Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Lord will help us out!

May 29, 2017

Life is good here in the 360.

We had a pretty cool experience this week. One of our Investigators, Cindy, has had the hardest time keeping two very important commandments. We have taught her the doctrine of Christ probably like 10 times trying to help her really understand the importance of faith unto repentance. Intellectually she understood it 100% but application-wise it has been hard for her to grasp.

Finally on Thursday we went over and told her that even though it would be impossible for her to be baptized in her current living conditions, that if she sincerely committed to a date the Lord would prepare a way for her to be baptized. She chose July 22nd. The next day she gave us a call and said she had been talking with the bishop’s wife. The bishop’s wife, without knowing anything about what happened the day before, offered for Cindy to move in with them.

When we commit to the Lord with real intent He will help us out!

Have a great week!

Elder Thomas

No Hands!

 First and last encounter with skunk cabbage

Longview's famous squirrel obsession!

Monday, May 22, 2017

The sunshine rumors are TRUE!

May 22, 2017


Yes the rumors are true, the sun came out in full force this week! It has been pretty awesome. Besides the sun one of the coolest things that has happened is the change that has happened in two of our Investigators, Vanessa and her less-active son, Austin.  They’ve lived lives far from the teachings of the gospel. So we teach only one or two principles from the restoration every time we go over but it's always really spiritual. We have not taught any commandments yet but just hearing the message of the restoration has helped them soooo much! It reminds me of President Packer's quote: “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”

Other cool things that have happened: 
  • We had service in the town of Skamokawa (scaw - mock - a - way) population 30. Our district helped someone build a shed and it was the first really sunny day pretty much ever, and I got sunburned.  I’m probably the first person in Washington to ever get a sunburn!
  • We had interviews with President McAteer. They were good.
  • We had a sweet hike today around a lake near the base of Mt. St. Helens. Pretty good looking!
  • We did a Zone blitz where we all drove down to Kalama where the movie Twilight was filmed and proselyted for like 3 hours. I've heard that this restaurant was in the movie. 
A final thought from Elder Ballard:

"But there is no spiritual power in living by convenience. The power comes as we keep our covenants” —Elder M. Russell Ballard

I hope you have a great week!

Elder Paul Thomas

Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day (and last week's post).

May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!

Oh, just tracting through a Washington Forest.

Much love!

~Elder Thomas

May 8, 2017

Happy Monday! Life is good here in Longview. It's been sunny at least half of the week, Elder Anderson visited our mission, and Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday!

We had a great variety of things happen this week:
  • I met my trainee and probably last companion of my mission. His name is Elder Atwood. His dad is in the military so he doesn't have anywhere to really call home, but most recently he is from Fort Leavenworth Kansas. He's pretty funny, If you've ever seen The Best Two Years he acts exactly like the new missionary in that movie.
  • Elder Atwood's first day in the field we didn't have a dinner appointment so He asked if we could go to Subway. Pretty funny because my first day as a missionary I had subway, and my first day training Elder Fouts some members dropped off some subway subs for us!
  • Sunday Austin and Vanessa finally came to church! Sunday was also 30 something days into the forty day fast our ward is orchestrating for missionary work, so probably 80% of the testimonies given talked about missionary work and the blessing it has been in the lives of the saints 👏 
  • We had a cool experience on Thursday: Our bishop had asked us to Stop by and visit a guy named Richard B. that the missionaries have not been able to get in contact with for a really long time. We drove out to his house in the mountains and his wife, in not the friendliest of manners, said he was in a really important meeting back in town. We decided to head back to town for a meeting we had at the church. As we were driving in we realized we would be 20 minutes early so we pulled into a complex to see a member that had been on our minds. The member was busy but said we should visit next door because a member not on our records lived there. We stopped by and the guy that answered said "oh Hi Elders, I'm Rich B. nice to meet you."  Our jaws dropped open haha.  so crazy! It turned out he was just visiting his mom for a few minutes before his big meeting. 
  • By far the biggest highlight of the week was Elder Anderson coming to visit the mission. He was scheduled to arrive at 10:30 so we were supposed to be seated and quietly studying by 9:30. At 10:25 he walked in and asked to shake everybody's hand. Good stuff. Before he got up to speak Elder Craig C. Christensen of the presidency of the 70 got up to speak about the doctrine of Christ. He explained how we need to learn how to repent during the sacrament so we can teach our Investigators how to repent. He said that most new converts go less-active because they'll sin after they are baptized and we have not taught them how to repent. So they feel guilty and don't want to come to church.
  • Elder Anderson spoke for like 90 minutes. His talk was kinda all over the place but two main themes stood out. He wanted us to focus on Jesus Christ. Even if it seems useless, a testimony of Jesus Christ is never wasted. Then he talked about working with the youth and how that is really who you want to convert. Because if you convert a youth then hopefully you can get them on a mission and even if not you'll have converted their entire future family as well. Something else that was kinda cool that he talked about was that Vancouver/Portland area is really important to the church because it has really strong members.  As a result, the church is trying to make it into a stronghold in the NW. 

"Your witness of the savior never falls empty on ears. - let the thought come into your mind that as I testify of the savior over and over again, that good things will come to me and the people who I testify to." ~Elder Anderson

Have a great week!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ether 12:27

May 1, 2017

Malo e lelei!

Great week here in Washington. Did it rain? You bet. Rumor has it that this is the rainiest winter/ spring that Washington has had in 20 years!  

Highlights of the week: 
  • Our mission just got a new policy on temple attendance - now we can go on Pdays! Our mission president will probably change our Pday soon because the temple is closed on Monday 
  • Our investigator Cindy has been working soooo hard to keep the Word of Wisdom and we all fasted together and gave her a blessing.   She is doing a ton better!
  • Elder Anderson visits our mission this Saturday!
  • Transfer news: I am going to be training and staying in Mint Valley for my last two transfers

Ether 12:27. This scripture has been the theme of my week. Seriously. I honestly kind of forgot about that scripture and hadn't used it in lessons for a couple of months.  Then Elder Bargeron and I were listening to a talk in the car where Gene R. Cook talks about Ether 12:27 for like 30 minutes. It was a good scripture so I used it in our lesson that day. For the next lesson we had that scripture fit in perfectly too, so we ended up centering our entire lesson around it. Then at the end of the night, an Elder we live with started quoting it to us. THEN the next morning when I picked up "The Infinite Atonement" the section I was on all of a sudden started talking about Ether 12:27!

Here is the verse: 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

The verse is true! If the Jazz can make it to the second round of the playoffs, surely your weaknesses can be made strengths!

I'm pretty stoked to be training my last two transfers - it's probably the most rewarding job you can have as a missionary.

Have a great week!  Love,

~Elder Paul Thomas

(mom note: no captions accompanied these photos.)