Monday, October 31, 2016

One Year Down

Hello people. 

Highlights of the week: I have officially been on my mission for a year, I had mono, we ate a humongous turkey, and the mission life is still carrying on. Rough days, great moments, lots of tender mercies, and plenty of exhaustion. Same old, same old. 

Love y'all and have a great week!

Sister Thunell

That was the email we got from Savannah this week...her general email to the whole world along with a picture of the humongous turkey they ate which happened to be the only picture she took this week.

I knew she was in a bad mood when she emailed me at 9:00 this morning, "Do I have to send a general email this week?  I don't even want to."  I told her people would probably worry a little if they didn't get anything, but that she certainly didn't have to send one if she wasn't feeling up to it.  Instead of taking my advice, she opted to send those four sentences up there.  And I've been fielding questions of love and concern from family and friends for the last 24 hours.  But it's fine.  Because some days are bad, even when you're a missionary.  Which is what I wrote back to her.  

Hi Mouser, 

Sorry you're having a crappy day.  Don't be too hard on yourself about not being constantly UP.  Just because you're a missionary or a member of the church or a mom or whoever doesn't ensure that you're never going to be susceptible to bad days. And just because you have a ton of blessings doesn't mean you're required to always be happy and sunny. ☀️ Some days you just aren't. And that's ok. 
Because the difference between today's bad days and your bad days two years ago is what you're doing with them. You're not quitting. You're still in this and you still love it.  You're not hiding out in your apartment instead of working. You're not taking anyone's head off even though you're frustrated. And that's the Atonement working in your life. 
You (and I) are never going to be like the steady, consistent and reliable people of the world. We're sometimes going to cry torrential tears even on days when it looks like everything should be fine. We're sometimes going to get mad at dumb little annoying things even when they didn't bother us at all last week. And it might not make any sense to the steady, consistent people in the world, but that's ok. 
Instead of longing to be steady and consistent, though, you have to learn to love the great things about your roller coaster-ness.  You don't miss a single miracle when it comes, no matter how small or trivial it might seem to the rest of the world.  You breathe in every single detail of life whether it's sunny or cloudy or raining cats and dogs.  You LOVE the crap out of the things and the people around you. Your happy far exceeds the average bear's happy.  And those are all amazing blessings unique to the roller coasters in the world.  
Just wait this out because what you know for sure is that right behind this draggy day, the clouds are going to part and all of a sudden you'll realize that you're sitting in the middle of the most glorious sunset that Heavenly Father has provided to end this day and give you back some hope and joy.  And then you'll love the whole world all over again.    

Love you heeps!


Thursday, October 27, 2016


My Wednesdays are insanely busy lately.

I get Craig and the girls out of the house by 6:15 and then take McKay to school at 7:00.  And then I hurry back home to throw on a dress and jump back in the car to make the 45 minute drive to the temple for the 9:00 session.   

I'm usually home by 12:00 to have a quick lunch, unless I have errands to run and I forget to eat...that happens a lot lately, too.

Then at 2:30, I meet the missionaries at the church and we visit Miss Ida and Miss Rose.  Miss Rose is 84 and Miss Ida turned 91 last month.  I've been going with the missionaries on these visits for a little over a month, I think.  They are delightful, and even though I'm almost always super tired and draggy at that point in the day, something about visiting those two women breathes life into me and makes me totally forget that I have a million more things to do.  

This is Miss Ida...  
She was born in 1925.  And holy cow, is this woman a wealth of life experience!  The sisters always want to teach her about the gospel, but I always want to just ask her questions and hear about her life!  This week she told us about being a member of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham her whole life, and how she was supposed to be in that building when it was bombed in 1963.  She told us about having to sit in the back of the bus, if they were even allowed on the buses at all, and how they didn't get to do things like window shop or meet their friends for lunch.  They just worked.  Miss Ida didn't participate in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, but she had friends who did and she remembers vividly the effects to the march on the Birmingham community.  She has lived so much life and seen so much hardship and tragedy, but she only talks about how God has been instrumental in bringing her and her family through all of it, and the joy and peace that she finds in the Savior.  

We usually spend an hour with each of these wonderful women, but it's never enough time for me.  

Then I drop the sisters back off at the church and the reality of what's left to do creeps back in somewhere on that 20 minute drive back home.  

People are usually waiting for dinner at home, which we scarf down, and then we hurry to gather up scout things and YW stuff and jump back in the car at 6:00 for youth activities which start at 6:30, and Craig's meeting with the missionaries which starts at 7:00.  

It's usually 8:30 by the time we leave the building and 9:00 before we're home and finished for the day, at least those of us who don't have homework.  And I'm almost always completely exhausted.  But there isn't one part of this day that I would eliminate.  

I love the quiet peace of the temple in the morning.  I love to connect with those sweet, wise, wonderful women in the afternoon.  And I love the bustle of activity at the church on Wednesday nights.  

Somehow, even though I run from start to finish every Wednesday, I manage to have what I need to get through the entire day...and to still be smiling when we leave the church.  How grateful I am for the strengthening, enabling power of the Atonement, for the opportunity to do things I never thought I could do, and for the blessing to have one entire day each week filled with service.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

I Stand All Amazed


This was probably one of the best weeks I've had here in Augsburg in a while :) 

Tuesday I went to the doctor to get a blood test, and HOLY COW I was so scared! I do not know "doctor German."  And I hate needles, and especially getting blood drawn.  But I survived, step by step, because I prayed that I would just be able to make it through 20 minutes, and then 20 minutes later I prayed again that I could make it smoothly through the next 20 minutes!  And it worked :)  Prayer is real, people!  Heavenly Father is PERFECTLY aware of us and all our tiny little problems and concerns.  Results from the test came two days later, and I cant understand any of those huge doctor words in ENGLISH much less in German!  But I guess I have some sort of infection and it's making me constantly exhausted?  Luckily it has nothing to do with my iron levels and the doctor said that all I can do is let it run its course and get out!  But I've had it for about 5 months, so no idea what kind of an infection it is. 

Tuesday night we went to a family's home and they made us WIENERSCHNITZEL!  For those who don't know, there is a huge difference between schnitzel and wienerschnitzel. And this sister is Austrian so she made it the right way! ;)  It was delicious, and after about two hours we were kind of wrapping up the conversations and trying to finish up our spiritual thought and then get on our way to do some more missionary work, and then they pulled out Monopoly and it was game over...haha. We were there for the rest of the night! No escaping! First time playing Monopoly in German, and it was super fun!  

We had a TON of other member appointments this week, and they all went so well, but I can't tell about all of them so here is my favorite:

On Saturday we went to a sweet couple's house for dinner.  The whole evening felt like I was in some kind of Pride and Prejudice movie, but it was so cozy and friendly at the same time. :) They are seriously two of the most lovely, kindest, and wonderful people I have met on my mission!  We had some awesome conversations, are delicious and very fancy food, and fed some cute reindeers in their backyard!!  Then we shared a General Conference talk with them, and they said that it just so happened to be the one talk they didn't get to see during Conference, and it was the perfect message for them!  We are all good enough :) We can always repent, and we are always loved no matter what. I can't even describe the beautiful spirit that I felt throughout that whole appointment, but it was honestly close to what I feel when I walk around the temple grounds. So they are our two new investigators, and please keep them in your prayers!!  

We were also trying so hard to set a baptismal date with our cute other investigator this week, but she is having eye surgery soon so it's been kinda hard to try and sit down and meet with her. So keep her in your prayers, too! 

Today for pday we are going to Dachau (the concentration camp) so that's why I'm writing my weekly email before we do that because I'll probably be depressed after.  

But just know that Heavenly Father truly is there for us always, that He loves us no matter what, no matter how many mistakes we make, and no matter how hard we try but fail. We are all good enough!!!  There is no such thing as not being good enough to pray, or not being good enough to go to church, or not being good enough to repent. Doesn't exist :) 


Love y'all!

Sister Thunell

Sunday, October 23, 2016


About a week ago, I went with the youth to a service activity in Ashville, AL (that's about 40 miles from where I live.)  We spent the day moving bricks and clearing fallen trees out of a field and moving things from one side of a very large pasture to another.  The activity was well attended and a huge success and everyone had a great time.  

Because I have this Church Service Missionary calling (and because I'm not a huge fan of doing work outside that requires gloves and shovels) I decided to use my time at this activity as a photo opportunity and take pictures of the event.  And since I didn't want anyone to wonder what I was doing out there wandering in the pasture with my camera instead of helping, I wore my name tag.  

I actually did end up helping quite a bit and I was pretty empowered by that.  I also got some amazing pictures of these kids who worked so hard for several hours without complaining even once. 

When I got home that night, though, I realized I didn't have my name tag and I also realized I had probably lost it somewhere in that giant field.  I love that name tag and even if I don't wear it very often and even though I won't be a church photographer forever, I definitely want to keep that tiny missionary reminder with me forever.  So I was heartbroken when I realized it was gone.  Craig and the kids offered to drive out to the field with me and look for it, but a busy week and the inconvenience of driving all the way out there prevented that search and rescue mission.  

But then, today as I was getting ready for yet another service opportunity...this one not requiring my camera or my name tag, a tiny thought occurred to me to check in my camera bag one more time.  "Do you know how many times I've checked through that bag?"  (that's what I actually said to that little voice...)  I had already checked my entire bag, emptied out its contents (which have still not found their way back into my bag,) and checked the whole van, and found nothing.  

But...that little voice is always worth listening to, so I checked my camera bag again.  

And guess what...I found it!  

It had slipped under that fluffy insert I put in there to hold my lenses.  So even though I had reached down the sides and looked in every pocket the last 27 times I looked, I hadn't thought to take the insert out.  

I am so grateful we didn't have to hunt in that giant field.  I'm so grateful to be reunited with my name tag.  And I'm especially grateful for that little voice that always comes when I need it.  Heavenly Father is absolutely aware of each one of us and listens to even the smallest petitions of our hearts.  I know that for sure.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Just Another Week in Europe

Wow this week really flew by! People really weren't kidding when they said that time goes faster when you get closer to the end of your mission!  This week was full of some ups, lots of downs, and a couple emergency cartons of ice cream. But of course, Heavenly Father just poured out His blessings abundantly upon me every time I turned to Him for help! 

 On Tuesday we had Zone Training in Munich, and I was really stressing out because 
1. We had to get flu shots. President Kohler told us that he wasn't gonna make us get them, but he STRONGLY ENCOURAGED it. So I decided I wasn't gonna get one because I hate shots, and the one and only time I got a flu shot was also the one and only time I've had the flu. But then I looked at a picture of Jesus and told him I wasn't gonna get one (because that's what Sister Abram taught me to do when I needed to make a decision like that) and He said that I should probably get one :( I had to. 
And 2. because I had a little assignment to present for Zone Training, and for some reason that was making me super nervous! But everything went fine, mostly because I just asked Heavenly Father to take away my anxiousness so I could just get done what needed to be done!  It worked :)

After Zone Training I went to Rosenheim with Sister Phelps on tausch!  It was a weird tausch, but I went to Austria!!  Well, almost :) Rosenheim is right on the border of Austria, and we went to a member's house to do a service project, and she literally lives in the cutest little snuggly German cottage up in the Alps (dream home) and I could SMELL Austria we were so close :). I miss Austria! And the mountains! 

After tausch for a couple days, Sister Howsmon and I were back together and we RAN to a dinner appointment at a member's house in Augsburg! This week was full of lots of running. And planking.  But I may or may not be turning into one of those weird people who actually likes to exercise...we'll see.  Anywho, it was a great dinner appointment, and we challenged them to give out a Book of Mormon to someone as a family, and we role played a bazillion different times how they could bring it up with one of their friends or neighbors and then give it to them :)  it went really well and they all loved it! Thursday we had sport abend and we played hockey in the gym!  Lots of people showed up finally so it was super fun! And we made everyone plank with us for like 3 minutes...haha!

Sunday was one of those rough days.  Bad hair day, dirndl Sunday but my dirndl was all wrinkly, low self-esteem day, you know one of those "I don't want to talk to anyone and I just want to cry into a cup of hot chocolate" days.  But church was happening so I had to get over myself and be a good missionary.  Lots of complainy conversations with Heavenly Father happened in my head, but He told me to chill and so I did.  After sacrament meeting I felt a little better, and then ALL OF A SUDDEN THE MANNA STARTED FALLING FROM HEAVEN.  Members swarmed us and asked us if we had time to meet with them this coming week, and we literally made 7 appointments in the hallway before Sunday School! That was a normal occurrence in Graz, and I've been trying so hard to work better with these stubborn members here, but until yesterday it was slim pickins!  So hallelujah, and thank you for the tender mercies Heavenly Father!  

We had a super awesome lesson with a sweet sister after church about the Restoration, and I guess all of a sudden she wants to be baptized, so keep her in your prayers!  We are shooting for December 11! :) 

I love you all and I hope you can look a little harder and dig a little deeper to see the many blessings the Lord gives to us every single second of every single day :) schöne Woche!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

Monday, October 10, 2016

Motivation and Miracles

Hi family and friends!! 

This week was a week of miracles!  We had a goal this week of teaching 8 sonstige lessons, and by Thursday we still had zero!  So many appointments had fallen through, which was disappointing, but we were determined to do everything that we could to make these 8 random lessons happen!  So we hit the streets with tons of faith and started talking to people!  I don't know why we were so pumped about all this finding we were doing, but we were!  And it paid off!  By Saturday we had taught 7 lessons about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to random people on the street, and talked to about a million more than that! Sunday came and we knew we needed one more lesson!  So we went out in the freezing cold, determined to not come home until we had taught a lesson!  Well, I was reminded of how sometimes Heavenly Father requires us to do all the work before we see the blessings. We had been outside for about an hour and a half, and tried talking to sooo many people, but still nothing!  Then, I decided to stop one more random man and then we were gonna call it quits so we could get warmed up and do our studies.  This man happened to be the chosen one to listen to our last sonstige lesson we needed to hit our weekly goal!  And fun fact: he's from the place where Noah's ark landed after the flood! we talked to him for probably 30 minutes, and in the end he told us he would come to church next Sunday!  So keep your fingers crossed and pray that he comes next week!  Heavenly Father truly blesses those who put their faith in Him and then GO TO WORK! :)  I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary.

On Tuesday we had a dinner appointment with the elders at my favorite family from Australia's home. We had a planking contest first thing, because Sister Howsmon and I are obsessed with planking now, and we totally won!  Haha...practicing every night pays off! 

Then after dinner we shared a spiritual thought that I stole from my dad :)  Each of us started playing super loud music on our iPads, and then we just started the spiritual thought like normal and asked them to share some experiences that they have had with feeling/following the voice of the Holy Ghost.  Well, obviously all the music was super distracting, and no one could really hear each other, and they were all super confused!  So we decided to get rid of some "worldly voices" and turn one iPad off.  Then, because it was still distracting, we turned off some "distracting media" and then we turned off our "constantly being glued to our phones,"  Then we told them to be very quiet and listen, and they would hear something very special.  On one of the iPad's we had President Monson's voice from a general conference talk playing, and finally after a little while of intent listening, everyone could hear it!  We explained how this is like how we need to have more time set aside in our lives to pause and listen to the Spirit and ponder and pray, and how distracting this world can be!  It was super awesome and they loved it :)

This week I have learned a lot about repentance and the atonement.  I feel like that was a huge topic in this past General Conference, and as a mission we are all reading the New Testament, so it has been the perfect opportunity for me to dig a little deeper and learn a little more!  I know with all my heart that Jesus Christ died for us because He loves us and wants us to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.  I was reading a little bit about Barabbas, and I found it interesting that Jesus Christ took the place of Barabbas by being crucified, while Barabbas was set free.  He, the perfect Son of God, was crucified to save an imperfect sinner.  And that's the message of the entire atonement for you and for me. Jesus Christ died so that we, imperfect, mistake-making, natural men, can be cleansed, saved, forgiven, and whole.  I am so grateful that I get to share this message of hope with these people of Germany!  What a unique time of my life :) 

Well, I love you all, and I hope you have wonderful weeks!  We went to Neuschwanstein again for pday today, so here are some pictures!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Busy Days

If someone had warned me last year about all the things that would be waiting for me to do when I got to Birmingham, I don't think I would have been as anxious to move.  Instead of all that wallowing in self pity, I should have been taking bubble baths and enjoying my quiet house.  It's too bad you can't tank up on things like free time and save it for the times when you're up to your ears in stuff.  

In the four-ish months that we've been here, we've been inundated with opportunities to serve and to do things outside our comfort zones that have pushed us in ways that some of us (mostly me) didn't really want to be pushed.  

I'm pretty sure I've done more in the last four months here than I did in the entire 6 years we lived in Allen.  Since July (when the ward discovered us) I've given two talks; played the piano for four musical numbers (and there's a 5th coming up on October23rd;) taught three YW lessons and three Gospel Principles lessons; fed the missionaries a billion times; driven YW countless miles to and from camps, dances and youth temple trips; hosted multiple Family Home Evening groups, presidency meetings, a youth pre-dance party, and a Bishop's Youth discussion in my home; planned New Beginnings; visited the sick, the elderly and the hoarders on a weekly basis; and housed two missionaries in my basement for 6 weeks.  And right before Conference, the Bishop asked me to be on the Activities Committee to help plan both the Fall Festival and the ward Christmas party.  

And those are just the things on MY list.  Craig and the kids have ventured much farther out into discomfort than I have even considered going.   

I have a feeling this is just the beginning for all of us, though...  

This ward is small and a little bit flailing and not at all unified in their efforts.  It's super frustrating when I think about all the ways things aren't working during the week, but then I get to church on Sunday or I sit in someone's house and talk to them, and I instantly love the heck out of this dysfunctional little ward.  

Last week, before General Conference, I kept thinking that there was no possible way to keep up this pace...and also fit in necessities of life like doing laundry and taking regular showers.  And as I kept praying for balance, I kept getting more assignments and more little promptings to do things like walk with Gretchen on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and make that weekly trek to the Temple a priority, and be available for these missionaries who live in my house.

Everyday, I would make my usual list, like I used to in Allen, of ALL the things I wanted to get done that day, and every night I would look at a full list of things still left undone.  All the things I used to be really good at, I now can barely keep up with.  Like laundry and showers.

So, I waited and prepared for that answer to prayer that came in the form of a Conference talk giving me permission to say no to some things, or to stop worrying about laundry, or to just give up and move back to Allen.  

Guess what I heard instead...
"The opportunity to serve is one of the great blessings of membership in the Church.  As we serve, we draw closer to God.  We come to know Him in ways that we otherwise might not.  Our faith in Him increases.  Our problems are put into perspective.  Life becomes more satisfying.  Our love for others increases, as well as our desire to serve.  
The natural man or woman in all of us is inclined to excuse ourselves from serving for reasons such as "I am not ready." "I have more to learn." "I'm tired and I need a break."  or "I am simply too busy."
Accepting and fulfilling a calling is an act of faith...
Jesus Christ, our great Exemplar, gave His life to His Father's work.  He literally became the servant of us all.  Through Jesus Christ and the power we receive through His Atonement, we can also serve.  He will help us."  - Carl B Cook
I feel totally and completely inadequate to do all the things that are required of me in this place.  I have never in my entire life been a member missionary.  I've never invited anyone to come to church or to read the Book of Mormon.  I have no idea how to be balanced.  I'm pretty sure I've never actually served anyone outside my own family.   And I had just barely gotten used to the great plan I made up in my head that I would forever be part of the support staff and never the actual leader of anything.  

But guess what else I heard in Conference...
"Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work.  Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor.  Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts..." - Kazuhiro Yamashita
So that's my plan...Be ambitious for Christ.  Stop complaining.  And have faith that He'll help me with the stuff I definitely cannot currently do.

And despite all my complaining, the greatest tender mercy came in the form of a completely uninterrupted, quiet day with nothing that required me to leave my house.  So I've managed to walk 4.5 miles, read my scriptures, listen to a crap ton of awesome non-missionary appropriate music, catch up on laundry and the other million things on my list, write a blog post, AND take a shower.  #success  

The floods of activity start first thing tomorrow and last pretty much through the rest of my life, I think, so I'm glad I at least have clean hair.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Catching Up

You know that feeling when you've missed so many days posting on your blog that the thought of going back to catch up is completely overwhelming and so you keep putting it off for one more day and one more day?  Yeah...that's where I've been for the last two weeks.  One day turned into 14 days, and now I've had so many inspirations come and go that I don't even know which thing to start with.  

My days are insane and filled with interruptions, most of them happy ones, but distractions from my routine nonetheless.  I can't quite fit all the things into a day that I used to fit in.  I have to sneak in things like intentional MUSIC when I'm driving because if I don't, then I get to the end of a week and realize that five whole days have gone by and I've only listened to that mindless stuff that's on the radio.  And there certainly is a TON of driving time in this state.  Holy cow, everything is so far away here!  

So here's what's new in the last two weeks...

McKay now wears glasses...which means he can now SEE.  Um, I think he's been telling me for a LONG time that he couldn't read the board, but I had no idea he was serious!  Now that we're settled, I decided I probably needed to address that concern of his, and poof!  The world's cutest 13-year-old is now even cuter!

My mother-in-law inspired her whole family to read the entire Book of Mormon before the end of the year.  I'm sure I'll have to write more about this because it's been so great for so many millions of reasons, but for now, I'll just let you know that Megan and I accepted her challenge and we are happily feasting on the words of Christ every day.  

I've become one of those endorphin junkies.  I started walking in my neighborhood at the end of the summer and I liked it just fine, but I wasn't jumping out of bed or anything to get out and walk.  And then something shifted a couple of weeks ago.  One day, I realized that if I listened to the scriptures while I was walking, I could check two things off my list in the same hour.  I had gotten behind in my reading and I needed to read about 6 chapters to get back on track, so I just kept walking until I finished them.  But then I had to walk back home, so I listened to a couple of Conference talks and then some music, and all of a sudden my FitBit was buzzing on my wrist to notify me that I had walked 10,000 steps!  That's 4.5 miles!  So the next day, I did it again.  And then I decided to just add in the extra half mile and make it an even 5 miles a day...because why not?  This week I wondered if I could walk the same distance in less time.  And guess what!  I totally can.  

I kinda like looking at all those little green circles at the end of the day.  

...I also got this cute giraffe award...whatever that is.

I've made it to the Temple twice without getting lost or showing up too late to get into a session, so that's been a huge success!  I love being back into a regular weekly temple schedule.  

Um...I also accidentally dyed my hair black.  Like super black.  I think it's starting to fade back to it's normal color...or maybe I'm just getting used to it...

That's not everything, but it's at least a good start.  Hopefully the act of coming here and typing words will get me back into the habit.  There's stuff to write later about sister missionaries and General Conference and Young Women's stuff, but those will be longer posts, so they'll have to wait...

Thanks for being patient, and not giving up.  

Monday, October 3, 2016


Hello everyone!! 

Another crazy week here in Germany has come and gone! So yes, my birthday at Oktoberfest was literally one of the best birthdays I have ever had :) basically the whole zone was there, and we all kept running into each other and having such a great time! The real Oktoberfest is not exactly what I expected it to be, but trotzdem super fun :) 

Wednesday was transfer day, and we got elders here in Augsburg! 

So most of the week has been spent showing them around, bringing them to our appointments with members and investigators, and updating them on all the important stuff they need to know! (z.B. Don't go finding in the park with all the weirdies in it. You might get kidnapped). 

Wednesday evening we went to our favorite Peruvian family's house and ate some really yummy Peruvian food! Then we played some games and answered some of their questions about temple marriage! Sister Howsmon and I showed her pictures of our parents, and she was like "did they get married in the temple?" And we said yes, and then she said, "yeah I can tell. They look happier!" So hopefully now we can teach her husband about temples, too and they will have the desire to eventually be sealed together as a family!! Thanks mommy and daddy for being sealed in the temple so I can show my investigators and teach them how their families can be together forever like mine will be! :) 

Thursday we went to a member's house with the elders for lunch. We were playing some games with the little girls to keep them occupied while the food was being made, and at one point one of them asked me if I was good at math because she knew a really fun math game! I figured that a 9 year old math game couldn't be too hard, so I said yes!

Livvi: "okay what is 1+1?"
Me: (psh I've totally got this) "2"
Livvi: "2+2?"
Me: (wow this is an easy game) "4"
Livvi: "10 times 10?"
Me: (wow I'm so good at math) "20"
Livvi: "umm no. Well I guess you're not very good at math so we are gonna find a simpler game for you to play okay?"

I guess I'm not as good at math as I thought!  But it was a fun appointment :) 

Friday we had an awesome lesson with our awesome newly baptized member! We were trying to read The Book of Mormon with him and teach him a few things, but he's already read the chapter we chose apparently like 50 times, so he ended up just giving us a pep talk the whole time about how we are such great people for giving away a piece of the prime of our lives to basically be scorned and ridiculed in the name of Jesus!  Imagine a tall black man who just got converted to the gospel preaching to the missionaries about how they can be better missionaries and how they are doing a good thing and to be proud of what they're doing and to not let anyone pass them by without the name of Christ coming out of their lips!  And that's what was happening. It was intense but I sooo needed that!  Such a pump up :) 

...and speaking of pump-ups, GENERAL CONFERENCE!  Because of the time difference here, we watch the Relief Society Broadcast on Saturday afternoon, and the Saturday Morning Session live on Saturday night, and then we watch the Priesthood Session, Saturday Afternoon Session, and Sunday Morning Session all day on Sunday, and then we are just left up to ourselves to find and watch the Sunday Morning Session later.  But man, it was such a great weekend. The whole time, I was just thinking that this is literally how the Nephites felt when King Benjamin was giving his really long speech to them! My eyes were glued to the speakers, and I didn't want to get up to go to the bathroom or even whisper anything to Sister Howsmon because I was afraid I would miss something! Every single thing I heard in General Conference was exactly what I needed, and I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows ALL of His children perfectly :)

I was a little worried as General Conference started because I didn't have any specific questions that I needed/wanted to be answered! I had been thinking all week and nothing was coming! So I just sat and listened with faith, and questions that I forgot I had from a couple transfers ago, or questions that I didn't even know I had, were just answered like jelly beans falling from the sky! One after another! I just sat in awe, with my mouth wide open to catch all these jelly beans, and thanked Heavenly Father the whole time for his love and mercy :) 

One question in particular I remember being answered was from a few transfers ago back in Graz. I wanted to know why we are commanded to have the faith to move mountains, and how I could keep trying to convince myself that I have faith to move mountains, when we weren't even getting anywhere with the progress of our investigators, and we had no baptismal dates!  I remember going into multiple lessons and praying soo hard, "okay Heavenly Father. Here I am, your official mountain-mover. Let's get this thing rolling."  And then NOTHING would happen, or the lesson would go awful, or the investigator wouldn't even be home. I was always so frustrated with the concept of that kind of faith, because it never seemed to work for me!  

And then yesterday, President Uchtdorf gave the greatest talk ever about faith :) "There are two things faith CANNOT do. It cannot violate another person's agency, and it cannot force our will upon God."  WELL, THAT'S GOOD TO KNOW!  

I am just so grateful for answers to prayers, for the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, and for General Conference. 

I love you all, and I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

(Companion planks after companion prayer every idea where she got that awesome idea!)