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, January 25, 2016

God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Hello Everyone!

A lot of things happened this week! I think my favorite was that our part member family made it to church!! They came a bit late, but they loved it and I'm so happy they came. The wife has a baptismal date set for February.

I feel strange writing this email today... I am writing about investigators and people we teach and I feel like I'm going to be teaching them this week and helping them to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. This is so unreal!

My favorite moment from this week was Saturday. We went to the part member family and Dachira- the non member, has been reading the Book of Mormon. I have always said like the introduction, anyone who reads the Book of Mormon and prays sincerely will be converted. The trick here is getting the PRicans to read and pray specifically. Sometimes they just don't get it. 

But Dachira gets it! She read so much, she kept on texting us during the week to ask for more passages to read. She read it all and marked it. She told us her favorite parts. I asked her if she prayed to ask if it's true. She said yes. I asked if she feels that the Book of Mormon is true and she said yes! I am so happy for her!

Out of all the missionary work and teaching and everything we do, my favorite part has been and always will be the Book of Mormon. I have such a strong testimony of this book. I love inviting people to read. I love explaining where the Book of Mormon came from. I love promising people that their lives will change if they only open up and read. Because as I have told a lot of people lately, all of this is either true, or it's not. And the Book of Mormon is the key. Christ is our Savior, Joseph Smith was His prophet, and the Restored Gospel is true. Writing that just makes me so happy!

I want all of you to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ. I feel that I have come to know Him better in many ways. One of those ways was through the example of the pure love of Christ that I have seen in the members here in Puerto Rico. They have taught me so much. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be His representative. 

I know that His Gospel has been restored by a living prophet. I will be sharing my testimony of this until the day I die! It's all true! The Gospel, the Church, the Book of Mormon, all of it! This message has made me so happy. I was already converted to Christ and this Gospel when I came on this mission. 

But little did I know how these 18 months would help my testimony grow into something a little bit more. I feel so much more sure in my testimony and my knowledge. I feel so much more prepared to face life head on. I can't imagine how I would pass through the rest of my life if I had not served. 

I have already shared this feeling with you before, but as I said several months ago I am sure of why Heavenly Father had me serve a mission. I feel that Heavenly Father kills three birds with one stone (or mission. About killing birds... see my second to last email :) ). 

He secures the conversion of the missionary, He converts and blesses others through this missionary, and He also prepares the conversion of this missionary's future family. I can't help but think that what a mission really is for the young youth of this Church is to not only bring others unto Christ and salvation, and not only teach selflessness to a generation living in a selfish world, but also to prepare our youth for the rest of their lives. 

I know that Heavenly Father did not just send me on a mission to bless the people here in Puerto Rico or just me. I can't help but feel that He sent me because He knows that my future children need me to be ready to teach them to live the Gospel and be prepared to be lights unto the world. So I may technically only have one convert up to date. But I know that my experiences in this mission will have a much longer and greater effect than I can see from where I am right now. 

I think the best and only way I can end this testimony is to say that I am grateful. I am grateful to my Heavenly Father, I am grateful to my Savior Jesus Christ, I am grateful for my wonderful parents who taught me everything I have taught the people of Puerto Rico, I am grateful for my loving family and their support, I am grateful for President Boucher and Hermana Boucher and what they've taught me, 

I'm grateful for each and every one of my companions who have also taught me something unique, I am grateful for the members and the people I have met here, and I am grateful for Puerto Rico, la Isla del Encanto. This isn't even half of what my testimony is and I know that I could not really give it justice here in an email. But I love you all very much. I love my Savior, and I this is my testimony of Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, January 18, 2016

Be an Example and a Light

Hello Everyone! Second to last email!

So our week was pretty great as well! Not as statistically amazing as last week. We did walk 9 miles yesterday.... and it was worth it because we had a very spiritual first lesson with a woman who seems like she just got it! It was very nice! We put our feet in hot water when we got home to make the weekly Sunday night calls to all the sisters. As far as the sisters, we found more investigators than even last week! They all worked really hard this week.

Today we had a sisters activity!! I am so glad I did one before I left! We went to Maunabo Lighthouse and it was amazing! We had the sisters read Pte. Monson's talk from GC, Be an Example and a Light, and have them choose attributes they want to develop to strengthen their lights to help other people. We also had them write their testimonies down and we put them in bottles and threw them in the ocean!! I will try to send pictures from H. Helmick's camera because I forgot my cord today! It was so much fun!

This week we also taught our inv. with a baptismal date but she didn't come to church... so we'll work for her to come this Sunday! I think my biggest commitment helper will be telling people it's my last Sunday, haha.

We had exchanges with both sets of the Caguas sisters this week! I was with Hna. Tanner, this is her first transfer. She is rocking Spanish! She also has such a Spirit and excitement with her that it made me excited! I was also able to work with H. Garcia from Nicaragua for one last time too! She was my last exchange. I love the sisters in our Zone. Each and everyone of them are amazing. I loved working with them and seeing all their different personalities and talents in the obra del Senor. 

We also had my last Zone Meeting and I taught about our mission culture and somethings we can do to improve our culture even more! It went really well. Our mission is amazing and I have seen it progress so much since I have been here, all thanks to Pte. and Hna. Boucher. I'm so excited for the future of this mission! I'm sad that my journey in PR and in the mission is ending here and I won't get to see what more miracles this mission will see but I am so grateful that I came and I'm grateful for everything I have seen here.

I am sorry to here about Brother Cundick. He was such a wonderful friend. He always made me feel so special. Did you know that every time I played in Sacrament meeting he would call me over the phone that day or that week and thank me and tell me how wonderfully I played? That takes such a special person to do that and it made me feel so loved and appreciated. I am sad that I will not be able to see him one last time. 

But I know that it is all in the timing of the Lord. and I am positive that in the Lord's Second Coming that Brother Cundick will be leading the angels' chorus. Please tell Charlotte that I love her very dearly and she and her family are in my prayers. It sounds like his funeral was quite beautiful.

You don't have to worry about preparing too much for me to come home! If you could just wash my bed sheets. Really that's all! I can take care of organizing my closet and everything. If you could just bring me a coat to the airport! That would be wonderful haha:) One of my red coats would be great, but I also think my brown pea coat goes better with my outfit. I am worried that all my clothes and skirts and blouses and dresses are all summer colors. I'm going to have a funny time adjusting to wearing winter colors!

I love you all so much! I can't wait to see you NEXT WEEK! So this is my official last week in the mission. I won't have time next week to actually work... next Monday I will be packing, Tuesday I will be driving sisters all over the island, Wednesday I will be in the office having auto sufficiency classes, and Thursday I will be on a plane and home to you! I am determined to make this the best week ever and enjoy every moment of working in the sun and teaching the people here in Puerto Rico. 

I love this mission. I'm sad to leave but I decided to just be happy and positive about it. Many missionaries get depressed before they go home and I figure that I could be panicking or really sad that it's coming to an end, or I could just appreciate that all good things end and appreciate my last moments instead of wasting them being sad! So I promise to be positive and happy! No matter what I have to come home! And of course I am excited to come home! So I'll just focus on the positive things and enjoy every moment!

I love you! I'll try to send photos!!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, January 11, 2016

What I Have Learned

Hello Family!!

I think this past week was the best week of my mission as far as getting work done and finding people and teaching! Although, I will say my very best and favorite week was when Ana was baptized. But this week we hit and over hit a whole bunch of our goals!!

But wow! So we started out great this week by finding 5 new investigators on Tuesday. Wednesday we had MLC and it was wonderful.

I do have to admit something though...

On the way up to Guaynabo for MLC I was driving and a pigeon landed in the middle of my lane just a few feet in front of me.... There was nothing I could do! It tried to fly away but it was too late and first it hit the front bumper and then the windshield in the left hand bottom corner.

It was just like the movies.... POOOF!! FEATHERS EVERYWHERE! I'm slightly traumatized, I feel so bad. But it was also a bit funny and we're definitely laughing about it now.

Okay, so the best part is.... or maybe worst.... is that we got to Guaynabo chapel and we looked at the front of the car and in the grill part where the bird hit first there were a whole bunch of feathers. See pictures. So sad.

So I think one of my favorite lessons this week was yesterday where we taught the wife of a less active member and she is looking for a church for their family and everything. We did L1 super sweet and simple and she is all set up to read and pray. She rocks, and is super spiritual, and already knows how to pray for an answer and everything. I decided to ask her to be baptized after the actual lesson- that seems to be a pretty effective way sometimes for some people because we finish the lesson and give them a break to think. 

While she gave us some dinner and we were eating I then asked her and she accepted and I gave her a date in February to prepare for when she knows it's all true and she accepted that too! so we're really excited. Hna. Helmick thought all was lost when we ended the lesson without inviting her but I surprised her. She was super excited. So yes, you can set a baptismal date while eating rice and beans.

I won't be here but that's okay:) what's important is that she and her family enter the gate and start the path.

I had a lot of neat experiences like that this week.... so I'm writing them in my journal and we can look back at them when I get home!

Sacrament meeting was wonderful yesterday. Our WML spoke and the ward has their baptismal goal for this year and they're excited. None of our inv. could come this week.... so next week!!

So today for PDAY, well we are having a sister's activity NEXT week so Hna. Helmick and I had to go check out where we're going to see if it works well. We're going to the lighthouse in Maunabo!!! Wahoo! Right in the left hand bottom corner of PR. It was really pretty! So we are excited getting ready for next week. The lighthouse is AWESOME!

My bucket list is going well! We are still working on finishing some. We are in the process with the sisters activity because that was one of them. I made Hna. Kirkland cookies. today we are getting fro-yo. alli vamos! We are having fun with it! I'm not sure if we will get to do ALL of them but just about!! We have a lot that will be done this week.

I definitely have some very good taste... that sounds like a great Baby Shower gift! Haha:)

MLC was wonderful, President taught us about declaring repentance and baptisma and focusing on those things. We need to be bolder in declaring that!

At the end of MLC all the missionaries going home share their testimonies and I was the first to share mine. I shared it and I didn't' get to really share all I had planned or thought about and I shared somethings I hadn't thought about. 

Part of it was sharing the gratitude I feel for my parents and how I have realized that everything I have taught to the people in the PR are the things that my parents taught me. I also shared that although I only have one convert up to today, I know that I will have more converts in my life because of everything I have learned here on my mission. I said that I will be diligent in teaching my children repentance and baptism and they will be my converts too and now I feel better prepared to go out into the world and start and raise a family thanks to everything I learned here.

I LOVE Lexie's pictures. She's so beautiful! Love to hear that Hannah is rocking everything!

Also, did you know?? Hna. Palacios is in Utah visiting her family and will be there until February!!! I think I'll be able to see her!

Well I'll send you pictures now! I love you all! See you soon! I promise to keep on working hard this week. I hope we have as much success as we did last week! Wahoo!

xoxo Hermana Hardy

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!! I hope you all enjoyed it! I'm super jealous of your Hogwarts 3d puzzle.

So, I have been extremely busy busy so I haven't had the time to make my Resolutions and the truth is all of them will have to do with normal not missionary life and I would rather not think about that until the time comes. Good news is that before I leave the office makes me put my life goals on paper and they give us a self sufficiency class. so Resolutions will start on my first Sunday home!

I think my Christlike attributes this year will be.... charity and virtue! I might re-evaluate that when I get home because those two came to my head right now and actually I was working these past couple of months on charity and other attributes. So we will see!

Right now we have lots of goals for my last month! We are working really hard.

We send emails in a cyber library run by the city and it is in the mall that is right by our house. It's great because it's open the days the mall is open so we can always write! Remember last year when the libraries were all closed for three weeks around Christmas?? Yeah, that doesn't happen here. We are blessed, although it is really busy sometimes and we have to wait a long time to write.

Our discussions this week went pretty well. We did 2 exchanges, one with Humacao and the other with Aguas Buenas. Sadly, most of our plans and appointments fell during those and we contacted a LOT.

An awesome lesson we had was yesterday with Familia Cruz and we took a member with us who is leaving on his mission in two weeks. It was pretty good! We watched Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration and it was so powerful with them. At first our DVD didn't work, and the laptop they had didn't have good internet, so our member took out is iPhone 6+ and we watched it on youtube.... his phone only had 20% battery at the beginning but it lasted the entire 1 hour movie and it was so powerful. 

In short, the father knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet all though he keeps on saying his church is very similar to ours. I whipped out Mosiah 18 and asked him the soul question from Alma, "Que os impide ser bautizados?" or... "What is impeding you to be baptized" (Bad Spanish to English translation but I can't remember what it is in English, I've only read the LdM in Spanish on my mission). But that was fun! We were super direct with them. 

Then we talked about what our church has that no other church has. 1. The BoM (Felix brought that one up and said it himself. 2. Authority and 3. Temples and the ability to be sealed to our families for eternity. Success! They still say they want to read more before they're baptized...

So alli vamos. I hope they decide to be baptized before I go but I'm not very confident and I'm just willing to accept the Lord's will and I prefer that they are baptized when they are ready even after I go!

I hope all of you feel better! I got a little head cold so that's been fun but it isn't too bad.

Something that keeps me smiling this week is that Hna. Helmick and I got a really strong missionary fire and we put motivational quotes all over to keep me going this past month and we are fighting to get the standards of excellence. Also, I smile because our sisters are awesome. And I can't stop smiling about our lesson with familia Cruz yesterday.

My best spiritual experience this week... well our lesson. And when I was very direct with familia Cruz. After the movie I told them first thing that all of it is either true, or it isn't. It can't be both. It's true or it's not. and we spoke to them clearly and we could feel the Spirit very strongly as we shared our testimonies.

Another experience I had was with an investigator who almost got baptized but doesn't want to pray about Joseph Smith or anything. So I shared with her when I was 13 and I prayed and asked if it was true and I explained where I was and how I felt and that now I know with a surety that Joseph Smith is a prophet and this is the true Church of Christ. So I really enjoyed feeling the Spirit as I shared that and He testified to me again that it is true. So I really liked that experience as well.

Well I love you so much! Please take care and know that I love you! Have a wonderful year!

xoxo Hermana Hardy