Hi. Hey. Hello.
It's me again. Can you believe it's Monday?! I can't! #crazycakes
So last P-day we went with Mike and Chris Ritz to visit the Heinz History Museum. And how amazing it was!! There was so much to see!! It was one of the biggest museums I have ever been to--Cameron and Brenden: there was even a sports section--two levels of it ha ha! There was a section all on Mr. Rogers with the set and everything because (I believe) it was all filmed in Pittsburgh. 'Twas super cool. Plus they took us Primanti Brothers for dinner...mm mm good.
On Wednesday we had our zone training in Oakland. We were trained on a few things, two of which being a new Chapel Tours app they have come out with (to give church tours to investigators) and our new "standards of excellence". One thing that has been unique about our mission is we have not had these standards before. President has not created them, because he has not wanted to impose strict number goals on us and hold us to it. I have appreciated it because it is easy to be very hard on yourself when you don't meet those goals. But lately he has felt very inspired to set 3 dealing with finding, lessons, and baptizing. So as a part of MLC, he had us get into 3 groups to discuss appropriate numbers for these standards of excellence. It was a spiritual experience as we discussed these numbers and I know they were inspired. They were the same numbers he had come up with on his own as well. And the amazing thing is that I didn't feel (and still don't feel) overwhelmed coming away from it, I feel excited and motivated. It will give us something to work towards, which will be awesome!
We even played ultimate frisbee afterwards which was super fun! I hadn't played since I was in Beaver, so my skills were a little rusty. But it was still super good!!
Before President announced them in MLC, Sister Johnson gave a training on the importance of having a vision. She shared this quote which I found profound:
"Vision without effort is daydreaming, effort without vision is drudgery; but vision, coupled with effort, will obtain the prize." (President Monson)
I learned that without both effort and a vision, you won't be able to accomplish much. As I sat there pondering, the song "Be Thou My Vision" came to mind, which is one I have come to love on my mission. It was a touching reminder that He really is our vision. Everything we do, especially as missionaries, is centered on Him.
So we've been teaching this guy named Andrew. He has lots of questions and mainly they are focused on picking out what appear to be differences in the Bible and the Book of Mormon...each lesson was border-line bashing and I would come away from each lesson feeling upset and overwhelmed. Definitely not a good thing. Last weekend was an especially rough lesson. I didn't feel like I could do it anymore. But we decided to try one more time and bring Bishop Snow and his wife with us. Bishop saved the day. We talked to Andrew about our purpose as missionaries and how central to that is preparing people for baptism. He argued he had already been baptized and his other opinions about how we all have the priesthood, etc. Most of his pointed questions were at Bishop, and he took them like a champ. He kept his cool and asked Andrew lots of inspired questions--it was awesome. We left that night and I felt completely peaceful and it was wonderful. We dropped him as an investigator, but it's interesting. Dropping someone doesn't appear to be a way to help us fulfill our purpose as missionaries. But it does. Dropping someone means your putting the faith in the Lord knowing that person isn't ready yet to progress towards baptism, and that someone else is.
As we've taught him, and as I've had other experiences on my mission, by testimony has grown stronger and stronger. No matter what anyone says, I will never waver. I will never move from the truths that I know. I know that this is Christ's church on the earth today. I know that Joseph Smith really did see our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I know they spoke to him and called him to be the next prophet. I know that the priesthood of God, His very authority was brought back to the earth. I know that it is through this church and the covenants and ordinances found therein that we can progress towards eternal life. I know this church and this gospel is true! And nothing will ever shake what I know.
Later this week, we went on exchanges with the Washington sisters, and I stayed in Pitt 3rd with Sister Kelley. It's amazing because originally Sister Simpson was going to stay in P3 with Sister Kelley and I was going to leave...but we decided to change it. And it worked out exactly how it needed to. We both had experiences that we needed to have. Thursday night, I told Sister Kelley the story of my brain tumor and surgery. She then told me she needed to hear my story--that my experiences and perspective and testimony helped her so much. It was an amazing tender mercy. There have been times lately I have felt commonplace and not very needed or wanted...but that night with Sister Kelley proved otherwise. It was a very real and tangible reminder that I am needed. I am wanted. That I have experiences and gifts to offer that are unique to me. The Spirit was so strong that night, it was amazing.
We went on an adventure yesterday...and yinz get to hear about it. We went to contact two referrals who live right next to each other. One wasn't interested and the other didn't answer the door. So we knocked on another house. A lady came to the door and said, "You know that this is a Catholic household?" She was very kind and before I knew it, she had invited us in and told us all about how she knew Mother Theresa. She showed us all these pictures she had taken of her and we talked about the need for more good, Christian people. She gave us a few pictures that she had taken and a quote her as well that we could fit into our wallets. Later Sister Simpson read 2 Nephi 25:26 that states "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." It made me think about how I am grateful for wonderful Christian people that have done a lot of good in the world, but I am most grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has done the most good for us. Through His life, death, and resurrection, He has provided us a way to return Home. He is our vision, our focal point, our focus. We talk of, sing of, rejoice in, preach of, prophesy of Him. I love Him with all of my heart.
I hope you have a wonderful week!! Keep on keepin' on!! LOVE YINZ!!!! ️
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)
With all my love,
Sister Bartlett xoxo
With Sisters McDonald and Kelley
Mother Teresa"Not all of us can do Great Things--
But we can do small things with Great Love!"
The Pitt Zone!
Primanti Brother'sFamous Sandwiches with Grilled Meat, Coleslaw & Fries
between Italian Bread!
At the Heinz Museum with Mr. Rogers :)