Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WINTER STORM JONAS

It Snowed So Much
Crazy week!!

Just so everyone knows, I realize that I really jinxed myself with last weeks email. I was talking about how I have never seen the snow everyone goes on about here and then a few days later we get 35 inches.......... Yep just under 3 feet. WINTER STORM JONAS. Like a real natural disaster! We actually got snowed in our house. You see, we live up in a hollar. [Hollar: a little road surrounded by trees, without speed limits, that lead to large backwoods area in the state of West Virginia.] So they are a little scary! We drive a truck so we can make it up our hill, but there was no way we were going to get out of that! We had to stay in on Friday and Saturday because it was so bad! We were SO bored! It was very long. We actually decided to just put on sweats under our skirts and put on our snow boots and truck it out in the snow! We walked about a mile down to a less-actives members house. It took us a half hour to walk there and a half hour to walk back because it was so deep! It was fun though. 







Trying to Walk Down our Hollar through the Storm
On Sunday church was cancelled because of all the snow! A lot of the day was spent digging ourselves out of it. The weather was a little nicer and so we went out to visit people near our house. It was so slippery, I slipped a total of 8 times in one day! Oh my, 8 times! Sister Roberts and I could not stop laughing. Every time I got out of the car to back her up I slipped. I even slipped a few times right after getting up from slipping. I thought you all might find humor in my clumsiness. :D
The Snow Was up to My Knees

We had a wonderful opportunity to watch a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast, put out by the head missionary department of the church. It was so cool!! I learned a lot, and I especially loved this training segment that we got to watch with Elder Bednar. He talked about the Spirit and how He is the teacher. Not us. We need to be worthy of having the Spirit to be with us and to help bring the Spirit so He can teach our friends. It was such a cool broadcast, and we all sang "Called To Serve" at the same time! What a cool thing to think about, almost all the missionaries around the world, singing that powerful song at the same time! I love being a Missionary!!

It Was Like This for Three Days
We have been working with a friend named Sarah since around New Years now and we are making huge progress with her! She is 15 and has had a pretty rough life. She has been smoking since she was 12 and she was pregnant last year. But she had the baby early and he passed away. We have taught her all the lessons and she is so willing to change and keep the commitments we give her.  This week we taught her the Law of Chastity lesson and we were thinking she would take it pretty hard, but she accepted it with enthusiasm! She was so willing and ready to accept. We even gave her a, "For the Strength of Youth", pamphlet to help her understand more of the standards our church has. She excitedly read our standards for dancing and music. Last night we had the opportunity to teach Sarah the Stop Smoking Workshop in a members home. It went so well! She wants to stop smoking so that she can continue to be prepared for baptism. She is working towards February 20 and she is so excited!





Walking Down Our Hill was Fun
I want to let each of you know that I know this gospel is true and that this is the Lord's work! He is in charge! This truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. He restored His Gospel to the earth, through the prophet, Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love this gospel and I am so grateful for the time I have to be a missionary, even though it is a very short time. I love the Lord, and I love this work. 
The Roads in Our Hollar

#Ponderize 3 Nephi 7:21 "And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed."

Don't forget to say your prayers and read your scriptures :)

Love you all,

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

Monday, January 18, 2016

He Blesses Us All One By One

Hello you all,

Selfie Sunday - If It's Still a Thing

Ever since I have been out on my mission, people have been telling me about how bad the winters are here. So far all I have seen is the little sprinkles of snow that melt as soon as they touch the ground... Every time this happens everyone tells us how they are expecting a snow day and there is going to be like 6 feet and it hasn't happened yet. We got like an inch and a half this week!
The "Snow"

So this past week, Sister Roberts and I taught 13 other lessons and we had 5 member presents. Our District Leader was talking to us about our week and asked us how we could switch that, (because members make a huge difference in lessons) so we decided that we had a goal of ourselves to switch those numbers. We did EVERYTHING we could to reach our goal of 13 member presents.  Last night at 7:00 we still only had 12 member present lessons. We stopped and said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help us find a member who would be willing to go to our last scheduled lesson of the night. We ended up being able to get one of the Laurels who wants to go on a mission to come with us to our last lesson. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father answers our prayers when we have the faith that He will!
Sister Roberts and I with Saniya - She is Hilarious

We had a few great lessons with one of our investigators Steve this week. We have been scheduling lessons at the church and inviting ward members to come be a member present for us, and they have been such amazing spiritual lessons! Ever since we started teaching lessons in the Chapel Steve has been keeping his commitments. He even called us one night after reading a chapter we had given to him, 2 Nephi 2 and was asking us about repentance.  On Saturday, we invited him to be baptized and he was a little hesitant at first, but he then accepted! He is on date for February 13! We can't wait. 
Me - When I Realized I Have Been Out 7 Months
So we saw our dear friend Harriet. We have been trying to build her testimony of the Book of Mormon because she doesn't like the first chapter. She thinks it drags on and on. One day while we were visiting her I shared the scripture 3 Nephi 17:21 "And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them." I talked with her about the significance of the Savior blessing the children one by one and how he knows and loves all of us individually. She really liked this and we committed her to read 3 Nephi 11 and when we came back to see her we watched "The Testaments" with her! I have never felt the spirit so strong while watching this movie. I just love how Jesus Christ blesses the children and you can just see the love that He has for each of them. I testify that our Savior Jesus Christ lives, and he loves us each individually. We are blessed by His sacrifice one by one, every day of our lives.

#Ponderize Doctrine and Covenants 112:28 "But purify your hearts before me; and then go ye into all the world, and preach my gospel unto every creature who has not received it;"

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

Route 3 Box 518 B
Elkins, WV 26241

Monday, January 11, 2016

Preach Nothing But Repentance

Hey friends,

Selfie - Utah and Canada

Some how I always make a fool out of myself at meetings. We were at a Zone Meeting (it was also my first meeting in my new zone after being transferred) and the other missionaries had little lessons prepared and we were listening to them. All of a sudden, Sister Roberts points to something right above my head and whispers, "Uh Sister.." I look up and there was a spider dangling from the celling! It was right above my head, and I started to laugh quietly and I scooted my chair back so it wouldn't land on my head. Sister Roberts pushed her chair back too, and we were trying so hard not to disrupt the meeting but it was so funny! I was going to wait until it was over, but one of our Sister Training Leaders came over, picked it up and threw it away. What is it about me and spiders?

Sister Roberts and I with Kate
This week we spent a lot of time with a less active family in the ward. They love the missionaries and they treat us like family. We love stopping by as our last appointment of the night to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with them and to say a Family Prayer. They have a bit of a hard family situation. Especially when the kids were all younger. Brandi is the mom and she is an extreme couponer. She has literally shelves and shelves of food and other things because her hobby is to coupon and buy things on sale. They have anything and everything. She is hilarious! They have 3 kids at home; Kate, Garrett and Ben. Kate is 15 years old and she is pregnant. It has been really hard on Brandi, and they don't come to church, because they feel like they can't. We have been trying to do all that we can to help this family. They are going through a lot. I just know how grateful I am to have these commandments that God has given us, because it can prevent the grief and heartache I have seen in this family. 

Harriet and the Little Girl
We have been visiting this little old lady named Harriet. She is hilarious! She taught second grade for 40 years and so she has little nicknames for Sister Roberts and I. She calls Sister Roberts the "Star" and then she calls me the "Little Girl." Harriet hugs me and before I leave she holds my hand and says, "You're so cute you little girl, you are so cute!" She sure is something. The missionaries have worked with her for over 4 years and we are trying to get her to come to church. She has been once before, but she hasn't been back since. She says she doesn't like the music. When we asked her why she didn't like the music she said, "Where's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir when you need them!?" Harriet also doesn't like the first chapter of the Book of Mormon. She doesn't mind the rest, but she says the first chapter drags on and on! So if you can imagine her... She is a riot. We are hoping she will soften her heart :) 

Something that President Salisbury has been talking about lately is Preaching Repentance. He promises us that "If we preach nothing but repentance, then we will baptize converts." All that we do as missionaries is to invite people to repent. It is NOT a bad thing. We ALL make mistakes, and it is a blessing that we are able to repent and be cleansed from our sins again. I am so grateful for this time I have to be a missionary and to help others change and to become better. 

#Ponderize Doctrine and Covenants 6:9 "Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed."

Love you all

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

Don't send too many letters :)
Sister Kayla Willis
Route 3 Box 518 B
Elkins, WV 26241

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 2016

Happy New Year, friends!

Because I'm Numba 1

I hope everyone had a safe New Years. We had to be in by 6:00 p.m. We came in early and spent the night doing our weekly planning. We also were not allowed to stay up and 'welcome the new year'. It is all part of being set apart missionaries and that we have to live and obey a higher law. 

This week we had an interesting encounter with a Jehovah's Witness. We were contacting a referral we had received and turns out, he was a Jehovah's Witness. It was interesting to talk to him and he wanted to fight with us. As a missionary, I can't fight or become contentious, because I am a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Contention also drives the Spirit away. In these kinds of situations, we have to simply bare our testimony that we know that these things are true. People can try to fight with us, make us upset or frustrated, but the only thing we can do is simply bare our testimony. I KNOW that this Gospel is true and I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth. I KNOW that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet and that Jesus Christ Restored His true church on the Earth through him. We left on good terms with this man, but it just strengthens my faith even more, because I know people wouldn't be out there trying to prove this gospel to be wrong, if it wasn't true. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!
Elkins is Really Cloudy

This week I had some really cool studies. I read through the Missionary Handbook and highlighted all the promises found in it. Even just on the first page of the Introduction it says, "This handbook contains the basic standards of missionary service and conduct approved by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Follow these standards. They WILL help you magnify your calling protect you physically and spiritually." Any time it says "will" it is a promise! I highlight my Preach My Gospel in red every time I see the word "will". I am promised so many things as I am obedient to the all standards in the Missionary Handbook. These blessings are only conditional to my obedience and diligence to living the higher law. I want to be able to obtain all the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for me, so I keep the promises in mind as I strive everyday to be obedient. 

I hope that this new year that we will all strive to be better, to keep the commandments, remember our baptismal covenants, repent continually and remember the Savior in all things.

#Ponderize Doctrine and Covenants 130:21 "And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

Route 3 Box 518 B
Elkins, WV 26241