Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How Great Shall Be Your Joy

Hello my dear friends and family,
Exploring Downtown Lynchburg 

I hope everyone at home is having awesome lives! It would be cool if I could hear about it from you ;) *write me letters*

We had some AWESOME lessons this week. Last week I talked about a lesson that we had with John. Well we had two more awesome lessons with him this week... And he also came to CHURCH! WHAT?!  So we stopped by his house (It is such a blessing, because he literally lives right around the corner from us.) and we set up an appointment for Friday. Then we talked with him about prayer and why it is important, out on his porch. He told us that he will pray for others, but he doesn't like praying for himself. We committed him to pray for himself regardless and we also committed him to read 2 Nephi 31 before our lesson. When we went to our appointment with him, we met at the church and had a lesson in the Chapel. I LOVE having lessons in the Chapel because the spirit is always SO strong in there! So for John we have some really awesome fellowshippers. There is Tom, he got back from serving a mission about 3 years ago and he is also our Ward Mission Leader! He is a really awesome guy. Then the other friend we have for John is Zach. He is a recent convert of 11 months. He was baptized last May! He was a friend of Toms and that is how he was introduced to the church! They are both really cool. Anyways, we had a great lesson with Zach there, he and John really hit it off! We taught John the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was so awesome, because Zach had lots of personal experiences to share about when he was taking the missionary lessons. We talked with John about the scripture we had him read and asked him the things that stuck out to him. He said that he really liked verse 13 in 2 Nephi, where it talks about "acting in no hypocrisy". John explained that he liked that, because it means that we are "real" and we live what we teach. We talked a lot about Enduring to the End and how this Gospel is a way of life! He liked that about our church, that we aren't 'Sunday Christians'. After our lesson we got to give John a tour of the rest of the church! It helped him be more familiar with what we do, and he said he would come to church on Sunday!
Missionary Tag Pictures are a Thing, Right?
So Saturday Night we decided to call John just to make sure and remind him of church. He answered the phone and I said, "Hi John, this is Sister Willis! We just wanted to remind you of church tomorrow. It starts at 9 and we will be in the parking lot waiting for ya!" He said "Yeah, I'll be there at 8:45. I just picked up an outfit today!" WHAT?! So tomorrow rolls around and he is there! He rolls up in his big black Dodge truck with his Book of Mormon, wearing a red plaid button up shirt and khaki pants. He stayed for all three hours of church! He sat with us and with Zach in Sacrament Meeting. It was a great day for John to come to church, because it was Ward Conference! There were some awesome talks that were given. Our Bishop spoke about Baptism (which was perfect for John) and a member of the Stake Presidency spoke about the Sacrament and remembering Jesus Christ. It was just such a good day! Relief Society was let out late (as usual, woman like to talk :)) and so John was already gone. We stopped by his house on our way to our next appointment. He talked to us outside. We asked him how he liked church. He replied with "It was good, it was better," meaning that it was better than any other church he has been too. Again, WHAT?!
Backwoods Virginia #1

We had a lesson with him last night again and this time we had Tom with us. We watched the Restoration Video to help John build his testimony of Joseph Smith (before we teach him the Word of Wisdom) and to kind of review, because it was a few weeks since we taught him that lesson. It was really cool, because after the video we were talking and he told us that since he has been meeting with us and trying to study and pray he feels like he is doing better things. He also said that he feels like he is starting to do more things that live up to what God's purpose is for him. So cool! The lesson actually ran a little long.  Sister Alligood and I had to quickly wrap things up and say a prayer to get home before curfew (9:30 if you are teaching a lesson). Later at about 10:20 Tom texted us and said that he and John had been talking in the parking lot for an hour! He said that 'John was a cool dude'. It is so awesome that John is building these friendships because that is what will help him have a lasting conversion. Missionaries get transferred and leave, but the members will always be there.
Backwoods Virginia #2

I am so grateful for this time I have to be teaching John! He is awesome and so nice and I wish that every single one of you could meet him. I know that this truly is God's work and he does in fact labor with me and all the other missionaries. Missionary life isn't real life, and it can be so hard sometimes, but it is truly the most rewarding. "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"  - Doctrine and Covenants 18:15

#Ponderize 2 Nephi 16:8 "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I; send me."
A Street Post in Downtown Lynchburg

I love y'all!!

XOXOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Monday, April 18, 2016

See Others As The Savior Sees Them

Hello Hello,

Me and My Study Wall
It has been kind of a slow week, but we did have some amazing things happen!
Whoops, Blurry Companion Picture

Two weeks ago in our Zone Meeting, the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders talked to us a lot about our companions and more specifically: loving our companions. We read through the section of "Your Companion" on page 29 on the Missionary Handbook and discussed it. They committed each companionship to strive to love each other and to tell each other 2 things that they loved about each other everyday for a week. My companion and I did this - everyday for this past week - and it has really made a HUGE difference! Instead of simply telling my companion that I love her and pointing out things that she has done that I appreciate, I got an index card an wrote down specific things that she had done that day. Maybe it was the way she served someone or she listened really well to our investigator in a lesson that we had. It was amazing to see how as we were looking for the good in each other more each day, we started to love an appreciate one another even more! We are working together better and teaching in unity. No matter how different you and your companion may be, we can love each other as we strive to see each other as the Savior sees us.

My Study Wall
We had an amazing lesson with one of our investigators this week!  His name is Johnathan and he is in his mid to late 20's. We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation this week. It was amazing! We talked a lot about our life on Earth and the things that we need to do while we are here. He had lots of questions about baptism and we gave him 2 Nephi 31 to read for homework. Johnathan also started talking to us about his grandmother. He started to get really emotional (he even teared up a little) as he told us about how she has raised him and all he wants is to know if he will be able to see her again. We finished talking about the rest of the Plan of Salvation and he told us that all of what we said, just makes sense. We testified that he would be able to see his grandmother again, and then we invited him to be baptized again (we invited him on the first lesson but he never gave us a straight answer) and he said "Yes". Johnathan is now on date to be baptized on June 4th! We are so excited. We are going to set up a time this week to give him a church tour because he hasn't been able to come because of work, but we are going to get him there next week!
10 Mouths - Where Did the Time Go?

One day this week, we were out in Appomattox, which is about 30 miles away so we don't go there very often. It is also the place where the Treaty was signed that ended the Civil War! Awesome history out there! Anyways, we were doing some tracting in a pretty sketchy apartment complex. We knocked on several doors, and heard, "Come in" seconds later. When this happened, we would just open the door and stand there and watch people realize that we weren't who they were expecting. One particular door was interesting. We knocked and heard a high pitched voice, "Come in." We opened the door and found a little girl standing there. She was probably only 4 or 5. We said "Is your mom home?" She said, "No." We hurried to shut the door and leave. Virginia people are crazy.
Virginia is Green

#Ponderize Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34
"33 Wherefore, be not weary‍ in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things‍ proceedeth that which is great.
 34 Behold, the Lord requireth‍ the heart‍ and a willing‍ mind; and the willing and obedient‍ shall eat‍ the good of the land of Zion in these last days."

I love y'all, I love my Mission, and I love the Lord.

XOXOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Monday, April 11, 2016

Miracles are in Store

Hello friends, its that time again. You get to hear from your favorite missionary! It better be me :)
Selfie on Exchanges

This week has been wonderful and full of MIRACLES, because miracles are REAL! Okay, so first miracle: Seif's wife, Jackie, came to church! WHAT!? That's right, she came to church! She is of the Protestant Faith and she will always come in and sit in on the lessons with us. She always participates too, but she says that she is happy where she is and she doesn't want to change. Well this week, we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders and I got to stay in Lynchburg (Appomattox) with Sister Tafea! 

Sister Tafea and I - She is the Best
She is so cool, she actually came out with me too! We went to teach Seif one of the New Member lessons.  After the lesson we were talking about church and I had a strong impression to invite Jackie to come. We have invited her before, but she always says she can't. I boldly invited Jackie and she said she would try to make it. We didn't really think anything of it, but then she showed up to church! And she stayed for all three hours! Miracle!
All the Sisters in the Buena Vista Zone

Another amazing thing that happened were two new investigators we picked up this week. Let's back up to a few weeks ago... Sister Alligood and I were spending the day walking and we passed this man on the street. We started a conversation about the weather and then he started asking us where we were from and what we were doing. We explained who we were and then he introduced himself as Charles. Then he asked us, "Do you guys do like home visits?" WHAT!? Yes we do! We told him that we do and tried to set up a time to come back, but he said that he needed to talk to his wife. We exchanged phone numbers, and even gave him a Book of Mormon and went on our way. We never heard from Charles even though we had stopped by, tried calling and texting and still, nothing! Then one day we were in the area and we stopped by and his wife was home! Nikki is her name, and she is so fun! We got to talking to her and she set up an appointment right there for the next week. When the day came that we got to the appointment, we walked in their home and I glanced all over the walls and from the pictures and things, I could tell they were religious. 
Sister Wilson and I - she goes home in a few weeks.  She is sweet!

There is a HUGE Dinasaur Chasing Tiny Me
We got to talking and they wanted to know everything that we believed. Sister Alligood pulled out the Articles of Faith and read them all off. We then started a discussion of beliefs and at first it started out a little contentious, but we were able to follow the spirit and by the end we had shared the Restoration and focused on what sets our religion apart from others: The Priesthood Power. Charles and Nikki had so many questions for us and they were so kind. We invited them to be baptized and to study the Book of Mormon. We even invited them to church.  They asked where the building was and what the services were like. It was amazing. They declined our church invitation this time, but they said that they would like to come sometime. Charles and Nikki are going to be really busy this next month and so it is going to be hard to have lessons with them, but they told us that they would love to have us back! They are going to study and pray and so we will just be by for shorter visits. They were amazed when they asked us where we were from and we didn't say Virginia! They also were amazed when we said we were only 19 and 20 year old girls. Nikki is a chatterbox, and had so many questions for us haha but we enjoyed it. They are so fun! We can't wait to stop by again to see their progress. What a Miracle!

#Ponderize Mosiah 28:3 "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear‍ that any human soul‍ should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless‍ torment did cause them to quake and tremble."

I love y'all, I love my Mission, and I love the Lord.

XOXOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Monday, April 4, 2016

Thoughts from Conference

Hello my friends. 
2016 Spring Conference - President Monson

Conference weekend is always wonderful! I hope you enjoyed the talks and the spirit that was felt as much as I did. Questions are always answered!

Our new convert Seif, was able to watch all of the sessions of Conference! Even the Priesthood Session. He LOVED it. He told us that he felt the spirit so strong and he felt so happy! After the last session we went to visit Seif and he was talking to us about one of his neighbors. I got a strong impression to ask him if he thought that his neighbor would ever be interested in learning more about the Gospel. His eyes immediately lit up and he got very excited. He started talking about all of his neighbors and friends that he would introduce us to. He was filled with the spirit of missionary work! What a wonderful spirit :) best kind there is.

I really enjoyed conference! I went in seeking many answers and each one of my questions was answered. The spirit works in mysterious ways. I want all of you to know that I love and sustain our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. He is God's living prophet on the earth today, to lead and guide the Lord's true church. I love and sustain all the other church leaders, I know that they love us and they love the Lord.

I especially enjoyed Elder David A. Bednar's talk, about how we can always retain a remission of our sins. I loved how he talked about how baptism is the initial cleansing of sin and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost provides the continual cleansing from sin. One of the questions I had was about how I could better recognize and understand the spirit, and my answer came. By taking the Sacrament we remember our baptism covenants. By doing the things said in the Sacrament prayer: 1) Being willing to take His name upon us 2) Always remember Him 3) Keep His commandments. By doing these things, we are promised that we will 'always have His spirit to be with [us]'. I do know the importance of the Sacrament but sometimes we forget. But I know by preparing to take the Sacrament worthily and doing these things, that we will have the spirit to be with us.

I also really enjoyed Elder Jeffery R. Holland's words. At first I was really nervous, the way he started out... Haha but it was nice to hear how much the leaders of the church all love us, and I know that they do. During this talk I was able to reflect on some things that I am doing that I need to change. I have many flaws and I know that I can do better on. We do fall short though, many, many times. And it was a blessing to hear him say that we will be blessed for our desire to be good, even if we fall short to do so. The Lord blesses those who WANT to improve. I know that Heavenly Father is mindful of us and he knows our thoughts and desires. He will help us if we ask for it. We are his children and He does love us :)

After listening to all the wonderful talks, I really do feel that the spirit has 'wrought a mighty change in my heart'. I want to do better and I am going to do whatever it takes to do it. I know that all of you can too. Through a desire to change, constant prayer and scripture study, you will be blessed with the strength you need, to make 'your weak things become strong'.

#Ponderize "And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change‍ in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."

I love y'all, I love my Mission, and I love the Lord.

XOXOXO

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

If you have a minute, send me a note :)
410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502