The story of Paris Thomas has been making the rounds on the Internet. When he was six years old, his father was sent to prison. The family was forced to leave their home and live in a car with pretty much nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Paris’ mother tried to find a job, food, and help for herself and her children but she had a hard time of it and they were homeless for a while. Eventually she did find a job and was able to find a home for the family. Paris dropped out of school.
When Paris was fourteen, Mormon missionaries were tracting through the neighborhood. This means they were going door to door asking people if they’d like to learn about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the real name of the church. Mormon is just a nickname.
His friends teased him about having two white men coming to the house, thinking they were police officers. Paris wasn’t interested in the gospel message the missionaries were giving his family, but finally the missionaries told him that if he wanted to know what was true, he needed to ask God, who is the only source of truth. So Paris did. The answer he got was a feeling of joy, love, and peace, a new experience for him.
How did this change Paris’ life? As he built his testimony and learned more about the gospel of Jesus Christ, he started to understand he was on earth for a reason and God had a plan for him. His brother had died at age eighteen and he hadn’t felt there was much hope for himself either. Now he knew differently. He knew who he was—a child of God—and why he was here.
His mother had lost two sons but she can see she isn’t going to lose Paris. He’s back in school, doing well, and making something of himself. He says he does not want to blame his circumstances for anything—he’s better than his circumstances. In fact, he feels the poverty and the homelessness, the grief of losing his siblings and having a father who was arrested…all those things that often make people give up…have actually made him stronger and helped him become the good man he is. He hopes he can help other people who face similar challenges to move beyond those trials and into something better, just as he is doing.
Meet Paris for yourself. He’s a man worth meeting.