Elder Michael Thornton

Elder Michael Thornton
24 August 2011 to August 2013

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sixth Letter Home 26 September 2011

Hey family, I don't have very much time today, but I love all the Emails you sent me. I only get an hour on Mondays to Email, and the Library has been packed all day. P-day ends at 5:00. I'm glad Disneyland was fun, It sounds like everyone had a blast. This week has been awesome. Besides the regular comical run-ins with rednecks, hippies, and anti-mormons, we had a very productive week. 

We have another investigator on date for baptism in October, and we are super stoked. We committed her during the Doctrine of Christ lesson. The spirit was really strong, and she is going to take work off for the next three Sundays so she can be baptized.  I love it when the Spirit teaches the lesson. Teaching the Gospel, and inviting others to experience the same joy that I have felt from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes up for all the door slamming, snide comments,  and homesickness that accompanies missionary work. I love being a missionary. 

We ran into this crazy dude the other day, and all he does is sit outside on the main street in Port Townsend with white boards that are anti-everything lol. This guy has conspiracy theories: He is anti-religious, anti-government, you name it, he has an argument against it. He is ridiculous. 

We had an awesome experience on Friday. It was 8:00PM, too dark to go tracting, and we didn't have any appointments. We remembered our Mission President, President Weaver, instructed us to createMormon.org profiles, so we decided we would go to a members home and work on our profiles. Long story short, we got a refferal from them about a non-member family that needed help moving the next day. We showed up at the home of the woman that needed help moving and were surprised to see that we were the only young guys there. The woman who owned the house was 90 years old, and it was just her and her daughters who were all in their 40s. We helped them move everything they couldn't lift, which was pretty much everything lol. This woman had like 8 desks, 5 couches, a marble table. Heavy stuff like that. The family of the old woman was super grateful, and they invited us to come to their family restaurant for free that night. It was a really good little Italian place, and the menu was really expensive. The best part was, after we ate, the family thanked us, and asked for our phone number.(This never happens) They told us that we were sent from heaven, and we were changing lives. Then they told us that we had changed their opinion about missionaries and about our church. I hope that we will be invited back to teach the lessons, but regardless, it was an awesome experience. It was a testimony to me that when you are obedient, and you show the Lord that you are willing to do what he has asked of you, he blesses you. I had been praying all week that we would find someone to teach the gospel to, and we were given the opportunity to teach through our actions. I love this Gospel, and I love being a servant of my Heavenly Father.
Amber and Brad, thanks so much for that package! I love Beef Jerky and Cliff Bars.  Haha that totally made my day. I hope everything is going well for you. I love you alot, and I hope you have a great week. Sorry I can't write more, I'm out of time.
Angela and Trevor, I'm so glad you had such a good time in Disney Land. I get your letters, but I don't have much time to write, sorry about that. I love hearing from you though. Bella and Xander are super awesome. I was trying not to laugh out loud about Xander's car noises lol. I'm in Library, so that probably wouldn't be good. Haha. Trevor that Uzi sounds way fun. I'm glad you guys are moving to Colorado to run the business. I think that will be really good. I love you alot, and I hope you have a great week.
I got to go, sorry this letter is so short. I wish I could write more.

Elder Thornton

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fifth Letter Home 19 September 2011

Hey! How are things? 

This week has been really long. My companion says the first week of transfers always are. I have gone to bed exhausted every night this week. We eat twice a day, I'll usually have a bowl of cheerios for breakfast or a peanut butter sandwich, and then I'll have the same for dinner at 9:30PM (haha). The eight pounds I gained in the MTC should make up for the lack of sustenance this week lol. The Lord provides though; people have given us fruit off of their trees, they have wild black berrie bushes here, and we have also been given chili and cookies. The ward doesn't have a dinner calender here. So far, it's the non-members who have been sharing their food with us lol.  That is okay though. I was finally able to buy groceries, so now I'll have food. 

We finally got into a member's home on Sunday, and they were really nice to us. The husband is a member, but he is struggling with his testimony. Elder Andreasen and I bore our testimonies about the Book of Mormon, and related spiritual experiences that we've had while reading it. He was happy, and I think we helped encourage him to keep reading and praying about the truthfulness of the book. Every opportunity that I have to teach or testify makes up for all the hard things about being a missionary. We've been antied twice so far: anti-Mormon sentiment; the second time the guy opened his door and said, "I want you to know that you'll never have Celestial babies, and you'll never have your own planet..." Then he slammed his door. Haha, it was ridiculous. These people are pretty funny. 

We get a lot of complements about our dedication and character, but we also have people tell us to get lost and get a life lol. I actually really like tracking, and when ever someone does talk to us it makes up for all the others. No one wants to talk about the Gospel though, which is kind of frustrating. The Unitarian faith is really big here, and because the people are very "liberal" they don't want any form of defined religion or deity. We get mistaken for the Jehovah's witnesses a lot also, but I think people are starting to like us better because we aren't pushy. The JWs are really dramatic, and they try to scare people into joining their church.  You wouldn't believe how many people we've run into that have Book of Mormons, and won't read them. When we ask them why not, they say they have learned everything they need to know about the church from wikipedia, and then they change the subject. The Book of Mormon is powerful, and if the devil can keep people from reading it, he can stifle their entire progression. I love being a missionary, and even though it is really hard, I'm having a lot of fun. 

I confirmed a guy and gave him the Holy Ghost on Sunday, and we taught primary. It was super fun. Our assignment was to show the kids this movie called feed my lambs, and then teach them about missionary work... that didn't work out very well, the only thing the kids got out of the movie was that coyotes eat lambs lol. So, we played Book of Mormon pictionary. Haha, like five kids in a row drew Noah's Ark, it was hilarious. I don't think Elder Andreason has spent much time with little kids, because he was asking the kids what they thought the lambs represented, and reading them scriptures from the Bible. The kids were climbing over their chairs and playing on the piano. So I changed tactics, and we played the game instead. 

We were able to set up a bunch of "member inspires" for this week, so hopefully those follow through and the members gain a better opinion for missionary work. 

We did some service the other day: we painted a members home. I think they are beginning to warm up to us more. One problem is the members are really fed up with the liberal mind-set, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them pray for a tidal wave every night lol. It seems they have given up on teaching and converting them. But I haven't. Elder Andreasen and I are working our best looking for people who want the to know the Gospel. I know the Lord watches out for his missionaries, and I know he will bless us for our faithfulness.
How was Disney Land? Was it awesome? I hope you all had a great time, and I bet Isabella and Xander loved it.
Amber, thanks so much for your Email. I'm really glad you wrote me haha. I bet the zoo was fun, I'm glad you got to go. I haven't been to a zoo since I was in kindergarten I think. I saw Mt. Rainer on my way in, and It is beautiful. If I ever serve in the city of Tacoma, I'll be able to see it all the time. This place is really pretty, but rainy season is about to start, and then it will rain until next summer. I hope you have a great week.
Bye family, I hope you have a great week, and I'm looking forward to hearing from you next Monday.
Elder Thornton
P.S. Thanks for the jump rope and music. I've been doing push ups and pull ups every morning. The Elders here call that a re-entry program. That's when Elders workout the last 12 weeks before they go home, so they don't show up all soft and stuff lol. So I guess I'll be doing a 24 month re-entry program.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fourth Letter Home 13 September 2011

Hey, I love it here. It is gorgeous! I am in the furthest north point of the mission, right next to all the bays and harbors. Mom, you would love this place. My trainer is super tight, his name is Elder Andreason. My town is Port Townsend, and it is basically made up of crazy forrests and the sea.

Yesterday, we met the mission president, President Weaver, and he is super nice. I like him. The missionaries here seem super excited about the work, and the departing Elders and Sister absolutely loved their missions here. I love it too.

I went tracting for two hours yesterday, with pretty much no success. It was great. Most people were nice to us, only a few shut their doors in our faces. Haha this one guy smiled and laughed at us as he shut his door... he thought he was funny.

My companion and I taught the Restoration last night to an investigator who is really interested in the church. Her name is Dana Carpenter.  Wow, she is so ready for the Gospel. God really does prepare people to come unto him through Baptism. She committed to be baptised in four weeks. She wants to read the Book of Mormon and know if it is true or not. I know that she will know its true alot sooner than that. Elder Andreason and I both taught together, and it was awesome. Our lesson went well. I'm trying my best, and I'm not allowing myself to be shy or nervous.

The members here don't really like the missionaries a whole lot, because they have had some bad ones in the past. We are gonna try to improve our relationship with them. When we are obedient everything works out: God blesses us by providing us with people to teach, and the members learn to trust us enough to introduce us to their friends.

Heavenly Father has been so good to me. He allowed me to serve this mission, and he sent me to this beautiful place. I am so excited about this work. I know the church is true, I know that we have a living Prophet on the Earth today, and I know that there is no other way that we can be saved then through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ all things are possible. Ether 12:27- its not just our sins, but even our weaknesses can be turned into strengths through him. Put your trust in Heavenly Father, he always follows through, and he loves us immeasurably. I know that as we follow his will, we are blessed. I can promise you, that you will be blessed if you follow him.

Amber, thanks so much for your Email. Your primary class sounds so fun lol. I hope the lessons those children learn in Primary always stick with them. If you set a goal, like serving a mission, Heavenly Father will help you accomplish it. I love you so much, and I'm glad your cruise was really fun. Someday all of you should come see this place, It is super pretty.

Angela, I loved those cupcakes you sent me. I gave most of them to my district, and they were all really happy. Tell Bella that I am so grateful that she prays for me. I love her and miss her so much.  Us missionaries are prayed for by the Prophet and the Apostles every Thursday at 11:00am in the Salt Lake Temple. God always hears the prayers of His prophets, and of little children, so I know I'm set lol. I wondered if you ever drove past the MTC... I kind of hoped we would accidentally bump into each other sometime lol. Elder Heiner was hilarious, it was his first time on a plane, and he really like it.

I love you a ton. Tell Bella I love her so much.

I love everyone so much, and I really appreciate your support. My new address is:

800 Hancock Street Apt #B7
Port Townsend, WA 98368


Elder Thornton

P. S.  Here are a few photos from around Port Townsend, Washington.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Third Letter Home 10 September 2011

Hey, I leave the MTC Monday the 12th at 5:00am. Since I don't get a P-day, I'm emailing you today (Saturday). How are things going? Are you getting my Emails? You should have gotten two by now. The whole family should be able to see these, right? I got short Emails from Mom and Dad, so thank you for those. Feel free to Email me back, I would like to hear from you. I don't have a ton of time, but I would like to hear from everyone.
The MTC is awesome, but I am so stoked to leave, and go to Tacoma! I'm a little nervous, but I know that if I do all that I'm supposed to and put my trust in the Lord, I will be successful. Our lessons have gone well, we ended on a positive note with all our investigators, and we have a "baptism" scheduled for this Monday. I'm not sure if I've already told you, but Elder Heiner and I have been teaching a pretend investigator named Chicho. He is from Naploli. We taught him about the Book of Mormon, invited him to read it, and pray if it was true. We taught him all the lessons, and invited him to be baptised. He accepted, and he threw his bottle of wine in the trash (ha-ha). Its been fun, and even though it was all pretend teaching, I have felt the Spirit.
Our group is getting ready to leave. Time has flown by for me, and I feel like my time in the MTC has been really beneficial. I'll talk to you later, and please let me know if you are getting my email okay.
Elder Thornton
P.S. Can you send my jump rope to me in Tacoma? Can you post my new address on face book? It is:
Washington Tacoma Mission
4007 Bridgeport way W STE D
University Place WA 98466-4330
... Thanks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Second Letter Home 5 September 2011

I tried to write last week, but I didn't have the new email address. I can only write once a week, and that is on Mondays. I got my travel itinerary, and I leave next Monday the 12th. I am so stoked. All the days here are kind of blending together. I'm a zone leader now, and so Elder Heiner and I got to teach the new Elders, and show them around and stuff. They are all really nice, and they seem committed to being good missionaries. It was kind of embarassing though, becuase we got lost during the tour we took them on... thats what happens when you put brand new Elders in leadership positions. We are becoming better teachers, and Elder Heiner and I are getting better at transitions. I still do most of the talking, but we are working on it. Its funny, because we will be teaching one of our investigators, and I'll get done teaching a point in the lesson, and I'll look over at Elder Heiner, and he'll be like, "What? Wait... the restoration?" And then I'll just keep talking. He's great though, and when he testifies, he is powerful.Teaching these investigators is tough, because they don't see why the gospel will help them. We work really hard, bearing our testimonies, and inviting them to come closer to their Father in Heaven through prayer, but until they feel like they need to change, we don't make any progress. Our toughest investigators are our teachers, because they really get into their roles. Richard, Brother Tominaga, is a farmer, and his wife is a member. He says he wants to know if the Gospel is true so he can either support his wife in taking the kids to church, or not... Haha he is kind of a pain. We love him though, and I think we are starting to help him see how the Gospel will benefit him. He prays and reads the Book of Mormon, but he isn't quite feeling it yet. We also have taught Stephan, Brother Prawett, and he likes to play Halo and party. He is hard to teach because he gets really bored, and he is easlily distracted. He's funny though, he remindes me of alot of the kids from high school. We only taught him once. I think our favorite investigator is Chicho. He is from Napoli, and he likes Elder Heiner and I.  He is Catholic, and his baby son died a few hours after he was born. Chicho feels responsible for his baby going to "Limbo," because he didn't have him baptized. We showed him Moroni 8: 8, and he loved it. His interest in the Book of Mormon sky rocketted after that, and the next time we showed up, he not only read the Introduction and Moroni 10, but he read eight chapeters out of 1 Nephi. Haha the first thing he asked me that day was why God told Nephi to kill Laban... The Holy Ghost helped me on that one, I can't even remember what I said. But what I said made sense to him, and we were able to continue on with our lesson. Next time we teach, we are going to invite him to be baptized, and set a date.  I know he has felt the spirit during our disscussions. I love this place. Elder Holland came and spoke to us last Tuesday. It was awesome, I know that he is an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for the cupcakes Angela and Trevor. I can't get mail until Tuesday. The last mail I got was some post cards from Amber and Brad, they look like they are having fun.  I have to go...
I love you all very much,
Elder Thornton
P.S. can you send me the lyrics to Come Thy Fount in the mail? We all love that song, but it isn't in the Hym book.

First Letter Home 29 August 2011

Monday, the 29th
Hey Everyone! So much has happened since you dropped me off at the MTC. It feels like I've been here for much longer than I actually have, but that is because we get up at 6:00am, study, eat, study, eat, study, learn, study, eat, and go to sleep at 10:30.  I love it here. My companion is Elder Heiner. He is awesome, he is from Utah, and we get along well. I have learned a lot in the short time that I have been here. I have two progressing investigators (teachers that pretend to be investigators) named Richard and Stephan. I've only taught Stephan so far, and he only likes to party and play Halo. Elder Heiner and I taught him about the Restoration, and invited him to pray, read the Book of Mormon, and be baptised when he discovers the truth of our message for himself, through prayer. I'm becoming a better teacher, and I'm beginning to learn how to incorporate the Doctrine of Christ (Faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end.) into our lesson plans. I have felt the spirit everyday here. It is amazing. I know that this Church is true. I know that God lives, and that he loves us. He loves us so much that he sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to come to the Earth and take upon himself all of our weaknesses, sorrows, pain, and sins, so that we would have the opportunity to make it back to our Heavenly Father. I know that God loves us, he restored his Gospel on the Earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and gave us the Book of Mormon, to testify of Christ, and to show us that through him, and only him, we can be saved. I have felt Gods love for me. I know that you are fine, because he told me that he would bless you as long as I'm being obedient and working hard. I'm being obedient, and I'm working hard. I love you, and I miss you, but I know that this is where I need to be. I don't want to be anywhere else right now. I know that God answers prayers, and I know that if you pray to him with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ, he will answer your prayers, and bless you beyond belief.


Elder Thornton

P.S. In an effort to stop saying Dude, Guys, and Man, the Elders in my district, who are totally awesome by the way, do push ups and pull ups every time we use one of those instead of Elder. Oh yeah, and Elder Heiner and I just became Zone Leaders. I don't know why they picked us, but we are thankful for the responsibility, and the experience.