Monday, February 1, 2016


Hey everybody! 

Hope it's been a good week for you. You know, there are lots of ups and downs on a mission, but I've found that the downs are worth it. Even if it's 99% downs, all I'll remember is the joy and miracles that occur out here. I feel like this last week may have been the greatest week of my entire mission! It will take a miracle to top's the stuff!

We had an awesome zone training on Tuesday! More trains, more missionaries, and more learning. We've got a few new elders in the zone and it's fun to get to know them individually...a lot of them are recent converts of a year or so with amazing conversion stories. We learned that by being just 15 minutes off-schedule for something wastes time. In fact, if 15 minutes is wasted every day, it adds up to over 40 days of a mission wasted. I'm really conscious of my time now! I guess I have to in order to be exactly obedient. Our zone is the best, though. The leaders are fantastic.

We actually got to go on some exchanges with the zone leaders this week! After weekly planning on Friday, they came out to Witney. Elder Raveneau stayed in Witney with Elder Rivera and I went to Reading with Elder Mayes. It was nice to have a car for a day, even though I didn't get to drive. It was different to be with an American as well, since I've been living with Elder R. for the last 6 months. So we talked about American stuff, like Mcdonald's, and how expensive it is here. We tried to find a Subway to grab some dinner, but couldn't find it...Mcdonald's it was! Then we had correlation, which was really interesting. Let's just say not every member is as nice as Brother Sutton! It was a really fun exchange even though Elder Mayes shot me with a pin-tipped nerf bullet!

I woke up in the morning and it hit me that it was the 30th--the Rathbone's baptism! Elder Mayes and I rushed to Oxford where the font was being filled and Elder Raveneau was making his crepes for the lunch after the baptism. Then people started to show up, including the Rathbones. We got all dressed up and they looked beautiful--celestial, actually--in white. The program began and I got to lead the music! We were then dismissed to proceed with the baptisms. Simon was baptized first, followed by Kiefer (age 8), Quinn (age 10), and Imm. I was able to baptize Simon and Kiefer. It truly was the experience of a lifetime. I followed Simon into the clear, warm water. A teary Brother Sutton opened the curtain to reveal dozens of smiling faces. I was impressed with all the members who made an appearance! I baptized Simon and Kiefer, and then Elder Raveneau baptized Quinn and Imm. They were all so happy! Imm loved going last so she could watch her entire family enter the purifying waters of baptism and coming out completely and entirely clean. They are the world's cleanest family! I'm touched that Heavenly Father has trusted me enough to find this family, teach them, and baptize them all with the same companion. Looking back, He has answered all of my prayers. Long ago I prayed for a baptism with my trainer, and it has happened. I prayed that the Rathbone family would receive an answer to their prayers, and that has happened. God has been so merciful to me, even when I don't really deserve it. He's really watched out for me.

The Rathbones were confirmed in Sacrament Meeting the next day. They wanted the missionary who didn't baptize them to confirm them, so I got to confirm Quinn and Imm. Again, I cannot be more grateful for that. There is now a fire, a Spirit of missionary work, in the bones of every member in the Oxford 2nd ward. Remember that the Rathbones were found with the "praying for a street program." The Suttons prayed for a street, found Teasel Way, told us to go there, and the Rathbones were found. So far, the program is 100% successful. Many other members are now participating in this program, so there are more baptisms coming. I encourage all of you to integrate this program into your own ward. It builds ward unity, gives all a missionary mindset, and brings others to the remembrance of who they really are: sons and daughters of a Heavenly King. I know the Lord is in this work because He's told me and because I see His hand every single day. I love Him, and I love the Rathbone family. Brother Rathbone passed a Priesthood interview with bishop and will receive the Aaronic Priesthood in 2 weeks. They will go to the temple soon! I KNOW that God is there and that He loves all of us! I know that miracles happen.

It's been an inspiring week! These experiences really are precious to me and I will cherish them forever. As you can see, the floodgates are opening and it truly is the Season of Miracles.

Today is P day and it's been pretty fun! I'm letting Elder Raveneau do whatever he wants because he only has 2 P days left...whoa! Today Brother Sutton picked us up and took us to a forest in the middle of nowhere. We built a bonfire, roasted sausages, had hot chocolate, and went tree tippin'! Tree tipping is really fun! See video attached.

Shoutout to Elder Burnett with his success in Croatia! He's an animal!

Anyways, I love my mission! I pray that you will be happy, righteous, and courageous in all that you do. May we reach out to those in need. If we truly love somebody, we will share what matters most with them:  the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have a great week! :D

#whatwouldthemormonsdo #seasonofmiracles #potato #brotherandsisterrathbone

The Rathbone family

The baptism

Sister Rathbone and Kiefer

The Reading zone

Our sisters work hard!

Shopping cart races

Bonfire for Pday

Brother Sutton making a bonfire

Tree tippin'

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