Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 26, 2014

Dear Thorne Fam,

This past week was seriously rough. We had 8 member presents fall through, one bap date fall apart and a couple experiences where we really felt the (as Nephi says) "fiery darts of the adversary." 

I do want to share one really cool experience this past week. Sunday night we went to go visit Hillary. She had gotten an apartment in downtown Lexington with some old family friends so that she could get out of the Salvation Army and focus more on getting a job. We had heard it was a pretty awful place, but we went with Sister Parkinson Sunday night to try and see her and lift her spirits. 

We got there and Hillary was 30 min late so we sat and had a great discussion with Sister Parkinson but there was a heaviness on my heart. As I looked around at the neighbors and their run down houses, I could see the beer bottles in their hands, the drug-induced far away stare, the awful blackness that seemed to hang over the entire area. I could not help but think of Nephi's vision in the last days when he said, "And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people." 

We then went in to talk with Hillary and it was terrible. Here sat a woman who was trying so very hard to do what is right. She is reading the Book of Mormon every night, she is applying what she reads, she prays all the time. But because of her environment, she can't feel the spirit. The apartment she's in is awful. We saw a mouse running around while we were there and I can't even count how many cockroaches. There was so much despair over everything. We talked with her about her situation and she is talking to bishop tomorrow and may be moving in with the Parkinson's. This was all good news, but as I got home, but fell to my knees in prayer and just started crying. I felt like the devil had found my weakest link. Here were all these people in awful situations and I couldn't even help them. I couldn't make it all better. Every bone in my body wanted to lift them out of their deep pits, but one, they had to choose to work to do so and two, they weren't in my area. In that moment, I felt so hopeless. So dark. 

As I was praying, the Spirit told me to read the rest of the story that Nephi tells. So I got out my scriptures and continued to read 1 Nephi 14. It says, "And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory."

I know with all my heart that the covenants we have made at baptism and at the temple provide us with the power to fight the adversary. When we keep those covenants, we are literally arming ourselves with power and authority. Though our numbers may be few, we are the Hope of Israel. And we are a force to be reckoned with.

I am so grateful to be a part of this Army and I know that that call doesn't end when I take off the tag. That call began when I took on covenants at 8 years old and it continues until the enemy is defeated. So I will work every single day of my life to destroy his work and build up the Kingdom of God. 

As for your email:
1) There's totally a Versailles in Kentucky! It's a sister area too! Except here in Kentucky, you pronounce it Ver-sales. Yep. Sorry to make you wince Emma. ;)
2) I never taught this many people at one time in Louisville. Here in Lexinton, the people are so much more open to the gospel. I missed teaching so many people too. :)
4) I love your thought about never forgetting to pray so God doesn't forget to bless you! Hilarious!
5) Yes! I would love to start running with you! Do you think I could bike along side you for the half marathon? I know it's kind of last minute, but I would so love to be able to do that. :) If there's any way you could work that out, it would be awesome!
6) Yes, I am WAY less sore. Though my right knee is starting to hurt. I think I had my bike on too high of a gear this week so it was really hard on my knee. I'm turning it lower again so hopefully that should help and Sis Brian helped in Physical Therapy before she came out so she's going to give me some exercises. :)
7) Were you able to talk to Brit?
8) MI HERMANA ES EN URUGUAY!!!! :D Esa una chica! (That a girl!)
9) Dad, can I watch Merlin with you and Brandon when I get home????? And I got an update on Once Upon a Time from a member here so I totally have to get caught up on that too! :D
10) Question, do I need to bring my pillow home? Because if not, it would be way easier to just leave it. I was also going to leave my hangers, the purple sheets and the pink comforter I've inherited. Let me know if I need to bring any of those home.

Thank to you all! I love you so much!!! I'll talk to you next week! Go see miracles!

Love always,

Sister Thorne 
 My awesome sisters!!!! This is Hermana Barajas, Hermana Bennett, me and Sister Brian. I love these girls with all my heart!!!!
 Us wearing our awesome derby hats! We are SO cool! ;)
Sister Brian did my makeup one morning. She's such an artist with makeup! She said she's going to teach me! I'm excited! Cool huh? :) 
All the Sisters at the Elder Cardon conference. :) That was yesterday. That's why I'm emailing today. It was awesome!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

Dear Thorne Fam, 

This week just FLEW by! I can't believe I am already emailing you again! I don't have a lot of time today, but I wanted to share a new testimony I've gained this week. Last Sunday (a week ago), all of sacrament meeting was on prayer. They specifically focused on Hymn #145 Prayer is the Soul's Sincere Desire. As I prayed during the sacrament, I decided that that was something I wanted to focus on this week. Not only my personal prayer, but helping people, through prayer, gain a better relationship with their Savior. 

A bit more background, before I came on my mission, I didn't ever really pray. I prayed with the family over dinner and whenever I was near a mental breakdown, but I definitely didn't pray daily. I thought I had a relationship with my Father, but out here, I realized that I really didn't. That realization came to me very powerfully about 4 months ago, so in last April. So I decided for the rest of my mission, that was something I was going to focus on. Since then, He has become my best friend, my most trusted confidant, my true Father. Whenever anything happens, He is the first one I want to tell. It has been such an amazing testimony to grow and this week I wanted to focus on helping others receive that testimony as well. 

From that focus, we have seen so many miracles happen!
As we were teaching Dallas, his atheist step father, Mike, actually came down from upstairs and sat in on the lesson AND agreed to meet with us again! We talked a lot about who God is and putting Him to the test to discover if He is real. Prayer. :)

Hillary got out of jail this week and has been really struggling, but as we talked with her about everything that has happened, we helped her to learn that this has been a great blessing because as she was in jail, she prayed more than she ever had before and was able to grow closer to her Father. She is realizing the relationship and peace that prayer brings.

Billie is an agnostic that has been praying to know if God is real, but she said that her prayers still just feel awkward and hallow. We were able to bear powerful testimony of Christ's deep love for her and His reality. She committed to continue to pray and not give up. I know that through prayer, she will gain her answer. 

Madelon brought a friend to her lesson and he has been going through a lot of serious problems. He told us that he hasn't prayed for 2 years because he realized his prayers had been all selfish. We showed him the power of gratitude prayers and helped him to realize that his relationship with his Father had been the reasoning for his loss of peace. He ended the lesson by offering his first prayer in years. :)

Chris has an amazing testimony of his Savior, but we weren't sure how to help him understand the restoration and the need he has to be baptized by the proper authority. After much prayer, we realized that we needed to focus on prayer and gaining his personal answer about the Book of Mormon. We read 3 Nephi 11 with him and talked about authority to be baptized. After this discussion, he committed to be baptized Sept 13th. Through prayer, I know that I will get to see him enter those waters before I go home. :)

Kenny was then also taught about the restoration, our first lesson with him. Sister Brian and I went on splits because we scheduled 2 appointments at the same time and I was very nervous to teach Kenny with Bro Webber and Sis Nikell. I prayed fervently for direction and realized that I need to listen and ask inspired questions. As I did so, the spirit was felt so strong and Kenny came to the conclusion that he needs to pray and ask if this is true, but more than that, once he gets his answer, he needs to act in faith and be baptized.

I know that prayer precedes hope, that hope precedes belief, that belief precedes faith, and that faith precedes miracles. As we pray with sincerity of heart, we WILL see miracles! I know that to be true!

As for y'alls email:
1) It actually hasn't been hot at all. We've had like 2 almost hot days, but it's been beautiful! The rain is much worse than the heat and we get our fair share of that. I'm glad I won't be here for the winter, because I think it's gonna be a brutal one. 
2) Such great shape.... right... hahaha.... I've only lost 1 lb so only 19 more to go! Thank goodness I'm going to start running when I get home! XP
3) We are living in an apartment. They are 3 story apartments and there's like 5 or 6 buildings in our complex. It's called the Regency apartments if you want to look them up. The people here are A LOT humbler than Middltown. And so much nicer! They actually let us say prayers with them! I will take pics of the apartment and send them next week. :)
4) We have no way to contact Benji as we don't have a phone number or address. So we will put that in the hands of God! And no new on Caleb. The Elders tried to meet with them, but he wouldn't answer the door. Oh well. We played our part.
5) I should get Grandma's letter this week. Sister Minson meets at the mission office for District meeting every Friday and can take any mail I get there and they will forward it to me. So no worries. I'll get it. :)
6) Mandy- looks like I'll have a lot of people to interview when I get home! Woot! This will be fun. >:) heehee
7) Josh and Brandon- HOLY MOLY YOU"RE GROWING UP! I hardly recognized you in the pictures! Stop growing silly boys!

haha love you all so much! It was a fantastic week and I can't wait for the one awaiting me. I love being a missionary!!!!!

Love always,
Sister Thorne

3243: Hermana Barajas, Me, Hermana Bennett, Sister Brian. We 4 sisters all get to live in the same apartment. I love these girls!!! We are family and we all look our for each other. :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

Hey Thorne Fam! 

So... I am in Lexington! Back in Eastern KY and for the first time ever, I am on a bike. I LOVE IT!!!!! I don't know why this secret has been kept from me for so long! Bike is definitely the way to go. We talk to so many different people and are out among God's children so much more than when we are in a car. It's the best!

This week we have already seen so many miracles. Let me go day by day. I think that would be best.

Tuesday: We had transfer meeting and then we traveled to Lexington! We got to the apartment and I unpacked everything. We then went out biking and contacting. We met several interesting people and everyone was so nice! We set a return appointment with Benji (someone we met) but it seemed super flaky. He wouldn't give us a phone number or address so we just agreed to meet at the church Friday afternoon.

Wednesday: The real work began. We had to make a stop at the Bike Store because I am finding my bike has a couple issues that make it a little scary. But we resolved some of them and are getting the rest fixed today. We then dropped by the Dyali's, Devi, and Shumylia. They are all from Nepal and speak little English. Dyali's and Devi weren't able to meet with us, but Shumylia was. It was such an interesting lesson. In Beckley, I have gotten very used to teaching to very smart life long Christians. Now I am back in an area where we need to help people have a relationship with God. So start at the VERY beginning. It's a completely different way of teaching and I'm having to go back to the way I taught in Morehead. It's an amazing experience to teach people, not lessons. We then went contacting and found Kenny! He has been taught by missionaries before and has a background in the gospel and was so open and nice! We are having our first lesson with him this Tuesday with Bro Webber. We then met with Chris who is living with Bro and Sis Cooke. He seems very curious and ended up coming to church Sunday! We are meeting with him again this week and we need to turn his curiosity into the beginnings of a testimony. :) We ended the night with dinner with Bro and Sis Stephens. 

Thursday: A lot of the day was spent Weekly Planning. We went through each investigator and Sis Brian told me the background on each one and then prayerfully assessed their needs and how to help them progress. After that, I feel like I have a much better handle on those we are teaching. We ended the day by visiting the Child's. A super adorable family who I already love dearly.

Friday: Friday was the day I gained part of my answer for why I am here in Bluegrass and a much deeper understanding of the Atonement. Friday began with a lesson with Aruna. She's Hindu and we are again trying to help her understand who Christ is. Same situation as Shumylia. We then biked to District Meeting (3 miles). After District meeting, we went to district lunch at Five Guys (3 miles) and then back to the church for Benji's appointment (another 3 miles). Here's where the story really starts. District meeting was all centered on having the faith to see miracles. So we specifically prayed to Heavenly Father and told Him that we had the faith that Benji would come to his appointment. We waited at the church, made phone calls, had mormon.org time and...... he never showed.... We were both kind of disappointed. So we decided to bike to our next appointment (about 7 miles away). We had an hour so we had plenty of time. We thought. Then while biking, Sis Brian saw Caleb, a former investigator. We passed him and then she decided we needed to go back and talk to him. We did and as soon as I saw his face, the Spirit told me something was VERY wrong. We made small talk and he wouldn't make eye contact. Within a couple minutes, he told us that everything was going wrong and he was on his way home to commit suicide. He has wanted to jump off the bridge, but decided that was too public so he was going back home to do it. At this point, I prayed that God would help me help His son. I honestly don't remember what I said. But I remember asking him to trust God enough to pray and ask if He was there. We all bowed our heads and he simply said, "Are you there?" We stayed silent for about a minute and then we looked at him. He face was shocked and he said, "I gotta go." We were just like, Wait what?? We ran after him and said, "Caleb, why do you have to go?" He said, "He's there." And turned to go again. Again we ran after him and asked what had happened. He told us that he looked up and saw his dad who had passed away from cancer 2 years ago. We followed him home and he told us that he was no longer planning on committing suicide and was willing to meet with the  YSA Elders again. So we called them and they headed over. 

But the story isn't over yet! After all that happened, we now had 15 min to make an hour bike ride to get to our appointment. All uphill. And I was already jelly legged from all the riding that morning. But I knew that through Christ I could do all things. So we went. I kept going and going. Pleading with God for strength. Over and over I repeated to myself Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I knew that I could use the enabling power of my Savior's Atonement and He would get me there. I don't remember most of the bike ride. And we were only 10 min late. I KNOW that the Atonement is for more than just repentance. It is for daily strength. 

Another thing I learned that day? Every child of God is important. Every. Single. One. If I came to Bluegrass solely for Caleb. It was worth it. Because he is special and infinitely important in God's eyes. I know that I am here for more that that. But who knows? Maybe he is my August reason. :)

Saturday: We had a meeting with Sis Burton. We are going to start having an ESL class for all the immigrants we meet. She is a certified ESL teacher so we got some starting ideas from her. We are excited to start this class and help more of God's children! We also had a lesson with Pam Boyle (nonmember) and her daughter Hannah (member). We read 1 Nephi 1 and talked about the Atonement. I thought it went really well! Then we sat out the giant rain storm under a store awning and made phone calls to set up member presents for next week. We already have 6 confirmed! Woot! 

Sunday: Church at 11am and I love this ward! They are super involved with the missionaries and always here to help. It's also a pretty big ward! I will totally get a hold of this in 5 weeks. I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. :)

As for your email:
1) My address is 2075 Regency Rd #72, Lexington, KY 40503. But continue sending everything to 1325 Eastern Pkwy because then nothing accidentally gets sent here when I head home, I can just pick it all up at the mission office. 
2) I was the most sore Thursday, but I stretch every morning and at least once during the day, so my muscles don't get too tight. It's just my butt. Ouch! Sitting on a bike seat HURTS! But that's getting better day by day too.
3) I got the cute pics of Kelsea and Stephen.Thanks!!!!
4) So Dad and Grandpa Thorne, I met someone you all know out here! His name is Jason Stephens. He grew up in West Point and took Drivers Ed from Gpa Thorne at Clearfield!!!! How crazy is that?!?! And it gets better. Do you remember Josh Wright? As in Madrigal Josh Wright? Yep, he's his cousin!!!!!! No flippin way right? And they totally look and act alike! Could I get Josh's email so I could tell him? That would be awesome! And I think he graduated with Kristie or Steve. He's younger. Crazy connections. :)
5) I am so sorry to hear about the tragedies. I wish there was more I could do or say. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I would be more than happy. 
6) Just so you know Mom, I have thought and prayed about it a lot and I want to do Miss Syracuse again when I get home. I have a song idea and everything. It's a Chopin piece and it's amazing. :) 

Love you all so much!!!!!!

Love always,
Sister Thorne

Me being tired while Sis Brian makes phone calls.
 Sis Brian and I. Aren't we cute??? :)
Sis Brian and I at TGI Friday's 

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014

Hey Thorne Fam!

First order of business, Sister Brough (new mission president's wife) has a new blog for our mission. Here's the new address! GKLMBrough.blogsspot.com

What a crazy crazy week we have had! In case anyone hadn't heard, I am being transferred!!! So I will spend the last 6 weeks of my mission in a different area. So crazy but unfortunately also very true. I leave tomorrow. I don't know where I will be going except that I know it is a bike area! Ah! I haven't been on a bike since February because my last 2 comps couldn't ride! I will probably come home on the plane sore. XP For this weeks email, I wanted to share a little more in depth of how the Lord has guided and comforted me this week because it has grown my testimony of trusting in the Lord and His plan.

So the beginning of this story actually starts a year and a half ago in a quaint town called Syracuse. When I originally filled out my mission papers, I set my availability date for December 26th, 2012. I was so very ready to leave. But then I didn't leave for the MTC until March 6th. And those couple months turned out to be very emotionally and spiritually hard for me and carried a lot of trial and questions in them. I often found myself on my knees asking God why He couldn't have sent me out on my mission sooner. Every time I prayed, the answer that quietly came to me was, "I have something very important for you to do in August." So I have known for a year and a half that there was something very important that God needed me to do this month.

Then, last Monday, I got a blessing from Elder Benham (our district leader). In the blessing, he talked about the places I would serve in my mission. As in, I would still have another area before I went home. I was stunned. I wasn't leaving Beckley! I was going to die here! Sister Minson and I had plans! I had plans! As I talked to Elder Benham later about those words in the blessing, he told me that he was not planning on saying that and it was completely Heavenly Father speaking to me. I was so taken aback from that. So I started praying.

I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I would go into my room and just start crying. How could Heavenly Father want me to leave this are and these people I have grown to love? I LOVE this area. I LOVE my companion. It would be so hard to have to form this love for someone new and a new area in just 6 short weeks. I felt that I couldn't do it. But every time that I prayed the same quiet voice spoke the same quiet answer to me. "I have something very important for you to do in August. And it's not here."
The answer broke my heart. Finally, on Wednesday, I accepted that this was Heavenly Father's plan. And I needed to start trusting in Him more. From that point on, I prayed for strength to overcome my circumstances instead of for my circumstance to change. It was an amazing experience to completely submit my will to the Father's and say, "Father, THY will be done." Even now, I can feel the spirit encompass me with the sweetest comfort I have felt since I prayed after Grammy died.

Since then, I have continued to pray. Harder than I have in a long time. Whenever I start to think of the future and it overwhelms me, I want nothing more than to sink to my knees and tell my Heavenly Father about it. He has truly become my very best friend. I love Him so much. :) As I have prayed this week, I have had some very powerful manifestations of the spirit giving me comfort, peace and assurance.

I want each of you to know that I know that God is real. I know that He answers prayers. And more than anything else, I know that He has a plan for each of us and, if we are willing to trust Him, we will become something more than we ever imagined ourselves becoming.

As for your email:
1) Yep. I am getting transferred. :P I have been towing my bike around to each area throughout the mission, so I still have it! And it only costs about $50 to send it home and I definitely want to send it home because I have put a lot into that bike and it's worth more than $200. I have been trying to not spend money on anything else so I can have enough to send it home.
2) We went to the chiropractor again today. It was so wonderful! My neck continues to get better and the headaches less. Yay!!! Tender mercy. :)
3) The man raking his leaves is Jim. We were in the area looking for a LA but their address didn't even exist. So Jim was in the neighborhood just raking leaves outside his house so we decided to just go up and talk to him. That's how we met him. We still don't know how to find the LA.
4) Sounds like everyone had a really fun adventure filled week! It had better be written in everyone's journals! And the Ogden temple is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Oh my goodness! It took my breath away. It doesn't even look like the same city! I can't wait to be able to go through! Hey Mom, maybe we could try for that instead of Marsh Lake. Could you call and see if there is anytime/openings they have for the first week or two where just me, you and Dad could go do a session? I would really love that. :)
5) STEPHEN HAS A DAUGHTER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? What the flip??? I NEED PICTURES!!!! Is there anyway I could get any? And they are getting sealed! Oh my goodness! I couldn't be more proud of him. Please let him know that from me. :) AND KELSEA IS GETTING WHAT?!?!?!?!? I wish I could do a more shocked face over email. And she couldn't wait just a week more so I could be home and see it? Stinkpot. How dare she. ;D Love you Kels! Who is the lucky man?  Are they getting married in temple? How long have they been dating? I need details!!! Please? :)

Love you all so very much!!!! Have an amazing week!!!

Love always,
Sister Thorne
 Sister Minson, Judy and Me
 Elder Stohel's funeral. He's "dying" tomorrow and Elder Jergenson is holding the orphan sign because he's Elder Stohel's "son" and has only been trained for 6 weeks. So he will have to get a new dad now. Mission lingo! Gotta love it! Funeral idea inspired by Elder Cameron Waters. :)
 Elder Benham, Elder Hancock, Elder Butterfield, Elder Stohel, Elder Polson, Elder Casky, Elder Jergenson. Elder Davis is the little head below Elder Casky. Then Sister Galloway, Sister Black, Sister Thorne, Sister Minson.
We had an Arnold Palmer Picnic. Basically there is a road in our area where the median is big enough to fit a house. Kind of like they have a second front yard. So we figured we would have a picnic on the median. :) So much fun! We got White Castle and had a blast! :D