Scripture

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, December 28, 2015

100 Houses in 1 Day

Hello Family!

video

It sounds like you really enjoyed Christmas! Yay!! I loved seeing you all and talking to you! 

The rest of Christmas day we tried to work, we were only able to visit a couple of people, but that's okay. We went to family Perez's house and ate with them- yum yum yum. It was pretty rainy that night so it was almost like it snowed!


Our investigators are doing alright. We visited with Familia Cruz with an RM from the ward. We invited them to be baptized the 24 of January and they didn't exactly accept it but they also didn't say no.


The problem is that they just have a hard time coming to church because it's the same hour as their church and everything.... But they understand the idea of that there is only one true church and they know they need to attend to be able to know for themselves. (along with praying- but we receive answers to our prayers by acting.) So they didn't come to church this week... but we'll keep trying with them.


So we will have them in our prayers every day. They have so much potential! As of right now all of our other investigators haven't been able to meet with us because of Christmas... and we have plenty of people with potential but yeah.


We found a new family yesterday contacting. They are awesome! We are going back this week to teach them.


For New Years... well we don't have anything planned. I don't think anyone will have us over at night at night. So if we have something to go to we have to be home by 9:30, if not we have to be home at 8:00 to work on the area book etc.

The BEST bucket list that we have done we did yesterday! Contact 100 Houses In 1 Day!!!


So yesterday we contacted 100 houses! (well... 103 houses) and the statistics are interesting. 27 people actually talked to us. Only about 15 or so would take a card. One man said we could come back, We found a STELLAR family that has potential, and Hna. Helmick found 12 cents on the ground. 


We had 2 cups of pure orange juice (it's been a while since I've had that...), The best excuse someone gave us was that their dog was in labor at the moment and the woman couldn't talk to us or take the Ha Nacido card. 


Another woman was blow drying her dog and couldn't talk to us much. We accidentally crashed a B-day party. We also had a great time and I wasn't badly sunburned. In all, the stellar family made it all worth it! We're excited to go back and teach them.


For every bucket list accomplishment we take a picture with a checkmark. I am excited to make a cute album of this! haha :) I love Hna Helmick, she is so creative! We had a really good time yesterday!


Oh! And I want to thank all of you for your Christmas gifts and letters! I received the letters from the ward! I loved the packages too, thank you so much! The pajamas are SO cute! Please tell the Roberts family thank you for me! I will be sending them a card this week if I can get to it!

Tell Gentry thank you! I would LOVE her help for the baby shower! yay!

Well I hope you all enjoy Starwars........... Promise to take me? Haha!

Well I am out of time but I love you all! I hope you have a great week! Enjoy all of the photos! If I forgot to mention anything... sorry! Lots of experiences and not very much time to write them!

Take care!


xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, December 21, 2015

The True Gift of Christmas


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


Hello my beautiful family! I want to wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas :)

Mom and I both spoke in Church yesterday!

Yesterday I was able to speak in church about "Llevar el Regalo de la Navidad a través del Evangelio." My final message for the members at the end was that Christ is the true gift of Christmas and unlike other Christmas gifts or cards that only last for a season, sharing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ with our loved ones is a gift that will last for eternity. I'm so grateful that Christ was born and that we have the wonderful responsibility to share the good news of His birth and His restored Gospel.


I will be calling you this Friday between 11am-12 Puerto Rico time. It will probably be at 11:45am. Sorry it's so early! It was the only time any of the members could do it. So I think we're three hours apart, so probably 8:45am your time. :D

Our Christmas party in the Mission home will be tomorrow! I will take lots of pictures and let you know how it goes! I also think I'll be getting your package that you sent. I haven't received it and Hna. Lee says that they hide a package per missionary so I can get one at the Christmas party. So it's probably a good thing you didn't send a real tree! It would be a little parched....

My new companion is Hermana Camille Helmick! She is from Virginia! I lived with her for one transfer in San Sebastian. I LOVE being her companion!

She is determined to help me really enjoy my last transfer so she made a bucket list called "The Best 6 Weeks" with fun things that we want to do before I go!

So we had a blast this week decorating the house and coming up with ideas.


But don't think that was the only thing we worked on! On the contrary, we got a LOT of work done too:) we found two new teenagers to teach and her mom wants them to listen to us and they are GOLDEN!!! So excited!!

We also had the ward Christmas activity this week. It was awesome! We ended up having 4 investigators come- one is a brother of a returning member, and the three are our awesome Familia Cruz. I will tell you how we got them to come.... so we visited them Wednesday with Familia Marrero to teach them but we only had a few minutes to share so we shared the Christmas video and everything. Hno. Marrero also answered some of the questions that the father had and they shared their testimonies and everything. Mary Sue invited them to the activity, and they seemed really uncertain about coming.


So we went back the day of to invite them again and they let us in to share with them. They still seemed not really decided to come. And the wife gave us a bag with some clothing. Then they gave us a ride and dropped us off and everything and I accidentally left the bag in their car. It really was an accident! 

But when we arrived at the activity they called us and asked if we wanted them to drop it off and I said of course and that they could stay for the party! And that's what they did!! Who knew my forgetfulness could have quite wonderful consequences! They loved the program and everything, and met a lot of members. wonderful!

It is the best. This week we spoke with an inactive who has had a hard life and although we gave her the opportunity to try to learn the Gospel again and change the way she feels about life she refused to. It made me sad to see that she refused the hope we were offering her. It allowed me to see a very sharp contrast of a life filled with Christ and a life filled with doubt and broken faith. I wish she could see it as I can. But I am grateful to understand this difference so I can live the Gospel and help other people live the Gospel.

Mama: So did you receive my "trunky" papers? I can't believe I get in at 2:30! Wow, that seems super early! I would not mind going to the temple to take pictures with the family while still a missionary. But I suppose I will be released when President Newbold says, so I'm not sure if that would be okay. Also... that would be really cold.... and the dress I want to wear isn't really winter colored... I don't know. We can worry about that later!

I will also inform you that while I did send a card to you, I am planning on giving you your Christmas presents in January with my arrival!! We can have Christmas again!

So that's all! I will see you all Thursday! I will send you photos now:)

I love you all SO much! I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy Christmas!


xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Birthday Mama!!


I will be sending a letter today! I hope you get it in time!!

So for Thanksgiving we have a couple appointments with the members. Everyone wanted us over so we went with the two that invited us first and everyone else put themselves down for other days in the week!

Some interesting experiences this week....

Well we found a couple people with lots of interest! One man that we contacted and taught once this week came to church!!! Another one that we met really needs the Gospel and our testimony of Christ really touched his heart and he wants to hear more.

This saturday we had the visiting teaching convention and it was wonderful. Our investigator Nilsa came and everything was really beautiful. It made me excited to be a visiting teacher again!

The other sisters had a baptism this weekend and it was really beautiful! I got to play the piano. Our inv. also came and she loved it.

The sad news is that our investigator Nilsa was supposed to be baptized this weekend but she called us yesterday saying that she doesn't want to and she isn't ready. We are praying to see what she needs and when she will be ready to be baptized. 

We had zone conference this week. It was alright! We are starting the new initiative: A Savior Is Born. I loved the video- it's coming out next week. I love contacting at Christmas time. It is so much more special.

So this week we weren't able to do splits because of zone conference and everything was crazy this weekend but we are planning on doing two this week and two the next. So technically we should be able to do one a week but things get crazy with conferences and some of the sisters have been sick and we had to cancel exchanges. So we will be doing two this week and two the next. If one falls through we still have another week to do them!

I hope Mama starts feeling better this week- especially for her birthday and Thanksgiving!

Also- Hannah- don't be stressed or worried! Enjoy every moment of Molly Mouse! Send me pictures! You will do wonderful like always!!!

Well I had lots of other spiritual experiences too but I have run out of time! I am really grateful for my companion Hna. Palacios- she is the best! Also, her niece was born this week!

I am grateful for all of you and I hope you have a wonderful week. Please take care! 

Love you! 

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tastes Like Sofrito

Hello!


Last week we contacted and contacted and contacted to find new investigators. Also, we went back to contacts from the week before and we have a new family to teach! Yay! 

What does and doesn't work: well, it's hard to teach someone you contact at night, but making appointments for the next couple days worked pretty well. But contacting at night is often difficult but it's hard to find other things to do at 8:00 because people are starting to close up house earlier because the electricity here in PR is got more expensive about 2 weeks ago. We prefer finding people by members and references but it's not like we can have one of those EVERY day so we have to work to find inv. 

But the members here are amazing and they feel bad that we are always walking around and they want to help us find people to teach- but it's also hard for them to find their friends or family who are actually interested or who haven't already listened and didn't accept the Gospel. 


But we do have a neat family that we're teaching who were a reference from some members! We also have 4 new investigators from last week that all came from contacting. One of them we can only teach in English so that was interesting for me!

Church yesterday was great! The Bishop's talk was pretty good- he talked about how we have a physical nutrition guide called myplate right? and he turned it into a spiritual metaphor of how our vegetables, etc are things such as faith and prayer, repentance, etc. I really liked it!

Speaking of nutrition! So the week BEFORE this past week we had a nutrition activity for RS. A nutritionist came and explained to everyone myplate and she also weighed all of us and gave us our BMI. 

She also gave us a long list of all the common Puerto Rican foods that we should avoid.... I laughed because I've eaten every single thing on that list in the past month and I usually eat two or more of those foods every day. But I'm not complaining because the members love us and they feed us and I only have a given amount of time to be here in Puerto Rico to eat all of these delicious foods.


The bad news is that I have gained almost 10 lbs (The scale showed 9 lbs more but she weighed us and didn't subtract for my clothes and my heavy walking shoes... which is all pretty heavy) but the good news is that my BMI is still very healthy! So my answer to how my health is.... I've been doing pretty well because I'm exercising every day and I try to eat healthy at home. 

Sometimes I feel like I have a bit of a cold but it comes and goes. It turns out that I am particularly allergic to garlic and it gives me really bad headaches but only if they feed me a lot of garlic. So that hasn't happened to me in a couple of weeks, and at least it's not a migraine! So in the end I am doing alright and I might be a little round in the face when I come home. :D

The differences in the food from different areas... Well here there are a couple of members who cook different things than just rice and beans! I forgot to tell you last week that I ate what was basically lasagna but instead of pasta it was layered eggplant with cheese and marinara sauce. That was interesting! I also had some fish last week but it's not very common to eat fish here because it's expensive even though we're on an island. But pretty much the food is the same as my other areas. 

All Puerto Rican food tastes almost the same because everyone uses the same GOYA seasoning and sofrito (which are things like peppers, onions, garlic, etc, all grinded up together) they use sofrito as a base for pretty much everything- rice, beans, meat, anything. 

Last week we ate a REALLY tasty sancocho- which is pretty much like a stew that had meat (it also had pigs feet but I didn't serve that to myself... I've tried it before and it's all fat and weird texture) and it had potato, platanos verdes, dumplings made of flour, corn on the cob chunks, and things like that. You serve it over a bowl of rice with lots of broth and it's quite tasty!

Also- The other day I realized that I totally eat like the Puerto Ricans. It's really uncommon to use a table knife to eat. They usually just put out forks. At the beginning I was really careful how I ate using only a fork and sometimes a knife if they gave me one. 

But the truth is that when they eat meat they use their left hand to hold the meat in place and a fork to rip it apart. or they pick up the meat with their left hand and bite out of it. It took me awhile to get used to that- but without a knife there is no other way to cut the meat because it's too difficult to do it with just a fork, so everyone uses their left hand- not all the fingers, just the thumb and pointer finger. 

I mean, not everywhere is like that, but just about! so I learned to just watch the host and copy how they eat. And almost everyone eats with two fingers on their left hand depending on the food they serve. With the sancocho stew you pick up the corn on the cob and you eat it with your hands. because there is no other way! Here we eat a lot of fried chicken... every now and then chuletas- which are essentially pork chops (I think...) but they're different from the ones mom makes because they are thinner and look a bit like a T-bone steak, and they usually cook them in a frying pan on the stove with different ingredients with sofrito. 

Also, we eat a ton of tostones which are 2 fried platanos verdes, or made out of pana- a funny round looking thing that comes from a tree and is pretty starchy. Also, there are amarillos which are fried platanos maduros. But yeah.

OH! in a couple weeks I will be cooking for a member family a typical dish from home... I am not sure what to make them. What do you think? I am thinking Mama's poppy seed chicken or something like that. Can you send me a recipe and other ideas? I will probably have to double or triple it...


Also we have Zone Conference this week and we'll be teaching, wish me luck.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!! Good luck to the new Bishopric and send my love to Bishop Miner and his counselors! I'm really grateful for everything they have done to help me and our family and ward.

Good luck this week with everything, I hope you feel better Mama!!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 9, 2015

When It Rains... It Pours!!!

Hello Family!


My email will be relatively short because I took more time on sending lots of photos! I hope you like them!

So Hna. Palacios will be finishing her mission on December 15 and I will have a new companion for Christmas. I'm not sure who it will be!


But our lessons this week although they were few were pretty good! I love teaching with Hna. Palacios. This week was super busy during the first part and in the second part we spent contacting contacting contacting. Not too many people who wanted to listen to us though. That's okay!


Funny Story... I am trying to think. Well it rained a WHOLE lot this week. We had a lesson in a really far away place and when we came back to the house it was pouring rain and we wanted to change into our plastic flats and everything. But I had left the keys inside and we were locked out!! 

At that moment the rain got 100x worse and we were getting soaked so we ran to our car and waited inside, studying, until the rain let up enough for us to start walking. so we went to work like normal and our feet and shoes were soaked the rest of the day. that was crazy. It rained a bunch yesterday too! All week really. It's good though- PR needs the water right now.


Another funny story is how I contacted a house. literally. I thought someone had called out to us from the window so I started introducing our names and who we represent.... it turns out that the person had gone back inside the house and was avoiding us and I was talking to a house. Hna. Palacios died laughing!

So our Mission Conference with Elder Cornish and Elder Christensen was awesome! Very spiritual and uplifting. I loved it. Elder Christensen spoke mainly about recognizing and following the Spirit and that helped me a lot. We also had a special MLC with them before the conference and they just asked us about the mission and what we as leaders think we need to improve on and what the missionaries needed to hear in the conference. That was really neat. 

I really like your theme for RS mom!! It's awesome!

Good luck Hannah with Dance!! Send me pictures of Molly Mouse?

This past week was crazy crazy crazy. Remember how last week you wrote and said that you felt that I needed hugs and felt like I had had a rough week? Well it turns out my week before you wrote wasn't that rough but this past week was and I really appreciated all of your words and thoughts and dream hugs! You truly did receive revelation and knew that my week would be difficult before it even happened. All of your love helped me through and now all is well! I love you all!

Hope you all have a great week! Love you!!


xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, November 2, 2015

A New Compañera!

Hello my beautiful family!!


I don't have much time this week, please excuse me!

But first off: BIG NEWS!!!!

Well as you all know Hna. Gallardo will be returning home this week and we got transfer calls last night. 

You will never believe who my new companion is!

Hermana Palacios!!!!

I am so excited and I'm sure she is too!

So tomorrow we have transfers and we have lots of changes again with the sisters in our zone. We will have Hna. Palacios. Then Wednesday we drop Hna. Gallardo off in the office.


Are you sure that the girl in aunt Debbie's ward leaves in November?? does she already know Spanish? the transfers are this week and then in the middle of December... So she probably already know Spanish and will only be in the MTC 2 weeks to arrive in the PR December 15.

Anyways. My advice would be for her to bring everything the call packet says. Ha.

But really, and then if there are things she doesn't want she can leave them behind or send to the office. Bring more clothes than it suggests. If there is anything she didn't bring it's usually easy to find things here.

My release date is January 28 (that's the day I'll be flying home). Sister Lee from the office already asked me for your email address so she'll be sending the information about my flight in a few weeks.

I've been helping my companion pack. Not to be prideful but I think I have a talent! 

I don't have a lot of time. Saturday we had a mission conference with elder Cornish and Elder Christensen! It was wonderful, super powerful- remind me to tell you what it was about next time.

I love you all!! Sorry for the short email. Lots to do today. Today Hna. Gallardo took her english test and we just got back from the office.... crazy day.

love you!


xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Halloween!!

Hello everyone!!!


Thanks so much for the packages! Everything was perfect and we're all excited for the Halloween candy!!

My Spanish is doing well. I wish I could say I have the accent down but even though it's not a horrible accent you can still tell that I'm a gringa. The only thing I can't do for the life of me is trill the r's. It's rough. I can do it with my throat but you're supposed to do it with your tongue. But no one minds. I do speak Boricua though. PR has its own Spanish. When I get home and speak to other people in Spanish they aren't going to understand most of the words I'll use.

A spiritual experience from last week. Well the owner of our apartment came by to fix the fridge and he was asking us questions about death and everything. He's read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and everything but still has a problem with it. I told him that if he wants to understand death he has to understand why we're here on earth. So the spiritual moment was when I asked him if he's prayed and asked Heavenly Father about it and that took him off guard and he said no, he's never thought about that. So I invited him to pray. We'll see how that goes.

Also we ended up teaching a member's non member husband because we went for a dinner appointment and somehow we got on the topic of the Gospel and the wife basically taught all of L1 to her husband and that was awesome. The only thing with him is that it just goes around in circles. He knows everything is true but is waiting to decide for himself to be baptized and leave his worldly side behind. 

We spoke about having his wife forever and he said that when he dies he'll find her in the next life. I then told him that if he isn't baptized here on earth when he has the chance, he won't make the decision in the next life and then if he doesn't get baptized he won't be able to find his wife because she'll be in a place where he can't go. That made him think and he said that means he has to be baptized on earth.


Looks like I've been pretty mouthy this week right?? haha, but it sure made them think. I promise that I said it all in a loving manner.

I am still playing for the ward. De hecho, yesterday the missionaries did a musical number and I played the piano while the three other sisters sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" in Spanish. It was pretty good.

Hna. Martita (RS Pres.) has a piano in her house and when we go to eat every Thursday she loves it when we play the piano for her. It makes me happy to see her so happy!!

Dia de los Muertos is mostly part of the Mexican culture, they don't do anything like that here. No one observes Halloween except for teenagers who dress up and go to parties and besides that Halloween is a REALLY bad time to be outside and it's apparently really dangerous because of the people doing maldades. We have to be inside by 7:00. 

Before that we have a Mission Conference with some General Authorities so most of Saturday we won't be proselyting. The ward isn't celebrating Halloween. Halloween here definitely isn't the same as it is in Utah...

When is Baby due???

It sounds like you all had an awesome week! Good job Hannah with your lesson! That's awesome.

On Saturday the ward had an Indexing Marathon. It was pretty cool! We went to go help set up!

Well that's about it! This week was a bit crazy, I've been a little sick but I'm feeling a bit better. My companion made chicken soup for me! It's a bit different from our chicken noodle soup because they actually make the chicken soup with water, chicken, potato, onion, carrots, etc. and then they serve it in a bowl with white rice! I really like it. It tasted so good and it felt good on my throat!

Today we have a zone activity and we are going bowling! It should be fun. I have lots of pictures to send you but they'll have to wait for next week. This is Sister Gallardo's last week! Crazy!!!

I hope you have a wonderful week! 


xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, October 19, 2015

Memorable Lessons

Hello Family!!


I haven't received the packages yet, but thanks for sending them! I think I will get them on Halloween. We have a mission conference that day, and Elder Cornish and Elder Christensen are coming. 

What can you do to help me be a better missionary? Well, I don't know! Prayers are always helpful. I think I need help having more confidence in myself now that Hna. Gallardo is leaving and I need to train a new STL. I am nervous about that.

My most memorable lesson last week was last night!! Haha. We visited a family of recent converts. A mother and her 17 year old son and 11 year old daughter. They are awesome and really faithful and strong. The son has some learning disabilities but we talked with Bishop and he says that the son can prepare to receive the Priesthood. He is pretty smart but we need to teach him differently with repetition. 

So we went to teach him last night with the new Young Men's president (a RM that got home four weeks ago) who is going to teach our recent convert everything he need to know. Well we used a Driver's License to show the importance of having permission to act in the name of God.

We showed a real Driver's License and I showed my fake Puerto Rican License that I drew with a sharpie. He understood it all really well. But the funny part of the lesson was my companion when she finished the comparison and said that just like the license, the Priesthood Authority is Heavenly Father giving us permission to drive. 

We all started laughing and she realized what she had said and fixed it. It was funny.

We help the other missionaries by going on exchanges with them and helping them apply what they learn in Zone Meeting and whatnot. I've had a lot of experiences with some sick missionaries and helping them out. There was a sister last transfer that was feeling down and felt like she wasn't learning anything here or growing, and we talked to her and helped her out.

Our investigators are doing pretty well. The ones that are coming to church (there are two) are pretty good self-starters! One of them comes with her member friend every week and the other one we had to call to remind the first week in the morning and this Saturday we called and reminded her and she came all right. Usually it's a lot harder getting an investigator to church!! They always have their excuses. Working with members also makes their church experiences better,

I am happy that the new Sister Babcock shared Stephanie's love with you. What a wonderful woman! I love you so much mama!! The Ralphs moved? Where did they go?

Sorry my email is so short! Last week was pretty long though, right? All well!

Well familia!! I love you so much!!! I hope you have a wonderful week! 

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, October 12, 2015

Listen Before Teaching

Hello Family!

Loved the photos from the pumpkin picking! I really like Jonny's pumpkin head, it made me laugh out loud here in the cyber library in the mall!

So transfers were three weeks ago, and we drove around the island (literally). Next transfers are the first week of November (November third in specific). I will be staying in Guayama for the rest of my mission unless President needs us to move to another area in Caguas Zone to whitewash. I anticipate staying here though. Hna. Gallardo is finishing her mission and will be leaving and I will be receiving a new companion.

So Hna. Gallardo is from Tijuana, Mexico, which borders with San Diego, right underneath California. She is 24 years old, her parents were converted to the church in their youth and she was born into the covenant. She has one older brother that is married. She likes to dance Mexican folk dances!! Pretty cool. She will be dancing in the Tijuana Temple dedication (well, cultural celebration, you know what I mean!). 

She used to play american flag football. She has almost finished her bachelors in psychology in Baja California university. Like all Mexicans she really really really likes anything with pique (I don't know how to translate that word correctly, but like hot sauce and anything that is spicy.) And now I like pique. She is really awesome. She taught me how to make a type of fried taco this week and they are yummy yummy. I promise to make them for you.

The lessons we had this week... well we taught a family with the members that gave them to us as a reference! They are pretty awesome! We are really excited to be teaching them. They are a close family of four- the wife's name is Emily! We taught them L1 yesterday with the members (they are neighbors) and it went well.The members shared a powerful testimony. They've been praying for this family for a long time! I am happy to be here to help them teach their neighbors. 

Afterwards our new investigators had refreshments all prepared for us! Haha, they will make good Mormons ;) We also have a woman that has been coming to church these past two months and she's reading and accepting everything except a baptismal date. 

Our baptismal date for this past Saturday hasn't been answering our phone calls for almost two weeks. I think he's doing that on purpose. On Saturday we wanted to call him (we knew he wasn't ready, and didn't have an interview) and ask him if he was ready for his baptism that day at 5:00. He didn't answer. But we will see if we're going to drop him or keep on trying. He knows everything is true but can't commit to a date. He's basically a dry mormon. 

We also have a pretty neat woman that came to church yesterday. She has a speaking disability and it's hard for us to understand her and teach her and I have to rely on the Spirit a lot to help me in the lessons. She does say Hardy really well though! She is pretty cool and WALKED to church... yeah. People don't normally do that in PR. It's too hot!

So my entire mission I have been working hard to learn how to listen before teaching, so the Spirit can teach through me. I think I am okay at it. The one investigator that can't speak well has been a challenge for me because I can only understand a part of what she says.

Guayama is a mix of campo, coast, and city. It has just about everything. It isn't too big but there are a lot of areas that we can't get to by foot. This week we walked eight miles one day- it's been a while since I've walked that much and Hna. Gallardo and I agreed that our bodies are breaking down. We were exhausted! 

We have a mall right next to our house- they have Marshall's, a whole bunch of the regular Puerto Rican clothes and different stores. Guayama isn't much of a tourist spot. there are only one or two tourist shops in the plaza. The plaza is pretty far away from us- maybe three miles? so we don't go there often because there aren't as many proselyting opportunities there. But I will go looking there one day. There are more or less a lot of little shops here or there, some clothing. 

Mostly we just work off of two main streets that run parallel to each other. All the urbanizations we go to are inbetween or on the other sides of them. We are trying to branch out a bit and we are looking for areas we've found in the area book.

Does that answer your questions? Hope so! You can ask for more descriptions and I will pay more attention this week as I go around and I can look for more things to tell you!

Next week I will send you a picture of the meal calendar that the RS passes around every week. The members here take such good care of us. This week the calendar is FULLER than FULL! The problem is that we don't have a scale so I don't know how much I'm gaining. Please send cardio ideas! Haha. I have found that eating so much is a gift of the Spirit because there's no natural way that I can eat that much all by myself.

Hope you all have a wonderful week. Good luck Mama in your reactivation efforts! Here in the PRSJ Mission reactivating is equally important as baptizing because it means the same thing: someone working towards their salvation. Here in Guayama we have been doing really well at reactivating recently. The Bishop here is amazing at helping us.

Tomorrow we are teaching Zone Conference. I will be speaking about our responsibilities as missionaries to establish the Church where we serve- it's something we don't usually think about.

I love you so much! Have a wonderful week!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ponderizing

Hello Family!

AWESOME job on your marathon!!! I am so proud of you! Way to meet your goal to run the St. George marathon!! That is so cool. What is your new goal??!

I loved conference. We watched it in our chapel here in Guayama, I was able to see it in English.

My favorite conference talk.... That's a hard one. I loved President Nelson's, Pres. Uchtdorf's, Elder Holland's, and so many more!

Listening to the new Apostles bear their testimonies was also a really powerful spiritual experience for me. I can testify that they are the Lord's chosen Apostles and they have been called to help us in these times.

Conference also answered all of my questions. That was also a neat experience as I went back through all my notes from conference with the questions I had written before. Every question was answered in different ways from several different talks. That was really neat for me. I wish I had brought my notebook... I would have expounded on my favorite talks and what I learned!

I also loved the one that spoke about prayer and asking the Lord what we lack, and how the Spirit will answer us and we must act on that impression. 

I have really seen a difference in what I get out of conference as a missionary. Before I would just listen to conference and sometimes I would feel good things and sometimes I was just staring at the T.V. without paying much attention to what was being said. Man has that changed!!! 

I think what's made the difference is that now I am watching with the specific purpose of finding the answers to my questions and also knowing how I need to improve. Some of my questions were also rather urgent. I had had them before but this past week magnified the importance of some of them and the attributes that I need to develop. Conference was so much more important to me this time because I desperately searching for the counsel I needed. I hope that I always remember how I prepared and watched this conference and that I can always aprovechar conference for the rest of my life!! 

Are you all going to start ponderizing??? Haha, what a great idea! I am trying to think if memorizing a paragraph of the Living Christ every week counts in ponderizing or if it needs to be a verse from the standard works... I will think about that. I think I should probably choose a verse! I loved Alexis and Geoff's scripture.

Hannah: I am so proud of you. I remember something from conference that said that once we have had strong spiritual experiences we should remember them often and refer back to them. They are proof that Heavenly Father loves us, knows us, and will answer our prayers and help us. Remembering that will help us receive revelation in the future. 

When I think about my relationship with Heavenly Father I think about how well my Dad and Mom know me and how much they love me. Heavenly Father knows us just like Mom and Dad know us, and He knows what's best for us just like they do, and He is ready and willing to help us become who we need to be. 

I also think that recognizing our Divine Nature is central to successfully living in this "state of probation". If we understand that we are children of God, we will more willingly live and love the Gospel and Heavenly Father's commandments. We will not just obey because that's what we have to do. We will obey Him because we love Him and we submit our will to His- and that is the very best and most important type of obedience. We will be so much happier too! It qualifies us for the Spirit as well. I am glad that you are enjoying seminary!

Love you all so much! I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, September 28, 2015

Power Of The Atonement

Hello Familia!

Women's Conference was awesome, right??! I loved it. Pres. Uchtdorf's was my favorite. I will admit that it was a little bit different watching in Spanish because I couldn't hear Pres. Uchtdorf's voice but I imagined it anyways, haha!

Next week I will be able to watch all of conference in English! We have satelite in our ward building so we will be watching it here in Guayama!

Who from our ward went to the hospital??!

The weather in my new area... well it's still really dry! The mountains are a bit greener than when I came but it hasn't rained in a really long time. Every once in a while it rains at night. But let me tell you, this week has been the hottest week of my life! Summer is supposed to be over already but it's been extra extra hot. Also, our air conditioning broke this last week. None of us has been able to sleep! It's just too hot. I am also a little bit roasty toasty and sunburned... not bad, but everyone makes a big deal about it when they see me. I think I had at least three contacts Saturday that told me that I shouldn't be outside haha.

Someone that I taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I will be teaching it this week with one of our investigators. I think the biggest miracle I saw from teaching about Christ and His Atonement and Gospel was definitely Ana from Toa Baja. 

I remember that when we were going through the questions for the baptismal interview we asked her the third question about repentance and if she felt that she had repented of her past transgressions and she told us that for a long time she couldn't let go of the hurt feelings she has against people that had hurt her family. She said that she was trying to overcome that still and when we started to teach her the Restored Gospel she was able to let go and have her heart healed by the Atonement. 

She was so so so happy that she had finally been able to let it go. She felt so good inside and ready to be baptized. I think that is one of my most favorite experiences in my mission- listening to my friend Ana sharing how the Atonement had worked in her life and the healing it brought.

Yesterday in church we had ward council at 8:00. Then Sacrament meeting at 9:00. I played the piano. Learned a new hymn too! the members say that I was making a funny face and cringing at the end of each verse because for some reason it sounded funny and they weren't singing with me and I wasn't sure if I was playing or counting wrong or they were! I am embarrased! I am going to work on my poker face. Then we had Gospel Principles. None of our investigators came this week! Which was too bad. Then Relief Society. We were able to reactivate someone yesterday too, so that was awesome!

Funny story of the week:

We were helping a member clean her new house before she moved in... I was sweeping and Hna. Gallardo was cleaning the bathroom and she called me in saying that she didn't know how to use the bidet in order to use it.... Well of course I've never used a bidet but I assumed that it was really simple and easy to figure it out. 

So I walked in acting like I knew what I was doing and I turned it on a little bit but the fountain thingy in the middle wasn't working, so I turned the knob and the water started spraying like it's supposed to but it was really low................ So I leaned over and turned the hot water knob all the way and BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The water came up SUPER hard and sprayed me in the face!!!!! Right in my left eye!!!! 

Hna. Gallardo and I started shouting because the water was coming up almost to the height of my head and there was water all over and we didn't know what to do and we were just so shocked. Hna. Gallardo turned the water off and the member ran in to see what happened and she died laughing with us. She is 20 years old so she wasn't judging. But yeah. That's the last time I act like I know how to use a bidet, hahaha. That was humiliating! I had no idea that it would spray so high....

Hannah: Last week you asked if I want you to write me. Yes please! I would like for you to write me when you have the time! xoxo

Well I think that's about it. This week was something else. We found some new people too, so that's good!

Have a wonderful week! I love you all so much! I should be able to get mail next week! Tell Jonny!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, September 21, 2015

Feliz Cumpleaños Hermana Hardy!!!

Hello everyone!

What a wonderful birthday! Thank you all so much for the packages, cards, emails, and happy wishes!

So this was definitely a birthday I will never forget! haha. So we had exchanges from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon. They went pretty well. But on the way back from Humacao we got a little lost... Woops! 

When we finally found our way back onto the route we needed to follow we were good until we came up on some traffic in the forest. We waited a good half hour until finally someone told everyone that the road was closed and we had to go the LONG way through Caguas to get back to Guayama. I was driving for a really long time on Wednesday! But that night we went on Visitas Pastorales with the members. 

Hna. Martita then took us to go get pizza in the plaza. Then Familia Marrero drove past with the other sisters and they all came inside and we all ate pizza together and then they took us all to ice cream. The members here are so sweet. They made it a really special birthday!

Last Monday we ate with Fam. Marrero and they had a cake and they sang to me and everything! They gave me a really pretty journal. Their son also got back from his mission last week! poor thing came home to find that he has four sisters that are there to eat dinner every Monday. Haha, we love this family. Hno. Marrero looks both like Dad and Mr. Jorgensen. Mary Sue is a sweetheart. 

I also loved my package! I ended up getting it on Friday because the other sisters had to go to the office! Thank you sosososososo much! Haha, I loved it. There are a LOT of cookies from the dearelder package! I got the dear elder package on Tuesday and we took pictures with the members and the balloons and everything.

There aren't really any different traditions in the PR. Well, at la casa de familia Marrero they rub frosting in your face! they also have a special birthday song.

The sisters that were sick are doing tons better! 

This week I was studying about humility and relying on the Lord and relying on the Spirit to receive revelation and guidance in missionary work. Sometimes I worry that I depend too much on my own abilities instead of trusting more in the Lord to do this work. Not because I think I can do it myself but because sometimes I just don't take the time or thought to focus on depending on the Lord and doing what He wants us to do.

The most exciting thing that happened this week.... Well, My birthday! Getting lost on the way to Humacao, celebrating with members, then fam. Marrero's missonary came home, stake conference, and exchanges! Exchanges are tomorrow.

Every single one of the sister companionships in our zone are changing except for us. Today we are figuring out the plans and the times and the drop offs and pick ups, tomorrow I will be driving back and forth over the island. Should be fun!!

Now let's talk about something more exciting!! Baby Gough is a girl! I am really really surprised! I thought it would be a boy! YAYAY! We get a little ballerina. I am so excited, I can't handle it! That makes me so happy! It looks like that party was really cute and fun! I loved the videos you sent!

This email is pretty short, sorry! I am going to send photos!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nurse Hermana Hardy

Hello Family!

So new mission policy is to have EVERYTHING sent to the office- letters and packages alike. Besides that, our apartment isn't even registered with the post office and we don't have a mailbox.

I am still waiting on the packages but I am excited for when I receive them! There is a member here who has his birthday the same day! They said that if there's cake they'll invite us over. So who knows what will happen Wednesday!

So last Zone Conference (last Tuesday) we taught Effective Planning with the zone leaders. But the thing is... they got there late and the conference started late so by time the first zl finished it was supposed to be our turn to start... so let's just say that we couldn't do the activity we planned and I only had three minutes to talk about using the agenda to plan effectively and to plan conversion. 

Let's just say I talked really fast and personally I didn't think anyone got anything out of it. But the AP's started teaching right after and they mentioned my name and what I taught about planning conversion twice so at least they were paying attention to my three minutes. All well, hopefully next time will be better.

This week was a particularly rough week, so I really appreciate what Mom and Dad shared. I am so proud of you two! I am so proud that you ran a complete marathon! Way to go! I can't do that! Maybe I could walk that far, but definitely not run! Way to make a goal and go strong until the end. And that's only the first one! The next marathon will be easier and that's how it goes right?

So this week we had Conference on Tuesday. Wednesday we were with Hna. Garcia in the emergency from 11:30 am until 8:00 pm because she was really sick (she is doing tons better, so it all turned out alright.) the emergency rooms are crazy here. 

Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we did back to back exchanges with the sisters in Caguas. So I drove to Caguas four times this week. It's a 40 mile drive. 80 miles round trip four times in the week. On Thursday there was lot of traffic in Caguas. we didn't get back until 6:00... there wasn't much time to work. But I was able to be with Hna. Paniagua from the DR, and Hna. Gassaway from Arizona. They are both really neat sisters. 

Saturday I went out to work in Hna. Hoko's area because she had to stay home with Hna. Garcia all week. So it was fun to teach with her. It started pouring everytime we walked out of someone's house. We were soaking all day. Sunday after church and lunch I stayed with Hna. Garcia in the house and Hna. Gallardo and Hna. Hoko went out to work. I made brownies! But we don't have a normal cake pan (I am buying one today) so I did them in a mini muffin pan. they turned out looking like ebelskievers! 

Also we have some contacts that speak English and they are really nice and they said something about how being a Bilingual Nurse is a job that gets payed a lot and is always needed. Interesting. 

Also, Hna. Boucher told me that everything that has happened in the last 2 weeks with health problems is preparing me for something and that I could be a nurse. 

Also, Saturday night our recent convert Rosa died. She had been in the hospital since before I got to Guayama and she was fighting a lot of health problems. But now she is resting and we are happy she isn't suffering any more. Hna. Gallardo taught her and baptized her with Hna. Dye. Her funeral is tonight.

So in one of the few opportunities I had to go out to actually work I was able to teach one of our new investigators who has come to church 4 weeks in a row but it's hard to get an appointment with her. We taught all of L1 but it turns out that her member friend gave her Our Heritage and she read almost all of it and she new and understood the Restoration and Joseph Smith before we taught her... haha. She was REALLY excited to get a Book of Mormon and she is excited to read it! So that is really awesome!

We have one man with a baptismal date who read and does everything but he hasn't come to church in a while and is unsure about his date. He knows he is going to be baptized one day but says he isn't ready.

What is my favorite thing about Puerto Rico? The people I suppose! especially the members here in Guayama. I have learned a lot from their example of love and charity and faith. 

Well that is about it for this week. I am memorizing The Living Christ in Spanish with the rest of the mission. I am almost done with the second paragraph. (we had a lot of time in the emergency room)

I hope that you all have a wonderful week andd enjoy the reveal party for Baby Gough on Saturday! I am excited. Send pictures next Monday okay??!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, September 7, 2015

Lost In Translation

Hello Family!

So it turns out our zone conference is tomorrow! I am sure I will get the first BD package and I'll probably wait until the 27th of September to get the next one! That's okay.

So for investigators... we are in the finding phase right now. Remember the woman we found last week in the hospital? Well we went to go find her house... hahahahahaha.

She lives super far a way where we have permission to use the car and let's just say it was jungle and super hard to find and we got really lost because they don't have addresses here and in the end I took a turn just to see what we would find and we found a member outside his house! So then he and his daughter drove us around the entire area looking for this woman's house and we found it, then found the neighbor to verify and also tell us where the husband works so we could talk to him (the number we had for her wasn't in service) so we found the husband at his work and he gave us another number and in the end we were able to call her and make another appointment for the next week. haha. But these members were really awesome to help us out!

Lost in Translation Funny story: Last week when we went to go help a RC in the hospital eat her dinner my companion told me to cut or shre the meat that we were feeding her. Well.... she said "muelelo" which means "shred it". BUT.... I heard "huelelo" which is "smell it!" so I thought she wanted me to smell the chicken and tell the RC that it smelled good and help her have a desire to eat it....

So I went in to smell the chicken on the tray and there were about five other people in the room staring at me and my companion thought I had gone crazy because instead of cutting up the chicken I was smelling it. AWKWARD!

I haven't had very many animal experiences lately... there are a lot of cats here. Sorry! Well, yesterday after a lesson with a family of RC we played Memory which was themed with Puerto Rican birds. I learned a lot of more bird names and it was actually really hard because they all looked alike and that made memory difficult.
I ALMOST won.

This week I also chopped all my hair off! Okay, maybe just a couple inches. See pictures! 

We had a RS activity where someone's daughter and her beauty students came and gave us all free hair service and I opted for a hair cut and they straightened my companion's hair and everything. It was really fun!

Testimony meeting was pretty awesome. The members here are awesome.

And that's about it! This week Hna. Hoko was really sick so we took turns going on splits and taking care of her. She's feeling a lot better now but still pretty weak! 

Something I really liked this week was when a sister called us and she was feeling down because she was worried that she wasn't changing or learning here on the mission and I was able to talk to her and I told her that EVERY good decision we make we change a little bit for the better. Even though it's really small that we can't see it, we are always changing.

Have a wonderful week!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, August 31, 2015

Beans & Rice

Hello Family!!

Let me tell you about the Hurricanes Danny and Erika.

It was a storm alright... OF SUN!!! It was SOO hot!! It hardly rained where we are. It's a bit of a controversy because they said it was going to be a huge deal. But it wasn't for our part of the island. I do feel bad for the DR, they were hit really hard.

One night, I can't remember which, it started to rain a bit and the zone leaders called everyone to tell them to go inside. We had to go home 2 hours earlier than usual and it was hardly raining and I just about went crazy sitting inside. 

The next day was the best!! It was super cloudy but it didn't rain at all and we were thankfully able to work all day. I was happy because it wasn't hot.

This week for Pday!! Well we just went shopping. We live RIGHT next to the mall. We went to eat in the food court and when I started to eat my food I looked down and realized that I bought rice, beans, meat, chips, guacamole, and sour cream.

I don't know why I bought rice and beans on Pday!! I am going insane haha. But it was really good. Better than Burger King I say! that was the only other option.

We also saw a whole bunch of members today in the food court and they teased me because of the food I had and because it looked like a big plate. Which I thought was funny because what I had on my plate wasn't even half of what they give me to eat in their houses hahahahaha!!!! I love them so much. Really, the members here make Guayama Zion! They are our family.

We go on splits every week because we have five sets of sisters that we work with in a 6 week transfer. We don't do them the first week of transfer so that leaves us with one a week. 

Somthing humorous... I met three nuns this week! I guess it wasn't humorous but it was a fun experience!! Hna. Gallardo wanted to talk to them and we wanted to ask them questions about what they do but we were both too shy to talk to them but while we walked past we thought of a dumb question about the street name or whatever and then we started talking. They were really nice!! It turns out that these nuns are in social work with families. We helped them carry some boxes into the big catholic church. It was fun! They were really cool to talk to. One of them ran away from home to the convent at 17 and has been in the ministry for over 50 years.

My favorite teaching experience this week:

We had a miracle where we went to visit a 10 year old recent convert who knows more about the Gospel than I did before I came haha. She is doing alright, just some infection in her leg from a mosquito and they are operating today. 

But her cousin (thirty years old) was there to look after her while her mom was out. We read in the Bom with the little girl and she rocked it and understood and analyzed everything really well. The cousin is not a member but shared with us and in the end she told us that she feels that the Book of Mormon is true. 

We started explaining a bit of L1 and the little girl explained the first vision like I don't know what haha. Perfect future missionary. Anyways, we have a return appointment tomorrow and I am so excited to teach her! She's already accepted that the Book of Mormon is true and is willing to study it. YAY!!! 

She also shared with us a neat experience of how she is a cancer survivor. She had to have a bone transplant in her arm and she was number 1200 to receive one. The Holy Ghost came to her in a dream and touched her left hip and told her that is where they needed to take the bone for her transplant. The doctor didn't believe her when she told him but he did the analysis for that hip and found the bone matter that was compatible for her arm. Miracle! She is really prepared to accept the Gospel and has a lot of faith.

Something also funny: while we were in the middle of finishing 1 Nefi 7 and before starting chapter 8 two catholic missionary type people came in. They were going around visiting people and inviting them to believe and have faith in God. 

It was really funny because we accepted them with a lot of warmth and they were both staring at my name tag, really confused, and saw that all of us had a book of Mormon in our hands. Very nice people as well. But I'm telling you this 11 year old has more faith and knowledge than they realized. She is going to be fine.

Another hard but uplifting experience was with our other RC who is in the hospital. But she is 83 years old and has been there about a month. The thing is she doesn't like the food and refuses to eat so Hna. Gallardo and I went and figured out how to convince her to eat her dinner. She ate more than half of it in the end!! 

I had to promise her raisins in every bite with the potatoes carrots and meat. The prize was the apple juice! She can't eat salt because of her kidneys and dialysis, but she refuses to eat food without salt. But she likes sweet things like raisins and she is always thirsty but can only take some liquids. She really enjoyed the apple juice. But there were a whole bunch of us there cheering her on as Hna. Gallardo fed her. 

Yesterday almost all our RCs were in the hospital! One little girl (with her family there with her), the older woman, and then a family of RC were there to visit all of them!! It was a party in the hospital. I thought it was really neat that the family of RC came to visit all of the others. This ward is amazing.

I am glad Hannah enjoyed her Birthday!!! I can't believe she is already in Company at 14! Way to go Hannah!! I always said that she would be better than me haha:) She truly is our little rockstar! Get ready broadway!

I have my very first MLC this week. I am excited to see what it is like! (Mission Leader Council). From what I heard it is a very strong, spiritual meeting.

Well family, I love you so much!!

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL week! Take care!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Sabbath Day

Hello Family!

I love talking about the Sabbath Day! Do you remember the talk from last conference? I loved it. I had to think of ways that I could better keep the Sabbath Day holy because honestly it feels the same as every other day as a missionary. 

I make sure we only listen to Motab hymns on Sundays instead of the EFY music we usually listen to. I know that's small but it's made a difference. We are supposed to prepare ALL week to take the Sacrament.

I just think it's so important because it's the only day where we can completely focus on the Lord! The rest of the days we can serve in callings, study the scriptures, etc. but we always have something else like work or school that distract us from the Gospel. 

But on Sunday we can direct our thoughts at every moment to the Lord. The Sabbath isn't just a day of rest. it is a day of rest from OUR work. and a Busy day in the Lord's work! I am really grateful that He has given us a day where we can focus just on Him. In that way my vision on the mission has changed. 

My favorite question now is what sign do our activities show to the Lord? Everything we do on the Sabbath day should direct our thoughts to Him and show Him our devotion. So if there is anything that distracts us from that, we shouldn't do it. My goal for when I return home from my mission is to no longer watch TV shows, not listen to worldly music, and to no longer do my homework on Sundays. Better to do things with my family that are uplifting and try to do more work for the Lord on this special day.

Something I really appreciate that we do as a family is to visit our grandparents. I love that. I miss it a lot! I remember growing up that we would always be together. We couldn't go swimming in Grandma's pool, and we would read the scriptures all together!

Also, I love the Sacrament. I have developed a new love for Sundays because of the Sacrament. I love to think about what the bread and water signify as they are blessed and passed. I remember hearing or reading in a talk once about something I had never thought about. 

The bread, which is the body of Christ, shows that all of us have been unconditionally saved from physical death. The water, which represents Christ's blood that was shed for us, represents that He has saved us from spiritual death if we choose to accept Him and keep all of our baptismal covenants. 

We should think about our baptismal covenants not only on Sunday but during the entire week. (because it's our baptismal covenant to remember Him always!)

There are 5 Sister Traning Leader companionships in the mission. A companionship for each zone! So we are in charge of the Caguas Zone. I had my first exchange this week with Hna. Allan! I was really excited... because it was kind of like being with Sister Allen. Close! Haha. She is really awesome. I think I did an OK job. We didn't get lost or anything! For all the exchanges I will be staying in Guayama because Hna. Gallardo's license is from Mexico and so she can't drive here. Everything turned out okay and I didn't have to call her to ask for directions, haha!

One lesson we taught this week was to an atheist woman. Well, she was baptized a long time ago and has decided this past year that she is atheist. That lesson stood out to me in particular because we were actually there to visit her son who is less active but is preparing to return again. 

So I was able to share my testimony of our Living God and that was special because I don't meet a lot of people here who straight up do not believe in Him. I feel sad for her. But I was just so grateful for my family and for Mom and Dad who taught me to believe in God and in Christ. So that was a testimony builder for me. I invited her to pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him if He exists or not. She didn't seem too sincere to me. But at least I invited her.

Yesterday we were able to visit our recent convert who has been in intensive care the past two weeks. They finally moved her to a normal room and we were able to go. The poor thing. But the RS is doing an amazing job taking care of her. The only problem is that she doesn't want to eat the food in the hospital because it doesn't have salt. (she can't eat salt because of the problems with her kidneys). 

So I told her that the Word of Wisdom now has a sixth substance that she can't take and that's salt. So I definitely committed her to not eating salt and then we walked to a member's house to grab some lemons to give to her to flavor her food.

That's awesome that Hannah sang on Sunday! That's awesome.

I can't believe you ran 23 miles. WHAT??

Well I am out of time already. That went by crazy fast! I hope everyone has an amazing week and that Hannah has an amazing birthday!!!

xoxo Hermana Hardy