Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December 26

 Elder Thorne's View
 Christmas Dinner
Angel Hosts!

It was so so good to talk/see you all yesterday! We are so blessed to have the technology to do so. We don't have many investigators... Alejandra and her mom are the only solid ones. We have some really good potentials, probably 5-6, but it's hard maintaining contact with them. Speaking of, Mom, in your letter include of course your testimony, and also why being baptized was the best decision of your life and how it has blessed you. I think that would be really good. I hope you guys love Taylor Furch as much as i did! He really is such an awesome guy. Mom, you can talk to him in spanish if you want. This past week was really good. Super busy. Idk what else to tell you.. Mostly told you everything yesterday! The Cantata went well. I had fun, even though I'm not good at singing at all. In this month's Ensign, theres a story on page 47 that is really good. I only read about half, but I really like that it explains that Christ looks for those who are lost. Cuz He wants those sheep back in His herd. Cuz He loves everyone. Mom, Thanks for hanging out with V. That means a ton. Thanks for delivering my presents too. Her birthday is on Jan 12, so I'll let you know what to get her then. Thanks :) Hmm... Not sure what else to say.. Oh sorry the email is late. All our normal places are closed so we had to come to the family history center here in the chapel. Thanks family! I love you so much! Miss you a ton!

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19

 This week was super good. We had the Christmas parties for the 2 wards this weekend, english on friday and spanish saturday. Those were very fun. I'm reading the New Testament and there are some scriptures that I really liked. Matthew 9:37-38. It talks about what I am doing here. And Mark 4:1-20. That parable is one of my faves. We have to be good dirt. We can't be tangled up in our image or endure just a short while. Oh, and guess what. There's a Christmas cantata next week, combined both wards, and i'm in the choir. Sis. Braitewaite invited us to practice yesterday and I was the one who spoke up and said we should go. haha It should be fun. This past couple weeks we've been riding bike every day. They reduced our miles to 800 so we'll talk to more people on bike. We were riding along the main street, and Elder Smith stopped to talk to this older guy. We thought we saw  him at the spanish ward Christmas party cuz there was a guy who looked just like him haha. We've been extending baptismal invitations to everyone we harvest into, and it's been really cool. We've gotten a couple yes's and we're working on helping them progress. I'll let you know how that's going once it gets going. I haven't seen a popeyes in our area :( so i'll have to wait a while to have it. I love the ward and people here so much that i pray that I don't get transferred haha but i'll go wherever. I love you guys! Thanks for everything and we'll talk to you Sunday!! Love you!  

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011

This week has been pretty good. I have had a lot of amazing experiences.  On Friday we went on 'fire exchanges' with both our zone leader's and ap's out harvesting. First I went with ZL Elder Wees and we blessed 2 people in an hour! Him and I did very well. Then after we finished that, the assistant's called and wanted to harvest with us too. So we met them and I went with Elder Matthews. He was so cool and so spiritual and good at harvesting. I actually had a ton of fun harvesting with him. We blessed 3 houses together and I talked to lots of people.  So I blessed 5 people and elder smith blessed 5 too. We left 10 blessings on Friday! The most we've ever had in one day was 3. It was an awesome experience.  Oh and on Thursday. K first, President Anderson has always said 'pray, plan, practice, do' with all our plans. So we prayed, planned where we were going to harvest, then went and harvested. We weren't having any success and I said we forgot to practice. So we stood in the middle of the sidewalk and did a couple role plays. The very next house: nothing. We walked across the street and knocked and a lady and her dad or someone answered and right then a truck pulls in the driveway. He gets out (Giovani) and instantly lets us inside. We blessed his home and taught about a 5 min restoration lesson. He committed to be baptized Jan. 7! And we're going back tonight. If it weren't for that 3-4 min we stood on the sidewalk practicing, we would have missed him! Crazy how the Spirit works sometimes. So Mom, We're teaching a 15 yo girl and her mom (she also has a 5 yo little girl) and she wants to be but isn't super committed. She knows all the lessons, it's just getting her to be super excited. They speak Spanish (Alejandra knows most English but prefers Spanish) so i was wondering Mom if you could write her a letter of your conversion and your testimony. I think that would really help. Just send it to me with your letter and I'll deliver it.  Welp... My week has been good. Just normal missionary stuff happening. It's so weird that it's December already. I love you all and miss you a ton. Till next time :) Love Elder Jaren Thorne

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5th

My health has been really good. Being on a schedule definitely helps. Transfers were last Wednesday and there was like a 0.001% chance I'd move, but as you know, I wasn't. The next time I might be moved is January 9th but I pray that I won't be.. ha but I really love it here. The ward is amazing. So work here has been a lot better. We've found some promising people. Did I tell you about Iwa and Michael? Anyway. She prayed that someone would come and help them out and a couple hours later we blessed their home. When we called the next day to set an appt, she said only good things had been happening since the blessing. Which was really cool. We went back and taught them some of the restoration. She's pretty set on the Bible, so she'll be hard to crack. But hey, the Spirit can do anything. I'll let you know how that goes. We have some good investigators, they're just progressing pretty slow. This 15 yo girl and her mom (Her husband, the girl's step dad) just passed away so we taught the PofS and they've felt the Spirit and love it. They just don't come to church and I don't think they read the BoM too much. Alejandra (the 15 yo girl) has received the lessons and has been to church with her aunt who just got baptized in El Portal (just a little north of here). So she know the gospel pretty well. We just have to get her comfortable here. Our new roommate is Elder Diaz. His name is Jose Diaz. He's pretty cool. He's been learning English here on his mission and it's pretty good. But sometimes it's hard for me and him to communicate. I'll send a pic. Elder Furch should get in contact with you soon. Make sure the girls are there to meet him too (including V). Hey Mom, Were becitos big in El Salvador. Idk if I spelled it right. But it's when you greet someone, you kiss each other's cheek? It's a Latin thing and this is pretty much Central/South America. So I've been kissed 3 times on my mission... haha but they were sneak attacks and I couldn't avoid them. Anyway, Nothing else new. Still working hard, enjoying the beautiful weather. I miss you all and love you like crazy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29 and a miracle!

Transfers are tomorrow so that's why p day is Tuesday. We get "the call" Monday night to tell us who is transferring and who is staying. So Tuesday is when the Elders who are leaving pack. Elder Furch is going home, so we'll have a new roommate. I'm gonna give him your info so he can meet you. I love him a lot and I'm sad he's leaving. For me, Thanksgiving was really good. We all bought pies on Monday (I bought a cheesecake) and we had them during weekly planning. It was still a normal missionary day. At 4 we went to a family who is an older couple in the Spanish ward here. Their kids were there too. One of the grandkids had the Dolphins game on so I got to watch that a bit which made me so happy ;). Right after that we went to another family's home and ate. I was so stuffed. But we were well fed. The next day, Friday, after district training with our zl's, Elder Furch and I went to Texas de Brazil with them. It's a super nice Brazilian steakhouse. Elder Munns is leaving too so he had the idea. It was amazing! Some of the best food ever. Oh, and guess where it is. Dolphin Mall right next to Buffalo wild Wings! It was so cool to be there. I got some pics so i'll send them soon. Thank you so much for the packages! They were great. Thanks for the ties. (V got me like the ugliest ties ever....) ha but i still loved it. Thank you. And thanks for the razor. it has really helped. I'm gonna grow out my mustache and see how long it takes for someone to say something. Just letting you know :)

So crazy story. Remember Jonathan? Everything was all set for him to be baptized on the 19th but his mom called us that morning at 8 saying that her brother died. So it had to be cancelled. Then we couldn't get in contact with her til Wednesday. She said she just wanted her son to be baptized so we did it last Friday, the 26th. It actually went very well for such short notice. Oh. And just a couple days ago, I think it was Sunday, we were harvesting, and before we said a prayer asking that we'd be an answer to someone's prayer. So we knocked this door and it's an older couple. And she's like, well anyone who comes in Christ's name is welcome in our home. So that was cool. We blessed their home and she's like, well actually earler today i was praying and asking God if he'd send someone here to help me strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ. She already had huge faith but that was really cool. I don't think she's necesarily interested in our message but it was a cool experience.
Welp... that's all I've got. So I love you all and miss you so much ;) byeeeeeeeee

An another (very exciting note), we were finally able to get a copy of "The News Story."  The background of this is this:

The day Elder Thorne arrived in South Florida, he was asked to write his testimony in and place a Book of Mormon. That night, he and the APs placed his Book of Mormon. Ten minutes later, a tornado hit the neighborhood. In the aftermath, a local news reporter interviewed the woman. Her story:

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21

hi family
On Friday, there was a ward activity where we watched 'The Testaments'. It was so members could watch it and also bring lots of nonmembers. There was only about 2-3 investigators, but it was a really cool experience. The work has really struggled in the past couple weeks. Finding people is way hard. We keep praying to be put in the path of someone who is ready. Not much else to report on. I love you all.

We did get two additional tidbits via letters to Elder Thorne's sisters and a recording he sent this week.  He and his companion had the opportunity to teach early morning seminary last Friday morning.  He reports it was a great experience and he really appreciates that he was able to take released time during the day as he had to awake at 4:30 am in order to get there on time!  He related an experience that he and his companion were at a Ward Activity playing volleyball when a less active member asked to speak with them.  They met with him and he told them that he had, for the last several years reverted back to some of his old habits.  He had found himself now homeless and was living in the bushes at the church eating leaves and twigs from trees and shrubs.  They went home and brought him some of their food and sent him to seek help from a member of the ward.  The next day they went back and it appeared he had done just that. 

We received a few pictures, including this one of Jaren in action in the kitchen:

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14

Hi familyyy

Today is p day once again. Right after emailing we go grocery shopping. We haven't done anything cool yet. We just get home after that, write letters and eat lunch then whatever personally. I try to take a nap. My week has been ok. Pretty hard. Thanks so much for the recording device. It helped a lot. It's annoying that barely anyone we talk to speaks english. I rarely get to teach anyone. Oh yeah. We had a fireside last night with Pres. Anderson and he showed the news story of the lady and the BOM. He said he'll email you the video so don't worry about that. I spoke in church yesterday. I'll send you it later today. It went well. The past 3-4 days during excersise time (at 6:30) we've played basketball. There's a hoop in the parking lot. That has felt good to play again. We didn't get any new investigators this week. It's super hard finding people. We did get two referrals however yesterday from a non member. Which is pretty exciting. He came with us to the fireside (you needed an investigator to be able to come), and he gave us 2 names. He would be baptized but he has a lot of repentance to go through i guess. He's such a sincere, amazing guy. Super nice. Very doctrinally sound. It's too bad. His wife is a member and she's like the happiest/nicest/most cheerful lady ever. Member's are beginning to feed us more. We had 2 lunches yesterday. We might have one tonight.. idk. But we have 2 or 3 this week. Hopefully they'll have sweet investigators. Who speak english.. ha. For thanksgiving we are going to a members home. idk who. But I know we're going somewhere. This is super hard but I know it's where I'm supposed to be. I've grown a lot. Oh yeah we set a baptismal date with this Salvadorian named Renee. They met him before I got here and we couldn't get a chance to visit him til just last week. The first question he asked (he speaks spanish..) was, "Do i have to get baptized to be a member of your church?" haha. He only had a Restoration pamphlet that he has read and he likes it a lot. He wants to change his life and his heart def was softened when we were talking to him. Hopefully that goes through (Dec. 10). So.. Hope all is well back at home. Tell everyone I love them. Take care of Jasmine. I hope to see her again.. Man it was cold on Saturday. All the way down to 65... haha I love you guys. byeeeee

In addition to Jaren's email, we received a picture and the following text from a member:

Thanks for sharing your sweet son! He gave a fabulous talk in Sacrament Meeting on the B of M. He's a wonderful person. We enjoyed his company at dinner yesterday. Thanks for sharing Elder T with us! We send our love. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Letter after the emails...

Remember how I gave out a Book of Mormon on my first night here? Well a tornado hit that area just a litlle bit later. The lady I gave the BOM to was on the news later. The 2 houses on either side of her were destroyed. In my testimony I wrote on the front pages "This book will protect you..." she was protected by my BOM! There was a story on the news about it and they showed my handwriting on TV! Pres. Anderson emailed us about it and the zone leaders told me it was mine. Crazy huh! Really shows you the power of the scriptures.

Oh, and on Tuesday night, we were out harvesting ("Harvesting the Field"...So the approach is set, we knock, introduce ourselves, say "We're representatives of Jesus Christ, and he has sent us here to leave his peace and blessing in your home, can we come in and do that"? Elder Smith) at about 5:30 we were knocking doors and we're walking from a door when we see 2 people speed walking by (towards the opposite direction, where we had already knocked) so we chase them down about 3 houses and they just told us to go away. So we turn around and see this lady on her porch. (We knocked her house but no one answered). So we went up and talked to her. Her name is Irma and she was investigating the church in Minnesota like 20-30 years ago. She was close to being baptized but her little boy got sick. She wanted him to be baptized because she knew he wouldn't make it. But he was too young. She had stop going to church to take care of him. He died a month or two later. She lost contact with them and moved here. She still has a strong testimony. We showed her that all kids who die before 8 go to heaven. It's incredible the timing though. We chase down those joggers and she's out there right then. We asked her to be baptized the 19th. But she said she doesn't know if she's ready since it's been so long. But she will soon.

Missionary work is great. Very tough, but great. Thanks for everything you guys do. I love you and miss you a ton. Love, Elder Thorne

Monday November 7

So the bishop pushed back Jonathan's baptism for the 19th, not because of Jonathan, just scheduling I guess. So it'll be then. We commited 3 more people to baptism and we are planning to extend a commitment today! Patricia and her daughter Alejandra have a strong spirit. Alejandra is 15 and is preparing to be baptized Dec. 3rd. We're gonna ask her mom today too. We just met them on like Tuesday and they are very receptive. That should go well. It's been a pretty good week. Very busy. All the days just blend together. It's super weird. The weather here is amazing. 70-80 every day and at least once a day, the sun and clouds meet and it looks like it could be the second coming.. haha it's beautiful. The Braithwaites were out of town yesterday so that's why you didn't get a text. But we had lunch at Bro and Sis Russ's house. He's the ward mission leader and an awesome guy. We have meal appts almost every day this week thanks to him. So that's awesome. Everyone in the wards are way way nice. I love them all. They always joke around with me cuz I'm latino and can't speak spanish haha. But it's all fun. Tell the fam I love them. I love you guys and miss you.

From Elder Smith thru his mom:
I don't know if I said it last time, or maybe it was a few times ago, but the Elder Thorne placed a Book of Mormon with the assistants the night he got here, and 10 minutes later a tornado touched down in Plantation and dominated the area, including both houses on each side of the house that he left the Book of Mormon with his testimony in it. But the house that received the missionaries and the Book of Mormon was totally unharmed. And the lady who owns it testified on camera of the truthfulness and protective power of the Book of Mormon - not a member (yet). Super cool. Don't know if it'd be on Google for you, apparently the Miami news network covered it. (Not to sure, don't watch much TV!). So yeah, basically my companion is a super star and they need to make a mormon.org video about it or something. Hahah (= lots of awesome.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday October 31

My week has been pretty good. Getting up at 6:30 is so annoying though.. Ugh. Oh well. So the members here are amazing. They are so kind and nice. Hopefully they have a lot of people to refer us to. Church is actually really fun. There was literally like 30-35 people in sacrament meeting. It's so weird.haha. The weather has been really really nice. It's been quite cloudy so it hasn't been hot or humid. I love it. There was a huge rainstorm yesterday. Well it only lasted about half an hour but for like 10 min while we were out harvesting, it was pouring so hard! It was like almost a flash flood. We kept on harvesting of course. We've met a couple people that seem interested but are slow to invite us back. So that's been kinda tough. We have 2 baptism dates so far (people from before i got here so i've only taught them a little), Jonathan who is 10. His mom is a less active member but she wants to come back. He'll be baptized on Saturday. And Gustavo. He speaks a little english so i can talk a little to him. He's set to be baptized Nov. 19. His wife is a member and she's probably the nicest lady ever. The people I have met are fantastic. Maria and Olga we met while harvesting. Maria is about 40 and is a member but hasn't gone for about 20 years. She still has a strong testimony which is awesome. Olga is her mother. She has investigated a lot of churches but when they ask her to be baptized, she bolts back to the Catholic church. Even though she doesn't really like it. So we'll try really hard to get them to church. They're in Spanish... But we met a lot of english people yesterday. Hopefully they will want us to teach them. I keep getting less and less homesick which is good. I love you guys and miss you a ton. Love you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Surprise Picture Text!

Good morning Sonia,
We're so happy to have your sweet son serving in our Ward! He bore a powerful testimony regarding Adversity and how we overcome and endure, when he ate lunch at our house on Sunday. Thanks for sharing him with us - I'll watch out for him while he's here!
He has a GREAT trainer, Elder Smith - obedient and kind.
Let me know if I can help in any way, our love to your family.

I've grown so much in the past 3 weeks. I hope you guys have too. In Alma 17:2-3 it reads... "Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yeah, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all, they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting; therefore they had the Spirit.." A great scripture. Alma and his brothers had just returned from their missions. I hope this comes true with us. I have seen personally how this gospel brings happiness because it happened to me. Be strong and active in the church. Build powerful testimonies. I want to be with you guys for eternity. And the way to do that is with this only true church on the earth. Omg I miss you guys so much. I love you two. But I know this is what I have to do. I love and miss you guys ssooo much. I can't wait to see you two again. Love you. Elder Jaren Thorne

Monday, October 24, 2011

Well, I'm here! The misson pres and his wife are very nice. It should be fun getting to know them. I am in the Hialeah area which i think is a suburb of Miami. I'm not too sure. The roads here are so confusing! I never know where we are going. We have a car since we live in the eastern part of our area and Elder Smith and I serve in the West. So haven't been able to ride the bike yet. But we're running low on miles for our car so we may have to the last few days of the month. Our apt is pretty good. Not super nice but not bad. There are 4of us there. All of us sleep in the same room. Then me and my comp have one bathroom and the others have one. And each companionship has a study area with our desks. I am doing good with blood sugars and stuff. Testing has been a little tough cuz I keep my pump in my backpack and don't always have it. 
The weather here is really nice. It's been pretty cloudy the whole time but that's good cuz it's not as hot or humid. It's perfect. Summer is gonna be rough. We had district training on Saturday at the chapel and when we were finished, there were some members there doing some stuff, a couple took me and my comp to cici's pizza. The Clempson-NC game was on and it made me miss home a lot and all the stuff that i use to do. But oh well. There are 2 wards in our area. One english and one spanish. If you haven't gotten my letter, I'm in a spanish area. It's really annoying cuz everyone speaks spanish so i just have to sit there while my comp talks to people. Church was really good yesterday. It was the primary program and it was combined. There were about 250 people in 2 wards. It's so weird. I felt right at home there, which was good. I've met a lot of great people too. In the ward and just people. It's weird thinking i'm a missionary. Being here for two years seems like a life time. It already feels llike i haven't been home in ages and it's only been a month. Maybe when i actually get to teach people in english it will get better. It was so amazing to hear your voices on tuesday, although it did make me want to hop on another plane and come home. I love you and miss you all like crazy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Story Behind the Picture

During a conversation with a co-worker this past week, I determined she would be at the airport at roughly the same time as Jaren.  We joked about her finding him and she took a picture of a picture I had of Jaren on a book shelf in my office.  I never thought Marcie would find him.  I wasn't even sure of the airline or the exact time of his flight.  All I knew was that he was scheduled to leave the MTC at 3:00 am and we were to expect his call at sometime around 4:30 or 5:00.  We waited and waited for his call.  Finally, at around 10 minutes to six, my cell phone beeped.  I was not a call, but an email.  It was from Marcie.  In all the anticipation of getting a cal from Jaren, I had forgotten about Marcie's quest.  I opened the email and her message indicated that she had found him and that he said, "tell him I love him!"  Jaren called us later in the morning during his layover in Dallas.  Seems Jaren and the others in his room slept through the alarm and they missed their 3:00 bus and had to catch the next.  When Marcie found him and snapped the picture at 5:45, he had just checked his luggage, so they had to race to catch their flight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 2010

Classes here are so long, but time goes by fast, which is way good. The Lord really has sent so many blessings my way to get me through this time at the MTC.  We go to the temple every P-Day, which today is my last P-Day.  Next Tuesday I'll be in Florida!  I miss you guys so much!  I got my packages.  Thank you!  We're not home a lot so I don't get to eat a lot of it, but it's good for study time.  The food tastes better now.  There are like 2 or 3 meals a week I like a lot.  My testimony has grown a ton over the past two weeks.  Wow!  Two weeks? One of our "investigators" is really cool His name is Bobby and we act like we're in New Jersey at his home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Word From our Missionary

Chad Lewis, who played for BYU and for the Eagles, came to speak at our Sunday Night Devotional.  He did amazing.  He spoke for a full 40 minutes.  He shared some awesome stories.  He served his mission in Taiwan and knows Chinese.  Since he was the only NFL player who knew Chinese, he is the NFL Ambassador for China.  He got to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa with Ted Bruschi, Jeff Fisher and 2 or 3 returned Marines.  He really inspired me.  It was crazy how long he spoke, but it didn’t even seem long.  After he spoke, we did an awesome musical number singing “Called to Serve.  The first verse we sang way quiet, like we were on the other side of a hill.  Then we sang the chorus medium, then the last part loud, then the last chorus way loud.  It was amazing seeing all those missionaries doing that.  I love the Lord.  I love you guys so much.  Thanks for all the letters.  I’m happy.  I love you and my girls (Heather, Hailey, V).  Pass my love along.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The beginning

After a final family lunch at the Brick Oven, we dropped Jaren off "curbside" at our appointed time of 1:25. I don't believe any young man has been more prepared than Elder Jaren Thorne to serve the Lord. Jaren has demonstrated tenacity and a true desire to serve his mission. He left us with his strong testimony of the gospel and of his desire to preach the gospel in South Florida. We anxiously await his first letter home to relate the experiences of his first few days at the MTC. We are proud of and admire Jaren for the courage he has shown to get to where he is and to be fulfilling the will of the Lord. We will keep contact information current and we are sure he would love to hear from any and all who visit the blog.