And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. ~D&C 84:88

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hermana Arrrdy

Hola Familia!!
Feliz Cumpleaños Hannah!! Ahora tiene trece años! Chevere.

I am feeling much much better. The medicine the doctor gave me killed my sickness. The only problem is that apparently the bacteria releases a toxin that makes people really exhausted and gives them head aches. At least that's how Pres Freestone explained it. They made me stay in my room and rest whenever I was feeling really exhausted and slow. And I would sleep for HOURS. Fortunately I did not miss much because the first day I had to do that was p-day, the second day I had to rest in the morning and our teachers weren't there so it was personal study, and the other day I was out of it was Sunday. By Sunday I was sick of wasting so much time so I had the elders in my district give me a blessing and I have felt great since and I am trying to make up for the lost time!!
I didn't receive any weird offers for remedies but a sister from the states did offer me some super organic vitamins and stuff with grape fruit and all the vitamins from vegetables. I will be honest, I took it. I needed the vitamins because to be perfectly honest I didn't eat at all for a couple of days!
I am now eating just fine. I will send a picture of a typical lunch.
My music and speakers work great! We are only allowed to listen to it on P-day but it is sweet. I have not received my 2nd package!! I can't wait to get it:)
We have not had a Culture Night. Pretty much being in this CCM is a culture adjustment and all of our teachers are natives of DR, and one of them served in Puerto Rico!! They were telling us how Dominicans would say our names while we're in el campo. They would call me Hermana "Eye-dee". So that's one of the ways people address me. Another way is Arrrddy. One of the teachers calls me Hermana Dificil. I am not sure if it is a joke about my personality or just because dificil is hard/difficult in spanish and so yeah.
There is also a new elder that just came in a week or so ago and Hermana Jennings made it a goal to make him feel more positive about being in the CCM and so he wouldn't be so negative about learning the language. Now he calls me Hermana Mom because I remind him of his mom. Today in the temple there was an ordinance worker who just called me hermanita linda or hermanita bonita. :) She was so sweet and she loves to hug and kiss everyone and says that she will be our grandmother while we're here.
While I was in the temple I could definitely feel Grandpa Weiler's spirit there with me. It was so wonderful. Also, make sure to tell Grandma that I have already sewn and fixed one of my sweaters, my companion's skirt, and another sister's sweater. I am sewing it up down here! I hope I can make her proud.
We watched a devotional by Elder Holland this week and his message was so powerful for all of us missionaries. Our #1 convert on our mission should be ourselves. What I really loved was when Elder Holland said that our missions are supposed to be difficult because Christ's mission and Atonement was never easy for Him.
I love the way that Elder Holland speaks about his mission when he was a young man. I want my mission to mean as much to me as Elder Holland's mission means to him because he says that there has not been a day gone by that he hasn't thought about his mission in 50+ years. He also said that, quite literally, his mission experience has affected every major and minor decision he has made in his life.
I cannot wait to get out in the field. I am nervous but I know that being out here is the best decision I have ever made and I already feel like a different person. This Friday (TOMORROW) we are going proselyting. As in, from 1:00 to 8:00 I am going to be walking around the streets of the Dominican Republic with an experienced missionary, trying to figure out what the Eskimos, um, I mean Dominicans are saying.
Also, our "investigator" Juan Victor has agreed to be baptized!! Hermana Jennings and I were so excited that when he said that he wanted to be baptized we kind of just stared at him for a bit. We were jumping up and down as soon as we were out of eyesight. I cannot wait until we have a real investigator agree to be baptized!!
Mama! I am so sorry that you hurt your ankle!!! That is a bum ride! I hope you don't push it running so soon after hurting yourself. I wish I could have gone to church and help with everything for you.
Alexis and Geoff:
The pizza stone goes on the right side, in the back. Cooling racks and other bulky stuff and the cake pans go on the right side however you can fit it next to and around the pizza stone. Then the cupcake sheets all fit inside of each other and go in the back of the left side. Then you slide all of the other sheets around and in front of those. xoxo

Apparently lots of football starts soon and I am apparently a Packers fan now. I don't know what that means. Is it okay if I'm a packers fan Geoff?? But I like the colors green and yellow anyways so I can work with that. Yay football! My district loves the things your primary kids say.
Jonny: What is Microsensors about?? That sounds pretty legit. Also, I heard all those music classes like Survey of Jazz are really hard. I had a seminary teacher who did History of Rock and it was the most difficult class he had ever taken. Good luck bro.
This is really nerdy but I am totally jealous of you guys playing Minecraft without me!!! I hope you guys don't mind playing the game you bought for Hannah again in a year and a half:) It's okay that you don't have a present to wrap, don't worry about it, she is going to love your present!
The things I miss most? Goldfish. Mom's food. The food here is packed with onions and peppers and all that yummy stuff that I try to avoid. fabric softener. Google and web searches. I really kinda need a normal dictionary. Not like it's important. But you guys know how I am and I always want to know what words mean in English. Big words:) 
Hannah: Good luck at Nutcracker auditions!! I am sad that I won't be able to see you dance! Happy Birthday!! Everyone here knows that it's your birthday and I've shown them a picture of you and I think I'm starting to get on everyone's nerves because I can't stop talking about you and how it's your birthday:) I love you so much. Ms. Lindsey is an amazing teacher, make sure you keep on learning as much as you can!
You should all be proud of me because I am now kind of ish good at volleyball. The elders even tried to teach me how to jump serve. That was a struggle. I almost got it at the end. They were all very patient with me. My Spanish is going pretty well, especially while I am teaching. I still struggle with understanding everything that everyone else is saying to me, especially when they go fast. My speed is also picking up a bit. Unfortunately I still struggle just speaking Spanish all the time when we talk about other things during the day. All of the grammar concepts that they are teaching us are things that I am already familiar with and so it is easier learning them this second time around. 

Look out for some pictures!! Tell Grandma Weiler to shoot me an email!
Lots of love, good luck with running and with school and with watching football and all of your endeavors.
Hermana Hardy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hermana Bonita

Hola Familia!

The language is going along pretty well! I still don't really understand the native teachers when they speak REALLY fast and they have to slow down for the rest of us.
We all went contacting at the University that is a few blocks away from us. We bore our testimonies to a lot of people walking around and passed out folletos and even a Book of Mormon! I really did not understand anything anyone said to me, but they understood what I was trying to say so that is good, yeah? There were a few men that may or may not have hit on me. We don't really know what they said but one of them wouldn't let go of my hand immediately after we shook hands and he kept saying bonita bonita! jajajajaja.
I am not dreaming in Spanish yet. However the second week in I would dream that I was translating English into Spanish so I would dream of the sentence in English then I would wake up and translate it into Spanish. It was exhausting. I didn't sleep very well doing that. Now I am sleeping like a rock! or a log. Take your pick!

Another story I would like to share is when we were teaching our "investigator" last night. I had been feeling so sick and feverish right before teaching him but right after we started with our prayer I began to feel much better and my head went to a small ache and we were able to teach him. I can't remember what I said to him but it was such a spiritual lesson about the Priesthood and the Holy Ghost and it was absolutely amazing. After the lesson I began to feel worse but that's not the important part. It's that even though I am so imperfect in so many ways and my body is weak the Lord will still find ways to work through me because of the eternal importance and divinity of our brothers and sisters who have not yet received the Gospel of Jesus Christ yet.
My shoes are working out great! I wore my proselyting shoes out contacting and I have some very beautiful blisters that are now turning into calluses! Which I consider a blessing. Also, blisters don't bother me anyways so I am great. I did wear my comfortable shoes for a few days after though :)
I am fairly certain I have enough pesos thank you! It turns out that they can exchange money here but it takes a couple days and I am so glad that we were prepared and followed the instructions in our book.
I haven't seen any exotic creatures yet! But they do have beautiful flowers that Hermana Freestone puts in the hallway of the CCM. They make me so happy and I can name all of the exotic flowers because of my floral design class.
Something that brought me immense joy this week was a musical number given at the devotional on Tuesday. Hermana Jennings and I are in charge of all the music (some people call us the lady AP's but I'm pretty sure that's not a real thing) and we asked Hermana Johnson and Hermana Sorensen to sing a number for us. They sung "Have I Done any Good in the World Today?" in Spanish and it was so beautiful. The part that touched me the most was when they sung the chorus in French for the Haitian Elders and Sisters. The Spirit was so strong I felt like I had been hit by a wall (in a good way). Music is such a blessing that brings everyone together.

This past week our devotionals have focused a lot on prayer. I have been trying to make my prayers more personal and more of a conversation with my Heavenly Father and it has blessed me so much. Prayer is such a wonderful gift given to all of God's children. When investigators pray they will receive answers and they will feel the Holy Ghost telling them that the Gospel is true.
Vernal sounds fun Dad! That is a lot of driving for one meeting but that client will definitely be lucky to have you! I am so happy that you have given Anna a calculator! I feel like those things are not going to waste. Also, I don't think it is my calculator. My calculator is in my slightly disorganized yet organized closet. It should be in a gray chevron bin that has office supplies in it so if anyone else needs a calculator they can take that one!
I am pumped that you are doing a 10 mile on Saturday, you will be in my prayers! Way to go! There was a marathon here around the city! We heard all this shouting outside the window this morning and looked outside to see all these people running. It made me think of both of you!
It has been raining lately in the afternoons. Yesterday it looked like the streets were flooding! But then everything dries very quickly so that's nice. During gym time on Saturday it started raining on us. I had just worked out and then I was starting to play volleyball when it started to pour! It felt so good and we kept on playing and the rain made it even more fun.
Alexis and Geoff- your stories make my laugh out loud every time. Thank you!
A typical day here in the CCM goes like this:6:30 Wake up, 7:00 breakfast. 7:30 personal study 8:30 additional study, then language language language lesson lunch. then lesson language gym time dinner. Then progressing investigator language lesson, language lesson, family prayer (which we do the music for) then to bed at 10:30!!

Everything goes so fast here I can't believe I'm halfway because it is so nice and sheltered here.
I am so excited for your programming class Jonny!!! That would definitely be a cool app. I won't mention it here so people can't steal it ;) I am glad you are taking some fun classes because you always work so hard and you deserve to have something fun!!
Hannah: you are in THREE dances for choreography concert???? That is too cool!! Have you received the letter I sent? maybe you will receive it next week but you are not allowed to open it until your birthday. Have so much fun at school.
By the way I received your package!!!! My district bullied me into sharing my oreos with them :) it was fun! Also, there are a lot of new elders that look JUST like people from home. An example would be Elder Hasler who looks exactly like Jonny's friend Ethan. I will send you a picture. This is weird to ask, but Elder Hasler would like to see a picture of Ethan just to see because he doesn't believe me. I will try to put photos on the dropbox in just a minute!
I love you all so much. I am so grateful for all of you. Thank you for everything. I am learning so much about Christlike love and patience through my companion, Hermana Jennings, she is truly amazing. 
Con amor,
Hermana Hardy

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lost in Translation :)

Hola mi familia.

This week we were teaching our "investigator" Victor. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and I pulled out a picture of our family to show him and bear my testimony and I told him about my brother and sisters. Then Victor pointed to Geoff and said "Es su hermano también?" and I said, "No, él es my cuaderno" and then we laughed and laughed. [translation: No, he is my notebook :) ]

Sorry Geoff. I meant cuñado. [brother-in-law]
Then Victor started asking about el infierno [hell]. The only reason I knew what that word meant was because of that Guacamelee game I played with Hannah and Jonny before I left. I also didn't know how to explain THAT part of the plan of Salvation in Spanish because it wasn't in our phrase book. All well.
My comp's name is Hermana Erin S. Jennings.

My district: Hermana Hoko ~ Puerto Rico and Hermana Seinaraine ~ Santiago, Elder Vallinga ~ Santiago (DL) and Elder Bowes ~ Puerto Rico (AP's), and Elder McDonald ~ Santiago and Elder Spencer ~ Santiago. The majority of us are from Utah, Hermana Seinaraine is from Guyana!

My first three days I learned how to pray, bear my testimony, and introduce myself in Spanish. First Sunday I bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting. Then this past Sunday I was called to give a talk about baptism. ALL IN SPANISH! I also played the piano first Sunday in Sacrament. So the Spanish is going pretty well!
Hermana Jennings and I have been called to be the music directors.

Our Zone

This week most everybody shipped off for el campo, so there were only three districts left. But now we have a district from Haiti, and lots of new gringos. I now sort of know how to ask someone to lead music in French, say thank you, please, and Como seva? or como se va? or whatever means how is it going in French. Yay! [Hrmna Hardy means Comment ça va? She is now speaking Franish :) ]

Gospel Principle we discussed this week: The Spirit and what we need to do to keep it with us and also the role the Holy Ghost plays in conversion. Really, most people the missionaries teach don't really understand what on earth we are talking about because our message can seem so all over the place. But those people are converted to the church because of the feeling and the Spirit that they felt while the missionaries taught them. Pretty cool. So really, missionaries talk and talk and the Spirit does the real hard work :)

So, I had an amazing experience this week. It was during personal study and I was learning so much and it was wonderful when all the sudden my eyes welled up and I was so confused cause I was feeling just fine. Then the Spirit told me that at that exact moment that my Mama was thinking about me and praying for me. I felt so close to you Mama and I am so grateful that I was given such a tender mercy to feel that connection with you from so far away.


Traditions? WELL: it is a tradition here to slather butter on a long roll (inside and outside) and stick it in a panini maker. It is called pan tostado, but for some reason they all say panto for short. It is really fattening but really good. Only the missionaries from Mexico put ketchup and hot sauce on their pizza.


I got your package! Thank you so much!

Thanks so much for your journal entries Dad! Way to go running 9 miles!! I am sorry to hear about the braces for Hannah. Sometimes we have mashed potatoes here!!!! It makes me happy! Tell the Sisters I say hi! The pictures of Alexis are gorgeous!!

So the "investigators" are actually nuestros maestros. They are ridiculously good at staying in character. What was amazing was this Tuesday we all had a very spiritual devotional right before we taught an "investigator". The first time we met him he had been "drinking" and he was on his phone and being irritable during our talk. This second time was so different because the Spirit was so strong within us that he HAD to listen to our message. It was so powerful.


It turns out that TRC here is really just us visiting teaching a senior couple. Which is fun. We have taught an investigator almost every single day starting that first weekend! And now it is around twice a day that we teach. It is amazing practice even though whenever Hmna Jennings and I don't know what to say we both stare at each other. However, that one lesson we had with the guy I mentioned before went so smoothly between the both of us. That's the kind of teacher I want to be.

This past Tuesday we were able to walk out of the grounds of the CCM and walk to la tienda!! It was a few blocks away and the store is seriously just like Walmart but not with as many options. So I bought some Dominican treats and it turns out that some are actually from Honduras haha.


The roads here are CRAZY with drivers and I thought I was going to die from just walking on the sidewalk with three other districts. yeah. The city is different and beautiful and dirty all at the same time. The park we walked through was really cool as well. I wasn't able to take pictures because we are only allowed to take pictures on Sunday while walking around the temple at night and on P-Days. The walk back from the store was hot and sweaty so I better get used to that!

For gym time we usually play volley ball. You should all be very proud of me because sometimes I can actually hit it. But now I have bruises on my forearms so that's a bit sketch. To be honest the first few days here felt like they lasted forever but now each day seems to go by faster and faster. I feel like I have been here for months and I love it here! But today is only our two week mark! CRAZY!!


I love all of you, it is so good to here from you! We were all so excited to email our families that we couldn't fall asleep very fast last night!

I love you all SO much! Keep staying strong and good luck with everything you are doing!
Que la fuerza esté contigo.


Hermana Hardy

Thursday, August 7, 2014

CCM de la República Dominicana

Mi Familia!!

CCM de la República Dominicana

I am doing great! My first day at the CCM (Centro de Capacitación Misional = MTC) started at 12:00 am because that's when we arrived here from the airport. My flights went very well, the most stressful part was on the flight from Miami to Santo Domingo because they made us fill out all these papers for customs and they were all in Spanish. yeah :).

Mi Compañera is Hermana Jennings. She is from Arizona and she graduated last year from Northern Arizona with a degree in Psychology. She is going to the Santiago DR mission. We get along AMAZING because we are very similar in a lot of ways. She is so nice and I love her. My very first REAL day we had orientation and food and a demonstration in teaching and such.

My first impressions were a bit funny because we went to bed at 2:30 and woke up at 6:30. But the orange juice isn't orange juice. It's too sweet! I also couldn't understand anyone. For lunch everyday we have a LOT of rice with some beans and some meat. Like, a LOT of rice. But I absolutely love the rice and beans now so I am pretty content. The food can be kinda weird sometimes but for the most part it is pretty good. 

Thank you so much for the secret letters you hid in my purse! They are perfect. I read Hannah's letter the very first day and it was so perfect for what I needed. Our baby girl is the smartest most spiritual person I know! Thank you so much Hannah and thank you everyone!

Have you sent a package? I haven't seen it yet. I am not sure if I need to go look for it or if they will tell me that they have it but I will go check!!!!! I may need earplugs.... yeah.

I am so sad that I missed your birthday Dad! Happy Half a Century!! I promise to work extra hard! Thanks for the quote and scriptures Mama, you always give the best lessons!

I am not marrying the guy I was talking to at the airport Alexis and Geoff. And Jonny. But he is in my District! So are you fixing the Gough yard yeah? I thought it looked fine but that sounds like so much fun! I haven't seen any spiders yet thank you very much. I will do my best to memorize the LdeM in 28 hours.

I DO however have to speak Spanish 16 hours a day in order to become functional while in the CCM. It is super hard but there are very sweet native speakers here who help us.

Jonny they feed us very well and they give us WAY too much food so I am trying to work out more during gym time. Sometimes I will instruct yoga for my district Hermanas, haha.

The climate isn't too bad! I am getting used to the thick air and my skin is loving it. My hair however is not the most beautiful thing on earth. I LOVE the structure but they tell us we need to make our own goals for the language and study on our own time but the schedule is already packed with other things so speaking for 16 hours straight has me a bit lost but I am trying my best.

My District is great! They are all just like me. Nerdy! We all understand our LofZelda jokes. which is great for me, I feel like I belong! But we are a pretty rowdy group when we get off on tangents and distractions. Other times we are very spiritual and we are all pretty close. I am glad you have a new pillow! Mine is great. I am glad I brought an extra blanket though. All of my teachers are from the DR and they told us that they don't speak English but they really do. They just want us to speak Spanish all the time. I loved your letter!

Mom: Tell Cory Evans that I met Elder Vellinga on the flights down here. He is now my District Leader, so it's a small world after all!

HANNAH!! I am having a GREAT time! Thank you so much for your letter, it was perfect:) I do have friends, they are in my district and I have others from other districts. There are only 62 people here in the CCM. So it is very small and nice. I hope you are enjoying dance camp!! Tell everyone I love them! Miss you so much lovies!

I learned something to tell you. It it turns out that the whole Phineas and Ferb thing IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY! There is a man who had a traumatic head injury and would dream/imagine that his brothers were doing crazy things (like building a rollercoaster) and so that is who Candace represents. Weird right? One of my instructors explained that to us in Spanish, so I think I got it right :D

OKAY EVERYONE: On Sunday we get pizza for dinner. All of the natives were putting salsa picante and ketchup ALL over their pizza. One of my friends from Mexico convinced me (in Spanish) to try it. I am the first "White Chick" to ever try this in the history of the CCM apparently. It was actually pretty good!! Promise me that you will all try it!

So last night, my District had a very spiritual experience. Yesterday was a pretty tough day for me and I wasn't feeling super motivated to complete my goals and so on. Our District Elders have been offering to give us blessings whenever we Hermanas need them so I finally decided to ask for a blessing and it was so perfect for what I needed. The other hermanas received blessings too.

It built my testimony of the power of the priesthood and I cannot wait to teach the people of Puerto Rico. It's been really difficult teaching. We have an "investigator" Victor, and we teach him almost every night so Hermana Jennings and I need to plan a lot for our lessons with him and sometimes the questions he asks and the things he needs help with leave us a bit lost and I totally repeat myself in Spanish a lot but we are doing better every time!!

I am able to play the piano a lot. I played for Sacrament meeting, for our District, and for lots of things. The best part is that a lot of the songs I play are songs that I have never learned before. So I will have about 5 minutes to learn one before playing for everyone but I know the Lord is blessing me with the ability to sight read pretty well. Which is amazing because I used to be not VERY good at sight reading and learning super fast while others are singing. So that is pretty amazing.

Templo de Santo Domingo

Today I get to spend the ENTIRE morning in the Temple!! I am so excited, I have been waiting for this the entire week!

Also, I can see the temple and the ocean from my window in my room:)!!!!

XOXO and Lovies!

Hermana Hardy