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!