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, 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

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sister Trainer Leader ~ Caguas Zone

Hello Everyone!

Let me tell you about my new area of Guayama, Puerto Rico. To drive there you have to go through a lot of mountains. There is a drought here so everything looks pretty dry. It is like driving through Utah, dry, brown, lots of mountains, curving roads and then you come out of the curve of the last hill and BAM there's the ocean. :)

How does my new area compare to my other areas? Well, the members here feed us almost every day. They are all hyped about missionary work and we have a whole bunch of recent converts. We need new investigators right now so we will be finding a lot the next few weeks (like my other areas).

They also have Ward Council three times a month. Which rocks! Before church too- I am proud of them! This ward is amazing and they have an activity called Pastoral visits where they all get together one night and decide who needs help or visits and then they split up and visit all the less actives. Right on! Really, I am so blessed to be here.

My companion is Hna. Alecxa Gallardo. She is from Tijuana, Mexico. She is 24 years old and the entire house got all excited when I told them I have a brother that is 24 years old. Haha. But she is an amazing missionary. She is finishing her mission in November. I really like being her companion.

We live with two other sisters. Hna. Hoko (my roomate from the MTC!!!) from Tonga/Hawaii/Utah and Hna. Garcia from Managua, Nicaragua!! They are both really awesome.
The apartment is the best apartment in the mission too! It is so beautiful, white, and bright. I love it!

My responsibilities as Sister Trainer Leader (STL) are the following: 

Go to Mission Leadership Council, teach District Leaders what we learned in MLC, teach the Zone alongside the Zone Leaders in Zone Meetings and Zone Conferences, and go on exchanges with the sisters in our Zone to help and teach them. Also to take care of transfer changes. I think that's everything, Hna. Boucher is going to come by sometime soon to go over all my responsibilities. Hna. Gallardo has been teaching me a lot this week too.

I am sending a LOT of photos this week, I promise. They are mostly all just me on the beach. Enjoy! That's why my letter isn't very long this week!!

It looks like everyone had so much fun in Newport! That's so awesome!
Please send me Anna's address in the MTC and everything!!


xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, August 10, 2015

Going to Guayama!!!

Hello Familia Hardy!

It sounds that you are ALL having SO much fun in Newport!! To be honest I do not feel too left out because this morning we had a sisters activity and we studied on the beach in Isabela and then we had a meeting and then we flew kites while eating our favorite fruits and Hna. Boucher's cupcakes!! I am a bit roasty toasty on my arms.. Pictures will have to wait for next week as I do not have a computer that can send them. I think it's fun that you can all read my email together today:)

So big news: Transfers! President called last night to tell me that I am being transferred this Tuesday to Guayama in the Caguas Zone to be a Sister Trainer Leader. I am really excited and maybe nervous but overall I feel pretty calm about it. My new companion will be Hna. Gallardo- I do not know her yet but she is from Mexico!

I only had 2 transfers here and I suppose my true purpose here was training Hna. Garcia and setting her and her new companion up with people that have potential! So I feel pretty good about leaving. A bit sad, but I know there is adventure ahead!

A funny experience I had teaching this week... well... nothing funny but fun! We started teaching a JW and she is really nice and is going to pray about what we shared. On Wednesday we went with our investigators to our WML's house- really neat! He lives in Paradise! And we had a testimony meeting with them. Ismael retaught us the Plan of Salvation because he was telling us how he taught it to his cousin or sister or other. It was awesome to see that he understood it REALLY well. He is on his way to a testimony.

Last night we taught a recent convert who is passing through a lot right now and wanted advice so I had us sing How Firm a Foundation and then Hna. Garcia shared Isaiah 55:8-9 and I shared D&C 6:33-37 Fear not little flock!! She really appreciated it. I am going to miss her so much!

So this last week we had Stake Conference! It was AMAZING. Elder Martinez (area presidency, from PR) came and I love listening to his talks. He teaches so powerfully but he's also really funny with out losing that Spirit.
Anyways, he totally remembered me as the sister that was hit by a car because that happened the week before he came to speak to our zone. He came up to shake my hand and asked very seriously if I was feeling healthy and if I had had any accidents lately. The thing is, even when he's making jokes or something he ALWAYS looks really serious. It was just funny. I can't believe he still remembers me for that.
At the conference I was able to see everyone from Cabo Rojo!! It was so sweet. I loved it. They all asked me how my leg is doing. Then our members from San Sebastian had a little picnic for us outside and we ate and had yummy avocado. I am going to miss these memebers A LOT!!! I am sad to leave them.

Our ward is pretty small. Only about 20-30 people come regularly!

I hope Dad enjoyed his birthday!! Yes Mama! I do get to eat mangos! And mango season is starting as well as avacado season! Yum!!!

Jonny's Question: we find out about transfers the Sunday before transfer Tuesday! Usually the District Leader calls but President calls the new zone leaders and sister trainers. I will be sending you a letter this week when I have the time!

Is Alexis feeling better now?

I hope you love school this year Hannah! Enjoy your last week of summer!!

The PR is in a big drought right now. Here in San Sebastian it rains every day but the rest of the island is really dry. Other parts of the island have to go three days without water, one day with water. Crazy right?
I am not sure about my new area but we will have to see... It might be pioneer baths for the next six months. I am not sure what to do with my hair... dry shampoo I suppose for inbetween days. I guess Jonny had to shower with buckets of water too, so I won't complain, but he doesn't have as much hair as I do!! I think hna. Boucher told me this morning that Guayama is alright on water, so I think I'll be fine.

Well my time is up! I love you all so much! I hope you enjoy your vacation! Pray for the PR to have some rain! At this point I think the people are praying for a tsunami or something because the resevoirs are so empty.

I will send lots of photos next week! Wish me luck this week!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, August 3, 2015

Book of Mormon Testimony

Hello Family!
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!! And Happy Birthday in two days Dad!!! Did you get my letter??

I received Jonny's and Hannah/Dad's letters this morning because we got lucky and the mail man saw us on the walk to the library and gave all our letters to us right on the spot! All the mail men/women that I have met love us.

I received the Pioneer Day Package!!! Thank you so much! I received it Saturday- JUST in time for our big road trip to Ponce Sunday afternoon/evening. I drove almost 160 miles yesterday. Which isn't much considering how far the Sister Training Leaders drive on Transfers but I thought it was fun.

We have transfers NEXT Tuesday. So we find out this Sunday night. 
This weekend we finished reading the Book of Mormon together as an entire mission and Sunday night we had a testimony meeting with ALL the missionaries (minus the missionaries on the islands...) It was an amazing experience!! There are around 200 of us so I made sure to go early so I would be able to share my testimony.
We were only allowed to bear a short testimony so I decided to share how one day we presented the Book of Mormon to three different people and for every single one of those people the Book of Mormon answered a different question or role all while testifying of Christ and the Restoration. I also shared how a couple we are teaching used to not have a lot of love or respect in their relationship and after reading the Book of Mormon for about 3 weeks or so the husband is now treating his wife differently.
I shared my testimony of how the Book of Mormon can change our hearts and how we act. as an addendum to all that testimony I want to share right now that the Holy Ghost works through the Book of Mormon to touch and change our hearts. I love the Book of Mormon so much. I never want to stop reading it. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to listen to everyone else's testimony and experiences. The Spirit was so strong in the meeting and I will always remember that experience!!

I was also able to see ALL of my mission friends!!! That was a very happy experience as well, especially as a few are leaving this next transfer. I am going to miss them. I saw hna. Pavon! She had a letter to me from Ana!!! WAHOO!! Ana is doing well. Her husband is going to be baptized soon! I also saw Hna. Palacios (well, I see her pretty often because she is still in Cabo Rojo in my zone!!) It turns out HER sister (who was ALSO married in May of last year in a temple in Utah) is also pregnant!! Her baby is due in November. Hna. Palacios and I both got so excited! My outfit was also really really really cute. (just so you all know...)
Well I had a pretty great week. Too many experiences! I think my favorite lesson was with Aida and Ismael who are reading in the Book of Mormon and we taught L2. They gave us breakfast and then they showed us a hidden talent/hobby they have! It turns out they make jewelry and they make bracelets and necklaces and everything! We were so surprised! Ismael is a pretty tough looking, acting, etc. type of man and it was just so unexpected that he likes making jewelry as a hobby and to reduce stress.
So they gave us a whole bunch of jewelry and it was really hard to get out of the house because they just kept on giving us stuff and making more things on the spot to give to us. Haha, they are so sweet. In their prayers they asked for neither of us to be transferred. To be honest they are just about the only ones with potential that we were able to teach this week. For some reason every one cancelled on us this week and they're all busy with back to school stuff.
I think a contacting story.... umm, I don't have a lot of stories for this week! We contacted a lot this week and only one person said we could come back and when we went back she was about to leave... We had some interesting contacts though. Usually people here are pretty nice but we found a few cases! Haha, it's okay, our testimonies grew. I will let you know next week about cooler stories!
Also, we celebrated my 1 year mark and all the other sisters made a huge party out of it haha! I thought it was great because earlier in the day I suddenly had a wish for a donut and I MAY have said a tiny prayer/wish for a donut that day and in the end I received 12 donuts for 12 months. I thought that was a very sweet, funny, tender mercy. Haha.

Have a wonderful week! Way to go on 20 miles! That's crazy! I am playing piano for stake conference this weekend. Wish me luck!! Love you all so much!

Hermana Hardy