Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 12, 2016 ~Celestial Miles and Goodbyes

Hi everyone!
Greetings from the Carolinas! How's it going? Have I told you lately how much I miss you and how excited I am to see your cute faces? Ah! I hope everyone had a good week and I really hope that each of you were able to work on turning some of your weaknesses into strengths. I really worked on that this week and was blessed with some amazing experiences and some personal growth. Gotta love that! This week in the Carolinas was absolutely beautiful! The heat has died down and we are enjoying some perfect weather. The humidity is still high, but I've gotten used to it and actually really like it. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see all the colorful leaves in the mountains though. I'm really looking forward to that. You would think being so many trees in North Carolina the leaves would change colors, but they don't. It's quite unfortunate. Anyways, when the weather is good, you know it's a good day to be a missionary, so I'm very grateful!
We had quite a few good days this past week. Lots of ups and downs, tears and smiles, but overall, I'd say it was a fairly good week. There is always so much that happens that it's really hard to explain all that we did. I think it's easier if I break it down into days.
Tuesday we served at our thrift store. I love it there and have made some really good friends. Especially with Sandra. She works up at the register with me and I have loved getting to know her. She's got a heart of gold and she will join the church one day. After service we did tons and tons and tons of finding. We visited lots of former investigators and it wasn't very successful. Not many people were home and no one really wanted to listen to us. It was a hard night of finding, but we made it through the day and that's all that matters.
Every time my companions and I get rejected by someone we look at each other and say, "With every rejection comes a blessing." So every time someone rejects us or our message, we know that heaven is waiting to send down a blessing. :) It makes rejection easier to deal with and lightens the mood! Sometimes it is so hard not to get discouraged or down on ourselves, thinking we could've done this or that, or whatever. So it's important to stay positive and continue to laugh about it. Realizing that they will probably have a different answer when we see them in the spirit world and ask them if they want to learn more about the gospel haha. :) I think we have done really good with finding and I think Sister Warner is understanding the principle of other people's agency and how that works. Man, it's an interesting that. That's for sure. I guess it keeps the world going round. We worked hard until the end of the night and it felt good when 9:30 pm came.
Wednesday was a great day. Started off not so hot, ended real well. A few months ago our car got side swiped in our parking lot? Remember me mentioning that? Well, as a result, we had to take it into the shop on Wednesday. They told us that it was going to take six days to repair and that we would be going without a car for six days. Well, considering the fact that my area covers half the mission, I wasn't quite sure how we were going to make this work and how we were going to make it to all of our appointments and meetings and everything else. But, we started figuring it out and working with our ward mission leader and ward council and was just embracing ourselves for biking and walking and skype/FaceTime lessons. Well, as the vehicle coordinator guy from the mission was about to drop us off, he went into his office and came out with a key, and said "Here sisters, just because we love you so much and just because you are the best missionaries ever, you get to use a spare car for six days with unlimited miles." Which in the mission, we call unlimited miles "celestial miles." We literally jumped up and down for joy and literally started to cry tears of happiness. You have no idea how excited we were. Sounds like something so stupid, but I was not about to bike and walk everywhere for six days. On average we drive about
85-90 miles a day.... So it would have been a rough six days. But, we've had a car ALL week with unlimited miles so we have been driving everywhere and going to all the remote places of our area that we never get too and it's been amazinggggg!!! So so so fun! We were able to have a really good lesson with our investigator Daeshawn. We also had a less active member come out teaching with us for that appointment so it was like killing two birds with one stone! So prime.
We had a really good lesson and Daeshawn is really working towards baptism. We aren't sure if he will be ready to make September 25th, but we are doing our best. I love seeing how the gospel can change people and ultimately, change their hearts. It's amazing! We had dinner with our ward mission leader and there was a surprise package waiting at his house for me..... THANK YOU MAMA!!!!!! Miss Kyla #2 delivered it to me and it made my entire day! Thank you everyone for your sweet notes and loves! Y'all are the best! After dinner we went street contacting at "The Boardwalk" in Charlotte. (A big outdoor shopping/eating/hangout place) We met a few new people there and just had a really fun night being out on the town!
Thursday was alright. They are always our long days and seem to drag on forever and ever. We went to soup kitchen in the morning and it was the last time with the Garlick's and that was really sad. They paid a really nice tribute to them though and they have definitely left their mark here! We then came home and had our weekly planning session, and then drove down to South Carolina to see Nicole. She was asked to give a talk on Sunday so she was freaking out and wanted us to come down and help her. She took us out to dinner and then we helped write her talk. It was on Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so it was really easy to help her and she was able to go lots of different directions with it and it was fun to see the spirit working in her! She is so wonderful. I have really come to love her and saying goodbye to her was the hardest thing ever. It's a dang good thing I get to see her in a few weeks. She moves to Utah tomorrow and then will start work in American Fork. I am super excited and we already have so many things planned! Hooray for UT attracting all the converts!!! Our night was mostly taken up with her and with traveling so that about summed up Thursday.
Friday was bomb. We had zone meeting all morning and afternoon and it was wonderful. It was a bitter sweet moment though because it was my very last zone meeting as a full time missionary. I am really not liking all these "last" things that are happening. Kinda putting a damper on everything. We ended up having a super powerful meeting on the Doctrine of Christ and becoming true disciples and I really enjoyed it and it was exactly what I needed. I love how the doctrine of Christ is so simple, but so deep. There is so much to learn about it. What I learned the most is just how interchangeable each step is and how you cannot have one without the other. I learned a new way to teach it to others and I'm super excited! I also learned a lot about faith and how we have to "spend" faith, in order to gain faith. Kind of like how we have to "spend money in order to gain money." I don't know, someone once told me that principle and I think it's a true one, so I've kept it haha and related it to faith. Anyways, teaching the lesson of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of my favorites! The zone leaders also went all out and made it a really fun meeting so that was good! I feel like it was one of the better zone meetings I've had on the mission and it ended really well! One of the zone leaders is going home with me so I know he wanted to make his last one a big deal too!
It was great! Our zone is called the Charlotte Central Crew and our zone's motto is "Come jump on Old Ship Zion" so you can only imagine how creative they got. They built a giant ship out of cardboard and wrote all over it. It was classic. Anyways, great meeting! I also got asked to sing with my two hermanas for a special musical number, so that happened. After the meeting we did some planning and finding and then drove all the way down to Wingate, North Carolina to have dinner and a lesson with our most solid investigator named Emily! She is amazing! She is the girlfriend of one of our members. Both her and her boyfriend are going to Wingate University and are both on the Lacrosse team. We had dinner at her apartment and then in walked three of Emily's roommates. They all were so intrigued at who we were and wanted to stay for our lesson! We were super pumped. We had planned to teach Emily the Plan of Salvation so we just decided to go with it anyways and teach it. It was such an amazing lesson! The spirit was SO STRONG and literally took over the lesson. It was amazing. I honestly don't even know how it happened, it just did. I was kind of nervous because you never know how others are going to react, but her roommates really liked us and had great questions and could have lots of potential in the future! We are already going back to see them next week! Yay yay yay for new investigators. Honestly though, it was so much fun being down in the college environment and just hanging out with a bunch of college kids. I honestly cannot wait! It's making me so excited for school and for the next phase of my life! After our lesson, we went with Emily's boyfriend to try and see a less active who lived near by. It was on such a sketchy road and I literally thought we were going to die. We pulled up to the house and it was the creepiest thing ever. It was a dang good thing that we had Grayson with us because without him, there was no way that I was going to walk up to that door. The kid didn't even end up living there, but we were able to find out some more information about him and where he moved too so that was super helpful! Anyways, we had a good long hour drive home and played twenty questions in the car! It was SO MUCH FUN to get to know my sisters better. We had a deep conversation and everyone was getting real with each other. I was loving it. That's what missionary companions are all about. I learned so many new things about them and gained lots of love and respect from chit chatting with them!
Something we want to continue to do. Everyday I tell them to tell me something that I don't know about them and it's been really good for our companionship. We are getting closer everyday and I am really enjoying that. They are helping me tons and I love them mucho. When we got home, I got a letter in the mail from the mission office regarding my "going home" instructions and that was super depressing. :( I never thought the day would come that I would get that in the mail.. But sure enough, it came! Not the best way to end my night, but it had to happen sooner or later.
Saturday was grand! Sorry this is getting really long. I just realized how long this email is getting, and I'm just rambling on. I'll shorten Saturday and Sunday up. We did lots of packing on Saturday. We are moving apartments tomorrow, and it's been a pain in the butt. Let me just tell you! But, I'm excited for change and it'll be a much better location for us! We were able to teach Alex & Sharon and really emphasized reading the Book of Mormon with them. They have been struggling lately but we were super bold with them and really helped them see the importance. We were also able to Skype Hyrum! He is a less active/returning member that we have been working with lately and he just moved to Virginia, but we have been having Skype lessons with him once a week and it has been going wonderful! He asked us about how to resist temptation and how to resist going back to old relationships and habits and how to not give into peer pressure and so it led me to a really good study session.
I honestly started thinking about my life before the mission and my life now, and my life soon to be when I get home from the mish. I realized back at home that people who do wrong, often want others to join them cause they feel more comfortable knowing that others are doing wrong too. It made me think about how we all just want to be accepted so we tend to give in to the wrong that others are doing.
Gaining acceptance by compromising our standards however, leads to a loss of freedom and I saw that so many times. I read this quote that said, "The more obedient you are, the more you stand for true principles, the more the Lord can help you overcome temptation. No one intends to make serious mistakes. They come when you compromise your standards to be more accepted by others. You be the strong one. You be the leader." I just loved that so much because it's so true! Anyways, I also started thinking of the story of Lots wife in Luke 17:32 and to not look back!! To realize that those things are in the past and we can move on. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there.
We have to have an eternal perspective rather than instant gratification, which is what the world wants. I was thinking about how easy it is to slip up or make a mistake that can be 10 seconds, 20 minutes, or 1 hour, but then how hard it is to make right and become worthy again. Sometimes that process can be 6 months or 1 year, or more. So it's just not worth it and deep down we know it and we know it's wrong. I think it's so important that we just keep pushing forward and don't give in to Satan and his evil ways or into the wrongs of others.
Savanah shared some things with me this week that really helped me.
She shared with me some things about how bold and courageous the prophets and apostles are when it comes to standing up for their beliefs. I realized that that is what we need to be doing. Me, especially, right now am literally an extension of the apostles, and I can definitely work on being more bold and courageous. She shared with me about what it means to Hasten the work of Salvation and to be true disciples of Christ. One thing that stood out to me the most is about how we are different from the world. We do not look like the world, we do not act like the world, we do not speak or think like the world. True happiness comes to us when we are living true to true standards. Not when we are living fake to the world. It is a constant battle we fight against evil to be different. So, no matter what, stand up, stand firm, and don't give into Satan and his tricky plan!
Sunday was great. We had a few investigators at church and Nicole gave a great talk. I chose to fast and am continuing to learn so much about the power and principle of fasting. God is teaching me so much about that and I'm loving it. I'm learning so much about the law of sacrifice and consecration. Anyways, that's a whole other topic for a whole nother day! Horrible English right there, but you get the point.
We taught Emily the Gospel of Jesus Christ after church and that was a really good lesson! She is progressing so well and accepted baptism!!!
YAYYYYY!!!! Sunday night we had the mission president's fireside and that was the very best! President Alexander is the best. I love that guy! I got asked to play the piano and lead another special musical number and that was super powerful. The meeting was all on the Book of Mormon and I know that at least one person is going to get baptized because of that meeting! So so good. Our investigator Tiawana came.
She is the best of the best. She's a new one we found this week, and she is flipping hilarious. We showed her the baptismal font after the meeting and she's already pumped to get baptized. Elder and Sister Garlick bore their testimony for the last time and I cried and cried and cried and cried. I had to say goodbye to them and it was so heartbreaking! They are literally my two favorite people ever!!! I have gotten so close to them and it was no coincidence that God put me here in Charlotte, so I could serve and be close to them. They are officially on the road and heading west!!! I cannot believe they finished their mission. So crazy. Many tears shed, but many memories created that will last a lifetime. It was a good end to a good week.
My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place, but my faith has never been stronger and my relationship with my Savior has never been better. I feel so close to him every single day and am so grateful for the 18 months that I've had to build my relationship with him. He is my very best friend and I know that he is so so real and so so aware of each and every one of us. I have been able to see how his hand is involved in everyone's life. President Alexander shared a story of this guy who grew up in a small town in Idaho and when he was a teenager, he decided to run away and ended up in New York. He started getting involved in lots of different drugs and went down the wrong path in life, doing every wrong thing that you could possibly imagine. 30 years later, there was this young missionary who got called to a mission in New York. He and his companion were walking down the street and saw this guy on his porch smoking and drinking.
His house had a fence around it and he had two pit bulls on chains. As the elders walked by, the dogs started barking and coming to the edge of the fence. The man was staring at the elders and wouldn't stop looking at them! The elders continued to walk past the old guy and continued on their way! As they got to the edge of the street they got a feeling that they needed to turn around and go talk to the guy. As they approached his fence, the dogs went back on the porch and stopped barking. The elders started talking to the guy and asked the usual questions. "Where are you from? How is your day?" Blah blah blah.
Well, the guy answered and said he was from a little small town in Idaho. One of the elders was from the very same town in Idaho, so just out of the blue, he asked this man if he knew someone that lived in the small town in idea. Shockingly, the man answered yes, and told the elders that that man was his father, who he hadn't seen in over 25 years. Come to find out, one of the elders looked at this man and said, "Brother, he is my father also." The elder was born after the man left his family and moved to New York. The man started learning the gospel from his younger brother and his companion, eventually moved back to Idaho, and reconciled with his family. He is now an active member of the church and doing well. I have no doubt in my mind that GOD IS AWARE OF ALL OF HIS CHILDREN.
If you don't think he is aware of you, tonight get on your knees and ask him. Ask Heavenly Father how he feels about you tonight, and I promise you will get an answer. Also ask him how he communicates with you, and that will help you realize how he will answer you. I cherish my relationship with my Heavenly Father so much and I know that he hears and answers every prayer. One of my favorite things to teach is how to pray, because I know that no matter what kind of prayer is said, God hears it.
I want you each to know how much I love and adore you. I am so grateful for the support that you've given me. It's going to be a special week for me this week as I hit my 18 month mark. I love love love being a missionary and I wouldn't change my experience for anything! I hope you have a great week and I hope you continue to exercise your faith and stay strong! Rely on Christ and his atonement!
Thanks for everything!!! Extra special birthday shoutouts to my bff Taylor & Elder Parkinson on the 18th!! Y'all are the best. Love love love love love you! Talk to ya in seven, see you in twenty three!!

Sister Worthington

September 5, 2016~ Hello September

hi friends!
How's everyone doing? Can you believe that it's already a new month? Who knows where August went. My goodness. It flew right by me! I am so excited for this month though. I absolutely LOVE September and love the spirit and feeling that is in the air. Fall is definitely around the corner and it's my favorite time of the year, so I couldn't be more excited. Definitely coming home at the perfect time. :) Pumpkins, sweaters, hot cocoa, blankets, cuddles, & holidays. So. Dang. Excited.
Well, it's been another beautiful week here in the Carolinas and the time seems to be ticking real quickly. Sometimes I don't know how it slips away from me. We were able to experience a few rainy days and a few cloudy days. Both of which I absolutely love. The weather here is really amazing and I am so grateful that the heat is dying down. Man, it was miserable this Summer. Whew! I'm not sure if I could do another one. It's killer. But, the trees continue to stay super green and I love all the beauty that is in this part of the country. Y'all are going to love it so much.
We spent most of our preparation day out and about getting Sister Mabey a haircut, suit shopping with the elders at the mall, grocery shopping, playing basketball, and all sorts of other things, and my time is getting limited and quite frankly, I just don't feel like emailing all that much. I love you all SO dang much, but emailing can be so frustrating and so annoying sometimes, so please forgive me if this weeks letter is lame. It's not that I don't want to write you, I just don't feel like sitting here for hours and typing. I really could actually use a nap. You have no idea how tired and how exhausted I am getting. I think you can tell that I'm getting to my end and that my body cannot go much longer. However, I realize that I only have a few more chances to email y'all and share my thoughts, so I figure I better take advantage of it. :)
I'll give a quick update on my week and our investigators and then share with you some of my thoughts and gems from the week.
We were able to see lots of miracles this past week. We found two new solid investigators and had lots of members present at our lessons. That really helped! All of our investigators are doing pretty well and progressing. We may be putting a few of them on hold because they are not able to get work off on Sunday's to come to church, and without church attendance, they can't really progress, but other than that, things are going really well. This past week we went into our investigator Damon's work and tried to talk to his boss about letting him get work off on Sunday, and that was a complete nightmare. Oh my goodness. Worst idea ever. She was so upset and we got chewed out and kicked out of the grocery store, so that was definitely memorable. Then we got Damon in trouble and now he doesn't want to come to even the first hour of church (which is what he has been doing in the past) so hooray for that. Rough day.
We got two referrals this past week and were able to get in contact with both of them and start teaching them. Add Grace and Emily to your prayer list. They are super cute and really solid! I have strong faith that they will get baptized. They are both dating members and I know that because they have that solid fellowship, they will progress and will be helped significantly! So so grateful for the members out here and all the hard work that they put into sharing the gospel with their friends. I wish people in Utah were more missionary minded.
Let's see, our recent converts are doing well. Nicole is officially moving to Utah on September 15th and will be living in Lehi and I'm so excited. We are going to hang out so much and already have so many plans. Fernando is doing great and progressing in the gospel. He is giving a talk in church in a few weeks and is nervous for that, but I know he'll kill it. I've been blessed with the BEST recent converts anyone has ever had and I am just so grateful for God letting me be apart of their lives and letting me witness how the gospel can change anyone. No matter who you are and no matter where you've been or what you've done. It's there for anyone and everyone and is the perfect message of peace and hope.
A couple tender mercies and bitter sweet moments occurred. This past Friday I had my last real interview with my mission president. It was an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. He is truly a man of God and I have come to love and respect him so much. Instead of having a typical 15 minute interview, he kept me in there for 40 minutes. We had an amazing conversation and he gave me so much peace, comfort, advice, & counsel. It was unreal. I feel so much better about things and have gained some new insights on what to do and how to handle my situations. It's amazing how spiritual he is and how in tune with the spirit he is. He knows exactly what I need to hear every interview and he knows exactly how to calm my troubled soul!
Yesterday was incredible. Another Sunday full of miracles and full of the spirit. As I was sitting in sacrament meeting and partaking of the sacrament, the spirit whispered to me and told me that it was my last fast and testimony meeting as a full time missionary... And that hit me pretty hard core. And then of course I lost it and couldn't hold back the tears. Of course being my last one, I got up and bore my testimony and bawled the entire time.. You have no idea the gratitude that is in my heart and soul and how THANKFUL I am that I chose to serve a mission. You just have no idea and I have no way to even express it, so I'm not even going to try.
So besides that bitter sweet moment, we had four investigators come to church and had two inactive people that we have been working with randomly show up to church (we didn't even reach out and invite them). And then they went up and bore their testimonies. Ahhhh put me in tears. One of them even has a little girl and went up to the pulpit in a singles ward with his daughter and admitted to him being inactive, but how he felt prompted to come to church today, even though it had been 6 years. It's amazing how much the gospel can change people and I KNOW that it works for everyone. Life is not black and white... There is a whole lot of gray in everyone's lives.. But the gospel is the one thing that is constant and never changes. How grateful I am to have such a steady anchor in my life and such a sure foundation to always draw upon and hold onto. We are so so blessed.
Later Sunday evening we went with one of those inactives to uptown Charlotte, in the city, and just went walking around a fountain and a park, with the city in the background. It was amazing. Sometimes I just have to stand back and realized how blessed I am and sometimes it doesn't feel real that I literally came out on a mission and that I get to walk the streets of Charlotte every single day and meet so many different people of so many different backgrounds, and share my message and simple testimony with them. Too good to be true. We ended up having just a really great rest of the evening and we ended the week off on a spiritual high! I LOVE WHEN WE DO THAT. Helps me be so much better prepared and ready for the next week.
Well, so many other little things happened this week, but none of them really matter. We walked in a parade on Saturday and that was super fun and we got exposed really well.. We celebrated Sister Mabey's birthday and that was fun.. We had a lame district meeting and I miss all my old peeps... We got to see Sister Garlick at the soup kitchen and serve with her... We taught lots of great lessons and Sister Warner is killing her 12 week program... I'm working on My Plan (a specific program for missionaries returning home) and that's been stressing me out.. But I'm over it. So yeah, just a ton of little things happening everyday, but overall it was a great week. My studies were really good and I learned a lot about Ether 12:27 and that has been weighing heavily on my mind this past week so I'm going to share some of my thoughts with you and hopefully they help ya this week and make you think and ponder. :)
So, one thing that I have been thinking a lot about is the concept of weaknesses. What they are, why we have them, how we can over come them, where they come from, and blah blah blah. Well, I've learned that weakness comes to us through the Fall of Adam. After the Fall, our physical body and mind became susceptible to disease and decay. We became subject to temptation and struggle. Therefore, resulting in us experiencing personal weaknesses. But, the beautiful thing is that the Lord clearly teaches that as we come unto Him in humility and faith, He will help us turn our personal weakness into strength. His grace is sufficient to make this transformation by lifting us above our own natural abilities. In a very personal way, we experience how the power of the Atonement overcomes the effects of the Fall. President Alexander once told me that until we come to recognize the importance of the Fall, we will never fully understand the need and dependance of a Savior, and more importantly, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Elder Maxwell described how recognizing our weaknesses is one way that the Lord has chosen to increase our learning: "When we are unduly impatient with an omniscient God’s timing, we really are suggesting that we know what is best. Strange, isn’t it--we who wear wristwatches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars. Because God wants us to come home after having become more like Him and His Son, part of this developmental process, of necessity, consists of showing unto us our weaknesses. Hence, if we have ultimate hope we will be submissive because, with His help, those weaknesses can even become strengths. It is not an easy thing, however, to be shown one’s weaknesses, as these are regularly demonstrated by life’s circumstances. Nevertheless, this is part of coming unto Christ, and it is a vital, if painful, part of God’s plan of happiness."
Now I know this is getting long, but I read this talk this morning and HAVE to share the whole talk with you, to basically sum up everything that I'm thinking and feeling, and as much as I wish I could try to explain my words, this lovely lady who wrote the talk just says it so much better so I'm just going to copy and paste her whole talk and you can read it later if you don't have time at the moment.
It Isn't a Sin to be Weak: by Wendy Ulrich.
“Am I really worthy to enter God’s house? How can I be if I’m not perfect? Can God really make my weakness into a strength? I’ve fasted and prayed for days to have this problem removed from me, but nothing seems to change. In the mission field I lived the gospel more consistently than at any time in my life, but I have never been more aware of my shortcomings. Why, when I was being so good, did I sometimes feel so bad? As we ponder such questions, it is crucial to understand that while sin inevitably leads us away from God, weakness,ironically, can lead us toward Him.
Distinguishing between Sin and Weakness:
We commonly think of sin and weakness as merely different-sized black marks on the fabric of our souls, different severities of transgression. But the scriptures imply that sin and weakness are inherently different, require different remedies, and have the potential to produce different results.
Most of us are more familiar with sin than we care to admit, but let’s review: Sin is a choice to disobey God’s commandments or rebel against the Light of Christ within us. Sin is a choice to trust Satan over God, placing us at enmity with our Father. Unlike us, Jesus Christ was completely without sin and could atone for our sins. When we sincerely repent—including changing our mind, heart, and behavior; offering appropriate apologies or confessions; making restitution where possible; and not repeating that sin in the future—we can access the Atonement of Jesus Christ, be forgiven by God, and be clean again.
Becoming clean is essential because nothing unclean can dwell in God’s presence. But if our only goal were to be as innocent as we were when we left God’s presence, we would all be better off lying snugly in our cribs for the rest of our lives. Rather, we came to earth to learn by experience to distinguish good from evil, grow in wisdom and skill, live values we care about, and acquire the characteristics of godliness—progress we cannot make from the safe confines of a bassinet.
Human weakness plays an important role in these essential purposes of mortality. When Moroni worried that his weakness in writing would cause the Gentiles to mock sacred things, the Lord reassured him with these words:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
The implications of this familiar scripture are profound and invite us to distinguish sin (encouraged by Satan) from weakness (described here as a condition “given” to us by God).
We might define weakness as the limitation on our wisdom, power, and holiness that comes with being human. As mortals we are born helpless and dependent, with various physical flaws and predispositions. We are raised and surrounded by other weak mortals, and their teachings, examples, and treatment of us are faulty and sometimes damaging. In our weak, mortal state we suffer physical and emotional illness, hunger, and fatigue. We experience human emotions like anger, grief, and fear. We lack wisdom, skill, stamina, and strength. And we are subject to temptations of many kinds.
Though He was without sin, Jesus Christ joined us fully in the condition of mortal weakness. He was born as a helpless infant in a mortal body and raised by imperfect caretakers. He had to learn how to walk, talk, work, and get along with others. He got hungry and tired, felt human emotions, and could get ill, suffer, bleed, and die. He was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” subjecting Himself to mortality so He could “be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” and succor us in our infirmities or weaknesses.
We cannot simply repent of being weak—nor does weakness itself make us unclean. We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we acceptour state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God. When Moroni fretted about the weakness of his writing, God did not tell him to repent. Instead, the Lord taught him to be humble and to have faith in Christ. As we are meek and faithful, God offers grace—not forgiveness—as the remedy for weakness. Grace is an enabling power from God to do what we cannot do on our own; the appropriate godly remedy by which He can “make weak things become strong.
Exercising Humility and Faith:
From early on in our Church experience, we are taught the essential elements of repentance, but how exactly do we foster humility and faith? Consider the following:
Ponder and pray. Because we are weak, we may not recognize if we are dealing with sin (calling for an immediate and pervasive change of mind, heart, and behavior) or with weakness (calling for humble, sustained effort, learning, and improvement). How we view these things can depend on our upbringing and maturity. There may even be elements of both sin and weakness in a single behavior. Saying a sin is really a weakness leads to rationalizing instead of repenting. Saying a weakness is a sin can result in shame, blame, despair, and giving up on God’s promises. Pondering and praying help us make these distinctions.
Prioritize. Because we are weak, we cannot make every needed change all at once. As we humbly and faithfully tackle our human weakness a few aspects at a time, we can gradually reduce ignorance, make good patterns habitual, increase our physical and emotional health and stamina, and strengthen our trust in the Lord. God can help us know where to begin.
Plan. Because we are weak, getting stronger will require more than a righteous desire and lots of self-discipline. We also need to plan, learn from mistakes, develop more effective strategies, revise our plans, and try again. We need help from scriptures, relevant books, and other people. We start small, rejoice in improvement, and take risks (even though they make us feel vulnerable and weak). We need supports to help us make good choices even when we are tired or discouraged and plans for getting back on track when we slip.
Exercise patience. Because we are weak, change may take time. We don’t just renounce our weakness the way we renounce sin. Humble disciples willingly do what’s required, learn resilience, keep trying, and do not give up. Humility helps us have patience with ourselves and with others who are weak too. Patience is a manifestation of our faith in the Lord, gratitude for His confidence in us, and trust in His promises.
Even when we sincerely repent of our sins, obtain forgiveness and become clean again, we remain weak. We are still subject to illness, emotion, ignorance, predispositions, fatigue, and temptation. But limitations and inadequacies are not sins and do not keep us from being clean and worthy of the Spirit.
Weakness to Strength:
While Satan is eager to use our weakness to entice us to sin, God can use human weakness to teach, strengthen, and bless us. Contrary to what we might expect or hope, however, God does not always “make weak things become strong” unto us by eliminating our weakness. When the Apostle Paul prayed repeatedly for God to remove a “thorn in the flesh” Satan used to buffet him, God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
There are many ways the Lord makes “weak things become strong.” While He may eliminate the weakness through the dramatic cure we hope for, in my personal experience this is somewhat rare. For example, I see no evidence that God eliminated Moroni’s weakness in writing after the famous verse in Ether 12. God may also make weak things strong by helping us work around our weaknesses, gain an appropriate sense of humor or perspective about them, and improve on them gradually over time. Also, strengths and weaknesses are often related (like the strength of perseverance and the weakness of bullheadedness), and we can learn to value the strength and temper the weakness that goes with it.
There is another, even more powerful way that God makes weak things strong unto us. The Lord says to Moroni in Ether 12:37, “Because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.”
Here God is not offering to change Moroni’s weakness, but to change Moroni. By tackling the challenge of human weakness, Moroni—and we—can learn charity, compassion, meekness, patience, courage, long-suffering, wisdom, stamina, forgiveness, resilience, gratitude, creativity, and a host of other virtues that make us more like our Father in Heaven. These are the very qualities we came to earth to hone, the Christlike attributes that prepare us for the mansions above.
Nowhere is God’s love, wisdom, and redemptive power more evident than in His ability to turn our struggle with human weakness into the invaluable godly virtues and strengths that make us more like Him."
I know that our weaknesses can be turned into strengths. I have seen it happen in myself on my mission, and in others around me. Focus on the beauty of weaknesses and recognize how our weaknesses help define who we are and make up a part of us. We wouldn't be the same without them. I loved this talk so so much and would encourage you to go look at some of the charts that were written out in her talk regarding the difference between sin and weakness. I know that this gospel is real. I know that the atonement is real. IT WORKS FOR ANYONE AND EVERYONE. Even you, who is reading this right now and who thinks that it doesn't work for you. "Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ." Let him fix you so that you can become whole and can feel the calming effects of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that we all have so much to work on, but I know that our weaknesses can be turned into strengths and can help us prepare to meet God and to become more like him.
Be humble. Be teachable. Realize that there is always room to improve. The book True to the Faith explains the meaning of true 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 acknowledgement 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." I know that as we do that, we will be blessed and we will see our lives change.
I love y'all so dang much. I cannot wait to see you & wrap my arms around you. Thank you for everything & for all the support. I hope everyone has a great week. Kam, happy birthday sweets. Make it a killer day. Nathan, happy birthday & welcome home! Can't wait to see you. & I know I'm missing a few others since we have so many birthdays in September.. But I promise when I get home we will celebrate.. Cause trust me. Remember my birthday is this month and I'm all about birthdays, so be ready! Have a super week. Turn those weaknesses into strengths! LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Sending all my hugs and kisses your way. Talk to ya in seven, see ya in 30! Ah!

Sister Kyla Joan Worthington

August 29, 2016~Happy are we!

Hi loves!
How is everyone? Another week come and gone. Where is the time going?
I hope this week was a good one for everyone. I have been thinking about you lots and hope that you have been able to feel my prayers. I know that a lot of things are going on, but I hope that each of you have been able to feel peace and that you can feel the love of God in your life. I know that he loves you and I know that he is real. Oh so real. If you allow him to come into your life, he will come. I have seen it happen time and time again. I know that if it works for me and for my investigators, it will work for you!
This week was pretty good. Lots of tender mercies and lots of tears.  Typically how a mission goes, right? I am so grateful for the continued support that I have received and for the love and prayers. I feel them every single day and I really know that they are what is carrying me through! I have guardian angels round about me bearing me up!
Monday was rough. Definitely glad it's over and definitely glad that today is a better preparation day. Tuesday was super super hard. One of the harder days of my mission. Sister Warner and I drove to the mission office and dropped off Sister Nunies. It was rough. I am so excited for what God has in store for her but it was a hard goodbye. I have developed such a good relationship with that girl and we are best friends. She has helped me through some of my toughest days and I know that God definitely placed her in my life to help me and to support me in everything! However, we were able to pick up our new companion, Sister Mabey! She is from Salem, Oregon and is a really sweet girl.
She was serving in Waxhaw and so we had lots of conversations about some of my favorite peeps. :) It has definitely been an adjustment and Sister Warner and I are still getting used to having her, but we are grateful that we are staying in a trio and we are learning a lot from our new sister! I don't know how she's doing.. But hopefully she's adjusting well and that things are going good for her. Sister Warner and I are like a party companionship so we know that she is going to have a good time and that she's in for a treat. I think we have shocked her a little bit... But it's been good for her to get out of her shell. The YSA will be really good for her and will open her up!
The work is really picking up here in Charlotte! After a couple slower weeks, we have been able to see the fruits of our labors and I'm loving it. We are staying super busy and that has definitely helped me with everything going on. I have been able to really focus on the work and I love going from appointment to appointment. We had one day this week with no appointments and so we did a lot of finding. We did some tracting for Sister Warner's first time and it was so much fun! The girl is just a blast. She makes everything so fun and so happy! It was the first time in my life that I actually loved tracting. It was great! So much fun. So many rejections and door slams, but so dang worth it. We also met a few people and ran into a few single adults so that was a bonus. Then the Spanish sisters called us and told us they had a referral for us! Right then and there we dropped our plans and went to meet him! His name is Daeshawn and he is amazing! He has a baptismal date for September 25th and he's definitely set on making that date. (Hello best early birthday present ever) We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he loved it. We instantly clicked and became best friends. I love love love working with people my age. Daeshawn came to church yesterday and had a great time and is progressing really well.
Damon is also someone that we are working with. We brought Elder and Sister Garlick with us and that was one of the better decisions we made! They are so powerful, oh my goodness! We had a great lesson and Elder Garlick told Damon that he wanted to be there for his baptism, and baptize him, so Damon is getting baptized on September 7th!  Ahhhhh! Finally! I am going to be so sad when the Garlick's leave.  Already hurting inside. Please go to their homecoming. Please please please! Yeyo is another investigator that we are working with and he is doing great. Really progressing and he is meeting with president this week! He came to church and is making tons of progress. We also got two referrals this week and they both sound really solid. Both of them are girlfriends of members in our ward, so we are really excited about that and I'm sure I will have more progress on them next week!
When you have members involved, it helps SO much and makes the work so much easier.
Remember Alex? From Ghana? He is doing great. We had a really really awkward experience with him this week.. So, we had an appointment set and we decided to bring two of our members with us. Well, when we got there.. The door was open so we could see through the screen door.
(Everyone has screen doors here in the south). There were two young gentlemen all dressed up sitting on their couch. I peeked my head in and asked if Alex was there. They said he was and said that he would come to the door soon. Well, Alex came to the door and let us in, and gestured us to sit down. Come to find out, these two young gentlemen were the lovely Jehovah Witnesses. Hahahah oh it was so awkward. Right as we sat down, they stood right up and said, "Well, we cannot have two different groups here so we better leave. We will come back another time." And then got up and rushed out of there so fast. I have never seen someone get up and move so fast. We outnumbered them a little bit... But we weren't trying to kick them out or anything..  They were just so afraid of us. It was classic. We didn't know that Alex was meeting with them so it was kind of awkward. He told us that he hadn't been meeting with them for a long time, but they randomly stopped by and so he let them in. Of course Satan would have them come at the exact same time as our appointment. Gosh dang him. Hate him.  Anyways, we ended up teaching a bomb lesson on the word of wisdom and law of chastity to Alex and his little brother and it was great! & Alex's work schedule changed and how has Sunday's off so that was definitely a miracle. He can come to church now! Yay! Anyways, interesting experience. But, one for the books.
Things with our recent converts/less actives are going really well.  Guess what! Nicole is moving to Utah on September 15th! I AM SO EXCITED. She was in Utah this past week and was doing some working interviews and looking for places to live. She got a job in American Fork working for a dentist there! I am so happy for her. It has been amazing to see how God has blessed her life and how everything is falling into place. She is going to be living in Utah and is so so so excited. I am so happy for her and know that this will be a good change for her. The gospel has changed her SO much and I cannot wait to come home and join her! hooray for recent converts.
Fernando is on fire as well! We had a new member lesson with him this past week and instead of us teaching him, we asked him to teach us. He did so good! He killed the restoration and taught the whole thing perfectly! So amazing. He also got the priesthood and got his temple recommend and is going this weekend. I couldn't be more happy. Seeing them enter the temple is the best thing ever. That's the main goal and I know that if they can get there, they will be so so blessed and they will remain strong and active.
Alan is also doing great. We have been able to keep in touch with him via Skype. Although he is in Utah and we miss him very much, he is still reading the scriptures and meeting with the missionaries there and is loving it! He's found his new YSA ward and is making friends. I am so grateful for the technology that we have and for the ability that we have to stay in touch with him even though he moved!
Well, that's a lot of newsy stuff. How is everyone doing out there! I wanna hear about everything that's happening in the 801. Crazy how fast time is going and how much things have changed. I am excited to come home and see how many things have changed. Sometimes I feel like I just left and just got out here and that nothing changed, but then I realize that a lot can happen in 18 months, but that life continues to still move on and it will never ever stop.
Saturday was one of the best days of my entire mission. Guess what I got to do. We got picked up by Stephanie Hargus Saturday morning and went to Waxhaw!! President Alexander gave me permission to go to Joseph's baptism. It was the best day of my life. It was SO good to see all of my fellow friends and people in Waxhaw. It literally felt like home. That place has such a special place in my heart and I will never ever ever forget the experiences that I had there. I have loved my other areas.. But Waxhaw is by far my favorite. I got to see Melissa and her family and that meant everything to me. It's been so neat to see how far she has come and to see how the gospel has blessed her life. She was my very first recent convert and now here she is, going to the temple this weekend and doing baptisms for the dead with her younger brother, who just got baptized. Now although Joseph is only 12 years old... Watching him get baptized was one of the most scared moments that I've had on my mission, and in my life. Both of his non-member parents were there and when he went under the water, the spirit was SO SO SO SO SO strong. I wish you could have been there. I looked over at his father and watched the tears roll down his face. For the longest time, he wouldn't give Jospeh permission to get baptized. I saw him angry and drunk almost every time we would go over there, and here he was, standing in our church building, in tears. He was so moved and it wasn't just quiet tears rolling down cheeks... He literally had to walk out of the room.
I know it's hard for you to imagine this experience because you don't know who these people are... But it was so perfect and so touching. It was such a tender mercy for me to be there and to be able to witness that. I feel so blessed to be apart of this work at this time in my life. It was so neat to see how God has worked on his children and prepares them for the very moment that they are ready. I stood back in awe, as I witnessed God working in the lives of his children. I feel so grateful to know that I had a part in helping God create an eternal family. Their family is well on their way. We are slowly but surely creating the links and I couldn't be more grateful. I know that one day Joseph's father and mother will accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.
After he was baptized, Joseph got up and bore his testimony in front of everyone. (And there were a lot of people there) the whole deacons quorum came to support him and a lot of the ward was there. His testimony was so pure and so simple. Once again, I looked over at his parents and it touched my heart so much to see the look on their faces. I knew that the spirit was touching them. It's amazing to see a  12 year old kid up there bearing his testimony. The gospel is so amazing. The youth program is amazing. It teaches us from such a small age how to act, how to be responsible, how to be mature, and teaches us how to gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel does no harm, only good and only benefits us. How can you not want that for you and for your children? The world is so scary right now and it's so important that we have something to hold onto and cling onto. I am just so grateful that I was raised in a gospel-centered home and for the foundation that I have, and will have for the rest of my life.
So, aside from that being the best day ever, let me share with you what I learned this week. Lately I have really really been thinking about the power of attitude and the thought of "bad things happening to good people." We have been able to teach the Plan of Salvation a lot for some reason and God has just been placing people in our paths who have needed that simple message and so I have been able to do a lot of studying, thinking, pondering, and reflecting on that message.
I came across Elder Uchtdorf's talk called, "Forget Me Not" and it really hit me hard. There is a section in his talk where he talks about "forgetting not to choose to be happy now." Not waiting for the perfect moment to be happy. I think so many of us think that we will be happy when we are married, or we will be happy when we finish school, or we will be happy when all the kids are out of the house, or we will be happy when the month of September is over, or we will be happy when we get this or when we get that. Blah blah blah, you get the point. But, he goes on to say that we must choose to be happy right now. FOCUS ON THE NOW. We will only have this moment once. Never again will we have this same day, or this same time. We have o much to be grateful for and so much that we can really be happy about. Why then, do we not focus on the now and why are we always yearning for the future? Yes, the future is great and yes there is lots to look forward too.. But there is so many things that I think we miss in the moment, simply because we aren't looking.
I had an experience this week where I was really struggling and I just kept thinking to myself "why me, why me, why me." Sometimes I just feel like everything would have been better if I decided not to go on a mission and if I stayed home. Well, I decided to go into the bedroom and say a quick prayer before we headed out. As I was sitting there, Heavenly Father whispered something to me. He said, "Kyla, I know. I know how you are feeling. But, remember that you only have one mission. This is it. Never again in your life will you have this opportunity. Never again in your life will you be able to be right here, doing what you're doing." It was then and there that my whole perspective changed. RIGHT NOW IS OUR TIME. We must focus on the now and enjoy the now!
President Monson once said, "If you have children who are grown and gone, in all likelihood you have occasionally felt pangs of loss and the recognition that you didn’t appreciate that time of life as much as you should have. Of course, there is no going back, but only forward. Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future. If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."
I don't want to have feelings of “what if” and “if only.” I don't want to have bitterness and tears for words left unsaid and deeds left undone. No matter where you are in your life or what you are going through, remember to embrace the NOW!
Now, I know that we will all still have trails and that sometimes, it's going to be hard to "always be happy" but, remember that that is normal and that that is all part of the plan. Opposition is good and is so so necessary. It's what allows us to be happy and grateful in the first place. All of us experience various kinds of opposition that test us. Some of these tests are temptations to sin. Some are mortal challenges apart from personal sin. Some are very great. Some are very small. Some are continuous, and some are mere episodes. None of us is exempt. Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.
"Some of you may at times have cried out in your suffering, wondering why our Heavenly Father would allow you to go through whatever trials you are facing.  Our mortal life, however, was never meant to be easy or consistently pleasant. Our Heavenly Father knows that we learn and grow and become refined through hard challenges, heartbreaking sorrows, and difficult choices. Each one of us experiences dark days when our loved ones pass away, painful times when our health is lost, feelings of being forsaken when those we love seem to have abandoned us. These and other trials present us with the real test of our ability to endure.” I think that when we were in the pre-earth life, each one of us signed up for the trials and tribulations that we are and will experience. I think that you and I both willingly said, "I'll do that one. Or I'll take that one. Or let me accept that one." We said we would be willing to go through these trials here on earth for the benefit of others and for the ultimate building of the kingdom of God and the perfecting of the saints.
It is by staying faithful and valiant during those trials that the Lord will continue to strengthen us and prepare us for the days that are coming. Sister Oaks once said, “Sometimes those things we consider great trials prepare us for blessings, so I say to you, stay on the path, and continue to press forward.”
I know that each one of you are facing many difficult things in your life right now. To you, I say keep going. Keep pressing forward and keep holding on. God knows what we do not know and sees what we do not see. Every calamity that Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation. Let us remember that it's necessary and important to have purposeful pain. Pain that will stretch us and make us grow. I have such a strong testimony of that.
All that we go through is to learn and ultimately, to become more like our Heavenly Father. His hand is involved in every single detail of our life. We can choose to be happy and choose to endure well, only if we want too. He is not going to make us.
So, let us forget not to be happy now! The happiest people I know are not those who are always waiting for something different or something better, but those while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, day by day, moment by moment, recognize the gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy.
I love each of you so very much and I know that God lives. I want to share with you part of President Uchtdorf's talk, which echoed my testimony. He says,
"Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time! He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name--you are the sons and daughters of His kingdom. God loves you because you are His child. He loves you even though at times you may feel lonely or make mistakes. The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving. If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow." I know that to be true.
Let us remember that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. I am grateful for this chance that I have had to share the gospel with the people of North Carolina. Everyday I am working on trying to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I am trying to recognize the tender mercies of the Lord and remember how good he has been to me. Repent daily. Forgive often. Remember that we need to forgive in order to be forgiven. Pray daily. Study the word of God every single day. Serve those around you. Smile daily. Be grateful. Share goodness. & love love love love love and love some more. Our dear prophet once said, "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved." Remember that.
I hope you all have a great week and I hope that you "choose to be happy now." I love each of you so dearly and cannot wait to see your cute, smiling faces. Thank you for everything. Y'all are the best & definitely have a place in my big big heart. Please let me know if you need anything. Sorry this letter dragged on. Until next week-- love you to the other side of the country and back! Talk to ya in seven, see ya in 37. Whoa, that's real soon! Yikes!! :) Sending ya all my love. Xo
Sister Ky Worthington

August 22, 2016~Well, this is it

Hello hello! I hope everyone is doing alright and I hope that it's been a good week for each of you and I hope that you have been able to feel the Savior's love! I know that he loves each and every one of you that is reading this email right now! He's so aware of everything that you're going through. I know we hear that all the time, but I promise that is he there and that he does know.
I cannot believe that this time has finally come. I'm FINALLY on the big home stretch! This is it! One more transfer to go. I honestly cannot believe that this time has already come. I never ever thought that I would get down to my last transfer. It's been such a humbling experience for me as I have looked back and have reflected on my mission and all of the amazing experiences that I have had. I have grown so much and have learned so much. Things that I would have never been able to learn otherwise. I have been so blessed and am once again, so grateful that I chose to come out and serve the Lord. Best thing I've ever done, and if any of you are considering a mission, do it! You will not regret it. Make it a goal of yours. I think everyone needs to serve a mission. It will change your entire life and your whole plan and perspective on life. I feel so so blessed!
So, the biggest news of the week was finding out where I would be spending my last transfer! We got transfer calls on Saturday and found out that I will be STAYING and finishing my mission in the Charlotte area and in the YSA ward and that I will continue to serve with Sister Warner. Sister Nunies is leaving us and heading to a place called Concord. Thankfully, Concord isn't really that far away from us and Sister Nunies will actually be my new sister training leader and will still be in the zone! Three claps for that! I am super grateful that I will still be able to see her and am so grateful that the Lord didn't take her too far from me. I love the girl to death and we've had some amazing times together that I will never forget. It's going to be hard to see her go. Sister Warner and I will be getting a new sister tomorrow and it's going to be interesting! Our new sister is Sister Maybe, and she is currently serving in Waxhaw! She is a fairly new missionary and just got into the mission field a few months ago. We are excited to welcome her in and I think the YSA ward will be a very good experience for her! I'm also excited to talk about Waxhaw and all of the good people there! I miss that place so dang much.
This past week was alright. Once again, lots of ups and downs. Satan continues to throw darts at me but I'm learning how to combat him and his sneaky, evil ways. I hate him. Thankfully, we were able to be blessed with a really busy week. We had lots of meetings and lots of things planned and that really helped the week go by really quick! I love when weeks go by fast because then that means that P-day is soon and that I get to email y'all!
Monday was just Monday. Nothing spectacular. Tuesday we had a "New Missionary Training Meeting" all day long with President and Sister Alexander and that was the best. They are my favorites. It was just a meeting for all of the new missionaries and their trainers. It was really fun to see some old mission friends and be with all the new missionaries. I swear, Sister Warner is on fire. She is doing so well.
Sister Nunies and I were just sitting in awe and were just feeling so blessed for the wonderful companion that we got. It seemed as if some of the other trainers were struggling with their new missionaries and we were just over here living the life with not a single worry in the world.
It's been amazing to see the growth that she has experienced and how much she has come out of her shell. I love the girl to death and you have no idea how excited I am to be able to continue to serve with her. She makes me laugh on a regular basis and she always gives me some happiness right when I need it. The meeting was really good and it was really good to go back to the basics and to remember my missionary purpose and the simplicity of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary!
After the meeting, my cute Stephanie Hargus from Waxhaw came up behind me and gave me a giant hug! I was so happy to see her. She always gives the Waxhaw Sister's rides everywhere so when they need to come to Charlotte, my heart is so so happy. She is literally my second mom and has saved my life out here. Love the woman to death. I also found out that my first recent convert in Waxhaw (Melissa Epling), her little brother Joseph Hernandez is getting baptized!! I don't know if you ever remember me talking about him.. But his dad wouldn't give him permission to get baptized while I was there. We taught him all of the lessons along side with his sister and he wanted to get baptized so bad but the dad wouldn't sign the dang papers. Well, after he has seen how much the gospel has blessed Melissa's life and after he has seen how much the church has done for their family, he finally agreed to let Joseph get baptized! I AM SO EXCITED. I told President about it and he said that I could get permission to go to his baptism because it's technically "in my area" because the YSA ward covers three stakes. Ahhhh! So so happy. I know that God has a plan for all of his children and I know that over time, the gospel will eventually touch every single heart. So, that was definitely a highlight of the day!
Wednesday was alright! We had district meeting with our district for the last time and I had to give a training on "Being BOLD in missionary work & with technology." Kind of an odd topic, but somehow it worked out. The spirit really helped me, let's just put it that way! I am learning how important it is to open my mouth and just share the gospel. I know that when I get home, I cannot just walk up to someone and go beast mode on them with the gospel. They are going to be so freaked out and feel so uncomfortable. Right now, I have been called and set apart to do that and although people might think I'm crazy, I have the power and authority with me and somehow, because I'm in a skirt and dress, wearing a name tag, and with a companion, it's okay to do so! I have learned that I have to use every chance that I have to give it all I've got and share the gospel. These people need it and I'm one of the only ones right now who can declare it. Being bold is so important in life. It's important to stand up for what you believe and to put yourself out there. I really believe that as you get outside of your self and venture out of your comfort zone, great things happen and growth that you never thought would happen will happen. It's an amazing thing.
A while back we had a little hit & run with our cute new Altima so we had to take her in to get an estimation for the damage. Well, $800 later and she'll be looking as good as ever. So unfortunate. So upsetting. The thing is that we totally know who hit our car.. But when the cop asked her, she denied it. Ohhh so buggin. We pass our car everyday in our apt. complex and my heart cringes every time. I'm learning how to forgive and move on though. It's been really good for me. :) So that also happened on Wednesday. We taught a few good lessons the rest of the night and were able to meet a new family. Unfortunately they have to be transferred to different missionaries..
But I think they have a ton of potential!
Thursday was good. Just Thursday. We had our service at the soup kitchen serving the homeless and I literally started crying because we only get to do that like three more times with Elder and Sister Garlick and then they go home! :( So sad. Then, a miracle happened.
Earlier in the week, we got a text from a lady named Amanda. She reached out to us and mentioned that her daughter was moving to Charlotte and was going to be attending UNCC. She wanted to take us out to lunch with her daughter so that we could get to know her and help her get acquainted with the YSA ward here. So, we set up a lunch date and planned to meet on Thursday. Well, while waiting for them at the restaurant, I got a tap on my shoulder. I looked back to see who it was and guess what!! IT WAS ROBERT ROBBINS. Best day of my life. I was so confused and so thrown off. I thought he was just randomly there or something.. But no. Come to find out that he is totally dating this Amanda chick, hard core, and he totally knew that I was serving in the YSA ward and was totally behind the scenes and planned it all out! I literally freaked out. He is my most favorite person in the entire world. We had such a good lunch and it was SO good to catch up with him and feel of his love. I cannot wait for you to meet him.
He is unreal. He looks so happy and is receiving so many blessings and it's been so fun to see how the gospel has blessed his life. Made my entire month seeing him. Best surprise ever. We went home and did weekly planning and then went out teaching the rest of the night!  Great great day.
Friday was wonderful! We were busy doing some more service and some more teaching. We are still working with the same investigators.. Alex from Ghana, Damon, and Yeyo. All are progressing well.. But struggling to get work off to come to church. Ugh. They are exercising great faith but it's really hard to help them really progress towards baptism unless they can come to church and meet the bishop and get some fellowship. We are still working on them! We took a break and went to uptown and had lunch with Fernando. It was super fun! We love being in the City and walking in the streets! I cannot wait for you to come and see it here! It's beautiful! We were also able to have two really good Skype lessons this past week and it has been fun to see how helpful technology has been in sharing the gospel. I love all of the tools that we have and I feel so blessed to be in a mission with iPads and with technology. It's amazing the GOOD that can be done with technology when you use it righteously and for a good cause! We have so many rules when it comes to using FB and the iPad.. Always have to have 4 eyes on the screen, (6 in our case) always have to recite our missionary purpose before we get on, have to have a plan and an allotted time slot to use our iPads, everything is restricted and we don't have access to the Internet, just little things like that that make it really filtered, but such a blessing! It's been amazing to see the good that can be done and it's been great to learn new technology habits and things that will continue to bless me for the rest of my life.
Saturday was so much fun! We went to an elementary school with our ward in the morning and did a big service project. Earlier in the Summer we collected tennis balls and cut holes in them. For the service project, we put all of those tennis balls on the bottom of chairs. I had never seen this be done before in elementary school, but apparently it's to help the kids not be so distracted and it's supposed to help the floors. Whatever the case, it was a fun service project and it was fun to help the kids prepare for another school year! Crazy how fast time is going. I swear we just started Summer, & now it's already over. Uhhhhh. Can't believe it.
After the service project we had lunch and then me and my cute hermana's drove up to Concord for Chris's baptism. It was such a special day. Chris asked me to speak at his baptism so I was able to give a talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I really spent time preparing for his talk and it was amazing what I learned and what the spirit taught me. I felt really good about my talk and I hope that those in the audience who were non members (aka his family & friends) were able to feel of the spirit and that they got something out of it.  It was so special to see someone who we found, accept the gospel and enter into the waters of baptism. I couldn't help but hold back the tears as I watched him enter into the waters and as I watched all of his sins be washed away. Best day ever! A glorious part of baptism days is the part that we each have to be confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
There is nothing that means more to me in this life than my membership in this church and the gift of the Holy Ghost that I have been given.
One of my favorite scriptures is in 2 Nephi 31:12. It says, "He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do." The Holy Ghost is a spirit personage who will speak to "you in your mind and in your heart” and will show unto you “all things that you should do in your life.” Both temporally and spiritually. I have learned that the Holy Ghost will help you keep the promises that you just made as you were baptized. The Holy Ghost will guide you and help you choose the right. He bears witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost can give us comfort and guide us away from danger. As we continue to go to church each week and partake of the Sacrament, remember that as we promise to take the name of Jesus Christ upon us, to always remember Christ, and to keep His commandments, Heavenly Father promises us that we may ALWAYS have his spirit to be with us! I love the Holy Ghost and he is one of my bestest friends.
After his baptism, we drove up north for another hour and attended our "Mormons on Norman" 7 stake YSA activity! This is an activity that they do once a year and it's the biggest one of the year. Our ward and stake was in charge of it this year and so we have had a lot of preparation go into this activity and ever since I got to Charlotte, all I have heard about was this "Mormons on Norman" lake activity. So, we were super grateful that it finally happened. We got permission to go and it was such a blast. I'm seriously coming back to next years activity because it was that much fun! Lake Norman is a really big lake here in North Carolina and there are some members of the church who have a giant lake house on the lake and let the singles use it!
Their house is absolutely insane! They have this huge dock that has a big slide, a diving board that's like 35 feet up, a zip line, slack line, rope swing, and a whole par-core course with monkey bars & all this crazy stuff, all over the water! It was so neat! Then throughout the day, they had five boats taking the people out! Later in the evening, we had a huge cookout and then had some LDS artist guy from Arizona come out and do a little concert for us. Apparently he was on a tour and we were able to get him to come to Charlotte. He wasn't all that great... He gave me one of his CD's for free... So I'll have to show you that when I get home haha. Bless his heart. Anyways, although it about KILLED me that I couldn't be in the water and on the boats.... I had a really good time and it was so much fun to get to know the members better and interact with some of their friends who weren't members of our faith! Good good fun! Nicole and Fernando also came and had a blast. They are like my best friends and I love them to death.
Sunday was of course full of miracles. We had the stake leaders talk in sacrament meeting and in Sunday school and 3rd hour and it was a really powerful Sunday. The spirit was strong and I was definitely rejuvenated. I also really needed the sacrament this week and it was amazing to see that as I prepared extra hard for it this week, it worked and paid off. I had such a spiritual experience and my testimony of the sacrament has sky rocketed. I know it's real and I know that it's cleansing power is real!!! We also had some members bring their non member friends to church and it was good to be able to meet them! Hopefully some progress happens. We went out with one of my favorite members, Anil, and taught Alex! We had a killer lesson and read the Book of Mormon with him. His brother joined us, finally, and we are hoping to help them both progress together! I've always wanted to baptize and African.
Sunday night we had our last dinner and hoorah with our "bug boys"
from Utah. They all head back to Utah this week and it's going to be so sad to see them leave. :( We have built some solid relationships and I have made so many new friends. Too bad most of them are from Logan and go to Utah State. Maybe I should go there? Or BYU Idaho?
Hmmm. We shall see where God takes me. Anyways, we had a spiritual night and all went around the circle and talked about what we learned this Summer and what we were grateful for. Such a spiritual experience! We went home and sent in our numbers and ended the night and week off with a bang!
Well, I know this is getting long, but I must share with you a little bit of what I learned this week. It's been a very very hard week for me, but I have been able to continue to endure in faith and patience and somehow, it all just seems to work out. This week I chose to study the topic "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." Faith is forward facing and as Elder Holland describes it, "to the future!" I decided to focus on three phrases that really hit me as I was studying.
1. "Nevertheless"
2. "But if not"
3. "Though he slay me"
In 1 Nephi 1:1 it says, , "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days." Then a few chapters later in 1 Nephi 11:17 it says, "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Nephi has such strong faith and no matter what, he is willing to do what the Lord asks of him, regardless of the outcome. "Nevertheless" he will do it.
In Daniel 3:18 it reads, "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." This was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego when they were in the fiery furnace and were about to get burned. They said the words, "but if not", meaning that they will do whatever the Lord requires of them. We may not like the outcome or get what we desire or want, but, it's important that we have a "but if not" attitude.
In Job 13:15 it reads, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain mine own ways before him." Once again, another example of someone who is so faithful and is so willing to do whatever the Lord asks. Even if he's about to get slayed, he is still going to trust in the Lord. Do we have that kind of faith?
I've been pondering a lot on how we can develop strong faith like those in the scriptures. We may not be experiencing exactly what they are experiencing, but we are experiencing things that are very similar when it comes to the test of our faith. It's important that we continue to do the small and simple things. The primary answers. Going to church and attending our meetings. Praying daily as a family and as individuals. Studying the scriptures daily. Going to the temple and doing service. Being humble and submissive. Asking, seeking, and knocking. Being obedient and acting and applying what we are learning in our lives. I'm not sure if any of that made sense... It did in my head and in my notes.. But kind of hard to type out and explain. I guess the spirit just teaches me and I just have to do my best to relay it. :)
This week I am going to work on developing a "no matter what" kind of faith. I am going to do all that I can to let the Lord know that I am on his side and that I will fight for him until the very end. I am not going to let the attachment of my past and the agency of others out way my faith to the future. I am ready to give myself fully to God and trust in him and his eternal plan and purpose for me.
I hope that each of you will work on your faith this week. It's the first principle of the Gospel and there is so much peace and hope that can come into our lives as we have STRONG FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. I love each of you so much and am so thankful for the light and the joy that you bring into my life. Please continue to pray for me as I work on focusing and sprinting to the end of my mission.
I love each of you so very much and cannot wait to see you! Keep hanging in there. Keep the faith. There is hope and happiness ahead. I know God lives. I know this is the true church of Christ and I know that through his atonement and his grace, we can be saved and live eternally with one another.
Have a great week. Talk to ya in seven. See ya in 44.
Sister Kyla Worthington

August 16, 2016 ~Be Still

Hey cute people,
Another week down. How's everyone doing? Crazy how fast the weeks are going over here in Charlotte. I'm not sure if they're going by fast over there in the 801, but they are sure flying by over on this side of the country. Isn't it crazy to think that I'm clear across the country? That's weird. And when I really start to think about it, it freaks me out. Sometimes I feel like I'm not that far away from you.. And then I look at a map and realize that I am really far away and it kind of makes me sad haha. Let's just not think about it. :)
This week was another one of those weeks full of some ups and full of some downs. Some days I've never been so happy and then other days I've never been so sad. You just never know what you're going to get! There was nothing that happened this week that made me particularly sad, I just felt Satan getting to me and trying to bring me down. Sometimes it is really hard being out here and feeling like you are alone and that you are living in the unknown. I don't like it one bit. When I start thinking about it, Satan knows exactly how to get me and bring me down. I know that he is real and I know that he knows our weaknesses and our shortcomings and that is how he gets us. However, I know that we have a Savior Jesus Christ and I know that he is more powerful and if we turn to him, I know that he can help us escape the darkness and help us feel calm and at peace. I've had to rely on him a lot the past two months, more than I ever have before, and I have one of the strongest testimonies that HE LIVES and that he is there for us. I have felt his love and have felt his warm embrace. He has healed my heart and has literally wiped away my tears. I am so thankful for the Savior and for his loving grace, mercy, and peace. I have learned that there is a God and there is a devil. And the bringing of peace requires the complete elimination of Satan’s influence. Where he is, peace can never be. Make sure you always stay close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Anyways, sorry about that. Let's talk about missionary work now! We had a pretty good week as far as the work goes. We had a few meetings and some administrative stuff to take care of, but amidst all that, we were still able to teach many great lessons and were able to talk to a lot of people. We were able to meet with each of our progressing investigators this week and were able to get a member out with us each night. That was a huge blessing! :)
Alex (from Ghana) is doing great! We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he ate it up. We had one of the summer sales guys come out teaching with us and it was a perfect match. Instant friends and instant fellowship. Alex said one of the most sincere prayers I've ever heard and asked God to help him be able to get work off on Sunday's to be able to attend church. It was so precious! Yeyo is also doing really well. He has almost been taught all of the lessons and just has to meet with our mission president to discuss a few legal things. We aren't sure if he will be able to get baptized right now or not, but we are having lots of faith! He is so ready and is so elect. He has been coming to church every week and he has even been helping reactivate his less active brother. They both showed up at church yesterday together and had their arms around each other and I just wanted to cry. That's what the gospel is all about.
Damon is doing fantastic! We taught him the law of tithing and fasting this past week and he loved it. Most people have an issue with tithing around here, but he was all for it. Didn't have a single problem with it. Our bishop asked us to really emphasize tithing when we teach our investigators because it's such an important commandment. We really really want Charlotte to get a temple and the only way for that to happen is if the members here pay a full tithe! So, we have role-played that lesson so many times and are pro teachers when it comes to teaching the lesson of tithing and fasting/fast offerings. :) Damon is still wanting to get baptized but just doesn't feel quite ready yet. Although he is totally ready, he still says he needs a little bit more time. We are being patient and am hoping that the Lord will continue to work through him. He's so close!
I don't know who else I have talked about in the past... My mind is all over the place on preparation days. We've been meeting with this man named Javi for the past 2 weeks or so and we finally had a lesson with the elders and passed him on. He's such a good guy and I know that he will be baptized in the future! We transferred wards and got him involved with the other single adults and it's going to be perfect for him. It was sad saying goodbye and having to pass him on.. But I know it's ultimately what's best for him. Sometimes it's hard serving in a YSA ward because if you find someone that is older than 30, you have to refer them, and that stinks. :( Oh well, it's all the same work and I'm just grateful to be apart of it in one way, shape, or form.
So, biggest highlight of the week was finding out that my boy Chris is getting baptized this Saturday! I don't know if you ever remember me talking about a boy named Chris like three months ago.. But he is totally getting baptized!! We lost contact with him a while ago and ended up just referring him over to different missionaries that lived more in his area and just told them good luck! I guess they ran into him and started teaching him again and he's totally getting baptized. We were teaching him for a while but he lives like 45 minutes from us so it was really hard to meet with him consecutively and although he is of YSA age, we just decided that it would be more convenient for him to go to the family ward and get baptized there if he ever wanted to continue to progress. He randomly showed up at FHE this past Monday and told us he had a baptismal date. I freaked out and was so happy! Then, earlier this morning, we got a text and he asked if I would give a talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost at his baptism. I feel so honored and so special! It's been so neat to see how someone we found a while ago, has met with different missionaries and is now making the covenant of baptism!! Love it!!

We also had a really neat zone conference this week. We were able to meet up with another zone about an hour away and have a great conference! A lot of the conference was on technology. Our mission is piloting another technology phase and we are super excited. Miracles are happening with technology. I have never seen technology be used for so much good. We are now having skype lessons almost every day. We are skyping in members to our lessons, we are skyping in investigators to our member lessons, we are face timing and adding many different people to our chats, we are creating Facebook groups and chats, sending videos and prayers via Facebook, voice recordings and pictures, it's just going crazy and we have been able to see so many miracles. I never thought that it would get to this point, and I know a lot of the members are really confused, but this is how the gospel will get preached to all the world. Of course face to face visits are still our #1 priority, we now have technology access that is helping the work move forward so beautifully! It's only there to enhance and compliment face to face interactions. Not to replace or to take away from. We are already seeing so many blessings and I am so grateful for all of the tools that God has given his missionaries to further the work. However, we must be careful with all forms of technology. I heard a quote the other day that said, "Technology is God's greatest tool and technology is also Satan's greatest tool." We gotta be careful!
This past Friday we had the opportunity to go to a member's house up in Huntersville. It was the brother in law and sister of a YSA member in our ward and they had us over for dinner. After dinner the father of the family asked us to teach them a lesson and wanted to have them pretend like they were the investigators. They asked if we could teach them the Plan of Salvation. We taught the lesson with lots of crazy kids running around, and it was very good for all 3 of us. It's been a long time since we have taught a family, so it was definitely needed. After we taught, the members gave us some solid feedback and suggestions, a little bit harsh, but it was SO good for us. I have such a powerful testimony of teaching members and practicing with them. It was so helpful and really helped me see what I need to work on. It's been such a long time since I've been in a family ward and it really made me miss it. It made me miss being in the "home" setting and hearing little kids running around everywhere. I am so grateful for the experiences that I am having each and everyday and I am just learning so much. So, that was a really neat experience.
Saturday was a great day! We were able to meet up with some of our less actives and teach a few good lessons. Our Saturday's are usually long, hot, and full of finding, but it really helped to have some set lessons set up. After all of those, we went over to our church for a sports night! Some of the ward missionaries set up a sports night and invited a bunch of members, less actives, and investigators. We all got some little Caesars pizza and had a bomb time! It was so much fun! Nothing like playing some intense volleyball and basketball in skirts and dresses. I was in heaven though and it was so much fun. A few of our investigators and less actives came and made it absolutely worth it. They all made some new friends and had a really good time. I am hoping that we can continue to do something like that every weekend! It was a great finding event.
Sunday finally came and once again, it was a day full of miracles! I love love love love love my Sunday's. If you don't love Sunday's, I don't know what's wrong with you! It is the best day of the week! The talks were excellent and our lessons in gospel principles and relief society were amazing. I really felt the spirit and the whole day I was really thinking and pondering about what I learned and what the spirit taught me. I have been really impressed with this YSA ward and the preparation that they put into their talks and lessons. It's absolutely phenomenal. For Sunday dinner, we got invited to another YSA family's home. We were able to have a hot homemade cooked meal and it was wonderful and so amazing! As we got talking to these members, they really opened up to us and shared a lot of things with us. They used to have sister missionaries living with them in their home so they always had lots of love and compassion for the sister missionaries. As we were talking, I was looking at their wall of photos and started asking about their children and their family. Come to find out, the father passed away in 2012 due to cancer, and the youngest kid was killed about two years ago while on his mission in California. My heart instantly broke. I just couldn't help but imagine the pain that the mother, and two sisters have had to live with for the past little while. While we were talking about it, it amazed me at how loving, kind, and gentle they were. They were all okay and had so much faith, peace, and hope. I was astonished. They talked about how they knew where their father and brother were. They talked about how they are continuing to serve on the other side and that right now, they are experiencing joy that is indescribable. Elder Zwick spoke at Andrew's funereal and told the family that Elder Page (the missionary who passed away) was still serving his mission with his new companion, also Elder Page. (The father)
I left that house feeling so grateful and so blessed for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I saw how that knowledge worked in that families life. I saw how peaceful and calm they were and I want that for myself, and for the whole world. The gospel is truly so beautiful and it's only through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can have that peace and that we can make it back to Heavenly Father and make it back to all of our loved ones. The atonement is the bridge that gets us back to our Heavenly Father. As I have been reflecting on that, my thoughts today are regarding the principle of peace.
I'll be honest. My mission has been really hard for me. I have hid a lot of my deepest feelings and worries and have tried to "fake it" and continue to move forward as if nothing is wrong. Especially during the last two months, I have really had a lot of pain and emotions inside of me. It has been in these times that I have felt the love of God and the peace of God the very strongest in my life. I have been able to gain such a strong testimony of the reality of peace and I want each of you to know that God's peace is available to anyone and everyone, at anytime and anywhere. All we have to do is seek it and desire to feel it. It's also a feeling that surpasses all understanding and comprehension.
"The value of peace within our hearts cannot be measured. When we are at peace, we can be free of worry and fear, knowing that with the Lord’s help, we can do all that is expected or required of us. We can approach every day, every task, and every challenge with assurance and confidence in the outcome. We have freedom of thought and action, and freedom to be happy. Few, if any, blessings from God are more valuable to our spiritual health than the reward of peace within. In modern-day revelation the Savior said, “But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come. (D&C 59:23.)"
Don't we all want to feel that kind of peace in our lives? I know I do! And more than that, I know that I need to feel that peace to get through this crazy life of mine! I know that receiving harmony and peace within ourselves depends on our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ, and our willingness to emulate him by living the principles he has given us. He invites us all to "Come unto him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How is your relationship with our Savior? Do you talk with him every single day? Do you ask him to bless you with his love and his peace? Are you keeping his commandments and doing what he has asked us to do? If you don't have a relationship with him and if you are not keeping his commandments, I am going to tell you right now that it's going to be hard to feel peace in your life. Can anyone’s mind be at peace if they are breaking commandments? Think about how much mental anguish results from a little lying, a little cheating, or a little stealing, even if they are never discovered and no one finds out. Do we have peace of mind if we are knowingly disobeying the law? Or do we have peace of mind if we are not honest in the workforce or in our schooling and education? Do we have peace of mind when we are under the influence of drugs and alcohol or being immoral? Are we at peace if we are less than honest regarding our tithing and fast offerings? Do we have a peace of mind if we are angry at a family member or holding grudges? NO. We cannot be at peace when we are doing any of those things. I once heard someone say, "Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything."
President David O. McKay said, “The peace of Christ does not come by seeking the superficial things of life, neither does it come except as it springs from the individual’s heart. This peace is conditioned upon obedience to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No man is at peace with himself or his God who is untrue to his better self, who transgresses the law of what is right either in dealing with himself by indulging in passion, in appetite, yielding to temptations against his accusing conscience, or in dealing with his fellowmen, being untrue to their trust. Peace does not come to the transgressor of law; peace comes by obedience to law, and it is that message which Jesus would have us proclaim among all men.”
I absolutely loved that and I know that it's absolutely true. I know that the reason I have felt the most peace and the strongest peace since being out on my mission, has been because I have been trying SO hard to be obedient to my Heavenly Father and I have been truly trying to live the way that he would have me live. By doing so, he has blessed me with his peace. However, I know that you can feel that peace while not being on a mission too!
This morning I was studying about peace and came across some really good talks and scriptures. Our dear beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson gives us three things to do to increase the peace in our lives and it's the challenge that I want to give to each of you this week.
1. Search inward. True peace will reign triumphant when we improve ourselves after the pattern taught by the Lord. Evaluate your life. Fix what you need to fix. Repent. Keep the commandments and obey God. Make amends with those that you have wronged and commit to be exactly obedient. I will always remember a fireside that I once went to at BYU where Elder Ballard was speaking. He talked about having a personal interview with yourself and sitting down and literally talking out loud to yourself and interviewing yourself. I've tried it a few times, and surprisingly it really works. I want you to each try it this week.
2. Reach outward. Service truly brings miracles and peace! As you turn outward, your problems seem to disappear and you seem to be filled with joy and happiness. Another reason why these past 17 months have been the best months of my life. I have been focused on others and not myself. No is a better example of service than our Savior Jesus Christ and our dear prophet. Follow their example. The Savior always turned outwards when you and I would've probably turned inward. Focus on serving those around you this week and I promise your life will be full of more peace.
3. Look heavenward. Trust God. Look to him. Pray EVERY SINGLE DAY. Don't rely on the world and the outsiders to give you peace and hope. Don't rely on materialistic things and worldly appetites and pleasures. Rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ and on our Heavenly Father. He loves you so much. More than you will ever be able to comprehend. He knows you perfectly and he knows how to help you. He knows what you need and he knows how to heal you and give you peace.
Will you all try working on those three things for me this week? I know you will be so blessed and I know you will notice a difference in your life. As I was thinking more about this concept of peace. It made me think about a big, warm, winter fire. The peace of God is like a winter fire. When you're just sitting in front of a fire, your are warmed. That's all you have to do, sit in front of the fire. That's all. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to have this or that, you don't have to be the richest person in the world or the most amazing celebrity....The fire warms everyone. Every single one of us. God's peace and love is there and accessible for everyone and all we have to do is sit in front of the fire.
I want each of you to know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you. I know that this gospel is real. I know that God lives and I know that he is waiting to offer us his peace. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to find joy. We just have to do our part. I hope that each of you will work on becoming who Heavenly Father needs you to be and I hope that you will work on being a better person so that you can feel of the indescribable peace that he has to offer. Remember, You cannot become who you are supposed to be by staying who you are. You may have to change a few things, but I promise it'll be worth it.
I couldn't have been able to do this without you! My joys have been multiplied and my sorrows divided because of YOU. Because of your love, faith, prayers, and support. My mission has been the best thing I have ever done in my life. Next week I will be starting my very last transfer as a missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am ready to give everything I have to the Lord and I am going to continue to need all of your prayers and your support. Six more weeks. We can do this!
I love you all more than you will ever know! Have a great week. Sending all my hugs and kisses your way! Your sister in Charlotte loves you!! :) talk to ya in seven & see you in 50.
Sister Worthington