Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Homecomings

These words are an attempt to display the thoughts and feelings I had the moment I stepped off the plane until now. 

The Homecomings

I held my breath as I walked from the plane to the entry,
I knew for them it felt like I’d been gone a century.
My Mom is the first one I see.
With tears streaming down her face,
I can’t help but know how much she loves me.
Fast forward now,
Past the hugs and cheers.
All though the excitement thank goodness
Has vanquished all my fears.
My Dad notices my shoes and eagerly points down,
Inquiring about the holes, tares, and discolor that has caused his face to frown.
Before I could answer my cousin chimed in a like.
Bringing attention to the bruises on my leg
Indicating a crash or two on my bike.
My Aunt chimes in next almost on cue,
Sticking her finger through a hole in my shirt that had been mended a time or two.
The shoes, the bruises and the wear on my clothes,
How could I even begin to share?
Each represented the labor in behalf of those whom I care.
But even though I had wounds to show,
My mind turns to one who descended to a greater low.
New shoes and clothes can be bought and bruises will eventually fade.
But what about the marks of a son,
In whom victory over death was made?
He’ll come back again in great glory,
In a homecoming so grand mine can’t even compare.
I think of his hands and feet and remind myself,
his pain was almost too much to bare.
His wounds won’t fade over time and certainly can’t be bought anew
For he is the Son of God fulfilling all he had to do.   
Examining my marks once again I feel a greater love,

As I realize my experience was only a small mirror of the grand one above.

Monday, 4 May 2015

It's great to be home

Mom loves to decorate the house for my homecoming

Add caption

Family support is great

Love my parents

My well worn out shoes

My crazy mom did this to my bedroom door

Unpacking took forever

It was great to go for a run in the country

Mom had my missionary scrap book all done

More decorations out side

My twin sister came home one week later and it snowed two days after she was home.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Here it is the last email...

Welland let me tell you.. it is going to be the best one yet. It has been a week full of many miraculous miracles. Here are a few weeks highlights for you:

The Seminary teacher has been out of town so the Elders and us have been teaching. We needed to teach five days so we had a contest with the Elders to see who had to do 3... unfortunately we just BARELY lost! So we had to get up at 5:20 3 days in a row to teach early morning seminary! Let me tell you I respect those kids so much for doing that every single day. Sister Montague and I were so tired from it!!! It was incredible though to spend that time with the youth. It really helped me to see how much I have grown and matured on my mission especially in teaching the Gospel. It was a lot of fun. 

On Thursday we had dinner at the Bishop's house with the Elders. Together, we talked about how we could really magnify our faith with the Day of Service Activity to get people to teach from it. We all decided to fast together the next day. So on Friday Bishop, his wife, the Elders, and us all fasted. It was an incredible experience of missionaries uniting with the members. Bishop's wife texted us and told of the tender mercies they were seeing and we texted them back ours as well. It was such a unifying effort it was great. I have grown to love Bishop so much. I am so grateful for the trust that we have developed with him. The ward really needed that.

Saturday was the annual Indian River County Day of Service. Our church hosts it every year. Different organizations and congregations all get together and do different service activities. The kick off is at the church. It was great!!! So many non members everywhere... It was so great to see church vans pull up and get out at our church.. haha Sister Montague and I were put with the Bishop, Stake President, and a  Rabbi and his congregation for our project which was a highway clean up. It was amazing to work along side these wonderful jewish people. You can imagine our conversations. We were able to give one of them a Book of Mormon so we were thrilled about that. It was great to see the community come together and serve along side each other regardless of what religion we are. They are amazing individuals in this community with sincere desires to help others and serve the Lord... now if they would only read the Book of Mormon... 

We had an incredible island miracle this week! There is so much that went into it but I will give the short version... Lets just say we biked over 6 miles on the island until we found a street we could actually knock... we knocked the whole street and no one would even open the door and the people we contacted on the street quickly shewed us away... Both Sister Montague and I were doing all we could to keep our faith high. We just kept saying, "God's prepared people on the island. God's prepared people on the island." and guess what on the LAST door when we were about to stop we found them! An amazing couple that accepted all of our invitations. Miracle and I know they will be baptized. Island miracles are the best. We work hard for them so when they come it is a sweet sweet experience. 

We continue to bike everyday. The other day a UPS guy stopped us and said wow you are everywhere.. we asked "O you have seen missionaries before?" He quickly responded "No you TWO are literally everywhere on those bikes. What are you doing?" He said he has seen us all over as he does his various routes everyday. I KNOW that biking brings blessings. Physical and Spiritual. haha 

My heart is truly so full. I can't believe that it has been 18 months. Words cannot express how I feel. I know that this is the Lord's work and I will never stop doing it. 

I will see you all soon! 


Sister Hartley 

Monday, 20 April 2015

We really are so blessed to live in Southern Alberta

It has been a wonderful week!! On Friday I had a sweet experience that I will cherish forever. You may recall the story of Gwen. She is a less active Sister that Sister Price and I met in Delray. She hadn't been active for over 35 years and hadn't heard from the church in over 11. Sister Andrew and I taught her the lessons and helped her get member friends and make her way back to full activity. Well guess what?! She went to the Temple on Friday to recieve her endowment! President gave Sister Andrew and I permission to go!!!!! It was incredible. The spirit was so strong the entire time and Gwen literally glowed as you can tell by the picture. She has had the Temple as her goal for quite sometime but something always got in the way. She shared with me that just over a week ago she had a dream. Her father came to her and boldly said, "Gwen, it is time. Quit putting it off and GO!" And GO she did! After the session we got to watch her be sealed to her parents which was another very spiritual experience. I am so grateful that we could be there. She has come so far and progressed so much. She is on fire with family history and her conversion continues Christ and his gospel continues to deepen. This is what missionary work is all about. Baptizing and confirming is just the beginning. The church and Kingdom of God is established as families are sealed and completed in the Temple. This is the work of Salvation.

In the other picture you can see that we had a Pinewood Derby! I got to bring out the old car that Sister Stegelmeier and I made and race again. It brought back some good memories.

Yesterday we had ward conference. Our Stake President is President Litchfield from Medicine Hat. Small world eh? We were in a meeting with our WML, Bishop, and him and when I told him I was from Cardston he went on a total Southern Alberta rant. It was the greatest.
We really are so blessed to live in Southern Alberta. Elder Cook himself, when he came here a year ago, said that there is such a special spirit among the Canadian Saints. President Litchfield talked about how it produces strong families, missionaries, and individuals. We really are so blessed to call it our home.

I hope you all have a great week and that we can continue to show the Lord gratitude for all the blessings he has given us by our whole hearted obedience.


Sister Hartley

We had a Pinewood Derby! I got to bring out the old car that Sister Stegelmeier and I made and race again. It brought back some good memories.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

I saw the Lord's hand manifested so many times

This is the most country area that I have been in. 

Thought you might all want to see our beautiful biking helmet hair. 

It has been a great week for the Vero Beach Ward. The ward has made a complete turn around these past 2 transfers. The Elders and us have been working extremely hard with the ward council to get things rolling. The Elders have been working with a part member couple since the beginning of last transfer and they were baptized on Saturday! It was incredible. The ward has waited for this for so long and put so much effort to it. This couple literally was loved back into the church. It was amazing to see how the ward all pulled together for this great miracle. 

This week Sister Montague and I saw the Lord's hand manifested so many times. I know that this is his work and that he knows his children. I want to share 3 experiences that illustrate this: 

1. We had a lesson with an investigator planned but we weren't sure which member we should bring. That night, I prayed and explained the type of member we needed and asked for inspiration as to who we should bring. After my prayer I waited but didn't get any immediate impressions so I retired to bed. In the morning after the alarm went off literally the first thing that came to my mind was a name. "Sister Jones". I, at first, was confused about why she was coming to my mind so early in the morning and then I remembered it was an answer to my previous nights prayer. We called her later that day to invite her to the lesson but had an unexpected twist. When talking with the member she related she had had a really bad fall and was left in much pain. She was feeling hopeless because she needed help doing some cleaning. It has been over a week and no one had checked on this dear Sister. After talking to her, I immediately called the Relief Society President and relayed the information to her and she was very grateful. It was amazing that even though this Sister couldn't come with us to the lesson, she was a Sister in need and the Spirit had brought her to our mind. 

2. A few weeks ago in Ward Council the Bishop asked us to contact an inactive member that hadn't been to the ward before. We tried many times but were unsuccessful. We are biking to an appointment when we noticed a lady with a stroller walking her dog. We stopped to contact her. As we initiated conversation the spirit whispered "This is Sister Walker" (the inactive sister Bishop told us about). I quickly realized that we were indeed in her area. I smiled and said, "Mam you are Sister Walker aren't you?" She slowly nodded her head. This dear sister had been avoiding contact with the church and missionaries for so long. It was a miracle that God placed us in her path and told us who she was.

3. Last night we tried to see a less active family. Unfortunately, they have no interest in the church and believe it or not they were just baptized Jehovah's Witness. Sister Montague and I left there house feeling pretty sorrowful. We decided to knock the street. At one door a man answered and agreed to pray with us. When we asked to involve his whole family he quickly shrugged the idea away saying they would not accept it. The wife heard our conversation and came to see what was going on. She assured us they were fine and didn't need anything. She asked what our purpose was for being there to which we responded "We are representatives of Jesus Christ and he has sent us here to pray with your family for the things you are in need of." Her countenance immediately shifted from closed and hard, to eyes filling up with tears as she began to cry. "How did you know?" She asked. We ended up being led inside and praying with them and there daughter. The wife cried the whole time as they explained there current situation. They are open and ready for the Gospel. It was amazing. 

I know that Heavenly Father knows each of his children individually and perfectly. He knows exactly what we need. 

I hope that you all have a great week. 


Sister Hartley 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

101 new members of the church!

Well Conference was just great wasn't it! I loved everything about it except that we didn't get to hear from Richard G. Scott that made me really sad. I hope he is ok. It was great to here about Karl Tillman! That made me happy as well. I hope we can each change in the way the Lord wants us to because of the great truth we were taught. I am excited to study the messages for the next 6 months. I always learn more when I greater search and ponder them. 

March was a wonderful month for the mission. The phrase "Miracle March" was the theme. We set a goal for 100 baptisms as a mission... and guess what? We got 101!! 101 new members of the church! That is a good sized branch. The unity we all felt as a mission was great. We reached new heights together. It really was great. We have amazing leadership in the mission. We plan to continue on a steady upward course. 

We had a great miracle while waiting for Conference. We were eating lunch in the church kitchen when we noticed a family out in the parking lot riding there bikes. We headed out to contact them. They have twin boys that are three years old. We quickly related that I was a twin as well and this gave us an instant connection. From there it was easy to transition into talking about the family, and since we were in the church parking lot that made it even easier to transfer it into a gospel conversation. It all flowed so well God organized it all beautifully. It turns out they live just down the road from the church. The Mom is Catholic and the Dad is Baptist and they want to be unified. They are alternating churches right now and are confused as to why they are both so different. They want to be taught and committed to church. It was an amazing miracle. They are a wonderful, young, and kingdom building family. The twins will have the blessing of growing up in the Gospel. We are so excited to begin teaching them.

Monday, 30 March 2015

We continue to heed President's council

I can't believe that the last week of March is here. The mission has worked so hard this month. We have really progressed and it is great to see. Elder Hartley I know exactly how you feel about getting a new mission President. It is definitely an adjustment. It took me a long time to get used to President Richardson when President Anderson left. They both are so different. They go about things in a different way. They have different visions. However, I know that both were called to hold the keys for the time frame that they did and are. Just follow the keys and you will be fine. You are very blessed to have half of your mission with one and the other half with the other. That was the same for me and I am grateful to have gotten to know both of them. 

Sister Montague and I worked very hard this week as we do every week. We continue to heed President's council and bike nearly everyday. I love being out my bike. It is great to be seen and contact everyone we can... especially when we are "storming the island". Our Ward mission leader wants us on the island as much as possible. There are a lot of kingdom builders over there. It is definitely a different kind of work but we are learning as we go. 

The Elders had a baptism on Saturday! She is a dear sweet lady. We are all so grateful because this ward has not seen anyone found, taught, and baptized by missionaries in a while.. so between Christa being baptized earlier in the month and now Donna the ward has really made a turn around. We are so grateful for the miracles God has given us and the Elders  as we work are very hardest. President is so happy with the progress that we have made here so I am very grateful for that. All things considered, all is well.

I am really looking forward to Conference this week. I pray that each of us will be able to hear the Lord's voice through his chosen servants. I hope that each of us will be quick to hearken and heed his counsel by making the small and necessary adjustments the spirit prompts us to make. 


Sister Hartley 

Monday, 23 March 2015

We found one of those "diamond's in the rough

The District 

We have had a great week here in Sebastian. We are continually sifting and in fact we found one of those "diamond's in the rough"!! Her name is Kathy. While biking on the island we stopped and talked to her as she was walking her dog. She has a friend who is a member and she has always been curious. Before we could offer, she asked us for a chapel tour! We gave her one on Saturday with a member and she really enjoyed it. She said it wasn't at all what she was expecting. She wants to know more about the church and has agreed for the lessons. She is a wonderful lady and a Relief Society President waiting to happen. We are excited about her. 

The following scriptures this morning really stood out to me they come from Helaman 10:

 4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.

 5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

Often times as I have read this I assume that Nephi was blessed because of his faithful service and obedience. However, vs. 5 makes it very clear why he received such great blessings "because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness". It was his dedication and diligence when things got hard. Anyone can be faithful and obedient but only a select few can remain so under sorrow, rejection, fatigue, and in his case physical abuse. It was his continued dedication and never quitting attitude that led to the blessings. He was a finisher. I know that it will be the same with us. 

I am glad to hear that all is well at home... The Lord continues to pour out his blessings as we are faithful. I hope you all have a great week. 
The sister that Bro. Sunderland taught on his mission and is our ward. She is just one of the MANY sweet old ladies in the ward. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Every day matters

It is transfers again so I am emailing today. I can't believe that another transfer has started... my last one. I can't believe it. Every day matters. Sister Montague and I had some things happen in our area this week:

We visited an inactive for the first time. He was baptized 4 years ago when he married his wife but has been inactive for 2 years; however, his wife faithfully comes, holds a calling, and attends the Temple regularly. He works at bass pro shop and is into all that so we used that to connect. It was funny he claimed how he didn't really care for Sister Missionaries but he said we were changing his mind. He talked very openly with us about why he wasn't coming to church. He had to leave the room for a second to get something and when he was gone the wife sincerely smiled and thanked us for all we were doing and that she had never seen her husband so open before. We were very bold with him about coming back to church and he responded well. We promised him that if he read the scriptures everyday he would have the faith to come to church. We texted him faithfully everyday reminding him to read and on Sunday both Sister Montague and I were all smiles as they walked into church together! They sat by us and held each others hands tightly the entire time. It was precious. "We're so glad your here." We whispered. He sincerely responded, "Me to." It was a spiritual moment. We are excited to see him return to full activity.

Another great experience that we had was last night having a member moment with the Young Mens President and his wife. He looked us straight in the eye and thanked us for our faithful service. They said that between the Elders and us they really feel like they got the cream of the crop. They trust us and would happily have their family and friends taught by us. They haven't felt this way from missionaries in a long time. The spirit was strong, for we all were almost in tears. We are a team. The Elders and us. Elders Anderson and Parry are the hardest working Elders I have ever seen. Both them and us have been biking every single day. We are working hard. We are all struggling to find solid "kingdom builders" but we know they will come because we are being diligent and exactly obedient. Something great is stirring. We are helping to change the spirit of missionary work in this ward. It is turning around and charging forward.

The weather here has been so nice and perfect for biking... Sister Steg you would be so proud... I have come a long way with the whole biking thing. You would be impressed. I love parking the car in the morning and not returning until the end of the night to drive home. It is great knowing that we have our "line in the water" all day. Don't worry Mom I promise I put sunscreen on.

 I love you all! I hope you have a great week.

Sister Hartley

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The missionaries are always the last ones left at church.

It has been a great sun-burning week up north. Yesterday was one of the best Sunday's of my mission. All both the Elders and us talked as well as our Ward Mission Leader. We talked about catching the vision of missionary work in the ward and presented the Ward mission plan and made sure everyone had a copy. Christa was baptized after church as well. I am so happy for her! She has been through so much in her life and this is the happiest that she has ever been. It was such a wonderful baptism for her. 

Sister Montague and I are getting along great. She is a hard worker and a great teacher.. together we get things done. It is great. Here are a few of the miracles we've seen this week:

We set a goal to bike often and look for opportunities to serve. As we've been doing this we have met many wonderful people and been able to help them. We stopped to help an older man rake the leaves in his driveway. After we asked if we could share a prayer with him and his wife and he led us inside. After the prayer the wife mentioned that there daughter in law had met with the sister missionaries a few years ago. We asked for her information and she she gave it to us. We went and followed up with the daughter. "Wow"... she said, "I was shocked the first time the sister missionaries knocked on my door and even more shocked this time." She had been helping her in-laws all morning and all her Dad could talk about was the 2 girls on bikes that stopped to help him. It was an amazing miracle to see how the Lord put it all together. We never know the seeds we plant. I wish I knew the missionaries that taught her the first time so we could thank them for making such a good impression on her. No effort is ever wasted. 

Christa's Baptism

Another miracle happened on Friday night. After MLC we received texts from both our STL's and ZL's exciting us for miracle march and miracle texts. (Sister Steg I know how you must have felt now... it is so hard to not be at MLC!! haha) They texted us miracle texts through out the night. We wanted to have one of our own.  It was 8:30 when our appointment close to our house fell through. It was so tempting to go home but we knew we needed to be diligent and God would give us a miracle. We drove to the first place possible and began knocking doors. We knocked into a lady who was very very hesitant about letting us in with it being so late. We related the miracle that got us to her door and she was stunned... we were persistent and she went and got her husband out of the shower and they let us in. After the prayer she was in tears. We taught them the next day with our WML and they came to church on Sunday! It was a last door of the night miracle. I am so grateful for the Leaders in the mission. They are mighty men and women who inspire us through there faith and examples.

Things are going well. I love being out on my bike. I've missed it. We come home dead tired but it feels so rewarding knowing that we were able to talk to so many people. 

I am so grateful for all the wonderful things that are happening. I know this is right where I am supposed to be and wouldn't be anywhere else. 

I hope you all have a great week. 


Sister Hartley  

Monday, 2 March 2015

11 companions!

As you can tell, I am emailing much later today. It has been quite a day so far. Sister Allen and I drove to the mission home this morning. Unfortunately, her health has gotten worse and shown no sign of improvement so she is flying home today. It was so hard to see her go. I just held on to her and cried and cried... Yes that is what Sister missionaries do. haha I will miss her terribly. 

I have a new companion... her name is Sister Montague she is from California. She is hard working and obedient so combined together miracles are bound to manifest themselves. 

I still can't believe that I have another new companion. Everything seemed fine and set that I would stay with Sister Allen here until the end of my mission. I never dreamed that I would have at least 11 companions! I can't believe all that has happened. Ever since August the only thing that has been constant is change. But all things considered, I wouldn't change anything. Through it all I have learned to rely more on my Savior. My prayers have become so much more meaningful and I have learned to just patiently submit to whatever the Lord's will may be. There is just to much outside of my control to even begin to manage it all. I was reading in D&C this past week and the Lord's counsel to Joseph Smith really hit me. He simply said,"Hold on thy way." Keep calm and carry on in essence. Right now that is all I can do. I pray Sister Allen gets better and races back here soon and the same for Sister Coates.. I love these dear Sisters. To Sister Sanchez, Montoya, Aisa, Stegelmeier, and Price, I see what you mean now. I was with each of you when you neared the end of your missions. haha remember all the crazy emotions you had and I just looked at you like you were crazy and said that you needed to snap out if it.. .well now I am here and let me tell you... those emotions are so real! I can see now how much my young fire must have helped you to keep going.. Sister Montague is going to do the same for me. 

I love you all! Have a great week. Always turn to the Lord and trust in his will and timing. 


Sister Hartley 

Monday, 23 February 2015

She knew we were sent by the Lord.

It has been yet another eventful week. Our ward mission leader finally got home from vacation and we got to meet him. O my where to even start. Lets just say that if you were to scroll through his phone contacts Elder Richard G. Scott would be on there and so would President Monson. Enough said. The man is amazing. He has as great vision for the ward and we are so excited to all be working together. 

We see the Lord's hand guiding us every step of the way. We went knocking the other day but when we pulled up to our pre planned spot we didn't feel good about it so we kept on going. We went somewhere different. I parked the car in front of a house and we agreed we would knock that door last. We knocked all the doors in the neighborhood and found angry, not patient people. We headed back to knock the last door on the street where we parked the car. A surprised lady answered the door. She related to us that her 93 year old mother lived in Independance Missouri and had been a faithful member all her adult life but she, the daughter, had never joined. She related to us how she had to been to Salt Lake and to numerous Temple Open houses, she even has been to multiple family history centers. She has done everything except read the Book of Mormon. She knew we were sent there by God. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon... She didn't want us to come back but we know that it was just another experience to prepare her. She knew we were sent by the Lord. 

All is well except time. Time goes by so fast. We can never ever miss any opportunity to learn and to grow. I love you all! Have a great week. 


Sister Hartley 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Our area is so funny

Well it has been another eventful week with much learning and growth. Travis your transfer training again?!?! Your family tree is growing bigger and bigger. Katelyn your new area sounds a lot like the areas in our mission... Your new companion sounds awesome.. international companionship's are the best. 

Our area is so funny... today we were in Wal-Mart and we overheard a few retired people's conversations.. they were centered on Golf and we heard one couple excitedly tell another "It's great the shower is only this far from the toilet, everything is so close just perfect for us." haha It was priceless... Old people are so funny. 

Guess what else is funny? Elder Thomas is my District Leader! haha this is the closest I have served around him. We had a comp study with them yesterday and we laughed about things only people from Cardston would understand. haha He sure has changed a lot.. He talks so much more. He was pretty shy before, he has grown a lot spiritually to, He is a great District Leader. 

Things are progessing well in our area... we are teaching a lot of Part Member families which is so good to see. We are building up a teaching pool it is so great to see our empty area book begin to fill up. I love it. The field here is so ready to harvest. Sister Allen is amazing. We are learning so much from each other. I love seeing her grow more and more each day. 

All is well! Thank you for all the love and support! 


Sister Hartley 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

There is so many old people here!!!!

"baby" Sister Allen

Hello from way up NORTH! We are as far North as we can get until hitting the Orlando mission. My new area is called Sebastian. We are opening it up again for Sisters. It hasn't had sister missionaries in over 5 years. There is so much that I could say... So much has happened in the past few days. My new companion is Sister Allen she is 19 from Alpine Utah. She knows how to work hard already so I am grateful for that. She is excited to be here and came in with a lot of fire. I knew she was going to be mine the moment I laid eyes on her! haha I love her. We are both beyond excited to be opening this area. President took the previous 2 elders out of the ward and put 4 new missionaries in-1 set of Sisters and another Elders. (Katelyn one of the Elders is Elder Anderson the brother to the one in your mission.. small world eh?) . Everyone is new... The ward really is so blessed... it has 2 of the hardest working missionaries in the mission and 2 brand new missionaries... all together we bring a lot of fire. The ward mission leader nicknamed us "Seal Team 7"  President is so inspired to do this. The ward is AMAZING! In the past it hasn't had the most obedient, nor hard working missionaries. The members haven't trusted them. After transfer meeting President called all 4 of us together and related the history of the area and what he wanted us to accomplish and do up here. The leadership in the ward is amazing. The ward mission leader really is a missionaries dream!! He has held so many callings in the church and has so much experience. . . the bishop has served in a mission presidency... and I really could go on and on. The church building itself up here is a stake center with a HUGE parking lot and 3 bishop's offices! Right now there is only one ward meeting here... it has so much room to grow... I no it won't happen over night but something truly great is stirring up here. The whole time I have been here we have not knocked any doors!! That is a miracle!! The members have kept us so busy with part member families and referrals. It is amazing. I am so excited to be here. Funny note: There is so many old people here!!!! Seriously... it is not as diverse as all my other areas have been. We went to Wal-Mart today and the median age in the store had to have been over 65... haha there are 55+ communties everywhere... the drivers are so slow!! We see so many different license plates of retired people or snow birds... it is really entertaining... The ward has a few young families but not to many.. mostly people just golf and play cards with all there old friends all day everyday... haha lots of time to talk about the Gospel I guess. Anyways things have been busy and I don't know exactly how to relate everything but just know that this is such an exciting time to be in this area... I am so grateful. I am so grateful to have Sister Allen as my companion.. Siste Steg it has brought so many flashbacks to our time together.. especially at transfer meeting when I found out you were my trainer and everyone telling me all about you and how lucky I was to be trained by you.. haha good times... anyways I am so happy to be here. I know it is right where I need to be. Great things are happening.. I hope all continues to be well with all of you!
Sister Hartley

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

"President, when are you going to give me a break?"

Another transfer is here! We had transfer call last night and I am going to be training again!!! I am SO excited. The good Lord grants every righteous desire of my heart. Sister Steg why did I turn out just like you?! haha you must be my momma or something. I am so excited. I sure am going to miss being a Sister Training Leader though. I have learned so much from each Sister whom I have served. I am excited now to focus on one Sister instead of 10. I can't think of a better way to spend the last 12 weeks of my mission than helping a new Sister set a solid foundation. It is going to be a great experience and I am really just so excited.
I have been thinking about my interview with President a few weeks ago. I remember him smiling and chuckling a bit of all that has happened the past few transfers. I smiled back and joked a bit "President, when are you going to give me a break?" He laughed a little more and then turned serious, "I have given you a lot haven't I, but my look how you've grown." I can't help but imagine a similar thing happening when each of us sit down with Christ. He'll look at each of us and smile and say something like, "Wow, I sure put you through a lot down on earth didn't I?. . . But my how you've grown and look at what you have become!" With weeping gratitude I'll embrace him and thank him for every single trial, heartache and sorrow. It will all be worth it in the end. This I know. 

I saw a cool miracle on an exchange this week. The sisters really wanted to focus on following the spirit. We set out to knock doors. We had 3 different options of where to knock so we took it to the Lord. After we prayed, each of us said where we felt we should go. The funny thing was that each of us said a different place! At first we were a little surprised because we felt that if it was the spirit we would all agree; however, we decided that there must be people at all three that we needed to find so we decided to do a little bit of each. We did and we were able to find elect people at each location. It was a miracle! It taught me a big lesson. Just because we don't agree it doesn't mean that it is not the spirit. It is just the Lord trusting us. We need to trust that he is telling us where we need to be. It was a great lesson for me and a great lesson for the Sisters.

I had another interesting experience this week as well. With us being in a trio and juggling 2 areas I go on splits a lot with members from the YSA branch. I was out knocking with doors with a Sister preparing to leave on a mission in 2 weeks. The first door we knocked on received us well and we shared a lesson with them. The next few contacts and doors though were not so pleasant. Rejection, rejection, and wait for it more rejection. The member turned to me and asked if this was what a mission was like. I turned to her, and smiled and told her that I love rejection because it means opposition. If there is opposition then Satan is there. If Satan is there then there is a miracle just around the corner that he doesn't want to happen. In essence, it means that we are right where we are supposed to be. I promised her that if we kept going we would find the miracle. The next door we knocked on we found a middle aged man with sorrow in his eyes. He rejected us at first but we were very persistent and he let us in. We gathered his wife and daughter together to kneel down and pray. After the prayer the man and his family were all in tears. Now having there trust, they revealed more of there situation. I'll simplify it but saying that they knew that God sent us at that exact moment. I turned to the member to see tears stinging her eyes. It's a miracle she said. It really is. She then went on to tell the family how we had been rejected but we kept going because we knew there was someone God wanted us to find. "He wanted you to find us" the man said.  The spirit was so strong. We returned later that week and taught him the Restoration.

I love being a missionary. I love being the Lord's servant. I love being right where he wants me to be. I love finding those whose hearts are ready and waiting to here truth. I love it I love it I love it. Each week I grow and learn more and more.

I love you!! Have a great week.