Sunday, January 4, 2015

November 10, 2014

The miracles keep getting bigger and bigger, along with our faith! Well it's really the other way around- Because of constant prayer and efforts, our faith is increasing daily; and the miracles that are happening are just even more amazing as a result. The biggest miracle yet happened this week! I am still trying to believe that it all happened... (Just a side note- If my english sometimes doesnt make sense, thats because it doesn't make sense to me either. It would be so much easier to write in portuguese because I have to translate when I write in english..) So the biggest miracle of my mission, here it goes:

Sister Kuster and I made the principle goal of our transfer to baptize every week. This has been a goal of mine for a long time, Sister Kuster as well- but as President says, you have to walk before you run, then run and then fly. Well when Sister Kuster and I started serving together we were pretty much running in both of our missions already, and we were ready to continue doing so with the desire to make it to flying. The "run" was longer and more challenging than expected, but it happened in the Lord's time and now we're flying. We started "flying" (baptizing weekly) last transfer. I don't say that to mean we are the bomb dot com, but to acknowledge that the Lord's hand really and truly is in this work, His work! Having a baptism every week is the Lord's will, and I testify that He truly provides the way when we do our part. And what exactly is our part? Before my mission I just thought "our part" meant to do everything we can physically, through our works; and honestly a lot of missionaries think that way. But I have learned that "our part" includes not just works, but first FAITH. And along with faith, a mind and heart surrendered completely to Him. Our goal/vision/desire, whatever it may be, must be accompanied with the required mental, emotional, and spiritual efforts, not just physical, to be blessed with the powers of heaven. And I believe that there doesn't exist one truly worthy goal that is possible to accomplish without divine help from heaven. We can do lots of good things on our own- but as for the truly great things accomplished, with certainty the Lord's Hand reached where we couldn't have ever reached on our own. I can't fully express my firmest belief in this one principle: With the help of the Lord and angels of God that manifest through our FAITH, miracles happen as a result- in our own lives and in the lives of those we serve. I LOVE THE LORD, and I testify that He is always ready to reach where we can't.. but how can He do that if we are not already reaching all that we can, having the faith, IN HIM, that He will be there? It's all about faith. I love the story of Peter. Some may think it was because of a lack of faith that he started to fall into the water-- but can you imagine how much faith he had to even leave the boat?? Peter had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ did reach out to him. Looking back reflecting on the beginning of my mission, I see how shortsighted I was in thinking that all I had to do was be obedient and work hard and the Lord will take care of the rest- that is so false. Just work, and even work and exact obedience isn't going to do it- we must have faith that those works will even mean anything. If you can't tell, I think the biggest thing I have learned on my mission is what it really means to have faith in Jesus Christ.

So the miracle! Sorry to have gone on and on before. We had 2 people that possibly could be baptized this week, and both fell through by Saturday. Saturday afternoon we had no one to baptize...then we went to our last appointment, with Geraldo. Geraldo is the Sandra's husband (Sandra is a member, and also Irmã Dalva's sister! Dalva is the wife of João the other miracle baptism if you remember) Well we had just taught him one time before, we taught the restoration. He accepted to hear the message and it went good, but he didnt seem all that interested. He has been a faithful member of another church for over 15 years and appeared very closed off to any thought of leaving it. Well that all changed when we taught him about the plan of salvation and temples and eternal families on Saturday night. The spirit testified to him of the truthfulness of what we taught, and he said it like this- I have never heard anything like this before, and I know it is true. All of it. (He was crying as he said this) Now that I know of these things, I would be guilty before God if I am not baptized in the true church of Jesus Christ." At that point, everyone present was crying and we felt the spirit like never before. We then, as representatives of the Savior, felt to and invited him to be baptized the next day. Yesterday, Sunday, Geraldo was baptized!

The Lord hears our prayers, He knows our faith and will work according to that faith, I know it!!!

 Tchau for now

Sister Thornhill

December emails

Guess what, you'll never guess... transfers again!  I am staying in Jardim Campinas! Woah, by the end of this transfer here I will have served in this area for a whole third of my mission. I love Jd. Campinas! Its really the best. The only bad news.. Sister Kuster will be leaving me. But the good news is that she'll be in the area next door so we're hoping to still have Christmas together.

The transfer was really great. Sister Kuster and I reached the goals we made at the beginning of the transfer, both in our area and in helping our sisters have more success, wahoo! Making goals, working towards them with faith and actually reaching them is one of the best feelings in the world. I am so grateful to have learned what I have about goals on my mission. And we ended the transfer with another special baptism, Aurélio. The members are so great in helping us make these miracles happen.

This week the whole mission is counting down the days- We will be having a mission tour with Elder Claudio R Costa (area seventy)

This week we had stake conference and it was REALLY GREAT! I have spent the majority of my mission here in the Casa Grande stake. I can't express to you the joy I felt sitting next to one of the recent converts from Parelheiros (baptized almost a year ago now), Guilherme, who will soon be serving as a full-time missionary. I saw another recent convert from Embu-Guaçu, Deyse- She gave me the tightest hug and with tears in her eyes told me her plans to be sealed in the temple a year from now to the member who first introduced the gospel to her. During the meeting, looking behind me I saw João with Dalva. Looking to the side, I saw Geraldo with Sandra. Looking to the front I saw the family of Margareth and Maria... This scripture comes to my mind- D&C 18:15-16. How humbly grateful I am to my Savior who has entrusted me with His most sacred, special work of the salvation of souls. It truly is the greatest joy.

My new companion and I Sister Mendez and I are working hard and already seeing the miracles. I just want to share one last thing I learned in the conference. Elder Mazzagardi spoke (area seventy) about prophets and the blessing it is to have a living prophet of God to follow. Without, we wouldn't know the true meaning of many essential principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said that prophets prophesy, but it’s US that fulfills these prophesies.

  Tchau!   Love, Sister Katie Thornhill

Monday, October 20, 2014

President Dalton's FB page..(Katie's Mom had to post!)

I loved her!!! So proud of you my dear Kate!!! :)  I saw this on Katie's Mission President's Facebook page! :)Love, Mom

October 20, 2014

Dearest family of mine,

Wahoo! Another wonderful week out here in the mission field, serving the Lord full-time. "The field is (definitely!) all white and ready to harvest" And as president Dalton says, "The field is even whiter here in Brazil!" Oh how true that is. The highlight of the week was seeing João (our recent convert, Dalva's husband) baptize Gabriel yesterday!!! It was truly one of the highlights of my mission. I can't describe how special and spiritual it was. João was so nervous before, but we helped him practice and memorize the words... it was perfect. I testify that even amidst our many weaknesses, the Lord sees the completeness of our divine potential as sons and daughters of God. We were challenged in this general conference to memorize "The Living Christ." I memorized almost half of it before my mission and am now finishing it. This is helping me gain an even greater testimony and love for our Savior, and I challenge each of you to do the same. As a representative of Him, I promise that in doing so you will feel His love for you in a deeper way. I can't remember if I told you about another one of our investigators we are teaching, Felix. He is progressing and like I've said before, that is just the most special thing to see as a missionary- seeing people really COME UNTO CHRIST and be converted; and you see it happen daily, its amazing. I couldn't be happier doing a more happier thing.

I love you all!

Sister Thornhill

October 13, 2014

Dearest family,

Where do I even start. Every week is better than the last it seems. Its transfers and guess what, Sister Kuster and I will stay serving together for another transfer here in Jd Campinas, wahoo! We will continue in our calling as sister training leaders as well. We are super excited for this new transfer!

As of lately and as you already know, I've been learning a LOT about faith. I have never seen the Lord's hand in working so many miracles as I have now. Sister Kuster and I are increasing our faith daily- individually and as a companionship. And how are we doing this? Prayer, obedience, worthy and inspired goals, an attitude of faith, fasting, and diligent work. I love Sister Kuster- I really couldn't ask for a better mission companion. I thank the Lord for "letting" us serve together (as President told us :) for even one more transfer. This last transfer and going into the next is a turning point in our missions, and lives. What a blessing it is to continue doing the Lord's work, in the Lord's way, together. How much easier it is to do this spiritual work with the spiritual power of exercising our faith.

Our area is feeling our excitement, from the members to our investigators. Sister Kuster and I had the most spiritual lesson of our mission this week with two of our investigators, Felix (19) and his sister Adelaide (20). We didn't find Felix- he found us. We were walking along the road next to the church one day the week before last, when he ran past us, then stopped and asked us, "Are you missionaries of this church?" We said yes and he told us how he had been wanting to learn more about this church. Well we started teaching him, met Adelaide, and have been teaching them ever since. They even went to conference with us for a session, and loved it. We had a lesson this week that was the most spiritual I have ever had, the kind of one where you can almost literally feel the presence of the savior there. The lesson wasnt ours, it was His. They will be baptized on Saturday! 

In the ward, the bishop called a ward mission leader finally, Irmão Renato, who is great. We started off running with him, and this included having a successful and spiritual activity yesterday afternoon specifically for recent-converts. We have another ward member (recently returned sister missionary, Samara) who asked to go out teaching with us every evening. (miracle!) There are lots of amazing things happening here! Sister Kuster is just as happy as me. We have made specific goals for this new transfer, including goals to help the sisters we serve increase their faith. We have some really cool ideas to have really effective, spiritual (and FAITH-BUILDING!) exchanges with each of them.

Love you, Tchau 

Sister Thornhill

Thursday, October 9, 2014

September 29, 2014

Querida família,

Well this week we started off on our faith finding journey! We recently had a special meeting with President Dalton, just the two of us and him. We talked for over an hour just about FAITH. President taught us so much and we set some faith finding goals! Sister Kuster and I are excited and already seeing a difference.. big difference in the results. We are having lots of special experiences that are changing our lives! I would like to share one that we had yesterday- We were working in an area we are wanting to work in more because we feel that the Lord has some of His elect there. We found one almost right off the bat, Gilson who recently lost his sister. He is thrilled to go to church, learn about the gospel and prepare to be baptized.. and he gave us a handful of references! After that as we were leaving the area, we decided to stop and ask the Lord if we should really leave as we had planned, or if He had someone else that we should meet there. I remember looking to my left, then I looked to my right and saw a road and had pictured in my mind that there is someone in THAT house. I couldn't see it from my point of view then, but knew it was on that specific side of the road, the first house. I told Sister Kuster "let's go there" and she felt to go there too. As we entered THAT road, we came upon THAT house, and THAT person the Lord had prepared for us, standing in the doorway- her name is Dalva. She recently separated from her spouse and now is facing the challenge of raising four children on her own. As we taught her the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the spirit was felt by all. She opened up even more to us and expressed how our message has already helped her, and that she is anxious to go to church and learn more about the restored gospel. It was a miracle! FAITH produces MIRACLES; miracles don't produce faith.

I love being a missionary. I love the Lord, and having faith in His work is required. If we don't do His work in faith, we are not really doing it. Sister Kuster and I are reading "Evocando os Poderes do Céu" and learning lots- I'm an amateur at all of this, but I know the Lord and angels are my companions, and these experiences the Lord has in store will change many lives, including mine. I agree with something an elder said in his departing testimony this week: At the beginning of the mission you think nothing is about you; but then by the end you realize that it has everything to do with you. Whether or not we choose to go forth in faith in our lives is up to us!

I know, as it is testified to me again and again by the Spirit, that there is truly no greater responsibility (and joy!) we have than to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Só templo! :)

Sister Thornhill

P.S. I attached a picture from João's baptism, and another with some sisters at the multi zone conference we had this week. It was amazing! Tchau tchau, beijos.

September 22, 2014

Wow, this week was another week to remember! Of all the baptisms I have witnessed on my mission, I think this week's was one of the most special ones all around. João was baptized!!! :) We have been teaching him for the last few weeks, but we weren't the first ones- His wife, Irmã Dalva, is the stake relief society president and he has sat through many a missionary discussion for the last 12 years. He joked with us when we gave him a Book of Mormon that he already has a library of them! In the few weeks that we've been teaching him, it appeared that we were getting nowhere and that he would never accept- but we kept teaching and prayed/fasted in faith that he would come around. We felt inspired by the Lord to do so. One day we even gave him a picture of the São Paulo temple and told him, "João, when you decide that you want an eternal family we want you to write the date of your sealing one year from your baptism...which will be the 20th of Setember." I dont think he thought we were really serious at first, but we were- that's what the Lord told us was the date. He continued to be what we call in portuguese "mole," but we persisted. Well you can imagine our surprise last Monday when we received a phone call from Irmã Dalva telling us that we better come quick and that they had some good news for us...Sister Kuster and I immediately started crying in amazement and literally ran to their house. There, he told us that he would be baptized this Saturday (2 days ago)- and he was! João was baptized Saturday and confirmed yesterday a member of the church of Jesus Christ! Like I said, it was one of the most special and spiritual baptisms of my whole mission. João was literally glowing, but I think who was glowing even more was Irmã Dalva. She shared with us how in her patriarchal blessing it says that she would one day be sealed to her spouse for time and all eternity- that promise is being fulfilled right before our eyes! The day they broke the news to us, João wrote down the date of their sealing a year from now. THIS is what missionary work is all about! It's not just about baptizing lots of people- its about eternal families! Baptism is just a step towards the temple. No one can go to the temple without first being baptized. When you look at it this way, you really realize how big of a responsibility we have as members and full-time missionaries to do our part! And I testify that there is NO greater joy than being a missionary. This is the best work and most important work there is. O melhor!

I pray that we will always be responsive to the Lord's heedings to save souls. There are many, and He will make the way known to us as we ask Him in faith and then move forward.

Boa semana! Amo vocês!

Sister Thornhill