Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 11: "Oh, no! Don't turn into unicorns!"

This week was filled with a great deal of humor and spiritual moments.

On Monday, Sister Knowlton and I went to a family's home in the ward. Before we had gotten there, Addie (their 3 year-old) had fallen into the sharp corner of the side table in their family room. She was crying because it hurt and because she was afraid she was going to turn into a unicorn because she started to bruise right between her eyes. Well, it was getting late and we needed to head home and so I said, "We better get going or we're going to turn into pumpkins." Then when we left, Addie's mother said, "If the Sisters don't go home now, they are going to turn into unicorns!" Addie got a scared look on her face and said, "Oh no! Don't turn into unicorns!" It was so cute! (After we shared a message, they gave us dessert and while we were eating, Sister Knowlton and I were talking about how weird and awkward we will be when we get home from our missions. Well, I then said, "I was already weird when I left on my mission!" And without skipping a beat, Addie said, "Yep!" It's sad when a three year old thinks you're weird.

Sister Knowlton and I had the chance to go to the temple on Wednesday and it was great! It was wonderful to see all the missionaries together inside and outside of the temple. The temple is truly the House of the Lord. How amazing will it be after this life when we can all live with our families together because of the temple!
We met with this family later in the day on Wednesday and the mother (Ashley) is the only member of the church. Well, as we taught them (Ashley and Matthew, and their children: Maddie, Nate, and Savannah), it was wonderful to see Jesus Christ bringing the family together--especially when they don't ever talk about Him or our Heavenly Father. This gospel brings families together. Later, we met with just Matthew and he was really receptive to our message. He really does want peace in his life. Sister Knowlton and I are praying that he will continue meeting with us.

Highlights of this week (both good and bad)
1) Sister Knowlton and I jumped a creek while doing service. I safely got to the other side and Sister Knowlton didn't. She fell in the mud and it was hilarious.
2) Sister Knowlton had a horrible cold. I ended up just giving her a bunch of medication (mostly vitamins--when I would give her something and say,"Take this" she'd respond by saying, "What did I just take?" Talk about companion trust!) and we are both healthy! Sister Knowlton is recovering--still a little sniffly, but she is much better!
3) When I asked Sister Knowlton if she needed any medicine before we went to bed one night she responded with, "I'm like an Indian in the woods...the spirits of nature heal me." I think fatigue and sickness messed with her mind.

So who are those two people who are getting baptized?? Monique!!!! and Gavino!!! (We finally got a hold of Gavino again and he is getting baptized on October 12th! woot!) With Monique, we still need to set her with a date, but she is solid. When we met with her this week, she just cried. I felt the Spirit so strongly confirm to me that what we were teaching was true. We have an appointment with her tonight and I am so excited to see how things go with her! She truly has been prepared by the Lord!

This week we also met with Maddie and Cassie (their mother and father are less active and really not interested in coming back to church). Maddie and Cassie read from the Book of Mormon and they had a hard time understanding it. In response to this, their mother said, "Reading the Book of Mormon stinks." It broke my heart to hear her say that! Sister Knowlton and I were speechless. Anyone who reads from the Book of Mormon knows that it will bring him/her closer to Jesus Christ!

Something wonderful that happened this week was that I was able to receive a blessing from the Elders in my Zone. How wonderful is it that we have the Priesthood authority? We have that ability to receive blessings from righteous men who honor their Priesthood. I truly have a testimony of the Priesthood and I am so thankful for it.

We also had the chance to sing at one of the ward's here in the Denver North Stake. We missionaries sang the EFY medley and I felt the spirit so strongly as we sang together, "We will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." I know that sharing this gospel will bring us so much happiness because the Lord loves us! I know that He wants what is best for us and wants all of His children back with Him. This Gospel that I am teaching people about is the way that we can get back to Him. It truly is the way to never ending happiness and peace.

I love you all! I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He lives! I know that He suffered for us so that we might live! I love this gospel.

Sister Hardy
The first picture is of Karlene. She feeds us a lot and always lets us use her bathroom. (Being a missionary isn't tough because you are out all day talking to people about Jesus. It's tough because you can't always find a bathroom.)

Sister Knowlton and I took some pictures because this week is most likely our last week together!

The third  picture is of our pancake breakfast! Sister Knowlton's best friend sent her pancake mix and I made the pancakes!
The last picture is of my darling trainer, Sister Knowlton. She took my camera and had a "selfie" photo shoot.




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week Ten: The rains came down and the floods came up‏

This week was a bit depressing because of all the rain, but alas! We still had a blast! And yes, I am fine! There were just a bunch of flooded basements here in Northglenn. The woman we live with, Sister Peel, had the news on and the floods that were on the TV aren't close to us at all! However, something wonderful has come because of all the flooding--people serving each other. We were able to help three families this week and our ward really came together.--It was fun to do service in our dresses!--Yesterday, we went and visited a less active woman and her basement had started flooding and within a few short hours we had our ward mission leader and our Elders Quorum president over there with shop-vacs doing all kinds of service. It was great! (For the Colorado Denver North mission, we do ten hours of service in the community each week and seriously, hearts are being softened towards us and maybe even one day the service that we missionaries do will lead them to the waters of baptism).

Something exciting that also happened was that we had Elder Corbridge from the Seventy come and train the missionaries in our mission! It was AMAZING. He and his wife were so adorable and I felt special when he said "Sister Hardy"--but then I realize that I have a nametag and it's not so special anymore. He spoke about how the most important thing for us to teach people about is the Savior's Atonement---meaning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, how he suffered and died for the sins of the world. He said something really profound--he said that if people don't accept our message, it's because they don't understand it. If people really understood the message that we share--which is a message of happiness--they wouldn't reject it! They'd welcome this message and hold onto it! This helped me so much when Sister Knowlton and I had a rough day this week. Every door that we knocked just got slammed in our faces. It was discouraging, but Elder Corbridge's message helped me so much, as well as a quote from Elder Holland. "When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived." And of course, that best life is Jesus Christ. Why would it be easy for us missionaries if it wasn't easy for Him? It wouldn't be.
The mission is hard but it is so rewarding.

On Monday this week, we met with a woman who once was a member of the church and has been making progress towards get rebaptized. It has been a really hard journey for her. Every time we meet with her she cries. But when we met with her this week, she told us that she was going to talk with the Bishop and set a baptismal date! Yeahhh! I really hope I'm still in this area when she gets baptized again. Seeing the happiness this gospel brings to all those who accept it and live it brings me so much happiness!

Another small miracle that happened this week was when we met with Mary and Essiah. We talked about how we chose to come to Earth before this life. We also taught them about how they were spirits before they came here. When we talked about this, Essiah stood up and said that he remembers talking to God and telling Him that he was going to come to Earth. Essiah also said that he didn't have a body and that he was a ghost. How wonderful is that!!! It was incredible!

On Tuesday, we went over to our ward mission leader's home and shared a message with him and his wife. Well some time during the lesson, his sweet, little girl Chloe (who has adorable curly hair I might add), came into the family room and brought us "letters" which has scribbly lines on them. When I asked her to read the letter to me, she said "It's not a letter. It's a song." She then sat up on the couch with us and sang her song called, "The men who died." Apparently, around Memorial Day, her dad was trying to explain the reason why we celebrate and she came up with a little song about the men who died. It was a bit morbid, but adorable. That family just kills me! They are such a cute young family!
Later in the week, I asked our ward mission leader "Do you cry a lot when you come home?" Meaning, when you get home from your mission, are you sad? However he didn't understand that I meant when you get back. But in response, he said, "...sometimes." Sister Knowlton then said, "No, Sister Hardy means like when you get home from your mission!" We all had a good laugh about that.

This week, Sister Knowlton found a new family of investigators (Floyd, Michael, and Kody). However, sadly, most of them are atheists, which is silly business. We committed them to pray and Floyd was the only who prayed reasonably. He simply asked God, "Are you there?" When Kody asked for God to send him 2 billion dollars to prove that He was real and then Michael asked God to send him a text message. However, we are getting somewhere with them! Kody prayed in our second lesson with them! It was great! We have an appointment to meet with them this week and I'm excited to see how their prayers went!

AND last night we taught a man named Peter who is solid! He told us that when he was in Rangely, Colorado (I have no idea how to spell that), he was five seconds away from being baptized by some Elders up there. We asked him what caused him to take a step back and he said that he had some concerns. Well, we had a stellar lesson with him and I think the spirit may have resolved some of his concerns because at the end he agreed to be baptized. However, then he said he wanted to get baptized in his river in Rangely...which is not even in our mission. Still we were stoked! Until he said that he wanted to be baptized by the "Mormons" and the non-denominational" church. So obviously we did something wrong when we taught him, but hey! He wants to get baptized! YES!

I want you all to know that I love you so much! I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I know that He loves ALL of you so much.

Sister Hardy
The first picture is of Sister Knowlton and I after we got caught in a downpour! Luckily we we at home when we got drenched!

The second picture is when we were at the Police station because we got into some trouble. We ate lunch there and then paid Sister Knowlton's speeding ticket. It was great!

The third is of my Zone with Elder and Sister Corbridge, as well as President and Sister Toombs!

The fourth picture is proof that we are safe!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week Nine: Miracles do happen!‏

This week was probably the best week in my entire mission thus far--and that is the honest to goodness truth. Yes, we had bashers, faith lackers, and one hundred degree weather. BUT. We witnessed miracles.

Sister Knowlton and I have THIRTEEN new investigators this week. THIRTEEN. Holy cow. The highest number of investigators that we have received in the last nine weeks is 4. We tripled our best week's number. Shoot dang. The Lord is good and there is no doubt about that. Sister Knowlton and I have been working so hard and now it's time to work even harder. The Lord has prepared people to receive His gospel and now we need to get down to the nitty gritty. 

Some of our investigators is a woman named Mary and her grandson, Essiah--like Messiah. Mary was open to the message of the Restoration (the message about Joseph Smith restoring Christ's church upon the Earth) and when we left Mary told us that she enjoyed herself while we were there. It was a good lesson and the spirit was there.
Remember the wedding we sang at two weeks ago? Well, the bride and groom are two of our thirteen new investigators. We knocked on their door and when Kent (the groom) opened the door, I said, "Hi! We sang at your wedding!'" And he was more than happy to let us in. He and his wife were so sweet to us. We asked Kent if he would read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon (which is a page long) before we came back. He agreed and we asked if we could come back the next day and he said, "Come back in a week." Well, we found out later in the conversation that he thought we wanted him to read a lot of it and that's why he wanted us to give him a week. What a cutie! He was drinking it all up and it was awesome! 
Then there was Monique. Okay. This woman is a beast--(Mom, beast is slang for amazing). To give you some background, she was the woman who we helped move last week. While we were talking to her about the Restoration, she excused herself for a minute and came back with four HUGE books that have helped her in her studies of the Bible. That kind of intimidated me, but she and her father (Bruce) told us about their concerns with the Bible. They told us about how there are missing parts of the Bible, and because of the continual translating of the Bible, parts were taken from the scriptures. Sister Knowlton and I were just glowing as we spoke to the family--because Monique and Bruce were exactly right. Precious truths have been taken from the Bible. I think she was rather surprised that we agreed with her. Well, so as we continued with our message, she left the room again and came back with a notepad and a pen. YES. She took notes while we described the First Vision of Joseph Smith (the experience that he had when he saw God and Jesus Christ). We gave her a Book of Mormon and we asked her that if she would  read a chapter from it. She then said, "Oh! I'll read the whole thing!" Holy cow. What a woman! We then gave her the chapter (3 Nephi 11--when Christ comes to the Americas), and as she opened the book to find it, she opened up right to the chapter. She told us that she had "tingles"--chills, whatever you want to call them. Sister Knowlton and I then testified to her of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The Spirit was so strong. 

Sister Knowlton and I truly experienced miracles this week. However, there were some not so fun parts--well not fun at the moment. For example, we were going around offering prayers on people's homes (an appointment had cancelled) with Michelle (the woman that was baptized in August) and this dog comes running to us and the dog was gorgeous. Well, so we pet the dog and his owner comes over and Sister Knowlton knows him! I was thinking, "Sweet! We have an in!" So I proceed to ask him if we could come in and offer a prayer on his home...Well as he went to go leash up his dog, Sister Knowlton whispers, "That's the bible basher!" (Sister Knowlton had told me about the one time she cried on her mission was when she met this bible basher. Yes, so I was scared silly). My eyes widened and all I want to do is run. Well, I can't exactly do that. But he tells us that Joseph Smith is a false prophet and that we are wrong and that if we were to pray over his home it would be like praying with a Muslim--Wait. How did Islam get into this? And, Muslims believe in the same God we do--this guy. He then told us that not all people are children of God. How sad is that! I told him to pray and ask God if Joseph Smith was a prophet and he informed us that he had prayed and I said, "Pray again." I was so upset. I just wanted to...I don't even know, but I was angry. After we left, I said that I would NEVER ever go back there....well, Sister Knowlton and I are in fact going back. Yep. (Tune in for more stories about the Missionary Slayer Keith next week). 

We also met with a less active woman and her stalwart husband--I can't remember if I have mentioned them. Anyways, Ruth and Jim. Jim is this amazing scriptorian scholar man, who is in his eighties and the most adorable old man I ever saw and his wife is a very sweet woman, but she doesn't think that God can help her. Well, we told her that she needs to come to church and that was hard to call her to do that. Her reasoning is that she works on Sunday and if she doesn't work, she will go without. We discussed that obedience brings miracles and blessings. But she still doubts the power of God. 

BUT. On a happier note! I had Chinese food for the first time in FOREVER--(back story--I got food poisoning from Chinese food my junior year in high school and haven't been able to eat it since). The food was delicious and I am sad that it took me so long to finally eat it. 
We also saw Joe again! The guy who dropped us! It was good to see him. He was surprised that it took us so long to stop by again.  We let him know that we stopped by several times but no one was home. He is still so confused and it's hard when those you love won't help themselves--especially as a missionary. 

I also held a chicken for the first time! IT WAS AWESOME. We were at a less active family's house and they have tons of chickens!  I was trying to catch one in my dress and I can just imagine how funny I looked. It was great! We also had this amazing dinner there--the mother is half Mexican and a phenomenal cook. Seriously, best dinner on my mission thus far. Their little boy, Ethan also called something green when it was red and Sister Knowlton asked, "Ethan, are you colorblind?" Ethan responded, "No! I'm white!" It was hilarious! What a cutie! I also quoted Nacho Libre several times during dinner and apparently, I'm really good at impersonating Jack Black because I had their fourteen year old son dying of laughter. Oh! and all of them came to church on Sunday! It was awesome! 

Sister Knowlton also mentioned to me this week that I have crazy expressive eyebrows when I talk. Why has no one told me this?!

I love you all! Jesus loves you, too! 
Sister Hardy

The first picture is of me and the chicken! Yeah! 
The second picture is of me and Sister Knowlton before church. We sang at church on Sunday. It looks like I plastered on the make-up in this picture, but I wasn't even wearing that much! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week Eight: The Adventures of Rubber Duckie and Jnugget‏

For some reason, I picked up the name "Nugget" from Sister Knowlton and she insists on calling me that. In retaliation, I in turn call her "Rubber Duckie"--which is a much cooler nickname than I have (I put the J before nugget to make it sound more gangster...yeah. Didn't work).

Every week in the mission is amazing. I always want to start off my entries by saying, "This week was the best week EVER!" But, alas, it wouldn't be the best week is every week was the best week. However, this past week we sang at a wedding! And I played the piano....which was a mistake. The wedding was really last minute--last minute as in the couple played to get married on Monday and got married Monday night. No joke. How sweet is that?! The couple that got married aren't actually members of the Church, but it was adorable to see them get married (they are an older couple in their sixties or seventies).

On another note, here are some funny things that happened this week:
1. We went over to a less active's home on Tuesday--and she has been trying to quit smoking and she has committed and re-committed a lot. She even gave us her lighter before Tuesday and told us that she was quitting. Well when we knocked on the door, she yelled, "Come in!" Sister Knowlton and I went in and she was sitting on her couch smoking a cigarette. We could see the look of panic in her eyes.

2. On Thursday, I was in Aurora on exchanges and I was a minority. IT WAS GREAT. I was again with Sister Mailau (the Tongan Sister Training leader). We went over to this one Tongan family's house and they have a little boy named Monson (yes, like President Monson), who is a little over a year old. Monson was running around and every time I would look at him, he'd smile really big. It was so adorable! Well, in response to his smiles, his father said, "He really likes the Palongi girls." Sister Mailau laughed and I was thinking, "The what girls?" Turns out "Palongi" means white, so in essence he was saying, "He really likes white girls." It was hilarious!
(Before this Sister Mailau expressed her desire to learn how to hot-wire a car. And my little white girl self was shocked and then I remembered that we were in Aurora).

3. We have an Asian sister (Sister Lee) from Korea in our district and she says some funny things. Because it's football season, everyone is hyped up about the Broncos and it's crazy. Anyways, Sister Lee said, "Football is really important to the mens. Especially when it's a Bronco." Oh I love her.

Another funny thing was when I apologized to Sister Knowlton for backseat driving.
Me: "I'm sorry that I backseat drive!"
Sister Knowlton: "You backseat everything..."
It was comical because it's so true. I do backseat everything...

I have so much fun out here! We are constantly being uplifted by the influence we feel from God. We are so blessed and we have been able to see so many miracles. I love this work.

On Saturday morning, we had a breakfast with our stake president and that was intense. Well, President Johnson informed us that 80% of our lessons are to be with active members present. Yeah....want to know how many lessons we had with active members this past week 4, out of the 23 lessons we taught. It's hard! But we can do it. (Advice: go out and teach with the missionaries! They will love you!)

Our zone of missionaries also sang again at the nursing homes, like we always do. There is this woman, Lillian, who raises her arms up in the air praising Jesus when we sing and it is adorable. We we went to thank her for coming to listen she held on really tightly to my hand and exclaimed, "Jesus is here!" and she pulled me really close, and said, "I see him!" One of the assistants to President Toombs (our mission president) said something like, "Of course she sees Jesus! We [missionaries] are all representatives of Jesus Christ." Good point, Elder Gwilliam.

Sister Knowlton and I also went tracting this past week and offered prayers on people's homes. Well, we now have two new investigators and a potential. Hopefully we can find those whom the Lord has prepared. We met this woman Veronica, and she is a single mother with two children and she has PUPPIES! Her puppies are cute little pit bulls and there are so sweet, as was she! When we finished the prayer, she thanked us and told us that she was happy that we stopped by and offered a prayer on her home. She totally felt it. She felt the Spirit. SO EXCITED TO TEACH HER THIS WEEK!

We also were late to an appointment and the family didn't answer the door, so that was unfortunate. BUT. We got the chance to meet the family's neighbors! They were moving out and the mother was so distraught. At first, they wouldn't except help, but we were persistent and continued to offer help, and finally they let us. It was awesome. Maybe soon we will have four new investigators! (I really hope it be a part of a family baptism while I am out here. If not while I'm on my mission, perhaps when I come home).
We had SO many happy moments this week, but we did have a couple discouraging moments. Donna, the woman who prayed about the Book of Mormon and found out that it was true, dropped us. So that was stinky. BUT. We are going to find those who have been prepared.

The woman we live with sent me a letter because Sister Knowlton gets like ten letters a week and I didn't get any. So that was nice--cough cough, MOM and DAD, cough cough.

I love you all and pray for you! Jesus loves you, too!

Sister Hardy

The first picture is some new born kittens that we got to play with yesterday! One of them squeezes himself through the cage's wall because he is still so little.

The car belongs to a member in my ward and it is AWESOME! He is pretty cool and so is his wife. They give us ice cream and candy and peanut butter m&ms. We love them!

The third is of me and some really squinty eyes and one of the pit bull puppies! They were so adorable!!