Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 21, 2014

Well, you'll never believe it, I am serving again in the Guarapiranga stake (my first area), very close to where I served my first transfer here in Brasil (ward Chacara Santana). The ward I am serving in now is Ranieri- Its going great! A part of me feels I have returned home! Serving in Chacara my first area in Brazil was really special and I learned so many things here serving with Sister Hamburgo that have helped me on my mission. I do admit though, I am missing Parelheiros (!!!!!). The Lord really blessed me by sending me to serve there, and with the people that I served with. I loooved serving in Parelheiros. I can't really explain it, but serving there was just so special. But, here I am and I am sooo excited to continue serving the Lord. I had a dream recently (nightmare really, haha) that I was in the car driving home from the Salt Lake Airport and everyone was telling me how happy they were I was home, but I just cried. haha A lot. In the dream, the ONLY thing I wanted to do was missionary work- get out of the car, make contacts with people, teach people the gospel, etc... but I couldn't because I no longer had the authority to do so. Yes, every member a missionary- but only full-time missionaries have the authority and power to teach the missionary lessons, extend commitment invitations, preparing people to be baptized and confirmed. The time of my mission really is short- and the time of my mission is now. I am so happy!!!

My new companion is Sister Evaristo, from Lima, Peru! My first non-Brasilian companion. This is her second transfer out in the field and she is so great. She is the sweetest, a little shy, but has a firm testimony of the things she teaches. Many times when we are teaching, she says in Portuguese with her very thick Spanish accent-"I would like to bear my testimony.." and bears her testimony in the most sincere and loving way. I learn different things from each companion (and I would hope they learn something from me too.. haha)- With Sister Evaristo, I am learning to be more loving and patient. There is so much to be learned from others. It is such a blessing we each can have in our lives when we reach out to get to know, love and serve others. I loved what Elder Boyd K. Packer said in this last conference: "There are things that cannot be taught, but can be learned." These things are eternal things. And these things are the only things that really matter in our lives.

I love you all so much and pray for you all everyday!
Love, Sister Thornhill

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Tchau Parelheiros!

My dearest family,

Well the news around here.. there has been an emergency transfer in the mission and I have been transferred! I will be saying tchau to Parelheiros tomorrow morning and find out where the Lord is sending me now. I trust in Him and although it is sad to leave this special area (almost 3 transfers here!), I know the Lord has a great work for me to do in the next area. As for the happenings in Parelheiros this last week, Sister Soares da Silva and I have definitely been working hard! haha (it wasn't funny at the time) one night, in the middle of the night, Sister S. da Silva woke up in tears saying, Oh, my legs! We walk a LOT- It is a blessing because 1- no need to do any other form of exercise, and 2- We have many opportunities to talk to people and invite them to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Remember Guilherme? Yesterday he bore his testimony!!!! AND both he and Mateus will be receiving the Priesthood next Sunday! Oh, this is the joy of missionary work. It is truly the greatest joy I have ever experienced. Being a missionary is far from easy. But ALL of it is worth it when you see these souls come unto Christ and receive the restored gospel. I love being a missionary! Serving with Sister Soares da Silva has also been a great blessing this transfer. We have had many spiritual experiences together and we truly have come to be close friends- I will cherish our friendship, and more importantly our companionship, forever.

I know the Savior lives. I know that He was chosen by God to be our Savior, and I know that we each accepted Him as our Savior before this life. I promise that as we continue to accept Him through faith, repentance, renewing and honoring our sacred covenants, and living the principles He taught, we will be blessed eternally.

Sister Thornhill 

April 7, 2014

Wow, general conference has already come and gone this week! I always hate the last session because I know its the last- but like Pres. Uchtdorf said, There are no real endings, only eternal beginnings. The end of each general conference is a new start to resolve to live what we have learned. We feel the love of God for us as He speaks through His prophets and apostles. And the light of the Lord shines through the eyes of these holy men and women as they testify of Him. I think the most powerful testimony given was that of President Boyd K. Packer. In what is probably his last testimony to us, he declared with clarity what we believe as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what he himself has come to know for a surety in his long life- "We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost" (Article of faith 1). The most important thing we need to acquire in our lives here on earth is a PERSONAL TESTIMONY of Jesus Christ, and CHOOSE TO FOLLOW HIM every day of our lives, in everything that we do. We may never be a special witness of the Savior in this life; but I believe we each can come to know the Savior personally, with just as much a surety that He lives when President Packer said: "I know the Lord. I am His witness."

One of the most special parts of conference was the historic General Women's Meeting! How important, necessary and vital for our eternal happiness are our covenants with God. More important than making these covenants, is how we keep and honor them- And how we help our family members both enter and stay on this "covenant path" back to our Heavenly Father. Pres. Eyring taught: "The happiness of eternal life comes through family bonds that last forever." Thus, how high up on our priority list of life should we not only make and keep our own sacred and eternal covenants, but help our family members do the same. This includes family members past and even future. There are many of our own heritage who are waiting on the other side (and are willing to assist us!) to do this work for them that they cannot do for themselves. I know that we can come to love these special people who we never met before they passed on, as we find them and learn about them through the resources that are SO readily available. Like Elder Quentin Cook said, "Family history centers are now in our homes!" I can hardly wait to get home and take my own family names to the temple, so that they too can make covenants with our Father- In this process, we bind ourselves with them forever. This is happiness!!

Yes you heard right, our mission president, President Pinho, has been called to be an Area Seventy. He is so amazing and what an honor it has been to serve under him. And I can't even begin to tell how much I have learned from him! His influence in my life has given me power to be a greater influence for good in the lives of others, both here as a fulltime missionary and life after the mission serving the Lord.

This week here in Parelheiros was another great one. I love this area- the people, the members, (the green!)... I love my companion Sister Soares da Silva. I always tell her that she is training me haha- she has so many strengths that I am learning to develop from her example. Something funny that happened this week- we taught a man on the street, and towards the end of our teaching him I asked how old he was. He said, "Almost 100." haha Meeting and getting to know people is one of my very favorite things as a missionary- I know that each of them is a son or daughter of God with infinite and divine potential.

I am so very happy being a missionary, and part of me never wants to leave. But I know the Lord guides us in life- He knows best. It is when we let Him lead us by following the promptings of the Spirit that everything works out!


Sister Katie Thornhill