Elder Michael Thornton

Elder Michael Thornton
24 August 2011 to August 2013

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fourteenth Letter Home 28 November 2011

Hey guys, 

This week has been really tough. None of our baptisms went through this weekend, and no one from last weekend showed up to get confirmed. Its been really stressful and frustrating. 

I really appreciated the packages though, thanks a lot. However, I have too much stuff, and I have to send a bunch of things home. I have three stocking caps, two sets of gloves, and a bunch of other things. My North Face jacket keeps me plenty warm, and dry. Anyway, I have to consolidate my things so I can carry everything in two suitcases. 

We went to a really nice family's home for Thanksgiving, and they cooked a really fancy Thanksgiving dinner. They were very welcoming, and we really appreciated it a lot, but being with even the nicest family besides my own just isn't the same. I missed all you guys. 

We weren't allowed to go tracting or anything, so we felt kind of useless. Sitting around makes you feel trunky, and when I feel trunky I feel like I'm being ungrateful for all the wonderful blessings I'm receiving.

Today is the last p-day before transfers next Monday. I'm almost positive I'll be here another transfer, but there is no guarantee since President Weaver emergency transferred an entire zone this last transfer due to some serious apostasy. When people get moved around like that, you never know what's going to happen. I hope I get to stay here. I don't want to leave this area. I'm going to work really hard this week so that everything will work out. 

Its crazy how happy and excited you can be one week, and how depressed and frustrated you can be the next. The adversary has hit every single one of our investigators with a ton of bricks this week. As a missionary, I think you kind of get a small sense of how Heavenly Father feels when we don't accept the wonderful gifts He offers us. It hurts. You know that the gospel will bless their lives. You know it can heal their spiritual wounds; and you know it will make them really happy. Sorry this letter sounds depressing; I'm kind of bummed its p-day because I want to go make some good things happen. We need some success. 

We do have an appointment tonight with a lady who was supposed to be baptized on Sunday, and I'm praying we will be able to help her get back on date. 

We did have some funny stuff happen this week: we knocked on a door and this lady peeked trough the mail slot instead of opening the door. She asked who we were, and upon realizing we were the missionaries, she said: "Uh, I'm not home right now." And she shut the mail slot. Haha! That made me laugh. 

A bunch of people have asked us never to come back again, and then they proceed to spend 10 minutes telling us why they don't want us around -- how we are breaking the law, how their names should be on our "do not contact" list, and so on. They won't let us leave until we promise not to come back lol. What they don't realize is that their is an unlimited supply of Elders who haven't promised not to come back, who will show up every six weeks, and we don't have a list of people to "not contact." If we did, more than half this place would be on there. Haha, Heavenly Father keeps giving them multiple chances. 

I'm excited for this week, its going to be a good one. Heavenly Father is in charge, and his work will go forth.
So, I really need to be able to drive, but I can't until I get a DMV report. Could you please send that as soon as possible? Thank you. 

I'll send home pictures soon, most of them are landscape, and there are a few of me. The goofy stuff is all on P-day, just letting you know. I'm having a lot of fun out here, and I love this area. 

I'm halfway through 3rd Nephi in my reading, I absolutely love the Book of Mormon. I promise you guys that if you make the Book of Mormon the foundation of your testimony, and you study together as a family, you will have the power to overcome your challenges, and you won't fall away. 

It is amazing to me how hard the devil fights my investigators when it comes to reading the Book of Mormon. They will read the Gospel Principles Manuel, they will read the Ensign, but getting them to crack the Book of Mormon open is like pulling teeth. Why? There is nothing wrong with reading the Ensign or Gospel Principles, in fact those are wonderful resources; but the devil knows that if people gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, they will know that Jesus Christ is their Savior, that Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ's Church established on the Earth today.  If the devil can keep you from knowing that, he will eventually break you down. 

I love you guys, thanks for your support and prayers. May God continue to bless you.
Elder Thornton
Thanks for all the Vitamins and goodies, they make my day. I have to go, but I'll talk more next week. I should still be here. Bye.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thirteenth Letter to Home 21 November 2011

Hey, whats up? Do you want to know something funny? Thanksgiving is this week... Weird, huh. 

This week has been AWESOME! We had three baptisms on Sunday! Whoohoo! Scott, Charna, and Nathan all got baptized. I am so excited -- you have no idea. I got to baptize Charna and Nathan, and Scott was baptized by one of the priests from the Port Townsend ward. The Lord has truly blessed us. I love being able to invite people to have the joy and feel the love that comes from following our Lord Jesus Christ. 

There is no greater feeling, than the love of our Father in Heaven. I love being able to see peoples eyes light up when they feel that love. I have been having a blast being a missionary, it is the best. 

We have another guy on date for next week, and we've been teaching a lady that will probably go on date soon. 

Elder Topp goes home in two weeks. December 5th is transfers, and I have a very high chance of staying here for another transfer, to take over the area. 

Corey Sabin comes here on the 5th, I'm so stoked, this place is awesome. 

We had our first whoosie snow storm on Friday, it actually does get pretty cold here. It isn't cold temperature wise, but humidity wise it's cold. We've had some nice days too; like today, we have a blue sky, and its pretty comfortable outside. I wear my North Face jacket, and it keeps me warm enough. I gave the coat I came up with to a missionary who didn't have one. He was tracting with a short sleeve shirt and a sweater vest lol. He was freezing. His coat got stolen, so I gave him mine. I'm plenty warm enough, especially with the Beanie and gloves you sent me. Thanks a lot for those.  

President Weaver has asked us to continue knocking on doors between 5 and 7pm, so we can catch people at home, but it is super dark at five. I've scared a few people: We are all blacked out, with black beanies, black gloves, black coats, black pants, and black shoes. With our collars turned up, we look like ninjas, and people don't see us coming lol. I just hope someone doesn't shoot me -- that would definitely put a damper on the evening, but end up making a really good journal entry. 

I get mistaken for a cop a lot. The missionaries in my zone say I look like one, and a few people on doorsteps have mistaken my backpack straps for a shoulder holster, (Haha) its all good though. The Lord protects us; I have no doubt. I have truly felt the love of our Heavenly Father, and I know He is there, but I have also felt the hatred of the adversary. He is definitely around as well. 

I don't get intimidated easily, but there have been a few nights that I have been scared. I felt the devils desire to destroy me, he is definitely not happy with the work that my companion and I are doing. 

The other night I felt him so aggressively that I instinctively put my guard up, set my feet, and scanned the room looking for the threat. Upon realizing where the threat was coming from, and feeling powerless to defend myself, I called upon Heavenly Father and begged him to send his Angels to protect us. They came. The adversary was forced to leave. Scary.... but, I know that as long as I'm obedient, I can rely on the Lord's protection. 

Anyways, miracles are happening out here, and I am so grateful to be a part of this awesome work. This week we are going to a member's home for Thanksgiving. I think that will be fun. It sure beats canned chili. 

It sounds like you guys are going to have a fun Thanksgiving. I hope you have a wonderful week. I love you all.
Elder Thornton
Amber and Brad, I'm glad you guys are doing well. Good job on getting food storage. Have an awesome Thanksgiving. I just remembered we have a Subway out here. I like Subway (Haha).
Angela and Trevor, I love hearing stories about Bella and Xander, they are super funny. They make me laugh, and then the people sitting next to me in the library give me funny looks lol. I'm sorry you are feeling sick Angela, I hope your body adjusts soon. Have fun with Mom and Dad, and have a good Thanksgiving.
Mom and Dad, I bet you are excited to have the grand kids for Thanksgiving. That will be super fun. Thanks for sending me Vitamins, it would be nice if I could have some Cs as well. I don't think I have any. I can see how serotonin could be a real problem out here, 

President and Sister Weaver are awesome, I love them. They are super nice, personable people. President Weaver looks into your soul though when he looks into your eyes, it's pretty cool. He definitely has the gift of discernment. 

So the mission has a blog, its called the Beautiful WA-TAC or something. I bet if you googled it you would find it. There are pictures on there and stuff, maybe you could check it out. I'm sending home pictures and short video clips for Christmas. 

I love you, bye.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twelfth Letter Home 14 November 2011

Hey, another week is gone. I don't know what happens to them. This one has been tough. One of the missionaries in my zone almost went home because he lost his testimony, and we almost lost two investigators because of hypocritical "fellowship." We were able to talk with our investigators and help them through it. We explained that Christ's Church isn't a place for perfect people to gather, but a place for imperfect people to get together, repent and progress through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Church is true, but the members aren't perfect. She was able to ventilate with us, and express her concerns. She felt better afterwards, and she decided that she still wants to be baptized on the 20th of this month. 

The problem is that she lives in Brinnon which is 60min away from where I live, and we have limited miles on our car.  Plus, everyone that lives in Brinnon is less active, so getting strong fellowship for her and her family is really difficult. We are working on it though, and the Lord is blessing us. I have really come to love 1 Nephi 3:7 on my mission. 

We found a new investigator this week. He is a referral from one of our recent converts, Anne Able. Cool guy. He is making some serious changes in his life. He wants to be baptized on the 27th. I'm having so much fun out here, its great. 

You can see the light in people's eyes when they feel the spirit, and they glow when they make changes in their lives that will bring them closer to their Father in Heaven. 

On the other hand, you can see the void in peoples eyes when they won't accept the Gospel. The spirit of discernment is real. It's like you can see into their heart. 

We've had some good times this week also, we both like knocking on doors, which makes having a good attitude alot easier. People are so funny. We walked up to this guy's gate and saw him standing in his yard. The conversation went as follows:
Me-"Hey, how are you doing today?"
Guy-"Do you need help?"
Me-"No, we are doing fine, we are.."
Guy-"Do you need help? Your entity keeps sending you guys around. I'm going to have to report you."
Me-"Okay, well, is their anything we can do for you?"
Guy-"You should write my address down."
Haha! What are you supposed to say to things like that? 

Another guy told us, "Seriously, I have no use for either of you two. Go! Go find another home!"

Tracting is really fun, because you never know who is going to answer the door, or what they are going to say. They could be completely baked with weed permeating from their clothing, or they could be really nice and offer you chili. It's great. 

We met with a guy who requested to meet with us off Mormon.org. We were really excited because he was a self referral. Usually those are really good, but we showed up at this guys house and two seconds after inviting us in he listed off a ton of "contradictions" that he had found with our faith and his, and he wanted us to resolve them for him. The first one was the Trinity. I explained that we don't believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are one being, but that they are separate. Now, you would expect him to grab his Bible and read John 1:1 to prove his point right? Right? Except his Bible was in Greek. He proceeded to read like an entire column to us in Greek, and then said this: "See, it is written in Greek. You can't dispute that. You can't, it's written in Greek." I almost died. I have never had anyone assume that saying something in another language would give it any more validity. 

Anyway, I don't know if that guy is going anywhere, but we gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it and pray about it. I hope he does. It is really difficult to teach intellectual people, because their hearts are closed, and they want to prove everything scientifically. But when they are converted, they usually become very staunch members. 

We had dinner at a members home yesterday. He is a recent convert to the Church; a really cool guy. He has been a SWAT team operator, a sniper, Narcs officer, a detective, and now he is a high school cop, lol. For a hobby he buys AK-47s and rebuilds and customizes them. Super cool. He showed us one that he just finished. It had a rail, collapsible stock; it was very well made. He offered to take us shooting, but I was really good. I told him that we couldn't do that as missionaries. Haha! He is the second guy who has offered. There is no way I'll break that rule. Bad things happen when you are disobedient. Losing your Divine protection when guns are around is not a very good idea. Anyways though, good things are happening. 

We have three investigators on date, one very close to being on date, and another who could be on date shortly. I'll probably be in Port Townsend for another transfer, unless they decided to white-wash the area. Elder Topp goes home in two weeks. Crazy. It has been kind of weird being with a "dying" missionary. He isn't too trunky though, and he works hard. The hardest part is that as soon as members hear he is going home, all they want to talk about is super trunky things. Like, girl friends, movies, music, family, cars, girl friends some more... Haha, poor Elder Topp. When people ask him how long he has been out, he tells them a little over a year. They won't take that for an answer though, and they keep prying until they get a definite amount of time. At which point, the trunky talk begins, lol. Well, have a great week. I love you.

Elder Thornton
Dad and Mom, hey, I don't have much time. I love you and I hope you have a good week. I'm glad the house got finished Dad. I'm writing David Tyler a letter, so keep an eye out for it. I'm fine. I'm warm, I weigh 185 pounds, and I get as much sleep as I can while still being obedient, lol. I exercise in the mornings: I do at least 200 push ups, 40 pull ups, and that's it. Its tough to hop up out of bed at 6:25 and exercise. Mom, I love you. I'm glad you are enjoying the Ward there. I like the raccoon picture. I'll send pictures home for Christmas probably.
Angela and Trevor. Hey, I'm sorry you are sick Angela. I hope you get better. I hope everything is going well for you and Trevor. Say hi to Bella and Xander for me. I love them. Have a great week.
Amber and Brad. Hey, we eat fast food every once in a while: McDonalds or Subway. That's all we have here. This town is super hippie. They won't let any franchises come into town, which is super annoying because everything costs loads of money. They only let McDonalds in because they promised they wouldn't put up their arches. The arches would have ruined the city scape. Haha! The funny thing is they have this huge, super stinky (like rotten animal stinky) paper mill in town, and it billows huge plumes of stench into the air. Apparently that doesn't ruin the city scape or the air quality. Anyways, I hope everything is going well for you. Have a great week. 

Oh, are you saving my letters home? I would like you to if you could because they would be a nice addition to my journal.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eleventh Letter Home 31 October 2011

Hey, how are things? 

This week has gone by quickly, and I can't believe it is already Halloween. Maybe thats becuase I've been "trick-or-treating" everyday for the past 7 weeks; (haha) though the other day I knocked on a door and this lady answered. 

I said, "Hello. We are the Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are in the neighborhood offering service. Is there anything we can do for you today?" 

Her response was, "I don't appreciate the way you approached my door." Slam! 

I was super confused, I hadn't heard that one before (haha). I've heard things like, "Well, we are too busy drinking right now." or "You need to leave before we call the cops," and "Come Halloween I'll be flying around on my broom!" (she was a witch). It's great. Knocking on doors is an adventure. 

At one house the people are telling you how much they appreciate what you do, and at the next house the guy is cussing you out. It's crazy how people allow something as simple as a couple of kids kocking on their door ruin their entire day. Anyways, things are going well here in PT/Chimicum. We have two on date for November 13 and some good progressing investigators. Elder Topp is good guy, and this is his last six weeks. After this he has to go home. 

He plays the piano really well, and he is pretty funny. We get along well. His approach is quite a bit different than Elder Andreasen's in that he is really laid back, he doesn't say much, and he likes to try and joke with people on their door steps. Elder Andreasen was very professional about things. I'm not sure which style I like better, but it is alot easier to be professional than funny. People around here don't always like jokes. 

I've been working really hard on being myself, and relaxing. It's difficult, because being a missionary really takes you out of your comfort zone. I'm getting the hang of things though, and I'm having a lot of fun.  

Our name tags are like magnets: people with serious problems like the drunkards and the homeless often want to talk to us -- which is good, but too often they come and interrupt when we are trying to talk to another person about the Gospel. We were teaching one of our investigators at McDonalds the other day, and this intoxicated, vulgar man came and sat down right next to me. I was teaching, and he wanted my attention so he could tell me that what I was saying was BS. All I could understand were his expletives. For some reason people can always pronounce those right, lol. He stuck around for like 15 minutes. Elder Topp tried to distract him so I could continue talking to our investigator. Ridiculous. 

Another guy on the bus kept asking me, "How do you get hit by a car?" 

Me, "I don't know, I guess you would have to be in the middle of the road." 

"There are no street lights, see..." 

"You're right, someone must have moved them."

Then he asked, "Where is Blynn?"  

"I don't know, I think you're on the wrong bus. This one is going to Port Townsend." 

"How do you get hit by a car?" 

This conversation repeated for 40 minutes! Haha.

So today is Halloween, and lots of people around here like to dress up like us, and get into trouble. For our protection from false accusation and muggings, President Weaver has instructed us to go to Sequim for a Zone meeting, all day long! It's weird not being allowed to do missionary work.

I'm doing well as far as food and warmth goes, I haven't had a pillow for seven weeks though, and I'm really starting to miss it. I don't have a blanket either, but the Relief Society said they would make me one during their quilting activity. The members feed us on weekends, and we are starting to score meals on other days of the week as well. The ward members are starting to like us better. :) 

We got invited to have Thanksgiving at a members house, so I'm pretty stoked about that. It definitely beats my previous plan of chilli burritos. Something that might be nice for Christmas would be a white Under Armor thermal shirt that I could wear under my white shirts -- just in case you were wondering, lol. 

Well, I don't have much else to say, I'm working hard, learning how to work smart, and doing my best to be obedient. I have a strong testimony that obedience and hard work produces miracles. I hope everyone is fine, and I love you. 

Remember to say your prayers and read your scriptures, these things invite the Spirit into your life and give you the strength to overcome temptations and trials. Every less active person has the same problem: They don't read their scriptures.
Amber and uBrad. Hey, I loved the package you sent. That book was fun Amber, I liked it. I hope things are going well for you guys.
Angela and Trevor. I hope things are going well for you, and I hope to hear from you soon.
David Tyler. Congrats on BBall man. That's awesome that you are playing and sinking those baskets. Keep it up. 

P.S. do you have an I touch and an I Pod Nano? Cause if you do, I'm allowed to have an I Pod if it is cleared of all the songs it has on it. Then I could load it with Approved stuff. If you still have an extra one, can you send it to me? Thanks.
Bye, I have to go.
Elder Thornton