Monday, March 7, 2016

Opposition, Success, and Haircuts

Hello friends and family!

It's been a crazy week! There's really no other way to describe it. A lot has happened...lots of opposition and lots of miracles! Both rejection and success were amplified this week because the adversary knows we are being purified as we continue the 40 day fast. Although rejection isn't exactly fun, I get excited when it happens because that means we are being tested, which means miracles are about to happen! Good things are happening in Witney...yes, I'm still here, but I love it.

To start off, you'll be interested to know that I got a haircut! Now, this wasn't just any ordinary haircut. My sweet mother sent me my very own personal hair cutting set, so I decided to put it to use this week. Elder Reynolds needed a haircut as well, so it was a win-win situation for him to go first: a win for me because I got to test it out on him, and a win for him because he got the first haircut! He turned out alright, but I wasn't so fortunate...a couple days later I cut mine. I'd done it by myself a couple times previously, but maybe I got a little too confident this time. At one point I thought I was using a number 3, but I forgot that it was on the shortest measurement (a zero?). Ended up shaving my hair clean off on the part closest to my eyebrow. At first I was devastated. I look like a total thug! Eventually I realized that I'm just here to work and be obedient, so I came to terms with it. Simon Rathbone touched it up for me with his razor the next day. I guess you gotta have one bad haircut on your mission, right? Oh well. 

Anyways, the opposition was fierce this week! We were yelled at, sworn at, ridiculed, ignored, and all sorts. Even the weather was against us--it snowed on us as we were walking to a teach one day! But through it all we were blessed with several new investigators! We found most of them by knocking the inspired streets. On Heather Close (street the Rathbone's prayed for) we found a woman named Louise. Louise has a 2 year old boy named Lewis and she also loves her family. The Spirit flowed through her as we testified of the truth of the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon...she was touched. Our first appointment with her is tonight at 7 o'clock, and that Rathbones are coming! We are so excited. Miracles are happening here! We also found a man named Steve Thomas (awesome last name), whose brother had recently joined the Church. He is interested and we get to teach him this Friday. There is a lot of potential and a lot to work with in Witney right now. We are being blessed!

Zone Training was on Tuesday in Reading. It's so fun to see the other missionaries and learn from them. We got to be part of a group presentation on "Having Daily Contact with Investigators", which went well. I absolutely love hearing from the leaders of the mission...especially the zone leaders and President Gubler, even though he wasn't there. I got to study with President though--not in person, but he sent out an email with an annotated copy of his study of Jacob 5. It was awesome! I gained so much insight and understanding from his perspective, it was such an effective study! Jacob 5 really opened my eyes to the topic of dispensations and apostasy. If you recall, Jacob 5 is the big metaphor of the olive tree in the Lord's vineyard. All throughout time, God has been reaching out to His children in love by blessing them with the gospel to guide them and prophets to teach them. My love for God and the Gospel increased, as did my faith. I'm happy to be a servant in the Lord's vineyard to assist in His work!

I also got to work in the Rathbone's vineyard on Saturday. They want to put grass in their backyard, so we shoveled rocks into bags and pulled up trees...pretty fun! Elders Phelps and Feistl were there as well and we had a good time. Elder Phelps managed to uproot a tree on his own and one of the pruning tools looked like Kevin from "Up". Meanwhile Sister Rathbone was cooking ribs, so we had a feast after service! Sister Rathbone makes good ribs. Elder Phelps and I probably consumed a couple pigs by ourselves. So yummy. Elder Phelps never ceases to amaze me.

Well, that's about it for this week. It really is the Season of Miracles! I hope you are healthy and happy. Thank you so much for the letters, emails, and packages. They make my day! Shoutout to my brother Luke for doing the 40 day fast and to my mom for going through her knee surgery! Keep her in your prayers. Je t'aime au revoir!

Love, Elder Thomas


Where I went punting pre-mission

The Reading Zone

Zone training

Me and Elder Phelps


Haircut... all by myself  :0

Witney and Didcot Elders

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