Hey There! It's great to hear that everybody is doing well and being safe. I can't believe the time is going by so fast, weird. I'm happy to hear that Amy is doing that, (setting her alarm to do scripture study, a small and simple thing) keep up the good work.
Sometimes when things just aren't going your way all you can do is just smile, laugh and move on to the next step or the next situation. I've really learned how to study, plan effectively and how to take care of myself in many things that I was worried about when I was at home. Now all I can say is there is nothing to worry about.
It's neat to hear that both grandmas are still having fun with you two, mom and dad, I'm always keeping them in my prayers and thinking about them everyday, miss them both so much! Please give them a hug for me.During this week on Thursday we had a Mission Conference. This Conference is where all the Sisters and Elders attend to hear from our Mission President. A little mix to this mission conference was that instead of our mission president speaking, we had one of the apostles come down to speak to us. It was ELDER ANDERSEN!!!! I know what you are thinking right now... how lucky am I and I have to agree with you, I am so lucky!!! I can't believe that Elder Andersen came down last Thursday to speak to us!!! All the Elders and Sisters of the mission stood up waiting for Elder Andersen to walk into the room, as soon as he walked into the room, he had this huge grin on his face and made a little joke. Everybody then sat down and one by one, all of the rows went up and shook his hand, WOW!! I wish I never had to wash my right hand, ever. It was just such a cool experience to be in his sight and in the same room as him.
Elder Andersen talked to us about the atonement, missionary work and other topics that I can't remember (I was too excited to even remember some of his topics) but he came down from the pulpit and started teaching and walking around all the chairs in the chapel. It was like he was one of us, his posture and just how he felt about sharing his message was in a simple way that everybody in the room understood. He really come down to all the missionaries level and taught us in a way of just simple doctrine. Elder Andersen knows so much about the gospel that he taught in a simple way with power and authority. It was just amazing to see because during his speeches he was making jokes with us, laughing and being himself. Overall the talk was amazing. I'm so blessed to be able to see an apostle of the Lord in person.
What I took out of that visit was that an apostle himself has fun while teaching and sharing the gospel. Yes we have to be examples to others but we can also have fun with the people we are teaching and have fun with what we believe in. That's what makes us different, its because we are always happy, cheery, caring and loving members of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. We don't need to know everything in the gospel in order to teach someone, we need to show that we care about them in a way that they can feel our love for them and show that we are normal people as they are. We as members are all about sharing and wanting what is the best of those who are looking for a way in life or for answers.As a missionary, two years goes by fast but after those two years, life doesn't just stop there. We endure to the end no matter what obstacles come in our way. Missionary or members, we are all together and workin unity. It is what keeps the church running and moving forward. Seeing Elder Andersen really woke me up even more. What I have learned when I was growing up was not just make believe stuff but what really truly happened.
Being here in New Zealand I have seen little kids being bullied by their parents because that's a lot how their culture is down here. A lot of kids grow up with an understanding that its ok to beat up their kids because that's what their parents do. Sometimes in life we get distracted by worldly things and forget to focus on the real picture in our lives. Elder Andersen talked about the Atonement and how Jesus Christ suffered for every single feeling that we have felt in our lives. Talking about the atonement really caught my attention because I don't know too much about it. But just hearing it from Elder Andersen, it was something that had to be done in order for each one of us to come down here on earth. Jesus Christ did it for all of us because he loved every single one of us. We can all be forgiven for the past transgressions we have done. Most people in the world think you can't be forgiven. But you can through repentance. I myself can put my feet in the peoples' shoes down here in New Zealand because even though I grew up in a Mormon family, I was never perfect, never really decided to be fully involved in the church. I thought a lot of this was all just made up but really what he showed me when I turned my back against Him was how it feels when you are empty, alone, and forgotten. Once I asked for forgiveness and was forgiven, from that moment on I have always asked for forgiveness, even if it is for the little things that I didn't think really mattered. But to him, it does. My life now is different and I'm sharing my life experiences and how the people can change because there is always a way back to church and to our Father in Heaven. He is a just Father who cares and loves every single one of us. My testimony has grown stronger and stronger each time I share it with the people we meet with.I'll always have that smile on my face, no matter what!!!!! Don't think anybody can take this smile off my face!!! Love you and hope the week goes great!!! Love Elder Thorpe