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 ProaƱo 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 

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