Monday, January 18, 2016

January 11, 2016

Subject: baptisms & pedicuresđź’•

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 hermaña 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❤️

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