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