Monday, October 24, 2016

The Sound of Running Water in the Church

WHAT A WEEK! Probably one of the best! It is so true that when you have something great about to happen, bad things are thrown at you left and right! Sister Nelson and I were a little sad because of lots of appointments falling through and people not being able to meet with us, but the highlight was defiantly ELIZABETHS BAPTISM!!!!!! Oh my goodness what a special day!
More Cascades
Well, our week started out awesome! Sister Nelson and I drove about 40 minutes to go on a really pretty hike to a place called the Cascades. It was SO PRETTY! We got to walk up around pretty looking rocks and really cool stairs and bridges along a river that lead up to a huge waterfall! It was the perfect time to go too, the trees were turning and so beautiful! So the funny thing is, we kind of ran out of time. If you don't already know, missionaries have one day a week, called our Preparation Day. That is today because I am emailing you all. It is the day that we get to email our families, go shopping, wash our clothes, and do other things like hike the Cascades for example! It is a fun day, but it only lasts until 6:00pm, then we have to go back to work. So Sister Nelson and I went up to the Cascades a little later in the day thinking that the hike would only take a half hour to get up to the waterfall and a half hour to get back. We quickly learned that our information had been false, because an hour later, we hadn't reached the top! We were starting to panic a little, so we walked faster, took less pictures, and finally we got to the top! It took us an hour and a half to get to the top, and we had to be back home in an hour and 5 minutes... we also have a 40 minute drive to get back to Christiansburg! So we take a picture of the waterfall, and Sister Nelson and I start hauling down this mountain, around rocks and trees and leaves, it is also a little slippery in some places. I fell midway down, of course haha, but nothing too bad! Just came away with some nasty bruises on my knees. We ended up getting down the mountain in 40 minutes! We cut off 50 minutes! I thought I might die, but here I am typing this email to you. It was so crazy! We got home on time, I still don't know how we made a 40 minute drive a 20 minute drive, but we did it. (And we also didn't speed, because we have TiWi, the speed monitor) We were also on time to our appointment! So crazy. I don't know how we did it, but I know that because we were trying to be obedient, Heavenly Father helped us after we put in our effort! It is kind of like Grace. We did all we could do, we ran down that mountain, around the curves and twists, and then just when we thought we could go no more, He strengthened us. He helped us be able to have the strength to keep going down that mountain, and do that work we needed to that night. It was so cool! Heavenly Father truly does protect and watch over his missionaries!
Waterfall at the Cascades
Elizabeth's Baptism
Elizabeth also got baptized this week! It was so special! It was a very sweet service for her. The spirit was very strong! We were able to have lots of Recent Coverts participate in the service, which made it even more special! Elizabeth's good friend Sister Queensberry said one of the prayers. Another new member, Brother Davis gave a wonderful talk on Baptism! We also had another member, Brother Huffman, who just hit a year since his baptism be able to baptize Elizabeth! While the actual baptism was going on, Brother Huffman said Elizabeth's name wrong. He said her middle name first. I was really confused and concerned. As soon as he brought her back up, I looked at Sister Nelson and asked, "Did he say her name right?" She said "I don't know." So I panicked, and went up to the font as Elizabeth was walking out and called out to her. I asked her what her full name was and she said it. Brother Huffman had switched her first name, with her middle name! Everyone was really confused what I was doing, and then everyone understood as my face went CHERRY RED as I explained that he had switched her first and middle name. Elizabeth was baptized again, which was kind of crazy because she is scared of water! It really built my faith, to see her be baptized twice, even after she had been so afraid of doing it. I know that God provides a way for us to fulfill the commandments that he gives us. I know how important and essential baptism and conversion is, but the proper authority. It was very special to see Elizabeth in Sacrament meeting the next day and to see the smile on her face as she received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I love this gift the God gives us so that we may have his guidance with us all the time. It brings peace to my life and I know that it will for Elizabeth! :)
Selfie at the Baptism

I love being able to do this as a missionary, and to help bring people to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; by Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. There is a song that we missionaries listen to sometimes. All you missionaries will know it, but there is a line in there that says "The most wonderful sound I've ever heard, is the sound of water running, in the Church. As someone I'd come to love got dressed in white, my eyes saw their first glimpse of Heavens light". I just think about this time and time again, no matter how cheesy it may sound, it is true! I think the most beautiful thing to see as a missionary, is to watch someone that you have got to help bring to Jesus Christ, make a sacred covenant with him. I know that this church is true, and that it CAN and DOES change and soften hearts! It is the only thing that can bring peace in this life, and eternal joy in the life to come.

Sacred Grove or Cascades?
And I want all of you to know that I know that this church is true! I know that it is lead by living prophets today. I know the spirit is very real, and we can be guided by its whispers. I know that we build our faith by action. I know that Christ is my Savior, and that He died for me. I also know that He lives for me!
I love my mission. It is the best thing I have ever done. I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything.
~Sister Kayla Marie Willis
1389 Dow St. #B
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Sunday, Funday

My bruises from falling down the cascades - they are worse in read life
Sister Nelson is the Best!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Think about Basement Bobby

Sweater Time
Wow! So many things are happening here I don't even know where to start... Sister Nelson and I are tearing things up here in Christiansburg. I am so blessed to be serving in this wonderful area! There are SO MANY PEOPLE HERE! There are so many people to find and teach, I am so grateful for this experience.
Sister Nelson and I get along so well! We both love the same things! She is a Disney fanatic, she can the Harry Potter books, and loves Marvel and those are like three of my favorite things!! Anyways, sometimes it can be a bad thing at how well we get along because we get distracted sometimes... haha but the work is still hastening so much!
So first of all, funny story. Sister Nelson and I got a referral from the Elders and it was someone really close to our house. So it was about 8:00 pm on a Saturday night and we decide to try this referral and then work in the area by talking with people and knocking on the doors around the referral. It was actually a really well lit street as well, which is surprising for Virginia... Side walks and street lamps are not a thing here :) So we stop after meeting this super awesome potential, we stop under a street lamp to write down the information. We started laughing about something, and we made a few texts. After about 5 - 10 minutes of doing that, I say, "alright, should we try that house?" I pointed to the next house on the street, and as I did, I realized that there was a woman looking outside her window, staring at us! We kind of got crepeed out, so we slowly turned around, and walked away. As we walked back to our car, we heard a car driving really slowly behind us. I am always paranoid at night, so I was like "Ahhh, do you hear that car stopping?" Sister Nelson laughed and said, "Maybe its the cops." The car pulled over on the side of the road behind us and we just kept walking and got in our car. We had to pass the house where the lady was staring out the window at us on the way out, and we saw that was the place where the car has pulled over. AND IT WAS THE COPS! That lady had called the cops on us! Crazy huh? We weren't even doing anything illegal just so you all know :) But anyway, we didn't stop, nor did the cop try to find us. We were blessed!

Sister Nelson
I am super excited for this Saturday because we have a baptism!! Elizabeth will be getting baptized! I am so excited. This last Saturday, we had her baptism interview planned, and everything was fine. Her baptism was going to be at 1:00 pm at the church. But about 15 minutes before the interview, we get a call.. Elizabeth can't drive, and so we had asked someone to go and pick her up  and take her to the church (we can't drive people in our car) and so we get this call and it was her ride! She couldn't get her car to start! It was kind of a nightmare. Someone really wanted to mess up Elizabeth's baptism! But after lots of phone calls and prayers, we made the decision to post pone the interview.. to Sunday! We were able to have her interview before church! What a blessing! She is so ready for this! She is reading the Book of Mormon with us as a mission and it has been so cool to see her testimony build :)

Exchanges with Blacksburg
Okay, so the lesson in Relief Society yesterday was on charity. One of my favorite members taught the lesson and it was so good! She started out by telling a story of how she had just moved into this apartment about 2 months ago, and she and her husband have had this rivalry with her downstairs neighbor. She said, "We call him Basement Bobby". So she tells us about how this neighbor always has terrible loud music on, and it is so frustrating, and he was even playing music during General Conference (which I was there for haha, it was funny) and she was thinking about how we all have a "Basement Bobby" in our lives. We have someone around us, that maybe just gets under our skin, or we don't get along with super well. But then we discussed how we can be more charitable and Christlike towards our "Basement Bobbys". She invited us to try and be a little more patient with them and to serve them. We need to see them as the Savior sees them. I challenge you to think about the Basement Bobbys that might be in your life, and think of ways that you can try to love them a little more. I know that as you do, you will develop more charity for everyone around you.

It Was Time for Hot Chocolate

Brother Reese, member from Blacksburg - very good to the sisters

Sister Nelson and I with Elizabeth

Sister Nelson and I with Sister Salisbury, our Mission President's Wife - Love her!!!
Love yall!
~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

1389 Dow St. #B
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Steps are Sometimes a Little Steep


Just the Average Missionary Tag Picture

Right Before the Cops Called on Us

Sharing the Book of Mormon in the Jungle of Virginia

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Fall Y'all!

Sister Nelson's First Day in Christiansburg - It Rained

First three days with a new companion... SO GREAT! Miracles all around! I can't even believe all the amazing things happening in our area. God is preparing his children for a "White Christmas" :)

Sister Nelson is really great! I love her already! We get along really well, we do a lot of things similarly, which is always nice! She just came from Charleston, WV and has never been to Virginia before! So this will be her first taste of the forest that is Virginia! :)

This week, we have really been focusing on our investigator Elizabeth, who is preparing to be baptized in a few weeks! She is so awesome! She has been progressing really well. She is actually reading 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon between each visit that we have with her! Last week we had a really cool experience teaching her. We went in and said a prayer to start the lesson. It was the day after fastSunday, and after I finished saying the prayer, we look up and Elizabeth is crying! We ask her what is going on, and she says, "I don't know why I'm crying, I'm not sad." We didn't say anything, we just waited and listened. She said, "I'm just thinking about those testimonies. Every time I think about them, I start crying." Then she said, "They were all talking about Joseph Smith being a prophet and.....  I believe it." It was SO cool! She knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet and she knows that the Book of Mormon is true! I am so grateful for Fast and Testimony meeting and for everyone who shared their testimonies about the Prophet Joseph Smith that day.
Sister Miller's Last Night - Dinner with the Shepherds

We also saw a couple of other amazing miracles these last couple of days. On Saturday, we were super excited for a church tour that we had scheduled with one of our new investigators, Jeffery. He is doing really well and is also on date for baptism! I am super excited for him! He hasn't come to church yet, so we wanted to plan a church tour with him to help him feel more comfortable coming to church because he struggles with some anxiety. So everything was planned, we had a great member that was going to come with us to help friendship him and help us. Our lesson was set for 6:30 at the church and the member was going to come by our apartment to pick us up and take us to the church at around 6:00 so we could be a little early and get things ready for the lesson. We were just finishing dinner and we were waiting for this member to come. It's 6:05, and he didn't come. We waited a few more minutes, looking out the window expecting to see her car, but she still hadn't pulled up. It is not like our member to be late. By 6:15 we were really worried and so we decided to try calling her. We called her cell phone, and then we realized that her cell phone had just been turned off a few days before. Starting to slightly panic, we called her house phone, and no one answered. Sister Nelson and I look at each other, with worried looks. Then we get a call from an unknown number. It is our member calling us! She apologizes and tells us of a family emergency that had come up. So by this time is is 6:20 and the church 20 minutes away, so we call Jeffery to cancel the appointment before he gets too far. We call him and he is already on his way there! I felt a very distinct prompting to not cancel the appointment, but to try to find a woman that could come with us. I followed the prompting and told Jeffery that we would be running late because something came up, but that we would be there. After hanging up the phone, I was nervous. I didn't know how we were going to see him! I felt like Nephi when he went back into Jerusalem to get the Gold Plates, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." (1 Nephi 4:6) I prayed in my heart as I looked through the contacts of the phone. I thought of a Sister who we had already taken out to a lesson with us that week, and felt impressed to ask her. I was hesitant at first, because I didn't want to burden her in any way. But I knew I needed to call her, so I did. I told her of our circumstance and she said, 

"Yeah I think I can come with you, what time?"

"Umm, actually right now."  

"Oh, okay. I can go."

WOW! IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE. Sister Nelson and I jumped in our car to go get the member and then to head to the church. We were able to have an AMAZING lesson and church tour with Jeffery! It was a huge testimony builder to me! As you follow the spirit even when it seems impossible, miracles can be brought to pass because of your faith and your obedience to the promptings of the spirit! 
Someone had Some Beds in their Garage for their Dogs

We also had another cool experience, where it was in the 8 o'clock hour and our appointment had cancelled. We tried a former that we have tried a couple of times, and she wasn't home. But I realized that we hadn't ever stayed and knocked on her neighbors doors. So even though, it was dark and cold. We started knocking on a few doors. The first couple doors didn't answer. I suggested that we would try one more door then try a less active we wanted to see. We agreed, and knocked on the door. We met a woman who was nice, but not interested. We turned around and started heading to the car, then after a moment, I stopped. I felt like we really needed to knock on the next door. I tell Sister Nelson and she agreed. We knocked on the door and was immediately invited in to teach the Restoration! It was unbelievable! I am starting to realize the Lord's promises, more and more. "For with God, nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37) If I have the faith, I can accomplish all things, with God's help. I am so grateful for how much God really knows us, and he knows our desires. He knows what we seek and how we feel. He is there to help us and to guide us. I truly love this work and being His servant. 

I love you all and I am so humbled by this incredible experience I have to serve. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. 

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

1389 Dow St. #B
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Preparing for a White Christmas

Exchanges with Sister Gale - I love her
Okay, so this week has been so crazy I don't even know where to start! First of all, it is transfers, and sadly Sister Miller is leaving!! We have had a great time together, but now she needs to leave to go to a new area to train! I know she will do awesome. I am staying in Christiansburg and I will be serving with Sister Nelson! She has been a Sister Training Leader for a couple months, so I am excited to be with her! 
Also, just a side note, Sister Roberts (who served with me in Elkins and who is like one of my most favorite people ever!) is going to Appomattox! I am SO excited for her and I am glad to know that there is still someone taking care of my precious Appomattox. :)

I hoped you all enjoyed General Conference as much as I did! I absolutely LOVED each and every talk! I am so grateful for our living prophet, President Thomas S.Monson. We really do thank thee, oh God, for our Prophet :) I love and sustain him as well as the other leaders of the church! I am so grateful that we get to hear from them twice a year! We are so blessed to live in this day and time. It was interesting, how conference started out. The state of Virginia was having trouble with the satellites and so we actually didn't start it all on time and there was some cutting in and out... but other than that it was great! :) 
Sister Miller and I Riding up to MLC in Charleston

I LOVED the talk given by Elder Gary E. Stevenson. He spoke of the Book of Mormon and how it should be the keystone of our testimony and the center of our spiritual strength. I LOVE the Book of Mormon and I know how important it is! I loved the story of the 12 year old girl reading it, and she finished it before anyone else in the entire town! If a 12 year old girl, who probably didn't have as much education as a 12 year old girl these days could read the whole Book of Mormon, then why can't we? The Book of Mormon is the Keystone of our religion, it is evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, and it is something that we can hold in our hands! Why wouldn't we be reading this marvelous book of scripture? If you are already reading the Book of Mormon, I'm patting you on the back! Great job, keep it up! If you aren't currently reading the Book of Mormon, I have a challenge for you.
All the Sisters in the Pembroke Zone

This winter season, the West Virginia Charleston Mission is going to be doing something that will not only be changing the lives of all the missionaries, members and non-members in the mission, but it will change your lives as well, if you choose to participate with us. Our Mission President and all the mission leaders have been counseling for the last few months on what it means to have a "White Christmas". We are thinking of Baptismal White and Temple White. For the next three months we have a goal as a mission that will unify us and will help us have this "White Christmas". We are going to be reading the Book of Mormon all together as a mission, in 2 months, 64 days total. We have to read about 8 and a half pages a day and this means, no getting behind or getting ahead. We know that by reading the Book of Mormon together as a mission, will help us to be unified and that we will be able to help bring others unto Christ, by helping them prepare to be baptized and and/or go to the Temple. I am so very excited for this, and we got to start this as a mission last Saturday. We will be done reading on December 3, as we are preparing for us to have a White Christmas. I will attach a copy of the reading below, and don't worry, you don't have too much you need to catch up on :) I can promise you all as a representative of Jesus Christ, that as you read the Book of Mormon, you will feel more peace in your life. If you read it with your family, I promise you that you will have less contention in your home. Your families will be drawn closer together by the power that comes from the Book of Mormon. Your testimony will be strengthened and you will come closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. I promise you that. 
Peterstown Sisters

Those of you who decide to take this challenge, (and I hope that many of you do) send me and email and let me know, so that we can keep each other accountable :) 

Love you all so much! 

~Sister Kayla Marie Willis

1389 Dow St. #B
Christiansburg, VA 24073

Approximate Book of Mormon Reading Schedule from October 1st to December 3rd
The Worst Tan Line in History

Those Blue Ridge Mountains...

Date Read Through

  Oct 1  1 Nephi 4

  Oct 2  1 Nephi 10

  Oct 3  1 Nephi 13

  Oct 4  1 Nephi 16

  Oct 5  1 Nephi 18

  Oct 6  1 Nephi 22

  Oct 7  2 Nephi 2

  Oct 8  2 Nephi 6

  Oct 9  2 Nephi 9

  Oct 10  2 Nephi 14

  Oct 11  2 Nephi 21

  Oct 12  2 Nephi 26

  Oct 13  2 Nephi 28

  Oct 14  Jacob 1

  Oct 15  Jacob 5

  Oct 16  Jacob 7

  Oct 17  Omni 1

  Oct 18  Mosiah 2

  Oct 19  Mosiah 5

  Oct 20  Mosiah 10

  Oct 21  Mosiah 15

  Oct 22  Mosiah 19

 Oct 23  Mosiah 23

  Oct 24  Mosiah 27

  Oct 25  Alma 1

  Oct 26  Alma 4

  Oct 27  Alma 7

  Oct 28  Alma 10

  Oct 29  Alma 13

  Oct 30  Alma 16

  Oct 31  Alma 19

  Nov 1  Alma 23

  Nov 2  Alma 26

  Nov 3  Alma 30

  Nov 4  Alma 33

  Nov 5  Alma 36

  Nov 6  Alma 40

  Nov 7  Alma 43

  Nov 8  Alma 46

  Nov 9  Alma 49

  Nov 10 Alma 52

  Nov 11 Alma 56

  Nov 12 Alma 59

  Nov 13  Alma 63

 Nov 14  Helaman 3

  Nov 15  Helaman 6

  Nov 16  Helaman 9

  Nov 17 Helaman 13

  Nov 18 3 Nephi 1

  Nov 19 3 Nephi 4

  Nov 20 3 Nephi 9

  Nov 21 3 Nephi 12

  Nov 22 3 Nephi 17

  Nov 23 3 Nephi 20

  Nov 24 3 Nephi 26

  Nov 25 4 Nephi 1

  Nov 26 Mormon 3

  Nov 27 Mormon 8

  Nov 28 Ether 2

  Nov 29 Ether 7

  Nov 30 Ether 11

  Dec 1   Ether 14

  Dec 2   Moroni 7

  Dec 3   Moroni 10

Good luck :)