Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. ~Alma 37:6

Behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. ~Alma 37:6

December 27, 2010

!Feliz Navidad y un Gran Araña¡
(Merry Christmas and a Big Spider)!


Ha ha I'll explain the giant spider later.

I was so excited to talk to you all on Christmas. It was the best Christmas present. And I was so grateful that I could say hi to Grandpa and Grandma Weiler, Rob and Jeff. Maybe that was the reason that I wasn’t able to call you earlier like we planned.

That is awesome that you used my Christmas present money to help someone out in our ward. There are more blessings in that than any amount of Christmas presents.

I am glad Christmas lunch went well with everyone. Ha ha I think the pictures of Uncle Rob and Grant playing that game are hilarious. Thanks for the photos they are the best. I showed them to the Chapines (Guatemalans) and they thought they were pretty cool too.

I bet Grandpa Hardy loves his big light up U, I feel like I need one, all the Chele missionaries that I have met so far have been Y fans. I’m sure the Hardy Christmas program was awesome. I wish I could have heard Emily and Hannah’s duet.

Questions you asked:


How was your Christmas Day?

My Christmas day was just fine. The highlight was when I got to call you and hear everyone’s voices again. In the morning before that I opened my Christmas stocking and ate all the chocolate. Oh P.S. that is one thing that I guess I haven’t really had here that can be sent in a package.

Elder Mejia gave me a gift too. He is a pretty good artist and drew me this salvaje (slang term for tight, awesome, really cool) photo of a missionary (the placa says E. Hardy) with a sword in his hand. It was really nice.



What did they do for the Christmas Program at Church?

Well, for church the next day it was pretty much a normal day at church. Actually the asistencia (attendance) was pretty low which put a downer on the day. But we have a couple more weeks in this change to fix that.

Oh, but later that day we had a cita (appointment) with this lady who is evangelica. Haha it was great. So I didn’t know much about evangelicos before the mission. But I sure do now. They have a bad reputation amongst the missionaries as being exceptionally hard to talk to.

But she (Hermana Esperanza) was actually pretty nice. I went in thinking that she might want to try and bible bash with us but she listened to our message and wanted to learn a little more about what we believe.

Her only desafio (challenge) is accepting the Book of Mormon. Ha ha the best part was close to the end when she said that we are really good people and have really strong faith and that we are 90% there, the other 10% is that we believe in the Book of Mormon.

Ha ha that put a smile on my face and Elder Coj bore his testimony that we do have the 100%. At the very end I bore my testimony, and after that she agreed to come to Church next Sunday... if we come to hers.

Who plays the hymns for church?

Ja ja ja, who plays the hymns for church. Well we do, with our voices. How it always works is whoever is directing sings the first line so we all remember how it goes and then we all sing. I think we might have an electrical piano in the President’s office but unfortunately, I never completed Emily´s lessons, so we sing A cappella.

Can you sing the songs in Spanish?

Well, I suppose that depends. Jaja I can sing them, but I don’t know if it sounds good.

What was your most spiritual experience during the Christmas Season?

That is a tough question. I don’t really have a grand spiritual miracle to tell, but the most spiritual experiences were every time I shared my testimony and it really brought the spirit.

The most recent experience was with the Evangelica Hermana Esperanza. She was being pretty resistive after we had talked about the Libro de Mormon, but when I bore my testimony I actually felt like the whole attitude in the room changed. I remember looking at her and seeing her whole countenance change.

Even when I bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon she listened. And how she does not know the BOM. I read it and prayed about it and know that it is true.

What is your plan for New Year's?

The plan for New Year´s is to blow up a Muñeco (large dummy doll). We are helping Beto make some, his plan is to make a whole family, a Dad, Mom, Kid, and Baby. Today we went with Beto to stuff bags full of leaves to stuff them with. (We went to a river to find the leaves, that is why I sent the picture of me on the water fall.) Hopefully we will be allowed to stay up to watch them blow up.


OH! The story about the spider! So we hiked forever in the wilderness to get to this river where there are lots of dead leaves (for the Muñecos) and a waterfall also. Once we got there we ran around for a while, Beto and his family tried to catch the fish in the river with a tent they brought to wash.

I was walking along the side and passed a rock cove and almost brushed against this Giant spider web. I kinda freaked out and jumped to the side. But not as much as when I looked at the web to find the bugger responsible for it and saw this thing (look at the picture). (I almost fell into the river).


So I took a bunch of pictures, I hope you can see it. It is a creepy looking one and looks kinda like those pictures of banana spiders I looked up from Nicaragua before the mission.

But the best part is when I called Beto over to look at it. He was all excited when I told him I found a giant crazy spider and ran over. But when he got there he was disappointed and said it wasn’t that big of a deal. Sheesh.

Thank you for the pictures and the spiritual thought. When I looked at the picture of Christmas Eve dinner I felt like it was missing somebody but I know that there is no greater opportunity or blessing for me right now than going on a mission.

I also know that my family is being blessed as well. Most importantly is that other families are receiving the opportunity to hear the Gospel and receive the blessings from coming to Jesus Christ.

¡Espero que tengan un prospero año nuevo! (That’s the phrase here)

Hope you have a Happy New Year!


I love you,

Elder Hardy

December 20, 2010

¡¡¡Feliz Navidad!!!
Merry Christmas!!!


That is so nice of my Grandparents and Rob for the Christmas presents. I am going to try and thank each one of them individually but please make sure they know how thankful I am and my compa too.

For the call, that is great if you really want to call me Christmas morning. Elder Geddes called and asked what I was going to do so I said I was going to do the same thing as Elder Bailey which is that I call Christmas Morning at ten.

He said it is the best way because then I will get a booth in the phone place (which is open on the 25th).

He says it feels a little weird for some reason to have all the Latinos standing around you listening, even though they don’t understand. Jaja (this is Spanish for Haha) but I don’t know. If you really want to call I guess you can tell him that. P.S. I can’t wait!


This week went by super fast. On Tuesday, we had a meeting with the mission president and the elders that go around to teach the "eight lessons". They just taught us about how we can be better missionaries by focusing more on our investigadores and not on lessons. But it took the whole day.

We ended at like 7:30 p.m. and hurried outside to catch the last bus to Boaco. (The bus stop is right outside the church). But Elder Bailey has been having some bathroom problems lately and had to rush inside to go.

When we came back outside we saw the bus driving away. And we were like... Great, now what? We were going to try and hitch a ride but it turns out another bus came that passed by Boaco. We got back to our house pretty late. Pretty exciting jaja.


Oh and for the better part of this past week Beto has been trying to get rid of the annoying pigeons that have nested on top of the windows of the restaurant. Jaja they are always pooping on the porch.

One time we went to leave the house and stopped to look at our agendas and Elder Coj got dinged right on the top of his head. It was great. Right, but Beto can’t seem to get rid of them and has resorted to trying to blow them up... but they still keep coming back.

Plans for Christmas. On Wednesday we are going to Managua for a big Christmas activity with all the missionaries in our mission. I’m excited. We also each have to bring a present worth 80 cords (cordobas). So we spent this morning looking for presents.

So Christmas happens on the 24th here and we are planning on having an awesome Christmas dinner at the house of Roberto y Yamileth. And obviously my Christmas call on the 25th.

President Henry B. Eyring, of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, told us that one of the greatest ways we can honor our Savior is to bear our witness of him through our testimony.

I know that my Savior lives. Why? Because He has shared a little bit of the love He has for each one of us with me. I cannot explain it but I have started to love every single person here in Nicaragua. And every time I start to teach them I feel the Lord trying to help them. I see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bless their lives and help them return to their Heavenly Father.


Have a great Christmas and remember what it represents to us.

I Love Each One of You,

Elder Hardy

December 13, 2010

Hola, hola, hola!

Yes, I got the Christmas package!! And the letters!! Thank you so much. I can’t express how much I appreciate the letters everyone has sent. And the package, well that just adds to the awesomeness and gives me a chance to share with my compa.

Ha ha yesterday, my Zone Leader had changes with the other companionship in Boaco and gave me more letters. He called me a spoiled jerk ha ha.

So, for the marriages… ha ha yes I paid for them. I figured its one of the things I can help out with because I'm a "Fachento Chele". Fachento Chele means “rich white guy”. They love saying that, even though I have less money in my wallet than my comp ever does.

For the marriages we had, you have to be a practicing lawyer for like ten years here or something before you can perform marriages. So no, I didn’t actually perform the marriages. I was actually really curious what you had to do to get a license to marry. I think that would be awesome if I could marry people. It would be a lot more convenient here in Nicaragua.

But, we did basically everything else besides talk and sign the papers in the marriage. I took out C$1,000 to pay for two marriages, baptisms and the food and party stuff. That’s about 50 bucks. I think I am going to come here for my marriage ha ha.

Hermano Roberto and José Noel are baptized, confirmed and good to go. But no, they haven´t received the Priesthood yet. I am not sure how long we are going to wait for that but I think it is good that they come to church more and learn more and understand the significance of the Priesthood too.

A cool story about someone getting the Aaronic Priesthood: One day we were leaving a cita (appointment) at the President’s house and this kid was walking up the hill with a bucket filled with cups on his shoulder. (He was selling arroz con leche: Rice with milk. I’m afraid I haven’t tried it yet but he says it’s the best here in Boaco.)

So we said hi to him and talked to him a little about who we are and everything. And he said, "Yeah I’m a member." So we talked to him about why he hasn’t gone to church in a long time and he said it's cause he has to sell his rice with milk on Sundays too. Well, Elder Coj told him if he came to church on Sunday and sanctified el día de reposo (the Sabbath) instead of selling, he would be blessed and sell more on the other days. He said, "Ok, I’ll come."

The next week he came... and hasn’t missed a week since. We asked him how his arroz con leche is going and he told us he had never sold more. A couple of weeks ago, he received the Aaronic Priesthood. Every week we ask him how his vendiendo (selling) is doing and every week he tells us he is selling more than ever.

He has even found more work, now he is working for Beto too so he sells his rice with milk in the morning like usual and works for Beto in the trade. He is super stoked about helping us too and is a poderoso (powerful) member missionary now. He has already brought a friend to church and now we have a steady schedule with him to go and teach with us.

Yes, we now have two more missionaries here in Boaco!!! I am so happy. Maybe the President noticed that our asistencia (attendance) in church has spiked up this last month or two and decided Boaco was ready for two more.

Their names are Elder Bailey and Elder Mejia. Elder Bailey is from Washington and... is a Ginger (a red head). He is really nice and a really powerful teacher and gains the peoples trust and confidence really fast. I am going to be honest, he reminds me a lot of Alex. I said he is a ginger which is true but even his hair is closer to Alex´s because he has been in Nicaragua for 6 months and it has bleached a lot.

I hate to admit it but I have been finding a lot of people that I have been relating as my friends and people I knew back home. Ha ha maybe it’s because I am subconsciously homesick but it made me remember how much I miss Alex and my other buddies.

I have gotten their emails that you mailed me mom and I love reading them, they are really great guys and I have been lucky that they put up with me as their friend.

Of course Alex is better, but seriously Elder Bailey is really similar. Except he played rugby instead of football. That has been fun to talk with him about. Elder Mejia is from Guatemala and is brand new out off the MTC there. He is really, really nice and has an awesome sense of humor.

Ha ha and while I’m talking about it, the first week he was here I realized he is the José (one of my good friends) in my mission. Close, José is Mexican and it turns out the Guatemalans (at least the ones I know) really don’t like Mexicanos. But close.

Yes, of course I get to call home for Christmas. My ZL will probably call you soon to set up an appointment. I told him I would call and I wasn’t sure what day was best, the 24th or the 25th but he will ask you when is best.

Plus, he said it might be a good idea if you guys call instead. I don’t know what he will say or what you want to do. I cannot wait to talk to my family, I am super excited. Oh and don’t worry, my ZL is from Casper, Wyoming so you will be able to talk to him... hopefully.

Hannah: Yes, I got my Sincere Tree!!! And it is Beautiful. I have already set it up on top of our water jug. I actually wasn’t sure if we were allowed to open the package yet so I made Elder Coj wait to open it for a while (plus I was waiting for a rainy day as a pick me up.)

But since you asked this question I can safely say that we opened it. But I haven’t gone through my stocking yet! I can’t speak for Elder Coj though... Thank you so much for the awesome package. And thank Grandma for the stockings. It was so sweet of her to make them. I got the Santa Clause letter too and it made me trunky. Ahh in my second change! I am sad I don’t get an ornament for two years. :(

I am running out of time right now.

Dad, ha ha if the fireworks you found were those giant sparklers ha ha that’s great. But other than that I don’t know what you’re talking about...

Besides, here they don’t have rules like that. They have already started blowing stuff up on every street corner. And the bombas are cheap too! But I haven’t bought any.

Ha ha and the Catholic church lights off mortar shells every couple hours starting at 5 in the morning. It’s great.

Alexis, I am sorry I can’t help with the trees this year. I am glad you are telling everyone I am having a blasty blast. Tell them I’m roasty toasty too ha ha.

Funny story... we played fútbol today for pday because we have two more elders to play with. So it was Cheles contra Latinos. Ha ha and they are really good. I was trying to go at it with Elder Mejia and get the ball past him and we were up against a stone wall.

So I saw the ball and I went to clear it out because I knew if I didn’t he was going to get it and score. But right before I kicked it he moved it and I kicked this really big rock... and he scored.

Haha but the good news: We won!!! We were all starting to get really tired because we are missionaries and out of shape so we said, next goal wins and I made it! But next week I will try to have a funnier story ready.

Emily, of course you can use the sweats. But only you, only the little sister of the player has the right to wear them. Good luck with school and everything I will pray for you don’t worry. Sorry about the tree, just take the top of the tree and make dad take the trunk and you will be good.

Hannah I am very proud of your talk. Excellent work. Pick a good tree for me.

Love you,

Elder Hardy

December 6, 2010

Buenas Familia!

Last week the power was out all day but it turned on again in the night so we went to email. But while we were writing, it went out again. This was the email:

Thanks for the updates from the family. Happy Birthday Alexis!!! I think I forgot to say it last time but I dedicated the marriage and baptism of the Familia José Noel y Martha and Familia Roberto y Yamileth for Mom's primero birthday present. So the next baptism will be especially for Alexis. We have set a goal to baptize two more familias this month and I have faith that we can do it.

Hey it sounds like Christmas this year is going to be really fun with the German Traditions. Good luck with the goose, Mom!

Here Christmas is a big deal too. And yes, I have heard some Christmas music. Mostly an annoying ad that goes, “Navidad! Navidad! Feliz Navidad!” to the tune of Jingle Bells. But it is interesting, as far as I understand, the actual day of the 25 isn’t the big day. It’s the 24th. That’s when they have the parties and stuff.

I am really excited that I get to spend Christmas here in Boaco. It is going to be awesome. We have become really good friends with the members and sharing it with them will be neat. Especially because they are going to feed us. I am looking forward to a big Christmas Eve night dinner probably with the family of Yamileth and Roberto. They are going to kill one of their pigs and everything!

So the coolest tradition I know of so far is the Muñeco. Ha ha they make dummies of people and put them on the street the night of the 24th... stuffed with bombas! (fireworks) And at midnight, they blow them up! Ha ha and they told me that they decided to make one of me. Plaque and everything to blow up! How nice of them.

So I don't know exactly what the rules here are for Navidad for the missionaries but I think we get to stay up to see the Muñeco. I hope so.

One of the phrases I learned this week is to give someone a Sopa de Muñeco. I think muñeco means your hand or something too so it isn’t really too related to the Muñeco that blows up, (or the words are really close and I didn’t understand). But it is the same as saying a Knuckle sandwich. They love to help me learn more Spanish and love it even more when I remember and say stuff like, "Voy a darle una sopa de muñeco." (I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich. Makes them laugh every time).

Hannah: There were fish (in the river) but I'm not too sure about the iguanas, sorry. Yes, yes I did get your secret note. I got my baptismal clothes out the night before and found it. I was very touched, thank you. You are very clever.

Got to go.

I Love You,

Elder Hardy

November 29, 2010

Hey!!!!

Guess what!!! We baptized two familias (families) this Saturday!!! It was soo Awesome! Ha ha and oh yeah, we married both of the families right before we started the baptismal service too!



Ok, so to start, the families are Hermano Roberto and Hermana Yamileth and the other is Hermano José Noel and Hermana Martha. We did exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Tuesday after District Meeting so they could interview them. So I served in Juigalpa with Elder Salgado for a day.

The next day, we met up with Elder Coj and he said that they were ready but needed more time. I was pretty disappointed but then they started laughing and said we were going to baptize on Saturday!

So we spent a lot of time throughout the week working with an abogado (lawyer) to get all the papers and stuff we needed to marry them first. It took a lot of time but we finally got everything we needed.

Ha ha but it was really funny as we went to government buildings and stuff to try and get the right stuff. We didn't need anything to get the information we needed, only a little money. The government works a little differently here. Maybe it helps that we are missionaries too.

So Friday night, we decorated the meeting house for the marriages. We had to wake up super early Saturday to go pick up the Baptismal clothes at the Bus stop in Empalme (The Zone Leaders sent them in the bus early in the morning).

So we got back in Boaco about 8 and we were walking back to the house when we realized that we didn’t have the clothes! So we ran back to the bus terminal but the bus wasn’t there. There is another terminal above Boaco so we grabbed a Taxi to see if we could catch the bus before it left back to Juigalpa. We got to the terminal and it was still there so we grabbed the clothes real quick and rushed back to the house to get ready.

The marriages started at 9 in the morning. When Hermana Yamileht got there, she told us that for next time, plan the weddings later in the day. I feel bad. I think she was probably a little stressed out getting ready. But Hey! I think it is awesome that two 19-20 year old kids managed to plan two weddings.

We were a little preoccupied that morning with something else... The baptismal font in the church only had about 2-3 feet of dirty water in it and there was no water for the city. Usually, if the water doesn’t work in the morning when we wake up, it works an hour or so later. But on Saturday, they said there wouldn’t be water for the whole day!!!

I think somebody didn’t want them to get baptized.

The weddings went well. Right after, we started the Baptismal Service. So... while we started, Elder Coj went on splits with Beto (I stayed with the President) to try and find a truck that could drive us to a RIVER to do the Baptisms. They did, right as we finished, and we all hopped into the back of a truck. We found a perfect spot on the La Presa River and it was Beautiful. I baptized all four of them and after, we returned to the Church for pupusas.
The Best Day Ever.


I suspect that I am staying in Boaco another change with Elder Coj! I am so happy we get to be together here for another month and a half. We can keep making each other better and help Boaco. I think two more missionaries are coming on Wednesday. I think beds and stuff are arriving today.

That’s great that Elder Coj wrote you and he said your email and Spanish were great, Dad. I have his family’s email and I am going to try and write them in Spanish today.

I am glad to hear Thanksgiving was good, I miss the mashed potatoes. I haven’t taken Elder Coj to a Thanksgiving dinner yet but I would like to. I need to figure out where first.

Happy Birthday again, Mom. I love you. I have to admit, though, that the package hasn’t been sent yet. We have figured where to go to send it to you and I have a gift for you. But there was a store that we found that was selling unique hand made things of Nicaragua but when we went to go get your gift the store was Gone!!! (It was kind off a big tent store on the street and turns out it’s portable)

The AP told me the first day, if I found something cool I wanted to get, buy it then because I might not ever get another chance. So hopefully it will come back. Boaco isn’t one of the cities with a lot of cool stuff but I am going to find some cool stuff for you. I might send Christmas presents with your birthday present next week so I hope that doesn’t make it less special.

I am going to miss not having Christmas with you and I am bummed I am going to miss the German Christmas Eve Dinner. I am excited to have Christmas here in Boaco this change. Of course, I will get to call home for Christmas and I can’t wait but I don’t know the details yet.

Well Hannah, for breakfast we usually have some eggs and beans or something like that. Today, we had these really good pancakes but they are really different. I am going to try to get the recipe from la Doña. I actually did have some cereal in Juigalpa for breakfast but it was just plain corn flakes. I would like some cereal but it is ok, you don’t have to send it, packages are expensive!

Thanks for the updates!!! That’s great the U won. I am sorry I can’t help shovel snow. Good luck with the Molly Mouse performances this week Emily and Hannah, I am soo proud of you two.

Rob, thanks for the tip with the spiders. But do you have one for geckos? There is always a gecko if you look for one. Most of the time, I notice them when we are in a house teaching and I see one scurry across the wall behind the person we are talking to. Also, they make a really loud chirping noise.

My first week, I thought that people had birds in their roofs. But turns out they are geckos. One even found its way back into our room. Elder Coj chased it with a broom while I was just trying to take pictures of it. (I have photos but I forgot my cord, we are going to run and get it and send some really fast.)

Most of them are really ugly, all white and pasty and my compa says really dirty too. I bought a sling shot on the street to get them (and dogs if I have to) but it reminded me of 1 Corinthians 13:11 so now I’m thinking about throwing it away.

But oh boy, what I miss the most? I am sorry but I am really not sure what to say right now. Maybe carpet. But you wouldn’t want carpet here with the humidity and it would get really dirty so I will have to live without. I am going to have to get back to you on that, Rob, I don’t have much time. But thank you.

Thank you for the spiritual thought. I always love them.

Oh! I just remembered, I gave a talk on Sunday! I gave it about Missionary Work (for the members). I was pretty nervous preparing it and going to the Church. But I found out once I got there, I was fine. Maybe it helped that the branch fits into the first floor of a house. I think I made sense (at least they told me I did) and I think I helped them think about what they should and what they can be doing to help strengthen and grow the branch.

Just remember, you don’t need to be a full-time missionary with a plaque to help your family and friends come to find the happiness of the fruit of the Gospel. Like Lehi in his vision of the tree of life, after he partook of the fruit, he desired his family to also. And we are all hermanos (brothers & sisters).

I Love You,

Elder Jonathan D. Hardy

November 22, 2010

¡Hola!

 

Happy Birthday Mom!!! This is the last email before your birthday so you have to read it a couple days early. But I am sending your Birthday gift today (hopefully, we still need to figure out exactly how. But I know where the building that would be able to do it is).

I love you and am so grateful to have you as my mother. I’m sorry my present is going to get to you pretty late, hopefully not as long as it takes to get them here.

Which reminds me, I got my Package!!! And my letters!!! A companionship went to Managua and brought back my package with them. And the ZL´s gave me my letters. They have been sitting in the office for a long time. I loved getting them.

My Chele ZL, Elder Geddes, said he was pretty jealous because I received a bunch of letters and a package in my first change. Thank you so much for the letters.

Thank Grandma for me, I love reading her letters ha ha and it looks like Halloween had to have been pretty fun with the sweet looking ghost named Bertha.

Thank Jenny and the cousins too. I love reading their letters too and wish them the best of luck with the sports and broken arm (sorry to hear that buddy).

So the package was Awesome! Don’t worry, it got here in great shape with everything in it. I loved the clever Elder Verde theme. My companion thought it was great too and was really grateful that you packed two of everything so he got a package too. Thanks for the clever scriptures on the treats ha ha they are great and trying to explain them to Elder Coj was great too.

Thanks for the bath stuff too. I was about to have to go buy some. And this stuff is the best too; I don’t think we can get these brands here. But I think we can get shampoo and deodorant and stuff in the biggest grocery store here called Pali. So you don’t have to worry too much about that stuff if you don’t want to.

Hey! Awesome Highland took State, it’s about time. I wish we could have done it. And wish I could have been there.


Ok. Changes are December 1st. If we have changes, they will call us like the night before and we will have to go to Managua with one of our stuff. But I´m really hoping we get to stay here another change together. I am loving it.

I am actually a little suspicious that they might open a new area here in Boaco and send two more missionaries. That would be great because then Elder Coj and I would probably stay here in Boaco with new companions. But nothing is official yet. I just know that when Elder Perez the AP came he was asking questions like that.

So I don’t know if you mean District Conference as missionaries or as the District of Juigalpa in which Boaco is a Branch. But the Branches meet every six months, I think, in a District Conference.

We have a Missionary District meeting every Tuesday if that is what you are asking. It is great we get to get together every week. But the traveling really stinks. We are two hours away from the Church in Juigalpa so every Tuesday we have to wake up at 5 in the morning. The bus leaves at 6 and we travel for about a half an hour to Empalme where we get on a bus to go to Juigalpa.

Now depending on the bus this ride can be Ok or very miserable. The trick is to get a seat. Otherwise you have to stand for an hour and a half sandwiched between people in the aisle. And people are constantly trying to squeeze by.

Ha ha a couple weeks ago Elder Geddes told me a joke as we were about to get on a bus back to Boaco. He said, "Have you ever broken the Law of Chastity before?" and I was like, "What?!" and he said, "Well you will" (As we squeezed into a bus full of people).

Anyway so we get to the Church at 8 and do all our personal companion and language study there. Language study is great because all the Latinos are together. Ha ha they usually just want to try and learn pick up lines and stuff in English.

Then we have the District meeting and Elder Coj teaches us about a subject and then we practice. When the meeting is over, we have to take another two hour bus ride home, but we go to the bus terminal so we usually always get a seat. When we get back, we eat lunch and then get to work. I feel like a lot of the day is wasted traveling but that is how it is here.


Ha ha we actually call our Zone the, "Zona Olvidado" (The forgotten zone) because we are so far away from everyone else. The Zone meetings are every 3 months, but the zone leaders are in our district and they usually talk anyway.

Yes, we have stores and stuff here to get stuff. We went around one Monday to pharmacies because I wanted Vitamins. But we didn’t find any I wanted to trust. I wanted name brand like One a Day Men’s or something but it’s ok I am eating pretty good so I don’t think I need them. I haven’t looked for contact solution but I will now to make sure it is available.

Don’t need anything yet, thank you. P.S. I´m sure packages like the one you sent are pretty expensive so I don’t want you to spend a bunch of money sending me a ton of stuff.

So I think the first day in the little package they gave us it said how many missionaries we have in the Nicaragua Managua Sur Mission. But I am not sure what it is for sure. My compa says it’s about 150.


Little miracles that happen everyday... I´ll tell you one. It’s actually pretty cool and has happened twice for me. And it put a big smile on my face both times. So I have already said I have no doubt our prayers are answered. Also, I know that we (the Missionaries) have quite a bit of authority. But did you know Missionaries have the power to turn off TV´s?! Everyone here has a TV, and they are always on. And we want them off so they will pay attention and to create an environment for the spirit.

Obviously the best way to do this is to politely ask them to turn it off. (I usually point and make the noise of a TV turning off). But one time, a family didn’t want to for some reason and just turned it down so it was a little quieter. While Elder Coj talks, I am praying in my heart to help him, help the investigator feel the spirit and help me understand and be able to talk.

So this time in my heart, I also asked that somehow we could turn the TV off to help feel the spirit and to help me understand because it is much harder when there is more than one voice. (I was hoping that they would change their mind and turn it off)

But as I was thinking "amen" suddenly there was a pop! And the TV turned off!!! The little girl said, "Oh no the light went out!" Ha ha it turns out the bulb in the TV went out (don’t worry, after we were done with our lesson, it started working again. It was kind of like what was happening with our TV). So we kept on teaching and the spirit was there. I thought it was Awesome.

The next time it happened was a few days later in another family´s house. We were teaching and the grandma walked in and turned the TV on, watched it for like 30 sec. and then left... without turning it off. Kinda weird. But I said a silent prayer again and the bulb went out on that one too!!!

We are going to get a reputation for ruining peoples TVs.

Hannah: some people take siestas in the afternoon but we don’t. Hey, we were going to go take pictures with monkeys today for you but we will have to do it next week.

Thanks for updates but sadly I am out of time again.

I Love You

Elder Hardy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Email from Elder Coj:


Hola soy elder coj .. compañero de su hijo solo les escribia para saludarlos y desearles todo lo mejor , bueno espero que me entiendan porque no se nada en ingles , lo lamento .... solo quiero decirles que estoy muy agradecido con mi padre celestial , y tambien con ustedes por tener a elder hardy como compañero el es un buen misionero .. he aprendido mucho de el en estos ultimos dias .. adimiro el animo que el tiene y su diligencia y su amor por esta maravillosa obra ..

anque no me paresco nada a el fisicamente ,pero el es como mi hermano para mi, filicidades por tener a un hijo como el sientance orgullosos por el ... animo en todo lo que hacen ..

no los conosco pero los aprecio muho...

Att... ELDER COJ ...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hello, I am Elder Coj, your son’s companion.

I am writing to say hello and wish you all the best. Well, I hope you understand me because I don’t know any English. I am sorry. I only want to tell you how grateful I am to my Heavenly Father, and you, for having Elder Hardy as a companion. He is a good missionary. I have learned a lot from him the last few days. I admire the excitement he has and his diligence and his love for this marvelous work.

Even though we don’t look anything like each other, he is a like a brother to me. Congratulations on having a son that you should feel proud of and happy about everything that he does.

I don’t know you, but I appreciate you.

Sincerely,

Elder Coj

November 15, 2010

¡Buenas!


Hey! So it has started to snow a little bit? That’s good because at night it is a little more fresco (cold) here and when we talk to people, they say they are cold. I tell them it is perfect (actually a little hot still) and where I come from it is snowing! So I’m glad I haven’t been lying.

We are teaching several families. But it has been a pretty tough week to be honest.  None of our investigators came to Church.
Unfortunately, Fatima and her family fell through for being baptized. So we need to help her with her dudas (doubts).

We are still teaching Yamileth and Roberto. They still haven’t decided to get married but she has really opened up to us and we have built a lot of trust, so hopefully we can help now.

Hermano Salvador didn’t come to church with his family which killed me (We had a really spiritual lesson with him and he realized and told us he needed to come to church more than play baseball). We went to his house before church to go with him but he had already left to play baseball.

We are teaching the Lopez family, Edwardo y (and) Brumilda and we have contacted a few new families but they have really long names and I can’t remember them right now, sorry.

A great experience I had was during fast Sunday (last week). I was only going to go up and bear (try) my testimony if there was a pause or time at the end because people were trying to go and I think it is more important that the members bear (strengthen) their testimonies.

At the end, Beto and my companion went up together and took up the last five minutes. But when my compa came back, I asked him if they would be mad if I went up and gave my testimony and made the meeting go over. He was like, no, no it’s fine, go.

(First of all, Nicaraguans aren´t really big on being punctual. One time we waited for a half an hour after the time we set up for a member to meet up with us to teach and when she came she didn’t think it was a big deal. Second, I’m sure he knew it would be short...)

So I went up and I told a joke about sharing a little of my testimony because I speak really slow and they would all be asleep but I’m not sure if they got it. I gave my testimony about prayer and I think everything I said actually made sense and they understood it. My voice was a little shaky but I didn’t cry or anything. They all seemed to be paying attention and listening too.

(Sacrament meetings can be a little irreverent, lots of kids and the door and windows are open to the street.)

So it was either reverent because they felt the spirit too or because the Chele finally got up and they were all waiting to watch me. So I really liked that.

The meeting house is in a home. Well, it is connected to a home but it is actually pretty good size, it has two floors and is on the corner of a street. Ha ha the directions we tell people are Del Resturante Triky 1/2 al oeste.

I don’t know why people would know where the restaurant is but not the meeting house. We baptize people in the baptismal font in the church or in a river of their choosing. But I haven’t baptized anyone yet.

Church is normal church. Yesterday we had a primary program and it was really cute. Exactly the same as they are in Utah.

We taught a lesson yesterday. But that was because it was a little irregular, the District President came and had a meeting with all the leaders so we taught some recent converts. I haven’t given a talk yet. I probably only will if someone falls through.

Hey this week we had one of the AP´s come and work with us for a day. Hopefully it isn’t because everyone heard that the Chele in Boaco couldn’t speak Spanish and help his compa teach.

He told me that there is a package sitting in the office for me. I don’t know how long it’s been sitting there but it is probably with my letters too. So things get here. But they are going to send it to Boaco and usually I would have to wait till changes (every month and a half) to get it.

But a companionship in our District is traveling to Managua and back today and we have District meeting tomorrow so we called them and told them to bring it. So if everything works out I will cheat the system and get your package tomorrow! Ha ha in the next email I would like to hear what you put in it too.


Elder Coj is great. He was born in the church and has a really big family (11 people including his parents). He has been out for 11 months now. I love him and everyone else does too. He gains the confidence of our investigators really fast which is great. He is a good trainer and hasn’t killed me yet. Although he has tried to wrestle me a couple times ha ha.

Hannah: I am sorry to report that I have not seen a monkey yet. Lots of dogs on the streets, little periquitos (parakeets), a couple parrots, spiders and this HUGE black nightmare bicho (bug) that buzzed by me. No monkeys. Not yet. When I see one I will take a picture just for you.

Thanks for the updates everyone. It is great to hear how things are going. Congrats on the stuff. I don’t have time to write about them.

Love,

Elder Hardy

November 8, 2010

¡Buenas!


Thanks for the email and thanks for the journal emails Dad, I am going to see if I can print them off. Unfortunately, the internet cafe we usually go to didn´t have enough computers today so we are in another one.

We will hopefully have baptisms this Saturday. It is really easy to set dates with the people here. The problem is following through with them. I am hoping we will be able to baptize the family of Roberto and Yamileth. Problem is they still need to get married but we are meeting with them today. They are super nice and cool and have known the missionaries for a long time. They fed us on Saturday, like a whole cow. Oh, plus it was my first time eating cow tongue AND cow heart. But I’m going to be honest, it wasn´t too big of a deal. They were stuffing me with cow and came out and said, “Hey, here is some cow tongue” and later, “Hey, here is some cow heart.” To me it was just more cow.

(Sue: Was this the cow???)

The family I am living with is the Burgos'. Their Restaurant is called Beto´s Tipicos. Beto is their son. He served a mission to Nicaragua and later their family moved here from El Salvador. They are super nice and feed me very well. I am afraid I don’t think I have a photo with them yet. But thank you for reminding me, I will take one with them today.

The Burgos' Parrot

The weather here in Boaco is apparently much more fresco (cool) than in places like Managua. But it is still hot all the time to me. Sometimes at night or while it is raining, they will say they are cold. But I´m sweating. It has rained a couple times here but not too much. It rained really hard when we were in Juigalpa for the District Conference my first Sunday. That was when I heard the loudest thunder I have ever heard. But I am starting to get used to the heat and the hills all day.

Our laundry is done every week by an older hermana (sister) who is a member. The first time we got them back, I smelled them and ha ha, well, they may have smelled better before I sent them. But it is great. Funny story, we were walking on our way to a cita (appointment) and I looked to the side and saw some really white clothes hanging up to dry. Then I realized where we were and it was to the side of the house of the sister that does our laundry. Ha ha, turns out they were my underwear drying on a clothes line for everyone to see. Elder Coj and I were laughing for a long time but I don’t know how the President would feel if he knew. I’m pretty sure it’s not good to dry underwear in public.

Elder Coj about to Eat a Gigantic Moth

Yes, we have a cell phone. But Elder Coj gets it because he is the senior companion. Very interesting note about cell phones and stuff here. Everyone has a cell phone... and they are all a lot nicer than any cell phone I have ever had. They all have TV´s too. It is a little ironic that some of the people are having trouble paying for food and water but they have cell phones, a TV, and stereo. Really, I guess it’s the same problem throughout the whole world. Material possessions take too high a priority in our lives.



Our bathing situation is just fine. We have our own bathroom. Only two problems. First, they fill up the water for the city every night. So, sometimes in the morning there is no water and we have to wait before we can use the bathroom. Not that bad. Second, the water is COLD! Which is ok at night after a long hot day, but in the morning, it wakes you up pretty fast.

Picnic on the Cerro

Interesting experience. Today we climbed a cerro (hill) that overlooks Boaco. We invited some kids that are recent converts to come too. It was really fun. We had a picnic at the top and a big old spider came crawling through the middle.


We had a spiritual thought and had everyone find a private spot and say a prayer on top of the mountain. (Elder Coj and I prayed together). We like to quote the "O Jerusalem" quote in Mateo 23:37-39 (Matthew 23:37-39) whenever we are above the main city too. They call Boaco “La Ciudad de Dos Pisos” (the city of two floors.) It is in a big bowl in the mountains.


Thank you for the spiritual thought mom. Thanks for the updates on everyone. I don´t have time now to talk to everyone individually but I Love You.


Love,

Elder Hardy

November 1, 2010

¡Buenas!


¡Thank you for the updates, it is great to hear from the family! It is kind of interesting to write emails here because Spanish keyboards are different. ¡¿Who knew?! Ha ha ok not that different but some of the keys are changed around and they have an ñ key and stuff. And this: ç. But I don´t even know what that is. I think I am using the accent mark as my ´ too but oh well.

So here in Boaco, I think they celebrated Halloween on Saturday. But it isn´t the same. They just have fiestas. I think some people think it is evil too. One lady asked us if we believe in Halloween and I was like, "Why?"

I will try to upload more photos but it is slow on these computers. My compa says the US internet is up here (motioning with his hand), Guatemala internet is a little lower, and Nicaragua internet is like on the ground (with his hand). I thought it would be a good idea to zip the file of photos and attach it but it exceeds the MB limit. Is there a better way to upload it? (to the blog for example.) I say this because... I am not sure if I am going to get any packages. Hopefully letters, but even still I think it is going to take a long time.

The first days I asked the AP´s about this and they pretty much said it takes almost a month if I get it at all. But we will see. Who knows, they might have some right now. But I don´t know when they give it to me. I think I have to wait till we meet again at a comp change meeting or something. But I looked at the blog (really fast) and it is awesome. You are very talented Madre. Thank you so much.

 

So, who am I teaching? Well first, the first day el Presidente gave us a little portfolio about the mission. "Nicaragua Managua Sur Mision, El Mejor Mision en el Mundo." (Nicaragua Managua South Mission, Best Mission in the World) Ha ha and I think it is true already. The baptism rate here is incredibly high and because of that the expectations are very high as well. The problem is we are having problems with retention and priesthood holders. We have a really strong focus now on retention. But even more is baptizing families, especially the fathers. We have set a mission wide goal to baptize at least one family every month.

Right now one of the families we are teaching is the Salvador family (Dad, Mom and two girls, 9 and 6). They are super nice and accepting. It was so awesome. We taught the dad and asked him to read the introduction of the Book of Mormon. When we came back, he had read all the beginning stuff and on one of the pictures he saw the reference to 3 Nephi 11 and started reading it! That is like one of the best chapters to have investigators read.

They are so ready for the Gospel. We are hopefully baptizing one of their little girls (9 years old) on Saturday because she has been coming to church. It will be my first Baptism!!! The father loves learning about the gospel. He says he wants to be baptized but wants to learn more first. He also plays in a baseball league here (Baseball is pretty big here) on Sundays! Ah so we need to work on that. Another Family is Gamileta (I don’t know how to spell it).

That is the hardest thing here: Peoples names. I will never be able to remember them. I think that is one of the reasons why we invented the idea of calling everyone Hermano/a. Because the early leaders of the church couldn´t remember everyone´s ding dang names.) They are awesome too. Two of their daughters have been baptized but the father and mother are not married. I think that is a big problem here. I think they are afraid of some sort of responsibility if they get married so they just don’t.

There is only one Rama (Branch) in Boaco. Named the Rama de Boaco. And only two missionaries (Me and Elder Coj). This Sunday we had 46 people in attendance. Only one of our investigators (The Dad, Gamileta and his little daughter) showed up. Which is great that he came. I was sad but I don´t know what to expect here. Elder Coj was really disappointed too, so I guess that means Church wasn´t very impressive this Sunday. Next Sunday will be better.

Here is a picture of my Branch President!

We did some service on Saturday and he helped. We cut down stuff with machetes! Awesome.




All the missionaries get a mission debit card. We go to the banco and withdraw cash from the ATM though. They give us a certain amount at the beginning of the month and the middle of the month. Total personal money is something like 800 cordobas a month ($36 USD). Which isn´t very much. Even here. So far I have mostly just spent money on transport. In buses and taxis. But we usually walk everywhere in Boaco.

I have not received any mail. I am sorry. I hope that I do. I don’t know how well sending stuff from here is either. That is why I was hoping for a good way to send pictures over the internet.

So, I am in Boaco. I haven´t the foggiest idea where it is. All I know is that it takes about 2 hours or more to get anywhere else. And it is all mountainy. I think it is really pretty. But the people don´t seem to really think so. Plus there is a lot of garbage on the streets and stuff. They just throw everything on the ground. Shame. The only problem I have with things here is the subidas (hills). It is mountainy right, so all day it is up and down the really steep streets. I have been exercising but I don´t think I need to, it is an all day work out.

The members we live with are really cool. They feed us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The usual meal is pupusas. (A tortilla with cheese and maybe meat in the middle.) They aren´t too bad. The family is actually from El Salvador. We usually have beans or rice and beans as well. Plus we get plantains or plantain chips sometimes. Our usual drink is Cacao. It is like milk, cinnamon and chocolate. It is pretty good. They were trying to convince me that it has coffee in it. I don´t think it does.

(Sue: Cacao is their chocolate milk drink made from chocolate, cinnamon, red maize and sweet pepper seeds, cooked, stirred into milk, sweetened with sugar and served cold).

They like to joke about me a lot I think. For a while I only knew when they said Chele. But I can pretty much understand everything everyone says now. (I just can´t speak). But I don´t think my compa realizes how much I can understand when they talk. It is funny, one time they were talking about my snoring. But I love my companion. He is great and is really patient with me. He pretty much does all the talking which I think he gets frustrated with. But I am learning.

The Mission is going Great! I love it and can´t wait till I can actually speak Spanish. Hope everything is great at home.

Love,

Elder Hardy Ç

P.S. Have to go soon but yeah I looked at the blog, it is great. Ha ha it is funny but it says you sent this 2 days ago.

October 25, 2010

Buenas Familia!!!


This is so awesome! I am finally in the mission field and can´t believe it. I am having so much fun! I am glad that Hermana Monestel emailed you, she is so nice. So is President Monestel, they were waiting outside the airport for us with their family: two daughters and a little muchacho.

So I guess I will start from the beginning to answer your questions. So we got our luggage, walked out, shook the President and family´s hands and this beat up old red truck pulls up and people start throwing our luggage into the back. Turns out it was a local bishop’s truck that came to help out. So we pile into this old van/bus thing and start driving. I think he told us we were going to get some dinner first before getting dropped off at the house.

So I was so excited. Just this Chele (Nicaraguan term for white American aka gringo (everyone likes to call me this, for a while it was the only word I understood) grinning ear to ear with my nice suit and bags. I was super excited when I finally figured out we were driving around to go eat.

So Hannah, guess where we went to eat, for my very first meal in Nicaragua. We slowed down and turned.... right into the drive way of a MCDONALDS!!! I was so mad! We actually got out and went in to eat. And I am pretty sure it was better than in the States, but still, I purposely ate a hamburger my last meal in the MTC because I wasn´t sure I would (I was hoping I wouldn’t) eat another for two years. But that dream was shattered. Oh, but our drinks were Nicaraguan. Some soda that tastes like bubble gum. It was alright I guess, apparently it is their unique soda. It’s called Rojita, I think.

So we drove to the house where the office missionaries live. That’s the Mission Home right? Anyway, they have a bunch of bunk beds there and that is where we slept for the next two nights. It was pretty crowded and not the cleanest but wasn’t too shabby. Just like a dirty house that you are scared to walk around barefooted (especially in the shower). Don´t worry, I didn’t Mom. But I liked it.

At first all the new Latino missionaries and cheles were kind of separated in their groups. Probably mostly because there was a bit of a language barrier. But I tried talking to them and there were a couple patient enough to talk back and eventually everyone was joking around.

Oh so I forgot, when the plane landed, before we made it to the actual gate, all the windows were fogged up. When I walked off the plane it was like walking into a cloud. A hot cloud. The first night I was worried about sleeping. First, because I was afraid I would be eaten in the night (there was an open window right next to me) and second because it was so hot. But I slept great.

The next day, I woke up with only one or two bites. It took a while to get ready because it was so crowded. And then we went to the Church. The Church was actually really nice, it’s pretty new too. The President, his wife and the AP´s talked to us. We actually had the white AP translate for us because the President and his wife don´t speak a bit of English. They said they are trying to learn though.

So that was interesting during my interview with the President. He kept saying blah blah digno blah blah blah digno... And I am just sitting there smiling because I didn´t understand a thing he was saying. Turns out digno means worthy. So after I finally figured that out, the interview went great.

We had breakfast at the church (just like a roll and a drink). That was funny because they gave us programs for the day and on the program it said who was giving the blessing on the food. So all us cheles were sitting there waiting... while everyone else including the President and his wife started eating. Finally, she looked up and realized it and I think she said that it was for lunch. So we said personal prayers and ate.

We went to lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant which means it was pretty much the same as the Mexican restaurants at home. I think the President was trying to be nice, or he just didn’t want us to be sick while we were still with him.

At about six was when things got interesting. We went to another Church in Managua to meet up with a zone and do splits with the new missionaries. I got paired with a Latino companionship and another Latino new missionary. The senior comp spoke a little English so that was nice. We walked for a while and waited for a bus for a while. Ha ha the bus was fun, totally packed. You are mushed between people. Oh and the driving in Managua is crazy.

We got out and walked and they decided we were going to split to visit people. And for some ding dang reason they paired me with the Guatemalan comp that doesn´t speak English. We walked for a while and came to this block where all I could see were giant blanket tents like the ones we would make at home.

We walked to the investigators´ house, it was literally just blankets held up by sticks. The older man there was about to get baptized. But as we talked to them I think he was trying to make up an excuse about his back and not being able to. The mom and girl had not read their scriptures either. Now you have to remember that I am just smiling the whole time and nodding my head. They are talking a ton and really fast. They asked me to say the opening prayer (pretty much everyone does this still).


For some reason during the opening prayer I started crying. I don´t know why. I guess I just really cared about these super humble people I hadn´t even met and really wanted to understand what they were saying so I could help them. Anyway, after I finished the prayer their whole attitude kinda changed. Probably because they felt bad for me. But whatever it was they went and got their scriptures and we taught them. I bore my testimony about the scriptures and prayer in broken Spanish and (I think) after we left the man was still going to be baptized and the mom committed to read her scriptures.

I think my comp for the night started to get a little annoyed with me not understanding or being able to talk but the night went alright I think. I think he was flirting with this one girl we talked to and this one girl was trying to flirt with me but no big problems. We went to his casa to meet up with the other two and the bishop’s car (the red beat up truck) and they climbed into the back. I am pretty sure the Pres. had said that day not to do that but I´m afraid I don´t think I could have done much anyway. So I got in and went back to the church.

My MTC companion was in the bathroom and it turns out he threw up on his splits, he said it was because he was dehydrated. I actually ate a lot of stuff on my splits. A banana and pineapple at the house made out of blankets. And some drinks at others and a hot dog bun. Guess what! It has been a whole week and I have not been sick at all. My stomach feels better now than it did the entire time in the MTC, seriously. We had pizza for dinner.

Next day, we went to the Church and had a big companion exchange meeting. People talked, the people leaving and the newbys bore their testimonies. I tried to make a little joke but I don´t think it made sense. Then we had an activity where we hit piñatas! (outside). The whole meeting everyone was having fun. Then we got to the comp changes. They had a PowerPoint with pictures.


Elder Coj and Elder Hardy

Anyway, my trainer is Elder José Patricio Coj Bocel. (Elder Coj). He is from Guatemala, it is his first time training, he has never had a chele companion and he doesn't speak any English!!! It was a little interesting as we went to our area because we couldn’t communicate very well. But I love him. He is awesome, he is a good teacher and we get along great. We joke around all the time with each other now.


We are in a place called Boaco! It is beautiful! In the mountains in the jungle. So cool. The people are awesome. Ugh no time. But it is great. Our house is so nice we live under Beto´s Restaurant. They are members and feed us great food which is why I’m not sick.

I Love You,

Elder Hardy


Sorry we have to pay for the internet in a place and I ran out of time. But I love you.

P.S. Boaco is the safest place. No worries, seriously very tranquilo people.