Hello fam bam!!
Happy new year!!!! It's 2017, can you believe it?! I don't think it's sunk in for me yet. I can't believe this year has actually come...I was under the false impression momentarily that this year would never arrive. Ha ha. How silly of me, right?
It was a super slow week, so I don't have much to say about it. But the definite highlight was Ronald and Nancy...they are amazing. We saw them this week and taught them the Plan of Salvation. It was a great lesson! Ronald told us again that he's been to several different churches, but he's never learned any of this. He said, "Where's this been all my life??" Ha ha. It's incredible to watch them begin their journey of conversion and watch them see and feel the difference, the peace this gospel is making in their lives. We also invited them to be baptized and they accepted!! We will be extending a date to them this week, and I am so excited!! Best thing ever. These moments make everything worth it. These moments are the reasons why being a missionary is the best thing in the world.
For New Year's, we had dinner with a family, and then came home and cleaned. We did make our own sparkling cider out of sprite and juicy juice which was super tasty. Went to bed, Sister Kelley said, "See you next year!" and when I woke up, it was 2017. It definitely feels weird not staying up on New Year's Eve. But, oh well. There's a time and a place I guess.
Oh! I also had my check-up MRI at the hospital in Washington. It went well, they had me in and out pretty fast. They inserted the contrast through a vein in my hand which was interesting, but it felt fine--he did a good job with it. Now I'm just praying the results come back and I am still clear of my brain tumor.
With the end of a year and the beginning of the next, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. We heard a lot about goal-setting and what it means to set goals and what it takes to reach them. I am determined to set both short-term and long-term goals for myself that I can reach this year. As I've sought direction from the Lord in prayer, I am beginning to catch the vision of the coming year, or at least some of the things God wants me to do and work on. I am excited for what this year will bring!
I feel so blessed to have spent all of 2016 in the Lord's service as one of His missionaries. It was the craziest, hardest, most heart-breaking, most trying, most spiritual, amazing, beautiful and incredible roller coaster of a year I have ever experienced. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I consider it one of my biggest blessings, for it truly is a huge part of me now. I can't really put into words how much I love my mission, Pennsylvania, these members and missionaries. A huge part of my heart will always stay here. My heart breaks when I realize more and more than I am getting closer to the end...but I am determined to finish strong and stay focused on the Savior.
I watched one of my favorite Mormon messages again this week: "New Years: Look Not Behind Thee"...so good. Here's the link if yinz wanna watch it: <https://www.lds.org/media-
library/video/2010-12-21-new- years-look-not-behind-thee? lang=eng>
I also reviewed some of a BYU devotional by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, titled "Remember Lot's Wife", and I wanted to share some of it with you:
"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot's wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind."
He also quotes Philippians 3:13–14...
"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
This was a wonderful reminder for me, and I am going to do all I can to incorporate what he teaches us here. 2016 was an absolutely incredible year, and it would be so easy to give in to the convincing thoughts that 2017 could never be anywhere near what 2016 was. But I know that whatever God has in store for me, the best is yet to come. He's going to walk me through this year, and I will trust Him where He leads me.
Let's make this year the best one yet!! And to start it off, have the best week ever!! 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 xoxo
Happy New Year!!
New Year's 2017 Polynesian Style!