Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2015~Charlotte is crazy

Hey pals!

How is everyone! I hope each of you had a great week and that things are going well for you! I am so grateful that it's Monday, you have no idea. It has been an insane week. Probably one of the longest, and hardest weeks of my mission, but so much growth has occurred. All week I had to just keep telling myself that I just had to make it until Sunday. I know if I can make it until Sunday, I will be okay. I literally have to live my life in 7 day increments haha. I have to live Sunday to Sunday. If I can make it until Sunday, I know I'll be okay. It's been SO amazing to see how much my love for the sabbath day has grown. It's hands down the best day of the week.
First off, Charlotte is absolutely crazy! I wish each of you could have been my companion this past week. I think y'all would've been in shock. Haha, I literally don't know where to even begin. The weather is starting to really pick up and it's getting hot and humid. I have never seen so many black people and so many hispanics in my life. Or, just people in general. I feel like Charlotte is a mini New York. There are SO MANY PEOPLE HERE. I absolutely love it! We get to drive by the big city buildings, and uptown Charlotte almost everyday, and it's literally heaven. It's exactly what Google and the postcards say it is. It's beautiful! Hopefully you will have a chance to come visit Charlotte one day. The only downfall is how busy it is and how crazy the traffic is. It's definitely so different than my last two areas. Somewhere that would take you normally 10-15 minutes to get there, takes us 45 minutes to an hour. We have been really struggling with how to manage our time, limited miles, and scheduled appointments just because it's so different. You just have no idea what you're going to run into. There is also lots of construction so that makes it really difficult and throws my GPS for a loop every time. It also doesn't help that my area is the largest area in the whole mission, and it covers three stakes. IT IS SO BIG. We cover all the young single adults on the whole southern half of the mission and it's crazy big. So, nonetheless, I'm trying to figure it all out and hopefully it'll come. We have already given up on trying to learn the area. There are so many streets and so many places here that there is just no way to learn it all. Thank goodness for my lovely GPS. Without that thing, we couldn't do it. We also got a brand new 2016 Nissan Altima, with 20 miles on it, so we are pretty much living the high life. I wish Sister Nunies was driving though because every time I get on the roads, I feel like we are going to die. She doesn't have her drivers license so I'm stuck driving. :( North Carolina drivers are absolutely nuts. Kinda reminds me of Haiti, mom. :) So sketch.
Let's see, after I got my new companion and we finished transfers, we picked up our car and headed back to our new apartment. We were able to take some time to unpack and get situated. They allowed us to take a few hours to set up our beds, study desks, get some groceries, and get somewhat situated. There is just nothing quite like whitewashing. I was really grateful for the time that we had to do that because I can't stand not being organized and not having things in order. We are still needing to a lot of things, but we are at least able to sleep, eat, and study. :) Which is about all we need to do in our apartment anyways, so it's okay for now. The AP's had a few lessons set up for us that night and we were able to get thrown into it all and begin working. We met a few great investigators and have begun working with them. Let me just tell you, it is SO different working with young single adults. It's so weird teaching people that are my age. It's a different kind of teaching and I am still trying to figure it out. I am realizing how important it is to become their friends first, instead of just trying to preach the gospel to them. I have quickly found out that that is not going to work.
The next few days we just started going through the area book and stopped by to see a bunch of former and potential investigators. That wasn't super successful because with college students, everyone moves in and out so quickly so the teaching records in the area book were basically pointless. It was so frustrating because we just went from house to house, apartment to apartment, and no one was home, people had moved, or their phone number had been disconnected. We were able to meet a few people, which was nice, but overall the days were super long. It was really hard not being able to work with any of the members all week just because we didn't know who they were and didn't know anything about them. It's also been really different just trying to focus on YSAs. They are the only ones that we are allowed to teach. Anytime we see someone else that is not between the ages of 18-30, we can talk to them, but we just have to refer them to the other elders and sisters in the area. We have been trying to scope out all the people that we think fit in that age group and its been more difficult than you would think haha. Due to the YSA ward that we are in, we also don't really get fed by members anymore either so it's been hard to connect with the members and get to know their friends. Hence, another reason why I really couldn't wait for Sunday to come. I just wanted to meet everyone so badly! We were able to teach a few lessons and get to know a few investigators so that was good! We also have to go to the mission office almost every day so it's been such a blessing to be able to see Elder & Sister Garlick and the office staff daily. They are AMAZING! I love them so much and am SO happy to be serving so near them. They really take care of the missionaries, like hard core. Every time we go over there they are always feeding us, hugging and loving us, and giving us whatever we need haha. Perks of serving in their area. :) It's going to kill me when the Garlick's leave though. Ohhhhh my goodness. They have saved my life. I love them so much.
On Thursday we had the opportunity to do some community service in downtown Charlotte. We were able to go to a soup kitchen at a Lutheran church with the Garlick's and our zone leaders and it was an experience that I will never forget. It is something that we get to start doing weekly, but I was in heaven. Every Thursday & Sunday morning, this Lutheran church gets food donated to them and they provide a meal for the homeless people. They have a huge kitchen in the bottom of their church and from 11 am- 1 pm, they allow anyone to come in and have a full meal. We were able to put on some aprons, name tags, and serve these beautiful people and buss their tables so that more could come in. That day I think we ended up serving 112 homeless people. It was AMAZING. It was such an incredible experience to be able to see all of these rough looking people come in, drop their bags, and enjoy a meal together. I ended up sitting next to this one guy and talked to him for a good 20 minutes. Found out he was from out west, and had just gotten out of prison that very morning. He said it was "nice to have somewhere to go after getting out, and meeting good people like you." He said he was going to by flying back out west later that day and was going to go back to work and go back to his family. It was just something that I will never forget. I was able to see this man, and these people as God sees them. It was an absolute NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. It was amazing to be gathered with other members of other faiths, and just being involved in such an amazing cause. I was so humbled as I watched this cute little old man pull out a plastic container from his backpack and scoop some of the food into his container to save it for later. It just really opened up my eyes to see how truly blessed we are. We just have no idea. I take so many things for granted. I am so excited to be able to do this each week and to continue to meet and interact with such amazing people.
Later that day we were able to do some weekly planning and that was kind of a nightmare, but we set a few plans and are just starting to get up on our own two feet. :) I think it'll take a good month or so, if not a whole transfer, to really figure things out haha. It's just been an experience. I am just grateful that my companion and I are doing this together. Her name is Sister Nunies, and she is from Hawaii. She is 26 years old, and has a gnarly tattoo down her whole leg haha. She is the best. I love the girl to death. She has only been out for three months, so it's been amazing to see her have to take on this challenge, but I am so grateful that we are both coming into it new and are both having to work and learn and figure it out together! Oh how companions are amazing. God definitely knew what he was doing when he decided to give us companions. It is definitely preparing me for marriage. Haha, if you only knew. We have been hitting the sheets so hard and have been sleeping so well, and that has been a huge blessing. We asked our neighbors if we could use their wifi and having wifi in our apartment has also been a huge blessing because it has made planning so much easier. And, speaking of wifi, we get to skype in less than two weeks, and it gets to be right out of my apartment. :) Due to Hawaii's time being so different, I think we are going to by skyping around 7 pm our time, which would be 5 pm your time on May 8th? I will give you more details next week, but please let me know if that time doesn't work for you, or if there would be a better time! We are pretty flexible. :)
Friday and Saturday were good days. Just long. We were able to go up to Davidson College on Friday night and show the movie Meet the Mormons in the big student union building and that was pretty incredible. We got some refreshments and set up a table with lots of pamphlets, pass along cards, and Book of Mormons. The assistants had already had this activity planned for a long time so they came up with us and it was a really fun night! It was shown on a big theater screen and we got to have a movie night! It was so fun! We didn't really get a whole lot of success, but we had lots of people walking in and out of the building, watching it for 15-20 mins, or studying for class, but watching it at the same time. There were a few people who stayed for the whole movie and who asked for some book of Mormons at the end, so we are hoping to start working with them. One girl was Jewish but has always been curious about the Mormon faith, and really liked the movie, so we were happy about that! A lot of our work is going to be done on college campus's so we are super excited about that! There is like 4 universities that we cover, so we have a lot of work to do. If you have any creative things that we can do with young single adults, please feel free to share them with me. We also have FHE every Monday night with the YSA's and we are going to need some serious help coming up with ideas and things to do with them. It's real unfortunate that we don't have google and Pinterest haha.
Sunday was absolutely AMAZING! Ah, all I needed was the sacrament to boost me up and just needed to go to church and feel of the spirit. It was really neat being with a bunch of kids my age. I have also NEVER been in a sacrament meeting that was so quiet. During the entire sacrament, you could hear a pin drop because it was that quiet. It was unreal. Way different than family wards. The spirit was so strong and it just made me appreciate how grateful I am for the sacrament ordinance. It was such a different experience this week and I learned SO MUCH. I think having the spirit be so strong, it just amplified my experience. Sitting in Sacrament meeting, I had the thought come to me that we could totally double the sacrament meeting attendance. There was about 40 people there I'd say, but we can totally double that. All we have to do is have a "invite your friends to church day" and we will double the attendance, and odds are 2-3 of those people would end up getting baptized. :) We were able to meet the amazing bishopric and leaders of the ward and they are all wonderful. This YSA ward is about to change drastically. They don't know what's coming their way. Sister Nunies and I have some serious ideas and are really going to get this ward going! They better hold on tight because we are coming!! There was this member who brought her friend named Brandon and I cannot even tell you how elect this kid is. He is 18 years old and is just so amazing. He grew up Catholic, but always felt like there was something missing. He absolutely loved church and had such a good time. We were talking to him afterwards and he said, "Ya know, I just feel so good. I feel at home. I feel so much peace. This is so right. I have been looking for this my entire life. I really want to become a member of your church." What!! That is how the kingdom of God is built. One covenant at a time. We were able to exchange information with him and set some solid expectations and are going to start meeting with him this week. I couldn't be more excited. Mark my words, this kid will be baptized in the month of May. It was such a testimony builder to me to know that as we are diligent, faithful, and obedient, God will bless us. It was such a hard week, but ended so perfectly with someone to teach. And, he was literally handed to us. It all started with some girl bringing her friend to church. It increased my testimony of member missionary work as well, and that is what I want to share with you today in my email. :)
Before my mission, I thought I knew what missionary work was, but I was so wrong. I think growing up in Utah didn't really help either. Being out here has really opened up my eyes and has made me realize how much work really needs to be done. As members of the church, we are definitely the minority. No one is a member of the church here! It's absolutely crazy. There is so much work to do, and it's like this throughout the whole world. Our task as members of the church is nothing less than to help God's children experience a mighty change of heart and conversion to the Lord! We are required to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation of the world. The Lord commanded it when he said “Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.” (D&C 133:8.) "This commission to take the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people is one of the signs by which believers will recognize the nearness of the Savior’s return to earth. Concerning this sign of His second coming, Jesus prophesied: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14) We have such a responsibility. We already have what the whole world is seeking and looking for. We are the good examples who are living in this wicked world and yet are not partaking of the awful sins of the world.
This morning I opened up my scriptures and realized that I was on Alma 26. One of my very favorite chapters in the whole Book of Mormon. I spent my whole morning studying that chapter and just learned so much from it. I would challenge you all to really study that chapter this week and see the powerful principles that are taught in those great words. Ammon is one of my heroes. The success the sons of Mosiah experienced among the Lamanites exceeded their expectations. They were converting thousands. As they began their missions, the Lord promised, “I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls”. With this promise they “took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God”. Success in their endeavors did not come automatically, even though the Lord had promised it. During the course of their 14-year mission, they experienced “all manner of afflictions”. They even became "depressed, and were about to turn back” (Alma 26:27). Yet, trusting in the promises of the Lord, they continued in their efforts. Then, as He always does, the Lord honored His promises and rewarded their perseverance! I have such a strong testimony that perseverance leads to success! I have really come to see that on my mission. God will bless us as we are faithful, diligent, and obedient in ALL things, not just missionary work.
In verses 27-30 I really learned a lot. The spirit spoke to me so strongly this morning and really solidified the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to me. As I was reading, I was really trying to apply what was happening to Ammon and the sons of Mosiah, to what was happening to me and my mission experiences. The spirit just kept speaking to me, "Are you noticing? Everything that happened to Ammon has happened or is happening to you." This chapter is perfect for full time missionaries because we get it. We understand it. We are experiencing almost everything that they are experiencing. I was able to really relate it to myself and it made so much sense. There have been many times when my heart has been depressed and I had thought about going home. I haven't quite gone to a foreign land to teach the gospel to the Lamenites, but I am definitely far away from home, somewhere where I have never been before, teaching people that I don't know. It also made me think of Kaiden who served in Russia, and all of my friends who are serving foreign, and speaking languages that they didn't know. I have gone forth among these people had have suffered many hardships, haven't quite slept on the floor, but definitely know people who have. I've endured the cold, and have almost gone without eating. I too have traveled from house to house, knocking on doors for months at a time without being invited in, just relying on the mercies of God. There have been other times when I have entered houses and talked to people. We have taught them on their streets and on their hills. We have just about done it all. Thankfully, I haven't been spit upon, or haven't had rocks thrown at me or have been cast into prison, but I still remember the feelings I've had when a door was slammed in my face, and I am far away from home, alone, with only the mercies of the Lord to rely on for deliverance. I have endured these things with the hope that "I might be the means of saving some soul" (Alma 26:30). I loved in that chapter that Ammon said, "My joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy.”
Missionary work is hard, but truly no joy is equal to bringing another to the light of the gospel. The Lord even promised: “If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! “And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!” (D&C18:15–16.) Reading Alma 26 helped me realize that no one but a missionary could have written this story and chapter. Joseph Smith could have never even known what it was like to be a missionary to the Lamanites, because no one he knew had ever even done such a thing before. The Book of Mormon is SO TRUE.
Member missionary work is just as important and just as rewarding. I wish I could've done a better job when I was home. I wish I knew how to share the gospel with my friends and with the non members that I came in contact with. In the scriptures, "They were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble” (Mosiah 28:3). I wish I had that attitude and perspective. I definitely do now, but didn't back then. I would encourage you all to think of things that you can do to be a better missionary and to share the gospel. The full time missionaries NEED the members. We rely so heavily on member referrals and member missionary work. We cannot do it all on our own.
My favorite verse of the day was, “Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel” and that is exactly what is on my mind right now. Some of the happiest moments in my life have been when I have been teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have learned by sacrifice what only personal experience and devoted service can do and can teach you. Why was I willing to sacrifice the comforts of home, family, loved ones, to answer the call to serve? It’s because of my testimony of Jesus Christ. when I found out who he was and came to know him, "there is no bed too short or too hard, no climate too hot or too cold, no food too different or language so strange that I am unwilling to serve Him. No sacrifice is too great to serve the Master, who sacrificed His all to provide the way for His brothers and sisters to return home to their Heavenly Father."
I promise each of you that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.) "We are privileged through the covenants and ordinances of baptism and confirmation to be members of His church. Membership in this Church is the only means by which others may have the opportunity for eternal life. We have the truth, and I would invite you to share that truth and the privilege of introducing His gospel to others who do not have it." I love this gospel with all my whole heart and soul. I have been truly changed by the Doctrine of Christ. I know it's real. I know God is real. I promise you he knows what you are going through and what you need. All we need to do is humble ourselves before him and simply COME UNTO HIM. I know that as we share the gospel with others and open our mouths, we will find more joy than anything else we could be doing. These are our brothers and sisters. We best be helping them out, as our father in heaven has helped us out.
My favorite Joseph Smith once said, "The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done”.
I love you all so very much and appreciate all you do for me. I couldn't do this without the love and support from my family and friends back at home. Y'all are the best. I hope you have a great week. Let me know if you need anything. Talk to you in seven! Xo

P.S. My new address is:
7616 Waterford Ridge Dr. Apt. 1003
Charlotte, North Carolina 28212

Sister Worthington

Meet The Mormon's Night

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 18, 2016~surgery & charlotte?

Hey loves!

Greetings from North Carolina. :) Don't freak out about the subject line, I'll address it later. All is well. It's a beautiful sunny and it's a good day to be a missionary. I hope this little email finds everyone happy and healthy! It's been another week full of ups and downs! Mostly ups, but a few downs. I am doing really well today though so that's all that matters. The 18th of the month is always a special day. I cannot believe I've hit thirteen months now. Where is the time going? Ahhhhhh. I am so grateful for this precious time that I have had to serve the Lord and serve the people here in NC. I love these beautiful people. I cannot wait for you to meet all of the people that I have been able to associate with in my little journey.
This past week was one that I will never forget. I'm sure I say that about a lot of weeks, but this one was legendary. Elder Zwick of the seventy came and did a mission tour in my mission. Last Monday we were able to have a mission leadership training with him and that was just wonderful. I learned so much and was so grateful that I had the chance to be in the presence of Elder and Sister Zwick. On Tuesday, we had a half mission conference all day and it was absolutely amazing. It was so good to see all of my previous mission buds and spend the day with some of my favorite people. I don't really even know what to say regarding the meeting because I just learned way too much. I was literally on a spiritual high overload. I definitely came out of the meeting with a stronger desire to do missionary work and a stronger desire to be more obedient and loyal to my covenants and to the commitments that I made when I decided to serve a mission. We learned so many things to help us become better missionaries and I really felt that this past week I have been a more effective missionary. Sister Zwick said, "Once your duty becomes and offering, then you will truly be serving with all of your heart." I loved that because I think this whole time I have looked at my mission as a huge sacrifice. Once she said that and talked about it, I started looking at my mission as the GREATEST BLESSING and not a simple sacrifice at all. Yes, I gave up many things, but I am starting to see how that's not sacrificing. It's giving things up for a greater cause and giving things up has actually been a blessing in my life. It's been a blessing to not have my iPhone attached to my hip. It's been a blessing to only be able to listen to church music and wear church clothes 24/7. It's been a blessing to not have to go to school, work, and have to date. All of these things that would seem like sacrifices, have actually been blessings. I don't know if any of this is even making sense, but I have gained a greater appreciation for my mission this week and it's really just helped me see how blessed I am to be who I am and to be where I am, doing what I'm doing.
Wednesday was a great day. We were able to do our community service with the elders that we do each week. Little did I know it was going to be my last one. :( Yes, I'm getting transferred tomorrow! I have loved being able to serve with my sweet little old residents. I have come to love those people very much. I am so grateful that Sister Alexander has made such an effort to do community service on our missions. Each area on the mission has somewhere to go serve once a week. I don't know you have heard of the Just Serve Initiative, but that has been something that has really been booming lately. I have definitely been able to see that as others see us out serving in the community and just going about and doing good, they look at us, and the church differently. They start to see that we are good, normal people, just here to help! :) Surprisingly we have been able to share the gospel a lot and many people have asked us questions. After we did our service, we went over and saw one of my favorite families in the ward. It's a part member family that I have been working with since I got to Winston. On Wednesday Sister Cottis and I put the son who is 15 on date to be baptized on April 30th and he is super solid! His mom is a single mom and is a recent convert of 2 years and this boy, Jacob, took all the lessons with his mom, had his baptismal interview and passed it, but then chickened out last second. 2 years later and he expressed to his mom that he wanted to get baptized and that he's been really thinking about baptism. We went over and taught him and he is so committed! It's SOOO neat how it's happening so fast. This past week we taught the restoration and plan of salvation. So many miracles are starting to happen here in Lewisville. It was kind of a few hard, tough weeks the past few weeks, but we are just starting to see the fruits of our labors! Of course right when I get transferred, but hey!  That's what it all about, right? Building up the area ALL the time!!
;) He basically knows all of the lessons, but we are going over and reviewing them. He came to church yesterday and it's amazing how fast the Lord is hastening his work and how he is aware of his children. It was such a testimony to me to know that as we plant seeds and continue to nourish people, they will ripen and they will finally be ready to accept the gospel and be baptized. It's so amazing. God's plan is SO good. I am super sad that I'm going to miss his baptism, but I am so grateful for the tiny part that I was able to play in his life and helping him accept the best gift in the entire world. I am so excited to be able to come back to my mission and visit them! They are so amazing!
Thursday was a good day. We taught lots of lessons and met another miracle family. Robert came out teaching with us and that was super fun to have him with us. He is soooo good to us. He literally spoils sister Cottis and I so much. I am going to miss him so much. It's not even funny. He has become one of my bestest friends. We were able to drive out to the very edge of our area and contact a bible referral and see a lot of people that we typically don't see. It was a long long day, but super worth it. I love the days when we teach a lot and when we are able to talk to lots of people.
Friday was good. Nothing too crazy happened. Well, except for I was about ready to cut my whole toe off. Lately my big toe has been bothering me. I didn't really think much of it, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I just couldn't take it anymore! It started to get super swollen and super infected. Little did I know, I had a crazy ingrown toenail. Well, I have never experienced one of these before so I wasn't quite sure what was going on. We have a podiatrist in our ward and I was able to see him and talk with him. He gave me a few options and one of those options was getting my ingrown toenail surgically removed. Yeah, no. He told me I could attempt to take it out myself, without having to go through getting shots and all that lovely stuff, so last night I attempted to get it out myself and think I succeeded. :) We shall see. It is either going to really feel better, or I really ruined it. One or the other. I'm not all about getting surgery on my mission without my mom by my side, so I wasn't too fond of that idea haha. I was able to buy some flip flops and have been wearing them for the past three days and that has been super nice, but I'm sure I don't look all that professional haha but I just couldn't take it anymore. It has been absolutely miserable. I don't know if that's just cause we do a lot of walking and biking, but I have just been in lots of pain!  Ah! I am doing better today though and hope it continues to feel better! #prayformytoe. Hahah such a sad day. I haven't had a single issue on my mission, never have gotten sick, nothing! But this is definitely the first. I guess it has to happen to everyone! :) Oh how I love trials.
Saturday was pretty decent. We were able to teach a few less active lessons and were able to do lots of finding. Thankfully the weather was good and we were able to be outside most of the day. I love the sunshine. I got my first mosquito bite though and that was definitely not fun. I absolutely hate the summer here for that reason. :( Ew.  It's only beginning. Saturday night I got a call from President Alexander informing me that I will be getting transferred. AH! I freaked out. I kind of thought it was coming, but then again not really. Since we moved areas, I figured that he would keep me here. He informed me that I would be going to Charlotte and that I will be taking over the assistants area and serving in the YSA (young single  adult) ward. I am going to be whitewashing the area with a new sister from Hawaii! I am super excited that I get to be working with kids my age and am super excited that I get to be working with President and Sister Alexander! I am super excited for that. I am also super excited that I get to be serving in the heart of Charlotte. That is every missionaries dream here! There is so many people and always things going on. It's super busy and crazy, and I'm not so sure how ready I am for that, but it'll be a good experience. I know that God needs me to grow some more! Just when I think I'm figuring it all out and getting all comfortable, he throws a curveball at me and gives me another opportunity to become more like Him and become who he needs me to be! :) This will be really good for me. I'm really grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve, to grow, to learn, and to create memories that will last forever. :) I am really sad that I have to leave my dear Sister Cottis, but I am so grateful for the chance that I had to serve with her. We have a friendship that cannot be broken. I love the girl to death. We will remain friends for the rest of our lives, and the rest of eternity. She goes home next transfer, please go to her homecoming and give her loves for me!! I'm going to have a hard time leaving her.
Sunday was a hard day. It was hard seeing my ward family and having to say goodbye to some of my favorite members. We were able to see Melissa, Pat, Robert, and some of my favs. I am grateful for all of the people that I have been able to serve here in Tanglewood/Lewisville. Just another place that has changed my life! I am grateful for the sacrament and am grateful that I get to partake of it worthily each week. What a blessing that has been in my life. I have such a deeper appreciation for that sacred ordinance. I have learned so much about it on my mission and have really come to see how it changes lives. I am no longer the same person because of the beautiful sacrament. Please please please take that ordinance seriously and learn how to apply the atonement in your life. It will be the greatest thing that you will ever come to understand.
Well, I have to get running, I am so sorry that this email was pretty lame and more informative than anything. Usually I like to share with y'all what I learned, but this week I just didn't really have the time. Sister Cottis and I went to the mall all day and then came and spent time with all of the missionaries in my zone and had to be with them for one last day before I leave!! So, I didn't have all that much time to email. One of my favorite quotes I read this week was, "If you want to reach your potential in the future, if you want to become the person the Lord wants you to be, you had better work on it today, because it is a true principle that we become what we do. If we want to be a successful university student, we had better be successful in high school. If we want to live a celestial life in the hereafter, we had better live a celestial life here on earth. Our futures are truly connected to our past." I hope that we can realize how important our choices we make today really are. It reminds me so much of President Monson's conference talk. We have to make righteous choices if we want to receive the blessings. Also remember that on some of your toughest days, the greatest blessings come.
Thank you so much for all of the love, prayers, and support! I love you all so much. I hope you have a wonderful week. I will give you my new address next Monday! :) Be good. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Sending you all my love and more! Xoxo
I love you dad! I love you mom! I love you Kaiden! I love you Chelsea!
I love you Kamryn! I love you Knighton! I love you Kennadi! I love you Lulu!

Sister Kyla Worthington

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 11, 2016~ I Love Grace

Hi family. :)
Oh how I love each and every one of you. I pray for you daily. I miss you more than you'll ever know. I hope you can feel my love for you and my spirit through my weekly emails. I don't have a whole lot of time today, but I will do my best to express what is in my heart and the thoughts and emotions that are running through my little head. Today, I have experienced one of the best days of my mission thus far. This morning Sister Cottis and I woke up super early and drove down to Charlotte for our monthly MLC (mission leadership council) meeting. We were able to be trained by Elder and Sister Zwick of the seventy all morning/afternoon. We had to sacrifice our preparation day, but it was more than worth it. It will be an experience that I will never ever forget. One of those redefining moments in my life where my heart was truly changed and where I was truly taught from on high. I have come to know that understanding the spirit and being able to call upon the powers of Heaven is one of the greatest things, if not the greatest thing, that we can come to understand while here on this earth. If we need help, go vertical, not horizontal, and he will help you!
Due to a super long meeting and lots of time traveling, I really don't have a whole lot of time. I promise I will share with you what a learned a little bit later, when I have some more time next week. We haven't even gone grocery shopping and our dinner appointment is in one hour. This week has been a really really tough week for Sister Worthington and I have really needed to rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ and on his grace. I don't know what it was, but I found myself super sad and really discouraged. This work is SO hard. It's so good, but so hard at times. My hermana and I just had a tough week. We had a few good cry sessions and a few good heart to hearts. Thankfully, we have an amazing ward mission leader and an amazing ward family who wrapped their arms around us and took us in. It's so hard having a tough day, and not being able to cry on my dear mother's shoulder for love and support. We did a lot of moving apartments this past week and didn't have a whole lot of time for teaching. I hate weeks like that. Our numbers were low and I felt like I wasn't a good missionary because I wasn't teaching and doing what I'm used to doing. I felt very off. However, we are finally completely moved into our new apartment, we are unpacked and settled, and we have slept there for two nights now and I LOVE IT. It feels like home. It's been so neat to be the very first sister missionaries in an area and the first sisters to open a new place. We are starting from ground zero, but it feels good. It feels refreshing. I am excited for all that is to come. We have already witnessed some insane miracles and I know there are are many more to come. Due to our tough week, I found myself studying the topic of GRACE. Today, I want to share with you some of my thoughts and what I learned this week. I have a whole new understanding of grace and of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
In preparation for my study on grace, I read many talks and pondered many things. One of my favorite talks I read was called, "Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. It is my hope that through my preparation and studies, and your faith that the Holy Ghost can witness the truthfulness of my email today. My email and thoughts are simply an echo of the greatest message ever shared, and that is the strength that comes through the atonement of Christ and His grace. 
We are in such a wonderful time of year as we celebrate a newness of life with the blossoms and bulbs and as nature renews itself around us. I love spring time! I especially love spring time here in North Carolina. It's absolutely BEAUTIFUL here. So many trees and outstanding flowers and colors.
As I’ve matured, and as I've grown on my mission, I’ve come to appreciate this season as a time to celebrate the life of our savior Jesus Christ. Now I know Easter is over, but I still feel like spring time is a perfect time to continue to reflect on that holiday and what it truly means. A few weeks ago, in our ward council, we were discussing ways to increase our outreach to the community. One of the ideas was to do an Easter celebration similar to other musical presentations this ward had done around Christmas time. A sister in the ward made the comment about how we should celebrate the Easter season as much as, if not more so than we do the Christmas season. She said something like, “we need to celebrate the resurrected, living Christ because that who we are, that’s our thing.” It’s true we celebrate a living Christ and recognize his atonement, or his suffering, death and resurrection, as the only path that allows us to return to live with our Heavenly Father.
As a missionary I have learned lots. One of the first things I learned was the role of Jesus Christ and how there are 2 great obstacles that separate us from our Heavenly Father. Those obstacles are sin and death. These are the fundamentals of the atonement, as mortals we become unclean through sin and we die and those 2 certainties are swallowed up in the immensity of the Atonement. However that is not the end of the Atonement. Another aspect is the roll our Savior’s sacrifice has in helping us to overcome all challenges and struggles we have in mortality, not just sin and death. In the Book of Mormon, Alma in chapter 5 begins a sermon about Jesus Christ. Alma taught the fundamentals of the Atonement and how it breaks the bonds of sin and death, but he also added, “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people”. President Boyd K. Packer explained, “He had no debt to pay. He had committed no wrong. Nevertheless, an accumulation of all of the guilt, the grief and sorrow, the pain and humiliation, all of the mental, emotional, and physical torments known to man- He experienced them all.” With the Savior’s atonement, He experienced all our pains, all our infirmities so that He would be, “filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he might know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” In Matthew chapter 11, starting in verse 28 it says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Think of that imagery. We are yoked or tied to the Savior. He is ever willing to carry the burdens we face. In Doctrine and Covenants 88:6 it says, “He descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things” so he would know how to lift us up in ALL things. Not just some things. He carries our yoke, he understands the difficulties we face and the burdens we carry. He knows, He can relate to, and He makes that burden light. I know that to be true because I have witnessed it in my life.
Throughout the Savior’s ministry he healed His people. He forgave sin, He gave sight to the blind, He healed all infirmities and that healing power is still available to us. Just as the Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter were brought back to life and just as the man sick with the palsy was able to walk home, WE can come back from spiritual death and we can be made whole!! What a beautiful promise that is.
I’m found myself pondering this question, why did the savior do this for me… and for you? Why did he choose the most humble of circumstance to be born into? He was the creator of the world yet when he was born there was ‘no room in the inn’ and during his ministry he described his living situation by saying, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Then after living His perfect life and setting a perfect example for us, after all the healings and miracles, he was betrayed by those He trusted, and was abandoned by even his closest friends. He suffered in Gethsemane and upon Golgotha. But why? President Uchtdorf said,
"I marvel to think that the Son of God would condescend to save us, as imperfect, impure, mistake-prone, and ungrateful as we often are. I have tried to understand the Savior’s Atonement with my finite mind, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly. I cannot even begin to estimate “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height … [of] the love of Christ.”
The reason why was because of CHARITY AND LOVE. This love, manifested by the atonement is often called the grace of god.
Do we truly understand the grace we receive through the atonement of Christ? Grace is what offers the comfort, healing, understanding and forgiveness of Christ’s sacrifice, and only through grace can we be saved. So in this life we face trials and challenges and really these can be divided into two groups. Trials that happen because we live in an imperfect world, and trials that happen because we are imperfect. This imperfect mortal world causes us to go through sickness, death of loved ones, failures in our responsibilities, and families, and our jobs. We have siblings or spouses or children that reject the gospel truth which creates heartache for us. There are racial and ethnic prejudices. In life there are mental and physical disabilities that some are born with as well as painful depression. These trials unfortunately come free of charge with admission to mortality. Think about that! Other trials are self-inflicted, like addictions to pornography or drugs which are likely to have been caused by sins we committed. All those trials for each one of us can be overcome by God’s grace!!
President Uchtdorf is the best teacher of grace, besides the Savior obviously. :) He has taught that "grace opens the gates into heaven as well as the windows of heaven." The gates of heaven are opened because sin and death have been overcome. The windows of heaven or the blessing that are available from God are accessible through grace because as we, with the Savior’s yoke, overcome obstacles we become a better version of ourselves. By grace we can be humble and have faith and weak things can be made strong. Elder Neal A. Maxwell described this as “applying the atoning blood of Christ”. I have also been thinking about the emblems of the sacrament and how when I take the sacrament I try to envision the symbolism of the blood by thinking of the priests in ancient Israel taking the blood of the unblemished sacrifice and sprinkling that blood over the altar. The blood would cover the altar and therefore cover the sins of the people. Weekly during the sacrament we can apply the blood of Christ to receive his grace, his forgiveness and the Holy Ghost. By using grace to overcome adversity we learn to rely on the Atonement and progressively become like Christ. For that is what this life is all about, isn't it? “We can also further our submissiveness to God’s will, so that amid our lesser but genuinely vexing moments we too can say, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." I have learned that having faith in Christ’s power to deliver us often time requires US to have faith in God’s timing!!
Grace can be misunderstood. Back here in the South, grace and the common belief that grace offers an unmerited gift of salvation is really confusing. Most people believe that regardless of works, salvation is free. This idea can obviously be supported in the Bible. Paul, in Romans3:28 says, that “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”. Of course on the other end of the spectrum there are religions that focus on works, obedience, or ordinances, and performances of certain rites and ceremonies. Again we can support this view in the Bible with James’s statement that “faith without works is dead”. As Latter Day Saints and members of Christ's true church, we see grace right down the middle of those two opposing views. C.S. Lewis wrote this when describing whether grace or works was most important, “Seems to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary”. I loved that, and it made me smile. Both grace and works are required for salvation!!
"We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." All mankind has the free gift of salvation through grace, but we are also required to be obedient and to participate in saving ordinances. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism explains that grace makes salvation available to all of us through three categories of blessings. First category is unconditional blessings like resurrection and original sin. Those require no action on our part. Second, there are conditional blessings that require action on our part. We are required to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ by having faith that leads to repentance, which then leads to baptism by water, and the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost. Which is living and embedding the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST into our hearts. We are then born again and become the spirit children Christ. Third, after the unconditional and conditional blessings, grace provides salvation as we continue or endure.
Nephi described conditional blessings as the gate to the path, and once we have entered the gate we “must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life”. Which, is the GREATEST GIFT OF GOD, as mentioned in D&C 14:7. We are required to be obedient and to receive higher ordinances in the temple and to continue repenting as needed. As we do these things we become more and more like Christ. Joseph Smith emphasized the need for us to become more like Christ and our Father in Heaven when he said, “If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses.”
We rely on both works and unearned grace for salvation and that is one of the greatest restored truths that we have! Realizing that our works don’t justify our admittance into heaven but they allow us to become more like our Heavenly Father. We owe a debt that has no price and cannot be paid back. Elder Uchtdorf taught, “Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God”.
Elder Maxwell was amazing and he battled leukemia for a few years in the late 90’s before eventually passing away. In 1997 after making it to yet another conference he talked about the “other side of the “why me?” question. What he meant was that in our lives we often face challenges and at time can as the question why me? Why do I have to go through this? He saw beyond the challenges he faced and was humbled that we was able to continue and overcome. From his elevated perspective his ‘why me’ question was more an expression of gratitude or amazement. He asked the question I think we should all ask ourselves and that is why are we given such an amazing gift like grace? Why me? Why you? Why does God love extend even to me?
I know that despite ourselves, the grace of God is sufficient for each of our salvation. I testify of a living Savior, that he descended below all things so that He would be able to carry us through all of our trials and I know that through the grace made possible by the atonement we can ALL receive salvation and be able to live together for time and all eternity.
I have to get running, but I love you all so very much. Thank you so much for your love and your support. You are amazing. I cannot wait to see y'all. :) I hope you have a great week. Let me know if you need anything.
By the way, my new address is 1122 Murphy Ln. Winston- Salem, North Carolina 27104
Sending all my love and more your way!! Xo

Sister Kyla Worthington

April 4, 2016~Happy April

Hi my cute people!

How is everyone? Another week down. Here I am yet again sitting down to write another email. It's quite sad to think that I only get to send out like 20 more emails or something like that. Time is just going so fast. I love this time of year because it starts to warm up, it stays light outside after 8 pm, and we get to hear from our beloved prophet and apostles. What an amazing weekend it has been. Wasn't conference just amazing? I never wanted it to end. It is such an amazing experience as a missionary. It's a very humbling experience, especially as they read the statistics and list how many full time missionaries there are out serving in the world, and knowing and feeling that you are one of them. Never again in my life will I be counted as one of those full time missionaries. I am so grateful for all of the prayers said and love shown on my behalf. I feel your prayers every single day and it gives me the strength to keep on going.
I don't have enough adequate words to express how much I loved conference. It was so wonderful. It was exactly what I needed to hear and I cannot wait for all of the talks to come out so I can read them. It seems like each conference just keeps getting better and better. Like most conferences, I came with a few questions in mind hoping to get answered. All of Saturday went by and I still hadn't received my answer. Then Sunday came, and BAM! My questions were answered. I have such a strong testimony of general conference. I know that as we truly take time to spiritually prepare for the messages that are given and come with some questions in mind, they will be answered. I have seen it time and time and time again. If you didn't come with any questions and or didn't feel like they got answered, I would invite you to get on your knees again and think about the questions you may have. Study the scriptures, pray, attend your church meetings, and prepare spiritually for when the talks with come out in the Ensign and online and as you read them, I promise you that you will find your answer as you are spiritually prepared and ready.
There wasn't a whole lot that happened this past week. Just the usual. Missionary work and trying to talk to everyone. :) That's just what we do best. Surprisingly there are just a lot of people who are just not interested in what we have to say. We have been rejected so many times this week and it kind of took a toll on me. It's hard to constantly be rejected and still try to hold your head up high and keep going. I have a super positive attitude for the most part, but I found myself getting down a few times this week. Thankfully I have Sister Cottis to cheer me up. She has done so many funny things this week that have just made me laugh and smile. I'll tell you one thing real quick. So we are moving apartments this next weekend and so we have been packing for the past few days and she started to pack all of the Rubbermaid and ziplock tubawears (however the heck you spell that) and she started putting lots of little kitchen things inside of the container, trying to be clever, to save some space and then would find the lid and match it. Well, I was in the other room packing up something else and when I came out in the kitchen she was like, "Hey! I'm done packing all of the plastic containers." They were all spread out all over the kitchen table with their lids on and everything. Well, I looked at her and asked her how many boxes it would take to pack all of the containers and just laughed. Little did she know that you can take off all the lids and stack the containers to take up MUCH LESS space. Hahaha it was one of the funnier times I've experienced in my life. We just looked at each other and laughed for a solid 5 minutes, while taking apart all the containers and stacking them on top of each other. Bless her heart. I love her so much. She thought she was doing such a good job by putting things inside to save space. Hahahah I love the girl to death. Don't know what I'm going to do without her.
I have been especially grateful for the time that I have had to serve here in Tanglewood. I have loved it here. Even though Lewisville is only about 20 minuets away, it's going to be different not being so close to the elders and to some of my favorite people. It's amazing how much the church is growing out here though. I am happy to see that wards are needing to be split because they are getting too big. I wish you could all meet the members here. Everyone is SO strong in the church and I absolutely love it. This past week the senior couple that is over all apartments in the mission came up to our area and helped us look for a new apartment and sign on one. We had a neat experience with this cute little old couple. We looked at a few apartments and decided to pick on that we thought was best. As we prayed to ask the lord to confirm our apartment choice, we had a profound experience. At the end of the prayer Elder Gariety spoke up and said that as we were praying, he felt like there will be some converts that come out of our new apartment complex. He said he felt so strongly that there are people there ready to receive the gospel. He said that the Lord, through his spirit, told him that we needed to move there. All of us felt the same spirit confirm our choice. It gave me great hope and peace knowing that this is where the Lord needs his missionaries to be. I don't know if it will be while I'm here serving or not, but I know that this new area and new place will bring many blessings and miracles. I am really anxious to move so that we can be more engaged in the work and dive right into our new area and new surroundings. :) Hooray for change. Hopefully I don't get transferred in 2 weeks. Cross my fingers.
I wish I had some things to update you on as far as the missionary work goes, but things are just about the same. We are working with some potential people but are mostly trying to work on building up our teaching pool in our new area. Our miracle family, Tiffany & Teresa, that I told you about a few weeks ago are doing great. Teresa found out she has breast cancer and is going to have to do chemotherapy and all that jazz so that's definitely been a trial, but she is turning more to the Lord and we are hoping that her heart will continue to be softened and open to the gospel. We are still seeing them about once or twice a week, but they are having a really hard time actually progressing and coming to church and all of that great stuff. They seem to love the message we share and are reading the Book of Mormon everyday, but are struggling to see the importance of acting on what they are feeling and believing. We have a few others who are in the same boat. We met another family, the Dollbaum family, a few weeks ago and they have so much potential. They have 4 kids and are the cutest little family. We have an appointment with them on Wednesday and are super excited. We are going to teach a powerful Restoration lesson and invite all 6 of them to be baptized in May! Pray for that miracle please. They met with missionaries when they lived in Maryland and then when they moved kind of just lost contact with the church but we found them! So we are going to get them back on track. Sister Cottis and I have a dream to baptize a family so we are hoping that this could be it. Mom, dad, and four kids... Perfect!
Robert and Melissa are doing alright. Robert is doing better than Melissa haha. We didn't have a dinner appointment on Friday night so Robert took Sister Cottis and I out to dinner at Olive Garden. It was so much fun. We had such a good time and just continued to build some solid trust with him. He is doing so well too. He got interviewed for his temple recommend and is going to do baptisms for the dead for the first time in his life with another member of our ward. You have no idea how badly I wish I could go with him. It's absolutely awful not having a temple in my mission. When President Monson announced the new temples I was just praying so hard that he would say Charlotte, North Carolina haha. One day. Anyways, I will at least be able to go through the temple with Robert when he gets his endowment so that will be a special experience. Melissa is just struggling with her testimony and staying strong. Since our ward split, she is in a new ward and isn't too fond of that. She just wants to come to church with us, but she lives outside of our boundaries now. We have been trying to help her see that she cannot be converted to the people or the missionaries, but that she needs to be converted to the Gospel. The Gospel is the same everywhere you go, and that's what we are trying to help her see. She just doesn't fit in with anyone and feels so left out. She's a single 37 year old with no kids and is surrounded by families everywhere, with lots of kids. :) We are working on strengthening her and continue to pray for her. I know God is aware of her and is taking care of her. I'm just grateful that my mission president has allowed me to be able to see her still and work with her, even though she is out of our area. I'm super grateful for that.
My studies have been super good lately. This past week I have really been studying the Book of Mormon and the power of the scriptures. AH! I love the scriptures so much. Preach My Gospel has an amazing chapter all on the Bible and the Book of Mormon and I have read it so many times that I am pretty sure I have the whole chapter memorized haha. That book has so many powerful things. There were a few things that really stood out to me and helped me begin my study of the scriptures. "An essential part of conversion is receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true."

The ultimate goal for us is to become truly converted to the Gospel so that we can live in a way that would allow us to be able to make it back to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ one day, right? Well, an essential part of conversion is by receiving a witness that the Book of Mormon is true. I have truly come to see that the Book of Mormon is what converts people. Every investigator I have ever taught, or have seen get baptized, has gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and that has helped them work towards making the covenant of baptism. It's absolutely essential.
"The Book of Mormon, combined with the spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." It is the most correct book on the earth. It's central purpose is to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ. It teaches about the true doctrine of the atonement and of the plan of salvation. The Book of Mormon is truly what holds our religion together and is the keystone. I had always heard that, but it really didn't mean all that much to me. As I have been on my mission and have been able to read from the Book of Mormon EVERY SINGLE DAY and have been able to witness the process that others truly have to go through to gain a testimony, I have come to see how significant that really is. Joseph Smith didn't just teach us that doctrine for no reason. He taught us that because the book itself is the most powerful resource to convert us. Joseph Smith also taught us that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." The Book of Mormon is a springboard to testimony and personal revelation. By reading it, you will draw closer to your Savior. President Hinckley once said, "Those who have read the Book of Mormon prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown under its power...Without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts … the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God." What a beautiful promise. I have had to apply this into my life many of times. I have read and applied the promise in Moroni 10:3-5 so many times and have had to strengthen and renew my own testimony of the Book of Mormon. I can testify to you that it's true and that it works. The Spirit of the Lord has come into my heart and I have received greater strength and desire to keep the commandments and continue to endure. My renewed testimony has helped me maintain a firm confidence that anyone who applies this promise will receive an answer.
Not too long ago we had a zone conference with President Alexander. His training was all about the scriptures and how powerful they are and what they can do for us in our lives, and in our missionary work. He shared a scripture with us that has continued to stick with me. In Alma 31:5 it says, "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just--yea, it had had a more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, oranything else, which had happened unto them--therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God." President Alexander went on to say that the power of the word has a more powerful effect on us as children of God than ANYTHING ELSE. He had us all yell that out about 50 times throughout that day and it's stuck with me ever since. That being said, it has helped me understand how important the Book of Mormon is and how much it can help us in our lives with anything that we might be going through. I know that the scriptures can truly answer every question that we may ever have, or ever come up with.
In Lehi's dream, he saw an iron rod which led through the mists of darkness. He saw that if people would hold fast to that rod, they could avoid the rivers of filthiness, stay away from the evil paths, and could stop from wandering on the strange roads that lead to destruction. Later Nephi clearly explained the symbolism of the iron rod. When Laman and Lemuel asked, “What meaneth the rod of iron?” Nephi answered, “It was the word of God; and then the promise came. "Whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.” (1 Ne. 15:23–24) Not only will the word of God lead us to the fruit which is desirable above all others, but in the word of God and through it we can find the power to resist temptation, and the power to fight off Satan. This dream is truly the answer to the great challenge of our time. The word of God, as found in the scriptures, in the words of living prophets, and in personal revelation, has the power to strengthen us and arm us with the Spirit so that we can resist evil, hold fast to the good in this world, and find joy in this life. Because finding JOY is what it's all about!! :)
I love the scriptures. Immerse yourself in the scriptures. Search them diligently. Feast upon the words of Christ. Learn the doctrine. Master the principles that are found in the holy words of God. President Kimball said: "I am convinced that each of us, at least some time in our lives, must discover the scriptures for ourselves--and not just discover them once, but rediscover them again and again. …The Lord is not trifling with us when he gives us these things, for "unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." (Luke 12:48.) Access to these things means responsibility for them. We must study the scriptures according to the Lord’s commandment and we must let them govern our lives.” But that alone, as valuable as it is, is not enough. We must also stretch our efforts and our activities to help the members of the Church. Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes or wards. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men and women on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple, or at least as missionaries we try to do all of these things but all of these are important efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom, but when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow and WE WILL BE BLESSED.
Before my mission I looked at studying my scriptures almost as a burden. Just something that I always felt like I was asked to do, and it was something that I had to check off my to do list. It should not be a burden laid upon us by the Lord. It is a marvelous blessing and opportunity to read and have the spirit come into our lives. The scriptures can do so much for us. In Jacob 2:8 it says, "And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul." In 2 Nephi 32:3 it says, "I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." In JS-M translation it says, "And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet." In Helamen 3:29 it says, "Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful,which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked." In Alma 37:9 it says, "Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer." There are so many other examples in the scriptures but these were some that really hit me. The scriptures can do SO much for us if we will just read them and apply them in our lives.
One of my favorite quotes for the week was "Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul--these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. Does the Lord promise and not fulfill? Surely if He tells us that these things will come to us if we lay hold upon His word, then the blessings can be ours. And if we do not, then the blessings may be lost. However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life."
Some of you may find the scriptures boring, or they don’t have much meaning to you. If so, you haven’t yet put forth the time and effort and faith to learn to understand them and love them. I would encourage you all to make more of an effort in reading the scriptures. Start TODAY. It's never too late. I read a conference talk about the scriptures this past week and Sister Kapp was referring the scriptures to letters. It really related to me right now because missionaries absolutely love letters! She said, "Can you imagine being away from home and receiving a letter from your parents and not bothering to open it or read it? This is what happens when we don’t read these precious records. (The scriptures) The holy scriptures are like letters from home telling us how we can draw near to our Father in Heaven. He tells us to come as we are. No one will be denied. He loves everyone." It gave me a new perspective and helped me see that I have to be better at reading them and obeying the commandment to read.
Okay, sorry this is getting way too long and I'm sure I have lost a lot of you by this point. Please forgive me. I guess I've just been in a typing mood lately. :) I just want you to know how much I love the scriptures and that I know they are true. I know the bible and the Book of Mormon are the words of God. I know they will bless you if you let them. I would challenge you to be better and recommit to read them everyday! Everyday! Everyday! They will change your life.
I love this gospel with my whole heart and soul. I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for this chance that I've had to grow and serve the people of North Carolina. I am excited for this upcoming month and the warm weather that is awaiting us. We are pulling out the bikes tonight and I'm super excited to be outside and finding God's children who are ready for the Gospel. :) I hope you all have a wonderful week.
I miss you so much. Thank you for everything and for all of the support that I receive on a daily basis. I will update you on my new address next week. :) I better cut this one short before I bore y'all to death. Sending all my love and more your way. Talk to you in seven. Xo

Sister Ky Worthington