Oh how I love you all so much! Thank you for the videos & pictures! You guys are my absolute favorites. Definitely made my week and made me smile. You don't even know what it does for my spirits. I hope that you all have a killer week in Lake Powell!! Enjoy the beautiful sunshine! I'm definitely sad that I can't be there, but, I am receiving more blessings than any of you right now, so I don't even care. :) You are the ones who are missing out!! As long as you promise me that we'll still be able to continue to go to Lake Powell when I get back.. I'll be okay. If we can't, then we will have some issues. That's my favorite trip and you know it's killing me that I can't be there with you all. You'll have to let me know how it goes, just be safe and have fun for me, that's all I ask. :)
This week was wonderful! I learned so so much. I think that is one of my favorite things about my mission. Being able to constantly learn all day long. One thing that really stuck with me this week, and basically changed my life, was what I learned yesterday. Sister Stratford & I went to Ward Council yesterday morning and it was SO good. We were asked to come an hour early because we were going to be doing something "different." We were all excited because we weren't sure what could be so different. I mean come on, it's Ward Council. Can't be that exciting, right? Anyways, we get there and our whole meeting was all on the training from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles regarding the Sabbath Day. IT WAS SO GOOD. I'm sure many of you were able to watch it, and were able to talk about it, but for us as missionaries, we didn't get to hear too much about it. I know that the Church came out with something regarding the Sabbath Day but I wasn't quite exactly sure what it was. We ended up having a good 2 hour long discussion with all of the leaders of my ward and it was just exactly what I needed to hear. The leaders of my ward are so incredibly strong. They are some of the best members of the church that I know. It is going to be so hard to leave Waxhaw and leave this ward, especially after being here for 6 whole months, and possibly more. This has become home to me. I absolutely love and adore every single ward member. They are like my family! For Pioneer day Sister Stratford and I were able to go to a stake party! We had a yummy cook out and played lots of pioneer games. It was nothing like the way Utah celebrates it, but hey, it was a good day! We also attended a baptism this past week and I got to play the piano and Sister Stratford gave a talk! They were both some activities that switched up the work and it was good to change it up! Anyways, I want to share with you some of my thoughts regarding the Sabbath Day, and what I learned and what the Spirit told me.
First off, it all starts with building our faith in God. The whole reason the brethren came out with this training was to refocus our commitment to the Savior and to keep our members from becoming less active and eventually falling away. There is nothing that makes me more sad than to see people who once had a testimony fall away. That is EVERYWHERE down here. There are so many part families and so many less actives. That is also where we spend a bulk of our time-working with our less actives. In no way are we trying to make them a "project" or even try to get them to come back, we simply just want them to know that they are loved, and that they are in our thoughts and prayers. I know that one day, all of God's lost children will come back. We just have to love, watch, and wait. As members of the church, we have a duty and a responsibility to love these people and to reach out to them. Until their records get taken off of the church, it is our responsibility to love them. They are a part of our family, and we are to love and nurture them! I know that they are really concerned about the lasting conversion of our members. I have truly become converted to this Gospel and I am so grateful that I decided to come on a mission, because I don't know that I would have ever become truly converted, had I not come out on a mission. I know that I probably would've gotten to that point, but it would've taken me a lot longer. Now I can begin my life at such a young age, having a testimony so rooted inside me, that nothing will shake me. We need to do all that we can to become truly converted, and I know that by committing ourselves to refocusing on the Sabbath day and the sacrament, we can become absolutely converted. I have never looked forward to Sunday more in my life, than on my mission. It's been amazing how much more I have gotten out of church now than I ever have before. I know it is because I have NO distractions and I truly know why I am there. It's been so nice to be able to listen to all of the talks really intently and to really be able to focus on the sacrament. Literally, there hasn't been a week that has gone by where the tears aren't just flowing down my cheeks as the sacrament is being passed. One thing that has truly made the sacrament so meaningful to me is PREPARATION. How many of us actually really prepare for the sacrament? How many of us use Saturday to really prepare for the Sabbath? Our focus and our preparation needs to done long before we walk into the church building and long before the priests' get down on their knees to bless the sacrament. Think of the sacrament as an ordinance. It is the ONLY ordinance that we get to do for ourselves, more than once. So often we come to church with the attitude of always looking outward and trying to help others, which is GREAT, do not stop doing that! But, sacrament meeting should be specifically for us. It's the only time of the week that we should be focused on ourselves and how we can improve. How prepared are you individually to attend the greatest and most important meeting that we have in the whole church?
I think so many of us have become casual when it comes to the Sabbath day. I know that I am so guilty of this! It's there every single week, and I feel like it has just become something that we do out of habit and duty. If we miss partaking of the sacrament one Sunday, we know that it's always going to be there the next week. It becomes so repetitive and something that we just 'do'. We need to get out of that mentality! President Craven always told us to say to ourselves, "Careful vs. Casual, there is a difference." And that applies to every single thing that we do. The sacrament should be a spiritual experience EVERY SINGLE WEEK. President Kimball was once asked what he did during a boring sacrament and his reply was, "I've never had a boring or a bad sacrament meeting because I have always came prepared." Oh how I wish I could say the very same thing! But, I can't. I know that it all begins with our personal preparation. If we were truly prepared every single week, we would never have a "bad or boring" sacrament experience. Sundays should look, feel, and sound different than any other day. The food we eat, the music we listen too, the clothes we wear, the way we speak, everything should be different about Sunday. The whole day needs to be different, and truly be a day that is set apart from the rest of the week. Think of comparing the Sabbath day to your birthday! On our birthdays, we wake up feeling extra special! We do different things, that we typically wouldn't do any other day of the year. We reflect on our life, and we make it a day that we won't forget. We definitely treat our birthday different than any other day, right? Now try thinking of the Sabbath day in that same way. Do we treat Sunday with way more respect than we do every other day of the week? The natural man after church would say "shorts & a t-shirt" and the spiritual man after church would say "I need a little bit more." Meaning that his bucket still isn't quite full and he's willing to do anything and everything to get the most out of his Sabbath day. I want you to think about that! I don't want anyone to think that I am chastising you, because trust me, I am just as guilty. I just want to invite everyone to maybe think about how they observe the Sabbath day, and what slight changes that they could make to make it even better and a more spiritual experience. I want you to focus on the WHY and the principles of why we are to keep the sabbath day holy. The world would have us focus on the behaviors and the prophet would have us focus on the principles. After being so spiritually fed and receiving a stronger desire to change my outlook on the Sabbath day, I have come up with a few things that have really helped. I want to invite you to maybe try some of these things! 1. Have a KNEELING family prayer, in your church clothes before you walk out the door to church. 2. Play church music all day long in your on Sundays. Music brings revelation. 3. Refuse to be late to church. Being late is the ultimate act of disrespect. If you're going to be late to church, you might as well not even go. Make a commitment to never be late. We are going to participate in an ordinance. We go to the temple to participate in ordinances. Are we walking in late and chatting super loud in the hallways of the temple? I don't think so! 4. Take time to spiritually prepare BEFORE Sunday to partake of the sacrament. and 5. Come to church with a purpose. Just as we fast for a purpose, we should be coming to church with a purpose. If you are looking for something, you will find your answer at church and it'll be that much more meaningful. If you come to church with no expectations, you won't get as much out of it.
I promise you that as we decide to make the Sabbath day a more sacred day, we will be blessed. We will be a stronger member of the Church and we will not fall away. We will become truly converted to this Gospel and we will enjoy a life full of happiness and joy! My prayer is that we will all recommit ourselves to truly focus our thoughts on our Savior during the sacrament and that we will be able to have a truly spiritual experience each and every week. We are to make the Sabbath a delight! I love you all so so much. I am so grateful for all of your love and for your support. I know that my Savior lives and that he loves each and every one of us. He is aware of our needs and knows exactly what we are going through. I am so grateful for this Gospel in my life and I am so grateful that my Savior has trusted me to share this Gospel with his children. I hope you all have a wonderful week. You are in my prayers! I think of you often, and I hope for the best for each and every one of you. Never lose sight of what truly matters in life. Our relationship with God and with our families. I love you all to the moon and back!! Talk to you in seven! Xo
Sister Ky Worthington