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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quite the week here in this lovely vineyard of Texarkana.

Sweet sweet family, I have had quite the week here in this lovely vineyard of Texarkana. Exchanges with the STLs, getting caught in southern rainstorms, finding the elect, crazy tracting, and mighty opposition, baptism miracles, and specilized training. 

On Sunday Sister Bithell and I had quite a bit of tracting to do, we sought inspiration as we planned where to knock, we felt like we needed to go to a particular street so we did. We met a lady who couldn't talk with us right then, but assured us that we were welcome back to visit. We kept tracting down the street, when we were walking back up on the other side of the street she was out with her neighbor waiting for us. She offered us water and cookies and proceeded to invite us to a concert her church was having that night. Sister Bithell and I talked about it and felt like we should go. We went to the church and walked in a little late. Turns out we were set up for an anti-mormon devtional/concerrt. The lady that invited us saw us and came over to sit with us. We had only been sitting for 5 minutes before we realized what was happening. Up on the stage was a group of guys in there twenties. The speaker was from Salt Lake City, he was showing pictures of serving a mission and proceeds to tell his story of apostizing from the church while serving his mission and proceeds to say the most abursed things. My heart has never pounded so heavy in my entire life. I turned to the lady and said, "That is not true, this is not right, we are leaving." We got up and made quite a scene as we proceeded to leave the auditorim, the gal kept trying to get us to stay and listen and all the people around us got up to help her. We shook are heads and left, but not before I made eye contact with the man on stage and gave him a look I pray he remembers for the rest of his life. Once we got out of the auditorim and into the foyer, in an attempt to leave, the lady kept demanding for us to explain ourselves all while her friends are backing her up. I looked at her and with full confidence opened my mouth and the spirit filled it. She kept cutting me off and trying to block my path. She followed us all the way to the car. We got in the car and got out of there. I was pretty fired up. We called are district leader for a priesthood blessing and then we called President McDonough. President McDonough told us that we had just lived through a Book of Mormon story, we were the angel that came to Alma the Younger. We literally lived Mosiah 27, and Alma 26:28-30. President reminded us that in the last days even the very elect will be deceived (Matt 24:24). I know that there needs to be opposition in all things, I never realized that I would be thrown head first into it. I know that this is the price we pay to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, it is a price I am willing to pay. (Acts 5:39-42). In these days we have to be yoked with Christ (Matt 11:28-30). We are protected and able to withstand the adversary as we keep close to the scriptures (1Nephi15:24). In 1 Nephi 8 it talks of the 4 groups of people in Lehi's dream. One group only "clinged" to the rod, they did not make it, only those who "held fast" made it to the tree. We must keep with the teachings of the scriptures and latter-day prophets. 

The MJM is moving forward with the Lord's work, the adversary is also moving his work forward, especially in Texarkana. Are district has had quite the week. We recognize that this will happen, we know who will win in the end, our confidence is sure. 

The Schmidts, a less active couple in the ward, they take good care of us. 
We may get a lot of opposition, but the elect are out there. These two have had contact with missionaries on and off there entire lives, the timing was finally right when these two hard working missionaries knocked on their door. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

I asked if I could stay in Texarkana forever.

How are y'all doing this lovely Monday morning. It was great to see the pictures of the snow. Our ward mission leader texted us Thursday morning to tell us that it snowed in Calgary overnight. The weather has been crazy here. We've had a cold front and some good rain. We needed the rain. 

I have a ton to write about today and I hope it all makes sense and comes out how it should. We have been so richly blessed in Texarkana. In my weekly letter to President McDonough I asked if I could stay in Texarkana forever, he wrote me back and said that it may not happen. haha For now I will thoroughly enjoy every minute I have here. I love it so much.

I mentioned a little last week of the struggle Sister Bithell and I have been having the past few weeks with finding the elect and actually teaching people. We would tract only to get doors in the face or people tell us they have already been "saved." We were getting super frustrated and discouraged. Are zone leaders taught district meeting on Wednesday and it was powerful. I wont go into detail, but President McDonough has had some inspired revelation to move the mission upward and onward. Our mission is doing things that have never been done before. To do things never done, we must do things we have never done. The Texarkana zone has taken this principle pretty seriously, we've initiated the law of sacrifice. D:C 97:8-9. Anyways we are pretty pumped. Sister Bithell and I were pumped after district meeting to go out and work are hardest. Well the afternoon seemed to go anything but the way we had imagined. We were ready to be bold and testify on every door, well that can't happen if doors don't open or people don't give you the time of day. We went home that night extremely frustrated. We had a really good talk about faith and sacrifice and immediately began listing things we needed to sacrifice and change and initiated a plan. Sister Bithell got a bike so Thursday we set out on are bikes and went out finding. Miracle after miracle came to us. The good Lord showed us where to go and gave us the words to speak. We were able to find, teach, and commit to baptism. At the district meeting the zone leaders had us describe are next person we were going to baptize and write it down on a card. The whole zone did this, within the first two days everyone had found their card and made a new one. On Sunday the bishop invited us all to ward council and we were all pumped about all the baptisms coming up and the returning members that have been coming. I love it. I love missionary work, and I love the Lord.  

At the church library e-mailing our parents

Amy's Baptism day

P-Day at the church house e-mailing family

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Amy was baptized on Saturday!!

Hey Y'all. 

Well, this week was full of a lot.

Amy was baptized on Saturday!! Yah!! It was a very spiritual baptism. She was all smiles while in the font. The ward support was incredible. Ahh I just love Amy and this ward so much. Amy is so amazing. She's a true friend. We are so blessed here in Texarkana! God is so good. 

Amy's Baptism

On Friday night we received permission to go to a football game. It was Arkansas high school vs Texas high school. The 100th time they've played each other, needless to say they are rivals. I think it was more fun watching the elders be so excited then actually watching the game, haha. It was fun though.

Go Tigers!!

Church yesterday was great! A returning member that we have been working with since I got here came to church yesterday, the first time since I've been here! When I saw her walk in I was all smiles! She goes, "I just wanted to surprise y'all!" Well she sure did and it was the best! 

The past few weeks have been challenging in the finding department of missionary work. Usually we are able to give 4-7 Book of Mormons a week, but in the past two weeks we have given 1. To say it has been challenging is an understatment. Last night it was getting pretty late and we were in are apartment having dinner and then we had scheduled time to train. We both felt impressed that we needed to go out and tract. It was like 7:20 and getting dark, but we went out with a Book of Mormon in hand. Well the first couple doors were a no go. Not going to lie, I was getting really mad. I shed a few tears after one door that rejected the Book of Mormon. By now it's like 7:40 and getting dark and Sister Bithell points to one last door and says we need to try it. With the Book of Mormon in hand and all the faith I could muster we knocked and it opened to the nicest guy. He had some misconceptions about the Book of Mormon that we were able to clear up and then bear powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. He had a sincere, genuine desire to read it! He said he was happy to end are two week streak. We were to. The Lord sure works in mysterious ways.  

The Lord is good.

Sister Hartley
Baptist Billboards

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We need to get more sacrament trays

Miracles are happening here in Texarkana. The ward is growing every week. Amy is all set to be baptized this week! I am so excited!!! I can't sleep at night! The weather is still hot and humid. We need a good rain here. Miracle in itself: we prayed the other day for rain and it rained over are apartment and no where else. God hears the prayers of his missionaries. 

 The ward is seriously exploding, we need to get more sacrament trays because we have so many people. It is awesome! Love it! Love Texarkana. 

Love y'all. Keep on keeping on!
Love, Sister Hartley