Alma 29:9

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yeah, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
Alma 29:9

Monday, October 12, 2015


I have made it to Pennsylvania!! I travelled with Sister Noorlander
and three other Elders. I slept basically the whole way to Detroit and
then from there to Pittsburgh it was seriously like 35 minutes.
Shortest flight of my life. We met President and Sister Johnson at the
airport and they are the sweetest. We went to a lookout over the city
and it was just beautiful. Pictures don't even do it justice. But I'll
get some to you anyway. :) We spent the night at the mission home
which is in Upper St. Clair and it is a wonderful home. We got our
iPads that night and set those up. To answer your question Dad, they
are iPad minis. We were all connected to the mission home wifi, so I
just had to type it out on the iPad (I'm planning on buying a keyboard
so I can type better for future P-days ;)). We had a wonderful dinner,
got out iPads, received some training, then went to bed. The next
morning we headed to a chapel near Pittsburgh where transfers would
take place. I won't bore you with all the small details, but before I
knew it, I was assigned a trainer--Sister Talbot, and in a car driving
to Harrisburg to meet up with other missionaries. It took us over 5
1/2 hours to get there. It was CRAZY!! Did you know that the PPM is
the mission that covers the most land in the US? Well now you know! It
really is huge. I honestly had no idea. Well, it was late when we got
to Harrisburg, so we drove a little further to spend the night
in...wait for it...Hershey!!! It was great. Several other sisters had
to crash in the same place because they had farther to drive the next
morning. Definitely something that won't happen too often. ;) We got
up the next morning and drove to the Sunbury area, and Danville
specifically because that's where we are living. We live in s duplex
(out here they call it "half a double"--too funny) and its 4 stories!!
I think it's one of the biggest in the mission, if not the biggest. We
have a washer and dryer and some exercise equipment too. It's
wonderful!! Sister Talbot was here for three weeks before I got here.
Her companion was new in the field but had to go home because of pains
in her head--she needed to get treated at home. Poor thing. I got to
meet her and she seems incredible. She will be missed. :'( But it
means this is Sister Talbot's third time training! So she is basically
a pro ;) I'm in very good hands :D

Oh my goodness!! I forgot to tell you when I was talking to you on the
phone--the night before leaving the MTC, we had a devotional, and
guess who it was?!?! VOCAL POINT!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, it was
AMAZING. They sang several beautiful arrangements of hymns, and each
shared a testimony of missionary work (they are all returned
missionaries). The spirit was undeniably strong, and was the most
incredible spiritual boost after conference. I JUST LOVE MUSIC SOOOO

Another random thing. We were driving to Harrisburg and we stopped at
a gas station and met Eric Dowdle!!!!! Remember that Christmas puzzle
of the wisemen we have?? Yep, that's him!!!! He is super nice and it
was so fun to talk to him!! He has a son serving in McAllen, TX,
speaking Spanish. I wonder if Elder Hickman has run into him...I'll
have to ask. It was really cool!!!

I titled this email "carried" for a special reason. A little bit of
background first though. The first night here in PA, I was SO
homesick. I just cried and cried. I felt like I had the weight of the
world on my shoulders and though, "what have I done coming on a
mission??" Luckily I was able to sleep (definitely took a Melatonin
;)), and got up the first morning and just went because I had to. The
night in Hershey I crashed because I was so exhausted. The first night
in the apartment I was again very very homesick. Sister Talbot was
wonderful though and helped me talk through it. I realized nights can
be hard, because you can be busy all day but the nights are slower,
which gives you more time to think about it. The next morning we met
two Elders at the church--Elder Stallings (my district leader) and his
comp Elder Hansen. They gave me a priesthood blessing of comfort and
counsel and it has made such a big difference. In retrospect and
looking back at this week, I know without a doubt I have been carried
through it. Even through the MTC. Watching two companions go home was
traumatic and so hard to go through. But I really do know I have been
carried. That is the only way I have made it this far. I know it is
because of so many prayers (thank you a million times over!!), and a
strength that can only come from the grace of Jesus Christ through His
Atonement. And I am infinitely grateful. I know that grace is REAL. It
is the only reason I am able to get up and do His work each and every
day. What a tremendous blessing this has been. I am so grateful to
know the Lord is with me--walking with me each day.

It's been interesting. I've had moments that I can't believe I'm
actually on a mission. I have moments where I look down at my name tag
and think, "What?! How long has that been there?!" Ha ha ha :D and I'm
realizing that missionaries can be normal!! And I'm actually having
fun. Who knew?! :) But in all seriousness it has been pretty amazing.
I can feel this sacred mantel and I know the Lord is the One helping
me carry it. Yesterday I was sitting in church listening to a returned
sister missionary speak, and I had this overwhelming feeling come over
me and this thought entered my head and it said: "You are in the best
possible place you could be right now." This brought tears to my eyes
because it was an answer to an unspoken prayer. God truly knows us
perfectly and loves us infinitely and knows exactly what we need and
when we need it.

This week we were able to go and visit and talk to a lot of people. As
we did so, and I watched Sister Talbot take the lead, I realized that
missionary work is so much more simple than I thought it was. Don't
get me wrong, there's a lot that goes into it, but going about doing
good, and talking to and serving people--it's what Christ would do if
He were here, and it's so simple. Reminded me of Elder Uchtdorf's talk
about simplifying our discipleship. It doesn't have to be complicated.

We visited several people and I can only mention a few! Let's see.
Jeanie is one of our investigators and she has lots of questions. We
talked to her on her front porch--most of which was just friendly
conversation between us--she is a spunky lady and I just love her! One
of the questions she has is: why did God give His Son to die for the
rest of us? Coming from her parental perspective, she knows she never
could do that and she never would do that. She doesn't understand why
God would do it. As we were talking, I jumped in and testified of the
unconditional, all consuming and all encompassing love our Father has
for us. It is so beyond our mortal comprehension to even try to
understand why God would sent His Son, but His love is what we trust
in and have faith in. She wants to find the truth, I know she does.
She just doesn't know where to find it. She's skeptical about other
things, but we are trying to help her understand the gospel more to
know that this is where the truth can be found. We'll keep working on
her. :)

Another lady we went to see is Doris, and she's less active--has been
for a long time. She's in her 70's, and has been living with her
boyfriend for the past twenty years. That's such a long time! Ha ha :)
Sister Talbot straight out asked her why she doesn't come to church,
and she said it's because she can't take the sacrament. We told her we
can help her fix that--she just has to talk to the bishop (and he'll
tell her what she needs to do). Sister Talbot testified of them power
of the Atonement, and Doris was so amazed that there is a way she can
take the sacrament again. Granted, she'll need to separate from or
marry her boyfriend, but she'll figure out what to do I'm sure. So
good news!! She came to church yesterday!!! So so happy. She had
agreed to stay and talk to the bishop, but she didn't realize she
would need to stay for the whole block. So she left. Sad day. But she
really enjoyed it and wants to come back next week. :)

We met Marlene and she's less active too. Pretty much the coolest lady
I've ever met. I think she's going to be my "Sunbury mission grandma".
Ha ha :D Her husband is not a member, but we hope we can help them
around their house and start teaching him soon. We are going over to
help them and have dinner with them next Friday. They seriously are so
cool. They find these really rare minerals and shape and polish them
and work on them and make them into jewelry. She talked to us about
the process and it's so cool!! We found out she wants to make it back
to the temple and we told her we can help her do that!! I invited her
to start reading the Book of Mormon each day, and read her Moroni
10:32-33. It was a powerful moment that I could testify of God's love
for her, and how progressing towards the temple will help her to come
unto Christ. She was so appreciative and kind and I could feel that
the Lord loves her a great deal.

Out here, there are so many less actives, so that's where most of our
work will be focused. With a few investigators along the way. I guess
a less active coming back to church is just as important as a baptism,
so I'm willing to jump right in and help them come back into the fold.

I'll be honest, there have been moments I have felt so overwhelmed
with all there is to learn and do. Also I've felt frustrated with
myself that I don't know more, but I am striving to be kind to myself
and patient with myself, knowing that just like the principles of the
gospel, missionary work can't be learned all at once. Another piece of
evidence I am being carried. :)

Oh! Mom, I invited you to view my shared iCloud photo album for my
mission. Just go on to your iPhone, and in your pictures app at the
bottom it will say photos, shared, and albums. Click on shared and at
the top right click on invitations and reply to the one I sent you.
Then you can view all my mission pictures I put on there!! 'Twill be
great :D (you might need to use this for blog pictures...hopefully
it's not too hard--you can always email yourself the pictures and use
them that way)

Quick note on emails. I can read emails at any point in the week, but
I can only respond to them on Mondays between 10 AM and 6 PM. Ha ha :D
so send away!! And I'll respond to them when I can. :)

I love you so much and am praying for you lots!!!!!! Love you soooo much!!!!!!

All my love,
Sister Bartlett

Looks like they found Big Foot !

Sis. B and Sis. T by the Bishops house.

Amazing fall colors in PA !!!

No comments:

Post a Comment