We'll Harvest this Field from Sunrise to Sunset!

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!

Elder Thomas

Love these Elders
The district
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.

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

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

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.

Elder Thomas

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Picturing the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was busy, but busy is good. To start off though, transfer
news. Elder Chamberlain and I are both staying, but he goes home in
the middle of this transfer so we are getting a third companion, and
it's going to be AWESOME! Our third companion will be ELDER CAMERON
EMMS! He and I have served around each other already, so we're both
pretty stoked to be companions! Anyway, we are going to be the best
trio EVER.

We met with Aaron again and tried to keep him focused on prophets and
stuff, and he actually did pretty good this week! The spirit has
impressed us not to drop him yet, if ever, so we are excited to see
what else the Lord has in store for him! Missionary work is like an
awesome mystery novel.

Tuesday was INDEPENDENCE DAY!! It was so much fun. We had some boring
administrative stuff during the morning, but that afternoon we were
able to find one of our favorite investigators at home, Pete! Pete is
probably the kindest man I have ever met. He always compliments our
ties and anything else we wear or do. I just love kind people. We had
a wonderful conversation with him about books and literature and
worked in the Book of Mormon haha.

Later that evening we went to a big dinner... party... thing at the
Spears home, and there were a lot of people. The food was good, the
people were awesome, the fireworks were... eventful. Highlights of the
evening were the food, the spiritual conversations with some REALLY
cool people (one guy even knew what the observation effect experiment
was!! I thought I was the only one. Nobody knew what we were talking
about haha.) Other highlights included getting our spiritual thought about
freedom and the Book of Mormon livestreamed on to instagram by Sister
Angel, and the big aerial fireworks, especially when one of them tipped
over and shot at us and scared everyone half to death, but no one was hurt,
thank goodness. 😂 We were allowed to be out till 10:30 that night, and let
me tell ya, we were TIRED the next day.

Wednesday a car kinda ran into the mission home... an elderly lady was
pulling out of a neighborhood across the street from the mission home
when she had a heart attack. Miracle #1: the poor woman drove across
the mission home lawn and barely missed a flag pole on one side and a
tree on the other, about as far apart as a parking space. She then
went up on a rock in the flower bed and the front of the vehicle
entered the mission home, without the airbags even going off. Miracle
#2: the doctors told her husband, who stopped by the mission home a
little later, that the jolt of going over the curb and the rock
apparently started her heart again. Miracle #3: Nobody was hurt at
all. Not even a scratch.

Thursday morning there was apparently an earthquake in Montana. We did
not feel it because it was 12:30 AM and I was as asleep as I'm sure I
could be. Kinda crazy though. It was a 5 point something. After the
disastrous earthquake we ran to West Highschool and set up tons of
chairs for something called relay for life (a cancer awareness
run/festival/dinner thing that we volunteered for). It was hot and we
worked hard. If you want chairs set up, just call the Mormons. We have
practice. After that we had an excellent spirit led district meeting.
It was lovely. The rest of Thursday was just as busy. We had some
administrative stuff to do, had to drive some missionaries around, and
finally got to do the studies we missed out on that morning. We had
dinner with Bishop Hall. That guy is hilarious. Bishops are just
always funny, is that a requirement or something? After dinner we did
Bishopric splits. I had to run down to Laurel and do a district
meeting, so one member came with me and bishop went with Elder
Chamberlain to work in our area. Splits are so nice.

On Friday we finally got some Weekly Planning done since we couldn't
do it on Thursday. After weekly planning we did some more service for
the relay for life, directing traffic in 100 degrees... it was great,
and sweaty, but mostly great. We then had to run to dinner, and then
back to help the relay for life to take down 200 large wooden tables,
and about 3200 chairs. It was so much fun to just work my head off.
They really appreciated our help and gave us t-shirts and four giant
boxes of girl scout cookies with about 20 little boxes in each box. So,
lots of girl scout cookies.

Saturday evening we got to have a dinner lesson with the Anthony's! We
had some great food and a very spiritual lesson, but these dear people
really need prayers right now. They aren't quite yet seeing why it
would be important for them to look into actually joining the church.
Pray that they will have revelatory experiences, and that we will know
how to help them better.

Sunday was perfect. We had the lesson in Gospel Principles thrown on
by us last minute and had to teach by the spirit, and boy were we
blessed. The participation was spectacular, the spirit was almost
tangible, and the insights were glorious. What a fun meeting that was
for us. We spent the rest of the day with lunch, studies (because we
don't get to do them in the morning with 8:30 church), and finding
till we had to head off to dinner with the Jorden family. Now a little
back story with the Jordens, their daughter, Emilee (hope I spelled that
right!) married my cousin David Barry! So they are pretty much family
and it was an absolute BLAST having dinner with them last night. They
are now some of my favorite in the entire world. Sister Peterson,
their neighbor, was there and she is an absolute riot as well! After
that amazing dinner and conversation, we ran off to Sister Beadling's
and had a fun lesson with her. It was such a great day!

Yesterday as we taught Gospel Principles, the spirit impressed us to
give the class members an experience that would touch their hearts. We
invited them to do their best to picture the Savior, having finished
eating and singing with the apostles, walking to the Garden of
Gethsemane, the realization of the responsibility resting on His
shoulders. We had them visualize Him kneeling on the hard ground and
asking his Father in Heaven if this cup might pass from Him. They
imagined in their minds watching as their dear, loving brother bled
and suffered for them, for sins he had never committed, and they felt
their hearts cry out, "no! He didn't do it. It wasn't Him! It was
me..." But it had to be so, Christ had to suffer for our sins. We knew
that, and we knew that He knew that, and the spirit testified to us of
that. My invitation to each of you today is to picture the atonement.
Try to put yourself in His shoes. Imagine how hard it would have been
to watch. Realize what this means for you, and what He means to you.
Realize what you mean to him. Make it real, picture the atoning
sacrifice of Christ.

I love you all!

Elder Thomas

We made matching ties for Fourth of July!
My Fourth of July picture
The car that hit the mission home 
Been pretty hot but not too bad!
the district