We'll Harvest this Field from Sunrise to Sunset!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Receiving Miracles in Bulk

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was SO amazing!

I'll jump right into it. On Monday we went to Pryor to do some
service, which was cancelled without telling us haha. So we spent the
evening contacting potentials and street contacting until we had to
drive back to Billings to switch for exchanges.

Exchanges were super fun! I was with Elder Epperson in Pioneer Park
and we had a blast, it was a busy though. The highlights were getting
in contact with some awesome people who were doing some work across
the street from their apartment and setting up an appointment with
them, talking with some super drunk homeless people, and finding some
super awesome new investigators. It was sweet.

Wednesday was Zone Conference, and it was inspiring and motivational.
We've now got what is called Tiwi... which is a little computer that
monitors our driving. It talks to us when we do something wrong, so we
named it mom (sorry mom haha). It is actually pretty cool and is
making me a better driver. The only way to describe the teaching that
took place that day is that I left that place shaking with the spirit.

When we planned for finding that night, we felt a prompting to tract
near the park. While we were tracting near the park, we got a call
from the bishop and assistant ward mission leader who were apparently
there with our investigator Patrick and their question was, "what is
keeping Patrick from getting baptized?" We thought about it for a
second and realized, "nothing! He has had all the lessons, the church
attendance... Only his personal revelation that he is ready." Then we
hear Patrick on the phone, "Well I'm ready now, I want this." It was
AWESOME. So we sat down in the grass and had a lesson over the phone
and set a baptismal date... for that Saturday! Haha.

On Thursday we did weekly planning. In the evening, we did a short
exchange with the Red Lodge elders because they needed to interview
Patrick. So Elder Emms and Muhlestein went to the interview and Elder
Hockersmith and I went finding. We found a new family and a new
investigator!! It was sweet. The spirit guided our every footstep and
we saw miracles.

Friday night we went and drew an interactive Gospel of Jesus Christ on
one of the pathways to the park and found 1 new potential investigator
and a family to teach!! It was really cool, and super fun. We made a
video and took some pictures that I will share.

On Saturday, PATRICK WAS BAPTIZED!!!! It was SO COOL. On Friday night
the entire ward had gone down to the Jorden's ranch (My cousin, Emilee
Barry's parents) to have a ward camp out. We went up in the morning to
share breakfast with them and get to know the ward a little better.
Patrick was there and right after lunch, He was baptized in the Jorden
River!!!! Haha well that's what we're calling it, it was really the
Pryor river. It was so special. The spirit was so strong! It reminded
me of the baptisms you read about in the Book of Mormon, on the banks
of a river in the america's. The confirmation the following day was
powerful, one of the most spiritual confirmations I have experienced.
Patrick truly understands the need for Baptism and the Gift of the
Holy Ghost. He wants it and recognizes that he needs it. Sister
Beadling AND the Morrisons also came to church!

After church we went to the Morrisons house and had a lesson with
Sister Gray. The Morrisons daughter, Sariah, has now set a date to be
baptized in September!

This week has been amazing. I love these people and their remarkable
faith. I'm never leaving.

Love,
Elder Thomas

Found a Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 for sale... Best day ever :)
Service at a food bank with Elder Epperson!
El Zono
Found Elder Peterson!!
MY SISTER CAMI AND HER KIDS BROUGHT ME FOOD!!! 
Haha my family is full of dare devils! 
When you find Montana missionaries on a Uhaul haha

Patrick's Baptism!
Kids chasing a drone at Campout :) 
The Baptism of a convert! 




Monday, July 31, 2017

The Breaking of the Trioship

Dear Family and Friends,

Elder Chamberlain (or as I now call him, "champ") has left us and gone to accomplish his big life plans. We miss him a ton, but we continue to work hard and help this area to keep growing! However, he didn't leave till Saturday, so he was here for most of the week!

One of the highlights of this week was getting to teach Carl! Carl has been taught and trained in all the ways of anti-Mormonism bashing, but is willing to discuss and learn more. When we first encountered him, he had kind of a feel of a bible-basher, but the spirit prompted us to give him a try. It ended up being one of the funnest lessons I have taught the whole mission. One prompting we received before the lesson was that he would know more bible verses, but that we knew more about the Holy Ghost. So as we taught and he brought up scripture after scripture to prove us wrong, we had scriptures to counter each point but the spirit told us not to share them, save a few, but rather to listen and testify. When the lesson started, he was in an immovable position, seeking only to convert us to his view. When the lesson ended he had agreed to read the Book of Mormon and to pray before reading it and after reading it. It was incredible. We do not know if he will choose to be baptized as a result, but we know he has come closer to Christ by being willing to act in faith.

The next day while spending some time on the Native American reservation in Pryor, we got to help the local Christian church set up a huge circus tent for a big Christian revival they were going to be having that week. It was super fun, and super hard. We kinda felt like we were setting up the entire tent by ourselves because when we showed up most of everyone stopped working and just watched us... which was a little weird but they all helped us with the final and hardest part. Highlight of the night was hearing all the white people jokes from the little kids haha.

We found an amazing young woman this week when we followed the spirit to an apartment. She was willing to listen and hadn't heard a whole ton about the LDS religion but wanted to, and she was willing to have the missionaries stop by. Sadly she doesn't live in our area and was just visiting, but we pray it will all work out for her.

Splits this week were amazing and we found new people to teach! I got to talk to Patrick Shorter, a remarkably good man, father of 2 and married to an inactive member of the church who was willing to hear more, and actually came to church! Elder Emms also got to talk to Tammy which I was pretty jealous of. Even she doesn't know where her daughter is now, but apparently her daughter is doing well.

A lot of the week was spent taking Elder Chamberlain around and getting him ready to leave. This was very bittersweet for him, and just bitter for us. On Saturday we dropped him off and it was rough! We are going to miss him a ton. We are still complaining about him being gone.

Speaking of Elder Chamberlain being gone... So Elder Chamberlain is gone which is super sad, but also part of my story. So the day after we took him to the airport was Sunday and Elder Emms and I were supposed to speak in Sacrament Meeting. The meeting is at 8:30 so we usually head there right after we get ready. Well, I sleep with earplugs and Elder Emms apparently can't wake to alarms... so 8:20 rolls around haha and Elder Emms is frantically tapping on my feet saying something, so I pull my earplugs out and here, "Elder, it's 8:20!!!" Oooooh my gosh. We threw our clothes on and rinsed off a little and ran to church, we were only a few minutes late, but it was SO embarrassing and everyone was laughing at us. AND everyone kept pointing out my scruff cause i totally didn't have time to shave either! It was crazy, we miss Elder Chamberlain!

It was an amazing day. We finished the day providing service for Sister Beadling and being dangerous. (Sorry mom!)

Love you all!

Love,
Elder Thomas

Love these Elders
The district
TRIPANIONSHIP/ STAR WARS TIES
Dropping off the champ.
Painting Sister Beadling's house!
Look mom, only one hand!! ;)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Trio Goals

Dear Family and Friends,

This was a week of miracles.

Monday evening we unfortunately had to drop Aaron, but it was needed because he is unwilling to listen and learn at this time. We talked with him about it though and he understands why.

 On Tuesday we had Mission Leadership Council in Helena. It all went well, till the fire alarm went off during the opening song... we finished the song anyways though haha. Someone had left a box of granola bars on the stove top and someone else had bumped the buttons, so Elder Baird, our vehicle coordinator, did the heroic thing, and picked up the burning box and threw the box outside on the grass. He did burn his finger really bad though, but it's healing. We quickly found out there was a real fire, after we finished the song, and all ran out to watch the box burn... haha it was crazy. The rest of the meeting was inspiring; my favorite thing that was said was, "You can't teach obedience and expect people to be obedient. You CAN teach Christ, and expect people to be obedient." -President Wadsworth

One of the coolest things about Tuesday is that Elder Chamberlain stayed with another elder that is going home soon and worked in our area all day! We felt very lucky to have that blessing, because we didn't get back to Billings till about 8:30.

This week we got to teach Andrea the full restoration lesson and it was incredible! Andrea has a heart of gold. We love teaching in a trio and we're each able to testify of the truthfulness of the restoration. We have seen her heart soften, and we are dearly hoping she will be willing to keep learning.

Friday was rez day! Elder Chamberlain spent the morning in Billings with Elder Hunter who was with us for the day before he headed home the next day. Elder Emms and I went to a tiny little town at the outskirts of our area called Pryor and it's part of the Indian reservation. It's decently ghetto, but the people are just awesome. We were walking the streets, getting funny looks and talking to whoever would listen when we got talking with two young men and Elder Emms followed a prompting to ask if they play basketball. Well soon enough, we were playing two on two, natives vs. missionaries, and boy we had some lucky shots. Now the native Americans think the white boys can play basketball... pray for us haha.

Saturday morning we got to help Loretta Beadling scrape off an old pealing layer of paint and begin applying a new coat! It was so much fun, we had the scaffolding, ladders, people everywhere. Just what every missionary dreams of for their investigators!

The next morning, Sister Beadling came to church! We were SO excited to have her there! Even better was that we had President and Sister Wadsworth there as well. Sister Wadsworth sat by her and they got pretty close. That evening we got to teach her a lesson, WITH Sister Wadsworth, and it was perfect. We discovered so many of her concerns and worries and we learned how we can help her even more! It was beautiful and the spirit was powerful.

Also on Sunday we found TWO new part-member families to meet with through tracting and contacting. We have been focused on setting goals for finding new people through prayer and then having the faith to go out and find those people and it works! Make certain to set goals through prayer, and then go out and work to accomplish those!

I love you all. One last thought: When I was young, someone in my family often would ask the question, when doing something hard, "Why are we doing this?" And the rest would respond, "because it's hard, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it."

We are often led to ask, why are we doing this in the eternal work? The toils of a mission weigh on our shoulders as a great burden. But remember, how much control would we have without gravity? How strong would we be if not for weight? How much would we grow spiritually if not for trials? So why? BECAUSE WE GROW. Because it's HARD. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Love,
Elder Thomas

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pics from last week's hike


The Trio

I can't handle my companions! They're crazy! I love them to death :)
-Written by Elder Chamberlain while I was away from the iPad. It's
accurate, so I left it!

Dear Family and Friends!

This week was AMAZING. Transfers this week were insane. Here in
Billings, the assistants have enough on their plates already so they
have asked us to help out as much as possible with transfers. We have
people driving about 9 hours from the north and others driving 4 hours
from the south. Along the way they have to pick up and drop off other
missionaries and somehow not lose their luggage by putting it on the
wrong trailer or getting on the wrong van themselves. They tell me
that in other missions, they all just meet up in a building and go
their separate ways... WHAT?? Crazy. Anyways, on Tuesday and
Wednesday, when Elder Chamberlain and I weren't answering questions
and shouting instructions, we were taking care of other administrative
things that needed to be done. We were sweaty, tired and hungry when
it was finally all over.

Elder Emms is with us now! He is AWESOME. I never knew that three
different people could get along so well. We have a hard time sleeping
at night because we can't stop talking at all haha. It was bad enough
with just Elder Chamberlain and me. In every teaching lesson, we have
each contributed and relied on each other, and our love for each other
has grown. I love these elders and will be forever grateful for their
help!

Thursday was Elder Emms' first day in the area, and it was nuts. We
wanted to get some weekly planning done but thing after thing came up
and we were unable to finish any of it. The things that took our time
included a very spiritual lesson with a returning less-active named
Vickie. The lesson was amazing and was our only opportunity to really
teach that day. That night we went to another missionaries' baptism in
Laurel. It's always so good to see a baptism.

On Friday we spent a few hours assisting at another big organized
service project for something called the Big Sky State Games. We
mostly hauled large buckets of water and folded stuff. Nothing crazy.

We finally got some planning done on Friday and Saturday and were
still able to have some incredible lessons. On Saturday we got to have
a lesson with the Morrison family. They are a less-active family but
we just barely found out that their 9 year old daughter is actually
unbaptized and that she wants to be baptized! We explained to them
that they will need to come back to church and hear the missionary
lessons and they all seem quite excited! Please pray for the
Morrisons.

On Saturday we also got to see one of the coolest miracles of my life.
I can not share all of the details because of the complex legal issues
involved in this, but of all the incredible experiences that have
touched my heart, this is right up there at the top. The basics are
this: we went to contact a less-active member around 8:50, who ended
up not being home. On the way up to his door we greeted two women
outside their house who just stared at us as if we weren't speaking
English. When we found out he wasn't home, we decided to ignore Satan,
who was trying to tell us the two women would just be mean if we tried
talking to them, and go talk to them anyways. They were mean at first
but we persisted. Soon the younger of the two expressed gratitude at
our sense of humor and lightened up significantly. I cannot say how it
happened or what we said, but soon we were talking about a great hurt
she had incurred. Deep sorrow she felt could never be healed. The Plan
of Salvation and the atonement of Jesus Christ. We were there for an
hour (yes, we did get in late). We got the INCREDIBLE opportunity to
see someone who was in one of the darkest places I had ever seen be
filled with the light of hope. When we got there she didn't believe in
God, she didn't believe Christ and she had pretty much given up. When
we left, she believed in God, she wanted to use the power of Jesus
Christ's atoning sacrifice and she had hope. We should not know her
name, where she lives or where she is going, what terrible events she
had to endure, and we will never see her again... but we have made an
eternal friend and we are so grateful we followed the spirit.

I love you all, though I am out of time. Remember," the worth of every
soul is great in the sight of God."

Quote of the week, "Y'all are like gangsters for Jesus." -Our dear
friend that we cannot name.

Love,
Elder Thomas


Puppy.
MT SUNSET
Elder Epperson (he was with us till his companion got here) getting
mauled by a vicious animal
TRIPANIONSHIP
Oh! Elder Tenney visited :)
Always remember HIM
The "Chamberlain" selfie
More of the Trio
Sunset round TWO!