Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Last Zone Conference and Change

Ola Amigos,

You guys, it's been a mind-blowing week. Ever since I first set foot on this island 4 months ago, I've honestly never ceased to be amazed and I can't wait to tell you what's happened this week :D it's been a week full of meetings, sunburns, and miracles. Here's the scoop:

-had our last zone conference
-last ward council
-did weekly planning outside and got absolutely fried. Sweet tan line though!
-had the greatest first lesson of my mission
-did loads of service
-spoke in sacrament meeting about service
-got my heart broken at sacrament meeting
-huge changes in our investigators

Summer has arrived in full swing here in Jersey, and so has our teaching pool! I've never actually had a teaching pool like this on my mission before, so I've been super grateful because it's really nice. Having people to teach is such a relief because it means we don't have to find all day, and it's the reason we're here...we were set apart to teach! After all, in the words of Preach my Gospel, "nothing happens in missionary work until you find people to teach." Amen to that! Here's a quick status update on our investigators:

Gary: We knew that in order for Gary to be ready for his baptismal date of July 22, he needed to make some serious changes, mostly concerning the law of chastity. So we taught him that lesson last week and he actually took it a lot better than we thought he would! He said he knew better than to let that obstacle weaken his faith which was really good to hear. At the same time, we could tell he was a bit discouraged at the thought of breaking the news to his girlfriend that he would need to move out. Got a text from him Saturday night where he said that he wasn't going to be able to make such a change in such a short amount of time and that he wouldn't be coming to church the following Sunday. Dang it! But he is still willing to be taught.

Allison: taught her the Plan of Salvation this week and taught her about her true identity. We showed her a powerful Mormon message called "our true identity" which is one of my personal favourites and it brought her to tears. She's changing a ton and she knows it! She says she's not quite ready to come to church, but she's cooking!

Paul: Paul is the man! He's really stepped up and decided that he needs to sort his life out, but he knows that means sorting things out with God first. He's confident that this is the oath he needs to take and is now on date for July 29, which would be our last week in the mission field. Talk about miracles! He too is identifying the Spirit as we teach him. Go Paul!

The Goods: the Goods did not make it to church last week, but we taught them on Monday with a member who knew Sarah from school so there was an instant connection there. We resolved some of their concerns with the help of the Book of Mormon and the member dropped a bomb of an church invitation on them, to which they said yes! We will be sitting with them at church this week :) the Goods are still good! I was also told that one of the daughters has a big crush on me, although it's pretty obvious...but hey if it gets her to listen to what we're saying then I guess it works, right?

Also had one bomb of a first lesson this week with our new friend, Lucy. We found her through a less active member who lives with her in a shared house. Whilst in a lesson, she cracked the door open to grab something. Even though I could only see her arm, I instantly recognized her Portuguese complexion and blurted "tudo bem?" That led to a conversation, which led to a return appointment and an awesome lesson. She explained that she was concerned as to why there are so many churches and which one is true. We said we know of a guy who had the same question and proceeded to teach her the Restoration. The member was there, the Spirit was there, and the invitation to get baptized was there. She said yes! All glory to God on that one.

So yeah, we've been blessed immensely! I'm so so grateful for this opportunity and privilege it is to serve the Savior and to literally take his name upon me each day. It just keeps getting better and better and these are days never to be forgotten. I'm gutted that it's coming to an end so quickly! Hopefully we can squeeze another baptism or two in before that day comes.

The boost that Elder Ferreira and I got this week came from zone conference. President Gubler taught us about our divine origin, that we were chosen, called, and prepared to be on earth at this time in this great work of saving souls. We learned that we are all "noble and great ones" and "choice spirits" who have been reserved for this last dispensation. That doesn't make us better than anybody else, but it does put a great responsibility on our shoulders to work diligently everyday to follow the Savior and bring others with us. It was good to hear these things again because that is largely what President focused on when I first arrived in the mission. So it was kind of a full-circle ending and definitely a good zone conference to end on!

Once again, thank you all for your love and support each week. I really do appreciate it and I'm grateful for each and every one of you. I know that the Savior is mindful of all of our needs and is eager to support us in every challenge we go through. I've got a testimony that He'll always be there for us because He's the best friend anyone could ask for.

Life is good!

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Action shot walking the streets of Jersey

Us and our zone leaders

Found this goat thing outside a shop.  They say riding it brings good luck.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Promises from Heaven

Hey my dear brothers and sisters, here's to another week!

Sweet butter krumpet it's been an awesome week! We've had great cause to rejoice because of the blessings of God, one of which being the 4th of July. Understandably, Independence Day isn't exactly the number 1 holiday in Britain but that didn't stop us from celebrating. I haven't properly celebrated the 4th of July for 6 years due to work, surgery, holiday, and the mission--I know, so unpatriotic--but I was determined to celebrate this year even if I was on my own. We couldn't find much American-ness here on the island, so we decided to play it safe by going to McDonald's... because you can't go wrong. Doesn't get much more American than a Big Mac and a crispy apple pie :) I'm also proud to say that I converted Elder Ferreira as well. Despite being called a "Yank" for the last 2 years, I'm still proud to be an American! Soon enough I'll be headed back to the promised land.

This week:
-hit mission vision again
-DA/lesson with the Goods
-golfing with less actives
-football match Portugal vs. World
-loads of service

We were able to hit the mission vision (which I described last week) and we are super chuffed about it. None of our investigators came to church, but the same guy that came last week came again this week to save the day...literally a buzzer beater! He's called Chris Cole and he always comes in clutch. And so does the Lord in answer to our prayers!

I'm beginning to see that all of our hard work is starting to pay off. We are seeing God's promises being fulfilled as we give all our heart and mind to the work, and He's blessed us with some solid people to teach! Here's a quick run-down of our teaching pool as of right now:

Gary was supposed to come to church, but once again didn't answer his phone on Sunday morning. After church we went into police dog mode and rode all over town trying to track him down, but he was too good for us that day. He got back to us today and we will continue teaching him, so hopefully I can bring you a good report next week! He's still on date for the 22nd, but big things need to happen between now and then if he's going to make it.

Not sure if I've mentioned this already, but over the last couple weeks we've been teaching a lady called Allison. She has a very troubled past that she desperately wants relief from and she's trying to find out her true identity. Her biggest question is the same question that most of us have probably asked during tough times in our lives. That question is "why me?" She is also determined not to come to church. Nevertheless, we are beginning to see small but significant changes in her as she keeps her commitments and reads from the Book of Mormon. We love her to bits and are praying that her heart will be softened enough to come to church!

The Lord has chucked us a bone this week by helping us to meet our friend Paul! Paul is also going through a tricky time of life. He's in between jobs and is just looking for purpose and truth to help him through his problems, and he's basically super prepared for the gospel. Well, we're your guys, Paul! We brought him to dinner with us to a members' house last night and he's committed to come to church this Sunday. Our intention is to meet with him every single day so we can baptize him before we head out.

Last but certainly not least is the Good family. We brought them some homemade cookies during the weekend and they snaffled those bad boys right up. Then they had us for dinner and a lesson on Monday. We taught them about repentance and baptism and they understood and accepted the concepts. Everybody, that is, except Andy. He's going to need some more time! But the rest of the family committed to continue reading the Book of Mormon, to pray, and also to come to church this Sunday! That's a huge change in them, because last month they wouldn't come. Not sure if it was the Spirit that changed their minds or Mama Thomas's winner chocolate chip cookie recipe, but hey if it gets them to church then it's fine by me :D great things happening in that family!

So that's the gist of our investigators right now. This week I've realized that although not all of our investigators are keeping every commitment we give them immediately, all of them are keeping the commitment to read from the Book of Mormon. And things are happening! Here's some responses from them regarding their reading of the Book of Mormon:
Gary: "I just feel happier when I read this book for some reason."
Allison: "I know exactly where this guy (Nephi) is coming from...I can relate to him!" She also described the Restoration as "familiar" and the First Vision as "powerful".
Abby Good: "As I was reading the Book of Mormon, I was really relaxed."
You guys can all probably relate to these comments. Yes, these comments are short and sound very simple, but each one of them is the birth of a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hearing those words are absolutely priceless to witness and it's music to my ears! Indeed, it is the song of redeeming love. This week has further built my testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon. Anybody who sincerely reads and prays about that book will receive a witness that is from God.

I was in charge of separating people into teams at our weekly ward football match last Saturday, so naturally I put all the Portuguese players on one team and everybody else on the other. It was an intense game and I'm sorry to say that Portugal came out on top. Elder Ferreira pulled a Cristiano Ronaldo to win by one :/

Went golfing with a less active man this week. I had a pretty good round, and now he's coming to church this Sunday :)

You guys, this work is awesome! God is good! The Book of Mormon is true! Christ lives! It's a privilege to be able to serve on this island during the final stretch of my mission. God bless Jersey, and God bless the USA!

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Golfing

4th of July celebration

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Soap Fights and Mind-Blowing Miracles

Y'alright, mates?

Alright, well the beginning of this week marked the beginning of my very last transfer of the mission! People are so right when they say that time moves more and more quickly on a mission. But I'm excited to have these last few pages of this chapter of life. This week's been so sweet!

Right, I'm just going to cut to the chase with the Good family. We felt prompted to just do a Q and A with them in our lesson last Monday and it turned out to be just what they needed! A lot of their questions were about the message of the Restoration, and that allowed us to teach the bulk of it again which was good because the 2 older kids weren't there the first time we taught it. But something monumental happened in this lesson. I think a huge milestone in every investigator's journey is realising the potential value of the gospel and envisioning what it can do for them in their lives. We asked them what it would mean to them if everything we have shared thus far was true, and after a few moments of silent pondering the mother expressed that it would be good and that she really hopes it's true. Music to our ears! We invited them to act on those hopes to really find out if it's true. Guys, this family is going to get baptized. Might not be during my time here, but they will! They've also had their neighbor around for the last 2 lessons. Her name is Amanda and she too sees the importance in the gospel. She read 1 Nephi 1 on her own last week and is interested in coming to church. We are going over there next Monday for a lesson and also for dinner! Miracle.

Our sisters baptized their friend Ed last Wednesday. He asked Elder Ferreira to baptize him, so he got off the boat and into the font. It was great to witness and there's not many things better than the sound of the water after a baptism. I had the opportunity and privilege of acting as voice for his confirmation last Sunday. I'll tell you, confirmations are one of the most profound spiritual experiences ever. Seriously, the Spirit almost knocked us over. Miracle.

In the ELSM we have a mission wide goal to baptize 280 souls during the year of 2017, and to help us to get there we have a weekly goal to have 1 baptismal date, 1 investigator at church, and 2 new investigators. We call this the "mission vision" and it stands in front of every companionship, taunting them to do more. In the last few weeks we've been just out of reach because it's been a huge struggle for us to get somebody to church! We had a few people committed to come last week including Gary, but he bailed at the last minute and nobody else showed up. But while we were sitting there feeling sorry for ourselves, a member and her non-member husband who we've been visiting walked into church. Miracle! We were high on faith after that. After that, we just needed 1 more new investigator to lock up the mission vision for the week. We had 1 hour in the evening set apart for finding that one person, and we went out in faith determined to find them. As we were speaking to a lady called Anna, her friend joined in and offered to hear our message over fish 'n chips. We accepted her offer and taught them. Anna became that new investigator we were searching for! What's even more awesome is that I was fasting that day, and we didn't get home in time to have dinner so the Lord literally provided a meal for us. Absolute miracle. And that sealed the deal for the mission vision!

Elder Ferreira's been hungry this week too, but he hasn't always gotten what he wanted. One night I was washing the dishes. Elder Ferreira, being his sneaky Portuguese man he is, decided to sneak up on me and grab me from behind. My first instinct was to turn around and push whoever it was away from me, but I didn't have time to remember that I had a soapy sponge in my hands, which resulted in the sponge traveling with my hand to his face and partly into his mouth. Definitely not what either of us expected and not what Elder Ferreira deserved or desired. Of course he thought it was intentional, and so thus began the soap war! I escaped with only a few suds on me, but Elder Ferreira got a full cleanse!

So anyways, I have a testimony that the Lord does indeed provide for his servants down to the most minute detail. He knows our needs and is anxious to help and support us. As the scriptures say, "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith." He just asks that we have faith and choose to believe, because "all things are possible to them that believe." I know from experience upon experience and witness upon witness that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and love us. Their entire focus is to help us along our journey back to them. These things I know to be true!

Keep the faith, folks!

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Pics of Jersey from our boat tour last week



Ed's baptism

Post-baptism selfie

Throwing it back to Staines with Elder Christofferson and the mission

Celebrating Sister Gaston's birthday

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Transfers, and the Hands of the Lord & His Brethren

Bros and Sis's,

Don't know how it is where you are right now, but it is absolutely boiling here in Jersey! Just so you know, the heat here isn't the dry heat you get in Utah. Here the heat is humid and it literally beats you down and melts you like an ice cream cone. It's even hotter on the bikes! I think I like riding in the heat rather than the cold, but I guess it doesn't matter because either way we get soaked...but today we're escaping the heat because we're going on a public boat tour of the island! It's gonna be awesome!

What this week's consisted of:
-trip to England
-got to see the temple
-shook hands with Elder Christofferson
-good ministering done
-the Goods are progressing
-sisters baptized

If I had to use one word to describe this week, it would be the word ministering. That word could probably be used to describe each week of my mission, but ministering has been on my mind a lot this last week. And not just ministering, but Christlike ministering. Ministering in my definition is to meet someone where they're at and help them to another level. It's to help somebody from one level to the next. It's to lift where you stand. I've decided that ministering is my favorite thing to do. If you had asked me 2 years ago, I probably would have said eating ice cream or golfing or something like that. Although those things are still pretty high up on the list, ministering is at the top. My how things change! You guys, there is just no better feeling than helping somebody in need, and there are so many people around us who need help. It's taken me a while to realize that, but it's true! And fortunately, we've got the Savior to help us to know how to minister effectively.

So we ministered this week and as a result we saw mind blowing miracles! We taught our investigator Gary last week before we went to England, but he didn't respond to our reminder for church on Sunday morning. So no investigators at church again :*( but the Lord did not let us down! After church we were searching for an address on a street and the first door we knocked was Gary's house! He answered and we got to meet his girlfriend and go on a Sunday walk with them, teaching them as we went. If that's not a message from God to Gary then I don't know what is--what are the odds that the one door we knock happens to be the home of our investigator? On top of that, his girlfriend is a former investigator who has been taught back home in Madeira. We will be teaching them tomorrow. Gary is on date for July 22nd.

The Good family...more like the great family! I don't know what's been going on in that family, but they are changing a lot. In only 1 week's time we noticed a big difference in all of them. The oldest daughter Abby felt the Spirit as she read the Book of Mormon last week. The father Andy participated in the lesson, which he has never done before. The mother Sarah began to ask very thoughtful questions about church and baptism, so we were able to answer them. The best part of the lesson was when the son, 7 year old Archy, read from the Book of Mormon for the first time. It was by far the most powerful part of the lesson...I almost cried! It was just such a tender mercy to witness that, as simple as it was. I felt Heavenly Father's love for Archy, and the whole family for that matter. I believe that the Spirit has told me that they WILL get baptized. Maybe not in my time on this island, but their time will come. I firmly believe that...they are coming to the ward activity this Saturday and hopefully they'll come to church on Sunday! Please please please keep the Good family in your prayers. Thank you for already doing so!

Last Saturday I shook the hand of one of the Lord's anointed. I shook the hand of Elder D Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apotles. What an experience that was! Our whole mission assembled in the blessed land of Staines to sit at the feet of and receive instruction from Elder Christofferson. You can just feel the power of some individuals, and such was the case with that man. He just has to be an Apostle...anybody could have felt the Spirit! I was surprised when the entire meeting was a Q & A, but it was so good. That man is a good minister! He shared some experiences he had on his mission and shared a lot of wise words with us. My favorite thing he said was that "the hallmark of a saint is being willing to submit to the Holy Ghost." Thought that was really profound!  I can just share my testimony that Elder Christofferson, along with the other brethren who lead the church, are called of God. Their keys have been passed in an unbroken line from Jesus Christ himself, and Thomas S Monson is His prophet in the world today. I know this!

It's great to be a missionary, folks! I'm grateful to have been called to the work, I'm grateful to be serving in Jersey, and I'm grateful for Jersey ice cream, which I couldn't live without.

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Jersey from a Heavenly perspective

Bonjour, France!

With other missionaries in Staines

The London Temple


The Jersey war tunnels



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Racing to the Finish!

Hey fellow saints!

The weather today is absolutely perfecto, so Elder Ferreira and I are going with a less active member to a place called the Jersey War Tunnels. Don't know too much about it, but it seems pretty self explanatory. It sounds cool so it will probably be cool as well. On second thought, it seems kind of ironic that we're going to be spending this perfect day in some tunnels. Oh well! For that reason, this email's going to be super bold and to the point...that is what missionary's do best!

This week!
-taught the Good family
-had district meeting
-had a surprise district meeting
-absolutely pumped to see Elder Christopherson this week
-loads of biking
-loads of teaching
-also pretty sure we hold the record for most appointments flogged in one week.

If I had one word to describe this week, it would be this:  ministering! Man, mi amigo and me have ministered like mad and it's been magnificent. Don't know what was different about this week, but we just taught a lot. A couple of days our schedule wasn't filled with very many teaches, but at the end of the day we looked back to realize that we never really had a break from teaching. One thing that was different was one of the counsellor in the bishopric. He's taken it upon himself to visit every single less active member on the ward list within the next 6 months. So we've scheduled 2 hours each week to go out and minister with him, starting this week. It amazes me how many people are really in need. We just have to open our eyes and be aware of the people around us and then we notice that there are so many opportunities to serve that normally we would just miss! So that was the case this week, not only with less actives but with our investigators as well.

The Goods! Goodness gracious the Goods are doing fantastic, especially the kids! We taught them about faith in Christ last Monday and they loved it. To illustrate that faith without works is dead, we did the old mento-in-the-Pepsi experiment to show them that when we put the mento in the bottle (plant the seed) and shake it up (exercise faith), then awesome things happen and our faith literally blossoms and spurts to great heights. We put our white shirts on the line for that experiment, but we were protected. As you can imagine, we also read Alma 32 with them. They all committed to plant the seed by reading the Book of Mormon and to exercise their faith by asking God if it's true. It's such a good feeling to look them in the eyes and to testify from the heart that they'll get an answer! We will see them again next Monday and they want to come to the ward activity next Saturday. We are blessed!

Elder Ferreira and I are having a blast out here. A lot of our fun comes from racing our bikes. Even when our house is miles away from where we are and even when we're absolutely shattered, we always have enough gas in the tank to race home! The race begins at the top of the last hill before our house, which is still a good mile away. It serves as the perfect start to our race. The light turns green, we start pedaling, and the Mario Kart theme song begins to play in my head, giving me enough motivation to take the strong start! But my legs turn into jelly by the time we get to the final ascent towards our flat. At this point, I look over and Ferreira is usually right next to me, sweating his big Portuguese face off. But the awesome thing about our races is we don't have rules. So whenever he starts to pass me I grab his bag and use it to pull him back behind me and to give myself an extra boost. I'm proud to say I win 11 of every 10 races. I love finishing the day with that, even if it means I get into bed sweating like a hog. But hey, that's how I intend to finish my mission as well!

Keep riding, guys. Even when the trail is bumpy and the adversary keeps trying to pull you back, just know what awaits you at the finish line! Your Savior is always there pulling for you and with you as well  :)

Keep being awesome and have a great week!

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



District meeting

Action shot

Preparing to teach


Dabbing

Throwing in back to zone conference in Poole

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Christmas in July

Bom dia, meus amigos!

Where in the world did May go? That was by far the quickest month of my mission and probably my life. I think I deserve a refund of an extra month! Hopefully the next couple months can be slower. Not even kidding, sometimes I really do pray for time to just slow down but I'm still waiting on an answer to that one...not sure if I will!

This week!
-ridiculous weather
-proper good teaching moments
-DLC
-got some really good news
-another terrorist attack in the mission
-got an email notifying me of 8 weeks until departure :/

From the title of this email, you're probably assuming that I'm referring to the weather. Well, you're assumption would be correct! The weather here has been insane lately. Normally the June weather in Jersey is warm and pleasant, but it feels like winter here right now. The wind has made it nearly impossible to ride our bikes. And yes, we even busted out our winter coats. But there's another reason for the title of the email! In our mission we strive to give the Lord a "white Christmas" each year by really sprinting to the finish at the year's end to give the Lord as many baptisms as we can as our gift to him. Because of this, December is always a magical month for missionaries. Our mission has decided to really go the extra mile next month in order to give the Lord a "Christmas in July". Very fitting, especially seeing it is the last month of my mission. Elder Ferreira and I are going to do everything we can think of to help save some souls during this final stretch!

To help us get fired up for the final stretch, we're getting a huge kick start. Next week we're going all the way back to London for a mission conference where Elder D. Todd Christopherson of the quorum of the twelve will address the ELSM! Boy, I nearly dropped my krumpet when I heard that news! So the Jersey Squad is taking England once again even though we were just there last week. Pretty sweet though, huh? Not everyday you get to sit at the feet and be taught by of one of the Lord's anointed! It will be cool as well because the conference will be held in Staines, one of my old areas. This mission is just the best!

The biggest miracle of the week was teaching the Good family (their last name is "Good"). We had prepared well for our lesson with them and had been looking forward to teaching them all week, but when the time finally rolled around for us to teach them, the only thing that stood inbetween us and them was a few miles of what the people of Jersey would call a hurricane. The weather was bad enough that we began to consider calling them to reschedule our visit, but a wave of strength and courage came over us and we couldn't be stopped! It seemed like Satan had placed that storm in our path to stop us from doing the Lord's work, and we almost crashed a few times as we pedaled our way through that storm. But nothing could make us dismount those bad boys! We just kept going and arrived at the Goods' house soaking wet and freezing cold. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit there was un-de niable! It feels so good to teach a family about God's plan for them and watch their faces fill with hope as we testify that they can live together after death. Those are absolutely priceless moments! The gospel just has to be true, folks. It makes sense and it feels good.

That's all the time I've got for today, but I hope these experiences have built your faith like they've built mine. You guys have a blessed week, and you crazy kids enjoy summer! Do something awesome this week!

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Me and Elder Ferreira

How we resolve our companionship issues

Comp study atop Fort Regent

This flag?

Or this one?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Adventure to England

Hey how are you guys doing?

Hope you've all had a fantastic week full of miracles and good weather! Here in GB, both of those things usually fall on the same day. It's always a miracle when we have good weather! But the Lord has blessed us this week with sunshine in abundance, so we've been able to replace the raincoats we usually have in our bags with extra Book of Mormons. Books of Mormon? Copies of the Book of Mormon. There we go.

This week has been held in much anticipation by the Jersey district because it's the week that we got to fly back to the mainland for zone conference! It's proper weird flying places as a missionary...not many missionaries do it. This week our district traveled in pretty much every form of transportation I can think of: planes, trains, cars,
bikes, shopping cart, you name it. But it was a week full of lasts for me. Had my last exchange, my last interview with President Gubler in person, my last zone conference in person, and my last birthday on my mission. Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes, you guys! I thought that by being on a small island in the middle of the ocean
that some of you might forget about me, but I stand corrected. I'm truly blessed to have such awesome people in my life. To be honest, I'm a spoiled missionary. The elders we were staying with were cheeky and brought home a cake to celebrate. 20 feels weird, but it feels good! By far the best gift I received was being able to participate in God's work of salvation. Good stuff.

Our special guest at the mission conference was President Kearon, the Europe Area President! What a spiritual giant that guy is. He taught us about power and how to obtain it. He taught us how to find and teach more effectively. He taught us to be a better version of our own selves through living the Savior's gospel. The phrase he repeated the most was "stop worrying". He felt that we worry too much about the work and about ourselves, so he made sure that we understood that we shouldn't worry and it was loud and clear. It's true though! I myself worry about loads of things. Sometimes I have better causes to worry than other times, but as I look back I've realized that worrying hasn't gotten me anywhere, and I don't know of any case where worrying has gotten anybody else anywhere. So I think it's safe to say that we shouldn't worry. Instead, we should be doers! If the escalator stopped working while we were on it, we wouldn't sit there and call out for help--obviously we'd just keep walking. And that's what we've got to do! Just keep walking. Elder Holland has taught us to just keep trying and believe in. Heaven is cheering us on every single day! We were taught to not listen to negative voices because they're from the adversary. Again, I don't know of anybody who ever got anywhere good by listening to the destructive criticism of the devil. When we do that, we begin to hold his words in higher esteem than the words of Christ. In this case, we need to stop worrying and rewrite our inner conversations by filling them with the words of Christ. That is when real change begins! It was such a privilege to be with one of the Lord's anointed. I'll never forget shaking his hand.

So yep, last night we flew home and we're back in our little island! There are people prepared here, I know it. Please keep Elder Ferreira and me in your prayers and we will continue to continue. Thanks again for your help! Take luck and have a good week :)

Cheers!

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Birthday omelette... too poor to afford a cake.

True blue

Hittin 'em with the word

Jersey sunset

The Warrior. That's what his burger was called.

Reunited with Elder Baum

Flying over the coast of France

When you don't have room in the kitchen, you do a wall sit

Birthday breakfast... Pastel de nata

Old Jersey district minus 1

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Progress and Important Lessons

Hey Bros & Sis's!

First of all, thanks to everybody for the birthday wishes! I'm always amazed at how supportive you all are. This is a lonely island and often it's easy to feel forgotten by everybody except the Lord, but I know l'm never alone. I'm really blessed have so much support from you, so thank you. I honestly doubt I could've made it to this point without all your love and positive influence! Thanks to you and thanks to the Lord, I won't just finish this mission, but I'll finish it strong!

Elder Ferreira and I have worked ourselves ragged this week. Each night we come home and barely make it up the stairs to our flat because our legs have been wrecked by our bikes. Bikes are good for using time effectively, but not for maintaining stable energy levels. But the Lord gives us extra energy each morning to do His work! You should see the contrast between us at night and us in the morning...literally night and day! :D

We've been greatly blessed for our efforts this week. Our long-awaited teaching pool has began to grow! Gary is still in the game although he hasn't progressed much this week or come to church. We have another Portuguese man called Castro who is bent on receiving revelation from God. We are teaching him in about 15 minutes which is why this email isn't terribly long but you understand! We have a few other potentials up in the air who we hope will transition to become new investigators this week, one of which has already read the entire Book of Mormon (what!?). Last but not least, the Lord in his infinite mercy has blessed us to find a family of 6 to teach. We found them knocking, set up an appointment, and then taught them the Restoration! I think their motive was curiousity at first, but I feel that it will change soon. They definitely felt the Spirit during the First Vision and THEY KNEW IT. So hopefully they'll act in accordance with the knowledge they now have and get baptized. We will see them again on June 2 after we get back from Poole. Big things are coming!

This week I've thought a lot about why I'm here on this island. My view of my service here has changed a lot from when I first heard I was coming. At first I was psyched out of my mind to be coming here because every missionary drools at the thought of coming to Jersey. But after a while being here, my view began to change due to the loneliness and the stress I was feeling from running against the clock. But this week the Lord has showed me how much of a blessing it is to be here! I see my service here like that of a horse and his owner. Lots of times a wise horse owner will take a wild horse and spend a lot of time one-on-one with him in order to tame him and teach what needs to be taught. Sometimes it's the only way for the horse to learn because he is free from distractions. There are probably wilder horses out there than me, but I feel like the Lord has taken me here to have a lot of "one-on-one" time with me. This week he has taught me that without faith we can do nothing, but with faith in Christ, we can do ALL things! I know this is true, my friends! Have a fantastic week and finish the school year strong.

Elder Thomas, out.

Love, Elder Thomas

ELSM



Pics at the castle





American theme at McDonalds... isn't it American themed already?

Hanging loose during service

Our lesson with Gary.  He bought us pastel de nata... celestial points!