Sunday, March 30, 2014

Call Me Tom

Well this week was filled with joyous experiences, especially with the weather doing a 180 and putting us back in winter. The warm weather made me soft, so when -15 hit again, it felt a lot colder. But there was a funny experience on the bus which has promted Elder Ripley to start calling me Tom. I was sitting at the back waiting for someone to come back so I could talk to them, and a 20 year old truly socially awkward kid came and we started talking. Eventually I told him what missionaries do and he rejected me hard. So, I changed the subject and then all of a sudden he asked me about my name and why it is elder. So I told him and he said, "Oh so it's Thompson?" I told him that was my last name to which he replied, "Oh well Thompson is too long so I'm going to call you Tom" That is the quote of the week. Meanwhile E. Ripley is sitting a couple seats in front of me just busting up laughing. So he has been calling me tom under his breath for the past couple of days.
We also came to learn what other churches claim speaking in tongues means to them. This guy was living with one of our less actives, who is an interesting individual himself, and he is a complete wacko, not unlike our less active. although he makes our guy look normal. He told us a story of how he woke up in a hospital bed speaking in tongues and it freaked the nurses right out. I told him I bet it did because he had just done it for us and it was kinda like what the junk? Basically all that happens is they just ramble non words and claim it is their own language which only they and God know. Interesting stuff if you were to ask me.
I came across a scripture this week that hit me and just really stuck, so I dove deeper into it and memorized it and all that good stuff. It is Alma 1:25 "now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them" It says it was a great trial to those that were Fast in the faith, not to slackers, but those that were righteous and continually abounding in good works. Even the super duper righteous are going to have trials. Even with this mountain of a trial, they were "steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God." "They bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them." They trusted in God completely. They didn't ask for the whole of the trial to be taken from them, they bore it and got through it with God's help. Notice the persecution was heaped was Heaped upon them and still they didnt curse/question God. They were Patient, Trusting, and Obedient.
In other news, there is an apostle coming to the stake I am serving in on april 20. I'm probably going to get transferred 2 weeks before then, so that's a bit frustrating. And thanks to whoever sent me the candy basket. it is much aprreciated and was enjoyed. I'd thank whoever it was personally but I dont know who sent it because there was no name on anything. Members here like to tell me how much greatness of March Madness I'm missing, so that's fun... But they give me updates and then feed us, well sometimes, so that makes up for it.
Keep it real,
Elder Thompson

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Things You Learn as a Missionary

I have come to learn lots of exciting things thus far on my mission. The biggest thing and what I am most excited for, is if there is a party at the church where food is involved and we aren't invited, all we have to do is show up at the end and just happen to walk by like we are going to the washroom and they will offer us food. It never fails. Sure sometimes it takes 2-3 times walking by, but it always works! I have also come to the realization that there are crappy days, and then there are real crappy days where it doesn't even smell because it was that bad. We had a day where we went tracting for a solid 4 hours and not 1 soul would let us even get a sentence out before they were slamming the door in our faces. But, those days make the good days even better! I also learned how to write my name in hindi this week from one of our investigators, so I am writing that all over the place, and I am going to order a hindi nametag today for a finding idea, or whatever will get me one. And last thing that I learned this past week, came from a member. He told us to pay attention to all of our companion's personalities, and the one that makes you the happiest, look for a girl that has those same things and marry her!
But we had a super good week this past week weather wise. There were days where we didn't even have to wear coats! I was so excited. We are only supposed to have one more snowfall and then it is done! Well it should be anyways. But with this great weather, there are puddles, and we are a walking area... so we may or may not have gotten nailed by a car or two. So now we are kinda looking behind our backs, alot.
So we have really been trying to get members involved here, so we integrated something called the hour of power. We go to the member's home, share a quick message and then go tracting with the husband. It works whether it is succesful or not. We either find someone, or it is awful and they realize that they have to get involved because tracting is super ineffective. We also want to start a Bible study class that a member teaches that we can invite non members to.
This week in my studies, I finished Jesus the Christ, which is such a good book. I would encourage everyone to read it. I feel super smart when I read it because Talmage uses big words a lot haha. but in it, it talked about how after the Savior was resurrected and they were to continue the work, they were filled with the holy ghost and changed a lot, especially Peter. he went from denying Christ 3 times which started from a maid, to staring a crucifixion in the face and still preaching, even though he took some awful beatings for it. It's really amazing what the spirit can do. I went from a timid greenie not knowing/wanting to talk to people to just going for it. It's really cool.
Quote of the week comes from a crazy older guy in our ward who has that typical crazy man hair. he said "Only when the student is ready, does the master appear" which is why we have to talk to every single person we pass by because we don't know who God is preparing.
Keep it real,
Elder Thompson
Sweater vest club - now that it's warm enough

Nice addition to the outside of the house

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Summoning the Inner Spidey Senses

This week was super fun filled with a lot of funny experiences. We went on exchanges this week and I was with Elder Bowles in their area. We were walking and we stepped onto the street  and he slipped and almost fell and caught himself so I started laughing. Right after, I started slipping a lot... like cartoon banana peel status like 5 times consecutive before I caught myself. So then we both started laughing  super hard and the best part was on the other side of the street there was a high school aged girl that was trying super hard not to laugh. This all happened in the middle of a busy street and I swear I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time. I was crying and my side hurt we were laughing so hard. We also had a really interesting training at Zone Conference as well. It was "Finding Your Eternal Companion...Eventually" Haha not sure why Sister Manion thought we needed that one but whatever it was good anyways. It's cool how many things a mission will prepare you for.
Some beautiful things happened this week. Spring has finally hit (i think) so I'm not freezing all the time, and I was introduced to smore pizza. It's a waffle with a layer of chocolate chips and a layer of marshmallows that you throw all together and put in the oven. Then you put ice cream and caramel on top. It is sooooo goood. I also hit some lows this week as far as meals. I resorted to eating a Donair for breakfast. Not going to lie I kinda liked it... and honestly how many people can say they have had a donair for breakfast??? we also hit a low for dinners this week. we got 1...
We were able to pick up 2 new investigators this week though that are somewhat solid. They of course asre east indian as well. I know you are supposed to love all the people but I'm kinda getting sick of their b.o. becasue they dont wear deodorant and they also smell like curry. But I'm sure I'll get over it. Being bold in lessons and talking to people is definitely important. People see and realize that what we have is important. so we are trying to be more bold all the time.
This week in my studies, i came across a couple of parables. The first is the parable of the laborers where some go out and work all day and get payed the same as the people who are hired on later in the day. We all get the same salvation, if we repent and join our wills with God's early in life or late. we all get payed the same if we all continue to endure to the end. The other was something that actually happened but can be used as a parable as well. It is when Jesus Christ strikes down the fig tree. He and his disciples are traveling and are hungry and see a fig tree that is full of leaves. When a fig tree is full of leaves, it is supposed to be full of fruit as well because the fruit blossoms or whatever come before the leaves. So Jesus Christ is upset and strikes it down to teach the apostles. What I got from that is the tree is like a hypocrite who Jesus does not like at all. He has said that there are those who draw close the him with their lips but not their hearts. we can't be all showy when we aren't acting on what we preach. So don't be a hypocrite.
Quote of the week comes from a member named Shirley. She told us a story about how she was stopped at the border "I am a native american!!!! there is no border, get the hell out of the way!" She is native and she isn't afraid to tell ya. She had a lot of other funny quotes but, well, let's just say they weren't the most appropriate ;)
Keep it Real,
Elder Thompson

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lacking Heat and Warmth and all other Manner of noncoldness

So I was reading through my journal from this last week and the word I used to describe one day works well for the week as a whole. It was hellish. Not much happened and it was super cold all week so we really couldn't go out much. Plus I was sick for a majority of the week and even lost a couple pounds. So that wasn't very good. I haven't gained anything since I have been out so that wasnt fun. But this week will be better.
We did get one potential this week that will turn into a potential. I'll give you one guess as to what ethnicity she is.... east indian. but thats ok. I'll just pick up an accent like that :) We also had fast sunday this last week and it was good. It started off a little shaky, but it picked up. I woke up hungry and thirsty but I got through it and it was great!
We visited with the Siakaluks this week, and his parents lived in Calgary so they know grandma and grandpa. Brother Siakaluk also is familiar with the Stouffer family so that was cool. Plus he always gives me sports updates!
This week I came across the parable of the unprofitable servant and it directly applies to us as missionaries. We shouldn't need blessings for doing this work and shouldnt expect any. Sure we will be blessed but we shouldn't be expecting them. we are in God's debt and should serve him all the way through.
For those of you that are going through a hard time, just consider Elder Holland's talk "Lessons learned from Liberty Jail". This quote is great " When we promise to follow the Savior and to walk in his footsteps, and be his disciples, we are promisiing to go where that divine path leads us. and the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane...However heavy our load is, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior hadn't gone that way before us and carried the burden with us and for us."
And the quote of the week comes from the Siakaluk house and it is framed-" This house runs on love and diet coke" where Brother Siakaluk jokingly said "except the diet coke comes first, right babe? That's what brings the love!"
Keep it real,
Elder Thompson
Elder Allen and Elder Thompson - Elder Allen got transferred this week

Elder Laulu and Elder Thompson - Elder Laulu got transferred this week

Drawing by sister missionary I confounded

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hard Work Pays Off

This week was by far the best week I have had here in millwoods. We picked up 4 new investigators so I am super excited. The work here is finally starting to pick up. Sometimes you have to get down and dirty for 4 and a half months for things to change. That being said, we really need hindi missionaries in millwoods because all 4 are east indian and would be better taught by someone speaking their language. I'd be down to switch. Give me some books and I'll go at it.
This week we had the opportunity to move a really interesting family that was a friend of a member. They were socially awkward who homeschool their kids forever and that isnt necessarily a bad thing but they didn't have any friends becasue they didn't have a youth group to talk to. Just reaffirmed that I will not homeschool my kids.
So my quest for the past little while is to try and find something out here that will make me want to do the work instead of it being a duty. Of course there are things that I do enjoy and there are times  that I want to do it, but I want that for the entire time.  So for fun we have been (as a district) trying to find awkward situations and just go at them. Things like talking to people in a parked car and being persistent until they roll down the window or drive away. This last week we came across a guy in a parked car and I just stood there waving at him until he got out and I  started talking to him. It's funny how 5 months ago there was absolutely no way anybody was going to get me to do something like that. Just reaffirms Ether 12:27 that weak things will be made strong.  So on Friday night, aka date night, I wanted to find a parked car  in a sketchy place because well, date night. that would be extremely awkward and I would easily be able to stump the zone leaders awkward stories. But sadly that didn't happen. I guess that sorta thing just isnt big with millwoods. Probably somehting to do with the high population of non whites.
There is a rumor going around that Pres. Monson said if we memorize 1 scripture a day, we would gain a photographic memory... I don't know if that's true, but I'm still going to try. Even if it doesnt work, that's still a bunch of scriptures memorized. I have been reading out of Jesus the Christ a lot lately and it is such a great book. I can't even explain how many athings have been brought to my attention that I didn't even recognize before.
I'll end with a couple of quotes I found this week. In Gospel Principles, we got to teach lesson... 6 I think it was, but it was about the holy ghost and I really like this quote from Joseph Fielding
Smith, "When a man has a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, It leaves an indelible impression on his soul, one that is not easily erased. IT is spirit speaking to spirit and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation from an angel , or even the son of god himself would impress the eye and mind, but eventually become dimmed, But the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase." After I found this I found a quote by Elder Talmage from Jesus the Christ that goes with it. It is talking about the Jews disregarding Jesus' message and seek to get rid of him. But that being said it can be manipulated to the Holy ghost "In an orgy of self righteous indignation, the Jews seized upon stones... and would have crushed their Lord but the hour of his death was not yet come."

At first I just thought about how it's funny with some of the words Talmage uses but we need to figuratively not seek to crush the promptings of the spirit. Becasue when we do that, it will leave us and we will be in he dark trying to navigate this world that is just not all that great. And let's be honest, that would really blow. So follow the promptings of the spirit, especially for missionary work ;)
Transfer calls were today, and I guess I am staying here for 1 more.
Keep it real,
Elder Thompson

"Murica" with the Star Spangled Banner playing in the background

Edmonton Temple