Monday, June 29, 2015

This Past Week

Hi guys! 

Schools out Olivia! How does it feel to be going into junior high next year? Funny enough sixth grade was where I met some of the people i stayed friends with all through High School when I think back about it, I met Maris and Cole for the first time in sixth grade, and I met Ben in the seventh grade, so Olivia, make some good friends because you'll have them for a while! 

And Billy Bob! I miss you buddy! Do you ever talk about me or think about me? Or am I just that one guy who you kind of remember from a long time ago... I can't believe you're almost 8 years old! You're growing up way too fast! When I get home you will be 9 years old! And grade 3 next year! Are you excited? Who are your friends at school? Do you like school? Do you like speaking french? 

I cant believe it's been a year now since I graduated from high school! This time last year I was writing my last exams! It's now been over a year since I set foot in that High School, which is crazy! But i'm doing something a lot more worthwhile here in England now.

But anyways, for my week here - it's actually getting pretty warm! It's so funny because it's soooo humid here, so when it's cold and rainy, it's really really cold, but as soon as the sun comes out for a while, it actually gets really really hot! And you can feel it because it's so humid! This is the first time in my mission that having to wear a suit all the time is actually really uncomfortable, especially because everyone else is wearing shorts and t shirts and they all look nice and cool. But it's alright, we get into people's houses and out of the heat quite often so it's alright. 

Os Elder Duff is great! He is so funny and really really nice. Different from all my other companions again, but in a really good way, he's really easy to get along with, and he's a good teacher. He is from Grand Prairie, Texas, which is one of the towns between Dallas and Fort Worth in the metroplex there. He knows all about Mckinney where Grandpa lives as well. 

Funny enough, Elder Duff also is really into music! Before he came on his mission he was studying music production, and he's going to continue that when he goes home! Every morning at the beginning of companionship study we sing a hymn, and it's the best, because he has a really good sense of pitch and we can harmonize and things it's just great! Today we picked up my guitar to play at the chapel for p day and he's really excited. 

This week has been really good as well. We found on the street a few people from Brazil, who are interested in learning about the Gospel, and we've had several really good lessons with them. The university area is really quiet now though because pretty much all of the University students have gone back home, so there are not too many more people to teach in the student pool, some of our investigators went home as well. 

So this week was transfers, and on Wednesday I went on exchange with Elder Westergard, which is my second time going on exchange with him on transfer day which I think is a record (I went on exchange with him in Newcastle once) but that was great, and three new missionaries moved into my flat that day as well. The other new Elder's names are Elder Clifford from Idaho, and Elder Narine from Guyana in south america, who moved here from Hull 2 and with whom I went on exchange with a few weeks ago. So I'm really excited for this new transfer! 

Love you guys! 

Elder Thompson

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Transfer Week

Hey guys! 

So.. this week is transfers again, and I'm.....       staying in Hull! But I once again have a new companion! Elder Stahle is moving up to none other place than North Shields, where I was trained! My new companion is named Elder Duff I believe. I've never met him before but I've heard that he is form Texas, maybe even Houston I think - I'm not sure but I'll find out when he moves in on Wednesday!

So this transfer went by crazy fast! It's already been six weeks since I moved to Hull but it feels like it's been a week! Everything here is going just great, we're finally getting some people to come to church which is really exciting! We are also still teaching a lot of foreign people, which is great! 

Quick story about yesterday, well actually a couple of weeks ago (Like 4) Elder Stahle and I met these guys on the street named Bob & Sam & Liam, who are studying to become ministers for this born - again Christian church around the corner from our flat, and they were very interested in what we were doing as missionaries, and they invited us to their house to feed us burgers, so we went and met with them and as we expected it became more of a debate than a discussion, which was really fun actually, and they're super fun though and really nice. Anyways we went and ate with them a few times, and then we asked them if they would want to do the same thing but we would feed them instead! So yesterday Elder Stahle and I made some pasta for Sam & Bob (Liam couldn't make it) at the senior missionary couple's house! It was really fun! I'll send some pictures.

Sam was asking about new English phrases and I'm trying to think, it's funny because I think I'm so used to saying English things that I can't really remember what is different. Umm like whenever I get off of a bus, I always say something like ''cheers mate'' or like ''cheers pal'' or sometimes people say ''thanks drive'' or something like that. And I'll often say to people as I pass like ''alright lads'' or things like that. 

Oh one that's pretty funny is that in Yorkshire people call each other ''love'' all the time, and it doesn't matter if you're a boy or girl, anybody is ''love'' and anybody can say it as well. I've had many a large burly work man say ''alright love'' to me, which was weird at first but it's normal now.

Umm, people say ''rubbish'' ''nackered'' ''bonnet'' ''brolly'' ''mate'' stuff like that.

I went on exchange at the beginning of last week in Hull 2 with Elder Narine, who is a missionary from a country in South America called Guyana. He is a farmer who told me a bunch of stories about how him and his mates would go hunting in the Amazon, they would hunt like alligators! He told me all the details of how to hunt a 12 foot alligator! He also told me about a time where he got bit by a poisonous snake and had to run four miles to get the poison taken out. He's a cool guy and he is actually moving on Wednesday into Hull 1 into my flat! 

So last transfer Elder Stahle and I lived with the zone leaders in Hull, but this transfer the zone leaders are moving to Hull 2, so I'm actually the only one staying in this flat, and three other missionaries are going to move in with me. 

And Alex and Sam and Olivia that song sounds so good! I miss singing with you guys! (I'd sent a video clip of the kids singing)

And dad, keep it up with the bishoping etc. 

I just want to explain to you guys a little bit about my testimony a bit - it's been a while since I've typed it out on one of these e-mails. 

I've been meeting with a lot of people recently again who don't understand the same way I do about the nature of God and his son Jesus Christ and the relationship we can have with them and the way that they have made a plan for us to receive happiness in this life and everything that they have in the life to come. I've been explaining to a lot of people about the cleansing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ and what that does for us in our lives, and as I've done so my own testimony of it is increasing and I'm learning more to rely of my Savior for things in my life as a missionary. 

I know without a shred of doubt that God is real, that he is our father, that he lives and he loves us and that he wants the best for us. God so loved the world that he sent his only Begotten Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to atone for the sins of the world, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but shall have everlasting life. I've learned that Jesus Christ really did live on the earth and he really performed all the miracles that are described in the Holy Bible, and I have learned that he really did suffer in the Garden and die for my sins. I know that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ felt my pains. He felt my infirmities, he felt my worries, my illnesses, my weaknesses, my struggles, all the negative emotions that I've ever felt, he felt for me then and there. And he didn't just suffer for my pains! He suffered for all of ours, for every single person who will ever live! And Because He Lives and because he did that, we don't have to suffer for what we've done ever again. We can be made clean through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and all he asks of us, for us to receive this marvelous healing power, is to follow him and do what he asks of us. 

God is real, and Jesus is our Savior - I know it not because somebody just told me about it - not because I just read it in a book, not that I just made myself believe it, but I know it because i have fallen to my knees and pleaded in my closet with my father in heaven to allow me to know the truth, and I have felt the Holy Spirit of the Lord whisper to me that they are true. I have not only felt the truth of it, but I have felt the healing and enabling power that comes with the grace of Jesus Christ. I have felt him and I know that he is real, and I can never deny it.

I love you guys! I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Thompson

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yet another Weekly Email

Punch buggies - when I served with Elder Faingata'a I made the mistake of introducing him to the punch buggy game, and I beat him the first day we played, and then he beat me every single day after that, he had eagle eyes.
Dad, I like that you use the Book of Mormon to relate to people, I do that all the time! For the last little while I've been studying the Book of Mormon and the New Testament, and I've been reading for the last little bit in the Acts, where Paul is travelling and teaching sermons and things, and I am getting so much out of it, there is so much doctrine contained in the New Testament and things that are personally relevant to me.
And Alex, Elder Stahle and I have been spending a lot of time around the university, but we're not allowed to actually go into the campus and proselyte there, so we just use the streets around the University, and it works really well. We've taught lots of students, but most of them now are finished exams and are going home, so our teaching pool of students is dwindling, but that's okay.
This week we found quite a few new people to teach! We found 8 new investigators, which is the most I've had in a single week in my mission yet, which is great! 5 of these 8 investigators are foreign, only three are English. Two of them are from The Congo, and they are native French speakers, so a lot of our lesson is translating things from French (Elder Stahle just sits there) and then another guy is from Cameroon, and his first language is also French, but he speaks English quite well. Two of the others are from Latvia and they're English is okay, but not perfect. They're all really nice people, but they sure do come from very different backgrounds and lifestyle's.
Okay now this week also we taught our English class for the second time, and there was 6 people in the class, none of whom spoke much English at all. But get this, each week we do two lessons, and the fourth lesson, so the one that I taught yesterday (elder Stahle and I take turns) was called ''Saying a Prayer in English''. So I was literally teaching 3 Muslims and 3 atheists about ''Heavenly Father''  ''Jesus Christ'' ''Blessings'' ''believe'' it was so funny. When we teach we just use phrases and make sure everybody knows what they mean and then we repeat them, we kind of chant them together, and then we go around individually and get them to say it to us to check the pronunciation. So one of the phrases I used without even thinking about it was ''I believe in Jesus Christ'' and we were all chanting it! 3 Muslims, 3 atheists and I all saying ''I believe in Jesus Christ, over and over'' It was so funny. And then after we went around and the Muslims were like ''I believe in....     God'' ''And the other lady was like ''I believe in Jesus... no no I no believe'' it was funny. The people love us.
The two guys from the Congo originally only accepted the invitation to learn about our church because I told them that I would also teach them a bit of guitar as well, but then they loved the Restoration and they want to try it out more.
It was super hot all week, but then this weekend the heavens were opened and we were drenched again. Luckily we have umbrellas, but those don't keep our trousers dry...
So another thing.. when you said that Will is getting baptized soon I was like ''What? I thought he was turning 7?'' so uhh.. Sorry Will I forgot how old you were...
We had an excellent week, it's fun here in Hull.
Love you guys!
Elder Thompson
Elder Stahle playing my guitar

This statue looks just like our mission president, Pres. Pilkington

Elder Westergard, from Roy, Utah -- one of my zone leaders

The Humber River -- so brown

This statue depicts immigrants heading to America -- a lot left through Hull.  I wonder if any of our ancestors went through Hull

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

[The first part of Coleman's email is his response to our news that James was just asked to be the bishop of our ward/congregation.  Here is a definition from our church website about the duties of a bishop:

A bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this position is unpaid.
Each bishop is assisted by two counselors. Together, this bishopric oversees the spiritual and social needs of their ward members. The bishop helps each member of his congregation in their efforts to follow Jesus Christ. In addition to spiritual matters, a bishop helps members who are struggling financially or in other ways to become self-reliant through welfare assistance. A bishop also oversees practical matters such as records, reports, finances and the meetinghouse where members meet.]

And now, from Coleman:

Hi guys!

That is really crazy news. I didn't see that one coming at all! Dad being the new bishop.
Dad's gonna be a great bishop, I know that already.
Good luck with the new calling Dad! You're gonna be great! 
That is going to be a lot of work - with the business and being a bishop, but you can do it.
But yeah this week for me in Hull has been a really good one! Some interesting things have been going on. Funny enough, just like Dad was saying, a lot of the English people are not very receptive to Religion. A lot of the time even just seeing Jesus Christ on our badge is enough to turn them away from wanting to talk to us. However, in Hull there are a lot of immigrants. Funny enough I think the biggest group of immigrants in Hull are people from Poland, I have gotten to the point again where I can walk down the street and recognize who the Polish speakers are. Ironically right now I'm typing away on a public computer and there are two Polish girls chatting away in polish right next to me...
But we have been teaching a lot of people who come from other countries. A lot of Africans especially. 

Another thing that started this week, the senior missionary couple in our ward, the Whipple's, organized a Free English Class, and they asked us if we could help teach. So on Friday Elder Stahle and I took a little crash course on how to teach basic basic English and then on Saturday we taught our first class! There were three guys from Sudan and a couple from the Czech Republic, and none of them spoke any English, they spoke only a few words. We literally started from the very beginning, you know like using gestures explaining like ''My name is'' over and over until they could say it and understood what it meant and then moving on. Anyways I was really nervous to teach it, but it went great and we had a lot of fun doing it! So our next class is next Saturday and we're going to be continuing on! It's hard, but it's rewarding service. Plus, we got a return appointment with some other lads who came to sign up for the intermediate level class. 
On Friday we were walking through a park and there were a bunch of lads playing basketball, so I went over and started shooting a few baskets with them and talking to them (in my suit, and they thought it was great and a couple of them are going to meet with us and learn more about the church as well! 

And yesterday we were walking along the road and there was a bunch of guys from Nigeria just standing and talking, so we talked to them and they were all coming from church, and they are going to meet with us this week (4 of them) to talk about our church to see if they want to come to that. 
So yes, I've found that the most success has been coming with the foreigners as well. But we have taught a lot of English people here as well.

So there are some examples of the ways that we find people to teach here in Hull, mostly just by talking to people on the streets, it works well. 

Love you guys! 

Elder Thompson

Monday, June 1, 2015

This week for Elder Stahle and I was really good! We found 4 new investigators, which is great, but some of their stories are quite interesting.

So we met this guy named Fenton. He lives near the University here in Hull, but he is a guy who was raised in a council Estate all his life and has a really rough family background. Anyways we taught Fenton the first lesson this week, a few days after knocking on his door, and he loved it. He wants to have a family and he has never really had any contact with religion before. But we left him when we knocked on his door with a Book of Mormon and when we came back to teach a few days later, he had already read several pieces of it, and he actually said when we asked him about if he believes in God that 'this book has been increasing my faith'. Which is great! He loved everything we taught and wants to be baptized, but we couldn't give him a date because he is living with his fiancé, but they want to get married soon so we'll see how it goes! He didn't make it to church because he slept in and missed the bus, but he was devastated that he missed it, and he wants to come next Sunday.


Oh, speaking of next Sunday, next Sunday we are having, well actually everyone in the UK is having an extra stake conference, because Elder Holland is going to be in Scotland, and is giving a broadcast from there. So that is going to be pretty cool I think. Oh as well, I don't know if I told you this story, but the Sunday after I got transferred out of Leeds was the Leeds Stake Conference, and the Lady who was in charge of the Stake Choir was in my Ward, and so I was supposed to sing a solo at stake conference, but then I got transferred! So somebody else sang it. But this lady's mom is the Stake Choir Director in Hull Stake! And Hull stake conference was just last week, so my first Sunday in Hull, after I bore my testimony as I was walking off the stand, somebody (I don't even know who) handed me an envelope and inside was a song I had to sing the solo for the next week, and it had the rehearsal choir times on it as well. So I sang it last Sunday at Stake Conference here in Hull.


So there's also another kid who we met, his name is Ben. We were knocking in one of the council housing areas, and this kid just let us right in (after I asked him and talked to him a bit) and we taught him the Restoration as well. But get this, Ben is 19 years old and he is living with his girlfriend of 18 and they have a 8 month old baby boy who they take care of. In talking to Ben he was saying that he does want to be a family man, but he didn't expect it to happen this soon, and it kind of took him by surprise and just happened. (I'm glad we have the law of chastity in the church). But this guy as well really enjoyed what we taught about and he got really into the lesson. He wants to come to church this next Sunday as well so we'll see how that goes. Maybe he'll bring his kid. 


The culture in England is so different from Canada it's kind of unbelievable, well actually maybe I just grew up not seeing situations like these in Canada, because they probably exist there as well, I just wasn't out knocking on people's doors there. 


This Sunday for the third hour we had a combined Priesthood and Relief Society block, which was all about....   Member Missionary Work! We called it the Member Missionary Training Center, or the MMTC. It was great, we taught all about how we want to increase the finding efforts in the area from 8 full time proselyting missionaries (which we have, 4 Elders and 4 Sisters) to 150 full time missionaries. We shared a lot of prophet's quotes and things about how it is the role of the members to find people for the missionaries to teach. My mission here in England has been a lot of finding, but there is a better way I know. I hope you guys at home are trying to be member missionaries! Help those Canadian missionaries out! 


It was a good week for us here. Happiness is a choice.


Love you all! 


Elder Thompson