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Monday, November 11, 2013

First Week In The South

Well my first week down south has been, well interesting! I am slowly adjusting to everything. It is such a big change! I love it though. My companions are awesome, we already talk about getting together after our missions. They are so good and I'm learning a ton from them.
Lousiana is beautiful! Folks down here say, "ya'll" every other word, and we address those older then as "Miss Paula" or "Yes Ma'm" or "Yes Sir." It is really nice. In a week it has rained twice. I'm glad for my rain coat.
We have the wonderful opportunity of tracting for 7 hours each week. I'll be honest, I wasn't thrilled at first, but honestly it isn't so bad. Folks down here love to talk about religion so tracting gets pretty fun! I've said numerous "grace" holding hands on doorsteps! Once we were leaving a house while tracting, and we hear the lady shout, "Praise the Lord, Holy Jesus thank-you for those young ladies!" It was awesome. So many folks of other faiths tell us that they respect us for what we are doing.
We have a baptism date scheduled for the end of this month. I'm excited for it and hope they continue to progress. We went to go do service at a church and the minister inspired me! Her name is Cathy. She is so passionate about our Savior and serving him. I wish everyone had the passion she had for God. I just love her, she's so inspiring.
We were tracting the other day and got talking to some men on a porch (everyone here sits on there porches). Anyways we make small talk and then keep walking up the street. Then my two companions stop dead in there tracks, look at each other, and say, "I feel like we are supposed to go back." We turn around and sure enough the spirit was strong and I just know he's one of those prepared to here the gospel!
Another time we were tracting, and we got talking to this other guy standing on his porch. He had a beer in his hand and when we walked up and said we were missionaries he immedietly put his beer down and had a good converstation with us. We were def in the right place at the right time.
Another time tracting we knocked on a door and turns out this family had just had a death in the family. We were able to pray with them and they told us that, "we were in the right place at the right time" it was so neat. The lord truly works through the spirit.
Yes yet another time we were tracting and ended up in the 89 yr old ladies house. She pretty much told us her life story, it started with, "I was six when I started workin for the white folks." I could hardly understand her, but she was the sweetest lady. When we left she says, "you babies are so cute!" I was the last one to stand up and she looks right at me and says, "Oh Baby you are to cute!" It was awesome! She loved my boots, I told her she need to buy some of her own and take a night out on the town! haha
Last story, we tracted into an old Baptist named James. He wanted to tell us a thing or two about the bible. He said that the bible contained truth from God and we were to always listen to truth! He went on and on and finally cut him off (you have to do that in the south) told him about the restoration, bore my testimony, and shoved a Book of Mormon in his hand and told him he better read it! He looked at me and said, "Ya, I'm going to read this!" It was the best. His home was so oldschool and "Jazzy" He had a picture of himself on his shelf in his navy uniform. My was he a handsome fella.
Church is good here. I love all the members. They are so good to us. I love being a missionary. I have a lot of work to do and things to get right, but I know that the Lord will help me though them!
Love you all!
Sister Hartley
Scripture: 2 Nephi 29:8
Southernism: We saw this on a car yesterday: "Do you follow Jesus this close?" hahah

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mississippi Here I Am

Hi everyone! I'm writing to ya'll from Clinton, Mississippi! The flight yesterday was long, but fun. The Atlanta airport is CRAZY! When we got to the Brandon airport President and his wife were there along with all the STL and Assistants. They are all so nice! President is so soft spoken and friendly and his wife is awesome as well. Yesterday he gave us his four main things.

1. take one day at a time
2. keep BOTH feet in the mission field
3. gain a testimony that YOU are where you're supposed to be
4. gain a testimony that President is called to reside over the MJM mission

There are 3 Canadians in the mission. I don't know where one is from, but a STL I met is from Calgary. Sister Zemp is her name, her dad is brothers with Dal Zemp so she has been to Cardston a ton. 

Mississippi is so beautiful! Green Green Green. Forestry is so beautiful! The trees are so tall and are everywhere! Oh and there are churches everywhere! I think in a 15 minute drive I saw at least 5 different churches. They are all huge to! The homes here are straight from a country magazine! Most have big wrap around porches and some even have rocking chairs! Sister Rust, the lady we stayed with, says, "In Mississippi we don't hide our crazy folks, we just sit em' on the front porch in the rocking chair." 

Sister Brown and I stayed the night at a member's home in Madison.email! So sweet of her eh? She'd thought you'd like to know that we are safe! 

Funny story, sister Brown was in the Bathroom and comes running into the bedroom, "Sister Hartley come look at this spider!" Ya we're talking a spider the size of a toonie! It was hairy and gross. I think it was called a wolf spider. Anyways she killed it and we are all good!

I am at the church right now, it's transfer day. I am going to Ruston, Lousieanna! So excited! I will be in a trio. I'm told my companions are real hard workers and are always laughing so it sounds like it will be good! 

I'm real excited to be in Mississippi, all the STL and Assistants say, "Ya'll" all. the. time. They say they can't help it! I love it. I have already seen a lot of African Americans. When you are driving and see all the forestry and train tracks you can just feel the history here. I can't wait to learn all about it.

Oh and guess what mom?!? We got a cookbook! haha it's called "The MJM Missionaries CAN cook." All us sisters were pretty excited!
They all say this week will be long and hard, but I will get through it. I'm super excited to get out to Lousianna and work work work! 

Have fun talking to Melissa on the phone today!
Love, Sister Hartley 

Long time no see. I'm back emailing again. My companions hadn't emailed yet today so we are in the library in Ruston emailing home. It was a long drive from Mississippi to get here, just over three hours. But I'm hear and doing good. We went to the apartment to unpack a little then tonight we are having dinner at a member's home. My companions are Sister Daily (spelling?) and Sister Gibbin (spelling?). They are both from Utah. One has been out for 3 months and the other for 6 weeks. They are super nice and I can already tell that we will be good friends! One has younger twin brothers. Such a small world. Anyways I'm doing good, just adjusting to everything and remembering that I am officially a missionary. People I have talked to in Ruston all have the southern accent. About 24 000 people live in Ruston and there is one ward. About 34% of the ward is active. There is much missionary work to be done. The bishop has already called to officially welcome me to the ward. It was nice!
Oh funny story. So last night the AP Elder Bendell asked me if I took ballet because he said I looked like a dancer, and then today one of my companions asked me if I was a dancer. They all say I look like a ballerina. I just smile and say that my mom is a dancer. :)
My bike is here with me. I was excited to see it here. I'm glad we shipped it. It's nice not to worry about a bike like all the other sisters. My companions don't have bikes, they walk a lot. But they said that they have been wanting to bike so they are excited to go by bikes tonight so we can all bike.

Here are some statistics from our mission that I forget to tell earlier.
Elder Bendell said that when he came out, (about two years ago) that there was just over 100 missionaries and only 12 sisters. So crazy!
Love ya!
Sister Hartley

President and his wife

Sister Brown and me our first night in Madison MS at Sister Pamela Rust home

Our District

Mississippi River

All the new Brothers and Sisters

My bike was shipped to MS

My two new companions

Sister Monson from Cardston is serving a mission in MS, what a new surprise to see my teacher from school

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Last week of the MTC, time is going by fast.

So much has happened in a week it's crazy! I'll start with Sunday. Sundays at the MTC are neat and relaxing. All the sisters meet for Relief Society. I was looking for Melissa and I look down my row and see her sitting like fifteen people down from me! I showed my branch president's wife, "Hey that's my twin!" and she says, "Well you need to go sit by her!" So all the sisters play the whisper came until it comes to Melissa. She gets this big smile, looks down the row and sees me! We got to sit together with our companions! It was awesome. There's also another set of twins here that are going to California. Also, on Sunday we get to walk to the temple. The Lord must really love us because Melissa's district was timed to go at the same time as mine so we got to take pictures together! Yesterday I was in the bathroom and this investigator starts talking to me like she knows me and I'm just playing along and she says, "You don't know me do you?" and I say "No" and she points at my name tag and says, "But aren't you sister Hartley?" I just laugh and say "Oh you are talking about my twin!" haha it was pretty funny! We had a meeting with all the new sisters and they gave us the big spill about "How to act like a lady" Melissa and I just laughed, our momma taught us that stuff years ago!

It is awesome because I have had a couple spiritual experiences with investigators where I can talk about being a twin. One investigator, Linda, didn't believe that God loved her because of all the people in the world. I told her that I was a twin and how people always mixed us up and stuff, then I told her that I knew that God never mixed us up and always knew me by my name. It was really powerful. Yesterday Sister Brown and I invited her to be baptized and SHE SAID YES! We literally jumped for joy after! We were so excited!! 

I love my district. We are all close and excited to serve in Mississippi together. I seriously love my companion. She reminds me of Mary Poppins. She kinda looks and dresses like her, and she's got a big bag full of everything. You never quite know what she'll whip out next! She's so funny. She is always singing, and changing her voice. She keeps our entire district laughing. I am going to miss her. She is really talented. I sang in the choir with her, and in turn she came to the gym with me! 

Halloween was fun. Elder Odies was like "Halloween is my favorite hoilday, it's the only day candy is freely given!" haha

I love feeling the spirit. It is so amazing. We met this lady on campus, she's an investigator. She's orginally from Tennesse so she was telling us all about the south. We have grown to love her. We got a picture with her. We all know that the spirit guided us to her. I pray the Lord bless her! She was talking about having something and not being able to use it, likening it to chickens and how they have wings and can't use them. It made so much sense.

I love you all! I will be in Mississippi on Monday and I cannot wait to serve the people! 

Sister Hartley 

Sis. Hartley & Sis. Hartley Provo Temple Day

Melissa & her companion with me

Sister Hartley's and our companions