Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I totally messed up my weeks....The Real Week Three Update‏

This past week was a roller coaster to say the least--you know the kind of roller coaster you never want to end? Yeah. It was that kind. 

I think one of the highlights of my week was when Sister Knowlton and I went to visit a woman and her son last Monday night. We knocked quite a few times and no one answered, which is odd because they are always home. Anyways, BOTH Sister Knowlton and I felt that we should knock on their neighbor's door. So we did! After knocking a couple times, an old man with long grey hair and a beard answers the door. 
Sister Knowlton: "HI!" 
Old man: "What do you want? I was asleep."
Sister Knowlton and me: "Oh, sorry!!" 
Old man (frustrated): "What do you want?" 
Sister Knowlton: "Oh well, we're just in the neighborhood sharing a message about Jesus Christ and--" 
Old man: "And you're both fools." 

Yes. He slammed the door in our faces. We're going to tell the Elders to knock of his door and baptize him because HE IS getting baptized. I know this sounds weird, but it was awesome. The Lord was able to work through both of us to feel that we needed to knock on that door--specifically that door. How cool is that?!

Something else that was quite eventful was that Sister Knowlton and I have had THREE MEN hug us! One of them was our High Priest group leader! What the what?! I didn't know what to think after it happened. (My thoughts: Umm...what just happened? Do I need to tell the Mission President about this? AHHHH!) One of the men that hugged us said to me and Sister Knowlton, "We all believe in the same God, but mine just happens to be a Republican." Oh goodness. This man also is 91 years old. What a guy! 

You may be wondering about Joe. What happened? Is he getting baptized? etc. Well, he LOVED church. LOVED LOVED it. So did Jessi. Anyways, we met with him this past week and his ex-wife was there (which was interesting). She told us that basically our perceptions are askew and told us about how she works with the angels in her sleep. I don't really know what that means, but anyways our lesson left him very confused. Yesterday he came to church and I asked if we could set up an appointment to meet with him later that night. Well. He told us that he wasn't going to meet with us anymore. Yep. He dropped us. I feel like I just got dumped. Hardcore. We love Joe and Jessi so much and Joe is sooo prepared! He always read from the Book of Mormon and loved having gospel conversations with us. I love them so much and when he told us that I wanted to go home and eat ice cream and cry. Yes. I think that his ex-wife got to him. He told us that he made this decision on his own--basically saying, "It's not you. It's not her. It's me." This will take some time to get over, but alas, the work must continue. 

Anyways, we met with this one woman, Melissa, and her son, Leo. And wowza. Melissa is wonderful. She told us that she attends several church services each weekend because she can't get enough. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Most people attend one service and think that is too long. She said she is really interested in just learning more about God because she knows that learning more will help her. Dannnnnng. Love her. And Leo is adorable and sometimes answers our questions in Spanish. 

Another exciting thing that happened this week was our three lessons with Michelle. So we invited her to pray and ask God if she should be baptized, and she did! She told us that while she was praying Monday night, we asked God to show her somewhere in the scriptures that would help her to know if she should get baptized and she also asked God to help her with her anger. Well, after she finished her prayer, she took the Book of Mormon in her hands and the book opened on 3 Nephi 11. She started at verse 24 and read until verse 32. Holy cow. For those of you that aren't familiar with the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11 is the chapter when Christ comes to the Americas! In this chapter, Christ tells the people to be baptized and not only that but not to have anger towards other! Bam. The Lord answers prayers. 
So Michelle is getting baptized in two weeks on August 10th and we have seen such a difference in her. She is soooo incredible. She is a completely different person than two weeks ago. I can feel the Spirit in her words. I can feel how thankful she is for the gospel. She is solid. Man. God is so good. Through being out here I have been able to see miracles. Real miracles. God loves His children. He loves them so much. 
Also, Michelle has a dog she is getting rid of and asked us if we could help her out with that. Sooo.....Sister Knowlton and I decided to ask the woman that we live with (Sister Peel) about it. Sister Knowlton and I strolled into her office and asked, "Sister Peel, can we get a dog?" And no joke, Sister Peel told us that she is considering it! Isn't that hilarious?! I may or may not have prayed that Sister Peel would like Michelle's dog....

Yesterday, Sister Knowlton and I gave talks in church. We were worried that our talks wouldn't be long enough and when we said that to the third speaker (Brother Light--who is our ward mission leader) he told us that he can monologue quite easily. But he also said, "If sacrament meeting ends early, we'll be heroes!" Which is so true. I love when talks are short and sweet. However, sacrament meeting ended right on time....and Brother Light has to talk in a few weeks because Sister Knowlton and I took up all the time. So I guess Sister Knowlton and I pretty good at monologue-ing. 

I am loving it out here! Sister Knowlton is hilarious. Half the things she says make me laugh so hard. We've been listening to Kalai (who is AMAZING!!!), and he sings a bunch of cool arrangements of hymns. Look up "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and "Poor Wayfarin' Stranger." You will not be disappointed. Anyways, but our Zone leader who let us borrow the Kalai CD told us, "I'm only telling you this because you're my homegirls, but I've got a mad crush on Abish from the Book of Mormon." HILARIOUS. Seriously, the missionaries in this mission are incredible. We have also been listening to EFY, too.....soo Mom and Dad, you are more than welcome to send some Mo-tab cds out here if you feel so inclined. (You know if I'm listening to EFY music, I'm desperate). 

I love you all!! So much! I pray for you and thank God for you in my life! 

Sister Hardy 

The only worthwhile picture I took this week was of my lunch yesterday. Thanks to Rosemary Steele for giving me this idea! (Yes, this is a PB and chocolate chip sandwich!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week 3

What did I learn this week? The Lord is in control--ALWAYS.
We met with so many people this week--both those that we incredible and some that were scary.
One woman that we met with this week is Cay, a less active woman who is trying to get things back on track. SHE IS AWESOME. She and her husband have two little boys--Saxton and Dante. Cay's husband, Drew, isn't really interested in us coming over, but he is still so kind to us and we can feel the love he has for his family. Saxton is 7 and Dante is 5 and holy smokes! They are just the cutest! We taught them this week and when Sister Knowlton asked, "Where did you live before you came here?", she expected "Heaven" to be the answer. BUT Saxton timidly said, "....Kansas?" It was soooo cute. Cay has taught her children about God and you can see it in their countenances.
We also met with this woman named Sarah. And holy cannoli! That woman is incredible. She has had a really tough life. There have been events in her life that result in people being institutionalized. This woman has more strength than I have ever seen in one person--other than you, Mom....well and Carrie, especially after witnessing childbirth. Yikes.
We also taught Brooke. She is nine-years old and she is awesome. Seriously, one of the most mature nine-year olds I have ever met. One of the times we taught her, she had a friend over named Nicholas--(Background info: both Brooke and Nicholas go to Christian schools here in Colorado). Anyways, we taught them and both Nicholas and Brooke prayed and it was awesome. But here's the best part. When we were done, Nicholas asked, "How do you get missionaries to come to your house?" Oh boy. Ain't that the best darn question a missionary ever did hear! Needless to say, his parents should be expecting a knock on their door some time very soon.

Oh. I ended up needing to use the restroom--really badly--one night this week. And it was almost time to head home, but I couldn't hold it because I had been for the past few hours. To make a long story short, we stopped at a random church near us. We were in our name tags and everything. Nice, right? There was a band there practicing for their Sunday services I think, and we just went in and asked the woman by the doors if we could use their restroom. Perhaps the next time that woman meets Mormon missionaries she'll remember our smiles and my urgency to use the bathroom.

We also got to use our Spanish this week! Woot! Oh, wait. Sister Knowlton and I don't know any Spanish. But we made it work. "How?" you may ask. Well, we were tracting (knocking on random doors in this neighborhood waiting for the elders to meet up with us, and everyone spoke Spanish. (This area is full of Hispanic people and Latinos). So we knock on this door and this woman answers and says something to the extent of, "No English." Well, we can't just run away, so Sister Knowlton looks at me and then says in a Spanish accent "Missionaries"--which we later found out was wrong for Sister missionaries. Then she pulls out a pass-a-along card (you know the ones with Jesus on them) and shows it to the woman and says, "Jesus"--pronouncing it like Spanish speakers do, as in "hey-zeus." And turned the card around and pointed to and said slowly, "Website." Yep. She'll definitely be giving us a call with that incredible Spanish. Oh man. I love Sister Knowlton!

We also met with a man named Joe and his granddaughter, Jessi. They are awesome. The only bad thing is that whenever Sister Knowlton says "Joe," I always respond. Yeah. I'm Sister Hardy now! Anyways, this guy is incredible. Joe has a really close relationship with God, but apparently, he feels like he hasn't been getting answers to prayers. He also hasn't wanted to come to church, but we promised Joe that he can receive answers and we promised that if he came to church, he would receive an answer about whether or not The Book of Mormon is true and about getting baptized. He FINALLY came to church after being taught for a while. WOOOT. I'm excited to hear from him this week.

Now let me tell you about Michelle. This woman is a single mom and she has two children--Rosie, who is 4, and Ryan, who is 2. (Every time I see these kids I think, "WHY CAN'T MISSIONARIES HOLD BABIES?!) This family has been through so much. Michelle told us that she has been searching for a church and she said that when she goes to other churches she feels judged and out of place--but she said when she attends "our" church, she feels so good and wants to cry because she is so happy!
We've met with her twice this week and seriously, I have never ever ever felt so much love for someone I didn't know. I have felt God's love for her and I have been able to see her through Heaven's eyes. It is incredible.
Last night we taught her about the Atonement and how she can be forgiven for everything she has done in the past. How wonderful is that! To know that through Jesus Christ we can be forgiven of everything because he suffered for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we talked with her about the Atonement, she wept. We told her that through baptism, all of those things that we have done can be washed away. But, we still make mistakes after baptism, but that is why it's critical that we have the Atonement. She was full of tears as we told her about this. She said that she'll set a goal to be baptized on the tenth of August, but that she still is unsure and needs to continue to pray. This woman is truly an amazing daughter of God and I love her so much!

Seriously. I have seen miracles happen these past two weeks. The Lord is good!
I love you all! Know that I pray for you!

Sister Hardy

The first picture is of the gorgeous sunsets that we have here ALL THE TIME! Seriously, I will be back to visit a lot when I get off my mission!

The second is of me and Sister Knowlton waiting in the car for a member to join us for a lesson. We drive a Chevy Cruz and I must say the AC is the best EVER.

And the last picture is of our car clock and thermometer. Either it was really really hot last night or the car is wrong. But either way, it gets sooo hot here!





Thursday, July 18, 2013

Time for the Mission Field (take II)

My first area is Thorton and Northglenn! My trainer is Sister Collette Knowlton! Sister Knowlton and I were in Women's Chorus together. Weird, right? She sang Soprano II and I sang Alto II, so we didn't get to talk much, but crazy stuff! We live with a single woman in her home. She set up a cute bedroom for us which has some sweet inspirational quotes.
Yesterday, we flew into Denver and met our mission president (President Toombs) and his wife. They are wonderful. I heard from one of the missionaries that President Toombs prays for EACH of the missionaries in this mission EVERY day. He truly is called of God. So I'm in a district with six other missionaries and two of those other missionaries are greenies, just like me! (Greeny means new missionaries in the field--so that's me!) 
My first night in the mission field was great! The second door that we knocked (first door that answered!) got shut in our face, but we kept smiling! BUT we spoke with a boy, Nick, and an older gentleman, Irvine. When Sister Knowlton asked if we could come back and speak to him, he said yes! We gave him a Book of Mormon and we have an appointment with him tonight! I'll let you know how that goes. 
We spoke with Irvine for a few minutes and we gave him a Book of Mormon and when we challenged him to read it, he responded with,"Any religious book is a good read!" We plan on visiting with him in a couple of weeks after he gets back from California. 
This morning we visited with a family, Dave and Tammie (I thought of you, Mom!), and Melissa (their daughter?) and Dylan (Melissa's son). Dave actually served a mission and is now less active. Tammie and Melissa are less active, too. 
We met with them and talked with them about the Restoration. When we told them about the Restoration of the Gospel and the first vision, Sister Knowlton asked Melissa if she believed that it was possible for someone such as Joseph Smith to see what he saw, or rather who he saw. Melissa definitely believed that it was possible. At the end of the lesson, Sister Knowlton asked Dave if he would pray and Dave asked Tammie and Tammie refused, so Dave asked Melissa and she said she would pray! How incredible, right! Anyways, she said a sweet and simple prayer, but I know she was touched. When we said goodbye to the family, there were tears in Melissa's eyes. She knows that this gospel is true. 
Well that's all I have about the last 24 hours being in the field! BUT. While at the MTC on the main campus, I saw Sister Alyssa Flake, Sister McKenna Brady, and Sister Paesha Tuttle! How cool, right? It was pretty exciting. I also got to use my french while speaking to a french speaking Sister or should I say Soeur? I also met Elder Johnson from Alaska (he knows the Jacobson family!). And among all this, I got sick and lost my voice! It was actually pretty funny. My voice would crack at weird places in my sentences, so eventually I just started whispering. I don't know what threw people off more my squeaky voice or my lack of one. However, because of this, I was able to ask the Elders in my district to give me a blessing. How lucky are we to have the priesthood?! I feel much better after that blessing and I can speak normally now! Woot! However my singing voice is completely shot. 
Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel and, if necessary, use words."  Preach the gospel by your example, by the way you live your lives, by the way you live happily. So many people are wondering how can find happiness--just like my family and I were--and some are searching, but they don't know what they are searching for. Help them find it. 
Pray for me and know that I pray for you. Remember, "If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work" (Doctrine and Covenants 4:3). 
I love you all. I'll tell you more about Colorado when I have some more adventures. 

The first picture is of me and my last night with BYU Mint Ice Cream--we're in love, just so you know. The second is of my district eating said ice cream before we said goodbye. The third picture is of me and Elder Wagner--who just so happens to be an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan!! So here we are doing our moves. And the last picture is of a temporary trio we had with Hermana Durphee (Sister Durphee, who is from Missouri, and a Spanish speaking missionary), Sister Brooks, and me. This picture was taken right before we met President and Sister Toombs! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I want Jesus to walk with me

My oh my oh my. This first week in the mission field was rough. But there were a lot of things that helped me through--one of them being Alex Boye's soulful spectacular voice in "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me" (accompanied by the fabulous Mormon Tabernacle Choir). Seriously, if you haven't heard it, get on the tube right now!
So Sister Knowlton and I live with a woman named Sister Peel and she is hilarious. She owns a storage unit business (?) and she is awesome. She always makes me and Sister Knowlton laugh.
Anyways, this week was intense. SO. Picture it. Thorton, Colorado. The ninth of July. A young missionary and her companion go tracting. But! Then one of the sisters has an idea (Sister Knowlton) to go visit a less active family in the ward. (Okay, I'm doing with story mode). So we go over to see the family and no one answers and apparently, they aren't ever home. But when we turn around Sister Knowlton decides that we should go tract--specifically to two homes across the street. So we go over nonchalantly and knock and a man answers the door and we talk to him. He tells us his name is Gavino and he is from originally from Mexico. Then he says to us, "You just made my day!" WOOOOOOOOOOOOOT.
Sweet, right? We scheduled to meet with him later in the week. He asked us to pray for him to receive work and when we met with him later, he told us that he had several job offers! He then told us that he wanted to be one of Jesus Christ's sheep. Perfect baptismal invite, right? Right. We invited him to be baptized (in the FIRST LESSON) and he said yes! After the lesson, Gavino wept. He told us that he was so happy and that we were his angels. How wonderful is that?! The Lord has prepared him to be receptive to the message of the gospel. 
He came to church and we met with him after church. We talked more about the Restoration of the Gospel and guess what? He wept again. This man is such a wonderful son of God and I am so thankful to have been led to him. 

So one of the things that we do here in the Colorado Denver North mission is called Just Serve. The mission standard is that each companionship serves for at least ten hours a week. Sweet, huh? It is so nice to have the opportunity to go and serve people in the community. Some of the things we did this week was work at the local thrift shop--All I could think about while I was there was "I wear my granddad's clothes. I look incredible." (Mom, it's from a song. Look it up :-)). We also sang hymns at a nursing home and there was one man that cried while we sang. And on Friday, we hauled huge tree branches across a field into a wood chipper! Yeah! Don't worry. I was wearing jeans. Man. Service is awesome. 

So I forgot to mention that the ward had about 600 members and only 100 are active. Now we have around 400 members in the ward and still only one hundred are active. Sister Knowlton and I have a lot of work to do. A lot of the work that we'll be doing is helping people come back to church. 
We visited some less active families in the ward and Sister Knowlton and I were shocked to see them at church on Sunday! Three cheers for the gospel! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! We taught so many less active lessons this week and it was wonderful to see the happiness that the gospel can bring to people. 
I am sooo thankful for the happiness that the gospel has brought to me. 

Throughout the week, I have met so many people from the ward and just the area. This ward is a great one, but we need a lot of member help. --A word of advice, feed the missionaries!! They will thank you forever and be so grateful! A second word of advice, always give the missionaries referrals! The members are so important to this work. Seriously. 
On that note, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve said at a Mission President conference that there are FIVE people in EVERY area that are ready for baptism. They don't always know what they are looking for, so reach out to them. We missionaries need as much help as we can get.  

I love you all! Know that I pray for you and wish you all the happiness in the world! 

Sister Hardy

p.s. The lightning here is crazy! It's gorgeous and incredible. A few nights ago we had a storm that rocked the house pretty much. It was AMAZING. The storms here are wild, but I love them. I would invite every single one of you to visit Denver turning this time of year just for the storms. 

The first picture is of two McKaas. (Yeah, I have no idea how to spell that). We went to a family's house that had THREE of them. Sister Knowlton and I both got to hold them. Cool, right? 

The second picture is of the cute planner that Sister Knowlton made for me. Pretty sweet. My main man Alex Boye is on it! Yeah! 

The third and fourth pictures are by a prairie dog field. THERE ARE PRAIRIE DOG FIELDS EVERYWHERE. Apparently they are protected by state law or something like that. Intense, right? Anyway, there I am modeling the Book of Mormon for the prairie dogs and the other picture is of a prairie dog hole. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Second Week here at the MTC

My first full week as a missionary has been insane, but great! I have learned so much and I am so afraid that I will forget it all when I leave for the field! I leave for Denver on Monday! Crazy right?
The past few days have been really difficult, but they have been uplifting. I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father has enough trust in me so give me trials. I can do hard things.
Alright. So Tuesday night we walked to the Marriott center for the weekly MTC devotional--Elder Richardson of the General Sunday School presidency spoke to us. IT WAS FANTASTIC! He told about how we must always act our part as missionaries and how we must always remember to ask yourself what a REAL missionary would do. He then applied it to our lives after our missions.  What would a real wife do? What would a real mother do? What would a real disciple of Christ do? We must always act our part.
On Wednesday night, the new missionaries came in! I had the opportunity to be a hostess and that was GREAT. It was crazy to think that only nine days ago I was in the same place they were in on Monday. Totes cray (yes, totes). It is so wonderful to see so many different young men and young women coming from very different backgrounds but they all share one thing in common: their love for Jesus Christ and His gospel. And because I am the Sister Training leader I got to help the new sisters out in my zone. They are all so wonderful! They all radiate the light of Christ! This opportunity for them and for me has been the greatest blessing. President Thomas S. Monson said, "The greatest blessing the Lord has given me is the opportunity to be a blessing in someone else's life." (It was something like that anyway). How true that statement is! The Lord has blessed me so much!
OH! Sister Sheri Dew spoke to us in Relief Society on Sunday! Now that was awesome! (Seriously, read some of her stuff! She is amazing!) She gave us four things she hopes that we learn while we are on our missions that lead us to true conversion. First, know who you are--you are a child of God. Second, really deeply come to know and understand who the Savior is--He has come to heal the brokenhearted. Third, learn how to receive revelation (or answers from God). Finally, learn of God's power--experience firsthand that God wants his children to have access to His power. I am going to do my best to learn these four things while I am on my mission.  Greater joy and happiness are waiting for me in the mission field!
This week we taught a woman names Leah. I admire this young woman so much! Her faith is so incredible! She knows that Jesus Christ is Her Savior. How great is that! Apparently she prayed for the other sisters who taught her and asked them all what they were grateful for and then asked them if they were in need of any blessings--She then proceeded to pray for those sweet sisters! how incredible their experience must have been! I admire the love she has for God.
I love Jesus Christ and I know that through Him we can return to live with our Heavenly Father! I know that God listens to us if we seek Him out because He loves us. And I love you!
Thank you to all who have emailed me and sent me letters and packages! I love you all!
Sister Hardy

p.s. The picture is of me and my companion, Sister Brooks!

Week 1

Hi Family!
Dear Family,
Holy cannoli! I have learned so so so so much while here at the Missionary Training Center. Seriously, this is the place to be. I LOVE it.  My companion is Sister Brooks and she is amazing! She has taught me so much.  She has a way with words that I wish I had. Not only that but she has taught me how to be more loving and accepting. This girl is the bees knees.  The other sisters in my district are Sister Falke and Sister Mata'Itusi. These sisters are incredible! They all have such strong testimonies.
We have four sisters and four elders in my district. Elder Flynn, Elder Wagner, Elder Albaugh, and Elder Loock.  Elder Loock is probably the funniest guy you'll meet. He's from a small town in Utah and has a little drawl.  One of the sisters asked at lunch what our biggest fears were to which Elder Loock responded, "I ain't scared a' nuttin'...except snakes."  What a guy! He is also our district leader. Anyways, I happen to be the oldest among the sisters and the elders in my district. I definitely feel like the mother goose.  I think the elders feel the same way because they seem to follow us whereever we go. I am not exaggerating by any means. 
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty. The first night we were here, we taught three investigators (Junichi, Carlo, and Daniel). As we listened to their stories, my heart felt for those men.  Daniel worries about his expecting wife and doesn't see how religion can help and Carlo mourns the death of his three day old son, Flauvio.  Flauvio wasn't baptized before he was born and according to Catholicism, if you are not baptized before you die you will be in a limbo state, in neither heaven nor hell.  He told us that he would do anything to know that Flauvio wasn't in limbo. How wonderful was it to teach Carlo about the gospel! We told Carlo that we believe children to be in a state of innocence until the age of eight--the age we believe a child can know the difference between right and wrong.  We let Carlo know that Flauvio is not suffering and that he is not in limbo, but rather he is in a state of happiness. My heart was full of joy as Carlo received this message.
After that experience teachinng, I have had a much stronger desire to serve God. In the Book of Mormon, we read, "And this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy" (Alma 29:9).  That is my glory that I may be an instrument in the Lord's hands! That is why I am here serving a mission--I want others to experience the joy that I have felt!
Well I've only been here two days, but I have learned so much.
I love this gospel. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. I have felt his love for me and now as a missionary I feel the love he has for others because I have been able to feel so much love for those I have taught. I know this is the Lord's work and if you desire happiness, you must only look for Jesus Christ and you will find him.I have a few shout-outs to make! Sister Bjorling--thank you so much for your gift! It meant so much to me and my family! Brother and Sister Pitts, Thank you for your gift!! I can't listen to it here at the MTC, but when I get in the field I plan to be jamming out to "The Work." And finally, Brother and Sister Hull, thank you both for your contribution to my mission! You were an answer to a prayer.
I love you all! I am praying for you and I know that the Lord is watching over you. (Mother, please stop crying. :D)
Sister Hardy
p.s. My P-days are Fridays until July 8th.