Hey cute fam!
Another week down! How is everyone doing? Sometimes there are just those days where I find myself missing y'all so much, and today is definitely one of those days. Some are harder than others. It really feels like it's been an eternity since I've seen you. Hopefully you haven't forgotten about me yet. :) I am excited for the next few months as I will be preparing to come home and see each of you! You all mean the world to me and I hope each of you can feel of my love and appreciation for you. I couldn't do this without you!
This week in North Carolina was another great one! They really seem to be flying by. I cannot keep up with how fast time is going. I have so much to do and not enough time to do it. Just this past week we had one of the office couples from Highland leave us and welcomed in the new office couple, the Dewey's from Boise, Idaho. They are so amazing! I seriously love all of the office missionaries with my whole heart and soul and cannot wait for y'all to meet them one day. Everyone's time is just flying by so quickly. I would definitely have to say that the last half of the mission has gone by way faster than the first half. If you can make it half way, the rest will just fly by! I kinda wish I could serve for 24 months. Six more months would be perfect. I really am trying to just work as hard as I can and take every opportunity that I have to share the gospel. I don't want to ever walk past someone without giving them the opportunity to hear about the restored gospel. I have such a fear of getting up to heaven and having people come up to me and saying something like, "You had this gospel the whole time and you didn't bother to come talk to me and share it with me?" I never want that to happen so I am trying my very best to talk with everyone and share my testimony!
This past week we were able to teach quite a few good lessons and were able to meet with our progressing investigators Fernando and Alan. They are both so wonderful! I wish I had words to describe how much I love them! God has blessed us with some amazing people. On Tuesday we were able to have our investigator Fernando in a members home. We had an apt. in the home of our first counselor in the bishopric and it was really powerful. We taught him the word of wisdom, law of chastity, 10 commandments, & sabbath day! The spirit was so strong and he understood and accepted everything! A week prior, we asked him to pray about his baptism date, and he came to us this week with July 17th! It's in his phone and everything. He's even chosen the person who is going to baptize him and confirm him! It's Wonderful. We also have linger longer after church that day and it's enchilada style so he's even more pumped. We will have church, his baptism right after, and then linger longer after that! What a wonderful Sunday that is going to be. Fernando has been coming to church every week and has been keeping every commitment and it has been so fun to watch him exercise his faith. Just yesterday at church in gospel principles class he was commenting so much and sharing so many great things. Everyone who hadn't met him yet totally thought that he was a member. He is going to be such a great addition to the YSA ward. The bishopric and ward is super excited for him. He is such a solid guy and really has his life together and the singles ward really needs that. I guess most of the previous baptisms haven't been very strong converts and they have been dealing with a lot of less actives. We are really tying to avoid that and don't want to baptize them until they are really converted and committed to stay! Both Nicole and Fernando are amazing!! We have an appointment in President and Sister Alexander's home this week on Wednesday with Fernando and we are super excited! He has already met them a few times at the mission president's fireside so it will be really good to have him in their home and to be able to feel the spirit. President and Sister Alexander are amazing! They have a spirit about them that no one else has. Wednesday is going to be a really good day.
Alan Ginger is our other solid investigator! He was the one that I talked about last week when we had that miracle lesson! Well, last night we had another miracle lesson!! We taught the plan of salvation and it went really well! Alan has been reading the Book of Mormon and has loved it! He said he hates reading, but for some reason, he is loving the book of Mormon and can't put it down. He really opened up to us and told us that he's been praying, and then all of the sudden mid-day, he gets his answers to his prayers. He has been feeling the spirit so strongly and is loving everything! He even called his Catholic parents and family back in Utah and told him he's been really investigating and wants to get baptized! So so so solid! The only hard part is that he is selling pest control, so we can only see him once, maybe twice a week, if we're lucky... So his progress is a bit slower.. But we'll take what we can get. He is coming to church every week and loves it. We invited him to pray about baptism and he committed to do so! At church yesterday he signed up on the meal calendar to feed us so we are super excited about that! He's not even a member yet and he's feeding the missionaries! We have 2 lessons set up with him this week and are hoping that that will increase his progress! Please continue to pray for him. He's just the sweetest little 18 year old and I know how much this will bless his life!
We have a few other people we are working with, but they are still just at the beginning stages. We are super excited for the miracles we are seeing and the progress that we are seeing our investigators and recent converts make. I love this gospel so much! Speaking of recent converts.. Nicole is doing great!!! She has been at the beach for the past few days with her family and it's been really hard for her to be around such negativity, but she is just staying strong and continuing to hold to the rod. It was the cutest thing because we went over to her house the night before she left for the beach and she showed us a one piece swimsuit that she bought and told us how excited she was to wear it in front of her family. She also told us that she packed her Book of Mormon and anytime that her family is bothering her or trying to get her to drink, she is going to pull out her Book of Mormon! So great! She also surprised us by sending us a picture of her in front of the the Raleigh Temple! On her way down to the beach, she decided to stop and take a picture at the temple! Like what! Who does that?
She is so solid! She is going to be making it down to the temple for our ward temple night in a few weeks and she is so excited. She is getting her calling next week and will be assigned as an FHE coordinator! She'll be so great. She isn't afraid to put herself out there and loves making new friends. She also told me that she's been thinking and praying about moving to Utah... That's exciting! She is still dating the bug boy from Utah and they are getting pretty serious! I am so excited. Literally she has been one the greatest blessings ever!
This past week we had zone conference with President and Sister Alexander and another zone! It was fun being combined with another zone. I got to see the sisters that are serving in Waxhaw and they were able to fill me in on a lot of things and people! that made me super super happy. Sister Alexander also asked if a would play a special musical number at zone conference.. So of course I said yes. I decided to play a really neat version of Be Still my Soul. I only had a little bit of time to practice, but it ended up being really good. The spirit carried me through once again! :) Oh how I love that special gift. President Alexander trained a lot on the atonement and how we can apply it into our lives as missionaries, and into the lives of others. As a result of that, I've been thinking about my savior a lot and how in essence, we are doing everything he is doing and following him and doing exactly what he did. He was a spirit child before he came to earth and so were we. Then he came to earth to get a body, and so did we. Then he suffered here on earth, and so are we.
(Him obviously WAY more than us, but we're still suffering.) He died and rose again on the third day, and so will we. He returned to his Heavenly Father, and so will we. EVERYTHING is because of him. I have been reminded of how amazingly lucky I am to know what I know and for the relationship that I have with my savior. I love him so much and am trying to do my best to put him first in all things and serve him with all of my heart, mind, might, and strength. He has done so much for me and I don't even know how I will ever be able to repay him. My heart is full of so much gratitude for him, for my life, for my family, and for my mission. So, today I'm going to share my thoughts with you about having a positive attitude and an attitude of gratitude!! Yay! Recently Sister Nunies and I have really been trying to work on having a positive attitude and being more grateful. The zone that we are in just kind of struggles in that department. We feel like everyone is just so down all of the time and never smiling. And well, we don't like that one bit! Sister Nunies is like one of the happiest people I've ever met and she just carries the brightest spirit with her! As we have improved on our positive attitudes, we have been able to see a lot of the other missionaries change and find joy in the work! Attitude is such an important part of the foundation upon which we build a productive life. In looking at our present attitude, we might ask: “Am I working to become my best self? Do I set worthy and attainable goals? Do I look toward the positive in life? Am I alert to ways that I can render more and better service? Am I doing more than is required of me?" Remember, a good attitude produces good results, a fair attitude fair results, and a poor attitude poor results. We each shape our own life, and the shape of it is determined largely by our attitude. George Bernard Shaw wrote: “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”
William James once said "Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
When I think about having a positive attitude, my thoughts are directly linked to my Uncle Mike, Joseph Smith, and our Savior Jesus Christ. Each of those individuals have had many many trials in their lives, but among them all, they have remained happy and positive. Why do you think that is? I think it is because they understand who they are and their responsibility to Heavenly Father. I think they are like that because they live the gospel of Jesus Christ every single day.
They apply the atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives daily. They repent. They are selfless and put others before themselves. They are always serving and always striving to uplift others. They put themselves out there and weren't afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Yes, life is hard and we will all have struggles. But ultimately, WE GET TO CHOOSE what we do with those struggles and how we will respond.
The adversary cannot make us do anything. He does lie at our door, as the scriptures say, and he follows us each day, but, every time we go out, every decision we make, we are either choosing to move in his direction or in the direction of our Savior. But the adversary must depart if we tell him to depart. He cannot influence us unless we allow him to do so, and he knows that! The only time he can affect our minds and bodies--our very spirits--is when we allow him to do so. In other words, we do not have to succumb to his enticements!
Finally, remember our agency is not only for us. We have the responsibility to use it in behalf of others, to lift and strengthen others in their trials and tribulations. Some of our brothers and sisters have lost the full use of their agency through unrighteous choices, and we have the power and the ability to help influence and change them. One of my favorite quotes from Thomas S. Monson is, “So much in life depends on our attitude.… We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.” I know that as we work on having a better attitude in ALL things, our gratitude for our Father in Heaven, ourselves, and others will increase.
This past week I was rebuked hard core by the spirit. There was one day in particular this week that was really tough for me. I was just super down. Nothing was happening and all of our plans were falling through. It was 1 billion degrees outside and I was sweating so much.
My legs and feet were hurting from walking and biking so much and I was getting sunburned. I was just kind of at my end. Then to top it off, our dinner appointment canceled and we really didn't have anything to do. I found myself pretty upset and frustrated that God would let us have a day like this. Then while we were walking, I said a prayer in my heart and the answer I got was a little bit interesting and now what I was expecting. The spirit said as clear as day, "Sister Worthington, you need to be more grateful." That was a pivotal moment in my life and will be one that I will remember forever. It hit me really strongly and really helped me refocus my thoughts and change my attitude. I have it so good. I started to really think about my life and think about how good I have it. I started to think about all the people that we were passing on the street who don't have anything. Who have such rough lives and who are just living with no purpose. I started to see how some people don't even have food to eat and clothes on their backs. And yet here I was complaining because it was hot and humid, and I was tired. It really slapped me in the face and I repented hard core that night. Since then, I have been trying to be more grateful and I have seen such a difference in my life. God has been helping me so much!!! I have such a strong testimony of gratitude!
As I have worked on increasing my attitude, I have seen myself being more grateful. My prayers have been better and more full of thanks.
Gratitude is not only an expression of faith; it is a saving principle. The Lord has said, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments." It is clear to me from this scripture that to “thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7) is more than a social thing to do, it is a binding commandment that we have been asked to do. I also think the Lord loves, more than anything else, an unwavering person who is determined to obey his commands!! If being grateful is a commandment, we better do it!
Well, I better start wrapping this up. I know it's getting long and y'all know that I could go on forever, but I better not. I just want to leave you with one of my favorite hymns this week that always lifts my spirits, kindles my faith, and inspires my thoughts.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. … So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Life is great and I am working hard. I LOVE being a missionary. Were it not for the outpouring of the Spirit that I feel each day, I would have probably quit by now. It brings me joy and reminds me that the Atonement is carrying me. I am so grateful for where I am going, and I am so excited to continue to learn and grow. The Atonement is real and I need it every single day. I know and testify that the atonement can carry you as well. I want to invite y'all to work on having a better attitude of gratitude this week and acknowledging how good we truly do have it. I love you all SO much. Thanks for everything. I hope you have a great week and an amazing 4th of July. I am not sure if my P-day will be moved to Tuesday or not.. So I guess if you don't get an email from me on Monday, you'll know it's been moved! Have so much fun at the family reunion without me. I will be thinking of each one of you! LOVE LOVE LOVE you! Sending you all my love from Charlotte!
This is Nicoles testimony that she wrote down and let me read! Ahhhh so precious. & then the other is just of me and my cute Hawaiian cheesing it up. :)