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, April 10, 2017

A soul brought to Christ!

Dearest family and friends,

I can't believe this day has actually come. The end is actually here. It came faster than I possibly could have imagined. But here we are. This will be the last weekly email from my mission. So sit tight!

Two highlights I wanted to share...from yesterday.

The first highlight began as I walked out of ward council to see Sister Judy Guest standing in the foyer. She came all the way from the Sunbury ward to see me on my last Sunday. It was the best thing ever!! Got to see her and hug her and be with was just amazing. And the fact that she would come all the way to see me...I felt SO loved, it was incredible.

The second highlight of this week was the "Why I Believe" fireside we were apart of last night. We drove with the zone leaders, Elder Madsen and Elder Montgomery, to the mission home to hop in with President and Sister Johnson to drive to Oakland (which is in Pittsburgh). It was so crazy to be back at the mission home knowing I would be there within the next 48 hours (less now...time is sure ticking...). The fireside was packed with the Spirit, as they always are. It was again bittersweet realizing that would be my last fireside as a missionary. For the closing song we sang "As Sisters in Zion/We'll Bring the World His Truth". I held it together pretty well, but as soon as we sat down for the closing prayer, the tears started flowing. Then Sister Snow (from Pitt 3rd) ran up to the front and gave me a huge hug. (It was basically like getting a hug from you, mom....I'll get one of those in a few days 😉) The Spirit was there and I just felt overcome with it and feelings of love and appreciation for all the people I have met on my mission. (Speaking of people I love, I also saw Sister Eichenmiller and Bishop was just so good and so needed.)

I couldn't even begin to describe the feelings I have in my heart right now. It is such a mix of sadness, joy, mourning, excitement, anxiety...the list could go on. It is a tug-of-war of not wanting this part of my life to end, and being excited and hopeful for the next chapter God has in store for me. I wouldn't wish this roller coaster of emotions on anyone! And yet a new set of missionaries survives it every 6 weeks. Incredible.

I thought that serving a mission would, in a very small way, give back to my Heavenly Father and Savior for what They have given me and done for me. But in reality, the blessings they have poured out in my behalf are unparalleled. I will forever be in Their debt. My mission has changed me in so many ways, in ways I couldn't even put into words. I am a different and better person for serving a mission. I am closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior than I ever have been before. My feet have been planted on gospel sod, and I am committed to Him. And though I may not be able to wear this physical name tag forever, His name is written, is engraved on my heart forever.

Something I've been thinking about a lot is the following verses I grew up hearing from the 18th section of the Doctrine and Covenants:

14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.

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 never realized that the one soul brought unto Christ could mean myself. I always assumed it was talking about bringing someone else to Christ. But through my mission, I have brought *my* soul to Christ. I can confidently say I am truly converted to Him and His gospel. That I have come unto Christ as I have studied His words and tried to be like Him. He has become even more real and tangible to me. His Spirit and His love and His Atonement have become more tangible to me. And I will never be the same. Along the way, I have been able to help others come closer to Christ which has been a beautiful sight to see.

"Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come..." (D&C 31:3)

My 18-month mission here in Pennsylvania is coming to an end, but my life's mission is just beginning. And the best part is that I now have a solid foundation built on my Savior and a skill set that will help me throughout the rest of my life.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7)

The best is yet to come. And as I've been told a few different times these past few months: "Your best days are ahead of you, not behind you." Holding on to the hope that comes from that.

I know that this Church is true. I know this gospel is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it with every fiber of my being. I know the Book of Mormon is the very word of God. That book has changed my life, it has been a saving grace on my mission. I know that I am a daughter of God. I know that His plan is perfect, even for me, as His imperfect daughter. I know that His plan is bigger and better than anything I could ever plan for myself. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is my Rock, my Redeemer, and my Best Friend. I love Him with all that I am. And I will spend the rest of my life striving to help others come closer to Him and come to know Him.

Well, I guess that's about it, folks. Next time I talk to you will be in person 🙈🙈 have an amazing few days and I'll see you on Wednesday!!! Never forget that a missionary that served here in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission will LOVE YOU FOREVER!!!!!!

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


See yinz soon,
Sister Bartlett xoxo

                                                      With the Flaus Family - Good times!

We got to hold baby kittens - so sweet!

With George - So proud of him, he has come a long way!

With Sister Wiehler - she threw me a surprise
                                                     going away party!  She's Amazing!!

With Sister Guest who drove all the way from Sunbury to Canonsburg
                             to see me one last time and say Goodbye!  She's Incredible!!

Lunch on the Elders Porch :)

With Sister Belnap!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Prince of Peace

Hello hello hello

I am feeling better this week--though there have been times all I have felt like eating were saltine crackers. And drinking Sprite 😉 but I'm getting there! The Lord is sustaining me through it all, like He always does.

** Brother Southern **

This week we visited Brother Southern, who is a less-active member of our ward. Ever since I met him, I have felt so drawn to him. A connection that has helped me to realize he's one of the reasons I served here in the Washington ward. We had a good lesson and discussion about how trials temper our souls. We shared with him the Mormon message "Will of a God" (one of my personal favorites). We've felt recently that we needed to show an outpouring of love towards him, so we did, and it felt so wonderful to feel God's love for him and be able to verbally express it.

Towards the end of the lesson, I felt prompted to share my story with him, about my brain tumor and surgery. It was a really touching moment for me. It brought me to tears like it usually does, but I was reminded yet again that my healing was no coincidence. I was supposed to serve a mission. I was supposed to serve in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission. I was supposed to serve in the Sunbury, Beaver, Pittsburgh 3rd, and Washington wards when I did and meet the people I did while I served there. It was a tender reminder from my Heavenly Father. 

** Brandi **

The other week when I was in Pitt 3rd for exchanges, Sister Robison OYM-ed this lady named Brandi. She had met with elders in the past in Washington, PA, but had lost contact. Anyway, we went and saw her this past week. She is incredible!! She talked to us a lot because she has a son that's battling a brain tumor right now (Coincidence? I think not). Sister Robison led out the lesson so well and had her read part of the introduction to the Book of Mormon. Just with that, Brandi began to cry. She told us she feels so lost and in need of direction and that she knows she needs this in her life. We were able to testify of the truthfulness of our message and that God knows her and loves her. The Spirit was so strong!! I live for moments like that. Excited to see her again this week!!

** General Conference **

So, oh my heavens. Conference. SOOOO GOOD. We watched each session with a different individual/family, which was wonderful. I have received so many answers, and reassurance, and has been a beautifully glorious experience. The following quotes and thoughts jumped out to me:

Let your covenants be paramount, and your obedience exact.
God has been preparing me for this transition for a long time. He's given me all I need to make it though, and I will because He's promised He will never leave my side.
"Lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God" (Mosiah 7:19).
Trust Him, follow Him, serve Him...and He *will* deliver you.
"Our covenants bind us to Him and give us power." (President Nelson)
"We cannot be part-time disciples." (Elder Hales) The decision to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is a decision we must make once and for all.
Christ can hear the songs I cannot sing. He is always listening.
I need to stand as close to the Savior because He has perfect pitch.
I play an important part in God's magnificent orchestra and I should never diminish my worth in it.
Love for God is the melody and our desire to obey Him acts as the harmony in that chorus.
"Don't fear. Just live right." (Elder Maxwell) I don't need to fear. I don't need to worry. Satan is trying so hard to get me to fear the future, but I can't let Him. God *will* fulfill His promises, I just need to have faith, hope, patience, and trust.
Always act on the very first prompting that comes. "First promptings are direct inspiration from heaven." (Elder Rasband)
Trust in the Lord includes agreeing and committing in advance, despite a perfect knowledge of what will happen or how things will work out.
"Hearts will not change where love is not present." (Elder Palmer)

We watched the Sunday afternoon session with the Flaus family and George and his kids were there. Listening to Elder Costa's talk sitting next to George was pretty much the best thing ever!! (His was the one about his conversion story--directed to was awesome!!) Also got to play Ligretto with a family after a had been so long since I had played it--it made me so happy!! (Get ready for a Ligretto tournament coming up pretty quick...I'm back on my game! 😉)

And the last hymn brought me to tears. (It has quickly become one of my favorites.) I was overcome with the Spirit as I heard the words:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

I came to the very real realization that the God that has blessed and guided and helped and healed and carried and comforted me in Pennsylvania these past 18 months is the same God that will do all of that for me and more as I start the next phase of my life in Utah.

** Finding peace though the Prince of Peace **

As I'm sure yinz know, the new Easter video was released this week, titled "Prince of Peace". We have already showed it to a few people and it is powerful. I love it so much. And I feel such a personal need for this theme of peace right now. God is so good and He is so aware of me--He's proven it yet again through this new initiative.

As I look towards the future, there is so much uncertainty. I don't know what's going to happen when I get home regarding schooling, career, relationships, etc. I don't know how my future will pan out. But in the midst of it all I am finding peace. I am finding peace through my Savior, who is the Prince of Peace. The only One who can offer me true and lasting peace. The One who can calm my troubled heart. The One who says to the raging waves within my soul, "Peace, be still."

I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives. I know that He has many different names, so He can be exactly what we need Him to be. I know that He truly is our Prince of Peace. I know that He overcame sin, temptation, weakness, and death. He rose again on the third day and He lives today. I love Him with all of my heart and nothing could ever compare to the 18 months I've spent in His service.

I hope you have a wonderful week as you remember the Savior in all that you do. Turn to Him and accept the love and peace into your life only He can give.

I love you to Heaven and back!!!!! (I'll see you next week!!!!!! ☺☺)

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

With a heart so full,
Sister Bartlett xoxo
811 Frederick Court
Canonsburg, PA 15317

                                                    With Brandi and her cute kids!

With Brother Kubacki

Lunch with the Lewis'

President Johnson sent me this -
How did this happen? Mission almost over!
I look like a baby?  #crazycakes
Yep -  just me and another Elder going home!

                                                                Conference Selfie :)

With the Blaser's

With the Potts' kids

With George and his kids!

Three Sweet Sister Missionaries ;)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Exchanges + Sickly Sisters....


So. This week. Exchanges with our sister training leaders and then we were knocked out sick for the rest of the week. It was rough. 

The best thing that happened this week was that I got to go back to Pitt 3rd!!! It was fantastic!! I got to see two of my favorite people: Sister Snodgrass and Tanya!! (PS if you didn't know or I didn't explain it very well, Tanya got baptized on February 25th!!) I loved being able to see and visit them and feel of their love. It was so good to know too that I had touched their lives--they will be members of my mission family forever! Speaking of mission family, I got the sweetest letter from the sweetest lady in my first area--Sister Guest. I sure love that woman. The people I've met on my mission hold such a huge place in my heart!! Because I know them, I have been changed for good.

Also: proud mama moment. Sister Robison lead out the area for the first time like a champ!! She's ready to be senior companion and I'm so proud of her and how far she's come since she got here.

Tuesday night I started feeling really yucky with a wicked sore throat. Then it went downhill from there. We thought it was the flu...but it was just an awful cold I think...I'm still getting over it though. (Though I've been hit with this nasty nausea which is not the greatest...) It has been a doosey (no idea how to spell that haha). Members have been good to us, as well as the elders, bringing us food and medicine and whatnot. It has been hard not being able to go out and work like normal, especially when time is sure ticking away...but everything happens for a reason and this was supposed to happen (for whatever reason).

I did find out some very exciting news!! Sister Johnson told us that we are having another "Why I Believe" fireside on the 9th. I am sooooo excited!!! I didn't think I would get one more before the end of my mission, but I do!!! And I can't wait!!!! #TENDERMERCY God is SO good.

George is still doing well. We finally got him to pray about the Book of Mormon! It was awesome. He's coming to church, praying, and he's all the way into the book of Jacob, so he's cruisin'! So proud of him.

Ron and Nancy dropped us last week...they have so much on their plates right now with trials left and right they just couldn't handle one more thing (even though they need this the most!!)...but it's okay. I have faith they'll come around.

We've been teaching this sweet lady named Alana and after teaching her more about the Atonement and the repentance process, we set her with a baptismal date!! April 30th, here she comes!!

I hit 18 months officially this week!! Crazy cakes. We got Thai food to celebrate ;-) (no matter where I serve in PA...I always seem to find a Thai place in my area...haha God is so good.)

I wish there was more I could tell you, but there's not. I hope you have an amazing week and prepare for general Conference so you can feel the Spirit and have your questions answered. I know that this church is true and that God is always with us! We are never alone. We are His children and He loves us soooo much.

Remember who you are and that a sister missionary in Pennsylvania LOVES you!! Keep on keepin' on!!

"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

                                       P-day with the Elders roasting hot dogs!

Our District Leader Elder Kotter with a Cheese-filled hot dog
and ketchup on a stick.  I tried one and those things are nasty-YUCK!

Visiting Tonya = Happy Day!

On Exchanges with Sister Roden visiting Tonya!

Celebrating my 18 Month Mark with Thai food - YUM!

Good thing Sister Robison likes Thai food too :)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Some final words.....

Monday, March 13, 2017

Through the Joy of His Son!

Family dearest,

So we'll just get this first part out of the way. The previous week we picked up a new investigator. His name is Joe and he is George's roommate. We had a tough-beans lesson with him but we set up a time to come back and answer more of his questions. Well, last Monday we saw George and we asked if Joe had said anything after we left. George winced and said, "You probably don't want to know what he said." Then pointing to me he said, "Just know that you have a 50 year-old man who thinks you're *really* cute." 😬😬🙈🙈 AHHHHH ABORT ABORT ABORT. It was so awkward...but I'm so glad George told us. Yeah, we won't be going back there to teach him.

But, on a good note, we brought our recent convert Brother Flaus with his wife who is a less-active member to that lesson, and they were the PERFECT team-up! Woot woot! And they live super close to George so that's awesome. They brought him to church yesterday so things are going well there! George is awesome. He's definitely looking out for us and at one point over text he said, "You girls helped me when I was too far gone." My heart! Oh man and then he told us that he told Joe that he needed to get help for his addictions...when your investigator calls his roommate to repentance! Ha ha. Best thing ever.

It was a slower week, but we were able to offer service to a sister in the ward who had her gall bladder and appendix taken out. It just feels so good to be able to help others, ya know! We also volunteer at a place that provides jobs for mentally handicapped people...and it's so fun! We help them do really simple jobs, but I love it! I definitely want to volunteer at a place like that after the mission.

We met with Bishop last week and he gave us the names of some people to go visit. We did, and it was so neat to see things fall into place. One sister who had to come home from her mission early has been struggling with scripture study and we were able to share a message about that. Another sister we went to see because our other appointment fell through. But it turns out the sister we had on a team-up was this other sister's visiting teacher! Coincidence? I think not. We shared a message with her about having our burdens eased through the Atonement. We also sang "I know that my Redeemer Lives" and she loved it! I absolutely love singing for people! It's the greatest thing.

Oh this is kind of a side note, but I played a piano solo in Sacrament meeting yesterday! I did my classic "I love to see the temple" arrangement. And guess what. President and Sister Johnson came to our ward yesterday!! We walked out of ward council, and there they were! It was amazing! Best day ever. I could never say enough good about them--I absolutely love them. Well...President...sometimes he's a stinker.

"How are you Sister Bartlett?"
*shakes my hand*
"Good, how are you, President?"
"Well, I'm doing better than you because I don't have to go home in four weeks."

See?! I love him, but he'll never stop teasing me about that. 😉

This week we met with a Brother in the ward who was baptized a couple of years ago. He's been having a hard time lately and his family situation isn't good at all. He requested a lesson on hope, so we reach most of the talk "The Infinite Power of Hope" by President Uchtdorf. It really resonated with him and it was just what he needed. Especially the following line (which is something I think we all need to remember):

"Never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit."

Isn't that beautiful? Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Despair is not from our Heavenly Father. Instead we have to find hope through our Savior, the Hope of Israel and act on that hope coupled with faith. (Yinz should go read that talk! I *invite* you to read it and I promise something in there will resonate with you.)

Also. I could never tell you how much I LOVE studying the gospel. I would be perfectly content if that's all I did every single day for the rest of my life. I know I need to do other things and not just hibernate and actually live life, but I just love the gospel so much. And I love studying it so much. Reading the Book of Mormon this time around is almost like I'm reading it for the first time, as I see phrases and words that I don't ever remember picking out before. Alma 33 is the I feel like it really gets overshadowed by Alma 32, but this week I saw how incredible it is (Alma 34 too...just the entire Book of Mormon!!).

My favorite scripture from my studies this week, Alma 33:23, which says,

"And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen."

"May God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son." I loved this. It really is only through the Savior that our burdens can be made light. I have truly felt this over and over and have experienced true joy through His Atonement.

Another phrase stuck out as I read the following verses 4-11. "Because of thy Son." 

11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son.

Because of His Son. Because of His Son, we can repent. Because of His Son, we can be forgiven. Because of His Son, we can be healed. Because of His Son, we can receive strength. Because of His Son, we can have hope. Because of His Son, we will live again. Because of His Son, we will see our loved ones again and be with them forever. I love the Savior. I love Him for who He is to me and what He has done for me. I will forever cherish this time I have to literally wear his name next to mine and invite others to come unto Him.

I love you so so so so so so much!! I hope you have an incredible week!!! LOVE YOU TO HEAVEN AND BACK!!!!

"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 Brianna Bartlett
811 Frederick Court
Canonsburg, PA 15317

                                                                Sarris with Sister Ingram

Stepping into Candyland to have an Ice Cream Sundae!

Good thing we shared it!

It also could be the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory!

Gyros with Sister Robison - YUM!