Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 32: Mission meeting, bible-bashers, and MALLEY‏

Hello there!

This week was full of...interesting moments.

1. Sister Marshall and I got a perfect score on our car inspection! And we got to sign our names in this pretty sweet mission book for those skilled in the art of car cleaning.

2. We had TWO encounters with Bible bashers this week. One encounter was pretty intense and I was a bit scared, and I didn't bash back! Our ward mission leader was pretty happy when he heard that I didn't bash. I'll admit bashing is so tempting! But, I know we shouldn't, so I have a new resolve.

3. We had two mission meetings this week with President Toombs and it was awesome! At the first meeting, it was a zone conference and we practiced teaching the simple doctrine that "God is is our loving Heavenly Father." It was pretty incredible.
At the meeting there was a woman who had recently joined the church, Amy. She and her husband (Harold) were moving and she had packed up all their stuff and fit it into their car, and EVERYTHING WAS STOLEN. So, they tried contacting a whole bunch of different churches in the Denver area, and no one would help them. Well, they showed up to our church and President Toombs just happened to be there. Harold related the entire story to him and they started the discussions an hour later and were baptized in November! CRAZY! President Toombs even baptized them! How amazing is that?!

4. I had SUSHI FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS WEEK and I am absolutely in LOVE with it! Seriously. I have been missing out!

5. Sister Marshall and I went on exchanges, and guess where I went?! Oh, yes. MALLEY. My birthplace! It was incredible to see those I taught while I was there! I didn't get to see Michelle, but I saw her father, Mike! He got baptized last month and he talked about all of his missionary experiences! How incredible is that! He has been talking to his friends about the Book of Mormon and about the church and he is on fire! Spiritually on fire!
While on exchanges, I also got to see one of my favorite families--Shannon, Brandon, and Ethan! I didn't get to see James, which was disappointing, but it was so good to see the family again! Shannon was one of the first people I met while I was in Malley. Remember the chicken picture? and the bird pictures? That is at her house! Love them!
I also got to see Monique! (We found Monique in an apartment complex when she was moving out. Remember her?) Well, now she is expecting now! She has three boys and hopefully a girl on the way! Just kidding. She already has three boys and her husband, what's another one?!
Sister Moore (my temporary companion for the day I was in Malley) and I also saw Joe and Jessi! Remember them? Joe was my first heartbreak. He dropped us! But it was so good to see him again. I miss seeing them often.

It was good to go to Malley for a day, but I am happy to be back in Thornton! We have a lot of work to do here and we better hop to it!

I love you all, so much! Remember that Jesus loves you!

Sister Hardy
We went to this pizza place this week! (pronounced "Forget about it" in a NYC accent) The pizza was really good, too! There are only two things that would make Colorado even better: Wegmans and better pizza. 
WE GOT A HUGE BOX OF CHOCOLATES FROM A POTENTIAL. BAD. BAD. BAD! I think the worst part about it was that the first thing we did when we got home was open them :)
I am famous! This picture is while we were doing service at one of the best places! Park Regency! It's one of the assisted living centers. Jennifer, the head of activities, put this up on one of the walls so that the residents will know who we are when we come in! Pretty cool.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 30: You know you're a missionary when... AND Week 31: "And on the seventh day..."

Week 30: You know you're a missionary when 

This week was FULL of wonderful things that happened.
1. Our zone full of missionaries played capture the flag with nerf guns. It was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Sister Holladay (my last companion) and I sat and watched. Seriously, it should be an Olympic sport. Maybe I'd actually watch the Olympics then.
2. RICHARD PRAYED. Hallelujah! Seriously, when we left the house, I jumped so stinking high I'm surprised I didn't rip my skirt.
3. We found out why one of our investigators hasn't been coming to church--AFTER FOUR MONTHS OF TEACHING HER. I thought I was going to cry because I was so happy after we left.
4. We helped a sister in the ward clean her house and I was SO happy that someone actually let us serve them. Also, I got to wear sweat pants, so I was really content.
5. Sister Marshall and I spent a couple hours on Friday helping a family in the ward paint their newly finished basement. We had a blast. (I LOVE PAINTING)
6. We didn't have to tract on Sunday because no one cancelled our appointments! Oh yeah!

We had a lot of awesome things that happened this week. It was fantastic. However, we did have some stressful times this week because of the weather. On both Friday and Saturday, we received messages from the assistants to President Toombs (our mission president) that we were not allowed to drive our cars because of the roads. Luckily, I had handwarmers and a heavy coat and boots. But, the "driving ban" was lifted before we had to leave. (Fridays are our days to plan, so we were home until 3 and the ban was lifted at 2! oh yes. It was perfect.)

On Tuesday, we had a service project with about 5 other sets of elders. This service project consisted of making soup and cookie mixes, and tying bows. Luckily, we had some very skilled bow-tie-rs (bow-tyers?). Mom, I have you to thank for that. It was great to see the elders tying bowes. It was hilarious actually.
On Wednesday, we went to the old folks home to play bingo and Berta (my adopted German g-ma) was there like always, Well, she actually won Bingo! And I got so excited! I said, "Berta! You won Bingo! You finally won!" She looked at me and said sternly, "Control yourself!" Man, I still am laughing about it! Later, Berta was blowing her nose because she had a cold and well, she set her used tissue on the table, looked around, and used her elbow to push her tissue off the table. I looked under the table and there were several other used tissues under there on the ground, along with her candy wrapper!! It was hilarious! I thought I would die because she just looked at me and put her index finger to her mouth to shush me. Man. I love old people.

Then on Friday, while we were planning it was rather chilly because of all of the snow, so we wanted to used the gas fireplace to heat up the house. Well, I had never used a gas fireplace before, nor lit a pilot light (neither had Sister Marshall), so we called the woman that we are living with and she told us what to do. I lit the pilot light and Sister Marshall turned the gas up--still no fire. So I blow on it lightly--still nothing. Well, for some reason, my brain says, "Try lighting one of the ceramic logs." I did that and no stinking fire! I move the lighter back a litter farther and light it and whoooosh! The log lit up and it scared me silly, but we weren't hurt and the fire wasn't even that big. However, it was hilarious.

Back to spiritual matters. We tracted into this man named Thomas and he was the SWEETEST guy. So maybe I say that about everyone who talks to us, but still, this guy is like Stake President sweet. We said a prayer over his home for peace and safety.

We also met with with a couple people that we haven't met with before this week. Both of these members of the ward haven't been active in years and when we met with each of them, it was so interesting to see that their testimonies of the gospel are still so strong. They have different stories--one of them is a mother of two that hasn't been to church in so long because of life and then the other is an older gentleman in his sixties that isn't married and he doesn't have any children. He hasn't been active in church because of his work schedule and because he needs to just get back into the habit.
I love this gospel so much. It doesn't matter if we've been in the church for two weeks or if our families have been in the church since 1830. We all can have powerful testimonies of the Savior and His Atonement. All we need to do is what He has commanded us to do: have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end--keep holding on, keep doing what He has asked.

I love you all so so much. I know that our Heavenly Father loves you, too. I have never loved harder than I have out here in Denver. These people that I meet mean so much to me. It's the strangest experience to go into a home where you have NEVER ever met these people and to leave feeling as if you have known them forever and all you want is for them to be married in the temple. It's incredible to be on the Lord's errand. I love this work!

You are in my prayers!
Sister Hardy

Elder Rampton (who came out with me), Elder Hansen (who just finished being trained), Sister Marshall, and then myself. We make up the missionaries in the Thornton ward! Elder Hansen is getting transferred today and we will be getting another missionary.

Sister Mailau (on left) leaves today for her last area. She will be terribly missed. Sister Moore is on the right, and she photo-bombed (she has been in Malley ward, my first area).

The snow. Need I say more? This wasn't even the worst of it!

 This is me with Elder Neppach, who goes home today. He and Elder Guzman were my first zone leaders. God speed, Elder!

Last one. ....
The couple in the picture with us is our ward mission leader and his wife.
 He's a goof (if you didn't notice). Also, his wife is the coolest. Love them.


Week 31: "And on the seventh day..."

There are these two boys in the ward named Orion and Briggs. Cute names, right? Anyways, one of them came home from church and said that in Primary they learned about the creation of the universe. Well, when Orion got to the seventh day, he said, "And on the seventh day, God created technology!" Isn't that hilarious?! His parents had to inform him that God actually rested on the seventh day. How cute!

This past week was absolutely incredible! Can I just say that miracles REALLY do happen?
Sister Marshall and I have been praying for three things this week:
1. to get new investigators
2. to set someone with a baptismal date
3. to teach over twenty lessons

The answer to your question is yes. ALL FLIPPIN' THREE OF THESE THINGS HAPPENED. Hallelujah!

Among many miracles, we had some fun doing service with the senior population. Bingo and crafts again! It was awesome! This time though, Jennifer (the woman in charge of activities) had some jazz music on and Rhoda and I danced. It was awesome. We may or may not have had a dance off with Sister Marshall and her partner. (Rhoda and I won though). And before that Jennifer read off some trivia questions and this one woman was just shouting out random answers. It was HILARIOUS! She had one resident, Tilly, crying she was laughing so hard! (I really was worried that Tilly was going to pass out or hurt herself--she's in her 80s I think.)

After we did some service, we went to contact referrals and we met a man named Richie and he let us in! Woot. In the door--check! He asked us what we believe. Restoration lesson--check! Oh and did I tell you that he is in training to become a MINISTER?! Yes. He knows the Bible backwards, forwards, inside out, you name it! We set up a time to meet with him and the best part about all of this was that our mission president, President Toombs, came with us! We picked up Richie and his wife (Rachel) as new investigators! First prayer answered.

Second miracle or prayer answered, we went to Lisa and Richard's and retaught the Restoration--to clarify that Lisa understood. AND we invited her to be baptized and after resolving her concerns and teaching simply and clearly, she committed to baptism! Boom. Heavenly Father listens.

The third miracle this week was that on Saturday, we hit over twenty lessons! That NEVER HAPPENS HERE. AND the Elders numbers were high, too!

Side miracle: Sister Marshall and I were driving around trying to contact someone, when I saw a garage door open. I thought, "Okay. If there is someone in the garage, we'll stop the car and go talk to them." There wasn't anyone in the garage and so I kept driving. Well, that house stayed in my mind and on Friday we had some free time, so we went back to the house. We knocked on the door and a man named John answers the door. His

wife is in the back and he invites us in out of the cold. We sit and he asks question after question. He wasn't bashing, but he trying to argue and we weren't biting. BUT. We were able to clear up a LOT of misconceptions he had about the church. Once he even said, "Well my neighbor says that you Mormons believe..." I smiled inside because the best way to find out what Mormons believe is from a Mormon, preferably an active one.

I love you all and I know that Jesus does, too!
Sister Hardy

So I only took one picture this week. My studies for the past few days have involved me, a blanket, and my new best friend "Jesus the Christ" by James E. Talmage. I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN. Sister Forysth, the woman we live with, asked me if I fall asleep reading it. Unfortunately, I haven't been falling asleep while reading that, but when I pick up the Book of Mormon after, that's when I become a little sleepy.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 29: Sixty degree weather and snow flurries‏

We had a pretty good time this past week. We had a lot of fun. On Monday we went to a few different consignment shops and one of them is ARC (the best thrift store in Denver). It's HUGE and although they don't have a lot of good stuff, you can find some really nice stuff there.
Later that day we met with a less active who still has a lot of bent up feelings about the church, but she is so kind and she loves when we come over. She enjoys the company, she tells us. She also likes the help missionaries have offered in the past.
After we emailed on Tuesday last week, we had an appointment with Miranda and Ben. And GUESS WHAT? They ordered pizza for us! Isn't that so sweet? They are such kind people. We really just tried to get to know them and what they believe. We didn't have time to start the first discussion, but we are planning on doing that tomorrow.
We did some service for the same assisted living centers we did last week. At one of them we made cute little football men to decorate the activity room for the Super Bowl. This one woman, Rhoda, walked around with us to get all the residents who were home to come down and do crafts with us. She was hilarious! We also met another woman, Faye, who would constantly say, "I just love yous girls." or "You girls are so pretty." Isn't that sweet? She was really worried that we wouldn't come back, but we reassured her that we'd be back.
We did some service for a family in the ward--helping them paint the walls, and it was so much fun. This coming week we have a time set up to help another family paint the walls in their newly finished basement. AND I AM SO EXCITED.
On Wednesday, it was Sister Marshall's birthday! Twenty three years young! Pros to your companion having a birthday: COOKIES galore! Cinnamon rolls for breakfast! Humongous cupcakes! Cheesecake! And TWO birthday cakes. Oh and we went out for lunch. Yes. I think I ate my weight in sweets this week.
Thursday and Friday, we tried contacting a lot of people that we hadn't met and we found that half of them had moved. While we were trying to find one man in this townhome development, we knocked on a few doors and only one person answered. We didn't have the best experience with him, but that experience really made me aware of Satan's influence in this world. I see it everyday, but not like that. I just hope that regardless of the differences we have, we will show kindness to those that we meet who believe differently.
Friday night, we went to a home looking for a young man named Julian, and found his grandparents who haven't been to church in a while and his two younger brothers who haven't been baptized. Anyways, we had been there for about 15 minutes before we found out that the elders have been teaching them! AND they came to church! It was awesome! Julian's grandmother, Sister M. told us that we should come visit soon. Her two youngest grandchildren are so intelligent and they love when the missionaries come over. How sweet!
On Saturday, we had a breakfast with all the missionaries in the stake as well as with our stake president, President Hellbusch. It was so good and afterwards two other sets of sisters came to our house to study. It was really fun and spiritual of course.
Later in the day, we were outside, meeting with Glenn, and we saw that a few houses down there were some new people moving in. Well! The entire time I kept thinking, we need to go help them! We need to help them! Would it be rude to end the lesson right now? But, instead, I was rational, and we waited until the end of the lesson to go over there. We met Bobby and Lasarha and they were so appreciative! They asked us to come by later to help. I felt SO good after that. I am excited to see them this week!
Well, that's all for now. I want you all to know that I love you and I pray for you constantly!

Sister Hardy

This picture was taken right after we made our last appointment on Superbowl Sunday! Oh yeah! We will not be tracting then! Heck yes.

Look at that cake! Mmm. Sister Langlois (from California) made it, and added sparklers!