Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Greatest Adventure

Hello all,
Sister Nelson and I on Christmas

This will be my last email... But how can that be?  I just figured this whole "mission" thing out!! Just kidding, but really. I feel like it's only been like a month, but its actually been 18 months. Who knew?

Saying Good-bye to Eleanor
Our stellar investigator, Eleanor, is doing so well! She just got back from DC and there she faced a lot of opposition! But she takes it all like a CHAMP!! She was offered to go out drinking with people a couple of different times, but she said no each time! She didn't give into peer pressure and she is sticking up for what she now believes (the gospel) on social media! She is just the coolest! I am excited, because she will be getting baptized in a few weeks. It is so cool to see someone let the Savior into their life, and let him change them for the better. I know that is what the gospel is about. It is about repentance and change.

More Saying Good-bye to Eleanor

Serving a mission is the best decision I have ever made. Being able to be a full time representative of Jesus Christ every day has been SO rewarding! Of course, I was called to the best mission in the world, the West Virginia Charleston Mission! I have been blessed to serve in 4 wonderful areas in 3 different states! Ashland, Kentucky. Elkins, West Virginia. Lynchburg, Virginia. Christiansburg, Virginia. Each of these areas have a special meaning to me, as well as the many people I have met while serving there. I have been blessed with incredible companions, with different backgrounds and experiences, that have each helped me become who I am today. 
I am Going to Miss Virginia

I learned something important from each of my companions, and I want to share just a few of the things I have learned from them:

  • My amazing trainer, Sister Lively, started me out right in missionary work! I learned the importance of Obedience, how we can be blessed from being exactly obedient. I also learned how we can also have fun while we are working, and we defiantly had some fun times! 
Exchanges with the Radford Sisters
  • Sister Farnsworth is such an awesome goal setter! She really helped me to set goals that could stretch me and help me to grow. I really grew so much from being companions with her! I love this skill that I have been able to learn and work on, because it will help me for the rest of my life!
Our District at Church on Christmas Sunday
  • Sister Roberts is my favorite Canadian ever! She is also very connected with her purpose and she is an excellent example of diligence, even when it gets hard! She also taught me a lot studying, and helped me to be better at it! 

  • Sister Allligood taught me about Charity. She loves EVERYONE! No matter what. She is so thoughtful and I love her creativity to show it. She once crocheted me a pair of slippers! :) She showed me that I can love everyone and look for the good in them, even if we are different. 
YSA Exchange
  • Sister Wevers is so WILLING. Willing to change, willing to work, willing to plan, willing to be obedient, and even willing to TRACT! :) She is very humble, because she is willing to do all of these things, even if it is out of her comfort zone. She helped me grow and be more willing to align my will with the Lord's will.
  • Sister Miller was an amazing example to me, of just how significant the power of prayer is. I learned more about prayer, and even how to pray better, with more real intent. That sister can move mountains with a prayer of faith. 
  • Sister Nelson has helped me so much these past few months, but I think the thing that inspires me the most is her desire to increase her faith. I LOVE faith, and together, we have strengthened our faith as we have relied on Heavenly Father in our work. We have truly seen miracles come about because of our faith!
The Best Christmas Gift Ever

There are so many things I wish I could say, but the feelings I have just can't quite be explained. But I can say that I have a testimony of this Gospel. I know it is true! I know that Heavenly Father loves his children. The priesthood power is real. I love the Book of Mormon, it is a true Testament of Jesus Christ! It can truly change hearts. I know that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and that He loves us. He lived and died for us, so that we could live again. He suffered for our pains and sickness, so that we could be made whole again. I know that God always keeps his promises (Alma 37:17) and that temple covenants are real. Families can be together forever! Faith can bring about mighty miracles. 
Christmas Brunch with the Burninghams

I know that this is the work of salvation, and I know that The Master of the vineyard labors with us in this great and marvelous work. I love the Lord, I love His people, and I love His work.
Biggest Christmas Tree Ever

This has truly been my greatest adventure of all, and I am so grateful for every minute of every day. 
This is What it has Looked Like...60 Degree Weather Too

Sisters from Spanish Fork - My Peeps

See you soon, xoxo.
Isaiah 41:10

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis


Day #19 Jesus calmed the storm - we listened to "Master the Tempest is Raging"

Day #20 Jesus saw potential in others - we see potential in others every day as we knock on doors

Day #21 Jesus forgave others - this is my favorite scripture on forgiveness

Day #22 Jesus showed gratitude - I wrote in my gratitude journal

Day #23 Jesus was a peacemaker - Sister Nelson and  I are peacemakers in our companionship

Day #24 Jesus cared for his loved ones - I carry a picture of my family everywhere I go

Day #25 Jesus disciples followed him - we are FULL TIME MISSIONARIES


Friday, December 23, 2016

Come to Bethlehem and See

Hello and Merry Christmas!! There is still no snow here :( no one wants snow except for me haha. I just want a White Christmas! (In all ways!)

Last Picture of Eleanor Before She Left for DC
So this week was super! Sister Nelson and I were back to full health on Wednesday so that worked out nicely for us! Also, thank you to my sweet YSA ward for sending a package at just the right time! That made my day :) Oh Christmas, it is such a marvelous time because people have their hearts softened to the Gospel.
I have been thinking about this scripture lately.
"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets." - 3 Nephi 1:13

Giant Nativity Scene in Front of Someone's House
Christ has come into the world. He came into the world to bring us hope, peace and light. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. For the example he set for us of love and of service. I love this time of year! And I especially love the Christmas Hymns. It's defintely not the same, to not have my Dad's huge collection of Christmas music playing in the rooms of our house. I have recently been thinking of the last verse of my favorite Christmas Hymn, "Angels We Have Heard On High"
"Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King."

Sister Nelson and I at the Ward Christmas Party
I love how it says "COME to Bethlehem and see". The Savior told his disciples to "Come, follow me". He also invites us to "come" unto Him. I love this. As we "come" unto Christ we become more like Him. We can become better versions of ourselves. Our weaknesses can be made strengths and we can be cleansed from our sins. I love this gospel and the invitation that Christ gives to us, to "come". This holiday season, I hope and pray that we can all "come" closer to Him, by remembering why we celebrate Christmas and why it is important.
Sister Nelson and I had a really cool experience of the Christmas Spirit softening hearts just last night! Last week in our weekly planning session, we had set the goal to find 3 new investigators this week.
Us on a Not So Cold Day

On Saturday night, we were doing our daily planning and evaluating our goals. We still had not found 3 new investigators, we hadn't found any at all. We both felt that we could reach this goal of 3 new and find a family to teach! This was our vision. So that is what we planned to do on Sunday; the last day of the week. We prayed for it, and kept this goal on our mind as we worked hard on Sunday. In the 8:00 hour, one of our appointments had fallen through, and we hadn't found our family yet. We tried some potentials and worked in their areas and didn't find anyone! The time was 8:40 and so we decided to say a prayer. We told Heavenly Father that we wanted to reach our goals, and find a family tonight. We asked in faith, that we would be able to be led to the place where we would be able to find the family and accomplish our goals. After we said the prayer, Sister Nelson told me of a house that came to her mind, near our home. We went directly to the house and knocked. 3 times we knocked, on the front door and the side door (most people don't use their front door here, strange I know) but no one answered. By this point, it is 8:47 and we could easily have started heading home. But we are determined to find our family! We decided to knock the house right next to it. They let us right in! It was a family! We were able to teach the parents and their 10 year old daughter! What a cool experience of working until the last moment with a vision, putting it into the Lord's hands and seeing the miracle come! :)
Elizabeth at the Christmas Party

Have a very Merry Christmas!! Don't forget the reason for the season! :)
~Sister Kayla Marie Willis
1389 Dow St. #B
Christiansburg, VA 24073
Day #14 Jesus taught us to clothe the naked - Sister Nelson and I took some clothes to Goodwill! It was super windy that day...

A Great Member of the Christiansburg Ward, Brother Davis - I love this man

Brother Reese Brought us over some homemade Virginian Food.  That is homemade mac'n cheese too.

I Come Downstairs to This on the Table This Morning - I HAVE THE BEST COMPANION EVER!

Sister Nelson and I with the Virginia Tech Mascot, The Hokie
Day #12 Jesus taught others - so we do this all the time - pamphlets help us a lot
Someone Left a Little Stocking on Our Porch...who brought it?


Day #13 Jesus showed humility - a quote from my Preach My Gospel on humility that I LOVE

Day #15 Jesus worshipped through song - We like hymns
Day #16 Jesus showed compassion - we took sprite and powerade and soup to the YSA Sisters because they were really sick! One of them had the flu.
Day #17 Jesus cared for his mother - one of the suggestions is to call your mom, but I cant... so here -
Day #18 Jesus honored the Sabbath - we went to church and took the sacrament
There is drive in movie theater in Christiansburg Startlite - I will have to come back after my mission

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur...

Sister Nelson and I
So you can imagine what happened this week... That's right, Eleanor got a new kitten! And Sister Nelson and I also came down with the cold from Hades. "Sing 'Soft Kitty' to me." That's right... we have been coughing and sniffling for the last 3 days! I don't know what is worse, the fact that we got sick on the exact same day (yes, our companionship unity is that strong), or the fact that our bodies have gotten so worn out and sleep deprived for the last 17 months that it is taking us both twice as long to heal. But hey, don't worry, we have become pretty bomb at making soup from whatever we can find in the apartment! I made some chicken noodle soup with 3 bullion cubes, a frozen chicken breast, some random eggs noodles we had, and some canned carrots. It was pretty good. Not as good as your soup, mom, but you would be proud of me!
When You Have a Cold

Sister Nelson and I Decided to Make Chocolate Covered Pretzels for Christmas
So between trying to rest and get better when we can, and also trying to be a diligent missionary, it was a good week! Eleanor is still doing so, SO good! We even started teaching her sister, Amanda. Eleanor has been reading the Book of Mormon, and even recording some of the scriptures that she likes in her study journal! She has so much real intent, it is unreal. Her prayers are some of the sweetest prayers I have ever heard on my mission. It is so humbling to hear someone pray specifically for you, and to tell Heavenly Father how thankful they are for you. She is so sincere, and so sweet. We invited her to Stake Conference and she gladly accepted! She even gave us a ride there :) It was super cool, to have her there, even when it is kind of difference since it is Stake Conference. She loved it! We got to hear some very sweet testimonies from some converts, one of which was baptized only a few weeks ago! Then we heard from our Mission President and his wife, and then the Stake President. Eleanor came with some questions in mind to think about during the meeting, and it was really cool, because all of her questions were answered! She felt like she understood the purpose of the Stake and the Conference a lot better too, because before she was questioning why that would need to be necessary. I know that God answers our prayers and that he is very aware of what we all need. I love this gospel and I love being a full time representative of Jesus Christ! 

Making Pretzels 2

Love yall! 

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

All Christmas cards may be sent here :)
1389 Dow St. #B
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Making Pretzels 3

Making Pretzels 4

Making Pretzels 5


Day #7 - Jesus fed the hungry - We made cookies...
Day #5 - Jesus healed the sick - We made cookies for our investigator who is sick.
Day #6 - Jesus read the scriptures - we read the scriptures every day - I love the Book of Mormon!

Day #8 - Jesus Prayed for others - We pray at least 20 times a day, sometimes more.  I pray for so many people each day.
Day #9 - Jesus visited the lonely - we visited one of our recent converts, Elizabeth, who doesn't get many visitors.
Day #10 - Jesus helped people to walk - We helped our recent Convert, Cass, walk to and from her house.
Day #11 - Jesus ministered to children - we read 3 Nephi