Monday, July 4, 2016

Last Episode...

Much like Lord of the Rings and a Little Caesars pizza, most good things will eventually come to a close. We decided to work as hard as we could this week and the Lord helped us out everywhere we needed it.

    We sat down in a small home with a couple from Mexico. They had some serious challenges in their lives and wanted things to be better. The family they lived with was taught by the past Elders but this couple was never there. We gave them a Book of Mormon a while ago and the husband had begun to read it. He said, "After you left, I felt like I needed to read the Book of Mormon, I don't know why". the wife who couldn't read the words but was still influenced by the Spirit of the message said, "I was usually really mean to everybody but now I am more patient." I nearly cried hearing how much the Lord had worked with them. Even with the simple strong testimony they bore the atmosphere of the room was still a little chaotic with all the families in the home. But then the Elder I was with, who didn't speak Spanish, said, "Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero," and after looking down at the Book in his hands said,"Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero"(I know the Book of Mormon is true). The few words he knew in Spanish echoed the Spirit his strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. The family is know praying about baptism.

   After watching the Restoration movie with a part member family, a member I was with bore testimony of what we had seen. The Spirit that guided his words was felt by me and everyone else there. The parents cried as their daughter excepted a baptismal date and decided to join the family who has only attended church for the past 2 months.
   When I met up with Elder Noriega after the exchange that night, he said that 3 more people had said they wanted to be baptized. The family that he taught was the A family, who we had stopped visiting for a while. The time to do it was that night and they were totally ready and committed. They came to church on Sunday for the first time in a while.
   The Lord did all these things and we were witnesses to His hand working with the people here. I have seen His help here more than anything. Just like the people at the waters of Mormon, how beautiful is this place, Oklahoma, MIssouri and Arkansas, because this is the place where I came to a knowledge of my Redeemer. He lives and will give all of us the comfort, strength and help we need and desire.

I thank you for your prayers and help you send my way.

Elder Thomas 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Que Thomas?

Elder Thomas is the one with his hands up in the far, far back!
The bus loaded up around 6:30 a.m. and we all were off to the temple. We drove up to Kansas City and filled the entire temple. If you haven't been to the temple with your mission before, I would highly suggest it. Quite an adventure. We all had a great spiritual time.

Our church time is at 1 and at 2:30. Spanish and then YSA. Before church we had a couple people to visit. All of which were not home. As usual, there we were, not much of a plan. We remembered the less active man and knocked on his door. A little old hispanic woman answered, frowning. When she saw who it was her whole expression changed and she said 'come on in'. A much younger man, named Thomas as well, was sitting down, eating breakfast. He told us to come in, offered us some water and then asked, "did the bishop send you?". We said he hadn't we were just visiting families in the neighborhood. He said, "I just talked with him and told him I don't want to be part of the church anymore". I went on to tell us what he was studying. It went on for some time. I prayed to know what we needed to say. We obviously were placed here for a reason. I felt after a while that I should testify. I jumped into his conversation and told him we were tocayos, meaning we have the same name, and then told him that God still loved him and some other things I knew to be true. That was all he would let me say. We left and I realized the only reason we went there was to let this man know that God still loved him. Even though he is in a different path and doesn't want to hear it, he is still loved by His Father in Heaven. I don't know what he felt or if he felt anything but I am so glad I had the opportunity to share what I know. I am glad that I know God loves me. 

Thank you for your help and prayers!
Elder Thomas  

Brother Laudie is married to Jeff's cousin.  How exciting that he got to see him again!

President and Sister Loveland at Liberty Jail.

Museum they visited.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer is Here

"I have faith it will start!" yelled Elder Noriega yanking on the cord to start the lawn mower. This would be his millionth attempt and my millionth attempt too. We had checked everything fifty times and my nature lack of common knowledge was not aiding the situation. He pulled it again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. It looked like we had both been out in the sun for days based on how sweaty our clothes were but we had only been outside for less than 30 minutes. The Argentinian lady inside needed it mowed desperately and we came to help out. The lawn was unruly and it needed to be done soon. I tried with the mower. Nothing. We flipped it over, looked at everything and then tried again. Nothing. Elder Noriega, who had that week studied about faith said again with hands clenched on the mower in war cry like scream, "I have faith I can start with mower!" Nothing. Faith is a principle of action and power. However, no power was in the mower and it didn't show any signs of starting. In my head I prayed what we needed to do. With a full day ahead we were running out of time. Elder Noriega grabbed the mower again and then we heard, "Don't start the mower!". For a second I thought we both had just received revelation about a lawn mower but then I saw a Hispanic guy trying to open up the fence at the end of the yard. He told us he always drove around and helped the older people with their yards and he had the legendary zero-turn lawn mower. He took over and we were saved to go visit some people. 

We had three appointments in a row that were in three different cities. It was inevitable that we would be late to something. Due to several factors we were 40 minutes late to an appointment. After knocking on the door, the lady threw open the door and said "Why didn't you come sooner?!" The words 'I dun messed up' could not describe the situation more. She said that she had no time now but we felt like we needed to talk to her, and we asked if she had two minutes. She said yes and we shared a video with her and her husband. The two minutes quickly turned into a 45 minute discussion. The angry comments from her changed nearly immediately and she and her husband were interested to hear more. I am really grateful for the grace that makes up for our weaknesses. I have seen mine a lot out here and hope that I will continue to be able to improve. 
Thanks for your prayers and support.

Elder Thomas  

Monday, June 13, 2016


25 days left??
Service in a sombrero

Sword mania

DP Taco Treat

There is nothing quiet like loading hay into a barn. A large portion of my mission was spent in farm country. Here in Walmart-ville, I have almost missed the cows and nearly endless farmland. But this weekend we went to help a family with some hay. They had a couple fields and a lot of hay. After corralling all the cows and dogs out of our way, we all loaded into the back of their trucks and trailers and drove to a field. Like something out of Middle earth, the hilly field stretched on forever and was surrounded with trees. At its elevated level you could see as far as the eye could see and bask in its heaven-like aura. But after loading four or five loads, the picturesque scenery quickly changed into the hottest place on the planet Earth with six sweaty Elders gathering the remaining hay bails. I've come to love that kind of service for some reason even though my arms looked like I got in a fight with a hoard of baby kittens. 

     The referrals keep on coming. Yesterday, a new wave of interns for Walmart came to the YSA branch and one brought a friend. His name is Alex, but when I handed him our phone to type in his number he saw it and said, "Guardar? This in Spanish  means I need to type in "Alejandro". After that I had a feeling I was going to get along with this guy. We hope to visit him soon. The blessings have been coming and I have seen how the Savior is a very personal Friend.

     Last night, we had some complications with some things and I prayed to know how we could fix them and how I could remain happy to help others. My answer came by the FHE message that they shared. A bunch of families from the ward came to a house to eat and we were invited. The bishop shared the message. He gave a girl a piece of gum and also put a rock in her shoe. He told her to chew the gum and walk around. He asked what she noticed and she said the rock. He said, we need to focus on the good and not let the bad drag us down. He quoted Elder Wirthlin who shared a story of his mother who said, "Come what may and love it". Moments after I prayed my answer came. I am so glad I have a testimony and know all this truth. Thank you for all your help and prayers too.

Elder Thomas  

Monday, June 6, 2016


Here in Arkansas there are a lot more opportunities to do service. Yesterday, an older member of the ward from Argentina told me that I looked tostado, or in other words, toasted. The day before we helped her mow her lawn and she told me I was really white. Immediately she brought me a giant sombrero she got in Texas. However it was of no avail. After a week of the summer sun and more time doing service, I am now the proud owner of the sweetest farmer tan you have ever seen. Don't worry Mom, the sun burn isn't that bad. 
     We knocked on a door of an investigator and a little chunky kid answered the door. As any 4 or 5 year old would do, before we entered the house he yelled at us, "Donde esta mi chocolate?!" With his hands now on his hips to ensure that we knew he meant business he repeated himself, "Wheres my chocolate?!" Before I could think of anything my companion pointed at me and said, "He has it!" I didn't. For a brief moment I thought a WWE fight was about to begin on this kind family's front porch but the sister came to my rescue and told her brother to leave us alone. We taught the parents in their room in safety where the dad was laying down. He had an injury in construction and cant stand up for extended periods of time for a couple months. We taught them earlier that week and she was going to pray. We followed up and she was about to begin when their son ran in with a toy phone and handed it to my companion. They got him out of the room and the same thing happened. He ran in at the moment before she started. Then we asked again and she said she had and she felt something. She had felt the Spirit and told us it felt like peace. We are still working with some of their questions but we are excited to see them progress.  
     We visited a man who will be baptized in two weeks named J. There was a problem when he was born and so he walks with a walker and his speech is slurred. It was a little difficult to understand his Spanish but we had a good lesson with him. I asked him why he wanted to be baptized and he said it was because of what he felt. He said every Sunday when he comes to church, he can feel paz y descanso, or peace and rest. In spite of his physically challenges and social challenges with the opposition of his family he wants to be baptized.
     I am so grateful for the peace we can feel in our lives and I know it is available for all of us when we need it.
Thanks for you help and prayers and support!
Elder Thomas 

Monday, May 30, 2016

In the City Again.....

He didn't send any photos this week, so I am re-posting one of our
favorites that he sent while in Carthage....

Rogers is much like Utah. Joggers, floral hats and fancy socks are as common as hipster music. However, my apartment complex is a bit of an anomaly. Everyone in my apartment complex is Indian.  Therefore, I am the only american in the entire complex. My companion is from Guatemala and the rest are from India. Its pretty cool to talk with a lot of different culture here. I've already learned a lot. 

With change comes learning and these past few days have taught me that. I felt pretty confident in my last area, as anyone would after nearly 18 months in the same stake, but here was totally new. I have already learned a lot and hope to learn more. 

I had to give a talk in the YSA ward and had a moment of realization. I know nobody here and everything is extremely new. I felt like I should be more familiar with all this and should be use to it, but I wasn't. I prayed earlier that day that I could get the strength I needed so I could help those around me. I was worried but moments later two familiar faces entered the little chapel. It was two members I knew from the Monett stake who were coming to see the YSA branch. It was so great to see some friendly faces and it gave me the help I needed. Prayer is a real source of help for me and I know it can help us all. 
Thanks fro your prayers and support!

Elder Thomas   

Monday, May 23, 2016

Serving in his 3rd state....Rogers, Arkansas! Where Walmart was born....

We drove past a member of the church who hasn't been in a long time and saw his motorcycle glistening in the sun. Because of last week's experience with talking to a recent convert about his motorcycle, I considered myself capable to engage in a conversation about motorcycles. We knocked on his door and I asked him about it. He explained the small metal pig that was welded to the front and the paint job and then the mechanics. I was lost pretty quick but we asked him if we could stop by later and he said sure. The next time his wife joined us. She isn't a member but after a brief discussion about the restoration, she said she'd be baptized. We are visiting with her on Wednesday.  The Lord is guiding us all the time.

P was baptized, but like most victories it didn't come without a battle or two. P was hit with sleeplessness. He slept for 2 hours a night. J, P's wife, was hit with a lot of pain in her spine that needs surgery. But even though P had a lot going on, on Saturday he was baptized. After he changed he came in and looked at us. He whispered thank you to us as he sat down. I teared up as assumed. It was the Lord and we were like a fly on a wall. I really have seen the Lord's guiding hand. 

I got transfer calls. For my last transfer I am going to Rogers, Arkansas. I have never served in Arkansas and I am excited. Thank you for the prayers and support! 

Elder Thomas   

Laundry Attack

Poor squirrel...


Corner of Wilson and Maple...

The Nield family, from Ian's mission, were visiting Utah, so I couldn't resist a quick hello with them.