2.12.18- Elder Thomas

Bonjour bonjour bonjour

So this week we were able to have a really cool lesson with one of our investigators who has been searching to know whether or not the church is true. During the lesson he asked us why he’d have to get rebaptized to become a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. We then asked him whether he believed that the priesthood was restored by Joseph Smith. He told us that he did, this kinda surprised us because for the last couple of lessons he hadn’t been sure about the restoration. He then explained to us the reason why he believed these things to be true. He said that he had been praying about our message and that he had had a dream a couple of days ago which he had interpreted as his answer. He told us that he couldn’t remember all of the dream but he remembered seeing me and my companion and in the dream he had a strong feeling that it was true. Brother William has accepted a baptismal date, and me and my companion are currently helping him to be ready for that date.

We were able to meet a new investigator this week named Frere Daniel. Frere Daniel is Central African, and he came into contact with the missionaries through a member of our branch. We taught him a really spiritual lesson about the restoration and after the lesson we asked him whether he would pray to know if these things were true. Brother Daniel however, told us that he already knew that these things were true. He then told us that he wanted to bear his testimony, he told us that for a couple of weeks he had been feeling sick, but once we had started teaching he told us that his sick feeling had disappeared.

I was also able to do a split with Elder Tall this week. Elder Tall and I started the mission together, but this week was the first time that we had the chance to work together. So we had a good time telling each other of all the crazy experiences we’ve had during our mission. I also had to do three baptismal interviews for his companionship which was both exhausting and spiritually stirring.

Love ya all

Elder Thomas

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2.5.18 from Cameroon- E. Thomas

The Republic of Congo Brazzaville mission encompasses five countries, Congo, Gabon, Cameroun (where I am ;)), Equatorial Guinea, and Central African Republic. However, Central African Republic isn’t open to missionary work due to war, so I probably won’t have the chance to go there during my mission. But one of the members in our branch is a Central African Reffugee, who has lived in Cameroun for a couple years now. Her children also recently moved to Cameroun and have not yet had the chance to learn the gospel or be baptized. So though I won’t get the chance to go to the Central African Republic, I will still get the chance to teach three Central African kiddos. Though it is a rather cliché and cheesy thing for a missionary to say, I’ll have to admit that these kids are teaching me more than I can teach them. A couple of days ago for example, we taught them about the plan of salvation, and after the lesson, the kids got up and left abrubtly, which suprised both their mother and us. They returned a couple seconds later each carrying a piece of cloth, then without words they each went about using the cloths to clean our shoes which were covered with the red dust of the Yaoundé dry season. A couple days before this lesson we had taught them using my handy dandy picture book. We showed them a picture of Jesus getting baptized by John the Baptist, we then asked them if they wanted to be baptized as well, and without hesitation they all shouted in unison “I want to be baptized like Jesus!!”

 

We are working with another investigator named Soeur Elizabeth. She is fifty years old and is really interrested in our message. Just recently we had the opportunity to teach her about the plan of salvation, during this lesson we were able to talk about our life here on earth and about the atonement. She then asked us whether it was possible for her to repent and be forgiven of her sins even when she had passed her entire life in the world, ignorant to the gospel of jesus christ. We then explained to her in depth the atonement and we shared with her Doctrine and Covenants 58:42,43 which states, “Behold he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the lord, remember them no more.” As we shared this with her we could feel the spirit testify to her that these things are true, we could see that this knowledge had eased her heavy burden, and we could feel her heart begin to be filled with peace. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here, and the opportunity that I have to be an instrument in the hands of the lord to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Elder Thomas

Elder Thomas – Cameroon

 

 

Letter from 1.29.17

So this was a really amazing week, we were able to have a baptismal service for two of our investigators, Frere Leonard and his wife Soeur Sorell. Brother Leonard has been waiting for four years to get baptized, and he was so excited. After the service he and his wife came up to us and thanked us so much for all that we did to make that day happen. They also were married a couple of weeks ago in preperation for their baptism. They explained to us that one of the biggest reasons that they wanted to be baptised was because they wanted their baby (who will be born any moment now) to be raised in the church, and they wanted him to have the blessing of knowing about the restored gospel from an early age. I have really gotten to know and love Brother Leonard and his wife, and I was so happy to watch the two of them make these baptismal covenants. Brother Leonard is an ambulance driver, and as we were talking together he told me that in his career you can’t deny the existance of a god, because you see miracles everyday.

We had the chance to serve one of the recent converts in our branch by helping her crack pistachios to make a really yummy pistachio dish. This isn’t the first time I’ve helped people crack pistachios, so that wasn’t too special, but what was special was this recent convert. Her name is Sister Dany, and she is the happiest person that I have ever known. Everytime I see her she is always wearing a smile that looks too large for her face. She has a two year old son named leo, and even while she cracked pistachios she would laugh and play with her son. She is always kind and glowing, and even though she has been a member in the church for only two months, she has already understood the gospel and it’s role in helping people find happiness better than most life time members.

So I tried to give myself a haircut this week……. and it turned out pretty good (in my opinion). But Elder Sorsbey kept making fun of me for it so I decided to do some touching up. Well one thing led to another and…..well…… now I have a buzz cut again. Sigh, maybe next time will be better.

I thought it was kinda funny, in our appartement right next to the toilet we have a scripture posted on a sticky note. It is Jeremy 4:19 which reads,
“My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.”

We also met this one ten year old kid who talked and acted like an adult. He was interested in our message so we gave him a brochure. While we were talking an adult walked past and asked him what he was doing, he then responded by saying “The white man is showing me the way.” Not a bad contact if you ask me.

 

Me and my companion are loving life, and we are loving all the extraordinary people we meet everyday here in Cameroun.

 

Peace out

Elder Thomas

 

 

Letter from 1.22.17

Bonjour!!!!!!!

So this week me and Elder Muyala (and also Elder Johnson) have been working really hard to find new investigators and to continually prepare the investigators that we have. Luckily Elder Johnson hasn’t left for Gabon yet so he has been helping us a lot to get our way around the sector. Haha we would probably be lost without him because me and elder muyala don’t know the sector yet, but we’re getting there.

It was kinda strange, a few days ago while we were walking back to our appartement we looked accross the street and right next to a busy road, there was a guy who was butt naked rummaging around in the garbage. But this wasn’t our only encounter with crazy people this week, yesterday there was a guy who followed us for about ten minutes and who rambled on the whole time in an incomprehensible language. We got to an investigator and she explained to us that that guy is just a crazy dude and that he saw les blancs and wanted to speak german with them.
So last week I got the chance to do my very first baptismal interview.  It was really cool to feel such a strong spiritual guidance and to be able to connect with someone on that level. The person I interviewed was also really well prepared and had a strong desire to be baptised. That had to be one of the most spiritual things that I have ever done.

Elder Thomas 1.15.18

So this week I had the opportunity to work in Eleveurs!!!!!! I don’t have very much time so I will just write a small letter. But I looooooove my companion, Elder Muyala, he is the coolest and chillest dude.

For this transfer me and Elder Muyala got whitewashed in our sector, which means that neither of us are familiar with the sector. But luckily Elder Johnson, who worked here previously, hasn’t gotten his visa yet to go to Gabon. So we have been working together with him, and he has been helping us a lot to get a handle on the sector. So that means that I have been working in a threesome companionship for two weeks in a row. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but luckily my other two companions are both really great missionaries.

This week we also had a wedding for our investigators which means that they will be getting baptized as soon as possible.

I am also loving my appartement!!!!! It is huge!!! and they have stable power and water!!! haha it’s been a while since I’ve had such commodities.

I’m just here loving life in Yaounde I suppose

sincerely

Elder Thomas

 

 

Weekly Letter 1.8.18

Bonjour bonjour bonjour!!!!!!

This week we had to say a tough goodbye to Elder Burnett, and because he left we his former companion Elder Ngoyi had to work with our companionship. So for this entire week we have been working in a threesome companionship.

This week we got the chance to meet Brother Jean Pierre, he is a congolese investigator who is a friend of our ward mission leader and our Elder’s quorom president (I had to think really hard to remember the translation of that office in english). He decided to get in contact with the missionaries because he has seen the influence the church has made in the lives of his friends and the manner in which the gospel has changed them. He expressed to us his desire to have the gospel in his life too. This just goes to show that one of the greatest ways to be a missionary is to be a good example. We have been teaching him and his wife, and both of them really desire to enter into the waters of baptism, in fact he asked us if we could speed up the lessons so that he could be baptized as soon as possible.

We also got the chance to meet with an investigator named Sister Melvis. Sister Melvis made contact with us a while ago, but she never had time to start the lessons with us. This past week she called us out and set an appointment with us, she told us later during our lesson that the reason why she randomly decided to meet with us was that she had seen me and my companion in a dream. She thought it was really random to have dreamt of us and she took it as a sign that she needed to meet with us.

This week we also recieved our transfer letters!!!!! and sadly I had to say goodbye to all the members and recent converts of Anguissa who have become my family over these past seven months. I got transferred to Eleveurs, another branch in yaounde, and I also got called as zone leader. My companion is Elder Muyala, who I have yet to meet.

The spirit is strong here in Cameroun

Elder Thomas

Malaria 12.11.17

So this week started off to a pretty bad start as I got a very unwanted African souvenir, malaria. I woke up this tuesday with one of the worst migranes I’ve ever had, and spent most of the morning in bed. Then the zone leaders called and told us that we should probably go to the hospital. I was a little bit reluctant because it hurt to move, but we went anyways. We got to an intersection where we were trying to call a taxi and I vomited into the nearest sewage gutter. We eventually got to the hospital were they took my blood and I was diagnosed with a crap ton of malaria (not his actual words, but still). Because I was vomiting a lot, me and my comp had to spend the day at the hospital where I was given an IV. I’m alright now, but it was definitely not an experience I’d like to go through again.

Last Saturday we visited our african grandparents, who live a little bit far from our appartement, so we had to take a taxi to get there. But we forgot to bring money to get us back, so we ended up walking about 15 miles that day and we also got lost twice on the way. But it was a pretty fun experience because we got to see the sights of Yaounde up close.

A couple of hours ago at the market something pretty interesting happened. A crazy lady armed with a skinny pipe which she simultaneously used as a cane started following us around. We told her to go away but she refused and started hitting my companion with her cane. So we spent most of our time at the market today trying to run away from this crazy lady who just wouldn’t leave us alone.

We also had a few very spiritual experiences, only a few though, because I spent half of the week trying to get over my malaria. But during one of our lessons I had a very typical yet spiritual experience. I was explaining the importance of the gospel in our mortal existence, and I had the random impression that I needed to ask him a question. So that’s exactly what I did, I don’t even remember what I asked him, but as soon as I asked him it he opened up, and we were able to teach him according to his needs. It was a pretty stereotypical missionary experience, but it reminded me of the importance of the spirit in our teaching.

Elder Thomas

Locusts anyone? 11-27

This week we had a rather biblical infestation at our appartement, a whole flock of locusts made our appartement their home for a couple days. They were everywhere! They caused quite a ruccus, but my companion explained to us how he had been searching for locusts like these at the market, and me and Elder Constant seemed to recall James E Talmage giving some step by step instructions on how to prepare locusts in Jesus the Christ, so we decided to collect a few and give it a shot. We collected ten, and followed the Jesus the Christ instructions, and the day after a couple kiddos who live in our appartement building collected about thirty for us,  so the last couple days we have been eating locusts. But I’ll have to admit, locusts are probably the tastiest bug I’ve eaten so far on my mission.

Ooooo speaking about cooking yummy things, I also made a batch of chocolate chip cookies (which is pretty hard to do in Africa).

Oooooo this Thanksgiving an American family who lives here in Cameroun invited all the missionaries in Yaoundé to their house for thanksgiving!!!!! Wow, it was the first time in my mission that I’ve eaten turkey, mashed potatoes, brownies, and a whole lot of other American foods that I usually took for granted in the US. This Thanksgiving (but of course not only Thanksgiving) I have been really thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I’m thankful that the father has given us such an opportunity to grow and progress towards perfection. I am continually touched by the exhortations of Moroni in Moroni 10:32, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness;” I know that in applying the Atonement in our lives we can follow this invitation to come unto Christ and be perfected in him. I’m thankful for the opportunity that I have to share this message with the people of Cameroun, and I’m thankful for the Atonement that makes this all possible.