Monday, December 28, 2015

Strive to BECOME

Hey you all,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I sure did.

Sister Roberts and I on Christmas Morning

Being a missionary around Christmas time is a strange, but a wonderful thing. Well, just being a missionary is general is a strange, but a wonderful thing. It's not real life, but it's the best life. 

Sister Roberts and I had the opportunity to go visiting some members and some of our investigators on Christmas Day. We visited one of our investigators, Karen. She has been having a rough time. She takes care of her grandson, because her son is on drugs, she has been divorced and it wasn't a good situation, and now she lives in a tiny apartment and lives with her boyfriend. She is so ready to be baptized and she is preparing for January 16th! We have been working hard to prepare her and help her with this huge step she is about to make. We went over to sing some Christmas songs to her and she let us in. Before we could even start singing to her, she told us, "I kicked him out." My mouth literally fell open! She kicked her boyfriend out! We haven't even talked about the law of Chastity yet. She is just so ready for this Gospel and she is so special. She deserves so much better than what she has. Karen even came to church yesterday! She looked so pretty and she is so excited to be baptized. Sister Roberts and I are so excited for her.

We Saw Some Christmas Lights

The rest of Christmas, was full of food and remembering the birth of our Savior. I just love the opportunity I have to help others remember the importance of this special Christmas season. Twice a year, Missionaries get to Skype their families at home. Christmas and Mother's day. I love my family so much, but I was honestly really scared to talk to them, because I didn't want to become distracted and loose my focus. I have never been homesick on my mission, but I haven't always been fully focused. Sister Roberts and I both had this concern, and asked many of our mission leaders for advice. We decided it would help us both a lot to receive blessings Christmas morning before we talk to our families, and just for additional strength. We met the Elkins Elders at the church and were given blessings. My blessing was one of the most powerful blessings that I have ever received. In the blessing I was told how much my family loves me and how my actions are blessing, not only the people around me, but my family too. It talked a lot about the Lord's will and what I am doing is the Lord's will, and He is proud of me. I was told to have peace, that I would be able to continue bringing souls unto my Heavenly Father. After I had the blessing, I felt so much better and I even had courage to talk to my family. It was amazing to see my family and to see the changes in them, and hopefully they can see the changes in me.

A Cute Little Pond in Elkins
My first Sunday in Elkins, the Bishop asked me to give a talk (this must be a pattern). I was asked to talk about making new commitments or New Years Resolutions. Wow. That was kind of a hard topic for me. I thought a lot about this and how this year I want to strive to become more like The Savior. I want to become my best self and learn to serve as The Savior served. He has done so much for me and I am trying to have more of His Christlike attributes each day. I would like to challenge each one of you, to think about this last year, and think about the things that you might need to change. Think about what YOU want to BECOME. Ponder these questions. When you meet the Savior, who do you want to be? How do you want him to see you? What do you want to see when you look back on your life? Let us all strive to become our best selves and realize the things we need to do to get there.

Sister Roberts and I Walking in the Rain
Kentucky and Canada Shirts
#Ponderize D&C 24:12 "And at all times, and in all places, [s]he shall open [her] mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto [her] strength such as is not known among men."

I love you all, and thank you so much for everyone who sent a gift or card :)


~Sister Kayla Willis

New Mailing Address:
Sister Kayla Willis
Route 3 Box 518B
Elkins, WV 26241

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry CHRISTmas from Elkins, West Virginia

Hello everyone! I made it to West Virginia!! Also, Merry CHRISTmas. Because He is the Reason for the Season :)

Sister Farnsworth and I with Jerose, TJ, Sylee, and Keith at the Baptism
I have been on a roller coaster of emotions this past week. Leaving the Ashland area was hard, but I am SO excited to be here in Elkins. This is like my first real encounter with real West Virginia people.... They are so great! I can't even describe them. My new companions name is Sister Roberts... She is AMAZING! She is from Alberta, Canada. She has been on her mission for 3 months now and I love her to death. She is so funny and such a joy to work with. She is so ready to work and I love her positive attitude!

My New Companion, Sister Roberts
A goal that I have for my mission is to leave a positive ripple effect everywhere I go. I know how what I do in an area can effect future missionaries, our investigators, and the members of the ward. My actions can change how everyone sees us, and it is so hard to gain trust of others, because of something silly that someone else has done in the past. I am striving to leave each area I go to, better than I found it. I know that I left Ashland better that I found it six months ago and I hope that future missionaries will continue to be diligent and love the people that I grew so close to there. Every single area in this mission has huge potential! I am so excited to use the skills I have learned in Ashland and to apply them into a new area.
Selfie with Jerose before the Baptism

My last day in Ashland, I was able to witness Jerose and TJ being baptized. It was such a special day for me, I love them so much. They are such a special family and I am so grateful for the time I had to teach them. Keith said the opening prayer to the baptism and he said, "We are so grateful for the blessings that your about to bestow on me and my family." He was so happy!! It was so special for the whole family. I got to give the talk on Baptism and I shared Helaman 5:12 and I talked about how if they build their foundation on Christ, they will not fall. Jerose was tearing up and I know that she and TJ felt the spirit so strong. I love what I do and I am so grateful for this time I have to help bring others unto Christ.
This is Our House in Elkins.  This was the First Snow.

I love my mission and I love being here in Elkins. We have had some amazing lessons so far and I am so glad that I am here at this time and that I am with Sister Roberts. I know without a doubt that every companion I have had so far has been with me for a reason. MY MISSION IS TO BLESS.
Pretty Sad First Snow in Elkins

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

Here is my new address! Don't forget to write :)
Sister Kayla Willis
Route 3 Box 518B
Elkins, WV 26241

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Making My Way to West Virginia

Lots has happened this week.
Sister Hannah and I - She is My Second Mom
Lexie and I
Angela and I - she doesn't like to smile
First of all, I am being Transferred. I am sad to leave Ashland, Kentucky, because this is like my home now! But I know that my work here is done, and that God needs me somewhere else. I am going to Elkins, West Virginia! I am very excited. I have learned so much over the last 6 months and I can't wait to go and apply it into my new area and into my teaching. The Lord has really taught me to be humble and patient these past few transfers. He is stretching me in every way possible. But I know that I will come away a better person and I want to leave a positive ripple effect everywhere I go. The things I do in an area effects everything. It effects the Ward and how they treat missionary work. It effects the missionaries that come after me and it can also effect the investigators. It can effect everything!

#selfie With the Selfie Stick

Emily and I - My

Digging Underneath Mary's House

I have had to say goodbye to a lot of people, and it has been hard. But I left them with my testimony. I know that this Gospel is true! I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that this truly is the Restored Gospel on the earth today. I am so grateful for the knowledge that we have that families can be together forever. I am so grateful for temples and for the covenants we make with God when we go there, and I know that when we keep those covenants we will be able to have eternal joy and live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.

Amy, Eevee and I
Amy and I

I am so grateful for the Christmas Season and for this time we have to celebrate the birth of our Savior. There is such a special spirit that is in the air this time of year, if we look for it. I would like to challenge each and every one of you to think of something you can do this Season to remember Jesus Christ. I remember Him by wearing His name over my heart and by representing Him. I strive everyday to act as He would act and say what He would say. I pray with all my energy of heart to be filled with Christlike love towards others. I know that by remembering Him and His birth, we will have a Joy filled Christmas. 

#Ponderize my favorite scripture: Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

December in Kentucky This Year - No Snow
~Sister Kayla Marie Willis
Our District - plus the STLs

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holding Fast to the Iron Rod

Hello friends,

First of all, I hope you all shared the new Christmas Initiative on social media this last week! Please send me your thoughts and feelings as you watched this inspiring video. I would love to hear from everyone! 

This week we had the wonderful opportunity to meet as a Zone with President and Sister Salisbury to have a Specialized Training. I love meeting together with other missionaries! We learn so much from one another and I love hearing the experiences that others have had. In preparation for our meeting, we all studied 1 Nephi 8. We talked a lot about Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life. It was so cool. We read these verses together and we talked about the word "clinging" in verse 24. These people were moving forward, but they were clinging and using all their strength to do so, and because of this, they got tired. They got to the tree and then "cast their eyes about as if they were afraid." But in verse 30 it says that "they did press their way forward, continually HOLDING FAST to the rod of iron, until they came forth and partook of the tree".  The ones who were 'holding fast' to the rod became one with the rod. They did not fall and they got to partake of the tree. There is a promise in this verse about those who 'hold fast' to the iron rod. 

1 Nephi 15:23-24  23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree? 24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would HOLD FAST unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.

The fruit of the Tree of Life represents Life Eternal. That is what we want! To receive everlasting life. And if we 'hold fast' to the iron rod, we will never perish, and never be lead away into temptation and destruction. I know that as we strive to hold fast to the rod, we will not fall.

We attend the LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery Class with one of our dear friends, Sandy. She is our friend who feed us on Thanksgiving. Sandy is a member of the church, but has been less active for many years. During this time she picked up the habit of smoking, and we have been trying to help her quit and come back to church so that she may be worthy of the temple. She is so sweet and we really have a special place in our hearts for her. This last week at the Addiction Recovery Class, she shared her feelings about her addiction. She told us that she was scared, and that she has Thyroid Cancer. When I heard this my heart just broke. Sandy is the sweetest woman, she has had a pretty hard life and now she has cancer! Elder Rameriez, one of the counselors in the Recovery Class gave her a blessing. It was so cool, he is from Columbia, and so he talked in his native language, while his wife translated. In the blessing, he said that God needs Sandy to be as close to Him as she can and that she needs to get rid of anything that could be distancing herself from God. It was so cool, because I know that it is really God saying these things to her. We are praying for Sandy, that she might be able to stop her habit, and overcome Satan. 

Yesterday was a hard day for us, we didn't have very much success and a lot of our appointments fell through. We were trying to go see this family we had met a week ago. It's actually a funny story about how we met them. We were going hiking for our Preparation Day Activity and we went up with a member. We were waiting for the Elders from our District to come and they got lost. So while they were trying to find their way, we started talking to this man who was fishing at the lake next to where we were hiking. He name is Chris. He told us to come by and talk to him and his family! We tried their house twice, and they weren't home. We tried seeing a few other people and nothing seemed to be working out. A few hours later, we were passing by the same house we had tried and we weren't sure whether to stop and try again. We decided we might as well try again and they were home! We had a great lesson with Chris. It was amazing! He listened so intently and had lots of questions. He even committed to read and pray! We ended up talking a little bit about the Word of Wisdom to and he committed to not drink alcohol, tea and coffee! At least until our next meeting on Tuesday :) we are so excited, he is so prepared to hear the gospel! It is funny that the Elders got lost on the way to the hike last week, because if they didn't get lost, we wouldn't have met Chris and his family!

#Ponderize 36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

 Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. #ASaviorIsBorn

I love you all so much. I hope to hear from some of you this Christmas! And don't forget to remember the reason for the Season!

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis