Monday, October 26, 2015

Pirates and bearded dragons

Hey guys!

Transfer #2 is off to a good start! Last transfer was kind of the pits with all the traveling and whatnot, but Miracles are abundant in the ELSM! We're working pretty hard out here and the Lord has blessed us with 9 new investigators, 2 of which will be baptized next month! Good stuff. It's good to have some people to teach so we're not contacting for 8 hours a day.

A bunch of awesome stuff has happened this week! On P day we got to go to Christ's church in Oxford and see where they filmed Harry Potter and stuff! We saw the big dining area with all the floating candles and moving pictures and stuff where the sorting hat is (Elder Raveneau got Slytherin) so that was fun!

We haven't been getting very many lessons lately, but that all changed on Monday night. Something clicked and we had fire in our bones! We ended up having 30 lessons for the week which was more than our total for last  transfer. Miracles are everywhere!

I also got to go on an exchange with one of my brothers since birth (the mtc), Elder Phelps! We are both greenies so we didn't know how that was going to work out, but we ended up getting 10 lessons and a bunch of return appointments! Our trainers were impressed. Later that night we bought a bunch of soda, snacks, and just partied. It was so fun, we ended up sword fighting with carrots while singing the Pirates of the Caribbean song...pretty cool.

One night we decided to knock on a guy's door we had contacted on the street. His name is Mark and he's huge! He let us in. On the walls were pictures of Star Wars and batman, and on his shoulder was a big bearded dragon named George...he kinda looked like a pirate, so I liked this guy already. After we taught him the Restoration, He didn't ask many questions and said everything made sense, so I didn't know if he was being serious or not! We decided to throw in the invitation to be baptized, which he accepted. The next lesson was about the word of wisdom, so asked him if he would be willing to stop drinking coffee. Done! Then he asked if he could be baptized right there in his flat 😂  This guy is a golden miracle: he's got the gospel, a bearded dragon, and a baptismal date! What more could you ask for? The Rathbone family (Teasel Way) is also progressing towards a baptismal date. 

I'll leave you with a challenge: I was reading a conference talk called "What Lack I Yet?" By Larry R Lawrence and he encourages everybody to pray and ask God simply "What lack I yet?" I did it and I got my answer, which I am working on. I want you to do the same!

We still have fire in our bones out here so crazy stuff is going to happen!

Until next week

Elder Thomas

Christ's Church in Oxford

My district at Christ's Church

Dining hall where Harry Potter was filmed (Hogwarts!)

Dining hall

Dining hall

At Christ's Church

Me and the poppy

Elder Raveneau got Slytherin

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2 months out

Hey guys!

Yup, today is my 2 month mark! Officially 2 months out on my mission. Only 22 more to go! My trainer says it goes by pretty fast when you're working hard though, and that's what we've been doing. This week was good, but it was about 99% rejection. Not kidding, we talked to over fifty people every day and none of them listened to us! Lots of doors were slammed in our face but we are that much closer to somebody who's ready. One night I got a little discouraged but Elder Raveneau made some killer pasta and cheered me up. He's so awesome! One night we had 5 minutes left to contact and we decided to go big and then go home, and we found a lady who was ready! Totally worth all the rejections.

I've been adjusting a lot to the new area and the new people this week. Since we're whitewashing the area, we have nobody to teach so we contact all day long. We did teach the family on teasel way though! We brought brother Sutton (ward mission leader) and he was a beast. He served in North Dakota 20 years ago and he's still got it! The family invited us back so we'll see what happens. I think they'll be baptized next month.

Missions are hard though! It's a lot of work. Some days are better than others but I keep going. Good thing I have an awesome French trainer and a great ward. Elder Brown, one of my buddies in the MTC, is in my district and he had a baptism last week! It was really cool, the guy's name is joe and I think he's the start of a string of baptisms in the Oxford area.

I probably should have used the emergency card to get some food for us this last week because we really did starve on some days...we left all our food in Didcot. But we got groceries this morning so we are all good. This week we did a lot of service at the Suttons. We built a new fence for him and put it up in his backyard and it looks pretty good!

It's P day and we are going to have a tour of Christ Church where Harry  Potter was filmed!  Pretty cool. But that's all for this week. Until next time!

Elder Thomas

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This week was sick!

Hey Guys!

First of all, sorry for the delayed email! This week is the end of my first transfer, so people are moving this week. Since moves are on Tuesday, it's our P day. So don't worry, I'm alive! Luckily neither of us were moved because we are opening a new area. 

This week was totally sick! I say that because the temperature here has totally dropped, so the other three elders in the flat have been sick, and I wasn't! But right when I thought I was safe it got me, so I've been sick this's been a crazy one! Some days I would wake up and just stay in bed and not talk to anybody because I felt so crappy...but you just gotta throw yourself out of bed and get to work, which is what I did! It's been a tough week, but at the same time it's been amazing. We kept working hard and great things have happened because of it.

We finally moved into our new flat! It took a whole transfer to do it. Of course moving day is Saturday, so that's when we moved in. We had to pack all our stuff in the senior couple's car, which is really small. But guess who has a bed? I've never slept so well in my life...way better than a hardwood floor. The flat is big and super awesome. Nice and clean. We didn't have any food for the first couple days though because we left what we had in the Didcot was rough. So we decided to fast on Sunday (not that we had a choice)! But of course we were blessed because of it.

Remember that family in our ward who prayed for Teasel Way for us to knock? So we've been going there everyday to work, and we've got 6 new investigators in the last 5 days. There's a family of 4 living on Teasel Way and they are very interested in the gospel. The mother is Buddhist and the Father grew up Catholic, but they say that this Gospel makes more sense to them. We are teaching them again today, and we plan to baptize them in 3 weeks. Then one day we were going to see one of our other investigators (the guy who walked down Teasel Way) but it turns out he gave us a fake address. We asked a lady if she knew where his house was and somehow we ended up teaching her! She and her daughter are also interested and we hope to baptize them next month as well. We have faith that they are ready! As you can see, the Lord is directing this work. Our companionship definitely has a third member.

We had zone training with the mission president on Thursday, and he is an absolute animal. I know I say that about everybody, but he's so awesome! He told us to be bold when we are contacting, declaring who we are and the message we have. I wasn't really a fan at first because I tend to talk to people for a bit and then give them the message...I want people to know that I'm just a normal kid from Utah with a special message. But I realized that I'm not here to talk to people, I'm here to invite others to come unto Christ, and the best way to do that is by being bold! I tried it. It was nerve racking at first but I got the hang of it. Elder Raveneau and I fear no man! We talk to everybody. A guy started yelling and swearing at us one day, so we walked right up to him. He swore at me a few times and then he was surprised by our response, we literally killed him with kindness! Turns out he's actually a pretty nice guy. Name's Jim.

So I started ponderizing a scripture this week. Mine is 3rd Nephi 5:13. I put it as my screensaver so I see it all he time and it comes in handy when I need something to think about. I'm going to start doing that, with a new scripture every week. I'm excited to try it! 

Great things are happening in this mission. I strive to exercise faith everyday, be exactly obedient, and pray always. I know as I do that miracles will happen! Until next week! 

Love, Elder Thomas

Photos of my new flat in Witney:

My bed!

Elder Raveneau brushing his teeth




Other room

Monday, October 5, 2015

Knock, knock!

Hey guys!

This week has been so awesome. With General Conference and a bunch of other spiritual stuff, I have been loving my mission!

My mission president's family has been praying for a road that we should knock, and they felt really strongly that we should knock a street called Teasel Way. So we went there one day and knocked one side of the road. Nobody was interested. We got a lot of doors slammed in our face and a lot of cuss words spat at us, so we were really anxious to come back and knock the other side. The next day we went out to do the other side of the road. On the way there, I talked to a guy named Andy who was really interested in learning more about the gospel. We set up an appointment with him and got his address. He got off at the same stop as us and HE WALKED DOWN TEASEL WAY to  get to his house. We think he is valid even though he doesn't live on Teasel Way. It was mind blowing, we hope to baptise him soon. Then we started knocking and we got three more return appointments in 30 minutes!

We finally found a flat in Witney! We should move in sometime next week. I'm excited, because that means I get a bed! Sleeping on the floor has been fun and all but I'm ready to go to Witney because there are people there who are ready for the gospel.

I got to go on an exchange with the district leader, Elder Wagaman, on Friday. I learned so much from the exchange and it has helped me become a better street contacter. I made a goal to talk to everybody I see when I'm contacting, even if I have to cross the street or talk through their car window or even jog with them! It feels good to go to sleep at night knowing that I talked to everybody the Lord placed in my path.

General Conference was amazing! We were lucky enough to get to watch it at a member's house. Even though all 5 of their kids were all over me, I was able to listen and get some answers to some questions that I had. I've always watched conference but I've never really listened until now, and it was fantastic. The three new apostles are really awesome!

We got to do more service again this week! We took care of the bishop's garden (lawn) and his yard. I asked him for a weed eater and he gave me a weird looking pole...It wasn't a trimmer. After that we went over to a recent convert's house and painted her kitchen walls purple. It was so fun and it looks really good!

The weather here is getting pretty nasty so enjoy the warm Utah weather while you can. They say you can tell when it's summer here because the rain is warmer than when it's winter!!!

One question I had for conference is how to deepen my faith. I got so much new knowledge and faith from hearing the speakers and learning from what they said. We can exercise and increase our faith by specifically studying the scriptures, praying honestly, keeping the commandments, and going to church. It really works! But if we don't exercise faith everyday, it begins to atrophy. Faith is either going up or going down, it never stays the same!

I'm loving my mission. Until next week!

Elder Thomas


PDay in Oxford

Hardwood floor I've been sleeping on

Painting the kitchen purple

Chang Mai Kitchen on PDay