I'll be honest, this week was a tough one. I had one of the hardest days of my mission this week and in ways I felt like I hit rock-bottom. But thanks to phone calls with Sister Johnson, a Priesthood blessing, more heart-felt prayer, and fervent scripture study, I'm getting there. So grateful for all the resources I have that are here to help me. And even though I am going through yet another rough patch, I am learning more than ever how much I need to rely on my Savior. If my mission has taught me one thing, it is that. He is my rock and I literally am nothing without Him and cannot do anything without Him. Sister Robison and I are each going through our own rough patches, so if you can send some extra prayers our way that would be much appreciated. (:
Feeling that my faith has been a little weak, particularly this week, I decided to go back to the basics. So I've been studying a lot about faith, the first principle of the gospel.
I was reading in Alma 32 and though I've read this chapter many times, I learned new things and made some new connections. One was the theme of humility right before Alma teaches about faith. I realized how much humility and faith go hand in hand. We have to have both. Verse 21 is quoted all the time, but when it says, "faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things", I thought of a definition of perfect meaning whole or complete. And of course our knowledge is not whole or complete and won't ever be in this life. That is why "we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Another verse that drew me in was verse 42. I read it and immediately the Spirit flooded my mind with insights...I hope I can share a few with you.
"And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst."
As I read this verse this time around, I thought of Lehi's dream of the tree of life. Similar wording is used in 1 Nephi 8:11-12:
11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.
12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.
With these verses, I thought of the symbolism of the tree and the fruit and thought of 1 Nephi 11:21-22:
"...Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things."
The tree represents the love of God, and the fruit itself (as I was taught in a seminary class) is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I pondered on the love of God, and feasting, I thought of Jacob 3:2, which says:
"O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever."
An invitation to receive "the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love". With the description of feasting, that led me to 2 Nephi 31:20, which says:
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
I know I'm on this crazy train of thought, but bear with me. It will all tie together, I promise. ;) Feasting on the word of Christ leads us to feast on His love (the scriptures teach us continually of His love and His mercy). Holding fast to the iron rod (the word of God) leads us to the tree of life, to partake of the fruit of that tree which is love of God. And all of these things help us to access the power of the Atonement. I had never connected those scriptures in that way before, and I was so grateful the Lord saw fit to teach me these wonderful principles through the Spirit.
I absolutely LOVE getting up and studying each and every morning. It is the best part of my day. I love the scriptures, so much. I have gained an incredibly strong love for the Book of Mormon, as it has brought me closer to my Savior and enabled me to come to know Him better. It has taught me how to more fully access the Atonement and how to overcome the natural man so I can progress towards being more like my Savior.
I don't think I've told yinz about two of our investigators, so here we go. Two of our investigators, Becky and Daisy, have been taught for a long time by many sets of missionaries (they are part of a part-member family). In turn, we have been kind of stuck as to what to do for them. As Sister Robison and I were planning this week, we felt very strongly that we needed to set them with a baptismal date to give them something to work towards. We prayed and April 9th felt so good. So we extended it to them and they accepted! We are so excited for them!!
We had exchanges this week and I got to see my favorite Sister Simpson! It was the greatest. Next time I see her will be in Utah. Weird. *shudder*
I got to spend those 24 hours with Sister Faamaile, and if you don't remember, she was in the car crash last year. Coincidence that we were with her on the one year anniversary? I think not. She is absolutely incredible! She has overcome so much and is so incredibly strong. I admire her so much.
February 9, 2017: one year anniversary
This day was full of a lot of emotions as I reflected back to a year ago and what transpired on that day. I'll never forget the absolute heartbreak I felt when I got the news. I re-read an email President had forwarded us from the Wells family and just cried and cried. I still feel so much for that family. They are absolutely amazing. I had never felt the reality of the Plan of salvation so unmistakably as I did that night and the weeks that would follow. I know that we will see our sweet Sister Sadie Wells again. And I know she is working right along with us each and every day, bringing souls back to our Father in Heaven. What a sacred experience that all was, and it is one I will cherish and hold onto forever.
Well, my incredible family, I love you so much. I can't thank you enough for the endless support and encouragement and love--it has meant the *world* to me. I would never be able to do this without you by my side. Thank you, a million times over. I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON 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)
"Have faith, have hope, live like His Son. Help others on their way."
Sister Bartlett xoxo
811 Frederick Court
Canonsburg, PA 15317
Me and Sister Robison with our STL's Sister's Simpson and Faamaile
Me with Sister Simpson again-happy day!!
With Sister Faamaile who was also in the car accident withSister Sadie Wells! I happened to be with her on the year
Anniversary of that tradegy!
Remembering and honoring Sister Wells by wearing"Sadie's Socks"! One year Anniversary
Febuary 9, 2017