How is everyone doing? I hope it's been a good week for each of you! I'm grateful for this opportunity to sit down and reflect on my week. It's been a crazy one full of ups and downs. I picked a new PONDERIZE scripture this week and am excited for that! My new one is Omni 1:26. Does everyone have their new scripture picked out? I was really able to see a huge difference this week as I picked one scripture to really focus on! I'm excited for a new week! I am so grateful that the Lord has given us preparation days too! They are definitely needed. We've had a pretty busy day today and I'm pretty wiped out. This morning after studies we went and played ultimate Frisbee with some members of the ward! That was super fun! The kids are out of school today so it was fun to get together with them. After that Sister Stratford made our way over to Target so she could get a new ipad case. I have officially decided that Target is my favorite store. I had to get out of there quickly because I basically wanted the whole store. Once again reminded me of how much I miss clothes and fashion. I know that doesn't matter and I shouldn't be thinking about it, but.. I think most of you know how much I love clothes and I just can't quite get the look I'm going for with a dress and skirt everyday. :) I'm grateful for the opportunity to be able to be "out of the world" for a short period of time though. It's been really good for me. We got together with our district and played some beach volleyball and soccer and that was a blast. Transfers are next week and so we tried to get everyone together one last time, in case anyone leaves. We usually never do anything on our preparation days so it was nice to get out and do something different! The weather has definitely been better this week. We finally saw the sunshine and it made me so happy! I didn't even want to use the car because it was so nice outside. We were able to go running outside for morning exercise every day this week and it felt so good to be back outside. It's amazing what some good vitamin D can do for ya!
Let's see, there were very many interesting things that happened this week! The whole mission had to go and get the flu shot so that happened. I wasn't super excited about that. I haven't typically gotten the flu shot in the past because I feel like it's made me get the flu.. but since they said we had too, I obeyed haha. It kinda hurt and I didn't like it all that much.. but I'm over it. It changed up the day a little bit so I can't complain. For dinner last night we got fed Ox Tail and I DO NOT recommend it to anyone. It was so disgusting and made me so sick to my stomach. Literally was up all night and it was the sickest that I've felt on the mission thus far. A super poor recent convert fed it to us and so I felt like I had to eat it... but it was a bad idea haha. I'm proud of myself for trying something new.. but that won't be happening again! I can't remember if I mentioned to ya'll about the Tiwi's getting installed in our cars last week or not? But, that's been quite the adventure! They are little black boxes that were installed in all of our mission cars. They have a GPS connected to them and basically the designated driver (which is me right now) has to log in and out every time we go to drive. The box talks to you and lets you know if you don't have your seat belt on, if you're speeding, and if you are driving aggressively. (going to fast over speed bumps, turning corners too sharp, slamming on breaks, etc) Basically we get 3 violations per transfer and if we get more than that, our driving privileges get taken away for a transfer. Anytime it talks to you it sends the information to SLC and notifies our vehicle coordinator. The church spends about 115 million dollars on missionary car accidents per year, so they are hoping that by installing these boxes... it will eliminate the accidents that missionaries have! It's been quite interesting and has really helped me as a driver! I am actually doing quite well and am quite impressed with myself. I haven't gotten a violation yet! Knock on wood. I'm so grateful for the cars though. They help SO much. I am so grateful for the faithful members of the church who pay their tithing to help support us in our work. I know that they are a sacred tool from the Lord and that I need to be treating them with the utmost respect! Other than that, things are going well & I can't think of anything else that really happened that's been too exciting. Waxhaw had this huge Fall Festival this past week and it was super fun! It was like a massive carnival and there were people everywhere! It rained for 2 of the days.. but the rest of the days were really good! There are acorns EVERYWHERE and lots of squirrels. The leaves are beginning to change and fall is definitely in the air! I love this time of year. I am going to miss seeing the beauty of the mountains, but I am grateful that I get to experience something new too!
We have been teaching a few new people. We got a few referrals from some members of the ward and that has super helpful! We don't really have anyone who is super super close to baptism, but we are working towards that for sure! We have been working with an excommunicated member and it has been so fun to see the light of Christ come back into her life. She's truly wonderful! We had a really neat experience this past week that I will share with you! We have this part member family in our ward who I have just come to love and adore. It is this older couple and the wife is a member, but the husband is not. They don't have any children. Larry is basically a member of the church, he just isn't baptized! He comes to church every week, reads the Book of Mormon with his wife, and allows us to come over for dinner often! I have built a really good relationship with him and truly love him to death. He is sooo weird but I just love him. As we have tried to begin teaching him the discussions, he has been really hesitant and has said that he's not ready for them yet. I know he is ready because I can just see it, and feel it! I have been praying a lot about him and decided that I was going to start praying for the spirit of Elijah to touch his heart. He really likes family history but hasn't been doing it for a long time. After a few weeks of that, we went over to his house to do some service for his wife this past week. We had a good long talk with her and I began telling her that I have been praying for the spirit of Elijah, and have been praying that he would feel it. She looked at me in tears and said, "Sister Worthington, just recently he has picked up family history again and has been finding his ancestors and has been asking all about our view on eternal families." She told me that my prayers were working and that something will "click" and he'll be ready to accept the gospel. I don't know if anything is going to come from it or not, but I know that the spirit of Elijah is touching his heart and bringing him that much closer to the gospel! I have had such a strong testimony of families lately as it has been something that we have really been trying to focus on as a mission, and my testimony has just been strengthened beyond words.We had a mission wide conference call this past week and President and Sister Alexander invited us to pray for some specific things this week and I have really been trying to do what they have asked and have seen a huge difference. I have really tried to pray for the spirit of Elijah, for stronger faith in Jesus Christ, for the gift of charity, and for the doctrine of Christ. I have been absolutely amazed at how much that has been helping me individually, and those around me. I feel like my love for my companion, myself, the Lord, and my investigators has increased immensely. I have stronger faith in my savior, and know that this is where I need to be at this time in my life and that there are people who are prepared for me! There hasn't been a day go by where I haven't thought about the doctrine of Christ and where I haven't tried to implement it somehow in my life. I have gained such a stronger testimony of the power of prayer. I know it is real. I know it works. I know that every prayer is heard. I am grateful that I get to kneel down and pray to my father in heaven. He has helped me so much this week and has been by my side every second of every day.
Sister Stratford and I are doing well. She had kind of a harder week this week and was super stressed and discouraged, but I was able to step back and really love her as our Savior would love her. Right now I know that I need to be with her. She is teaching me so much, and together we are learning lots. I am grateful for her example and for her desire to do good. She is an amazing missionary and I know she has a great work to do. We are ready to jump in this next week and watch miracles happen!! We had a wonderful Sunday yesterday and I was so grateful to be able to take the sacrament again. Having missed it due to general conference, I was in dyer need of it. It felt so good to feel of the power that it has and be renewed once again. Oh how I need the sacrament! I couldn't do it without it. I am grateful that I can put everything up on the altar and give it to my savior!
I was able to reflect on a lot this past week and had many things come to mind that I wanted to share with you! I want to start by re-asking the question that was asked in conference. "Is the Gospel working for you?" How do we find the life we want, and not the life we're living in right now? I have come to notice that most of us are getting caught in a pattern of life that we don't necessarily enjoy or want. I think so many look at our lives and think that we have it all put together, or think that all is fine and dandy, but yet in those quiet moments when we are all alone, we know that we are sad, lonely, depressed, afraid, and things really aren't going the way that we wish they'd be going. Now I want you to think about another question that was asked. "What is keeping you from progressing?" We all have problems and challenges. We all have weaknesses and we all make mistakes. If something we're doing is violating the commandments of the Lord, it's coming from Satan and it's keeping us from progressing. How can we find our way back and allow the Gospel to "work for us?" The Gospel really is so simple and can work for every one of us if we let it. I hope that we can understand that the way back isn't as hard as we may think it is. Satan is telling us it's impossible, but we know that through Christ, we can completely overcome all of our challenges, and that with God, nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37 ) I came upon that scripture this week and it just made me super happy. I have never seen that verse before and I definitely read it at a perfect time and really needed it.
Anyways, Satan will do all that he can to keep us captive and not let us get out of the trap that we are in. We cannot let him discourage us! When we decide to take the path that climbs up, not down, and is maybe the harder path, there will be many rewards along the way! When you do something right, when you resist temptation, when you meet a goal, you feel good about it. It's a different kind of feeling that you can't find anywhere else. Better than the feeling you'd get if you broke a commandment. It's a feeling that brings peace, comfort, and encouragement to keep going. If we are going through a lot, or feel like we are weighed down with stress or sin, We can receive so much help through so many people but we have to realize that improvement must come from our own determination to change. The most difficult part about changing is to make the actual decision to do it. Once you commit, the path will become so much easier. We will qualify for the Lord's help and his strength! A big part to changing and allowing the Gospel to work for you is through setting goals! "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things that you've never before done." Reach out to those you love to help you set goals to be a little bit better every day. Let others know that you need help and that you're ready to change! Don't be selfish and think that you can do it all on your own... because you can't! That's where humility comes in!
If the road was easy, we wouldn't grow in strength. If we were always forgiven for every mistake without any effort on our part, we wouldn't know the blessings of repentance. If everything was done for us, we wouldn't learn how to work, or learn how to acquire the power to change. Being able to move on will come through our faith, our true repentance, our willing obedience, and our giving of ourselves. Selfishness is at the root of our problems. I firmly believe that. We must learn how to conquer our selfishness. Selfishness blinds our vision and keeps us from changing. We must learn how to turn outwards. That is exactly what the Savior did and that is the example that we must look too. If your life is in a rut or a bind, I want you to understand that it took time to get that way, and we must allow time to fix it. Be patient with yourself. Take it day by day, decision by decision, and choice by choice. The hard period will pass and we will come to see the real power of the atonement. Search out God's plan for YOU specifically. I know that he has a plan for each one of us, and sometimes we have to go through some bumpy times to get to the place that he needs us to be! I know that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can all be repaired and restored.
I know that as you progress in working towards being better, you will see that the Gospel is working for you and that it really is so simple, and the way to complete happiness and joy. I wish that I could replace each of your doubts with my certainty and that you really could know that anyone and everyone can repent and change. Even when you think all hope is lost, you can change and come to the savior. Don't let the little things keep you from progressing and becoming who our Father in Heaven has intended for you to become. The lord will help you if you just humble yourself and turn to him. He gave his life for us so that we could change. Trust in him completely. You will feel his love, strength, and support with you. Be obedient in all that you do and keep his commandments and he will bless you. I want to invite you all to allow the beauty of the Gospel to CHANGE you. Turn your thoughts to Jesus Christ this week and submit yourself to him. Let him heal you!
Sister Stratford shared a really neat analogy with me that she heard Elder Bednar talk about in a U of U devotional one time. She began by telling me of a box that represents our hearts. She said that you have a box that is full of black sand. On one end of the box there is only a hole big enough for one grain of sand. On the other side of the box there is another hole that is big enough for one grain of sand. If you put a grain of white sand through one end, a black grain is going to pop out of the other end. Once you put a grain of white sand in, is the box completely dark? No. Do you still feel yucky inside? Yes. But are you completely filled with darkness? No. Sometimes we sin and we feel so guilty and painful and downright gross inside that we want to erase it completely. That can happen, but it doesn't happen all at once. We need to remember that the guilt and pain we feel when we sin is important to keep us from doing the sin again, and the memory will not go away, neither will the feelings of pain. Yet, in order to truly forgive ourselves, we need to recognize that we can move on. As we continue putting white grains of sand in the box, more and more black grains will come out, and we will feel more whole and more clean, and slowly, those feelings of guilt and shame will leave us. But it takes time. In order to forgive ourselves, we need to accept the fact that we have sinned and recognize our feelings of pain, but we must also recognize that forgiving ourselves doesn't mean erasing those feelings of pain. It means replacing them with good feelings one at a time. We will never ever be able to completely forget some of the mistakes that we have made. If we forgot, we wouldn't remember the pain and suffering that we felt and remembering is essential because it helps us not make the sin again. If we forgot how it felt, we would most likely commit the sin again. Looking back we'll remember what we did, but through time and filling your box with white sand, we will be able to move on and use those experiences as growth and learning experiences. I thought that was a really neat analogy and it's really helped me get through some of the things that I've done in the past. I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, but as I have been filling my life with goodness, I have been able to move on and see the true beauty of repentance and forgiveness.
I'm sorry this email is all over the place and probably not making any sense. It's really hard to type out what's really in my head. I just have been feeling so overwhelmed with the love of my Savior and have really come to know of the power of the atonement and repentance. As I have been focusing on the Doctrine of Christ, I have come to understand that we can all change, and that we all need to change. Repentance is simply change, and it's trying to become a little bit better every single day. That's all that Heavenly Father asks of us. He just wants us to try a little bit harder to become a little bit better and a little bit more like his son Jesus Christ. I know that we have been given the best gift in the world, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let's take advantage of it and really let it "work for us." I know that this is Christ's true church. I know that he lives. I know that this is his work. I am so grateful to be serving a mission at this time. I know that there is no where else I'd rather be right now in my life. I am so grateful for each one of you and for your examples of goodness. I look up to each of you so much. I am so grateful for the friendships that we have and the relationships that we have. I hope that you will each be able to feel how much I love you and how grateful I am for you! I hope you have a good week and come unto Christ. I sure love you! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help any of you! You are all in my prayers! Sending you all my hugs & loves from NC! Talk to ya in seven! xo
|My favorite family EVER!!!! They will probably be the hardest for me to leave. They have become such a huge part of my life. They were baptized right before I came on my mission and they're like my second family!|
|Best Distrct Ever!!|
|My district leader did this stupid burger challenge.....Worst idea ever. He didn't even finish it either. Weak sauce|