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Monday, December 30, 2013

New Compaion

Well this week has been another big learning curve, but I love it! We picked up Sister Bender on Tuesday. She has is from Mesa Arizona and has been out for 10 months. She is da bom! I've only been with her a week, but I've learned so much from her! She is such a good missionary, but not only that she is just so fun and outgoing! She is much like my MTC companion. She's always cracking jokes, singing, and just herself. Sister Dailey and I love her! Ruston has already seen many miracles because of her being placed here!
This week we tracted into three college girls. LA Tech is in Ruston so Ruston is pretty much a college town. Anyways all these girls were so beautiful! We had a good message with each of them. I just love sharing the gospel with younger folks. They are so much more receptive.
Yesterday we all felt impressed to go tract on a specific street and we got talking to a young father who was Baptist I think. Anyways it was the first time someone really questioned us. He kept trying to tell us that Mormons believed in works not faith and that it was by grace and faith that we are saved. We explained to him that we show are faith through are works but he wouldn't have it. I'm glad Sister Bender was there. Anyways needless to say, I'm going to study grace this coming week!
The members here are great and take good care of us. One member tried to give us her Christmas tree when she realized we didn't have one. We talked her out of that and instead ended up taking some of her garland instead. We have a standing lamp we never use so we are thinking to wrap the garland around that to make a tree. The countdown is looking long mom! Tomorrow we're going to a member's home for dinner and then we are going to set up our "lamp tree" and make Oreo milkshakes!
 Today is my two month mark! Crazy right?!?
I have loved these past two months. It is crazy how fast they have gone by. My mission will be over before I know it. I am so excited to serve the Lord this next year. It will be great! The Lord has blest are family so much! The Lord has blest us all greatly and in turn he expects much from us. I often think of the scripture "where much is given much is required." The Lord requires so much of us. I read a talk about missionaries the other day and it was saying how the only thing we can give the Lord that he hasn't already given us is our will. When we turn our own will over to his we have given him all we have. The talk went on to say that as missionaries we are to leave our wants, dreams, and desires at home in our closet with all our other stuff. For this next 16 months we are on the Lord's errand. How humbling is that.
I love ya'll so much and pray for ya everyday!
Sister Hartley

Scripture: Mosiah 2-5!!!
Southernism: In Gospel Principles yesterday we all went around and did introductions. We had to say one thing we wanted for Christmas. This RM was there and he was total redneck! He had on cowboy boots, and was sporting a wicked red beard! Anyways it gets to him and he says in a southern drawl, "For Christmas I want me a new duck boat!" haha it was the best!

I'm still a "Greenie"

I've officially completed my first transfer! Ya! I'm still considered a "greenie." Oh well, I'll take it!
I miss Cardston and all the people there. This week I got a Christmas card from Greg and Linda Quinton and then I just got a ton of emails from so many wonderful people. Soderstroms, Olsens, Kristi, Derek and Jessica, and so many friends. It is so nice and it makes me want to work harder to represent little ol' Cardston down south! Guess what? I tracted into someone that went to a soccer camp at Lethbridge College! I wanted to hug them!
This week has been great! So much has happened in a week it's hard to know what to write. I'll sum it up so you can get an idea.
Zone conference, baptism, parade, and tranfers. Sister Giddins got transferred to Winnisborrow, and Sister Dailey and I are staying in Ruston and getting a new "Momma" Her name is Sister Bender and she's been out 10 months I think. We'll miss Sister Giddins, but we are excited for Sister Bender. I'm excited because she's "seasoned" and president said she's very wise and knows her missionary stuff. I'm excited to learn from her. We pick her up this afternoon. Sister Dailey is are driver because she's been in the area the longest. Throughout this transfer and I'm pretty sure the rest of my mission I'll be known as the "Logical one." haha. I tell them I get it from my parents! They all say there grateful that I'm always thinking of the best/smartest way to do things effectively and efficentely.
Some cool experiences this week:
Last Saturday we taught a man named Bill. We had it in a members home and it was awesome. We've taught him all the lessons. He's in his late 50s I think and is very sharp. Anyways, we taught him about seeking truth through prayer and church attendance. We committed him to church and then the member invited him over for dinner after church. It was great! Ruston members are powerful tools here in Ruston! Bill was all excited to come to church and dinner after. Well Sunday came and no Bill. We called and texted him and no response, which is weird because he always responds. Well, time goes on and we haven't heard from him for a few days. I was freaking out and praying so hard for him! I thought for sure we'd lost him. Well on Saturday he texted us and said he's in the hospital. Saturday night he was walking down the street and got hit by a car! He's now in a rehap center and recovering. Isn't that crazy! Dang adversary! It was just crazy and I still can't quite believe it happened!
We are teaching a lady named Pat. I know one day she'll get baptized, but right now she has a lot of stress in her life and needs to get things straightened out. Anyways last time we met with her she started crying and told us that she had been praying for someone to come help her and then we tracted into her a few days later! God loves his children!
The baptism was really great! The ward was really supportive of Sharay. We couldn't confirm her this week because she was sick and had to go to the hospital. We are doing it this Sunday though. We need to get it done!
The parade was so fun! We had a bunch of missionaries come for it. We handed out 500 Joy to the World dvds! It was awesome! Parades are so fun!
My birthday was good! It was sad without Melissa, but my "sisters" made it all good. We went to Chili's Saturday night and that was good. I got "country fried steak." It was good, but not like home. My companions told the ward mission leader that it was my birthday so last night we went over to there house and his wife made me a cake. It was really thoughtful. People here are so nice!
Our neighbor has been really friendly to us as well. He's fried us cat fish and yesterday he made us beans and rice. It was real southern food and good. He has also made us sweet potato pie. You have not lived until you have sweet potato pie! So good!

Love Sister Hartley

PS. You should read Alma 34! It is sooooo goooooood!

Christmas Parade, we handed out 500 DVD'S
Aunt Ginny's famous turtles for dessert.

Had to go buy a warmer coat.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Elder Zwick

Well this week has been a good/hard one. On Friday us and the Elders drove to WEST MONROE to meet up with the transfer van to drive to Brandon Mississippi to hear Elder Zwick of the seventy (he's the assistant missionary director!). I was so excited to go to West Monroe, seriously I could hardly sleep the night before, I woke up and got ready so fast! We got to the church before the transfer van and Elder Bradshaw said if we had more time he would have totally taken us to Duck Commander. There's always next time.
The conference with Elder Zwick was awesome! I've never felt the spirit for that long before! It was fun to see missionaries from my MTC district, it was almost like seeing family! Before Elder Zwick spoke we all got to shake his hand and he chatted with each of us for a minute. When he shook my hand he looked right into my eyes and said, "Sister Hartley, you look like a missionary. You look pure." It was one of the best compliments I have ever received. His talk was amazing. In it he mentioned that it wont be long before we have tablets and are using social media, within the next 6 months-year I'd say. He talked a lot about the covenants we made in the temple and how we need to honor them and we are honoring them by serving a mission. He spoke a lot of the blessings we receive from being missionaries. He gave good advice of how to teach and testify simply as well. I'm not sure what else to write about it, I know that whatever I write wont do it justice. He is truly a man of God.
The next day Sister Giddins, Sister Dailey and I were anguish to put into practice his teachings. Well are day ended up being pretty crazy. I've never been so stressed in my entire life as I have been these past few days. I'm not sure how to explain it, basically I feel like I have to solve everyones problems and help everyone. Tranfers are on the 17 and everyone thinks Sister Giddins is getting transferred so her and the Elders want Sister Dailey and I to start taking more of "the lead." I get what they are saying and I believe we have been doing pretty good, but sometimes I get frustrated that they expect me to do all these things when I haven't really been taught how to do everything. Sister Giddins, Sister Dailey and I are all still pretty new. We've been out 4 months, 2 months, and then 1 month. We are young and have a lot of learning to do. It's frustrating because I'm so independent and prepared. I feel as though my biggest strength will become my biggest weakness if I don't learn how to control it. I always want to do things myself and I forget that we aren't supposed to do everything ourselves.  Our district leader phones us every Sunday to see how we are each doing and then he sets us with a goal for the coming week. This past week mine was to be diligent at role playing and this week my goal is to remember that I am doing the Lord's work. I shouldn't care what anyone thinks but the Lord because I am doing his work and I need to do it his way. The DL said that the sooner I learn to only worry about the things I can control the better. He said if I worry about the things I can't control I will struggle my whole mission. I'm glad I'm figuring all this out now. 
Let me just tell ya'll that we have the best members in the world here in Ruston Louisiana! Do you know what our Bishop did yesterday? In sacrament meeting he gets up and says that the fifth Sunday is today so all the teachers wont teach and that for the next two hours we are going to go out and get our less actives. He hands each family a paper with three less actives and tells them to go bare there testimony to them, invite them to the Christmas parade and then to church on Sunday. Isn't that unreal! He said that we've all heard the story of the good Shepard going out to find the one, he says, "We've heard that over and over again, well it's time we start doing it!" It was the best! Like a missionaries dream come true. We wanted to cry! We as sisters split up and we went with some older single ladies. It was awesome! We are meeting with the Bishop on Sunday to go over the updates. Ya!
People down here are so cool. We watched the devotional at a member's home last night and they are pretty much legit. Pretty much half the ward was there. I wish you could meet all the awesome members here!
Anyways, this coming week is crazy. Tomorrow we drive to Monroe for Zone Conference, then tomorrow night we have A BAPTISM!!! YA! Her name is Sharay and I love her! The sisters were teaching her when I came so it has been fun for me to get to know her. I love missionary work. On Thursday it is the Christmas Parade and our ward has a float so we as missionaries get to walk beside it and hand out DVDs and pass along cards. It's a big deal around here. Then on the weekend we are hoping to hit up a couple Baptist Christmas concerts. We can go if we get our tracting done. I love tracting! I didn't like it at first, but it is fun now. I told my companions that I want to tract all day on my Birthday! Their like, "Sister Hartley do you hear yourself right now? You just said you want to tract on your birthday!"
 I love mail!
 Stay warm!
Love Sister Hartley


 Merry Christmas to ya'll! This week has been full of ups and downs.
 Well Thanksgiving was really good here in Ruston. We racked leaves for a less active in the morning, and then we went to Janice's for dinner. It was so good, soooo good! Then right after that we went to Pat's for dinner and it was soo soo good! I ate everything on my plate except I couldn't finish a little piece of carrot cake. I was quite proud of myself. Janice is such a good, thoughtful person, I admire her so much. Pat's was fun, we helped her cook the whole meal so we were there longer then we should have been. I helped her make a spice cake. I will send the picture so you can see her and her friend Oberia. They are a hoot! I've never laughed so hard in my life!
Thanksgiving night was spent role playing with the Elders. I know that role playing helps me, but I still don't like doing it. Anyways, long story short Sister Dailey and I sorta had a little breakdown and told the Elders (One of them is our District Leader) how frustrated we were because there was so much to learn and remember. It probably looked so funny, us sisters breaking down and the Elders trying to help us. I felt like a silly sister missionary. But the Elders were good to us and told us that all sisters go through it. Anyways it felt good to get it all out. Sister Dailey and I made a goal to be more diligent at role playing so hopefully that helps.
Oh fun thing that happened this week. Wednesday night we figured Wal-Mart would be really busy so we went A. I. that stands for Additional Invite, no dad it doesn't stand for the other A.I we do. haha. Anyways it was a gong show. Missionary work is awkward, and I'm an awkward person so put the two together it is just plain awkward. I tried giving a Mormon.org card to one lady and I was freaking out inside! After I run up to Sister Giddins and said, "we need to role play this out!" so here we are in the shoe isle at Wal-Mart. Sister Giddins has this empty shopping cart and is playing a shoe customer and I have to go up to her and give her a Mormon.org card. ha just imagine that, it was so funny! We all had some good laughs in the shoe isle. Oh and along with that, I've never seen so much camo and rednecks in my life. They all shop at Wal-Mart! haha Oh and lots of people have super duties!
Yesterday we ate lunch with Miss Kay Knotts and her husband. She is a Methodist. She says, "I'm a Methodist with Mormon friends." She is the best and made us so much food and then she made us take so much home with us! She treats us so good. We are going back there next week to help her organize her books. She says to pass the kindness along. There are so many kind people here in Lousiana! I love love love the south!
Last night we tracted into a 60 yr old Budist/Pespertian we talked to him for a good hour. Southerns talk a lot. I'm trying to learn how to butt in and testify. Anyways, he had some questions about pologomy and why women can't hold the priesthood. I felt like we cleared them up pretty good. Once he heard I was from Canada he got asking me about Huttrites. It was awesome! I told him all about them and how awesome of people they are. He says, "ya'll know I have been thinking that that is a smart way to live by considering all the stuff going on in America today." I told him that if I weren't a Mormon I'd be a huttrite. My companions thought that was pretty good! haha
Did I mention that people here are so nice, because people here are so nice! On Friday we get this phone call from a Brother Williams. He is from Shreveport I think. Anyways he is a convert to the church. He and his family were traveling through Ruston on there way home from Thanksgiving traveling and he wanted to take us out to dinner. So we met him at a restaurant and ate lunch. Nicest, coolest guy ever. He fixes plane engines so he has a lot of cool stories. He treats the missionaries so good. We asked him for some advice because he has been around missionaries a lot. He told us to just have fun. We have nothing else to worry about right now besides serving the Lord so just have fun while doing it. We all needed to hear that, especially after our little breakdown with the Elders.
Lots of fun things are happening this month for our mission. This Friday Elder Zwick of the Seventy is coming to speak, and then the week after is zone conference, and then tranfers. Our ward has lots of Christmas activities coming up so I'm excited!
I love ya'll so much and thank-you for being so kind with your letters and emails! I love being a missionary!
Love Sister Hartley

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm excited to write ya'll this week! I have had a great week! It went by so fast!

It rained good on Friday and Saturday and it's been raining pretty good all morning. I'm so grateful I hauled my rain boots here. They are so nice.
We were tracting at a trailor park and these two black boys, around 13 and 9 were shooting some hoops. I felt like we should talk to them so we went over and asked if we could shoot some hoops with them. Sister Dailey and Sister Giddins wouldn't play, so I shot some hoops with them. It was awesome! I was guarding the little boy and he asks, "what church you from" and while I'm trying to steal the ball I say, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint!" haha I asked who there favorite team was and of course they say the Heat because they love Lebron!
The First Temple Baptist church put on a big Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday that we went to. After the pastor gave a short talk we went up and shook his hand and talked with him for a bit. Turns out he's Carl Malone's (he lives in Ruston) pastor. haha it was awesome!
Another time we were tracting and knocked on a Spanish family's door. Thank goodness Sister Giddins knows some Spanish. The dad invited us in and says, "it's my birthday and I was hoping someone would bring me a present" We handed him a Book of Mormon and wished him a happy birthday! We are teaching them again this week. Our ward mission leader is Spanish so he's coming with us. Bless his heart he's so good to us!
I had to give a talk in church on Sunday. On Elder Ballard's conference talk. It went good. Glad it's over. Guess I'll have to get used to it.
I tracted my first duck hunter yesterday. We're talking legit Duck Hunter. He said he's Baptist, so I asked him what he learned at church this week and says, "Actually this morning I was studyin with the ducks." I totally got the joke and was all, "Really? Did you get any?" But Sister Giddins and Dailey were so confused? They're like "You studied what at church?" haha it was pretty funny. He was nice to us.
Along with that we tracted into a different home that had an antler for the doorknob. They invited us in and they had at least 15 deer heads mounted on their wall. It was so neat. We taught them the restoration, but she couldn't come to terms with priesthood authority and wouldn't take a Book of Mormon. It was a good teaching lesson for all of us though. Just planting seeds.
Ruston is taking on the Christmas spirit. There was a holiday arts door this past weekend in the downtown shops. We went because some of the members had art in it. It was great! They were playing Amy Grant Christmas music and had Christmas trees up. Thanksgiving will be fun this week. We are going to Janice's house. She feeds us every week. We went over there on Thursday night to help make some center pieces. It felt good to get my craft on. Made me miss pinterest a little bit.
I am so thankful that ya'll have made it possible for me to be serving a mission. I am doing good. I love and miss ya'll so much. I am loving being a missionary though. The Elders look after us and so do the STLs.
Have a great week and stay safe!
Sister Hartley