Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 28, 2015

Hello everyone!
Merry belated Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful day and enjoyed spending time with one another. I hope you were all able to reflect on the birth of our dear Savior and the wonderful gift that He is to each one of us. I had an amazing day and it was so good to see your sweet faces and hear your voices. It was too good to be true. I am grateful for each one of you and for your love and support. I was so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude in my heart when I would get a letter or a package almost every single day up until Christmas. I am grateful for those of you who thought of me and expressed your love. You have no idea what it did for me. It got me through the holiday! It was definitely really hard being away from my family on Christmas.. especially being my first one.. but having the love come in really helped me and got me through it! Thank you thank you thank you! I couldn't thank you enough. I am so blessed!
We had a really good week full of ups and downs! It was pretty busy with the holidays and everyone was just running a million miles and hour. The streets and the stores were so busy, I couldn't even take it. It was a nightmare! I was worried that no one would want to talk to us or that we wouldn't be able to teach very many lessons.. but surprisingly God led us to some hearts that were open and we were able to share the Gospel with lots this past week. We were able to continue to share the Savior is Born Christmas initiative and that helped us get into some doors.
This past Wednesday we had a mission conference with half of the mission and that was really fun! It was so nice to see some of my friends and was good to be with President and Sister Alexander. I love them! There were four zones there and each zone was asked to come up with a special Christmas musical number, a unique talent, and each member of the zone needed to prepare a 1 minute testimony. It was a really powerful meeting and the spirit was definitely felt. My zone sang a really neat version of "I heard the bells on Christmas day" and I was able to be a part of that and it really put me out of my comfort zone.. but I loved it. I am really grateful for the opportunity that I have had to share my talents.
President and Sister Alexander's son and daughter in law came and gave a wonderful training. His son gave us three things to work on. 1. Have the ability to repent and recommit. He invited us to try to have the faith to have a perfect day. I really loved that! Sometimes, almost all the time, missionary work can be really hard. Sometimes we get lazy and unmotivated. He invited us to work on recommitting to the Lord and repenting on a day to day basis. It has really helped me! I know that I cannot be perfect and cannot go go go all the time, every single second of every single day, but I can try my best and I can take some breaks and still be a good missionary. It was good for me. 2. Remember that you make an impact. There are a lot of missionaries in my mission who feel as if they are not making an impact. It absolutely broke my heart to hear this because we have some wonderful missionaries and no time or effort is ever wasted if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and if you are trying your best. He told us that we can ALWAYS make an impact, no matter what. No matter what stage of our mission we are in. We can make a difference. I am really working on being committed to make a difference and to stand up and have courage. One of the transfer goals that Sister Cottis and I set was to "leave a legacy" here in Tanglewood. We want to leave a mark here and make the best of our time here. The Lord needs leaders and kingdom builders here and we need to let our lights shine and we cannot fear man! There is no time for that! The third thing he talked about was learning to work hard. This one particularly stood out out to me because I have been able to see wonderful examples in my life of hard workers. My other brother Kaiden is one of the hardest workers I know. He has been such an incredible example to me and I know that developing the skills and attributes of a hard worker will get you far in life. There is no substitute for hard work. It also made me think of the legacy of hard workers that we have in the church. I look at all of the pioneers and the early saints. If they are not hard workers, I don't know who is. They went though and endured SO much, more than we have ever had to do, and they were blessed. I know that as we access the atonement, the Lord will help us to work hard. One of my favorite quotes is, "Work more. Sleep less." Such a good phrase for missionaries too! :) I also came across a quote in Preach My Gospel this week that really stood out to me. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: “We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives. … We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this." That last line really hit me. No one else can do this. Realistically, only missionaries really can invite others to be baptized and get them into the church. It's not typical for others to just go around inviting people to be baptized. This is my responsibility and I must do better. I am excited for the new year and am excited to recommit to myself and to the Lord to do better. My time is so short and I must do all I can to help these people of North Carolina.
So, needless to say, the conference was wonderful and I enjoyed every second of it. We also received a wonderful Christmas meal and were able to play some fun games and do some Christmas activities. :) Later that evening my district all went caroling and that was SO much fun! Oh my goodness! We went to a neighborhood that had a ton of houses close together and we just went door to door changing lives! People were so happy! I was loving it! There was this sweet older lady that answered the door in a wheel chair and we started singing and a few seconds into it tears started rolling down her cheeks. It made her so happy. Sister Cottis and I got her information and we are planning on going back and seeing her this next week! After that we went and got some hot cocoa and donuts and ended the night off with a bang!
Christmas Eve was pretty good. We had weekly planning and that took up 3 hours of the day. We spent 2 more hours making some homemade banana pudding and cookies that we were going to deliver on Christmas day, and wrote lots of little cards. We had dinner with a fun family in the ward and I tried some split pea soup for the first time. It was interesting.. but good at the same time. Right after that dinner appointment we went over to a Christmas Eve party with the elders. We went over to a member's home and there were lots of other families there. We had some yummy appetizers and chatted all night long! Everyone was 20+ so it was super nice to not have any kids around. We all gathered in a circle and played a game called "things". Family, you would love it. It is kind of like the name game we play... but a lot funnier! I have never laughed harder in my life. It was such a fun night and will be one that I will remember forever! We still managed to make it home by 9:30 and slept super good. I think it was the first Christmas Eve I have actually slept well. I think not having any gifts and surprises to wake up too really made a difference haha. Although I missed all of that stuff, I am grateful that I was able to sleep well!
Well, Christmas day for Sister Worthington was so amazing! Oh my goodness! We woke up and went running and that just started the day off perfectly. I had some wonderful Christmas studies all about the Savior Jesus Christ and got my mind in the right frame for the day. I love personal study time so much because of the sacred time that I have with myself and the Lord. After studies we went over to a recent converts home. He was baptized 1.5 years ago and his wife is still not a member. They have 4 little kids and it was SO MUCH FUN. They are one of my favorite families. They are from Ecuador and so we were able to have a really yummy Ecuadorian meal! Wasn't your typical Christmas morning breakfast, and I really missed my momma's crepes... but it was so good and will again be something that I will never forget. After that we went to the church and we skyped y'all! That was so good, but really hard, and not long enough!! I am already looking forward to Mother's Day! It was good to see everyone though and get the assurance that you are all still there, alive, doing well, and cheering me on! It just made me want to work harder and make you all proud! After that we went home and opened our gifts. That was super fun and it was pretty neat to have a little Christmas on the floor of my apartment with my sweet companion. Unforgettable. After that is when the real fun of the day began. We went to sooooo many houses and dropped off little goodie bags of cookies and treats! We went to some investigators, members, less actives, and recent converts. Everyone that we wanted to see we caught home and that was really really nice. I know that the Lord blessed us that way! Mom, guess what! Surprisingly we were able to hand out all of those little bags that you made for the kiddos! Thank you SO much for doing that! Any time we would see children, we would pull over the car and go up to them and give them the little gift. They were so happy and it made me so happy. It made me think of Haiti and Mexico all over again. Do you remember our last Christmas in Mexico and how on Christmas day we went out and did the same thing? How amazing that was. Another something that I will never ever forget. We had Christmas lunch/dinner with our recent convert Pat and the member that she is living with, and that was a really special experience. I was nervous at the beginning.. and wasn't all that excited, but they went to so much work and made it so special for us that I will never ever EVER forget it. They have absolutely nothing, yet they saved every penny they had this month to feed us a special meal and get us a little gift. It was so special and so sacred. Something that will forever touch my heart. It wasn't your usual big Christmas dinner, but it taught me a great lesson and it was all that I needed. After that we just visited some more homes and ended up doing that the rest of the evening. We were actually able to teach a few lessons and share some special Christmas messages with some people so that was definitely a highlight of the day.
So I have many more things that I could share with you today, but being my last email of the year, and my "Christmas" email if you will, I have decided that the greatest gift I could give to each of you would be my personal testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So as I said earlier, this past week for me was absolutely miraculous! It was way better than I thought it was going to be. Being my first Christmas away from home, I was worried I was going to struggle. Instead, I did the complete opposite and was actually just fine, and better than usual! I wondered why that was... But then had an overwhelming feeling of love, peace, and joy come over me. The real and true meaning of Christmas came into my life. The real miracle of Christmas is that through giving, instead of receiving, you grow SO much closer to your savior. Being able to go out and serve people on Christmas day was the best thing ever. Never have I done that before on Christmas Day! A real Christmas comes to those who have taken Christ into their lives.
For the first time in twenty years, I found myself understanding Christmas rather than just enjoying it. I finally was understanding the message of Christ's birth and his life. His mission and his sacrifice for me, and for others. This is what it's all about! We cannot fully understand the meaning of Christmas unless we understand the meaning of the Savior's life, atonement, and resurrection. Oh how I wish I could've made this connection earlier in my life. I feel like every Christmas from here on out will be different because of this one simple experience I had while on my mission. I was just so happy and felt a glow within myself! This was a Christmas that I finally said to myself.... "I get this. I get what it's all about."
Something else that really hit me this week was the words that I heard an Elder say. He said, "He is why...." And those really stuck with me. I haven't been able to forget about them. Since then, I have really been reflecting on my life and have come to find out that He (the savior) is why I have everything that I have. He is why I am on a mission. He is why I am alive today. He is why I have a family. He is why I can learn and grow. He is why I can enjoy the beauties around me. HE IS WHY EVERYTHING. Everything comes from Him and because of Him and it's really been a neat experience for me reflect on how much I am blessed with, because of Him.
I want each and everyone of you to know that I KNOW that God lives. I know that he loves each and everyone of us. I know that this is his Gospel. I know that this is His work. I know that the priesthood power was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that because of that priesthood, we have temples. I know that what happens in the temples are real. I know that because of the priesthood authority and because of the temple, we are able to live with our families for time and all eternity. What an amazing thing that is. There is nothing that brings me more happiness, than knowing that. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that combined with the Bible, we have the fullness of the Gospel. I know the atonement is real. It can heal any wound, take away any pain, and can fix any broken heart. In Revelation 21:4 it says, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." We all have struggles. There are also SO MANY struggles of mortality such as....addiction, pain, temptation, sin, abuse, depression, worry, poverty, anxiety, employment, health, mistreatment, etc. But guess what, we all agreed to come down and deal with them! So, thankfully we have a way out! Through our Savior Jesus Christ. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “Having ‘descended below all things,’ He comprehends, perfectly and personally, the full range of human suffering.” We might even say that having descended beneath it all, He is perfectly positioned to lift us and give us the strength we need to endure our afflictions. We have only to ask." All we have to do is COME TO HIM AND ASK.
One day all of these mortal burdens will pass away and there will be no more pain (as Revelation 21:4 says). I hope that we will all understand the hope and strength of our Savior’s Atonement. The assurance of immortality, the opportunity for eternal life, and the sustaining strength we can receive if only we will ask him. One of my favorite hymns is #129. Study the words!

Where can I turn for peace?

Where is my solace

When other sources cease to make me whole?

When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,

I draw myself apart,

Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows,

Where, when I languish,

Where, in my need to know, where can I run?

Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?

Who, who can understand?

He, only One.

When you think there is NO WAY LEFT- I testify that there is a way out and that is through the savior. It may not be the way you want or the way you think it's going to be, but there is a way. If he brought you to it, he will get you through it. We have to remember that righteous people will suffer. Righteous people will have trials and tribulations. Righteous people will have pain. Psalms 34:19 says "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the lord delivereth him out of them all." Keep enduring and I promise it will all be okay in the end.
My mission has had the greatest impact on my life. I have learned to rely more on the Lord, to seek the guidance of the Spirit, and to feel an overwhelming love for God’s children. My knowledge of the scriptures and my understanding of the doctrines have increased. My desire to be obedient and to keep the commandments with exactness has been increased. My testimony of the Savior and His infinite Atonement has been strengthened. My missionary experiences have become a part of who I am and what I am. Missionary work has become my passion. It has impacted my life more than anything else. North Carolina is my holy land. The place where I have come to know my savior Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change. My mission has taught me how to fully access the atonement of Jesus Christ and because of that, my life has been forever changed. I will never ever regret my decision to serve a mission, and if you are even thinking about a mission in the slightest of ways... GO. It will be the best thing you could ever do. I love my Savior so much. I love my family so much. I am so grateful for the new year that is ahead. My prayer is that each of you will take time this next week to reflect on your 2015 year. Set goals and give an accounting to the Lord of this past year. Let's commit to making 2016 even better and committing to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. I know that you will be blessed and I know that God has miracles in store for each one of us who submit ourselves to Him and His will.
I love you all so much. I pray for you every single day. Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you. Have a wonderful week. I love you! See ya in seven! xo

Sister Kyla Worthington

December 21, 2015 ~ Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!🎅🏽

Hello my favorite people!

Hi hi hi! I hope you all had a great week and I hope you have an even better week! Merry Christmas!! I cannot believe that we are only four days away from Christmas! What! I hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy the holiday seasons! I will definitely be thinking of you and will be missing you lots. I am really looking forward to talking to you over Skype on Friday. Which reminds me... what time would be best for y'all? We are thinking around 1:00-2:00 ish our time... which would be 11:00-12:00 ish your time? We are really good all morning and afternoon.. just email me back and let me know what would work best for you! I can get your emails throughout the week.. I just cannot respond, so feel free to email me and let me know! I will probably end up calling you on the phone first to make sure everything is good to go! What are your plans for Christmas Day? Let me know!
So first off, I just need to thank everyone for all the sweet letters, notes, and packages! I am way to blessed, holy cow! I've been so spoiled! It's been so wonderful to get cards and gifts from members of the meadow wood ward! People I don't even know.... And they're thinking of me! I couldn't thank you enough. You have no idea what it means to me. This is my first Christmas being away from home... And your love has kept me going! So thank you thank you thank you!!
This week was really good and we saw lots of miracles! It was absolutely incredible! So many things happened that were so inspired and so spirit led. I love good weeks. They make my faith grow and help me to realize that God is aware and that this is His work. Sister Cottis and I have been really trying to work on accomplishing the goals that we set. So far, in the two weeks that we have been together, we have surpassed and hit almost every one of our goals that we have set. We are really working on trying to pay more attention to the goals we set at night and actually look at them throughout the day and that has really helped us! We push ourselves and don't want to walk in our apartment door until those goals are met. There is definitely power in setting goals and visions and I am grateful for the inspiration that President Alexander received and for the thoughts that he has shared with me. It has really helped me stretch myself and grow.
The biggest miracle of the week was putting our lovely Robert Robbins on date to be baptized forJanuary 9th, 2016! AH! I cannot even tell you how amazing our lesson was with him. I have been working with Robert Robbins since I got to Tanglewood. He is a single father and is from California. He has been investigating the church for 10+ years and has been through 100+ sets of missionaries. We hadn't talked to him for a few weeks because he was super busy with school- but he finally had some free time so we met with him again. We were able to have a lesson with him in the church and had one of our recent converts come teach with us. Robert opened up and expressed his desire to be baptized and that it is finally time. He's been wanting his life to slow down because he wants it to be a spiritual experience. Not just something that he checks off his "to do" list. He has been wanting to do this forever, but has just been waiting for the right time. We set a date of January 9th, 2016 and he is 100% committed and ready! He needs to be taught 1-2 more things and then he is good to go. He has some really solid fellow-shippers and we are having him in two members homes for dinner this upcoming week! We are so excited. I have just gained such an assurance that this is where I need to be, and that God really does prepare his children for specific things, at specific times. We had a Mission Leadership Conference Call and found out we had 16 projections in December for the whole mission. THAT IS SO BAD. Like that is an all time low. Sister Cottis and I really want to work on our baptismal invites. The more we invite- the more projections we will have. I KNOW that there are people out there who are ready, we just need to do our job and find them, and invite them.
We have to have a better year!
Another miracle that happened was being able to really utilize the Savior is Born Christmas Initiative video this past week. Sister Cottis gave a training on it at district meeting and set a goal with our district to show it 100 times in 5 days. The members of the district were SO excited and had such a desire to get out there and show it! This week we made an extra effort to show it and it really did bring so many miracles! It was so fun to get out there and invite people to discover why they need a savior. Every time I show it to someone I always remind myself of why I need a savior and what he means to me.
I am especially grateful for him this Christmas season. I have been able to feel of the love that he has for me as his daughter, and as his missionary. I know he is aware of me and everything that my little heart & soul is going though. I am so grateful to be a servant of the Lord at this time and in this place. This is His work and I couldn't be more sure of it. I know he lives. I know he is the savior of the world and I know he suffered for me, and for you, and for everyone.
How grateful I am. This week my ponderize scripture was Doctrine and Covenants 43: 34-35 which reads, "Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.
Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen." So simple, so straight forward, and so comforting. I love this work and my heart is so full! Definitely a time to rejoice!
I really don't have much to say this week because my time is super short and I'm just so stinking excited to talk to you this week!! We are currently having a zone activity and are having an ugly sweater party, white elephant gift exchange, and the candy bar game! With some volleyball and ping pong! It's been a fun day! But...... Hasn't left me with lots of time to email! Sorry! On Wednesday we have a mission conference party and I am really looking forward to that. I get to see some of my favorite missionaries and we get to spend time with President and Sister Alexander! We are having more of a "party" and I think it'll be really fun! I also get to sing in a special musical number and that has been really fun preparing for! Christmas Eve we have some pretty good plans! We are basically just going to "member hop" and continue to share the Christmas video! We have dinner with a really fun family and we also get to spend time with our elders! We are also going caroling with lots of elders and sisters Christmas Eve so it should be a good time! Christmas Day we are just going to be delivering lots of cookies to lots of people! Members, less actives, recent converts, and our investigators! Today we bought so many cookies it's not even funny! We are having dinner with Pat and a member of our ward..... Which could be interesting..... Considering their circumstances..... But I was looking through the ensign a few days ago and came across an article called "Christmas with the Dombroskis" in the December 2015 ensign.... And then I felt AWFUL!!!
You have no idea. I got chastened hard core and reproved myself... But I am now excited and not even worried about it. It's gonna be a good day!
The bulk of my studies this week consisted of CHARITY AND LOVE!! I have really come to find out that this what it is all about. If we have true charity, everything else will fall into place. Imagine if this world was just full of LOVE! We have so many people who are just angry and upset and that is why we have so much evil in the world. Why why why!! We just need to spread the love! My heart is so full and I am so grateful for this opportunity to be here spreading my love with the people of North Carolina! I love it here. I love these people. I love my family. And I love my savior! This is His work and this is what truly brings complete happiness and joy. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL! I am so happy and am finding so much joy in the work. Thank you for the love and support. You are all so wonderful and I cannot wait to see you!!! Let the countdown begin!! Thanks for being the best ever. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you! Have a very Merry Christmas & know that I will be with you in heart & spirit! I love each of you so very much. I wish I could express it more. See you soon! Sending all my love, hugs, & kisses from NC!
Sister Kyla Worthington❤️

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 14, 2015~ Hello My Favorite People

How's it going? How was the week? Tell me tell me tell me! Once again, I cannot believe it's already Monday and I'm sitting at the church watching the elders play some basketball while I email. Time is flying by. However, it's been a super long week and I am grateful that it's finallyMonday and I get to sit down and relax! First things first, as I'm sure many of you have already heard, I got a new companion! Her name is Sister Savannah Cottis and she is from Draper, Utah. Oh how I love the girl to death. She is my kind of person! We are getting along so well and it's been a very very easy adjustment. (Way better than the last 3 times) I absolutely love her and I know that we are supposed to be here together. Just this past week, we taught more lessons and found more investigators than I have in a long long time.
We hit almost every one of our goals and just killed it out here in Tanglewood. I know that the Lord has some serious things in store for us and miracles are coming. It was so much fun being able to teach a lot and get to know her better. She's great and has an amazing testimony. I've already learned so much about her. And- we have been able to make so many connections! Her best friend is really good friends with my best friend Taylor, and we know a lot of the same people. Her first kiss was my EFY crush of the week many many many years ago, so that was pretty funny. Anyways, life is great and Sister Worthington is happy.
We had lots going on this week and the holiday season just seems to be flying by. We started off the week with transfers down in Charlotte.
That was an adventure. I had to say goodbye to some of my dearest friends... but was able to see Sister Stratford (the sister I trained) and my favorite ward member, Stephanie Hargus from my last area! So, that made it all worth it! I also got asked to play the piano at transfers and had a wonderful time playing some Christmas music and really enjoyed being able to play the mission song for the departing missionaries. That gets me every time. This past week we also had interviews with President and Sister Alexander. Ah! It was amazing. I am so grateful for that man. He shared some very special things with me and knew exactly what I needed to hear. It always amazes me how in tune with the spirit he really is. I am throughly convinced he knows his missionaries, just as the savior knows his children. He is so inspiring and I love every second that I get to be with him. We are doing interviews and zone conferences every transfer so I am really looking forward to spending more time with him! In my interview with him this time he talked to me a lot about visions, goals, and plans.
He told me that setting visions, goals, and plans is really what is going to make me successful in this life. He stressed the importance of goal setting and it made me reflect back on a few lines in my patriarchal blessing. It was neat to put two and two together. It made me also think of a quote I heard not to long ago. This quote is called "Success." It goes like this. "Some succeed by who they are. Some succeed by what they have. Some succeed by what they know. Some succeed by who they know. Some succeed by what they do. But NO man succeeds alone." I really liked that because it helped me realize how much help I have received along the way to get me to where I am at today. I couldn't have done it without you guys and your examples and support. I came up with a list that had 15 names on it of people who have really really helped me get to where I am at and those names are written up on my whiteboard and I couldn't be more grateful. It constantly reminds me of blessed I am. So, wrapping it up, I had a good experience with him and will be forever grateful for the things that I have been able to learn from him!
Let's see what else happened this week... ya know sometimes it is really hard to write these emails because so much happens in one week.. and sometimes I just don't really know what y'all care to hear or not. So I really do apologize if some of my emails are repetitive or boring. I will try to be better. The weather here is still super warm, it's crazy! It's been in the mid 70's all week long... like is this really December? Sister Cottis and I go running every morning in shorts and a t-shirt. It's really nice.. but it just doesn't feel like Christmas time. Where's my snow!! I miss it. This past week we showed the Savior is Born video SO MANY TIMES and it brought so many miracles... so I feel like I'm in the Christmas spirit.. just missing the cold weather! This past week was just a little bit stressful because I had to take over the area and I feel like I still don't know anyone or know where anything is.. but I relied a lot on the spirit this week and it definitely carried me through. Oh how grateful I am for that amazing gift. I couldn't do this whole missionary thing without it. There were also so many times when we felt inspired to knock on someones door... or walk around somewhere.. and we were led right to someone waiting for the Gospel! One day Sister Cottis and I were driving down the road and there was this old man on a riding lawn mower and I looked at her and said, "have you ever given someone a card on a riding lawn mower?" and she said "no." and I said, "Okay, here is your chance!! Ready... go!" And we totally pulled up to him, got out of the car, and said we had the best Christmas present for him! We pulled out a card and invited him to watch the video. It was classic. Oh my goodness! He was super cute and excited to watch it. We were able to talk to so many people and I really just found myself rejoicing in the work. We were having so much fun. There is just nothing quite like missionary work. Every person we saw we would be so excited to run up to them and show them the video or give them a pass along card. The spirit is definitely in the air and people are ready for the Gospel! It was such a good week. I literally could go on and on. Sister Cottis and I have also started doing some "12 days of Christmas" for some investigators and members in our area and that has been really fun. We have just been finding random things in our apartment and have been "re-gifting" a lot of things. It's been so fun to run up to their door, doorbell ditch them and run and hide behind the trees or some buildings. It is SOO priceless to see their reaction. Oh how I love this time of year. It made me think of the past years where we have done Sub for Santa's for a few families. What a beautiful thing and what a great memory that I have of doing that.
There is nothing that has brought me more happiness and joy.
This past weekend we had stake conference. That was probably the highlight of the week. IT WAS SO GOOD. I have never wanted something to never end so badly in my life. The adult session was all about COUNCILS. Ward council, stake council, family council, etc. A council is a discussion between two or more people. My eyes were opened because I think we are doing way more counseling than we think we are.
We are always counseling with others and that is such a wonderful thing! During this whole conference I was thinking about the grand council that we were all in before we came to earth. Each one of us was there, counseling with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and with each other. I cannot even begin to imagine what that must have been like. I have loved being able to be a part of a ward council while being on my mission. I have learned so much and have learned that councils are really soooo powerful. That is how the church is run and governed. Ward council is one of the most important meetings in the church. We are all there because of our commitment to God and for the love that we have for our Savior and his children. We need to remember that we need to speak up and be bold! If we have something to say, SAY IT! Especially the women. I know us women have lots of powerful insights, ideas, and intense things to say! A council should be a revelatory experience- a time to receive guidance and instruction. We do however, need to be prepared. We must seek and receive revelation from the Lord, but we must be worthy and need to be living the Gospel so we can receive that revelation and inspiration.
We must desire to have the Lord help us as we discuss. Don't we want him to be apart of our council? We must include him and be prepared to be taught by his spirit. I have also learned that through a council... we must be on the right path. If we are all coming together and counseling about something.. we must be doing the right thing if many minds are thinking alike and trying to come up with one solution to a problem. Councils also extend beyond our reach. We cannot do everything all alone.. but together we can accomplish so many great things. With a council, we can do it. Individually... we won't even make a dent. We need everyone to be unified and be all in. Everyone has something different to offer. We are all apart of something- but we all come from such different backgrounds. We have different perspectives and different life experiences... and together we can bring many great things to the table to help hasten the work of the Lord and help all of God's children who are in need. There are SO many people who need to be helped and loved too.. and we can do that through having a powerful ward council. There are so many people in our church family who do not feel the love of God in their life right now. Could you even imagine what that must be like and what they must be feeling? They need us! Sometimes however, a council is not going to fix everything and so all we can do is pray and fast and discuss...
and pray and fast and discuss some more.. and pray and fast and discuss some more.. until God is ready to grant the blessings desired.
Okay, none of this is even coming out the way I wanted it too. But, I have a strong testimony of councils. I know that they are inspired and they are for our benefit. Take advantage of them. If you aren't on a ward or stake council.. have a family council. Council with your spouse, or with your children. As I look back on my life I am so grateful for the example of my wonderful parents. I am so grateful for all of the family councils that we had and for the personal interviews that I was able to have with them each month. They helped me so much and during some of those times was the strongest that I ever felt the love of God and the love from my parents. DO IT if you aren't doing it. Councils and interviews are something that I am going to do with my future family someday. They are powerful! Councils are like levers.
They give you more strength and power to accomplish something.. beyond what you could normally do. Come together and draw down the powers of heaven and great things will happen!
Okay, enough of that. What else. Pat and Melissa are doing well. They both came to stake conference and came to a stake musical fireside that we had last night and they are just loving everything. Soaking it all in! Melissa has an interview scheduled with the bishop for her temple recommend and I couldn't be more excited. You have no idea how bad I wish I could go with her. I miss the temple so much! The temple is really what it's all about. This is it. Binding families together!
This past week I was also reflecting on an experience I had with my mother right before I left on my mission. We were able to do a session in the Provo temple and after we were done, we just sat in the celestial room for a good hour or so. I have never felt more peace and joy. It was such a testimony to me to know that THIS IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT and that I just wanted everyone to be able to feel what I felt.
I have never felt better in my life. I can only begin to imagine what heaven must be like. Probably something similar to the feeling I felt in the celestial room that day with my mom... only stronger, and constant. I am grateful for that experience that I was able to share with my sweet mother. It is one that I will never forget. My mother has been the one who has carefully prepared me for making the covenant in the temple and all others that are to follow. She has been faithful to the commandment of the Lord..."And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized. And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands." My mother has done her part and she has prepared her children, and for that, I am forever grateful. Do everything you can to get your children to the temple.
So now I will talk a little bit about what I learned this week... and what my studies consisted of. I don't even know where to begin with this one... because it was deep and intense! Before my good friend Elder Craig left me, he invited me to read a talk in the New Era...
clear back from 1976. Probably one of the greatest talks I have ever read. It was all about the BAPTISMAL COVENANT. Which is what my studies consisted of this week. Do we really understand when we are baptized that we are changed forever? When we made that promise with God.. our lives changed. Think about that. When we truly understand our baptismal covenant and the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will change our lives and will establish our total allegiance to the kingdom of God. "As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple. As we partake of the sacrament, we look to the temple. We pledge to always remember him and to keep his commandments as a preparation to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple." Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings in life-- only available through the atonement of Jesus Christ. As we strive to keep our covenants, feelings of inadequacy and imperfection begin to fade, while the ordinances of the temple become more alive! When we truly come to understand the Holy Ghost and that precious gift we have been given, when temptations come our way, if we will listen, the holy ghost will remind us that we have promised to remember our Savior and and obey the commandments of God. And then it will save us from making the mistake. President Boyd K. Packer once said that, "No member of the church, and that means each of you, will make a mistake without first being warned by the Holy Ghost." That is pretty intense. I really started to evaluate my life and started to think about how fully I am living and keeping my baptismal covenant. When we were baptized we promised to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ. We promised that we would stand as his witness. We promised to keep his commandments and we promised that we would always remember him. Well, as a missionary, I am doing pretty well at 2 of those. I am doing pretty well at keeping his commandments and standing as his witness because, well, that is just pretty easy as a missionary. The third promise I made is what really made me think... I am not ALWAYS remembering Christ like I promised I would. It is a really hard thing to do, but I can testify that it brings BLESSINGS beyond measure.
This past week I wanted to try an experiment. I wanted to really try to remember my Savior in all things. I made an extra effort this week to do that. I would be driving down the road and would notice all of his creations. I would think to myself about how God created the roads, the trees, the stores, the cars, and really all things came from him. I would knock on a door and would try to remember Christ and all of the many doors that he must have knocked on and how much he wanted to just help the people. When I would eat, I would think about the times when Christ was hungry, or the times when he broke the bread and blessed it. When I would put my temple garment on every morning, I would remind myself of the sacrifice that he made for me, and the sacredness of that clothing. Everything I did- I noticed Christ. Well, yesterday changed my life. I woke up kind of sad because I wasn't able to partake of the sacrament due to stake conference. I really really needed it this week and it just crushed me that I wasn't able to take it. Well, I was sitting in a chapel in Winston- Salem and was listening to a choir sing "Beautiful Savior". All of the sudden I had the most overwhelming feeling come over me. I have never felt more love, or felt the spirit stronger. It was the FIRST time in my life when I really felt like God granted me the promise that he made that if I kept my baptismal covenant, I would receive his spirit. Well, let me tell you, I RECEIVED HIS SPIRIT. SO STRONGLY. Tears just started running down my cheeks and I knew that he had noticed my efforts to remember him and I really came to understand the significance of my own baptism and the promise that God made to me. I WAS BLOWN AWAY and came out of that fireside on fire. Literally. There were some other things that happened.. but they are pretty sacred and maybe I will talk about them later! :) Anyways, covenants are real. God will always keep his promises, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with him. Covenant keeping strengthens, empowers, and protects. Keeping covenants is essential for our true happiness. Keeping our covenants demonstrates our love for our Savior and for Heavenly Father. LOVE is what it is all about.
We should keep our covenants because WE LOVE HIM. Why was the Savior willing to keep his covenant with the father and fulfill his divine mission to atone? It is because of the love he had for his father and for us. Evaluate how much you love the Savior, using as a measure how joyfully you keep your covenants. I know that I could do much better and could show my father and Savior that I love them more, by more fully keeping my covenants.
Now, unfortunately we are going to be breaking our covenants every single day. But, that is why we have the sacrament. We need it! We have to have it. Baptism and the sacrament are essential. They are the ONLY way to make it back to heaven. Baptism is great, but we are going to sin after we are baptized. Then what? We must have something to cleanse us after that.. and that is the sacrament, so that is just as important. The sacrament has become so important to me and I have really come to see how individual it is. I read a talk in the ensign that was talking about how the sacrament had to be blessed 3 different times because there kept being people who hadn't gotten it.. and then it finally came down to one guy not receiving it because it ran out..
and then they blessed it ONE more time for that individual man. They blessed the water for ONE soul who hadn't had the opportunity to partake of it yet. The sacrament matters for YOU and for ME and for US! EMBRACE IT!!
Well, I have to get running, we have a dinner appointment to catch..
but i just want you to know how grateful I am for each of you! I love you so so much. Next email we will be talking about skype... AHH!! I cannot wait to see all your faces and hear your voices. I cannot wait!! :) Thank you for everything you do and for all of the support you give me. I know this church is true. I know this is God's work.
The gospel is for everyone and everyone has the equal ability to change. Hold onto your faith and never let it go. Believe God and believe that he will do what he says he will. It is upon our faith that we receive blessings and miracles. It is all up to us. I hope you have a great week. I am thinking about you, praying for you, and missing you all like crazy!!! Talk to ya in seven! xo
Sister Ky Worthington

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December 7, 2015

My sweet family,
How is everyone doing? There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about you and where I don't pray for you. I hope that God is blessing you and watching over you while I am away for a little while. :) I told him that I would come out and serve if he would keep you all safe. We made a serious promise.. So I hope he's keeping his word! How was your week? First things first, I am STAYING in Tanglewood and will continue to be a Sister Training Leader here. I am excited for my new adventures with a new hermana. This week has been TOUGH since it was Sister Steinagel's last week, but I am grateful for what I was able to learn from her and will forever cherish the seven weeks that I got to spend with her. I cannot believe that we're in December, and already one week done with December! This past transfer just flew by. This holiday season is really just going so fast and I'm having a hard time keeping up with it. I am grateful it's going so quick though because that means that my homesickness will pass soon! I have never been away from home and family for Christmas so it has kind of been tough, but it has been really good for me. The greater my sacrifice, the happier & more blessed I am finding myself. Sacrifice has been a huge topic for me lately and I have really come to know that that is all the Lord cares about, and only HE truly knows how I feel and what I am sacrificing while being out here on a mission. I know he is taking that into consideration and blessing me because of it. I was reading in Doctrine & Covenants 117: 12-13 about Oliver Granger and the sacrifice he made to go out and sell the properties, even though he knew it wasn't going to work, and the lord said to him, "and when he falls he shall rise again, for hissacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord." I am grateful that the Lord is aware of me and knows how hard it is for me to be out serving a mission!
Okay, enough about that. How is everyone doing! I am happy to hear you all had a great Thanksgiving. What's the plans for Christmas? So far we have a member who is having us over for a Christmas dinner and then yesterday at church I witnessed a miracle! We have this recent convert named Christian Proaño who got baptized about a year ago. (He is the one who also just baptized his long lost brother about 2 weeks ago at the Spanish baptism I went to) He has 4 little children and has the cutest wife in the world. She isn't a member because she has a super hard time with the whole priesthood thing and how women can't hold it.. Blah blah blah. But, she likes the missionaries and has us over for dinner sometimes. Anyways, she came to church yesterday and I was SHOCKED! She hasn't come since her husband and children got baptized and confirmed, and she was at church!! Her husband & 2 of her children bore their testimonies in sacrament meeting and the spirit was SO strong. After sacrament meeting she came up to me and started asking me how I was feeling about the holidays coming up and being away from my family. I talked to her for a good 10 minutes or so and she said, "Well, how about you come over and spend Christmas with our family! We will take care of you & would love to have you over!" I was SO happy. I have come to love and adore this woman and I just received another witness that I am needed here... and it might just be for her. One day I KNOW she will accept the Gospel and will be sealed to her husband and family. Gosh, this gospel is amazing isn't it? Bringing families together is where it's at. This is why I am out here, and this is what brings me the MOST joy. Please pray for her. Her name is Marcia. :) We have been really trying to show the new Christmas initiative that came out last week and we've already given out 5,000 pass along cards! Tanglewood is on fire! Hearts are definitely softening up and I love the spirit that's in the air. So needless to say, I am looking forward to Christmas, and especially looking forward to talking to you over Skype!!! It couldn't come soon enough. Yesterday we had an AMAZING relief society lesson and the teacher showed the Mormon message called "The Spirit of Christmas" and I highly recommend you all go watch it. Our Savior Jesus Christ should be the center of all we do, and the center of this beautiful holiday. I encourage you to all take time to focus on HIM and to not let the craziness of the world distract you. Yes- I know it's a lot harder said than done. I'm grateful I don't have to do all of the Christmas shopping and craziness this year. :)
As I said, this past week was rough, but I learned a lot. We had our Mission Leadership Conference in Charlotte and once again, I was amazed at the spirit that I felt and the words that were said. President Alexander is unreal. I hope you all have the chance to meet him. A lot of our meeting was focused on unity & love, and helping our missionaries come to truly understand and LOVE the sacrament. We also talked a lot about what it means to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We read the story in Peter about the nets & fishes and were invited to just drop everything and give it all up to the Lord! President went on to explain that we all have 'fishes' that we are still holding onto. We all have something that is keeping us from giving our 100%. I was sitting there guilty as ever because I know there are still things that sometimes keep me from giving it my all. & that is the last thing I want. I am trying to go through my whole mission with having NO REGRETS! As a mission we have all been invited to write a personal vision for what we want to accomplish or what we want to get out of my mission. I will share my vision with you! I'm sure it'll change sometime, but this is what it is right now! My vision is to simply have no regrets. As a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I want to experience a change of heart and become truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to become the person my father in heaven needs me to become. I want to have a brightness of hope shine in my heart. I will do this by loving and serving others, being happy and smiling daily, working more and sleeping less, and embedding the doctrine of Christ into my heart by partaking of the sacrament worthily each week. I will try to always remember to give myself to him. I'll strive each and every day to earn the gift he's giv'n.
Ahhhhhhh MLC was so good and was just for me! I am now working on setting goals and making plans for how I am going to accomplish that. We also had another zone meeting and it was so powerful. I did a training on LOVE and also had to sing a musical number..... God is just really testing my faith. I sang "Come unto Christ" with another elder and it ended up being a lot better than I thought! I also get to play the piano at transfers tomorrow and I'm so excited! That means I get to play the mission song!!! :) I am SO grateful for music and that talents that God has blessed me with. I have been able to use my music A LOT and have really just grown to love it so much more. My sight reading is improving so much and Heavenly Father is blessing me with so many opportunities to grow and step out of my comfort zone. Sister Steinagel and I decided that we wanted to try something different.. So during zone meeting the elders and sisters split up. We took all of our sisters into another room and had such an UNREAL experience. We started off with playing the song called "What heaven sees in you" by Mindi Gledhill? Something like that. Anyways, then we pulled out some paper and had all of the sisters write something they are dealing with or struggling with and we all put it in a bowl. We went around the room and had each sister pull one out and read it. We counseled about it and gave some thoughts and ideas on how we could help eachother. Basically we wanted all the sisters to see that each and everyone of us is going through something. We all struggle with something. My goal was to help this sisters know that WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER! We are sisters in Zion, here to help eachother out. After we did that we all got on our knees In a circle and linked our arms, and prayed. OH MY GOSH. I wish you all could've been in that room. Everyone was bawling there eyes out and the spirit was SO strong. We all came together and became so unified. It was perfect and was exactly what I was wanting to happen. So thankful for revelation and for the spirit! Success!
As STL's and Zone Leaders, we decided to have a zone fast. We all came together on our knees and began a zone fast Friday morning. We are really praying for miracles in the month of December. Our mission has a goal of 42 baptisms for this month and I am hoping that our zone can contribute to that goal. We have a few people on date to be baptized this month, but we need more! On Saturday I also decided to fast for something specific, and then realized it was fast Sunday so I fasted again on Sunday! I don't think I've ever fasted 3 consecutive days in a row.... But let me tell you- my testimony on fasting has grown immensely. I have never felt closer to the savior! I know that he is hearing my cries and my prayers. It was definitely made clear to me this past week as I exercised a great amount of faith. My district leader & I did an intense study on fasting this week and I want to share with you some of my thoughts.
In True to the Faith it says, "Fasting combined with sincere prayer can help you prepare yourself and others to receive God's blessings."
I broke that sentence up and really studied it out. "Sincere prayer" means intense, REAL praying. Praying with real intent, humbly asking for God's help. "Can help" means that it's not going to do it all. God is not going to fix everything, but he will surely help us. "Prepare yourself and others" was an interesting line. Fasting is an opportunity God gives us to prepare. Our fast might have the power to help someone else prepare as well. (Family, friends, enemies, strangers)
Fasting is a preparation time. We are to prepare for the blessings. How does it prepare us?
Well... We show faith, humility, patience, long suffering, and submissiveness. (Which may just be the key to God's blessings...interesting)
Faith: believe that God has blessings to grant us.

Humility: willing to turn to him for help.

Patience: don't worry about the end. The food will still be there! :)

Long Suffering: it's not easy to go without food. Endure to the end!

Submissiveness: our will is not god's will... But it should be.

"God's Blessings..."God knows what we (and others) need. We should align our will with his. They are his blessings, not ours, and we should trust him and trust that he knows what is best for us. In Alma 17: 3 it says, "...given themselves to much prayer and fasting. Therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation." When we are fasting, that's what we do. We give ourselves to the lord and should have an attitude of 'thy will be done'. We also give much prayer. Not just a little! Pray always and throughout the whole day you're fasting. I love fasting so much because we can fast for SO MANY THINGS! In fact, whatever we want. (As long as it's God's will) We can fast for added strength and help. We can fast for forgiveness of sins. To bless the sick and afflicted. To become converted to the truth. To receive personal revelation. To gain strength to resist temptation. To receive humility. To receive guidance in church callings. You name it- you can fast for it. Fasting appears in the bible and has been something that has been done since the beginning of time. Interesting how we are the only church that does a rebuke "fast". We must be the true church! :) Fasting is also one way to worship God and express your gratitude for him. It is really there to bring us spiritual strength. It is definitely a sacrifice- but oh so worth it! When I fast, I often have to ask myself how strong my faith really is. Fasting is definitely a direct test of your faith! If you really want it, you can really get it. Grain of a mustard seed, that's all you need! (Matthew 17: 14-21) I promise that fasting brings miracles if you allow it too. Go read Isaiah 58 and see all of the blessings and benefits that come from fasting. It'll blow your mind! Sorry if none of this is even making sense.. I just want each of you to know that I have a testimony of fasting. I know it's real. I know it works. I have seen to many miracles and blessings come to stop doing it. I encourage you to try it and test it.. I promise it works!
The work here in Tanglewood is moving right along! Don't really have any updates for y'all. Pat and Melissa are both doing really well. Melissa is on FIRE and I am so happy I get to stay with her! She is bring friends to church left and right and is just beaming! She is sharing the gospel like crazy! She always has us over and gives us food too, so that's a blessing. I love that woman to death. I cannot wait for you to meet her one day! She's changed my life. Pat also gained 5 pounds this week and has now reached a whoppin' 91 pounds, so that was a huge highlight this week. We had a ward Christmas party a few days ago and it was good to see a lot of members and less active members there. We did a ward blitz last week (I can't remember if I talked about that in my last email or not) but basically a bunch of the ward took several different routes and invited a bunch of less actives to all of the Christmas things coming up! It was somewhat successful because we had some less actives at the party. We had a yummy dinner and watched the cute little primary children do a live nativity. I am really starting to love the members here and am once again so grateful for all of the amazing people I have met. Last night we were able to go over to our Ward Mission Leaders house with the elders to watch the Christmas devotional. We had so much fun and I really enjoyed the messages that were shared. Our new ward mission leader is AMAZING and I don't know anyone who has ever magnified their church calling more than him. Not kidding.... Greatest guy I've ever met. You guys would LOVE HIM! His name is Tye Brown and he and his little cute family are just the best! I'm excited to start working with him! My favorite elder is leaving me this transfer and that's been kinda sad. :( We have been together my whole mission and he has been my district leader for a while so the last few days have been rough.. But I'm excited to see who my new one is! I've met so many AMAZING people out here, especially missionaries and it's killing me to see people leave! Literally rips apart my heart.
We have been able to find a few new people.. I just am not quite sure how elect they are. They seem interested.. But then like don't keep their return appointments and stuff like that. It's kinda frustrating. Sometimes there are super long days of finding and now appointments because people bail out on us. Like come on people... This is SALVATION we are talking about.. I don't understand. Sometimes is soooo fun talking to random people though and having them shut us down. I mean it's really sad... But we get a lot of good laughs out of it. :) Missionary work is so much fun. We get SO many looks and people just stare us up and down and sometimes I just walk up to them and say "Hi! I have a book that will change your life, wanna read it?" And then give em a Book of Mormon. Or I'll randomly give them a pass along card and it's just so funny to see the reactions we get. LIFE IS SO GOOD AND SO HAPPY. The people of NC are the best. I love love love love it here and cannot wait to bring you all back to my home away from home.
I want you to know that I have a testimony of this gospel and of my savior. This time of year is a very special time and a good time to reflect on the love that he has given to each one of us. His grace is real and is available to all of us. The grace of God is literally the intense LOVE that he has for each one of us. The divine assistance and endowment of strength by which we grow from the flawed and limited beings we are now into exalted beings of "truth and light until we are glorified in truth and know all things." His grave can unlock the gates of heaven and can open the windows of heaven. The grace of God is the great and everlasting hope for everyone!! His grace can give us added strength and power behind our own comprehension. Use this time of year to seek and find him. Rely on his grace and his infinite atonement to carry you through everything and anything. HE IS THERE FOR YOU. He knows you. He cares about you. All we have to do is come to him. I love this work. I love this gospel. I love my family. I love my savior. I am happy, healthy, and doing well. My mission is definitely continuing to change me and help me become who God needs me to become. I am constantly amazed at the miracles that I see on a day to day basis. My mission is not the best 18 months of my life... It is the best 18 months FOR my life, and I will be forever grateful. I cannot wait to be with you all! Keep the faith. Keep working hard and trusting in the lord! I love each one of you dearly. Mom, dad, Kaiden & Chels, Kamryn, Cole, Kenna & LuLu... I LOVE YOU! Thanks for all you do and for all of the support. Talk to you in seven! Gotta go get a game of basketball in! :)

Love you guys! Xo

Sister Ky Worthington 

November 30, 2015

thanksgiving daily.

hi family!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I just want you each to know how grateful I am for you and how much I truly do love you! I have had such a good week being able to reflect on all of the many blessings that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with. I am way too blessed, that is all I can say. It was a really good week here in Tanglewood and I am happy. All smiles right now! I had a few hard days, but that is just part of life. I have really come to realize that missions are like a big, long, 18-24 month long rollercoaster.
Some days you're super up, some days you're super down, and some days you are just coasting right along. It's quite the ride, but probably the best one. It is surprisingly still quite warm for the end of November, but the rain has picked up again. I don't really like the rain to be honest. I just don't like getting wet and it makes missionary work sometimes difficult. Thanksgiving was great! We woke up and studied, and then had weekly planning. It was actually such a blessing that Thanksgiving lands on a Thursday because we were able to spend 3 hours planning for our upcoming week. That took up most of our morning/afternoon and before we knew it, it was time to eat! We were able to spend our Thanksgiving with a family in the ward and it was fun to be surrounded by many people and yummy food. It was NOTHING like my usual Thanksgivings, but it was still pretty good considering my circumstances haha. We were there for a few hours and then made our way over to some other members homes. We called a few days in advance and set up some appointments. We were able to go over to some homes and share a Thanksgiving message with some families in the ward. That was super nice. I felt really awkward like crashing family parties, but I am grateful for the support of the members here. They are all so wonderful!!!
Later that evening we got invited to another Thanksgiving dinner!
There is this sweet widow in our ward named Sister Coe and she is the cutest thing I have ever seen. She had all of her family coming over and she wanted us to come along. She is the only member in her whole family and so it was really good for us to be able to go and interact with a lot of non members. We shared a great Thanksgiving message with them and talked about GRATITUDE. Oh how grateful I am for gratitude. I was able to study a lot about that this past week and was blown away but what I learned. I am definitely a more grateful person today, than I was a few weeks ago. We are to live in THANKSGIVING DAILY for all that we have. (alma 34:38) Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but our prophet also said that it "unlocks the doors of Heaven and helps us to feel God's love." The more gratitude we have, the more blessings we will notice, and receive. God will give us more if we acknowledge that he is aware of us and blessing us! Failure to recognize what the Lord has given us will soon result in selfish behavior. Something that really stunned me was the not being grateful is a SIN. Say what! We are sinning if we are not having gratitude. Think about that. Our prophet also said, "If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes it's place among the noblest of virtues." So, how do we develop gratitude? WE LIVE A PRAYERFUL LIFE! Gratitude also begins with our attitude, as I am sure we have all heard before! :) I have been really trying to focus on my attitude lately and I have noticed a difference.
I have just been amazed at how much I really do have. Trying to focus more on gratitude has really helped me see the depth of my blessings.
President Alexander once told us that the depth and willingness with which we serve is a direct reflection of our gratitude for our Savior.
I am often asking myself if I am serving with all that I have and giving everything that I am to the lord, so that I can make sure he knows how grateful I am. Remember that being grateful is a commandment. Be grateful in ANY circumstance that life throws at you, because I promise you will ALWAYS have it better off than someone else. True gratitude is an expression of your hope and your testimony.
BLESSINGS BRIGHTEN WHEN YOU COUNT THEM. Remember that. I am so grateful for each of you and feel so blessed to know you. I am so grateful for this Gospel, I am grateful for my sweet family, mom, dad, kaiden & chels, kamryn, cole, kennadi, and lulu. I definitely scored with the best one. I am grateful for this opportunity that I have had to come out on a mission and serve the people of North Carolina. I am in the best mission in the world. There is no place I'd rather be.
Now as far as the work goes, things are going pretty well. Melissa and Pat are both doing great! I love them so much! They have been to church every week and they are just eating it up! I have loved working with them and am so grateful that God allowed me to be apart of their lives. It's amazing the change that has come into their lives because of the gospel. Each and everyday I am amazed at what it can do for people, including myself. It's changed my life completely and I will be forever grateful. We have spent a lot of time lately just finding finding finding! Robert is the closest to getting baptized, but he's got one foot in and one foot out, which unfortunately just won't quite cut it! He's gotta be all in for this to work! He's getting closer though and I know somethings going to click for him real soon. We were able to meet a man named Robbie on exchanges this past week and he was a complete miracle! He's just a single guy living the life and is ready for the gospel. We have an appointment with him tomorrow night and Melissa is going to come teaching with us! I am sooo excited.
She's got such a strong testimony and there is nothing like a recent convert coming out and teaching with you!! Going to be so good! We are going to invite him to be baptized towards the end of December or the beginning of January! Please please please pray for him and pray that he progresses! The members here are great and I am building some good relationships with them. They still aren't quite like my Waxhaw ward, but I feel blessed to be here with so many wonderful people.

This past week has been pretty rough for the mission as a whole- one of our senior elders passed away unexpectedly and it has been so hard for a lot of missionaries. They just got here about a month ago and they were in charge of our apartments and bikes! Literally 2 days before he died, he was in my apartment inspecting it. It's so sad when things like this happen, but I know that the plan of salvation is REAL and I know that he is okay and in a better place. I can't imagine what his wife might be feeling.. and I am praying that she heals and that her and her family will be comforted during this time. We were able to attend another baptism that our lovely Spanish sisters had and that was super great! I still didn't understand a single word, but the spirit was so strong and I loved every second of it. It really boosted me up and lifted my spirits! More and more people are entering the waters of baptism and it is just so exciting! I love this work!
Yesterday was an amazing day!! Not only was I able to partake of the sacrament, but the new 2015 Christmas initiative came out!! I hope you all have taken the time to watch it. It is UNREAL. Mom, make sure Shae Goodwin watches it!! It touched my heart and I am excited to share it with the people here. It's already going nuts and we are working on ways that we can share it with those around us and invite others to DISCOVER our Savior! The church does such an amazing job! The video was also launched in NYC on a huge billboard on Times Square!! Now that is what I'm talking about!!! Missionary work in NYC is happening!
What a wonderful time of year to reflect on our loving savior and redeemer. I am excited for the upcoming holidays and am excited to share my testimony of the Savior with others. My love for his has grown so much and I feel so blessed to be able to share my knowledge with others. Tomorrow Sister Steinagel and I have a mission leadership conference in Charlotte and I know that President Alexander is going to be talking a lot about how we can help our missionaries help others during this wonderful time of LOVE! Everyone's spirits are high and the fire is in the air. This little town is so adorable too. There are little snowflakes and lights everywhere lining the streets. It makes me super happy. We also jam out to David Archuleta's Christmas mix and it is definitely getting me in the spirit of Christmas. It will be hard to be away from home, but I have heard that there just isn't quite anything like a Christmas on your mission. So, I am excited. We were able to help a few members this week set up their tree and decorate their houses and that made me really happy! :) Now I just need a set of white christmas lights to put in my apartment...... :) I already have 2 stockings that say "SISTER" on it and those are hung and ready to go! We're doing well over here & living the high life!
Transfers are next week and it will be interesting to see what happens with that... but I am ready for whatever God is going to give me!
BRING IT ON! Sister Steinagel is ready to leave and things are coming to a close for her. It has been hard being with her this past week, and it really is just getting harder and harder to be with her, but I am constantly reminded that this is good for me and that this is where I need to be at this time. I am grateful for her and I am grateful for what I have been able to learn from her. God only knows though that I could only be with her for one transfer.. anymore than that and I may have died. :) Jk, she is great and I am being reproved on lots of the things that I am doing wrong and my weaknesses are definitely being made known... but life is good.
I don't have much time left because we decided to go to the mall today..... sorry :) It was super fun! And I spoiled myself and bought me a new skirt from BANANA! So, I am one happy girl. I am currently sitting at the church watching the elders play some basketball and they are getting mad at me for not participating, but they all know how important my email time is. This week I studied one thing, besides gratitude on Thanksgiving, and that was President Monson's last conference talk entitled, "Be an example and a light." I don't know how many of you remember that talk, but I would invite you to go and reread that talk. Because he was super frail and weak, I think I was more focused on that and watching him to make sure he was going to be okay, instead of actually focusing on what he was trying to tell us.
What an AMAZING talk. & perfect for all of the holidays coming up. In his talk he talks about six attributes of a believer. I was able to break each one of those down and think about times in my life when I have seen someone be an example of that attribute. The first two go together. Be an example in WORD AND CONVERSATION. The first thing that came to mind was obviously how awful the world is when it comes to language. It is full of filth. Music, books, TV, phones, everything has bad language. I think of how much the Lord's name is used in vain.
It absolutely breaks my heart how disrespectful people are. I hear it being used the wrong way at least 3 times a day here. Another thing that came to mind was the power and destruction that gossip has.
Gossip is evil! We need to stand up and be the ones to stop it! I am so guilty of it, and have definitely learned that I need to be better.
The next attribute is CHARITY & LOVE! The pure love of Christ. There has been no greater example in my life than my sweet mother and my Grandma Schlappi. They know and understand what it means to have charity and love. They just get it. Thank you so much for your great example. I have felt so much love from them and it has helped me increase my ability to love.
Okay well I have to go now!!! Sorry I played a game of basketball!! & couldn't finish. Go read the rest of the talk and I'll continue next week!!!! Love you all so much. Thanks for everything! Sending my hugs & kisses! See ya in seven!! Xo

Sister Worthington