Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

Dear Family,

Sorry this week I wrote individual emails to everyone but will sum up a few things:

-We have a new mission president!!! Pres and Sis Dalton. I am so thrilled to meet them this Friday, and I will tell you all about it next week.
-This week we started teaching some really great people! Also, Mariana will be baptized this week we are hoping. She is loving the church and learning all she can about the Restoration.
I love the part in PMG that says that when people gain a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the restored gospel, they want to learn everything they can about the restoration. Well I think that for missionaries, as we gain a spiritual witness of the importance of our calling to represent Christ, we have a desire to learn everything we can about Christ! Today I receive the book Jesus The Christ and am SO looking forward to studying it. "Learn of me, listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my spirit, and you shall have peace in  me." I know that as we learn of our Savior Jesus Christ, we will be greatly benefited and more able in our strivings to be His chosen disciples.

I love you and hope you have a wonderful wonderful week... Go Brasil! :)

Sister Thornhill

June 24, 2014

Dear Family,

Things are going great here- we learned today in our zone meeting about the importance of BELIEVING that miracles will happen. We won't baptize weekly if we don't believe we can. They showed a video clip from Star Wars when Yoda is saying to Anekin- "Use the force!" And Anekin gives up, and after Yoda succeeds Anekin says, "I don't believe it!" And Yoda responds- "That is where you went wrong." Nothing can happen (miracles/ invoking the powers of heaven) if we don't believe. Like Pres. Pinho always tells us- The heavens are willing to give us anything we ask, but we must first have faith (believe) and show our faith through our diligence.

I hope to become the missionary the Lord wants me to be. I have never been so aware of my weaknesses as I am here on the mission. And I also have never had such a great desire to change my weaknesses into strengths. How grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the way by which we do so. What a blessing. We don't have to just "let things happen" in our lives- We can make things happen. I testify of the truthfulness of this life principle. As we learned in this past general conference, we can't afford to "sleep through the restoration"- We are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times! We are here to help build the kingdom of God! We will never experience the changes the Lord intends for us without diligently acting upon our faith.

I love you and know that even moreso, the Lord loves you.

Sister Katie Thornhill

June 16, 2014

Querida família,

As you all know, the world cup has begun here in Brazil and everyone is excited to say the least. The roads are painted, brasil flags everywhere, etc. The days that Brasil play, we have to stay at home all day because of all the craziness/bagunça going on. In other words, the world cup is really fun for everyone except for missionaries haha. Because of this, next week I will be emailing on TUESDAY, not Monday. So if you dont receive an email on Monday, don't panic. :)

This week the Lord blessed us with finding several new people to teach and prepare to be baptized. I am continually reminded on my mission that the Lord fulfills His promises to us. Sometimes in life we work so hard to do good and don't immediately see the fruits of our labor. But if we just keep pressing forward doing what we know to be right (the Lord's will, and not our own), we will soon see the many fruits the Lord has prepared- but it is only through our diligence and faith that this blessing will be granted unto us. 2 Nephi 10:17- "For I will fulfil my promises which I have made unto the children of men.." If you are not seeing things happen yet, just hold on to the faith and hope you have in the Lord's promises and "everything will work out!" as President Hinckley says.

It was transfers this last week and I stayed here in Ranieri with Sister Evaristo. I am really happy because I absolutely love this ward and the work here is going great. This week Bruno, the son of Nilva who was recently baptized, will be baptized. He is 9 years old, is so sweet, and is deaf. We watched the restoration DVD with him in sign language the other day and as we did so I felt the Spirit stronger than any other time watching that DVD. It was Bruno's first time at church yesterday and he LOVED it. I think Nilva waited so long to bring him to church because she was nervous about how it would be. But after reassuring her and getting the members more involved, she felt comfortable enough to finally bring Bruno and Amanda (her 5 year old daughter). I am so amazed at Nilva's progress in the gospel after her baptism. How grateful I am for the Lord's continual guidance in teaching and strengthening Nilva according to her needs, through the members serving her, through the scriptures, answering her prayers, comforting her, etc. We have been giving Nilva ensign magazines and she reads them cover to cover in between our visits. She is amazing. The gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect and provides us true peace, joy, and happiness. We have a member who sends Nilva a text message every day. Another member has been visiting her weekly. And yesterday at church is was so wonderful seeing the members working together to help Nilva's family have a positive and spiritual experience.

We are also teaching... the hulk. :) It's true. Michel, the body builder friend of a member. He may look scary but really he loved church yesterday and is working towards receiving the answer from God that His church has been restored. Yesterday the elders in our ward (the zone leaders- Elder Barker and Elder Dudley--yes we three served together in Parelheiros, crazy) The elders asked if they could teach and baptize him- we said No! haha He's ours. :) Speaking of the elders, we have a great zone and district. We are so blessed! I learn a lot from the many different elders and sisters I serve with.

I am really happy as always, and love you very much! Thanks for all the prayers, packages, emails... I love you!!!

Sister Thornhill

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Dear Family,

You know that feeling when you experience a moment in your life that is so wonderful that you wish time would stop so that you could experience it longer?? That is what I feel every day on  my mission- That is what a mission is. I am experiencing some of the greatest joys and satisfactions that I've ever experienced, and lucky for me I can put my life on pause and enjoy this for not just one moment more, but a year and a half. Before the mission, I had thoughts like, There must be something good about serving a mission because returned missionaries are always so happy and talk about their mission with as much enthusiasm as when people talk about the latest hunger games movie. Well now I understand it. Oh, there is something good about serving a mission! As President Pinho said with respect to returning home: "Saudades, sim; remorso, JAMAIS." Translation- "We will miss it/longings, yes; regret, never."  I could go on about how happy I am and try to express my happiness, but let me share with you why I am so happy- a few of the experiences I had this week..

Earlier this week we visited a young woman in the ward, 12 years old, Eduarda. She adores church but is less active because her mom is completely inactive and oftentimes doesn't allow her to go to church. Can you imagine how horrible this would be? Well it gets worse. My heart broke as she shared with us about how her mom has been beating her, for no reason at all (what reason could there ever be for physically abusing any child of God). I sat her beside me and put my arms tightly around her, and I cried with her. I felt the Savior's perfect love for us both in that moment. I had this overwhelming peaceful feeling, and I just knew that we are daughters of a heavenly father. My companion and I bore testimony to her of this reality and of the reality that angels are watching over her. We promised her that if she would continue in faith, reading the scriptures and praying daily and serving her family, one day she would marry in the temple and have an eternal family. This trial will pass- the Lord has already prepared the way. We then knelt with her on the cold, hard floor in that tiny home and offered up a heartfelt pleading prayer to the Lord. I felt the presence of angels there- I felt the Lord there.

Another, more positive experience happened just yesterday. As my companion and I were walking home, we stopped to talk to a member in our ward who is preparing to serve a mission, Anderson. He introduced us to a friend of his who he was talking to, Michel and told us to baptize him haha. He said to us, "Batize este rapaz!" (that means baptize this young man haha) Michel is huge, a body builder. We got to know him a bit and then handed a restoration pamplet to Anderson, inviting him to explain about the message a little bit. It was funny because Anderson was so suave and smooth about it- "Okay man, this talks about how the church of Jesus Christ was restored to bless us today, with prophets, apostolos, and the authority of God. I would like you to read it, man, reflect on it, dude." it was awesome. We set a return appointment and... vamos batizar. :)

Members and missionaries working together = Many souls saved!!!

We also had our last meeting with President and Sister Pinho last week. It was so great- we even watched a movie, Ephraim's Rescue. I invite you all to watch this movie if you haven't already! Loved it. I love this phrase from it- "The gospel of Jesus Christ is another way to say "opportunity." The greatest opportunities available and imaginable to us are those that come as a result of living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I love you all and wish you the greatest of weeks, full of opportunities! :)

Sister Katie Thornhill

P.S. Yes World Cup begins, quinta-feira, woo! Go Brasil!