Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 6, 2015 great thou art...

Hello my sweet family,

Happy belated 4th! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday. It was such a beautiful day to be able to reflect on the freedoms that we have and the things that we get to enjoy every single day. I'll be honest, it was a very hard day for me. I kept finding myself thinking of my family and all the things that I could've been doing. The 4th of July is a holiday that really means a lot to me because it's forever been a tradition of celebrating the Worthington family reunion. I can't remember a 4th of July where I didn't attend the Provo parade and where we didn't have the annual BBQ at Grandma & Grandpa Worthington's. It was definitely a different 4th for me this year, but will definitely be one that I won't forget. Waxhaw had a cute little parade downtown in the morning that we were able to watch and that was fun! It was NOTHING like the big Provo parade, but it was pretty good for a quiet, little town. They had activities going on all day long and there were people everywhere! They do a "beach party" every year and they rent tons and tons of water blow up bounce houses and put them in the streets and all the kids play on them all day. They had lots of food trucks and bands that played throughout the day. I was quite tempted many times to jump on the bounce houses in my skirt, but then reminded myself that that probably wouldn't be very dignified. We were able to talk to many people and pass out temple pass along cards. We weren't able to have any real "lessons", but it was good to have many people look at us and recognize our name tags. Our investigator Birtton invited us over for a big BBQ cookout and that was pretty fun! We had some good food and enjoyed our time with some crazy drunk people and it was a experience that I won't forget! Unfortunately we couldn't watch the fireworks because it was too late, but before we had to go in, Sister Stratford and I bought some sparklers and had our own little firework show. It was priceless. It was actually quite hilarious. The people here are really patriotic and it was fun to see everyone in Red, White, and Blue. They even said a prayer before the parade started and that was kind of neat! It's fun to see how different the culture really is up here! It will forever be a 4th of July that I will remember!

Let's see, so much happened this week! I am really glad that it's finally Monday and that I have had some time to relax and prepare for this upcoming week! I am still struggling with my companion, but not as bad. I know that it's just going to take some time to really adjust and get used to her. She is very very shy and has a hard time talking to people. It's been really challenging because one of the most important things is being able to talk with everyone. It's so important that we build trust with our investigators and with the people that we talk too. Yes, we are here to give them the Gospel, but they will not accept our message if we can't build a friendship with them and if they can't trust them! This past week I have really just been trying to help her develop some basic social skills. We have been role playing a lot and I hope that it's been helping her. I hope that it's building her confidence! I know that she can do it, she just needs to step out of her comfort zone! It's been really hard because I have been trying to let her talk to people but then when we get up to them, she freezes and doesn't know what to say, and then I have to step in or we are going to lose a potential investigator! I'm still just trying to figure out what is going to work best and how I can help her the very most! We are learning together and it's been really good for me! Training is the best, it is teaching me SO MUCH!! I love how it's pushing me to be better and to learn and grow.

We had some interesting things happen within the last 7 days. First, Monday night we dropped two of my most favorite investigators. Brayden & Whit. It was really sad actually. :( We have been teaching them for about 2.5 months now and it was really hard to drop them. They just aren't ready yet. I have prayed and prayed about what we should with them and I finally received an answer, and that was to drop them. They just weren't coming to church and they are so caught up on deep doctrine that doesn't even matter. They just couldn't understand the basics and it was keeping them from progressing. They each wrote me a very sweet note and I left them with my strongest testimony. The whole time I was bearing my testimony I was in complete tears and it was just rough. I don't know what was happening to me! All I know is that I truly came to love these two investigators and I KNOW that someday they will accept the Gospel and they will be able to look back and say that Sister Ekstrom & I changed their lives. It was such a bitter sweet moment! Sister Stratford and I also got in a car accident this past week, and yes, I was driving. We were at a stop sign and the lady in front of us started to go, and then saw a car coming over the hill and immediately slammed on her breaks, after I had already started to pull up, so that was interesting. It didn't do anything to our car and just barely scratched the back of her car, but still, we had to go through this whole ordeal and it was quite exhausting. It's only like a $50 dollar fix so hopefully the church doesn't kill me. :( One of those mission stories that I won't ever forget! I've moved on from that and am doing well now. :) Since we are now in a tri-share with the cars, we have been on bikes most of this week. Talk about torture. Oh my goodness! It's not that I mind riding a bike.. but it really slows down the work. Waxhaw is really big and we spend all of our time traveling to our appointments and that's frustrating. We also had to ride our bikes to the grocery store today and then carry them all home with our bikes... it was quite a scene. I was laughing at myself and can only begin to imagine what the cars were thinking as they were driving past. Especially seeing me with my helmet on, now that's quite a sight hahaha. Anyways, mom guess what! Sister Stratford and I were biking around downtown one night and this lady stopped us and said "Sisters!" Of course we stopped to talk to her. Came to find out that she is a mother in law of one of our ward members AND, she is Michelle Pitchers sister! Her name is Cheryl Peterson. She and her husband just finished up some service at the MTC. He was a branch president for the Germany mission! They totally know Trevor Hemsley, Cabrina Blackhurst, Nick Emery, and many many others! It was SO fun to make all of the connections! Crazy small world! Anyways, she also came to church yesterday and we were able to talk to her then as well! It was so fun!

Church was AMAZING yesterday! Fast Sundays are my absolute favorite! After having a really hard week, I was so looking forward to partaking of the sacrament. As we began to sing the sacrament hymn, #169, tears began to fall down my cheeks. I was so overcome with the spirit, it was a feeling that I will never forget. I then received the sacrament and just couldn't stop crying. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly, while taking the sacrament. It was that moment when I KNEW that my Heavenly Father and my Savior knew me and loved me. I know that he knows what I am going through and what I am feeling. This has been so hard for me and I just KNEW that I was going to get through it. I knew that he sacrificed for me and that he has felt exactly what I am going through right now. I know that I am enough and I know that I am doing everything that I am supposed to be doing. I know that God is proud of me. I have just needed to step up my faith a little bit! It's been slacking lately! I know that I need to LIFT WHERE I STAND. I have been called by a prophet of God and I need to rise up to my calling! I have often asked myself how we can know that we are good enough. How do we know that we are good enough to return home to our father in Heaven? We all need to live up to our mission, whatever mission we have been called too! I know that if we do our very best and try our hardest, we will be enough!

This past week I have been really studying the atonement and family. I think that those 2 things are THE MOST important things that we can study and understand about this Gospel. As we have lost another dear apostle this past week, I have been studying his most recent conference talks. I am amazed at the words that these prophets who are about to go, actually say. They have all been about FAMILY and the ATONEMENT. Why do you think that? Probably because it's the 2 most important things! President Packer said that "The end of all activity in the church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, and sealed for eternity." That is it. That is all that we need. FAMILY is so important. Being on my mission has really taught me that. I have never really truly understood the significance of a family, until now. You can tell that the family is Satan's number one attack. He is trying to do anything and everything that he can to destroy even ONE member of a family. When he gets one down, he is likely to pull many others down with him. We need to do all that we can do to make sure that every person of the family is on the right path. We need to LOVE them, PRAY for them, FAST for them, and do everything that we can do to bring our lost ones home. We are all his children and he knows each one of us perfectly. He knows our names, and knows everything about us. We are his children, and he is counting us one by one. He hasn't forgotten us.

The atonement has just meant so much more to me lately. Not only to cover our sins, but to help us through our times of trial and our times of heartache. One of my favorite quotes from Elder Packer's last talk is "The atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something has happened, if we truly repent, he has promised that he would atone. And when he atoned, that settled that. There are so many of us who are thrashing around, as it were, with feeling of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape. You escape by accepting the atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty, love, and eternity." The atonement can truly wash clean every stain no matter how difficult, or how long or how many times repeated. The atonement can put us free again to move forward, cleanly and worthily, to pursue the path that we have all chosen in life. If we will truly repent and USE and ACCEPT the atonement of Jesus Christ, we will find that his merciful arm is still outstretched. We can find peace and understanding, even in the midst of great heartache and sorrow. We can all feel hope. We can all move forward and keep going. Whenever you are going through a hard time, remember that someone has already paid the price for you. That someone is our Savior Jesus Christ. If we are not aware of what the atonement really is and what it can do for us, we may go through this life carrying regrets and guilt. If we seek to truly understand his atonement, we will come to truly understand the real power of forgiveness. He will remember our sins NO MORE. "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord, remember them no more." (D&C 58:42)

The true success of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be measured by the spiritual strength of its individual members. We need to do all that we can to truly understand the atonement and the blessing of families. We need to have a spiritual witness that these things are true. I want to invite you all to try to access the atonement in your life more fully. Test it out. Try it. I promise you that he knows how you feel and he knows what you are going through, because he has already paid the price for you. He's already been there and done that! I love you all so much. I am so grateful for this gospel and for the atonement in my life. I know that through him, we can get through ANYTHING!! How grateful I am for my knowledge of eternal families. I love my family so much. Dad, Mom, Kaiden, Chelsea, Kamryn, Cole, and Kennadi, I love you. Thank you for all of your support, and for all of your love! You are in my prayers! I hope that you all have a wonderful week! Can't wait to hear from you in seven! Sending you all of my love!! xo
Sister Kyla Joan Worthington

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