Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Another week has gone by already! It's weird, but time seems to go by
really fast as a missionary, I can't even explain it. Like everyday
feels long, but the weeks feel really short. Next thing I know it'll
be monday again!

Things have been going great though! We've been teaching this fellow
named Kevin, who's super awesome and is going to be baptised soon! So
that's been great! He came to church again yesterday and loved it.

We've been knocking on lots of doors as well, and it's fun, but hard
sometimes, and also really funny. This is an example of a common
conversation I'll have with someone:

"Are you very religious yourself?"
"No that's not for me"
"Oh, how come?"
"I don't know mate, just not bothered"
"So do you think there's a God then?"
"Why not?"
"I don't know mate, I'm just not bothered"

People find it easier to be "not bothered" about anything. Being
religious is work! It's just worthwhile work. Life isn't supposed to
be easy, and were supposed to be bothered.

But I still love English people haha! When people tell me that they
don't believe in God their reasons are always pretty weak. But every
now and again there are the curious few who want to hear us out, and
we've met a few like that this week.

Also it's Halloween today, so we have to be in early, but Halloween
here is so different. There's been a lot of fireworks going off every
night, and there's been lots of kids going around messing with people,
I had a kid throw an egg at me last night! He missed, but it was
funny. There was a bunch of kids and they were like:

"It's Halloween week"
"So we're egging people houses"
"That's mean, why are you doing that"
"It's Halloween week"
"Have you ever cleaned an egg off your house? It sucks"
"What if I threw an egg at you?"
"Well don't do that"

And then as I walked away he threw one at me! He was like 12. Elder
Erickson thought it was really funny. It was.

Okay but at church Elder Erickson and I taught the gospel principles
lesson, and it was about life after death, and we taught and testified
about the atonement and the spirit world and what we need to do to
enter into the kingdom of heaven, and it felt amazing. I can really
feel the spirit working when I'm able to testify about the atonement.

I love being a missionary again, things here are great!

Keep sending lots of pictures!

Love you lots

Elder Thompson

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Picture of the Whole Mission

Coleman's mission president -- Elder Turvey -- posted this on Facebook.  It's small, but Coleman is in the front row, just right of centre.

Shaking Hands with an Apostle -- and going to a Mosque

Hey everyone.

This week has been amazing. There are so many things that happened,
and I'm going to try to talk about as many of as I can. There were a
lot of times this week where Elder Erickson and I were thinking of
what we should do - and we went ahead and did what we were prompted to
do, and amazing things happened! I really feel like we've been led by
the spirit in everything that we've done.

On Tuesday, it was bright and sunny when we left our apartment, so we
just wore light jackets, and travelled out to a part of our area
called Heckmondwike to knock on doors - and of course it started to
pour rain. So we got soaked, but we persevered and we met this really
nice Congolese guy named Kevin who was really interested in what we
have to say!

Also on Tuesday we met with Tegan, who is a girl who was baptised into
the ward about a year ago, and is moving to Utah because she's dating
Elder Diaz. So that was fun.

Then on Wednesday Kevin came and met with us at the church, and we
taught him the Restoration. It was a really amazing lesson and as I
was sitting there teaching I just started to feel how overwhelmingly
blessed I am to be a set apart missionary again - who else can just
knock on someone's door one day and have him meet with you at church
the next to teach him the gospel? And he came to church yesterday!

We also had tea Wednesday evening with a family called the Allen's.
They're not members of the church but their son is a convert who is
now serving a mission in the London South Mission. This family has had
a lot of spiritual experiences with the church but are still hesitant
to believe in it. We challenged the mother to read the Book of Mormon
- and she told us that her son has given her a similar challenge.
I was reminded of something that Dad told me when I drove him to the
airport a few weeks ago - and I shared this with Sis. Allen - that
"anybody who sincerely reads the Book of Mormon will know it is true".
If any of you are wondering about the truthfulness of the Book of
Mormon, just read it. It has the power to change lives.

Then on Thursday we had an exchange - but in the evening we also had
planned to teach Rich (the guy who just showed up at church on
Sunday). Our plan was to teach Rich at 6PM at the church, so at about
5 we started heading up to the church with some food to eat for tea
before Rich got there - but on our way to the church this Muslim
fellow (side note - there are loads of Muslim's in this area - the
Asian population is one of the highest percentages in the whole
mission in Dewsbury) stopped us on the road and told us that he'd met
missionaries before and they told him they would show him our church -
so I was like "well we're going there right now if you want to come
take a look" and he was like "ok yeah". So we proceeded to show him
around the church for the next hour or so and teach him about our
beliefs - which was all great except he really just wanted to tell us
about his religion and he invited us to come to the Mosque the next
day to watch the Friday prayers, and so not to be rude we said ok!
More on that to come.

So we didn't have time to eat anything before Rich showed up for his
lesson, he literally walked in right as Abubakr (our Muslim friend)
left. Our ward mission leader met us there for the lesson too - and
the lesson had potential to be great, but it ended up just kind of
being a big gong show because Rich really likes to talk and so does
the Ward Mission Leader - but we got a bit of doctrine in there as
well and Rich will be back at church in a few weeks.

Friday - mosque! We went to Abubakr's house at 1, and he brought us in
and showed us a bunch of his Quran interpretation books, and gave us
some of his perfumes (the ones Islamic people use because quote
"Mohammed liked good smells") and then he brought us to the Mosque.
They set us up some chairs in the back and we watched as they had a
sermon and then did the ceremonial reading of the Quran and prayer
chants - of course I didn't understand any of it because it was all in
Arabic but it was really cool!

And then after the prayers Abubakr introduced us to the Imam, which is
like the spiritual leader of the mosque and they brought us into this
room where we sat on the floor in a circle with Abubakr, the Imam, and
a few other people - where they proceeded to ask us loads of questions
about our religion and then how we liked the mosque and then started
to preach like a bunch of Muslim doctrine to us - and if was so funny,
I felt like I was in the investigator class at the Mosque! It was all
great until I asked what kind of things go on at the mosque other than
prayers (I was thinking like social events or weddings maybe) and this
one guy started going off about how Muslims aren't terrorists and how
he gets stopped in airports all the times. Overall it was a great
experience, and I actually learned a lot about Islam, and I'm glad I
went. Plus now whenever I talk to Muslim people I can be like, "oh
yeah I've been to Mosque". So that's sweet.

Saturday was the day we'd been waiting for - we had President Russell
M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as well as Patrick
Kearon and Garry Sabins, from the Europe Area Presidency, Donald
Halstrom, one of the Presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy and
Gerald Caussé, the Presiding Bishop.

For any of you who don't know who President Nelson is - let me
explain: just like how Jesus called twelve Apostles to help him run
the church in his day, today in the restored Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints we have a Prophet who leads and guides the church,
and we also have a quorum of Twelve Apostles, who lead the affairs of
the church around the whole world. Russell M. Nelson is the President
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - so it was a big honour that he
came and spoke to the missionaries in our mission.

All of the talks were really good, but President Nelson also had
Bishop Caussé explain to us a bit about what the church has been doing
for humanitarian aid here in Europe and I was so amazed. He told me to
tell anyone I could that the money that members donate to the church's
fast offering and humanitarian aid funds are being well used, and are

President Nelson asked us if we had decided what kind of missionary we
want to be, and I made a resolve to be the kind of missionary that is
not easily forgotten, I hope to help people change in a way that has a
lasting impact on their lives - whether that's other missionaries,
members, investigators or anybody else that I meet.

The conference was amazing! And I got to see Elder Boswell and some of
the other missionaries that I know from before - although most of them
have gone home by now.

Then later on that day we went by this Muslim family who had told us
previously that they wanted to hear about our church - and they fed us
loads of awesome food, and took a Book of Mormon in hopes to read it -
I'm not sure where that one will go but they've said that if we ever
need a meal to come back around!

After that we went to go knock on doors in this one part of our area
where missionaries haven't gone a whole lot because it's pretty
heavily Muslim, but we both kept feeling like we should go there. We
were knocking on doors and a lot of people weren't interested, but as
Elder Erickson and I were talking I remember saying that I felt like
there was someone near by that was just waiting for us to knock on
their door, and literally the next 3 doors that opened were people who
were really interested in who we were and what we were doing! It was
actually really cool.

Then on Sunday Kevin came to church and it was really great, he loved
it! Also when I got to church somebody had a guitar for me! Apparently
Jenna asked her friends from the stake if any of them had a guitar
they didn't use and one of them did, and they gave it to me at church!
So that was also super awesome.

On Sunday night we went and stopped by this guy named James who we'd
met just the night before (one of the people who we found on Saturday
night) and taught him about the Restoration and gave him a Book of
Mormon. He's going away for work for a couple of weeks, but he was
really excited and said he'd read it!

Sorry for the long e-mail! But just so you know - we can receive and
read e-mails throughout the week every time we're connected to wi-fi
at a chapel, which is almost every day. So I can read anything you
send if you send it earlier in the week. That also means that I start
writing my weekly e-mail earlier in the week, so I'll be able to write
more now hopefully. But family, if you write me your weekly e-mail
closer to the beginning of the week, then I'll be able to read and
respond to it, I just can't actually send any e-mails until Monday!

Oh! And Sam! Happy Birthday Tomorrow Bro! Hope you feel old now that
you're an adult. Hope things are going well for you dude.

Love you guys.

Elder Thompson

Monday, October 17, 2016

And He's Back in England!!!!

After a break of about 10 months being at home, Coleman returned to his mission last Monday!  Here's his first email:

So - it's been a while since I've written one of these e-mails home,
and it feels a little strange! There's been a lot of ups and downs
this week, and a lot of stuff has happened so far - so I hope I can
explain how I'm feeling and how things are going well enough in this

My flights were good, on the flight from Calgary to London I sat next
to this girl who is from Calgary but is living in Dubai and working
for an oil and gas company out there, which is cool.

On Tuesday I flew into Leeds Bradford airport around 7 PM and Elder's
Jackson (who was in the MTC with me) and Elder Dobbs (who I served
around in Hull last year) who are the AP's now picked me up and took
me to my new area, which is Dewsbury!

Dewsbury is in West Yorkshire, in the Huddersfield Stake. It's
actually right next to the Huddersfield 1st Ward, which is where I
served a year or so ago when I left - so that's awesome. I'm actually
writing this e-mail from the Huddersfield Stake Centre where I used to
go to church, and is where we are for p-day today. Oh yeah - we can
e-mail from our iPad's now :)

There are already a few people in this ward that I knew previously
from serving in Huddersfield which is cool.

I also met my new companion: Elder Erickson, from Palm Springs
California! He's super nice - and really funny, so I'm excited to work
with him.

On Wednesday I had an interview with the Mission President: President
Turvey, which was great too - he seems like an awesome guy. And now
it's off to the races! Back doing missionary work full blast! It's
been really good so far, we have a few people to teach so far - and
yesterday at church, a guy that the Missionaries met on the street and
invited to church just turned up! He really enjoyed it and we're
meeting with him later on this week!

The ward is really nice and church was great - everyone is really welcoming!

But the week wasn't without its hardships either. England is sometimes
a shocking place, and the first few days were an example of that:

- First off - it has rained every single day since I've been here so
far, without fail. Cheers for that West Yorkshire.

- Also, the first bus ride I took, it was a double decker bus and it
was at about 9 in the morning, and the first person I talked to was
incredibly drunk.

- Also a lot of people here just don't pick up their dogs poop - and I
stepped in some already this week haha.

- Our entire apartment building smells like smoke, which is just the
best, and is just so stereotypically English!

- Oh, and I've already knocked on a couple hundred people's doors,
even in the rain! So there ya go.

But in general I am really happy to be back here. I love England and I
love the gospel and I'm really excited to share it.

Love you guys. I'll send pictures

Elder Thompson
A random street in Dewsbury

Me and Elder Erickson

Knocking on doors again

A sketchy area of Dewsbury

A public footpath tunnel:  classic!

A bus stop on the edge of a small town

A run down red phone booth