Sunday, October 2, 2016

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

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