Hello my lovely family!
I hope you enjoyed conference! It truly was better than Christmas. ️ But I'll get back to that later.
We are still on the hunt to find more people to teach. But one definite highlight of this week was our meeting with Tom (remember him from last week? The student nurse we met at the hospital?). Well, I was on exchanges with Sister DeMille from the Pitt 4th ward and we met him at Starbucks to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon. We had a great conversation and taught him more about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. We testified of Moroni's promise and he was genuinely excited to read it. He said something like, "I had no idea that Christ came to America. I thought that it ended after the New Testament...but now I know there's more!" He also said he would read and pray about it. It was so cool to get that reaction, because we don't very often.
Yesterday, we met with this lady from the ward, Sister Bulimo. She has been in a lot of pain and hasn't been able to come to church. In between sessions yesterday, we took the elders and met one of the brethren in the ward to give her a blessing. I shared a spiritual thought with her from Elder Holland, and Sister Simpson and I sang "Be Still My Soul". The Spirit was definitely felt. She kept thanking us over and over...it was the sweetest thing. It feels so good to know you are actually helping someone, but even more so when they genuinely appreciate it. That's not the motivation we have for serving, but it means that much more when you can visibly see that what you are doing is making a difference.
So, I need to tell yinz about Mike and Chris Ritz. They are PHENOMENAL. Two of the most Christlike and selfless people I've ever met. They really are our mission parents in this area. They were never able to have children, so the missionaries really are their children. ️ Mike is a member, but because of many health problems and surgeries, he doesn't get to church very often. Chris, on the other hand, is not a member. She is amazing though. I know that she will accept the gospel at some point...and that will be such a happy day when they can be sealed for time and all eternity. I can't wait. So this week we had dinner with them, and out of the blue, for dessert she brought out a beautiful cake with 20 candles on it. "Sorry we missed your birthday--usually we're on top of it." They all proceeded to sing to me and it was a beautiful belated birthday surprise.
Oh my conference. What a wonderful, amazing, beautiful weekend full of the Spirit and uplifting and insightful and inspiring messages. A few thoughts that stuck out to me (forgive me, I don't have most of the speakers' names):
* God needs brave sons [and daughters]
* "He will love and correct, but never discourage--that is Satan's trick." (Elder Cornish)
* Any comparison you make should be where you were compared to where you are now...or where you are compared to where you want to be
* Sharing the gospel is not a pass or fail ordeal (God is the judge of who is ready and who is not ready to receive the gospel)
* You are the one who chooses to have joy
* "Sometimes we can study and know. Other times we have to believe, trust, and have hope." (Elder Ballard)
* "We are never alone when we labor in the Lord's vineyard." (Elder Bednar)
* You need to not only believe IN the Savior, but also believe Him
* "Even the darkest nights turn into dawns for the faithful." (Elder Smultz)
* "Repentance is joyful because of the Savior." (Elder Renlund)
I came to conference with many questions...but before it began, I had the impression that not all of my answers would come during the time of conference. But that light and clarity would come gradually. This is something Sister Simpson and I have been talking about in our companionship study lately--the whole concept of "line upon line"...and she said something really profound that has stuck with me. "God gives us light upon light, like He teaches us line upon line." And that is so true. He gives us just enough light to take a step. And then a little bit more light to take another. (See Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation Mormon message for reference.) And that is exactly what happened this weekend. I'm not trying to be trunky, but I have been thinking more about life after the mission, specifically what the Lord wants me to study when I go back to BYU. It's been at the back of my mind this whole time, but I have felt prompted lately to seek more guidance on the subject. Even though I don't have all the answers yet, I've been given enough light this past week to put another step forward. And I know He will continue to lead and guide me as I go forward with faith.
One verse I have come to love on my mission is D&C 78:18. It was quoted in conference which made it even more meaningful:
"And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours."
This verse has given me so much comfort and peace. Especially as I consider big life decisions I will need to make, I know that it would be too much for me to know everything now, to see my life completely and clearly laid out before me. But the Lord Himself has promised that He will lead me along. I just have to keep putting one step in front of the other with faith.
Off of the topic of conference, but can I just give a shout out to my incredible companion?! SISTER SIMPSON IS AMAZING. I absolutely love her and am SO blessed to be her companion. She is exactly the person I need right now. She is an angel and truly celestial. God knows exactly what He is doing.
Well, fam bam, I hope you can take what you learned and felt during conference and do something about it. I promise that incredible blessings will follow if you do. Hope yinz have a beautiful week!!
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)
All my love,
Sister Bartlett xoxo
With Nathalie, a recent convert :)
Exchanges with the Pitt 4th Sisters
Super Delicious Surprise Belated Birthday Cake!
Enjoying Conference in the Chapel in the comfy chairs with these Elders!