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

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.

October 21, 2010

Queridos Familiares del Elder Hardy,

Soy la Hermana Monestel esposa del presidente de misión de la misión Nicaragua-Managua Sur y quisiera informarles que el llegó muy bien a Nicaragua ya esta trabajando en el campo. Su dia de preparacion es el lunes y tiene una hora para escribir a su familia y leer el correo. Gracias por el apoyo que le brindan.

atte Hermana Monestel


Dear Family of Elder Hardy,

I am Sister Monestel, wife of the Mission President of the Nicaragua Managua South Mission and would like to inform you that he arrived safely in Nicaragua and is already working in the Field. His Preparation Day is Monday and he has one hour to write to his family and read his mail. Thank you for the support you provide him.

Sincerely Sister Monestel

October 12, 2010

Mi Familia Amado,

Thanks for the Bon Voyage wishes! I am starting to get super excited. In less than a week I'm in Nicaragua. This time next week I will probably be saying, "Donde esta el bano" and my mouth will slowly open as a try to understand what they are saying. I have my travel info!!!  We got it last week. We have to be at the Travel Office at the MTC on Monday with all of our stuff at 3:00 AM ugh. Our flight from SLC to Dallas/Ft Worth, TX is from 6-9:45 AM.  Is there a time change there? Ha ha. We have a big layover there. We leave at 2 PM for Miami, Fl and arrive at 5:45 PM. We leave Miami at 6:50 and arrive in Managua, Nicaragua at 7:30 PM!!!  It is already coming so fast, it hasn't really hit me yet. I figure that the best time to call home would be during that big layover. I am not sure how that works though. As far as I am aware, I can call home whenever while I am at the airports. Please let me know soon what time works and I will try to call then. I am sending home a copy of the Travel Itinerary today too.

I would like to share my testimony with everyone before I leave to Nicaragua. My testimony is very simple and it isn't very long or elaborate. And I certainly have not obtained my testimony by any magnificent means. I have not had a vision or a grand manifestation. There has not been one defining moment in which I came to know the things I have a testimony in. Rather, my testimony is the result, the culmination of countless small and simple things. All of these small and simple things have been blessings from God. Small manifestations of a kind Heavenly Father's love and tender mercy for His child. Many of these blessings (that I have realized) have been answers to my prayers. Without fail, when I bear my testimony about prayer I am overcome with love and appreciation. Love and Gratitude to that Being whom I know beyond a shadow of a doubt has answered Every single prayer uttered by my mouth or conceived in my heart and mind. If there is one thing in this world I know, it is that I have a God, whose love for me is that of a Perfect Father, One that knows me Perfectly and desires for me to be happy. I know this because He in response to my earnest and sincere prayers has shown to my eyes, my mind and my heart His Love for me. I will never forget or be capable to deny this.

I feel my Eternal Father's Love for me when I ponder how He has helped me learn this Eternal Truth. Through my knowledge of His Love and my Faith that He will answer my prayers, I have come to enjoy the happiness from knowing His Plan for me. First and foremost is this answer I have received from Prayer: I know that my Redeemer Lives! This is the most important and joyful answer I have ever received from my Heavenly Father. Through my trials, pains, afflictions and even mistakes I have come to know my Savior Lives and by the Atonement of Him: Jesus the Christ, I am Healed. This I know from Experience. Time and time again in Prayer I have felt my Savior's Love and Healing Power, made possible by His Infinite Sacrifice for me. By the small and simple means of Prayer, my Testimony has grown piece by piece, block by block into the foundation it is in my life. Through Repeated small and simple answers, through the Love and Peace and Comfort the Holy Ghost has provided me my Foundation: my Testimony, has been built upon The Rock. The Rock of My Master Jesus Christ. Though Prayer, with the knowledge of these things and the faith that my prayers would be answered I know that His Church is this Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And has been Restored by His True prophet for the Latter Days. I know the Book of Mormon is True. I Know the Prophet of God Leads This Church. I know my God, my Heavenly Father Loves me. I know His Son Jesus Christ Loves Me. I know through Him and His Atonement I can live with God again. This is MY Testimony.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all. Thank you so much for your help, your love and your support on my mission. I pray for you all every night.


Elder Jonathan D. Hardy

October 5, 2010

Querido Familia,

!Hola! I am so glad you saw me at Priesthood! It was so much fun and everyone (the G.A.s) was giving us thumbs up and stuff after. It was Dad and Grandpa in the top balcony afterward right? Because it looked like you and I started waving and giving thumbs up and stuff and they were copying me so hopefully it was you. I thought it was such a blessing and a miracle too. Ha ha my half second of fame is pretty funny, you can see my eyes for a sec but mostly just my chin down the whole time it was funny. We watched it after as a district and everyone was laughing. Oh yeah and Tyler was sitting right next to me, did you see him? Unfortunately, Elder Woodruff got bumped to the next row down and doesn't ever really get a close up.

Conference was really great. I got a lot out of it this time. Probably because I was sitting straight up in a hard chair, paying attention and taking notes. It seemed to go a lot faster too.

I am going to have to get back to you sisters on the pumpkin. I don't have time to properly consider that very important matter.

So Rob is Awesome. I got his "Birthday Package" for me ha ha. It was a package with some dulces, some really good cookies and a bottle of Martinelli’s. It was really nice. My whole district thinks I am soo cool because of the packages. Hopefully Rob reads these so, Thanks Rob, you are a great uncle. And it was pretty funny too. It said Happy Halloween on the outside of the card. I don't even know when Halloween is anymore. They probably don't celebrate in Nicaragua. Ha ha and I don't know how well the ice cream scheme would have worked out anyway.

Sorry I didn't send a letter last week. But I tried to write my cousins back. Hopefully they get those and they’re not too out of date. I read Jenny's email and it sounds like they are doing great.

Yes I got the Spanish CTR rings you sent. They are great and we are excited to give them to little kids when we get there. Along with the nail clippers I have.

I am not sure what all I should send home if anything. I have my nice special edition Spanish scriptures. I haven't used them yet because they are so nice. I want to take them so I can mark them and everything from my mission but I am not sure if I should send them home and save them instead. What do you think? Also I have a big box of letters. I would hate to lose them or something in Nicaragua do you think I should send them home? Same with a bunch of pages of my journal.

I don't have any travel info yet but it feels like it is going so fast. Only two weeks left. It is crazy. I do not feel like I know nearly enough Spanish but I guess I will probably learn faster down there anyway.

It is good to hear how the family is doing. Maybe if I don't write about that in my email I won't be as rushed.

For my spiritual thought I am going to talk about a talk given by President Eyring in the MTC. (They have a big database of talks given here that you can't get anywhere else and they are soo Good!) But he gave a story about when he was a bishop and there was a man who was just recently baptized. He had a lot of problems. One day he was on drugs and crashed his car into a Bank of America. As the police/security pointed their guns at him he put his hands up and said, "Its O.K. I am a Latter Day Saint!" So he came into the Bishop’s office and was demanding help from the church. Pres Eyring was going to get really mad at him and rebuke him but suddenly he saw him as a little child and saw how the Savior and God saw him. It was a really good talk about Charity and was really touching when he told it. But in short, we need to see everyone around us as Children of God. And be more compassionate, patient and loving.

I don't have any more time, but I have really been trying to do this when someone starts to do something that bothers me or annoys me. Before I open my mouth, I think about whom they are and have Charity. It has really helped me not be a Nervous Nelly.

Love You All,

Elder Hardy