Oh how I love you and miss you even more. How is everyone doing? How was your week? I have been thinking about y'all lots this past week and really hope this letter finds you all happy, healthy, and safe!
First and foremost, I am alive and safe! I don't know how many of you heard about the big storm that was going to hit the southeast, but it definitely us here in North Carolina and as a result, Sister Cottis and I were confined to our apartment for 3 straight days, and it was the most miserable thing I've ever experienced. (I will explain more detail later.) Amongst the lovely storm, I was able to have a really great week. I was just full of the spirit and had so much love and joy in my heart. I honestly don't even know how it happened because it was my second week without the sacrament and that's just super rough, especially as a missionary. I need that spiritual boost and renewal every single week to keep me going. Somehow the Lord blessed me and I know he definitely heard my prayers and answered them. I just prayed to have a good week even though I wasn't able to partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants. I knew he heard me and could tell of the desires that were in my heart. I was so grateful.
I don't really even know what happened this week. It was all kind of a blur. Monday through Thursday we just did our thing! On Wednesday we were able to go to the stake center with our zone and participate in the worldwide missionary broadcast! That was such a special experience and will be one that I will never ever forget. I absolutely loved the broadcast and it definitely gave me a lot of motivation to go out and work harder and declare repentance! The title of the broadcast was called, "Teach repentance & baptize converts." The spirit definitely taught me and I learned a lot. I learned that I need to be a better teacher. I need to improve my teaching skills so that I can bring the spirit UNTO our investigators, in order to have them bring it INTO their own lives. Elder Bednar talked a lot about the Holy Ghost and how we can provide an environment for the spirit to be present, but ultimately the investigator or the individual has be be the one to bring it into their heart. We cannot control that part, but we can definitely influence it. That really stood out to me and helped me get a better idea of how to do that and how to create a more spiritual environment. The spirit is key. It is the converting tool. I can't do anything without the spirit. It doesn't matter what I say or what I do, it's all up to the spirit and how they receive it. It's quite a difficult concept to grasp. Teaching about the spirit is so hard because it's different for everyone. Everyone feels it so differently and it's hard to explain it. Anyways, I also really loved something that was said. Someone said that we need to focus on always having Christ's name on our lips. I have been praying for opportunities to be able to just testify on the spot and always be ready. It has also really helped me to fulfill the commitment I made at baptism to "always remember him." I have noticed a significant difference and in turn, have been blessed with receiving the blessing of keeping that part of my promise... The Holy Ghost. :)
After the broadcast, we decided to venture out and go to a place in our area that's about 30 minutes away and that uses a lot of miles, which we don't have. While there, we were able to find so many new people! And, we were able to meet and teach two families. We are not quite sure how solid they are yet, but we are excited to go back. We had return appointments on Saturday, but we had to cancel all 4 appointments. Shoot me now! It was the worst thing. We like dream of having 4 set appointments in one day, let alone 2/4 being families!
Ah! I know the Lord understands and it will all be okay. I feel like we have some parts in our area that just get so neglected because we don't have the miles/time to get out there! It was definitely a blessing to see our act of faith pay off though! We will definitely be going back to the lovely place of Yadkinville.
We are still working with Fonda and Keith. They are both great! We had a hard time getting in touch with them this past week because they were both not feeling well and had some other things come up so that made things difficult, but we are not giving up just yet! We have Keith on date to be baptized on Feb. 13, but will probably have to push that back because he wasn't able to come to church yesterday because of the weather. Okay, yeah. Get this! Church was canceled yesterday! Like what?! There was maybe 5-6 inches of snow and church got canceled. I freaked out because that means no sacrament AGAIN!
That would be 3 weeks. The night before the storm hit EVERY parking stalk in Walmart was full and people were going insane. I have never laughed harder in my life. Everyone was stalking up on their bread and milk and preparing. It was honestly so funny. Snow is like foreign to these people. The whole town shuts down and everything closes. They canceled school and everything. For like a few inches of snow, if even that. I wish y'all could be here. It makes me smile. The storm came Thursday night and so we got word from President Alexander that we couldn't drive our cars, couldn't ride our bikes, and had to be inside until further notice! I have never been more miserable! Staying inside was absolutely horrible. We had nothing to do! We ended up doing a
1000 piece puzzle, baking lots of good food, singing and dancing, working out, laughing & talking, doing a coconut oil treatment on each others hair, reading scriptures together, building a snowman, and just trying to stay productive. We used the phone a lot and bundled up a few times and walked outside and got wifi to use Facebook and skype!
We walked to Panera Bread one day and got some lunch and overheard someone talking about UTAH football so we obviously started talking to them and got to know them. They apparently already knew all about the Mormons and were very happy in their church, but we gave them another chance to accept the gospel and hopefully down the road they will change! We were able to shovel lots of driveways and walkways for people so that was fun! We managed to go out and tract a little bit and surprisingly got a few lessons in so that made it all worth it. It was so much fun and this weekend will just be one that I'll never forget! The roads were SO icy and had 3 inches on snow on top of that so having to walk everywhere was definitely a change, but was good for us! We almost starved to death because we had like no food and had to cancel all our dinner appointments so that was interesting... but somehow we managed to survive! All is well! Storm Jonas (yes, it had a
name) has passed and we are alive!
Anyways, long story short, we are hoping Keith & Fonda can make it to church next week! They really are elect and I know God has prepared their hearts!
Our recent converts and less actives are doing well and I enjoy working with them. We were able to sit down with our ward mission leader and our bishop and talk about some of them and who we really want to focus on and what is next and that was super successful. We have great leadership here in the Tanglewood Ward and I am grateful that I get to serve with such amazing people! We actually had a really neat experience yesterday that I'll never ever forget. Our mission president gave us permission to have the sacrament and Sister Cottis and I were ecstatic! We were able to walk with the elders to a members' home and partake of the sacrament. This member lived 3 miles away and the walk was so amazing. It made me miss all my Sunday walks.
It also made me realize how blessed I am. I have never had to sacrifice so much just to be able to partake of the sacrament. I mean it wasn't like it was a huge sacrifice or anything, only 3 miles, but I just have never had to do that for the sacrament before. Having said that, it meant so much more to me this time. We got to our member's house and then said an opening prayer and then we all read 3 Nephi 18:1-12, sang a sacrament song, partook of the sacrament, shared our testimonies, sang a closing song and said a closing prayer and it was such a special experience. I was overcome by the spirit and was so grateful to have the chance to be able to focus so intently on the ordinance of the sacrament. It was even more powerful than being in church I felt like. Hearing our elders say the prayer so clearly and bless and brake one piece of bread was just so amazing. It was so sacred and so tender. I needed it so bad and am now refreshed and ready for the week! :) I LOVE THE SACRAMENT.
Sister Cottis and I are doing really well. We are so happy we get to stay for another transfer! We were able to re-set some visions, goals, and plans for this transfer and are excited to continue to work with one another. We are really also looking forward to getting to know the new sisters better and serving with them. We have some really great sisters in our zone and we couldn't feel more blessed. They are wonderful! We don't have any concerns with anyone right now... So we are just excited to get to know them better and pray it stays this way! I love being an STL and hope I can be one for a while! It's so much fun!
My studies this week have been wonderful! Each and everyday I learn something new and feel so blessed to be able to have so much time to study and learn about the gospel. My knowledge has just increased ten fold and in turn, my testimony has grown immensely. This past week I decided that I wanted to learn more about trials and endurance. Yes, I know, weird. Trials. Lately I have been thinking about the pioneers and what they must have gone through. I have been thinking about those I know right now who are going through trials in their lives and who are desperately struggling. Myself included, have been struggling with some things and it's always a good reminder to realize the peace and hope that can come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyday we are teaching about the Doctrine of Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, and enduring to the end. We mostly focus on the first four, and then tend to not really focus on the "enduring to the end"
part. That part is just as important as the rest! We must endure! That is what it's all about! We must endure to the end and push through the end. What a beautiful thing. There will always be testings and trials along life’s paths. Heartaches and tragedies should not defeat us and take over, if we remember God’s promise. It is essential to learn to endure in a consistent effort. In our race for eternal life, pain and obstacles will come to all of us. We will all experience heartaches, sorrow, death, sins, weakness, disasters, physical illness, pain, mental anguish, unjust criticism, loneliness, and rejection. How we choose to handle these challenges determines whether they become stumbling blocks or building blocks in our lives. To those of us who can endure, these challenges will make progress and development possible. They will stretch us and help us grow.
Sometimes I think we are often told everything would be all right. But life is not like that. No matter who you are, you will have problems.
Tragedy will come. Frustration will happen. So, when those things do happen, what are we going to do about it? No one wants adversity.
Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two different sources. There are those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges and consequences. Then there is the other reason for adversity and that is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life so that we can receive the refinement that comes from testing. It is so important for each of us to identify which source our trial comes from because what we chose to do next is going to be different based on which type of trial we have. With the first source, you must simply repent and stop doing what you are doing, and those consequences will stop. With the second source of adversity, that testing that comes from Heavenly Father is needed to all of those who are living a worthy, righteous life and for those of us who are being obedient to His commandments. We must have trials to learn and to grow. We must progress. I recently read a quote that I really liked.
It said, "Sometimes the most challenging form of endurance is found in trying to stay with our priorities, commitments, and assignments. How easy it is for some of us to lose our way when the unexpected, and seemingly undeserved, surface in our lives. Greatness is best measured by how well an individual responds to the happenings in life that appear to be totally unfair, unreasonable, and undeserved. Sometimes we are inclined to put up with a situation rather than endure. To endure is to bear up under, to stand firm against, to suffer without yielding, to continue to be, or to exhibit the state or power of lasting." Just when all seems to be going right, challenges will come.
When those challenges are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He gives us experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which will ultimately be for our everlasting benefit. To get us from where we are to where He wants us to be requires a lot of stretching, and that typically brings a lot of discomfort and pain, and faith! Because remember that faith is uncomfortable! & if you are comfortable, then you are not exercising enough faith!
I have been able to experience a lot of trials in my life. It has been interesting to look back and try to distinguish which kind of trial they are and how I reacted to them. I have been able to think about all of the growth that has come from them and the blessings that have ultimately come because of them. Being out on a mission has allowed me to experience a lot of trials, but has also given me the opportunity to see many others go through trials. I have been able to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has helped these people through their trials. I want each one of you to know that there is nothing that you are going through that the Savior doesn't understand. There is nothing that the Savior hasn't already experienced and hasn't already felt. Why do we let ourselves suffer so bad with something that has already been suffered for? Why are we not letting the Savior take away the pain that we feel? It is almost like we are mocking him and his atonement if we are not using it and letting it change our life. I think the hardest part is being humble and turning to him. That is all he asks of us. All he requires of us is to come unto him and then he will give us rest. All we need to do is endure, but endure it well. We just have to endure with the Savior on our side. In Doctrine and Covenants 121:8 says, "And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." That promise was given to Joseph Smith and that same promise applies to you and I.
Lately I have been doing so much better at being a Preach my Gospel missionary! Ever since zone conference, that was one of my goals and I really feel like I am doing great! I have switched up my studies a little bit and have made more time for it and I am loving it!
Sometimes I don't even want to read in my scriptures because I'm so deep into preach my gospel. It has definitely been such a blessing for me and it is one of my "plans" to help me become a master teacher. I encourage all of you to read in that book. It literally can answer any life question you have! Not just church or missionary related either.
Any question! I have come to love that book and am so grateful for that tool that I have to help hasten the lord's work. I love it here.
I love this work. I love being a missionary. It is super hard, but it is super worth it. I've truly come to know and understand that nothing in life worthwhile comes easy. We have to work for what we want. I have wanted to be here my whole entire life. I have prayed for this opportunity since I first learned how to pray. It's finally here and it's up to me to work hard and live my dream. My missionary dream.
Thank you for all of your love and your support. I cannot believe I only have like 6 months left. Time is going by so quickly. I will either be coming home August 23rd orOctober 4th. I hate even talking about that! President just sent out transfer dates and sent an email to all those going home this year. Ew! I don't even like to think about that! I know that this time is so precious and I have to continue to push through and ENDURE joyfully! My testimony of this gospel and of my savior is so strong. I know he lives. If you do not know that, please trust me and know that I know he lives and I know this is his work and his true church. I am so happy. I love being engulfed in the service of the Lord. I pray for each of you daily and hope you can feel those prayers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I am only an email away! I hope y'all have a wonderful week. Keep working hard and praying for the powers of heaven to be poured upon you!! I love you all so much. Talk to ya in seven! Xo
Sister Kyla Worthington❤️