Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2 Weeks of Emails!!

DEC 19:

So it's now been a week since I took the train up to Newcastle - and
it has been a way eventful week!

To start off, I got to Newcastle on Monday - and we have a car, but my
new companion Elder Charman (from Kent) doesn't have a drivers
license! So I watched a ten minute video about safe driving habits and
then got in the car on the opposite side of the road and started
driving! It was pretty scary for the first day or so, but now I'm
basically a pro.

I've gotten a bit of a taste this week of what is involved with being
a Zone Leader. On Thursday we had President Kearon, the Europe Area
President, come and visit our mission and speak to the missionaries,
and the meeting was in Billingham for the North Zones. To get there,
our Zone took a coach from Newcastle at 7:30 in the morning.

Then on Wednesday evening at like 5, the Assistants called us and told
us to get all of the teams to sleep over at a missionary flat as close
to Newcastle as possible. So we had to call all of the teams and get
them to leave their areas ASAP and get over to Newcastle that evening,
it was stressful but it worked out in the end.

Also on Friday we had a special Mission Leadership Council for all of
the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders with President Kearon,
and I was in Huddersfield! So we had to drive from Newcastle to
Huddersfield and back! Which is like 2.5 hours each way...  so long
story short I'm pretty good at driving in England now after that.

Things are pretty hard right now though in terms of missionary work. I
don't think the members of the Newcastle ward have particularly liked
the Elder's they've had in the ward recently, and so we had no
Christmas plans when I got here, but I've sorted that out not to
worry. Hopefully in no time the members will love the Elder's again!

We have one investigator to work with here - so I'm really going to
push Elder Charman and I to find more people to teach.

I definitely have my work cut out for me here. We don't have many
people to teach, I got put into a new area right before Christmas
where the members don't get along super well with the Elder's, and I
have to learn how to lead a Zone of missionaries - but it's ok. I will
have to work really hard, but I know it will be worth it.

Love you guys!

DEC 26:

This week has been pretty busy, but I'm going to try to make this
e-mail a bit shorter than usual, so I'll just give the main

On Tuesday was the Mission Christmas Social in Billingham and that was
sweet! I sang a little as well!

On Thursday night we went Christmas Carolling at the hospital in
Newcastle! It was amazing, there were people that cried... it was
really touching.

On Friday the AP's came on exchange with us here in Newcastle, and we
went with them to visit some missionaries in the zone - and that was
amazing. I learned a lot.

On Christmas Eve we drove to Leeds to pick up all of the Christmas
packages for the Elder's and Sister's serving in the Sunderland zone!
We left Newcastle at like 5:30AM so that we could go all the way down
and back in time to deliver them all! It was cool - we felt like
proper Santa's haha.

And then it was Christmas yesterday!! I was able to speak with my
family and it was so awesome! I miss them so much, but there is a lot
of work to do here - and I'm excited to keep working!

It may look like rubbish - but it's everyone's Christmas presents that we picked up from Leeds

Some new additions to the desk
These pictures are from Coleman's mission Christmas party

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A little late this week (I was doing some Christmas baking instead)

Hi guys!

First important news this week - I've been transferred.....  again.

I received a call from President Turvey on Friday night, and he asked
me if I would accept the call to serve in Newcastle as the Sunderland
Zone Leader, and my first reaction was "no!"

But that's not what I said. I said that I would do whatever was needed
of me. When he asked me how I felt about it I told him that I was
upset about leaving Bradford after just a month or so, and that I
would have loved to stay here longer to continue working with Elder
Kearl and the people we've been teaching here, but I would go if I
need to go.

Heavenly Father has different timing than us. My Dad told me his
thoughts on my new calling, which I really needed to hear, and he
managed to wrap all of my jumbled thoughts into one succinct sentence.
He said: "The building blocks in church leadership are not always what
we expect but what both we and those we serve actually need. The Lord
will guide you. Love you!"

So I'm excited, but also really sad to leave Bradford. Let me tell you
some of the other amazing things that happened this week, which are
making me doubly sad about leaving as I write them out.

1. Okay first thing - something crazy. Last year when I was serving in
Huddersfield I talked to a guy on the bus going from Huddersfield to
Leeds. His name is Jacob and he is attending the University of Leeds.
I gave him a Book of Mormon and got his address and contact details to
send to the missionaries serving in Leeds. Long story short - Jacob is
planning to be baptised in January! He's being taught by the
missionaries in Leeds 1 Ward! Sometimes I think that all this talking
to people about the gospel I do has gone to waste - but you never know
who's life you may have affected by a small simple action or

2. There is a guy in Bradford that Elder Kearl and I have been
visiting named Malcolm. Malcolm is 81 years old and was baptised only
a few years ago after his wife of 51 years passed away. Malcolm was
strong in the church until he started suffering heavily from Dementia,
and he can't remember much of anything - like why he came to church
etc. We visit him because he's lonely and he likes to chat, and when
we read the Book of Mormon, he starts talking about the gospel and how
much he loves it, only to forget a few minutes later. Malcolm has
travelled all over the world - he lived in Canada, Bermuda and South
Africa for a number of years, and has sailed around the world in a
boat that he built 3 times! His stories have inspired me to live a
fulfilling life. Anyways we visited him on Saturday and I told him I
was moving and if he had any advice for me for the rest of my life,
and he said in a moment of clearness and wisdom: "just keep going on
the path you're going. Stay in the church, marry a girl who belongs to
your faith, and have a jolly good life with her."

Thanks Malcolm,  I plan on it.

3. There is also a family we have been meeting with recently who are
part members. I've spoken about Sharon before, and about how she has
some concerns with the church but is really open to learning more
about it and visiting with us. She really likes the missionaries and
feels like she is the "missionary mom". This week she took us to
Nando's on Friday! Her daughters boyfriend works there and so we got
free Nando's! So that was awesome. Then after she found out I was
leaving, she also took us out to lunch the next day to say goodbye and
gave me some Christmas presents, and we were able to have a good
discussion about faith and the gospel. The last things I shared with
her was something that my Dad told me the last time I saw him before I
came back to England. I said "anybody who read the Book of Mormon
sincerely will know that it is the word of God." I told her that that
was the promise that my Dad knows is true, and that I also know is
true. Having only been here for a month, Sharon was pretty devastated
to see me leave. I hope I've made some sort of lasting impact with
that family.

4. Another family that I'm sad to be leaving - there's a woman named
Julieanne  who was baptised
some 6 years ago or so. In the past few years, she has rarely attended
church, but as Elder Kearl and I have been visiting her and her kids
for the past few weeks, she's come to church twice - including
yesterday! The reason she came the first time is because we challenged
her to do it and she pinky promised haha! Also a funny thing about
her, she was taught by David Brewerton when he was here in Bradford 3
or 4 years ago, and apparently he fainted one time in her house! Ask
the Brewerton's about it mama. But she was really sad to hear that I
was leaving as well so she invited us to have tea at her house on
Saturday and it was really nice - I'm really sad to be leaving these
people behind, I feel like I've been able to really make a difference
here even though I've only been here a month or so.

5. There's a man who we've been teaching recently as well named
Richard. His wife is a member and we've been teaching him every week
since I've been here. He has been coming to church for over a year,
and has just recently begun making progress on taking the lessons with
us and deciding whether or not he will be baptised. On Friday we had a
really powerful lesson with him about keeping the Word of Wisdom, and
it was one of the most powerful lessons I've been in, and he committed
to keeping it! It was amazing. I'm really sad to be leaving that
family as well.

6. On Friday I took an Elder in the district on exchange with me -
named Elder Taufanga, who is from Tonga! It was really good. Recently
I've been thinking a lot about the influence that righteous leaders
can have on the people they lead, and Elder Taufanga and I had a
really awesome exchange, and afterward he was telling me that it was
really great and he learned a lot from it - and it surprised me a
little bit, because we'd just been doing what we were supposed to be
doing - but he seems to look up to me a lot. I hope that as I move
into Zone Leadership that I'll be able to make some sort of impact on
multiple missionaries lives.

There are so many more things I could write about this week. It has
been so full, Elder Kearl and I have been teaching loads and having a
lot of fun, and the missionary work in Bradford is going really well!
People have been so sad to see me leave Bradford, and so am I! I love
this place and I will definitely come back some day.

When I came back to England, the thing I decided that I wanted to
accomplish was to make a difference wherever I went. I didn't want to
go somewhere and then be forgotten. I wanted to make some kind of
imprint on the people I interacted with - and I feel that I
accomplished that goal in full here in Bradford. My heart is full as
I'm leaving this place.

Most of all - the people in Bradford have changed my life for the
better, and I'm glad that the Lord decided to send me here, even for
just this short time.

Much love,

Elder Thompson

P.S. I found out that my new companion is named Elder Charman, and
he's English. I haven't met him yet but I'm told he's cool, but that
he can't drive! So we have a car and I'm going to have to drive it
around, but I've never driven in the UK before...  so I'm a tad
nervous about it, but also really excited.

P.P.S. The plan to get to Newcastle was to catch the train from
Bradford to Leeds at 9:35, which gets to Leeds at 9:56, which would
give me about 12 minutes to get through Leeds station (which is
insanely busy all the time) to catch a 10:08 train to Newcastle.
But....  the Bradford to Leeds train didn't get into Leeds until
10:05!! So I got off the train with my two suitcases and backpack, and
ran through the station, checked what platform the train was at, and
ran to the platform, only to see the doors close and it roll away! I
missed the train by like 10 seconds! So then I had to wait until the
next train came at 10:43. Anyways, I'm on my way now.

P.P.P.S. This train ride is really long. If you want to see how long,
go on google maps - the train stops at Leeds, York, Northallerton,
Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street & Newcastle. It left Leeds at
10:43 and gets to Newcastle at 12:15.

Sharon took us to Nando's

Carolling in Leeds a few weeks ago

We're smiling, but I'm sad to be leaving

Breakfast at McDonalds!

Elder Fife

Saying goodbye to Elder Kearl in Bradford -- I'm gonna miss him

Monday, December 5, 2016

There is one bad word in this post

Sup fam!

How's the week been?

It's been good here, except it's been getting really cold, and the sun
sets every day at about 4 PM, and we can't really knock on doors after
the sun goes down because people get annoyed - but it's all good!
Bradford is sweet.

Let's talk about some funny things people have said while Elder Kearl
and I knocked on doors this week:

"How's it going man?"
"Sorry guys it's a really bad time"
"Oh why's that?"
"The baby's just shat everywhere"
"Oh ok, good luck with that"

Another one:

"Hi, how are you?"
"NO, not how am I.... WHO, ARE, YOU?"
"Ok, have you met Mormons before?"
"I certainly don't want to meet them again!"
"Oh no, were they nice last time?"
"That's for me to know, and NOT for you to ask!"

Another one:

"Hi, how are you?"
"I'm good thanks guys, how are you?"
"We're doing great!"

I thought I would put the last one in to show that not everybody is
that rude haha, I just remember the funnier things people say
sometimes! We've mostly met nice people this week though!

Oh, something nice that happened this week! On Monday (maybe? I can't
remember...) I got a call from the Bishop of the Wharfe Valley ward! I
used to serve in that ward back in early 2015, and Bro Flinn, who's
now the Bishop, knows that I'm a good singer. Bro Flinn is actually my
friend on Facebook at home and I had some good chats on Facebook with
him while I was home. Anyways they called to recruit me for Stake
Choir, for stake conference on Sunday.

So on Friday we made our way to the Wharfe valley chapel in Menston
and practiced for Stake choir - which was really great! When we got to
the practice Sister Flinn who directs the choir asks Elder Kearl
straight up: "can you sing on pitch??" And he was like... kind of, and
I backed him up, so he sang with the choir as well haha.

Side funny note about choir rehearsal, there was one part where Sis
Flinn didn't want us to breathe, and so she kept saying "no breath!"
But in her Yorkshire accent it comes out like "nae breath" so that's
what I kept thinking.

Also there's a member of our ward (who's house we're going to on
Christmas) named Dave, who's really funny, and he sat beside Elder
Kearl in the choir practice - and somebody in the bass section did a
big scoop and Sis Flinn got annoyed by it, so she was like: "nae
scooping" and then the rest of the practice Dave get being like: "hey,
you scooping" it was just really funny...

We're working with an investigator right now who's wife is a member of
the church, and they've been married for just over a year. The wife
really has hopes that her husband will gain a testimony of the church
and desire to be baptised and so we've been teaching him and that's
been going really well - his name is Richard.

On Sunday (Dec 4, which happens to have become a significant day for 2
reasons - #1 is that it's Alex's birthday, and #2 is that it marks one
year to the date that I flew back home to Canada last year) was Leeds
Stake Conference! And guess where they held it...   at the
Huddersfield Stake Centre, so I found myself on a bus that took us
from Bradford to Huddersfield early Sunday morning  to get to Stake
Conference. It seems like I can't get away from that place...  I love
it there.

There was a seventy that came and presided and spoke at the
Conference, named Elder David P. Homer. His remarks hit me more
powerfully than anything that I've heard recently, which is saying a
lot seeing as I've been to meetings with Elder Nelson and Elder
Moreira not too long ago.

He explained a story about how the greatest gifts are the ones that
require sacrifice from the giver. He told a story about him growing up
in Utah and receiving a generous Christmas gift from his parents who
were struggling financially, and how he had been selfish in asking for
it, but appreciated the sacrifice they made to get it for him.

He also told another story, and it was interesting because it was
Alex's birthday, and so I'd been thinking about her already that
morning. The story was of a friend of his who'd had an older sister,
who when she became old enough to live on her own, left her family and
started living a life contrary to gospel teachings. The story was long
and full of heartache in the lives of the other family members as
well. The mother of the family passed away in a tragic accident, and
later the father died of related injuries from the accident. At the
funeral a family friend spoke and the older sister felt touched by
something he said, and eventually decided to return to the church of
her youth, just the once. She did and was met there by a loving
Bishop, who cornered her before she could leave, and she eventually
returned to full fellowship with the church.

I'm definitely not saying that I hope something that tragic happens to
our family, but sometimes it takes events of a great magnitude to
touch someone's heart.

The story continued in describing how the woman who came back to church
helped her husband and children join the church as well, and they were
sealed in the temple as a family. Just something in the way he said it
really struck a chord with me, and I felt a real pain in my heart and
hope for my sister that she might one day remember the joy that can
come to one as they enjoy the blessings of the gospel.

I know that families can be together forever because of Heavenly
Father's plan for us. The Priesthood power of God has been restored
upon the earth to the prophet Joseph Smith, and the keys that he
received have been passed down to the prophet today. I know that the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's church on
the earth again, and that because it has been restored we can be free
from the burden of guilt and shame that comes from sin, and we can
feel love and peace towards those around us. I'm so grateful for the
opportunity I have to share that with people, and to help them to
reconcile themselves to God, and abide in his peace as well.

Love you guys! Go check out the light the world page on!