Monday, August 1, 2016

Celestial Glory!

Hello everyone!

What a fantastic week! Hope you're all well! I love hearing from each and every one of you, it sounds like everybody is happy and righteous--just what I like to hear :) Hope you're enjoying the summer while it lasts!

First of all, it's August and I can't believe it. I can't believe that I left that sweet American soil nearly a year ago for this blessed land of miracles. So much has happened and I've learned so much, but it's gone by so fast! By far the fastest year of my life, and it's been one for the books. Fortunately, I've been able to write in my journal every single day since I've been out. It's fun to look back sometimes and live some of my experience again. At the year mark it will be cool to see what I did a year before that. These are blessed years!

Alright, here's the rundown of my new life: once again I'm in a 4 man flat and it is a total blast! We've got me, Elder Senkans, Elder Wilson (from St. George and in my group), and Elder Mee (from Manchester and knows Elder Reynolds). The day before the new missionaries came in, we guessed which new missionary would be coming to the Staines house with us. Out of 33 new missionaries, I totally guessed that Elder Mee would be coming here because I already knew a little bit about him. So Elder Mee knows that he's supposed to be here! 

The ward here is fantastic. Everybody is willing to help us out and do missionary work. We've got a Canadian bishop and our ward mission leader is from St. George! We work well together and are excited to see great things. 

The Staines House is magical. It's famous for having three floors, or the "three degrees of glory" as we call them. The first floor has the kitchen, Elders Wilson and Mee live on the second floor, and of course we live on the third degree. Hence, Celestial Glory. We've got it good though. My new address is 2 Dorset Way, Twickenham, Greater London TW2 6NB. Every morning we run to the nearby park and play lighting for exercise. It's been really hot lately, so I have an extremely awkward collar tan from my shirt.

I've got a 6 foot 4, car-driving, tennis-playing, joke-telling, Latvian-speaking, scripture-quoting companion. Elder Senkans is so awesome, and I love serving with him! Really hard worker and great sense of humor, and we've got a lot in common. All he wanted to do on Preparation Day last week was play tennis, and I soon found out why: he's got skills and he whooped me! He is currently the ONLY missionary in the world from Latvia...he's unique. I'm learning loads from him right now! He goes home in 2 transfers so I'll have to get the hang of things quickly around here. 

I've certainly been stretched this week with the added responsibility! Being a zone leader is quite the load and I'm still getting used to it. It's a great opportunity for me to serve others though. I loved helping all the new missionaries in the zone move into their new homes and get settled. Crazy to think that I was in their shoes not so long ago. They've got great things coming! 

We have absolute confidence that we can give the Lord at least one baptism this transfer. Leon, one of our investigators, came to church with his family yesterday! Leon is progressing and is working towards baptism. It's been great to jump into an area where the work is really moving! 

For some reason, my studies this week have revolved around prayer and faith. I learned that praying with faith means that we are willing to work for the answer that we seek. Right after the "amen," we must be on our feet serving others and being the answer to somebody else's prayer so that ours aren't in vain. That's how we show the Lord our faithful desire to obtain answers. I also read a scripture about God's blessings: he blesses people immediately when they keep his commandments. He immediately begins to change their hearts. I have seen and experienced this on my mission and can testify that hearts can indeed be changed! As I pondered on that, I figured that if I am blessed immediately, then I should give thanks immediately as well. So that's my resolve for this week: give thanks by a prayer in my heart immediately after seeing the Lord's hand, for I know I will see Him in this work. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Next week's going to be nuts! We've got a mission leadership meeting, then a district leadership meeting, then zone training, and then an exchange with the assistants. I'll return and report!

Love you all! 

Mīlu atā!

Love, Elder Thomas



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