Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Dearest Family,

I hope you are doing wonderfully! It sounds like it! I have to say this in every email because I mean it every email- Thank you for your love and support!!!

There is lots to say, as always! Things are going great! In fact, this is the best thing I have every done. I know I've said this before, but I truly TRULY can't imagine my life without this experience. I know that for ME, this was always the Lord's will. And this is the exact right time for me to be here. And Brazil is where I am to go! And he also has planned for me to serve elsewhere for the time being- We will receive our reassignments next week! And one thing that I didn't know before this week is that those mission reassignments go through the same process as my first mission call to Brazil- The Brethren review it, and receive the revelation as to where the Lord would have me go. I love that, and it makes me think about how we can receive revelation as to anywhere we go in our life. That is how we successfully make it through this life, by counseling with the Lord in all our doings, and He will direct our paths, for good! (See Alma 37:37)- I actually memorized this in portuguese. "Aconselha-te com O Senhor em tudos que fizeres e Ele dirigir-te-a por o bem" (I think that's right:) It's true!

Well, all of our investigators are doing well and each of them are progressing- It's the best feeling to have as missionaries, to see PROGRESSION. I have a feeling that our Heavenly Father feels the same way as He sees us progress, as we continually come unto His Son Jesus Christ throughout our lives. I gain a greater appreciation for His Gospel everyday, and this is something that should happen everyday for the rest of my life. I knew "feasting upon His words" was important before this mission, but I now realize the necessity of it in my life. Every person on the earth would do well to come closer unto Christ in some way, each and every day. I challenge you this week to ponder about your personal strivings to come unto Christ everyday- How could you improve? What things are going good? One of my goals this next week is to, at the end of the day before bed, sit down and ask myself, How have I come closer to Christ today?

Lots of exciting things are happening as far as missionary work goes. As I have studied and applied the things in Preach My Gospel, I realize how much of a blessing it is! This past Sunday, Elder Merrill J. Bateman spoke to us about the power of the Spirit in our lives as missionaries. It was amazing! He mentioned how the times have changed, and this is evident with the coming forth of Preach My Gospel. Rather than memorization and reciting lessons to people like they have done in the past (which was the Lord's will for that time), missionaries are now instructed to teach by the Spirit alone if needed- Teach according to a person's needs. Missionary work has always been needed throughout the world, but these are the final days in which the world is becoming increasingly more wicked and in need of the Savior.

I love the Holy Ghost. There is not a more glorious feeling one can have than the feeling of being filled with the Holy Ghost, especially when sharing the Lord's Gospel. In Pregar Meu Evangelho, it says: "This gift is a foretaste of eternal joy and a promise of eternal life." Can you imagine how glorious that will be?? One thing I thought about this week in my personal study is that the Spirit is like a Spirit-filled home. Let me explain.. You know when you walk into the home of a righteous family and you immediately feel the Spirit that is there? There is power in this. And the same feeling occurs for my investigators- As they feel the Spirit bear witness that we are representatives of Jesus Christ, and that the His Gospel we teach is true, they feel this special peace- The Spirit can be a safe home for them, when they may not have one.

One last thing. I love music!!! Our first Sunday here Sister Robbins and I were called to be the music coordinators for our branch- I LOVE it! It brings back really great memories of when I was in charge of music for one of my wards- Yes, be jealous, it's one of the most fun callings- Even though I was terrible at directing our choir, I learned so much and was humbled and am grateful for that experience. Callings are blessings! When we fulfill them, we are blessed. When we magnify them, we see miracles. I have been pleasantly surprised at just how much music is a part of our everyday lives here in the MTC, and I hope to continue that throughout my mission. Oh, I love it. Music is a powerful way to bear testimony and to praise our Lord and Savior. One of my very favorite parts of the whole week is watching "Music and the Spoken Word" on Sundays before Relief Society- Okay, and Relief Society is one of my very favorite things too. :) I love everything. I love life!

I love you all very very much. I pray for you and feel blessed to have you forever. Watch for me on Saturday! (I will be wearing bright pink) I will be singing in the General Relief Society Meeting at the Conference Center in Salt Lake! The first song we will sing is really neat- Just know that it was requested by the general relief society presidency to put these two songs together (I won't tell you which ones..) and the result is really beautiful. When we first rehearsed it, I couldn't even sing because of how teary I was. :)

Have a wonderful week!


Sister Katie Thornhill

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Oi familia! Tudo bem!

I am halfway done with my time here at the MTC, I can't believe it! Everything is going great- More than great! I am really happy. Never once have I been sad, it's amazing! I can't describe how normal it feels for me to be here. I love love love being a missionary! In the past three weeks, I have learned so much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ- My testimony of it grows and is strengthened every single day. It is truly amazing. How did I get so lucky??

Like always, I don't have much time so this week I want to tell you more about my district and about life here in the MTC! It's awesome! We, by far, have the most fun district here I believe. :) We are like family to each other and have grown so close together. Although we have each taken turns this week being a bit sick, we still press on, work hard and feel the Spirit of the Lord's work together. Last night, Irmao Buttars taught us an entire class in Portuguese- From now on, it's all Portuguese, even in conversations outside of the classroom. The miracle of it all- I (and everyone else in our district) understood everything. By the end, one of the Elders said, "You all know that was all in Portuguese, right?" It was then that we realized what a miracle it was. We didn't even have to think during class, we just understood. I love the Portuguese language and although it's nowhere near being perfect, I know it will come. One thing I think has helped me a lot is not focusing on the language, and focusing more on the learning the language of the Spirit. That's where the power in our ministering and teaching comes from. The gift of the Holy Ghost is such a glorious gift and I have been blessed very personally by it during my time thus far as a missionary.

Let me tell you more about my companion, Sister Robbins. I love her! I am very blessed to have her by my side here. We've grown so much together, and have grown so close to each other. Some of my favorite things about Sister Robbins: She is a great friend who always looks on the bright side. She is really spunky and is just fun. She is good for me because she is more relaxed and not the perfectionist that I am so it balances out- She keeps me less stressed. In fact, I haven't felt a lot of stress and I think a lot of that is because of her. She has an amazing testimony and is confident in her teaching. She always has a "get it done and don't worry about it" attitude. Anyways, I love her and wish you could meet her!

This last week we had our first experience teaching in the TRC (Teaching Resource Center)- It's where volunteers come to the MTC, members, to be taught by us, the missionaries. We taught two 20-minute lessons. Going into it, we were a little nervous because like I mentioned before, the language isn't perfect; and we didn't know what these members need to be taught because we've never met them before. So you really have to listen to the Spirit. One of our lessons in particular was so awesome. We felt impressed to teach this sister about how the gospel can not only bless, but protect your family in this wicked world. As we taught her, it was obvious this sister felt the Spirit and we knew by the Spirit that this was exactly what she needed to hear. It is an experience I will never forget.

I want to close with a short testimony that I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of Jesus Christ himself, restored to its fulness. He is at the head of it, and directs it through modern day prophets and apostles. How blessed we are, and we should never forget the magnitude and eternal significance of this blessing. This week I have thought a lot about the significance of the Book of Mormon in conversion. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And I know that through the Book of Mormon, we can know of the truthfulness of Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, and that this truly is His Church.

I love you all so much! And pray for you everyday!


Sister Katie Thornhill


The picture from left to right: Sister Robbins, (Me), Sister Baird, and Sister Ostvig

Friday, September 13, 2013


Dearest Family,

I have been thinking about you all week- How was Florida? I want to hear all about it! Also, thank you so very much for the package you sent me this week! I loved it! I love you! I also got a package from Sister Barlow- Does that surprise anyone? No- She is truthfully one of the most Christlike people I know. Whenever we are taught about teaching people, not lessons, I think of Sister Barlow's selfless example as a visiting teacher. If you think about it, there are so many people Heavenly Father has put in our life to be examples for us. I am so blessed to have all of you, each and every one. I realize more than ever how powerful a righteous example and influence can be in our lives. And also how much power we can receive as we are the ones having that kind of an influence in the lives of others.

Week 2 here in the MTC was pretty great. It's amazing how much you learn every single day here. There isn't even time to look back and see how far you've grown! But then you look back and even pray about it, and you realize just how much the Lord has already been helping you. I keep thinking, okay I'm ready to speak Portuguese now, bring on the gift of tongues. But that's not how the Lord works. We must struggle in our faith to build faith. And as we build our faith, we must show our faith through diligence and courage and trust in the Lord. And when we show and truly exercise our faith, that's when the miracles happen. I know I will be able to speak Portuguese in time, but right now I must "Pray like everything depends on the Lord. Then work like everything depends on me." (I don't know where that quote comes from but my friend Tiffany shared it with me and I think it's awesome)

Last night in class, Brother Buttars taught us about reaching our full potential as missionaries. It was so great. It made me think about something I heard once about letting the Lord act. We have to let the Lord act in order to fulfill our purpose, and God's purposes for us. And as we continue to do this, we prepare ourselves for greater purposes. For example, Nephi- The Nephi that built a ship was not the same Nephi who killed Laban. Nephi was continually prepared for greater purposes in his life.

There is so much to say but so little time! A few more things I want to say:

-We sang "Where Can I Turn For Peace" in choir this week. Our director told us that this song is like a conversation between a missionary and an investigator. The investigator asks "Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace? ...Where can I run?" The missionary: "He, only one (Jesus Christ). Constant he is and kind, Love without end."

-We have a new teacher, Irmao Gray- We love him!

-One of the elders in our district is on a flight to Brazil right now, he got his visa! But no more luck with visas here

-We should always bear witness of the Father, as well as the Son. It was the Father, not the Son, who was the first voice of this dispensation: "This is my Beloved Son, Hear Him." Sometimes as missionaries we forget to testify of The Father. I love my Heavenly Father

That's all my time for today. I love you!!! Enjoy the pictures!


There is a rumor that the sister missionaries will be singing at the general relief society meeting... :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Oi! Minha familia!!!

I am so happy to be writing to you right now! There is sooo much that has happened in the past week, and I don't know where to start! I guess I'll start by saying that I love being in the MTC! I can't fully describe how glorious it feels to be one of the Lord's missionaries. I know this is where the Lord wants me right now. And I know it's only been a week, but I already can't imagine my life, present and future, without this sacred privilege of serving the Lord and our Heavenly Father's children. I feel at home. Although it's a little strange being surrounded with so many younger missionaries, it's also amazing- It's a miracle really. I am so impressed with these younger missionaries, especially the elders. For example, my companion hasn't been sleeping well so the elders gave her a blessing last night. Just minutes before they gave her the blessing, they were goofing around a bit, being typical young elders.. But then they laid their hands on her head and administered to her a Priesthood blessing. The Spirit was so strong as they exercised that power they have as worthy priesthood holders. The Spirit is truly amazing here at the MTC. This is the Lord's training center for His missionaries. And I can testify to you that these missionaries may be young, but they are powerful. As our teacher Brother Buttars keeps reminding us: God saved the best for last. Satan has many ways by which he gets people to forget about God, especially in these the last days.

Let me tell you about my district! I know everyone always says they had the best MTC district, but I really do have the best MTC district! They are so great! We have 8 elder and 6 sister companionships. I wish I could attach pictures, but I will send some this week. I definitely think we have the most fun district, and funny! The elders are hilarious. We laugh until we cry  every day, multiple times. The elders started saying "Tolo ganso" a few days into being here and now we all say that about everything. It means "silly goose"- in proper portuguese it would actually be "ganso tolo," but they stuck with tolo ganso. Speaking of Portuguese, I can speak it! Obviously not fluent or well at all- And I don't know very much, but for only being here just under a week, I know TONS. I was promised by a member of the branch presidency in an interview that if I love my companion with all my heart, I will be able to communicate in Portugues in 3 weeks. Our teach Brother Buttars (who is awesome by the way) bore his testimony the other day about the gift of tongues, and how real it is. The first day I was here, I would have a hard time believing that I could ever speak this language, but I am speaking it and can bear a personal testimony that the gift of tongues is real. The day after I got here (Thursday), my companion and I taught our first lesson, IN Portuguese. Yes we did. We brought a few notes and our lesson wasn't the greatest (it really was pretty horrible:) but we did it! Our first investigator's name was Vanderlei. We taught him two different times. Then yesterday we taught our first lesson to our new investigator Pedro. We loved Vanderlei, but he was a little intimidating. Pedro is much easier to teach, and we taught him with no notes. We gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read 3 Nephi capitulo 11. He believes in God and Jesus Christ, but doesn't have a very strong relationship with them. We found out that he doesn't pray, so we are looking forward to hearing him pray in our next lesson. :)

Missionary work is about PEOPLE. Not one thing about this mission is about me- It's about helping OTHERS to come unto Christ "by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." On Sunday (which is the best, even better than P-day. I love Sunday in the MTC!) we watched a film showing of a devotional Elder Bednar gave about the character of Christ. He taught us how Christ turned outward always, never once inward. Turning inward to self is the natural man's way, not Christ's. An example of this is when right after His great suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, he healed one of the guard's ears that was there to take him away. Even after the greatest suffering imagined, FOR US, he still turned outward, even to those who persecuted him. Elder Neal Maxwell said, "There would have been no atoning sacrifice without the Character of Christ."

I don't have much time left, but I want to say one more thing- I LOVE MY COMPANHIERA!!! Her name is Sister Robbins (pronounced "Hobbins" because of Portuguese) :) She is from Texas and is SO GREAT. I love her very much and we are loving serving together.

I have to go now but thank you, MUITO OBRIGADA for the loving emails. I hope all is well at home. I know the Lord loves you, and knows you personally.


Sister Katie Thornhill

Katie Arriving at the Provo MTC, August 28th, 2013!!!