Called to Serve in the Washington Spokane Mission

Called to Serve in the Washington Spokane Mission
"Come, Thou fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace, Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. While the hope of endless glory Fills my heart with joy and love, Teach me ever to adore Thee, May I still Thy goodness prove."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

First Letter From the MTC!

Here's Taya's first email from the MTC:

Hi everyone!!!
So to start off It's crazy busy being here!! They definitely work you to the bone! My district is really strict on only emailing and writing letters on P day, so i'll take advantage of it all day!:) My companions name is Sister Armstrong from Elko Nevada! She's amazing and such a good listener. We teach in different ways so we make a really good team. My district consists of us and three other companionships of elders, so we are the only sisters in the district. We're already all really close, they're like brothers!!!:) We all do our fair share of teasing with each other but the spirit is so strong in classes!! I room with four other sisters and we're all pretty close and laugh a lot:) The first few days have definitely been hard and a bit overwhelming, but each day that goes by gets better and better!!! So Saturdays are my P-days and we already have our flight tickets out of here! We leave on October 5th at 3:30 in the morning, our flight is at 8:30 and we'll be in Spokane by 9:30!! So our teachers names are Sister Felt and Brother Christiansen and they're awesome. Classes are reaaaallly long but amazing and I need the extra time to study!!! We taught our first "investigator" named Bill (really it's just Brother Christiansen pretending to be someone else;)) and I think we mostly just confused him.... but it actually went a lot better than I thought it would have for our first lesson!! It's crazy because you think you have a plan and then you get in there and it goes totally different than what you think. We met with our branch president on Thursday, but they are being released on Sunday so we'll get to meet another branch president then:) 
So we don't get to go to the temple:( it's closed this week and next week for conference:( So my district doesn't get to go, but we get to watch conference in the MTC which will be a way cool experience! I'm excited for Sunday tomorrow! I'm finally learning where everything is and not getting lost every two seconds;) We get our first real investigators on Monday! Most of them are members but there are some non members mixed in there too. They don't tell you if they are a member or a non member:) Hopefully we'll be able to simplify our lessons so that we don't get too overwhelming with them!! I think that's our main problem right now:) I love being in the MTC (although i'm kind of excited to leave and be in Spokane;)) and I love being a missionary!! The spirit is SO strong here and I've learned more about the gospel in the three days I've been here than I think I really ever have in my entire life! They call us English Speaking MTC missionaries the "twelve day miracles" because we are in and out of here so fast but we've already learned so much:)) The food here kind of stinks, its the same thing every other day, but it could definitely be worse:) I've also learned it's impossible to take a ten minute shower, I don't know how the Elders get ready so fast! Us sister missionaries are always rushing around in the mornings:) My new best friend is the eliptical machines:) I'm excited for the next coming week! Only one week left (and two days) until i'm a missionary in Spokane Washington!!!!!!!:) I still have so much to learn and to grow, and even though the first couple of days have been tough, each day gets better and better:) I love this gospel and I love being a missionary!! 

I love you all!!
Love,
Sister Worthen (how cool is it to say that as a missionary now?!;))

Friday, September 25, 2015

Off To The MTC!

Well, Taya is off on her Mission.  On Wednesday, our family all went down to Provo to take her to the Missionary Training Center.  It was a beautiful day and we left early so we would have some time to visit a bit before we needed to be there at her scheduled reporting time of 1:45.  We found a Zupas Cafe there to have some lunch, and it was cool to see several other missionaries and their families all gathered there with the same idea.  After lunch, we drove up to the Provo Temple grounds to spend some time, take some pictures, and say our goodbyes.  Then it was time to drop her off at the MTC. This is the first of our children to serve a mission, and as a father, I have to say I was not prepared for how hard it was to let my baby girl go.  But I know that she is now in the Lord's hands and will do a great job serving as she shares the gospel message.

Provo Temple
Big hugs from her brother!
With her sister.

The whole crew!

One last hug!




















Goodbye for 18 months!




















video

Note:  Angie and I (Taya's parents) will be updating this blog with letters, pictures, etc. for family and friends to keep up to date with her missionary service.  We're looking forward to her first letter! - Brad

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mission Farewell Talk:)

Mission Farewell Talk
Topic: Not being Ashamed of living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ 
Good morning everyone! Thank you all for being here today, I’ve been waiting for my farewell to come for awhile, and now that it’s here it almost doesn’t feel real! 
My topic today is on Not being ashamed of living and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These past few weeks as i’ve been thinking about what I want to say I really felt like I should share my experience of deciding to go on a mission.
Anyone who knows me well knows that at any given time I have the next ten years of my life thoroughly planned out. No where in that plan was serving a mission included. Not that serving a mission wasn't a great goal to have, I just didn't think it was for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to major in during college, i'd find a stellar job, and soon enough i'd have a white picket fence house with lots of dogs and puppies. Easy, simple, five step plan, right? Boy was I wrong. My first year of college should have been amazing, and in a lot of aspects it was. I was going to a great school with my best friends, had a great apartment, I was on a scholarship, and loved my classes. So why did I feel like something wasn't missing? After all, things were going perfectly according to my plan. I just couldn't shake that saddening feeling that something was missing. How could I have missed something when planning my life?

After a lot of prayer the answer finally came to me. I missed planning for God's plan! I had forgotten the step where I ask Him if my plans line up with his. No where had I stopped to consider that, although I have great things planned for myself, Heavenly Father might have something even better for me. My answer came to me quietly and for the most part through other people. I would pray to know if a mission was right for me and then the relief society lesson would be on missionary work, I would fast to know the answer and then later in the day my roommate asked me to take mission prep with her. There were countless examples of other people in my life who were amazing answers to prayers and who helped me recognize my answer. I’m so thankful for those people who where willing to be an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ whether they knew it or not!

Romans 1:16 says
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”

I love this scripture because of how direct it is! I had never read preach my gospel before I decided to go on a mission, and something that I was really surprised by was how direct and simple it was. There were phrases like “either this gospel is true or it isn’t, and prayer is the way to discover that answer for yourself” and other bold questions that were straight to the point. As a missionary this is how i’m going to have to be, there isn’t any dancing around the discussions. A missionary needs to be powerful and bold to be able to teach with the spirit. The more I thought about this the more I realized that we can all be like that in our lives, and that we need to speak up about the Gospel, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t!

I had some awesome examples growing up of people around me who weren’t ashamed of living the gospel, and incorporated it even in the little things that they did. In high school I worked at a store in the mall with a girl who wore her young womens medallion every day to work. It was a great conversation started when customers would ask where she got her necklace. Instead of glossing over it and saying “oh I earned it” or “my church gives them to the young women” she would without hesitating say that she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that she had earned the necklace through service and becoming the person Heavenly Father wants her to be.

One of my best friends is a great example of speaking up about the Gospel. Every week or so she would post a gospel quote on her instagram page and the link to lds.org and bare a quick testimony about how much she loves this gospel and how she knows it’s true. We live in a time that it’s hard to speak up about being a christian without being attacked. But something that i’ve learned from hearing of my friends experiences on their missions is that it doesn’t matter how the person receives your message, what matters is that you delivered the message in a way that invited the Spirit. The worst thing we can do is not share the gospel because we’re afraid of the consequences. 

I wanted to share a story from the New Era that I found while working on my talk. It’s by Kevin Mumford entitled “I am not ashamed” and it starts off:

A few summers ago I was waiting to check in at a university sports camp. My turn in the line came, and the official-looking woman asked for my name. She looked at her list and said, “So you’re the young man from Utah.”

“You mean I’m the only one?” I asked.

“Yes, you’re our only student here from Utah.” She then handed me my nametag with a bold “Utah” printed below my name. As I clipped it on, I felt like I was being branded.

I walked to the hotel elevators with my luggage. Five other high school students with nametags like mine crowded into the elevator. “Hey, you’re from Utah. Are you a Mormon?” said a tall guy.

I felt out of place with all of these student leaders from all over the country. “Yes,” I hesitantly admitted.

“Yeah, my minister told me all about you. You’re the guys who believe in John Smith and his golden glasses, right?”

“I think you mean Joseph Smith,” I responded.

“Yeah, that’s right. He’s the one who said he saw all those angels and stuff. You don’t actually believe any of that, do you?”

I didn’t even know what to say. The other students in the elevator were all staring right at me. I had just arrived, and already everyone thought I was different. I became a little defensive and spoke up.
“I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.”

Where had that come from? I wondered. I didn’t know I had it in me. But the words felt true as they left my mouth.

“Yeah, my minister told me that you were all just a bunch of religious nuts,” he said.
With that, there was an uncomfortable pause as the elevator door opened to our floor. As we gathered our luggage, the tall student walked down the hall laughing to himself. I felt a little humiliated.

Right then, a voice from behind me asked, “Hey, don’t Mormons have some sort of another Bible?”

Oh no. Here we go again, I thought. I turned to see one of the students who had been in the elevator with me, a very tan guy named Christopher from California.

“It’s called the Book of Mormon,” I said, half wanting to drop the subject. I picked up my bags and started walking down the hall.

“Is that the book that Joseph Smith translated?” Christopher asked.

“Yeah, it is,” I answered. I kept on walking, not wanting to embarrass myself any more.

“Well, do you know how I could get one?”

A phrase from a scripture that had been taught to me by my ninth-grade seminary teacher suddenly came to my mind. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16). As this thought entered my mind, I felt ashamed that I had been so embarrassed.

For the rest of my week with all of the student leaders, that same scripture wouldn’t leave my mind. I was asked all sorts of questions about the Church, and I made many friends. As I answered the questions that I could, I discovered I was proud of my religion. I think I learned as much about myself as they did.

I gave Christopher a Book of Mormon, and he later wrote to me, telling me he had invited the missionaries to his home.
I learned that I don’t have to be embarrassed by my beliefs. I know this is the true gospel of Christ, and I am not ashamed of it.

I’m so excited to go on my mission and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people in Washington! It’s going to be the hardest thing i’ve ever done, but I know it’s exactly where Heavenly Father needs and wants me right now. I’m excited to get my missionary name tag and literally wear my religion on my sleeve! 

I’m so thankful for a family who has helped me to get to this point. Tori - thank you for being an amazing little sister, for teaching me how to share a room. You’re the best little helper there is.

Kade - thanks for making me laugh until I can’t breath, and for always giving me a brutally honest opinion when I need it most. 

Dad - thank you for teaching me what it means to work hard and that if i’m going to do something, I might as well do it right the first time.

Mom - this is the hardest one. Thank you for being there for me, for defending me, for teaching me selflessness. You’re always putting everyone before yourself. Thank you for being the one I can tell everything to and being my best friend.


I know this Gospel is true without a doubt. I’ve prayed about it over and over again. It’s given me hope and comfort when I needed it. It’s changed my life. I know the power of prayer is real and that Heavenly Father listens to everything we have to say and comforts us when we need it most. I’m so excited to teach this to the people in Spokane!





Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Are Assigned to Labor In....

I waited by the mail box from 10 AM to 12 AM for three straight days, hoping that the mailman would deliver a large white envelope with my name on it. I never thought that this would be something I would be doing, or that getting a mission call would be anywhere in my near future.

Anyone who knows me well knows that at any given time I have the next ten years of my life thoroughly planned out. No where in that plan was serving a mission included. Not that serving a mission wasn't a great goal to have, I just didn't think it was for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to major in during college, i'd find a stellar job, and soon enough i'd have a white picket fence house with lots of dogs and puppies. Easy, simple, five step plan, right? Boy was I wrong. My first year of college should have been amazing, and in a lot of aspects it was. I was going to a great school with my best friends, had a great apartment, I was on a scholarship, and loved my classes. So why did I feel like something wasn't missing? After all, things were going perfectly according to my plan. I just couldn't shake that saddening feeling that something was missing. How could I have missed something when planning my life?

After a lot of prayer the answer finally came to me. I missed planning for God's plan! I had forgotten the step where I ask Him if my plans line up with his. No where had I stopped to consider that, although I have great things planned for myself, Heavenly Father might have something even better for me. The feeling that I had that serving a mission was the right answer for me was terrifying! Where do I even start? How do I go about preparing? So again, characteristically, I put a plan in motion. I met with my Bishop to talk to him about serving a mission, asked my parents advice, and put my papers in!

Little did I know I wasn't done learning my lesson. I'm a Deaf Education Major and naturally American Sign Language is a huge part of my life. I thought it made perfect sense that I would be called to a mission using ASL! I'd be a step ahead, it would help keep me up to date on it for when I came home, and I could really use the extra gift of tongues (or hands) in my classes. I didn't even mind where I went as long as I was called to use ASL, because my plan had to be right this time.... didn't it? 

I remember when my call finally came. Family and friends came over to my house to watch me open my call. My mom had hidden the envelope from my because she knows my track record of snooping and dealing with surprises. I remember being so nervous and excited to open it! Once I finally got the envelope open I remember reading those words...

“Dear Sister Worthen:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Washington Spokane Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve  for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, September 23, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.”
Family started cheering and clapping, and all I remember doing is smiling and thinking, "English? I'm speaking English? Not ASL?" People started whisking me away for photos and to congratulate me. My boyfriend (who had already received his call to the Philippines) gave me a huge hug to congratulate me. "Washington? Speaking English?" I said. He smiled and told me it was a perfect fit and exactly where I needed to be. "But I have a part of Idaho in my mission. IDAHO. No missionary wants to go to Idaho!" He just laughed and told me that I would be a great missionary wherever I served, even if that was in Idaho. In my mind I still thought surely there was some mistake!

As it's gotten closer to my departure date I've realized that there really was a mistake, and it was with the way I was viewing my mission call. Heavenly Father was trying to (again) teach me an important lesson, that his plan is perfect and he doesn't make mistakes. Ever. Each day that goes by i'm even more excited and thankful that i've been called to serve in the best mission in the world, and i'm even thankful that i'm speaking English! I would be even more nervous that I already am if I had to stay in the MTC an extra two months and learn a new language. Not only that, but my reasons for wanting to speak another language were only focused on me, not the amazing people in Washington who need to hear the Gospel. The Washington Spokane mission is exactly where I need to be, and Heavenly Father was trying to tell me that all along! I've learned that while making plans and goals for myself is important, it's even more important to be open and ask of God's plan. I can't wait to finally be a missionary and teach His gospel to those people in beautiful Washington! I know He's preparing the hearts of those who need to hear it. It might be a hard eighteen months, but I know without a doubt it's where my Heavenly Father needs me right now. Serving a mission has already brought me so many unseen blessings and happiness, and I haven't even left yet!:)

So here's to a great eighteen months of living God's plan for me!
Washington Spokane Here I come!

Waiting at the mailbox paid off!

Brittin and I with my call:)

Family and Friend's Guesses:)