Monday, April 17, 2017

This is the End

Dear lovely family and friends,

Well, this is my very last email home as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What a weird feeling. I have learned and changed so much over these past 18 months, and I am so grateful for every single second of this once in a lifetime adventure! The good times and the bad, because all have combined together to blend into the unique and delicious smoothie of who I am today! My testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ, has grown SO MUCH, and my love for this gospel and God's children has also just sprouted like a bean plant. I can't believe that next week it will all be over. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in the Dallas airport writing in my journal before I flew off to the MTC! But, now it's time to move on to another chapter of my life, and luckily the missionary work doesn't have to end! It's just different! Thank you all so much for your support and love throughout this last year and a half.

I want you all to know that I have a testimony of this gospel. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I've read it three times on my mission and each time I finish, the answer is the same. It's true!! I know with all my heart that it's true! And that it can change your life if you will let it. I know that God loves all of His children, and that He has given us a prophet on the earth today to lead and to guide us through these perilous times! I am so thankful for President Thomas S. Monson, and the sacrifices he has given to follow Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he really did see God and Jesus Christ appear to him, and that he really did translate the Book of Mormon! If you don't know that 100% for yourself, go find out. Don't shy away from the truth or the facts, or from praying to Heavenly Father and asking the direct source. Uncover every corner, do your research, and have the righteous desire to know the truth and gain your own testimony. I know that PRAYER WORKS. Get on your knees and pray. It will work—according to your faith and desire to do His will—but it will work. I also know that the primary song "Scripture Power" is SO TRUE. The scriptures bring us power to get through the days and weeks. My mom once said that reading in the scriptures is like drinking water. You can't just do it all at once and then be good for a couple days. It's a DAILY thing we need to do for our SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL. Don't let your spirit die of thirst for that knowledge and light contained in the scriptures.

I have learned so many things on my mission. A new language, how to get along with lots of different types of people, why you shouldn't buy purple toilet paper, the power of Satan—but also the stronger and more enduring power of God, what my favorite European chocolate is, the importance of good communication, how to be more self reliant, why having my own testimony is so important, etc.  I've met some wonderful people who have changed my whole life for the better, and also some crazies that need Jesus. I'm so grateful for this time that I've been able to give up a part of my life to focus on helping others and serving God. I've been able to push and fight and smash my way through the thorns of trials and discouragement, and now I can come out on the other side of the rose patch and look back to see the beautiful roses and fruits of my labor!

I love you all so much! If you're interested, my new email at home will be:

Have a great week!
D&C 128:22 "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!"

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hallo wieder

Hallo Leute! 

This week was another crazy roller coaster, my mind is just swarming with things, it's hard to really get a hold of all these emotions I'm feeling lately. Going home is weird! This week was rough, and full of lots of challenges. I feel like I didn't really do my best this week, but that's okay because there's always next week! That's the great thing about the atonement :) it gives us the chance to shake off the old, and start BRAND NEW each week after we take the sacrament! And that's all possible because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Don't forget Him in this Easter season. Enjoy the eggs and the bunnies and the beautiful weather and nature blooming, but don't forget who created it all. Don't forget what He did for us, and how much He loves us, and that He's there right next to us every step of the way. Let Him lead you and guide you, and give you PEACE.

Well, I love you all and hope you have a great week! Here's my five most important things I've learned on my mission for the week:

1. I am a problem-solver, but sometimes people just don't want their problems to be solved, or sometimes they need to solve their own problems.
2. My parents are so wise and have done/continue to do so much for me
3. Juice everything you can out of every person/experience in your life
4. Don't live with your regrets. Move on, CHANGE, forgive yourself, accept the atonement of Christ.
5. Never let a task to be done or a goal to be accomplished become more important than a person to be loved.

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

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!



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 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


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