Friday, April 15, 2016

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

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