I honestly don't even know where to begin. I have never had such a harder time sitting down to write an email. Nothing that I say will even be close to what I am really feeling. I don't even have words to express what I'm feeling in my heart. I hope that somewhere deep down, you will be able to feel of my deep, sincere love for each one of you. First of all, I want to thank you all so much for the special birthday wishes. It was a perfect day. I cannot believe that I am twenty years old. What!? That sounds so old. Now I actually have to say that I'm "in my 20's." Yuck. Anyways, I started my day off with a long prayer to my Father in Heaven. As I was praying, I felt the love that he had for me so strongly. I have lived such a good life thus far and am so grateful for all of the wonderful people that I have been able to cross paths with. I know without a doubt that God places certain people in your life for a specific reason. I am so grateful for each one of you and for all of the things that you have taught me and shared with me.
I was so grateful that my birthday landed on a Sunday, and even better a Fast Sunday! I absolutely love Fast Sundays. During my personal study that morning, I had a very spiritual experience. I was reading in Preach My Gospel about baptism. All of the sudden tears started running down my cheeks. The thought all of the sudden hit me. Twelve years ago on my very birthday, I entered into the waters of baptism. I made my first covenant with my Father in Heaven, and my life was forever changed. Baptism was weighing heavily on my mind this past week due to my interview with President Alexander earlier in the week, (which I will talk about later) and knowing that my sweet Kenna Grace was going to be getting baptized. Then, topping if off with memories of my own baptism. It was a very special moment. Right now in my life is really the only time that I am going to be "inviting people to be baptized." Of course I'll always be trying to bring people unto Christ, but nothing like I'm doing right now. We literally walk down the streets and knock on doors and ask people if they want to be baptized. When will that ever happen again in my life? Never. My purpose as a missionary is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, BAPTISM, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." I am inviting people to do the most important thing that they could EVER do in this lifetime, for we know that you cannot enter the kingdom of God unless you are baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority. Obviously I've got some work to do. There are so many people who need to be helped!
Now I'll take you back to my interview with President this past week. First thing he said to me was "Now Sister Worthington...is Waxhaw your first area?" Haha what the heck is that supposed to mean? Probably getting transferred next transfer. He went on to talk about the Spirit of Elijah and binding families together... and holy smokes was my mind blown. He basically told me that the Spirit of Elijah testifies to people the importance of eternal families through the Holy Ghost, and that the Spirit of Elijah is more powerful than the Holy Ghost-- when talking about eternal families and the sealing power. He told me that I need to spread the Spirit of Elijah more throughout the mission so that the people of North Carolina will have a stronger desire to be sealed together with their families for time and all eternity. It was very interesting and made my think about some lines in my Patriarchal Blessing. Crazy how the Lord works.
The rest of the interview was all about baptism. President was so bold with me! It was freaking me out! I love him to death but man, was he putting some pressure on me! He told me that there is someone in the month of October that needs me, and needs to be baptized. He looked me right in the eyes and said, "Sister Worthington, Go find your friend that you told in Heaven you would help and bring the greatest blessing into their life.. the Restored Gospel... through baptism." Talk about pressure! He asked me to really reflect on what MY individual baptism means to me right now at this time in my life and that he really wanted me to study the topic of "baptism" this week. So, when it hit me during my studies on my birthday that I was baptized exactly 12 years ago... it was a perfect time to really reflect on what my baptism means to me and everything that has come into my life because of my decision to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I had such a spiritual experience and will never forget it. I ended my studies just having such a stronger desire to be my best self and to be who my Heavenly Father needs me to be. I had such a renewed desire to TRULY live my baptismal covenant and to really try my best do to what I promised God I would do. Actually we made a covenant with God, not just a promise. A covenant is more than just a promise. It's a binding with our Heavenly Father. We break promises all of the time.. but breaking a covenant is a little bit more serious. I also studied all about immersion, and why we were baptized that way and found it really interesting. If you really think about it. Water covers everything! It can get into anything! It fills in every crack and covers absolutely everything. It really reminded me of the atonement. The atonement covers every single thing as well and fills up every little crack. It made me really grateful to know that as we are baptized by immersion, we are completely covered with water, and the atonement can do the same exact thing for us every single day of our lives.
Baptism is so important, we really have no idea and I think we take our baptism for granted. Not only is it essential for eternal life, but it is the start to EVERYTHING. In order to help others get baptized, which is the greatest offering that man can give to God, we have to first be baptized ourselves. In order to make further covenants with God, which are essential to make it back to Heavenly Father, we must first be baptized. In order to baptize for the dead and help our ancestors receive the wonderful blessings of the Gospel, we must be baptized first. To have the sacrament even apply to you every single week, you must first be baptized. Everything in the church truly goes back to your baptism. So I now ask, what does your baptism mean to you? My invitation to you this week is to really think about your personal baptismal covenant and to make some goals to really make it applicable in your life. Will everyone do that? Oh gosh, feel like I'm in missionary mode. Inviting people to make and keep commitments hahaha. Please forgive me. But seriously it was such a powerful experience for me and I know that if you do the same, it will really bless your life and help you to more fully access the atonement in your life, which I know we all need so desperately! During companionship study, I was able to really share my testimony with Sister Stratford on what my baptism means to me and in turn, she shared her testimony and it was just such a bonding experience for the both of us and helped us to have a wonderful day full of the spirit, so I know that it can do the same for you!
This past week we have been working a lot with a man named Britton. We have been working with him for quite some time... but he just hasn't been super committal. He is our next door neighbor so we see him all of the time, and we are like his best friends, but we've had a really hard time helping him keep his commitments. Well, his mother is super ill and got admitted to the hospital this past week and he's really turned to us. We invited an RM to come out and teach him with us and it was the best thing ever! The RM is one of the Hall boys... (which I love so dang much) so it was a really special experience. We went over to Britton's house and began talking to him about the atonement. He was told that his mother has 4-6 months to live and he just kept feeling so guilty for all of the things that he's put her through and feels like he has been such a burden on her. He's like 45 years old and just lives with his mom and takes care of her all day every day... so he's super close to her. Anyways, Cam asked if Britton would like a priesthood blessing and he said Yes. So, right there in his house, Cam went and laid his hands on Britton's head and gave him a priesthood blessing. It was probably one of the most powerful experiences that I've had on the mission thus far. I knew without a doubt that the words that Cam were speaking were coming straight from God. There was no question about it. Those were not Cam's words. It was crazy! I have always felt the power of the priesthood in my life, but not this strongly. Knowing Britton for a good 6 months... I know a lot about him and here Cam was, having no clue who he was... and he said things that I knew Britton needed to hear at that time in his life. It was such a special night and reconfirmed my testimony of the power of the priesthood.
Although I cannot hold the priesthood, I know it's real. I have witnessed it's power time and time again. I have seen it's strength. I have marveled at the miracles that it has brought forth. I have been so blessed to be able to grow up with the priesthood in my home and couldn't be more grateful for a worthy father, and worthy brothers who can exercise the priesthood in my home. It made me think of the lyrics, "Mine is a home, where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power." How grateful I am. Thank you daddy for being a righteous priesthood holder. Linda K. Burton once said that, "Righteousness is the qualifier... to invite priesthood power into our lives." How true that is! It is sooo important that the priesthood power is in the home. How awful would it be to have something happen all of the sudden and not having a worthy priesthood holder in the home to exercise God's power? I could not imagine. Men- stay worthy of the priesthood no matter what. If you are not worthy to hold the priesthood, I would invite you to get worthy. That is the beauty of repentance. There is nothing that is more comforting to a wife and to a child, then knowing that their father, or brother holds the priesthood and can access it anytime, because they are worthy. We as women need to stay worthy as well so that we can receive all of the blessings that come from the priesthood! The priesthood is for everyone! Men, women, and children, and we all need to be worthy of it!
I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to not have the priesthood power on the earth. The priesthood runs everything! Every ordinance, (including baptism :)) needs the priesthood. The whole church is run under the direction of the priesthood power. Everything has to be done by the priesthood power! How grateful I am for Joseph Smith and his dedication to fulfilling his calling and restoring the priesthood back to the earth. I know we can all magnify our callings more, and recognize that they all are coming from the priesthood power of God. "Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood callings are magnified. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass his purposes." MAGNIFY YOUR CALLINGS!! It is in the "doing" that lives are blessed, others are guided, and souls are saved. "God's sweetest blessings always go by hands that serve him here below." I LOVE LOVE LOVE that quote. Which reminds me of a poem that I will share with all of you that is very near and dear to my heart.. and that I've been waiting to share.
"His hands chose to lift and drink the bitter cup;
His hands are mighty to save, mighty to love!
His hands worked miracles His whole life through,
and later bled for me and you.
What, what are my hands willing to do?
When you look at my hands, what do they mean?
Are they pure and are they clean?
Are they symbols of the sacrifice my Lord has made for me?
Do they life? Do they love? Do they clasp in prayer to God above?
He's placed trust in me to know His truth,
so what, what are my hands willing to do?
We had a wonderful night at Woman's Conference as well, and I wish I could tell you all about it! We went out to a nice dinner with some of my favorite Sisters in the ward and then headed to the Stake Center for the broadcast! I absolutely loved it! I swear every talk was for me! It was kind of a bitter sweet moment for me.. because I am usually with my sweet mother & sisters, but I was grateful to be here with other wonderful sisters across the country, and was reminded that we are all sister's in Christ, and are all daughters of God. I wish I had more time to go on and on, but I don't, I've gotta get running
I want you to all know how much I love each and every one of you, and how grateful I am for all that you have done for me. I am so grateful for all of your prayers and your support. I couldn't have asked for a better family, and a better group of friends. God definitely blessed me! Thanks again for the warm birthday wishes, it was so magical. Especially that video. Dad, I need you to send that to me pretty please via email. Gotta hold that one close to my heart! :)
Each one of us have the choice to believe that God is our father and that Jesus in the Christ, and that they have a plan for each one of us. However believing that- requires faith. & lots of it. Our testimonies, our peace of mind, and our well being begin with the desire and willingness to believe that our Father in Heaven really knows us and knows what is best for us. I know that we may not know everything, but we know enough. Take what you know, and the rest take on faith! One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Nephi 11:17. "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." All that we need to know is that he loves his children, and that we are are indeed, his living children. Everything else will fall into place, and will one day be known. I have such a strong testimony of this Gospel. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Redeemer. I know that the atonement is real. I know that repentance and forgiveness are real. I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood in my life and for all of the blessings that have come because of it.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week and that you truly reflect on the blessings that have come to you through baptism, and through the priesthood power. I hope you will all take the time to prepare for this upcoming General Conference. I am so excited. Spiritually prepare and take time to come with some questions. I love you all so much. Thanks for everything! Let me know what I can do for you! You're all in my every single prayer! See you in seven! xo
Sister Ky Worthington