Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 3, 2016~Mission Accomplished

My cute fam!
Is anyone else freaking out right now? Oh my goodness. I think someone needs to come to Charlotte and slap me because I feel like I'm in a dream right now. I cannot believe that this day has finally come. My very last preparation day as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What! I am so grateful for each of you and for the impact that you have made in my life, and specifically the impact that you have made in my life since I've been out on my mission.
This week has been one for the books. My emotions have been all over the place, but they have all been good emotions, so that's a plus! I have had many many sacred experiences the past 7 days, for which I will be forever grateful. I was able to serve for the last time at my favorite places with my favorite people. I was able to attend my very last zone conference and bear my testimony for the last time in front of my fellow missionaries. I was able to sing the mission song for the very last time. I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday and had a wonderful day! I had the amazing opportunity to listen to the words of our dear prophet and apostles. I had the privilege to spend an hour with my recent convert, Robert Robbins, and share my testimony with him and cry together! And best of all, I was able to have my exit interview with President Alexander. That was a moment in my life that I will never forget. It was probably the best two hours of my entire mission. President Alexander is amazing. He is someone that I have come to love so much and have come to trust so deeply. He gave me amazing council and advice and gave me one of the best priesthood blessings I've ever received. Such a tender moment for a missionary!
I have been really busy all day packing and getting ready to go so I don't have a whole lot of time. However, I couldn't afford to not email you one last time and share my thoughts and testimony with you!
My testimony is something that I hold very near and dear to my heart and is something that means the very most to me, so I can't not share it with you! I hope you will you be able to feel of the love that I have for each of you and ultimately for my Savior through my words.
I love my Savior Jesus Christ so much. He is my everything. I know he lives. I know he loves me, and he loves you. I cannot stress that to you enough. I know he loves you perfectly. If there is one thing that I have come to learn on my mission, it is that God loves all of his children perfectly and equally. He has opened my eyes so much and has helped me see all of his children in the way that he does. I don't know if that is something that he has just blessed me with on my mission, or if that is something that he will let me do for the rest of my life, but nonetheless, having spiritual eyes to see others as God does has been amazing. With that, I have been able to truly see and feel the love that God has for each of us. Whenever we don't feel his love, it is because we are making choices that are distancing us from him and we aren't truly seeking his love. If you want to feel it, he will let you. Tonight, I want to challenge you to get on your knees and ask Heavenly Father how he feels about you. As you do that, I promise you will be able to feel of his infinite love for you personally.
I know that the atonement is real. There is nothing in this life that the atonement cannot fix, heal, cover, mend, or change. The atonement covers ALL. I challenge you to use the atonement in every aspect of your life. It has changed my life as I have studied, lived, breathed, applied, and have accepted the infinite atonement. I love the atonement so much. It is truly the complete love of God. There is so much to learn about it and it's so deep, but it's so personal and so sacred to each of us. I know that the atonement is the center of the doctrine of Christ. I know that the power of repentance is real. I've seen it work in my life too many times! I loved how much it was talked about in conference and I know that each of us can think back on our lives and realize that we have so much to repent for. Thankfully, God is always there to help us and will always forgive us, as we do our part.
I know the power of the priesthood is real and I know that it has been restored through our prophet Joseph Smith. I have seen it bless my life so much! I am so grateful for all of the worthy priesthood holders that I have to look to in my life. There is nothing that I admire more than a worthy priesthood holder. I am so grateful for my father, grandfathers, uncles, friends, brothers, & missionaries who have helped me through the priesthood. I know that through the priesthood, families can live together forever and can be sealed for time and all eternity. That truth has never been more clear to me, than at this time in my life. I am grateful for the sacred ordinances that we get to make in the temple. I know that what happens in the temple is real and you have no idea how excited I am to come home and be able to access the powers of heaven in the temple. I am so grateful for the covenants that I have made with my father in heaven. I know he loves me and is proud of me for the covenants that I have made. I am so excited to continue to make covenants and promises with him.
I am so grateful for the ordinance of the sacrament. The sacrament and the sabbath day have changed my life. You have no idea my love for the sacrament. I am so grateful for what I have been able to learn on my mission and for the sacred, special experiences that I have been able to have at the altar, my sacrament table. I know that through that sacred ordinance and through the Holy Ghost, we can be cleansed and sanctified. Clean and pure each week. What an amazing privilege we have to partake worthily each week. Make your sacrament experience a spiritual one every single week and you will be changed for the rest of your life. I have such a strong testimony of the sacrament, and I know that it is one of God's greatest tools to help us make it back to him.
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that there is power in that book and there is nothing that will bring us closer to our savior than reading that book. Commit to read the Book of Mormon every single day for the rest of your life. You have no idea how much that book means to me. I am so grateful for the chance that I have had to read it every single day for the last 18 months. I haven't missed a single day my entire mission, and I hope to continue that for the rest of my life. It has changed my life and has truly transformed me into who I am today. I know that Joseph translated it by the power of God and I know that combined with the bible, it gives us the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Family, I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is the only way to lasting JOY and eternal happiness. I have never been so sure of something in my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity that God gave me to serve in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission. My heart will never be the same. North Carolina is my holy land. It is the place where I came to know my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the relationship that I have with him and am so grateful to know him in the way that I do. I love the people of North Carolina with my whole heart and soul. I will never ever forget the sacred experiences that I have had here. I am a changed Kyla Joan Worthington and I owe that all to my conversion and to my Savior. The doctrine of Christ is embedded in my heart and I know that it's the path to happiness. I have never been happier, than when I have been serving others.
Tomorrow morning I will go to the mission office and pack everything up and then head to the mission home for my last night as a full time missionary. I want each of you to know how much I love you. You have been my saving grace and have all gotten me through some of my darkest days. As I come home, I hope that you will be able to feel of my love and that you will see my changed heart and my love for the Savior. I have committed to be a disciple of Jesus Christ for the rest of my life. There is no other path that I would rather follow and be on.
When I get home, remind me to share with you my story about staying attached to the vine. :)
I am excited for the new journey that is ahead and I am looking forward to being reunited with each of you. Thank you, for letting me come out here and serve the Lord. Thank you for helping me become who God needs me to be. There is nothing that means more to me than the 18 months of sacrifice that I have given to the God I love most.
North Carolina, I love you.
I love you mom. I love you dad. I love you Kaiden. I love you Chelsea.
I love you Kamryn. I love you Knighton. & I love you Kennadi Grace.
God be with you till we meet again.
Sister Kyla Joan Worthington

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October 2, 2016

Friends and Family,
We are forever grateful for all of your thoughts, prayers, love and support on our behalf AND on behalf of our dear, sweet Kyla Joan over the past year and a half. We can’t hardly believe that she will be returning home this WEDNESDAY, October 5th, 2016. Where did the last 18+ months go?
She will arrive at the Salt Lake International airport, Terminal 2, from Charlotte, North Carolina on Delta Air Lines flight DL 521 at 10:13 am this Wednesday. We would like to invite ALL of you to join us in welcoming her home; we know that she would love to see any and all of you that might could make it up to the airport for this exciting day. We also know and appreciate that your schedules may not permit, but wanted to at least extend this invitation.
Whether you are able to join us in welcoming her home at the airport or not, you and your families are also invited to gather with us for a simple lunch at the Pizza Factory (2230 N University Pkwy, Provo, UT 84604) in Provo at 12:00 noon on Wednesday as well. There at the Pizza Factory you will be able to visit with and welcome Kyla home as well.
Thanks again for the amazing influence you are and have been in our lives and the lives of our sweet children.
Troy & Collette Worthington

September 30, 2016

Dear Brother Worthington,
It has been a great joy to have Sister Worthington in our North Carolina Charlotte Mission.
She was is very hard working, diligent missionary and genuine and sincere as well. What a light and source of love she has brought into each area that she served. She is a master at building member and investigator relations of love and trust. Whenever we are around her, we feel the love of the Savior. She has a very powerful testimony of the atonement and the doctrine of Christ. As she speaks, the Spirit radiates into the hearts of everyone. She has confidence from knowing who she is as a daughter of God. She will be greatly missed. We love her and admire her so much.
We know you are excited to have her home. Thank you for sending such an incredible, well prepared missionary. God bless you wonderful people!
President and Sister Alexander

September 26, 2016~Be Still & Know

Hi family!
Well, I'm alive. I guess that's the biggest news of the week. This week was CRAZY. Prepare yourself for this crazy email. We'll get to the details in a little bit. :) How's everyone doing? Another week down. & guess what, just one more left to go! I cannot believe that I am on the last full week of my mission. Kind of freaking out to be honest. I'm going to need lots and lots of prayers this week. There are so many things on my little heart and in my little soul. I hope that each of you had a great week. From some pictures and some letters I received this week, it looks like it's getting a little bit cold over there in my 801! I am so excited! I love this time of year and am so grateful for God's beauty. It's still really warm here in North Carolina and I'm ready for some snow!
First off, I just want to thank each of you for your prayers this week and for all of your love and support! I felt them. It's been a crazy week here in Charlotte and in the Carolinas. I'm sure each of you are aware of the shootings and the riots that have been happening around here. Well, the shooting happened literally 1 minute from our apartment and we were driving by right as it was happening. I've have never seen so many police cars, helicopters, and news vehicles in my life. I remember driving by and being so confused, feeling so weird, and not really knowing what to do. Cops were blocking off the road and we were sitting there looking at everything going on, but not having a clue what was happening. We finally got home and then continued on with the rest of the plans. The rest of the day was crazy! Since we don't watch or listen to the news, we were still super confused with what was going on. Before we knew it, everyone and their mom was talking about it! We got filled in and got the whole story!
President Alexander called us later that night and just informed us on what was going on and told us to stay out of certain areas. We weren't too affected by anything, but it's been so sad to see what this has done to the city of Charlotte. The past couple of days have been hard because everyone has so much hate in their hearts right now and it's killing me! People are very upset and definitely not so fond with all the white people right now! I am hoping that things will calm down next week and that people will be more ready to accept the gospel. But regardless of everything going on, all is well and we are all safe! Thanks again for all the prayers.
Oh guess what else happened! NC had a crazy gas scare and every gas station was closed! We couldn't get gas anywhere! It was so scary. The gas prices went up so much too and it was insane. I literally started freaking out because I thought that we were going to be on bikes for the rest of my mission.. And not that I wouldn't like that, but I just don't like being outside of the car with all the crazy riot people running around. But, we figured it all out and now we have a full tank. :) God is good.
This past week was a hard week for me mentally & physically haha. I was just super stressed for some reason and everything just seemed to come crashing down. Mid week I started to get really stuffed up and started to get this really really bad cough. Like what the heck. I haven't been sick my ENTIRE mission, and it all just seems to come crashing down my last week. What's up with that! I think it was just due to stress and emotions. It was a few rough days, but I made it through and I'm feeling much better today. I also had my last district meeting and my last Sunday with the YSA ward and so both of those were tender moments for me. I got asked to bear my testimony at both district meeting and in sacrament meeting. It was such a special moment for me. I have been able to learn and grow so much and it was neat to be able to express my testimony to the ones that I have come to love so much for the very last time. Thankfully, I still have zone conference and my exit interview, and my night at the mission home to bear my testimony but still, I never thought this day would come and it's freaking me out.
We were able to see some good miracles this week and were able to see the work move forward. Most of our investigators are doing well and I am so grateful for all the amazing people that I have been blessed to work with. The highlight of the week was going on my last exchange with our sister training leaders on Friday and Saturday. Guess what.  SISTER NUNIES CAME TO CHARLOTTE!! And Sister Warner and I both stayed in Charlotte. Sister Mabey left us and went up to Concord. It was honestly the best 24 hours of my mission. The triple threat was back together. It was the best day of my life. Being reunited with Sister Nunies and having Sister Warner still with me was like a dream come true. When we exchanged, we had to immediately drive an hour to our appointment with our investigator named Emily. We had a major vent session and it was soooo needed. All of us cried, laughed, talked, cried some more, screamed, laughed and talked some more the whole car ride down. It was amazing! We had a great lesson with Emily and taught her the word of wisdom and the law of chastity and she took it like a champ! She is so ready to get baptized, but her family is super Catholic and she doesn't want to commit to a baptismal date until she has their full support. Makes sense. But, it's hard because she really wants too and she is progressing so well, but she doesn't want her family to turn their backs on her, and at this point, that is what they have been saying they will do if she gets baptized. So, pray that the Ketron family will soften their hearts!
The next day was bomb. We woke up super happy and had a super good workout. We then went and did a service project with some of the sisters in our stake. We went to a refugee center and cleaned their entire building. It was a really neat experience and I am so grateful for the emphasis that the church has had on helping the refugees in the world. Charlotte is full of them, so I am so grateful that I was able to help out in such a small way. After serving, we went and had a few lessons. One of which was with our investigator Daeshawn. We had a drop lesson with Daeshawn and it was one of the hardest things that I have had to do on my mission thus far. I have come to love Daeshawn and have had some really neat experiences with him. He just hasn't been keeping commitments and doesn't really feel like he "has time" for us and for the gospel. It broke my heart. For the first time in my life, I really felt like I "cried repentance." I was so bold and so straightforward with the kid. I basically told him that if he doesn't have time for God, then we don't have time for him. I know it definitely made him feel bad and he was kinda crying, but I did it with lots of love and just hoped that he could feel the seriousness in my voice. He wasn't letting me down, he was letting God down, and that's what breaks my heart. He has been taught a lot of things and it hurts me to know that one day he will be held accountable for what he knows. We ended on a good note and I hope he accepts the gospel later on in his life. He promised me that if he saw missionaries again, he would talk to them and let them in, so that was comforting.
After his lesson we headed to dinner and then went over to the stake center for the general woman's conference. We did another service project and tied fleece blankets together and put together sewing kits & hygiene kits and all this other stuff. It was fun. Then, the miracle came. A member stopped us and said "Sisters, this is Maddy! She's going to watch woman's conference with us." Maddy isn't a member and she was friends with a kid in high school that was a member and so she knew a little bit about the church. He is on his mission right now, and she decided to email him and said she was interested. So, his mom brought her to conference. She is the sweetest ever! Bam. New investigator! We got her information and sat next to her during all of conference. And let me just tell you... WOMAN'S CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING.
It was exactly what I needed to hear. Oh my goodness. I don't even have words to express how much I loved it. President Uchtdorf's talk soothed my soul and it was perfect. It was amazing. I am so grateful for the inspired leaders that we have and for their closeness with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I took a lot of time spiritually preparing for it and I know that made all the difference in the world.  Every question that I had for woman's conference was answered. You can only imagine how excited I am for general conference! AHHH! It's the best thing as a missionary and it's my favorite time of the year. I feel so blessed because I am ending my mission on the best week ever.
Birthday week & general conference week. It can't get much better than that. Revelation & council is exactly what I need right now and there is no other way I would rather end it.
This week I learned a lot a lot a lot. The phrase "be still, and know that I am God" is what really hit me this week and is what was weighing on my mind a lot. I have been taken back by the many many times that I have been still, and have felt the closeness of God. I know that he is real and that he is there. A few months ago, I made a commitment with myself. I told myself that before I went in the apartment for the night, I would sit on a curb outside and would take a few minutes to myself to look up at the sky and the stars and reflect on how good God had been to me that day. My companions just went along with it and half the time didn't even know that I was doing it and why I was doing it. I just told them I needed to "sit on the curb." I have been so blessed by that sacred experience and can't even begin to tell you the countless times I have felt God's love for me.
It's in those moments when I know that God hears the silent pleadings of my heart. That is one of my favorite characteristics about God. He knows us so perfectly that he knows our needs and our thoughts and our desires, before we even express them to him, or anyone. He knows how we feel. & unless you turn to him and ask for help, he cannot help you. It's taken me a long time to figure that out, but I am so grateful that I finally figured it out. In woman's conference, Sister Stephans said, "The Savior would do anything to take this (your problems, challenges, fears, worries, etc) from you." We just have to ask and we just have to let him. & like President Uchtdorf said, "Keep knocking until you get to the fourth floor, last door." Do not give up. The Lord is usually not behind the first door. We have to keep seeking him and keep climbing.
Life is so crazy and so busy. Everyday we are doing something different and are so preoccupied with the things of the world. We are always running from one place to the next and doing one thing after another. We don't take enough time to stop, and think. We do not take enough time being still. As I have done that, it has become one of the best things in my life. BE STILL. When you are still, the spirit can be with you and you can hear it's promptings and feel its influence.
When you are still, God can manifest his love more fully. When you are still, you can feel at peace and you can feel the calming effects of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
As I have been reflecting on all of that this past week, my heart has been turned to heaven. I have been thinking so much about heaven, and what that really is and what that really means. Have you ever thought about heaven? "Heaven is a place, but also a condition; it is home and family. It is understanding and kindness. It is interdependence and selfless activity. It is quiet, sane living; personal sacrifice, genuine hospitality, wholesome concern for others. It is living the commandments of God without pride or hypocrisy. It is selflessness.
Heaven is all about us. We need only to be able to recognize it as we find it and enjoy it." The past 18 months I have had so many little glimpses of heaven. I know it's so near and so close to me.
One of my favorite quotes ever is, "Missions are for missionaries. It is a marvelous gift of time, a time given when you can experience glimpses of heavenly life here on earth. It is a time of cleansing and refreshing. It is a special time when the Holy Ghost can seal upon you the knowledge of the great plan for your exaltation. It is one of your best opportunities to become a celestial candidate." On my mission, I have experienced heaven, and I yearn to be there, and I will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get there one day, and I hope you will do the same.
My heart is so full. I have so much gratitude wrapped up inside my little heart and soul. I am so thankful for my knowledge and my testimony of this gospel. I wouldn't be who I am today without my Savior Jesus Christ and without his perfect plan. I am so thankful for his love and his care. I am grateful. & I have come to learn a whole new definition of the word "grateful."
I cannot think of an experience that could have brought me closer to my Savior than my missionary service and the trials of my family. I came out on my mission believing in Christ and the Atonement. I am coming home from my mission with a burning conviction and knowledge that Christ and the Atonement are as real as the scriptures describe them. I feel their reality because they are the only thing that have been carrying me through, and I would not trade that for anything. I am so grateful to know Jesus Christ the way that I do. I am so grateful that He truly did suffer for me and for you, so that not only could we be comforted but that we could come to know Him in the most real sense possible and gain hope from that. The best thing I have EVER done in my life, was sacrifice 18+ months for the God that I love most.
I love each of you so dearly. This is it. One more week. Thank you for everything. You have no idea the impact each one of you have made.
I've had an amazing 21 years of life, (well after tomorrow that is) & I owe it all to you. :) I hope each of you have a good week and I hope you take some time to truly prepare for General Conference this weekend. I know that there are many of you who are seeking answers and peace. Let this be a time to heal some of your wounds and your broken hearts. If you are open and if you have real intent, God will answer you and he will bless you. We are the ones that with-hold the blessings from ourselves.
Have a great week. Talk to you in seven, see you in nine! Ah! I LOVE YOU! Xo
Sister Kyla Worthington

September 19.2016 18~ months down

Hi everyone!
Another week has come and gone, just like that! Crazy how fast time is going. This past week was actually really slow so I'm really grateful it's Monday and that there is a new week ahead of me. I hope each of you had a great week. I don't have a whole lot of time today because we had a big zone activity and I am having to do a lot of things for my iPad and my return home, that has kept me busy on my preparation days, but I will do my best to update ya on my week and share some of my experiences with you! It's amazing how much the Lord is trying and testing me and how much he is throwing at me. I guess there is nothing like the last two weeks of your mission, right?
The biggest event of the week was moving apartments. Holy smokes it's a process. And I've had to do it twice! Sister Cottis and I had to move when we were serving in Tanglewood/Lewisville and now I have to move here. I guess God just thinks I'm really good at this whole moving thing. Missionaries typically don't move apartments very often, but I have been fighting for this move since I got to Charlotte, so I'm grateful that it's finally happening and that President approved my request. :) He loves me. We are in a way better apartment and a way better location! I am super excited for the future growth of this area and for the miracles that are in store here. I wish I could stay here longer.
P.S MY NEW ADDRESS IS: 8726 Avebury Dr. Apt. A Charlotte, North Carolina 28213 just in case you were wondering. :)
We spent a lot of the week packing up our old apartment, working with the housing missionaries, lots and lots of deep cleaning, (mom, you would be so proud of my cleaning skills... And let me just tell you how thankful I am that you taught me how to clean properly... One of my companions "cleaned" the bathroom and I walked in there and just wanted to laugh.... And thought to myself... Hmmm.. This wouldn't have rolled with Mom. Try again. So I totally re-cleaned the whole bathroom. So funny) we also did lots of moving boxes and furniture, and then moving again and unpacking all of our boxes. It's amazing how much crap can be collected over the years by missionaries. Oh my goodness. You would think missionary apartments would be nice and clean all the time, but it's amazing how much stuff each set of missionaries acquires and leaves for the next. We were literally SO exhausted by the end of the week though and I honestly just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up for like 5 days straight. I'm sore and physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. Oh side note, our ward mission leader and other ward members that were going to help us move... Totally forgot and bailed on us so we had to call up a few elders and do it mostly on our own. So that was fun. Made the experience better. We HAD to be out by a certain time so I have never been so stressed and so tired! Due to the move, the work had to kind of be put on hold. We were still able to have a few good lessons with our solid investigators, but our finding time was a little bit more limited.
All of our investigators are doing pretty well. We have been able to really see them progress and I have loved watching the gospel change their lives and their desires. Emily is still our most solid and I love love love her. She's great! We have dinner with her again this week and her official baptism date will be decided. We are also working with a girl named Tiwanna and she's super chill. We were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation this past week and she really enjoyed it. She even admitted to the fact that she passed over the "kingdoms of glory" section in Corinthians that Paul talks about. It was pretty funny. When we were talking about the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial kingdoms, she was like "heyyyy I've read about this before. I just didn't know what it meant so I kept on reading." Haha it was hilarious. It was so fun to see her connect the dots and put it together. She loved learning about it and is continuing to progress and investigate.
Daeshawn is another investigator that we are working with. We were able to have a good lesson with him and had one of our favorite members come with us. It was an interesting lesson though. He opened up to us and straight up told us that he has been smoking weed lately because he's been stressed... So now we have to work on his word of wisdom issue.. But I know that there is nothing that a little gospel of Jesus Christ can't fix! Daeshawn really hasn't had the desire to read the Book of Mormon lately, but we tried talking to him and helping him see how important it really is and how crucial it will be for him to know that our church is the true church. We have been trying SO HARD to get him to read, and he just hasn't done it. We were going to "put him on hold" aka drop him and move on, but he texted us today and said he read and loved it! Soooooo now we are going to continue to work with him! Hooray for investigators exercising their faith! I love love love when that happens.
So, fun story for you! Two weeks ago during weekly planning, my cute hermanas and I decided that we needed to step up our game with finding new investigators. President Alexander has put a big emphasis on finding lately and really wants our mission to step up our finding efforts. We spent a long time talking about how we could find new investigators and increase our teaching pool. I shared my "Windows of Heaven" experience that I had with Sister Cottis in my last area and I decided to share that with my companions and it inspired us to try it again. During weekly planning, we prayed about a time and a place that the Lord needed us to be to find one of his precious children. We decided on Friday, September 16th, we would be at the Boardwalk from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. I think I've mentioned it before.. But as missionaries we always make plans in our nightly planning session for the next day, but then always end up switching our plans because other things come up or lessons go over the time we planned for, or stupid Charlotte traffic puts us behind.. Just so many little things like that and so a lot of the time, we aren't where we told the Lord we would be. I made an effort this week to really work on being where I told the Lord I would be and was praying that he would bless us for doing so.  Well, come Friday the 16th and we headed over to the boardwalk. We started walking around and doing a lot of street contacting. We decided to make this cute little clipboard -survey type thing and it worked like a charm! On the top of the paper we wrote "What makes you happy?" We figured that if we have a survey, it gives us a good excuse to talk to someone and it makes going up and talking to a stranger SO MUCH easier. We would take turns on whose turn it was to walk up and ask someone and it made finding and talking to people tons of fun. We ended up talking to so many people and getting so many different answers of what makes people happy. It was really fun. I learned a lot. We were also able to relate EVERY answer to the gospel and so we had so many gospel conversations. I'd highly recommend asking people what makes them happy. You'll be amazed and how easy it is to talk about the gospel with that question. Anyways. Long story short, we saw this guy sitting on a bench playing the saxophone. He looked YSA age so we decided to go and talk to him. His name is Bryan. We ended up having a 30 minute conversation and taught him the whole restoration.  He was super interested and wanted to set up a return appointment to learn more. Bam! New investigator right there. It was miraculous! We walked away feeling so happy and so grateful that the Lord answered our prayers. We have an appointment with Bryan on Wednesday and we are excited to teach him more. I have such a strong testimony of the power of prayer and of dedication and desire. I know that God knows our hearts and he knows what we truly want and desire. We just have to put in the effort and really show him that we want something and that we are willing to put in work and effort to get it.
Everyone else is doing pretty well. Nicole is officially in UTAH and is loving her sweet little life. I cannot wait to join her. Fernando is doing well and I love him to death! This past Saturday we were able to attend a baptism of someone that Sister Nunies and I started teaching when we first got to the area. He is really good friends with Fernando and he was coming to FHE and church with us every week, and then we found out that he was over 30, and so we had to transfer him to different missionaries. We were able to go to his baptism and it was one of the most specialist days ever! (Don't even know if that's a word, but we're going with it.) The spirit was so strong and it was amazing to see someone that I first taught, accept the gospel and enter the waters of baptism. Ah! Best thing ever.
Yesterday was a killer day. I hit my 18 month mark. Woot woot! So exciting. I did it! I accomplished serving a full time mission for the Lord. I mean of course I'm not done quite yet... But I at least survived exactly 18 months. The spirit was with me all day yesterday and I was just feeling so grateful for the mission that I've had and so grateful that the Lord has blessed me with such an amazing opportunity that will be the foundation for the rest of my life. I am so so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve and couldn't thank my father in heaven enough! He is amazing. Missionary work is amazing. So, needless to say, yesterday was a good day. I always love Sunday's, and it was even better knowing that I have been out on my mission for 18 months! Sister Mabey also hit her 6 month mark yesterday, so it was fun to celebrate with her. That's a milestone in a sisters mission and it literally feels like I was JUST THERE yesterday. Time goes so freaking fast.
Well, now I want to share with you some things that have been on my mind lately. I have been really focusing on the words "commitment and discipleship." The longer I have been out on my mission, the more I have thought about these words and the true meaning of them. What does commitment to God mean to you and what does it mean to be a true disciple of the Master, Jesus Christ.
When we were baptized, we each made a commitment and promise to God.
We made a commitment to always remember Jesus Christ, to keep his commandments, and to serve him to the end. In essence, we kinda committed to being a disciple of Christ. Making the covenant to be a disciple of Christ is the beginning of a lifelong process, and a path that is not always easy. As we try to keep the commandments to the best of our ability, repent of our sins and strive to do what He would have us do and serve our fellowmen as He would serve them, we will inevitably become more like Him. Becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective, and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.
Discipleship is all about doing and becoming. We are to become like our Heavenly Father. Becoming like him is the only way that we are going to make it back with him. That is why we have this life here on earth. To learn, to grow, to gain a body, and to become like him. It's so important that we understand that we only have this once chance to become like him. It's so important that we are obedient and that we truly follow him. Obedience and submission to His will will bring us closer to him and more like him. And again, becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective--and essentially the very definition of true discipleship like I mentioned earlier.
So now that we know that discipleship is our goal, how are we going to get there? It's going to be through our commitment and our dedication to the Lord. Commitment is essential. Are we committed? Each and everyday I extend commitments to individuals and invite them to do things that will bring them closer to Christ. Every time they don't keep their commitment, my heart breaks. Imagine how Heavenly Father must feel when we don't keep our baptismal and temple commitments. It breaks his heart. And yet I'm sure each of us aren't keeping our commitments 100% of the time.
I want you to ask yourself how committed you are. Are you truly doing everything you can to follow Jesus Christ and to keep his commandments? Commitment to the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ is essential to our eternal joy and happiness. We must be doing everything we can. Well, we all know that trails come and hard times pop up, and that interferes with our commitments. However, our commitment level will be developed and proven not by the type of trials that we are faced with but how we endure them. President Henry B. Eyring once said: “So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home."
I want each of you to know that there is nothing that Christ cannot heal and cannot fix. Our test is just to endure, and I think that how we endure truly shows how committed we are to God and his gospel. I read this quite by Bruce C. Hafen that I really liked. He explained that "The Atonement is not simply God’s method for righting wrongs and satisfying the demands of justice. The Atonement is rehabilitative, a miraculous power that can help us change who we are. If we decline the Savior’s invitation to let him carry our sins, and then satisfy justice by ourselves, we will not yet have experienced the complete rehabilitation that can occur through a combination of divine assistance and genuine repentance. Working together, those forces have the power permanently to change our hearts and our lives, preparing us for celestial life." The atonement is a amazing and can change each one of us if we let it.
I read this conference talk this week and I can't even remember who it was by, but he shared this little story about a five year old boy and it reminded me of the word commitment. "I’m thinking of a five-year-old boy who fell out of bed during the night and came crying to his mother’s bedside. To her question, “Why did you fall out of bed?” he replied, “I fell out because I wasn’t in far enough!” He went on to say that "It has been my experience over the years that, generally speaking, those who fall out of the Church are those who aren’t in far enough." Those who fall out are those who are just not committed enough.  In a simple statement, the difference between those committed and those who are not is the difference between the words want and will.  For example, “I want to pay tithing, but our funds are so limited,” or “I will pay my tithing.” “I want to go to sacrament meeting if I have time,” or “I will go to sacrament meeting.” “I would like to be a good teacher, but the children are so noisy,” or “I will be a good teacher.” Are we a "want" person or a "will" person? I have learned on my mission that we need to be a "will" person. We need to do what we have been asked to do and we need to keep our promises. Have a willing attitude and I promise that it will get you so much further in life!
I'm sorry this email is probably all over the place. I hope you're catching my drift. Ultimately, the Savior’s commitment was the biggest commitment and the greatest example that we could look to. What he committed to do could only be done by him. But we, too, have commitments to make. Commitments to him, our families, and others. These are essential to our happiness here and our exaltation hereafter. When we commit ourselves to him, we receive the inner peace and security that he promised each one of us.
I hope that each of you will take time this week to ask yourself and evaluate how committed to God you are. Focus on fixing one thing or working on one thing that will bring you closer to him. Show him that you love him and show him that you are committed. We are to do our best to become like him. Focus on keeping the commandments with exactness. Focus on serving others and turning outwards. Focus on remembering Jesus Christ at all times. Focus on having a positive attitude, even when hard times come your way. I read another quote that really helped me this week.
"A person’s attitude is perhaps the hardest of all personal attributes to change. If your attitude is right, then your life is made right. If your heart is touched, your mind and way of thinking will change and your life will change for the better accordingly. I believe we must become so immersed in the gospel of Jesus Christ that we become physically as well as mentally more and more like the Lord himself. We must yield our whole hearts to him. What we then do is done not because we are asked to, nor because we are forced to, but because we want to. Neither pressure nor force can be exerted upon us from outside, when what we do is done because it is our own choice and desire. It then makes no difference to us what other men may think, or say, or do. Our hearts being committed wholly to God, what we do is done out of our love for and our trust in him. We then serve God in every way we can because we have been converted, our attitude has been changed and we now desire to become like him both spiritually and physically."
Isn't that so good? I know that we each have so much to work on but I know that God is there to help us every step of the way. Life is hard.  We have been asked to do so many things and I know that a lot of it can be overwhelming. I want you to know that I have a testimony of this gospel and I know that becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is something that we should all strive to do. I know that by doing the simple things like reading the scriptures, praying, going to church, keeping the commandments, and serving others are the way to get there.
I do not read my scriptures every day and say my prayers multiple times a day and all of those other things to simply check them off my 'good Mormon girl/missionary list.' I do them because I hope that through doing those things, I will be changed in some way. I hope to one day have Christ in my countenance.
We each have eternal life we are striving for. Eternal life is not a place, but a state of being, and it is only through our faithful commitment that we can grow to reach that state of being. I know that when I do the simple things I am changed, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in large ways. In the end, I am so grateful for my commitment and where it has brought me today. If you commit yourself to God, he will commit himself to you. I PROMISE.
I hope you each have a great week and I hope you know how much I truly love and adore you. I am SO beyond excited to be reunited with y'all.
You have no idea. I am so grateful for your love and your support. I couldn't have done this without you! We are so so close and I am so so grateful for the chance that I have had to serve. I have to get running, but continue to press forward and continue to hold on to the rod.
Psalms 27:14 "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Remember that the time to commit and recommit is now.
I love you so much!!! Talk to you in seven. See ya in sixteen!!!
And.... Next week I'll be 21, so that's exciting. :) Sending all my hugs and loves your way!! Xoxo
Sister Ky Worthington

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 12, 2016 ~Celestial Miles and Goodbyes

Hi everyone!
Greetings from the Carolinas! How's it going? Have I told you lately how much I miss you and how excited I am to see your cute faces? Ah! I hope everyone had a good week and I really hope that each of you were able to work on turning some of your weaknesses into strengths. I really worked on that this week and was blessed with some amazing experiences and some personal growth. Gotta love that! This week in the Carolinas was absolutely beautiful! The heat has died down and we are enjoying some perfect weather. The humidity is still high, but I've gotten used to it and actually really like it. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see all the colorful leaves in the mountains though. I'm really looking forward to that. You would think being so many trees in North Carolina the leaves would change colors, but they don't. It's quite unfortunate. Anyways, when the weather is good, you know it's a good day to be a missionary, so I'm very grateful!
We had quite a few good days this past week. Lots of ups and downs, tears and smiles, but overall, I'd say it was a fairly good week. There is always so much that happens that it's really hard to explain all that we did. I think it's easier if I break it down into days.
Tuesday we served at our thrift store. I love it there and have made some really good friends. Especially with Sandra. She works up at the register with me and I have loved getting to know her. She's got a heart of gold and she will join the church one day. After service we did tons and tons and tons of finding. We visited lots of former investigators and it wasn't very successful. Not many people were home and no one really wanted to listen to us. It was a hard night of finding, but we made it through the day and that's all that matters.
Every time my companions and I get rejected by someone we look at each other and say, "With every rejection comes a blessing." So every time someone rejects us or our message, we know that heaven is waiting to send down a blessing. :) It makes rejection easier to deal with and lightens the mood! Sometimes it is so hard not to get discouraged or down on ourselves, thinking we could've done this or that, or whatever. So it's important to stay positive and continue to laugh about it. Realizing that they will probably have a different answer when we see them in the spirit world and ask them if they want to learn more about the gospel haha. :) I think we have done really good with finding and I think Sister Warner is understanding the principle of other people's agency and how that works. Man, it's an interesting that. That's for sure. I guess it keeps the world going round. We worked hard until the end of the night and it felt good when 9:30 pm came.
Wednesday was a great day. Started off not so hot, ended real well. A few months ago our car got side swiped in our parking lot? Remember me mentioning that? Well, as a result, we had to take it into the shop on Wednesday. They told us that it was going to take six days to repair and that we would be going without a car for six days. Well, considering the fact that my area covers half the mission, I wasn't quite sure how we were going to make this work and how we were going to make it to all of our appointments and meetings and everything else. But, we started figuring it out and working with our ward mission leader and ward council and was just embracing ourselves for biking and walking and skype/FaceTime lessons. Well, as the vehicle coordinator guy from the mission was about to drop us off, he went into his office and came out with a key, and said "Here sisters, just because we love you so much and just because you are the best missionaries ever, you get to use a spare car for six days with unlimited miles." Which in the mission, we call unlimited miles "celestial miles." We literally jumped up and down for joy and literally started to cry tears of happiness. You have no idea how excited we were. Sounds like something so stupid, but I was not about to bike and walk everywhere for six days. On average we drive about
85-90 miles a day.... So it would have been a rough six days. But, we've had a car ALL week with unlimited miles so we have been driving everywhere and going to all the remote places of our area that we never get too and it's been amazinggggg!!! So so so fun! We were able to have a really good lesson with our investigator Daeshawn. We also had a less active member come out teaching with us for that appointment so it was like killing two birds with one stone! So prime.
We had a really good lesson and Daeshawn is really working towards baptism. We aren't sure if he will be ready to make September 25th, but we are doing our best. I love seeing how the gospel can change people and ultimately, change their hearts. It's amazing! We had dinner with our ward mission leader and there was a surprise package waiting at his house for me..... THANK YOU MAMA!!!!!! Miss Kyla #2 delivered it to me and it made my entire day! Thank you everyone for your sweet notes and loves! Y'all are the best! After dinner we went street contacting at "The Boardwalk" in Charlotte. (A big outdoor shopping/eating/hangout place) We met a few new people there and just had a really fun night being out on the town!
Thursday was alright. They are always our long days and seem to drag on forever and ever. We went to soup kitchen in the morning and it was the last time with the Garlick's and that was really sad. They paid a really nice tribute to them though and they have definitely left their mark here! We then came home and had our weekly planning session, and then drove down to South Carolina to see Nicole. She was asked to give a talk on Sunday so she was freaking out and wanted us to come down and help her. She took us out to dinner and then we helped write her talk. It was on Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so it was really easy to help her and she was able to go lots of different directions with it and it was fun to see the spirit working in her! She is so wonderful. I have really come to love her and saying goodbye to her was the hardest thing ever. It's a dang good thing I get to see her in a few weeks. She moves to Utah tomorrow and then will start work in American Fork. I am super excited and we already have so many things planned! Hooray for UT attracting all the converts!!! Our night was mostly taken up with her and with traveling so that about summed up Thursday.
Friday was bomb. We had zone meeting all morning and afternoon and it was wonderful. It was a bitter sweet moment though because it was my very last zone meeting as a full time missionary. I am really not liking all these "last" things that are happening. Kinda putting a damper on everything. We ended up having a super powerful meeting on the Doctrine of Christ and becoming true disciples and I really enjoyed it and it was exactly what I needed. I love how the doctrine of Christ is so simple, but so deep. There is so much to learn about it. What I learned the most is just how interchangeable each step is and how you cannot have one without the other. I learned a new way to teach it to others and I'm super excited! I also learned a lot about faith and how we have to "spend" faith, in order to gain faith. Kind of like how we have to "spend money in order to gain money." I don't know, someone once told me that principle and I think it's a true one, so I've kept it haha and related it to faith. Anyways, teaching the lesson of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of my favorites! The zone leaders also went all out and made it a really fun meeting so that was good! I feel like it was one of the better zone meetings I've had on the mission and it ended really well! One of the zone leaders is going home with me so I know he wanted to make his last one a big deal too!
It was great! Our zone is called the Charlotte Central Crew and our zone's motto is "Come jump on Old Ship Zion" so you can only imagine how creative they got. They built a giant ship out of cardboard and wrote all over it. It was classic. Anyways, great meeting! I also got asked to sing with my two hermanas for a special musical number, so that happened. After the meeting we did some planning and finding and then drove all the way down to Wingate, North Carolina to have dinner and a lesson with our most solid investigator named Emily! She is amazing! She is the girlfriend of one of our members. Both her and her boyfriend are going to Wingate University and are both on the Lacrosse team. We had dinner at her apartment and then in walked three of Emily's roommates. They all were so intrigued at who we were and wanted to stay for our lesson! We were super pumped. We had planned to teach Emily the Plan of Salvation so we just decided to go with it anyways and teach it. It was such an amazing lesson! The spirit was SO STRONG and literally took over the lesson. It was amazing. I honestly don't even know how it happened, it just did. I was kind of nervous because you never know how others are going to react, but her roommates really liked us and had great questions and could have lots of potential in the future! We are already going back to see them next week! Yay yay yay for new investigators. Honestly though, it was so much fun being down in the college environment and just hanging out with a bunch of college kids. I honestly cannot wait! It's making me so excited for school and for the next phase of my life! After our lesson, we went with Emily's boyfriend to try and see a less active who lived near by. It was on such a sketchy road and I literally thought we were going to die. We pulled up to the house and it was the creepiest thing ever. It was a dang good thing that we had Grayson with us because without him, there was no way that I was going to walk up to that door. The kid didn't even end up living there, but we were able to find out some more information about him and where he moved too so that was super helpful! Anyways, we had a good long hour drive home and played twenty questions in the car! It was SO MUCH FUN to get to know my sisters better. We had a deep conversation and everyone was getting real with each other. I was loving it. That's what missionary companions are all about. I learned so many new things about them and gained lots of love and respect from chit chatting with them!
Something we want to continue to do. Everyday I tell them to tell me something that I don't know about them and it's been really good for our companionship. We are getting closer everyday and I am really enjoying that. They are helping me tons and I love them mucho. When we got home, I got a letter in the mail from the mission office regarding my "going home" instructions and that was super depressing. :( I never thought the day would come that I would get that in the mail.. But sure enough, it came! Not the best way to end my night, but it had to happen sooner or later.
Saturday was grand! Sorry this is getting really long. I just realized how long this email is getting, and I'm just rambling on. I'll shorten Saturday and Sunday up. We did lots of packing on Saturday. We are moving apartments tomorrow, and it's been a pain in the butt. Let me just tell you! But, I'm excited for change and it'll be a much better location for us! We were able to teach Alex & Sharon and really emphasized reading the Book of Mormon with them. They have been struggling lately but we were super bold with them and really helped them see the importance. We were also able to Skype Hyrum! He is a less active/returning member that we have been working with lately and he just moved to Virginia, but we have been having Skype lessons with him once a week and it has been going wonderful! He asked us about how to resist temptation and how to resist going back to old relationships and habits and how to not give into peer pressure and so it led me to a really good study session.
I honestly started thinking about my life before the mission and my life now, and my life soon to be when I get home from the mish. I realized back at home that people who do wrong, often want others to join them cause they feel more comfortable knowing that others are doing wrong too. It made me think about how we all just want to be accepted so we tend to give in to the wrong that others are doing.
Gaining acceptance by compromising our standards however, leads to a loss of freedom and I saw that so many times. I read this quote that said, "The more obedient you are, the more you stand for true principles, the more the Lord can help you overcome temptation. No one intends to make serious mistakes. They come when you compromise your standards to be more accepted by others. You be the strong one. You be the leader." I just loved that so much because it's so true! Anyways, I also started thinking of the story of Lots wife in Luke 17:32 and to not look back!! To realize that those things are in the past and we can move on. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there.
We have to have an eternal perspective rather than instant gratification, which is what the world wants. I was thinking about how easy it is to slip up or make a mistake that can be 10 seconds, 20 minutes, or 1 hour, but then how hard it is to make right and become worthy again. Sometimes that process can be 6 months or 1 year, or more. So it's just not worth it and deep down we know it and we know it's wrong. I think it's so important that we just keep pushing forward and don't give in to Satan and his evil ways or into the wrongs of others.
Savanah shared some things with me this week that really helped me.
She shared with me some things about how bold and courageous the prophets and apostles are when it comes to standing up for their beliefs. I realized that that is what we need to be doing. Me, especially, right now am literally an extension of the apostles, and I can definitely work on being more bold and courageous. She shared with me about what it means to Hasten the work of Salvation and to be true disciples of Christ. One thing that stood out to me the most is about how we are different from the world. We do not look like the world, we do not act like the world, we do not speak or think like the world. True happiness comes to us when we are living true to true standards. Not when we are living fake to the world. It is a constant battle we fight against evil to be different. So, no matter what, stand up, stand firm, and don't give into Satan and his tricky plan!
Sunday was great. We had a few investigators at church and Nicole gave a great talk. I chose to fast and am continuing to learn so much about the power and principle of fasting. God is teaching me so much about that and I'm loving it. I'm learning so much about the law of sacrifice and consecration. Anyways, that's a whole other topic for a whole nother day! Horrible English right there, but you get the point.
We taught Emily the Gospel of Jesus Christ after church and that was a really good lesson! She is progressing so well and accepted baptism!!!
YAYYYYY!!!! Sunday night we had the mission president's fireside and that was the very best! President Alexander is the best. I love that guy! I got asked to play the piano and lead another special musical number and that was super powerful. The meeting was all on the Book of Mormon and I know that at least one person is going to get baptized because of that meeting! So so good. Our investigator Tiawana came.
She is the best of the best. She's a new one we found this week, and she is flipping hilarious. We showed her the baptismal font after the meeting and she's already pumped to get baptized. Elder and Sister Garlick bore their testimony for the last time and I cried and cried and cried and cried. I had to say goodbye to them and it was so heartbreaking! They are literally my two favorite people ever!!! I have gotten so close to them and it was no coincidence that God put me here in Charlotte, so I could serve and be close to them. They are officially on the road and heading west!!! I cannot believe they finished their mission. So crazy. Many tears shed, but many memories created that will last a lifetime. It was a good end to a good week.
My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place, but my faith has never been stronger and my relationship with my Savior has never been better. I feel so close to him every single day and am so grateful for the 18 months that I've had to build my relationship with him. He is my very best friend and I know that he is so so real and so so aware of each and every one of us. I have been able to see how his hand is involved in everyone's life. President Alexander shared a story of this guy who grew up in a small town in Idaho and when he was a teenager, he decided to run away and ended up in New York. He started getting involved in lots of different drugs and went down the wrong path in life, doing every wrong thing that you could possibly imagine. 30 years later, there was this young missionary who got called to a mission in New York. He and his companion were walking down the street and saw this guy on his porch smoking and drinking.
His house had a fence around it and he had two pit bulls on chains. As the elders walked by, the dogs started barking and coming to the edge of the fence. The man was staring at the elders and wouldn't stop looking at them! The elders continued to walk past the old guy and continued on their way! As they got to the edge of the street they got a feeling that they needed to turn around and go talk to the guy. As they approached his fence, the dogs went back on the porch and stopped barking. The elders started talking to the guy and asked the usual questions. "Where are you from? How is your day?" Blah blah blah.
Well, the guy answered and said he was from a little small town in Idaho. One of the elders was from the very same town in Idaho, so just out of the blue, he asked this man if he knew someone that lived in the small town in idea. Shockingly, the man answered yes, and told the elders that that man was his father, who he hadn't seen in over 25 years. Come to find out, one of the elders looked at this man and said, "Brother, he is my father also." The elder was born after the man left his family and moved to New York. The man started learning the gospel from his younger brother and his companion, eventually moved back to Idaho, and reconciled with his family. He is now an active member of the church and doing well. I have no doubt in my mind that GOD IS AWARE OF ALL OF HIS CHILDREN.
If you don't think he is aware of you, tonight get on your knees and ask him. Ask Heavenly Father how he feels about you tonight, and I promise you will get an answer. Also ask him how he communicates with you, and that will help you realize how he will answer you. I cherish my relationship with my Heavenly Father so much and I know that he hears and answers every prayer. One of my favorite things to teach is how to pray, because I know that no matter what kind of prayer is said, God hears it.
I want you each to know how much I love and adore you. I am so grateful for the support that you've given me. It's going to be a special week for me this week as I hit my 18 month mark. I love love love being a missionary and I wouldn't change my experience for anything! I hope you have a great week and I hope you continue to exercise your faith and stay strong! Rely on Christ and his atonement!
Thanks for everything!!! Extra special birthday shoutouts to my bff Taylor & Elder Parkinson on the 18th!! Y'all are the best. Love love love love love you! Talk to ya in seven, see you in twenty three!!

Sister Worthington

September 5, 2016~ Hello September

hi friends!
How's everyone doing? Can you believe that it's already a new month? Who knows where August went. My goodness. It flew right by me! I am so excited for this month though. I absolutely LOVE September and love the spirit and feeling that is in the air. Fall is definitely around the corner and it's my favorite time of the year, so I couldn't be more excited. Definitely coming home at the perfect time. :) Pumpkins, sweaters, hot cocoa, blankets, cuddles, & holidays. So. Dang. Excited.
Well, it's been another beautiful week here in the Carolinas and the time seems to be ticking real quickly. Sometimes I don't know how it slips away from me. We were able to experience a few rainy days and a few cloudy days. Both of which I absolutely love. The weather here is really amazing and I am so grateful that the heat is dying down. Man, it was miserable this Summer. Whew! I'm not sure if I could do another one. It's killer. But, the trees continue to stay super green and I love all the beauty that is in this part of the country. Y'all are going to love it so much.
We spent most of our preparation day out and about getting Sister Mabey a haircut, suit shopping with the elders at the mall, grocery shopping, playing basketball, and all sorts of other things, and my time is getting limited and quite frankly, I just don't feel like emailing all that much. I love you all SO dang much, but emailing can be so frustrating and so annoying sometimes, so please forgive me if this weeks letter is lame. It's not that I don't want to write you, I just don't feel like sitting here for hours and typing. I really could actually use a nap. You have no idea how tired and how exhausted I am getting. I think you can tell that I'm getting to my end and that my body cannot go much longer. However, I realize that I only have a few more chances to email y'all and share my thoughts, so I figure I better take advantage of it. :)
I'll give a quick update on my week and our investigators and then share with you some of my thoughts and gems from the week.
We were able to see lots of miracles this past week. We found two new solid investigators and had lots of members present at our lessons. That really helped! All of our investigators are doing pretty well and progressing. We may be putting a few of them on hold because they are not able to get work off on Sunday's to come to church, and without church attendance, they can't really progress, but other than that, things are going really well. This past week we went into our investigator Damon's work and tried to talk to his boss about letting him get work off on Sunday, and that was a complete nightmare. Oh my goodness. Worst idea ever. She was so upset and we got chewed out and kicked out of the grocery store, so that was definitely memorable. Then we got Damon in trouble and now he doesn't want to come to even the first hour of church (which is what he has been doing in the past) so hooray for that. Rough day.
We got two referrals this past week and were able to get in contact with both of them and start teaching them. Add Grace and Emily to your prayer list. They are super cute and really solid! I have strong faith that they will get baptized. They are both dating members and I know that because they have that solid fellowship, they will progress and will be helped significantly! So so grateful for the members out here and all the hard work that they put into sharing the gospel with their friends. I wish people in Utah were more missionary minded.
Let's see, our recent converts are doing well. Nicole is officially moving to Utah on September 15th and will be living in Lehi and I'm so excited. We are going to hang out so much and already have so many plans. Fernando is doing great and progressing in the gospel. He is giving a talk in church in a few weeks and is nervous for that, but I know he'll kill it. I've been blessed with the BEST recent converts anyone has ever had and I am just so grateful for God letting me be apart of their lives and letting me witness how the gospel can change anyone. No matter who you are and no matter where you've been or what you've done. It's there for anyone and everyone and is the perfect message of peace and hope.
A couple tender mercies and bitter sweet moments occurred. This past Friday I had my last real interview with my mission president. It was an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. He is truly a man of God and I have come to love and respect him so much. Instead of having a typical 15 minute interview, he kept me in there for 40 minutes. We had an amazing conversation and he gave me so much peace, comfort, advice, & counsel. It was unreal. I feel so much better about things and have gained some new insights on what to do and how to handle my situations. It's amazing how spiritual he is and how in tune with the spirit he is. He knows exactly what I need to hear every interview and he knows exactly how to calm my troubled soul!
Yesterday was incredible. Another Sunday full of miracles and full of the spirit. As I was sitting in sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament, the spirit whispered to me and told me that it was my last fast and testimony meeting as a full time missionary... And that hit me pretty hard core. And then of course I lost it and couldn't hold back the tears. Of course being my last one, I got up and bore my testimony and bawled the entire time.. You have no idea the gratitude that is in my heart and soul and how THANKFUL I am that I chose to serve a mission. You just have no idea and I have no way to even express it, so I'm not even going to try.
So besides that bitter sweet moment, we had four investigators come to church and had two inactive people that we have been working with randomly show up to church (we didn't even reach out and invite them). And then they went up and bore their testimonies. Ahhhh put me in tears. One of them even has a little girl and went up to the pulpit in a singles ward with his daughter and admitted to him being inactive, but how he felt prompted to come to church today, even though it had been 6 years. It's amazing how much the gospel can change people and I KNOW that it works for everyone. Life is not black and white... There is a whole lot of gray in everyone's lives.. But the gospel is the one thing that is constant and never changes. How grateful I am to have such a steady anchor in my life and such a sure foundation to always draw upon and hold onto. We are so so blessed.
Later Sunday evening we went with one of those inactives to uptown Charlotte, in the city, and just went walking around a fountain and a park, with the city in the background. It was amazing. Sometimes I just have to stand back and realized how blessed I am and sometimes it doesn't feel real that I literally came out on a mission and that I get to walk the streets of Charlotte every single day and meet so many different people of so many different backgrounds, and share my message and simple testimony with them. Too good to be true. We ended up having just a really great rest of the evening and we ended the week off on a spiritual high! I LOVE WHEN WE DO THAT. Helps me be so much better prepared and ready for the next week.
Well, so many other little things happened this week, but none of them really matter. We walked in a parade on Saturday and that was super fun and we got exposed really well.. We celebrated Sister Mabey's birthday and that was fun.. We had a lame district meeting and I miss all my old peeps... We got to see Sister Garlick at the soup kitchen and serve with her... We taught lots of great lessons and Sister Warner is killing her 12 week program... I'm working on My Plan (a specific program for missionaries returning home) and that's been stressing me out.. But I'm over it. So yeah, just a ton of little things happening everyday, but overall it was a great week. My studies were really good and I learned a lot about Ether 12:27 and that has been weighing heavily on my mind this past week so I'm going to share some of my thoughts with you and hopefully they help ya this week and make you think and ponder. :)
So, one thing that I have been thinking a lot about is the concept of weaknesses. What they are, why we have them, how we can over come them, where they come from, and blah blah blah. Well, I've learned that weakness comes to us through the Fall of Adam. After the Fall, our physical body and mind became susceptible to disease and decay. We became subject to temptation and struggle. Therefore, resulting in us experiencing personal weaknesses. But, the beautiful thing is that the Lord clearly teaches that as we come unto Him in humility and faith, He will help us turn our personal weakness into strength. His grace is sufficient to make this transformation by lifting us above our own natural abilities. In a very personal way, we experience how the power of the Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall. President Alexander once told me that until we come to recognize the importance of the Fall, we will never fully understand the need and dependance of a Savior, and more importantly, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Elder Maxwell described how recognizing our weaknesses is one way that the Lord has chosen to increase our learning: "When we are unduly impatient with an omniscient God’s timing, we really are suggesting that we know what is best. Strange, isn’t it--we who wear wristwatches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars. Because God wants us to come home after having become more like Him and His Son, part of this developmental process, of necessity, consists of showing unto us our weaknesses. Hence, if we have ultimate hope we will be submissive because, with His help, those weaknesses can even become strengths. It is not an easy thing, however, to be shown one’s weaknesses, as these are regularly demonstrated by life’s circumstances. Nevertheless, this is part of coming unto Christ, and it is a vital, if painful, part of God’s plan of happiness."
Now I know this is getting long, but I read this talk this morning and HAVE to share the whole talk with you, to basically sum up everything that I'm thinking and feeling, and as much as I wish I could try to explain my words, this lovely lady who wrote the talk just says it so much better so I'm just going to copy and paste her whole talk and you can read it later if you don't have time at the moment.
It Isn't a Sin to be Weak: by Wendy Ulrich.
“Am I really worthy to enter God’s house? How can I be if I’m not perfect? Can God really make my weakness into a strength? I’ve fasted and prayed for days to have this problem removed from me, but nothing seems to change. In the mission field I lived the gospel more consistently than at any time in my life, but I have never been more aware of my shortcomings. Why, when I was being so good, did I sometimes feel so bad? As we ponder such questions, it is crucial to understand that while sin inevitably leads us away from God, weakness,ironically, can lead us toward Him.
Distinguishing between Sin and Weakness:
We commonly think of sin and weakness as merely different-sized black marks on the fabric of our souls, different severities of transgression. But the scriptures imply that sin and weakness are inherently different, require different remedies, and have the potential to produce different results.
Most of us are more familiar with sin than we care to admit, but let’s review: Sin is a choice to disobey God’s commandments or rebel against the Light of Christ within us. Sin is a choice to trust Satan over God, placing us at enmity with our Father. Unlike us, Jesus Christ was completely without sin and could atone for our sins. When we sincerely repent—including changing our mind, heart, and behavior; offering appropriate apologies or confessions; making restitution where possible; and not repeating that sin in the future—we can access the Atonement of Jesus Christ, be forgiven by God, and be clean again.
Becoming clean is essential because nothing unclean can dwell in God’s presence. But if our only goal were to be as innocent as we were when we left God’s presence, we would all be better off lying snugly in our cribs for the rest of our lives. Rather, we came to earth to learn by experience to distinguish good from evil, grow in wisdom and skill, live values we care about, and acquire the characteristics of godliness—progress we cannot make from the safe confines of a bassinet.
Human weakness plays an important role in these essential purposes of mortality. When Moroni worried that his weakness in writing would cause the Gentiles to mock sacred things, the Lord reassured him with these words:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
The implications of this familiar scripture are profound and invite us to distinguish sin (encouraged by Satan) from weakness (described here as a condition “given” to us by God).
We might define weakness as the limitation on our wisdom, power, and holiness that comes with being human. As mortals we are born helpless and dependent, with various physical flaws and predispositions. We are raised and surrounded by other weak mortals, and their teachings, examples, and treatment of us are faulty and sometimes damaging. In our weak, mortal state we suffer physical and emotional illness, hunger, and fatigue. We experience human emotions like anger, grief, and fear. We lack wisdom, skill, stamina, and strength. And we are subject to temptations of many kinds.
Though He was without sin, Jesus Christ joined us fully in the condition of mortal weakness. He was born as a helpless infant in a mortal body and raised by imperfect caretakers. He had to learn how to walk, talk, work, and get along with others. He got hungry and tired, felt human emotions, and could get ill, suffer, bleed, and die. He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” subjecting Himself to mortality so He could “be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” and succor us in our infirmities or weaknesses.
We cannot simply repent of being weak—nor does weakness itself make us unclean. We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we acceptour state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God. When Moroni fretted about the weakness of his writing, God did not tell him to repent. Instead, the Lord taught him to be humble and to have faith in Christ. As we are meek and faithful, God offers grace—not forgiveness—as the remedy for weakness. Grace is an enabling power from God to do what we cannot do on our own; the appropriate godly remedy by which He can “make weak things become strong.
Exercising Humility and Faith:
From early on in our Church experience, we are taught the essential elements of repentance, but how exactly do we foster humility and faith? Consider the following:
Ponder and pray. Because we are weak, we may not recognize if we are dealing with sin (calling for an immediate and pervasive change of mind, heart, and behavior) or with weakness (calling for humble, sustained effort, learning, and improvement). How we view these things can depend on our upbringing and maturity. There may even be elements of both sin and weakness in a single behavior. Saying a sin is really a weakness leads to rationalizing instead of repenting. Saying a weakness is a sin can result in shame, blame, despair, and giving up on God’s promises. Pondering and praying help us make these distinctions.
Prioritize. Because we are weak, we cannot make every needed change all at once. As we humbly and faithfully tackle our human weakness a few aspects at a time, we can gradually reduce ignorance, make good patterns habitual, increase our physical and emotional health and stamina, and strengthen our trust in the Lord. God can help us know where to begin.
Plan. Because we are weak, getting stronger will require more than a righteous desire and lots of self-discipline. We also need to plan, learn from mistakes, develop more effective strategies, revise our plans, and try again. We need help from scriptures, relevant books, and other people. We start small, rejoice in improvement, and take risks (even though they make us feel vulnerable and weak). We need supports to help us make good choices even when we are tired or discouraged and plans for getting back on track when we slip.
Exercise patience. Because we are weak, change may take time. We don’t just renounce our weakness the way we renounce sin. Humble disciples willingly do what’s required, learn resilience, keep trying, and do not give up. Humility helps us have patience with ourselves and with others who are weak too. Patience is a manifestation of our faith in the Lord, gratitude for His confidence in us, and trust in His promises.
Even when we sincerely repent of our sins, obtain forgiveness and become clean again, we remain weak. We are still subject to illness, emotion, ignorance, predispositions, fatigue, and temptation. But limitations and inadequacies are not sins and do not keep us from being clean and worthy of the Spirit.
Weakness to Strength:
While Satan is eager to use our weakness to entice us to sin, God can use human weakness to teach, strengthen, and bless us. Contrary to what we might expect or hope, however, God does not always “make weak things become strong” unto us by eliminating our weakness. When the Apostle Paul prayed repeatedly for God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” Satan used to buffet him, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
There are many ways the Lord makes “weak things become strong.” While He may eliminate the weakness through the dramatic cure we hope for, in my personal experience this is somewhat rare. For example, I see no evidence that God eliminated Moroni’s weakness in writing after the famous verse in Ether 12. God may also make weak things strong by helping us work around our weaknesses, gain an appropriate sense of humor or perspective about them, and improve on them gradually over time. Also, strengths and weaknesses are often related (like the strength of perseverance and the weakness of bullheadedness), and we can learn to value the strength and temper the weakness that goes with it.
There is another, even more powerful way that God makes weak things strong unto us. The Lord says to Moroni in Ether 12:37, “Because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.”
Here God is not offering to change Moroni’s weakness, but to change Moroni. By tackling the challenge of human weakness, Moroni—and we—can learn charity, compassion, meekness, patience, courage, long-suffering, wisdom, stamina, forgiveness, resilience, gratitude, creativity, and a host of other virtues that make us more like our Father in Heaven. These are the very qualities we came to earth to hone, the Christlike attributes that prepare us for the mansions above.
Nowhere is God’s love, wisdom, and redemptive power more evident than in His ability to turn our struggle with human weakness into the invaluable godly virtues and strengths that make us more like Him."
I know that our weaknesses can be turned into strengths. I have seen it happen in myself on my mission, and in others around me. Focus on the beauty of weaknesses and recognize how our weaknesses help define who we are and make up a part of us. We wouldn't be the same without them. I loved this talk so so much and would encourage you to go look at some of the charts that were written out in her talk regarding the difference between sin and weakness. I know that this gospel is real. I know that the atonement is real. IT WORKS FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE. Even you, who is reading this right now and who thinks that it doesn't work for you. "Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ." Let him fix you so that you can become whole and can feel the calming effects of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that we all have so much to work on, but I know that our weaknesses can be turned into strengths and can help us prepare to meet God and to become more like him.
Be humble. Be teachable. Realize that there is always room to improve. The book True to the Faith explains the meaning of true humility: “To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord--to understand that you have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgement that your talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that you know where your true strength lies." I know that as we do that, we will be blessed and we will see our lives change.
I love y'all so dang much. I cannot wait to see you & wrap my arms around you. Thank you for everything & for all the support. I hope everyone has a great week. Kam, happy birthday sweets. Make it a killer day. Nathan, happy birthday & welcome home! Can't wait to see you. & I know I'm missing a few others since we have so many birthdays in September.. But I promise when I get home we will celebrate.. Cause trust me. Remember my birthday is this month and I'm all about birthdays, so be ready! Have a super week. Turn those weaknesses into strengths! LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Sending all my hugs and kisses your way. Talk to ya in seven, see ya in 30! Ah!

Sister Kyla Joan Worthington