Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!


I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas this year. We sure did! It was probably the busiest Christmas I have ever had, but it was so great! Here's the run down.

Wake up, open presents, happiness. We were blessed with a beautiful haul of gifts and goodies (soooo much goodies), so thank you to everyone who contributed to that. It was lovely. I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. A happy blur, but a rushed blur nonetheless. 

1. Breakfast with our ward mission leader and family.
2. Skyping home! Yay! And also talking to Chani and Spencer. Pictures:

3. Lunch with the stake patriarch and his family.
4. Lunch with a member of the stake presidency and their family.
5. Visiting a rest home, and singing lots of Christmas songs.
6. Dinner with bishop and his family. 

Lots and lots of food that day. Lots of really great food, but still, a lot.

Now we move towards the New Year, and I still have to take down a lot of Christmas decorations... but also time to set more goals and look forward to 2015!! 

2015. Weird. That will be a weird year. I don't really know what to expect, but it's coming fast anyways!

Love you all!
Elder Horne

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twas the Night before Christmas

So much has happened this past week!

First, transfers. Elder Larsen went to Philly, so that is pretty exciting! He's got a good companion and all will be well (as long as he doesn't get robbed). After transfers I worked around Philly with some other missionaries while I waited until Wednesday to pick up my golden, so that was pretty fun.

GOLDEN! My boy arrived. Fresh and right out of the MTC. Elder Lake! He's from Gilbert, AZ (sooo many missionaries from Arizona what is this), so that's pretty exciting. He's the oldest in his family, so the first to serve a mission out of his siblings. He's such a goofball and so fun. He's into anime and Korean food. He's a young bull, 18, just out of high school. And he's just a super awesome missionary and I'm so excited to be training him! First born in the wilderness.

We kind of look related, right?

Here are all the golden missionaries that just came out. They're all pretty awesome. Just not quite as awesome as Elder Lake.

They are so golden and new, it's so exciting!


CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! I am excited. Everyone should be excited. Christmas spirit is just one of the warmest, sentimental, greatest things ever. The spirit of Christ.

We've been scheduling visits to members homes, figuring stuff out to Skype/FaceTime home, and get all the logistics figured out. Yet, we've also been trying to focus on giving, and find opportunities to help and serve others. We've been sending giving out a lot of Christmas cards. Some were left on the door and we ran (although none of those really worked out... when someone pulls into the driveway while you're trying to get back to your car: cover. blown.), others we delivered in person. It's just been a lot of fun finding different ways to uplift and help others. We're excited for Christmas, because we can go and visit people and give of our time, to help them feel Christ's love this time of year. Going to some rest homes, visiting some older individuals, singing songs, just everything we've been able to think of.

Focusing on others = Happiness.

So, we've been having some extra additional happiness lately. Missionary work brings in the happiness, but during Christmas time that just grows and grows.


Elder Horne

Monday, December 15, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a Golden Christmas

5 week transfers go FAST.

It's already been a transfer since I got here, and Elder Larsen is leaving! He'll be my shortest lived companion ever, presumably. So, after 5 weeks, we're going full force into the Christmas season and everything is going fantastic. I'm also so excited because my next companion will be a golden! Or a greenie! Or whatever else new missionaries hot-off-the-press are called! I'm really excited to be training, and I really hope to make this brand new missionaries first Christmas in the mission the absolute best thing ever. It'd be hard to leave right before Christmas, but he'll be working too hard and having way too much fun (all good fun) to be thinking too much about home. Hopefully.

Being Elder Larsen's last week, we did so much better than we have been doing about taking pictures!!! We actually took some! Hurray!! 

Here we go:

You've got to use an unused treadmill (it's really lousy) for something right?
All you need in life is construction paper, anything is possible.
OH, and the gospel. You need that too.

My lovely Relief Society (my all sisters district) ready to #ShareTheGift!
Good thing my mom showed me how to be a good Relief Society President...
(center-pieces, snacks, and activities for days)

Our first "real" snow! 

Thankfully it was warm enough so it didn't stick to the roads.

Our area goes up to the Delaware River, which is cool because Philly is just across the water.

And I love/miss the water so I'm pretty much in heaven, and maybe a little obsessed. 

These are only a couple of the many pictures I've taken of this river...

And naturally I have to wear my fun paddle socks if we're going to the water. 

...and take other fun pictures with assorted scenery and historic memorabilia. 

AND of course I had to get at least one good photo by the water, even though it was freezing cold.
Literally, freezing cold, and extraordinarily windy; note windblown hair.
I sacrificed my coat, and scarf, and gloves, all for the sake of a picture (but I did have them with me)

There you have it. See, we took a lot of pictures this week! And this isn't even all of them! Just the ones that are decent and not awful. 

We're getting all geared up for the holidays. I hung up more lights (we have so many) and made some more snowflakes, and curled lots of ribbon, and am burning through rolls of tape like Buddy the Elf. We also went caroling, and had our Christmas party, and are finding lots of brilliant people.

Life is good. Life is happy. 

Elder Horne

Monday, December 8, 2014

Stars were Gleaming

Whelp. This week was awesome.

And I can't even remember what happened.

There has just been this permeating Christmas spirit, and it's blanketing over everything, and making it all wonderful and spiritual and lovely. We were just able to have so many special experiences this week, it's been great. The visits/lessons we had, singing in stake choir, stake conference, the Christmas devotional, seeing members of the Linwood Ward, cookies and milk, watching He is the Gift a thousand times, so much Christmas music; the list goes on and on.

It's just been unbelievably stellar, and bright, and clear.

I'll try to explain.

In our lives sometimes it's hard to see clearly, and the night comes and it's dark. It may be foggy, maybe it's raining or overcast, maybe there is some smog and pollution in the air. Whatever it is, there just seems to be this apparent and physical/spiritual heaviness and darkness that is just weighing upon is. That is keeping us from seeing the stars.

Anyone who has seen the night sky knows where the stars are, and that they will always be there. The stars existence isn't conditional on our seeing them. They are simply there; countless and bright and beautiful. That doesn't change.

Our conditions change. If we're not grateful, or if we refuse to look up, we will never see the stars. We can pollute the air with sin and ignorance, and disbelief. We can prevent ourselves from seeing the stars. At least from seeing them as bright or as clear as we have before. We might be able to glimpse them, or find a few here and there, but with all the interference, we will never be able to witness the full majesty of the heavens.

Only by choosing to be grateful, to increase our faith, and to recognize that Heavenly Father loves us, and He is working in the details of our lives; will the fog of selfishness and disbelief dissipate and we will stand breathless underneath a bright sky full to the brim with blessings, in "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over" (Luke 6:38). We will see the love of God in immeasurable amounts, and recognize how much He blesses those who love Him.

I stand in awe of how wonderful God is. How great and indescribable His love is. How I have been able to look up and see the stars, and reflect in humility and gratitude for how beautiful my life truly is. How blessed I am to know the gospel. To know my Savior. Stars that will forever burn bright in the canopy of my life.

He is the Gift.

Share it!

Elder Horne

PS I tried making a gingerbread house temple and failed. I took this picture like 30 seconds before the entire thing collapsed.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So much Thanksgiving food...

Run through of Thanksgiving day.

First: Turkey Bowl. I obviously had no idea whatsoever I was doing, and they seemed to capture that in this lovely photo.

Hurray... It wasn't bad though. After a few minutes someone got hurt (typical) and so to even the teams I went and sat out with them. I know, taking one for the team. What can I say. So, that was relatively thrilling... 

Second: Turkey Cup. This I was actually very excited for. 2 hours of soccer with a bunch of Mexicans. It was awesome! I absolutely loved that, so I'm glad that we were able to go. It was just a lot of fun, and I like soccer, and like to play, so it was good.

Third: food. food. food. 3 dinner appointments in a row. I wasn't even able to enjoy the last one, except for their candied yams because those were delicious. Needless to say, I ate a lot of food. I'm glad we at least played soccer earlier that day. It made me feel a little less fat. It was a wonderful day, and I hope you all had fabulous Thanksgivings.

But now that's over...


There is so much decorating and celebrating and caroling that I want to do, but it's only just begun, since it's still only December 1. Here are some of the Christmas things I have managed to put up already:

Wonderful Nativity that I got last year

Our Christmas Tree!! 
That star took me forever to make... silly super glue

Snowflake chain, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas tree for our bedroom

Our apartment was loaded with stockings (there are 6 more)

Tango the reindeer!!

Obviously I'm excited.

We're making gingerbread houses today (hopefully) and decorating even more. And listening to Christmas music NONSTOP.

However, being over zealous, sometimes there are drawbacks... like when my holiday tie that plays 'jingle bells' accidentally goes off while someone is bearing their testimony... whoops.

Anyway, love you all! Happy Happy Happy Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Thanks Turkey

I can't even remember what happened this week...

Lots of cold, and missionariness, and Christmas music (just wait until next week), and dark, and awesomeness. It was a really good week, I am just not too sure if I can remember why. My memory is going. And sadly I didn't take any pictures this week to help me remember. I need to repent and do better at that as well.   


This week is Thanksgiving and so that's really exciting!! Yaaaaaaaay. We have a couple families we are going to be visiting with on Thanksgiving, so it will be full of fun and food and lovely people. And then a part of me is over-anxious to put up our Christmas decorations already (again, wait until next week). We will also be going to the Turkey Bowl, but unlike last year being flag, this year will be tackle. And last year one of the missionaries (now home, playing professional rugby) was apparently a little tough on the ward and they want payback. Well... Someone needs to watch the hot chocolate and donuts, right? Right. 

Yet, Thanksgiving isn't actually about any of these things. It's about being grateful! And this past week during sacrament meeting, one of the YSAs said something I really liked. "God commands us to thank Him - not to make Him happy - but to make us happy." I thought that was pretty neat, and true. This past week I've just been finding so many things to be grateful for. Mostly just superficial things: that I have gloves, that it didn't snow today, that the person we just stopped by was friendly, that I now have the Pentatonix Christmas album (thanks Chani!), that a member was able to come out with us, that someone signed up to feed us dinner, etc. the list goes on and on. And the more I was thankful for all those little things, they all built together and helped me to be more grateful for the larger things: being a full time missionary, for family, friends, the gospel, church, other missionaries, and the Savior. 

And when I was grateful, I was happy. Really happy. 

Simple as that. 

And although Thanksgiving only comes once a year (or twice if you're cool and celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving) you can be grateful any time of the year, any time of the day. You always have the opportunity to be grateful, and so you always have the opportunity to be happy. Happy happy happy. 

I think that's pretty neat. 

Elder Horne

PS the 5th Anniversary of the YSA Branch

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dreams Come True

Transfers = Perfection

When other missionaries ask you: "if you could have your dream transfer, what would it be?" This is what I've told them. YSA Ward, in New Jersey, and golden refining (being someone's second companion, right after they finish being trained). Lo, and behold, the heavens have opened and here I am! Serving in the Sewell Ward and Pitman YSA here in New Jersey with Elder Larsen (who just finished being trained)!

Dreams really do come true. 

Elder Larsen is awesome. He's from Mesa, AZ and loves tennis/golf, fancy pens, and nice clothes. He's been out for just 3 months and is a fantastic missionary. He doesn't have any winter clothes and its forecasted a high of 30 tomorrow and windy, so we are buying some today! 

I'm just so excited. So excited to be serving here, so excited to be with Elder Larsen, just so much excitement all over the place. Coming up is also stake conference, so I'll be able to see my old favorites from way back when in the Linwood Ward! I also reallymiss the people in Downingtown... but what are you going to do? C'est la vie.

More exciting, but different, news: we got in a car accident! It was actually not very exciting, although I'm pretty sure I'm still in shock. Probably. We were just driving down the road, when this car pulls out of a parking lot, t-bones the rear passenger side of our car, and then just drives away. It was all very sudden. It was nighttime. They didn't come back. We had a really nice cop lady come help us out. It was cold. We were fine. Our car is kind of fine. No injuries or anything, just an increasing acceptance of the widespread distaste for New Jersey drivers (especially from PA drivers). 

See, not bad.

 Everything else has been a blur. Just blurred information and craziness all just hitting me at once. Yay for learning a new area. It'll be good though. I'm content. We have good members, we are as close as I feel comfortable to true ghetto (we are next to Camden), the YSAs are wonderful, it's starting to get colder, and I'm just trying to stay on top of everything! This "break" of a Pday has been much needed. 

Love and miss you,
Elder Horne


Monday, November 10, 2014

This Is Happiness

I'm awful with goodbyes...

We learned Friday night that I was being transferred.

From that point on everything just became really sentimental and special. Last visits to people I've been seeing for the past 7 months; a sense of finality and closure that nobody could quite comprehend. Which I think is due to the fact that we exist on an eternal round, and that there really are no endings, just everlasting beginnings.

Yet these past few days have just gone something like this: "Goodbye may seem forever, farewell is like the end, but in my hearts a memory and there you'll always be." Fox and the Hound

Sunday was definitely the most special. It was incredible. It was during sacrament meeting, after I had confirmed Jonathan a member of the church, a recently returned missionary got up and gave his homecoming talk, and we were singing the closing hymn: God Be With You Till We Meet Again (seriously). I was sitting between Jonathan and Jim, and just thought: "this, this is happiness." As I went to give the closing prayer my heart was just filled with so much gratitude, and so much love for these people.

This is happiness.

Then later we conferred the Aaronic Priesthood to Jim, went and ate with a ton of people, and just were able to have many tender special moments. Between lingering hugs and handshakes, to last laughs and memories, I could not have been more blessed yesterday. And I am very grateful. This is happiness.

Here are some more pictures I took with some of the greatest:

The Williamsons! We were doing service

Can't forget Buddy!!

Denise and Jama!

Now it's time to move on.

Which will be nice. I'm glad I was able to die a hero, rather than stay long enough to become the villain (as Two Face would say). I know the Lord is moving me to bigger and better things. Stay tuned.

Keep moving forward.

Elder Horne

Monday, November 3, 2014

Elders Only Past This Point

This past week was great! Although I do not remember much of it... Time is just flying by so fast. It's unreal. I can't believe I hit my 18th month mark this past week. Plus, Elder Prestwich hit his 100 day mark. Weird. Elders only past this point. #cantstopwontstop

Halloween was pretty fun. I just zonked out. We had dinner with a member family (chili and cornbread, YUM) and then had to be in by 6. In most of PA trick-or-treating is legally set between 6-8 PM. You're not allowed to start before or after that. Which is kind of cool. Anyway, we came in for the night, and I was totally hoping to be productive, but I didn't actually make plans of productivity, so I was completely unproductive... I just watched church videos for hours. Literally, like 3 hours. If I had chosen longer videos it wouldn't have been so bad, but I went through tons of Mormon Messages, all the General Conference Highlights, the Phone Call, Johnny Lingo, Mormon Messages for Youth, Strength of Youth Media, and so on. My brain was more mushy than pumpkin slime. And add a whole bunch of starbursts and whoppers on top of that. 

It wasn't pretty. 

Southeast PA is pretty though! Absolutely beautiful. Going into late fall, there are the trees that are just brilliantly lit up with changing leaves, accompanied by the bare bark of others. Lots of wind, lots of clouds, lots of leaves everywhere. It could stay like this forever. Plus we got some clementine oranges (to die for) and the holiday season is totally here. Bliss. Just sweet bliss. I'm waiting for transfers though to start shopping and decorating and shopping. It's gonna to be amuzin'. 

Almost as amazing as Jonathan's baptism!!! Oh my goodness this family is the best. Like, they are seriously so awesome. This has been the fastest baptism I have seen (less than a month after initial contact), but he couldn't have been more prepared or ready. Such a sweet spirit, and powerful testimony. He probably gives the most moving prayers I've ever heard. So sincere. So sincere. And we love him so much. 

The Lord is so good to those that love Him. 

Elder Horne


Monday, October 27, 2014

Expecto Patronum

Yay fall going into winter! We've been gearing up, warming up, and sograteful that we have car. It could start getting into the 30s thisweek (kill me) but I'm a little more optimistic about it than most missionaries. Granted, we have a lot from Southern California, and they aren't a huge fan of this cold. If it would just stay around 50-55 degrees year round, I'd be perfectly content with that.


I'm not sure if it's this initial onset of cold - if winter is starting to creep into my bones - but something has been causing an increase in lethargy. Actually, multiple things have been, but we will blame it on the weather. Or dementors. Ya, it's probably dementors. Blast. Well, either way, I'm refusing to let it be a cold/flu/fever that could be slowing me down. Because we all know I won't let that happen.

The Lord has been good to us though. Although I might be slowing down a little, maybe getting a refuel, the work is going faster and stronger than ever. So that's been such a blessing. People just keep coming to us, and we keep being led to people who are prepared. I think the Lord just really trusts us to know what to do, and how to help these people. Because it surely isn't us doing the work, we just try to stay on top of everything that the Boss gives us. It definitely takes a lot of work, but it's different when you see it as work divinely appointed and endowed, rather than your own personal work.

I'm not even sure if I'm making any sense. Blame it on the grey.

We had some great times this week though! We had dinner with our favourite English family, love them, and it is always such a smashing time there. So obviously we take pictures, because we need pictures.

Anyways, I hope that everyone is doing well, doing fantastic, that you are staying above the weather and all that jazz.

Keep on keepin' on.

Elder Horne

PS Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall in Liberia


It's sweater weather.

Officially the holiday celebrations, hot cocoa overdoses, clumpy sweaters, and pure joy is beginning to break forth. And also the colds, and flu, and weird illnesses. But let's talk about the goodness. So, we volunteer in a thrift store every week (Habitat for Humanity), and we just started breaking out all the Christmas merchandise: christmas trees, ornaments, weird/creepy decorations, you name it. GOLDMINE. I've refrained from purchasing the entire store, only because I am waiting to see where I will be for Christmas, because I doubt it will be here. Immediately when I get to my next area though, we're going shopping. 

Happiness. But there is also the accompanying sickness that the cold brings... Our district meetings have become almost a sort of district hospital. Everyone comes in with their unusual symptoms, and we all prescribe different things, and nobody is really sure what's going on.

Don't worry, I'm still healthy. I refuse to be sick. It's not going to happen. #stayingalive



So, we have been teaching some more Liberians than usual. Like, almost everyone we are teaching is Liberian... And they are absolutely the best. And they have been coming to us! 

I don't know what it is about them, they just love the gospel so much, and are so committed. Sometimes a little too committed, but you can never be too committed to the gospel, right? For example: we were teaching a guy about service, and he told us that he was going to quit his job, so he could do whatever he could to serve (clean, mow people's lawns, visit everyone, come teaching with us, help people move, make meals for people, etc.). Which was awesome! We just had to explain that he was able to do more service by keeping his job, so he could continue to support his children, and his family, and be stable himself. Then he can do all those other things, once he has his own family taken care of. So, things like that. 

Anyway, the people that we are teaching are awesome. They love Christ, they love the gospel, and they are willing to do anything, seriously anything, to show Him how much they love Him. They are so prepared, and it has been such a blessing for me to be able to teach these people! A strong testimony of individuals focused on what matters most, and having the faith to move mountains. 

Elder Horne

PS an awesome member family from one of Elder Prestwich's previous areas came down and took us out to eat, so that was nice. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wild Week. Best Week.

This week was wild, and random, but oh so good. Seriously. Best week ever.
Let's start with the beginning.

Elder Prestwich loves golf. Brother Carr (who oversees the temple site) loves golf. Elder Horne has never golfed. So we went golfing! They suggested I didn't play, due to my inexperience, so I was privileged enough to ride around in the golf cart and snap lots of pictures. It was the most beautiful fall day, and the course was nice, so I was content. Throw in some Bach and a Starbucks caramel apple spice: heaven. I didn't have either of those things, but just imagine.
All this most lovely fall weather has rekindled my hot chocolate/apple cider/herbal tea obsession. I drink at least one large cup of hot chocolate every morning (and night) accompanied with some cider or tea throughout the day. And when I remember, we listen to Bach.
This wonderfulness has only made me slightly more loopy than usual, as you can see in the glasses adventure that we had the other day. When you've been weekly planning for a long time, and you are really tired, some things are just really funny. For example:

OK, now for the two most awesomest things that happened this week.
First: Meet the Mormons. #feels. Feels, my friends. So many (but not as many as will be coming later). I absolutely loved this movie. So stinking good, SO stinking good. We watched it before it was released in theaters so that we could understand what people would be telling us about it. And also so that we could want to tell EVERYONE to go watch it. 6 Mormon individuals and their lives. The Candy Bomber. Nuff said. Seriously, I couldn't handle his story. Too good.

So go and watch it, or find it, or do something. Because that is one awesome movie. Church documentary level: celestial.

Second (and lastly): Jim's baptism. #ALLthefeels. Seriously all the feels. It was like, so many. Sister Johnstone and I sung his favorite him - It Is Well With My Soul - and they had family there, and he was just a happy mess, and it was absolutely the most wonderful thing ever. Oh my goodness I love this old man. Being here from Day 1, all the way back in May, has been such a blessing. Sweetest baptismal service.

And also probably the craziest day of Jim's life... Because a couple hours later he had a seizure, broke his ankle, and won't be able to work for at least 6 months. And even though that was a whirlwind and extremely crazy, all things considered, we consider it a blessing. Because one of the greatest challenges we faced with him was getting work off on Sunday. Not a challenge anymore! So, Sunday was just... Everything. Everything happened on Sunday.
All things taken into account: best week ever.
Elder Horne

Monday, October 6, 2014

Come, Listen

Ok, let's talk about transfers first, get that out of the way, and then we can just dive into General Conference.

So. Transfers! Well, first, I had to say goodbye to my favoritest Elder Kitsell, who will quote Mean Girls and She's the Man with me any day, sending him back to England. It was cool, his parents came out to visit the States with him before they fly back, so I got to meet them too. I've promised that I would fly out to England, he just has to meet me wherever I end up landing. 

But, more relevant news, my new companion! Elder Prestwich! He's from Provo, UT. Plays water polo, and is awesome. He goes home in February (seriously, I always get them on the tail end... kill or be killed), so he'll most likely stay here until he goes home. We are pretty excited to serve together, he reminds me a lot of Elder Wilcock. 
Now: General Conference! GC! LDSconf! GConf! So much conf! It was amazing, and revelatory, and mind blowing, as always. I just wish I had an entire day to review the talks, review my notes, condense/clarify messages, and set goals and make plans. That's what PDAY was intended for, right? 

Some of my favorite quotes and messages:
- "God cares about you." (President Dieter F Uchtdorf)
- "Try to force a smile, and look heavenward." (Elder Jörg Klebingat)
- "If you do your part, it will come, and it will be glorious," (President Dieter F Uchtdorf)
- "I may not be my brothers keeper, but I am my brothers brother." (Elder Jeffrey R Holland)
- "Faithfully caring for the poor and needy is a reflection of spiritual maturity." (Bishop Dean M Davies)
- "Wherever we go, our priesthood goes with us." (President Thomas S Monson)
- "Sometimes we may be awkward." (Elder David A Bednar)

And that's only a few. One of my absolute favorite things about conference, is that we can watch/listen/read it again! And again! Or, for those who might not have seen it, watch it! That's my invitation to everyone. Come, listen to a prophets voice. 

Elder Horne