Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 20 in Orizaba, last post ever?

I'll get home on Wednesday sooo.... yeah this is probably the last. 

E and H are progressing fantastically. They're super excited for his baptism in July. R is still doing well. 

News on E: We finally saw him! long story short, he couldn't contact us for a while, but then we saw him this week. He's doing fantastic. All is well for him right now. I admire him and his faith.

I'm super grateful for the opportunity that I've had to serve a mission. It has been undoubtably the best desicion of my life. I know that we are spirit children of loving Heavenly Parents. I know that we are here on this earth in order to progress, and be able to one day become like them. I know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world, and that through faith on His name, all people everywhere may be saved, through the grace of His infinite atonement. I know that this is His church today, that because of His love for us He has called apostols and prophets in order to guide us in these latter-days. Most important, I know that everything that God does here for his children is because He loves us. And the most important demonstration of that love is that "God so loved the world, that He sent His Only-Begotten Son... for God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might be saved." Therefore it is up to us to take the desicion to "come unto Christ, and be made perfect in Him... that ye become holy, without spot." That is what I've been working towards here these past two years, both in myself, and among the Mexican people. There really is no greater work. I would know. I've done it. It was totally worth sacrificing these 2 years. It really wasn't a sacrifice. It was the biggest blessing I've ever recieved in my life, and I'll be eternally grateful. 

Until next week, 

Elder Thompson


June 13 in Orizaba

Well this was an incredible week. I'm glad, too, because I only have 2 weeks left. I didn't get trunky or "die" as we call it here in Mexico last week, and it won't happen this week either! 

So we found another family of gold! Their names are E. and H). They actually just kinda showed up to church and we started teaching them! E is 21 and H is 22 and they have one daughter. They were investigators of Elder Chamberlain almost 2 years ago! Actually H is a member and E is the investigator. They never got baptized because they needed to get married and they didn't want to, but now they do! They even gave themselves a date! I'm super grateful to Chamberlain. They already know everything they need to and have testimonies, now we're just working on changing their habits. Helping them begin to read and pray every day, have family home evening, do family history work, and keep their sights set on the temple!

R and his daughter A are doing fantastic. Doing good so far for the 3rd. 

So there have been some interesting occurrences here in Mexico lately. For those of you who have even half a mind to world news, same-gender marriage was legalized in the United States a while ago and for those who don't know, Mexico is now trying to legalize it too. (Sadly, many heterosexual couples here aren't married anyways). Now, I'd like to explain the standpoint of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on this.

We believe that marriage, between a man and a woman, is ordained of God. Not only ordained, but absolutely essential to the Great Plan of Happiness established by our loving Heavenly Father for us. We believe that those who strive to destroy the sacred fundamentals of the family will stand accountable to God himself at the day of judgement. Those sacred powers of procreation are given to us in order for us to be able to experience the joy of being a father or a mother, like our own Heavenly Parents, and NOT to be misused, mistreated or abused. Exercise of the power of procreation outside the bonds of matrimony between a man and a woman injures our divine potential, and our ability to truly love, and "GOD is love." Therefore by abuse of these things we CANNOT become like Him, we CANNOT receive the blessings of a happy family, and we cannot reach our divine destiny as joint heirs with Christ. 

When we have abused these powers, the only way out is to change, to repent through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through him, we can "have mercy restored to (us) again", and our virtue as well. 

Strict adherence to the commandment known as the law of chastity is the ONLY way a family can be happy and blessed in this life, as well as the next. All other ways lead to lack of eternal progress, because we destroy our own seed of divinity that is within us. 

"Can man take fire into his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go up upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?"

All this stuff prolly sounds old fashioned. Outdated. Not quite the world's standard. That's because Gods standards don't change when the world's standards change. He is unchangeable, from eternity to eternity, and absolutley perfect. He has no beginning, and no end. I guess you could say that that makes Him rather old fashioned. But His way is the best, and only, way. 

These are the standards that we teach as missionaries, and that the church teaches, these are the words established by the prophets, and there will never be any exceptions. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 6 in Orizaba

Wow it was another crazy, super stressing week here. Literally everything happened this week, but God is also blessing us a ton. We had 6 investigators in church this week, and we randomly found another who was seeking more truth. On Wednesday we were walking around with NOTHING and just randomly knocked on a door and the woman who answered said: "I'm not that interested, but my husband reads the Bible a lot. He probably will be interested. If you come back in about an hour you can find him." So we left, ready to come back in an hour. About 15 mins later this older guy who looks like the Mexican version of Tommy Lee Jones with longer hair shouts "Hey, you guys were looking for me?" So we started talking to him and it turns out to be her husband. He's what we missionaries call "of gold." He really does know the Bible, and Nephi's prophecy in the Book of Mormon that one who believes the Bible "will believe in this also" came true in him. When we shared with him the experience of the first vision of Joseph Smith he said "I don't think that you are lying. I know you're not. I believe you." Then we invited him to pray and ask if it's all true and we came back the next day and he said, "I did what you asked. I felt the spirit. I know its true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. What else can you teach me?" 

He's amazing. He is preparing to be baptized on the 3rd of July. 

Anyways, thats all I have time for, talk to you all next week!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May 30 in Orizaba

Well this week was awesome! E is progressing super well. His baptismal date is for the 19th of June. He'll prolly be the last baptism of my mission. He's super excited. We had stake conference this week and he said he loved it. We also put a baptismal date yesterday with F for the 26th, so if E isn't my last, then it will prolly be F. M had his date for the 12th, but he didn't come to church this week, so we'll most certainly be pushing it back. God has really started to put people in our path these last couple weeks and even though I may go home before I see the end result, I'm happy to know that I've been a part of everything. That's plenty of an honor. 

Time to work until there's no time left. Talk to you all next week!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 23 in Orizaba

What a great week! We worked super hard with D. and his family and they're incredible! We also are going to begin today to work with a man named E. His girlfriend is a FANTASTIC recent convert named L, and she really wants him to get baptized so that they can get sealed in the temple! We normally don't put lessons on Mondays but seeing as how this is the only day that he can see us, we have a lesson with him soon at 4, so I won't be writing that much this week. We hope to get these 2 families baptized so that Elder Howard can get a few families sealed in his second year!

It is amazing to me how in these past few weeks we've been finding people to teach. Throughout my entire mission, having people to teach is all about how well WE work each day, how many WE can find, how many doors WE can get opened. Here, in the final stretch of my mission, I am learning in a much deeper way that it's not US. It's HIM. This is HIS work, and He can do His own work. We are nothing more than servants in His hands. All the people that we have been teaching are nothing short of miracles, where all our work had apparently nothing to do with finding them. That's God's grace.

I've learned that God's grace is really free. It's like how when a little kid's parents pay for him to get piano lessons. The price is paid, the deed is done, now there is only one thing left: get good at piano! But if the kid chooses not to listen in his classes, if he chooses not to practice, well, he will only learn a little bit of piano, as opposed to everything that he could have learned! It is the same for us. We are here on this earth to learn to live with our Heavenly Father. This is done by keeping His commandments and by living the gospel of his Son. Those are the celestial laws that He abides, and we must learn to abide them too if we are to return and live with Him. The price was already paid. It was paid with Jesus Christ, in the garden of Getsemane, upon a cross, and within an empty tomb. Salvation is free! It only depends upon us, if we want to prepare ourselves and learn, or not.

News from the family: We got an official return date on Monday! It's June 29!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 16 in Orizaba

Turns out I'm not the one from the prophecy....



Well. I feel different. Today is the start of my last transfer in my mission. A transfer is a period of 6 weeks. In between every transfer there are different changes with the missionaries. There are 17 transfers in a mission. This is my number 17. I never thought I would feel any different but I do. I always knew that the mission was going to end soon but now it's like I can see the finish line. And I don't want to cross it... 

That's how old missionaries feel. 

Anyways, we'll make sure to do our best this transfer. I'm still with Elder Howard, so it's pretty certain that he'll be my last companion. We're going to work hard and try to get the restored gospel to as many people as possible. 

This was a pretty special week. On Tuesday we had a visit from a seventy named Elder Falabela. He's from Guatemala. He taught us about the atonement of Christ and about charity. 

On Monday night I found a little black scorpion in the house. I killed it. I hope there aren't more. But our roof is made out of tin with a weird barrier right below it and they say that that's a really good place for scorpions to be. The good news is that apparently these ones aren't lethal, they just hurt a ton. 

We had a really special experience this Saturday. Elder Howard has been really sick this whole week so we decided that it was time for him to go to the doctor. So we went to the doctor and he diagnosed him and gave him medicine. But long story short, he sent us to another doctor that lived about 40 mins away in a place called Ixpan. We had no clue how to get there so we just hailed a taxi and said where we were going. When we got in, the taxi driver introduced himself, told us that he had lived in Phoenix for 6 years working for a constructioin company, and that his 2 bosses were Mormons and that they were some of the best people that he had ever met. He told us all about them, and about what he thought about the world and everything. He ended asking for us to come and visit him, and so we scheduled a lesson! We're super excited to see him. This was a lesson to me on the impact that living like a real Christian can have on people even years into the future.

I'm grateful for those 2 men in Phoenix that made an impact on this man's life, and we hope to be able to make one too. He said something that really made me think: "You can tell me all about what you believe, what you think, and who you are, but all I have to do to know you is to watch you. How a person acts, even when they think that no one is looking, is the perfect way to tell who they really are. And every time I've met one of you guys, you're living like Christians." 

Integrity is what we do when we think nobody is looking. It's the outward reflection of the inner mind and heart. We cannot become like Christ unless we have integrity.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May 9 in Orizaba

P-Day pictures:
The white peak is Orizaba. It is the third highest peak in North America. It is way taller than it looks in this picture.
These wings just sprouted out of my back.


​This is me and Elder Howard.
​​
Me, Elder Howard, and Elder Zuniga
Scripture of the Week: 

Doctrine and Covenants 58:4

4 For after much tribulation come the blessings.
So this week was a fullfillment of that scripture!!! We've been working for 4 hard weeks to just try to have a little bit of success. And now it's starting to pour in!!! 4 weeks in a row with not a single investigator in church, I was worried!!! But we worked hard, and this week we finally had 5!!! What a miracle!!! 
I'm so relieved, I feel like it was all for something, and that's the best feeling in the world. All 5 of our investigators that went to church are great, and we're expecting more next week. 
The other highlight of the week was being able to talk with my family last night. It will be the last time I talk with them until I go home. I hope to keep working hard and bring a few more to Christ. I still got a bit of fuel left in me. 
That's all I have to say this week, other than this: I really do believe that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and I really do believe that this is His true church. I know that what I am doing and what I have done has been pleasing to Him, and I think that's the most important thing in the world. He is the Rock of Eternity, and He was cleft for us, that through His death and resurrection, we too may live again, in the presence of our immortal Father and King. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 2 in Orizaba

Well this week we worked really hard! We've found some really great people to teach.

Orizaba is normally a cool climate (for Mexico, aka not THAT cold) but this week, we were in some record breaking heat! I practically forgot that we were in the mountains and had nightmares that the whole world became one massive pit of death from heavy sunlight. But it was a fun week.

We found several really cool people to teach this week. L is this middle-aged guy whose daughter lived in the U.S. for 6 years, in Salt Lake City. He went to visit her and they toured the temple grounds and the church visitor's center, and were very intrigued. Then they came home, and later we just randomly show up, knocking on doors! Cool experience. We were able to teach about the Restoration and we will be seeing them again on Wednesday! Second, A. A is a young mother (her baby was just born about a month ago) who wants nothing more than for her family to be happy. She is worried about her husband, who, because of a series of sad events, has stopped believing in God. She is afraid that maybe one day she and him will get separated (not because they have a bad relationship, but because most couples end up getting separated here), and she is just looking for the opportunity to unite them. She is very interested in the idea of an eternal family. I am so glad that we can be a blessing in their lives so that their family can be happy.

We had our interviews with President Cordova this week and he and I talked a little about families that I have been able to help teach so far. S and M are preparing to be sealed in August. B and B in October. D and D are also preparing. L already went to the temple and was sealed. B will get sealed to R as soon as he completes a year of being deceased, and several others are preparing for the temple. I am grateful for the oportunity that I have had to help people come closer together, and fix broken families and mend broken hearts. That's really what this gospel is for. Fixing things. I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, anything can be fixed, and made as good as new, or better. That's the whole point.

Anyways, that's all for this week. Talk to you later,

Elder Thompson.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 25 in Orizaba

So this week was great! J and V progressed a ton! only that.... we couldnt quite get them in church :( But it's okay well get them next week! We also found another family that were investigators of Elder Stanfield's (he was here about 9 months ago) that are really good!

My comp and I are working really hard cause I'm in my last 9 weeks as a missionary! We gotta finish strong! We started working a ton with the elders' quorum president, cause he's amazing here. 

That's pretty much all for this week (for time) but I'll write more next week!

Elder Thompson

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 18 in Orizaba

Well Orizaba finally began to pick up!  

This week we had 2 miracles: J and V. 

J is 26. He lives with his mom and his little brother, who's 22. We met J at a ward activity, where all the members went to go play soccer and invited other people to come too. At the activity we talked to him and he didn't seem that interested, but then when we went to go teach the son of a member who's not baptized, J was sitting outside the house! Then it turned out that the person we had had the appointment with didn't show up, so we just invited J inside and started talking with him! He expressed his ideas that nothing really quite "fits" in the religion he grew up in (he's Catholic). He didn't understand why there are so many different religions if there's only one God, and why do so many people break His commandments that he's given them through the Bible (if they actually believe). We taught him about the Restoration and he's really interested! He thinks it makes sense that there should be a prophet in our day and that there should be a Restoration. He's preparing for baptism in May. 

V is 17-18 (I forget). She has a friend who's a member in another ward, and she invited her to church and a bunch of church activities, and then the missionaries over there found her and passed her to us! She's got a ton of doubts about EVERYTHING. She considers that she is searching the churches in order to find the one that is correct. She's worried about her family, which is her, her parents, and her little sister (who's 15). She is searching for that peace and to just be happy. Fortunately, that's a direct result of living the restored gospel!!!!

The closer and closer I get to finishing this thing, the more I realise what a blessing the mission has been to me, in strengthening, more than anything, my testimony of Jesus Christ. I know that He is MY Saviour and Redeemer, and that He died to pay the price for my sins. I know that through true and sincere repentance, whatever person can receive remission of their sins and have a true change of heart, if they will just live the principles of the restored gospel. One scripture that I have been meditating on a ton recently is Moroni 7:24. For now it might be my favorite scripture. It says something like this: "All good things come of Christ; otherwise, men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them." When Adam fell, mankind became "sensual and diabolical": essentially, the fallen, the natural man. This "natural man" is an enemy to God. So our physical natures are basically against the good things of God, unless we become changed from our fallen and natural state, by the redemption, and atonement of Christ, and repenting and living His gospel. 

Thus, all good things come from God. We, being enemies to Him, could receive no good thing, were it not for the sacrifice of Christ. All good things come of Him. I know it. 

Talk to you guys next week! 


Friday, April 15, 2016

April 11 in Orizaba

Soooooooo this week has been crazy. I feel like every week now for me is super crazy. Orizaba is WAYYYY different than any other area that I've ever been in, and it is nothing like the Mexico that I know. It's a completely different world. It's not hot here, it's consistently between 65-75 degrees, with its worst days getting up to 80-85. That's pretty cool for me after living in 100 or more heat for almost 2 years. 

It's a very wealthy area. In other places, the people struggle just to stay above the water. They worry about what they're going to eat tomorrow, etc.They often can't find fixed work and they aren't very educated. Here most people have good jobs and there actually is lots of work. Most people are pretty well off. (We're not talking like, USA-level well off, but they have enough. There are lots of nice houses and stuff like that. It's like a different world.)

This makes proselyting way different. There are different needs, different times to find people, everything is different. 

This city is also very dangerous. There is crime everywhere in Mexico, and nowhere is really truly safe, but here in Orizaba it's much more dangerous than any other place in the mission. We have to be inside at 8:30 every night and there are many places we can't be in after 6 (even though it's still light out), because it's so dangerous. This makes proselyting hard, because everyone has work here, and they don't start getting home til 7ish. We still haven't quite figured out how to have success here cause it's so different, but we'll get there. 

There's loads of cool stuff to see here in Orizaba. I will be sending pictures in the next 4 weeks (for me that feels like 2 or 3 days, sorry if it seems like a long time. ) 

As I come to the close of my mission ( I have 11 weeks left), I come to recognize more and more every day the truth and the importance of this gospel, and the emptiness of life if you don't have it with you. I'm so grateful for my Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and for all the blessings that I have received because He has again stretched forth His hand to restore the gospel with all of it's perfect principles and ordinances. It's a perfect gospel, and a perfect plan, made by a perfect and loving God, to help us, the fallen and the imperfect, become redeemed and born again of the Spirit, thanks to the marvelous sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Salvation comes by Him and through Him, and by no other means. However, He does not save us  "in" our sins, but rather, "from" our sins, having payed the price for them, and having prepared the way for us to live completely free of them, through the gospel of repentance, and faith on His name, and the redeeming ordinances performed by the power of the priesthood. I am so grateful that I have a hope in this life, and a reason to live, and a reason to be happy, and a perfect motivation to follow Christ, because of a hope of redemption from death, through the resurrection of Christ. 

I'll write more next week. I hope you all have a great week!!

Elder Thompson   

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 4 in ORIZABA

Well this week was full of surprises! First off it was General Conference week. That's always super cool. Second off we had a baptism of a kid named Saul that I wrote about last week. He has a super strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but he's only 9! He reads his Book of Mormon and the Bible every day, and most important, he knows that Jesus Christ is his Savior. Honored to be able to be his missionary. 

Now onto the super suprising news of the week: Changes. Our mission has been sent lots of sister missionaries.There are almost as many of them as there are elders now, and so changes came. Now there will be sisters in Independencia (Tierra Blanca). Which means I'm not there anymore! My time there was brief, but it was a blast. I'm now in a place that I never thought I'd get to go: Orizaba. I'm in the Reforma ward (don't get that confused with the Reforma stake where I was in Aeroport and in La Laguna while in Veracruz City.) Orizaba is a small-big city built near the 3rd highest peak in North America. It's up in the mountains. Ive only been here for about 4 hours, but it's awesome. I wish  had more than 3 months left so that I could be here more. The best part about Orizaba is that it's not hot. It's cold. And there's lots of rain. We'll see how I do. My companion is Elder Howard. He's from Bountiful, Utah, and he's a stud. We're going to have a blast teaching and working here! Hopefully he is my last companion. 

Anyways that's all for now cause I have NO time, but talk to you all next week!

Elder Thompson

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 28 in Tierra Blanca

So... after 8 weeks of working non-stop in this area, the miracles are starting to come in. This week we found a ton of awesome people! Only one of them came to church this week, but that's okay sometimes it takes time. We'll get it done. 

First: R and T
R and T are a couple with 3 little kids that are absolutely awesome. They couldn't come to church this week because they were out of town on vacation, but they're super awesome! Missionaries have talked several times with them on the street, but they had never arrived to their house! We recieved them as a reference from their niece, who is a recent convert who really wants her whole family to be baptized into the church. We passed by and they accepted us super well. They love to read the Book of Mormon and want to know if the church is true. One of the really common beliefs in Mexico is that all churches are true, and so it doesn't really matter which one you go to, as long as you're a good person. That's sooo not true!!! Anyone who studies the Bible knows that Christ established a single church here, and it had prophets and apostles. It is important that we pertain to THAT church, because that's the only one with the authority to provide saving ordinances like baptism. R had that common belief about all churches, but we were able to teach him in an inspired way that that can't be true, and now he's really trying to find out if the church is true! 

Second: D, W, and C
D is 17, she's been a member for 3 years, and she's super active. C is her mom and W is her little sister. They aren't baptized, but they want to come closer to the church. They've seen lots of changes in D and they want to see if they can have those same changes. (They were also on vacation this weekend.)

Third: S
S is just 9 years old. But he's smarter than me. Well I guess it's not too hard to be smarter than me, but he's way smarter than your average 9 year old. His family were all baptized. Not even they know why he wasn't. But he reads his Book of Mormon every day, and also the Bible, and the coolest part is that he understands it. He's got desires to do what's right and get baptized. We're excited for him. Hde is preparing to get baptized on the 9th of April.

Fourth: S
S is the greatest Mexican grandma ever. She's 60, and only graduated from the Secundaria (what we know as middle school), but she wanted to learn, so she started reading loads of books and writing. She wants to follow God, but wasn't sure where to find Him. Her whole life she's been looking for Him in churches, but had never found Him, and so she lost the belief that He has a church. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she has read already halfway through first Nephi. She is preparing to get baptized on the 30th of April.

Many of you who are not members of the church who read this may wonder at why I always talk about the Book of Mormon and I get so excited when the people that I teach read the Book of Mormon. I love the Bible, especially the teachings directly from our Savior found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Some of the most spiritual experiences that I have had with the scriptures have come from the study of those books, and my faith in Christ has been greatly strengthened by what is found on those pages. 

Why, then, do I always use the Book of Mormon when I teach? The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. The full title reads: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In Ezekiel 37 it makes reference to the Book of Mormon by speaking of the stick of Judah and the stick of Ephraim. Those are two of the 12 tribes of Israel, the primary people of the Old Testament. In the times of the Old Testament, writings were kept upon scrolls, which were rolled up around sticks and stored. Thus, the "sticks" are the writings from Judah and the writings from Ephraim. The primary compilers and writers of the Bible are the Jews, the Tribe of judah. Christ was born among them, as prophesied. What, then, is the stick of Ephraim? It all becomes clearer when we learn that everyone who wrote in the Book of Mormon was a descendant of the tribes of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh). Right there in the Bible, it prophesies of the Book of Mormon. So why do we use it so much? Because through the Book of Mormon we learn that this is the restored church of Jesus Christ, that it has his power and authority, and that is very worth knowing! 

Until next week, 

Elder Thompson

The pictures:

This is the noni fruit. It's one of the healthiest fruits in the world. Full of antioxidants and all that good stuff. Nobody in Mexico eats it, because it tastes like garbage. If you mix it with grape juice and enough sugar to make your blood sugar levels over 1000 then it tastes pretty good. It tastes like grapes. And sugar. But then I think it basically doesn't do anything for you.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 21 in Tierra Blanca

So this was another really cool week! 

First off, a funny story. My comp is a convert of 4 years. He joined with his parents when he was 18. Maybe he was like a janitor or something at some point before the mission. He knows all about cleaning. So in our house we have lots of weird cleaning supplies that he buys (the good news is that the house is always super clean). Anyways, on Thursday I noticed that there was mold growing in the bathroom sink. Weird. We keep it clean. I decided to destroy the mold. Who knows, we're in Mexico, maybe it's dangerous. So I plugged the sink and started looking through the cleaning supplies until I found one that looked pretty tough, and started pouring it around the sink, trying to kill the mold. After noticing that it only half did the trick, I added cloro. I don't know what it is in English, but it is all-powerful. Destroyer of stains, blemishes, and persons. It did its job well, killing all the mold. But then all of a sudden the cloro and the other chemicals started fizzing and I was like "uhoh..." I stood there like a dummy for about 30 seconds until it started producing a gas that made my eyes burn and made me choke. I had to shut the bathroom up, and then my companion starts telling me janitor horror stories aboutt how specifically those TWO substances are poison when mixed, and create poison gas, and how his mom knew someone that died, etc. I'm pretty horrified now, and the bathroom door is shut, locking away the poison gas. The whole time me and my comp are making "we're gonna die jokes" in Spanish and then... the gas dissipates. The next morning the house smelled like a swimming pool, and I was forbidden from cleaning the bathroom. :):):)

In Mexico they charge you to use the public bathrooms. 

So this week has been great! We worked super hard and found some pretty cool families, and I had the oportunity to help a lot of people this week and give service. We also got air conditioning in the apartment:D

Some of our efforts in Isla may have felt futile while I was there. But they weren't: the results were these: 8 people baptized. Every time one of those we found or started teaching before he got there gets baptized, Elder Call calls or texts me and tells me "THEY'RE BAPTIZED!!!" Hahaha so it's all good. I am satisfied with our work there. And I am grateful for what I learned there! 

That's all for this week. Talk to you all next week!
Elder Thompson

Mexican sandwich on P-Day:


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 14 in Tierra Blanca

Funny Mexican kid story: 

So on Saturday after helping a family move, the dad decided to buy ice cream for us. Me and his 4-year-old kid got cones. When I finished my ice cream I started eating the cone and the little kid looks at me and gasps, his jaw dropping almost to the ground. After scooping it back up, he shouts at me: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!? You eat that!?!?!? No!!!! You don't eat that! That's poisonous!" 

After almost falling off my stool from laughing I explained to him that you DO in fact eat the cone (even in Mexico). We finished our conversation with him contentedly munching on his ice cream cone. Hahaha gotta love Veracruz. 

So this week has been a crazy trial of faith. We worked and worked and worked (see socks) and it just seemed like nothing was happening. But, the most amazing thing was at the end of the week. 3 of the investigators that we had worked like crazy to help progress came to church. It was the biggest feeling of relief ever. Sometimes we don't realize the impact we're having til it's had! 

That's all for now, i'll send more next week!

This is Tierra Blanca, from my roof. There was one morning where the sunrise was wayyyyyyy better than this one, like the coolest sunrise I have ever seen, but I didn't take a picture. :/ Notice the gigantic mountain in the background between the two hills in the picture that doesn't have the church. I didn't even see it until I was looking at the picture, cause I thought it was a cloud. It looks way bigger in real life.



​P-Day last week: Can you tell what this is?


​This is from Christmas:


​Sometimes when you walk for too long, your socks stop working. The picture was about 3 weeks ago. The sock has now basically disintegrated around my toes. But that's okay. It still covers my heel. I've only got a little over 3 months left anyways. (Note from family: new socks were sent at Christmas but maybe didn't arrive, or maybe worn out already? We have again sent more:)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March 7 in Tierra Blanca

So this week was fun. We had some really spiritual lessons. We taught this one guy who's young, about 24. He was an investigator who was being taught when I got here, but we couldn't find him for a time, and so we stopped teaching him. When we saw him it was an opportunity for me to see how faith affects us in our lives.

He wants to learn about the gospel, but he works and studies on Sundays so he can't come to church. He wants to work during the week. (He's currently unemployed, and not for lack of searching.) He can't work less on Sundays because it's 500 pesos more money, and he can't afford that. He loves to read the Bible and learn about God.
When we saw him I felt that we should explain what faith is, and we did. We helped him understand how true faith has its works, and without works, faith is dead, like it says in James. Then we helped him understand how those works are keeping the commandments. Then we invited him to keep the day of rest. The spirit was so strong. It was one of the strongest lessons we've had. But he didn't have the faith to accept to live the commandment. He refused. He said that he knows that what he's doing is wrong, but he simply can't get to believe that God will take care of him if he stops working on Sundays. It was really sad. It helped me realize that true faith is obedience. True faith is sacrifice. 

I love what Nephi says in the Book of Mormon (my translation from Spanish): I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded; because I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare the way for them to accomplish that which he hath commanded them."
1 Nephi 3:7

Probably the most famous scripture from the book of mormon. Whenever we look at this, we usually see how Nephi wanted to be obedient. But I suggest that there was a motive to his desire. Nephi KNEW that the Lord would prepare the way. He had faith, and he was completely willing to excercise it through obedience.

The youth should save for their missions. Most of the elders that pay for their own missions here have super good ones. They approach it with a different attitude. 

That's pretty much it for the week. It's starting to get hot here, but it's still not too hot in Tierra Blanca. It IS hot, but not like, devil-hot level heat yet or anything.

Elder Thompson

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February 29 in Tierra Blanca

It was another crazy week!!! A sister we've been working with is ready for baptism, and everything's going great! There've been some problems with her husband. He's a member of the church since he was a teenager, but had since fallen off the right path. He has a serious drinking problem. He doesn't drink like, every day all day, he only drinks every once in a while, but when he does, he just gets hammered and he's a really angry drunk. The problem is that he just doesn't want to stop, even though it's destroying his family. They have a little kid who's 3 years old and who is the coolest 3 year old in the world. We're working really really hard with them so that they can do what's right, repent of everything and become better people. 

As I've gone through my mission, I've become really grateful for all the commandments. A commandment is a rule that God gives us. They're like the rules that parents give to their kids. I like how He says it in Doctrine and Covenants: (I don't remember exactly how it goes in English, so I'll paraphrase) "I give you a new commandment, or, in other words, I give unto you new instrucciones so that you may know how to conduct yourselves before me so that you may have salvation." (Mom if you know where that exact scripture is in D&C then just insert it: D&C 82: 8-9: And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you; Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation. ) 

The commandments are guidelines that protect us from all the bad things in this world. In the case of the man with the drinking problem, imagine to yourselves, how much better would the lives of his family be if he kept the commandment of the word of wisdom (a commandment that forbids strong drink), and didn't drink alcohol? 

The result of keeping the commandments is happy living. I will always strive to keep God's commandments and do what's right cause I want to be happy. 

I was super pleased this week because my companion and I were able to achieve once again the goals for excellence here in the mission, which are incredibly high. We just did it 2 weeks in a row, a thing that is pretty tough to do, major work involved, and we're seeing results. The attendance in church went up by 30 people and there were 11 less-actives who came because of our efforts!!! 

Every 6 months in the church we have something that's called General Conference. General Conference is when the prophet, apostles, and women leaders of the church come together to give a worldwide broadcast on the will of God concerning us in our lives. Last General Conference, in October, a talk was given where we were invited to do something thats called "ponderize": to ponder and to memorize a passage of scripture each week. I decided that I wanted to do just that, so I started with 1 Nephi 19:9: 
    And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men. 
Talk to you all next week, 
Elder Thompson

Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 22 in Tierra Blanca

Well I don't have much time to write this email because the place where I'm writing is shutting down now so it's going to be really brief! 

We had a really awesome week! We worked hard and had higher numbers than I've EVER had in my misión with over 50 lessons and finding 20 new investigators. We found someone truly remarkable. Her name is Maria. She has been searching for the true church her whole life, in order to guide her children in the right path. 

Tierra Blanca started to heat up this week, and that was rough. It's only gonna get hotter from here. The good news is that it's so hot here that they let us wear sombreros and so I'm going to unleash my inner Mexican. 

Everyone in this ward makes the most delicious Mexican food that I've ever had in my misión. There are a bunch of people here that have been to Nashville, that's a first. 

I promise I'll write more next week when there's more time!!


Thursday, February 18, 2016

February 15 in Tierra Blanca

Wow what a week! We worked SUPER hard this week, we had 50 lessons, and well, not much to show for it. But something that I've learned here is that success isn't about a strong surge, and then giving up when you see that you gave it all you got and you didn't get it done. Success is about doing it again, and again, and again, because you BELIEVE you can. The key is faith. So we're going to do even more this week, and then wait for the miracles to stream in. 

Right now, it's not that hot in Tierra Blanca. Just a little. But soon comes death. It's going to be fun! I've never worked in an oven before...lol!

I don't really have much else to say this week, I dunno im kinda going mind blank but... I'll write more next week!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 8 in Tierra Blanca

WOW what a week it's been! Not 30 minutes after I finished writing last Monday I got the call that I was getting transferred! I'm now in zone Tierra Blanca (white earth). This will be my last area as a missionary, unless something really weird happens. Here I will finish my mission. Tierra Blanca is a small city (but still much bigger than Isla) where the church is really strong. I will now be in a ward, not a branch. My area is named Independencia. It's going to be fun. The bishop is really cool and all of the members are great! Tierra Blanca is the hottest zone in the mission. Summer temperatures often are a little over 120 degrees, and they call this place "la novia del sol" (the girlfriend of the sun). I will be here when it's hot, from April to June. 

I talked with Elder Segovia, and A. got baptized yesterday. Also I. and J. are close to being ready to get baptized as well. So my work is done in Isla anyways. My new companion is Elder Ramirez. He arrived here with Elder Segovia, and I will be finishing his training. Elder Call, one of the missionaries that arrived with me, will be finishing the training of Elder Segovia in Isla. 

I've learned a TON being here in the mission and I have grown a bunch. The most important change that I have experienced is becoming more like Christ. By study of the scriptures, we learn that this is the true purpose of life, and that is how we can be happy. Like Alma told his wayward son in one of my favorite scriptures of the Book of Mormon, "wickedness (or anything bad) never was happiness". The secret to living a happy life is living a life patterened after the example of Jesus Christ. He Himself said, "I am the way" and "I am the life and the light of the world". How true that is. I've learned it for myself. 

Every area that I've been in has brought with it its own trials and its own lessons. I don't know which ones will come here. I know that they will be the last ones of my mission and probably the hardest, but you can't purify metal without a LOT of heat, and we can't learn without trials. So... I'm excited. :) 

I will keep you all updated, but this is all for now. Talk to everyone next week, bye!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February 1 in Isla

Hello all, so I really need to get better at this. Recently there's just been no time... so it's going to be abother short email. 

Yesterday was Elder Segovia's birthday. Today I went to another pueblo an hour away in order to buy him a cake. Hahaha it was worth it. I smashed my comp's face into his cake for his birthday. That's a tradition here.

So recently our mission has put some goals that are really really tough to complete. I won't go into the details, but these goals, at first glance, are insane. Really hard to complete. Almost nobody has gotten them done. But this week.... we did it!!!!! The really tough part of the challenge is that we have to find 20 new people to teach every week. That's really hard. But we got it done. The lesson I leared was about how faith has power, and faith is made manifest not exactly in what we do, but the attitude with which we do it. 

That's the message. Attitude is the difference maker in the lives of everyone. 

The older guy I wrote about last week is getting baptized this week! (Yes I will finally be sending pictures). I. and J. are super excited to get married, and everything is going well. Talk to you all next week! 


Elder Thompson.

Inline image 1

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 25 in Isla

Sorry I didn't write a group last week. The time got a little away from me.

Anyways, this week was really awesome. We had the opportunity to work SUPER hard. Harder than I've ever worked in my mission, and we helped lots of people out. 

We've been teaching some new investigators who are doing really well. One is 83, so old he can barely walk, and the last surviving member of his immediate family. He's also more than halfway through the Book of Mormon (a 500 page book) in 2 weeks. He knows it's true and does everything that he can to come to church. He's super excited for his baptism, which is scheduled for the 6th of February. Even though he's a little older, he's still as sharp as a younger person. I'm going to try to get a picture with him one of these days. 

One of the amazing things about this investigator is that ever since he started talking with us, he's been having lots of dreams about his deceased loved ones. 

I would like to talk somewhat on this. One of the things that the Bible is maybe a little unclear on, is exactly what happens between death and resurrection. Peter states that Jesus, after his death, but before his resurrection, taught the gospel to the spirits in prison. So we know that there is SOMETHING that happens after death, but before resurrection. Fortunately, the Book of Mormon sheds more light on this. In the book of Alma, the prophet explains that after this life, "the spirits of all men are taken home to that God which gave them life." Then he goes on to explain the resulting states of both the wicked and the righteous. 

I would like to substitute, for this conversation, the term "fallen" for "wicked" and the term "redeemed" for "righteous". You will soon see what I mean. The different terms are basically the same thing. The fallen go on to a state of misery, where there will be "lamenting and gnashing of teeth". The redeemed enter into a state of paradise, where they will rest from all of their afflictions. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we call the world after this one, where we wait upon the resurrection, the "Spirit World". In the Spirit World, as indicated, there are 2 different states: the first being a prison (where progress is limited for all), and for some, it is also a state of misery. The other state is a state of rest and paradise. 

What is the difference? Who goes to paradise, and who goes to prison? 

Jesus taught that we couldn't enter into the kingdom of heaven unless we are baptized (John 3:5). So what does baptism do for us? Baptism opens the door to redemption from the fall of Adam and Eve through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Through baptism, we also receive the promise that Jesus atones for our personal sins. Without it, there is no forgiveness, and therefore we are left to be tormented by the guilt of all of our wrong doings. Thus, the excuse "But I'm not a bad person, I haven't done that much bad stuff in my life," becomes invalid. We recognize that only those who have become completely pure can enter into the kingdom of God. That's not possible unless our sins are washed away in Jesus Christ. If we are not baptized, then we lose that possibility, because even the best of us have some sin. 

It is not my intention to more thoroughly explore the doctrine of baptism, nor of the Spirit World, but rather, to answer a separate question raised by the necessity of baptism. 

(Regarding our investigator's dreams about his deceased family members:) What happens to those who never got the chance to be baptized, but would have accepted, had they had the chance? Is it just too bad? Sorry. Because of luck, you didn't make it? That's not fair, and God is just. 

Thank goodness for temples, and for baptisms on behalf of those who died before they had a chance to be baptized!!!!  As Peter also explains, we must perform baptisms for our deceased, that they too may enter into the kingdom of God. It has been revealed to our prophets that one of the most important works in our time is the work of the redemption of the dead. Through proper priesthood authority, and in the holy temples, we may be baptized on behalf of our family members who are deceased. In this way God has revealed that they too may be redeemed. 

I would like to explain more about this but I don't really have time... 

I know some of you who get my emails aren't members of this church. I also know that there's lots of weird stuff that goes around about our church. Stuff like I dunno, one time someone in Carlos a Carrillo honestly thought we performed human sacrifices on Sundays and so they were scared to go to church. Other people think we worship Joseph Smith (not true). I would like to invite all of you who might have questions about stuff you may have heard about the church, from weird to awesome to just plain outrageous, to write me a short email and ask me about it! Send the email to cordell.thompson@myldsmail.net. (Don't respond to this gmail address.) If I get a question, I will respond! I'll keep you anonymous. (And if I don't have much time for emails, like last week, I'll answer the next week.) 

If my answer doesn't satisfy you, or if you want an answer now, then go to mormon.org and you can find answers to all sorts of frequently asked questions! (Or stop one of the elders or sisters in the name tag who are serving where you are. But if that's more than you want, no problem, email me.)

Don't worry about offending me with your questions. I don't really get offended by questions. I think they're all really interesting. 

Anyways, miss you all, I'll talk to you next week, and please send me questions if you have them!!

Elder Thompson

Catch up on past weeks at cordellthompsonmexicoveracruz.blogspot. As mentioned, if you want to email Cordell, don't respond to this email address. Send it to cordell.thompson@myldsmail.net. He loves emails. Letters are great too, but they can take six weeks to arrive.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 11 in Isla, New Investigators:)

I don't have much time sooo... I'll be quick. 

After about 6 weeks of working endlessly and not finding ANYTHING we finally found some people who want to progress!!!! I was on divisions (when we work with members instead of our normal companions in order to get more work done) with a kid from the ward. He's 18, and has been a member since he was 8. He's also been less active since he was 8. This week we found him, and now he wants learn and prepare to go on a mission someday!! That's awesome. 

Anyways, we had just been rejected 3 times in a row in more ugly and rude ways than I ever had been on my mission (we won't get into the details). And then, we had nothing to do. So I just said, "Let's contact this house," and a middle-aged woman came out. I don't know what it was, but there was something in her eyes. I could just SEE that she absolutely needed our message. And I knew that she needed it for 2 reasons: to resolve family problems, and because somebody in her family had died. So I just started testifying about how I knew that by the gospel we can heal broken family bonds and see our deceased loved ones again. 

She let us in, and we talked to her and her husband. We found out that they have 27 years together, but they don't have any kids because of her health. Twice they have had babies who were able to be born, but they both died shortly after birth. On top of it all, after they found out they they were probably never going to be able to have kids, nor adopt, her husband was unfaithful several times. 

We had one of the most spiritually powerful lessons that I've ever had in my mission with them. He just wants forgiveness, and to reconcile himself with God, and with her, and she just wants to find the true church. They have both agreed to get baptized on the 13th of February (one day before Valentine's day, not a coincidence that we did that:)) 

We've found several other people this week too. And we're super excited to keep working hard and help these wayward souls get back to their maker! 

That's all i have time for. I'll write more next week. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 4 in Isla, pistols and parrots, pizza without sauce

Happy New Year! New Year's here in Mexico is crazy because people come out with their (illegal) pistols and they like to fire them into the air. So there's always the slight posibility of random deaths.... So we had to be home early! We got home and Elder Segovia and I promptly ordered the cheesiest pizza I've ever eaten. I'm not kidding, it was about an inch thick, with all cheese and no sauce. Actually, almost no pizzas here in Mexico have sauce, so I now eat my pizza like a Mexican. With ketchup. It's the only way. And sometimes with spicy chipotle sauce. 

There are no monkeys here in Isla, but parrota are everywhere. I like to play with them, but they're really vicious and their bites hurt like crazy. They sometimes shout bad words (fault of people). But the parrot that our convert, Patricia, has, lets me feed it, and scratch its head sometimes. 

We finally started to find some really good people to teach! Only to find out that they're moving! But that's okay. They'll find the gospel wherever they are. The important thing is that they find it, be it through me, or someone else. 

Changes have hit, and, as obvious, I'm staying here in Isla to finish the training of Elder Segovia. Sadly, everyone's favorite Chileno (he's from Chile and I don't know how to say that in English), Elder Gallardo, is leaving. But, Elder Andrus is coming! I met Elder Andrus this time last year in La Laguna, when he was just starting. He's pretty cool. That's one of the things about being an oldy in the mission, you know pretty much everybody, and everyone knows you. 

That's all for this week! Sorry I don't have much more, but more next week!

Elder Thompson


Sunday, January 3, 2016

December 28 in Isla

¡Feliz Navidad! Espero que todos hayan pasado bien el día de navidad y que hayan tenido oportunidades de recordar a nuestro salvador y redentor Jesucristo y que es lo que Él hizo por nosotros. les quiero a todos y ¡que tengan un feliz fin del año!

Merry Christmas in Spanish. Please only use google translate as a last resort. haha

Well this week was really cool! We went caroling on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, and we got to help and serve a lot of people! 

In Mexico, Christmas Eve is a bigger deal than Christmas Day. Every one gets drunk and parties a ton on Christmas Eve, but on the day, they're all just hungover and sleep in. At least, that's Christmas in Isla. Fortunately we were able to REMEMBER (hahaha i hope you get the joke) things in a better manner: we preached the gospel. What better to do on Christmas Day? Or in this time of the year. 

I did have a really special experience this week. I finished the Book of Mormon again in Spanish. I've now read it several times in Spanish and every time I read it, it reinforces the truth of everything it says. One of the questions that many people ask here is, "Why do we need the Book of Mormon if we already have the Bible?" Another one is "Why doesn't the Bible mention the Book of Mormon?" Well, first of all, it does, several times. But I will explain all of this. The full title of the book is: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Who does the book talk about? You got that right, Jesus! Why's this important? What does the Bible say? One Lord, one Faith, one baptism. At various other moments it explains to us the narrowness of the way, the importance of correct doctrine, of authority, etc. Knowing this, how many different religions have the Bible? All of the ones that believe in Christ. So how do we know which is true? So we rely on the words of the various religious leaders and guides in a world of so much confusion? CAN we rely on them? Peter said that there would be many false teachers among us. How can we know which are false and which are true? Thankfully, Jesus gave us the answer. "By their fruits ye shall know them." The proclaimed fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith is the Book of Mormon. It is the test to see if he's a truthsayer or a liar, because he's either one or the other.

The Book of Mormon was written by many ancient prophets from the AMERICAN continent. It was written in a language impossible for us to understand. Joseph Smith received it from an angel and translated it by the power ands gift of God. If the book is true then Joseph Smith was a prophet of Jesus Christ and this is His restored church. The Book of Mormon is thus the key to the beliefs of all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But this is not all. The Book of Mormon also proves that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. How? Well, in a law case, one witness is evidence, but not proof. But two witnesses? That's a lot stronger. The Book of Mormon is that second witness that Jesus is the Christ, because it was written on a completely different continent, by a completely different people. If the book is true, then that means that two different nations, halfway across the world from each other, and with no means of communication, believed in and worshipped the EXACT SAME being in the EXACT SAME way. This isn't just "evidence" anymore. It's proof. 

Now the only thing left to do is ask God, as invited both in the Book of Mormon and the Bible (James 1:5, Mormon 10:3-5), and wait faithfully on the answer from God about the truthfulness of the book. 

Thats why members of this church believe in the Book of Mormon, and that's why it's the cornerstone of our faith, both in Jesus Christ and in His restored church. 

I know that the book is true. 

Talk to you all next week! Stay safe this week and don't go do anything stupid! 

Elder Thompson

December 21 in Isla

Wow sooo..... it's Christmas!!!!! Chirstmas in the mission is the best because, well, what else would Jesus want me to do for his birthday than to do what I'm doing? That makes it all awesome. 

The one sad part about Christmas is that here in Mexico nobody wants to listen to us. You would think it's the reverse, right? But it's not. Worship of the Virgen Guadalupe (she's not the Virgen Mary) intensifies here then.  Well, things are tough. They like hearing more of her and less of Jesus. But last night, we found the solution! Over time here in the mission I've learned to sing and I actually sing pretty good, if I do say so myself. And fortunately my district also sings! So what did we do last night? We went caroling! We just went to members' houses and stuff like that, but Thursday and Friday night we're going to do that instead of proselyte. We've got some really cool harmonies, and it all actually sounds REALLY good. The cool thing is that people DO open their doors in order to hear a few pretty songs about the Savior, and we're hoping that God has blessed us with this talent in singing right now so that we can maybe use that as a tool to bring more people to Him. We're going to walk around knocking on all the doors, and sing to other families, hoping to find people to teach! 

This week I basically had the worst week of my entire mission. Every single plan that we had fell through. We had to leave almost all the people that we are visiting. The people that we had that were close to baptism all fell through this week. I was actually quite certain that some of them were going to get baptized, but now, who knows. I was really disappointed because I wanted Elder Segovia to be able to have the experience of helping someone to baptism, because he's just starting and all, but that did not happen this week.

We had not a single investigator in the church again, and I thought all was lost. But then, a miracle happened. This Sunday, a young coupe came to church. They've gotta be between 20 and 25 years old. They moved here recently from Tamaulipas, a northern state. The wife is a member from birth, but had stopped going a few years ago. Her husband knows very little about the church, really only what she's said to him. She wants to come back to church now, and so he said, " Okay, well if you're gonna go, I wanna go with you and find out what all this is about." So he came and they're awesome! We're going to go teach them on Tuesday, and I'm super excited and hope to help them become an eternal family through baptism and temple covenants with the Lord. 

This I realized once again that there are lots of things I and this district can do better. It was another Ether 12: 27  experience: "and if men come unto me I will show unto them their weaknesses. I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all those who humble themselves before me, that their weak things may be made strong." Sorry if that translation is a little off. I only have it memorized in Spanish, had to translate. But yeah so this week was like God showing me more of my weaknesses, and now I have the privilege of humbling myself before him, so that he can make my weak things strong through the grace of Jesus Christ! I'm super excited for this week and I know that this church is true!!! Love you guys talk to you next week!