Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Busy Week


Great week here in Mint Valley. A lot of opposition, but a lot of great stuff as well.

One of the coolest things is that people who want to be taught are just coming out of the woodwork. We had a training about "the field is white already to harvest" and so we don't need to worry about preparing people, we just need to worry about teaching the people who are prepared. Since that training we have cut our Area book almost in half but the Lord has blessed us with so many people who really want to be taught. 

I did my first Exchange into a biking area this week. 21 Months and his was my first time on a bike! It was pretty fun and I even began to be jealous of the biking Elders ...until the rain came. Yeah I'm grateful for a car area. 

The highlight of the week was Alex's baptism. We went over to his house the day before to finalize plans and stuff and the coolest thing was just to see how much he had repented and humbled himself. It strengthened my testimony 200% that if you'll just read your scriptures, pray daily, and go to church, the Lord can work a mighty transformation in your heart. 

Saturday was a really busy day. It started off with a really sweet breakfast, then the baptism, and a Chuukese party later that night.

Breakfast - We couldn't have dinner with members because of the Chuukese party later that night so we did breakfast instead with the members that signed up for that day! They live like 30 minutes from our house but they live on a hill by themselves with a sweet view of the Columbia river! We woke up at 5:30 to try to get there by sunrise. We just barely made it! Literally two minutes after we made it to their house and started taking pictures, the sun went behind the clouds for the rest of the day and it started to rain! #TenderMercies. We had a killer German pancake breakfast (Almost as good as Dads) and drove down to set up the baptism.

Baptism- Driving down after breakfast we got the text that no missionary wants to get. Alex texted us "Hey guys I can't do it today. Can we reschedule?" Noooo. No no no! We went over to his house to see what was up and learned that his uncle in Seattle couldn't make it down in time. When we told him that his uncle could skype in it made everything go a lot smoother. Unfortunately the person who was doing the musical number and the one giving the talk both cancelled that morning as well so we had to make some Hasty replacements. Some things you just can't plan for ha. The baptism was scheduled for 11, but somebody told the person who was baptizing Alex that it started at 1! They also told him it was at another building lol so at 11:30 the baptism started. But despite everything that went wrong it was really spiritual and Alex looked super happy afterwards. Also really cold - he requested to be baptized in ice cold water! 

The last cool thing about the baptism is that it happened on day 40 of my companions and my 40 day fast. Meaning, 40 days ago we decided to write down all the things that we did where we were not as obedient as we could have been and even stuff that is not bad but takes away from the spirit. Our ward has not baptized in over a year and we didn't even realize that Saturday was day 40 until the day before. Obedience brings blessings!

Chuukese Party - If you have seen the district video "Finding through church activities" that's what we had on Saturday but for the whole stake. It was a Chuukese (Micronesian Island) themed luau 1) Because there are a lot of Chuukese in the area that are converting and 2) Dollar tree has a lot of island themed decorations. The party was a huge success for investigators. For Chuukese not so much haha. I'd say probably 300 Mormons and 10 Chuukese people attended. But we had tons of fresh fish and a couple of investigators stay for the church tour, which was cool!

"Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world." —Ezra Taft Benson

"Rather than complaining that life is hard or that our blessings don't seem abundant enough or that there are always thorns among the roses, shouldn't we be grateful that life, however difficult, is precious, that in addition we have the promise of eternal life, that the blessings we have are wonderful and those we will have are more wonderful yet, and that there are roses among the thorns?"
     -Jeffrey R. Holland 


~Elder Paul Thomas

Monday, April 17, 2017


April 17, 2017

Hola Amigos!
I have a lot to report on this week considering I didn't email last week. You didn't email last week? But it was your mom's birthday and your sister’s birthday! Yeah I know. Here's the story: 

So last Sunday night my companion and I were syncing our iPads and planning. I thought to myself "I'll probably have tons of time to update my ipad, why not do it now when I have wifi?" So I started downloading the new iOS system. Unfortunately by 9pm it was still downloading so I decided to stash it under a hymn book in the chapel and leave it overnight so we could be home on time. That was 9:00 on Sunday night. 8:00 on Monday morning my ipad was gone! Who in the world moves hymn books in a chapel between 9pm on Sunday and 8am on Monday?!?!?! Another unfortunate event is that we had committed to be in a city 45 min out of Longview all day for pday so we couldn't look for the ipad all day. Finally near the end of the day on Monday we came to the knowledge that some kid had wandered out of seminary that morning and into the chapel, and for some reason he was rearranging stuff in the chapel and found my ipad. For whatever reason he decided to throw my ipad under a couch cushion right outside of the bishops office. Make sense to you? Yeah me neither. The cool thing though is that GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS! I promise you that there is not a humbly offered prayer offered since Adam that God has not sincerely listened to!

Other things this week: Our ward has started a 40 day fast. That means that 40 different families will consecutively fast a day for the missionaries and missionary opportunities. We have seen some cool miracles because of it!

One cool miracle is Jessie and Haylia. (Jessie is Haylia's dad). We met them on the street a while ago and got their address but have never been able to catch them at home. Finally we prayed and we were like "Heavenly Father if they're not home we're going to delete them from Area Book." They were home! They also have turned out to be some of the most incredible investigators I have ever taught. We taught them on Sunday and Tuesday and Haylia came to mutual on Wednesday and loved it!

Easter was great! Really spiritual - the way it should be. We had stake conference and Elder Blunk came to visit. He told a story of when he was a mission president and he had a missionary who never smiled. Ever. Even the most chill missionaries in the mission complained about being his companion and serving around him. Elder Blunk eventually got the story that this missionary was a convert and grew up with a foster mom. The foster mom died right before he left and he got to meet his real mom. His real mom had 9 kids and had only given up this missionary for adoption. The missionary asked Elder Blunk through tears "why didn't my mom want me?" Elder Blunk gave the only Answer he could. He said he didn’t know but that he knew that the Atonement could heal him so he invited this Elder to do the same challenge President Nelson just issued to all the YSA. He told him to go through the topical guide and study every single scripture in the standard works that mentions Jesus Christ, Savior, redeemer, etc. The change was remarkable. All of a sudden this Elder started smiling more and more. He became a trainer. He trained 3 times. He became a district leader and then became a zone leader. When he got home he was married in the temple and became part of the branch presidency in his hometown. Years later when Elder Blunk went back to visit he asked the missionary what had changed him. "The Atonement of Jesus Christ" came the reply.

I know that Jesus Christ is real. It's kinda hard to bear testimony over email, but I really believe that! Love y'all!

"No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means - the only complete realist."

~C. S. Lewis
The Zone

Bad pic but sporting a Pat Thomas original tie

Starting a band

Sneak peek of our new single: (mom note: Paul's backup singer is worth the watch. ) 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Best General Conference of My Life!!!!

April 3, 2017

General Conference
               😀😃😇😊😀😃😄😊😇   <-- If you don't know what all the smiley faces are for, then you must not have watched General Conference! In my humble 20 year old Opinion this was the best conference since my birth in 1996!

Below are some notes from the various talks
Gods answer will come in his time.
Never refer to it as "the Atonement" it is always "The Atonement of Jesus Christ" the atonement its self does not do much. But it is Jesus Christ upon which it was built that does anything.
Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do.
When you stretch beyond anything you have done before, then his power will flow into you.
God is determined to make more of us than we ever thought we could of ourselves.
Overcoming the world is not one moment in a lifetime, but rather a lifetime of moments that define eternity
Elder Ballard - vision
The key is knowing which destinations truly matter.
Short term goals are only meaningful if they lead to long term goals
The simpler and more straightforward the goal - the better
Our goal: Return and receive.
We are called to serve and labor. You are not called to a place
Called to serve comes before an area of labor
As you learn to love being worthy, you will become a great instrument in the hands of the Lord
You cannot rely just on your own talents as a priesthood holder
Would anyone ever use the words "ministering of angels" to describe my priesthood service?
God sees us at the end and he beginning. He sees Pres. Eyring praying before passing the sacrament at the same time as him speaking at conference.
God’s work and glory is not just to run an effective organization. It is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.
If you walk with the Savior long enough you will learn to see them the way the Lord does, and if you continue in that path you will learn to help them see that in themselves and then how to repent.
Pay close attention to the moments when our hearts burn within us.
Obtain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.
A succession of small kept promises leads to integrity
When it is raining  ️ so much - look up - open your mouth - drink it.
Many things don't make sense until you add in the element of time.
Stick your foot in the door.. when prompted by the spirit. You've just always got to be ready.
Act on the first prompting
If you respond to the first prompting you will get it right 9 times out of 10.
The motivation to raise a warning voice is love. 1. Love of God and 2. Love of neighbor
We have in the restored gospel what people deep down really want.
And because of this love Jesus asked even more of him.
The question became "how can I be filled with more love to ..."
No teaching or learning can be done in frustration or anger. It must be met with an attitude of trust.
Love should never be withdrawn
Those who are hardest to love need love the most.
Because he loves us, the Lord expects much of us.
The key to teaching as the savior taught is to live as the savior lived

Below I have listed some links to my favorite talks and also a pretty dang sweet rendition of "How firm a foundation"

S. Mark Palmer

Ulisses Soares

Elder Rasband

How firm a foundation [You might need to scroll down to find it]

I have a strooong testimony that this church is true. In one of  the General Authority’s talk he mentioned how he worked hard for over a year to receive revelation about a very difficult question. Eventually he went to the temple with one question in mind - "Does God even care?" In the temple he received an unmistakable answer in the affirmative. I've been pondering a similar question recently and after Conference I can sustain Nephi's claim that "I know that he (God) loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Knowing that God cares is the first of 42 principles in Preach My Gospel and the foundation of all other knowledge.

I am so grateful for this knowledge!

Much love,
Elder Paul Thomas

(mom note: Paul offered no captions for the pictures or movie)