Monday, June 20, 2016

Service and Spanish

Hello everybody! Happy late Father's Day to all the Fathers out there. I especially want to send my love to my grandpas, Ben Thomas (earthly father), and my Heavenly Father for all they've done for me. I would not be here without them. Fathers are the best! 

Week one here in Bournemouth is officially done and gone! It feels like a really long week but it's gone by super fast. So much has happened. Here's some highlights:
-the whitewashing experience
-lots of dinner appointments
-did a bunch of service
-mowed a lawn
-spoke A LOT of Spanish
-went to the beach

The move to Bournemouth has been a huge change from Witney. I've never actually moved areas on my mission until now! It's been quite the adjustment with a new area, new ward, new people, and a new companion...I'm still trying to get my feet on the ground! We've been lost a few times and taken some wrong buses, but we're learning. Whitewashing is pretty tough as well. This is round 2 for me, but this time I'm leading the area. It's a big responsibility! I can't really complain though. Our flat is massive (2 bathrooms) and it's surrounded by golf courses :) so I'm alright.

The ward here is a huge blessing. Most of them are missionary minded and willing to let us into their homes. We had 4 dinner appointments last week, which is more than I'm used to! I'll try not to put on too much weight over here, but we'll see. In a couple months I might literally be rolling through Bournemouth. Ward council was also intensely effective. There are a lot of recently returned missionaries and a lot of part member families for us to work with and baptize. Exciting!

I also did more service last week than I've done in my entire life! The Bournemouth sisters had to move flats, so on Friday we spent ages moving everything from the second story into a van, then back up another 2 stories. It was a lot of hard work and we weren't even in service clothes. The office elders came down to help out, so I got to see Elder Donaldson, my MTC comp! Good times! Moving pretty much took the entire day.

On Saturday we had "helping hands", which is a Mormon service opportunity that I don't know much about. We were to paint stuff and clean other stuff at one of the local schools. I was surprised when we arrived--nearly the whole ward turned up! It was great to work alongside them and build some friendships. This ward is like a big family. We got to paint some tables, some benches, and I'm proud to say that I painted a gazebo. It was good to meet the members. Later that day we did some more service at another member's home. She needed her lawn mowed. I've been going through some lawn mowing withdrawals lately, so I was definitely willing to help out. And I loved it. Never take advantage of the smell of freshly cut grass, someday it might be gone.

The real miracle came when some elders gave us a call and told us to visit a Columbian man who moved to Bournemouth the same day we did. So I gave the guy a call and all I heard from the other end was a bunch of Spanish! Fortunately I was able to pick out a few words, so we ran over to his house. Turns out he's living with a Columbian family. Their house is literally on the other side of Bournemouth so we pretty much ran to Columbia to get there. They let us in and we tried to teach them all, but the language barrier was too thick. None of them spoke a lick of English. Nevertheless, we kept trying to teach them. And then it happened: we were given the gift of tongues! My formerly-learned Spanish was recalled and Elder Gilbert--who only knows hola--began to understand the language and even chime in. It was crazy! Things became clear and we taught that family and are still working on them today. Colombians are the best and the gift of tongues is real! Who knew that Jr high Spanish would pay off. Bournemouth is full of miracles! The church is still true here.

I know from experience and can testify to all of you that nothing is impossible with the Lord's help. Whether it's adjusting to a new area or speaking Spanish, God will help you in all of your struggles if you just turn to Him. Turn to Him and come closer to Him by reading your scriptures every single day, praying, being like The Savior, and going to church. Do the basics! I know it works and I leave that testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Bournemouth is just as racially diverse as Oxford, if not more so. We found out that there's actually loads of Spanish speaking members and investigators who want to learn English, and there's also some English people wanting to learn Spanish! So we're going to set up an English class here soon and maybe a branch in the future. I never thought I'd be teaching in Spanish on my mission, but that's how it is here in

I love my mission! Thanks so much for your letters and emails. Love you all!

Love, Elder Thomas


Squinty eyes at the beach

Classic badge on the beach photo

Bournemouth beach

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