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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Testimonio de Jesucristo

Hello Family!

I am very sorry to hear that Perry is gone. It doesn't really feel very real right now.

I have some very random questions to ask first:

What is a bird dog from the exercises mom sent me? Where is the transmission and power steering levels in a 2011 Toyota Corolla because it's not in the owner's manual :)

YES we eat with members! Fortunately our weekly Sunday appointment Hermana Rivera always makes sure that she gives me the right amount instead of too much which is very thoughtful of her. Sometimes it's really hard to finish all the food people give us because they pile so much on and it is literally quite painful to my tummy to finish all of it.
Sometimes Hermana Gawrych helps finish or if the Elders are with us they will finish. I am eating very healthy here when I fix my own food. Really all we eat with members is rice beans and chicken.
I am very grateful for the members though. This last Sunday we had a member who has decided that we have to eat too much rice and beans so she made us mashed potatoes and meatloaf and corn! Wahoo! It was the best meal I've had yet :) It reminded me so much of home. Of course we had puerto rican things too at that meal, we had avocado (aguacate). The aguacate here is unreal mama, you need to try it one day. It is so amazing and I think my body is used to it because it doesn't make my mouth itch as much anymore!

Honestly our P-days have been way different for the past 3 weeks so I will answer that question in a few months.

We walk a couple miles each day depending. There is one part of our area that is 2 hours walking so we haven't gone there yet. Sometimes we will get rides. There are places we have to get rides to but it's hard to find them sometimes.

Voy a compartir mi testimonio para ustedes en español. Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro salvador y redentor. Yo se que El es mi redentor y salvador personalmente. Tambièn yo se que el Libro de Mormòn es verdadero porque lo he leido y orado a saber que es verdadero. Dios me contestò con el Espìritu Santo y sentimientos de paz y amor en mi corazon. Yo sè que el Evangelio de Jesucristo es muy sencillo. Dios tiene un plan para todos sus hijos y solo tenemos que guardar los mandamientos y seguir el ejemplo de Jesucristo. Es dificìl a veces a entender el amor de Dios y como podemos usar el Expiaciòn pero yo sè que todo es posible a travès el Espìritu Santo. Solo tenemos que escuchar a los sentimientos de paz que nos da. Me encanta mi familia y sus testimonios. Estoy muy agradecidas por ustedes y su amor para mi. Yo sè que el Evangelio de Jesucristo es la vìa para nosotros a regresar a Dios. Digo estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo Amen.

Women's Conference was AMAZING! I have thoughts and thoughts about it. I loved how Pres. Uchtdorf said that just because we are Children of God and we have a divine heritage doesn't mean we have a free pass to eternal life. We have to work for it!! Also, will you send me all the words to my favorite things? It's stuck in my head a lot and I can't remember some lines in one of the verses!

I am on my way to the post office to pick up my package from Lexie right after this!

I will get some pictures of the every day stuff :) We have around 60 people in church on a good day. We have to walk 30 minutes to get to our ward building, but sometimes we get rides on Sundays. To get there walking we have to go through el camino de perros which is realy sketchy and dank and nasty so we try not to walk through there at night (It even has bones from the meat that the dogs eat).
I'm also a bit more scared of dogs now. Our Mutual is Friday night after our English class. The Puerto Ricans NEVER stop talking. I have more thought on that and no time to write, but I need to be more bold in lessons because it's a time waster. I can understand sisters from Honduras and Peru and such. Puerto Ricans are so difficult to understand though. WAY too fast.

The flashlight story woman is nice. She is Catholic and isn't necesarily receptive but invited us back. We taught her part of lesson 2 last time because her husband died recently. We will see her again this week. Our guy from the birthday party came to church and we had a lesson with him after. He is a tough one. His daughter went to Primary with us. I am playing piano for their program in November. She hated singing time... Also she only really speaks English and that's hard for her and the Primary.

WAHOO SOLOIST HANNAH!!! That is so neat. I know that the plan of Salvation has a purpose for Perry as well. I am sorry that I can't be home with all of you, I know it's really hard. Take Spanish next year!!!

Funny traditions? Well the people are afraid of rain and of lightning and thunder. Which is weird because it's been raining a lot recently. Last Friday we had to cancel the English class because there was a storm and every one freaks out. A member drove us home and the Bishop told us that we had to stay inside for the rest of the night. That storm was pretty bad so we listened to the Bishop. But other than that the rain is fine. I don't know why they freak out!

Yesterday I was able to buy a pillow! I am really excited about that. The library was closed Monday because of the fiesta patronales that was in the plaza next to our apartment. We didnt'go at all because there were lots of drunk people. But they did light off fireworks and cannons. It's been going on for 5 days. But now it's over. Monday morning at 5 am they were lighting off cannons!! It was going on ALL night long. Ridiculous but all well. I also used the birthday money from Grandpa and Grandma Hardy to buy a yoga mat! I am so excited because the ground kinda bruises my back when I do my excercises but not any more!

I am afraid I have some things to ask for...

Could you send me my book of music arrangements? or a few of them. My favorite one has I know that my redeemer lives in the first page. I am also almost out of Epiduo and gummy vitamins. AAAND my watch stopped working! It wasn't water proof I guess and we were rained on a lot one day and it stopped :( I'm sad. I'm not sure where to go to buy a new one though. We are in the Pueblo and maybe once in a while we can go to Walmart in Mayaguez but not often. It's hard to find people to give us rides too.

Dad: maybe you could type and send your journal entries to me in the mail? If you use my Cabo Rojo address it is very reliable because it's the U.S. Postal system.

This past P-day we totally went to some national forest with our Mayaguez Zone for a hike and to visit a cave! I love you all so much. Take care!

Hermana Hardy

Monday, September 22, 2014

Let Your Light So Shine

Hola Familia!

My companion's name is Ambree Gawrych and she is from Sandy. She did swim team in High school and she helps motivate me to work out in the morning. She is so sweet and we have a lot in common. She has been out for a year this October and I am her first baby.

My birthday was so wonderful. Thank you to everyone! Oh and please thank the Chapman's for me. They sent me the most beautiful cards for me to share. Thank you so much for the presents and especially for all the cards! I have the cutest outfits now! Everyone thinks that my favorite color is blue because all of my skirts but two are blue, haha, I didn't realize that until I got here.

Last P-day we went to a place called Alfarro. It is a light house and I will try to send pictures. We also had ward council on my birthday and that was a lot of fun but I didn't really know exactly what was going on. I did however understand when they asked how old I was and I said twenty (then the elders told everyone that it was my birthday) and I did understand them saying that I looked like I was 14. haha.
So there are 3 elders and 4 sisters total in my district. We are an all gringo district which is really unusual. OH! So we have 2 Elder Borens and one of them is Christy Cunningham's nephew, he went to East. Small world right? So where we are covers 2 wards: Cabo Rojo 1 and 2. I am in the first one, the other sisters are in 2, and the Elders are covering both. We are part of the Mayaguez Stake. There are 5-6 stakes in Puerto Rico. I don't know how many we have in our zone.

My new address is:
Calle Maximo Gomez 36A
Cabo Rojo PR 00623
Puerto Rico

Church services are wonderful. I don't really understand too much but I get the gist of the lessons. This week I played piano for Primary Singing time and I played in Sacrament meeting as well. I sight read about every song I played and it went pretty well.

Well the people we are teaching. We visit a lot of menos activos. It's really hard to get everyone to church because no one has a car. We met a new family this week and the wife just had her baby a month and a half ago! We taught her the first lesson and it went very well and we are going to return this week when her husband is home so we can teach him too. We are feeling optimistic for them.
The thing about Puerto Rico is that people do not like to make appointments for visiting with them and that makes it really hard to have lessons sometimes.
Also, they talk a lot. I know we need to listen to them to show our love and get to know them but it's hard to teach lessons because they don't really let up sometimes. That's been hard for me.
We have a recent convert named Olga who is 79 years old. She is great and so excited about church. Last night she took us to one of her friends to teach and she totally forgot where the apartment was so that was a bit fun. We found it eventually :)

Saturday we were looking for a contact's house when a car drove by and a man shouted out the window "Hey, are you Mormons??'" Wee said yes and then he invited us to his daughter's birthday party down the road. It was on the long walk from our pueblo to Monte Grande and we thought we'd stop by just to pass out some cards and say hi.
They were all so excited that we actually showed up and the little girl turned 5 and she was so cute and sassy. Her dad had a lot of questions about the church and fortunately it was all in English because he is one of those philosophical types that over thinks things a bit. We spoke to him a lot and in the end he said that this was the first time he had actually learned anything from missionaries.
Hopefully we can teach him again. It turns out his dad was baptized years ago and we met him too and he was great to talk to cause he loves missionaries. All of the older people at this party were veterans from the Marines so they only spoke English to us because they were most comfortable speaking English.

Good news! Our fridge is fixed! our landlord sent some workers to fix it so now our milk will not go bad :) our showers are hot.
A great story: After one bad storm the power went out while we were out and about at night. We could see just fine for the most part but then I felt an impression that I should use my flashlight. I started using it then a woman called us from off the street because she was sitting in the dark and she could see my light. We were able to make an appointment to visit her again. It was great because she contacted us!! Because I had my light on.
Lexie and Geoff! I will look out for your package :) I will probably get it at our next zone meeting! I can't wait to receive Jonny's snapchat:) your card was really cool too Jonny. Those were the right shorts! Here all women great each other by kissing on the cheek. As missionaries we only shake hands with the men of course. It is always buenos dias or tardes or buenas noches.
Way to hike Mt. Olympus! That is amazing. The thing about Puerto Rico is that it is perpetual summer here. The leaves don't change colors at all. I can't believe it's the end of September because it is still so hot.

That's cool about Rob teaching you all how to invest. I might need to work for a couple months when I get back so I can have money to invest haha :)

I will try to speak Spanish more and more! My companion makes me practice but sometimes we forget because I am her first English speaking companion.

WE TOTALLY had an investigator come to church with her kids. She enjoyed it and said that she is going to come back! Her husband told us that he won't go because he worships in his own way... yeah, we'll work on him. They are the type of people who think all churches are good for the most part so we need to teach him that there is only one church that is true.

For p-day today we helped clean the house of a woman in Cabo Rojo 2 who has been in the hospital. It was great!

I am so excited for you Hannah! I know that you can totally have a 4.0, do your best and I know you will totally do it because you are so smart :)

I love you family! Stay safe and have fun! Please enjoy autumn. It is my favorite time of here and I am sad that I will not get to see the leaves change colors. Also, the smells :) Stay safe and rock school and remember that you guys are my favorite. Mom, I really hope you edit my emails haha, it's hard to tell because this computer puts red lines on all the English words.



Hermana Hardy

Monday, September 15, 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños Hermana Hardy!!!

Hello Everyone!!
Mom and Dad: Did you get the email from Hermana Boucher with the pictures? I hope so! [Sue: we didn't :( ]

There is so much to tell you, I cannot even think of where to start! Well, we left the MTC at 5:15 and got to the airport where I called you (I was so happy to hear your voices) and the flight to Puerto Rico was only an hour.
We met Pres. and Hermana Boucher outside and the first thing he said to me was "How's our favorite Titan". I totally fell for it too, he knows I'm a Ram.
But anyways. If you hold out your left hand in front of your face with your thumb held close that is a map of Puerto Rico. Cabo Rojo is at the heel of your hand :) other than that I have no idea where I am.
It was a 2-3 hour drive from San Juan to here. We didn't get in until 11:30 so I was exhausted. You will all be glad to know that my bag that I brought is water proof, tried and proven in the rain. I'm so glad that it is or else I would have found out the hard way :)

Also, when I arrived at the mission home someone said, "Hermana Hardy? Oh, you're the one with all the packages." So yeah, I have all of them :) I have not opened up my presents though! I am waiting for tomorrow! I opened the package from Jonny first because I had no idea what it would be. I almost started crying and I did start laughing when I realized they were his basketball shorts!! Thank you so much. Having these shorts brings me so much comfort and I am so grateful for you Jonny and surprised at how quick you sent them out! We also love the Greenie package!

My trainer is Hermana Gawrych and she is from Sandy Utah!! I will try to send a picture. She studied at UVU nursing before coming here. She has a twin brother who is serving in Mexico. She is very sweet and patient with me.

Why were mom and Geoff in emergency blankets?? Are you guys okay? I am so proud of you! Jonny, start running with Mom and Dad. [Sue: they gave us Mylar blankets to keep warm before the start of the half marathon. We looked like 2500 baked potatoes sitting on the ground jaja :) ]

As far as language: I don't understand what the Puerto Ricans are saying. I can speak Spanish at them all day long but when it comes to listening to them I have no idea. The only thing I can do is bear my testimony. So story...

We were contacting in the streets in between lessons. We started talking to a woman when a man came up and just went on and on and on. I didn't understand much but I did understand that he was a part of a different church and he has some pretty strong opinions about Joseph Smith and the like. He really did go on forever.
While he was talking I began to feel so sad that he would not pause and let us speak to him. I began to feel the Spirit so strongly and I knew that I needed to bear my testimony of Joseph Smith. I tried to when he finished talking but he didn't give me a chance. He shook our hands and ran off. So I bore my testimony to the woman that had been standing next to him. I think she felt the Spirit. I hope so.
It was very upsetting to me because how on earth am I going to be able to bear testimony and teach people if they won't even listen to me! However I have learned since then that it is my responsibility to talk and bear testimony to people and their responsibility to open their hearts. Since then there have been a few people who have listened to my testimony!

We had a lesson yesterday afternoon. It was to an older couple. All the lessons before that (besides one lesson about the Word of Wisdom) I hadn't been able to contribute much besides my testimony because I didn't understand what was going on. But this time I recited the First Vision and I KNOW that they felt the Spirit because they told us so. It was so wonderful.
Also, the WOW lesson I was able to help teach a lot! It was amazing because that morning this woman had run out of coffee and had a strong impression that she shouldn't drink it anymore. Then we taught her, and she was so receptive and accepting of it! Wahoo! That was amazing:)

Okay... I hate to gross you all out pero... Well, our living conditions are pretty good. We live on the second floor in an apartment. We have stairs that are pretty steep but not too bad. We clean and we are all clean people anyways. But there is a bit of a bug problem. I am used to all the little brown ants however and they don't bother me.
However, Sunday morning I was making my breakfast. I was really excited because it was my favorite flavor of oatmeal (apple cinnamon, in the instant oatmeal packs) and I opened it and poured it into a bowl. I don't want to underplay it and I am not exagerating. There was a SWARM of baby cockroaches all crawling about in my oatmeal. Now, before coming here I would have screamed.
Surprisingly, my first reaction to this was sadness because it was the last packet of apple cinnamon and it was a waste of food. We try to put most of the food in the fridge but now the fridge doesn't work so our milk (which is a whole six dollars a gallon oh mi madre) went bad so that is sad too. They have gone through 3 fridges in the past 2 weeks and now we have to call our dueno again. Fortunately he is really nice and helpful!

I am so proud of you Hannah!! Way to be a soldier! I am so excited :) Chikungungya comes from mosquitos. I am putting lots of repellant on. The only thing is that I sweat it all off. I have been eaten alive but it takes 12 days for chik symptoms to appear so I will let you know ;) I am feeling great.
I HAVE NEVER SWEAT SO MUCH IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I cannot describe it. It does not bother me though. Beside mascara I have given up on makeup because there is no way. Makeup for church and pictures but that's it. My skin is fairly clear so I don't look too bad.
It is hard to find time to write in my journal. I am trying to do better because there is so much I want to write! Apparently this is a wait gaining mission. I will do those exercises and mark my words, I refuse to gain more than 10 pounds. I am keeping myself accountable for this by writing it in this email :) wish me luck.

Church was wonderful and a bit overwhelming. They made me introduce myself over the pulpit and all the old women (some just recently baptized) would follow me around and continually speak to me. !Linda linda linda! is what they usually say and they all think I am beautiful. I like it here. OH, the couple I was telling you about with the First Vision? She kept on staring at me and told my companion that I look really familiar. Then she said that she likes looking at my face too :) So that is nice.

I am out of time, I will try to send pictures really fast.

What is my pin for my mission card? I think I have it confused with my normal one. I haven't needed it yet though.

I love you! I am going to miss you on my birthday!!

Hermana Hardy

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Attack of the Chickens

Hola Familia!!


Okay, so proselyting. I cannot describe the things that I saw and I am just so grateful to have a wonderful family and we are so spoiled in our big home and big and clean streets.

My splits companion's name was Hermana Sanchez. She is from the DR and she speaks English very well. It was great because she would speak to me in Spanish and make me practice but she could also describe things to me in English. She has one week left in the field so hopefully I will have her again when we go proselyting again tomorrow! We were out from 1:30-8:00. We were set up with our companions and then we walked a bit until we got to the busiest road I've seen yet and we took a taxi van thing for about 10 minutes or so.
Let me tell you about this van. It has three rows of seats in the back and you can fit about 20 people in there by squishing everyone in without seat belts and then you hang on for dear life. It started to rain while we were in the van and when we were dropped off. We were by an intersection and Hna Sanchez grabbed my hand and started running through the crosswalk and I know there were lights but people don't really follow them here so that was an interesting and life flashing before my eyes experience.
Then it started POURING!!!! And we walked and walked and walked. Until we arrived at our area. The apartment for the sisters was nice but we were proselyting in the slums. The streets were skinny, rocky, dirty, and there were all sorts of animals running around. My companion would literally hold my hand anytime we didn't have a "sidewalk" to use so I wouldn't get hit by a car. She also wouldn't tell me what the men were yelling at me. I am not going to try to explain what the living areas were like but they were very humble.

Our first appointment fell through, but we were in a little alley way and I was almost attacked by a chicken and it was the skinniest chicken I've ever seen. There were a lot of chickens in the streets too.
Our next lesson was with a young man (maybe 15-16) and his father or grandfather. They were both so receptive and sweet. I was able to share James 1:5 with them (we were teaching the Restoration) and I bore my testimony to them. AND THEN Hna Sanchez had me explain the pamphlet that we were giving them for next time and I think I did an okay job because she nodded and said good job.
The super tall guy is Elder Parker and he is 6'9". Hermana Johnson is the other girl and she is the only person I am taller than! Wahoo! She is super sweet:)
We taught another family, a woman with her mother and grandmother and it was about the Plan of Salvation and the mother just kept on nodding and saying that it made sense that we lived with Heavenly Father and that He has a plan for us. I shared Jeremiah 1:7 with them!! I tried to bear testimony but a little boy was being super loud and so I think they understood what I said and they were surprised to hear that I had only been there 4 weeks because they think I am speaking pretty well!
Another family we taught was from Haiti! They are learning Spanish too and the husband spoke better than his wife. We taught her how to pray in Spanish and it was an AMAZING experience. I also bore my testimony about prayer and I can honestly say that I used words in Spanish that I have not learned yet and I know that the Holy Ghost definitely had my back. That was my most spiritual experience this week. Their children were super cute as well!! The little girl kept on wanting to shake my hand:)

Also, I was able to try some fruit! Do you guys remember the fruit that we bought at Harmon's and Jonny was super excited because he had them in Nicaragua? Those were spiky though right? Well I had some fruit like that only the outside was smooth and green, and the fruit was really sweet and there was a huge seed that you can't eat. I THINK it is called limonosa or something with an L.
I also tried manzana de oro. Hna Sanchez said it in English first and I thought she said goat apple. But then she said it in Spanish and it's gold apple. It was hard to eat because it had spines coming from the middle that you have to chew around but it was amazing!! Also, my clothes never really dried completely but I was never uncomfortable so that was nice. I wish I brought more light cotton blouses that are durable. 
Okay. Fun stories with these pictures. The other day our water jug thingies were all dried up. So I was bringing a new jug (you know, the big ones that they have for offices) down the stairs and down the hall because there were no Elders for Hna. Jennings and I to ask. THEN a whole bunch of elders walked into the hall and one of the native speakers flipped out because I was carrying a huge jug of water by myself and they were all shocked that a little sister would be doing that herself. They told me in Spanish that the only water I'm allowed to carry is my water bottle. It was pretty funny. So they took it from me and laughed for a good ten minutes about it and that's why there's a picture of me and Elder Mongaña showing off our muscles.
I am so excited to start proselyting in Puerto Rico. I fly out this Tuesday!

Way to run 12 miles!! Good luck on the 14th! That sounds miserable but I am so proud of you Mom and Dad! Tell Mike and Anne congratulations for me! I am sorry I missed your dance concert and birthday Hannah, but I know you did amazing!

The food is pretty interesting here. I've had to be careful about eating somethings because they have so much onions and peppers but I am doing alright. I have been eating a lot of bananas lately. My living quarters here are now HUGE to me since going out in the field. They are also way way bigger than BYU dorms so that's nice too! Everything fits in nicely, our closets are small but it's not like I have a lot of clothes you know? I have never heard of Swiss Days before Lexie! It sounds cute.

Jonny, the thing about flies and bacteria is gross but that makes a lot of sense. There are always flies around here. There are also mosquitos but it takes 12 days to find out if you have Chikungungya so keep your fingers crossed. If you need motivation to work out then just think about me exercising at 6:30 in the morning!!!
FAMILY: If anyone could email me some ideas for short workouts (20-25 minutes) and a couple variations that would be great so I don't get bored with my workouts. Jonny, treadmills are awful. Try yoga. I have taught some Sister yoga classes here. It's pretty fun.
Emailing is interesting because the missionaries before our time go WAY over so I have to wait a while and then we go from 3-4 but dinner is at 5 so they let us stay in and finish. It's a bit sketchy. There are 54 missionaries here right now and we have 20 computers with 2 districts at a time. Right now all of the computers are taken but there are only 8 people per district. There are people who have been here for three hours.
I don't know what my email conditions will be like in Puerto Rico Jonny, but since we always right big sections for each other then you can do a separate email if you want! Puerto Rico also uses the US postal system so bring on the letters!! You can try sending letters from "different boys" but I don't think anyone will believe that I have that many guys writing to me. But thanks for the offer hahahaha.

I am so glad you had an awesome birthday Hannah! We are playing Lego Hobbit again in a few years kay? I am so proud of you and I am not surprised that you are dancing and singing well above your age. I am making sure to smile lots. I probably smile and laugh WAY too much because my district is HILARIOUS. We need to tone it down a bit. Sometimes they laugh at my jokes too but whatever. Alexis, I told your Benji (sp?) joke to the sisters we share a room with and I got some pity laughs!! Wahoo!

I love you ALL so much! I think about you everyday. It is a DR custom for women to kiss on the cheek before hugging and I told one of the sister teachers that that's what I do with my Mama! So she says that whenever I need a hug and kiss from my mama that I can go to her:)

Keep on rocking it familia. Enjoy school. Enjoy our countless blessings and keep the people of both the DR and Puerto Rico in your prayers.

Love you!
Hermana Hardy