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.
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