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Friday, January 31, 2014

New companion has arrived.

My new companion, Sister Davis from New Mexico.  She is a twin! Her sister is serving a  mission in Washington. 
Sister Sharay, our recent convert.

Love all the beautiful wreaths people have on there houses.

Hello family!
Sorry it has taken me so long to email. It has been cold down here and many places in our mission have experienced snow and ice storms so transfers got switched to today. I am staying in Ruston with Sister Bender and we are getting a new companion. Sister Davis is her name, she's from New Mexico and has been out nine months. She's waiting for her visa to come for Brazil. We pick her up this afternoon. All I've heard about her is that she is a work horse so I'm excited. Sister Dailey is off to Red Star Mississippi. It is the most backwoods/redneck of the mission so I'm pretty excited for her to go there. It sounds sweet. We will email again when Sister Davis gets here because she most likely hasn't emailed so I will be back sometime tonight if you need to tell me anything.
It snowed last Thursday! It flurried for about an hour but nothing stuck to the ground. It was pretty cold. We happened to be tracting at the time so we were all bundled up pretty good. Sister Dailey and I felt like we were right at home! It was fun! People thought we were crazy to be out!
We've had a slow week. A lot of people we were teaching either dropped us or we dropped them and we haven't found anyone who is interested. It's hard. The south is tricky. I can't tell you how many different churches are here. People are so confused. We tracted into a paster from a big church down here called The Bridge. He was kind and let us in but it turned into him basically preaching to us. He is a good man, but interprets the bible so differently. It's just hard. People are stuck in their ways.
There is a man in our ward who is so good to us missionaries. His brother past away who isn't a member. Janice wanted to take us to his viewing so we could show are respect to Brother Randell. Brother Randell always says that you'll know who your true friends are by who stands by you in tough times. He appreciated having us there, it met a lot to him. It was in a place called Haynesville. It is southern than southern. A real small town. We went to a Baptist church for it, and it is an old church just from the movies. We were a minority that's for sure. The sky was dark and cloudy, and it was cold. I was in the deep south.
Lately at dinner appointments we give a card with are investigators names and needs and ask the members to pray for them. We had a lesson yesterday and one of the needs got answered! We asked the members to pray that there would be no distractions while we taught so the spirit could be there. Well the prayers were answered and we had an amazing lesson with the spirit! I am so grateful for faithful members and their faithful prayers!
Anyways, that's all for now. Two transfers down and on to the third. What a blessing it is to serve here in the MJM. I know I'm needed here, haven't quite figured out why yet, but I'm working on it.
Love ya'll
Sister Hartley
Scripture: Acts 1 (This is how an apostle is called!)
Southernism: down here rednecks are called "Good Ole Boys" haha

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I have been out 3 wonderful months

A lot happened this week! I'll start with something pretty exciting. On Friday the Elders and us went to Monroe for  specialized training. I had a meeting with President and Sister McDonough. It was for all those in our zone that have been out less then six months. It was such a good meeting and I learned a lot! I was very humbled. Let's just say this week has been very humbling. Dang pride!
After the meeting the Elders wanted to go to this Wing place that is really good so we did. Well Elder Bradshaw says, "Hey sister Hartley want to go to Duck Commander?" I said that we should check to see how close it is. Well he puts it into his GPS and we come to find that it's only a few miles away! When it hit me that we were actually going I started to cry, and maybe scream a little bit?!?! I was freaking out! Elder Mower is like, "Sister Hartley, It's like you're going home or something?" I was like, "Elder, you have no idea how much this means to me!" Anyways when I saw the sign I just started screaming and crying, and laughing! It was awesome! Seriously so cool! None of the guys were there, but we got some pictures and went shopping in the store they have there! Everything was on sale so I got a t-shirt. Oh and we met some members there from Dallas. It was pretty cool!

Like I said earlier I have been humbled ten fold this week. I had a huge learning curve. We had a situation with are Recent Convert and welfare and it was just confusing. But the Bishop and President McDonough helped us and taught us so much. I'm so grateful for them!
The Lord truly works in miraculous ways. Remember last week I said that Sister Zemp and I went to Wal-Mart to talk to people. Well we had a return appointment with someone we met there the next day. We went and no one was there so we started to knock on the doors beside his. We ended up meeting a couple college kids who are amazing! They invited us to there bible study so we went and ended up meeting a ton more college kids! It was the best! After the bible study (I've been to three in the past week!) a girl came up to me and said that her brother is dating a Mormon and she wants to learn about Mormons! Her name is Hannah and I'm pretty sure we were best buds in the pre-existence and we made a deal that I would come to Lousiana to baptize her! She's fixin' to be a teacher and is doing a practicum at a preschool. She's from a ranch so after we taught her we were swapping stories. She told me a crazy story about a bull they have so I told her about how I almost died from a bull because I ran into the fence! The spirit was strong as I testified that God protected me. I just love her!
Another neat thing that happened this week with a investigator named Melissa. Her son has to get an operation in a few weeks on his heart and they were really nervous so the Elders came over and gave her son a blessing, he's almost 11. After the blessing we asked him how he felt and he said, "I feel really, really good." Melissa was crying and the spirit as strong. The dad is a southern devoted Baptist, but he was present for the blessing and I think it softened his heart towards us. I'm so grateful for the priesthood.
I'm the driver now. It feels so good to be driving! I love it! It's a good stress reliever.
Yesterday we visited a returning member, it was are first time visiting her. We were there for 45 minutes and she talked the entire time! Southern people can talk and talk and talk! We all had a good laugh after!
Anyways, that's all for this week! Love my companions, love Ruston, love the ward, love my investigators, love my mission president, love my fellow missionaries, love the prophet, love the scriptures, love my Savior Jesus Christ.
Sister Hartley.
Scripture: 2 Nephi 27-29
 Valentine tree with a picture of Elvis as the star

Monday, January 13, 2014

I worked with Sister Zemp!

Well this week has been pretty good! It was a week of learning and coming closer to our Savior. On Thursday the Sister Training Leaders came to do exchanges with us. Sister Zemp and Sister Smith. I think I've told you this before, but Sister Zemp is from Calgary and her uncle is the Brother Zemp that is the temple recorder. Sister Smith is from Montana and her dad is a cattle broker. My package came a few minutes after they arrived so I was able to show them the pictures and they both loved them because Sister Zemp has been to Waterton and Sister Smith could see ranch work. Sister Smith is legit. She's been in the army and plays rugby and is just super cool! Sister Zemp is legit as well, she's a miracle worker. My prayers were answered because I got to go out with Sister Zemp and Sister Dailey and Sister Bender went with Sister Smith. I was excited to be in a duo companionship and to be working with another Albertan! We did a lot that afternoon. I learned so much from Sister Zemp! She's such a great missionary! We went to Wal-mart and talked to people and it was awesome!
Friday morning the Sister Training Leaders discussed with us what they learned at mission leadership council and what not. Well the mission theme this year is "Perfect Use of the Lord's Time." So many beautiful things have happened in our mission in the past couple months. When Elder Zwick was here he made a promise to our mission that we could triple are baptisms in the coming year if we would sanctify ourselves, use the Lord's time perfectly, work hard, and be faithful. Having Elder Zwick say that is literally fulfilling prophecy about the south. (Remember President Kimballs quote?!?) Anyways as the STLs were saying all this the spirit was so strong! I guess our mission is the lowest baptizing mission in the states. The STLs were telling us what a great honor we as missionaries have to be placed in the MJM mission at this exact time and that Heavenly Father knew we were the ones he needed to bring this forth. It is so humbling to all of us. It made me realize that I was supposed to wait and leave in October instead of May because now I will be here for the entire year of 2014 and see all the miracles that will happen. To make things even better, on Sunday they announced that the stake theme is "Hastening the Work" and to sanctify ourselves. So the two are the exact same! Elder Zwick said the only way we can accomplish the goal of tripling our baptisms is working with the members.
Anyways it is so exciting and humbling! The south is a really hard place to serve. So many people already have a church and are very committed and comfortable.
Well, that's about all I have for this week! I am doing good, starting to get into the routine of it all and my teaching is slowly improving. The Lord truly qualifies those he calls.
I love ya'll!
Sister Hartley
Scripture: D:C 88:68-69
Southernism: We were tracting and Sister Dailey and I didn't have our coats on. We were at this door and I could tell Sister Dailey was cold so I said, "Don't worry Sister Dailey, after this door I'm Fix..." Then I stopped mid-sentence and realized that I was going to say, "I'm fixing to go get my coat." We all had a good laugh.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Testimony Building Week

Good Monday Morning to ya'll! This past week has been testimony building. Many people here have the sick bug so Sister Bender and I have been a little under the weather, but we are on the mend for which we are grateful.
Last Monday night we were teaching an investigator who is very intelligent and likes to talk. We were having a hard time getting are word in because he kept talking about all his preacher friends telling him to stop meeting with us and to get rid of the Book of Mormon. I was so nervous. He kept looking right at me and saying things like, "You see Sister Hartley....." Anyways I kept trying to butt in and speak, but he kept going. We were at the library and it was closing soon so we finally had a chance to speak. I was so nervous and scared, but felt prompted to be bold with him. I stood up and started mapping out a diagram on the board that shows how we have to be baptized by proper priesthood authority in order to make it to heaven. Anyways my voice and hands were shaking the entire time. At the end I looked him right in the eye and bore my testimony to him that I knew that that was the only way we could return to God's presence. The spirit was very strong and he said something like, "Sister Hartley I can see that you really spoke from your heart." He then asked us why all his friends were against the Book of Mormon and him meeting with us. Sister Dailey, being the champ that she is, says to him, "Can I be blunt?" He said yes so she goes on to tell him that they don't want him to read the Book of Mormon because they know if he studies it he will know it's true." After the appointment we went in are car and I just broke down into tears. I was just so overwhelmed with it all! He came to church yesterday and was touched by the testimonies of the congergation, especially the young children.
While tracting and teaching this week we have had quite a bit of harsh words and tones spoken towards Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It really shook me at first. In my personal studies I read Joseph Smith History and my testimony of him and the Book of Mormon only increased. Also so many people like to question us with Bible verses and stuff. All those who have been out less then six months meet with their District Leader once a week to role play and practice. Elder Bradshaw is so good. He always asks us what questions people have thrown at us and he shows us scriptures to use and explains different bible parables to us. He knows his scriptures so well. He showed us an amazing way to teach as well. It was amazing!
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored the gospel in these Latter Days. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. I know that the Book of Mormon translation is correct and true! I love it! I love my Savior and am so grateful for him. His name be praised forevermore!
Have a blest week!
Sister Hartley