Elder Michael Thornton

Elder Michael Thornton
24 August 2011 to August 2013

Monday, June 4, 2012

Forty-First Letter Home 04 June 2012


A baby! That's so cool. I didn't know he was coming this week... Teague Cayman is a cool name, I like it. He's cute, I really like his hat. Did he come with it?

So... it has been a crazy week for me. I'm not in Lakewood anymore... I am in Bremerton. President needed to do a mid-transfer transfer, and he needed me here in Bremerton. I'm actually really stoked, this is a really good area. I kind of wish I could have finished the transfer in Gravely Lake, but that's okay, I go where the Lord wants me. My new address is:

1121 Callahan Dr. Apt. 222
Bremerton, WA 98310

My new companion is Elder Artimio Lopez. He and I were the ones who trained Elder Bailey. This is going to be fun, I hope I get to work here for a while.

During my short time with Simmons I did learn some good tips on working with members, so I'm hoping to use them here. That's about all that is new for me. I have some cool souvenirs from Ft. Lewis; that place was so fun.

We helped a Green Beret move the other day. That was fun. This guy was like 220 pounds of solid muscle. His arms were huge. He was on a HALO ODA team, and those guys are intense. They're your direct action, search and destroy guys. He's done missions with teams of six, and ones with himself and only one other operative. He's the nicest guy ever, other than the fact that he's built like a tank, you'd never know he was an elite warrior. However, I've heard from guys he's done missions with that he's scary when he switches to mission mode. Anyways, I had a lot of fun talking to and working with the Army guys.

I got to go to the Temple on Thursday. It was really nice; I really enjoyed it. We had a whole session to ourselves, over a hundred full-time missionaries. The spirit was really strong. President Weaver told us to read the Pearl of Great Price before we went, so I did. I loved the Book of Moses, it was awesome. It made so much more sense as a missionary. The cool thing is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught to Adam, the same as it is taught today. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. Prophets have taught the same Gospel since the beginning of man. Why? Because it is the Plan of Salvation.

Christ's Atonement and Resurrection give us power over sin and death, an enabling power over everyday struggles and weaknesses. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what we have to do to access the Atonement. That's the glad tidings spoken of in the scriptures. It is the message of the plan of salvation. Angels and Prophets have been testifying of this since the fall of Adam and Eve. Before baptism, people are just wondering around, separated from God by a wall. There is only one gate in that wall, and it was created by Jesus Christ. He is the gate keeper. That gate is baptism.

As missionaries, we go out and invite everyone to come to that gate, believe in Jesus Christ, enter the gate, and then commence on the path to eternal happiness. We teach people about Jesus Christ, and we teach his commandments. If people have a desire to follow Christ, and are willing to follow his commandments, we baptize them. Why? Because they can't enjoy the full blessings of the atonement without baptism. Why do we teach them the commandments? Because after they are baptized they are given the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost sanctifies them. When we keep the commandments, we invite the Holy Ghost is there to interact with us and teach us, which allows us to continually be sanctified. If people don't know the commandments, how are they going to keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost? The Gospel is simple. Everything we do is about Faith in Jesus Christ, Repenting by keeping the commandments, fulfilling callings, serving, etc., making covenants with the Lord, through baptism and then taking the Sacrament, and receiving the Holy Ghost who sanctifies, testifies, warns, and exhorts us back to faith and repentance. In this pattern, we endure to the end. These simple five points of doctrine somehow unlock the most incompressible gift of the Atonement in our favor.

It's great news. Who wouldn't want to hear this? This is liberty; this is agency. This leads us to happiness. We are saved by Jesus Christ. Let us not be afraid to first use this wonderful gift in our lives, and then share it with others so they can enjoy it as well. Christ wants all of us to come unto Him. he is standing by the Tree of Life holding that delicious fruit. Let's point him out to the people around us. There are so many people looking for the gospel truths, they just don't know it, and they don't know where to find it. I love being a missionary.

I got to talk to Yuki before I left Lakewood. She thanked me for baptizing her. She said, "you were here at the right time, I wouldn't have gotten baptized if you hadn't helped me. I am so grateful that you baptized me." She was one of those people looking for the gospel, who didn't know where to find it. There are people like her in each of our lives. All we have to do is invite them, be patient, and to invite them again. I invited yuki every Sunday for seven weeks. On the Seventh week she got baptized. She is one of my favorite converts. She is such a sweet lady. I will always be grateful that the Lord sent me to Ft. Lewis, so I would have the privilege of being an instrument in his hands in helping her receive the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have to go, I love you very much.


Elder Thornton

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