Man it's good to be here! Wish you guys could see this place. The fact that you live on an island takes awhile to get through your head, but I think I'm past all that now. I know this is where the Lord wants me to be, but truly feel like I was born to be an islander. I'm even starting to get my tan back, believe it or not! I heard that this island is one of the top 10 most popular islands to visit as tourists, and I don't doubt it for one second. Every day I grow in appreciation for the opportunity to serve Him in such a place as this. At the point I'm at in my mission, I've been able to reflect a lot on what has actually happened in the previous months, and what the Lord has taught me. One thing I don't remember, however, is being so tired. I'm tired, you guys. Like, really tired. It's not the kind of tired you feel after running a marathon or something--although I do feel like that after taking on a hill with the bikes--I just feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained. I really don't understand how I'm able to keep going. Well, I do--I know the Lord is giving me the strength to carry on--so I guess I'm just amazed at the blessings He give me!
Despite being tired, I'm happy. The joy that comes from serving the Lord is incomprehensible and unexplainable. To any returned or currently serving missionary, you know what I mean! It's just good.
Like I said before, the Lord has definitely been teaching me this week! The lesson I learned this week was important, but it was a tough one. You'll see why. All week we have been praying and praying that somebody would come to church, and then working as hard to do everything on our part to ensure at least one investigator's attendance. If it didn't happen, we were determined to make sure it wasn't our fault! Anyways, the days went by and by Saturday night we had 3 or 4 people committed to come to church. We did all we could to remind them to come, but by the time church rolled around the next morning no investigators could be seen. We waited and waited, but still nobody showed up. I was livid, and whether my anger was righteous or not it detracted from my sacrament meeting experience. Even then I kept looking over my shoulder to check if anybody had walked in late, but the only thing I noticed was that one of the less actives we were teaching happened to make an appearance. That may not seem like big news, but the the gears started to turn and things began to click. Keep in mind that we had prayed all week for "someone" to come to church on Sunday. Well, the less active man, though not an investigator, was indeed "someone". And he was a RM who hadn't been to church in over 2 years. What didn't seem like much suddenly became a huge miracle in our day! God had in fact answered our prayers because "someone" did come to church. Our prayer wasn't answered exactly in the way we wanted, but our prayers were answered. So I guess specific prayers are important to God! And I have learned my lesson--this week we will be spending a lot of time on our knees with a prayer that "an investigator" will come to church! God's got a wicked sense of humor. I love Him though!
That's the most significant thing I've got for this week. Even though most days don't contain a miracle that big, I've found that after everyday I can look back and see God's hand in someway throughout the day. I believe He reaches out to every single one of His children each day! The trick is just to recognize it. That's when our faith blossoms and our trust in God becomes unshakable. I am still yet to get to sleep at night without having seen God's hand in my life in some way or another. He definitely loves all of His children enough to minister to them daily. We are His "vineyard", and He is the best gardener of all time, never forgetting to water us! My hope and prayer is that all of you reading this email will keep recognizing and recording miracles that happen in your life, as small as they may be. And to those who are struggling or who may feel they have not seen His hand, be patient and pray for extra awareness to them! I know from experience this week that He will answer your prayers and your faith will grow. And that's a promise from one of His authorised servants!
It's been a good week, folks. I love all of you and I hope you're all healthy and happy. And best of luck to you kids with your end of year tests! Can't say I'm jealous! ;)
Until next week!
Love, Elder Thomas
|On the coast|
|Looking for Elder Raveneau|
|Weekly planning at our pool|
|Biking it up|
|"I like your cow!"|