Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's November!!!

November 12, 2013
Hey there!

Sorry about the delay of my messages. Things are crazy as ever! Starting to calm down though so that's good. Lot's of our missionaries have been on foot and riding buses and trains and stuff lately because we have enough cars for about 85 missionaries but we have 200 missionaries. We just got approval for 25 new cars though, which will get here next week. We'll have them out in the next transfer! It's better for missionaries to be walking around though, so they can talk to everyone. I hope they don't get too attached to their cars. Cars are good for transporting people to conferences and appointments and stuff, but when it comes down to it: It's better to have missionaries being walking billboards.

We just had a zone conference yesterday with 3 zones & there were 80 people involved. It was HUGE. Doing the training was pretty fun. My companions and I trained on revelation through the Book of Mormon. Specifically how investigators can receive revelation through the Book of Mormon. We all did role plays and it was pretty fun. Before everyone split off to go practice teaching in different rooms, we had one companionship come to the front and demonstrate teaching President and Sister Lew about the Book of Mormon. They took on the role of a young Buddhist couple. It was really interesting..

We had a cool experience this week on an exchange. We were going to be trading off with some Zone Leaders. When we got to the place they told us to meet them, we sat down on some chairs outside a house and there was 5 missionaries and a guy named Casper. Casper was their potential investigator. We didn't want it to be awkward to begin the trade off right there, and we didn't know what was going on so we all just began teaching him. He had been to church a few times already but this was Caspers first lesson. It was a little weird to teach as a companionship of 5 but it actually turned out really well and it was one of the best lessons I've ever been a part of. Not because our teaching was magnificent but because Casper was so humble and so prepared. We set a baptismal date with him, 3 minutes into the lesson.  He is really golden. He has had a really rough life. Full of drugs and alcohol and extreme violence etc.. He is completely ready to change and he was really comforted by the things he learned. He will be a terrific convert. 

That's just a few of the things that have happened lately :) 

I'm hanging in there, it's definitely a strange feeling to know that I'll be home soon. I'll be really sad to leave. Not sure what I'll do when I get home. I had a list of 3 things I wanted to do. 

1. Go to the dentist and get my teeth cleaned.
2. Spend a day at the spa. (massage, mud bath, sauna, etc..)
3. Get surgery on my toes.

I already got surgery on my toes though so now I just have a list of 2 things that I really want to do.
Have you gotten an email about when I arrive home or anything? If not, you could probably email the office and ask. 

Anyway, hope that you forgive me for being bad at writing lately. I'll see you soon anyway :)

Love, Elder Thompson

Happy Halloween

November 2, 2013

Thanks for writing me, even though I've been really slack. We've been pretty flat out. our mission has over 190 missionaries now. We just got 35 new ones so we've been really busy. Furnishing all their flats has been the most time consuming thing. It's a real miracle. We have leased and furnished like 20 new flats in the last 3 months. Can you imagine that? I'm not going to tell you how much sleep I've been getting until I get home. I'm afraid you will storm over here and yell at me hahaha. Anyway, as normal I don't have a lot of time to write tonight but here we go.

 I am so happy for Tia and Daniel! There are so many babies now I can't believe it! Things sound really exciting at home. I can't believe I'll be coming home in dead winter though. The weather here now is AMAZING! My mind just thinks that when I get home I'll just celebrate by going swimming and stuff. Good thing I have some time before swimming season though because I have to lose a lot of weight!

Anyway, hope you all had a happy halloween. I'm excited and scared and nervous to come home. I'm hanging in here though. Not slacking off at all, so I will work hard until the end. 

Love you heaps!

Love, Elder Thompson

September is Gone

October 2, 2013 


Sorry about last week. We were just on lots of trade offs and had a few zone conferences and stuff, we were hardly in the office. It's been super fun though! All the new missionaries that have come in have been incredible! Things have been pretty stressful but I'm learning to cope with it now. I continue to grow and develop every day. I am becoming a much better leader and learning to be more charitable, patient, loving, and many other things. Because of the position I am in, we don't teach many of our own investigators, we mainly train missionaries so basically the missionaries are our investigators and we need to love them. I do love them all, I have so much fun with all of them and will really miss them bad when I have to leave. 

On Wednesday we took President and Sister Lew to Killaburger, the place with the 30 cm burger! They each ate 1/8 of the burger while Elder Haeata, Elder Puriri and I ate the rest of it hahah It was really fun. President Lew loves unhealthy food and he never gets fat because he is a skinny chinese guy and Sister Lew is always hounding on being healthy. It's really funny to see! 

Tonight we just got back from a missionary flat where we had to do some correcting. Their flat had an inspection and failed miserably. Food all over the place, chocolate all over the floor, rubbish everywhere, clothes strewn all over, cockroaches etc... There are 8 missionaries there right now and 6 of them have been out less than 3 months. They don't know how to take care of themselves. They are great missionaries, they just needed a kick in the butt in terms of being clean. We were loving toward them and helped them clean a lot of it up tonight but they were definitely reproved. There was a lot of love felt between everyone though. It went really well. I think this might be good preparation for parenting.. just realized that hahahah yikes! 

I am very happy to hear about all the Book of Mormon reading going on! I really miss reading the Book of Mormon as a family. I always use our family as an example of how great family scripture study can be. We didn't always read it but when we did, it makes a huge difference. Mom calls everyone up to read and we all are sluggish, don't want to stop watching our tv show or get off the computer or whatever else it is. Sometimes it takes like an hour to get everyone together but once we read and say our prayer in our knee circle.. it never seemed like everyone quickly rushed back to whatever they were doing. Usually we would all just stay in the living room and enjoy each others company. The spirit was there and the family love was magnified. Even though it was always hard to get everyone gathered up, it was always well worth it. I always share this experience with people that I teach and they all agree with it and can relate. I'm glad for when we could spend those times together. I realize now, that there is nothing more important that I could do. Even if I was over at a friends house, spending that time with my family would make me more happy. And I could always just invite those friend to come read with us :) haha If I was hanging out with a big group of friends and one girl said "I need to leave, my family is going to have nightly scripture and prayer" I would ask her if I could come with. That would be the girl I could marry! :) hahahahah not that I've been thinking about it.. ok that's a lie. I'm not working any less hard but I can't lie that I'm super stoked to find my EC (eternal companion).

That sounds like a crazy thing that you went to, Dad. I probably would have been exhausted to do all that. Sounds like a great activity. Maybe we should make all our missionaries do that! haha just kidding bad idea, our missionaries are way too injury prone. I swear it drives me crazy! Oh well what can ya do? Make them drink a cup of cement and harden up! 

Anyway, this letter has definitely been longer than last week. Hope you all have another great week. Don't have too much fun without me :) haha

Love, Elder Thompson

We are all Children of God

September 29, 2013
HI!!! I just wanted to check in, let you know I'm still alive! :) haha I read the email and don't have heaps of time to write back tonight because we have heaps of stuff to prepare but I PROMISE a HUGE email this week!!!!
Love, Elder Thompson

September Morn

September 2, 2013

Dear Family,

Another great week!

So this week we spent a lot of time preparing for the mission tour with Elder Hamula. It was such a pleasure to have him here in our mission again. He is amazing! I love the way he teaches us, it's so clear and edifying to everyone. There were two zones of the mission that did not get to attend the meeting. Unfortunately it was only about a 3 hour meeting so it wasn't really worth it to bring in 35 missionaries from 4-6 hours away for a meeting that was less than half the driving time, let alone finding a place for them to stay the night before. I felt bad for them though because it was a great meeting. The day before the whole mission meeting we had Elder Hamula preside at our mission leadership counsil (MLC). Usually every set of zone leaders and sister leaders stands and gives an accounting for their zone that month. This time however, Elder Hamula only wanted the assistants to give a 20 minute accounting for the whole mission. That was scary... but it all worked out really well. After the mission conference Elder Hamula had to head straight to the airport but he had planned to spend a personal 15 minutes with me and Elder Haeata to compliment us but this didn't happen because of the hurry but he had President Lew tell us how impressed he was, so that was a nice "reward" for all the stress of the week :) 
Also, yesterday we had our second recent convert fireside as the Australia Sydney South Mission. It went REALLY well. It was fathers day here in Australia so the attendance wasn't as much as we hoped for but it was still a really good turnout. Probably had like 60 or 70 people there. Sister Lew took about 35 minutes and shared her conversion story, it is incredible the experiences she went through in Hong Kong so that she could be baptized. There were a few people in the congregation that couldn't stop crying. One cool thing is that we had our own investigator there as well. I think that's the first time the assistants have ever had their own investigator at the recent convert fireside. It was Gabby, the one I've been emailing about lately. I think it was a really good experience for her. Something funny, the night before, we realized we had no refreshments for after the fireside so we went to the store and got like $45 worth of cookies and stuff. It's good to have the refreshments because after the meeting the members and investigators can mingle and stuff which is really helpful. Well, we drove all the way to the chapel where we were having the fireside which is about 40 minute drive and realized we forgot ALL the refreshments.. luckily some other missionaries were able to pick them up and bring them later hahah we were about to be devastated!

Anyway, this week should be nice and busy. We have to do our transfer planning. Last transfer, 2 people went home and we gained 30. This transfer 2 people are going home and we are gaining 37, then next transfer we lose 4 and gain 54. We have to buy and furnish 4 houses this week and then another probably 15 houses in the next 6 weeks.  I don't know how we will do it but we need the Lord help DESPERATELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! unless he wants his servants to be homeless... well, he was homeless when he was here so I guess that could answer the question haha.  Nah I think he wants his servants to have a place to sleep and bathe. We might just have to do it Africa style, get the bucket! Love you all and hope you have a great week too! The church is true!!

Love, Elder Thompson

PS Have you been to the temple lately? I have :) Ya just gotta go! 

Keep up the work!

September 10, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

Sorry I'm a day late. Things are pretty crazy like always! We had transfer meeting yesterday and today we had to go around and sort out a whole bunch of things with the missionaries living situation. It's all good though, we had about 25 minutes of P-day :)  don't worry about that statement though, we get plenty of time to take care of ourselves during the week, just these few days during transfers we are not sustained by food or water or sleep. It's purely by the help of the Lord. We'll catch up on sleep later on in the week. 

We planned the transfers for 33 missionaries to come in. Then only 16 were confirmed so we had to completely re-plan the transfer in one day. Then after all the transfer notifications were made and all the missionaries had officially been tranfered we got news that another missionary was coming. Then we switched stuff around and planned for it. Then we got news that another missionary was coming. Then we switched stuff around and planned for it. Then we got news that another missionary was coming. Then we switched stuff around and planned for it. Then we got news that another missionary was coming. Then we switched stuff around and planned for it.  It's been totally hectic. Hopefully tomorrow goes smooth. 20 missionaries are confirmed.  Which puts us at an expected 70+ in the next transfer :) 

Today I got to see  Elder Ng, my second companion, off at the airport. I really love him a lot. He is the one from Hong Kong. He will be going back to Utah though for school so I will just see him back there one day. 

President and Sister Lew are so funny. President Lew is really starting to get comfortable and switch into a Dad-like mode where he jokes around a lot with the missionaries and lovingly mocks them hahaha.  After transfer meeting we couldn't find President Lew and then a few minutes later we saw Sister Lew in the street wearing bright running shoes, filming President on her camera because he was carrying some groceries and she wanted to document it. She made him stand there so she could take pictures, they both had huge smiles on their faces, like little kids or something.  Everyone really loves them :)

A lot of the new missionaries coming in are 18 year old Elders and 19 year old Sisters and they are fantastic! They are very prepared and willing and ready to work! 

Here is a very depressing answer to your question Dad. They toilets here don't swirl at all! All the water just goes straight down the whole. No rotation whatsoever. When I first tried a toilet I wanted to see what happened and I was extremely let down when it went straight down. Thinking it was just that one toilet.. I tried on another toilet.... same thing... same thing... same thing... same thing... every toilet here does the same thing. Sad answer, but it's true :)  

Anyway, I hope this week is great! Thank you for your words of love and appreciation! It means so much.  

Love, Elder Thompson

August is almost gone

August 26, 2013

Dear Family,

It's always a challenge to express in words.. and even more so, in text, the feelings I have from the mission. It's something I have to do every week! This week was great. I got to go on exchanges with many of the Zone Leaders and we experienced lots of great things. We got to go to church in a place called Orange yesterday. It was the District Conference for the members in the Orange District. Presiding was Elder Walker of the 70. It was a neat experience to meet and interact with these members that live out in the Australian Outback. They are very faithful Saints and have a special spirit about them. 

One really cool experience I had this week was that I got to go back and work in Bankstown for the first time since I left. I was with the Zone Leader Elder Wan. On this day I got to go visit my recent convert Dee Havea. His family is still set to be sealed in the temple in November. Just a few weeks before I come home. Dee is an amazing man. He has been a member for less than 1 year but is one of the most converted people I have ever met. He is always helping in church activities and rescue nights and he fulfils his calling very well as 1st counselor in the young men's. He understands the significance of the priesthood and is always conscious of being worthy of it. He is also using it in every way to bless his family. He and his wife and 6 children begin each morning with prayer and scripture study but since they have been really sick lately they changed it up one morning and he gave each child a blessing. The night before he made sure he fasted and prayed to get the spirit, then woke up very early in the morning to shave and put on a suit so that he could give the blessings. I was really impressed by this.  I am very blessed to see the progression of Dee and how the gospel has blessed his family in such a short time. 

It's very sad to hear about all the deaths happening lately. It is always a rough thing to lose someone close to you. It is also such a blessing to have knowledge of the plan of salvation.  It may not answer every question that someone might have, but it does give answers to the questions that God knows we need the answers to. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost and it's power to teach. Not only teaching through me, but also teaching to me. There are many great and wonderful things that I have learned only because of the Holy Ghost. No amount of intellect or intelligence could gather from the scriptures or any other resource, the things that have been revealed to me by the Holy Ghost. It is an unbeatable gift.  If nothing else, the Spirit will always provide us with comfort and peace to help us get through whatever trial we have. 

To Makayla, I am so happy and so sad to hear that you are growing up so fast! It seems like just yesterday I could hold "Monkey" as a little baby but now you could probably lift me up! I am excited to hear that you are going to go to a new school and makes lots of new friends. You will never forget the people you have met through school and daycare so far. You will also have lots of fun in your new school.  Change can be a scary thing. It is scary for everyone because we don't know what to expect, or what will happen to us. However, change makes life exciting! I remember I was nervous to leave home and go on a mission but I knew how much I would learn and how much I would change so I just did my best to try anything new. I have learned a lot of new things and I am thankful for this experience of being a missionary. There are also lots of other new things I had to do before my mission but I am thankful for all of them because they helped me to be a better person and to learn more, and meet lots of cool new people. I'm sure that this new school will bring you lot of happiness, friends and good memories. You are such a good and kind girl I know that others will like you too.  I'm happy for you that you got to have a longer summer break & have fun at kids camp & swim with  Grant, Lydia and Lila.  To Mr.Grant, have fun at pre-school & take good care of Lydia and your mom.  I am looking forward to seeing Lydia as a little person, not just a tiny baby and to meet Lila. 

This week we have a mission tour with the Area President, Elder Hamula. I am very excited for that but also have to do a lot of work in preparation for it.  The days of sitting back and enjoying the show are over. I'm now the stage crew! 

Hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Thompson


- the Orange Zone at District Conference (many of these branches have not seen any missionaries in years)

 - watching the sun rise at Pambula Beach