Elder Thomas here, reporting from London Town. This week has been monumental in my mission. It's the week that if I were a sister, I would be finishing my mission. With the 18 month checkpoint, I've been reflecting on my time as the Lord's servant in England. I could not have imagined my mission to be any better than it has been so far. The people, the lessons, the miracles, the companions, the areas, the blessings. I'm speechless just thinking about it. Things just couldn't have turned out this way if the power of God wasn't on the earth. This is a sacred work, although it's run by basically kids like me--which brings up another good point--there is no way an organization as large as this could be managed by 18 and 19 year old kids without burning to the ground unless God was involved. This truly is the work of God!
Had some great miracles this week amidst great trials. Not only the weather fought against us this week, but so did the food. The ward is nearly all African people, who have a very strong culture. A large part of their culture is the food they eat, and their favorite food to eat is called fufu. Don't know if you know what that is, put it's basically a doughy lump of flavored flour and oil dipped in a meaty soup. Sounds pretty interesting, eh? My definition's probably not accurate, so you're best off looking it up. But it's exotic stuff! Basically, I tell a lot of Africans I meet that I like it as a way to "break the ice" and soften them up a bit, but my companion absolutely despises it and never fails to voice it. So everywhere we go I'm pulling for fufu and he's tearing it down. His efforts were in vain, however, because we were fed fufu almost every day this week! I got to admit, I was a bit sick of it after round three or four but it just kept coming. Elder McEwen, being the musical genius he is, is planning to form a band called "Fufu fighters" after his mission. He's a passionate man!
Had a pretty good exchange with another missionary from my group yesterday--Elder Green from Down Under. He's a very diligent missionary who takes the work very seriously. We worked Peckham hard! Had a good time with him but couldn't take him seriously the entire time because whenever he talks I feel like I'm watching a commercial for Outback Steakhouse. Either that or Steve Erwin.
Highlight of the week was definitely John Paul's baptism. Remember him? He's the golden man we were teaching in Richmond. Well, he got baptized last Saturday! Sadly I couldn't be there in person, but I got to Skype in so I was definitely there in Spirit. Technology is such a tender mercy! I got to speak to JP afterwards and he was happier than I've ever seen him. Not only is he now a member of God's church, but he's also engaged to a member and well on his way to the next step: temple! So grateful to have taught him for so long.
I've had to relearn some lessons this week. I realized that we weren't involving the Spirit in the work as much as we should be. I was pretty frustrated because the very first lesson I learned on my mission is the importance to always involve the Spirit in everything you do...thought I'd mastered that, but it needs some fixing up! The Holy Ghost is always willing to assist us, but we have to be humble enough to let it guide our feet and our words, especially in order for effective missionary work. This is why worthiness, obedience, faithfulness, and humility are all essential elements of following the Spirit. Elder McEwen and I have resolved to let the Spirit guide us in our efforts instead of expecting the Spirit to follow us. Doesn't work that way! But I guess the gospel is one of repetition. God is good!
I'm extremely grateful for all of you! Sure do love ya!
Love, Elder Thomas
|Imperial War Museum|
|Skyping in to John Paul's baptism|
|John Paul's baptism|
|The process of eating fufu|