Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015~ Nearer My God To Thee

Family & Friends,
Hello hello! How is everyone doing? It's a new week, and a new month. I can't believe it! Time seems to go so slow, but yet so fast at the same time. I have so much on my mind.. I don't even know where to start. What am I saying, this happens every single week. So much happens in one week that it's hard to fit it all in one little email.
This past week was probably the hardest week of my mission thus far. I'm not saying that to make anyone worried, it's just been different. Very challenging, trying, and hard. I have just been blessed with three months of bliss that I think Heavenly Father finally let me know that missionary work can be REALLY hard at times too. :) However, I am very grateful for everything that I have been able to learn this past week. As mentioned last week, I have been called to be a trainer of a new missionary. Transfers last week was definitely a very bitter sweet experience. I had to say goodbye to my sweet Sister Ekstrom and it was the last time I got to hear President and Sister Craven bear their testimonies. I really came to love Sister Ekstrom and it was very hard to let her go. I welcomed in a new sister from Salt Lake City, Utah. Her name is Sister Stratford. We are very very different, and it's definitely going to take time to build unity, but I am excited to be able to train her and help her learn and grow. It has been a lot harder than I was imagining. It's been difficult to take over an area, and basically have to do everything on my own because Sister Stratford doesn't know anything about the area yet. Other than that, I am doing well. I am just trying to figure everything out. It has definitely made me realize that I have to rely 100% on my Savior and that I am only going to be able to make it through if I rely on the atonement. The heat has definitely been hard, but I am getting used to it. I'm totally over sweating and looking nasty when I knock on doors. Sometimes it's really good because people feel bad for us and let us come in and cool off. So I can't complain about that. :) This past week has really all been a blur because I have been so focused on trying to get everything done. There is a lot of little training things that I have to do and it's hard to stay completely organized!
We have been working with a new investigator named Melissa and I am really excited about her. She is so elect! She ended up going out of town this past weekend and so we haven't been able to see her lately, but I know that she is so ready. She has a baptism date of July 11th and I am almost certain that she is going to make it. It will be such a glorious day if that actually happens. Please continue to pray for her! The rest of our investigators are doing well, just moving at a really slow rate. 3 of them are really struggling with the Word of Wisdom and that has been the toughest thing to get over. EVERYONE here has a Word of Wisdom problem. Everyone. Not kidding. Everyone smokes and drinks coffee. It's just the thing to do here. And those are not easy things to just give up, so it's been really hard. Our investigators want to get baptized, but they have to live the Word of Wisdom for at least 2 weeks in order to get baptized and everyone of them has tried, and then failed. And that's really hard to see. I am continuing to pray and study for how I can best help them and I know that the Lord will take care of them. President Craven told us one time that it takes a person 6-7 times to come in contact with the Gospel until they accept it. So, maybe these people aren't ready yet. But, at least I am giving them another chance to learn about the Gospel. :)
This past week the Zone Leaders called and informed us that we will be going into a tri-share with the car. That has really been a topic on my mind lately. I'm not sure how I'm going to make that work, but I shall definitely find out. We were informed that the mission is cutting 20 cars. Instead of being in a full car area, we will now be car one week, and bike 2 weeks. Which let me just tell you, that is going to be terrible. Our area is so huge. I have been really stressing lately on how we are going to make that work because so many of our appointments are at least 15-20 minutes away by car, and so biking to those in 100+ degree weather is not going to happen. I guess the members will just have to really step it up and start driving us everywhere! The church spends about 115 million dollars on car accidents per year and so I'm assuming that is why they are cutting down some cars. That's an insanely large amount of money! I have been so grateful to have a car though! It's been so nice and it really helps move the work forward. I'm excited to get out on my bike though and get some solid legs & a nice missionary attire tan. :)
This last week the bishop called me and asked me to give a talk in sacrament meeting. Of course I said yes, even though I had a 24 hour notice. I guess that's what missionaries do- fill in for people who bail last minute. Since I was able to receive some solid training on how to give a talk, it wasn't a big deal at all. I prayed about what I wanted to talk about, and the thought came to me within seconds. I talked all about being anxiously engaged instead of casually engaged.
Growing up a member of the church, and especially before my mission, I often found myself being so casually engaged in the gospel. I would pray when I would remember or when mom reminded me. I would read my scriptures every so often, maybe a few chapters a week. And FHE slowly became less and less important to me the older I got. I was never super excited to go to church every week. You could say that I was being a very casual member of the church.
How many of you are being casually engaged in the gospel? Are you being 'honorable' members who are skimming over the surface instead of deepening your discipleship?
I think so often I would do really good for a while, maybe after general conference or after a really spiritual experience, but then I would find myself getting lazy and I would start to just go through the motions. Being on my mission, I have come to find out how we can fix this!
I think it all starts with the development of our testimonies and the depth of our conversion. Alma gives us a perfect example of how we can gain and strengthen our testimonies.
“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27). Alma then went on to “compare the word unto a seed.” He explained that as hearts are opened,“it will begin to swell within your breasts” (Alma 32:28). He then gave us the key to developing a successful testimony: “But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life” (Alma 32:41). And then the promise! “Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you” (Alma 32:43). Like this parable of the tree, we cannot afford to sit back and take our salvation for granted. We must be anxiously engaged our whole lives and be constantly nourishing our testimonies. President Brigham Young said, “The men and women, who desire to obtain seats in the celestial kingdom, will find that they must battle every day [for this sacred goal].” We must not become casual as members of the church. Satan is attacking us more and more and our Heavenly Father is counting on us to stay strong. One of my favorite quotes ever is from Gordon B. Hinckley. He said, "Do the best you can. But I want to emphasize that it be the very best. We are too prone to be satisfied with mediocre performance. We are capable of doing so much better." I know that we are all capable of doing so much better. I know that we cannot do perfect, but I know that we can all do faithful. I hope that we will all become more anxiously engaged in this gospel. D&C 58. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. I know with everything in me that Heavenly Father needs us to be stronger! We can do this! Let's all work on stepping it up this next week!
I want you to all know that I love you all so much! This past week as I was informed that my sweet grandma Palmer had passed away, my love for my family just increased ten fold. It's amazing how blessed we are. Families truly are needed. I am so grateful for my family and for the chance that I get to live with them for time and all eternity! Being a missionary has taught me so much, and one thing that it has really taught me has been the importance of FAMILY. I have seen so many families that are so distraught and so corrupted and it breaks my heart. It just makes me so grateful for the family that I do have and for the knowledge that I have. My desire to share the importance of family increases every single day! I am loving being a missionary, I really am. It is SO hard, SO exhausting, and SO demanding, but SO worth every second. My weaknesses have become strengths, the challenges have become opportunities, my trials have become triumphs, and my adversity has become an adventure in the service of the Lord. I know that this is Christ's true church. I know that it is only through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we can be completely happy. This is his work, and it's our job to bring everyone unto him. I know that as we draw near unto him, he will draw near unto us. I love you all so much. Thank you for all of your love, your prayers, and your support. I am looking forward to this new month. I hope everyone has a good 4th of July! & family, enjoy the reunion! I will be there with you all in spirit! My mission is also now getting back on Facebook, so be ready to share all of my churchy posts with the world! :) I'm excited to start sharing the Gospel through social media! I love you!
P.S. Dad, thank you SO much for the GPS. It's PERFECT!! It's working wonderfully and was exactly what I needed. Thank you thank you thank you! Mom, I am in need of some Dry Shampoo again. The heat is really getting to the hair and I'm going through that thing like crazy! Thanks so much, you're the best! I love you so freaking much! Sending all of my love your way! xo.

Sister Ky Worthington

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