We'll Harvest this Field from Sunrise to Sunset!

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Celebratory Day of Giving Thanks

Dear Family and Friends,

So, I finally got you all updated on the last few weeks, except for this week. Darny darn.

This week was amazing! obviously, the most unique experience we had this week was Thanksgiving. In the morning on Thanksgiving we went and had a Turkey Bowl at the church. It was great fun and I only injured one person! Haha my head collided with Brother Jacksons chin, but he is fine and so am I:) For the rest of the day we ate food, from the Sangsters to the Brogans and wrapping it up at the Chapmans. It was a most excellent day full of food, laughter, food, games, food and A LOT MORE FOOD. And I just couldn't stop eating. I'm going to start gaining wait again. #WorthIt

Sunday was our golden day when it comes to proselyting. We have begun to share the new Light the World video that the church has put out on Mormon.org. People LOVE this video and they LOVE the Light the World initiative. People are feeling like we live in dark times, because we DO! This world needs more love, more joy, and more light! We had three lessons back to back to back all in an hours time and they were each so excited and inviting. We will be going back to each of them. It was amazing.

Later that night we had another lesson with Fred and Cara Jessop. The lesson was going to be about commandments but the spirit directed us a completely different direction. We talked about faith the whole time and invited them to take a step of faith by setting a goal for baptism. This has been our focus for quite a while because they need to take a step of faith before they are going to get their answer. They have expressed a desire to receive a solid answer before moving toward baptism. It was an incredible lesson and they left with a desire to set a goal for baptism which they will tell us next time!

We also met with Jacey Gordon again. Jacey is basically ready for baptism! She believes everything we have taught but is just working on gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Most of our lesson was about receiving revelation and how to know what is true and what is not. I just want to add my testimony of member missionary work to this. Jacey would not be where she is today if it were not for member missionary work. Her parents think the church is super weird and they tease her constantly. It is the support of the Criddle family that has brought her this far. Make sure you are doing your missionary work!!

Elder Thomas

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Little Break

Dear Family and Friends,

As I'm sure many of you noticed, I didn't write last week. So sorry!
But in all honesty, I just simply needed a day to relax a little bit.
We went hiking last Monday and it felt so good to just stretch my legs
and get out into nature. It was cold and windy, but fun!

That evening we had our regular Monday dinner with the Latu's. We are
so excited for this family! They have begun to come to church again
and they were there this last Sunday. I have been hoping this would
happen for about five months now! Go to the rescue everyone, it is
such a wonderful experience.

On Tuesday we had exchanges with our Zone Leaders in Hamilton. Elder
Dabel went to Hamilton with Elder Porter and I got to be with Elder
Rich here in Corvallis. It was such a good exchange. On our exchange
we taught Randy Walker. Randy is making progress! The only thing
keeping him from church at this point is his back issues that keep him
up all night. He really wants to come and he understands that it will
help him get his answer! He is progressing step by step.

That evening, we stopped to visit Debbie Herzog and her boyfriend
Doug. Debbie is an elderly woman who acts half her age (just recently
got back from waterskiing in Hawaii) and is very friendly to us. She
was raised Jewish but has been learning about Christianity. It has
always been hard to have a sit down lesson with her because she lives
alone, but lately she has a boyfriend that is at the house sometimes,
so when his truck is there we can stop by too! This last week she was
telling us about the difficulties she was having with one of her
children and some hard things he was going through and bad choices he
had made. She asked us how this could be part of God's plan for him.
We explained that it wasn't part of God's plan for him by teaching
about the Plan of Salvation. God's plan for him was bigger and
happier! As she put the pieces together, she began to tear up. We
testified of our purpose and promised we had so many more amazing
things to share with her. We can't wait to see where this goes.

We taught Kennedy Gold twice this week! She has a lot of questions,
which is so good. We were able to answer all of her questions and we
invited her to begin finding a testimony of President Thomas S.
Monson. Honestly, she is the coolest girl. We love teaching her!

The next evening was amazing. We had one lesson cancel so we stopped
in at Jim and Paula's, two investigators we've been working with for a
while. Jim just recently had a surgery and is recovering from that,
please keep him in your prayers. These two are a delightful elderly
couple and we love spending time with them and discussing the gospel.
They do become a little nervous if we ever bring up the Book of Mormon
or church because of past biases, but they are open to discussing the
gospel in general. Looks like it's step by step with these two! We
love them to pieces.

After meeting with them we rushed up to a lesson with Ben Williams and
his family. One of the many things we're working on with Ben right now
is figuring out where he stands. He doesn't seem to focused on
learning anything but he really wants his kids to be listening and
participating. According to rumors, he still believes and teaches AUB
doctrines/opinions, but really wants his children to join the church.

Saturday was CRAZY. The moment we finished studies, we had to run off
and teach a recent convert lesson at 11:00. Immediately after, we ran
to lunch for a few minutes 12:15-12:45, and then we ran to our second
lesson with Kennedy Gold that week at 1:00. As soon as that was done
we had to run to the church and get the baptismal font filling at
about 2:00. When we got there we asked the Zone Leaders to open the
Family History center for us so we could make the programs for the
baptism. Alas, they had loaned the key to the sisters. The sisters
were able to arrive at about 3:10, so we began making the program.
About 5 minutes later Amy, Arden and Tracie showed up to get in their
baptismal suits and greet people, so I showed them around till about
3:20 and then filled out most of the rest of the program. When 3:30
rolled around I left Elder Dabel and a few ward missionaries to finish
up the last few things and fold the programs while I changed. When I
came out around 3:45 we took pictures and greeted people right up to
4:00 when the baptism started, at which point someone leaned over to
me and whispered that they were excited to hear me song. "Oh Yeah," I
thought to myself, "I'm singing and I haven't practiced today or
warmed up or anything. Great." The baptisms were incredible. Amy was
baptized by Bishop Hawkes of the Hamilton ward and I had the privilege
of baptizing Arden and Tracie. It was amazing. The spirit touched
everyone's hearts powerfully. After the baptisms we all eventually
made it back into the chapel, and I got to sing. I love singing. I
always feel that music expresses feelings and thoughts much better
than speaking does. I was privileged to sing Savior Redeemer of My
Soul, and Heavenly Father helped me hit all the high notes even though
I hadn't had time to practice. The Lord is so good (Psalms 100:5).
Bishop Hawkes confirmed Amy and I got to confirm the two girls. It's
amazing how much love you feel for those you teach and witness getting
baptized. I am so proud of these three, and you can just see the
spirit emanating from them.

Elder Thomas

Amie, Tracie and Arden! (From left to right)
The Lake Como hike. It was even better this time.
Me doing a cool jump.
Me having a not-so-cool landing haha
Mission Mormonaries!
Elder Dabel and I
Me looking epic
Honestly, you just can't get much better than this.
I kept asking myself on this hike, IS THIS REAL LIFE???

Monday, November 14, 2016

Still Amazing :)

My Dear Family and Friends,

I fear that reading my emails has probably become more and more boring
because I have been in this same area, experiencing the same things
and seeing some of the same people for so long!! But for me, this area
is still incredibly exciting! I am busy, and a little stressed, yes.
But it's such a good kind of busy and stressed! I feel filled at the
end of every day.

One of the coolest miracles from this week was when we met Jenny. Late
one night we felt like there was somewhere God needed us to be, but we
couldn't forgive out where, so we just started walking. As we walked
through a neighborhood close to our apartment we saw a lady out on her
grill. We asked for if we could come talk to her and she said we
could! We had a super cool conversation with her and got to know her a
little better. When we asked if we could come back she gave us a very
hesitant yes. Right the spirit told us she was nervous that we would
be pushy. We told her that we came out on missions because we prayed
and received an answer and that's all we were asking of her:) she
liked that and gave us a more solid yes!

When we met with Micheal Ledford this week we found out he had been
reading a little bit. We helped him see how he could get even more out
of the Book of Mormon. One of the coolest things about this his
girlfriend was there too and she hasn't sat in on any of the lessons
yet, but she was there the whole time for this one. She was very kind,
and participating and laughing with us. It was cool.

Well that is all I have time for this week, love you all!

Elder Thomas

When there are no blankets, curtains will do.
Zone Training looks an awful lot like a Nissan car lot
The Zone!
The "C" hike. This hike is INTENSE up hill. We were so tired. 
My face looks weird in the first picture

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Crazy Week, My Brain is Fried.

Dear Family and Friends,

I have heard the phrase/question, "you're still here!?" so many times
this past week. At this point I have served in Corvallis for about 6
months, and just last week I found out that I get to train again, AND
remain here. Unfortunately, my dear friend and companion, Elder
Peterson, has left me and headed down to Wright Wyoming to train
another missionary! I'm not surprised though, he is an incredible
missionary, and he is totally ready to train another missionary. He
understands missionary work so well.

Everyone, it was such a good week, but I simply do not have the mental
capacity to write this week. My new companion, Elder Dabel is such a
good man:) I'm excited to serve with him! He is from Logan Utah and he
has such a fun personality.

Scripture of the week is D&C 68:6. Read it, love it. I love you all very much!

Elder Thomas

My pumpkin at night
Elder Peterson says goodbye to Pinesdale
My temporary companions Elder Evans and Black