Subject: 2016. Bring it on.
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