THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE!! I am sooo grateful for the things you sent
to keep me warm and I loved all of your letters. And all those Emoji
stickers? I LOVED THEM!!! THANK YOU!!!! Also. It's so good to hear
from you. :D Thank you so much for your emails--I love reading them.
They give me a boost for this week that I definitely need. Anywho, a
lot happened this week I want to tell you about!
Monday for P-Day we played Human Hungry Hungry Hippo (with boards we
rolled on and colored balloons ;)). IT WAS SO FUN!! BEST P-DAY YET. We
also played Frisbee. Monday/Tuesday Sister Talbot and I participated
in exchanges. But since we are so far away from our STL's, they came
to us and we "blitzed" the areas close by. Starting Monday night,
Sister Landa was my companion. I'll be honest--I was terrified. I
wouldn't have Sister Talbot with me, and the thought of going out and
really taking the lead in the teaching terrified me. I prayed so hard
that night and the next day to receive help from on high. And you know
what? I did and it was amazing! I feel like I was able to teach like I
never have before. My teaching capabilities ARE better than I had
supposed, and I had true confidence in myself for one of the first
times. As Sister Landa and I taught one man named Marcus, she felt
impressed to show him a Mormon message--"Will of God". There was
something so special about that moment--I was overcome with the Spirit
as I watched him watch the video. It was another one of those moments
I live for as a missionary. I knew that moment was Sister Bartlett
experiencing her purpose as a missionary firsthand. I can't really
describe it, but it was beautiful.
So, I have to tell you about this crazy thing that happened this week.
Sister Talbot and I took two sisters from our ward down to Shamokin (a
sub-area in Sunbury) to go on splits and see people. I went with
Melissa--she is so sweet!! As we were driving, I was asking her
questions. She served a mission in Tucson, but spent most of her time
in El Paso, TX. When she told me that, I said, "Oh, I have family who
has lived down there." She said, "Really? What are their names?" "Dan
and Amy Bartlett." Immediately she said she knew who they were and
said she served in their ward for 10 months. She said she is terrible
with names, but as soon as I said it she knew exactly who I was
talking about. She remembers Amy's cooking and the kids--got to catch
her up on what they are all doing because they were smaller when she
served there. So, we need to find out if Dan and Amy remember her!!
Her name was Sister Keller, or Hermana Keller because she was a
Spanish-speaking missionary. :-) I attached a picture to this email of
the two of us--maybe the name and the face will help them. SMALL WORLD
THOUGH. I couldn't believe it!! So fun to find connections even out
here in PA. :D
So, I've told you about a few of our investigators--mainly Tim and
Dave (who I haven't mentioned for a while...). We have been wondering
if we should drop these two--Tim claims he wants to be baptized, but
he won't keep any commitments we extend. I had high hopes for Dave,
but one day he just dropped off the face of the earth. Stood us up for
a lesson at a member's house, stopped answering phone calls and
texts...you get the idea. Can't do much for him when we can't even get
in touch with him. Unfortunately, it felt best that we drop both of
them this week. It was hard, let me tell you. It feels like we are
giving up on them, but I know we're not. They need their space, and
maybe 6 months from now they will be more ready. Sister Tablot's
wisdom still stands--"It takes faith to drop someone, because you have
to trust that the Lord will place other people in your path." And I am
ecstatic to say that indeed He has done just that--in miraculous ways.
Thursday morning, we got a call from a gentleman in our ward. His name
is Ray. He called us because he wants his daughter-in-law to be taught
the lessons. We got her contact information from him, and after we
hung up, we didn't know whether or not to call her, so we knelt in
prayer. As Sister Talbot prayed, I had the though, "Call her." Soon
after the prayer finished, she picked up the phone and dialed her
number. Her name is Ashley, and she sounds so prepared. She said she
is searching for the truth, and wants peace in her life. She wants a
church she can raise her son in, and she wants something to believe
in. I just listened to the conversation as Sister Talbot spoke with
her, but the Spirit I felt was absolutely incredible. Tears filled my
eyes and rolled down my cheeks as I listened to Ashley tell us about
her yearning for knowledge and truth. Though I have never met her, I
yearned for her to know the truth that our gospel contains. I
desperately want her to feel the peace in her life knowing she is
headed in the right direction. I want her to have the gospel in her
life--I know she needs it. Everyone needs it, but she sounds
especially prepared to partake of it. We set up a lunch appointment
with her and her dad this Tuesday. I am so excited to meet her and to
begin teaching her!! I'll let you know next week how it goes. :-)
Our Bishop and his wife have also given us names of people to
contact--we should be picking them up as investigators in the next
week or two. As Sister Talbot and I have put our trust in the Lord as
we've dropped our other investigators, others have been placed in our
path. I am so grateful for these miracles I have seen through evidence
of His hand. God is so good. :D
This week I re-read a Doctrine & Covenants scripture mastery we are
all familiar with (Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16):
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying
repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me,
how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have
brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your
joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
I thought about this scripture in terms of my mission, and I had some
amazing thoughts come into my mind. The one soul it talks about in
verse 15--I could be and should be that one soul. As I spread the
gospel and invite people to come unto Christ, I must become firmly and
unwaveringly rooted in and converted to the gospel. As PMG states,
"You cannot convert people beyond your own conversion." I need to be
my first convert, if I hope to help anyone else become converted. And
if at the end of my mission, I have only brought myself to Christ,
"how great shall be [my] joy". I will have many opportunities to bring
others to Christ, but as long as I am bringing myself to Christ, my
joy will be great in this life and in the life to come.
On a few secular notes:
A few of you have been asking how the food is. So far, so good!
Haven't tried anything super weird yet...I had mac 'n' cheese with
tomato sauce the other night...sounds weird, but tasted pretty good.
Other than that, not anything crazy. Members feed us just about every
single night--it is amazing! I love the members, though. Their
families are so fun and I love getting to know each of them!
The weather. (I hear it snowed there!!) I have not seen one snowflake
so far. It is SO WEIRD. Some evenings have been colder--it's that
humidity; you can feel it in the air--I have a feeling it is going to
get bitter cold. When, is the question. ;-)
This week was definitely better than the last, and I have high hopes
for the coming week--I have a feeling it's going to be a good one!!
I hope you all have a wonderful week!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
With all the love in my heart,
Sister Bartlett and Melissa
"In the Zone"