Tuesday, June 14, 2016

London, Elder Oaks and Transfers!

Hello everybody! Elder Thomas here. A lot has happened this last week and we've been literally all over the place. It feels like I was emailing you all just yesterday! Anyways, I hope you've had a good week. You'll find the events of this week interesting...

-Trip to London on Tuesday... so cool!
-Dual mission conference with Elder Oaks
-12 hour leadership meeting in Staines
-worked in a trio companionship
-saw Elder Oaks again
-exchange with Elder Watson from Scotland
-got moved!

The week began with our trip to London. Our route from the train station took us right past Buckingham Palace, of which I have photo evidence. We then made our way to the Hyde Park chapel for our conference with Elder Dallin H Oaks! Our mission and the London mission were there, and I've never seen so many missionaries in my life. It was fun to see old friends from the mtc, but the real fun was getting to sit at the feet of an apostle of the Lord and listen to the words of Christ. It was a life changing experience! The most profound thing that I learned is that the number of baptisms you have doesn't really matter. Although baptism is a desirable outcome of this work, we are really called to teach repentance. As long as I'm doing that and keeping the mission rules, that's it. Numbers don't determine success, but the condition of your heart does. What a treat it was to listen to one of the Lord's anointed! Others there were both mission presidents and their wives, President Kearon and his wife, and Elder Herbertson of the Seventy and his wife. Sister Kearon advised us to keep smiling every single day, so I've taken that to heart. The Spirit was so strong! I will never forget experiences like these. It was cool to be sitting in the Hyde Park chapel, where my family and I had visited just one year ago. I also bumped into Sister Croft, whom we saw there last year. She's still at the VC!

After a dozen trains, we got to a place called Whitton in Greater London. There I worked in a trio with Elder Whitehead from Draper and Elder Taochy from France (I love those Frenchies!). It was cool to all work together! That night we stayed in a 12 man flat... it was more like a house though. The next morning we had MLC (mission leadership council) and there was a lot of effective discussion about how we could improve as a mission. We have some really great thinkers in this mission, but unfortunately I'm not one of them!

Thursday was very interesting. We knew that Elder Oaks was scheduled to come speak in Oxford in the morning and we really wanted to go! He was speaking on religious freedom at one of the colleges. The only thing stopping us was our firmness in our callings: public affairs required that we take our badges off in order to go. Easy choice: keep the badge on, preserve the calling and don't go! The Oxford Elders ended up going so we just stayed in Oxford until district meeting. Eventually we had to storm into the college because the Oxford Elders had the keys to the flat where we have our meeting. We went inside to get the Elders while Elder Oaks was speaking but we were stopped by officials when they stopped our badges. Anyways, we saw Elder Oaks again!

Friday was the big day: moves calls. I was determined that I would stay in Witney for a year, but my time has now come. I have left Witney and come to a new place: Bournemouth! A lot of bittersweet goodbyes were said...the Suttons were tough. Brother Sutton came home from his camping trip early, just in time to say goodbye! The Suttons have been like family to me and they still are. I also had to say bye to the Rathbones, which was also a tough one. I will miss them so much and it was an honor to watch them accept the Gospel.

I arrived and got my new companion about an hour ago and we are happy as can be. My companion is Elder Gilbert from New Zealand and he's huge! He played rugby back home. So far I haven't had any American companions!

So sorry for the short emails and the lack of responses today! I've never moved before and it's really crazy. I'm excited to be working right on the coast! Thanks for your support and your prayers, I feel them every day. Love you all!

Love, Elder Thomas


Going to London!

On every bus...

The gates of Buckingham Palace

Elder Phelps!

Elder Wagaman goes home soon

The district

London underground

The whole mission

Had to!

Bye chapel

Ready to roll!

One last sponge cake

Bye Sutton family

Bye Rathbone family

Bye Elder Reynolds

Hello Elder Gilbert!

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