Hey loves!Oh familyyyyy, this was a rough week. I am so grateful that it's Monday, you have no idea. It's crazy how much of a rollercoaster your mission can be. This whole week I was just preparing myself for the email that I was going to write you. I was just about to vent and tell you that I cannot do this anymore and that missionary work is SOOO hard and it's killing me, how frustrating it is, how depressed I've been this week, blah blah blah, all this other stuff that doesn't even matter and that Satan is just trying to throw at me, and then.... I make it to Sunday and partake of the beautiful sacrament, and experience so many miracles and then everything changes. Crazy how it works. Sometimes it makes me laugh. I look back on the week and honestly don't know how I got through it, but then laugh at myself that I made it so hard when it really didn't need to be that hard. I am convinced that a lot of the feelings and things we go though, we bring upon ourselves. This morning I was studying in Alma about the letter that Moroni writes to Pahoran and saw how Pahoran could've taken that letter offensively and could've been really upset, but instead, he didn't get offended by it and chose to react in pleasing manner.
I was thinking about that a lot today because we can choose not to be offended, upset, sad, or frustrated. It is impossible for another person to make us feel that way, or offend you or me. Believed that another person offended us or made us feel a certain way is fundamentally false. Elder Bednar once said, "To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else. " And I relate that to any feeling that we may be feeling. This life here on earth is like a workshop where we all get to practice on each other in the ongoing process of perfecting the saints. "You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do deter main how we will act. Remember that we are moral agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose to not be offended, upset, sad, or frustrated." After studying that this morning, I realized that I needed to change. I realized that it's normal to have those feelings, but that I must not dwell in those thoughts and feelings and that I must take personal responsibility and not blame those feelings or thoughts on anyone else but myself.
This past week was just full of many different things. It rained almost ALL week long, and when I say rain, I mean RAIN. North Carolina just knows how to rain. It was super dark and muggy all week and I think that definitely took a tole on me as well. Then we just had really long, hard days of rejection after rejection and canceled appointments after canceled appointments. I just get so frustrated when we meet people, teach them a great lesson, set a return appointment, find a member, schedule things around their appointments, only to have them cancel or not be there for our lesson. I have never had it happen so much on my entire mission than in this area and transfer. Seriously like 12 appointments canceled this week. I just wish people had the respect or decency to tell us if they weren't interested or couldn't meet. If they only knew how much work we really went too and how much we really care about them. It's just the life of a missionary, but for some reason it really took a tole on me this week. Usually I am pretty good at shaking things off, but this week got me down a little bit. We had one appointment with a solid guy named Xavier and went to so much work to make his lesson happen, and then when he canceled I just wanted to sit down and cry. I love these people so much, it hurts! Sometimes I really don't like how people use their agency. :) But, I realized how much it taught me though and how much it really helped me see how much I truly love the people of North Carolina and how much I desire their happiness and salvation. It kind of gave me a glimpse of how much my parents love me and want what's best for me, and ultimately how much my Heavenly Father loves me and how he really wants what is best for me. Overall, it was a good experience for me and helped me realize that I am doing the right things and that sometimes God is just teaching me patience and helping me see how everyone does have their agency and I need to respect that.
I am doing much better now though, but could still use some more of those powerful prayers! Sometimes after a really hard week, it makes me nervous for the next week because I have no idea what's coming my way and what's going to happen. You just never know! We were able to see a few miracles though and that always strengthens my faith and gives me hope. One of our less active members came to church last week and told us about his brother who has been struggling. He gave us his address and phone number and told us to go stop by. We called him up and set an appointment with him and went over to teach him. We taught a killer Restoration lesson and invited him to be baptized on June 18th! He is so prepared. He is the sweetest 18 year old kid I've ever met. He has great desires to change his life around and follow after the example of his older brother. We are really trying to work with his older brother now to get him worthy and active so that he could baptize his younger brother! Talk about killing two birds with one stone! His name is Jose Romero! His nick name is Yeyo, but his real name is Jose. Now we have TWO Jose's on date! Yay! Pray for the Jose's! I am super excited to see what happens with him and hope that he really takes things seriously and progresses. The spirit was so strong in our lesson and I know without a doubt that he felt it. I I felt it, I know he felt it.
Yesterday was also a miraculous day. We had ward conference and had over 250 young single adults at church. We invited all of the graduating seniors in the 3 Charlotte stakes to attend church with us and get them excited about coming to the YSA ward after they graduate high school. We had great meetings and the spirit was so strong for all three hours of the day! After church we had a MASSIVE linger longer and had hot dogs and hamburgers for days! It was so much fun. I've never seen so many people crammed into a cultural hall at one time. It was absolutely crazy. Hopefully the seniors had an exciting time and want to come back! There was also a "bug boy" who brought one of his friends to church and she absolutely loved it. Her name is Nicole Harrison and she is amazing. She grew up baptist but just decided one day that it wasn't for her. She had always been so curious of her Mormon friend and so she decided to go to Mormon.org. She chatted with some missionaries in Utah and ended up finding out that there was some Latter Day Saint services in Charlotte and called her friend up. He brought her to church and then introduced us to her. She asked us how often we could meet and said that she really wants to get baptized in June! Who says that?! She said she has felt so right with everything and that this is something that she has been looking for her whole life, she just didn't know where to find it! It made me think of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that talks about people who are "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." Or something like that. But, through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can find it! We set a return appointment for tomorrow afternoon and I couldn't be more excited. She is such a neat girl. She's like 25 and just has her life put together. She's a dental hygienist and so we instantly clicked. We gave her her own Book of Mormon and she is already so excited for next week to come to church! It was as if God just knew exactly what I needed and just made me wait until the very end of the week to get it. It was like she was handed to us and we didn't even have to do anything, but work hard the week before, and continue to pray and ask in faith for God to bless us and lead us to people who are prepared. What a beautiful tender mercy! Please pray for Nicole! She is so so so elect and I am so excited to start working with her.
My boy Jose Garcia is still doing well. We had a really positive lesson with him this past week and really set some serious expectations. We brought a member with us who speaks Spanish and that really helped. We went over the baptismal interview questions with Jose and he passed it with flying colors. He is so ready. I wish y'all could be in these lessons with me. He is unreal. He has one of the purest spirits that I know and his desires are so good. He said that the only thing that would be holding him back from getting baptized would be his work schedule. It's been really hard for him to get Sunday's off and it's going to be even harder for him to get a Saturday and Sunday off, but I know that with the Lord, nothing is impossible! (Luke 1:37) He is great and will get baptized! We had to push his date back a few weeks and it's now in June, but he's so ready! Thanks for all your prayers on his behalf. I love him to death!
Other than that, we are just working really hard to work with the ward council and try to reactivated some of our little lost sheep. The less actives seem to respond way better to us than the members, so we are trying to work through them. I have really come to see that if we want to get baptism here, we HAVE to work through the members. That is the only way that they are going to come. I have such a strong testimony of member missionary work and I hope that all of you are trying your best to share your testimony with those around you and that you are really focusing on trying to invite others to come unto Christ in some way, shape, or form.
After my hard week, I decided to do some studying on trust, hope, and patience. I learned a lot and have a strengthened testimony on those Christlike attributes. In Preach my Gospel chapter 6, I absolutely love what it says about hope. "Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement. The scriptures often describe hope in Jesus Christ as the assurance that you will inherit eternal life in the celestial kingdom. President James E. Faust taught: “Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (Col. 1:23). Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.” “Hope is the anchor of our souls. …Hope is trust in God’s promises, faith that if we act now, the desired blessings will be fulfilled in the future." The unfailing source of our hope is that we are sons and daughters of God and that His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved us from death.
I absolutely love that because it's all so true. Hope is truly trusting in the Lord and trusting that as we act and do our part, he will bless us with the promises that he has promised. God does not break his promises. If he promises us something, it will be fulfilled, but we must do our part. I have had to trust in the Lord this week that as I work diligently and faithfully, he will bless us with the promise that he will place people in our paths who are prepared to receive the gospel and that he will bless us with his spirit to know what to say and do and where to go. Hope and trust are also very tied to patience and that is what I really learned this week. The attribute of patience. Patience is truly a mighty virtue and can be developed as we become peacemakers and make up our mind to be patient within our own life as well as with others. I think our own patience is developed when we are patient with others. As I have been patient with my investigators, my companions, members, and others that I associate with, I have seen my own patience develop. This past week I really felt like Alma when he said, "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." I wanted to turn back so bad and just give up, but then I realized that there is promise from the Lord. If we "bear with patience our afflictions, he will give us success." All we have to do is bear our afflictions and trials. They will come and we will all have them, but we just have to endure them and we will receive the promise! Whether in this life or the next, I don't know, but I do know that we will receive the promise!
"You and I are here on earth for a divine purpose. Our life on earth is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in full pursuit of pleasure. You are here to be tried, to prove yourself so that you can receive the additional blessings God has for you. The tempering effect of patience is required. Some blessings will be delivered here in this life; others will come beyond the veil. The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your individual liking or not. When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered in His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to do His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience. If you constantly question everything you are asked to do, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you." I loved that last sentence because it really made me evaluate my life and how many things I question. I need to just trust God and trust that he knows that he's doing and that he has a plan for me. If I show him that I trust him, then I know he will have an easier time giving me blessings!
I have really come to know that sadness and disappointment are just temporary. Happiness is everlastingly eternal because of Jesus Christ and it's important that we come to understand that while here on earth. Do you take time to discover each day and how beautiful your life can be? It goes back to what I talked about earlier in my email, we determine how we feel and how we choose to live our lives. Just a few days ago after some of our lessons had been canceled, we were driving down the road, not knowing where to go, and it was pouring rain. I was just so sad and so down. After thinking about how hard my life was, I turned my head and saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. It was as if God had answered another one of my silent prayers. It was the brightest, most beautiful rainbow over the city of Charlotte that I have ever seen! I all of the sudden changed my attitude and realized that I am so blessed and that I needed to be grateful and happy for my life and my situation. There are SO many who have it worse than me. Freak, I'm just on a mission living the life, complaining because someone canceled their appointment, while others are dying and starving and don't even have close to what I have. It made me step back and repent and focus on being grateful. As I was driving, it also made me think of children and my little Kenna Grace. Children teach us how to find joy even under the most challenging circumstances. They haven’t yet learned to be depressed by concentrating on the things they don’t have. They just find joy in whatever is available to them and they are content! I wish we could all be like that. I am grateful that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ incorporates the remarkable principle of patience. When we were teaching Yeyo this past week, we asked him if he saw anything different in his older brother when he got baptized. He said that he was a lot more calm and had way more patience! Then when we asked two recent convert twins in the ward what the gospel did for them, they both said that they were way more calm and patient and were able to get through things better! It just made me think of how amazing the gospel is and how right they all were. It's been neat to see the difference between families that have the gospel, and families that don't. A family with a mother, father, and children, and the gospel are so peaceful, calm, and handle things way better than a broken family without the gospel. We just have a different way of living and I think it's definitely the Savior's way of living. I love it! The gospel is beautiful!
I have to get going, but I wanted to share one more scripture with you. In Romans 5:3-5 it says, "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Tribulation worketh patience, patience worketh experience, and experience worketh hope, and hope worketh the love of God in our hearts. How true that is. We all will have tribulation, but I promise that as you exercise patience and put your faith and trust in the Lord, he will take care of you and bless you with the promises that he has promised you with. Although I had a tough week, his promises were sure.
I love you all so much. Thanks for all you do! I hope you have a great week! Can't wait to see you. Transfer calls are this week... Pray that I stay! Only 3 more transfers to go! :) Talk to ya in seven! Sending all my love from Charlotte your way!
Sister Kyla Worthington