Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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

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