Monday, November 30, 2015

One More Month Done!

Hi guys!

It's almost December time again I can't really believe it, I barely remember what I did at all last December...

And I love to hear the good stories about home teaching - and about hearing what's going on in the home ward right now - there are so many people there who I just took for granted that I knew, but when I think about it there are a lot of amazing people in our ward at home.

Sam, the story that Brother Bishop told about not enough equipment, I remember that story he told it to me in Sunday School too! I love that guy his stories were always so helpful. I remember he always talked about music and harmony and how we need to be on the same wavelength as heavenly father. But also that's something that I remembered here on my mission in a real sense - that the cold means nothing if you have the right equipment! It's getting colder here and we have to bundle up to stay warm.

This week for Elder Boswell and I was sooooo cold. It's freezing cold here, and sooo rainy. It rains every single day and it's freezing cold and humid. It's like no cold I've ever experienced in Canada because this cold gets right inside of your bones because of the humidity! And then on top of being freezing cold I'm also always soaking wet from the constant rain and wind, and umbrellas are useless because it's so windy they just break.

But nevertheless we were able to do lots of good things this week, and see lots of nice people!

Probably the highlight of the week was last night - one of the members of the stake Presidency held a new member fireside at his home (which is super nice he is a dentist and has a big house) and a lot of missionaries and investigators and new members showed up and it was really nice! We talked about the 3 degrees of glory and the Plan of Salvation and it was really helpful for lot's of people. And then at the end of the fireside President Siswick just says: ''and now Elder Thompson is going to sing for us, a couple verses of a hymn'' and I was like ''uh.... ok'' and I stood up and sang 'I know that my Redeemer lives' and it was really nice - but totally out of the blue. Afterwards lots of people said it was nice and he thanked me for being willing haha.

So yeah once again all the members know that I can sing and constantly call on me to sing things. I sang a solo at remembrance day and Elder Boswell and I sang at that baptism a few weeks ago etc.

There is a lady who I taught last week when I went on exchange with Elder Larson who has recently had her husband pass away, and then a week later the missionaries knock on her door who came to the fireside last night as well, and who came up to me afterwards and thanked me for the singing and said that it had touched her, and she really has been looking for some peace in her life and coming to the fireside helped her really feel the Savior's love for her, and I talked to her about how music is good and it can touch people's hearts and it's meaningful because we really believe in what we sing.

And that's something that I have come to realize on my mission especially - when you sing something and you really mean it, the spirit is there. When I sing songs like 'I believe in Christ' and 'I know that my redeemer lives' I really mean it. I know that he does live.

I know that that's the same testimony I say in every e-mail home, but I have once again been thinking about it a lot - I really know that Jesus Christ lives.

I have a lot of people who will tell me on the streets ''Well nobody can really know that God is real. we'll only find out when we die''  but that's not true. This week again I've had the opportunity to really talk to my heavenly father in prayer and receive answers from him. Prayer isn't just a one way channel, it's a two way communication. If you open your heart and listen, the spirit will whisper truth to you. And that truth can lead you to believe and then to know that he's there.

I know that my Redeemer lives.

I love you guys, I hope you have a good week!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Coleman's Email and One from a Sister in his Ward

Hey guys! Sounds like a fun week for you! I'm glad everyone is doing so well!

That's really cool about the temple thing being broadcast that's awesome! Was it good? What did they talk about?

This Sunday we had a child of record baptism in our ward as well, and the little girl Eleanor asked us to sing at it - so Elder Boswell and I sang with our ward mission leader a little song and it was really nice, the family really enjoyed it.

Honestly I don't remember a lot about what happened this week, it has been getting really cold here - not Canadian level cold, but it's still really cold! Plus it's different because it's really humid here so that makes it more cold and it's like -2 or -3 and super super windy so it's just freezing, and we're outside for most of the day.

I've been wearing two pairs of socks, thermal trousers underneath my trousers, a sweater, 3 jackets, a pair of gloves underneath my Canadian mittens, a scarf and a hat. So it's pretty cold...

But it's okay! Things have been going alright, a lot of our investigators are just not keeping their commitments right now, not reading the Book of Mormon or coming to church and things like that - but everyone has their agency! It's up to them to do those things, Elder Boswell and I just invite!

But yeah if there's anything that I've learned this week it's just more about the atonement of Christ and how repentance is the purpose of our existence here on earth. The reason that we came here to earth is to learn and to grow and to become more like our Heavenly Father so we can have his level of happiness, and the only way that that is possible is through repentance and being sanctified by the atonement of Jesus Christ.

I know that it's all true, God really listens to prayers, no matter who you are!

Love you guys!

Elder Thompson

And now from the sister in his ward:

Dear Sister Thompson, just a quick email to share our gratitude for your son Elder Thompson. 
Whilst he has been serving here in the Huddersfield 1st ward it has been our distinct pleasure to become acquainted, especially with his love for music and singing. 
We sing in the ward choir and it was wonderful to hear Elder Thompson and his companion Elder Boswell sing during the remembrance service 2 weeks ago. 

( we had a mini-break in Scotland) the elders called us to go out on a teach but as we were 6 hours away in another country we had to decline. 
My husband Paul asked can we bring you anything? The reply I'd love a Scottish tie. 
So we bought three ties as they were serving with Elder Korte as a trio. Before Sunday Elder Korte was transferred and 2 new Elders were transferred in. So what to do with the third tie? 
My husband ended up wearing it and they constantly referred to themselves as the three tie-migos. ( which they all found extremely entertaining) 

Ellanor our daughter asked the ward choir back in March to sing her favourite song at her baptism. It is entitled "Come into the water" it is a beautiful song about John the Baptist  preaching the gospel and baptising many including our Saviour Jesus Christ. 
What started out as a small ensemble of 6 become 2 the ward mission leader  Joshua Tomlinson and his wife. (however with several parts/harmonies) it didn't sound quite right. 
Elder Thompson and Boswell to the rescue! 
The trio all sang solo parts and harmonised beautifully. It was quite a moving performance right before Ellanor went to be baptised. 
They then fulfilled the role as witnesses at the font. So happy to serve the members of the ward. 
Ellanor was baptised by her friend John. He is a convert to the church of 10 years and has become adopted into our family (another Grandpa) . Ellanor and John truly love each other  and sit with each other during sacrament meeting each week. When we were preparing for Ellanor's baptism we asked her who she would like to baptise her? Without hesitation She said John! 
My husband was a little taken aback at first ( Dad duties cut short ) but he had already baptised her older brother so John performed the baptism
( the 1st time in doing so and aged 76 probably the only opportunity) 
While her Dad performed the confirmation. 
Today has been a wonderful day made even more special by a beautiful performance by your Son. 
Thank you for supporting him in his missionary service. 
Much love 
The Vousden Family 
X X 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One Week Closer to Being Home (but still a long time to go!)

Hi guys!

So about pictures - at zone conference this week I forgot my iPad. So the AP's have it, but I haven't gotten it back yet, so I don't have any pictures to send now because I usually just use my iPad to take pictures.

Also from the stories and the pictures - everybody sounds so grown up! How tall is Will now? In pictures he looks so much bigger than he did when I left! And how tall is Olivia? She fits in your shoes?? She's going to be tall. But the biggest question is how tall is Sam? Do you think he's passed me yet?  Also, I'm pretty sure I've grown a little bit on my mission, I think I'm about 6'3'' now...

And it was also our stake conference this week here in Huddersfield, and we had a visiting member of the seventy as well - but his remarks at the session were really long - I almost fell asleep, I'm sure he was great though. It's funny too because I was sitting next to a recent convert named Michael and he made fun of me for falling asleep once in sacrament meeting a few months ago, and I almost did it again...

That's interesting about the reaction you had to the policy change Mama, it's funny because recently we seem to be coming into contact with tons of gay people. Like all the time. It's something you don't run into that often on a mission but has been really common recently. I've become very adept at explaining the reason for the church not believing in homosexuality and maybe that's helped me understand the reasons for the policy change - I didn't really think much about it. It just makes sense! If anything it's just that with studying the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation thoroughly comes a better understanding of God's eternal love for everyone like you were saying Mama. As well there comes an understanding that everyone has the same potential to achieve eternal life, no matter what circumstance we're placed in in this life.

And Olivia - no my companion does not have a blog. Sorry to disappoint he says.

And Sammy! How's the choir doing? Who is in choir that I would still know?

And Dad, about the story from the seventy. I've seen that click that happens with people. Sometimes it takes them having to actually think for themselves and learn what they actually believe to have that click. It takes learning of the doctrine with an open heart and mind and honestly evaluating where you are at. I've seen it here with converts and less active members, where they recognize that it all makes sense and it becomes wonderful, even delicious to them.

But yeah this week I got to go on exchange with the zone leaders here in Huddersfield as well - with Elder Larson, who was my district leader when I was in Wharfe Valley, and that was awesome! We had so much fun.

Also this week it rained so much. Like it rained every single day here - and some days it rained a ton.

Crazy story - Elder Boswell and I decided to go and knock some tower flats so that we could get out of the rain - they are these council house buildings that have 6 floors with 6 flats on each floor, and they are so dodgy. One of them, we were knocking on this guys door - and the guy who's house it was got in the elevator downstairs and we saw in come up to our floor, so we were waiting for him to come out of the door so we could talk to him, and he came out and his face was just covered in blood....    and he was pretty out of it, so we just helped him inside and made sure he was okay and then left....    needless to say, we are not going back there.

But we also found a lot of nice people this week that want us to come back! So it should be a good week this week!

I love you guys! Sorry I cant send any pictures - I'll make sure I do next week!

Elder Thompson

Friday, November 13, 2015

Extra Email this Week - (I love this kid!!)

So yesterday we had a zone conference, the day before Remembrance Day, and President told us to find a computer and e-mail our families about what we learned.

Zone Conference was yesterday in Leeds Crossgates chapel and it started at 1030 ish and ended around 430, so a long conference, but it was filled with so many great things. There's no way I'll be able to describe everything I learned at that meeting, but I can tell you some highlights!

First of all - we talked a lot about war. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It talks about how there is a time and season for everything. There was once a time for war, and it had to happen, and I'm grateful it did happen because now I'm here getting to share with people a message of peace.

Just briefly as well - I told you about how I've been looking at all the family history we have recently, and I just wonder, but who are the missionaries that found your parents mom? I want to find out who they are. As well Dad, do you think there would be any way to find out who found and taught the Thomsen's in Denmark? I read in their history that they joined the church in Denmark and then moved to Salt Lake with the pioneers. I would love to find those things out.

Sister Pilkington talked about language and words and how our words reflect who we are inside. Our words reflect the condition of our hearts. She asked are our words charitable? Or are we quick to wrath? D owe gossip? Do we say negative things about people? Should we do that?
''There are only 2 types of people in the world: those we love, and those we don't know''
When you have a critical thought about someone - ask yourself these 2 questions: What do I really know about this person? What do I like about this person?
We don't really know and cant judge the motivation behind someone's actions.
Before you speak out negatively about someone or criticize them, first THINK! Is it:
T - True?
H - Helpful?
I - Inspiring?
N - Necessary?
K - Kind?
We need to have charity. ''If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all''

Overall though, the biggest message of this zone conference was just about how we need to give. It was about having charity. About loving other people more than ourselves. It was about losing ourselves in the work. It was so helpful.

One of my favourite scriptures mentioned was from Psalm 46:10 which says ''Be still and know that I am God''

He also told a story about being at a Mission President's training meeting and how Elder Holland told the President's ''You can do this. You can do this.'' and how that was exactly what he needed to hear at the time.

He talked a lot about putting our hearts in the right place and about how the lessons we learn on our missions will take us through the rest of our lives.

He showed this video about a situation in Thailand - where there is a boy who steals something from a shop, and the shop lady gets really angry and demands to know what he is doing. The timid boy replies that he stole the medicine for his sick mother, and the woman doesn't even listen. But then another poor shop owner intervenes and pays for the medicine and gets his daughter to grab some soup for the boy and then allows the boy to take the medicine and the soup.
30 years later it shows the same soup shop owner working with his daughter when a poor man walks in and without even saying any words the man knows what he wants and gives him some soup to eat.
Soon after that the man suffers a stroke. The daughter is left with medical bills too high for her to pay and she is desperately trying to sell the little shop to pay for the debt.
But then one morning she wakes up to find our that the doctor had paid her debt for her - and that doctor was the same little boy who had 30 years earlier stolen the medicine for his mother from the shop.

Anyways it was a short video but we sat and discussed it for the better part of 2 hours and I learned so much from it! About charity and reactions and how do we deal with people, and how to teach our children and how to do things right. And how we shouldn't expect anything in return for our charity and kindness, but God knows the end from the beginning.

We learned about planning, we practiced teaching, I learned so much.

We talked a lot about how life isn't easy, because it's not supposed to be easy. If it was easy there would be no point. We're here to learn and grow and opposition is a necessary part of that. Missionary work isn't easy either, because it's not supposed to be easy! After this life we will have the opportunity to live with God forever IF we make good decisions in this life that lead us to happiness. It's not going to be easy, but like Elder Holland said to President Pilkington - YOU CAN DO THIS. You can do this.

I think though the biggest lesson I learned - is that life isn't all about me. And if I live my life in a selfish way, it's not going to be a happy life. Joy, true joy is found in the service of others. In the learning of and application of the characteristics of Christ.

People need to hear the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all that it brings. It compels us to serve others. To think about others. To lose ourselves in service to others. It's about being kind and compassionate and generous and charitable and friendly - which of course we don't need the Gospel to be all of those things - but the Gospel helps us and compels us and gives us a reason to live our lives that way! That's why it's so good! It gives us a purpose, a reason to be good, a reason to make good decisions and live a wholesome life. I cant even begin to describe how lucky I am to have been born in a family with Goodly parents who love the Lord and have been privileged to have received the opportunity to come to England and proclaim such a glorious message to people. I have been able to develop the capacity to see people not as they presently are, but as they can become. To love people no matter what.

That's what this zone conference has been about for me. Just loving people no matter what. No matter what they say to you, now matter who they are - we cant react in a negative way. We cant behave badly. We need to be like Christ. We need to grow and change and become better. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a continuum, there is no start of finish. No matter where you are now in your journey, it's not the end! There's always more to learn. More space to grow.

I have a firm belief and testimony that all of us need to and can change ourselves dramatically if we want to. I know that God can help us with that and he wants us to change to become more like him - that is what this life is all about. And it is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ!

I love you guys!

Elder Thompson

Monday, November 9, 2015


Hey guys!

Thanks for telling me all about what's going on at home, it makes me feel like I'm still involved somewhat in your lives!

But man, hearing about Nola Bishop makes me really sad. Her and Mark are such a great couple I learned a lot from them. When you go and visit Mark tell him that I wish him and Nola the best and that I'll be praying for them.

But honestly I have so much respect for those two and it hits me right in the heart to hear news like that, I really do feel a lot of happiness when I think back to the Sunday School classes that I was able to have with them and the many wonderful lessons that they taught and that I took in, some lessons that I have even used when I've been teaching people on my mission!

Tell Mark that the story about the Bear, when he tried to chase the Bear on his motorbike is one that I've told tons of people, I actually use it regularly when teaching people. And he used to talk a lot about Music in his lessons and about having righteous thoughts, some lessons that will never leave me.

But really things like that do make me appreciate that much more just how infinite the atonement of Jesus Christ is, that even hurts like losing a loved one can be made whole because we know what happens after and we know that he has felt what we've felt.

I've actually been reading in Hebrews recently, and the first part of Hebrews (chapters 1-3) talk a lot about the Atonement, in fact they probably contain the most doctrine about the Atonement and how it can help us that is found in the New Testament. But it's been really good.

Just another thought, on my iPad I have the family search app, and I've had the opportunity recently to look through a lot of our family history and it's been so cool to read a bunch of stories about the lives of these people! It's amazing. Pretty much all of our ancestors on Dad's side are Pioneers. I've been reading stories about the Coleman Family and the Thompson family and a bunch of the other families that are on there, I was reading a few days ago about a guy named William Crane (like my great great great grandfather or something like that) who served a mission in England in like 1896, and he kept a really good journal and it's been digitalized, and it's fascinating! I feel like I'm really now part of a legacy! It's really cool.

Also this week on Sunday the Huddersfield 1st and 2nd wards had a combined sacrament service for Remembrance Day, and I got to sing a solo with the choir, but it was really nice. They talked a lot about soldiers and wards and things of course, and it was really touching.

Also this week it's been super rainy. Like SUPER rainy. All of my clothes are still damp. Even this morning on the way to the library we got soaked, and we were only outside for like 5 minutes. But missionary work can be pretty hard when it's pouring rain and dark outside and you have no where to go, but it's okay Elder Boswell and I have managed to meet with people and get out of the rain a lot.
But man it was pretty freezing a lot of the time, I've been pretty cold this week.

But out of all of this, the thing that has been the major thing for me this week is that I think I've learned a lot more about the atonement of Jesus Christ. Because all the hard things that I've been hearing about and thinking about this week, he's already gone through. Whether it be my ancestors as they walked across the plains and suffered tremendous hardships, whether it be all of those soldiers that had to fight in War and suffer there, whether it be Mark and Nola bishop getting some bad news from the doctors, whether it be little me, walking around getting cold in the rain - Jesus Christ knows what it all feels like. He's been there. When we feel like there's nobody who can understand what we are going through, there is still one. And on top of knowing what it all feels like, he knows how to heal us from those things. He knows how to take care of us and to help us feel peace even in the midst of trials. He can succor us when nobody else can.

If there is anything that I've learned being here in England for the last year, that is it. I've learned through personal experience that Jesus Christ is real and that his atonement is infinite. I have studied and prayed with an earnest desire to know that these things are true, and I know that they are. Sometimes that's what it takes to learn the truth, it takes study. It takes diligent prayer. It takes hard work and determination, but it's worth it. There is no greater peace than that that comes from the healing arms of Christ. I've felt them. Nothing else that can be found in this world compares. There's no worldly philosophy that can replace it, there's nothing that surpasses the comfort that it brings.

I love you guys!

Our zone last transfer
How our zone really was

Me and Boz on a bus -- an empty bus

Elder Boswell and I with a memorial on Remembrance Day

I'm so fancy

This member Brother Vousden bought Elder Boswell and I Scottish ties in Scotland and we wore them on Remembrance day

This pic was sent from a sister from Calgary who was visiting her family in Coleman's ward

Monday, November 2, 2015

This Week's Message

Hey guys! Halloween sounds like it was really fun! Sounds like you guys had a great week!
So last week Elder Boswell and I were in a trio and we worked super super had all week, going all out all the time, and as a direct result of that, we found 5 new investigators this week who all accepted the date of November 28th to be baptized! They have some ineresting stories for sure though.
We met this girl on the street last week and got her address and phone number and gave her a Book of Mormon and she wanted us to come over and teach her and her friend! So on Wednesday I think, I called her and she was talking and she mentioned that she was with her girlfriend, and I was like okay, but she's actually like her girlfriend, she's gay. So she asked about what our church thinks about gay people.
So imagine this right, I was talking on the phone with this gay couple and it's on loudspeaker and that question gets asked. I've actually been in that same situation before and said what the church thinks and most of the time the people are like ''okay, bye. Not for me then.'' So anyways I started as usual by talking all about how important families are to God and how we believe in being chaste before marriage and how marriage is ordained of God and can last beyond death but it is ordained only between a man and a woman, because that's how children are created. I said how we don't hate people for being gay, we love everyone because God loves everyone because we're all his children! However we don't support the act, and it's counted as a sin in God's eyes.  [for more info visit Mormons and Gays]
And to my surprise they started to talk about the guilty feelings they'd been having about being gay, and how they are trying to find God and the right church for them and how they agreed!
So on Friday we went and taught them the Plan of Salvation and they loved it and want to be baptized! So we'll see how this turns out coming forward, but it's definitely a phone call and an experience I won't forget. It's funny as well because I've quoted so many scriptures so many times that sometimes when I explain things to people I just use scriptures. Like ''the Lord seeth not as a man seeth, for a man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the Heart'' (I think it's in Joshua somewhere) or that we will be judged ''according to our works, according to the desires of our hearts'' and things like that I'll just quote them all the time, to other missionaries, to investigators, just in my own talking all the time.
There's another lady who we taught who is overcoming a lot of serious drug problems, and the Gospel is what she really needs. She's been taught by missionaries before, and we found her in the area book. When we went to her house she let us right in and told us ''Whenever I pray and ask god for help, you guys always knock on my door''.
So the Lord is preparing people, and he knows the end from the beginning and when we are diligent and obedient, miracles happen.
Halloween this week. I cant believe it! I was gone for Halloween last year! Wow. Elder Jaeger has been e-mailing me a bit. It's weird because this time last year he was my companion!
Love you guys! 
Elder Thompson