Monday, October 26, 2015

Serve the Lord with GLADNESS

It's been a cold week, so I am glad the gospel is so warm!


Selfie in the Fall
I am so busy.  There is never enough time to write all the miracles that I see. I am continuing to learn and grow more and more every single day. A family in the ward just had a missionary come home. Guess where he was serving... In Utah! He served in the Salt Lake City West Mission. The family had a little homecoming for him at the church. It was so cool, he had a question and answer about his mission. He said some awesome stuff!  He talked a lot about obedience and how Heavenly Father trusts us missionaries with his children, and He trusts us to follow the rules that we have. We are here to share this gospel and if we don't, we are denying people their salvation! It is a big responsibility and we need to recognize the importance of this calling.
Fall with the Sister Missionaries

We had so many incredible lessons this week, I wish I could write all of them! I will tell you all about my favorite ones. One of our investigators, Deborah, is making some huge progress! We have been working with her since last transfer. She was raised Catholic and is now a baptist, but she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. We have been trying to get her to come to church for the last month and she still hasn't been. She has some health problems and she makes a lot of excuses. She is in her 50's, lives alone and she doesn't have much family. She doesn't really do much either. Every time we go over there, she is sitting in the dark, watching TV. We have been trying to get her out of her house for awhile and this week we actually got her to come on a walk with us! It was amazing. 
We saw Deborah again later in the week and since she has been sick, we had the Elders from our ward, Elder Free and Elder Gibson, come give her a blessing. Brother Walker from our ward also came with them and they talked about the priesthood power and the spirit was SO strong. After the blessing Deborah kept saying, "Thank you," and she was smiling! She looked happy.  After we left, we had an incredible lesson. Sister Farnsworth and I both taught and testified of our callings as missionaries. Sister Farnsworth shared Alma 34:32 and talked about how as missionaries we are here to "prepare people to meet God". 
Sweet Present (Necklace) from Home
I showed Deborah my name tag. I pointed out to her that the words 'Jesus Christ' are as big as my name. Something that is cool that I learned is that the Church only puts their logo on three places: church houses and office buildings, church publications and records, and on missionary name tags. I testified to Deborah that I wear this name tag because I am a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am called of God and I am here to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do. I am merely a mouthpiece for the Savior. It was so powerful and the spirit was SO strong. We could tell that Deborah was feeling the spirit too. I felt the spirit in a way that I have never felt it before. The best way I could describe it would be like a light in my chest, and it's getting brighter and larger and it is about to burst out. It was the coolest lesson I have been in, since being on my mission. After talking the Sister Farnsworth about the lesson later, she told me that she felt the spirit the same way. And we are convinced that the spirit we felt is the spirit of love - Christlike love - the way that God feels for us, and for all of His children. 

Last week one of our new investigators was a man named Bobby. We met him in a rehabilitation center where his mom is staying. Bobby is 72 years old and he was never married and has no children. He loves his mom and he takes care of her and his Aunt Carol, who is mentally retarded. He actually stopped us in the hallway and asked us who we were. We taught him the Restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to pray about Joseph Smith. We haven't been able to see Bobby for about a week because he has colon cancer.  On Thursday he went into a hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
Our Investigator, Bobby, in the Hospital
The Hospital is in our Zone Leaders area and so we talked to them and they said they would give him a blessing. We had Stake Conference on Sunday in Huntington, so we got permission to go to the hospital afterwards to see Bobby and that is when the Zone Leaders came to give Bobby a blessing. Our friend Ashley drove us to conference and she came to the lesson with us.
Ashley and I

We all found Bobby in his room and he started talking to us about his mom and how he is making sure she is still being taken care of while is is away. Elder Davis and Elder Wheeler (our Zone Leaders) started talking a little bit about the Priesthood and the blessing that he was about to receive. The Priesthood power is truly from God, and I am so grateful for it. The blessing talked about his family and the spirit was SO strong. It was so special because the Elders didn't know Bobby's family situation and how he loves his family so much. After the blessing, Bobby thanked them for the blessing. He started crying, and told us how he was grateful to have support from such good friends. Everyone's eyes were wet. Elder Davis shared his favorite scripture, Ether 12:27 and talked about how we can all be made strong through Jesus Christ. Bobby listened very closely and thanked him over and over again. 
Ashley and I After Stake Conference - She is TALL

The Zone Leaders left and Sister Farnsworth, Ashley and I started the lesson. Usually Bobby likes to talk and be very political but this time he just listened to what we said. The spirit was so powerful and we knew that it was teaching him. Everything we talked with him about was centered around Christ's love. Sister Farnsworth shared a short story about when Christ was about to be crucified, He was carrying his cross and He turned to Peter and told him to take care of His mom. She related that to Bobby and the love that he has for his mother and how even though he is in the hospital, he is still worrying about his mom. Bobby started to cry again and he was very touched. Last time we saw Bobby we asked him to pray if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. We asked him if he did this and he said that he did, and that he knows Joseph Smith is a true prophet, because God told him. It was so special. I shared my thoughts on the Plan on Salvation and how God loves us so much that he has created this wonderful plan for us to be with our families forever. We each testified of the truthfulness of our message and asked Bobby if he would be baptized. He said YES! He was very humble the entire lesson and it was a huge testimony builder for me that God truly does prepare people for us to teach. Bobby is so ready and I am so excited for this gospel to bless his life. Bobby is such a Christlike man and it is so incredible for this opportunity I have had to meet him and that I am able to get to know him more and more.

To end my letter, I want to share a very humbling experience I had this last week. There was a YSA Stake activity and we could go if we had an investigator to bring. We really wanted to go to this activity, and we had an investigator but the day of, he bailed on us. In a mad panic, we started calling everyone we knew - members, less actives, investigators, and potential investigators. We were trying to find someone to go to this activity with us. After calling about 30+ people we went out finding, desperate to find someone of YSA age who would be able to go to the activity that night. We even went to a grocery store and started to invite people to the activity. When 5:00 rolled around we were still out of luck. We hadn't found anyone to bring and it was time to leave. We ended up not being able to go, and I admit, I was disappointed. I wanted to go to the activity for me, and not for my investigators. 
When we went in for the night and started planning, we started talking about our day. We had a great day, and we met so many amazing people who are prepared to meet the gospel! We also had a great lesson with a less active member we are working with and we wouldn't have been able to have that lesson if we went to the activity. I realized that I was being selfish. I wanted to do what I wanted, not what my Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I made a commitment when I accepted my mission call to the West Virginia Charleston Mission, that I would devote all my TIME and ATTENTION to serving the Lord and leave behind all personal affairs. I am called of God to do HIS will. I am here to align my will with the will of The Father, and do the work He needs done, through me. I know that I have been called here, in this specific place, at this specific time for a specific reason. My goal is to become more like my Savior, to love as he loved, and to think of others BEFORE myself. I Love the Lord and I am going to serve Him the very best I can. My eyes have really been opened through this experience and I am grateful for the many lessons I have learned and the ones I continue to learn. 

I came across this scripture a few weeks ago and it has really stuck out in my mind. Psalms 100:2 "Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing." The word gladness means feeling joy or pleasure. I want to be able to Serve the Lord with JOY and PLEASURE and DELIGHT. I will serve the Lord with gladness and go forth with a happy heart, to help others come unto Christ. I would like to invite all of you to serve the Lord with gladness, and think of others before yourself.

My #Ponderize scripture for this week is D&C 84:85 "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your mind continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man." 
This is such a good missionary scripture! But it can relate to everyone. It kind of reminds me of what ponderizing is! As we study or 'treasure up in our minds the words of life' we are reading the scriptures. And we will be able to remember the things we have learned in the time that we need it most. Such a great scripture! Don't forget to #Ponderize and to share it with me!

Grateful to serve,

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis 
Go Watch Nightmare Before Christmas for Me

Monday, October 19, 2015

Happy Fall Y'all

I hope everyone had a week as good as mine was!


It's Pumpkin Season and Sweater Weather
My 4 Month Mark
Fall Time
First of all it is COLD. It was 39 degrees when we came to the Library this morning. We had frost in our yard and on our car yesterday. How is the weather in Utah? I can't remember it being this cold in Utah this early. When it is hot here it is REALLY hot, and when it is cold it is REALLY cold. Fall is my favorite, I am fine wearing my sweaters and boots, best time of the year!

The Leaves are Turning
The Lord's work is EXPLODING here in Ashland, Kentucky. This has been the busiest week of my mission. It has truly been Miracle after Miracle. After weeks of trying to find new investigators we have 12 new investigators! The Spirit leads and guides us to the places that we are supposed to be and to the people we need to meet.  Sister Farnsworth and I have doing a lot of finding these last few weeks and after finding so many potential investigators, we contacted a lot of them.  We have been trying to be diligent to Our Purpose and always finding and always teaching.  We spend a lot of time planning out our day so that we can meet with as many people as we can.  We have been planning a few half hour lessons here and there to maybe just read a verse from the Book of Mormon or just a quick follow-up visit.  By contacting our potentials, teaching them the restoration, and setting up return appointments with them, we have lots of new people to teach.  We even have a couple of families to teach!  We have truly seen the miracle of following up.


What been really is cool is teaching people the Restoration right then and there when we meet them. Instead of sharing a brief message about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, we have been sharing the whole Restoration! I have seen the miracles of doing this. We met with one of our investigators in our neighborhood, Chris. We haven't been able to set up a real time to teach him before because he is really busy, but one night we caught him home and we talked to him on his front porch. It was AMAZING. We taught and testified of the Restoration, relating it back to him. I recited the First Vision and after he said "That's impressive". I didn't want him to think that I had just memorized that because I am trying to sell him something. I talked about how I came to know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I talked about how I have learned about him since I was little but I didn't know if for myself that he was a prophet until I went and asked Heavenly Father myself. The spirit was so strong! I am pretty sure his eyes were watering a little bit. It is so cool because we hadn't planned to go see him, we has planned to see someone else but it just didn't feel right. After going to see Chris we knew why we didn't feel right about the plan we had before, and I am grateful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost. 

While Sister Lively were here, we were trying to find a less active member named Keith. After typing the address into the GPS and having it take us to a landfill, we weren't sure what to do.  We eventually found him a few weeks before the last transfer, and last week he invited us to his daughter's birthday party!  It was totally unexpected but we went for it! Keith has a cute family. His wife's name is Jerose and she is from the Philippines.  She moved here when she was 13 and now she and Keith are both nurses.  They have 2 kids - their 15 year old son, TJ and their 7 year old daughter, Skylee. They are so cute!  Jerose and the kids are not members, and so we were hoping to be able to get to know them and start teaching them.  When we went over for Skylee's birthday party, we got to meet Keith's parents, who are both members, and also just eat and get to know them all a little bit better. It was nice.  Jerose came up to me before she cut the cake and asked if we would come back on Thursday. She asked us! I pulled out my schedule and put it in. We were very excited to see how this next visit would go.

Thursday came around and we had to reschedule.  Something had come up at work and we changed the day to Saturday.  We were a little worried because we know how hard Satan works on people to make things come up and get in the way of meeting with us.  Saturday came around and we were on our way to their house. We were coming from a different way than usual,  so I didn't really know where we were.  I was just following the GPS.  We had the wrong address again ended up getting to their house 30 minutes late.  AH!  I felt so bad. We made it there regardless.  They were very understanding. We were able to have a lesson with them and it went so well!  Jerose was playing such close attention.  She has a lot of good questions.  She grew up catholic and she has always ben very confused why they do the Christenings at such a young age when you don't really know what is going on. We went on to talk about baptism and how, in Christ's church, we are baptized at the age of accountability, or age 8.  Jerose expressed that she had been thinking about this for a long time and that she and Keith have talked about it.  She really feels like this is the direction that God wants her to go.  It was such an amazing lesson!

After we got out of the lesson with Keith and Jerose, we were going to say a thank you prayer.  I stopped the car in front of someone's house.  We were about to say a prayer when a woman came up to our car and asked us if we needed any help.  Sister Farnsworth introduced us and asked her if she might be interested in hearing an uplifting message about Christ.  The woman said, "Sure, go for it."  We got out of the car, and started talking to her about her relationship with God.  We found out that her name was Michelle and that she has 3 kids.  When we started testifying about how we are children of God and that He loves all His children, she started to cry.  Michelle said that she had been having a really hard day and that she really needed to hear that.  We set up a time to come back and meet with her and we are very excited to see her.  I truly have had my testimony grow from following the spirit.  He directs us on where we need to go and what we need to do.  We have been in the right place at the right time so many times, and it amazes me every time!



Our Whole District After Our Meeting
Church on Sunday was full of MIRACLES. Keith and Jerose came with their kids and they stayed the whole time! They sat by us in Sacrament meeting, and they were listening very intently. It was so cool because Mary Lou received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and they got to see that. Mary even commented in Relief Society about how when she got the Gift of the Holy Ghost, everything looked brighter. She said the walls, the floor and every one else looked brighter. It was so cool! She is such a special spirit. It was so amazing that Keith and Jerose were there for that moment! Keith found some people he had known back from when he was active and he fit right it! Jerose was very open to being introduced!  The lesson in Relief Society was, "Feed My Sheep".  We talked a lot about finding those sheep who are lost and bringing them back. It was so cool and Jerose was there, to hear it all. After the lesson, we were taking Jerose to the Primary room to help her find Skylee and Jerose.  We stopped Sister Smith, the sister who gave the lesson, and Jerose gave her a hug and said, "Thank you for that lesson. It touched my heart, because I have been lost." WOW. Is this real life? Sister Farnsworth and I were amazed at this. We couldn't believe it! It just really shows how important it is to get your investigators to church, and to feel the spirit that is there. We are so excited to continue teaching this amazing family!

Granny June and I
My #Ponderize scripture for this week was D&C 1:23 "That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers." 
Sister Farnsworth and I After A District Meeting
What I have learned is no matter week and simple I might be, the Lord has called ME to do His work and I have the power and authority to share the gospel with everyone! We can go to the top, to the mayor, to the governor, in other words, kings and rulers. It doesn't matter who you are, or where you are! You can share the gospel with anyone! 

XOXOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis


Get me updated on what is going on with your lives! I need to know who is still alive :)
Sister Kayla Willis
1508 Luci Mae Drive
Flatwoods, KY 41139

Monday, October 12, 2015

Attitude & Effort

Fall Time
Hello,

So as you know in my last email I shared a scripture that I said I would Ponderize for this week. I have been thinking a lot about Humility and how i can be more Christlike. My scripture for this last week was Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in Heaven." As I thought about the scripture, memorized the key points and truly pondered the meaning of it, I learned so much about humility and the goodness of God. As I light MY light shine, and serve them I need to remember whose work this is. This is HIS work, and HE should get all the glory. As I humble myself I am able to do the things that HE needs me to do. This isn't about me, it is about HIM, HIS work and HIS children. The Lord has called me for what HE needs to do THROUGH me. #Ponderize 
Kentucky Flowers

This week we had interviews with President Salisbury. He talked a lot about what we committed to do when we accepted our mission call. What I do depends on my commitment, and my commitment depends on my own attitude and effort. Those are really the only things that I can control for myself. As I try my hardest to have a good attitude and a good solid effort, miracles will happen! 

Sister Web and I in Charleston on Exch
Sister Farnsworth and I had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders this week. I went to Charleston with Sister Webb, and it was so awesome! I learned so much and really gained a testimony of talking with everyone and being bold. I know that God places certain people in our path at a certain time for a reason and by listening to the spirit we can be guided and directed to those who are prepared to hear and accept Jesus Christ's Gospel.

Us with the girls! Audrey, Adriana, and Sierra

Sandy and I
For a few weeks now we have been working with a less active named, Sandy. She has the three cute grand kids - Sierra, Adriana, and Audrey. Audrey is 5, Adriana is 7, and we have been teaching Sierra, who is 11. Sierra is now on date for baptism in November! She is so cute and she has really had a hard time committing to go to church, along with Sandy, who has been nervous about going back to church. Sister Farnsworth and I have been trying to hard to get them to church and yesterday they came! We looked outside the church building to see if they were here and we saw Sandy pulling up! Audrey was jumping out of her seat and yelling, "I love you! You look pretty" and she ran out of the car and gave us a huge hug. They were all so excited. We went into sacrament meeting and after we sat down before the meeting started Audrey looked and me and said, "Did someone die?" I reassured her that no one had died. During the Sacrament Hymn Audrey asked me if the table with the white cloth on it had a dead body on it. I told her that it was just water and bread, but that we remember Christ's body and blood during the sacrament. During the testimonies, I accidentally bumped Adriana in the arm and I said sorry and she looked at me and said, "God forgives you." Those kids are hilarious!  

Sister Farnsworth and I at Mary Lou's Baptism
Mary Lou and I
After church, there was a baptism for Mary Lou! (She is the one who got married and I was her maid of honor) The Elders were the ones teaching her but it was so rewarding to see her and be there to support her. She is one of the craziest ladies I have ever met. She is 6 feet tall and some of the water had drained out of the baptismal font so it was kind of low. The first time she went down, her hands and feet came up. The second time, her toe was above the water. She finally was baptized by immersion on the forth try. It was so funny, she was laughing and she walked up the steps afterwards and yelled, "Thanks everybody!" 
Eating Dinner in the Car

I was asked to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. Its was really special to me because I love talking about the Holy Ghost. My mom is the most creative person that I know and she gave me a blanket when she talked on the Holy Ghost at my own baptism. I wanted to make this a special moment for Mary, the way my mom made it special for me. I talked about Mary being a "Light" because of her cheerfulness and friendly attitude. I shared the scripture D&C 11:11-13 "For, behold, it is I that speak; behold, I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee. And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good - yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;" The Holy Ghost can be a light to guide us through the darkness and I gave Mary a candle and challenged her to never let her "Light" to go out. She is such a good example of how the Gospel can bring happiness to our lives. She is such a joy and a light to be around. I love her and I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to help her and get to know her.

My Ponderize scripture for this week is D&C 1:23 "That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers." #Ponderize 

Much love, XOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis 


Sister Kayla Willis
1508 Luci Mae Drive 
Flatwoods, KY 41139


We found an English phone booth!





Monday, October 5, 2015

PONDERIZE!

Conference weekend!


At Old Fashioned Days
It has been such an awesome week for us here in Kentucky. There was a fair going on in one of the cities in our areas so we spent a few hours for a couple of days down at the fair meeting people and trying to find people to teach. We were able to talk to tons of people and get lots of referrals and it was very effective! We also met a couple of people that seem very promising and so we are going to try to meet with them again this next week!

Old Fashioned Days Fair
One night this week, Sister Farnsworth and I got in right on time and we went inside to put our bags in and we had to go back outside and get water out of the car. I went to the car to get the case of water and Sister Farnsworth ran to get the mail. We both joked about how the keys were inside and what we would do if one of us had locked the door. We both were sure we hadn't locked the door and then walked up to open the door. My fingers reached out to grab the door nob and turn it. It was LOCKED, and the keys were INSIDE! Of course I did the only logical thing to do, I started panicking. I put the case of water on the ground and started trying to open the front windows. They were locked too!
It was Cold When We Stepped Out

I went to the garage and opened it. I knew the back door was locked but I tried it anyway. There is a window in the garage that goes to our study room that I know is locked, but we tried it anyway. IT WAS UNLOCKED. We grabbed a chair that was in the garage, and I literally flew through the window. I ran to the back door to let Sister Farnsworth in, and we still were inside before curfew. This experience really just shows me how much the Lord looks out for us. Because we were obedient and got home on time, He helped us be able to get into our house when we were locked out. Exact obedience brings blessings!

Sister Farnsworth and I in Front of Our House
We had an AMAZING Zone Meeting this week. Well, they are always amazing but I just always feel so uplifted and so excited to act on the promptings I have received and the things we learn from the other wonderful missionaries. The spirit really taught me a lot about how feelings of discouragement come from Satan and that in order to stop having those feelings I need to turn outward. By serving my companion, the ward, and the people I come in contact with I will be able to feel more grateful and positive and I will be able to hear the Spirit more.

At Zone Meeting, we talked a lot about questions that we have and how we can take those to our Heavenly Father. Since learning more about that I have been keeping a prayer journal. Every night before I write in my regular journal, I pull out my prayer journal and write down a question I may have or something that I need help with. Then I say my evening prayer and when I am done I just ponder for a few minutes. Then I write down whatever things come to my mind in my prayer journal. I have really been able to learn what Heavenly Father wants me to know. By taking time to just listen and ponder after my prayer I have had the Spirit testify to me and help me receive an answer to my prayer from my Father In Heaven.
Conference Tradition - Goldfish

Conference weekend is always one of my favorites! When the three new apostles were called and sustained I knew in my heart that these truly are men called by God. I know that Jesus Christ lives and He is the Head of this church, and He leads His church on the earth today from living Prophets and Apostles. The guidance and counsel that we receive from these amazing men and woman are from the Lord Jesus Christ. General Conference is for ALL OF US! I loved every second and the things that the spirit was able to teach me. I know that in these, the last days, we need to follow the direction of the Prophets. I love President Thomas S. Monson and the First Presidency as well as the Twelve Apostles and the other general quorums and auxiliaries of the church. 
Kentucky Roads

I loved the focus that they had on families and parents teaching their children. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk reminded me a lot of my mom and all that she has taught me. She has such a good example of charity, service and diligence. My parents both have taught me the importance of families, daily scripture study, and prayers. Thank you mom and dad, I love you.  I also really enjoyed Devin G. Durrantt's talk and how he encouraged all of us to Ponderize. I love that. I have made myself a personal goal to Ponderize a new scripture each week for the rest of my mission. As I choose a new scripture each week and memorize, ponder, and reflect upon it, I hope to be able to gain a deeper love and understanding of the scriptures. For the next 14 and a half months I will be sending a new scripture in my email each week and reflecting upon the last one. 
In the Rain

I would like to encourage EACH OF YOU, to ponderize a new scripture each week. I also would like to encourage you to send me a quick message sharing your scripture, your thoughts, and what you have learned! I love hearing from all you and I would love to learn from each other as we ponderize each week.

PONDERIZE
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

XOXOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis


Sister Kayla Willis
1508 Luci Mae Drive
Flatwoods, KY 41139