Happy Thanksgiving! I hope y'all had a great week, and I hope you have an even better week this week. I will definitely be thinking of all of you and will be missing you lots. It's going to be a different Thanksgiving without you guys, but thankfully I will be able to join you next year. How is the weather holding up over there? This past week it really cooled down and I have begun adjusting my attire. It's still nothing like over there.. but being outside and walking around all day is catching up to me. My week started off pretty well, and ended pretty well, but I am currently not feeling very well right now, so that hasn't been too fun. This is like the first time on my mission thus far that I have not felt good. I have a high fever and my body just aches.. so hopefully my essential oils will fix me right up and I'll be good to go by tomorrow.
I'm sure many of you saw my last Facebook post, but that was probably the highlight of my week. Pat got baptized! AH! It was so wonderful.
She was really nervous and I literally thought she was going to snap in half when she got put under the water, but the Lord watched over her and everything went well. She was so nervous and when she went under the water she like freaked out and wouldn't plug her nose and it was kind of sad, but super funny at the same time. But, she was successfully baptized and all is well. Elder Craig and I got to sing the special musical number at her baptism so that was pretty neat. You all know I don't sing..... I am the pianist, not vocalist. So it was an interesting experience, but the spirit was there and both Elder Craig & I stepped out of our comfort zones so I know we'll be blessed.
It was a neat experience and I am grateful for all of the opportunities that my mission has allowed me to have. I have been able to do SO MANY things that I would have never done at home, and I am so grateful for all that I have learned. There are so many times that we are randomly called upon to give a talk in sacrament meeting, with five minute notice, asked to share our testimonies on the spot, coming up with spiritual thoughts, teaching gospel principles class or RS, special musical numbers, random emergency service projects, and so forth. The list goes on, and I LOVE IT. I would have not ever done that before, on such short notice, but now I am just always willing and ready and am not even nervous. Somehow the spirit takes over and everything just goes perfectly. It' wonderful. It's funny how everyone just thinks that missionaries are like always prepared with things and can just pull things out of nowhere... it's good stuff.
I am enjoying my new Tanglewood ward, it is just definitely not the same as Waxhaw, but I know that I need to stop comparing. This ward is SO big and there are 600 members, and only 300 active members so there is lots to be done here. it'll be interesting to see how long I stay here. Transfers are in 2 weeks and I actually feel like I may leave. I don't know. I feel like I was meant to be here for Melissa & Pat, and maybe my time is done here. I am not sure, it just doesn't feel like home. We will see where the Lord needs me. I cannot believe that I am already almost done with this transfer. Where did the time go? So crazy. Melissa is doing well, she is just having a really hard time emotionally right now. The one year anniversary of her daughters death is coming up on Dec. 2nd and I know she is not looking forward to that. It absolutely breaks my heart. This will be her first Thanksgiving without her and she is just hurting and it makes me hurt.
I have such a strong testimony of the Plan of Salvation though and I KNOW with everything in me that she will be able to see her daughter again. I have such a strong connection with that little girl on the other side and I feel that she is one of my little companions working right along side with me. It was really interesting because I got this message the other day from her that said, "Strange as it may seem, you have a light around you. You and the two elders have been the only ones. I firmly believe it's addy surrounding you." So, I know that we are on the same page and I know that she can feel her little daughter.
I love Melissa so much and am grateful for the experiences that I have had thus far with her. Pat is also doing well, and we are going to begin teaching her the new member discussions this week. We have FHE with her tonight and I am excited for that. We are going to be teaching the restoration and starting over. It should be good.
Now that Melissa and Pat are both baptized, we are really struggling with our teaching pool. I am super excited they got baptized, obviously, but now we don't have anyone to teach. Some of our other investigators are just not keeping their commitments and not really progressing. It's a bummer. We have been working with this little girl who is 8 years old and it's been an interesting situation. Her father is a member, but hasn't been active for years and her mother isn't a member and has no desire to learn more, but this little girl wants to get baptized and so we have to teach her all of the lessons before she can do that because she didn't grow up in an active home. It has been super challenging to switch the way that we usually teach and adjust it to children. Her attention span is SO crazy and she is all over the place so it has been quite challenging, so if you have any ideas, let me know! Other than that, we are just working on finding and strengthening our recent converts and less actives. We have some really good Christmas things coming up that we are hoping some members will invite their friends too. Finding really begins with the members.
This past week we were able to attend a baptism of this guy named Maricio. One of the sister companionship's in our zone has been working with him and it was the neatest thing I have ever been a part of. They are in the Spanish branch and so the whole baptism was in Spanish. All the hymns, talks, everything. Although I had no idea what was being said, the spirit was so there. The really neat thing about this whole baptism though is that we have a recent convert in our ward who has been baptized for about 18 months and Maricio is his brother. They were separated as children and just found each other 6 months ago.
They are both in their 40's and the RC in our ward introduced his brother to the Gospel and he just got baptized on Saturday. The guy in our ward was able to baptize his brother and after he was put in the water and came up, they embraced in a hug for a solid 3 minutes. It was the best thing EVER. That- is what life is all about. Linking and binding families. It was such a tender experience and will be one that I will never forget. Sorry if that story didn't really make sense...
hard to explain. Anyways, another highlight to my week.
I have been able to have some pretty intense studies this past week that have really been able to open my eyes and my perspective on things. I have been studying the sacrament, and the sabbath day. I feel like I study this a lot, but you can just never study it enough I have decided. This is EVERYTHING. So sorry if I am repeating some of the things that I have already talked about. I just have such a strong testimony of it and cannot hold it in. President Alexander told my that my effectiveness as a missionary and my life long commitment will be impacted most by the way I observe the sabbath day. In D&C 59:9-10 it says, "And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day. For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High." The sabbath day is the way to keep us unspotted from the world.
Think about that. We all have spots, or sins, but through the sacrament and the atonement, those spots can be made clean. But, we have to put forth the effort. The sabbath has been from the beginning of time, and so why does our world have such a problem with it? It blows my mind. One of my favorite quotes is "The importance of a sacred day for man to rest from his temporal labors, contemplate the word of the Lord, and assemble for public worship is a MAJOR item in a person’s spiritual development." I really loved that because of the word major, and how it's so essential for our spiritual development.
"The existence of a weekly holy day is the most important safeguard; it leaves a constant reminder to the individual of his need for spiritual sustenance and his duty before God, and serves as a witness to the world that there is such a thing as revealed religion." Once again, so important for our spiritual growth and development. The sacrament and sabbath day are an eternal principle, and it's important that we use this time while here on earth to develop good sabbath day observance and come to really understand the importance of the sacrament, so we can be prepared.
In 3rd hour yesterday we had a really neat lesson. It was all about how we can better keep the sabbath day holy and how we can make our sacrament meetings more spiritual. My bishopric wrote up a little thing that they are going to give to every person that they ask to speak in sacrament and it was SO good. I will forward a picture to you! I think it is going to really help make the sacrament meeting a more spiritual experience for everyone. I was able to partake of the sacrament yesterday in a different way than I have before and it really changed me. I am different. I allowed the atonement to really work in me and I felt it. "If you approach the sacrament with the reverence and solemnity it deserves, it becomes a weekly opportunity for introspection, repentance, and rededication--a source of strength and a constant reminder of the Savior’s Atonement." I felt my Savior there for me, taking away all of my pain. I am so grateful for all of the amazing examples that I have in my life of good sabbath day observers. Mom, I am especially grateful for YOU and for your desire to ALWAYS make sure that no matter what, you partake of the sacrament each week. It is so important and crucial for our salvation. I would invite you all to go watch the Mormon Message "Always remember him"
and reflect on how you will "always remember" him. Church and the sacrament have been my time and place (besides the temple) to reflect on my mission and my covenants. There isn't anything that we have done that the sacrament cannot take care of. Our covenants are real and are alive. "When we offer our broken heart to Jesus Christ, he accepts our offering. He takes us back. No matter what losses, wounds, and rejection we have suffered, his grace and healing are mightier than all. Through Christ's blood, we literally become his sons and daughters and our DNA connects." One of my favorite quotes is "THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT THAT CAN BE EARNED HERE IN THIS LIFE IS TO BE KNOWN AS A COVENANT KEEPER." And how do we do that? By partaking of the sacrament worthily each week. Okay, enough about that. I have a STRONG testimony of the sacrament and I know that if you let it change your life, it will. PREPARE for that ordinance every single week and put your whole self on the altar.
The next thing that has been on my mind all week is FAMILY. Ever since the church came out with their new policy on same sex marriage & children getting baptized, surprisingly we have actually come across many people who have brought that up to us. It has really made me think about what I believe and how I truly feel about the subject.
And well, it doesn't effect me whatsoever, so why does it really matter to me. We have a prophet on the earth who speaks directly with God. This is what needed to happen, and if you have a testimony of the prophet, then no need to worry. Anyways, it has been really interesting and I am just so grateful that I have such a strong, firm, testimony of the divine nature of the family. The very heart of our religion is to UNITE FAMILIES. That is what it is all about. I was thinking about how grateful I am for my family, and the blessing that you all are in my life. There was a talk I read that was talking about how this sister had never had to live through a divorce, the death of an immediate family member, abandonment, single parents, same sex attraction, infertility, abuse, disease, or an addiction, but through her personal trials and tribulations, and the trials that have brought her to her knees, she said she can understand and can become one with someone who has gone through those things. She hasn't experienced those mortal tests however, but through the lens of a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, and friend, she has experienced it. I thought it was really interesting because as I was reflecting on my life and my family, I haven't had to go through any of that myself yet, but I know someone that has suffered and has had to deal with and has been effected by every single one of those problems in one way or another. How blessed I feel to have such a wonderful family. I often ask myself what I did to get so lucky. I know that because I have such a strong family, it is my responsibility to strengthen other families and help them become one with me and my family. We really are all in this together.
Right now there is a war going on in the world in which our most cherished and basic doctrines are under attack- and that is the doctrine of the family. When President Hinckley read the proclamation
20 years ago, little did we realize how desperately we would need it now. "The entire theology of our restored Gospel centers on families and on the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. A family built on the marriage of a man and a woman supplies the best setting for God's plan to thrive- The family is the basic unit of society and will be for the rest of time. It is our job to stand up and defend what we know to be right and true because WE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE that so many people are lacking. If they only knew... I am grateful for the Holy Ghost who has confirmed truth to me on the knowledge of family, and especially eternal families. I wouldn't be here if it were not for the Holy Ghost. I think it is a life long test to figure out who he really is and how he really works in your life, but I am grateful that I have had the past 8 months of my life to figure that out. I still don't completely understand, but I have a much better knowledge than I had before.
There is no surer knowledge than what comes from the Holy Ghost.
That's why to sin against the Holy Ghost is the unpardonable sin, because it's a very perfect knowledge that comes from the Holy Ghost.
And if you deny that, you're denying God. So don't do it. But the spirit is the beauty of its communication, the Holy Ghost's communication, is that it's not limited to words. I have come to know that words are helpful, obviously, in our communicating, but they're also limiting. Some things can't be expressed in words. They're just inadequate. Or They convey it imperfectly. But the Holy Spirit can speak to your spirit directly. One on one communication. It can communicate truth without words. Communicate understanding, communicate a witness. So I think it's even more powerful than seeing or touching or any other way of learning or communicating, hearing, or whatever. The spirit to spirit has the most pure communication towards an intelligence and I think it is our LIFE LONG quest to figure out the holy ghost in our lives and how it operates. I invite you to really pay attention to the spirit this week and see if you can recognize it every single day for a solid week. Every so often we are invited to do something called check your progress, and it helps us be able to evaluate where we are at in many aspects. I would invite you to ask yourself these questions. I changed them a little bit, but you get the idea. Do you feel the presence of the Holy Ghost in your life?
Do you try to discern the needs of those around you? Do you try to notice spiritual impressions and ideas that come to your mind and heart? Do you understand the role of the Holy Ghost in your conversion? Do you follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost to help your family members, and others? Doing that has really helped me focus on what I need to be doing to make sure that I am being worthy of the spirit and how I can use it more in my life.
As this Thanksgiving week approaches, I hope that you will all be able to feel how GRATEFUL I am for each one of you. My heart is so full of love and emotion for each of you. I feel so blessed to be a part of your life. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to talking to you all and seeing your cute faces over Skype in 1 month! I cannot wait. I pray for your safety and success daily. Thank you for your strong testimonies and encouragement. They really do keep me going. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for any of you.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. I LOVE YOU!! Talk to ya in seven! Feel free to email me throughout the week and send me photos.
They make me happy!! xo
Sister Kyla Worthington
|From Sacrament Meeting|