Monday, February 17, 2014

2/17/2014 "Faithbook"

Ok, number one I am SO proud of Jarett! Please tell me they are recording it hahahah That sounds amazing. I knew he could do it :) Geez Jars, you have like 3 more years ahead of you! Im pumped I will be there for your senior year!!!
2nd poor Patrick... That is terrible. I will totally keep him in my prayers this week.
Glad to hear Grandpa is home and hopefully doing better soon!
That is so fun with the Santa Claus Lady! Our little Sal!!!  Yay! I was thinking the same thing haha that lady would totally love them if she came! Im glad they performed. I don't think it is very often our deeries disappoint haha

The Spanish is coming, I wouldn't say I am confident. Haha Im getting there. I seriously understand 85% of what people say to me. I just need to get more comfortable with the speaking back part. But I am practicing a lot. I guess for most missionaries the understanding is the hard part. so I am doing better than I think I am haha Mostly we teach in Spanish but I also speak only Spanish at church and at dinner we speak a lot of Spanish. A lot of the members in our ward only speak Spanish, so ill pick it up.
Hermana Vasquez is like our Missionary Mom :) She is sooo sweet! Her family was baptized a little over a year ago and the week before I came to Santa Rosa they were sealed in the temple :) They are an amazing family. We go over there all the time. Our branch is small (this week 121 people came!) But of those few people even fewer of them are youth. We have 4 young men and like 5 young women haha And then like 12 primary kids all together. So our ward and the White ward to Primary and Young Women's together. Most of the kids understand Spanish but they all speak English.
Yes it is crazy busy always!! Is Lance's email lance.casagranda?
I would love to email him! I totally know what he is going through? The first 3 weeks are the worst. Every day in the CCM I wanted to go home. Every single day I saw President Pratt and wanted to tell him I was going home. But I didn't. And that was like the best decision I ever made in my life! I have LOVED every day I have been in the field! You are surrounded by other missionaries and children of God! It is amazing! I can't even explain how much better it is! Especially if you are in the best mission in the world (like me:))
My favorite part of my mission so far is the other missionaries. They are amazing. They all have fantastic testimonies. They wow me every day. They're all so cool! hhaha We are really united. Our Zone and our branch buddies, we are all really close, really good friends. I guess Hermana Bryant said it is not always like that, but I like it now.
No I didn't send my memory card, I wanted to record the songs before I sent it, and then my memory got full :( So I'lltry to send it. It probably wont be til next week because we only have half Pday today. We are going to the Oakland Temple this week!! So we only get half Pday today and half on Wednesday :)
Yes we cook haha we have to feed ourselves breakfast every day and usually we eat lunch at home. We usually eat sandwiches or quesadillas. And we are really good at making desserts. Brownies muffins cupcakes we have made them all already hahha Then we eat dinner with members pretty much every night. We have had 2 nights we had to feed ourselves so far my entire mission. And only 4 nights we have eaten with the White Ward haha

Yes! The fireside was amazing!!! We probably had more than 200 people attend! We had to open the overflow and have the Elders set up chairs!! It was amazing! People were crying! I think at the end all the missionaries were super proud to be a part of it. The Stake President, Sister Alba, and President Alba all asked we do it again before transfers. haha All the members that came told us "Why didn't I bring my friends?" So if we do it again we are hoping even more people would come!
It was put on by the missionaries in our stake, which is 2 zones which is like 40 missionaries. So everyone in the stake was invited. The stake President Henderson provided all the instruments for us (cuz we aren't allowed to have any in our apartment) and he got to play guitar in one of the songs too!! It was soooo good!
There is one song we sang called mountain of the Lord, I sang it with Sister Finley, Sister Zenger, Sister Lee, and Hermana Bryant. I was the only one who wasn't a vocal performance major! hahahah Intimidating!! hahah
So anyway it was super fun and a super awesome success!!
Also, I just want to bear my testimony really quick of Missionary work through Facebook. Elder Tooley (in my Zone) posted a picture on Facebook of himself with a truck that said something like "Jesus Christ is the Lord, not a swear word" 3 days ago. Today he has more than 1500 shares and more than 600 friend requests to respond to. Yesterday he showed me a facebook message he received yesterday morning, it was from a lady in the UK. She said she has been inactive for 20 years. She woke up that morning and received a prompting to go to church, instead she got on Facebook and scrolled down and saw Elder Tooley's picture. She started crying and decided to go to church. She said "I can't thank you enough Elder!"
How cool is that?? Before my mission I thought Facebook Missionary Work was a joke, and even my first few weeks here I thought "How does that work? there is no way someone would get converted to the gospel through facebook!" And since I have been here I have seen miracles! Two of Hermana Bryant's friends from back home have gotten baptized because she taught them through facebook. How amazing! Miracles happen! The work is hastening! I know it!
We call it "Faithbook" haha
So anyway. It has been a great week. I am so blessed. I LOVE SANTA ROSA!
Love you all! You're in my prayers!
Hermana Hardy
p.s. funny story, Hermana Bryant got Jury Duty hhahahah awkward!

Monday, February 10, 2014

2/10/14 Two Months Out!

Wow, 2 months. It doesn't sound that long haha but It feels like forever, but at the same time it has flown by. So crazy.
Exchanges were good :) It turned out to be super fun, nothing to stress about haha
I was just telling Hermana Bryant like yesterday that "the missionaries are always at my house doing service" and then you sent me all those pictures hahaha that cracks me up! I LOVE the one of Nelson riding Sampson haha
how are the puppies doing? Growing up? Well behaved yet? Does Nelson love them? haha
Missionary Mom lunch sounds fun! That's a lot of moms!
I don't doubt that Cade's funeral was packed. He is such a wonderful boy. So nice and friendly and hard working. I am sure he touched the lives of everyone he knew. I think about him a lot too. And I pray for him, and William, and Lori every day. I hope they are doing alright!
Singing Valentine's?? Oh I miss Palmer hahaha and the musical review sounds like it will be so fun! You will have to tell me all about it!
 I will try to send you the memory card. We are going shopping today. haha memory cards aren't really in the missionary budget haha
Spanish is good. That day we went on splits with the English sisters I had to speak a lot of Spanish. And today I get to go on Splits with the sisters again! (Different sisters but they speak English)
So let me tell you about my week pretty quick:
This week was amazing! Man, did we see miracles. So on Tuesday night we went on Exchanges with Sister Clawson and Sister Henrichson and I was super nervous because I had to lead the area. I had to drive (and I did it! IN CALIFORNIA! on the freeway, ya know where the speed limit is 70!), know where I was going, and speak Spanish!
But I did it! It was so great! Sister Clawson and I had a great time! So needless to say, we got lost. On Wednesday Sister Clawson and I drove around for 20 minutes trying to find where Hermana Bryant has scheduled for us to go, and we never found it. So finally I just parked and we walked around a street where I actually knew where things were. On our way back to our car we decided to talk to one last person, and his name is Silvestre. He told us that he had talked to someone and decided he need to change his life. That he needed something spiritual in his life, and 50 feet later he met us. I handed him the Book of Mormon and he wrapped it in tin foil so it would not get wet (because he was riding one of those bikes that they sell candy off of). Wow. What are the odds of that. What are the odds that Hermana Bryant would pick that day to do exchanges. And that Sister Clawson and I would get lost for 20 minutes. And that I would choose that street to park on and go contacting. Wow! That was a super humbling experience for me and I really gained a testimony of being an instrument in the Lord's hand. We really don't fully understand everything we do. Every person we impact, every decision we make. And I know on my mission a lot of times I will never see the big picture. There have been so many miracles everyday and I am so grateful to Hermana Bryant for teaching me to recognize these miracles. There are no coincidences. Heavenly Father knows exactly where we need to be and when we need to be there.
We taught Silvestre a lesson over the phone. That was hysterical. We even taught him how to pray so we were listening and we thought he said "Amen" so we were like "Amen! Good job!" And then he kept praying. It took everything not to laugh hahha
Last Monday we were dropped by 4 investigators, and when we taught Silvestre he decided he wanted to stay Catholic because he wanted to drink alcohol and not feel bad about it. So I was a little discouraged. But that is ok. Now is not their time. Maybe these experiences we shared with them will be an opportunity for future missionaries to touch their hearts and finally be baptized and come unto Christ! I don't understand all things, but my testimony grows everyday and I am where I need to be and having the experiences I need to have so that I can learn and build a foundation of faith for the rest of my life. I know that know. And I have only been in Santa Rosa 3 weeks! What all will a learn at the end of 18 months??? 
Oh by the way, Elder (Eric- at least I think his name is Eric) Waite might call you for a job this summer haha I figured you are short staffed and he is super funny and personable. Also Elder (Eduardo) Perez might call you, but he is from Mexico so I don't think he will really fly there. Elder Waite said he is serious though, so i'll have to give him your contact info.
Also is Elder Nelson gonna help with the Running of the Reindeer? I love that Elder, he cracks me up hahaha
And our musical fireside is this week! So I will let you know how it goes next Monday! Super excited!!
So anyway. I love you all a lot!
Have a great week! Stay strong!
In the Rain with their umbrellas!

Monday, February 3, 2014

2/3/14 Week two in the field

So Let me tell you a little bit about my week!
So Saturday was Augustine's baptism! (He is Elder Dunlap and Elder Albertson's first baptism!) It was super nice! The stake president, President Hendrickson came and Presidente Alba came!
So that was cool. Sister Bryant and I sang. (She was a vocal performance major at BYU so she sings awesome and plays like all instruments ahha) And then yesterday was fast sunday! It was amazing! So everyone in the state of California fasted for Rain because Cali is in a drought. There was no rain in the forecast. Sunday morning we woke up, and it was POURING rain!!!
It was a miracle! So cool what the power of prayer and fasting can do! And then Hermana Bryant and I went to all the houses of all our investigators and invited them to church in the rain! I wish I could have got a picture of us. We were SOAKED! missionary work at its finest! Unfortunately yesterday was a Mexican holiday, so a lot of people couldn't come. But Grasiela came!!!! It was the first time the sisters in our zone had gotten a single investigator to come to church in over a transfer! So that was another little miracle for us. We are going to Grasiela's house to teach her tonight and talk to her about church. I hope she loved it!
And then we had a mighty hour of prayer. Every fast sunday all the missionaries in our mission pray. for an entire. hour. I can honestly say I have never done that before, but I cant say it anymore! That was such an awesome spiritual experience! Oh I loved it!
And then for fast sunday dinner we went to Brother Mosing's house. He is a member of the high council. He is white. His kids are VERY blonde. They had "Soup"er Bowl "Sundae". So we had soup for dinner and these HUGE sundaes for dessert. haha it was awesome. Then we had a stake wide meeting (so all the missionaries in our stake and Presidente and Sister Alba met at President Hendricksons house) it was super fun. Except he fed us more ice cream for super bowl sunday... hahaha
So anyway. It has been a great week. I love you all!
I am so glad I have this wonderful opportunity to serve in the BEST mission in the world in the BEST stake in that mission!!! I am loving every second I am here. I have such a strong testimony of the Plan of Salvation, Jesus Christ's Atonement, and the hope that we can receive through that... I know this church is true, and that it was restored through a true prophet called of God, Joseph Smith. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today and through him we can receive revelation for our day to combat the opposition of evil.
I am so grateful to serve. I know right now I am developing Christ Like Attributes that will change the rest of my life. I pray every day all my adorable little brothers will choose to serve missions. I know it will bless their lives!
I love you guys so much...
My Spanish is pretty good. I pretty much understand 80% of anything any one says to me. Some times more than that sometimes less. I am not as good at thinking of the vocab before the words come out of my mouth. So I need to practice talking more in Spanish. Yes our branch is completely Spanish speaking. So all the classes are in Spanish. Some of the people we teach only speak Spanish. A lot of the people we meet on the street only speak Spanish. Elder Dunlap is a lot better at me at reading and translate Spanish because his vocabulary is bigger, but in conversation I can understand everything and express myself alright. I just need more practice. I get super frustrated because I break eye contact with people when I'm thinking of what to say next, and then they stop listening to me. If that makes sense. And I also glare at people when I am tired and translating what they are saying haha (like after 7 pm I end up glaring at everybody its pretty bad haha)
So anyway. It will come with time. I just need to be patient with myself and study a lot.
****Parent note*** We got a nice letter from the Mission President this week. It came with a picture of Lauren with her Mission Pres and his wife.