Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Letter from July 16, 2012

Howdy Folks!

This has been an action packed week here in Slidell, so I will try and share the highlights:

-We caught an alligator. Well, kinda. It was already dead, but still. We even skinned it and kept the leather!! It was too good to be true. As soon as my camera works again I will send the pictures.

-I caught my first fish!!! It was a huge bass down in the upscale development in our area, Eden Isles. I kept getting a ton of bites, but the fish were so big that they kept breaking my line. But finally we caught one that was about a foot long. Hopefully we can get the pictures off of the phone so I can show y'all, but man oh man, it was a blast.

-While serving a member, we ran into a 4 foot Water Moccasin (very poisonous mom ;)) and chased it with shovels, but couldn't catch it, much to the member's dismay. But as a result, I stepped into a anthill and now my leg is swollen up from the ant bites. I guess you get what you deserve, eh?

Moving past the wildlife, there were many spiritual experiences throughout the week:

-I met President McDonough! He is such a nice and wise man, and I am looking forward to serving with him. We had interviews at our individual apartments because he was touring the mission with the AP's, and so it was a humbling experience to kneel in prayer with my president by my bed (they were held in the bedroom) and to seek the Lord's guidance. Already I know that he is called of God because of the things he has shared with me. He definitely has the spirit with him, that is for sure.

-We have an investigator with a baptismal date!! :D It came out of nowhere too, which is the cool thing. He is a referral that we recieved a month and a half ago, but who we dropped this past Friday because it always fell through. Come Sunday, his grandparents invited us to their home to teach him, and the lesson was absolutely perfect. It was one of my first real experiences teaching with a member present, and it was truly a blessing. Having his grandparents bear testimony of Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon allowed the spirit, the greatest teacher of all, to testify to this young man. I truly felt the spirit bear testimony of the Book of Mormon and the blessing that it can be in our lives. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome in this situation, but I have hope that he can exert the faith needed to overcome these obstacles and come closer to his Savior. This past week we spent a significant amount of time tracting and contacting, and it bore no fruit. But we kept working and the Lord blessed us with this unexpected experience. It has taught me that our prayers will be answered according to the Lord's will and His time schedule. As with all things, patience, faith, and diligence are needed to find those that the Lord has prepared.

I love this work, and despite the constant rejection, insults, and the ever tiring bike riding, I love all that I am blessed to do as a servant of the Lord. I have been reminded throughout this past week of the blessing that the Priesthood is in my life, and the blessings that are available through it at the temple by living in a manner consistent with the covenants made therein. This gospel has changed my life and I wish that everyone would realize the blessing it could be in their life. I will forever be in debt to our Savior for his loving sacrifice, and for the blessing of living in a time where the fulness of the gospel has been restored because of the true joy that I have found along the path of discipleship. While all of us find ourselves straying from that path at some time or another for a slew of varying reasons, Christ's "hand is stretched out still," regardless of what we have done. (2 Nephi 19:21) I am so grateful for the blessing of the Atonement and for the enabling power of His grace. The Church is true, I promise!!


Elder Thomas

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