How is everyone doing? I cannot believe it's already Monday. The weeks go by so fast, but the months seem to go by forever. I cannot believe that we are already almost into December though. The holidays are just going to come and go. I hope you all take some time the next few weeks to really be grateful for what we have and for the amazing blessings that God has given us. I have really been full of gratitude lately and am just amazed and the wonderful things that God has given me. I see so many people here who are so lost and it just breaks my heart. Why did I get so lucky and they didn't? What did I do to deserve this?
Sometimes I just wish I could let someone have what I have for one day. I am so blessed and am just so grateful for everything that I have been given. I hope that one day I will be able to give back and really express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I am excited for this Thanksgiving holiday and am looking forward to the happy spirits that will be wandering around Tanglewood, waiting for me to come and give them the greatest thing they've ever received.
This past week was unreal. It started off with a zone conference and ended with an amazing baptism and confirmation of Melissa Hannah. What a week! Zone conference was SO good and I was just blown away by what I learned and what the spirit taught me. I just can't even say enough good things about President and Sister Alexander. They are so in tune with the spirit and always know exactly what we as missionaries need to hear. I love zone conferences because I love being able to spend 6+ hours with President & Sister Alexander and really get to talk with them one on one. It is such an intimate setting and it's really nice to be able to connect with them on a more personal level. The whole meeting was all about the SACRAMENT, the SABBATH DAY, and FAMILIES. It was really interesting because it was more of a meeting for US and not for our investigators or for "missionary work" but then of course, he was able to tie it into all of that It was just amazing and once again, I wish you all could have been there.
Lately as a mission we have been really trying to focus on getting the doctrine of christ embedded into our hearts. It's been kind of a difficult thing to do because I wasn't really sure how to really do that. I have been praying my heart out to have it embedded into my heart.... but was still super confused as to how I could really know that it's been embedded into my heart. Anyways, that was the prayer that I had going into zone conference, and guess what? President Alexander did his whole training on the sabbath day and on the sacrament, and ended up telling us that the sacrament is the hidden secret of the world.... he said that it is one of the most signifigant things and will be one thing that will help us get into heaven. It is an ordinance... and so it really isn't any less important than our baptism, our endowment, our temple marriage, or anything else. He went on to say that the sacrament and keeping the sabbath day is HOW we will be able to get the doctrine of christ embedded into our hearts.
Talk about ANSWER TO MY PRAYER. The spirit was just flooding my mind and I was so overcome with love. I know that God really does hear and answers prayers. We just have to put forth the effort and must really have the desire to know and to get an answer. I promise you that YOU WILL GET AN ANSWER. He will always fulfill his promises and will always answer. I have been really trying to LIVE MY PRAYERS and to PRAY FOR INSPIRATION AND REVELATION. We cannot get revelation unless we are truly seeking for it, and making sure that we are worthy. We cannot just expect to get revelation if we aren't even asking for it.
So, I would encourage you to try to do the same. LIVE YOUR PRAYERS.
And pray to do more in less time!!! That's something I have really been trying to pray for. There is SO MUCH to do and not enough time to do it!
I have such a strong testimony of the power of the sacrament. It really didn't mean that much to me before the mission... I'll be honest... I just did it because it was something that we did every week. I have a way different perspective on it now and know that it is EVERYTHING. We cannot miss a week. We just cannot afford that. I am so grateful for the chance that I have each and every week to put everything up on the altar and give it all up to my Savior. Each week I take out my little notebook and reflect on my week. I write down some things that I can do to work on to help lift and inspire others in the coming week. I think about all the wrong things I did and promise to not do them again. I am amazed at the cleansing power that I do feel each and every week and really have come to understand that he has suffered for each and everyone of us. He has suffered for our past sins, and he has even suffered for our future sins. It's interesting to think that our baptismal covenant also took care of our future sins too, if we partake of the sacrament weekly and continue to keep our baptismal covenant. We have nothing to worry about, the Savior has already taken care of EVERYTHING for us. I am grateful for Him and for his personal sacrifice for me. I am grateful for my covenants and grateful for the opportunity that I have to prove to him that I am willing and ready to try my very best to serve him to the end and continually try to do what is right. I cannot wait to come home and share my sabbath with all of you! My Aunt Tami has been one of the greatest examples of a "true sabbath day" observer and I am so grateful for her example and for her dedication to the Lord. It has taught me so much. So, if any of you need any ideas on how you can keep your sabbath more holy, just call her up and I'm sure she will be able to help you. Tami, thank you for your example. I love you & miss you lots!
I have come to learn that covenants strengthen faith. I love chapters 32, 33, and 34 in Alma because it talks about faith. And the people say, 'How do we nurture our faith?' And Amulek and Alma answer in chapters 33 and 34, and one of the things he talks about is being baptized. Now, how does that strengthen faith? How does it strengthen your faith, entering into covenants? Think about it for a moment.
Elder Christofferson once shared that he read an article years ago about Mormons baptizing for the dead. And it said, 'here's what they do...they take rolls of microfilm, they put it in a bucket of water, they pull it out, and all those people are baptized!" Think of all the time we could save! Hahaha.
Well, why doesn't that work? It doesn't work because a covenant has to be individual. The promise we make has to be our promise, and the promise we get back from God has to be to us. Each one of us, individually, by name. So we give the person's name, "having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you". Every soul is so infinitely valuable, so infinitely important, and it is so crucial that each of us have a promise to us, apart from all the rest of the world, that God says to you, by name, "I will admit you to the Celestial Kingdom. You can live with me in heaven, eternally". And we promise we will be obedient to be Lord, and if both keep our promise, (we know He will) then we have total faith. We know we will live again. No matter what's happening now, no matter what trials, trauma we're enduring, we know that in the end, we get salvation because He promised it to me by name. And he promised you by name. And so one of the great benefits of covenants is you knowing that you have a direct relationship with God. You have a promise from heaven. He, apart from everybody else, knows you and He has made a commitment to you. So you can do whatever you need to do. You can go through whatever you need to go through, because in the end, you're there. He saves you. He exalts you. Don't think you're gonna walk up to the door of the Celestial Kingdom and say "let me in" if you don't have that stamp in your passport....that you got that promise by name.
I am grateful for trials and for hard times. We need them. We need to grow so that we can one day enter into the kingdom of God. He knows us and he is aware of every single detail in our lives. We just must exercise our FAITH. Faith is an uncomfortable thing. & so if you're comfortable, you're probably not exercising enough faith. Go out of your comfort zone and see if the Lord won't bless you! As I'm sure many of you saw... my sweet Melissa Hannah got baptized this past Saturday. It was such an amazing day. Oh how I wish you could have all been there. It's been an amazing journey with that girl and there is no doubt in my mind that I needed to be transferred here for her. She has changed my life. I feel like she has given me more than I have given her. She has had a super hard life and I know without a doubt that God has some amazing things in store for her. She just gets me.
She just understands me and I have loved having someone to talk to and relate with. Even though she technically could be my mom haha. When we were going over the baptismal interview questions with her she had a concern come up and ended up having to be interviewed by our mission president and it just so happened to be that since he was down here for our zone conference, he was able to interview her that night so he did not have to drive another 3 hours later that week... and oh my goodness.... that man is full of power. He invited us to be in on the interview for the first 10 mins or so and then invited us to leave and they ended up talking for an hour and a half and when she came out, she was just bawling and President pulled me aside and said, "Sister Worthington, she is ready. She is an AMAZING young woman and I know you two knew each other in the pre mortal world." Tears started rolling down my face and I just felt so overwhelmed with love. Melissa texted us later that night and said that she has never felt more love and peace in her entire life. She said "there is just something about that man and I know that this is what I need to do." It was miraculous. Satan was really working hard on her this past week to try to not let her get baptized but after some priesthood blessings and some TLC, she made it! She did it! It was the best thing I've ever seen. There truly is no greater joy! Thanks for all of your love and prayers on her behalf. We feel them!
We are still working with Pat and she is getting baptized this Saturday! She is just another complete miracle and I have no doubt in my mind that God is real and God is in charge. There is no way that she should even be living right now due to her health issues... and some how he has just pulled so many strings and she has just completely done a 360. I don't know how it's even possible.... like literally. There is no way that she could have just healed the way she did, without the power of God. I am so excited for her baptism! She is 65 years old and just the sweetest thing ever. Most people we talk to that age just always tell us that they are too old to change. But, Pat knows that this is what she needs to do and that NO ONE IS EVER TOO OLD TO CHANGE. I love her to death. She calls me her little cupcake. & she really likes when I wear buns on top of my head because she says that it's just the cherry on top. hahaha. Bless her heart. We are going over there tonight after dinner to have FHE and I'm excited to see her again. Please continue to pray for her. This week we are really going to focus on finding new investigators and building member trust so they can give us referrals. Now that all our peeps are getting baptized... we have to find some more souls! Finding is so hard. But so good. This week we are going to walk around downtown with the elders with clipboards and go around and do a survey and ask people what they are grateful for! I am so excited for that! In a few weeks we are also going to set up a free hot coco stand and play the guitar and sing hymns and invite the spirit that way. President Alexander really wants us to open up and be creative and FIND in different ways. If we keep doing the same things.. we are going to keep getting the same results. Which is lame, so I'm ready to switch things up a bit. :) It could be interesting... but I am looking forward to it.
There isn't a whole lot more happening over here. It's getting colder as the days go by.. but I really do love it here. Me and my companion are fine.... she still really bothers me at times... but I'm getting over it real quickly. She goes home in 3 weeks and so I know that I need to help her really work hard these last few weeks and give it all she's got. She is great, just really hard for me. I am super happy, healthy, and doing well. There is NO WHERE else I would rather be.
This is my kind of happy. I love missionary work so much. It is truly the key to happiness. "You will find that the true key to happiness is to labor for the happiness of others." I love you all so much. Thank you for the extra prayers this week. It helped me get out of my negative spirit and it cheered me right up. I love each one of you so much. I am so grateful for your examples and your love and support. It means the world to me. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for any of you. Sorry I have to kind of cut this short... We went to the mall today with the elders and I had WAY TOO MUCH FUN. It's been a long time since I've been to a mall.... and it felt so good haha. So, we were kind of there for a long time and I kind of pushed emailing aside this week... but I still love each of you and hope you can feel it. I know God lives. I know He is real. I love being a missionary and I will serve him until the VERY END!!! I LOVE YOU!! See you in seven.