Happy May! I cannot believe it's been another month. Where did April go? I absolutely love this time of year because it starts to warm up and all of the pretty flowers start to come up. It hit 94 degrees in NC a few days ago and I wasn't too fond of that. I don't think that's normal spring weather. However, the past few days it has been raining really hard core and we have had some pretty intense thunder & lightning storms and that's helping it feel more like spring. I love the rain here because it's so different from the rain in Utah. It literally rains buckets of water and then the very next day everything is even more green then it already is and the pollen goes away, and it's just beautiful. :) I cannot complain. I have loved living here. It's really an excellent place to live. If you ever want to live on the east coast, I'd suggest North Carolina. :) It's such a beautiful state.
This past week in Charlotte was another eventful one. There is always so many things going on here and I feel like I am never standing still. There is so much to do here, so much work to be done, and so many people to talk too. We don't even have lunch and dinner hours anymore. We are always on the go and I really feel like I'm living in a dream. I never stop. Bedtime comes so fast, and then before you know it, I wake up and do it all over again. I am so grateful to be busy. I love being busy. I am also grateful for the organization skills and multitasking skills that God has blessed me with. That has helped me out so much. It's amazing how the spirit really helps too! There are so many times where the spirit prompts me to do something or helps me remember to do something, or grab something that I forgot. It's absolutely unreal. I love being so close to the spirit. Never in my life have I ever felt so close to my Heavenly Father and his spirit. I really feel like I can say a quick prayer anywhere, anytime, and he answers back within seconds or minutes. It's incredible.
I was able to grow a lot this week. I experienced the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. The week started off really well. Last Monday after I emailed y'all, we went to FHE with the young single adults and had a really good time. I love Monday nights because we get to be with everyone, enjoy a free meal, and play some games with them.
We have been really working on trying to build member trust and let these people see that we are normal people too. I think that has definitely been helping. Sometimes as missionaries we get so rote & robotic, and forget who we really are and forget to act like ourselves, of course just in a more dignified way. :) There is also a girl in the ward named Kyla and I finally got to meet her. We instantly clicked. She is on the ward council and is really involved in the ward so it's weird to hear my name all the time now. It kind of throws me off. I kind of forgot that I even had a first name haha.
Tuesday was pretty good! We decided to be brave and go walk around UNCC campus. It's an open college and so we are able to walk around and proselyte, or do whatever we want up there. I have never been more scared in my life haha. There were college kids EVERYWHERE. We saw so many young single adults in one place that I think we froze up and really just didn't even know where to begin or how to approach these people. Everyone just kept walking by and looking at us wondering who the heck we were and what we were doing there. It was actually pretty funny. I am just really trying to figure out how I can talk to these kids and help them receive the gospel. Most everyone that we have talked to so far just doesn't want to give us the time of day.
Everyone is so busy with school and work that they don't make time for God or religion. It is really sad and breaks my heart. I have come to see at my age how important this gospel is, and religion is for that matter, in these times of my life that I can't imagine what 98% of these college kids must be going through and how they are making it without it. We are getting more creative as the days go by.... But could still use some more prayers and ideas. We are setting up a free lemonade & cookies stand with some book of Mormons and pass along cards & posters with the elders this next week on campus and are hoping to have some people come up to us, instead of us having to come up to them. I will keep you posted on how that one goes. We were able to teach a few lessons and meet a few new people so it ended up being a decent day. Lots of walking, lots of sunshine and sunburns, but absolutely worth it. It also made me super excited for college for some reason... So I guess that's a good thing. :)
Wednesday was just another day of finding. We taught a less active member who ended up bringing his friend to the lesson so that was really nice! The friend was married to a Mormon so he kind of knew who we were and what we were about, but we had a really good lesson with him and taught the restoration. He is 35, so we had to refer him to the other missionaries, but I am grateful that we at least got to teach him a few things and give him his own Book of Mormon. :) He said while he was in prison his ex-wife brought him the quad and he read the whole thing and really enjoyed it. Hopefully he will continue to meet with the elders and will continue to progress towards baptism. We did lots of walking around and park finding. Tracting is not successful when it comes to working with young single adults because you just never run into them while knocking doors. We have been trying to be outside a lot more and talking to people walking the streets and hanging out downtown and stuff. We had dinner with a member and then was going to have him come teach with us, but unfortunately our investigator bailed on us.
Thursday was great! Another day at the soup kitchen, interviews with president, weekly planning, dinner with the bishop, and teaching lessons! Cannot complain about days like that. I had another neat experience at the soup kitchen and met some more amazing homeless people. It's been neat to see how we have been able to share the gospel as well. Many people are so fascinated by our name tags and ask us questions all the time. We aren't allowed to proselyte, but we are allowed to answer questions if they ask. Sister Nunies and I then headed over to the mission office for our interviews with President and Sister Alexander. Oh how I love and adore them so much! I had a really neat interview with President. They are always so good, but this one seemed to be extra good. Most of the time my interviews are really short because I just have no concerns or questions, and all seems to be going well, so I just feel like I'm in and out, but this one was a solid 20 minutes and we had a good chat and talked about a lot of things. President Alexander is the man. I cannot wait for y'all to meet him one day. He is wonderful. He answered a lot of my prayers and really helped me know with 100% surety that I am supposed to be here in Charlotte with my dear sweet companion. Some days I really struggle to think that I am supposed to be here, but her told me some things and really let me know that I am needed here and it was a very powerful experience that I won't forget. I know that he is so inspired and that Heavenly Father really knows what's up and knows exactly what I need, my companion needs, and the people of Charlotte need. I was also able to have a really long talk with Sister Alexander and just learned so much from her. She also asked me to play a solo on Sunday night for a mission president's fireside... So that was exciting. Kind of. :) I love her haha. She just always knows that if she asks me, she knows I can't say "no." We were able to go over to our bishop's house for dinner and it was so much fun. His family is amazing and his wife reminds me of mama! She is so fun, so loving, and such a party gal! You would really like her mama. She made us breakfast for dinner and even made me Magelby's white syrup because she knew I was from Utah!
:) We had a recent convert come with us as well and were able to have a really good member home lesson with her after dinner. We showed the "Testimony of the Book of Mormon" Mormon message with her and all went around and shared our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the spirit was SOOO strong. I know without a doubt she felt it. She is struggling with her testimony of the Book of Mormon, but I know after that lesson, her heart was softened. I would invite y'all to go watch that Mormon message by Elder Holland if you haven't already. I promise you that if you watch that, your testimony of the Book of Mormon and your love and appreciation for Joseph Smith will increase! We had a lesson with one of our progressing investigators set up with a member, but she bailed on us too so we ended up not being able to teach her. :( We were able to teach a new investigator that we found last week though instead so that ended up being really good and I think Heavenly Father needed our first lesson to fall through so that we could see the other kid. It all works out in the end and God always knows what's up and what he needs to get done. :) I don't even need to worry about it, I just need to be available and need to by ready to do whatever he needs me to do. Then he'll take care of the rest! Friday was just Friday. We just did missionary work and did our thing!
While traveling to an appointment, we passed a Cheesecake Factory, Nordstrom, Ruth's Chris, Aston Martin car dealership, Carowinds amusement park, and many other places and I kind of wanted to cry. When we all come back to visit my mission, we definitely need to come to south Charlotte. It's crazy here! It's definitely the ritzy part of town, but there is so many fun things to do! I cannot wait to show you around and show you all of the places that I served at! :) North Carolina I just so fun. Anyways, long story short, Friday was a good day. Not too much happened.
Saturday was miraculous. I had a really neat experience. We were going to see this potential investigator and as we were driving there, I had the thought that we shouldn't drive out there to see him and that we needed to stop at this near by shopping complex and walk around that we had passed on our way to see him. Neither of us had been to that complex and had no idea what it was, but we decided to go. We parked and started to walk around the complex and I noticed this guy in his mid 40's or so, sitting on a bench by himself. We started to walk by him and I said "Hey sir! How are you?" And kinda kept walking by.....and then all of the sudden, the spirit told me to turn around and ask him about his accent and where he was from. We ended up having a good 30-45 minute conversation about the gospel and set up a return appointment for this upcoming Friday. He is SO amazing! So ready for the Gospel. I know he isn't a YSA, but I know without a doubt that he was placed in our path for a reason. After we teach him this next week, we will refer him to the elders. Lately I have been kind of selfish and have been just trying to talk to young single adults because I know that if they aren't a young single adult, then we won't be able to teach them and baptize them, but on this day I learned something different. We are ALL God's children, and everyone needs the gospel. I don't just want to increase the YSA ward, I want to increase and build the kingdom of Heaven. Whether I do the teaching or not, missionary work is missionary work. I know that as I reach out and talk to EVERYONE, God will bless us and give us some young single adults to work with, I just have to keep going! That night I repented and realized that I am a missionary, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I TALK TO EVERYONE AND FEAR NO MAN. One of my goals this week is to work on talking to everyone, and trusting that the Lord will place people in our path to teach that are within 18-30 years old. Anyways, it was a really neat experience and I really saw the hand of the lord in the work that day. I knew that he was speaking to me through his spirit and I knew that there was a reason that we needed to go to that shopping complex. This man is prepared! His name is Nur Abdi, and he is from Israel! He is here studying computer science at UNCC and is so ready for the gospel. :) Start praying for him. He will get baptized soon! And... Sunday! I made it! All I have to do is make it to Sunday's and I know I'll be good. This one was a really good Sunday too! I love fast Sunday's. Early Sunday morning around 7:00 am, we received a call from an 801 number. I answered it, having no clue who was calling us. It ended up being a man from Sandy, Utah named Mike. He was in Charlotte for a business trip and wanted to know what time church started so that he could come and partake of the sacrament. Our church building was the closest to where he was at, so he decided to come join us in the YSA ward, even though he was like 50 haha. After hanging up, I was just so amazed and so touched. It was so neat to see how someone who was on a business trip by himself, went out of his way to find a church that he could go to to partake of the sacred ordinance of the sacrament. It was such a testimony to me that our church is so good, that the sacrament ordinance is amazing, and that there are amazing, faithful members of the church everywhere you go.
He could have totally just slept in and went on with his business trip and no one would've ever known who he was or if he went to church or not, but he ended up getting up and sharing his powerful testimony and got almost every person in the congregation in tears. It was amazing!
That, is how you know if someone is truly converted to the gospel and is faithful and obedient to the Sabbath day. Sister Nunies and I both bore our testimonies as well and the spirit was really strong in that sacrament meeting! I love being able to share my testimony and be edified by others.
I ended up meeting some people at church from Orem, Utah and that was really exciting. We have a bunch of "bug boys" in our ward that just arrived who will be selling pest control for the Summer and I found out that two of them know Kirk and Mak really well! :) One of them was a groomsman for Kirk and he recognized me and my name! It was fun to see them and make that connection. Sometimes I feel like I know no one out here.. But it's definitely a small world when things like that happen! Sunday night we had a mission president's fireside and that was really special. That is where the mission president and a recent convert speak and open up to the congregation of recent converts, less actives, and investigators to ask questions and talk about the basic things of the gospel. It's a meeting that happens every fast Sunday and the spirit is always so strong. I was really nervous for my special musical number... But right before I went up and played, I said a prayer and it was answered instantly. All nerves, fears, and stresses went away and I felt the spirit work through me as I was playing. :) After the fireside, we had a worldwide YSA broadcast and that was incredible too! Sunday was just a great day!!! I was rejuvenated and was on a spiritual high all day! So grateful for the sacrament and for the spirit! :) I need it each week to truly sustain me and keep me going.
Okay, sorry this is getting really long. One of those days when I could just sit and write forever. I learned a lot about repentance and forgiveness this past week and want to share a quote with you that I really liked.
President Ezra Taft Benson taught about the difference between worldly sorrow and the deeper godly sorrow necessary for repentance:
“It is not uncommon to find men and women in the world who feel remorse for the things they do wrong. Sometimes this is because their actions cause them or loved ones great sorrow and misery. Sometimes their sorrow is caused because they are caught and punished for their actions. Such worldly feelings do not constitute ‘godly sorrow.’
…Godly sorrow is a gift of the Spirit. It is a deep realization that our actions have offended our Father and our God. It is the sharp and keen awareness that our behavior caused the Savior, He who knew no sin, even the greatest of all, to endure agony and suffering. Our sins caused Him to bleed at every pore. This very real mental and spiritual anguish is what the scriptures refer to as having ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ (See 3 Ne. 9:20; Moro. 6:2; D&C 20:37; 59:8; Ps.
34:18; 51:17; Isa. 57:15.) Such a spirit is the absolute prerequisite for true repentance."
Ah! Isn't that so good? I have been really studying Alma 34 & 36 and have just loved what is taught in those chapters. I have a new love for repentance and a greater desire to repent myself, and help others do the same. Repentance is one of the greatest gifts that we have been given. I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and for the healing power that it has. We all fall short. We all make mistakes.
None of us are perfect, but because of repentance, and our Savior Jesus Christ, we can all be healed and we can all have the chance to return to our Heavenly Father if we just choose to live in such a way that would be pleasing unto him. I love repenting and changing. I love turning more towards God and coming to know him more and feeling more of his love. I know he lives and I know he loves me. I can feel it every single day. I think one of the best ways to feel the love of God is through repentance. The times that I have truly had godly sorrow and have truly repented have been some of times in my life where I have felt the spirit and the love of God the very strongest. I promise that you can feel of that same love if you will just repent and turn your heart towards God.
I want you all to know how much I love and adore each one of you. I am so grateful for this gospel and for the wonderful plan that our father in heaven has provided for each one of us, so that we can all make it back to him and be with each other forever! How grateful I am for the power of the Priesthood and the sealing power. How grateful I am that God has placed prophets on the earth to lead and guide us. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth and I know that he leads and guides this church today and that it is run under the direction of Jesus Christ. He being the chief corner stone of our religion. I love this gospel so much. I love my savior so much. I love being able to change, grow, be tempted and tried, and experience trials, but also experience the good times. What a wonderful life we can all have if we just rely on the saving grace of our Savior Jesus Christ.
May God bless all of you this week!! I hope all the mothers out there have a wonderful Mother's Day too! I will be thinking of each of you and am so grateful for the impact that you have had in my life and the great legacies that you have left behind for me to follow. Kaiden, I hope you have a great birthday! :) Sure love you, and would also LOVE to hear from you one of these days.... :) Have a great week. Talk to y'all in SIX! & I mean REALLY talk to you. :) I am so excited. Cannot wait! Please let me know if skyping at 5:00 pm your time doesn't work.
Dad, I will probably just end up face-timing you like I did on Christmas, so be ready for that. That seems to work better. :) Love you guys so much!!! Sending all my love your way. Xo
Sister Kyla Worthington
Sorry for the bad quality... That's all you get. Only picture we took this week haha. We really need to step up our game. Sorrrryyyy. These
2 girls on the left are my last companions recent converts. :) Sister Cottis loves them & so do we! They come out teaching with us all the time.