Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 3, 2016~Mission Accomplished

My cute fam!
Is anyone else freaking out right now? Oh my goodness. I think someone needs to come to Charlotte and slap me because I feel like I'm in a dream right now. I cannot believe that this day has finally come. My very last preparation day as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What! I am so grateful for each of you and for the impact that you have made in my life, and specifically the impact that you have made in my life since I've been out on my mission.
This week has been one for the books. My emotions have been all over the place, but they have all been good emotions, so that's a plus! I have had many many sacred experiences the past 7 days, for which I will be forever grateful. I was able to serve for the last time at my favorite places with my favorite people. I was able to attend my very last zone conference and bear my testimony for the last time in front of my fellow missionaries. I was able to sing the mission song for the very last time. I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday and had a wonderful day! I had the amazing opportunity to listen to the words of our dear prophet and apostles. I had the privilege to spend an hour with my recent convert, Robert Robbins, and share my testimony with him and cry together! And best of all, I was able to have my exit interview with President Alexander. That was a moment in my life that I will never forget. It was probably the best two hours of my entire mission. President Alexander is amazing. He is someone that I have come to love so much and have come to trust so deeply. He gave me amazing council and advice and gave me one of the best priesthood blessings I've ever received. Such a tender moment for a missionary!
I have been really busy all day packing and getting ready to go so I don't have a whole lot of time. However, I couldn't afford to not email you one last time and share my thoughts and testimony with you!
My testimony is something that I hold very near and dear to my heart and is something that means the very most to me, so I can't not share it with you! I hope you will you be able to feel of the love that I have for each of you and ultimately for my Savior through my words.
I love my Savior Jesus Christ so much. He is my everything. I know he lives. I know he loves me, and he loves you. I cannot stress that to you enough. I know he loves you perfectly. If there is one thing that I have come to learn on my mission, it is that God loves all of his children perfectly and equally. He has opened my eyes so much and has helped me see all of his children in the way that he does. I don't know if that is something that he has just blessed me with on my mission, or if that is something that he will let me do for the rest of my life, but nonetheless, having spiritual eyes to see others as God does has been amazing. With that, I have been able to truly see and feel the love that God has for each of us. Whenever we don't feel his love, it is because we are making choices that are distancing us from him and we aren't truly seeking his love. If you want to feel it, he will let you. Tonight, I want to challenge you to get on your knees and ask Heavenly Father how he feels about you. As you do that, I promise you will be able to feel of his infinite love for you personally.
I know that the atonement is real. There is nothing in this life that the atonement cannot fix, heal, cover, mend, or change. The atonement covers ALL. I challenge you to use the atonement in every aspect of your life. It has changed my life as I have studied, lived, breathed, applied, and have accepted the infinite atonement. I love the atonement so much. It is truly the complete love of God. There is so much to learn about it and it's so deep, but it's so personal and so sacred to each of us. I know that the atonement is the center of the doctrine of Christ. I know that the power of repentance is real. I've seen it work in my life too many times! I loved how much it was talked about in conference and I know that each of us can think back on our lives and realize that we have so much to repent for. Thankfully, God is always there to help us and will always forgive us, as we do our part.
I know the power of the priesthood is real and I know that it has been restored through our prophet Joseph Smith. I have seen it bless my life so much! I am so grateful for all of the worthy priesthood holders that I have to look to in my life. There is nothing that I admire more than a worthy priesthood holder. I am so grateful for my father, grandfathers, uncles, friends, brothers, & missionaries who have helped me through the priesthood. I know that through the priesthood, families can live together forever and can be sealed for time and all eternity. That truth has never been more clear to me, than at this time in my life. I am grateful for the sacred ordinances that we get to make in the temple. I know that what happens in the temple is real and you have no idea how excited I am to come home and be able to access the powers of heaven in the temple. I am so grateful for the covenants that I have made with my father in heaven. I know he loves me and is proud of me for the covenants that I have made. I am so excited to continue to make covenants and promises with him.
I am so grateful for the ordinance of the sacrament. The sacrament and the sabbath day have changed my life. You have no idea my love for the sacrament. I am so grateful for what I have been able to learn on my mission and for the sacred, special experiences that I have been able to have at the altar, my sacrament table. I know that through that sacred ordinance and through the Holy Ghost, we can be cleansed and sanctified. Clean and pure each week. What an amazing privilege we have to partake worthily each week. Make your sacrament experience a spiritual one every single week and you will be changed for the rest of your life. I have such a strong testimony of the sacrament, and I know that it is one of God's greatest tools to help us make it back to him.
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that there is power in that book and there is nothing that will bring us closer to our savior than reading that book. Commit to read the Book of Mormon every single day for the rest of your life. You have no idea how much that book means to me. I am so grateful for the chance that I have had to read it every single day for the last 18 months. I haven't missed a single day my entire mission, and I hope to continue that for the rest of my life. It has changed my life and has truly transformed me into who I am today. I know that Joseph translated it by the power of God and I know that combined with the bible, it gives us the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Family, I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is the only way to lasting JOY and eternal happiness. I have never been so sure of something in my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity that God gave me to serve in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission. My heart will never be the same. North Carolina is my holy land. It is the place where I came to know my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for the relationship that I have with him and am so grateful to know him in the way that I do. I love the people of North Carolina with my whole heart and soul. I will never ever forget the sacred experiences that I have had here. I am a changed Kyla Joan Worthington and I owe that all to my conversion and to my Savior. The doctrine of Christ is embedded in my heart and I know that it's the path to happiness. I have never been happier, than when I have been serving others.
Tomorrow morning I will go to the mission office and pack everything up and then head to the mission home for my last night as a full time missionary. I want each of you to know how much I love you. You have been my saving grace and have all gotten me through some of my darkest days. As I come home, I hope that you will be able to feel of my love and that you will see my changed heart and my love for the Savior. I have committed to be a disciple of Jesus Christ for the rest of my life. There is no other path that I would rather follow and be on.
When I get home, remind me to share with you my story about staying attached to the vine. :)
I am excited for the new journey that is ahead and I am looking forward to being reunited with each of you. Thank you, for letting me come out here and serve the Lord. Thank you for helping me become who God needs me to be. There is nothing that means more to me than the 18 months of sacrifice that I have given to the God I love most.
North Carolina, I love you.
I love you mom. I love you dad. I love you Kaiden. I love you Chelsea.
I love you Kamryn. I love you Knighton. & I love you Kennadi Grace.
God be with you till we meet again.
Sister Kyla Joan Worthington

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October 2, 2016

Friends and Family,
We are forever grateful for all of your thoughts, prayers, love and support on our behalf AND on behalf of our dear, sweet Kyla Joan over the past year and a half. We can’t hardly believe that she will be returning home this WEDNESDAY, October 5th, 2016. Where did the last 18+ months go?
She will arrive at the Salt Lake International airport, Terminal 2, from Charlotte, North Carolina on Delta Air Lines flight DL 521 at 10:13 am this Wednesday. We would like to invite ALL of you to join us in welcoming her home; we know that she would love to see any and all of you that might could make it up to the airport for this exciting day. We also know and appreciate that your schedules may not permit, but wanted to at least extend this invitation.
Whether you are able to join us in welcoming her home at the airport or not, you and your families are also invited to gather with us for a simple lunch at the Pizza Factory (2230 N University Pkwy, Provo, UT 84604) in Provo at 12:00 noon on Wednesday as well. There at the Pizza Factory you will be able to visit with and welcome Kyla home as well.
Thanks again for the amazing influence you are and have been in our lives and the lives of our sweet children.
Troy & Collette Worthington

September 30, 2016

Dear Brother Worthington,
It has been a great joy to have Sister Worthington in our North Carolina Charlotte Mission.
She was is very hard working, diligent missionary and genuine and sincere as well. What a light and source of love she has brought into each area that she served. She is a master at building member and investigator relations of love and trust. Whenever we are around her, we feel the love of the Savior. She has a very powerful testimony of the atonement and the doctrine of Christ. As she speaks, the Spirit radiates into the hearts of everyone. She has confidence from knowing who she is as a daughter of God. She will be greatly missed. We love her and admire her so much.
We know you are excited to have her home. Thank you for sending such an incredible, well prepared missionary. God bless you wonderful people!
President and Sister Alexander

September 26, 2016~Be Still & Know

Hi family!
Well, I'm alive. I guess that's the biggest news of the week. This week was CRAZY. Prepare yourself for this crazy email. We'll get to the details in a little bit. :) How's everyone doing? Another week down. & guess what, just one more left to go! I cannot believe that I am on the last full week of my mission. Kind of freaking out to be honest. I'm going to need lots and lots of prayers this week. There are so many things on my little heart and in my little soul. I hope that each of you had a great week. From some pictures and some letters I received this week, it looks like it's getting a little bit cold over there in my 801! I am so excited! I love this time of year and am so grateful for God's beauty. It's still really warm here in North Carolina and I'm ready for some snow!
First off, I just want to thank each of you for your prayers this week and for all of your love and support! I felt them. It's been a crazy week here in Charlotte and in the Carolinas. I'm sure each of you are aware of the shootings and the riots that have been happening around here. Well, the shooting happened literally 1 minute from our apartment and we were driving by right as it was happening. I've have never seen so many police cars, helicopters, and news vehicles in my life. I remember driving by and being so confused, feeling so weird, and not really knowing what to do. Cops were blocking off the road and we were sitting there looking at everything going on, but not having a clue what was happening. We finally got home and then continued on with the rest of the plans. The rest of the day was crazy! Since we don't watch or listen to the news, we were still super confused with what was going on. Before we knew it, everyone and their mom was talking about it! We got filled in and got the whole story!
President Alexander called us later that night and just informed us on what was going on and told us to stay out of certain areas. We weren't too affected by anything, but it's been so sad to see what this has done to the city of Charlotte. The past couple of days have been hard because everyone has so much hate in their hearts right now and it's killing me! People are very upset and definitely not so fond with all the white people right now! I am hoping that things will calm down next week and that people will be more ready to accept the gospel. But regardless of everything going on, all is well and we are all safe! Thanks again for all the prayers.
Oh guess what else happened! NC had a crazy gas scare and every gas station was closed! We couldn't get gas anywhere! It was so scary. The gas prices went up so much too and it was insane. I literally started freaking out because I thought that we were going to be on bikes for the rest of my mission.. And not that I wouldn't like that, but I just don't like being outside of the car with all the crazy riot people running around. But, we figured it all out and now we have a full tank. :) God is good.
This past week was a hard week for me mentally & physically haha. I was just super stressed for some reason and everything just seemed to come crashing down. Mid week I started to get really stuffed up and started to get this really really bad cough. Like what the heck. I haven't been sick my ENTIRE mission, and it all just seems to come crashing down my last week. What's up with that! I think it was just due to stress and emotions. It was a few rough days, but I made it through and I'm feeling much better today. I also had my last district meeting and my last Sunday with the YSA ward and so both of those were tender moments for me. I got asked to bear my testimony at both district meeting and in sacrament meeting. It was such a special moment for me. I have been able to learn and grow so much and it was neat to be able to express my testimony to the ones that I have come to love so much for the very last time. Thankfully, I still have zone conference and my exit interview, and my night at the mission home to bear my testimony but still, I never thought this day would come and it's freaking me out.
We were able to see some good miracles this week and were able to see the work move forward. Most of our investigators are doing well and I am so grateful for all the amazing people that I have been blessed to work with. The highlight of the week was going on my last exchange with our sister training leaders on Friday and Saturday. Guess what.  SISTER NUNIES CAME TO CHARLOTTE!! And Sister Warner and I both stayed in Charlotte. Sister Mabey left us and went up to Concord. It was honestly the best 24 hours of my mission. The triple threat was back together. It was the best day of my life. Being reunited with Sister Nunies and having Sister Warner still with me was like a dream come true. When we exchanged, we had to immediately drive an hour to our appointment with our investigator named Emily. We had a major vent session and it was soooo needed. All of us cried, laughed, talked, cried some more, screamed, laughed and talked some more the whole car ride down. It was amazing! We had a great lesson with Emily and taught her the word of wisdom and the law of chastity and she took it like a champ! She is so ready to get baptized, but her family is super Catholic and she doesn't want to commit to a baptismal date until she has their full support. Makes sense. But, it's hard because she really wants too and she is progressing so well, but she doesn't want her family to turn their backs on her, and at this point, that is what they have been saying they will do if she gets baptized. So, pray that the Ketron family will soften their hearts!
The next day was bomb. We woke up super happy and had a super good workout. We then went and did a service project with some of the sisters in our stake. We went to a refugee center and cleaned their entire building. It was a really neat experience and I am so grateful for the emphasis that the church has had on helping the refugees in the world. Charlotte is full of them, so I am so grateful that I was able to help out in such a small way. After serving, we went and had a few lessons. One of which was with our investigator Daeshawn. We had a drop lesson with Daeshawn and it was one of the hardest things that I have had to do on my mission thus far. I have come to love Daeshawn and have had some really neat experiences with him. He just hasn't been keeping commitments and doesn't really feel like he "has time" for us and for the gospel. It broke my heart. For the first time in my life, I really felt like I "cried repentance." I was so bold and so straightforward with the kid. I basically told him that if he doesn't have time for God, then we don't have time for him. I know it definitely made him feel bad and he was kinda crying, but I did it with lots of love and just hoped that he could feel the seriousness in my voice. He wasn't letting me down, he was letting God down, and that's what breaks my heart. He has been taught a lot of things and it hurts me to know that one day he will be held accountable for what he knows. We ended on a good note and I hope he accepts the gospel later on in his life. He promised me that if he saw missionaries again, he would talk to them and let them in, so that was comforting.
After his lesson we headed to dinner and then went over to the stake center for the general woman's conference. We did another service project and tied fleece blankets together and put together sewing kits & hygiene kits and all this other stuff. It was fun. Then, the miracle came. A member stopped us and said "Sisters, this is Maddy! She's going to watch woman's conference with us." Maddy isn't a member and she was friends with a kid in high school that was a member and so she knew a little bit about the church. He is on his mission right now, and she decided to email him and said she was interested. So, his mom brought her to conference. She is the sweetest ever! Bam. New investigator! We got her information and sat next to her during all of conference. And let me just tell you... WOMAN'S CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING.
It was exactly what I needed to hear. Oh my goodness. I don't even have words to express how much I loved it. President Uchtdorf's talk soothed my soul and it was perfect. It was amazing. I am so grateful for the inspired leaders that we have and for their closeness with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I took a lot of time spiritually preparing for it and I know that made all the difference in the world.  Every question that I had for woman's conference was answered. You can only imagine how excited I am for general conference! AHHH! It's the best thing as a missionary and it's my favorite time of the year. I feel so blessed because I am ending my mission on the best week ever.
Birthday week & general conference week. It can't get much better than that. Revelation & council is exactly what I need right now and there is no other way I would rather end it.
This week I learned a lot a lot a lot. The phrase "be still, and know that I am God" is what really hit me this week and is what was weighing on my mind a lot. I have been taken back by the many many times that I have been still, and have felt the closeness of God. I know that he is real and that he is there. A few months ago, I made a commitment with myself. I told myself that before I went in the apartment for the night, I would sit on a curb outside and would take a few minutes to myself to look up at the sky and the stars and reflect on how good God had been to me that day. My companions just went along with it and half the time didn't even know that I was doing it and why I was doing it. I just told them I needed to "sit on the curb." I have been so blessed by that sacred experience and can't even begin to tell you the countless times I have felt God's love for me.
It's in those moments when I know that God hears the silent pleadings of my heart. That is one of my favorite characteristics about God. He knows us so perfectly that he knows our needs and our thoughts and our desires, before we even express them to him, or anyone. He knows how we feel. & unless you turn to him and ask for help, he cannot help you. It's taken me a long time to figure that out, but I am so grateful that I finally figured it out. In woman's conference, Sister Stephans said, "The Savior would do anything to take this (your problems, challenges, fears, worries, etc) from you." We just have to ask and we just have to let him. & like President Uchtdorf said, "Keep knocking until you get to the fourth floor, last door." Do not give up. The Lord is usually not behind the first door. We have to keep seeking him and keep climbing.
Life is so crazy and so busy. Everyday we are doing something different and are so preoccupied with the things of the world. We are always running from one place to the next and doing one thing after another. We don't take enough time to stop, and think. We do not take enough time being still. As I have done that, it has become one of the best things in my life. BE STILL. When you are still, the spirit can be with you and you can hear it's promptings and feel its influence.
When you are still, God can manifest his love more fully. When you are still, you can feel at peace and you can feel the calming effects of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
As I have been reflecting on all of that this past week, my heart has been turned to heaven. I have been thinking so much about heaven, and what that really is and what that really means. Have you ever thought about heaven? "Heaven is a place, but also a condition; it is home and family. It is understanding and kindness. It is interdependence and selfless activity. It is quiet, sane living; personal sacrifice, genuine hospitality, wholesome concern for others. It is living the commandments of God without pride or hypocrisy. It is selflessness.
Heaven is all about us. We need only to be able to recognize it as we find it and enjoy it." The past 18 months I have had so many little glimpses of heaven. I know it's so near and so close to me.
One of my favorite quotes ever is, "Missions are for missionaries. It is a marvelous gift of time, a time given when you can experience glimpses of heavenly life here on earth. It is a time of cleansing and refreshing. It is a special time when the Holy Ghost can seal upon you the knowledge of the great plan for your exaltation. It is one of your best opportunities to become a celestial candidate." On my mission, I have experienced heaven, and I yearn to be there, and I will do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to get there one day, and I hope you will do the same.
My heart is so full. I have so much gratitude wrapped up inside my little heart and soul. I am so thankful for my knowledge and my testimony of this gospel. I wouldn't be who I am today without my Savior Jesus Christ and without his perfect plan. I am so thankful for his love and his care. I am grateful. & I have come to learn a whole new definition of the word "grateful."
I cannot think of an experience that could have brought me closer to my Savior than my missionary service and the trials of my family. I came out on my mission believing in Christ and the Atonement. I am coming home from my mission with a burning conviction and knowledge that Christ and the Atonement are as real as the scriptures describe them. I feel their reality because they are the only thing that have been carrying me through, and I would not trade that for anything. I am so grateful to know Jesus Christ the way that I do. I am so grateful that He truly did suffer for me and for you, so that not only could we be comforted but that we could come to know Him in the most real sense possible and gain hope from that. The best thing I have EVER done in my life, was sacrifice 18+ months for the God that I love most.
I love each of you so dearly. This is it. One more week. Thank you for everything. You have no idea the impact each one of you have made.
I've had an amazing 21 years of life, (well after tomorrow that is) & I owe it all to you. :) I hope each of you have a good week and I hope you take some time to truly prepare for General Conference this weekend. I know that there are many of you who are seeking answers and peace. Let this be a time to heal some of your wounds and your broken hearts. If you are open and if you have real intent, God will answer you and he will bless you. We are the ones that with-hold the blessings from ourselves.
Have a great week. Talk to you in seven, see you in nine! Ah! I LOVE YOU! Xo
Sister Kyla Worthington

September 19.2016 18~ months down

Hi everyone!
Another week has come and gone, just like that! Crazy how fast time is going. This past week was actually really slow so I'm really grateful it's Monday and that there is a new week ahead of me. I hope each of you had a great week. I don't have a whole lot of time today because we had a big zone activity and I am having to do a lot of things for my iPad and my return home, that has kept me busy on my preparation days, but I will do my best to update ya on my week and share some of my experiences with you! It's amazing how much the Lord is trying and testing me and how much he is throwing at me. I guess there is nothing like the last two weeks of your mission, right?
The biggest event of the week was moving apartments. Holy smokes it's a process. And I've had to do it twice! Sister Cottis and I had to move when we were serving in Tanglewood/Lewisville and now I have to move here. I guess God just thinks I'm really good at this whole moving thing. Missionaries typically don't move apartments very often, but I have been fighting for this move since I got to Charlotte, so I'm grateful that it's finally happening and that President approved my request. :) He loves me. We are in a way better apartment and a way better location! I am super excited for the future growth of this area and for the miracles that are in store here. I wish I could stay here longer.
P.S MY NEW ADDRESS IS: 8726 Avebury Dr. Apt. A Charlotte, North Carolina 28213 just in case you were wondering. :)
We spent a lot of the week packing up our old apartment, working with the housing missionaries, lots and lots of deep cleaning, (mom, you would be so proud of my cleaning skills... And let me just tell you how thankful I am that you taught me how to clean properly... One of my companions "cleaned" the bathroom and I walked in there and just wanted to laugh.... And thought to myself... Hmmm.. This wouldn't have rolled with Mom. Try again. So I totally re-cleaned the whole bathroom. So funny) we also did lots of moving boxes and furniture, and then moving again and unpacking all of our boxes. It's amazing how much crap can be collected over the years by missionaries. Oh my goodness. You would think missionary apartments would be nice and clean all the time, but it's amazing how much stuff each set of missionaries acquires and leaves for the next. We were literally SO exhausted by the end of the week though and I honestly just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up for like 5 days straight. I'm sore and physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. Oh side note, our ward mission leader and other ward members that were going to help us move... Totally forgot and bailed on us so we had to call up a few elders and do it mostly on our own. So that was fun. Made the experience better. We HAD to be out by a certain time so I have never been so stressed and so tired! Due to the move, the work had to kind of be put on hold. We were still able to have a few good lessons with our solid investigators, but our finding time was a little bit more limited.
All of our investigators are doing pretty well. We have been able to really see them progress and I have loved watching the gospel change their lives and their desires. Emily is still our most solid and I love love love her. She's great! We have dinner with her again this week and her official baptism date will be decided. We are also working with a girl named Tiwanna and she's super chill. We were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation this past week and she really enjoyed it. She even admitted to the fact that she passed over the "kingdoms of glory" section in Corinthians that Paul talks about. It was pretty funny. When we were talking about the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial kingdoms, she was like "heyyyy I've read about this before. I just didn't know what it meant so I kept on reading." Haha it was hilarious. It was so fun to see her connect the dots and put it together. She loved learning about it and is continuing to progress and investigate.
Daeshawn is another investigator that we are working with. We were able to have a good lesson with him and had one of our favorite members come with us. It was an interesting lesson though. He opened up to us and straight up told us that he has been smoking weed lately because he's been stressed... So now we have to work on his word of wisdom issue.. But I know that there is nothing that a little gospel of Jesus Christ can't fix! Daeshawn really hasn't had the desire to read the Book of Mormon lately, but we tried talking to him and helping him see how important it really is and how crucial it will be for him to know that our church is the true church. We have been trying SO HARD to get him to read, and he just hasn't done it. We were going to "put him on hold" aka drop him and move on, but he texted us today and said he read and loved it! Soooooo now we are going to continue to work with him! Hooray for investigators exercising their faith! I love love love when that happens.
So, fun story for you! Two weeks ago during weekly planning, my cute hermanas and I decided that we needed to step up our game with finding new investigators. President Alexander has put a big emphasis on finding lately and really wants our mission to step up our finding efforts. We spent a long time talking about how we could find new investigators and increase our teaching pool. I shared my "Windows of Heaven" experience that I had with Sister Cottis in my last area and I decided to share that with my companions and it inspired us to try it again. During weekly planning, we prayed about a time and a place that the Lord needed us to be to find one of his precious children. We decided on Friday, September 16th, we would be at the Boardwalk from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. I think I've mentioned it before.. But as missionaries we always make plans in our nightly planning session for the next day, but then always end up switching our plans because other things come up or lessons go over the time we planned for, or stupid Charlotte traffic puts us behind.. Just so many little things like that and so a lot of the time, we aren't where we told the Lord we would be. I made an effort this week to really work on being where I told the Lord I would be and was praying that he would bless us for doing so.  Well, come Friday the 16th and we headed over to the boardwalk. We started walking around and doing a lot of street contacting. We decided to make this cute little clipboard -survey type thing and it worked like a charm! On the top of the paper we wrote "What makes you happy?" We figured that if we have a survey, it gives us a good excuse to talk to someone and it makes going up and talking to a stranger SO MUCH easier. We would take turns on whose turn it was to walk up and ask someone and it made finding and talking to people tons of fun. We ended up talking to so many people and getting so many different answers of what makes people happy. It was really fun. I learned a lot. We were also able to relate EVERY answer to the gospel and so we had so many gospel conversations. I'd highly recommend asking people what makes them happy. You'll be amazed and how easy it is to talk about the gospel with that question. Anyways. Long story short, we saw this guy sitting on a bench playing the saxophone. He looked YSA age so we decided to go and talk to him. His name is Bryan. We ended up having a 30 minute conversation and taught him the whole restoration.  He was super interested and wanted to set up a return appointment to learn more. Bam! New investigator right there. It was miraculous! We walked away feeling so happy and so grateful that the Lord answered our prayers. We have an appointment with Bryan on Wednesday and we are excited to teach him more. I have such a strong testimony of the power of prayer and of dedication and desire. I know that God knows our hearts and he knows what we truly want and desire. We just have to put in the effort and really show him that we want something and that we are willing to put in work and effort to get it.
Everyone else is doing pretty well. Nicole is officially in UTAH and is loving her sweet little life. I cannot wait to join her. Fernando is doing well and I love him to death! This past Saturday we were able to attend a baptism of someone that Sister Nunies and I started teaching when we first got to the area. He is really good friends with Fernando and he was coming to FHE and church with us every week, and then we found out that he was over 30, and so we had to transfer him to different missionaries. We were able to go to his baptism and it was one of the most specialist days ever! (Don't even know if that's a word, but we're going with it.) The spirit was so strong and it was amazing to see someone that I first taught, accept the gospel and enter the waters of baptism. Ah! Best thing ever.
Yesterday was a killer day. I hit my 18 month mark. Woot woot! So exciting. I did it! I accomplished serving a full time mission for the Lord. I mean of course I'm not done quite yet... But I at least survived exactly 18 months. The spirit was with me all day yesterday and I was just feeling so grateful for the mission that I've had and so grateful that the Lord has blessed me with such an amazing opportunity that will be the foundation for the rest of my life. I am so so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve and couldn't thank my father in heaven enough! He is amazing. Missionary work is amazing. So, needless to say, yesterday was a good day. I always love Sunday's, and it was even better knowing that I have been out on my mission for 18 months! Sister Mabey also hit her 6 month mark yesterday, so it was fun to celebrate with her. That's a milestone in a sisters mission and it literally feels like I was JUST THERE yesterday. Time goes so freaking fast.
Well, now I want to share with you some things that have been on my mind lately. I have been really focusing on the words "commitment and discipleship." The longer I have been out on my mission, the more I have thought about these words and the true meaning of them. What does commitment to God mean to you and what does it mean to be a true disciple of the Master, Jesus Christ.
When we were baptized, we each made a commitment and promise to God.
We made a commitment to always remember Jesus Christ, to keep his commandments, and to serve him to the end. In essence, we kinda committed to being a disciple of Christ. Making the covenant to be a disciple of Christ is the beginning of a lifelong process, and a path that is not always easy. As we try to keep the commandments to the best of our ability, repent of our sins and strive to do what He would have us do and serve our fellowmen as He would serve them, we will inevitably become more like Him. Becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective, and essentially the very definition of true discipleship.
Discipleship is all about doing and becoming. We are to become like our Heavenly Father. Becoming like him is the only way that we are going to make it back with him. That is why we have this life here on earth. To learn, to grow, to gain a body, and to become like him. It's so important that we understand that we only have this once chance to become like him. It's so important that we are obedient and that we truly follow him. Obedience and submission to His will will bring us closer to him and more like him. And again, becoming like Him and being one with Him is the ultimate goal and objective--and essentially the very definition of true discipleship like I mentioned earlier.
So now that we know that discipleship is our goal, how are we going to get there? It's going to be through our commitment and our dedication to the Lord. Commitment is essential. Are we committed? Each and everyday I extend commitments to individuals and invite them to do things that will bring them closer to Christ. Every time they don't keep their commitment, my heart breaks. Imagine how Heavenly Father must feel when we don't keep our baptismal and temple commitments. It breaks his heart. And yet I'm sure each of us aren't keeping our commitments 100% of the time.
I want you to ask yourself how committed you are. Are you truly doing everything you can to follow Jesus Christ and to keep his commandments? Commitment to the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ is essential to our eternal joy and happiness. We must be doing everything we can. Well, we all know that trails come and hard times pop up, and that interferes with our commitments. However, our commitment level will be developed and proven not by the type of trials that we are faced with but how we endure them. President Henry B. Eyring once said: “So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home."
I want each of you to know that there is nothing that Christ cannot heal and cannot fix. Our test is just to endure, and I think that how we endure truly shows how committed we are to God and his gospel. I read this quite by Bruce C. Hafen that I really liked. He explained that "The Atonement is not simply God’s method for righting wrongs and satisfying the demands of justice. The Atonement is rehabilitative, a miraculous power that can help us change who we are. If we decline the Savior’s invitation to let him carry our sins, and then satisfy justice by ourselves, we will not yet have experienced the complete rehabilitation that can occur through a combination of divine assistance and genuine repentance. Working together, those forces have the power permanently to change our hearts and our lives, preparing us for celestial life." The atonement is a amazing and can change each one of us if we let it.
I read this conference talk this week and I can't even remember who it was by, but he shared this little story about a five year old boy and it reminded me of the word commitment. "I’m thinking of a five-year-old boy who fell out of bed during the night and came crying to his mother’s bedside. To her question, “Why did you fall out of bed?” he replied, “I fell out because I wasn’t in far enough!” He went on to say that "It has been my experience over the years that, generally speaking, those who fall out of the Church are those who aren’t in far enough." Those who fall out are those who are just not committed enough.  In a simple statement, the difference between those committed and those who are not is the difference between the words want and will.  For example, “I want to pay tithing, but our funds are so limited,” or “I will pay my tithing.” “I want to go to sacrament meeting if I have time,” or “I will go to sacrament meeting.” “I would like to be a good teacher, but the children are so noisy,” or “I will be a good teacher.” Are we a "want" person or a "will" person? I have learned on my mission that we need to be a "will" person. We need to do what we have been asked to do and we need to keep our promises. Have a willing attitude and I promise that it will get you so much further in life!
I'm sorry this email is probably all over the place. I hope you're catching my drift. Ultimately, the Savior’s commitment was the biggest commitment and the greatest example that we could look to. What he committed to do could only be done by him. But we, too, have commitments to make. Commitments to him, our families, and others. These are essential to our happiness here and our exaltation hereafter. When we commit ourselves to him, we receive the inner peace and security that he promised each one of us.
I hope that each of you will take time this week to ask yourself and evaluate how committed to God you are. Focus on fixing one thing or working on one thing that will bring you closer to him. Show him that you love him and show him that you are committed. We are to do our best to become like him. Focus on keeping the commandments with exactness. Focus on serving others and turning outwards. Focus on remembering Jesus Christ at all times. Focus on having a positive attitude, even when hard times come your way. I read another quote that really helped me this week.
"A person’s attitude is perhaps the hardest of all personal attributes to change. If your attitude is right, then your life is made right. If your heart is touched, your mind and way of thinking will change and your life will change for the better accordingly. I believe we must become so immersed in the gospel of Jesus Christ that we become physically as well as mentally more and more like the Lord himself. We must yield our whole hearts to him. What we then do is done not because we are asked to, nor because we are forced to, but because we want to. Neither pressure nor force can be exerted upon us from outside, when what we do is done because it is our own choice and desire. It then makes no difference to us what other men may think, or say, or do. Our hearts being committed wholly to God, what we do is done out of our love for and our trust in him. We then serve God in every way we can because we have been converted, our attitude has been changed and we now desire to become like him both spiritually and physically."
Isn't that so good? I know that we each have so much to work on but I know that God is there to help us every step of the way. Life is hard.  We have been asked to do so many things and I know that a lot of it can be overwhelming. I want you to know that I have a testimony of this gospel and I know that becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is something that we should all strive to do. I know that by doing the simple things like reading the scriptures, praying, going to church, keeping the commandments, and serving others are the way to get there.
I do not read my scriptures every day and say my prayers multiple times a day and all of those other things to simply check them off my 'good Mormon girl/missionary list.' I do them because I hope that through doing those things, I will be changed in some way. I hope to one day have Christ in my countenance.
We each have eternal life we are striving for. Eternal life is not a place, but a state of being, and it is only through our faithful commitment that we can grow to reach that state of being. I know that when I do the simple things I am changed, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in large ways. In the end, I am so grateful for my commitment and where it has brought me today. If you commit yourself to God, he will commit himself to you. I PROMISE.
I hope you each have a great week and I hope you know how much I truly love and adore you. I am SO beyond excited to be reunited with y'all.
You have no idea. I am so grateful for your love and your support. I couldn't have done this without you! We are so so close and I am so so grateful for the chance that I have had to serve. I have to get running, but continue to press forward and continue to hold on to the rod.
Psalms 27:14 "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Remember that the time to commit and recommit is now.
I love you so much!!! Talk to you in seven. See ya in sixteen!!!
And.... Next week I'll be 21, so that's exciting. :) Sending all my hugs and loves your way!! Xoxo
Sister Ky Worthington