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