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

May 28, 2012

Hey Family,

I hope you have had a good Memorial Day. We had the baptism of a sister and her three children!

Sounds like you have had a really cool week. How did you guys get in touch with a foreign exchange student from China? I hope Bingo Bango Bongo was fun today. Who won? Hannah again? I’m thinking she is a little big now for the bonus points. When I get back, you guys are going to have to give the bonus points to me! Ha ha. 

Sounds like you guys had a great Hardy Family Reunion! They turned great great great grandpa's house into a Walgreens?!!! Ha ha. 

You asked about Zone meetings? At least one time a month we have a Zone Conference. Those are always fun and it gives me a chance to teach all our new missionaries and get everyone excited and motivated to keep working hard. Sometimes we do activities as a Zone on our PDays. 

My comp. and I have just started doing new meetings called "Zone Council Meeting." We talk with our District Leaders, help them on things (like how to do a good baptismal interview… nobody ever taught me, I had to learn the hard way) and help them make their own goals and plans for the month for their District. We need to travel a lot more to our Districts to work at least with the District Leaders and maybe a couple companionships that need help. The next change we plan on doing divisions at least once a week. 

Oh boy, we have been busy this week. We are working with 9 families. Even though a couple we still need to give more follow up. But some of the best lessons have been with a good family. They have been around the missionaries for Many Years. Almost all of the family are members, but some have not been able to progress with the missionaries. But now things are different in San Marcos ha ha. 

Saturday in the night we had our first "real" lesson with them. It was Great! We taught to them the Restoration, (even though I’m sure they have heard it lots of times) and we watched the short film of the Restoration. 

After we bore our testimonies to them, we answered their very good questions and taught them how to know (prayer). We then invited them to be baptized and they accepted (on the condition of receiving and answer to their prayers). Then we presented them the Book of Mormon. And we taught them how it would help them receive the answer to their prayers. 

It was cool because the mom got all excited because that same day her sister who is a member shared her testimony too. Perfect timing (or inspired timing). The dad was sick and in the house for a couple of days and loves to read. Yesterday, in the night we had an appointment with them too. We taught them the principle of the Word of Wisdom and had a great time getting the whole family to commit themselves to follow the commandment. 

We also taught the son a little bit better the lesson from the day before because he wasn’t there and he goes to an Evangelica church. But he was really positive. He is going to be such a great missionary. 

We plan every night and morning what we are going to do for the day. But I don’t think in the whole mission I have had a day were my plans were completed "perfectly." That doesn't take away anything from the importance of planning every day. It just means that we do our best to plan the time of the Lord our best and then during the day if there is something that He decides that we should do, well I guess you just got to do it. 

So: Do your best to plan it out asking for inspiration from the Lord. Then do your best to prepare everything needed asking for help from the Lord. Then do your best to get it done asking for strength from the Lord. Then do your best to handle changes asking for guidance from the Lord. 

Ha ha ha hmm. The most useful thing I brought me on the mission? CTR rings. Ha ha ha they are great! For baptisms, marriages, even for a surprise gift when you show up to the house of a member and they say, "Elders! Thank you for coming to my son’s birthday party!" (even though you had no idea) ha ha. 

But there are lots of things. Grandma Weiler´s medicine kit WAS great. Not so much for me but for all of my comps. I think I probably used like two bandages ha ha but it was well used throughout the mission healing sick comps. The sewing kit, even better. I have great news. I have repaired various shirts and pants, it was a little rough at first figuring out how to do it but the latest rips and tears have come out good as new! 

You know what I wish I would have brought? A good pillow. I found and bought a pillow in my first area but I left it there thinking of the next missionary that would come. But even though last year the mission provided new pillows to every missionary’s house. It seems that I go to my new area always stuffing sweatshirts and stuff into my pillow bag to sleep... who knows what happens to all of the pillows. 

The best buy I have made in the mission? Ha ha an awesome alarm clock with the bells on top that rings in the morning. Ha ha it is probably the cheapest thing a missionary has bought in Nicaragua but I love it. 

So I am running out of time. But Dad for your talk, I would like to help but I’m not too sure what to say. 

Say hi to everyone in the ward for me. Thank them for the love and the support they have given me. For the things you can see and the things you can’t. Even every time they have thought and prayed for me or for all the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ has helped me so much. I have no doubt of that. 

The mission has been the most wonderful experience of my life, with the Holy Ghost and the message of the restored Gospel, I have had the privilege of being an instrument in the hands of the Lord to bring many of his sons and daughters to Christ and the truth. The joy that sharing the gospel has brought to me has been amazing and everyone there in the ward who has helped influence my life for good or helped someone else come closer to Christ should feel that joy too. 

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. My testimony in the Son of God and in the restored Gospel has been greatly strengthened in the service of the Lord. And my faith and trust in the Love of my Heavenly Father has become unbreakable. I truly do know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the importance of sharing this message with the rest of our brothers and sisters is the most important work in which we can be engaged. 

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Love you, 

Elder Hardy 

ps I love you

May 21, 2012

Hey Family!!!

Did you miss me?

I think last week might have been the only week in the whole mission that I wasn’t able to write you guys, right? Man, there went my record. I’m sorry, but it was because we did an activity as a Zone last Monday.

In the District of Diriamba, in part of their area, there is a beach called La Boquita (the little mouth). Don’t worry, we got permission first. And we went to go take photos and play football on the beach and chiliar un buen rato (to chill & have a good time). I got pretty burnt!

The thing is, as we were leaving the Boquita, about fifteen minutes in the micro bus, Elder Pinto said: "Oh no! Olvidé mi cámara!" (I forgot my camera!) So we had them pull over and let Elder Pinto and me out to go back and look for it.

If you all understand, a camera sitting on a bench outside of a snack stand in Nicaragua for fifteen minutes usually gets bored and walks away.

But, I thought it would be a great opportunity as well to teach about the principle of prayer and faith and spend some personal time with one of the newer missionaries in my Zone. So we each said a prayer as we stood by the side of the road for about a half an hour trying to get a ride from passing cars. But nobody wanted to take us.

Finally, the bus came and we got on. When we got to the soda stand where he had left it, the store was already closed. And there was no camera bag or person in site. So we decided to use our missionary skill and started contacting the houses nearby presenting ourselves asking who they were and asking if they knew the owner of the store.

Well, we finally found where the owner lived and we talked to her and asked her a few questions to see if she knew anything about the camera. She said she had never seen it. But we convinced her to come and open up the store to see if she had accidently put it in there when she closed up. Nothing.

The owner was trying to think of all the people that passed by after us that could have taken it. Then a friend of her came over and we started talking to her. She said she had seen the camera, and maybe some people that might have taken it.

In the end, we gave them our number and invited them to church and asked them if they ever find the camera to let us know. I left disappointed, and to be honest, a little suspicious of them as well. Elder Pinto seemed fine.

We got back to Diriamba where everyone else was finishing writing to their families and Elder Leiva and I went to buy a camera and go back to San Marcos so I could write there. (I’ll tell you about the camera later).

But as we headed towards the bus stop, I saw a lady that looked familiar... I stopped and realized it was the Lady from the Soda Stand!!! I ran over to her and asked her how she was and what she was doing here. She reached into her bag, and pulled out the Camera!!! I was so amazed.

She said she started doing some detective work in her neighborhood until she found one of the little boys behind his house playing with a camera. Ha ha, she scolded him a little bit and scared him telling him she was going to call the police and then gave him 5 bucks for the camera and told him not to tell his parents (she didn’t want to have problems with her neighbors).

She tried to call the number but she must have written it down wrong because nobody answered and so she decided to go all the way to Diriamba to go to the directions of the church to see if she could find us.

I was so impressed with her integrity and efforts to help! I know she will be blessed, and I loved the look on Elder Pinto´s face when I handed him the camera! Another impossible prayer answered.

Ok, I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-S1. Its 12 Mega pixels. It was actually the cheapest one at the store because I got it on sale.

The Area Seventy President we met with was Elder Martino, (he is councilor right now but will be president this year). It was awesome. He talked to the whole mission and to just the Zone Leaders. It was neat. As Zone Leaders, we got to eat dinner with him and he was pretty cool.

My comp gave the spiritual thought in English in the meeting and did it really well. Elder Martino was pretty impressed and asked who his comp was. He thanked me for helping and told me I have to talk in English to him each day for 1 hour.

Then Sister Monestel interrupted him and told him that I was one of the Gringos that helped the most to his companions to learn English. (Last month in changes, she called me up in front of everybody and gave me a certificate for helping my comps the most out of the entire mission. She reviews the English books of the Latinos and apparently my name is in more books for giving them the exams at the end of the chapters than any other).

So Elder Martino was impressed and said that I have to speak 2 hours in English everyday with my comp. ha ha. They shouldn’t have said anything because Elder Leiva already speaks pretty good English and I don’t know if any of my other comps really think I have helped them out that much in English. But Elder Martino learned my name and at dinner he talked to me a lot. It was pretty cool.

The presentation I was talking about was from Elder Leiva and I to the Stake President, Bishops and Branch Presidents from our Jinotepe Stake. It was good to help them get excited about the mission work and about the new plans we have made as a mission with the help of Elder Martino.

My goals for this last area? Well, I have a couple goals. Goals for bettering my Christ-like attributes, goals for being a Successful Missionary and goals for baptizing families. 

My goal for baptizing is to be able to baptize 2 families every month before leaving. (And we should have completed it this Saturday) But unfortunately, the family has had some problems and we are going to have to give them some more time. But I have faith that if we do everything we can, the Lord will guide us to the families that are waiting to hear the Gospel and come unto Christ.

If you guys read in Preach My Gospel in the first chapter, you will find towards the end a section called "How to be a Successful Missionary". For each one of these points I have a rating system from 1-5 (never to always) and I would like to be able to get much higher in each section.

Towards the end of the mission, sometimes us missionaries run out of steam, but the point is if we rely on the Grace of God through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, when we have given all the strength we have to give, He will give us the strength we didn’t have and we will be able to do what we need to do.

So it’s pretty much like the Energizer Bunny...

Sounds like everything is going good.

I was so grateful to be able to hear from you all!

Congratulations on all your achievements!

I love you so much,

Elder Hardy

ps I love you.

May 7, 2012

Hey Family!

¡¡¡¡Feliz Día de las Madres!!!!
¡¡¡¡Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Mother´s Day here is the 30th of May I think. But if I am not too lost in Nica Land I think that Mother´s Day is Sunday the 13th right?

Ok, well you will be out of church at 2:00 pm. I get out of church at 12:00 pm but it always goes a little late and I have to go leave people in their houses. Then I guess I could eat lunch too. So I think at 3:00 pm (in Nicaragua) would be a good hour if you guys are going to be in the house. I just don’t remember if you guys are an hour ahead or behind...

So I will be planning to call you guys at 3:00 pm Sunday the 13th. If there is going to be a problem, we might have to talk to President. But this week my comp and I have to do a presentation as Zone Leaders for the Stake. So we might have permission to get on the computer and do it this week, so send a confirmation email just in case. The only other thing is that the meeting with the Stake leaders is Sunday too. And I don’t know at what time. Probably at 4pm so it will be ok.

San Marcos is really neat. It almost has the same climate as Jinotepe. (almost) So it is more fresco (cooler) than other cities. But recently where we have been working has been really sunny. The city is like a classic Nicaraguan City. The houses in the Central are all pegado (together).

The park is nice, almost the same as the park in Jinotepe (but in Jinotepe they had Sloths in the trees, haven´t seen any here yet.) San Marcos is wealthy as well, but lots of the neighborhoods where we are working are more humble.

The Ward is Great! The Bishop and the Ward Mission Leader help us out a lot. The only problem is that the Elder that played the piano had emergency changes last week ha ha and the Bishop asked me to direct yesterday. It was pretty stressful for me. (Not because I don’t like to direct or be in front of everyone.) It is just a little harder to keep the whole congregation on the right tone without the piano, especially if the songs are a little less known among the members.

We live in a fritanga.

Ha ha it’s a barbecue restaurant. It is owned by the family of the Bishop’s wife. We live in a cuartito (little room) inside the restaurant. It isn’t the smallest I’ve been in, probably a little bit bigger than the one in jinotepe.

[Sue’s note: In Nicaragua, a fritanga is the name used for restaurants that make authentic home cooked Nicaraguan foods. The staple foods at a fritanga are carne asada (grilled meat), Gallo Pinto (Rice and Beans), arroz blanco (white rice), tajada frita (fried sliced green plantain), platano frito (fried ripe plantain), maduros (sweet plantain), yuca, queso frito (fried cheese), tortilla and cabbage salad. The fritangas have a cafeteria style of ordering where the food can be ordered and taken out or eaten at the establishment (comideria).]

And NO, we do not have hot water. That was a luxury the last 4 months. Actually, when I got here the shower head was so bad that the missionaries before put a plastic bag over it with a hole in it so that the water would actually fall on your head and not out a big hole on the side. But, I decided we could do better than that and after much meditation and calculations, I utilized my engineering skills and shoved a mechanical pencil of the perfect size in the whole on the shower head and now it works like perfectly normal (besides no hot water) ha ha.

Well, for the first two weeks we were eating with a really cool member family. The mom’s name is Gloria Pavon and is awesome. But, school started and she is a teacher and her kids who also helped cook are in class as well so she asked if we could find someone else because it was really hard for them. 

So guess where we are eating... in the FRITANGA! Ha ha ha, yes, barbeque chicken, pork and steak every day for lunch ha ha. So I guess the Lord wanted me to return home hermoso (handsome. They say hermoso here to say fat, without hurting your feelings). We still don’t have a dinner appointment, but the members and investigators invite us a lot to eat. (And if not... ha ha more barbecued chicken!)

There is a sister member who washes our clothes here. And I am pretty sure she uses a washing machine ha ha.

Well, last night was pretty cool. Carlos Cordero and Danelia Valle and their kids invited us to eat. They are the family that got baptized Friday and confirmed yesterday!!! The Lord blessed us with a miracle and this beautiful family fell out of the sky. They have been investigating the church for a couple of months now, but for paper problems they were not able to get married.

But Friday they were married (I provided HLJ (CTR) rings to put on. They loved it.) So, I was talking about last night, after dinner we talked to them about the family, what a blessing it is to be together in the Church now, and what their next goal is... the Temple. It was very spiritual as we talked about how their family can be eternal and all the blessings that are waiting for them. They are super excited about going.

They are very humble and money is probably going to be an issue, but they made the goal together as a family to save money and they are all excited to buy a Piggy Bank this week to start saving. Thanks for the photo of your temple marriage Mom and Dad, I showed it to them last week when there were a few issues about the marriage and it helped them get focused on what they really want. An Eternal Family.

Ok, sounds like everyone is doing AWESOME!

Congratulations Dad on the efforts you and the other leaders and the young men are doing to help one another and share the Gospel. That is great.

Mom, did you guys invite them to baptism? If so, that is soo awesome! All I know, is that as a missionary your job is to invite people to come unto Christ. By faith in Him, repentance and BAPTISM. Baptism is the door, so really if we don’t help invite people to be baptized, how are we going to invite them to Christ?

You must follow the impressions of the Spirit to invite someone to be baptized. But to be honest, if you think about it, the Spirit ALWAYS wants to invite people to be baptized. So, never be afraid to invite them to be baptized. Awesome Mom. Make sure that the sister missionaries get to Work. Ha ha ha. Maybe I´ll leave with them too when I get back... ha ha. Make sure they don’t "chill" at the house too much Sunday.

I love you all,

Elder Hardy

ps I love you Mom! Happy Mother’s day! I can’t wait to talk to you!

Mom! FELICIDADES with your new calling! I know you will be the best Ward Missionary EVER (along with Bruce). Sounds soo cool.