Hello friends and family!
Hope you're all doing well. I'm currently writing you from Witney, which is a great place to be, especially right now as the weather is slowly getting warmer and more predictable. I have just arrived at the library after a nice round of golf at the Witney golf course. The events of this week have confirmed unto me that this truly is God's work and he NEVER abandons ANY of His children, regardless of who they are. He cannot leave anybody behind because it simply is not His character to do so.
Loads of fun and loads of learning this week for Elder Thomas! While back home I used to be amazed at how much I thought I knew, I am now aware of how much I don't know and how much I have to learn. Every day brings new challenges and new learning experiences.
The week began with correlation with Brother Sutton! Many of you don't know Brother Sutton, but correlation is always interesting. You never know what's going to happen. Some correlation meetings end with McDonald's runs, some end with eating competitions, and in this case it ended with pool with the young men. You just never know! I'll miss that guy when my time comes to leave--which may never come! I've been here long enough to feel like part of the ward. I'm even being treated like a member of the Oxford 2nd Ward. We even have dinner appointments scheduled every single day this coming week. You know you've been in an area for a while when the members feed you every day :D
I got to exchange with a guy called Elder Johnson from Orangeville, Utah. I told him I was from Canada and he believed me for a whole 10 seconds, which was hilarious! I guess my accent has changed just enough to sound Canadian. Something to be proud of! Anyways, we worked in Reading and got stuff done! The day began with baptismal interviews, which are usually performed by zone leaders. I was the exception. Elder Johnson asked President if I could interview somebody for baptism and he said yes! I was pretty nervous, but I actually interviewed somebody for baptism!!! It was really strange for me to be alone in a room with a woman...so weird! At one point she asked me a question and I turned my head towards my companion to let him answer...but he wasn't there! The woman gave me a weird look but I just carried on. Gotta love the missionary life! All went well though.
Later that night we were street contacting and taught a guy called Sergio, who is half South African, half Portuguese, and half amazing. He was intrigued when he heard our message and immediately wanted to know more. As we continued teaching, Elder Johnson and I both felt prompted to invite him to be baptized. Elder Johnson made the attempt but had a vicious coughing attack in the process. I tapped in and invited Sergio to get baptized on May 14 and he accepted!!!! All three of us were totally psyched out of our minds. Sergio is so excited. We decided that after his baptism, a more fitting name would be "Submergio." Reading is a miraculous place!
Now we just need that to happen in Witney. Elder Reynolds and I continue to do everything within our power to bring a change of heart to the people here. We have fasted and prayed for God's power and to have 2 baptisms this transfer. We believe that this will be the week. If not, then we begin the next week as changed for the better. Our faith is not in the outcome but in Christ. If we base our faith in outcomes, then we are not built on a firm foundation because we don't always get what we want! Our faith must be in Christ. If it is, then we can never be shaken because Christ is a sure foundation. God has an eternal perspective for each of us, and knows exactly what we need. "You can have what you want, or you can have something better". I know that God lives and is mindful of His children at all times.
Our week was capped off with a visit to Didcot and a spiritual bomb from Elder Reynolds. Didcot was...Didcot. We worked as much as we could there with the time that we had, and then went back to Witney. It was 8:30 on Sunday evening so we had 30 minutes left for a miracle. An unmistakable Spirit lead us through Elder Reynolds to a man called Dave. His heart was softened as we taught him the Plan of Salvation. We hope to see him again soon! Elder Reynolds has been so good at following promptings lately.
So it's been a pretty good week and a pretty good day! Unfortunately I got hit by some stinging nettle while golfing today, which explains where my golf game has gone...but it was totally worth it! But back to work now.
Thanks so much for all your support and encouragement. I love all of you and I pray that you will keep the faith. Have a great week!
Love, Elder Thomas