How's it going? Is it really already Monday again? Oh my goodness.
Time is going by so quickly. Looking back at this month I am just amazed at how fast it went. I seriously feel like we just celebrated the 4th of July. I hope that you all have had a good week and hope that you have been able to see miracles and have seen the hand of the Lord in your life. Isn't he so good? Heavenly Father has been so good to me this week. I don't know why he has been blessing me so much, but I'll take it! I definitely cannot complain.
Things in NC have been going really well. It's awfully hot and humid and I am getting some pretty good tan lines. I may have to hit the tanning beds a few times when I get home to even out how bad it is. The struggle is real. We have been seeing many miracles in the YSA ward and we are on fire! I am really in the highest peak of my mission right now. I have never been happier & I feel invincible. I finally feel like I am living, breathing, eating, and sleeping my missionary purpose. Everyday we recite our missionary purpose which is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." I truly feel like I am doing that every single day and I love it! It's been such a blessing to have the Lord on my side and to see him work in my life. When you feel the love of God in your life, you can do anything! The atonement is so real and so good. Lately I have just been reflecting and all that I have learned and have just been full of so much gratitude. The gospel is just so good. It's perfect. There is nothing better and nothing that draws us closer to him.
The beginning of the week started off well but went by pretty slowly. I think that we were all so excited for the weekend that the week days just seemed to drag on a little bit. We did our usuals. Service, teaching repentance, & finding elect individuals. I am grateful for the diversity that we have in our days though. Each and every day is so different and brings something new. Something that I have learned serving in a singles ward is that things are so sporadic and so on the fly! We literally have people call us out of no where and want to meet up or change plans. We are always doing something unique and have so many different experiences. This past week we taught someone on their lunch break in a grocery store, taught someone while we were running with them in uptown, taught someone in a restaurant, taught someone at a bus stop, a concession stand at the park, and in a forest. You just never know what you're going to get. I definitely miss teaching in people's homes and feeling the spirit and the power that can come while in a nice home, but I have come to see that the spirit is the same everywhere you go and as long as you are testifying of the Savior, you can be anywhere and it works!
We were able to work with Nicole, Alan and Qua a lot this week. We worked on helping Nicole do her family history so that she could bring names to the temple. Guess what we found out? Nicole and I are 7th cousins! We are related through Randolph Alexander, who is father of Adaline Alexander, who is the mother of Adaline Sproul, who is the mother of my dear great grandpa, Lloyd Keith Schlappi. Hopefully that made sense? I was just trying to follow my family tree haha. Anyways, crazy small world! Randolph Alexander was born in South Carolina and that is where all of Nicole's family is from. It was so fun to be able to sit down and read stories of my ancestors and learn more about them. I think it was extra special because it was Pioneer Day weekend too! I really cannot wait to come home and do my family history work. There is a special line in my patriarchal blessing that talks a lot about family history. I am so excited to come home and get to work. I really do love researching things and learning more about those who have gone before me. I really have been able to feel the influence of my ancestors while on my mission and I know that they have been helping me and cheering me on!
Nicole was able to go to the temple for her first time to do baptisms this past Saturday. She LOVED it and had such an amazing experience. She was able to get baptized 20 times and wants to go back so badly. She called us right after she was done and told us all about it. I am so grateful for my ward and for all that they did to help her get there. It's so hard not being able to go to the temple with them, but I know that one day I will be able to come back and go with them! My sweet bishop bought her a CTR ring and made it a really special experience for her. I know that the sooner you can get converts to the temple, the stronger they will be in the church. Statistics say that if you can get converts to the temple in their first two months of being baptized, they have an 85% greater chance of staying active in the church. We have plans to get Fernando and Alan to the temple in the next 3 weeks as well! :) Good things are happening here.
Qua Jones is our next baptism! The kid is so prepared. He is amazing! He's the most adorable thing and has the sweetest spirit. He's an African American kid from Charlotte and has a heart of gold. We were able to have three really good lessons with him this past week. We taught most of the commandments and finished all of the most important lessons. It was so cute because when we were teaching the word of wisdom and law of chastity, he told us that he's already fixed it and has been living those commandments for 2 weeks. He said that he heard Mormons don't drink and don't participate in sexual activities before marriage and so he just said he stopped doing those things once he heard that. Who does that? We hadn't even taught him yet or committed him to live it and he just already committed to do it! So solid. So prepared. That's when you know they're elect. He said that his buddies have been offering him coffee and tea and he has turned it down and says, "Sorry, I don't drink that stuff anymore! It's a commandment from God." He is the best! He was able to go to Fernando's baptism last week and then came to church yesterday and stayed after for Alan's baptism. Later that night, he came to dinner with us and all of the bug boys and we were able to teach him again! He has made some really good friends in the ward and we are excited for his progress.
His date is August 7th and we are hoping he makes that date!
Training our cute little sister has been so much fun. She is the best. She is so adorable and makes me laugh so hard. She has such a funny personality and she gets me through my hard days. I swear she is training me. She is so prepared and I know that she is going to be an excellent missionary. I know that having her see success early on in her mission will be so good for her and I know that she is going to do wonders for the mission in the future. NCCM is lucky to have Sister Warner! We love her and she has been such a blessing! So grateful that God has blessed me with AMAZING companions.
Pioneer Day in NC isn't quite like the Pioneer Day's in Utah. The stake got together and had a big cookout and played some games. The missionaries weren't allowed to go unless they had an investigator going, and so of course, we had to bring an investigator. We couldn't not go! We also invited Fernando and he had a really good time. After we ate, we all went and played a really intense game of miniature golf. I about died of heat exhaustion, but it was well worth it. I have to admit, I'm pretty dang good at mini golf. It was fun to spend time with him and get to know him better. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm on a mission and that I'm a missionary because I get to have so much fun. We ended the day with a few lessons and with Alan's baptism interview! He passed and is all ready to go!
The highlight of the week was witnessing Fernando Aguilar get confirmed and watching Alan Ginger get baptized. It was magical! I know that both of them made the right decision and I know that God is really proud of the steps that they have taken. Fernando's confirmation was done in Spanish and that was really special. I didn't understand anything that was being said, but I felt the spirit. I actually did understand the "Confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and say unto you, receive the Holy Ghost" part and that's probably the most important part so I was happy. Amazing how the spirit works.
Well, about 3/4 of the way into 3rd hour of church yesterday, we get pulled out of Relief Society only to find out that the baptismal font was overflowing!! Our ward mission leader was responsible for filling it up and he totally forgot to turn it off. Well, once he found out that it was really full and slightly overflowing, he accidentally turned it on ALL THE WAY ON instead of turning it off. Oh my goodness. Water started going everywhere and flooding the bathrooms, the hallway, everything!! It was sooooo crazy. Quite funny too. We were trying not to freak out and panic, but a the same time, the baptism was supposed to start in 15 minutes. Our bishop ended up getting in a jumpsuit and went in the font and unplugged it. We all took off our shoes and were getting buckets and filling them up and dumping them outside. Towels were everywhere and we were trying to soak up everything. Our building is super old and the baptismal font is in the hallway, right in front of the mission office. It's super weird, but it's just the layout of the building. Anyways, it was an adventure. We started vacuuming up water and doing all that we could to make it presentable for the baptism. We were not going to let this stop us from baptizing Alan! Satan isn't that good!! It was something that I will remember for the REST of my life. It was so much fun. It all brought us closer together and we couldn't help but laugh, smile, and cry. We were sweating so much (because the water was hot) and we were having to run back and forth. It was such a good time.
Anyways, after we took care of most of that, we finally started the baptism service. It was a really special service and the spirit was there! Watching Alan get baptized was absolutely precious. He is one of my bestest friends and it has been so fun watching him learn and grow. He lives right by Grandma Schlappi and I am so excited to go home and hang out with him! Crazy how he had to come all the way to Charlotte to sell pest control to hear about and accept the gospel.
God definitely works in mysterious ways doesn't he! Alan is so happy and such a joy to be around and it has been so neat watching God work in someone's life. I know that the gospel is real and I know that it changes lives. There's no doubt in my mind that it's real.
This past week we had a less active member reach out to us and ask us if we could come teach him a lesson. We were very surprised because we really had no idea who this guy was. He just moved from VA and we have only seen him one time at church. We ended up having a really good conversation with him and he really opened up to us. He explained to us that he has been really struggling with his testimony and has been really wondering if the church is really true and if everything that he's grown up knowing and doing was and is right. We were able to have a really powerful lesson with him about testimony and conversion and I went home and couldn't stop thinking about him and about our lesson. For the next couple of days, I decided to direct my studies to that topic. The topic of testimony and conversion. I'm going to share some of my thoughts with you in hopes that I can help one of you who may be struggling with your own personal testimony or may be questioning things.
I think before I came out on my mission, I was where this very guy was. I have always grown up thinking and believing that the church was true, but I don't feel like I really knew for myself that it was true. I don't think that I was ever to the point where I could say without a doubt that I KNOW the church is true. It wasn't until my senior trip on Origination and my mission where I truly gained my testimony.
Lately I have been evaluating my own testimony and the things that I have learned and the things that I know. I wanted to be very honest with myself and with my mission and with the Lord. I noticed that for a time on my mission, mostly in the beginning, I said my words carefully to try to build up others and say the right things, without actually committing myself to a positive statement that I knew to be completely true. I felt a little hesitant about it, but when I was in tune and doing my duty, I felt the Spirit and I knew that what I was saying was really coming from my heart, even if I really didn't know with absolutely surety. I came to learn that a testimony comes over time. A testimony comes from experiences and that we don't have to know everything. We just have to have faith and believe, and then the real testimony comes. I knew that undoubtedly, the days that I testify to my investigator that I KNOW it is true, even without maybe knowing completely, the Lord is just trying so hard to reveal the truth to me through the power of the Holy Ghost. While I am in the Spirit and in tune and defending the gospel, I feel the love of God deeply. It's me that tries to convince myself otherwise and I begin to reason with myself and question myself, when deep down, the Lord is just trying to teach me as I am teaching others.
An apostle once related our testimonies to thread. Right now, I have countless golden threads of testimony all throughout my being only waiting for the hand of the Master Weaver to assemble and weave them into an exquisite and perfect design. I know that I am working on building my own testimony and that as long as I am following the spirit, the Lord will magnify my testimony and touch hearts.
A testimony is a personal revelation--one of the important gifts--and can be enjoyed by every soul who will pay the price and do some work!! The necessary procedure is: study, think, pray, and do. (Especially the "do" part) Revelation is the key. God will make it known to you once you have become humble and receptive. Having dropped all pride that is inside of you and having acknowledged before God your confusion, having subjected your egotism, and having surrendered yourself to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, you are ready to begin to learn!! "Testimonies often come when there is willingness to serve where we are called. They come when a decision is made to strive to be obedient. Testimonies come during efforts to help, lift, and strengthen others. They come from prayer and from studying the scriptures and applying them in our lives." They take action and you have to nourish your testimony!! If you don't nourish it, how do you expect it to grow? We all know that it is easier to talk about a testimony than to acquire one. The process to receive one is based on the law of the harvest: “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). No good thing comes without effort and sacrifice. If we have to work hard to obtain a testimony, it will make us and our testimony even stronger. And if we share our testimony, it will grow. A testimony is a most precious possession because it is not acquired by logic or reason alone, it cannot be purchased with earthly possessions, and it cannot be given as a present or inherited from our ancestors. We cannot depend on the testimonies of other people. We need to know for ourselves.
An apostle once said, "A testimony provides proper perspective, motivation, and a solid foundation on which to build a life of purpose and personal growth. It is a constant source of confidence, a true and faithful companion during good times and bad. A testimony provides us with a reason for hope and gladness. It helps us cultivate a spirit of optimism and happiness and enables us to rejoice in the beauties of nature. A testimony motivates us to choose the right at all times and in all circumstances. It motivates us to draw nearer to God, allowing Him to draw nearer to us. Our personal testimony is a protective shield, and like an iron rod it is guiding us safely through darkness and confusion."
I know that whatever our circumstances, there seem to be moments in each of our lives when we can be given the knowledge that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I know that this gospel is true and I know that we have a life time to learn about this gospel. Be patient with yourself. Recognize that God's timing is different than ours and he will reveal things to you at the right moment. There is no greater search in life that we can embark upon than the quest to gain a testimony of the truth!! Our firm personal testimony will motivate us to change ourselves and then bless the world, and that is how we will be happy.
Remember that a testimony is when “your heart tells you the things your mind doesn’t know." Listen to your heart and listen to the Holy Ghost. I have never had a stronger testimony. I can now stand here and tell you that I KNOW that God lives. I know that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for you and me. He knows us personally and he is here to help us. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and I know that he restored the church back to the earth. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of the plan of salvation and I know that we each can live together forever.
I am so grateful to be a missionary and so grateful for what I am learning. I want to invite each of you to do one thing this week that will strengthen your personal testimony. Do the work. Do something about it. Show God that you WANT to know and I promise that he will show you. It all starts with desire!
I love and miss you all so much. I have to get going, sorry I'm cutting this one short. Time is up and I've gotta run to FHE. Have so much fun at the big family reunion. I'm sending my love and will be there in spirit. Be safe. Have fun. & know that I love you all so much and cannot wait to see you!! Can I ask one favor? At the reunion, please gather the WHOLE Schlappi family together and have EVERYONE get on their knees and say a massive family prayer in a circle. Please please please! Thanks so so much. Love y'all so much. Talk to ya in seven. Sending all my love and hugs your way! Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you! I'm just an email away! LOVE YOU! Xo
Sister Ky Worthington