Hope it's been a good week for you! It's been a nice week here in Witney, but my days may be numbered...transfers are next week! I have a hunch that I'm leaving, but then again I've had that before. I wouldn't mind staying one more transfer here, but my work might be done here. Plus it would make it even harder to leave!
This week has been great! Like last week, we had a lot of appointments set up. Although the majority fell through, we were still able to do some good teaching. We had a lesson with Irene on Thursday and got to know her a bit and hear her story. She is a full time caregiver so it will be tough to get her to church, so we'll have to figure something out. But we taught Louise on Wednesday with Chris Lyon (member) and everything went well, but unfortunately she dropped us the next day. Thursday turned out to be a tough day! On top of Louise dropping us we got flogged by the other people we were going to see, which resulted in 5 straight hours of street contacting. I was so tired by the end of it! We figured that 5 hours of that wasn't super effective, so we decided to use a new strategy to find new investigators: working with members. We lined up some visits with the nearby members and asked them to help us find people ... much more effective! We are yet to see the fruits from it, but we have already received a few "referrals" from the members. Member missionary work is the way to go!
We did, however, see some great miracles in hour contacting adventures. We found a bunch of potential investigators, but one of the more significant miracles is a man called Bob Fiddler, who lives in a surrounding village. We were knocking some doors and happened to knock on his. He looked surprised to see us standing there on his doorstep, but he instantly recognized us as Mormons! As it turns out, this guy already has a copy of the Book of Mormon and is currently reading it! And he watches general conference! What?! I didn't know what to do when he told us that, I was baffled. Needless to say, we'll be teaching Bob this week :D miracles are endless in Witney!
I got to go on a really good exchange with the Zone Leaders on Friday. Elder Reynolds was in Reading with Elder Mayes, and Elder Stanley came out here to work with me. Elder Stanley is from Santaquin...a Utah brother! It was an interesting change to spend the day with somebody with the good strong "R" pronunciation. Felt just like home! Anyways, he's an excellent missionary. He's been out for 19 months so I was able to take a lot of lessons away from my short time with him. I learned to literally open my mouth to every soul I see wherever I am, so that's what I've been doing. While with him I had another encounter with the police. It was better this time though, I promise! We taught a woman on the street, found out she's a police officer, and got a return appointment with her. She's eager to learn more! It was great and all, but I can't seem to get away from the police...
Super awesome week! Worked hard, laughed, had fun, witnessed miracles, and even got to be the pianist in Sacrament meeting. They asked if I would be able to, and I always jump when I get the chance! I was a bit nervous, but it went well. Elder Reynolds gave a killer talk on family history work during the meeting as well, he's a stud.
It's been an AWESOME P day today. Nice and sunny. This morning we caught a bus to Woodstock, a historic town. Within is Blenheim Palace, a huge, impressive castle looking thing. We got to explore it all today with the Nyman's (senior couple) and the Oxford Elders, who were fresh from a baptism on Saturday. The palace was really fun, I love stuff like that and I learned a bunch. It's the residence of the Duke of Marlborough, and also the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Cool stuff!
This week I've learned that opposition has to occur. There will always be opposition--not only in missionary work, but in life. I've kind of been wondering why all the rejection and stuff is happening when we are doing everything in our power to bring souls unto Him, but now I realise that opposition is an essential element in spiritual growth. Everybody has and needs opposition! I have it, you have it, Christ had it, every prophet had it. The scriptures tell us of the opposition that Alma and the sons of Mosiah had, and it was immense! Alma was rejected in Ammonihah. We don't know all the details, but I'm pretty sure that he didn't plan on going back. But he did as he was commanded and returned to preach the true gospel! We just need to remember that we are on the winning team here. Satan's forces can combine against us, but God will always win. Every time! He has promised us eternal life if we endure faithfully to the end, so let us hold our way.
Love you all! More exciting news to come next week. Cheers from Witney!
Love, Elder Thomas
Photos of Blenheim Palace: