Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A little late this week (I was doing some Christmas baking instead)

Hi guys!

First important news this week - I've been transferred.....  again.

I received a call from President Turvey on Friday night, and he asked
me if I would accept the call to serve in Newcastle as the Sunderland
Zone Leader, and my first reaction was "no!"

But that's not what I said. I said that I would do whatever was needed
of me. When he asked me how I felt about it I told him that I was
upset about leaving Bradford after just a month or so, and that I
would have loved to stay here longer to continue working with Elder
Kearl and the people we've been teaching here, but I would go if I
need to go.

Heavenly Father has different timing than us. My Dad told me his
thoughts on my new calling, which I really needed to hear, and he
managed to wrap all of my jumbled thoughts into one succinct sentence.
He said: "The building blocks in church leadership are not always what
we expect but what both we and those we serve actually need. The Lord
will guide you. Love you!"

So I'm excited, but also really sad to leave Bradford. Let me tell you
some of the other amazing things that happened this week, which are
making me doubly sad about leaving as I write them out.

1. Okay first thing - something crazy. Last year when I was serving in
Huddersfield I talked to a guy on the bus going from Huddersfield to
Leeds. His name is Jacob and he is attending the University of Leeds.
I gave him a Book of Mormon and got his address and contact details to
send to the missionaries serving in Leeds. Long story short - Jacob is
planning to be baptised in January! He's being taught by the
missionaries in Leeds 1 Ward! Sometimes I think that all this talking
to people about the gospel I do has gone to waste - but you never know
who's life you may have affected by a small simple action or

2. There is a guy in Bradford that Elder Kearl and I have been
visiting named Malcolm. Malcolm is 81 years old and was baptised only
a few years ago after his wife of 51 years passed away. Malcolm was
strong in the church until he started suffering heavily from Dementia,
and he can't remember much of anything - like why he came to church
etc. We visit him because he's lonely and he likes to chat, and when
we read the Book of Mormon, he starts talking about the gospel and how
much he loves it, only to forget a few minutes later. Malcolm has
travelled all over the world - he lived in Canada, Bermuda and South
Africa for a number of years, and has sailed around the world in a
boat that he built 3 times! His stories have inspired me to live a
fulfilling life. Anyways we visited him on Saturday and I told him I
was moving and if he had any advice for me for the rest of my life,
and he said in a moment of clearness and wisdom: "just keep going on
the path you're going. Stay in the church, marry a girl who belongs to
your faith, and have a jolly good life with her."

Thanks Malcolm,  I plan on it.

3. There is also a family we have been meeting with recently who are
part members. I've spoken about Sharon before, and about how she has
some concerns with the church but is really open to learning more
about it and visiting with us. She really likes the missionaries and
feels like she is the "missionary mom". This week she took us to
Nando's on Friday! Her daughters boyfriend works there and so we got
free Nando's! So that was awesome. Then after she found out I was
leaving, she also took us out to lunch the next day to say goodbye and
gave me some Christmas presents, and we were able to have a good
discussion about faith and the gospel. The last things I shared with
her was something that my Dad told me the last time I saw him before I
came back to England. I said "anybody who read the Book of Mormon
sincerely will know that it is the word of God." I told her that that
was the promise that my Dad knows is true, and that I also know is
true. Having only been here for a month, Sharon was pretty devastated
to see me leave. I hope I've made some sort of lasting impact with
that family.

4. Another family that I'm sad to be leaving - there's a woman named
Julieanne  who was baptised
some 6 years ago or so. In the past few years, she has rarely attended
church, but as Elder Kearl and I have been visiting her and her kids
for the past few weeks, she's come to church twice - including
yesterday! The reason she came the first time is because we challenged
her to do it and she pinky promised haha! Also a funny thing about
her, she was taught by David Brewerton when he was here in Bradford 3
or 4 years ago, and apparently he fainted one time in her house! Ask
the Brewerton's about it mama. But she was really sad to hear that I
was leaving as well so she invited us to have tea at her house on
Saturday and it was really nice - I'm really sad to be leaving these
people behind, I feel like I've been able to really make a difference
here even though I've only been here a month or so.

5. There's a man who we've been teaching recently as well named
Richard. His wife is a member and we've been teaching him every week
since I've been here. He has been coming to church for over a year,
and has just recently begun making progress on taking the lessons with
us and deciding whether or not he will be baptised. On Friday we had a
really powerful lesson with him about keeping the Word of Wisdom, and
it was one of the most powerful lessons I've been in, and he committed
to keeping it! It was amazing. I'm really sad to be leaving that
family as well.

6. On Friday I took an Elder in the district on exchange with me -
named Elder Taufanga, who is from Tonga! It was really good. Recently
I've been thinking a lot about the influence that righteous leaders
can have on the people they lead, and Elder Taufanga and I had a
really awesome exchange, and afterward he was telling me that it was
really great and he learned a lot from it - and it surprised me a
little bit, because we'd just been doing what we were supposed to be
doing - but he seems to look up to me a lot. I hope that as I move
into Zone Leadership that I'll be able to make some sort of impact on
multiple missionaries lives.

There are so many more things I could write about this week. It has
been so full, Elder Kearl and I have been teaching loads and having a
lot of fun, and the missionary work in Bradford is going really well!
People have been so sad to see me leave Bradford, and so am I! I love
this place and I will definitely come back some day.

When I came back to England, the thing I decided that I wanted to
accomplish was to make a difference wherever I went. I didn't want to
go somewhere and then be forgotten. I wanted to make some kind of
imprint on the people I interacted with - and I feel that I
accomplished that goal in full here in Bradford. My heart is full as
I'm leaving this place.

Most of all - the people in Bradford have changed my life for the
better, and I'm glad that the Lord decided to send me here, even for
just this short time.

Much love,

Elder Thompson

P.S. I found out that my new companion is named Elder Charman, and
he's English. I haven't met him yet but I'm told he's cool, but that
he can't drive! So we have a car and I'm going to have to drive it
around, but I've never driven in the UK before...  so I'm a tad
nervous about it, but also really excited.

P.P.S. The plan to get to Newcastle was to catch the train from
Bradford to Leeds at 9:35, which gets to Leeds at 9:56, which would
give me about 12 minutes to get through Leeds station (which is
insanely busy all the time) to catch a 10:08 train to Newcastle.
But....  the Bradford to Leeds train didn't get into Leeds until
10:05!! So I got off the train with my two suitcases and backpack, and
ran through the station, checked what platform the train was at, and
ran to the platform, only to see the doors close and it roll away! I
missed the train by like 10 seconds! So then I had to wait until the
next train came at 10:43. Anyways, I'm on my way now.

P.P.P.S. This train ride is really long. If you want to see how long,
go on google maps - the train stops at Leeds, York, Northallerton,
Darlington, Durham, Chester-le-Street & Newcastle. It left Leeds at
10:43 and gets to Newcastle at 12:15.

Sharon took us to Nando's

Carolling in Leeds a few weeks ago

We're smiling, but I'm sad to be leaving

Breakfast at McDonalds!

Elder Fife

Saying goodbye to Elder Kearl in Bradford -- I'm gonna miss him

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