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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hi Everyone! We had another great week here in Texarkana. The girls got baptized yesterday!!!!! It was the sweetest thing in the world, loved it! They had so much family support, over half of the people there where their family!! Little Loriann is the sweetest, I asked her what she was most excited for and she said, "to know what the Holy Ghost feels like." 
The sweet girls at their baptism! Loriann, Ally, and Novalee!

The girls with their sweet moms.

Saturday was a great day here in Texar. It was pioneer day so the stake had softball and games at the church. It was super fun to play softball, reminded me of good ol' youth days. Only it is better being a missionary because no one can judge you for your lack of softball ability, haha. It was fun though. I guess usually it's just a mens thing, but they let Sister Bithell and I play and towards the end a few more gals joined in. It was fun to be with the stake and see other sister missionaries. It was a really hot day, and in the afternoon we had a bunch of tracting to do. It was getting a little hot out walking and then bam a miracle happened. We knocked on a door to find Sister Rowland behind it! She's a member in the ward, she's amazing! Anyways turns out it's her mother's house (who isn't a member). She let us right in with a big ol' hug and ice water. We were able to share a message with her mom and it was really spiritual. The members here are amazing, and God is amazing. Miracles always happen while tracting, it's wonderful. 

Speaking of tracting, last night we got talking to a man who really knows his bible. I sorta had an "ahh huh" moment while talking with him. He brought up several scriptures from the bible and I knew about all the scriptures he mentioned and was able to be bold and give him some questions to think about. Afterwards I got thinking of how far I've come in the past 9 months. The Lord truly has helped me, his grace is a beautiful thing, for I lack so much, but when I do my part his grace is truly there, I can feel it. 

Training has also caused me to contemplate my vision as a missionary. Sister Bithell is so sweet and has such a strong desire to learn, grow, and "become." She reminds me of myself when I was in her shoes. President said that he had a very clear and distinct impression that we were to be companions. 

Anyways, that's all for now. We're playing softball with the elders and some members this afternoon and hopefully some cards, we'll see what happens. Love all the pictures yall send every week. I was showing off Jett to the elders and they think he's pretty cute. Life is good isn't it. So blessed. Oh I loved seeing Aunt Ginny, and mom your hair looks great! 

Love, Sister Hartley 
Helping Sister Ethridge can peaches!
Family Home Evening with our favorite people!

Our service for the week...a member moved into a new house that need some serious cleaning...we offered are services! 
What life looks like right now! Gotta love talking to families! 
Us and Memaw (the girl's grandma) 

New Companion, Sister Bithell

Friday, July 18, 2014

President McDonough is inspired

This past week has been bittersweet. Sister Meek and I had a great last week together. Tonight we drive to Shreveport and early in the morning Sister Meek will head to the mission home and I'll stay with the sisters in Shreveport until my new companion comes. I'm not sure who my new companion is, President said he will call me tomorrow morning and let me know who she is. She'll be coming from the MTC. In interviews a few weeks ago President McDonough told Sister Meek and I that I would be training. I'm so glad he told me then....so I could have a good 3 weeks to prepare. (I am my mother's daughter after all!) I'm excited and nervous, but I know the good Lord is mindful of us, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that President McDonough is inspired. Whoever she is, she sure is lucky to come to Texarkana...this is the place to be! I promised President that I would raise up a valiant and steadfast missionary, I know the good Lord will help me. 
Seeing Sis Shoto (98 yr old member!)

Saying goodbye to Shyanne (dear friend of ours)

On Saturday, the Lord gave Sister Meek and I an experience I will never forget. We had a lesson with a couple that we have been teaching. The lessons have been going pretty good. Usually they end up being question and answer sessions. Anyways, it got to a point in the lesson that I could see that we were getting no where. They asked us what we believed, we showed them scripture, and then they would change the scripture around. With the spirit guiding my words I explained that we weren't getting anywhere and that we weren't out to prove anything, that they had to ask God and read from the Book of Mormon. The wife then spoke for a good 5 minutes against everything we had spoken of, telling us that we're basically going to **** for what we believe. I sat there, my heart racing, waiting for her to finish. When she did, I didn't say anything for a long minute, I let the spirit come back and when I felt the time was right, I placed the Book of Mormon and Bible in my hand and said with all the confidence and conviction that I could muster, "I know what I know, and I will never deny what I know. I know that the Book of Mormon and Bible are the word of God. I know that there is a prophet on the earth today." We ended on good terms, I gave her a hug, and they wished us well, and then we were gone. Once in the car I broke down in tears, I haven't done that in a long time. The longer you're out, the harder it is to cry, but I cried. Poor Sister Meek just drove will I cried. I can't bear to hear blasphemy against Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, or anything alike. We went to the church after, the Elders had a baptism scheduled for the afternoon and I needed to practice the piano for it. Thankfully I got myself in check before the elders came, but when they got there I asked for a priesthood blessing. I didn't give any details, just that I would like a blessing of comfort. I'm so grateful for worthy priesthood holders. Elder White had no idea what had happened, but you would have never known by the blessing he gave. There is power in the priesthood. The baptism was very inspirational. The atonement is real, we can become clean. It is a beautiful thing.
Amy and baby Andrew

The picture I sent with Amy and baby Andrew, well I love Amy and she is getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!! Words really can't describe the love I have for her. I'm so excited. This new sister is going to witness some pretty amazing miracles these next few transfers.

I'm so grateful to serve in the south, my testimony strengthens each day. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet, I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.I know the Lord has prepared people here to receive the gospel. We will find them.

Sister Hartley 

Sister Atterberry
  Dinner with the Stoddards. (the coolest people ever!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I reckon I could be here for a good minute.

Hello! Wowzers, what another great week here in the glorious land of Texarkana!!!! I love TEXARKANA! I reckon I could be here for a good minute. Sister Meek and I were talking yesterday about how unique are mission is. I serve in the MJM, but I've served in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. Pretty neat eh?! 

We've had a busy and wonderful week, and we have a busy and wonderful week ahead. This is Sister Meek's last week as a full-time servant of the Lord. We plan for great and marvelous miracles. We were teaching a couple on Saturday and the discussion led to the authority we have as missionaries to preach the gospel and we pulled out Sister Meek's ministerial certificate and showed them, and the husband says, "Woah, it expires in 10 days!" It really hit us that her time is short. Transfer calls come Saturday so we'll see what changes happen. I'll be emailing on Tuesday and will have all the goodies for ya. Don't yall worry, I'm staying right here in good ol' Texar. :) 

I don't even know where to begin, so much greatness happened this week!! Ahhh I love it!!!! We found a golden area! It's called....trailor park!!! yah!! In the past few days we have met so many people prepared for the gospel! It is amazing! The Lord truly has prepared people to receive his word. We gave a couple a BOM yesterday and they were excited! It was sooooo awesome! I love when people are receptive to are message! We also taught ANOTHER couple who has been searching for truth for a very long time. The wife has met with about every religion and is very confused. She has met with missionaries in the past, but she still has numerous questions. We taught really simply. We explained the Godhead and she goes, "That makes way more sense!" It was great then at the end we had a kneeling prayer and Sister Meek asked if she would offer it and she said she didn't know how to pray so we whipped open the pamphlet to the "how do I pray" box and she said the closing prayer! It was so sincere and heartfelt. Love it! Love them! LOVE teaching couples!! 

Wednesday was an amazing amazing day!!!!!!!!!! We taught Amy, she is friends with Maria and Migel's mom, Cassy. She is amazing! One of the most spiritual lessons I have ever had. The elders were able to give her a blessing of comfort and the spirit was so strong. The Stls have been talking a lot about giving are investigators spiritual experiences instead of telling we need to show them. I don't know if that makes sense or not. That's what happened with Amy, instead of  just testifying of the importance of God's authority, we were able to have her experience it for herself. We committed her to baptism and she said yes! Ahh it was amazing! She said that something just keeps pulling her back to listen to us. We committed her to pray if what we were saying is true and she says, "Well do I have to pray if I already know it's true, because I know that it is!" I am so excited!!!!!! 
We spent Independence Day, teaching Maria amd Migel

Last Tuesday we saw a less active family that the bishop asked us to see. We were on exchanges so I went with Sister Jones. She is the perfect example of a holy woman. She is a powerful missionary and I look up to her so much! It was such a good time. We were able to ask inspired questions and she really opened up to us and said that she knew that God had sent us to her at this time for a reason, and that her prayers were answered and she wants to get sealed to her husband in the temple. It was pretty amazing! God answers prayers! 

On Thursday we spent the day with Sister Ethridge. It was sooooo fun! We helped her in her garden in the morning. We picked tomatoes, turnips, and weeded her potato patch. It was pretty fun to be out working with her. She is a great woman and we look up to her a lot. It was fun to be out in the garden, we sang hymns, and laughed and had a good time. She then fed us lunch, (Hoggies!), and then we went visiting teaching with her to see a less active sister, and had quite the experience there, but due to mom's fear of snakes I wont go into details. It was....scary. 
Helped weed Sister Ethridge's potato patch

We didn't get all the weeding done I told Sister Ethridge that I didn't feel right about leaving are work unfinished so we told her we would be back the next day to finish what we started. It was the 4th so we did are usual in the morning, and got are tracting done, then in the late afternoon we headed out to the Ethridges again. It was hot and hard work, but we got er done. Working with Sister Meek is always fun! We got so dirty and sweaty, but it was fun, good memories. After we finished we showered and then we went to a 4th of July celebration. Brother Ethridge's friend invited them to a celebration at their church so we all went to it. It was like being in a hallmark movie. Yall would have loved it. It was in Fouke Arkansas. We drove down a long country road with beautiful country homes and ended up at a church. They had music, homemade peach cobbler (soo good), and fireworks. It was all real southern, and I loved it. I wish yall could have seen it, it was awesome. Who would have thought I'd end up at a place like this.

Love yall. 

Aunt Bev and mom sent me a July 1 package to help Celebrate Canada Day.

Aunt Bev sent me a Canadian parcel

Another eventful and great week here in good ol' Texarkana. Sister Meek and I have two weeks left together. The good Lord has kept us busy, for which we are most grateful. The Lord has blessed us with people to teach. 

I got the apartment all decorated for Canada Day tomorrow. The STLs are coming tonight so we'll all celebrate. Aunt Bev sent me a package with Canada decorations so it was fun to decorate the apartment. It was really sweet of her. 

I know this is short, but I don't have much time today. 

Love yall. 

Sister Hartley