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Kay West of A Worldwide Sisterhood

Kay is the founder of A Worldwide Sisterhood and creator of the #testimoniesofChrist series - a collection of testimonies from women of different backgrounds and seasons of life who share through art, poetry, music, writing, and video. Kay is a huge advocate of promoting unity among women and sharing the voices of all women. Kay loves her Savior, Jesus Christ, and strives to seek daily connection with Him. Author, speaker, wife, mother, and friend, you can find her spending as much time with her family as possible, or with a good book in one hand and a bowl of really good chocolate ice cream in the other.

LatterDaisy content manager, Becky Squire, interviewed Kay about their thoughts on womanhood, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and our divine purpose.

 

Where made you decide to start A Worldwide Sisterhood?

The short answer: a prompting from the Spirit. A slightly longer answer, years of feeling a stirring inside, led to three years ago jumping into social media for the first time in my life, which led to a winding road for a few months. The road continued to the Lord placing the right women in my life at the right time and utilizing my gifts of lifting others and gathering. Finally, it led to general conference, where our prophet, President Nelson, spoke. As usual, I had prepared myself with questions, and with an open heart and mind, and not necessarily his exact words, but the words he spoke did lead to very distinct feelings and impressions. And A Worldwide Sisterhood officially came to be just over two years ago.

What is one piece of advice you would give Latter-day Saint women?

If I could only give one piece of advice, it would be for Latter-day Saint women to understand their divine purpose in life. I feel so strongly that we all have sacred roles we hold here on earth. Those of wife, mother, sister, aunt, and even friend. But our sacred purpose is that of daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. A Father who needs us to learn and understand our divine worth, and our divine attributes. Really learn and understand. When we, as women of one of the largest and most glorious women's organizations in the entire world catch hold of and fully understand this, He will not only guide us, He will use us. It will be what helps us see ourselves and one another with His eyes. It will change competition to concern and jealousy to joy. There will be an increase in unity and love. The gathering of scattered Israel is the "greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth." -Russell M. Nelson-  You bet the Lord needs everyone! And with every fiber of my being, I know a vital part of His army is the righteous, faithful women of the world!

How do you strengthen your roots in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Another quick answer: Seek Christ Daily. The gospel of Jesus Christ is literally His gospel! I do have a personal testimony of my Heavenly Mother, I do understand and know the importance of magnifying certain attributes, I do hold fast to all the teachings of the gospel, the doctrine. But none of these will get me anywhere without knowing my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. It is Christ I must know personally, it is Christ I must remember, it is Christ I must reflect, and it is Christ who I must follow. Because it is Christ who has laid the path for us to follow, it is Christ who leads and teaches by His example, and it is Christ who unlocks the gate for us. So to strengthen my roots in the gospel, His gospel, I seek Him daily.

What challenges in your life have you faced that have led you to where you are today?

My parents left their native homeland of Japan with a one-way ticket, one suitcase each, and almost nothing in their pockets. They immigrated to Canada in search of a better life. They were poor, newlywed, completely alone, new converts to the church, and faced racism and hardships for years. Yet they worked hard, and have helped thousands and thousands of immigrants and refugees, and have been the main reason so many of them have joined the church today (this is the absolute shortest summary of my parents I have ever provided :).
Like everyone else, I am not immune to challenges. I have faced racism, infertility, miscarriage, the failed adoption of a child we had from one-week-old to one-year-old. We have adopted our two amazing children from birth, and our daughter has multiple physical and mental special needs. Just as we shouldn't compare our triumphs in life, we shouldn't compare our trials. I share these as my own challenges, and also share because of these challenges I know how to comfort those who need comfort and mourn with those who mourn. And all who have ever faced a challenge in their life are capable of the same. Because of my experiences, and my parent's beautiful examples, and lives, I am where I am today, and I am eternally grateful for it.


What advice would you give other women going through similar situations?

If someone were going through the same challenges as I have in my life, I would share that it is ok to not be ok. You don't have to put on a brave face. You can cry if hurts. You can be angry because it all seems so unfair. And you can cry out to the Lord, always. Too often we try to put on a brave face when in reality, we can feel the feelings we need to and then turn to our Savior. He will heal the hurt, in time. He will comfort us, soon. He will bring peace when we are ready. He will do all these things for us and more, in His time, and when it is best for us. But don't ever stop turning to Him, because it will be lonelier, and longer than it needs to be. And don't ever turn away from those earthly angels in your life. Each one divinely placed in your path when you need them most. He may not be able to wrap His own arms around you, but He will send someone who can. I never doubt the divine orchestration of every person that has been placed in my life. So when you want to turn away, and your angel arrives, take hold of the opportunity and share. Share your hurt, frustration, pain, and sadness. More often than not, He is the one who sent them just for you.

What does fulfilling your divine destiny mean to you?

Fulfilling my divine destiny to me is the same as fulfilling my divine purpose. As mentioned earlier, I have a strong testimony of the sacred roles we have here on earth. But to tell a woman that her divine purpose is to be a wife and mother and then she goes on to never marry in this life is confusing to me. I do understand and believe there are different sacred ways to "mother" and I believe that can be part of our divine purpose in life. But our main purpose is the same as God's. To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And that begins with ourselves. It is an individual journey, and despite the fierce love we hold for our family and friends, they cannot gain eternal life on our testimony. We must understand that we are a part of our own divine purpose!
When we understand this, then we are able to understand that the worth of souls is indeed very "great in the sight of God." (D&C 18:10) My daughter helped me understand this better, as I received a priesthood blessing that explained to me that my daughter's mind and body were not and would never be whole in this life, but that the spirit inside of her was perfect! And when we begin to see each soul this way, with the sight of Christ, we begin to understand the divine purpose, our divine purpose is the gathering of scattered Israel! And what a glorious purpose to be a part of!

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