Saturday, August 30, 2014

"This is my joy"‏

Wow! What an amazing week! The Lord seriously has blessed me so much!

Because of my assignment, I am able to go to other sisters' areas and see how things are going. It is SO FUN. But also, sisters can come to my area with me (or my companion). This week we had 2 exchanges (this seems to happen at the end of the transfers--we double up). I had the chance to go on exchanges with Sister Bush and Sister Wilde. While Sister Bush and I were on exchanges, she told me that before she came out on her mission she totally read my blog! Pretty cool, eh? That was really exciting to hear that someone had read my blog! Dang. That feels like forever ago.

Something AMAZING that happened this week was that I was able to see a part of my Thornton ward family. I got to see Michelle and her girls. It was so wonderful to be with family again. I LOVED IT. I also got to see Barrie and Rob!! (Don't worry--I call them Sister ____ and Brother _____. But since this is going on the internet, I will use first names instead :)). IT WAS AWESOME. It's an incredible thing to be able to serve somewhere as a missionary and just love the people there with everything you've got. Seriously. I didn't think I was actually going to love EVERYONE I served around and got to know, but I did! And I do!
For example, last night we went tracting (something we weren't entirely thrilled about, but we did it anyway). Anyways, we knocked on eight doors and one guy answered and he was really kind, but not interested. Well, we walk around the building and we see some people outside with a couple of dogs--one of which runs to us (I LOVE DOGS--and cats, of course). His owner seems a little bit on edge since his dog ran quite a distance from him. At that time we were on the phone, so we couldn't start talking to the people yet. After a few minutes, we are off the phone and we started talking to these people: Bri, Q (short for Qvani -sp?), and Darrell. THEY WERE AMAZING PEOPLE. As we were talking to them, we asked if we could share with them a little bit about our message and they accepted (holler!). We said a prayer and begin to teach them the first lesson: the Restoration. Oh my goodness. I just felt SOOOOO much love for those people--complete strangers. As we were teaching, my eyes began to water and my heart felt full. The spirit was so strong. SO STRONG. I felt that Heavenly Father had led us there that night specifically for them. I also thought to myself that I will certainly miss being a missionary (I still have time. I keep telling myself.). Nothing spectacular came of it (ex. they didn't yell, "BAPTIZE ME!"), but they were softened. I could feel it. We will be seeing them again this weekend--hopefully. Missionary work for the win!

Updates on Wendy and Bruce.
Wendy is amazing. She really understands what we teach--which I feel that that is unusual for a 16 year old girl. She keeps her commitments to come to church and she reads and prays and she is ready for her baptism!!!! EEK.
As for Bruce. Oh man. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HIM. Earlier this week, we were leaving his home with some members that are teaching him with us and Bruce said, "You are my family!" It was so stinking tender. I was SO TOUCHED. He also is VERY VERY excited for his baptism.
Conversion. Change. It's the fruit of the gospel!

I've realized on my mission that it really is the small things that matter most. The sun shining. A light breeze. A glass of water. I have seen so MANY miracles on my mission. But they haven't been any earth shaking things. But these tiny miracles allow AMAZING things to happen.
Example: On Saturday, we were on exchanges. We had an appointment at 11:30 and we needed to take our lunch right after because we had something we needed to do at 1:30. Well. We didn't end up getting out of our appointment until like 1. (We should never be in an appointment longer than an hour. I admit, this is something I have struggled with since day one. But. That's no excuse). I was so flustered about our appointment, but it ended well. Anyways, we had planned on going to a pizza place for lunch--cheap, easy, and we didn't have anything great in the refrigerator. Well, we get to the pizza place and order to go. I use the bathroom and come out and Sister Wilde is talking with a woman who had ordered food and her order was wrong. My first thought is "This is a public place and we shouldn't be proselyting." My second thought was "Who cares? She is listening!" I sat down and joined the conversation and she gave us her address and phone number. Miracles happen. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she said that she would start it that night. HOW AMAZING IS THAT?! I LOVE THE GOSPEL.

Well. That's my week. Christ lives!

I love you all!!!
Sister Hardy

We had dinner with the Lawsons this week!!! They serve downtown. They have such a special place in my heart
EXCHANGES! We tried to take a selfie. Sister B's face is a bit gone.

Our stake held a fair and there were snow cones! So while Sister Hanshaw and I were running the missionary booth.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Week of 11 August- 17 August 2014‏

We had a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat week!

On Tuesday, we had zone conference and it was amazing! At a missionary's last zone conference, he bears his testimony of the restored gospel and of the things he has learned on his mission. Well, I had a rude wake-up call when I realized that in the next zone conference I would be giving my departing testimony. I CRIED. I absolutely love my mission. NOTHING would prepare me for my future like my mission has. Other people can learn and prepare in other ways, but like I have said before, I have come to find myself by losing myself in this work--you know, it's one of the paradoxes of this gospel. (And don't get me wrong, I am happy to see my friends and family again and to apply everything I have learned here. I'll just be honest though: I am so scared. The time is FLYIN', and I am having a hard time keeping up with the pace!) I want every one here in Denver (well, in the world. First, Denver. Next, THE WORLD) to know that Jesus is the Christ and our personal Savior. One mortal voice does not have such power (and somehow I thought I would?).

Alas, back to reality. SO. I was Downtown on Wednesday on exchanges and we had an AMAZING experience. It was such a testimony builder to me that we are guided by Heavenly Father. Alright. So our morning started out nice and sunny (I was with Sister Anderson--in her area) and we taught a woman named Juanita, but after that EVERYTHING FELL THROUGH. Everything. So we tried a bunch of people, then tried around them (knocking on the doors surrounding their houses), and NOTHING. But we kept our chins up and kept at it. Well, through out the day, I just felt that we needed to see this woman in the ward who is very active, Deb. I had only met her once! But I felt like we needed to see her. Finally I told Sister Anderson and she was like, "Okay! Let's try her!" So we did. She was home! I was so happy! But while we there, I just didn't see why Heavenly Father needed us to be there. I was humbled later. We left. Knocked on Deb's neighbor, no answer. So we decided to leave the complex. Well. A man (Brian) came out of his apartment and we started talking to him and we asked him if we could share our unique message with him and much to my surprise, he said that we could! We sat down with him and began. (Fun fact: Brian looks like Jack Black and also sounds a wee bit like him! Holler.)
Our conversation started a little like, "Are you a believer yourself?"
Brian: "Um. I am not really sure."
We told him that our message would bless him and ensure happiness and success, ya know PMG "How to Begin Teaching."
Later, we taught him about God for the full time we were with him and he asked us, "What is the easiest way that I can accept God in my life?"
My thoughts: "Umm...whaaaaaat? THIS GUY IS GOLDEN."
Our response: "Through baptism."
Boom shot. Seriously. That was the COOLEST thing. I have met a lot of people on my mission, but NO BODY has ever asked me a question like that! I was shocked and thrilled and excited and sad that he wasn't in my area (because I want to teach him!).
The Lord provided. Enough said.

The funniest thing said this week: "I'm high on Jesus." -Qisha
All anyone can say in response to that is "Amen."

My mission is amazing. I wish that everyone could experience the happiness you feel as a missionary. I have experienced a lot of hard times, but they are the times that I have grown the most! I feel like Alma when he said to his son Helaman, "I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me..." (Alma 36:27).

I love you all and I know that Christ lives!
Love, Sister Hardy

1. Zone Conference with my babygirl, Sister Holladay, and Sister Knowlton (my trainer).

2. Sister Mendenhall! She is amazing. Love her to pieces!

3. Also, this is Vanessa and Iris. Vanessa is from Mexico and Iris is the cutest little thing! She speaks to us in english and then to her mom in Spanish. SO CUTE. Absolutely adore them!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Week of 4 August through 10 August 2014‏

First, I want to start out by bringing you back to the ol' days of Denver North when I was serving in Malley. Remember Michelle? She actually got baptized a year ago yesterday!!! Well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is getting married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And going to the temple soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She doesn't know when she'll be going through the temple yet, but I have permission to go :D. I am SO excited.

Now, down to business. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE. Meaning. I love the love that I feel and have for those that I have met here in Colorado. This week, Sister Hanshaw and I have been really blessed with LOTS of tender mercies.

We were able to teach two new people, Wendy, who is 16, and Bruce, who is a bit older :D. Wendy's family is from Liberia--seriously ALL of the Liberians are so receptive. I LOVE IT. And Wendy is very prepared to receiving the fullness of the gospel. When we invited her to be baptized the very first time we taught her, she accepted without a second thought. She is so prepared! When we came back for the second time, we asked how the reading went (we had invited her to read 3 Nephi 11 and the Restoration pamphlet) and she responded without letting me finish--and with a big smile, "I read it all." How amazing is that?! That shows commitment.
And then for Bruce, when we met him on his door step he said, "I might even get baptized!" So we came back a few days later and then committed him to a date and he was all for it. It was so wonderful. Also he has two cats, so that's a plus :D. Bruce's sister actually got baptized down in Littleton a few months ago. He even told us that she read parts of the Book of Mormon to him over the phone and he liked it. Isn't that incredible?
Sometimes I like to ask myself why I am so blessed to be seeing so many miracles everyday! Heavenly Father really is preparing His children to receive the message of the Restoration of the Gospel.

Also, we are just starting doing the new member lessons with Bernard and Fanta (seperately of course). Fanta's new member lessons were originally supposed to be done by the ward, but we received word from Salt Lake recently that missionaries are to do the new member discussions--which I am all for!
We met with Bernard and he is just so excited about being baptized and about preparing to receive the Aaronic priesthood. He is just so happy! He always has a big smile on his face whenever we see him. I just love him so much. See what I mean about how I love love! Bernard is reading in the Book of Mormon consistently still and really excited to serve in the Church.
And last night, we were at Fanta's home after our dinner appointment and right when we were done with our lesson, Fanta tells us that her mother, Annie (WHO COOKS AMAZING FISH AND AFRICAN FOOD), prepared a meal for us. It was AMAZING. I was so stuffed! And then she fried some plantains for a sweet treat and if you know anything about plantains, they fill you up FAST. Zoe told me that she would feed her children plantains in the morning before school and they would stay full until it was time to come home. Needless to say, it was wonderful. Also, I love fish. Fish is so dang good. I am sorry that I was so neglected from the seafood community growing up :D. Jokes.(Oh and funny little snip-it, Makaya, Fanta's daughter, knows me as the sister with "the hair." Also, they asked me if I have any African ancestry. I was really sad to tell them that I don't).

I know this gospel is true. I have seen so many people change out here on my mission. I have changed so much. I have come to understand the gospel more and understand how the spirit works in my life. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I KNOW that He loves us. As I have come to understand the Atonement more, I have come to want ALL to know about the Atonement and about the blessings that come from using it in our lives.

Love you all!!
Sister Hardy
These pictures were taken while I was on exchanges with dear Sister Cannon. We took some pictures right before we were going to walking to find some people to talk to. We actually spoke with a man named Onario who mainly speaks Spanish and very broken English. It was very fun to talk to him. Let's hope something comes from it! s really sad to tell them that I don't).

These pictures are of the food Annie made. The fish wasn't on the table yet, but I can assure you, we are being fed really well. The next picture is Dollington. He is 7 and he reminds me of Gary Coleman.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week of 28 July - 3 August 2014‏

This week it poured here in Denver for a few days! All day everyday. It was a nice change from the heat, but I'm grateful the sun is back out for us to enjoy! That means that there are more people outside ready and waiting to hear the gospel!

Something very exciting happened this week! We were finally able to teach this man named Mike! We have been teaching his fiance, Alicia, (I think I wrote about her a few weeks ago. She came to church with her fiance and two children a couple weeks back) for two transfers now. We taught Mike very little of the first discussion, but he told us about how he was so excited to start coming to church more often. He also said that if his family had more of God in their lives that they would be happier and that their home would be more stable. How true is that! We have been promised that if we establish our homes on principles such as faith and repentance and prayer that we will be blessed in our families. Our homes become a heaven on earth, not just living quarters. BUT Mike got choked up a little when he was talking about bringing his family together through the gospel. It was really tender and I was touched. The spirit was so strong there!

We also were able to have dinner with a family in which four of them have recently joined the church and the mother is a returning member. The couple was able to go to the temple a week ago! and at the end of this month they will be sealed for time and all eternity! We shared a message about temples after dinner and the spirit was incredibly strong. Their home become a holy place.
---The best part about being a missionary is the change I see in the people I meet, both on a daily basis and long-term. I have changed so much on my mission. I have become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have come to really feel as Paul did, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..." (Romans 1:16). I've come to see how much I love my Savior. As we were driving to the library this morning to email, I saw a man doing some construction work in the road and one of my first thoughts was, "I want to share the gospel with him" and "He needs to know of the Atonement." I can assure you that I never would have thought that a year ago. NEVER. This work has changed me through and through. AND I LOVE IT!

Fun fact: Sister Hanshaw and I are reading the entire Book of Mormon this transfer. We started two weeks ago and we are almost done with Mosiah! Wish us luck. I have already begun to recognize the spirit more often in my life. Blessings come to those who seek them.

We were able to have dinner with the senior couple in our zone! The L couple!! They are amazing! I love them so much! THEY HAVE 10 CHILDREN! Holy smokes. The crazy part is that they had ten children in 17 years. That must have been so hard! Also Elder L doesn't have a college education. He told us that he had to work between 3 and 6 jobs!! He has a great deal of faith. It was such a blessing to have dinner with them not just because of the food, but because of the stories that led them to a strong conversion and conviction. They have 41 grandchildren with more coming! There youngest sons are still in their 20s! Now that is an accomplishment.
Also, a tender mercy about having dinner with them is that they reminded me of the senior couple that taught my family nine years ago--the Hulls. I am grateful for their service everyday.

I love you all! I love being a missionary!

Love, Sister Hardy