Monday, March 27, 2017

Happy Spring!


Well, things are definitely warming up over here in Germany! Hopefully it will stay like this for another couple weeks! You never know what's going to happen with the weather here. This week was CRAZY. We were running around from appointment to appointment every single day! I didn't even have time to sit down and eat, much less to think about anything besides missionary work. So it was great :)

On Monday we did FHE with the Kardovs at a member's house, and we talked about The Family Proclamation. It was so great! They are doing awesome! During the week we started teaching their kids from the children's Book of Mormon. We would act out the stories or watch videos to go along with them, and they all just love it! So much love for these guys :) During the week we did SO MANY service projects!! I think everyone is getting spring fever a little and they're recruiting the missionaries to help with their spring cleaning! Best idea ever! Recruit the missionaries at home to help you with stuff cuz we LOVE it! We also ate lots of ice cream this week. Don't even regret it :)


On Wednesday we had Zone Conference. It was my last one as a missionary, and it was definitely the best one ever!! I love President and Sister Kohler, and I'm so grateful for everything they do for us missionaries. I also had to give my dying testimony, so that was super weird. After Zone Conference I brought Sister Hancock back to Ulm with me on tausch. My last tausch as a missionary! Also so crazy! But I'm so glad that it was with Sister Hancock, because she was the first person I met at the airport in New Jersey about a year and a half ago :) so it was so fun to work with her for a day. The rest of the week was just full of soooo many appointments, but it was so awesome to be so busy.

Well, I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week this week! Enjoy the fact that spring is coming, and that it's almost Easter!! I'm so excited for Easter! And watch for the new video that the church is putting out, it's amazing :) Here are the five most important things I've learned on my mission for the week to end:
1. Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles.
2. I am the one who holds myself back the most
3. Forgiving yourself is just as important as forgiving others
4. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Stay on your side and enjoy the greenness you have
5. The Spirit does not dwell in unclean places (including your apartment)

Liebe Grüße,Sister Thunell

Monday, March 20, 2017

Zwei Taufen in einer Woche!

Hello! 

Okay we are just gonna skip to the good part: VANESSA AND TONI WERE BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED AND IT WAS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. 

Really, there are not many things in the world that can make me as happy as I felt on Saturday. I remember this same feeling when Izu got baptized, and it is the best feeling in the world!! To see someone accept the gospel and change their whole life, and to see the smile and pure joy on their faces when they get out of the font :) We met with them twice during the week, and their poor family had the most horrible week ever. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong, but they are so amazing. They kept saying that they knew this was the right choice to get baptized, and that Satan was just trying everything he could to discourage them, but they wouldn't let him succeed! I could go on and on about these people, but the baptism was beautiful, and now they are officially confirmed members of the church :) 
Thank you all for all your prayers for them! Now we get to keep meeting with them and prepare them for the next step: Toni getting the priesthood and their kids to be baptized!  It's so exciting to have such a wonderful family to teach!

This week was a week of gratitude for me. As I come closer and closer to the end of my mission, I am just seeing more and more things to be grateful for!  I'm grateful for this wonderful opportunity I have to be a missionary, and the wonderful countries that I've been able to serve in :) 


Well, this is a short email, but here are some more of the bazillion things I've learned on my mission, and will continue to learn over and over again throughout my life:

1. Communication is the key to a good companionship (or relationship)
2. How to be comfortable with being uncomfortable
3. The right words will be put into your mouth, but you have to start speaking and stumble a little first
4. The Lord qualifies those who He calls
5. It takes two to tango

Love you all so much! Have a great week!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Last Transfer

Hallo! Time to tell you about my week! 

The beginning of the week was pretty slow, and I was actually going crazy because when a missionary doesn't have a lot to do, thoughts start wandering, and mine were wandering towards home. So!...We fixed that real quick and by the end of the week I had forgotten all over again that I'm not gonna be a missionary for the rest of my life. 

We had some great appointments with the Kardov's, and the baptismal interview went SO GOOD! They're so amazing. They have such strong testimonies!! Transfer calls were on Saturday, and Sister Campbell and I are both staying. So here go my last five weeks as a missionary!! It's going to go by so fast, I already know. I'm trying to just soak up every minute of everything I'm doing here, because I know I'm gonna miss it so much when I go home! The beautiful scenery, the markets with fresh bread and produce every morning, the people, teaching the gospel, it's all going so fast I don't even know what to think!

Sunday was one of the best days ever. I just had such a grateful heart the entire day, I thought it was going to burst! First of all it was fast Sunday, and those are always the best on a mission :) I loved being able to focus my thoughts even more towards my Heavenly Father, and I loved hearing all the testimonies during Sacrament meeting! I love this little branch with all my heart. And it's growing!! A brand new family of 5 randomly walked into the church yesterday and said that they had just moved in from another Ward and found the address to the church on the internet! And the entire Kardov family came, plus a couple other investigators, so our tiny little chapel was STUFFED with people wanting to hear the word of God! I was so happy and excited the whole time! And the whole branch is so excited for the baptism coming up on Saturday, they were just flocking the Kardov's the entire day :) it was so cute!

Well, I just wanted to let you all know that I KNOW that this church is true, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. My calling for the last 17 months has been to testify of Him, and in the process I have also gained an unshakable testimony that He is the center of my life, and the only way through which I can return to live with my Father in Heaven again. Most important thing #1 that I've learned on my mission: Jesus Christ is literally our best friend and knows EVERY pain or affliction that we can go through. The Doctrine of Christ is the blueprint for those stepping stones we need to take each day to become more like Christ. We can exercise faith every single day (Most important thing #2 I've learned on my mission: If you give Heavenly Father a little bit, exercise your tiny particle of faith, He will bless you more abundantly than you could ever imagine), and be more inclined to repent daily of our mistakes, big or small. Most important thing #3 I've learned on my mission: No mistake, sin, or choice will change God's love for us.

We can partake of the sacrament weekly, then start the week brand new and fresh, like literally being re-baptized, and therefore choose to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost more deeply, and more fully in our lives. Most important thing #4 I've learned on my mission: How uniquely the Spirit speaks to me, how to recognize it, and how important it is to simply ACT upon promptings. And then we take a step upwards and repeat :) it becomes harder with each step, but also more meaningful and powerful. Most important thing #5 I've learned on my mission: Don't wish your trials away, because trying time are when you learn and grow the most. BASK in your trials.

With each step we take, we have the promise of angels to surround us and lift us up, the protection and guidance of the Holy Ghost, and the comfort of the warm and loving arms of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we hold fast to Him we cannot fail :) Enduring to the end means more than simply going through the motions, it means to LOVE what you're doing, to let it sink into your SOUL and become a part of who you are. Let the Gospel of Jesus Christ penetrate you and change you. Because it has changed me.

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell



Monday, March 6, 2017

The Miracle of the Colored Markers

Hello once again! It's your favorite Sister Missionary in Germany! 

The last couple of days have been great!!  Going to the Military Base on Thursday was extremely weird for me. We bought all of our favorite American food that I forgot I even missed, but the whole time I was just in culture shock because everything was so American!!  Everyone was speaking English, and they all looked super American, and you had to pay with US dollars, just so weird.  But we have Captain Crunch and Pop Tarts now, so that's good :)  



But onto more important things!...

Update: Remember our investigator, Vanessa, who is getting baptized on March 18? well, her husband, Tony, called us on Thursday and said that he has decided he wants to get baptized, too!!  So we now have TWO baptisms on the 18, and their four kids will follow shortly after :)  Holy cow, it was such a miracle!  Sometimes I can't even believe all the miracles that Heavenly Father gives to us.  He is just a wonderful God :)  So we have been visiting them a ton, and the entire family came to Stake Conference in Stuttgart yesterday! And Debbie!  So we had 6 investigators at church!  That's about double the size of our branch haha. Good things are happening here in Ulm.

I wanted to share the miracle of the colored markers today. We all know that Stake Conference can be really long, and really boring, especially for children under the age of 12. So we found some cute church coloring booklets for Vanessa and Tony's children to keep them busy during the two hours. Well, we handed them all out, and shortly after, we realized that we forgot to bring crayons or markers for the kids to color them with!!  So we went running around throughout the whole church building (but actually speed walking because we don't run in the House of the Lord) hunting for anything they could use!  Well, we couldn't even find ONE crayon or colored pencil. So we sadly went back to our seats, thinking that it's gonna be a longggg two hours with restless kids. There was a hymn book stand right behind our seats, so we decided to check there as our last hope, and what do you know!  A whole package of 24 colored markers!! Jackpot!!  I thought it was a huge miracle, because probably the Sunday before, a mom with her own little bunch of kids accidentally left their really nice pack of markers at the church, and maybe she didn't even realize till they were driving home. And probably she didn't want to drive all the way back to the church to get them, but she knew it might be a long week at home with her little kiddos if they didn't have any markers to draw with, but she left them there anyway.  And it was for a purpose!  Heavenly Father had a plan for those little markers, just like He has a plan for all of us.

So, next time you accidentally leave your markers at the church, it might just be for a really good reason, that you may never find out!  And next time you wonder why a certain challenge is happening in your life, or why you have to deal with this certain person, or why your google maps led you two hours away from where you actually wanted to go, think of those little markers and how if Heavenly Father had a plan for them, of COURSE He has a plan for you.

And yes, the coloring books and markers were successful at keeping the kids busy the whole two hours! Yay!

So, five things from Sister Thunell's "Most Important Things I've Learned on my Mission" list to think about for the week :)
1. Satan has no power over me unless I give it to him
2. Heavenly Father doesn't require perfection, but He requires that you try your very best, and your very best is different depending on the day
3. Everyone has a story, and everyone has their own problems. There is a reason people do the things they do, and are the way they are. Dig a little deeper.
4. Sarcasm chases the spirit away, and is not becoming of a daughter of God
5. My faith cannot change another person's agency

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy March!

Monday, February 20, 2017

2 Months

Hello everyone! 

Here are some pictures, it was a great week!

On our way to interviews in Stuttgart...my last one before I go home!

Lunch with a member.

Donut Day!

One of my favorite members.

Liebe Grüße,Sister Thunell

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hi

Liebe Familie und Freunde,

Another week has come and gone! They're getting faster I think...

Highlights of the week:
Donnerstag (Thursday) was Donut Tag! We went out to get donuts and smoothies with our cute new friend, and then took a walk down along the Donau and talked about the gospel. It was so great!



On Sunday we got to teach Relief Society. We taught from the teachings of President Hinckley about happiness and optimism! It was so fun, and everyone loved it! I loved studying all about positivity the whole week, and being able to help these sisters in our branch. This is really such a great place to be serving!

Sorry, I don't have a lot to say lately and I can't be bothered to be creative and funny anymore haha, but I wanted to share something I learned this week...
I read the CES devotional by President Nelson this week, and in it he challenges the young adults to study all about Jesus Christ. To read the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and to learn all about the doctrine of Christ, the teachings of Christ, and the things He did and said.  I was just PUNCHED by the Spirit when I read that!  It was a little overwhelming because I already have so much to do, and I didn't really know where to start, but as I read the things President Nelson promised, and as I prayed for help, I was able to start reading the Old Testament this week with a focus on the things Christ did and said.  And I only made it to Genesis 2!!  There is so much feasting going on over here, it's not even funny!  But my testimony of the Savior has just sky rocketed. Since I've been on my mission I have learned so much more about Him, and His gospel, and I have come so much closer to Him and to my Heavenly Father.  I know that this church is true, and I know that Jesus Christ really is our advocate, our best friend, and our Redeemer. 

Love you all so much and have a wonderful week!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell



And also this came today...  

Hi! I'm Sister Campbell! Your daughter's companion right now! I


 just wanted to write that sis thunell is awesome! Really she is such an inspiration and such a great example for me, and it's only been two weeks together! We are literally the same person which is super cool because I haven't met anyone else like that before (: 

She is a spiritual giant and she blows me away every time she shares an insight. She has a heart so big that it's indescribable! When someone she loves or cares for comes to mind, she immediatly serves them or does what Christ would do! I have no doubt she is who she is because of you guys! Thank you! 

I love being her companion and am excited for what the next few weeks hold! You guys also sound awesome! She always talks about you  (: 

-Sister Campbell (:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Foggy Lessons

I'm not a big fan of foggy or rainy days.  I prefer sunshine and clarity.

So I was more than a little disappointed to wake up to yet another day of this...



This kind of weather motivates me to do nothing good, to procrastinate, to sulk, and to spend way too much time taking my mental and emotional temperature, which is never a good thing.  

But after dragging myself out of bed at 5:00am, going through the morning routine with the kids, and then coming home to a dreary, cold, too quiet house, something outside a different window caught my attention.

I tried to get a video of them, but they were too small and too fast to catch...but in the middle of those foggy, half naked trees in my backyard, two of the happiest birds on the planet were singing and chirping and flying around in circles like this was the best day of their whole little lives.  

Isn't it weird how looking out a different window and watching something find total joy and happiness can change your whole perspective?  

I still feel a little bit dull and lifeless today, and I'm not sure there will be much running around happening, but because of those little birds, I did turn on some music and sing a little.  And I did make my bed and run a brush through my hair.  And that's a better start to this day than the one I had planned.

So...Thanks, happy little birds, for sprinkling a little sunshine into my foggy week!  

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rat Hunting

Guten Morgen liebe Familie und Freunde :) 

This was a week FULL of changes, some lasts, and lots of firsts!  It's crazy to think that I only have two and a half months left on my mission!  Time is just flying, but my motivation has spiked, and I feel like this is gonna be the best two and a half months of my whole mission!  My last few days in Solothurn were full of goodbyes, and I definitely miss it a ton. Especially Sister Multamäki!!!  


But Ulm is great, too :) It's super nice to be back in the land of cheap prices, and people who actually speak real German!  Ulm is the smallest area I have served in. Our branch consists of about 14 active people/families!  On Sundays we meet on the second floor of an office building, and church is only two hours long because we don't have enough people to fill Sunday School callings!  But as small as it is, I can just SMELL all the potential boiling in the air!  I am so excited to get to know this little area, and all these amazing people here!  My companion is Sister Campbell.  The list of our similarities could go on and on.  Hawaiian moms who were adopted, oldest child, two sisters and one brother, bold personalities, etc.  We also have lots of differences too, so it should be fun getting to know her.

Story #1 from the week: Sister Campbell told me that there was a giant rat in our Keller my first day here, so I thought it would be good for comp bonding if we went RAT HUNTING!! She wasn't too thrilled about the idea, but as soon as I got all dressed up in my rat-hunting clothes, she joined along. We grabbed some weapons (a broom and an umbrella), a flashlight, and snapped some pictures, and then we were off!!  Rat hunting is actually harder than it sounds, or there just wasn't a rat down there, because I poked into every little nook and cranny and saw NO glowing red eyes. Oh well, it was a good experience!

Story #2: We met up with a potential investigator one night, and got to know him and tried to teach him a little bit about the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ. He seemed super interested, we just had a bit of a language barrier problem. I was definitely feeling the spirit during the lesson, and I hoped he was, too! So we made a return appointment for next week, and then he walked us down the street before we parted ways. I literally have no idea what even happened because it was so fast, but all of a sudden he had hugged and kissed both of us, and was going for Sister Campbell's face again! So we just started shoving and running away!  I was half laughing and half crying because I was so confused, but I guess he wasn't actually interested in the gospel.  Darn it.

Story #3: We have an investigator here who is the cutest thing ever!!  She has had a super rough life, but little by little she is starting to believe in and trust God.  This week she asked us if we could call her every night to help her say her nightly prayers.  So at 9:15 every night we call, and first we say a prayer, and then she says a prayer.  She has the most innocent and pure heart, and it is so amazing to see the DESIRE and LONGING she has to get to know Heavenly Father.  It has been the best part of my day every day here so far :)

This week I have been worrying a lot about going home.  It's coming up soon, and I don't have very specific plans, and I'm scared of being "trunky" on my mission.  But I have found lots of comfort in reading the scriptures.  I've noticed that a lot of the time I don't receive answers in the scriptures based on the words I am reading.  I find answers BECAUSE I am reading!  When I am doing the things that Heavenly Father has commanded me to do, and I am in a place to be able to receive personal revelation, He pours it out to me!  It's a cool thing to experience, and I hope that when you read the scriptures this week you pay attention not only to the words you are reading, but also to the things you are thinking and feeling. 

Schöne Woche!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

Monday, January 30, 2017

Background of Sunshine

Hello everyone! 

This has been another week full of some crazy ups and downs, but the one thing that has stayed constant for me is my background of sunshine. Happiness is something that I have really come to be SO GRATEFUL for! It is something that I definitely used to take for granted. But now, no matter how dark or gloomy my days get, I can always see the little rays of my background of sunshine peeking through! It's the best feeling ever! And I know that those little rays of sunshine come from my Savior, Jesus Christ. 

This week we did a spiritual thought with Karyna's little boys (she's our super awesome investigator who is getting baptized soon) and we talked about how we can all be Jesus's Sunbeams this week! We sang the primary song "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," and then drew pictures of how we can be better sunbeams! So I would invite you all to think of how you can be a better sunbeam this week :)


Transfers also came this week, and I'm going to Ulm in Germany! This will probably be my last area, so I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for me! It's sad to leave beautiful Switzerland, but I guess it's time to move on! 


I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell