Hello, everybody! Elder Thomas here. I hope your week has been full of miracles and happiness. It's officially been 6 months since I last touched that sweet American soil and left for Great Britain. It's been a hard 6 months, full of learning and working and changing. It's also been the best 6 months of my life. I've witnessed so many amazing miracles out here! These experiences have been in reply to many desperate pleadings with a merciful Father in Heaven. I have definitely learned that a witness comes AFTER the trial of your faith. With all these witnesses, I have so much reason to believe and trust in God. I can't even express how happy I am to be here in this blessed land...I love it so much! Still, it's amazing how fast time flies while you're out here. Anyways, to the good stuff!
After "killing' Elder Raveneau off, I went with the Didcot Elders to McDonald's for the second day in a row, unfortunately! The music there had sad, reminiscing overtones and talked about losing somebody, which wasn't helping me at all. So we went back to the train station and picked up Elder Reynolds, who was fresh off the train from High Wycombe. We took him to the chapel to play sting pong for Oxford District initiation, and then we set off for Witney! I was impressed how well Elder Reynolds has been able to adapt to a brand new area and a brand new companion. It was a hard change for me since I'd been with my trainer for the first quarter of my mission. I didn't really know how to lead the area at first, but soon realized something: I can do this. God really stretched me this week, and now I'm grateful for it. I'm different now than I was even one week ago!
Elder Reynolds is from Manchester and has been out for approximately 7 months. We don't have much in common, but we do have one thing: we both love God and want to serve Him to the best of our ability. That's all we need! We love to serve each other as well, and we already have a great companionship. We've witnessed miracles and he is already way tight with the Rathbones! Good things are in store for us!
The Rathbones are still one of the strongest families in the ward. They unknowingly bear their testimony every time I see them! Even though I already know it, last week I asked them to tell me their conversion story just so I could feel warm and fuzzy. They are so great, and never fail to feed us on Friday nights...Sister Rathbone makes perfect chicken fajitas!!!
We also had a zone conference in Staines on Friday, which required us to spend Thursday night in Oxford as a district. One thing led to another, and Elder Phelps and I ended up having a full blown wrestling match. It was so fun! I got thrown around like a rag doll at first since Elder Phelps is so built. Brother Rathbone said it himself: "Elder Phelps is an absolute tank." Luckily I still remember some technique from school, so I was able to hold my own once I got him on the ground. Yes, blood was shed, but it was just a carpet burn. Nothing too serious. Elder Phelps is the champion. Shoutout to my brother Luke, he's a real luchador (wrestler)!
At zone conference we heard from Elder Johnson of the Seventy. It was such a blessing to hear from one of the Lord's anointed. His calling is to preach the Gospel to everybody, and he magnifies his calling. With him, we broke down the phrase "teach repentance and baptize converts," which is our focus right now in the mission field. We also heard from President Gubler, who inspired me once again with his powerful testimony. I love that man!
Church this week was also a learning experience for me. Brother Lyon taught a very spiritual lesson in Elders Quorum, and I took some essential things out of it. I learned that it's not only important to pray, but what is also important is how we pray. Such a simple doctrine, but so meaningful to me at this time! So often, I find myself praying half-heartedly, not 100% sincere or humble. I found that we shouldn't counsel God when we pray, but instead we should seek His valuable counsel. I find myself asking God to do things for me and to make things as easy and as smooth as possible for me to go through. This should not be the case! God hates complacency, so we should too. We need to say "thy will be done" just as our Savior did while he was suffering. Since God knows us and what we need, then asking Him to help us do His will will be much more effective than asking Him to help us do our will. I think we can all improve on this! As we strive to change, we can be transformed into who God really wants us to be. Our true selves and our true potential. I know He is our Father and that he loves us enough to give us His Son. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!
Thank you for all your emails and packages! I love you all and you are in my prayers. Have a great week!
|One last bus ride for Elder Raveneau|
|Picked up Elder Reynolds looking very confused!|
|If we had stayed on the train, we could've gone to Elder Reynolds house.|
(He lives in Manchester.)