Wednesday, May 16, 2012

First letter from Mississippi - 5/16/2012

Howdy ya'll!

I can't believe that I finally made it to Mississippi!! The ride to the airport was bittersweet - as we drove through Orem and Provo we passed so many places with so many memories with some of the greatest people in the world. As we left Utah County and the memories behind, we all started stressing out and sleep wouldn't come, despite the fact it was 4 am. Writing to friends on the way to Atlanta and and talking to family at the airport made me forget all about the stress, and by the time we boarded the plane to Jackson, all I could feel was excitement. Our whole district was just beaming from ear to ear - never before have I seen 12 teenagers be so happy. We met President and Sister Tucker at the airport - I absolutely love them. Sister Tucker is one of the greatest cooks ever. If all the food I eat on my mission is that good, I'm in big trouble ;)

That night we went out and tracted in Brandon, so an assistant and I went to an upscale gated community. We were met with a lot of rejection - this guy even started talking to us and asked us to walk with him, and then he proceeded to tell us he was a deacon in his local Baptist church and that we couldn't "convince him about our Book of Mormon." He frankly told us what he thought and we thanked him for his time and moved on. Two minutes later he came back to let us know that there was something on our car. Gotta love the people here. We ran into a guy on a street corner and talked to him about the church for at least 15 minutes - he knew all about our beliefs and would not deny Joseph Smith, but couldn't bring himself to say it was true. Eventually, we ended up praying with him right there on the side of the road. It was the first time in my life that someone started talking in the middle of a prayer. "Jesus amen" and "I believe." Also, once we said amen he started continuing the prayer. My companion and I started laughing as we walked away.

At that point, we thought that the night would be over, but we knocked one more house, and it was the golden door approach. They were watching a basketball game, so from moment one we started talking basketball with them (A 20 yr old guy and 18 yr old girl) and their family, and then turned to the Book of Mormon. They expressed interest, and had genuine questions that showed a great understanding of Christ and the Bible for an 18 yr old girl. We left a book with them and they said that they would "try" to read this week. We sent their info off to the Brandon missionaries, and I hope that things can go well with them because I felt really good about their level of interest. 

I am in love with the south. I can't believe that I haven't been here before, because it is something out of a dream. The food is amazing. The people are always nice, even when they try to be rude. The scenery is phenomenal. The only complaint, that everyone knew would be coming, is the humidity. At 10:30 this morning it was barely 65 degrees, but every single person at the transfer point was dripping in sweat. Grosssssss. Oh, and you might care to know that I have been assigned to serve in the Slidell West, Louisiana Area with Elder Harden as my trainer for the next 3 months. It is a suburb of New Orleans, but the Big Easy itself isn't actually in my area. Also, we are opening the area, so we will be starting from scratch as of tonight when we arrive, which will certainly be a learning experience to remember. That's all for now folks!!

Elder Thomas

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