Hi my cute people,
How is everyone? Is it really already Monday again? This week flew by. I hope you all had a great week and hope everyone is enjoying the beginning days of Summer! It sounds like many of the cousins have graduated and that life is just moving so quickly! I am happy to hear that things are going well and that you are all safe, happy, and healthy. I pray for each of you daily and hope that you can feel my prayers and my love for you! :)
After my last weeks email and after my really tough week, God blessed me with an amazing week and with happy spirits! This week was absolutely amazing! Sister Nunies and I saw so many miracles. I guess the biggest and most exciting news is that Sister Nunies and I get to stay another transfer together in the Charlotte area. I kind of realized that I forgot to tell you last week that it was transfers... But I just kind of assumed that I wasn't going to be transferred so I didn't say anything to you. And needless to say, that was the case! We are staying and I couldn't be more grateful. I have really grown to love my companion and have just had a blast with her. She is the most easy going, fun-loving person that I've ever met. There is just something about them Polynesians. :) I love her though and we are creating a lasting bond and an eternal friendship. Mission companions are the best. This past transfer was the fastest one of my whole mission. I swear we just got together and just came into this area. I don't know if it was because we were whitewashing and so it just went so fast.. Or what, but all I know is that it was the fastest 6 weeks of my entire life. It was over in a blink of an eye. The thought of only having 3 more transfers Kills me. That is not enough time. We have so much work to do it's not even funny!
The second biggest item of exciting news is that our lovely Nicole Harrison is getting baptized this Sunday, June 5th! You have no idea how big of a miracle this has been. I think I briefly mentioned her last week in my email.. But had no idea that everything was going to fall into place so perfectly and that we would be planning a baptism so quickly. It's going to be a busy, eventful week! I'm going to need some more prayers haha. Sister Nunies and I are a little bit stressed. As I mentioned last week, Nicole came to church and we set up an appointment to meet with her. Well, we met with her and had an amazing lesson and ended up staying at her house for 2+ hours talking about the gospel. To make a long story short, we taught her basically every single day this last week and finished teaching her her last lesson yesterday after church. This never ever ever happens. We taught her EVERYTHING in one week! What! She was keeping every single commitment that we were extending to her and she was even going above and beyond what we were asking her to do. She never wanted us to leave because she just wanted to keep learning more. She has a full notebook of notes and she is already half way done with the Book of Mormon. I have never ever ever in my entire life seen someone so prepared to receive the gospel. She came to church again yesterday and had a very powerful experience. One of the members of our bishopric pulled her aside and chatted with her and was just so impressed with the changed person that she is.
She just kept telling us about how happy this has already made her and how she hasn't had a desire to drink or party or do some of the things that she used to do in her previous lifestyle. She says she already feels better physically and mentally and has just been so so happy. She keeps saying that she just doesn't know how to explain it! We totally get what she means. :) As Mormons, we just stand out and are so happy. Anyways, she is getting baptized in 6 days and it will probably be one of the best days of my life. I have gotten SO close to her already and she is already talking about moving to Utah and rooming with me, and she is going to help me get through hygiene school. Literally, that's how close of friends we've become. It's great. It just goes to show how God truly does prepare his children and that he has a plan for each and everyone of us. We may not know and understand his timing, but, he really does have something specifically in mind for each one of us. Sister Nunies and I did nothing. This was all through the hand of the Lord. Nicole did her part, and he is blessing her like he promised. It's been such a beautiful thing to witness. I have already seen the change in her and have noticed the light of Christ really enter into her soul. It was just another testimony to me that this gospel is REAL and that it truly changes lives if we allow it too. I know that she wouldn't be doing this if she didn't know that it was right and true. She has already lost almost every single one of her friends and her family has completely turned her back on her. But, she's not turning back because she knows how right and true it is. She is already preparing to enter the temple and has set a date for next year to enter! She took us into her closet last week and started telling us all of the things that she needed to get rid of so that she could rock the "G" life. Hahah it was the absolute best. She wants to come shopping with us on P-days and we are going to help her pick out some modest dresses and skirts. This girl is a miracle, I'm telling ya. I cannot wait for you to meet her! Oh my goodness. Just talking about her makes my heart happy. I will be sure to send you pictures next week. It's going to be a dang good email next week. :)
Aside from all of that happiness, we are continuing to see miracles every single day. I think it just took us a solid transfer to figure everything out and get the ball rolling. Now we are ready to go and have got it all figured out! We have been receiving so many referrals lately and have been just meeting so many amazing people. I absolutely love working with the young single adults. They are way more open, more kind, and way more fun! They keep me on my toes. We have a few other people that we are working with and who should be baptized in June or July. They aren't quite as quick as Nicole, but we will help them get there. Jose is still struggling with his work schedule and that has put a big damper on the whole situation, but I know that it will happen when the Lord needs it to happen. He's so ready and has the purest and most simple testimony of the gospel and it melts my heart every time he shares it with us. Thank you for praying for him! I know he greatly appreciates it. I know that there is truly power in prayers. It's amazing when people can come together and pray for someone or something. I truly think that the windows of heaven are open and the power of heaven comes down. I have seen so many miracles and have been so blessed by the power of prayer, especially on my mission.
A few days ago we were able to attend a wedding and a baptism for someone that the Spanish sisters in our district were teaching! That was such an amazing experience. I got asked to play the piano for the wedding and for the baptism and it was really neat. I've never seen a non-lds wedding, and it was super neat! Although the whole thing was in Spanish, it was still amazing to see that this woman exercised enough faith and got married first, just so she could get baptized. It was so so special. I've attended a few Spanish baptisms on my mission and they have been super powerful experiences. I love how no matter where we are or who's getting baptized, the gospel is all the same. Everywhere you go. It's "home" everywhere! I find a lot of comfort in that. I'm grateful that I was able to be a part of Claudia's special day and am so grateful for the covenant that she made!
Yesterday I had a really powerful sabbath day. I truly feel like I am so much closer to the Savior on Sunday's. I feel way more close to the spirit and just feel better overall. My talk in sacrament meeting went fairly well and I feel like I didn't even say anything that I planned to say. The spirit definitely took over and I didn't even use any of my notes. Funny how that works. Definitely couldn't have done that before my mission. I mostly just talked about missionary work and the doctrine of Christ and how related they truly are. Missionary work IS the Doctrine of Christ and the Doctrine of Christ IS missionary work. I'm pretty sure when Christ was on the earth and was doing his mortal ministry, he wasn't really going around telling the people about his own doctrine. I believe he was SHOWING the people his doctrine and was LIVING his own doctrine. He is our perfect example of what the Doctrine of Christ truly is. He went about healing, serving, performing miracles, blessing, edifying, uplifting, inspiring, motivating, and ultimately sharing what he had with others and making them aware that they didn't have to suffer alone. It made me really grateful for my mission's emphasis on trying to embed the Doctrine of Christ into our hearts. If we truly understand what the Doctrine of Christ is and if we are truly living it, we are doing missionary work. We will want everyone to have what we have and experience what we've experienced and it will no longer be a "have to" share the gospel type of thing. It will become a "want to" share the gospel. Once you have felt the amazing power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, you will want to share it with everyone. It's the best feeling in the world!
After getting that done and over with and getting another training out of the way that I had to do for our district meeting this past week, I found myself studying some more and found the spirit really speaking to me this week. Especially yesterday! I feel like I just received so many answers to my prayers and questions and that is one of my favorite things in the world.
Just yesterday we were talking about how you can truly know if you're a "converted member of the church" and I feel like my prayers and questions had a lot to do with it. We talked about 10 questions that were a complete answer to my prayer and I want each of you to ask yourself these 10 questions and really think about them.
1. Have you ever said a prayer and felt like you were talking directly to Heavenly Father?
2. Have you ever partaken of the sacrament and felt the literal powerful cleansing effect of it?
3. Have you ever felt a higher sense of purpose while reading your patriarchal blessing?
4. Have you ever been reading the scriptures and just felt like a verse hit you so strongly and stood out to you?
5. Have you ever been ordained to a calling or received a particular assignment and received extra strength, beyond your own capacity to help you fulfill it?
6. Have you ever felt like you've been put in a situation where you felt like you were given the words that you were speaking?
7. Have you ever felt a sense of conviction when talking to someone or sharing something about the gospel and knowing for yourself that it was true?
8. While listening to music or lyrics, have you felt an intimate connection to the spirit?
9. Have you ever entered the temple and felt like there was a divine presence or being in the temple. Almost like "you've left earth" kind of feeling?
10. How many of you can commit to yourself that before you made a mistake, you were first warned by the Holy Ghost or by your own conscious?
Basically we talked about how if you have experienced any of these questions to some degree or another, you are on your way to conversion. They were self evaluation questions that really helped me gauge where I am at spiritually. Throughout our life, we will have experiences that will help us grow in faith and testimony. We must be worthy to receive the promptings of the spirit and put ourselves in situations that will allow the spirit to be present. I have really come to see that you are only a religious person if you have religious experiences and that you are only a spiritual person if you have spiritual experiences. We cannot just sit back and talk the talk. We have to put in effort to be able to walk the walk and have experiences.
These questions really made me reflect on the experiences that I've had on my mission and though out my life. I want to try harder and be better so that I can have more of those experiences with the spirit and with my Heavenly Father. I want to be able to grow and be more beautiful and pure inside. It made me think of 4 areas that I could improve on in my life to help me have more experiences.
1. The Atonement: I want to strengthen my testimony and my understanding of the atonement. I want to allow it to change my life and change who I am.
2. The Priesthood: I have so many examples of amazing men who honor and respect the priesthood in my life. I think that so many people stress to women that we don't need men and that we are not good enough because we cannot hold the priesthood, but in all reality, we need them and they need us so that we can build families and use the priesthood in the way that it's supposed to be used. It made me think of a time on my mission a while back where I was really struggling and asked my district leader at the time if he could give me a priesthood blessing. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life and I will never ever forget that blessing. It made me so grateful for the priesthood and made me want that for my future family. I want a worthy priesthood holder in my life. I know that as I continue to be worthy and continue to keep my covenants, that were made possible though the holy priesthood, I will be blessed and will become more converted. Each time we participate in priesthood ordinances, the powers from on high reach downward and draw us nearer to the heavens.
3. Sabbath Day Observance: This can be very hard sometimes. On Sunday we renew our covenants to think about heavenly father all week long and to be a better person. I have found so much strength in my life and blessings come from the renewed desire that I have to keep the sabbath day holy. It is my favorite day of the week and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this special day. I know that it is so important to keep this commandment and that it is one of the greatest ways to withstand the temptations of the devil and be set apart and safe from the crazy, wicked world that we live in.
4. The Book Of Mormon: We need our scriptures. We need to build our testimony of the Book of Mormon. We need to REMEMBER what we read and experience as well. I love keeping a journal and reflecting back on all the times that I have felt the spirit while reading the scriptures or have received revelation or inspiration from that powerful book. However diligent we may be in other areas of our lives, I can promise you that there are only certain blessings that are to be found in the scriptures and through coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it. I love the Book of Mormon!
I was also reading in Helaman and was thinking about what a powerful example he was.
Although times were difficult and the society was becoming evil, Helaman was steadfastness in doing the Lord’s will and I think is a great example for us to follow, especially in these challenging latter days. In the scriptures it teaches us that we have the Lord’s assurance that he will bless and prosper his people if we will keep his commandments and remember to look to him as the source of our blessings. It also teaches us about the dangers of not turning to the Lord and remembering him. Pride is one of the worst sins and all of us are guilty of it. President Ezra Taft Benson once said;
"Think of what pride has cost us in the past and what it is now costing us in our own lives, our families, and the Church. Think of the repentance that could take place with lives changed, marriages preserved, and homes strengthened, if pride did not keep us from confessing our sins and forsaking them (see D&C 58:43). Think of the many who are less-active members of the Church because they were offended and their pride will not allow them to forgive or fully sup at the Lord’s table. Think of the tens of thousands of young men and couples who could be on missions except for the pride that keeps them from yielding their hearts unto God (Alma 10:6; Helaman 3:34–35). Think how temple work would increase if the time spent in this godly service were more important than the many prideful pursuits that compete for our time”
I absolutely loved that quote because I think it is so relatable to today and the things that we are dealing with today. Pride is taking over and it's creating some barriers! I hope that each of us can put aside the natural man and put aside our pride and truly just come to the Lord. Our lives would be filled with so much more happiness and joy.
In my reading this week, Helaman 3:35 stuck out to me the very most. "Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." I broke that down and really studied it.
Sanctification has been defined as “the process of becoming free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the atonement of Jesus Christ." I think that is our main goal in this life, is to try to become truly sanctified. Sanctification is a step in the path of striving toward perfection.
Humility. "To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord--to understand that you have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgment that your talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that you know where your true strength lies. You can be both humble and fearless. You can be both humble and courageous. The Lord will strengthen you as you humble yourself before Him."
Firm in the faith. Elder Russell M. Nelson said that firmness in behavior and attitude is obtained individually: “Only as an individual can you develop a firm faith in God and a passion for personal prayer. Only as an individual can you keep the commandments of God. Only as an individual can you repent. Only as an individual can you qualify for the ordinances of salvation and exaltation." I loved that and realized that I am the one who is in charge of my life, and no one else. I have my agency and can make my own decisions and ultimately determine my destiny.
Yielding your hearts. The phrase “yield our hearts” means to surrender or give our hearts to God. When one yields his or her heart to God, he is surrendering his personal desires in exchange for the Lord’s desires. Yielding our hearts and souls to God is the highest form of consecration to the Lord: “Ultimate consecration is the yielding up of oneself to God."
It was a powerful verse for me and gave me some more things to work on. Okay, sorry I am going all over with this again. I just know that there is so much goodness in the scriptures and that we can learn so much.
I am hoping that as I focus on those four areas and try my best to strengthen my understanding and knowledge of those things, I will see a difference in my life. Do you want to join me? Let's strengthen our testimonies together. :) Sorry, I don't even know if any of this is making sense.. You know me.. Just rambling on and could go for days.
I better start wrapping this up before I make y'all fall asleep. I just hope that you can feel the love and the gratitude that I have for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's everything to me. I am so grateful that I have been able to wake up everyday and bear my Savior's name on my chest and stand as his witness and be his representative. There is not a greater calling than being a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have never felt more joy in my life. Just thinking about Jesus Christ, thinking of what he looks like, his being, everything about him can have a POWERFUL effect on us physically, mentally, and spiritually and I have come to see that in my life as I have just tried to remember him daily. I also couldn't do this without each of you. I am grateful for your love and your support and for cheering me on on my incredible journey. I'm ready to give it all I've got and finish strong with no regrets. I hope each of you have a great week. I am praying for you. Please let me know if there is anything you need or anything specific that I can pray for. Talk to you in seven! P.s. Happy Memorial Day! P.s.s. Give my Sister Cottis lots of love this week. She comes home in 2 days! Love you to the moon and back! Xo
Sister Kyla Worthington
& This is my adorable district. :)
This was posted on Facebook On June 5, 2016
Mary Nicole Today I made the best decision of my life and to be baptized. I can now say I am the happiest person on earth to be a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. — with Sister-Erica Nunies,Taylor James King, Sister-Kyla Worthington andAustin Phillips.
Mija Garlick These two sister missionaries sister Worthington and Sister Nunies are angels in my life!!! Sister Garlick
Sister-Kyla Worthington Ohhhhh my heart is so so happy! I love you so much darling & am so proud of you. Can't wait to create more memories! Today was magical. Thanks for letting me be apart of it. Xo💕