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 26, 2015

Open Your Mouth

Dear family,
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR EMAILS!!! They absolutely make my day. So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

This week was really good. It's so fulfilling to look back at this week and know that you did  lot of good. :-) I have especially tried this week to have more courage to open my mouth. It hasn't been easy, and it has been and still is an obstacle I am trying to overcome. But. This week was better than the past two, and I'm making improvements.

I just have been so hesitant to jump in and help Sister Talbot teach...I have been so afraid to open my mouth...but this week I made the goal to act on every good thought I had and open my mouth to share and testify of the gospel. And it is getting easier as I do it more often. I am far from perfect in it, but I know that as I do it more and pray for strength, He will help me. I know He will. I can't do this work alone. He is the One helping me through it all. As I have made the effort to more willingly jump in and teach and open my mouth, I have seen His hand. He has placed words and thoughts into my head and heart and has given me the courage to speak up and speak out. I am learning that I need to put forth my effort if He is going to help me. I have to have faith and actually work at it if I want His help.

And these scriptures have helped a ton:

"And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen." (Doctrine & Covenants 28:16)

Other references: Doctrine & Covenants 33:8-11; 60:2-3; 100:5-8

PS the acronym for open your mouth is OYM -- just letting you know because I might use it in the future ;-)

On Saturday, President and Sister Johnson came to our district meeting to interview us and share some thoughts with us. I met with President Johnson, and wow. Just wow. He is absolutely INCREDIBLE. He is so genuine and kind and I feel like a better person just having been in his presence. About opening my mouth, he said, "It will come, Sister Bartlett. It will come. It will take a lot of practice, and it won't come all at once, but it will come." He also told me that I have such a unique and special spirit about me. "You have a spirit about you that is warm, approachable, and unlike anything else. Maybe it's the experiences you've gone through, or may it's just the person you are, but it sure is something special." (along those lines) Oh. It was amazing to hear him say that. I beat myself up over the littlest things, but things like that help me to see myself more as my Father in Heaven sees me. And what a blessing it is.

Remember Jeanie? Well, we went to go see her this week, and didn't get a word in. It's so sad, but she's so hardened and I'm pretty sure she's experienced anti material, and we just aren't getting anywhere with her. So we decided to drop her. Sad day indeed. But, as Sister Talbot says, "It takes faith to drop someone." . . . so that's what I'm hanging on to.

Speaking of Sister Talbot, can I just say. She is just incredible! She is a fantastic missionary and I look up to her SO much. I just feel so blessed to have her as my companion. She is patient with me and is teaching me so much. If I ever train while I'm on my mission, I hope I can train my trainee as well as she is training me. :-)

Because she is such an amazing missionary, I have struggled with comparing myself. There have been times that I have focused on my weaknesses and shortcomings, instead of my strengths. But I know that is an awful thing to do, because "comparison is the thief of joy." It truly is. The Lord sees us all as equal, and He doesn't compare our weaknesses to other people's strengths, so why should we?? We each have been blessed with unique spirits and testimonies and strengths and gifts to give. Not one of us is exactly the same (how boring would that be?!). I know it can be so hard sometimes, but focus on your strengths! And your gifts and all that the Lord has blessed you with! You are a child of the Most High God--you are divine. You are. He loves you perfectly and infinitely and unconditionally. His love is there constantly, whether you feel you deserve it or not. We just need to have faith and trust in that love. And if we do, we will see it manifested in our everyday lives.

One of the highlights of this week. We taught Tim, and though the lesson was completely different than what we thought it would be, it was amazing, and I'm sure he needed it. He has felt really down lately, and we were trying to help him in any way that we could. Sister Talbot asked him if he'd like to hear a hymn. He said he would, so we sang "Be Still My Soul" for him. You know, music is just amazing and powerful. It can bring the Spirit unlike anything else. After we sang, she testified of the peace and stregth that comes from the gospel, but more importantly from the Savior. As she was talking, I was reminded of the scripture that contains the phrase, "with his stripes we are healed..." I did a quick search on my iPad, and found the scripture (Mosiah 14:3-5). I spoke up and read to him the scripture, and testified that "with his stripes, [I have been] healed". And that with His stripes, he can be healed, and he can stop smoking. But only through the strength of the Savior. In that moment, I felt the Spirit SO strong. I felt it even in that room that smelled so heavily of smoke. It was REAL, it was there, and I felt it. I don't know if Tim felt it--I hope he did--but I know I did, and I needed it. I felt my Savior near, and came to know Him better in that moment. It was truly beautiful. It was a moment that through the strength of the Lord, I had the courage to open my mouth and I felt the power that came because of it.

So, I invite each of you to more willingly open your mouths. Whether it's at school, at work, or at home, OYM. :D Have the courage to speak up and speak out! I promise you that blessings will come as you do so.

Oh my goodness!! Exciting news!!! We are having a baptism THIS SUNDAY!!!! WOOHOO!!!! Her name is Miah, and she is the cutest. She is just making the transition into young women's, and is so excited to be baptized. I have loved taking part in teaching her these past few weeks, and I honestly can't wait for Sunday. I know that the covenants she is making with her Father in Heaven and the companionship of the Holy Ghost will bless her life more than anything else!! I will tell you ALL about it next Monday!!

I hope you have a wonderful week!!!!! LOVE YOU ALL SOOOOO MUCH!!!!

With all the love in my heart,
Sister Bartlett xoxo

PS: you want to know something interesting?? Since being out here, there are people I meet, especially in the ward that remind me of people back home. Like I've met people who remind me of Natalie Winder, Mark Jensen, and Brenda Armstrong. Ha ha It's so crazy! Sister Talbot says that will keep happening the rest of my mission. Ha ha! Well, that's all! Love you lots!!!

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