Hello again, brothers & sisters!
Well, being a missionary in London is an absolute dream. I don't mean to brag, but I think it's safe to say that serving in London is every missionary's dream! Even though most days are cloudy (like today) and the sun hardly ever shines here, we are so happy right now with all the progress we are making individually and as a companionship. Wish I could put you on "Elder Thomas Video" so you could see things here with my eyes, but I guess this email will suffice.
One of the biggest miracles is my companion. I really wish you all could see the changes in my son! Completely different person now than who he was when he came out. Elder McEwen grew up in Sheffield, England, so of course he was subject to a much stronger type of peer pressure and unrighteousness influences than those who grew up in the Utah "bubble" like I did. Pressure like that causes people to either sink down with sin or rise up with faith. Fortunately, Elder McEwen chose the latter and that decision has led to a full-time mission! He describes that despite that, however, he was still what people here might call a "chav", or a crazy teenager who likes to party. That Elder McEwen is gone though and has been replaced by a faithful and spiritually-minded disciple of Christ. The change in him is unmistakeable, and so is the cause of it: the teachings of Christ found in the Book of Mormon. It's nearly impossible to get his nose out of that book! I may be a witness of the change in Elder McEwen, but Elder McEwen is now a living witness of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do to somebody. This transformation still continues and has strengthened my testimony beyond measure. Love my son!
I've found a lot of joy from the scriptures this week as well! Of course I've been reading in the Book of Mormon, but lately I've found myself in the Old Testament as well. As I've read from both Books, I've learned about how many similarities there were between the children of Israel (God's ancient covenant people) and the people in the Book of Mormon. They have loads of the same rituals, traditions, culture, and even government structure! Another similarity is the evidence of dispensations and apostasies throughout both records. But the greatest similarity is that both groups of people were led by God to a promised land. When the people kept the commandments and lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they progressed in their journey. When they failed to obey, they were punished with a lack of progression. The same principle applies in our own lives: when we obey God and his messengers, we progress spiritually and "prosper in the land", but when we neglect the commandments, we remain stagnant and there is no progression. What a comfort is is to know that there is an all knowing God in heaven who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes, and neither does His love for us. He loves His children now just as He did in times of old. He wants us to progress and He wants to lead us home to the Celestial Kingdom--the promised land. These are things that I know!
Also, almost forgot to mention that the Catford Elders had a baptism this week! We decided to celebrate by going out for "kebabs", which are difficult to explain but are really good. Hence, "kebabtism!"
The Gospel is real and the Church is true! Thanks so much for all you do! Go do something awesome this week!
Love, Elder Thomas