Monday, July 25, 2016

Obedience: The First Law of Heaven

Hey you all,
Selfie on the Signing Grounds

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
- Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21
Sister Wevers and I have had a marvelous week this week. Over the course of my mission I have learned a lot about obedience, but this week we have truly seen the Lords hand in our lives as we strive to be exactly obedient. 

Went with LeAnn and Sam - saw where treaty was signed for Civil War
Went Out to Dinner with Sister Elder - her real name
At the beginning of the week, things were slow and we were wondering why we weren't having much success. On Thursday, during our planning session, we talked and decided that we needed to change something to be more obedient. It's not that we were being disobedient, it was just that we needed to be exactly obedient. Ever since we changed one little thing, our week changed completely! Heavenly Father SHOWERED us with blessings. We had 3 investigators at church yesterday!

We had an amazing lesson in the church building on Saturday with Kaela and her boyfriend, Dillon. They are some investigators we had actually dropped (stopped teaching) not to long ago. They were not keeping appointments or commitments, so we told them that we were going to stop seeing them, and if they wanted to meet again, they can give us a call. Well, this week Kaela texted us and asked us if we could have a lesson at the church! This is huge for her! Before, we felt like we were fighting tooth and nail to get a lesson with them, so of course, we said YES! We met them both at the church and we had our ward mission leader with us. We taught the plan of salvation and it went wonderfully! Dillon had lots of questions about everything in the past and he was very frustrated because he could not understand it, but Sister Wevers and I really tried to focus on their needs as we taught, so we would be able to address their questions and concerns. Dillon and Kaela both accepted the truths of the Plan of Salvation and committed to read and pray about it. They also committed to come to church and they did! We talked with them about baptism and invited them to do so, and they were hesitant, but we are going to be inviting them to be baptized again this week and hopefully we will help them to feel good about a date!
Sister Wevers and I

It was amazing. They had a wonderful experience at church, and many ward members came up and met them. They said they felt comfortable and they really enjoyed the classes.

Another investigator, Barbra, actually surprised us by coming to church!! We have been teaching her for a while and she is gaining a testimony of this gospel as she studies and prays, but she can't come to church because she works every Sunday. This past week, when we met with her, she actually told us that she is trying to find a new job so that she will be able to come to church! Yesterday morning, she surprised us when she called us and told us that she had it off work and she was coming to church! (We freaked out!) It was amazing. She enjoyed Sacrament meeting a lot!

House Where the Document was Signed Ending the Civil War
We also had an incredible lesson with the Mullins family! Sister Wever's and I absolutely adore them! They are amazing, and now we are teaching Pam! (Cheryl's sister, who came to John's baptism) We taught the Plan of Salvation and they accepted it so well! Cheryl loves the fact that she and Paul can be married for all time and eternity. They kept saying, "that makes sense"! They have truly been prepared by messengers of God. I love the truths of the Plan of Salvation and that we can be with our families forever because of sacred covenants that we can make in the Temple. The peace that comes from the knowledge of Eternal Families is very close to my heart. Eternal Families is not doctrine that other churches teach. I know that this is Jesus Christ's restored church on the earth today and that families can indeed be forever.

The Room Where it was Signed
I am in Love with the Virginia Country
I know that because of obedience, we are blessed. It is the first law of Heaven and exact obedience truly brings miracles! The Lord is aware of us, and of our efforts to be diligent and obedient. When we do the things he asks of us, He blesses us! He will also provide a way for us to be able to be obedient (1 Nephi 3:7). He loves us, and He wants to bless us! All we need to do is be obedient to His laws. I know that as we live the higher law, as taught by Jesus Christ, we will be blessed more than we can ever imagine. 

I  know this gospel is true and that the work we do is His work. I am so grateful to be serving here in this part of the Lord's vineyard. Great things are happening here and I truly love the people I meet, and I love having this privilege of doing what I get do :)

Love you all so much! 

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

It has been hotter than Hades here

Appomattox Count House National Park

The Coolest Doorbell Ever


Monday, July 18, 2016

Lead Me, Guide Me, Walk Beside Me

Hi mom! (and the rest of you wonderful people)
Sister Pugh is Leaving - She is My Pal

This week has been SLOW. So slow. It's been good, but just super slow. Sister Wevers and I decided to stop seeing a few of our investigators who have just not been progressing very much. So we need to find new people to teach. We have spent long hours tracting with out much success. Last week in my email I talked about the 2 potentials that we found, and one of them didn't work out, and we aren't quite sure about the other one. We are doing our best to be diligent and use time wisely, which is, as our Mission President says, "code for do the Lord's will".

We weren't feeling like our efforts were very fruitful this week, even though we were working hard and doing our best. We failed to think that the Lord can bless us in different ways that we might not be expecting. Our church meetings start at 1:00 in the afternoon now in Lynchburg.  So we have time in the morning now to study and even go out and work! Saturday night, we were trying to think of what we should do that could be effective for us before church. Sister Wevers suggested that we try visiting a less-active Sister who we have been visiting off and on for some time. She said that we could try going over and inviting her to church. I felt that it was a good idea and so we planned to do that Sunday morning before church. 

Our New Car - Wahoo!
The next morning, when we went over to this Sister's house, she let us in and said, "I am getting ready for church!" WOW! This sweet sister has not been to church in months! She came to church and had a wonderful experience.  

We also had another young sister who has been less-active for quite some time come to church yesterday as well! Amazing! It was cool to see how Heavenly Father blesses us in ways we don't even think about. All of that door knocking that we did, wasn't for nothing, it was to help these sweet sisters to be able to come to church! It reminds me of what Elder Holland said in the past General Conference. 

"With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can‍ improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying,‍ even if we don’t always succeed."
All the Sisters in the Lovely Beuna Vista Virginia Zone

In sacrament meeting yesterday, I had a very powerful experience. I have been pondering about what it truly means to be a Child of God. I have been thinking about who I am and where I came from and what this all means for me. We sang, "I am a Child of God" as one of the Hymns, and I felt a confirming witness from the Holy Ghost that I am a Child of God and that He loves me more than I can understand. I felt an abundance of The Spirit as we sang the words:

"Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday."

He loves us, and he is here to help us. He leads us, and he gives us the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. He is right here with us! He is very aware of all of us and our individual needs. He hears my prayers when I plead for the strength and for comfort. I am truly His daughter!
Sisters Wevers and I with the Forest Sisters

I know that we are all Children of a Loving Heavenly Father and that he has a divine plan for each of us! He watches over all of us and I have never felt the love that our Father in Heaven has for the people around me more, than being a missionary and being able to serve them and bring His gospel to them. I absolutely love being a missionary and I am grateful for every blessing that it has brought to me and the lives of others.
#Ponderize: 1 Nephi 1:20
"And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
Virginia Sunsets Have Stolen My Heart

Love you all so much! Don't forget to write your favorite missionary! ;)

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Saturday, July 16, 2016

1 Nephi 17:50-51

Hey y'all, 
Sister Weavers and I before doing some tracting

How is it going for everyone? If you didn't already know, I am emailing on Wednesday because it is transfers! This transfer I will be staying in Lynchburg/Appomattox with Sister Weavers, since she is still in training. She is doing amazing by the way! She is a wonderful missionary and has taught me a lot! She is so sweet and I appreciate how easy she is to get along with. Sister Weavers is so smart and has such a huge desire to serve the Lord. I know that we still have work that needs to be done here in this part of the Lord's Vineyard!
So I wanted to update y'all on John and his parents! John is doing amazing! He found out that it was transfers and freaked out a little, because he thought I was going to be leaving, but I am here for another 6 weeks at least :) Whoo! We stopped by to see John's mom and dad, and they are doing amazing! John's dad was in an accident a few years ago which left him slightly handicapped, so our lesson focused more on his mom, Cheryl. Here's the big news: SHE READ ALL THE WAY UP TO JACOB IN THE BOOK OF MORMON!! That doesn't just happen everyday! So we had a great lesson with her and she has a huge interest in eternal families and how her marriage can be eternal. It is amazing! I am so grateful for the doctrine we have on Eternal Families. No other church has any real doctrine on that, and it just strengthens my testimony even more that this church is true, and that because of covenants we make in sacred temples, families can be ETERNAL.
Sister Weavers went all the way to the edge of our mission - didn't cross, but took a pict
We had a wonderful Zone Meeting this week and we talked lots about Miracles. It was the best Zone Meeting I have ever been to on my mission. Sister Weavers and I were fasting for an investigator that day, so that helped us even more to learn from The Spirit. Before the meeting, we were asked to read 1 Nephi 17:50-51:

 50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
 51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?
Sister Pugh, Brower, Willis, and Wevers

Got Jesus?
These scriptures really impressed upon my heart. The Lord has commanded Nephi to build a ship and he has never built a ship before in his life! He doesn't know anything about building a ship, but yet, if Heavenly Father commands him to do it, why would he not be able to do it? Heavenly Father provides a way for all of his children to do what he asks of them. He will perform miracles, according to our faith. We talked a lot about goal setting by faith, and exercising our faith in the work. Many missionaries shared powerful experiences of how they exercised faith, by setting a goal they want to achieve, and then relying on faith and diligence to accomplish that goal. I had many 'golden thoughts' or things that I can do to improve myself as a missionary. I have decided to work on becoming a master planner and goal setter. I am going to set a small goal for myself every morning, after my studies, just something that I can really focus on for that day in the work and/or my teaching, so that I can become better. I know that as I do this, I will become a better servant in the Lord's Vineyard, and I will strengthen my faith, as I see the Lord's Hand perform miracles.
Virginia is the Prettiest Place on Earth
Sister Weavers and I tried to implement all the things that we learned in the Zone Meeting into our finding efforts. As we planned for the next day, we carefully prayed about EVERY THING. We prayed about the area we need to go to, what time we need to go there, what street we need to tract and how many people are ready to receive us on that street. Heavenly Father told us that we needed to Tract 'Coffey Road' (isn't that ironic) and we knew we were going to meet 2 people that are going to be ready to receive us. After tracting Coffey Road, we found 2 people that are interested in our important message! We have some return appointments as well! It was amazing how after tracting for days without any success, as soon as we exercise our faith and seek direction from the Lord, we see miracles!
The gospel is true and Heavenly Father really does provide for His children :) I love being a missionary! I hope President Salisbury lets me stay in the WVCM FOREVER! :)

There were 2 more gross bugs in our house.  I almost died.
#Ponderize 1 Peter 3:14-15 
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Love you all so much! Read your scriptures and say your prayers! Daily :)

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 4th of July from Lynchburg, Virginia

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free..." Galatians 5:1
This was the Flooding Rain

This week started out so weird. On Monday we had just finished our Preparation day, and we were having dinner with a member family. Sister Weavers looks at the phone and she sees that we have 2 missed calls from the District Leader. So we are thinking "What's going on?" We send the District Leader a text and say that we are with some members having dinner. He texts us back and tells us that there is a flood in Lynchburg and that we need to go home asap! WHAT? Okay, so we start freaking out and we thank the members for the meal and start going home. I am the driver (because Sister Weavers is in training) and accidentally go the wrong way home! (Nice one, Sister Willis) Ahhh. Don't worry though, we got home safely, there was just tons of rain. It was literally raining buckets!! It's all good now though :) 

So, if any of you have been paying attention to my emails, WE HAD JOHN'S BAPTISM THIS SATURDAY! It was so amazing. I am so grateful to have been able to be part of the experience!
Also... JOHN FINISHED THE ENTIRE BOOK OF MORMON IN 2 WEEKS! This means, that according to the deal that Sister Wevers and I made with John, we have to sing something at his baptism...
Here's the whole story:
Sister Weavers and I at John's Baptism

Selfie at the Baptism
We asked John to be at the church by 5:00 and the Baptism started at 6:00. Sister Weavers and I had a lesson at 3:00 and so we were gonna head over to the church at like 4:30 to fill up the font and make sure everything was ready. We got a call from Tom, (our Ward Mission Leader) and he was concerned about the baptismal clothing. John is a big guy and he would need a really big jumpsuit for him. We hadn't even thought about it! We had been talking and talking about the baptism for weeks, trying to make sure everything was ready, and we missed one of the more important parts. THE CLOTHES! Sister Wevers and I get to the church and we are making sure the font is filled up and warm and we pull all the baptism clothing out of the closets and start looking at all of them, hoping that we might some how find something that will be good for John. Nothing. I am like freaking out at this point, I didn't know what to do! We called Tom and told him that we didn't have any luck and he stayed totally calm, and said he would try and find something in his dad's temple clothes. John shows up at the church with his mom and his aunt, (WHOOOO!) and we took some pictures with him. He actually posted some of them on Facebook right after we took them! How cool is that? 
All of Us with Tom, Who Baptized John
Anyways, Tom gets to the church and he had some clothes from one of the members in the ward. Sister Weavers and I are folding programs and a few minutes later, John comes and tells us that the clothes that Tom brought are too small. I am like majorly freaking out right now and Tom goes and makes a call to someone else in the ward. John is getting more and more nervous for everything as it goes on. John is wearing a white polo shirt and tan pants, and so Tom asks Brother Robertson, who is in the Bishopric, if it would be okay if John just got baptized in that. Brother Robertson says "A man needs to get baptized tonight, don't let a pair of pants get in the way!" 

So we go ahead with the program and start. Literally 5 minutes into the program, a member of the ward walks in, holding a folded up white pair of pants. WHAT A MIRACLE! So we go in to watch John be baptized and he has just changed into the white pants. The spirit was SO STRONG and you could tell that John was really nervous, but everything went well. When he came up out of the water, he gave Tom a huge hug. It was so touching. So we all go back to the Relief Society room, and we waited for John and Tom to change and come back. So after about 10 minutes, John's mom leans over to us, and says, "I don't think he brought a shirt to change into." So we run down to the bathroom, where Tom has just come out of, and he tells us that John doesn't have a dry shirt! Good thing John lives like a mile up the road from the church! John's mom runs up to his house to get him a dry shirt, and Sister Weavers and I are just in the hallway talking to Tom. Sister Weavers and I are starting to get nervous, because when John gets changed, we have to sing a hymn for everyone! We choose to sing "Nearer, My God to Thee". I am singing soprano and she is singing alto. We told Tom what we were singing and he asked if he could join us. We said, "Yes of course," because he is like a really good singer. 

Here We are at the Celebration
So everything worked out, John got his shirt and he changed and then we went up to sing. It was SO pretty! We all were singing different parts, so it sounded so cool. John really enjoyed it.  He even teared up, because he was feeling the spirit so much. He was emotional for pretty much the whole service. His mom even was crying! Everyone, I testify that the spirit is real and it does in fact touch hearts and change people. 

After the Baptism, everyone came up and was congratulating John, and it was so great! Sister Weavers and I got him a tie, and we each wrote him a card of congratulations. We each bore our testimonies to him and he cried some more. What an incredible day. I will never forget it, and I hope and pray that John won't either. 

The next day in Sacrament meeting, John received the gift of the Holy Ghost! In our Gospel Principals class, we talked about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and John shared with us some of his feelings about it, he told us that it was feeling the Holy Ghost before he was baptized that really helped him to change and become better. It was SO COOL that he recognizes that! #TheSpiritIsREAL

Thomas Jefferson's Home in Forest, Virginia
What a blessing it has been to be able to find, teach, and baptize John! I truly know that I was called to serve here because I needed to find John, and to help him know the knowledge that we have about eternal families. Because of our Heavenly Father's plan, we can be with our families forever! We can live in peace not only in this life, but in the next. I am so grateful for this plan and for this opportunity that I have to share it. I know that this gospel is true, and I know that the spirit can touch lives and change hearts. I have seen it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the way that we can come closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am also so grateful for this wonderful country where we live, and for the freedoms we enjoy. I am grateful for the Declaration of Independence and for our founding fathers, for following the inspiration from God to write it. 

USA! USA! USA! (Sorry, Sister Weavers, for yelling this every time we saw an American flag :) )

4th of July Celebration
Someone Gave Us the Taco Bell Sauce Packet, It says, "Call your mom."
Yesterday for the 4th, John, and Sister Weavers, and I went to see a historical landmark pretty close to where we live! We went to Thomas Jefferson's house! That's right, a previous President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. The man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. It was so cool! They were having a big 4th of July celebration! We got to see someone dressed as Jefferson, read the Declaration and that was awesome. It was a really good experience. We saw some old stuff that they used back then, and we even got to talk to some historians. The most interesting part for me was learning about all the slaves. It really put things into a different perspective for me. We got to see some of the things they used for instruments, and what they sounded like all together. We saw one guy make a shingle out of a block of wood and it was super cool. What a great day! Hope you all had fun :)

# Ponderize 
Alma 46:12 "And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole."

Love you all so much! Read your scriptures, stay cool and be safe :)

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

410 Alta Lane #11
Lynchburg, VA 24502