Monday, 30 December 2013

Another miracle week, Merry Christmas I'm in Florida!

It was so good to see all of your beautiful faces on Christmas day. I loved talking to you all! It sounds like everyone is doing well and I am so grateful. God is so good. I am so grateful for all of the blessings he grants us each and everyday. 

This week has been challenging. Halfway through the week most of our teaching pool had dropped us and we were struggling to find. However, despite the set backs, it has been a miracle filled Christmas week. Upon beginning our harvesting on Christmas day we OYM'd a lady and she led us to her house so we could bless her. Little did we know it would be a beautiful family of 7 very elect and undoubtedly prepared by God. All have such a strong desire to change and are seeking for peace and forgiveness. 5 of the 7 came to church on Sundayand loved it. They are preparing to be baptized this coming week. God is so good. Even though we had hard days we never once lowered our faith. We kept going and God blessed us with miracles. 

 On Friday we had a comp study with our district leader and his companion. He started out with a scripture that was clearly all about pride then he turned to me and said, "Sister Hartley have you ever read President Benson's talk "Beware of Pride?" haha finally someone had the courage to do it and hit the nail on the head. haha man I died laughing inside. It is true though. Pride is a very sneaky thing. It is so much more than being puffed up, but rather it manifests itself in many small not so evident ways. I have seen much success on my mission and I am most grateful and I know that it is through God and his mercy that we have had so much success. However, I feel that that is not where my pride is rooted. Rather it is more in the quiet details that aren't so easily noticed. It is trusting in God more than in yourself. It is having expectations for yourself and letting the pressure of others get to you. It is comparing your talents and abilities to those of others. It is being comfortable and content with where you are. It is failure to take correction. Mom and Dad you'll love that last one. I have been praying so hard for God to forgive me of all of my pride. Pride is so sneaky! President Benson explains it perfectly. I challenge you all to go and read his talk. It will change your life. It has changed mine. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and the atonement. I have done a lot of repenting. Everyday I put my trust in him more and my faith increases. True confidence comes only as we put our faith and trust in Christ. Trusting in any other resource is pride and this truly profits you nothing. While it may bring initial happiness and contentment it is not long lasting. God is humbling me and I am so grateful. 

Neftali and Antonio received the Priesthood yesterday! So amazing to see Neftali receive it and then stand in the circle for his son! So tender. In the 5th sunday lesson Bishop asked Neftali to share his conversion story with everyone. It was so amazing. I am so grateful that God led us to him and his beautiful family. They are such miracles.

I love you all so much! Thank you for everything. 


 Sister Hartley

Miracle week!

Love bike riding.
Wow what a week. I don't even know where to start! Let me start by saying this one simple thing: God is so good. This past week we really took President Anderson's words of council to heart and we saw many countless miracles as a result. We applied this beautiful little formula-- Faith + obedience = tremendous miracles. God gave us many opportunities to exercise our faith and we are so grateful. 

I had such a good Birthday! It was really hard to not be with Katelyn but I know we are both where we are supposed to be. We saw many amazing birthday miracles and I am so grateful! It all started with ward council.... the Elders put my name on the Progress Record that it was my birthday so the entire ward council sang happy birthday! haha it was pretty great. The Happy Birthday song was sung to me at least 8 times! There are so many amazing people here I am truly well taken care of.The Bishops son made me a cheese cake and we went to the Papenfusses for dinner and she made me a cake as well that I got to blow the candles out.  I am so blessed to spend the next year of my life on my mission serving the Lord. 20 is going to be an amazing year. 

We were visiting a less active member. We knew she was home but we couldn't get her to come to the door so I sneeked in through the gate to unlock it for Sister Stegelmeier

We had a miracle on Saturday. We harvested this family that is so amazing! Not only are they married, but the Dad actually works and understands his role as a father and provider. They are amazing and have everything going for them except the fact that they aren't Mormon, well not yet anyways. They are struggling right now though financially in the last few years they have had many unexpected situations and literally have no furniture in there house at all. Anyways on with the story. We were teaching them saturday night and we were solidifying them for church the next day and The Mom said they really wanted to go but just couldn't. We asked what was holding them back. She just put her head down and whispered that with everything going they didn't have money to spare for the laundry mat she hadn't done laundry since OCTOBER! (shd washes the neccesaities by hand) We felt so bad. We told them we had a washer and a dryer and we could wash outfits for church tomorrow.She wasn' t going to let us do it but I jumped up and told her that we would entertain the kids while she went and picked out outfits for them all. I surprised myself with how bold I was but it worked. She didn't ask any questions and went to finding the clothes. We sang songs with the kids. It was so wonderful. The spirit in the home was so strong. By the time we left we had the kids singing I am a child of God and families can be together forever almost perfectly. It was wonderful. They came to church and LOVED IT! You should have seen the kids in primary. They were naturals. I can't wait to continue teaching them and see them get baptized just in time for the new year! Wadline (the mom) felt so bad for us doing her laundry she wanted to give us something in return, so she gave us some of there dinner. It was one of my first experiences with haitian food. It was SPICY!  It was okra with beef and rice. It was interesting but I ate it all and it was pretty good. 

Sister Stegelmeier and I still get along really good. I am learning so much from her. She is such a good missionary. I am so blessed to have her as my trainer. Everyday I learn more and more. Looking back I can see how much I have grown and I am so grateful. I am becoming more confident in teaching. I still have a long way to go but I am happy to see progress. I am even finally enjoying role playing. Role playing is truly an eternal principle and I am going to do it for life. haha Role playing is awesome.  I love contacting people on the street. Especially when we are on our bikes. It is always a good time. 

Thank you for all the love and support from home. Countless emails and letters and I am so grateful! Thank you everyone for all the love and prayers. Here is a special shout out for  CARLEY TAYLOR! I can't believe you are married. I may have shed a tear or to when I saw the picture. You look beautiful and I am so happy for you two! 

Ho Ho Ho

I love The Sommerfeldts

Celebrating my 20th birthday at the Papenfussses

Decorating our Christmas tree in our apartment

Friday, 13 December 2013

I can't believe how crazy the weather is at home! A member checked the weather for me and he said it was -23! Crazy. It was 28 in Boynton at the time. ha ha Please be careful with driving and everything. 

Tuesday was my first day biking. Let me sumt up this way I LOVE BIKING! Contacting people on bikes is the best. We meet so many more people this way. Not only that but it feels so good to bike rather then sit in the car. I love it. The weather is perfect for it now--not to hot. Sister Stegelmeier bikes fast but I hold my own as well. We will be biking a lot this month because we have to go to Fort Laud multiple times for conferences and that really hurts our miles. 

On Wednesday we had exchanges. I went west to Wellington with Sister Aloi. She is amazing. Truly an example of quite dignity and keeping calm and carrying on! She is from Samoa. She doesn't have a drivers licence so I got to drive! YES! First time driving in Florida. We have this thing called TIWI and he tells us when we are speeding, or if we turn a corner to sharp or anything like that... pretty much a tattle tale. I was feeling pretty good because TIWI hadn't told on me at all but right after I said that to Sister Aloi he said "Check your speed!" haha it was a good laugh. I liked driving it is crazy but I like it. 

Guess what?! GLADYS AND KESHAWN GOT BAPTIZED yesterday! It was so amazing. It is so rewarding to find someone, teach them, and then baptize them! They have changed so much since the first day we met them. It has been a roller coaster with them being kicked out of there house and finding a new place, yet we have kept in contact the entire time. God's hand was truly in it. Keshawn even bore his testimony at the baptism yesterday. After he got baptized he said, "I am staying in the church for the rest of my life." It was so touching. He sat beside me and during the closing song I am a child of God he sang so loud and so cute!  Man it was special I had tears in my eyes the entire time. The Gospel changes people. Gladys is pretty funny as well. On Saturday night we were at her Aunts house finalizing everything for her baptism and she was telling her aunt about the sacrament, "You know at your church you have bread and wine but at there church they have bread and water. And I don't know what it is but they put something in the water and it just tastes so good. You feel so warm and so clean. It makes me cry." ha ha we laughed first and then explained that we don't put anything in the water but rather it is blessed first. She is a character. 

I am so grateful that I am on a mission. Everyone should go! You learn so much. I have learned more in the past 5 weeks then I have in my entire life! God is so good. I have especially learned so much about the atonement and not only how it blesses others life but how it blesses me as well. I need it. It really hit me this week in the D&C 84 where it talks about that in the ordinances the power of god (or the atonement) is manifest. In other words, in order for individuals to feel of the complete cleansing and motivating power of the atonement they MUST be 
baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Christ has suffered for everyone, yet so many people do not have access to this great gift of the Saviors peace. I am so grateful to be a missionary and carry the message of the Saviors peace to all of God's children. Peace and healing can be found no other way. I love my Savior so much! I am so grateful that God is merciful. For if he were only just well lets just say that would be a sad tale because I wouldn't stand a chance. The Gospel is beautifully simple and simply beautiful! 

Lets just take a moment to dwell on the fact that I turn 20 this week! I don't know how I feel about this.... It is ok though because it is on Sunday and Jednar is set to get baptized so that will be the best birthday present ever. 

I love you all so much thank you so much for the letters, emails, and prayers! 

 Aunt Ginny sent me a birthday card. It made me cry! haha I love her so much. Guess what else? There is Tennis courts at our apartment so Sister Steg and I are practicing our skills... haha we are getting better! It is fun.
Gladys and Keshawn's baptism! This picture shows their personalities perfectly... We couldn't get Keshawn to stand normal. 

I love Mondays! It is so good to hear from everyone and especially know what is going on at home. Time is going by so fast, for I can't believe that December is already here. We are already planning for week 5 of the transfer! It is so unreal. 

This week has been so good. Thanksgiving was quite the day. We were only allowed to go to 2 dinner appointments. We went to a Haitian family in the morning. They are so nice. I guess they don't have Thanksgiving in Haiti so she made as a mixture of Haitian food and American. We had turkey, collard greens (good but I would never make them for myself! They have a really weird flavor), rice with beans and avocado, and mac and cheese bake. People here have mac and cheese with there thanksgiving dinner? Weird right? But it was really good. I enjoyed it. That afternoon we went to the Yorke's for dinner. The Yorke's are amazing. They take such good care of us. They give people rides to church on sunday, come out with us, give us food, and they even drove us to Stuart for our Zone Conference so we could save miles! They are amazing. They love missionary work. We have many awesome members like this. We already have 5 invites for Christmas! I don't know what we will do. I was so full after the second dinner. I tried to not eat a lot at both places but I was still so full. That night we went out hoping to find families home together, we met a few awesome people but for the most part people were not home or just to busy to talk to us. It was frustrating but we made the most of it. 

Remember the pictures of Gladys I sent last week? Well she was all set to get baptized on Sunday but she didn't and I am super sad about it! Dad it is so true what we watch on O'Reilly every night!!! Long story made short Gladys is getting kicked out of her house because she can't afford rent anymore yet she has cable, a smartphone and a smartphone for her 12 year old grandson who she is raising!!! Yet she has no money to pay for rent or food or anything. It is so sad. We meet so many people like this. People who have cable and phones and Xboxes but yet can't pay rent? man it is so frustrating. Anyways that is my rant for the week now back to Gladys. She didn't come to church with all of this craziness going on. It is a bummer because we had taught her everything and she loves God so much and really wants to be baptized yet she just couldn't put all of the worldly things aside. It is super sad because even though she knows the Gospel that won't change or help her until she is baptized and receives the Holy Ghost! She is still on square 1. Man it is frustrating. We are praying hard for her. 

Well I am getting so excited for the Christmas season! Mom I got the other package and I love it! Especially the Nativity fridge thing and the little game! haha I just laughed when I saw that. Thank you so much! 

I love you all so much! Thanks for all that you do for me! I love you! 

Sister Hartley 
The Elders ride bikes LOTS! We are going to start this month because we have to go to Fort Laud for lots of things and will need the miles. I am excited to start biking. It will be a good way to contact people. 

The Elders and I with Sister Carleen. 

The last one is with the Yorke's. 

Haitian Dinner for Thanksgiving

Some of our Thanksgiving Pictures for you. I love all of the Palm Trees here. It doesn't feel like I am in the city because there is so much vegetation everywhere. I love it. Avocado trees, mango trees, and all sorts of things.

My dearest family and friends, 

O how I enjoyed all of your emails this week! Thank you so much! They brought me so much joy. 

This week has been so amazing! I have learned so much. So many amazing things have happened. We had zone conference on Friday in Stuart and it was so amazing. It pretty much changed my life! I love President and Sister Anderson! I feel like I was being taught by an apostle! President knows the doctrine so well and can teach it in such a simple powerful way. We talked a lot about repentance and more specifically, "Baptism unto Repentance". I learned so much. We also talked a lot about talking with people versus talking at people or to people. Sister Stegelmeier and I are realizing that this is something we struggle with. One of my newest  favorite quotes is from Elder Holland, "If we listen with love we won't have to wonder what to say." This is what I am working on doing. President talked about how Christmas is coming and how for us who are used to snow the only way we can have a white christmas is to BAPTIZE! I thought this was such a good way to look at it. So that is what we are going to do. We are going to have a white Christmas! I can't believe December is almost here and that I have been out for a month! It is crazy.... Time is going by to fast. I have learned so much from mission already. It truly is a role play for my entire life. It is truly the best 18 months FOR my life. I am learning so much about myself. It seems as though all my weaknesses are presenting themselves everyday... but what is amazing to me is that as I forget myself and concentrate on my love for the Lord and his children and go to work he truly does make weak things become strong. As I rely on him and put my trust in him I truly become an instrument in his hands. There is no greater joy than following the promptings of the spirit and relying on the Lord and seeing the miracles that come from it. It is amazing. 

Sister Stegelmeier and I are really trying to expand our teaching pool. We were harvesting the other day and we found a family of 6!!! They are so amazing. The Dad went to the church when he was young in Haiti. When we gave him the book of Mormon he just smiled and said O I just know this is true already... I just have to convince my wife! haha it was funny and so powerful! The spirit was so strong. They are such an amazing family and will be such a strong family. I am praying so hard that his wife's heart will be softened because she is pretty content and stubborn. 

We had our Thanksgiving party on Saturday. We had 3 investigators come! The same 3 came to church yesterday as well! YES!!! I love it so much. Gladys is the ladies name. We asked her what her favorite part about church and this is what she said, "The bread and the water because when I drank the water I just felt so good. I felt so clean. I couldn't help but cry!" The spirit was so strong. I love her so much. She is such a funny lady. We just need to get her to stop her coffee and then she can get baptized... anyways the ward party was so fun! We made our derby car and guess what? We got 4th place!!! It was so fun. We couldn't believe it because we made it so fast and with little thought but everyone was so impressed with our car. I guess 4th is the best the missionaries have ever done and the sisters have never made their own car it is usually the elders. So we made history! haha We lost to the bishops car by barely anything.. everyone was so impressed because the bishop is an engineer and wins every year and our car almost beat him! haha people are so funny... It was a good time. It was so fun to just relax and get to know the members better. 

I love you all. Thank you for all your prayers! 

P.S. No I haven't rode my bike yet. We took them twice this past week to start but both days it rained and it rained hard! I have never seen rain like that before. It comes down in sheets out of no where! I have never been so grateful for an umbrella and raincoat! 

Sister Archie.  She helps us out so much.
Our beautiful champion car. Couldn't weight more than 5 ounces.
Elders were so jealous of us.
Zone Conference, "When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as Gold"