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



4th of July celebration

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