her for a really long time even though obviously we have not. She even frequently uses the phrase "what's the word?" that I only hear Jake Anderson and Dr. Allan Thomas use haha.

On Thursday we were driving into our area and noticed that the tire pressure was low in the car. We pulled over and upon investigation found that there was a nail in one of the tires. We decided to take it to Les Schwab. Sine it was a 1.5 hour wait we decided to take some Book of Mormons and tract around while we waited. We were 45 minutes away from the car when I made the observation "man I'm so grateful it's not raining right now, I even left my raincoat in the car." 2 Minutes later it started raining. Hard  . In a spirit of sarcasm I then voiced appreciation that I had not eaten Olive Garden or carrot cake in a while. ...I'm not joking, later that night we stopped by the church and the relief society was cleaning up from a party where they catered Olive Garden and carrot cake!

"So cool has been the message [of the atonement] that through the centuries, while heated controversy and debate have raged over evolution, atheism, the sacraments, the Trinity, authority, predestination, faith and works, and so on, there has been no argument or discussion at all about the meaning of the atonement. Why were there no debates or pronouncements in the synods? People either do not care enough or do not know enough even to argue about it. For the doctrine of the Atonement is far too complicated to have he appeal of a world religion."  Hugh Nibley


Elder Thomas