Monday, January 18, 2016

January 11, 2016

Subject: baptisms & pedicuresšŸ’•

My dear family,

Hello loves! How is everyone doing? How was cruising the Caribbean? I am still so jealous. It looks like you all had a wonderful time. I can't wait to go on one when I return. :) Hope you'll begin planning soon! I had a pretty good week myself. In fact, right now as I'm typing this, Sister Cottis and I are sitting in a massage chair getting pedicures. I can't complain. Life is pretty good. You have NO idea how good it feels. My poor feet have been through so much. I finally decided to spoil myself and spend some money! My first pedicure in ten months. It's about time! We decided we'd celebrate due to Robert's baptism! Which I will talk about later. It was sooooo amazing. We've really had a great week and I couldn't be happier.
Last fast Sunday we were able to fast as a mission. We fasted for a lot of different things, but particularly fasted to see an increase in the number of convert baptisms and an increase of faith in the mission. Lately, as a mission we have been struggling. We had a low number of baptisms in December and our projections haven't been as high. I think it's been making President Alexander worry a little bit and he has been trying to figure out what's going on. My zone has been struggling too and everyone has just seemed to be in a funk. Sister Cottis and I are really working hard on trying to figure out what's up and help these missionaries. This past week me and my hermaƱa witnessed lots of miracles though and I know it was a result of our fast and our faith! I loved being able to come together with my sweet companion on our knees, along with 200 other missionaries, with the same purpose in mind. There is truly power in that! There was a quote I came across by Spencer W. Kimball that I LOVED. It says, "Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir man's souls. This is the vision I have for the south. I believe that one day the south will baptize more people into the church than all other English speaking missions in the world together. These are the great hosts of marvelous baptists, and members of the church of Christ, Methodists and Catholics who are honorable people, and have faith in the lord Jesus Christ and love him. As they see their church veering off to the right or to the left of those basic teachings, they will begin to search for the truth. As pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence, we will see the time when we will baptize hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands. In your day, you will see a million members of the church in the south. There will be temples-plural, in the southern states. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people." I know that there is work to do here and I'm grateful for the chance that I have to be apart of this great "Vision of the South!"
Earlier this week we were out working and received a text message from the church headquarters. We received a bible referral!!! Yay!! Her name was Fonda Brown. We immediately got wifi and checked out her address and request to see if she was legit. (We get lots that are fake and aren't real) I felt really inspired to drop our plans and go see her right then and there. We are supposed to contact them within 24 hours anyways! Well we drove to her house and knocked on her door... and she wasn't there. We were super bummed. As we were turning back and about to get into our car, she pulled up in her driveway. We were able to talk to her for a minute and then she let us right in. We taught her a powerful lesson and got a return appointment. We went back yesterday with a member and had a great lesson! We invited her to be baptized and she said she said yes! Our member also invited her to a luncheon that she is having on Thesday and even offered to come pick her up. She is already basically living all of the commandments and agrees with everything that we believe in! She loves the idea of no paid ministry, loves the fact that we don't have a "set preacher" and that members of the congregation get to speak. She is currently looking for a church and is even paying tithing for a few churches even though she isn't currently attending a church! She was just soaking everything in and it was wonderful. We invited her to church and she is planning on coming next Sunday. It was just such a testimony to me that PRAYER & FASTING works. It really does. I know God hears my prayers. Right after that lesson Sister Cottis and I got in the car and immediately offered up a prayer of gratitude. We screamed and jumped for joy! I felt the Savior's love so strongly. We have also been praying for a bible referral... and we got one!
Well... Guess what! Miracle #2. We received another bible referral!!
Two! We called the number and set up a time to go see this wonderful lady named Kristine. We got a member to come out with us and we drove to her house. We pulled up in a super sketchy neighborhood and were ready to go give this woman her bible. We were literally so scared out of our mind... this place looked so sketch. & it was super dark so it made it more scary. We said a prayer and got out of the car. As we were getting out, this man with a cigarette in his hand & super long hair in a pony tail walked up to us and said, "Are you the people with our bible?" We kindly said yes and he let us right in! We were able to meet this adorable family of three. They have a really rough lifestyle and have been through so much, but it was amazing to see their desire and their faith to come closer to Christ. The gospel is for everyone.
Anyone who gets on and requests a bible or a missionary visit is definitely exercising some faith! We taught the restoration and invited them to be baptized. They said they would if they come to know it to be true. They live 30 minutes away from us... And lots of miles that we don't have...So it's really tough to meet with them, but we are excited to see where it goes. Another testimony to me that God is preparing his children. He is leading us to people who will be ready to be baptized in February and March. One of the goals that Sister Cottis and I had for this transfer was to find a family... and I think we found them!! Pray pray pray!
And now... the biggest miracle of the week was seeing Robert Robbins get baptized!! He got baptized on Saturday! It was such a special day.
The spirit was so strong and the program was amazing. Sister Cottis and I sang a special musical number with his 11 year old daughter who isn't a member, and it was so powerful. Robert was also SO BEYOND happy. He got confirmed yesterday and that will be something that I will never ever forget. He has been waiting to do this for 10 years.
He was SO happy yesterday and was literally glowing. After church he pulled me aside and already told me about a friend that he knows that he wants to introduce us too. He is so exited to do missionary work.
We are also working with his daughter and are praying super hard that the mother's heart will be softened and that she will give her daughter permission to be baptized. We are going to begin doing the new member discussions with Robert. We just want to get him involved in every little thing we can. We want to help him work on getting the priesthood, getting a calling, and get him to the temple ASAP. He is soooooo ready! I want you to meet him so badly. He has changed my life! I love him so much. If a 45 year old guy will commit to change his life and live the principles of the gospel... it must be true. Not just any ordinary person would do this if it wasn't true. There is just no way! Robert and I are very close and he is excited to come to Utah and meet y'all one day!
The rest of our recent converts & investigators are doing well. I continue to love & pray for my sweet Melissa & Pat. They are great! We are really working on getting investigators to church and helping them keep their commitments! It's just so difficult to understand that everyone has their free agency. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Trying to realize that I cannot control what someone else chooses to do. I may have high hopes and plans and things that I want to make them do, but ultimately it comes down to them and I cannot choose for them. It ultimately comes down to them. God has a plan for each of his children and we must understand that it may not be our plan for them, or what we want it to be! He knows best & we must trust that! It will all work out!! I have been really trying to focus on what I CAN control. What I CAN do to help these people and what I CAN do to help them use their agency wisely and righteously! We must always remember that we have to rely on the Lord and continue to pray and communicate with him. I read a quote by Elder Ballard this past week that said, "When communication with the lord breaks down, communication between spouses and children also breaks down." I like to think of my investigators as well. If I am not communing with the lord, my communication with them will not be as good.
Our ward/stake came up with a new theme for the year and it's all about becoming truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ! Our stake president, president Marsh shared a story and said that in the 7 years he's been stake president, he has NEVER had someone sitting across from him in an interview/meeting struggling with the church or falling away, consistently reading their Book of Mormon everyday, praying everyday, attending the temple & church meetings regularly, and having FHE. If you do those things, you WILL NOT fall away. You will become truly converted and nothing will pull you away. It's impossible to be doing those things everyday and fall away. It just can't happen! I have such a strong testimony of the basic things of the gospel. They are the most simple, but somehow the most challenging to do on a day to day basis. Why is that? I was definitely guilty before my mission, but I'm grateful that I have been able to change and develop good habits that I will continue to do when I get home!!
I've got to get going unfortunately. :( it's been a crazy, busy, full day! I love each of you so very much. I am learning lots every single day and am so blessed to be apart of such an amazing work. This is the work of the Lord. I know this is His church. I know he lives. I challenge each of you this week to do ONE thing that will bring you closer to your Savior. Give your life to him. Be an ALL in disciple of Jesus Christ. I cannot wait to see you all. I miss you more than life itself. Remember who you are. Make good choices. Use your agency wisely, for it is the only thing you can give to our Father in Heaven.
I love you lots & lots & lots.

Sending all my love & more from the beautiful land of North Carolina!
My holy place! Talk to ya in seven! Hugs & kisses! Xo
Sister Kyla Worthington❤️

January 3, 2016

Subject: 2016. Bring it on.

Hello family!

Happy New Year! I hope you are all enjoying the lovely sunshine of the Caribbean as I am typing this letter in the 35 degree weather! Ahhhh I am so so so so jealous. Promise me we can go on a cruise when I get home. You know those are my favorite vacations... and of course y'all went without me. I see how it is. The one time I decide to leave.. you go without me. Haha, just kidding. I'm over it. But still super jealous. I hope you guys have fun and soak up the time you have to spend together. I better get a million pictures next week. :) Dad, I really appreciated your letter this week. Thank you for buying some wifi on the ship so you could send me a letter. It made me super happy.
It has been a really good week here in Tanglewood. The weather dropped quite a bit and that has kind of been a shock to my body because I have been so used to it being so warm outside, but I am happy that I get to wear scarves and coats now! :) I love sweater weather. I cannot believe that another year has come and gone. I literally don't know where all of the time is going. It is kind of freaking me out actually. I am on the downhill part of my mission. Like what? How does this happen. We had a wonderful Mission Leadership Conference in Charlotte last week and I learned so much. We were told that there won't be any more transfer meetings... which was kind of unfortunate..
because I really loved those meetings and they were always super spiritual.. so I am sad that those won't be happening anymore, but I know that the Lord knows what is best. We also decided to have a mission wide fast every Wednesday at 3:42 and I am really looking forward to that. I know that as 200 missionaries all stop whatever they are doing once a week to come together on their knees, miracles will happen. This past fast Sunday we had a mission wide fast and I know with all of my heart that miracles are going to happen this year.
I can just feel it! We had a really low number of baptisms in the month of December and I know that January is just going to be so much better. I have come to notice that the greatest lows I have had are typically followed by the greatest highs. I know that as I have faith and strive to be faithful in all that I do... God will bless me and provide miracles! We have a goal to baptize monthly.. so January is off to a good start! Thank you Robert Robbins!
New Years Eve was a pretty fun day and there was lots going on! We had to be inside at 6:00 pm so we were not really apart of the whole 'party' but Sister Cottis and I had a really good time. We made some brownies in a mug and ended the year off with a bang. We spent a few hours making some bracelets and handouts to give to our missionaries the following day at zone conference. We gave a training on why we are here as missionaries and made these cute little gift things with a handout that said "remember why." It was nice to be in bed by 9:30 and sound asleep by 12:00 am. I am almost positive I slept better than every single one of you. I definitely missed the fun holiday traditions, but there is always next year!
New Year's Day was pretty fun! We had a zone meeting in the morning and that took up most of the morning and afternoon. I absolutely love zone meetings. It is so fun to get together as a zone and to all be taught and tutored by the spirit. Our zone as a whole has really been struggling with baptism invites and having people on date so we decided to be really bold this zone meeting and have a throw down. I think it kind of scared a lot of the missionaries.. but hopefully it woke them up a little bit and helped them realize how important our calling is and how short our time is. It is so important that we go out and call these people to repentance. The Savior commanded us to "baptize all nations, tongues, kindreds and people in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19) We must do better! I don't know.. I am just sick of these missionaries only teaching 3-5 lessons a week. Like no! We can do way better than that! Anyways, it was a really good meeting and I learned a lot. The spirit definitely taught me and helped me to realize how sacred my time is to serve. I also started to think about how much I am sacrificing to be here. I started to ask myself if I have been making my sacrifice worth it. If I have been giving it my all to make everything I left behind worth it. I know that a mission is about what the Lord wants and not what I want, but, it has made me see that this is benefitting me just as much as it is benefitting the people here of North Carolina and I hope that I am making the most out of my time here.
After zone meeting I was able to go on an exchange with a lovely sister named Sister Fallon. She is the greatest! I had the opportunity to go to her area (Mt. Airy) and spend some time with her there! It was such a fun place! I got to see some itty bitty mountains, but it made me literally leap for joy! It was the best thing in the entire world. It was NOTHING like my Utah mountains, but it reminded me of how there is beauty every where you go, no matter what. God's creations are marvelous. I have loved being able to go on exchanges and have loved getting to know the sisters in my zone. Each one has such wonderful things to offer and I have been able to learn so much from them. I am amazed at how powerful these sisters are. I'm sorry but sisters just make some of the most powerful, best missionaries!
These lovely sisters in my zone just have such a strong testimony of this gospel and have such a desire to serve. They have all been amazing examples to me and I will forever be grateful for this calling that I have been able to have. I have learned so much and hope that I can continue to learn.
Sister Cottis and I are doing so great. I absolutely love the girl to death. We are best friends. We have already made plans for our cruise when we get home and are looking forward to hanging out lots when we both return. She has been so good for me and it has been so fun serving with a companion that is really similar to me. We haven't had a single argument and I hope it continues to stay that way. Every night as we are laying in bed getting ready to go to sleep, we always compliment each other one something that we liked that day. It has been so fun to see each others strengths and be able to use them together. I love love love love her and I think we will end up being together for a while. Probably until she goes home. :)
The work here is moving right along. Lately we have been struggling to find super elect investigators. We are finding a lot of people and talking to lots and lots and lots, but seem to be finding all of the people who already have a set church and are "happy where they're at."
Why! They shouldn't be happy until they have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not going to lose my faith though and I know that there are people who are being prepared for me right now! The other day Sister Cottis and I were getting wifi for the last 10 mins of the day and I was going through the area book on my ipad and came across this guy named Jose. I remembered meeting him with Sister Steinagel like my second day here in Tanglewood. He was a super nice guy and we were able to share a message with him, but he told us he was planning on moving so we didn't really stay in touch with him. As I was going through and came upon his name, I felt super inspired to just shoot him a text. We texted him some happy new years text and let him know we were thinking about him. He responded a few minutes later and told us that just one day ago, he was thinking about us and wanted to get ahold of us so bad but had no idea how he was going to do so, and then it just so happened to be that we texted him. We asked him if we could come see him and he set a return appointment for the very next day at
10:00 am. He only ended up moving 10 minutes down the road so he was still in our area. We were ECSTATIC. You have no idea how happy we were. The next morning we met up with him at a coffee shop and taught him the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. We had such a powerful lesson with him and it was amazing to see how ready he was for the Gospel. He is so elect. He has a cute little family and is currently separated from his wife right now.. just taking a break, but is looking for more in his life. We ended up having to transfer him over to the elders because it is just more convenient due to the male/female ratio again, but I am SO thankful that I listened to the promptings of the spirit. He is going to get baptized soon!! He is so ready. I am so so so so grateful for the people that I have met here on my mission.
Robert Robbins is still on date for next Saturday and I couldn't be more excited. YOU HAVE NO IDEA. He is so ready. We were able to have two really good lessons in the church this past week with members and the spirit was just so strong and reconfirmed to him that this is what he needs to do. He came to church this week and brought his 11 year old daughter. He absolutely loved it and had tears running down his cheeks during fast and testimony meeting. Seeing someones life change is literally the best thing in the entire world. It makes every hard day of a mission worth it. Robert and I have a really good relationship and I will forever be grateful for the chance that I have had to know him. His daughter wants to get baptized really bad but her mom won't let her and so that has been really hard to see. I know with all of my heart that one day she will be able to follow after her father, and he will be able to baptize her. That will be one reason for me to come back to North Carolina. & any sealings that may take place. I have to come back!
Melissa and Pat are both doing well. Melissa continues to make me smile every single day. She is coming to dinner with us on Wednesdaynight and we are going over to a less active members home. It should be interesting. He has wanted us to come over for the longest time but we haven't been able to go inside because of the male/female ratio, so we finally decided to bring Melissa with us this time so we could go inside. I am excited! Everyday of a mission is such an adventure. You just never quite know what's going to happen. Each day brings many surprises.
I don't have a whole lot of other things to talk about. I am doing well, healthy, and happy. Like usual. :) Today we were able to go to the mall and do some more shopping and that was really fun. We went to lunch as a district and are now back at the church playing basketball.
So much fun! My balling skills are definitely getting lots better. I would rather sit here and email... but all of my missionaries make me get up and play.. so sorry my emails have been slacking lately. I don't really have a choice.
This past week has been really good for me as I have been able to reflect on the previous year and set some new goals and plans for myself for this upcoming year. 2015 has been the best year of my life.
The majority of my year was spent in the service of my God and I know that is why it has been the best. There truly isn't a better thing that I could be doing. I am so very grateful for my mission and what it has done for me and for what it has taught me. I am grateful that I get to spend another year in His service. I have really come to know that as we live a Christ centered life, that is how we can truly succeed and truly be the happiest we can be. (See what I am doing here dad. You're welcome. :)) I want to share some of my thoughts with you regarding that. Regarding what it means to live a Christ centered life.
I think that has always been the quest of life. To figure out what it means to live a Christ centered life. Before I came out on my mission, I had no idea what that even meant. I thought maybe it was to keep the commandments and to follow the prophet. Go to church every week and partake of the sacrament. I wasn't really sure. The first day I spent in the mission home with President and Sister Craven, I came to understand what it means to live a Christ centered life. It means to fully and completely live AND understand the Doctrine of Christ. What is the doctrine of Christ? Faith. Repentance. Baptism. Receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. With the atonement of Jesus Christ being the center of everything we do. This is a cycle, a process of becoming. It is something that we must do and live every single day of our lives. I have never gained such a sure knowledge of something. I KNOW with everything in me that this is the way to happiness. This is the way to make it back to our Savior Jesus Christ.
In our mission we have had such a strong push on getting the doctrine of Christ embedded into our hearts. I had such a hard time understanding what that really meant and how to really do that. I was confused. It was hard to grasp and understand. I was trying my very best to do what I was supposed to and live the best way I could, but I wasn't sure how to truly embed it into my heart. Once upon a time we had a wonderful training from President Alexander. The spirit hit me so strong and testified to me that the way to embed the Doctrine of Christ into your heart was by understanding and keeping and obeying the sabbath day. It hit me like a ton of bricks because it makes sense why the brethren of the church have been making such a big push on keeping the sabbath day holy and understanding the sacrament ordinance. That is truly the way to understand the Doctrine of Christ and to truly become truly converted to the Gospel, which in turn, will help you live a Christ centered life. He should be the reason for everything we do. He should be why we live, breathe, and grow. He should be the center of our lives.
Living a Christ centered life means we learn about Jesus Christ and his Gospel and then we follow His example and keep his commandments with exactness. If our lives are centered in Jesus Christ, he can truly mold us into who we need to become in order to make it back to Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. When we live a Christ centered life, "we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ. (2 Nephi 25:26) We do everything in Christ. Trying to become Christlike is a lifelong process and comes "line upon line, precept upon precept". but obedience to the gospel plan day by day is the ONLY way to build a Christ centered life.
Ezra Taft Benson once said, "I testify to you that there is no greater, more thrilling, and more soul-ennobling challenge than to try to learn of Christ and walk in His steps. Our model, Jesus Christ, walked this earth as 'the exemplar'. He is our advocate with the Father. He worked out the great atoning sacrifice so we could have a fullness of joy and be exalted in accordance with His grace and our repentance and righteousness. He did all things perfectly and commands that we be perfect even as He and His father are perfect." I absolutely loved that. He is our example and our main source of hope.
No other single influence has had so great an impact on this earth as the life of the Jesus Christ. Think about how much he has influenced your life. How happy would you be if you could only be like half the person that he was? He was perfect. He knew everything.
I know that we all could do better to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. It is not easy. It is extremely hard to live his teachings and follow him every single day. It takes a lot of work and a lo of effort. Trust me, I know. I am living it right now. I know that it can be hard to live everyday the best you can, but I know that it is worth it. I know that as you come to understand the basics of the gospel, and follow them, you will be happy. As you exercise faith, repentance, the sacrament, and stay worthy of the holy ghost, and endure to the end, YOU WILL BE HAPPY. You will be blessed. You will see the power of God manifest in your life. Trust me! I have never ever been happier as I have exercised the doctrine of Christ in my life.
I am loving every second of my mission. I know I say that every week, but I really am. I am living the life. I wish you could all be here with me experiencing what I am experiencing. There is no greater happiness than inviting others to come unto christ. I have to get going, but I hope you each know how much I love and adore you. I cannot wait to be back with you guys! Thank you for everything you do!
I couldn't do this without you. I hope you all have a wonderful week cruising! I cannot wait to hear all about it. I sure miss y'all like crazy!! Can't wait to see you. Talk to ya in seven!
Oh real quick, I have to give a 15 minute training in front of President and Sister Alexnader and a whole lot of missionaries on VISIONS, GOALS, AND PLANS, and I need your help. If you have any thoughts or ideas... please let me know. I need some serious help. I am struggling and getting nervous over here! Please email me some thoughts this week if you have any! I would love to hear them!
P.S. Mom- can you give me Dawn Young's home address, and can you send me some healthy granola bars and snacks pretty please when you get some time. :) Also, any more remedies/ideas for shin splints? My right one is still really hurting and I don't know if I should keep going or not..... but don't want to end up like getting surgery or something.
okay, I love you.
Dad- Can you see if you can find some cookie butter swirl from trader joe's on amazon? haha. Sister Cottis and I went today, even drove 16 miles for it... and it wasn't even there! They were all out. I was SOOO mad. So, if you can find any and wouldn't mind shipping me a jar, that would make me super happy. Yes, I am needy and spoiled. Sorry! :) Love you!
Okay, really done now. Love you lots!!! xo
Sister Ky Worthington