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