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


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!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mother's Day and Superman

Hey guys!

This week's been faster than a missionary trying to get home before 9:30 pm...pretty dang quick! I can't get over how fast time is going by. Sometimes I pray that time will just stop for a while, but those prayers are never answered, unfortunately. And with the 4th and final Skype over and done with, I think it's safe to say that this is the final stretch!

Here's to week 80 something of the mish:
-took a nasty spill on my bike and ripped my trousers
-ate like kings!
-skyped home!
-got flogged...a lot
-did some solid member work

It's been a special week. We never have much to eat at our flat, and since England left the EU things have been getting even more expensive, especially in Jersey! But this week we devised an awesome plan to fix the problem: a dinner calendar! We sent that bad boy around during church on Sunday and as a result we got fed nearly everyday this week. When there's a will, there's a way!

As we were contacting one day, I heard a voice call out to us in a familiar accent. We turned around to meet a lady who asked if we were Mormon missionaries. She said that she was a member from California here just for a visit by herself. Elder Ferreira and I were a bit confused when we heard that because nobody from the states comes to visit least not alone! Her name is Megan and she came to Jersey on a mission to find and meet an actor called Henry Caville (I think that's his name...?) who is Superman in the Man of Steel. Apparently he's from Jersey and he's been here for a week or so to do a 13k run for charity. So Megan began training 7 months ago, signed up for the race, and saved up enough money to come over here and find him. She caught up to him in the race, but then got nervous and passed him. She ended up talking to him at the finish line though, but I guess the conversation didn't go so well because she was a bit shakey. They say Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, so I just think it's cool that she can say she's beat Superman in a race! She also bought us dinner at a really nice hotel last night. Too bad she didn't bring the California weather with's pouring today!

Got a call from the police. They told me that the guy who attacked me a couple weeks ago went to court and got sentenced to 6 weeks in jail.

Gary, our baptismal date, is planning to come to church this Sunday. We were able to get another less active to church as well!

The highlight of the week was speaking to my family over Skype, hands down! Hope all of you moms out there had a happy Mothers' Day. I miss my mom a lot. Without her, I don't think I would've been able to come on a mission and even if I had, I wouldn't still be on one. I owe all that I have and all that I am to my mom! Nothing comes closer to emulating the Saviour's love than the love a mother has for her children.

Over the course of my mission, I've met a lot of different people each with their own perspective of life. Each has their own experiences and background which shape them into who they are. Many have their own idea of who God is. But not many understand the concept of pure joy or where to find it. Most of the people we speak to have the "eat drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" approach, more commonly known as "YOLO" (you only live once). While this lifestyle may provide what the individual thinks thinks is happiness, it is only momentary and temporary and will not last long. At some point in time, this individual will realize that there is something missing in his/her life and either sinks into depression or begins to search for greater meaning and purpose. My mission has opened my eyes and made me eternally grateful for the knowledge we have as members of the Lord's restored church. Because of the Restoration of the Gospel, we know who we are and what we're capable of. We know where true happiness comes from. I believe that lasting joy can really only be found by keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ. He is our Teacher, as well as our Saviour. I'm grateful for his example and sacrifice and I know He is the way.

Have a good one, you guys! Do great things and be great things!

Love, Elder Thomas


Pre-feast selfie

The district plus Megan

Jersey Gang, roll out!

4th and final Skype!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Portuguese and Transfers

Brothers & Sisters, Bon Dia!

If I had to describe this week in one word, it would be this: Portuguese. I swear, everywhere I went and everything I did was with Portuguese people. You might say "Elder Thomas, you have a Portuguese companion so of course that's the case." But even despite my companion, I was still surrounded by Portuguese people. We served them, we ate with them, we taught them, and we even got our haircuts from them. I'm not sure if this week has just been that way or if it's been that way all along, but if you were to get off the plane on this island and look around you would never think you were in Great Britain. It's nuts! The awesome thing about all this is that where there are Portuguese people there is Portuguese food, which is delicioso. My favorite is called pastel de nata. It's a small, creamy pie and it's to die for. If you don't get a chance to try one in this life, don't worry because they will be there in heaven.

It's been a week full of highs and lows, folks! First of all, the transfers plague was active this week but none of us were hit. All four of the Jersey missionaries will be sticking around for at least 6 more weeks! Me and Elder Ferreira will most likely be finishing our missions here together. We look forward to many more bike rides, ice creams, and baptisms. Hopefully there will be a few pastel de batas there as well. I'm also happy to report that we were not attacked by anybody this week! The only thing that tried to attack was a duck, but only because we got too close to the babies. Can't call the police on ducks though.

So with less than 3 months to go, Elder Ferreira and I are bent on getting the most out of the remainder of our missions. Our bodies and minds get weaker as each day goes by, but with God's help we wake up the next morning ready to rock and roll. But by the time 9:00 rolls
around, I'm absolutely shattered.

We've seen some fruits from our labours this week! We currently have one investigator who has some potential. His name is Gary. To give you a visual of what he looks like, imagine Joe Jonas, only Portuguese and with darker skin. Anyways, he's awesome and he's on date for June 10We're excited to work with him. Apart from Gary, the finding grind still continues. We have a few solid potential families that we found while knocking some doors so we look forward to teaching them this week. They are also all Portuguese.

I started the Book of Mormon again at the beginning of the month, and I've been reading about the journey of Lehi's family. The story of Nephi building the boat resonated with me as I read. As I thought about it, Nephi's experience building the boat is not unlike my experience in this area. Nephi was called by the Lord to build a boat. I've been called by the Lord to build an area. The Lord gave Nephi tools to accomplish the tasks. He's also given our mission some tools in order to move His work forward and to work more effectively. Nephi encountered some real opposition from his older brethren. We encounter opposition every single day wherever we go, it seems. But the Lord prepared the way for Nephi to accomplish His will, so He will also prepare a way for us to build this area and save some souls here. This i am sure of, even though time is short in supply. I think it just goes to show that the things that are most important in life are not easy. They take hard work and they require everything our bodies and
souls have to render. This doesn't just apply to missionary work, but every other situation in life! The Book of Mormon was written for our day!

Have an awesome week you guys. Happy Star Wars Day, Happy Cinco de Mayo, and happy Liberation Day!

Love, Elder Thomas


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Physical and Spiritual Safety

Hey Elders & Brothers & Sisters!

Apologies in advance for this very short email...well, sorry but not sorry. We just got back from a round of golf at the Royal Jersey Golf Course! If you knew the significance of this particular golf course and my love for golf, you'd understand how awesome of a preparation day it's been. To make it even better, we went with a nonmember! So it's been a good day so far. And the goodness continues because now I get to write to the most important people about the most important things!

And for the sake of time I'm going to stick to those most important things. For myself, the most important things is both my and my companions physical and spiritual safety. Both have been affected this week!

Concerning physical safety, I can now officially say that I've been attacked. I'm not entirely excited to say that, but I think it's kind of cool, although it definitely wasn't in the moment. I was in the bathroom at the local hospital just washing my hands when a drunk guy walked in and started swearing at me and threatening to beat me with my bike helmet. I got out of there quicker than you can say papas fritas, but this guy would not chill out. Keep in mind that I didn't do or say anything to this man. He followed me out of the bathroom and when I tried to get on my bike to leave, he actually hit me! I hit the wall and fell over my bikes and by the time I recuperated he had run off. But he couldn't hide! The hospital people helped me out and called the police. Long story short, he was arrested and I'm ok. Hope that story makes your day more interesting in some way. Kids, remember to wear your helmets! For those of you who are now worrying (mom), I'm
absolutely fine.

As for spiritual safety, our testimonies have been affected positively! Last week we prayed for "someone" to come to church--and "someone" did. Well, this week we switched it up by making sure we prayed for "an investigator" to come to church--and an investigator did come to church! Our recent convert Hugo brought his brother who we are now teaching. Miracles!

Again, sorry for the short email. Hopefully it's short and sweet, just like President Monson's talk in conference. His talk about the Book of Mormon has been on my mind all week. I know I always talk about the Book of Mormon, but I just know for sure that it's true and it can bless your lives in ways you never imagined. I absolutely know it!

You guys have a good week, and be sure to stay SAFE--both physically and spiritually.

Love you all! Elder Thomas out.

Love, Elder Thomas


Uno and mustaches

Weekly planning at the castle

Two drenched missionaries

The Vardon Statue

Me and Chris

Golf at the Royal Jersey Golf Course!

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