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, November 28, 2016

My cup runneth over!

My dearest family,

I hope yinz had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! And ate lots of good food...I sure did! 😉 For lunch/dinner, the elders, Sister Simpson and I went to the Myers house. They had SO much good food. It was delicious!! I ate until I was *stuffed*. After that, we went to Bishop's house to have more pie. Ha ha, it was great! And he made banana creme pie for us (at our request). 😏 It was really good. 😋 we to play their pinball machine (it was way cool!!), air hockey, and foosball. I am basically the foosball queen. Ha ha I actually was a lot better than I thought I would be! #surprise 😉 It was so good to be with wonderful people and families spend the day with them. (It's crazy to think I was here in Pennsylvania for last Thanksgiving too! I don't know how I feel about that or what to think about that...🙈 also. Where did the month go and where has the last 14 months gone?!? Time is flying way to fast...)

Being Thanksgiving, of course I took the time to think about many of the blessings God has given me, many of the things I am grateful for. It is so hard to even begin to put into words what I am grateful for. "My cup runneth over" (Psalm 23:1).

I am incredibly grateful for my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. They have done more for me than I could ever say, and more than I could ever know. I am eternally grateful for Them. I am incredibly grateful for my mission, for the time I've been able to be a missionary. I can't even describe it. My eternity will be so different because I have spent this time on a mission here in Pennsylvania. The people I've met, the companions I've had, the experiences I've been apart of, the Spirit I've knowledge I've gained, how my testimony had grown and been strengthened...I am beyond grateful. I am also incredibly grateful for the dearest family and friends I love more than you know. You have been a huge support to me and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I am so blessed to have so many incredible people in my life. I love you so much!!

Monday-Tuesday we exchanged with the Washington sisters. I got to be with Sister McDonald which was awesome! She is an amazing missionary--she's a natural!! We taught a less-active lady and talked to her about tithing and she is going to start paying it! She is in such a tough financial situation, it's amazing to see her faith to start paying her tithing. I know she will be so blessed for it! I'm so excited for her to see the miracles that come from obeying this commandment.

Friday-Saturday the Wheeling sisters drove up to blitz our area. I was with Sister Jacobson again and we had an awesome time!! She is absolutely wonderful--such a sweetheart and such a good missionary. How did I get so lucky to work with so many incredible sisters?!

During the blitz, we were super excited to share the new Christmas initiative...wait. Hold up.

HAVE YOU SEEN IT YET?!? IT IS AMAZING!!!! I feel the Spirit SO strongly *every* time I watch it.

So. We went to visit this lady we had OYM'd one day outside of her house. (PS if yinz don't know, OYM is "open your mouth"...and you just walk up to them and start talking to them. 🙌) Anyway. This lady's name is Donna. It wasn't the best time for her, but she invited us in and we talked to her for a minute. We were going to just leave but I felt like we needed to show her the new video "Light the World". We asked if she had a few minutes for a video, and she said she did. We sat on her couch and showed her the video. She just cried though the whole thing. We talked about it afterwards and she said her heart felt heavy, but it also felt light. She was thinking about the people she's lost, and I was able to testify to her that the message we have to share can help her so much. It was such a sweet moment and she appreciated it SO much. (She even wants to share it with other people! #gemstatus 🙌)

One of the potential investigators that was in the area book was Anthony. Sister Jacobson and I went to see him, and he was home! We had tried a few times, but hadn't caught him any of the times. Anywhoozers, we talked to him, and found out he's been reading the Book of Mormon! He is also really trying to find the truth. We taught him briefly about the Apostasy and Joseph Smith and left him with a copy of the pamphlet. I am so excited to teach him more!

Yesterday, a sweet 8 year-old in the ward was baptized. And guess what?! Sister Starr (Tanya) came!!! It was wonderful. Sister Starr is still praying to know if she should be baptized on the 17th. She is still at times feeling overwhelmed and nervous. Please please keep her in her prayers...that she will receive answers to her prayers and be able to feel peace through the Holy Ghost.

So, this is more on the random side, but Sister Simpson I introduced me to a song that has become my new favorite. I just wanted to share a few of the lyrics with you:

From the love of my own comfort, from the fear of having nothing, from a life of worldly passions: Deliver me, O God.
From a need to be understood, from a need to be accepted, from the fear of being lonely: Deliver me, O God.
From the fear of serving others, from the fear of death or trial, from a fear of humility: Deliver me, O God.
And I shall not want, no, I shall not want. When I taste Your goodness, I shall want.

It is called "I Shall Not Want" by Audrey Assad. I love how it is a prayer to be delivered from all the natural tendencies and insecurities we have as mortal human beings. And it's a statement that once we taste His goodness, we won't want anything else. How beautiful is that? It's something that has come up a lot in my studies lately. I am learning so much about the natural man inside of each of us and what we can do to overcome it with the help of the Savior. As such, I am doing all I can to deepen my desire to only want what God wants for me. 

Along with that, I found the verse in the scriptures that uses "I shall not want". It took me to Psalm 23 which I absolutely love: 

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. ... Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."

It is worded so beautifully--and that is really the only way I can describe my gratitude: my cup runneth over.

I hope you have an incredible week and continue to see all the bounteous blessings God has so mercifully bestowed upon us. Remember who you are-a child of a Heavenly King!! I love you!!!!

"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

                 Me and Sister McDonald found quite an interesting door sign!

Was an intense game of pinball!

With the Reyes family!

With Bishop Snow and his family!

With Sister Jacobson at Oakmont Bakery
home of the famous doughsants! :)

Thank You Ritz's for bath and body plus chocolate!

After decorating the Ritz's Christmas tree!

Elders cleaning the font!

Me scrubbing the floor with my make shift mop
in my socks!  #facepalm

Monday, November 21, 2016

The brightest Starr in all the land!

Hey hey hey fam bam!!
This week was a whirlwind. Let me hit on the highlights...or bigger things...

Miracles happened, but not in ways I would have expected. Last week was insane and we didn't get to weekly plan. So we did a bunch on Tuesday. But it all worked out the way it was supposed to and God was able to use us and put us exactly where He needed us to be. 

Wednesday was a hard day. Mike and Chris had to put down their dog, Jackson a day earlier than they thought they would. Aside from the missionaries who served here, he has been their child for the eight years they have had him. His heath had gotten worse, with his back legs paralyzed and a mass growing in his head. It was so sad. We planned some time to take them a card and some flowers to be there for them. They were so appreciative and it was so good to be there on a hard day. We helped them with their leaves and it felt amazing to help them because they do SO much for us. I love them both dearly and admire them for being the two most selfless people I have ever met.

We went on exchanges with the Monongahela (try to pronounce that ha ha ;)) sisters. I finally got to go on an exchange with Sister Belnap...after three transfers of serving around her. She is amazing!! Sister Simpson trained her (go figure) and it was so good to get to know her better and work with her. I feel so incredibly blessed to get to serve around and work with so many sisters--I learn so much from each of them and I love them so much!!

We had an amazing lesson with Sister Snodgrass--we went in there thinking we were going to teach one thing, but the Spirit whispered, "read 3 Nephi 11 and talk about prayer" we did! And the Spirit was so strong. I was able to testify of Christ's love for her and share my story with her as well. We talked and testified of prayer, which was exactly what she needed because that's something she has been struggling with lately. It's amazing though, because she's noticed a change in herself since the sisters started meeting with her, and she's able to feel the Spirit with us there and learn a lot in that setting. It's amazing watching the Savior change her heart because she's willing to make changes to come closer to Him. If she keeps coming to church this month, she should be reactivated by the end, which is so exciting!!

We also had a lesson with Sister Starr (Tonya, aka the brightest Starr in all the land ;)). It was so good! Before we even began the lesson, she said, "So, I was reading over the pamphlet, and I was just thinking, what is God preparing us for?" Can you say #GOLDEN 🙌 we told her we could answer that and jumped right in and said a prayer to get started. It was such a good lesson and the Spirit was definitely there. We showed her a list of commonly asked questions, and she picked "Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow suffering to occur?" so we turned to the references and read. Her questions throughout were so good and she is sincerely wanting to learn, feel the Spirit and grow closer to the Lord. Also, the meeting with Elder Stevenson was wonderful for her and she totally felt the Spirit as he spoke. How awesome is that?! The Spirit is working in her life and bringing her heart closer to the Savior. It is so beautiful to be able to witness it.

I would say one of the biggest lessons I've learned this week or have been reminded of is that Heavenly Father knows each of us so well. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. It is so prideful to think that we know what we need and we know what's best for us, because that is so not the case. He knows best, and we have to trust Him. "God knows what is best for us. Although we may not understand why we experience some things now, in His timetable we will know and be grateful" (Richard G. Scott).

I know that we are children of a Heavenly King, the Most High God. His love for us is perfect and unchanging. He is constant in our lives and we can take comfort and hope in knowing that He will always be there. We also have a Savior who will always be there. He knows us, rejoices with us, and weeps with us. We only have to turn to Him, rely on Him, and remember Him in all that we do. (Please go watch "Spiritual Beings in the Human Experience" <> changed my perspective of how to always remember Him.)

I hope you have a beautiful Thanksgiving week and remember all that your merciful Heavenly Father and Savior have blessed you with. Also. Remember who you are and that a sister missionary in Pennsylvania loves you!!

"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

       THE district. (Elders McGee, Marcum, Rich, Hansen, Sisters Simpson, Beckstrand, Morgan)


                                                  The amount of snow outside our house :(

With Sisters Maya and Belnap

Our Christmas tree (thanks for the ornaments, Mom!!)

Monday, November 14, 2016 the feet of an Apostle!

Dearest family,
Holy cannoli guacamole I have SO much to tell you. Hold on to your hats, it's gonna be a long ride. ;) I'll share a few highlights from the week and then the ultimate highlight (this weekend). By the way, no apologies for the length of this email...there is just too much goodness not to tell you (almost) all of it! Ha ha :)

Tuesday evening, we had a church tour with Donny and Rose (you prolly remember them, right?). As you know, we haven't been pushing baptism with Donny because he told us he's not ready for it. But when we were standing in front of the baptismal font, Donny told us that he was baptized as a baby, but had no say. Then, he expressed his desire to be submerged, to be baptized in this way. We were shocked. He wants to get baptized!! We will all be praying a ton that his work schedule will allow him to start coming to church.

Wednesday and Thursday we went on exchanges with the Greensburg sisters, and I got to be with my granddaughter, Sister Beckstrand! She is awesome! We had an amazing lesson with Tonya and when we followed up with her, she told us she felt really peaceful when she prayed, and that she also feels like everything in her life is falling into place. It was sooo good!! She's on date to be baptized December 10th. I can't wait!!

We also did several hours of service!! Part of that consisted of helping with the Gigliotti's annual leaf harvest (pictures included). Another involved baking cookies at the Carlson's (they're non-members) for a big event in December (more pictures included...with the GIANT dogs they have).

Okay. Now for Saturday. Saturday was an AMAZING AMAZING day. We got up at 5am to pick up the elders to drive to Altoona (about 2 hours...#roadtripsfordays). We got there early enough to visit with missionary friends, practice our song, and then sit quietly in the chapel. Oh, ha ha, I forgot to tell yinz! Sister Johnson asked a group of 16 of us to sing "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" (I have positively decided this has become my mission song...and my favorite hymn as well :)). President Johnson showed us the new initiative video, "Light the World"...and oh my heavens it was AMAZING! I felt the Spirit beautifully strong. I am so excited for yinz to see it!! Elder Stevenson walked in not long after we watched the video (about 20ish minutes before the meeting started), and we all stood as he came in. It was such a reverent moment. After he was up on the stand, President announced that Elder Stevenson, Elder Hallstrom, and Elder Kunz all wanted to shake our hands. So we all got a chance to shake their hands. It was amazing!  The Spirit in that room was incredibly strong. And as I felt that Spirit, I felt the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior so strongly and so purely. As we recited D&C 4 and Our Purpose, I couldn't hold back the tears. I got so choked up, especially as I looked at President and Sister Johnson on the stand wiping away tears. It was one of the most powerful moments of my mission and my life. When Elder Hallstrom spoke, he said, "We want this mission to change you forever." As I reflected on that, I realized that is absolutely true for me. It has changed me forever. And I felt distinctly that at this time, I can't even begin to comprehend how much my mission will continue to bless my life. That was an amazing and humbling thought. Elder Hallstrom stressed the importance of coming away from this meeting with a determination to act, a determination to change. He said "If you don't come away from this meeting and do things differently than you did before, it will have had no purpose." I made the decision then and there to apply what I learned in that meeting to my missionary work and be a more effective instrument in His hands because of it.

When Elder Stevenson began his talk (keep in mind he knows President and Sister Johnson really well), he said, "Now, Brad and Rosie...President and Sister Johnson. Can you believe Brad Johnson married Rosie Miller?! I couldn't believe it, it was like a head-liner!" We DIED. It was hilarious!! He then took some time to talk about how when we go home and unlock our hearts, that the elders should "find a Rosie" and we sisters should "find someone like Brad". It hit me that when it comes time for me to find and marry my eternal companion, I want a marriage like President and Sister Johnson have. Next to you, mom and dad, they are my two biggest role models. I love and appreciate them more than I could ever say. He talked about how disobedience never was happiness...never was, never will be. But obedience *always* brings blessings. He said, "When Elder Hallstrom and I get up at 6:30 in the morning, we're just tired. When you get up at 6:30 in the morning, you're blessed for it." And it really is so true! God *always* blesses us when we are obedient. He taught us a great deal on helping people make and keep commitments, which really is a process of repentance, which helps them to change and prepare to make and keep covenants. It brought so much direction, instruction, and clarity and I am so excited to implement what I learned. He bore his testimony at the end, and to say it was powerful would be an understatement. The Spirit was incredibly and undeniably strong. I knew without a doubt in that moment that he was called of God. I shed so many tears during that meeting because of the magnitude in which the Spirit was present. I will never forget that day. ** Don't get me wrong, I love all church meetings we attend. But nothing will ever compare to meeting with large groups of missionaries--the Spirit there is unreal.

On a lesser of importance side note, it was amazing to see some old mission friends and past companions and missionaries I had served with. They were having a Priesthood leadership meeting right afterwards, so I also got to see my old Bishop from the Beaver ward and the two bishops from the Sunbury ward. It was seriously the happiest of days (pictures included).

And THEN on Sunday. Tonya came again!!! The meeting was phenomenal and so rich with the Spirit. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to hear from Elder Stevenson two days in a row. I felt the Spirit so strongly and was reminded that I really am His daughter, He knows me personally. I am His and I was bought with a price. I was deemed worthy of the Savior's precious blood, and I am graven upon the palms of His hands. Sister Stevenson spoke, and she said something that I loved: "Missionaries are the happiness and the medicine the world needs." I feel so privileged to be a part of this royal army, bringing people to Christ through Whom they can experience ultimate joy, peace, relief, hope, etc. There is nothing that will ever compare. I also felt the love that President and Sister Johnson have for me--they really are my other set of parents. They love me like a daughter and I love them so much. I realized that to feel this loved and to be so far from home is a miracle. Elder Stevenson talked more about obedience and I am coming to gain the strongest testimony of how obedience brings blessings and also happiness. During his talk, I received revelation that I know will help and bless me throughout my life. It was beautiful. We sang in the stake choir and sang, "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" (there it is again ;)) and "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". I always feel the Spirit sooo strongly through music, and this was no exception. Singing these songs were two very powerful moments.

Are you ready for this?? Yinz'll never believe it. After the meeting, almost everyone came up to shake his hand. I got in line with Tonya and....SHE GOT TO MEET HIM!!! It was so amazing! I got to shake his hand and I introduced her to him. He shook her hand as I told him that she is investigating the church. He was so elated! He asked how long she had been meeting with us (she is usually pretty shy, but she totally talked to him and everything!). He told her to keep meeting with us and that we have a beautiful message to share with her. She told him that he was a really good, powerful speaker--it was amazing!! I still can't even believe that she got to meet him.

This weekend was by far the highlight of my mission and I am incredibly grateful to my Heavenly Father for it. I feel like He has opened up the heavens and poured out blessings upon my head that I don't even have enough room to receive all of them.

As I sat in these meetings basking in the Spirit, my testimony of this gospel was strengthened and reconfirmed to me. There's no way I could feel what I felt and deny that I know this church to be true. I know that this is the true church--the only true and living church on the face of this earth. I know that we have a Heavenly Father Who loves us, wants the very best for us, has a plan for us, and wants us back Home. I know that we have a Savior, who suffered, bled, and died for us. And not just so we could repent and be forgiven, but that we could be strengthened, comforted, carried, healed, and changed. He died for us, and now He lives for us too. He stands at the head of this church and guides it through worthy men who hold His priesthood. The Book of Mormon is the very word of God, and it is one sure thing that will bring you to Christ. I can't even express my gratitude for my Heavenly Father and my Savior and the chance I have to serve a mission. Words are less than adequate.

I invite you to constantly strive to be obedient--as obedient as you can be. Even and especially in the seemingly small things because those lead to obedience in the big things. I can promise you as a servant and representative of Jesus Christ that He will bless you for your obedience. And with those blessings, you will find happiness and joy that you will not find living in any other way.

I love you. God loves you. Remember that you are His. Have the most 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 Tom                                                

Leaf Harvest!

New BIG furry friends!

Together again with Sister Schofield! Happy Day!

Sunbury Reunion:
                                                  Bishop Snowden (former), Sister S, Me,
                                               Sister Thorson, and Bishop Balukoff (current)

Me and Sister T :)

The WHOLE Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Perfection is pending....

To the best family in all the land:
Oh boy oh boy do I have stuff to tell yinz! Ha ha, 'twas a good week. Where to begin...

It was another sick week. Sister Simpson and I have just been ping-pong-ing back and forth with this cold stuff. But all will be well. She's now the one that's sick right--please pray that she'll get better soon!

Despite being sick, we did more service this week! Some of which was super last minute. My new motto has become: "Plan with precision and execute with flexibility." Ha ha 😊 that is pretty much Pitt 3rd in a nutshell.

On Friday, we drove to Altoona for our MLC meeting. It was really good!! President introduced the new Christmas initiative...#LighttheWorld ...needless to say I am SO EXCITED!! This time of year is literally *the best* time to be a missionary. I love it so much!! He also announced some big changes to the mission. We are now going to have zone conferences and interviews every 6 weeks versus having them alternating every 12 weeks. This is huge! I am super excited about it, because it means I get to see President and Sister Johnson more often!! #tendermercies 🙌 (Also. Very very excited that Elder Stevenson is coming in 5 days!! And then to our stake conference the next day. Feeling so very blessed.)

So yesterday...TONYA CAME TO CHURCH!!!! Can I get a 'woot woot'?!?! It was soooo fantastic!! Kay, you have to know how nervous missionaries get when an investigator is coming to church on a fast and testimony meeting Sunday. You *never* know what is going to be said or preached. False doctrine, song lyrics, 20 minute-long's always a hold-your-breath sort of thing. But God is SO merciful. Yesterday was one of the best testimony meetings I've ever been to in Pennsylvania. #hallelujah #tendermercies 🙌We also had an *AMAZING* lesson with her on Wednesday. We went in there and taught to her needs--we took it at her pace and testified of God's love for her as His daughter. She told us of some hard things she went through a few years ago and started to cry. Through her tears, she said, "I wish I would have known about this years ago." The Spirit was so strong, it was beautiful. I love her so much, and I feel so blessed to be able to witness her journey coming to Christ. 💛

I titled this email "perfection is pending" because I read a talk about perfection this week that changed my life. But first, a little background. Yinz know me--I'm a perfectionist...have been from day one. Wanting to do everything right, everything perfect. And being so frustrated with myself when my "plan to live perfectly" goes wrong. I beat myself up endlessly...trying to be perfect. Which doesn't even make sense. But what I learned this week (in addition to last week watching "The Perfect Lie") has changed my whole outlook. The talk is titled "Perfection Pending" by Russell M. Nelson from the October 1995 General Conference. A few things I learned:

Matthew 5:48 says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." After Christ's resurrection, He says to the Nephites in America, "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect" (3 Nephi 12:48). "This time he listed himself along with his Father as a perfected personage. Previously he had not."

** I was floored that Christ had not achieve full and complete perfection until after He was resurrected. It blew my mind. **

"We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come only in full after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments. It includes thrones, kingdoms, principalities, powers, and dominions. It is the end for which we are to endure. It is the eternal perfection that God has in store for each of us."

Wow. I can't even tell you what reading this talk did for me. It brought me so much peace and clarity and comfort and reassurance...I won't be "perfect" or "complete" until after this life is through, until after I am resurrected. So I can stop trying to be perfect and instead rely on the Savior to make me a little bit better each and every day. It's a lesson that has taken me 20 years to learn and continue to learn, but better late than never, right? Will you read it this week? (You could even do it as a family! 😉) I promise it will change your outlook and help you come to know the Savior better.

Mom, Dad, Brenden, and Cameron: Heavenly Father loves each of you SO much. And His love is always there. He doesn't love you for anything you did, or didn't do...He loves you because you are *His*. He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer, bleed, and die for you. If you were the only one who needed saving, the only one who needed a Savior...He still would have gone through it just for *you*. He understands it all perfectly. All the mistakes, the guilt, the shame, the heartache, the disappointment, the frustration, the discouragement, the anxiety, the brokenness...He knows it all. And He is always there for you--right by your side, holding your hand, and walking you through it. Always remember that, and always remember to turn to Him.

I love you so very much, and hope you have a beautiful + thankful week. 

"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

Sending love and a huge hug from Pennsylvania,Sister Bartlett xoxo

                                                             Buddies from Sunbury ;)

Driving back from MLC

Coasting in the "The Bruiser" with all the Elders!!

With Tonya at Church :)

Apostle visit countdown! SO EXCITED!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

God is so good!

My dearest family,

Holy cannoli guacamole. This week's title doesn't even begin to describe how blessed I feel. I'll share some of the miracles I've seen this week, because man...God is SO good. My eyes are being opened to see even more of the good of God and how merciful He is to us as His children, and me, as one of His missionaries. Don't get me wrong, there have been discouraging and tear-filled moments too, but I look back, and I'm focused on the joy I've felt.

Transfer news came on Saturday.....and I am staying in Pitt 3rd with Sister Simpson. PHEW. Ha ha. I was pretty sure I was staying, but I'm glad to know for sure. I just love her so much and am really grateful to have another transfer with her. Our musical of a companionship continues. ;-)

Also. SISTER MORGAN IS TRAINING. Ahhh I'm so excited for her!!! And yinz know what that means. I AM GONNA HAVE A GRANDDAUGHTER. WOOHOO!! So so proud. Also, we are getting a second set of elders in our district! It will be good for the P3 elders because up until now they've been in a Relief Society district ha ha ;)

On Tuesday, President and Sister Johnson came to our district meeting to interview us. His focus this time around was spiritual gifts, and as I reflected on the ones God has given me, I realized throughout the course of my mission, He has brought clarity to me about the gifts He has given me. As I recognize them more, I am able to use them and develop them in greater abundance. It is amazing! They are gifts meant to be shared--I know that is true for each and every one of us. He asked me to share two of my gifts with him, and he came back with comforting words of affirmation. He has seen these gifts in me as I have used and developed them.

Tuesday evening we saw Donny and Rose Meuser. Yinz prolly remember me mentioning Donny before accepting baptism...well...he's not ready to be baptized yet, but he and his wife are making progress! His heart has definitely been softened from when the sisters tried to teach him before, so that is a huge blessing and miracle. We even read the Book of Mormon with them! It was awesome.

Kay, so do you remember Tom? So, he's super super awesome possum lemon blossom. We met him at Starbucks for another lesson, and found out he had read all of 1 Nephi! Wowzers. And he got so much out of it! He understood what was going on and describe 1 Nephi as "a journey of faith". As such, we talked a lot about faith. He talked about some of his life experiences, and we shared ours (I even shared the story about my tumor...he's in he medical field so that was especially profound to him). We asked him if he had prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and he said he hadn't. He said he hadn't and he said he feels like he doesn't know enough. We testified that he could come to know the truth of it and our message if he keeps reading, studying, and praying. He asked, "What is the benefit of knowing that the Book of Mormon is true?" We led him to the introduction of the Book of Mormon and had him read the last two paragraphs. We asked him what it meant, and he sat there and reread it. He sat back, and said, "Oh, that means this is the next step." We watched it sink in as he thought about it more. A huge smile came on his face and said, "Okay. This is the next step for me to take to get closer to God." (This was one of the coolest moments!!) I knew we needed to invite him to be baptized, so I asked him. "Tom, once you come to know the Book of Mormon is true, will you follow Christ's example by being baptized by someone who holds the prophet priesthood authority of God?" His response was a resounding "Absolutely!" It was so amazing. He is so open and prepared, and it's amazing to see the Spirit work on him like that. I am so excited to see where he goes! And I am just amazed. I think back to how we meant Tom, on our way to visit a member of the ward in the hospital one afternoon. God truly is in every single detail.

Earlier this week I was in tears because a less-active member of the ward was less than kind. Our efforts to reach out in love and concern were in vain as she came back with hurtful words and belittling names. (She struggles a lot with many different challenges, but it still was painful to be on the receiving end.)

But this gives me comfort, peace, and hope:

"When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

He knows. He knows what this feels like. He knows what it feels like to be rejected, cussed out, and cast out. He knows the hurt that it brings as well as the tears. But I take comfort knowing that I am standing with the best life that has ever lived, the best life this world has ever known. And He knows. He knows it all. And He hasn't left me alone, nor will He ever leave me alone.

While we're on the topic of opposition, let me tell yinz about our lesson with Isabel. She is this sweet older lady (in her 80's) that we went to go see. We taught her the Restoration, and showed her the 5 minute First Vision video. I kid you not, right as the first vision was being depicted, a big truck is turned on across the street, and right as the words "Joseph, this is my Beloved Son. Hear Him!" are being uttered, a crazy-loud lawn mower started up next door. Are you kidding me?! But all is well in Zion--she felt the spirit...even though she said she wouldn't be baptized. I believe we played a part in helping prepare her for the spirit world. We did our part, and that's all we could do. But oh boy. Satan's influence is so real. But the work will move forward. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing." 

So, real quick: the sisters serving in Wheeling, WV came up to blitz our area (when we split off and all four of us work in this area). It was so fun! And miracles happened. We ordered pizza for dinner and that night after our nightly planning, we watched the Studio C Face2Face event. IT WAS SOO GOOD. The tears. The laughs. The spiritual moments. TENDER MERCIES for Sister Bartlett to get a taste of Studio C on my mission. I'm so grateful!!

Man. So many things! The gem of all gems: Tonya. Wednesday night (I wasn't there), the elders brought an investigator to BOM class. They found her while tracting in their area (she was babysitting for someone there). She came, they read 3 Nephi 11, and had a church tour right afterwards. The spirit was really strong, and she even asked in the chapel, "So, how do you become a member?" They invited her to be baptized and she accepted!! She actually lives in our area, so they passed her off to us to start teaching her. We had our first official lesson yesterday and it was so good! She is so genuine and sincere and she even prayed for the first time out loud at the end of our lesson. It was beautiful.

Ahhhhh!!! Soooo many miracles, tender mercies, and just goodness. I hope you have a beautiful week and see all the goodness God is blessing you with. And always remember that He is on your side and always will be. He's fighting for you!! I LOVE YOU!!!!

"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

sending love and a huge hug from PA,
Sister Bartlett xoxo

                         The Pitt 3rd plus Greensburg District and President Johnson

Twinner Twinner Chicken Dinner!

A small glance of Fall in PA - Beautiful!

With Sister McDonald - softening hearts, one door at a time!

With Sisters Jacobson and McDonald