We'll Harvest this Field from Sunrise to Sunset!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Branches

Dear Family and Friends,

One of the common confusions we get asked about is the three kingdom's
of glory. They ask, "do Mormon's have a hell?" Into the past I would
show them 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 and try to explain it all that way,
but this week I read a scripture that says it all for me! I want to
share that. It's Mormon 9:2-6.

2 Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation--behold, when
the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be
rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent
heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before
the Lamb of God--then will ye say that there is no God?

3 Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of
God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness
of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that
holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt
that ye have ever abused his laws?

4 Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with
a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before
him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.

5 For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before
God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it
will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.

6 O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the
Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless,
pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb,
at that great and last day.

I LOVE THIS!! I've had so many people disagree with us because they
feel that we've turned God into some vengeful being that takes joy in
punishing everyone that doesn't follow the rules, but that's not it at
all. Like it says, how could we "be happy to dwell with that holy
Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that
ye have ever abused his laws?" We couldn't! God wants us all to live
so that we might come back to live with him, but if we don't obey his
laws he will be forced to put us away from him because he'll put us
where we can be happiest. I know this is kind of random, but I enjoyed
this so much I just wanted to share it with everybody!

I also wanted to tell everyone about the work in this area. We live in
the middle of nowhere. We cover about ten little towns, the largest of
only has a population of about 2000 people. We are only able to work
in one town every day because of how limited our miles are and how
many miles we have to drive just to get to the town. Once in the town
we tract, visit active and less-active/non-active members and
sometimes we do street contacting. The common response we receive is,
"no thanks, I'm not interested." They are usually quite polite, but
they are not interested by any means. We spend most of our time being
rejected, which is a little hard sometimes, but it strengthens our
testimonies as we face trials with patience and with Christ. We've
received a few referrals but because we only visit one town a day, it
often takes a while to get to the referral. If they're not there the
first time it takes a few days before we can knock again. Essentially,
the only way to really do missionary work in this area is through the
members. A lot of the members have someone they're slowly trying to
introduce to the gospel through materials and conversation but this
last week we have invited the members to step up their game a little
bit and have someone, an investigator or a less-active, at every
dinner! They seemed to accept it well so we hope and pray this will
make a big difference and help the members and missionaries to be more

This week has been a week with a lot of rejection but things are
looking good for next week! Adam and Cristina just got back from their
honeymoon, finally, and we're hoping and praying they will come to
church next week! Patty and Lynn are still both reading the Book of
Mormon but we only got to visit Patty for a minute this week. Lynn is
still doing really well and we were able to talk to her about how
innocent children are and how much God loves them! She was a teacher
at a Christian school so she loved talking about this. We tried to
contact the referral we received last week again, Wesley, but only his
wife answered and said he wasn't home. She was very kind. We're not
going to give up on them! When a woman calls and asks you to go help
her father, it becomes very personal.

We got to have a ward trek fundraiser with the Red Lodge branch this
week! It was so much fun, they had games, food and it was good just to
talk to everyone. For games they had a stick pull which Elder Harper
was the champion of, a tug-o-war with Elder Harper and I as team
captains (my team won), and an arm wrestling tournament won by a very
muscular kid named Terik! It was a blast. We love our branches!

We both gave a talk in the Absarokee branch this week and they also
had us sing (a little much...). I love this small little branch with
these people. It is so easy to get to know everyone and have a
personal connection with most everyone in the ward. The Absarokee
branch is much smaller than the Red Lodge branch by about half, Red
Lodge is almost a ward! Absarokee is so small and they are desiring to
make it bigger! They are becoming very missionary minded.

It has been a lovely week and we are excited for next week! I know
miracles happen and I know if we do our best we will find those that
Heavenly Father needs to find. I love you all!

Elder Thomas

A foggy night in Red Lodge.
Montana sunset!!
Morning runs!
Skipper goes running with us!
Terik beating me in arm wrestling. This kid is pure muscle. Notice how he's just smiling the whole time...
What a view.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Short one

Dear Family and Friends,

Time flies by and I can barely keep track of it! I don't have much
time today but I'll cover the highlights of the week.

We got to do service at the wildlife conservatory again! This time we
painted a barn and ended up getting very messy! It was a blast. It's a
lot of fun because the main man there (I don't know his
official title) is named Tom and he has been very kind to us. We hope
we get the opportunity to teach him!

We also provided service at Project Hope, the thrift store in
Columbus. I love doing service hear because all of the elderly ladies
that work there are so appreciative and they love it when we come and
help. After we served at project hope we went to contact a referral in
Columbus. This man was referred by his daughter in Utah. When we
talked to her it was obvious that she wanted him to have the gospel so
bad. When he came to the door it was obvious that he knew who we were
as soon as he saw us. He said he was busy at the time but we should
come back later. A little bit about contacting people in this area,
it's kinda crazy. The thing that makes it hard is the fact that we
live in the middle of nowhere and everybody else lives in the middle
of nowhere too. We have two branches and we can only work in one
branch a day, sometimes only one small town because of our limited
miles. It's hard, but it's worth it.

We saw Lynn this week and she tells us that she is still reading! Yay!
We hope and pray that she will continue to read and to pray about the
Book of Mormon. We only got to see Patty for a little bit this week
because they were busy at work, hopefully next week. Adam & Christina
are still on their honeymoon, those lovebirds. Keep them all in your
prayers. I love you all very much, I'll try to write longer next week!

Elder Thomas

Beautiful Montana!
We've started singing in members homes. This is us practicing :) 
What a mean sign.
The alpacas at Jim and Gail Young's ranch. They let us lead some on a rope. It was crazy.
Studying outside!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Transfer Week

Dear Family and Friends,

Monday and Tuesday were my last days with Elder Ross! Goodness, I love
him! We became such good friends and I'm so thankful for everything he
has taught me! We went in to play dodgeball and a game called pod-ball
Monday because it was zone preparation day. We had a ton of fun
seeing the zone before transfers. On the way home we saw a super cool
double rainbow, the picture is good but it was even better in real
life. Most of Tuesday we spent saying bye to members in the branch. It
made me a little sad to see him go, but the Lord has work for him to
do in Ronan!

I got Elder Harper on Wednesday! Elder Harper has been out for 19
months and we share a common interest in singing, tons of movies,
(even Joe vs. the Volcano!) and even the toy we played with as kids!
(Lego/Bionicle) He's going to teach me how to beatbox... If he can!
The Fowlers say they love that we sing all the time, we'll see how
they feel at the end of this transfer!

Elder Harper was very sick when I got him on Wednesday so we went home
and he got some good sleep. The next day was wonderful weekly
planning! After weekly planning we went and did service at the
Wildlife Conservatory. This place was crazy! They had bears, mountain
lions, bears, elk... Etc. it was fun to be raking leaves and look up
to see a coyote running around it's enclosure. We saw a lot of the
customers as well.

We had to go to a District Leader meeting in the morning on Friday and
then go back to Columbus for service in the afternoon. We served at
the Project Hope thrift shop for a couple hours and then headed over
to the Mccally's to help them with some yard work. We spent quite a
while at the Mccally's raking the rocks out of their yard and sifting
out the rocks so that they can lay some sod. This was quite exhausting
and left us both completely weak, but they fed us after, so it was

On Saturday we walked Red Lodge Main Street. We wanted to go visit our
Lutheran friend, Lynn, but on our way to visit her in the little shop
she works in, we ran into a familiar face. A while ago I wrote about
running into a drunk guy on Main Street, well we ran into him again.
He seemed more sober so I thought I'd give him a chance to see if he
was kinder. He was, but his girlfriend was not, in fact she was very
rude. She rattled off a bunch of her questions that I imagine she'd
been saving up for a long time, all of which were manipulative and
unanswerable. I was trying to look for a kind way out of the situation
but eventually I just walked away. Elder Harper laughed because the
drunk guy he was talking to was super kind. Bars are such weird
places. When we talked to Lynn she said she had started the Book of
Mormon!! She has been reading the testimonies and introductions and
has loved it so far! We are so excited for her.

Well, I love you all, but I gotta go play pod-ball! Have the best week!

Elder Thomas

P.S. Adam and Christina are married now!

Elder Ross!
Cool moon above the sprawling metropolis of Roberts...
Beautiful sunset

Found this gem :)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Transfer Week

Dear Family and Friends,

On Monday, Gail Young fed us lasagna. She was super nervous because
she hadn't made lasagna in thirty years! So nervous, that she made a
whole lasagna the night before to see if she still could! She made
another one for us on Monday as well so she invited us to come back 
Tuesday night as well.

One of the most intriguing things as a missionary is that everyone has
a story and sometimes it feels like everyone wants to share it with
you. On Tuesday we went Tracting in Joliet. While we were walking down
a street, Elder Ross saw a man working on a car outside a house, which
immediately appealed to Elder Ross. He wasn't interested in talking to
us but an elderly lady came out to talk. Her name was A-lee. A-lee
left her home at the age of 9 and lived on the streets. She shared
many of her incredible adventures with us, it was an amazing
experience. We had arranged to meet with the Pratts that night as
well. We were both very nervous for this meeting because after much
prayer and pondering, we felt we needed to drop the Pratts. We had
been working with them on three commitments my whole time here,
praying, reading the scriptures and attending church. They could not
keep any of these and sometimes the best thing to do is to let them
know you weren't going to be coming back until they were willing to do
their part. It's sad, but sometimes there is just nothing you can say
to help if they aren't willing to do the work. They understood
everything we said, I think they had seen it coming. They will be in
our prayers.

This whole week we've been trying to contact three referrals we got
last week. One referral told us the man had been reading the Book of
Mormon and was interested, but his wife is less-active. When we went
to contact him, his wife answered the door and turned us away just
about as fast as she could open the door. For the other two referrals,
we had a very hard time finding their houses and when we got there
there was no one there.  For one house we had to drive out on dirt
roads for about an hour before we found he house, but no one was home
so we left a restoration pamphlet with our number. We got a call the
next morning from the man who lives in the house and he told us that
the referral no longer lived there. Hopefully we can contact her on
the phone.

We had a hard time contacting our investigators this week. Adam and
Christina are getting married in 5 days!! And when they get back a
week after that, we'll be able to teach them again!! We didn't get to
see Patty this week but we're going to stop by tomorrow to see how she
is doing. We went and visited Lynn in e Village Shoppe and she let us
know very excitedly that she was going to start the Book of Mormon
that night! We can't wait to see how that goes.

Saturday was CONFERENCE!! We watched conference with the Fowlers, the
members we live with, and had a great time. The talks were so inspired
and answered all my questions. The gospel felt so real that day.
Before we went to bed that night we went out on the front porch and
looked at the beautiful stars. It felt like we could reach out and
touch them. Heavenly Father was so close that night. The next morning
we went to the Mccally's, our branch mission leader in Absarokee, to
watch conference. What a powerful way to end conference! It was so
amazing how Elder Holland's talk ended up being exactly what I needed.
I needed his words and his inspiration. It was amazing.

Now for Referral news, Elder Ross is leaving. This makes me super sad
because Elder Ross and I have become super close and we were super
excited for our next transfer! He is headed up to Ronan by Missoula.
My new companion will be Elder Harper, an Elder I've known for my
whole mission. Elder Harper loves music and running and many of the
same things I do, I think we'll get along really well.

I love you all!

Elder Thomas

My District :)
When it snows in the spring and you forgot a coat.
Found my next companion!