Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Craziest week ever

Hey there! Goodness, this week was literally the craziest week ever! Like, absolutely bizarre. Elder Baum and I have been moving non-stop ever since I sent this email last week. Though the work is not always necessarily physically exhausting all the time, it is definitely mentally exhausting. Sometimes feel like my brain keeps telling me to slow down so it can catch its breath. But I guess that's what sleep is for?

I bring glad tidings to you that we have finally wrapped things up with the Staines house! We "professionally cleaned" it and then handed the keys back to our Vietnamese landlords. The whole moving process has been a huge pain to be honest, but we are glad to have that out of the way so we can completely direct ourselves to preaching the gospel. To liken ourselves to the scriptures, we "delivered up the [Staines House] to [our Vietnamese landlords], and confined [ourselves] wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy." (Alma 4:20) It will be good to get back in business and hopefully baptize a few people here with Elder Baum. It is the harvest, after all. Now we're just a bit concerned about staying on top of everything without our car, which we be taken away in 2 weeks due to the increase of senior couples, who need them. 

Went on an exchange with my friend Elder Rivera, one of the APs. Most of the day was spent cleaning the Staines House, but we also attended a baptism in London and I had to get us there. I'll just tell you now that I thought I was an ok driver over here until I drove us into was war! There was loads of stop and go traffic, so our nav tried to take us on the fastest route, which ended up taking us right next to central London. I was really surprised when I looked over and saw Big Ben and the London Eye...but anyways, we made it to the baptism on time and it was great.

Sunday was one of the best days ever. We got stuck in some traffic on our way to church from a community activity and arrived in the middle of sacrament meeting. As we walked in, a member grinned at me more than usual and ushered us to two seats he had "reserved" for us for some reason, so we sat down feeling pretty confused. I noticed we were next to two sisters, and when I turned to say something to Elder Baum I was totally shocked. There, sitting right next to us, was the one and only Haley Vanoverbeck! I couldn't believe my eyes, so I had Elder Baum pinch me. Haley's been studying here in London for the past couple months and she decided to surprise me by showing up at our ward. And I was definitely surprised to say the least! So I got to sit next to one of my best friends at sacrament meeting while I'm on my mission. How cool is that? A tender mercy indeed! Shout out to Haley for being awesome :D

Some of our investigators have plateaued in their progression lately, so we plan to create more specific and secure appointments with them and teach them in different ways. I've learned that most of the time it works better to help them see the importance of doctrine and what it can do for them rather than just hooking them up to the firehose of knowledge and letting it rip...although that is tempting sometimes! 

As I mentioned, we attended a memorial service for in our community last Sunday. It was a day to honor those who served England in the wars. Basically England's memorial day. I was surprised at how many people showed up, since most people only come to church on Christmas and Easter. And although we couldn't proselyte, the Spirit was definitely there as we sung hymns and listened to prayers together. One phrase from the ceremony stuck out particularly: "They gave their 'today' so we could have our 'tomorrow'." And isn't that true! We are blessed to live in a place where we can enjoy freedom to speak, freedom to act, and freedom to worship, and I'm grateful for those who have fought for the cause of truth. They really have given up their entire lives so that we can have a bright future. Definitely important to remember them. During the ceremony, my mind was also turned to the Savior, who also gave his life for our tomorrow. He was motivated by total love to offer himself on our behalf. Just think if He hadn't performed the would be bland, and frankly speaking, pointless! Jesus Christ is our only hope and our only way back home. We need to remember Him and His sacrifice if we want to make it. He is always beckoning us in many ways to follow Him. I know these things to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

It was a Sunday to remember! Love you all :)

Love, Elder Thomas


Elder Baum

Sunset in Feltham

The Thames

Look who I found!

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