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, November 24, 2014

Mercies, Miracles & Gratitude

Hello Family!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!!! I love you so much! I hope you have a wonderful time and that your marathon goes well!

I am feeling much much better today. I am exhausted and a little bit bruised but to be honest I am not nearly as injured as I would have thought I would be for being hit by a car (which means that I have been blessed very, very much). We have been given permission to use the car if we really need to. For the most part we have had members drive us to appointments. We have had almost all member presents this weekend!

I have to admit something.... several weeks ago I DID say to my companion that I would rather be hit by a car than to be bitten by a dog... Sooooo I had it coming.

I would like to say that even after being hit by a car I would still rather deal with that than be bitten by a dog.

Thursday we kinda chilled out at the apartment for the day. We took our time doing weekly planning, wrote letters, cards to members for Thanksgiving, we cleaned the apartment (I kinda helped a little bit but not much) because Hna. Boucher came to let me call Mama and to do an apartment inspection.

Friday we visited people (member present and then with a less active and then English class). It was exhausting. Saturday we rested a bit more but still had 2 member presents (Hna Broyles went with Hna. Gawrych to the one in the early morning because I was not walking or moving very well that morning).

Sunday, of course I went to church! I received all sorts of attention by people who have never spoken to me before (usually they all talk to Hna. Gawrych) and I had no idea what was going on but I am pretty good at saying I got hit by a car in spanish now. We had a total of 4 lessons today and I am tired. The members are very sweet and they all thought that my leg is broken (some STILL think that it is broken because someone spread that rumor around). NADA ROTO! I'm really good at saying that too.

So for the accident part!

We were on the side of the road contacting a man in front of a chain link fence, he even said we could return and teach his family and Hermana Gawrych was writing our number and I was looking at the man thinking that I didn't do very bad at contacting him (very prideful of me so yeah).
When completely out of nowhere I am hit and I just remember looking at the ground and seeing grass as I rotate around towards my right shoulder and being hit again (I realized it was the side view mirror later) and then I was facing towards the road and I saw the mirror roll away into the grass and then I was down against the fence looking at my leg.
My left shoe flew off my foot. I never actually saw the car as far as I can remember, just grass. I knew what had happened though right away and I screamed a bit and a man that had been sitting on the porch with our contact ran out right away and he was holding my hand and a woman who saw it all happen was standing in front of me and they were helping my companion call 911 and it hurt. Then a huge group of teenage boys came running around and after a while they left as more people came.
(Please see pictures for reference and explanation for how I was hit)

All I knew is that there were lots of people around me shouting in Spanish and I only understood a little bit. However I did see a white car drive past and stop and I saw a woman get out and I thought it was a member but I wasn't sure as she got closer and then her face was in front of mine and it was Hna. Franqui!!
I cannot describe how relieved I was to see her and she was just saying that I was going to be okay and she would take care of everything. She speaks a lot of English too so that was very nice. There are no members in the area we were in (30 minutes away from town driving) and I know that Heavenly Father planned for her to be driving by at that exact time to take care of me.
[On the phone, Emily also told me one of the EMTs and one of the police were members of the Church as well. She was well ministered to and the Elders were knocking themselves out to give her blessings :) ]

Her daughter Alanis was there too (9 years old) and her husband just got back from the states and he helped my companion a lot too. So I rode in an ambulance for the first time, went to the ER. There were 13 people there for me not including my companion and me. Apparently more members had shown up where the accident was and I didn't see them there but they showed up at the hospital (Metropolitan hospital of Cabo Rojo or something for Jonny haha:)) and the elders came and brought me a blanket and East High sweatshirt (they have a lot of nerve haha) and socks because it was freezing and I was shaking and everything.
In the end, nothing is broken, I am just scraped up and bruised but the bruising isn't too bad at all and my leg is the worst of it and even that is healing up very quickly. Everyone in Puerto Rico knows and even random people in the U.S. that the members know and called (hahaha). The nurse showed up right before they wrapped my leg up after they took x-rays. I never hit my head! My neck is sore from whiplash so my headache is sometimes worse than my leg when we are out visiting for a long time but I am still smiling!

We don't really know anything about who it was and all the members are really upset about that but I am fine, the person must be freaked out of their mind! Hopefully they are okay.

Miracles! Lots and lots of them! I had so many people who just so happened to be driving by after it all happened and so many people were there at the hospital with me. Hno. Franqui just kept on saying to me ""Look! There are so many people here for you, you two are never alone" That was a wonderful comfort to me.
We have had strangers call us to ask us how we are doing and one woman invited us to Thanksgiving!! Awesome, right? We have had the members help us with just about everything. My favorite part was speaking to Mama on the phone and tell her that I am okay. The missionary work is moving forward despite and because of what has happened:)

So for Thanksgiving we have two appointments- one at 12:00 and the other at 5:00 (we were invited to more but we had to decline). There are lots of people willing to drive us to those appointments.

Well, I do not know that more to say! I know that Heavenly Father has protected me and that He has a purpose in everything. I am excited to see what else will happen as a result! The past few days have been ridiculous and crazy but I have never felt so loved. The people here are so kind (even if they are dramatic) and they have the biggest hearts. I am hoping to accomplish even more the next few weeks with their help.

I love you all SOOOO MUCH! Happy Thanksgiving! Remember to be grateful everyday because that is more important than being grateful once a year:)

Love Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 17, 2014

Invitation to Baptism

Hello Familia!
For your first question, the investigator we invited to be baptized last week didn't come to church and then didn't answer her phone so we couldn't visit her :(

BUT THEN! Our other investigator Gloria did accept the invitation to be baptized! For December 6th! Wahoo! She is so excited about it too. She told us that she wants a certificate to go along with it.
The funny and awkward part is though... Well when we invite people to be baptized we invite them, and then we say "We will be having a baptismal service on this day (date) will you prepare to be baptized this day?' Well, she said yes to the day and then asked who else was being baptized that day and assumed that there were a couple of other people....
So she kept on asking about that again on Sunday and we explained that there might not be other people prepared for that day and she said she didn't want to be baptized alone (she doesn't want people to go to trouble for her alone). Then we told her that lots of people are baptized alone and then she seemed much better about that!

It was just funny because she would say, "How many other people are being baptized??' and ahehehehehehe.... *you're the only one progressing... cough cough* :D

We wave to EVERYONE! People love us now, it feels like a parade. One night we actually did have people clap at us from inside their car... that was new! It is fun to see people's facial expressions when they see us.

So most of the time I eat an eggo or oatmeal or cereal with a banana every morning. Lunch varies, we eat a lot of salad and Tuesdays a woman brings us all food and we can usually make that last for 2-3+ days because she brings so much. Lots and lots of rice. Some beans. Meat (usually chicken). We very rarely cook and when we do it is usually noodles for me:) We bake cake a lot. And cookies, to share with people we visit. We eat at a member's house every Sunday for lunch, and at other people's houses during the week (maybe once or twice a week.)

The other day I tried tostones for the first time, tostones de pana to be exact. Just fried squished pieces of the pana fruit. Super starchy fruit, so it is like an extra thick potato chip. Around Christmas they have pasteles and I have tried them once and not the very tastiest thing I've had.

This week I ate the gizzard and liver of a chicken. Also, I had fried eggplant. I'd rather not talk about it, but it took us the longest time to find someone to tell us what they were in English (because the words for gizzard and liver were not in our dictionaries) I also found out that there is a delicacy that is essentially the intestinal part of a chicken and they keep the blood and everything when they cook it. I am not excited to try that...

My favorite place to eat is with Hna. Acosta. Her food is sooooo good (Her lasagna is to die for) and she tries to not cook us rice and beans because she understands how much we eat it.

My other favorite place to eat is Taco Maker (wednesday night is 1/2 off night)

Usually we do not take our dinner hour but we do on Wednesdays, haha. (or if someone feeds us dinner we count that as dinner hour)
Our favorite snack in between visits are limbers! People make them in their home and sell them out their front door. They are like popsicles in a little plastic cup with all sorts of different flavors. I will take a picture and send it to you. Lots of people offer us food when we visit though so we get a lot of snacks during the day usually.

My favorite thing about Puerto Rico?? It is so beautiful here!!!

What would I like for Christmas? mmm, I don't know! I definitely left my warm up rice bag at home that Grandma made for me because I thought I wouldn't need it... and now I wish I did!

I cannot think of anything else because I think what I will miss most is the Christmas tree with the family, snow, watching Christmas movies and Nutcracker music and Molly Mouse! I also miss Fall smells.

Today for P-day we had a nature hike and went into a cave and saw the beach and some old ruins. We went to Playa Baye. Do not worry, I did not get in :) but it was lots of fun! I will send pictures.
Jonny asked if I have dreamed in Spanish. I don't think so. But for a few weeks in the MTC I would dream of myself saying something in English like "God is our loving Heavenly Father." And then I would actually wake up halfway and translate it into Spanish, "Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial" I didn't sleep for the longest time because of that, translating in my sleep haha.

Way to go Hannah for making Jemima (I knew you would) and Jonny on passing his huge test!! Wahoo!!

I love you lots!

Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 10, 2014

Preparing For Baptism

Hello Family!

What a week! I can't remember what happened. I was a bit sick this last week, I don't know what it was- a weird sort of pure exhaustion and headache. Super strange and apparently one of the Elders was feeling that way the week before. Who knows! But I pushed through and I have my regular energy back so we are good! I am grateful that we get to go to bed at 10:30.

I haven't seen the music yet but I will keep my eyes out! What day did you send it? Tomorrow is some holiday for the schools so I don't know if the post office will be open or not. Maybe I'll get it today though! Our Ward Mission Leader keeps on talking about having me play some solo soon and it sounded like he wanted me to be playing Christmas arrangements the entire ward Christmas party. Heh.

I think my favorite lesson this week was with our investigator Sylvia. We found her contacting, visited her the week after for Lesson 1, and then this week we were able to teach her lesson 2. The thing is that she lives in Boqueron (the one that's 2 hours away walking) and she couldn't meet on our Boqueron day! So she totally came to the pueblo to pick us up and took us to her home to have a lesson. (we think she would have driven us home and fed us too but we had another lesson and ride with a less active that fell through... so we ended up walking the cien back home until we were able to find a member to pick us up haha)

Well we taught her Lesson 2 and she is SOO prepared and she even said yes when I invited her to be baptized! I was shaking and I had no idea what to do. She did say that she will be baptized when she is ready and she feels like the date I offered her is too soon, but she seemed so certain anyways when she said yes. I really kinda struggled with my Spanish and fluidity in that lesson though. Hna Gawrych just let me work it out myself and fortunately the message got through and she understood it and desires eternal life now.

Also, we had a lesson last night with a part active family and Hna. Gawrych thinks that the woman shed a tear when I told her that Heavenly Father loves her. That makes me happy, that she could feel the Spirit when told about that love He has for her.

I also learned this week that only 1% of the people in Puerto Rico are prepared to receive the Gospel and it is my responsibility that everyone has the opportunity to accept or reject our message because Heavenly Father knows that there are people who will never accept it but they need to have the opportunity to. That makes my heart sad. But it also makes me more motivated to speak to everyone and find that 1%.

Remember the one Birthday party investigator and his 5 year-old daughter? Unfortunately he texted the elders that he couldn't meet with him anymore because his family keeps on telling him that we are only trying to recruit people and he believes them. Ironically, he started studying with us saying that he will never be baptized he just wanted to learn everything. I personally think that he received an answer of the truth and his family noticed the change in him and he has chosen to not follow it. The elders invited him to read Elder Bednar's talk from this last conference.

We have District Meeting every week at the Rebecca (a park). Then we go home and eat food that Hna. Sepulveda makes us! yum yum:) We meet together, share experiences, read from PMG, share ideas and all of that. One week we got to listen to "Words to Live By" by Hyrum Smith. (well, we need to finish it later). Could you guys print it out and send it to me? I love it! He is also a great speaker and is wonderful to listen to. It's an AWESOME talk.

Our P-day adventures are pretty simple. Last week we went to a new panaderia for lunch and they had SOO many desserts and tasty things and wonderful sandwiches. yum. I will admit that I have gained 5 pounds because being sick I couldn't move in the mornings to exercise. This week will be much better though. I have already lost 3 of those pounds.

It rains about every Monday, it's pretty reliable. It RAINED SO MUCH LAST WEEK! I was actually COLD during the night and in the early morning. Apparently it's really weird for it to rain in the middle of the night. Now it is back to normal hotness at night.

I am so proud of you for rocking the Triathalon! RIGHT ON! You both look so healthy and fit and skinny! Wahoo! But Grandma says that you guys are doing the marathon over Thanksgiving in St. George. I am excited for you! but I am also sad because I know that Thanksgiving won't be the same in the Hardy home this year. We already have a dinner appointment for Turkey day (with the one woman that loves me!). It's funny because she invited us weeks ago and keeps on reminding us and saying "don't make any other dinner appointments!!!" She threatened the elders about that too, haha.

I don't really know if I am doing better in the language, I can't tell because I suppose that change comes really gradually. My district leader says that I am doing so much better than the usual new missionary so I hope that's true! I know that I am a lot better at smiling and being happy and positive than I was before starting my mission. That makes me happy and I want to be like this after too!

Good luck with tryouts tomorrow Hannah! You will do amazing as always! Pinky luck kiss kiss

XOXOXO Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 3, 2014

Turn That Frown Upside Down :)

Hello Family!
We had one investigator come to church! She is slowly progressing.

Something really funny I haven't told you guys yet is about a sister in our ward. When I first got here she was not interested in helping us and all of that. Slowly we convinced her to drive us to her less active daughter's family.
HOWEVER, she was supposed to pick us up in the plaza and we were walking there when some other kind of investigator started talking to us and would not stop talking. (this was in Sept. or something) so this member was waiting forever for us and when she found us we got in the car and she was so mad and chewing us out. I didn't really understand what she was saying but I could tell she was unhappy and I didn't know what to do. I was in the back seat and she looked in the rearview mirror at me and my very first reaction was to smile really big and sweetly at her.

She gave me a funny look then said to my companion, "She doesn't understand what I'm saying does she?" and Hna. Gawrych said, "No she doesn't really understand spanish yet." That made the member laugh. Then we had a super spiritual lesson with her daughter and family.

Since then she has warmed up a LOT to us and is more willing to help us. It has been neat seeing her change and she absolutely loves me. Whenever she says something to me and I don't know what's going on I just smile. Then she laughs REALLY hard and grabs my shoulder and shakes me around and says "'OH, HARDY!!! HAHAHAHAHA.''

This happens a lot. She is also in Primary and was super happy to have me play the piano. At one point in our saludos she took my face in her hands and squished and wiggled my cheeks together and said something in Spanish and hugged me.

This past week we were visiting with her and before we went to go see her daughter she would see people in their houses or on the street and would stop the car and have us contact them, haha. She also likes to bring us taco maker and juice and treats when she visits with us and it is just so neat to see how much she has changed over the past few months where before she didn't want anything to do with us and now she treats us like her children.
She just thinks I am super funny with my smiles and not knowing what's going on. I think she thinks I am a bit of a ditz... but she loves me anyways. I told her the story in Spanish of how when I was little I thought Jonny ate the moon. She thought it was really funny and just says, ÖH HARDY! My favorite part is how she just laughs and laughs at me. I don't really know why, but as long as she is happy and willing to help us out I am happy!
Apparently I have a really expressive face now... Which is good and bad. One bad funny story is how one woman (who only speaks English) was going on about bills and whatnot and I was TRYING to make a concerned face and she thought I was judging her and called me out on it and I had to explain that I was just worried for her and not judging at all. Hna. Gawrych and all the sisters think that it's really funny haha.

I am going to practice my "concerned" face in the mirror this week.
Relief Society is in Spanish. They all talk at once. I am naughty and zone out sometimes but I will try to be better. The past four weeks I have been in Primary anyways to play piano and practice for their program, but now that's all over and we are back in Relief Society. Here Relief society is first and then sunday school then Sacrament. I will tell you more once I start understanding more. We did have our service project on Saturday, the men and young adults served in a school, cleaning out all this old stuff and whatnot abandoned whatnot. Women served in el hogar de ancianos, and we sang and shared scriptures. Older people are even harder to understand in Spanish and they didn't understand me either so that was fun. There was one old man who LOVED the Spanish Christmas songs they sang. He was tapping his feet and waving his hands and he was so excited.
They do not really have carpet here at all. Some people have rugs, but I haven't seen that very often. Pretty much every place in the pueblo has the exact same laminate flooring, haha. As far as funny manerisms I cannot think of any right now. I think it's because I've gotten used to them. They really do talk a whole awful lot here. It's hard sometimes to teach and get stuff done. They are very dramatic here. they exxagerate a lot haha. If someone waits for you for 5 minutes, they say they've been there for half an hour or more.
That makes me laugh that Hermana Boucher thought I was talking about Dad. I sent them a text saying that the package was from my AUNT, I didn't say anything about dad or uncles haha, we have a zone conference this week so I will clarify then:)

I did receive the medicine! Thank you so much! I also found gummy vitamins in Walgreens. I didn't buy them because they seemed expensive but I might today because it is probably the same price that you guys would have to pay to send it down here!

Penelope looks like Perry! Is she a black cayuga too? she even has white feathers! Is she cuddly?

The Rhapsody of Hymns is my favorite and I would LOVE those other ones you mentioned. The yellow christmas book should be in the bench, it is a skinny one, really simple songs. I used it for What Child is This and Silent Night (they are the last two songs.) The very first song is Have yourself a very merry christmas or whatever it's called.
I loved the Puerto Rican pumpkin!! Beautiful work! Good luck with your test this week Jonny and with the job you want! You will ROCK it! There should be a bulletin with all the music performances going on at the U and in the community. Right now is a great time to find a Jazz performance because I bet everyone is doing their senior recitals around this time. It shouldn't be too hard to find one to go
I am carving a ring out of a coconut shell! I had my first real coconut this week and the elders opened it with a machete for me.

This week someone gave us 100% juice! MIRACLE!

I love you all! Take care and remember to SMILE!
xoxo Hermana Hardy