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