We'll Harvest this Field from Sunrise to Sunset!

Monday, February 29, 2016

First you sow, then you reap.

Dear Family and Friends,

Last transfer felt a lot like we were sowing seeds. Developing
relationships with the ward, making friends, being seen in public,
basketball games... Etc. But this transfer feels a little different.
This week started pretty normal, trying to contact less-actives and
potential investigators with no one answering. On Tuesday we got to
have another lesson with the Pratt's. For this lesson we were going to
review the first three lessons because we had been reading with them
for so long. Probably the most exciting surprise was that the young
boy, Kevin, had brought his friend over for the lesson. Even better,
we knew this kid! His name is Ryan, we met him at a basketball game.
When the lesson started, it was obvious that they weren't quite
focused, they also hadn't been reading or praying. We struggled
through the restoration and then the spirit told us we needed to
change our approach. It is so incredible to feel the spirit working
through you, saying what it needs to say, accomplishing God's
purposes. We talked about the plan of salvation and why it is SO
IMPORTANT. We talked about all the wonderful blessings of the plan of
salvation and the fact that they only come if you do your very best!
We talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how having faith in
Christ, repenting, getting baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy
Ghost, and enduring to the end is what helps you achieve eternal
salvation. We told them we loved them, and then we recommitted each of
them to read, to pray, and to come to church. Kevin hasn't come to
church. He doesn't like crowds and he was just really resisting. When
we committed him to church this time he said, "maybe," like he usually
he does, then out of nowhere his nonmember friend looks at us with a
smile and says, "I'll bring him to church!" Haha we were just a little
shocked... On Sunday we waited for them anxiously and were so excited
when the whole family showed up, with Ryan! They fit right in at
church. The young men took the two boys right under their wing. We
were super excited.

We saw the Solomon family a lot this week. They live in Columbus and
they own a really cool food truck called The Big Fat Lunchbox. We have
been trying to get to their food trailer for months but haven't been
able to get there before they close after lunch. However, this week
they were supposed to feed us, so they invited us over for our very
own VIP food trailer experience! We sat in the back of the trailer
while they cooked us up some impressively good food. I ate a burger
that tasted like heaven and was so big, I had to unhinge my jaw to eat
it. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed. They sent a picture
to my parents! The next day we were driving through Columbus and we
saw them shoveling gravel, trying to level the property they parked
their trailer on. Because we had no scheduled appointments at the
time, we dropped our plans and went to see if we could help. It was
nice to get out and do some hard labor again, even though everyone
that drove by on Main Street stared at us like we were crazy to be
shoveling gravel in our white shirts and ties. It was fun to be of
service to someone that had served us. They told us if we could get to
Columbus the next morning, they'd give us one of their famous
breakfast burrito's! The next morning we had to be in Laurel at 7:45
so we could ride up with them to zone training .so we stopped at the
food trailer and had the best breakfast burritos I've ever had. We
love the Solomon's. They have been so helpful and kind this week!

We found two people in the area book, Jim & Gail Young, who looked
like they might be very promising so we decided to stop by. They raise
Alpaca's, which are very funny looking creatures. We knocked on the
door and were surprised when it opened up to the biggest smile we'd
received in a while. This very kind lady welcomed us in and told her
husband excitedly that it was, " the elders!" They are two of the most
wonderful people I have ever met in my life. We sat down with them and
got to know them for a while. We learned quickly that they each had a
few things they weren't willing to change, having gone through 6 years
of missionaries, but they told us they would feed us any time and we
were always welcome in their home. She showed us how she makes yarn
out of alpaca fur with her spinning wheel, which was super cool. It
was cool to be with them, and though they have chosen not to accept
the gospel completely, we could see their faith in Christ increase
just a little bit. We love them very much. On the way home we saw the
mountains emerging from a sunny cloud cover. It reminded me of the
Young's because even though they have some clouds of confusion in
their life, there is something truly magnificent underneath. There is
potential in each person we meet, it all just depends on whether or
not they choose to step out of that cloud cover.

This week has been so incredible, there's just not time to include it
all! The last amazing person I wish to talk about this week is a man named
Adam Watson. We met Adam Watson last transfer, though we didn't know
anything about him. We were shoveling the walk at the church when a
car pulled up and told us we didn't need to do that because he
snow-plowed it every Sunday morning. We thanked him for his service
and he drove off. We didn't know who he was but we just assumed he was
a member. However, we didn't see him at church the next week, or the
week after that, or the week after that... Suddenly there was a
mysterious character no one knew anything about! Many weeks later, our
branch mission leader tells us, last Sunday night, that a man had come
into the church that day (while we were in the Absarokee branch) and
talked to him, asking if there was a way to send missionaries to his
friend in Bismarck, North Dakota who was suffering with terminal
cancer. He also said that the Mormon church had the best missionary
program out there and that the missionaries could come meet with him,
he lived right next door! When we contacted him, he had a very
familiar face. We told him and his fiancé about the Book of Mormon and
the pamphlet. He seemed excited to have them. We invited him to church
that Sunday and he accepted. He also admitted that he had been plowing
the walks. The mystery is solved! The mystery man is Adam Watson.
Well, Sunday rolled around, it was fifteen minutes before sacrament
meeting and no Adam or Christina. We gave him a call, no answer. We
got a text five minutes later, informing us of their choice to go to
their old church that day, but they still wanted to meet with us this
next week. It is hard to describe how heart breaking this is. Your
heart just strains within itself because there are so many different
feelings filling it. I wished with all my heart they would come, but
wishing has nothing on agency. We don't quite know what happened in
the days after contacting him, but we both wish we had practiced the
principle of daily contact this week, it probably would have helped.
Please pray for Adam and Christina. We hope that they will still be
receptive when we get there on Tuesday!

I know this gospel is true. I know there are people out there that God
is preparing for us. The relations we have with the random people we
meet out there are so important. Keep being missionaries! I love all
of you so much.

Elder Thomas

Dinner with the Solomons!   
Go like 'em on Facebook or somethin! 
Service with the Solomons! 
Me and my buddy.
On the way home from the Youngs.
More mountains! Yay :) 
Breakfast this morning...Yeah, it's a cake. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Text from member

Love Elder Thomas serving in our area! What an awesome missionary!
We're feeding them from our food truck tonight!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Back Again

Dear Family and Friends,

We started off the week in Laurel waiting for our truck. I was sure
getting sick of waiting for this truck. On Monday we wandered through
Walmart and ran into all sorts of cool people. A few weeks ago, the
four of us stopped in antiques shop we had always wanted to check out.
When we went in, there was a man talking to the woman who was behind
the counter. She welcomed us enthusiastically and then ran upstairs.
The man acknowledged us and left the store. When the woman came back
downstairs she thanked us and told us that the man was known for
stealing and he needed her to take the thing he had brought upstairs
but she couldn't if he was in the store. We had come in at just the
right time. She talked to us for quite a while. She is the coolest
lady and has the most fantastic British accent! This occurred about
halfway through last transfer. Well, as we meandered through Walmart
last week, we ran into this wonderful lady again. She was so excited
to see us all again and she told her husband and sister that we were
the ones who had showed up at exactly the right moment. We talked with
them for a while and her sister told us that as soon as she got
settled in to her new place, she'd invite the missionaries over for
dinner! What a wonderful miracle!

We also had the opportunity to give a blessing to a wonderful woman
who is going in for surgery. I love being there for and giving
blessings. The spirit is always so strong and peaceful. They tried to
feed us but we already had a dinner scheduled for that night. After
dinner we went to visit an elderly couple in their ward, the Goss'.
The Goss' insist that you call them Grandma Goss and Grandpa Goss.
They are the most wonderful people and they absolutely love
missionaries. Grandma Goss has a tradition of making missionaries
blankets, and because Elder Ross and I were lucky enough to be there
one night, she told us she would make us some too! We are completely

Wednesday was transfer day and the day we get our truck back. The
Laurel Elders spent most of the morning cleaning because the Zone
Leaders told them they might be switching apartments. It turns out
they didn't, but at least their place is clean! They had to leave to
go pick up their new companion at about 3, the only problem was that
our truck wouldn't be done till 4. Our solution was walking. We
decided to make the most of our time and stop at the haircut place on
the way to the car shop (my hair was getting ridiculous). Finally we
got to the shop, picked up our truck, and got back to our area!!!

We have been trying to contact less-actives and investigators all
week. Most of them just aren't home. It's a little frustrating when
nobody answers the door all day, but we know that we are blessed for
our obedience and persistence. We were able to contact a less-active,
Anna, that we've been talking to for a while and she came to church!
When we went to contact the referral we found a few weeks back,
Shyanne Francis, we discovered that she had moved back to Kansas, but
her less-active sister was still there. We got to talk to her and meet
her two little girls and little brother. It was really cool. We hope
she will come to church soon. We didn't get to meet with the Pratts
this week but we will be able to next week!

I love you all! Keep doing your missionary work, you will be so
blessed if you do.

D&C 18:15

Elder Thomas

Us at Walmart :)   

Me next to my dream car.


Storm clouds Rollin' in.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Plot Twist

Dear Family and Friends,

This week I felt like I was in one of those movies with all the plot twists.

I started out the week with the Zone Leaders! It was super cool. On
Tuesday we drove to Harlowton, one of their outlying areas, which is 1
hour and 30 minutes from Billings. This is the branch where that
family was baptized last week. The Zone Leaders mostly just cover Blue
Creek, but they also cover Harlowton, which works out because the
members do most of their own missionary work. We had dinner with the
Major family that night. They are an older couple and they made sure
to have a non-member at dinner. The non-members name is Festus. Festus
is a cowboy, a real cowboy. He spent his life riding and breaking in
horses (the harder the better), working with cattle, and writing some
really really good cowboy poetry. You can tell he's not quite all
there, the Major's told us that he has sustained three serious
concussions over his years of breaking in horses. We taught him the
first lesson even though we didn't know whether he could actually be
baptized or not. It was a good lesson and many of his beliefs are the
same as ours. After that lesson we got to go over to the Farnsley's
(the family that just got baptized). It was so cool to go over and
just see the light in their eyes. They are each determined to stay
active in the church. They read the scriptures every night as a family
and even on their own. They just want to know everything! It's so

We stayed in our very own house that night. The place was huge. It
felt weird to have this house just sitting there waiting to be used.
It was an old creaky thing. I love houses like that. Even though
they're kinda creepy when you have to get up in the middle of the
night. The next morning we had breakfast at the branch president's
house and headed out to a place called Judith Gap to help an old
farmer with his firewood. We were there most of the morning. The three
of us worked really well as a team and we got a lot done. After we had
stacked the wood for quite a while fed us some pizza and soup. The
pizza and soup were both very good but his water smelled and tasted
like something straight out of a pond. The problem was that the soup
was very spicy which made the water necessary. I finished that meal as
fast as I could.

Friday morning I began to pack up my things a little bit because they
told us the truck would be done that day. Right in the middle of
packing, Elder Ross gave me a call. Change of plans, apparently the
truck wouldn't be done till Tuesday. Plot twist! A little grumpy about
this, I unpacked again. We needed to run to the mission office that
day so we hopped in the truck and ran to the mission office. While in
the office I talked to the vehicle coordinator, Elder Baird, and told
him about our frustrating situation. I love Elder Baird, he's the
coolest. A little while after I talked to him he came back to me
holding something in his hands, car keys. He was letting us borrow a
truck until Tuesday! Plot twist! I called Elder Ross and told him to
pack his bags! I then went back to the apartment and had to pack,
again. Driving alone behind the zone leaders (which was super weird),
we drove to Laurel, I picked up Elder Ross, and we finally headed back
to our area.

I was so excited to wake up and get to work the next morning, but I
woke up sick. Soar throat, stuffy nose and a headache. Plot twist!
Needless to say, I wasn't very happy. I tried to get a lot of sleep
and drink a lot of fluids. I started feeling a little better around 3
that afternoon. We made up our minds to go to the basketball game at
4:30 I felt terrible, but it was nice to be out doing something.
After Junior Varsity played, the team came and sat right in front of
where we were sitting while we watched Varsity play. That was so cool.
The two members on the team weren't ashamed of us at all! After the
game we had a late dinner and went to bed.

Saturday was the coolest day! We went to church at Red Lodge and it
was so great to see all our own members again. We had a great Sunday!
Afterward, the Branch President told us about some new records he'd
received and asked if we would go check it out. We came back to the
apartment, ate lunch and went out to contact this individual. We had a
hard time finding the house because he lived way out in the middle of
nowhere (like everyone around here) and unfortunately he wasn't home
(like everyone around here). After that attempt, we tried stopping by
an investigator that hadn't ever answered the door, Kathy Heartman. We
had caught her outside once and she set up an appointment, which she
missed. We pulled up hoping we could catch her at home. Right as we
were about to get out of the truck and go knock on her door, she
pulled up in the spot next to us! We hopped out and greeted her. She
immediately launched into her excuses of why she missed he
appointment. My mouth was immediately filled by the spirit.  I asked
her if she even wanted to meet with us anymore, because we weren't
there to force her to do anything. You could see the relief on her
face as she admitted she didn't want to meet with us. We reassured her
that if she ever wanted to hear our message again or if she needed any
service or anything that she could just call us. It was cool to follow
the spirit and do something I wouldn't normally do, but to also know
it was the right thing to do. We had dinner with the Fikes that night.
The Fikes always feed us breakfast and they are so much fun to talk
to. It was particularly funny to watch their faces as we told them
about how big our high schools were. There are only about 200 kids
total in there school with all 12 grades. Their jaws dropped when I
told them that there are about 1000 kids per grade at my high school!
That night we attempted to contact some more less-actives and finished
off the day with some online proselyting. It felt good to have a day
where we just got to work our heads off all day in our very own area,
and even though we can't see the fruits of our labors yet, I know we

Last bit of news, we called the shop today to see when our truck would
be done. They told us it wouldn't be done till Wednesday. Can't say I
was surprised. The Zone Leaders then called us and told us that the
mission office needs the truck back today. Looks like we're packing up
and headed to Laurel till Wednesday. PLOT TWIST!!

Love you all!

Elder Thomas

P.S. I'm not being transferred and neither is Elder Ross!

We're weirdos. 

Gun rack on the roof of the old old farmer's truck. (Forgot to tell y'all, his name is Ray)

 Saw a lot of beautiful places this week! 

Monday, February 8, 2016

A week away from my area

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Monday we took our truck into the shop to be fixed. Normally, we
would just have to walk, however, our area is much too big for that to
be a logical solution. The solution was for us to stay with our
district leader for the 7 to 10 days the truck was in the shop. The
first night was kind of crazy as this group of four missionaries
tromped around to the different appointments. Dinner that night was a
little crazy. We went to a house where they had seven little children
all under the age of 8. They were all girls. They also invited another
family over, they had two little girls and a young boy. 9 little girls
and one little boy all trying to talk to you at once. It was so fun,
it reminded me of being an uncle! However, we did not play my nieces
and nephews favorite game, "get Neal." It was a good night of laughter
and lessons!

The next day, my plans changed a little bit. At our district meeting
we talked about the fact that there were four missionaries living in
one apartment and going to lessons together. The Zone Leaders
suggested that I come and stay with them. So I packed my things and
went to the Zone Leaders. Staying with the Zone Leaders has been a
super cool experience. On Wednesday, we separated into two
different district meetings. It was cool to go to two different
district meetings two days in a row. Later that day we went on
exchanges. Elder Oliver came with Me and Elder Fox, and Elder Okerlund
went with Elder Oliver's companion, Elder McMahon. It was a really
good exchange. Elder Oliver is a new missionary and he has such a
wonderful excitement for missionary work. We had a great night. We
were able to provide service for an elderly couple by helping them
with some home repairs, and also visit an active ward member.

We got to train Elder Oliver the next morning, which was the best! We
did a lot of role plays and I learned quite a bit from him and the
role plays. I'm super excited to train now! I don't know how soon it
will be, but I hope it's soon. We got Elder Okerlund back that
morning. Later that night  we got to go on ward splits with the
bishopric in the Zone Leaders ward. It was fantastic. We contacted an
elderly less-active woman who is doing a giant dejunking project with
her niece. They are in need of boxes for the dejunking project, so I
told her about the boxes we have from packages at our apartment. We
don't know whether or not she is a member, we suspect not. We also
visited a woman who is very sick. We talked to her for a while and
asked if there was anything we could do for her. Her husband is taking
very good care of her which made us happy.

Saturday was probably the coolest day this week. I got to see a family
be baptized. The father in the family had previously been baptized a
few weeks before and had received the priesthood. The father, Floyd,
is an amazing man. He had cancer in his throat a while back and had to
have his voice box removed. He has a tube that sticks out at the
bottom of his neck and he talks by putting a black tubular thing up to
his neck and pushing a button. When he speaks, it sounds like it would
of a computer was making the voice. I don't understand all the science
behind it. He baptized his wife and his two daughters. They are such
an amazing and faithful family. They have so much love for each other.
It was such a special experience to see this family enter though the
gate of eternal salvation together. In a year they can go to the

On Sunday I got to see the families confirmations. They stood up,
having the gift of the Holy Ghost, with such a beautiful light in
their eyes. What a blessing it is to have the gospel, the Holy Ghost,
and the Priesthood in your home! We went to 6 hours of meetings on
Sunday. 3 hours in the Harlowton branch where the family was confirmed
and 3 hours in the Blue Creek branch. The Blue Creek branch starts at 
2:30 because 4 wards attend that one building. We got out at 5:30. I 
was so tired on Sunday. I stayed awake through all of the second
sacrament meeting, but my will power ran out during the last hymn and
I fell asleep as I was singing God Speed the Right. Elder Fox tells me
I slept through most of the last verse but woke up in time to
triumphantly sing the last " God speed the right!" Elder Fox was
having a hard time not laughing. Later that night it only got worse.
On our way into another missionary apartment, I lost all balance and
practically dove through the door. My iPad went flying andI landed
spread eagle. I just layed there for a while. I know these
missionaries love me because they were able to stifle their laughter
long enough to ask if I was ok haha. It was an interesting day.

In other news, Elder Ross called me this morning and told me that he
had just found out that the truck wouldn't be done until Friday. So,
it looks like I'll be telling you all a lot more about the Blue Creek
ward next week as well. Transfers are next week, so it would probably
be wise not to mail me anything this next week.

I love you all! I love this work. Please help the missionaries in your
area! They need it. I know that God loves each of us and we each
deserve the opportunity to here the gospel. I know Thomas S. Monson is
the prophet of God today. I know you will feel joy if you keep doing
your best.

Elder Thomas

The weather is super nice here this winter.
Billings :)
Me and the Zone Leaders!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Gonna have to be a quick one.

Dear Family and Friends,

It's Monday, Preparation Day. Today we get to do something we don't
usually get to do, we get to play laser tag! A man in the stake
somehow owns all the equipment necessary and he offered to let all the
missionaries use it. Somehow we'll be doing it in the stake center, I
don't know if they're setting up the arena in the gym, all I know is
that we're playing laser tag, so this email may be a little shorter
than normal. So excited!

This next week is going to be a little different. We are going to be
staying in Laurel, Montana with our district leader, for 7-10 days.
The transfer before I came out, Elder Ross' last companion crashed
into a fence and dented and scraped up the whole left side of the
truck. It's bad enough that it will be in the shop for a whole week or
more. So next week, I'll be writing about Laurel instead of Red Lodge.

One of the best experiences this week was visiting a less-active, the
Scharnowske's with our Red Lodge branch mission leader. His wife is
active but he hasn't come for a while. It was fun to just talk to them
and get to know them. He told us a few of his stories from Vietnam,
and wow, you have to be really tough to do the things he did. He
really opened up, which surprised the ward mission leader and his
wife, and he said we could come back any time.

When we went to the Pratt's house this week, all three of them had
read. We were so excited. We both felt we needed to read with them
again but we will be moving on with the lessons next time. They also
attended church yesterday!

Last week while we were standing at the counter in a gas station, a
man came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "where is the
nearest church building?" We responded, "In Red Lodge." The man then
promptly walked out of the gas station hopped in his idling BMW and
drove off. Elder Ross and I gave each other a surprised look, then we
turned to the two cashiers behind the counter. They laughed to see our
confusion. I said, "I hope he didn't need an address!" We just hoped
he would be able to find the church without our help. That Sunday, we
attended the Absarokee branch but the ward mission leader told us the
man made it to church. The man was staying with his friend out in the
town of Boyd. His friend had just moved in and he told us that the man
had been thinking about getting active in the church again. So, we
went and visited him! His name is Allen Cattaneo and he is simply the
coolest. He strikes me as a "Santa" kind of guy. He opened the door
and gave us a big smile. He invited us right in and said he was glad
to see us. We had a pleasant conversation and got to know each other a
little bit. We couldn't stay long because Elder Ross and I had a
dinner appointment, but we're praying for him.

We were also able to attend another basketball game! This time the
kids were already familiar with us and came right up to us to talk. It
felt like every time we sat down, there were 5-10 kids surrounding us 
within five minutes. It was crazy and we answered a ton more
questions!  These kids are so curious and they just want the truth. I
also think they think we're super weird, but they can see we're
different, we're always happy and we know exactly what we believe. I
think that is a new concept for them. We love these kids and I hope we
can make a difference. We know from a member that was there that other
people are seeing us to. One less-active told us they like having our
presence at the games and a member boy told us that the basketball
team has started asking why these two guys keep dressing up for games.
We're being seen!

I love this work!! I know that what I'm doing is right and I'm
enjoying every second of it! I love you all very much, stay strong in
the gospel, IT'S TRUE!!!!

Elder Thomas

My District