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!!!!!
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. :)