Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November News from home

November 4th
Dear Mom and Dad,
I'll tell you a little about my week.  My core experience with God this week has been for me to be used as a fine instrument in the hands of the Lord. I use the term fine instrument as opposed to tool because of the miraculous work being done. So the man that came last week to church, Brother Havea, a non-member has been learning from us every day this last week and is getting baptized this Saturday. He was the only non-member in his family but has had some life changing experiences lately. For one, he saw his 14 year old sons life change when he was baptized and wanted it for himself. He is a very awesome Tongan guy who is probably one of the coolest people I have met on my mission, or even ever! We taught him 4 times before he was interviewed to be baptized.  It has been amazing to see the gospel change his life. I don't use the word tool in this case because I sorta view a tool as the thing that does the main chunk of work, like an ax chopping down a tree. But a fine instrument could be seen as the sand paper used to finely smooth off the wood after being built into a piece of furniture or something. Brother Havea had been so prepared by other tools in the hands of the Lord, that Elder Bringhurst and I only had to be used as fine instruments to finish off all the formalities. We went to a recent convert fireside last night with the Havea family and it was very nice. I loved it. In one year from now, the family has hopes to be sealed in the temple for eternity and I should still be here to witness it! :) I love the gospel happiness!!
I have learned about hope this last week from the True to the Faith book. Sometimes hope is used in everyday language as hinting uncertainty. But in the gospel, the word hope implies certainty, and unwavering sureness. I thought that was very profound. If you want to learn more about hope, read about it in True to the Faith! 

So glad the family is ok with the storm back east! That has worried me quite a bit! Oh yeah, and the baptism we have this Saturday with Brother Havea is on Moms birthday 10 November! How cool huh? I need to send home a package or something.. what do all of you want for Christmas??  I thought of something that I want if it's not too late.  So... the mac and cheese here is the WORST!! all they have is easy mac stuff that's not even good. I was wondering if Icould get a box or two of quality mac and cheese? hahaha I know, nothing has changed! 

We didn't go tracting or anything on Halloween though. Halloween here is a major fail. They need to rethink their holidays hahaha! We just taught lessons that night, which is something that I would rather do than go tracting. Anyway, look for another email with pictures attached. They are good ones :) Til next week, stay safe and healthy!!

Love, Elder Thompson

Happy Halloween

Note: a stake leader had me ask Kuyler some questions that they are asking the missionaries in our stake so they can use the answers in a standards night activity, you'll see the answers below.

October 28th

Hello again,

This week has just been so amazing! We did a lot of work with less active members and saw A LOT of success. The chapel was full to the brim with people in sacrament meeting. The ward/stake has been praying and fasting for these members for the past few weeks, and the fact that a lot of them are coming back and becoming happy just isn't a coincidence. Because of these happening re-activations, not only are less active members coming back to church, but people are starting to progress toward baptism especially in part member families. This is my core experience with God this week, to see how he answers prayers and fasting. It has been really great to see His hand in His work. 

I have grown a lot through my studies of faith this last week. I have learned that faith is WAY more than just believing, it is acting, it is knowing, it is changing, it is helping. If faith does not lead to all these works, then it is not true faith. I like a quote that a man said yesterday in sacrament meeting,  "If the Church is not true, to you--then you are not true to the Church. How true that is. I have also started exercising even more faith in my prayers. Praying for little things, specific things. It helps a lot because it actually happens! So cool. I love the power of prayer when coupled with faith. 

So, I think I can play Mormonopoly. I know we can play board games and stuff on P-day so maybe!  As far a a GPS, I know that you can load maps onto one from the states but it would be more simple to get one here with the right maps already on it. That's good to hear about the retainer. I'll talk to president Howes tonight and see if he knows anything about that.  Ha ha about finding P. Sherman 42 Wallaby way!

Halloween really isn't anything here. They don't even care about it. I think we might do a little tracting though, just to see if we get some candy :) Still haven't gotten a package but maybe it will be there tonight for zone leader council? I hope so! 

Oh yeah, the Harbor Bridge and stuff! We didn't get to see the 3D movie or telescope because when we got there, a bunch of asian people reserved every showing that day.... lame!! Maybe next time though. So we just went up the bridge pylon, went to the opera house, and a place called pancakes on the rocks which was yummy :) we got inside of the opera house for a few minutes. IT WAS SWEET! I forgot to take a picture in there though.. I have pictures attached! 

I'll answer the questions before I go.

1. Something I would have done differently to spiritually prepare for my mission would definitely be to become more acquainted with Preach my Gospel.  I would have read it at least 5 or 6 times before my mission. 

2. I often get asked the question, "How do you know that it is true?".  
3. I wish I would have paid more attention to what my mom said about what kind of things I should eat or avoid when I am sick.

4. What I eat the most is probably Islander food. A lot of taro which is like a root type thing with no taste that supposedly has natural steriods that makes islanders huge.  I think it has worked for me.... unfortunately. I also ate a lot of McDonald's before my diet. Now I still eat a lot of McDonald's.. but it's all in my head :(

Anyways, I hope you have a great week. Talk to you soon!

Love, Elder Thompson


October 21st

Good Evening!   ?
Elder Thompson here again, just checking in from Sydney Australia.  Things are going really well! I love my new companion. I am losing weight, and the missionary work is doing awesome! I love the week you guys had!  I love the new missonary age change! I can't wait til we start getting the new missionaries in here. Maybe I'll even get to train one of them :) I'll tell you a little about my week!
My core experience with God this week was being part of a mass re-activation. With the new standard of excellence of 20 lessons a week we decided to hit two birds with one stone or maybe even three birds. We pushed hard for the twenty lessons by teaching as many planned member lessons, lessons to recent converts, and less active members as possible. We also wanted to create a better atmosphere between the members and missionaries and really create strong, missionary focused relationships with everybody. Elder Bringhurst is a great companion and we work really really well together. I am blessed to be paired with him because we experienced heaps of miracles this week. I think we helped re-activate at least two families this week! Doing this has helped the work a lot. I am thankful for Heavenly Father guiding us to have a lot of success!

Something that touched me at church this week was in the Elders Quorum lesson. The President assigned the lesson to someone that I wouldn't have thought to ask because I wouldn't know if he'd want to do it or not. I know that because of that small little first step it may open up confidence in himself and in the Lord. This was a good example to me by our Elders Quorum president in being thoughtful and having the vision of how to help someone.
Oh yeah, I thought of something else that would be cool to have for christmas or something. The Mormonopoly game! haha... woops.. ha-ha! Also, my retainer broke a few days ago. One of the wire parts came off of the main part.. I'm not sure what to do to get a new one? I would need it soon..
Anyway.. today we are going to the Sydney Observatory to look through a big telescope and watch a 3D movie thing then go climb the Harbor bridge! :) I am so excited! Still haven't gotten a package or anything yet but I'll keep looking! Hope you have a great week!
Love, Elder Thompson

Oct letter of the week

October 15th
Dear Mom and Dad,

Been a crazy week here.  Transfers!!!!!!! and...... I'm staying an Bankstown! I got a new companion Elder Bringhurst, he just became a Zone leader and we really get a long. I think we will be together for quite a while which is cool! Elder Bringhurst is from Ohio and loves to work out and diet and stuff. So now I'm on a diet.... :(  oh well I need to lose weight anyway.  He also loves cars too so we talk a lot about cars and stuff. It's fun.

Sounds like another busy good week for you guys! So, I watched conference! You can tell me about your favorite talks and stuff now if you remember.  General Conference takes on a whole new meaning when you are a missionary. The significance of who they are and what they say is really noticeable. This is a cool experience between me and God because all the people who spoke, especially the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are all his mouthpiece. They say exactly what He would want us to hear. I really liked all the messages but I think my favorite one was probably Elder Bednar. I like how he distinguished between testimony and conversion. When that doctrine is understood by people, it will really change their lives.

Something I would tell someone if they were leaving on a mission next week would be a simple piece of advice I got from coachThrow, he said, "You don't have to be a different person, just be the best version of yourself." I really like that, because it says to still be yourself, keep all the good attributes that God has blessed you with, magnify them, and get rid of anything else that takes away from that. So profound!  This applies to life as well as missionary work. I don't think I'll ever forget that one.

We haven't heard anything about skype yet.  We'll probably decide what happens for that at the next zone leader council. All the zone leaders in the mission counseled together last year to decide not to do skype because of inequality reasons but it might be different this year. We'll have to see. I just want to let you know of my testimony of personal revelation,revelation for ourselves, and for those in our stewardship.  God speaks to us personally through the spirit.  He wants to help us because he loves us. Because he wants us to learn and grow, he often waits until we are humble enough to ask him for help. Nothing in the world can teach us the things we learn from revelation. No one is neglected by God.  It's true! :)

Have a great week! :)

Love, Elder Thompson