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 ;)