Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015 ~called to serve

My sweet family,
Hello hello hello! How is everyone doing? First off, Happy Father's Day!! Sorry I'm a day late. Please forgive me! I wish to express my deepest love and gratitude for most importantly, my father, and all of the other fathers in my life that have had an impact on me! Thank you! I hope your day was wonderful! I wish that I had all day to express to you everything that is on my heart. I swear, each week keeps getting better and better. I don't know how it's even possible. There is so much in my little heart and soul that I wish I could share with you. I will do my very best to express to you everything that I am feeling! I pray with all of my heart that something that I say will help one of you this week! I want you to know that you are all in my prayers. Every single prayer that I say I am asking my Heavenly Father to bless all of my friends and family back at home. I know that he is hearing my prayers and I know that there is not ever a prayer that I say that goes unanswered. This past week was one that I will never ever forget. One of those life changing moments happened last week. The ward here in Waxhaw has been preparing for a huge service project. The service project is called "Fix it for Christ." It's a service project that is put on by the Waxhaw United Methodist Church. They have been doing this project for 9 years, and this year was their 10th year. The LDS faith has only been participating for 2 years. Basically it's a multi-denominational service project. The United Methodist Church chooses 20 houses in the community that are really beat up and need a lot of help, and for four solid days in the month of June, hundreds of people and many congregations gather together and 're-build' these homes. You start at 7 am and finish at 5 pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Our ward here was able to raise about $1500 and we had many members who were able to help. The WUMC provides food for all 3 meals each day and has little morning and evening devotionals. Well, long story short, Sister Ekstrom and I decided to participate in 2 of the days. We only did 4 hours each day... but... let me just tell you, it was sooooo amazing. I had such an incredible experience. It reminded me of my sweet experiences that I have had in Haiti. I was so taken back and I walked up to these peoples homes... I was blown away. I don't even know how they live... it's unbelievable! Sister Ekstrom and I were able to build a whole deck one day and were also able to clean up a junk yard in the back of someones yard. It was insane! We filled up 14 dumpsters of stuff... all just trash & old junk! To get to the point, we were able to surround ourselves with SO many people of different faiths and we were able to serve right along side with the Savior. I have never had such a more fulfilling time serving in my entire life. I got so beat up, and have blisters and cuts everywhere, but, I have never been happier. While working my butt off in 100 degree weather, I found myself crying tears of joy. I honestly don't even know what was happening to me... but I have never felt the spirit so strongly! It felt so good to be able to serve these people that I don't even know and to be able to feel of the love that not only I had for them, but the love that their Savior, Jesus Christ has for them. It was amazing to see the change that happened in 4 days. WOW! On the very last day, the homeowners of the 20 houses got up and bore their 'testimonies' and gave thanks to everyone for helping them and for their service. While sitting in the Methodist Church's gymnasium, I felt nothing but complete joy! It was then and there that I knew why I was out here serving my mission! I often ask myself why I left everything I had to come serve a mission. I often ask why I left my family, job, phone, Internet, gym, clothes, everything, for 18 months to serve a mission. I received my answer so clearly that night. It was because I love my Savior and I want to serve him. I am out here to LOVE, HELP, and SERVE my Savior and the people of North Carolina, and that's it. Nothing else matters right now. I am an ambassador of Jesus Christ and I am to love and serve as he did. I know that what my president told me was absolutely true. He told me to promise him one thing on my mission, and it was that if I convert one person on my mission, it better be ME. My mission has done exactly that. I am converted to this Gospel. The Doctrine of Christ has changed my life. I want you to all go read 2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 11 and truly study it out. THAT IS THE WAY to pure joy & happiness, and eternal life. And there is no other way. Once you can understand the Doctrine of Christ, you will understand who you are. And when you understand who you are, you act differently. Ah! I have learned so much! I don't know if 15 months is going to be enough to learn everything that I need to learn.
Now, I will get to the exciting part of the week. During the service project one day, President Craven called. I answered the phone and was a little bit nervous. President Craven doesn't call unless something is up! He called to extend a calling to me. Guess what... You're talking to your newest TRAINER!! Tomorrow afternoon I will say goodbye to my dearest Sister Ekstrom and I will welcome into my arms a new Sister Missionary right from the MTC! I am so beyond excited, I can barley hold it in! I'll be honest... I am kind of freaking out. I just finished my 12 week training program... and now I will be taking over Waxhaw and training a new missionary. Ever since President called me, I have been thinking about the last 3 months of my life. I remember when I was a new missionary. I remember how much I relied on Sister Ekstrom. I didn't know ANYTHING. The first 3 weeks out in the mission field was sooo incredibly difficult. I am grateful that I am training so quickly because I feel like I am going to be able to relate to this new sister missionary very well, since I was just there less than 3 short months ago. Knowing that I am going to be training has made me really think A LOT. It has really humbled me because I know that I am going to be really having to rely on the Lord and on the Spirit, more so than I ever have had to in the past. I know that I am going to need to be a perfect example of exact obedience because your 'trainer' sets the tone for the rest of your mission. That is something that Sister Ekstrom taught me, and I will forever be grateful for her example and for her exact obedience. I know that as we are exactly obedient, miracles will happen. SO, that is my exciting news for the week.Transfers are tomorrow afternoon and I am really looking forward to them! It's going to be sooooo hard to say goodbye to Sister Ekstrom and President and Sister Craven, but I am excited for the new journey that is ahead! It's going to be hard to get to know another companion and to learn to love her as much as I love Sister Ekstrom, but I know that as I trust her and that as I pray for her, the Lord will take care of me! I am going to need lots and lots and lots of prayers.... so please send them my way! I am excited for this opportunity to learn and to grow. I know that this is going to require me to get out of my comfort zone and to really see how strong I am. It's really going to force me to use the enabling power of the atonement and to really strengthen my testimony and the depth of my conversion!
This past week we were able to witness lots of miracles! We got two referrals from the Church headquarters and that was really exciting! One requested a Bible and one requested a Book of Mormon! We were able to deliver those both last week and both people invited us back! I am excited to go back and see them and teach them about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! We also received a referral from some other sisters in our district and the girl is ready to get baptized! Her name is Melissa and she is AMAZING!!! She has been trying to find a church for her and her daughter and she wants to get baptized, she was just looking for the right church to get baptized in and she feels like she's found the right one! We are teaching her tonight at 6:00and I am so excited! It's amazing to see how the Gospel can change a life! Oh my goodness, if you only could see and witness what I am experiencing! You literally can't even understand how great a mission is until you go and experience it for yourself. I now know why they say it's the best 2 years (or 18 months) of your life. Because it truly is!
This past week I was studying a lot in Romans 8. Verses 35-39 are amazing! It talks all about the Love of God. I have never read it and studied it out so much than I did this past week. There is absolutely NOTHING that can separate us from the love of Christ. Absolutely NOTHING. There is nothing that we can or will ever do that will separate us from his love. That better tell you how much he loves each and every single one of us. He knows that we aren't perfect. He knows that we are going to make mistakes. But, he has given us the greatest gift of all. The gift of the atonement and the gift of LOVE. What a beautiful thing that is! I thought I was a lovable person and I thought that I had some charity in me... but now that I have been able to be on a mission, I have truly seen what the REAL love of the Savior is. I am still amazed every single day that I can walk down the street and see people and just love them! Like really love them. My desire to share my testimony of the Gospel has just increased so much! I used to be afraid to open my mouth and share the Gospel with others because I didn't want to offend anyone or look "different", but I have come to understand that that is what we have been called to do as members of the church. We are to warn our neighbors and to cry repentance to EVERYONE! (D&C 18: 14-17 & D&C 34: 5-6) How great is our calling! I encourage you to all be better at being a member missionary! Share your testimony!! Open your mouths! Pray for missionary opportunities and I promise that they will come! The Lord is truly hastening his work and we are the ones that will carry this work forward! I invite you to all focus on the basics. We use a little acronym around here called CPR. It stands for Church. Pray. Read. Those are the basics! As long as you understand the significance of church, prayer, and reading the scriptures, you will succeed and your desire to share the Gospel with others will increase.
I was also studying a lot about temples this week and I'm not sure why... because it absolutely KILLED ME! Not being able to go to the temple is killer... oh my goodness. That is probably the number one thing that I am missing so far. I came up with 3 reasons why we go to the temple. 1. To take out our own endowment. 2. Perform sacred ordinances. 3. To have our own retreat. :) The temple should not be an escape from the world. It should be an escape to help us prepare for a better world. I really liked the third reason. The temple should be a retreat for everyone! It is there that your burdens can be made light (not taken away) but light, when seen with new spiritual eyes. Often when I am talking about temples with our investigators, they always wonder why not 'everyone' can enter the temple. A temple recommend is such a beautiful thing! Temple recommends protect the temple from unclean things! If you don't have a temple recommend, I encourage you to do anything and everything that you can to get one. Temple recommend interviews are like a dress rehearsal for our meeting with the Savior! We all need to be worthy of a temple recommend! Imagine if every member of the church (12+ years old) was worthy of a temple recommend! Ahh!! How wonderful that would be, and how much work we would be getting done! Now let's help everyone get there! President Hinckley describes the temple perfectly. He says that it is "beautifully simple and simply beautiful." How true that is! If we only knew and took more advantage of the temples that we have so close to us! The Earth is literally full of heaven- but only he who takes his shoes off to see will truly be able to understand that.
Anyways... sorry this letter is 10 miles long. I probably should've like written this in chapters! I wish I could go on and on and on, but I have to go. :) I want you to know how much I love each and everyone of you. I want you to know how much I love my Savior. I know that he lives, and loves each and everyone of you PERFECTLY. I know that because I have witnessed it first hand! I am so grateful to be a missionary! I am literally in Heaven. I am so excited to stay in Waxhaw for 3 more months and I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me! Keep the faith, keep going, keep trying! I am so proud of all of you and for everything that you are doing! Thank you for all of the love and support. It truly means the world to me! I know that trials will come. I know that we all have burdens that we are carrying... let it go! Give it up to the Savior. One of my favorite quotes is, "I didn't keep a testimony through those hard times, my testimony kept me." Keep on keeping on! I love you all so much! I can't wait to hear from you next week! I'll see ya in 7! xo

Sister Kyla Worthington

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