Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Letter #37

Merry Christmas 2016

No home, no family, no typical traditions. Christmas 2016 has come and gone. The Elder that came to Facetime his family for Christmas at our apartment said it didn’t feel like Christmas. He is an Elder in his first transfer. I told him it felt like Christmas, just a different sort of Christmas than what we are used to.

Here are some of the things we want to remember about this different Christmas:

1. It didn’t feel as rushed as most Christmases. We had time to focus on “Light the World” and were able to hear testimony of the impact it had as the missionaries extended that invitation to others. Our Elders in Stead stopped to help a local Pastor (didn’t know he was a Pastor) and gave him the 25 days schedule. He told them he was going to share it with his congregation and thought it was the greatest idea ever!

2. Our zone exceeded their new investigator goal by 2 last week! We heard the miracles of those ready to hear about Jesus Christ and approached the missionaries! D&C 123: 12 “For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it-“

3. We took our Christmas breakfast casserole around to many we knew would not have much of a Christmas to celebrate. I don’t think it made it until Christmas morning because they are so grateful for something homemade. We always feel humbled by the need we see.

4. Our spirits were lifted by going to see Mary and Judith’s amazing Christmas house. It is such a happy place. They decorate inside and outside and have Christmas things we have never seen before. They have 7 beautifully decorated trees. There are things everywhere!! You could look for hours and still not see everything. If the garage door is open and the lights are on you can ring the doorbell and they will let you tour the house and backyard. Their only reward is the reaction people have to their hard work. It’s fun. We also went back with the Elders on Friday to introduce them to the new Elders in their area and let them get to know them and share a Christmas message. I was looking up the stairs and noticed they had snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, I hadn’t noticed any of that before. Their generosity in opening their home is incredible. These are lovely ladies!

5. We fed our ward’s Elders on Christmas Eve. We told them to invite someone to come too. They brought (I should say Elder Hardman picked them up) Brother Gregor and Brian (the investigator). We have told you about them. Brother Gregor lived in his truck until about two weeks ago. Brian wears Brother Gregor’s clothes to church, but they both come to church! It is fun to have dinner guests that are in awe of everything you cook! : ) We played Christmas Pictionary. That was an entirely new experience for Mark and Brian. I don’t know that they have ever played a game like that. Brian said he wasn’t too excited about the idea but it turned out fun! They were pretty serious about the game. It was a fun evening.

6. The Sisters in our complex invited themselves to breakfast on Christmas morning. We are quite attached to Sister Neeley. We know she will probably be transferred in January and so she needed to spend some time with us on Christmas. We enjoyed having them come early and share Christmas morning with us. Sister Iongi was telling us something and forgot what she was saying, she said, “sorry, I got lost in the food!” She liked Christmas breakfast casserole too!

7. We enjoyed going to church on Christmas day. That is a special blessing.

8. We had some Elders come to the apartment because they needed a place to Facetime their families. It was fun to eves drop and hear their conversations with their families at home. Their enthusiasm for what they are doing overcomes their desire to be at home. They shared experiences, scriptures and testimonies. It was sweet.

9. We had the best twelve days of Christmas, thanks to our great family. Hunter brought us the Twelve Days of Christmas presents when he came. We really enjoyed looking forward to a surprise to open every night! I can’t even explain why it meant so much to us, but it did! Thank you for all the creative gifts. We are enjoying everything! We love you all!

10. We realize that we won’t always have the opportunity to be fully engaged in service to our Heavenly Father so we will try to remember what this moment in time has meant. We are grateful to have the love of support of friends and family at this special time of the year.

We realize many distressing things happened too. We are so very grateful that Kim received the help he needed so quickly and even though we know there is recovery time and probably a new diet (bummer!), we are glad for the happy outcome. Paisley had a window smashed in at work and her computer stolen on Christmas Eve day, but Paisley is safe and well, we are grateful.

The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, December 19, 2016

Letter #36

We just told the Beutlers good-bye! They leave for home in the morning. We are so grateful for the love and mentoring we have received from them. I will miss her even more when we plan, prepare and serve the meals for the missionaries. She gave me a copy of her magic cookbook. She has spent two years serving the most amazing meals. We can’t fill their shoes but we are going to give it our best.

It was a fun, busy week. The mission Christmas party was at the Institute building on Tuesday. All of the missionaries, except for those serving in the east of the mission come to Reno for the Christmas party. We began the day with Zone Conference. Our new senior couple, the Vaiavakas sang two songs for us. We heard great talks from the missionaries, a sweet musical number from the missionaries and testimonies from the Sisters that will be leaving this month. There is only one Elder leaving this time and he is serving in Ely so it was Sisters only. This gets harder each time now as we know these missionaries that are leaving. You wonder how the mission will survive without them and then new missionaries step up and fill your heart. After zone conference we fed them pizza, a fruit salad and lots of goodies. We ordered 40 pizzas from Costco. Missionaries can eat a lot of pizza! They have pool, ping pong, corn-hole, air hockey at the Institute building. They also set up the 9 square court in the parking lot. They all had a great time and we only had one twisted ankle. They handed out the towels and a stocking cap at the end. It was a nice party.

We hurried home from the party because Hunter was here! It sounds like he had bad weather on the way so we were so happy to have him safely here. We had had a perfect, beautiful day for the party. It was so nice that the missionaries played outside. That was the end of the good weather. The two days that Hunter was here is was snowy and cold. We drove to Tahoe ahead of a storm. We tried to get Copper to try out the beach but it was so windy that she just was looking for cover. It was the same beach that Lori and the children played on in July. It was a much different environment than they had! There were surfers in wet suits in the water because the waves were so high! Brrr!

We tried taking Copper to the amazing dog park here but there was snow on the ground and our ever present wind. We tried a walk with her but when it started to rain Copper fled under a sage brush trying to stay dry. She is a warm weather dog. She was so good in the apartment though and kept us entertained watching her. I found out how to make time go by fast, have the family come visit for a few days. Those two days flew by and before we knew it Hunter went home. We appreciate him coming. It is a long drive for just a few days. We miss them both. It was freezing for those two days but having them here made it seem warmer.

Hunter brought us the twelve days of Christmas from the kids. We are having a great time opening a present each day. They have been clever gifts! It gives us something to look forward to at night. So far we have a family Christmas tree, the only one missing is Henna. We have warm socks, a family picture calendar, teenage mutant ninja turtle racers, and chapstick. It has been fun! Thank you!

We are feeding the Elders on Christmas Eve and the zone has different activities planned for Christmas Day and on p-day. I am grateful that Christmas falls on Sunday. It will be special to really focus on the Savior on Christmas Day! We are having a few of the senior couples come over Christmas night to play games. We only have Uno, Phase Ten and SkipBo, hope they like those games! We love each of you so much! We feel your absence but we also feel your sweet support. We are blessed to have our family!

The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, December 12, 2016

Letter #35

Did you see us on the National News this week? The High School down the road from our apartment, Hug High School had a student bring a knife and was threating other students so the High School’s cop shot him. The school was put in shut-down and there were police everywhere! Last time I checked the 14 year old boy wasn’t doing too well. We didn’t know what was going on but I think every police officer in town was at the school with their lights flashing. We knew it was bad. You would think with a name like Hug, everyone would be loving and kind. It was a tragic event.

The rest of the week was better than this. Remember the man that came out to our car to ask us if he wanted to know more about the church where would he go? Well, the missionaries finally caught up with him (he travels a lot) and had a good lesson. He told them that he was raised Lutheran but lately he had been feeling lost and was praying about it and a week later we showed up at his door. The missionaries felt like he is very sincere but once again he will be out of town for a while. Pray for him, his name is Stuart.

We were laughing this week. It seems like the young missionaries kind of forget that we are here and then all of a sudden we are called several times to go teaching with them. We love these opportunities. This was a week that they remembered us.

We also helped with two Mobile Harvests this week. Angie Medina asked for two more volunteers at each site so we went to help. Sometimes they receive a product from the government to give out. When that happens the “clients” have to sign a paper so it slows down the regular lines and needs more people to help. This week it was eggs. People like to receive eggs so it complicated the process. In the summer they got raisins, only a few people even wanted the raisins so that wasn’t a big deal, but eggs?! Yep it was a much bigger deal. The Mobile Pantries are held outside so it was a little chilly anyway but the lines are still so long and the people are standing in line before we get there. There is so much need! The Mobile Harvest in Sun Valley has the Spanish speaking missionaries come. Elder Hardman and I feel left out because there is much more Spanish being spoken than English. The Spanish speaking missionaries really mingle with the “clients” and talk to them. They are loved at that site. The other one was in downtown Reno, it is full of old, onery people that scream at each other and seem to think they are being cheated. Poor downtown Reno, it is such a different environment than the rest of the area. We hear how the missionaries talk about how they don’t want to transfer to downtown, especially if they have been serving in little Winnemucca or one of the small towns. Downtown Reno is scary to them.

I have been looking for a Nativity. I always told my boys that the only thing I wanted from their mission was a Nativity. I am not sure what a Nevada nativity will look like but we went to several Nevada stores on Monday. I didn’t find a Nativity but we did come home with a 2 foot tree that was decorated. We were told to go to the Senior Assistance organization and check out their gift shop. The items are madeby senior citizens and they receive the money. It was a fun gift shop. They have homemade Raggedy Ann dolls that I may have to go back and get! We are enjoying our tree.

We were called by Sister Chesnut to help with the gift for the missionaries for Christmas. We spent two days gathering items. It takes a lot for 140 missionaries. We met for 3 hours yesterday to put together their gift. A member donated an embroidered towel with the Mission “logo” on it. We added a Christmas card from the 1 st Presidency, a story from the Chesnuts and a bag of goodies. Elder Hardman was running all over town yesterday getting more. Sister Chesnut wanted the goodie bags full! The mission Christmas party is this week.

We will no longer be going to the Office to help out. The couple that was coming is coming. He was cleared by a doctor so they will be here when they were supposed to be. We will continue doing what we know best, knocking doors!

We had the ward Christmas party on Friday night. We went to the Stake’s Christmas Devotional tonight. It’s beginning to fill more like Christmas!

Hunter is coming this week. I am so excited! I don’t know what Copper will think about our apartment. We don’t have a lot of room to run. We will have to take her to the nice park where all the dogs in town go. It will be fun.

I am trying to not think too much about all the things we are missing at home. One Elder was telling an investigator about what a special thing it is to spend Christmas on a mission. I am trying to focus onthat! We miss you all!

The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, December 5, 2016

Letter #34

I told you about the new senior couples coming into the mission, let me tell you about the new office couple that will be starting in January. Their name is Hardman. They will be over the cars and the missionaries’ health. They have absolutely no expertise in their fields and have received no training! It is going to take the prayers of everyone who knows them to help them through this! Our mission nurse and her husband are going home the first week of January. They already knew who their replacement couple would be and have spoken to them on the phone and have arranged to have some time to train them before they are released. We received word this week that the man had fallen off a ladder and needed surgery. They are still planning on coming but don’t know when they will be able to. President Chesnut approached Elder Hardman at the outgoing missionary dinner and asked if we could fill in until we find out what is happening with everything. I was helping with dinner and didn’t know any of this was going on. As we were leaving Sister Chesnut asked if I was okay with coming into the office. Huh? I guess we will go to the office before they leave and get trained, mind you office couples are trained an extra week in Salt Lake before they come out. I am trying to be calm about the whole thing. I probably would be alright except the Mission nurse keeps asking me if I’m going to be able to handle it. Am I a nurse? No! Do I know how to do all the things she knows how to do? No! We will do our best.

This all happened on my “try out” week to take over for Sister Beutler. Sister Beutler called on Monday to have me go shopping with her. We did her last meals on Tuesday, which were wonderful and amazing! She handed me the keys and she is done. Elder Hardman and I did the lunch for MLC on Friday. No one died, we bought too much of some things but other than that we survived. I guess I passed because Sister Beutler is leaving. I don’t know how I will be able to do the food and work in the office but we will see how it all works out.

We have also been trying to establish other service opportunities for the missionaries. It is an ongoing process. We contacted each companionship to find out exactly what they are doing and how much time they spend on service. It turned out that even in areas where we thought they had lots of opportunities not all companionships were being reached. We have been visiting several new opportunities and coordinating the efforts with the missionaries. We met with the volunteer coordinator for Nevada Literacy. They have an adult tutoring program that the Sisters are going to help with.

There are always doors to knock too. It was a busy week with three big meals to shop and prepare for but those ward lists wait patiently for us.

We had a senior couples dinner tonight. We wanted to have it before the Baclayons and the Buetlers leave. We met at the church and watched the Christmas Devotional together and then had dinner. Everyone brings something for the meals. We had yummy appetizers to eat while watching the devotional. We had a great Mexican meal with enchiladas, rice, beans, salads and fried ice cream. I am trying to not think about these couples leaving. I will miss Sister Beutler. I can’t come close to stepping into her shoes and I will miss her friendship. We have been blessed to serve beside them. They are getting so excited to go home and see their families. It does make us trunky. October seems so far away.

We miss all of you! We love you! The gospel’s true and we love you.

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, November 28, 2016

Letter #33

So much happened this past week! I’m probably going to forget something. Most of it centered around Thanksgiving but it was also the last district meeting for 3 of our missionaries and the first district meeting for a new senior couple. They are the Vaaivakas from Riverton. They recently served a mission in Papua, New Guinea. They arrived home in February and are already serving their second mission. They are Tongan, called to serve in the Tongan ward. They are a dynamic couple and have family in the Reno area. (Tongans have family wherever they go!) They hit the ground running! They came last Monday and already had appointments on Tuesday. They will be a great addition. They are planning on teaching Institute and Seminary with the Tongans. Brother Vaaivaka looks like he could still play a mean game of rugby! We also have a new office couple, who came to Sister Beutler’s dinner. The Vaaivakas were invited to eat with their ward. Makes you want to be Tongan!!

We prepared a complete Thanksgiving dinner to take to some of the people we knew didn’t have anywhere to go. We planned on six people but couldn’t get one of them to answer the phone and found out he doesn’t live in the motel where we thought he lives. We, of course, took food for our blind lady and her son. She was thankful and told us she wouldn’t have had anything without us. One brother works the nightshift but stayed up so he could get the food from us. It makes your heart heavy to see how little they have in a little motel room. The last place is our friend that lived in his truck, thank goodness he is sharing a motel room with a buddy this winter. Brother Gregor is about 6’ 5”, he is a big man. His buddy is half his size but wears Brother Gregor’s clothes so he can come to church with him. I guess he has set a baptismal date. His name is Brian. Brian blessed us over and over. Brother Gregor has a job as a bell ringer so he was at work. He hugged me at church today (he isn’t supposed to hug me!) and told me I could make money with my strawberry dish! It was only pretzel salad, I guess I make good Jello! We didn’t intend for this to be a big deal, just wanted to make sure they had a meal but we don’t even come close to understanding what it means to them to be thought of and to have a home- cooked dinner. They look out for one another too. Brother Jewel is the one that asked us if we had something for Brother Pinson and told us he didn’t live where we thought he was but we still couldn’t find him. I have gained a new appreciation for the downtown motels. Brother Gregor sees being in one of them as a great blessing. All I saw was the urine on the floor of the elevator. He was expressing to us today how blessed he has been lately to get this job and to be off the street. He is so grateful to God for his many blessings. We are spoiled.

Thursday we made rolls and pies and a huge fruit salad. The dinner Sister Beutler was planning for 35 people increased to 48! I am pretty sure Sister Beutler could divide loaves and fishes! They went around the table and said what they are thankful for. Once again, it was a very humbling experience. There were Elders and Sisters there who had dinner appointments but Sister Beutler had told them that if they had an investigator or less-active that had nowhere to go they could bring them to the church. There were several that came. The sister missionaries that live in our apartment complex asked if they could stop by later that night. They came over and we played “Phase Ten” before they had to be in their apartment. We were tired but it was a fun few days of staying busy. We were able to Facetime as most of the family was having dessert. How grateful we are for our many blessings too!

We are working on new lists for new wards, we are going to new areas of town. The people respond in the same way (no thanks) but we are knocking new doors.

I tried to burn the apartment down but it didn’t work. I forgot and left the turkey carcass boiling on the stove (for soup) and went to knock doors. We came home to the fire alarm screaming and a smoke- filled apartment. Thank goodness there was no fire or the sprinklers would have turned on but now we smell like we have been camping for a week. Dumb! (and they think I can take over for Sister Beutler)

Funny story for the week: We have a new couple as downstairs neighbors. After three days of cooking for Thanksgiving Elder Hardman tells me that we need to take a meal or something to the neighbors. I told him we didn’t need to take a meal! He repeats, “a meal”. I said, “No, a treat will be enough!” Again he says, a meal! Why is he insisting we take another meal somewhere?! Then he says, “isn’t that his name? Ahmil?” ha, ha, ha! I am not having a great week!

The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

The aftermath of our dinner delivery, Sister Beutler’s Thanksgiving, the white stuff (or our Southern
California sister’s idea of a MoD)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Letter #32

A week of change! We don’t even need a transfer this time to feel a change. We attended two different wards today. We went to Keystone at 8:30am and Sienna Vista at 2:30pm. Both wards felt like completely different wards. Our marvelous membership clerk was called as a counselor in the Bishopric. Oh dear! The Bishop in the Sienna Vista ward has been the Bishop in another ward. They are not only adjusting to a new ward they are adjusting to a new building. We only had Sacrament meeting and they only called Bishoprics so next week will be exciting!

We have been asked to focus on Sienna Vista and Keystone and add Summit Ridge when we are ready. There is another ward in the valley that isn’t following the 8 step process to move people out of the ward and they are sending them all to Keystone. We discovered a man that had lived in Keystone but when we tracked everything down we found out he does live in that other ward! Elder Hardman is ready to contact the Bishop of that ward! Keeping the records cleaned up gives us job security.

We attended the “Why I believe” fireside tonight. They hold these about every six months. They have new members bear their testimonies and it is powerful. We have been touched by a story that began with the last fireside we attended. The husband told his story of conversion but his wife didn’t want anything to do with the lessons or the church, she did help her husband with his calling when he became sick. He was the PFR and wasn’t well enough to go clean the church so she took over for him. A few months after that we heard that she was going to be baptized. She spoke tonight and asked some of her non-member friends to come listen to her story. This has been a great story to watch unfold. She told how this has strengthened their marriage and how she had always wanted to pray with her husband, now they pray together every day. A young single adult that was baptized last week told how she would walk by the Institute every day at the college and it said, “Visitors Welcome” but she wasn’t sure if they meant it. She looked up the classes online and signed up for a class and then called one of the Institute teachers to see if she had to pay or anything. He told her she was welcome! On her first teaching appointment the Elders asked her if she would commit to being baptized on November 12th. She had spent the whole day thinking about that date, November 12th had just kept popping into her head and she couldn’t figure out why. When the Elders said that date she knew that she would be baptized on November 12th, and she was! It is sweet to hear these testimonies. Last Sunday when they announced the ward divisions we talked to people that were devastated! As we have seen these same people this week the change in understanding has been remarkable. One brother that told us he was going to move was called to be in a Bishopric. He isn’t planning on moving any more. It has been a great week.

We are going to prepare and take around a few dinners before Thanksgiving this week and then on Thursday we are going to help Sister Beutler feed 30 people. We had wondered if we should hold a dinner for the people we know but we know they can’t get upstairs to our apartment so we decided we would take food around to the ones we know won’t have Thanksgiving and then help Sister Beutler with the ones on her list. We may be tired of turkey after this week!

We will certainly miss being home for Thanksgiving, you are always in our hearts and in our prayers! The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, November 14, 2016

Letter #31

There were a lot of interesting answers for the contest but only one person was right! Katie correctly answered that Friday, November 4 th was our 7-11 day. We have been out 7 months and have 11 to go. The fact that it said, “Oh Thank Heaven” at the bottom was strictly coincidental! We sent Katie a gift certificate for 7-11 where she can get a Slurpee and tired hot dogs (Clay’s answer) delivered to her by a drone (Hunter’s answer). Garrett wanted to know if others in the mission have a 7-11 day. We don’t know, everyone pretends they aren’t counting. We had a 7-11 day, that’s what matters!

The big ward divisions happened today. They made 5 wards into 7 wards. There were a lot of changes. We are now in a different ward with a different Bishop. If that is where we will really be assigned we don’t know. I’m sure we won’t be at the top of the list of “Things To Do”. The Bishops have all been called but they have a lot to do to have their wards function. There will be four wards meeting in one building. Our meetings don’t start until 2:30pm. This will go through next year too. We meet as a new ward next week but only have Sacrament meeting. Our new ward is called Sienna Vista.

We had wonderful training this week. We had Zone Conference on Tuesday and Zone Training on Wednesday. Both days were great! Zone Conference focused on the Sacrament. They ask each missionary to come prepared with a five minute talk. They don’t know who will be called on to give their talk. They were all on the Sacrament but were all completely different. Missionaries are amazing. I find myself writing down quotes the missionaries say. They have great insight and wisdom. Parents would be touched to realize how many times the missionaries tell about something they learned at home. It was fun to hear the training on driving in the snow for those missionaries that have never had that experience, yet! Wednesday the Zone Leaders let all of the missionaries have a part in the training. We have 3 missionaries that are new but they did great training. My favorite part was from one of the new missionaries. He and his companion were double transferred into their area. They spent a few weeks realizing that they had no one to teach and most of those being taught needed to be dropped. He talked about how hard they had been working and now their area has exploded. These two are so fun to watch and be around. Elder Green is the trainer, he is a short, stocky gymnast. Elder Johnson is tall and lanky. They love each other and love everyone they come in contact with. They make visits to active member’s homes and bring an object lesson and talk to them about how they can help the missionaries.We even heard a sister bear her testimony about their visit. They tracted out three investigators. This is the part I loved best. The one investigator was saying that he had asked questions in his visits to other churches and no one was able to give him answers. He asked the Elders a question and Elder Johnson told him that the answer was in the Book of Mormon, opened it to a scripture and read it to him. The man hugged the Book of Mormon because it contains scriptures that confirm what he already believes. Then Elder Johnson gleefully said, “I just love this!” It is fun to be a part of this great work.

We were poked several times this week. We had to go to the doctor to establish care so that prescriptions could continue. We also needed flu shots, poke number one. Then we had to go to a lab and have blood work done, poke number two. I hate being poked!

The weather has been beautiful. We have worked hard to finish up our lists while there are warm days. I don’t know what will happen with the Keystone records. We had five new records come in this morning.

The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, November 7, 2016

Letter #30

The day the Stake has been waiting for is coming next weekend. We were told when we arrived that we were cleaning up records so they could “right-size” the wards. Next Sunday night we are having a meeting to tell about the ward changes in the Stake. We were told today that we are the ones responsible for this. Yikes! We went to 2 Sacrament meetings today where there were lots of tears shed over the change happening. I don’t want to feel responsible! One lady asked me how long we had been here, when I told her she said it seemed like so much longer than that! Ha ha! I hope we will be allowed to go to church after next week.

The rest of the week was about the same. We fed 40 + people on Friday, we went to a meeting with another ward (and received assignments), we went to a baptism, we went to a lesson, we knocked on doors, I fixed a backpack. It all keeps us busy but it feels like déjà vu.

We have made a friend in the apartment complex. There is a man that walked his dog at the same time we go walking and then he started walking alone. We asked him about his dog and he told us how she had died. We now talk to him most mornings and one morning he asked why we are in Reno. Elder Hardman told him we are serving a mission for our church. The next day we were in the little gym working out (because it was raining) and he came inside to ask us which church we were serving a mission for. We plan to invite him and his wife to dinner.

The lesson we went to was for two fun ladies that have been less-active but are making an effort to return to activity. They already have a beautiful Christmas village set up in their home and they invited us back to their December Open House. I guess they have an amazing Christmas display, outside, inside and in their backyard! It will be fun to go back and visit them.

Sister Beutler is checking out! She is busy making sure we know that we are taking over! We have 3 senior couples that are leaving from the end of November until the first week of January. If you think missionaries get trunky! Senior couples are worse! Sister Beutler is still going to be in charge of the Christmas Party though and that sounds like a BIG deal so I am grateful for that! We have zone conference this week and zone training. The general authorities have asked mission presidents to have interviews with the missionaries twice quarterly instead of once a quarter. This is a lot more work for mission presidents. I just asked if it meant I would have to make another meal. Only thinking of myself!

Well the Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Ps. We are having a contest this week. The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a fabulous prize! (I will decide what the prize is later!) What is the significance of this picture? You can text, email or respond on the blog. The more specific your answer the better chance you have of winning!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Letter #29

Happy Nevada Day (October 31 st ) to one and all! Nevada is 152 years old this year. They celebrate on the last Friday of October so that they can enjoy a 3-day weekend and not interrupt Halloween activities. I guess they boast that they have the biggest statehood celebration in the whole United States. We didn’t see evidence of this. Nothing much was going on in Reno. I guess Carson City has a big parade. They also have a State Treasure Hunt, where clues are posted on the newspaper’s website. Each clue relates to Nevada State history in some way, and the one that finds the hidden medallion wins a prize. For our Nevada Day celebration we knocked doors. Oh wait, we do that every day!

We have expanded our door knocking to the Cold Springs ward. We had a fun experience in that area this week. We like to play, “Hard to Get” as missionaries. We are working on the list that the ward mission leader gave us and we have been working hard to get through our list because they had a Ward dinner on Saturday that we wanted to take the flyer around as we knocked doors. On Wednesday evening we started knocking doors and no one was home. Finally we knocked one door and the man told us that the woman we were looking for no longer lives there. We thanked him and went back to our car and started to plug in the next address in the GPS. The man walked out to the car and hesitantly asked us, “If I wanted to convert to your church where would I go to the church?” We gave him a sack, which has the ward’s address, bishop and missionary’s phone numbers and then we invited him to the Chili Dinner at the church. We asked him if he’d like us to call the young missionaries to talk to him and he said that he would be gone for a month but would like to talk to them when he gets back. He lived in Denver and would drive through Utah for work. He told us he is a secret BYU fan. He is a very nice young man. We hope we hear more from him. It was funny to have him chase us down. That doesn’t happen every day! It felt like a tender mercy because he was the only one home that night to even talk with.

The Keystone Ward also had a ward dinner on Saturday. Our blind friend that we take to church heard the announcement of the dinner and couldn’t think about anything else! We picked her up for the dinner. I was so happy that we took pictures of the feud signs last time because they have been taken down. She was so excited to go eat! Every ward seems to hold a Chili Cook-off and Trunk or Treat here. Even the State holds a Chili Cook-off for Nevada Days. We sat next to Marta (a ward missionary) and her friend and granddaughter. I don’t think she will ever sit by our blind lady again. This lady doesn’t get out much and she never quits talking the whole time we have her! She tells the same stories over and over. It was funny because Marta is 80 years old but she is spunky! She asked me out loud if Kathy (the blind lady) could feed herself! Ha, ha, she is blind, not deaf! She is not a big lady but she can eat! (and she can feed herself!) She had three big bowls of chili, three helpings of salad and four big pieces of cornbread! I was impressed! She then insisted I figure out a way to take food home for her son. She is now insisting that the ward holds a Thanksgiving dinner and we are to take her to that. I haven’t heard of one but we will see.

We had a Temple Day with the zone this week. Those are always fun. It was a beautiful day that day. We are now having lots of rain. Friday morning we thought we had woken up in San Francisco, it was a foggy, moist walk that morning. I thought this was a desert! Water doesn’t soak into the ground here, it just stays on top until it evaporates I guess. There are now mud puddles everywhere.

We are going to FHE at the mission home Sunday night. We usually have these once a month for the Senior Couples on a Monday night but we have a new senior couple in the mission. They are going to live in Chester, California. We took a drive there a few weeks ago to check it out. They are 2 hours away from Reno. It is a beautiful little community. They are the mission president’s daughter’s in-laws. The man grew up in Quincy, CA. They will feel isolated from Reno and will probably be snowed in all winter! They are in a home that is heated by a wood-burning stove. I think it would be great to be there in the summer but they will spend two winters here! I think I prefer the downtown motels!

We hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween! We have to be “in” by 6:30pm on Halloween. We have discovered the scariest costume ever though! Go as a missionary! People won’t make eye contact and cross the street when they see you coming! We are terrifying! Only the very brave will chase you out to your car!

We love you all! The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, October 24, 2016

Letter #28

Missionary Miracle:

We have an amazing missionary in our zone, I will call him Elder D. He came out on a mission and realized that he could not serve because he needed to take care of some things. He went home and repented, worked hard and returned to the mission field. He is a wonderful, thoughtful missionary. He shows great maturity and empathy. He was given the choice of whether to leave this transfer or wait until the November transfer, he decided to stay. Tuesday was transfer day. The transfers are communicated on Sunday night. They have Monday to pack, clean and get ready. On Monday, President Chesnut received a call from Salt Lake that there was another missionary coming in with the missionaries from the MTC. He explained that transfers had already gone out, could the missionary wait until November? He was told, ”No”. He talked with the assistants, they had a prayer and he told them he needed a few minutes to decide where to put the missionary. When they got back together they decided that the new missionary would be put with Elder D and his companion. It was an “out of the ordinary” decision. Elder D and his companion were told to come to the Mission Office to pick up the new Elder the next day.  The new missionaries are given their companions in a little ceremony. It’s a pretty special moment when they meet their trainer. Elder D stood up and became very emotional. He was crying so hard that he couldn’t speak. The new missionary walked towards him and pulled something out of his pocket and gave it to Elder D. They then embraced, both of them crying. Elder D was this missionary’s trainer 17 months ago, before President Chesnut was here. This Elder had only been out for 2 weeks and was struggling and Elder D realized he needed to go home. He recognized that the Elder needed to repent and work on some things. He gave the young Elder one of his name badges and said, “Go home and work hard, like I did, and bring this back to me”. That Elder had carried the name tag in his pocket for 17 months. He brought it back to him. If Elder D had gone home this transfer they would have never met. Elder D will now continue to be this Elder’s trainer. One of President Chesnut’s past Assistants said, “We move the names around on the board, The Lord provides the miracles”.

The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Picture: Can you tell which cookies I decorated and which Elder Hardman did?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Letter #27

When it rains it pours and pours!  It has been raining for the last two days! The temperature also dropped which is good because I can wear some different clothes, mostly I now put a sweater over the blouses I was already wearing, and bad, because it is cold!

Highlights of the week:
Monday we took Marshmallow Baseball for the zone activity.  They had a great time playing.  Elder Hardman was the pitcher for both teams.  I guess I was the cheerleader.  It’s fun to have a game they can all play. One Elder explained that they don’t keep score so that it won’t get too competitive, ha! If what we saw was non-competitive it is wise that they don’t keep score! We also went to our monthly FHE at the mission home with the senior couples and President and Sister Chesnut. I was asked to bring my famous breadsticks which are Rhodes dough rolled in butter, parmesan cheese and garlic salt.  I love being known for something so easy.

Tuesday our presentation with the Food Bank and two zones fell through so we went to zone training. We love zone training but it comes before transfers so there is always the transfer tension in the room. I was given two dresses to hem for a Sister that received them for her birthday from her family. You have to sew quickly when there is a chance they might be transferred to Winnemucca and you won’t see them again!

Wednesday we went to check out the Family History library.  They have a nice library here and house records that are unique to Northern Nevada so if you have family history from Nevada this is the place to look.  They have cabinets of paper records that haven’t been digitized yet but are available to look through. That evening we were invited to attend the Cold Springs Ward’s missionary committee meeting. Wow, were we impressed! This is what a missionary committee should look like.  You would think the ward that “has it all together” wouldn’t need us but they are the ones that have it so organized that they can see a place for us. We were handed three pages of people in the ward without a current home teacher and asked to check on them.  We were asked to visit a sister in the ward that night they knew had some health issues with her husband. We stopped there on our way home and the lady was so grateful to know that someone cared. Her husband was going in for surgery the next day. She appreciated us checking on her. After the meeting each week the ward missionaries go on splits with the Elders.  They have had 8 baptisms in the last 10 months and every one of them are active.  They receive a calling and have a member of the committee “assigned” to them to be there to answer questions and to help them prepare for the next ordinance. We would like to clone the Cold Springs ward.

Thursday was Stake Temple day for Stake Conference.  We also were able to help with a lesson.

Friday was a wonderful day. Once a year they have a Sister’s Training day.  This is only for the Sister’s, which of course bugs the Elders!  : ) The Sister Training Leaders arrange and plan the entire activity.  All of the Sister’s in the mission get to come, even from Elko and Eli.  They started on Thursday night with a sleepover at the Mission Home.  We didn’t attend that but it sounds like it was a special evening for them all.  There were 30 Sisters there.  The next day is workshops, training, questions and answers, council from Sister and President Chesnut, testimonies and a wonderful Sister Beutler lunch.  It started at 9 and went till 3.  They all brings bags of clothing for a clothing exchange.  They had fun with that! We went Thursday night to the Beutler’s to start the lunch so that all we had to do that morning was to put things in the crock pot and go enjoy the meetings. Sister Chesnut explained to the President that sometimes Sisters just need to be together.  It was a joy to be a part of it.  Elder Hardman dropped me off and had to entertain himself all day. We haven’t spent that much time apart since we got here.  He didn’t cut a finger off either!

Saturday we worked on our ongoing move-in list for the Keystone ward and drove to Cold Springs to start on our list for that ward.  There is a noticeable distinction in the way we are received in the Cold Springs area, even from less actives.  We aren’t used to being treated so kindly. Saturday evening we had Stake Conference meetings and we enjoyed Stake Conference today.  President Chesnut asked the missionaries to stand up during his talk today. He said the missionaries accuse him of doing this to see if they came but he wants to have the members see the missionaries in their Stake.  We stood but Elder Hardman sat down too quickly and President Chesnut told him to stand again and that other older couples could talk to us if they wanted to serve a senior mission. Hmmm, I guess he trusts us to tell them the right things.

Another busy week!  We love busy!
The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

The picture is of our zone, Tuesday will bring changes!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Letter #26

A good week is a busy week, so this was a good week! The Food Bank of Northern Nevada named “Just Serve” as their association’s partner of the month. There will be a plaque and some award for the higher ups in “Just Serve” but the Volunteer Coordinator, Angie Medina wanted to thank the missionaries that help with the Mobil Pantries personally. We had to set up four separate times for her to meet with four separate zones to accomplish this. Last Tuesday we had a presentation at the first of District Meeting in the Reno North zone, then we met with them at the end of District meeting for the Reno zone. We will repeat this on Tuesday for the Sparks East and Sparks West zones. Angie and Marina (another lady we work with) came and participated in the beginning of the meeting. They sang the opening hymn with us (Oh, My Father- there’s a Plan of Salvation lesson right there), the prayer and the recitation. Then they gave a lovely thank you to the missionaries. They told how many people they help feed every week. They told how the other volunteers always ask if the young missionaries are coming. They thanked them for being so willing to help and set things up and are so kind to the “clients”. We arrived a little early for the Reno Zone and so Elder Hardman took them on a little tour of the church, showed them the Chapel and explained different rooms in the building. These are such cute women. We just love them. They treat everyone with gratitude and kindness. We have enjoyed getting to know them and working with them. We had warned them that at the end we would kneel for prayer, yep they even joined us in kneeling. The missionaries expressed their appreciation to them also. The Food Bank is meaningful service for these young missionaries. Elder Hardman has to do a month end report on the missionaries’ service hours. They are all doing so well. Quincy zone has always had the most hours but the Sparks West zone beat them last month. We are proud of these missionaries. They do so much!

Wednesday was bittersweet. It was our last day teaching English as a Second Language. Our student that is progressing and is committed, is heading home to Peru. Our other lady had her schedule change at work, so she is done with lessons. This makes me sad to think we are done but we are also getting other responsibilities so it comes at a good time. We have enjoyed these two ladies but I don’t think I want to start over with new people either. We have learned a lot teaching English!

We have now been asked by the Mission President to extend ourselves to the rest of the Stake. Elder Hardman sent a letter to all of the ward mission leaders. We have already met with the YSA ward and will meet with another ward this week. We can’t “force” them to use us but we are hoping this opens up some new opportunities. There is a rumor going around that the Stake is going to see some ward divisions so we feel like we are a little caught up in a transition time where they don’t want to commit too much before the changes. We know part of getting ready for the changes was to get control of the records in the Keystone ward. That has been accomplished as so we will see what the future brings.

Friday was MLC. We fed over 60 people! That was a busy day! I have also been told by the Mission President that we will have that responsibility when the Beutlers leave. I have decided that MLS missionary means, "Makes Lunches and Sweets”. Sister Beutler has decided that I need to do MLC in December before she leaves to see how I do. Hmmm, I didn’t know I would have to “try out” for the position. We have heard that a Tongan couple is coming to serve in November. I think that Sister would make an excellent Food missionary! : )

We attended two different baptisms on Saturday. We did the refreshments for the one in the Keystone Ward. (Sweets) We went to a meeting with the YSA missionary committee and were asked to go with the Sisters that night to meet a young man in the ward that might need our assistance. When we got to his home for the appointment his sister answered and said she was sick and that the brother was sleeping. Oh well.

Today is our day to take the blind lady to church. It is always an adventure. She tends to talk out loud about anything that is on her mind. It is a bit of a ramble. Today was no exception. Everyone is kind to her but it is distracting for the poor teacher. We did enjoy the feud she seems to be having with her neighbor. We drove up and there is a big sign in her window, pointing toward the neighbors’ house and accusing them of all sorts of behaviors and the neighbor has a similar sign pointing towards her house. I took pictures but the neighbor’s didn’t turn out so well because Elder Hardman was telling me that I was going to get shot for taking a picture of the house. Reno is a fun place to be!

We did have a sweet moment at church. We looked up and our upstairs neighbors walked in. They came and sat by us. They quickly ran away right after the closing hymn but they came!

How has your week been? Any adventures in your life? We would love to hear. We also want to hear about fun group activities. We are taking marshmallow baseball tomorrow for a P-day activity. The zone is complaining that they are bored doing the same old things every week. Send us your fun ideas!

The gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

p.s. The other picture is a sign I saw on a door we knocked.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Letter #25

Our funny story for the week.  We choose a few Mobil Pantries to help with every month.  On Wednesday they asked the volunteers if we minded having our pictures taken and posted on the Food Bank site.  We were so busy that morning that we never noticed when or if they had taken our picture.  Also there is a Facebook page for the Nevada Reno mission where members here post pictures of the missionaries and their families at home can see them.  Their families then can “like”, “share” and tag their missionary’s pictures. It is also a place where families ask for favors, such as showing a video to their missionary of their brother opening his call.  Moms especially are constantly checking to see the latest pictures of their child. You get the picture, right? Anyway, someone noticed a picture of a missionary in his white shirt and tie, with a prominent name tag and sunglasses from the Food Bank site and posted it on the Nevada Reno facebook page asking if anyone could claim the missionary.  I looked and there was Elder Hardman’s picture.  It is far away but the fact that it is a missionary is unmistakeableand the picture had lots of “likes”. So I claimed him and said we are a Senior couple serving in Reno, ha ha, that was the end of the likes!  : )  Elder Hardman needs his mom to make a fuss over his picture appearing on the Facebook page.

What did we do the rest of the week?  Well I fixed four pairs of pants for some Elders. We attended a wonderful missionary open house in Lemmon Valley where 3 sets of Missionaries helped with the tours. They had return missionaries from all over the world in classrooms where they told about their missions. They gave food samples.  Rulon will be jealous, the missionary from Brazil brought cashew juice. It was delicious!  We ate curry from Thailand too.  The parking lot was full.  The Elders had several investigators come.  It is the second year they have done this activity. I took pictures of our Elders and posted it on the Facebook page for their moms.  : )  The night was an amazing success!

We helped pack a lady in the ward to move to Utah.  She of course, lives upstairs and had a full house of stuff!  We are still sore from hauling stuff up and down the stairs for the truck.

We helped with a lesson for a little girl that is nine. She lives with a lady that fostered her Mom as a child and now the Mom is in a mental hospital and this amazing lady is fostering the daughter.  This woman has fostered 45 children and adopted several of them. I thought of Jackie and Brian. Foster parents are uniquely loving. This girl wants the lessons but she doesn’t know when or if she will be allowed to stay with her “Mom”. I sent the Elders back with Conference Bingo and Skittles to give her for this weekend to encourage them to listen to General Conference.

Speaking of Conference, we decided we would go to the church for the sessions.  It is the place to be for missionaries.  It was fun to see the investigators the other missionaries brought to the church.  I probably paid attention more being at the church.  I enjoyed every talk. I loved the music. I didn’t want it to end. I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation and that everything will be all right.  I know that we each need to recommit ourselves to doing the right things.  I liked how Elder Renlund challenged us to feel more joy in our lives. Satan wants us to feel discouragement and sorrow. I felt the message of Conference was to encourage us to find the Joy.

It has been a hard week being here when we feel the pull of home.  Elder Hardman’s Dad had a stroke this week. He is in the hospital and his Mom is at home needing help and we are away.  That is hard. We feel so grateful that everyone is doing their best to help, thank you! We love our family.
It has been six months since we have seen rain, last night it rained!  We woke up to patches of snow this morning. Funny weather.

The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Ps. Welcome to little Copper, Hunter’s new puppy. Hunter decided to accept a job this week with CityWorks, the company he has worked with for years now. He rewarded himself with a puppy. We now have Copper and Henna, Heidi should be Silver and Ari should be Black Mask!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Letter #24

The Mormon Curse:

Once upon a time Nevada was Utah. Territorial Governor Brigham Young presided over the Utah Territory which stretched across Utah through the Great Basin to Carson Valley.

More than 100 families settled in Franktown in the summer of 1856. They built homes and planted.  Elder Orson Hyde built a sawmill.

When President Young called the settlers home to Utah in 1858 they left behind properties that Washoe settlers “adopted” without compensating the Mormons.

In 1862, Orson Hyde wrote a letter “To the people of Carson and Washoe Valleys” demanding $20,000.00 in compensation for his sawmill.  Here is some of what he wrote:
“… and this demand of ours, remaining uncanceled, shall be to the people of Carson and Washoe Valleys as was the ark of God among the Philistines. You shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts with thunder and with earthquakes and with floods, with pestilence and with famine until your names are not known amongst men, for you have neglected the authority of God… and given yourselves up to serve the god of this world; to rioting in debauchery, in abominations, drunkenness and corruption.  You have chuckled and gloried in taking the property of the Mormons, and withholding from them the benefits thereof. “

In 1881 a flood rushed through Franktown. The newly built dam overflowed and more than $20,000.00 in property washed away with it. In 1983, a flood devastated much of Ophir, Franktown’s neighbor to the north.

The Curse has taken on legendary proportion, every time something happens people say that it’s Orson Hyde’s curse.

I heard about the curse and decided to look it up, sure enough Elder Hyde cursed this place. He was never paid for his property so I assume the curse is still in effect! So far we have only had one day of rain since we arrived 6 months ago but we have seen a lot of fires, I am hoping the curse holds off for the remainder of our time here.

In the meantime, we do what we do. We continue to try to find ways to support the ward members. We take an Elephant blanket thing to those with a new baby.  We took one to Cynthia this week. Hers continues to be a sad story. We have taken bread to several people this week.  Elder Hardman is getting to be good with his bread making skills. We went to a lesson with the Elders this week and I was accused (by Elder Hardman) of flirting with the 2 year old.  I didn’t have to flirt, he wanted to hold my hand and wanted me to hug and tickle him. He is an adorable little guy with a HUGE afro! He wants to be a distraction but he also wanted to snuggle up to me, I didn’t mind. I don’t know if we will get to go back but I will go prepared next time.  I made a Quiet Book at the Super Saturday that is Jesus pictures, I will take it next time.  We drove a man home from church today and dropped him off at his truck, the truck is his home. The truck doesn’t run and has flat tires, it is parked next to a city park. He is a nice man, we met him at the Super Saturday because the Bishop had asked him to help with the cleanup, as part of him receiving assistance. I guess what we are learning is that all of these people are just that, nice people. Their lives are a mess, but they are nice people.  We knocked a door this afternoon and ended up giving the woman a blessing.  She was so grateful to have us stop by because she is having a hard time. When Elder Hardman offered to give her a blessing of comfort, she cried. There are so many lonely and sad people.

I was sad and lonely on Saturday night when I realized I would be going to Women’s Conference alone.  It’s funny how homesick little things can make you.  I missed all of my girls!  Next week we will be sad when Elder Hardman has to go get ice cream by himself and we miss all of our boys! We love you all!

The moral of the story is, Don’t cheat an Apostle, and listen to Conference!
The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

Monday, September 19, 2016

Letter #23

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every cline, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done. “

Nothing can stop the work… except a little bee.

The week started out great. We had our first (and probably only) 100% day on Monday. We only had five names to knock but we found someone home at all five places! Four of the five actually live at the address too. None of the four want anything to do with Church but we at least know they live in the ward. We were feeling pretty good about things.

Tuesday we had a great zone training.  After our meetings we went to a Mobile Pantry site that has never been assigned before so we thought we’d better check it out. It is down the street from the Homeless Shelter area. We found out that it is only for seniors that live in this one complex and that they don’t need extra help from the missionaries. While we were talking to the Food Pantry coordinator I felt a sharp pain and looked down to see this nasty little bee stinging me. Why? I don’t know, I was minding my own business.  Well that was the beginning of a painful week.  My finger blew up and it made my hand swollen. I carried a frozen water bottle around for two days.  Sleeping at night was hard.  My finger is finally feeling better. Where I was stung is still red and swollen but the rest is feeling normal. A bee sting does slow the work. We still did the things we needed to but I know that bees are Satan’s tools!  Everyone needs to be more specific when praying for the missionaries. We pray for their protection but no one specifically mentions bees.  Bees are a real detriment to the work.

Thursday we did one of the Mobile Pantries that we volunteer for on our own. I had a baseball mitt-sized hand that day but they have us wear rubber gloves so I wore an x-large glove on one hand and a medium glove on the other.  We enjoy our time at the Pantry.

Saturday Elder Hardman and I spent with the Relief Society of two wards doing a Super Saturday.  They had to have a priesthood holder in the church during the three hours and Elder Hardman volunteered. I had signed up for a craft, just to rub shoulders with the sisters in the ward. I didn’t realize it meant that we would be there the whole time and do the cleanup.  We have spent a lot of time cleaning the Church!

We have heard several comments about the Sun Valley area. At the Super Saturday one man that works for FedEx said that the whole town is a Trailer Park. I know it doesn’t sound quite like some of the other trips we’ve taken but we decided to check out Sun Valley. They were right, the whole town is a Trailer Park.  We balanced the trip with driving to see a pretty area of Sparks.

This week we have started wondering what our purpose is now. When we had 500 names to go through we had a pretty good idea what we needed to do. We are looking for ways we can help build up the ward, fellowship those that come and are trying to find ways to reach out again to those that don’t come. The young missionaries receive so much training on their purpose.  Senior missionaries have to try and figure it out on their own. Anyone have any great ideas?  Elder Hardman broke down and made bread.  He says he doesn’t want to be known for making bread.  It turned out well.  
That sums up our week. We were so excited to hear that Garrett passed the Bar. We are proud of you! We also enjoyed watching their new puppy on Facetime. We have loved the pictures of the kids with Grandpa Hardman’s cows and seeing a picture of their Great Pumpkins! Grandpa has learned the trick to having the grandkids come visit, plant pumpkins!

One of the ladies we tutor told me that having a bee sting my hand would take care of my arthritis. I didn’t have arthritis but I choose to believe that there was a good reason I was stung.  We hope you have had a great week. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always.

The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman


Monday, September 12, 2016

Letter #22

This week I feel like is an update week.

Update #1: Sister Gali finished a successful mission and went home.  It took her two days to fly home but she knew the minute she arrived she would go to the ward party, celebrating her arrival home and rejoicing with her about her mission. Wouldn’t it be great if every missionary knew they would be welcomed home that way? Elder Hardman reminds me that we do that as a family for our returning missionaries. That is special but in Samoa everyone is family and they join to celebrate. We are so happy we had the chance to serve with Sister Gali.

Update #2: We saw wild horses! We kept hearing about the wild horses in Nevada but hadn’t seen them.  Lori saw them when she was here. I was starting to think it was like a snipe hunt. Everyone sees them but you. This week we saw them!  That was fun.

Update #3: We work with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, coordinating the Mobile Harvest Pantry assignments and the missionaries.  We have met with the lady “in charge” several times (Angie). She is a cute woman who really appreciates the help from the missionaries. We were invited to go to the Food Bank Warehouse, have a tour and have dinner. We rode in a Chartered Bus from Sparks to the warehouse.  We toured their new facility, it is beautiful. The Chartered Bus company donated the bus and their services. (makes me like them) Famous Dave’s Barbeque provided the dinner. (please support Famous Dave’s) Walmart has their warehouse next door and is their biggest supplier for food. (Gotta love Walmart) Zulilly’s warehouse is down the street and they pay their employees to volunteer and work at the warehouse. (Yay for Zulilly!) There are many good people out there that do so much to feed those in need.  Our eyes have been opened by this involvement.  There is so much need.  Angie met us later and asked if we would be able to help in Fernley. They have a Catholic Church that is starting a Food Pantry. We have been wanting to find something for the missionaries in Fernley. The missionaries love to help with these. They are so cute to watch as they interact with the people.  On our own we pick two times a month to help at one of the Mobile Pantries.  We enjoy it too.

Update #4: It was transfer day again. We had a lot of incoming missionaries but because many left early to return to school, not many outgoing missionaries. It is getting harder to see them leave now though.  We are getting so attached to those we work with. It is hard to imagine them not being here at the next District meeting. We have two new missionaries in our zone this time. I remember feeling like they look. I want to hug them and tell them it will be okay but they are Elders (can’t hug ‘em) and it seems to be an unspoken secret about what the first 12 weeks feels like. Sister Beutler keeps putting on amazing meals and I keep thinking how disappointed they are going to be when she goes home!

Update #5: Our very pregnant lady had her baby. The baby was born on Sept. 8th and she was at church today.  She did not look like someone who should be at church but she was there to see the Bishop and ask for assistance. Oh man, we struggle with this.  The needs are real but there are so many of them that can’t contribute and have so many needs. We brought our blind lady to church today. Her plumbing is backed up and she needs to have some major repairs to the sewer and she was asking us to talk to the Bishop.  I think the Bishop goes in his office after Sacrament meeting and hides. We feel like we need some training on Government assistance programs. There is so much we don’t know about and we don’t know how to help.

Update #6: When Elder Pearson came he told how on his mission to Finland they would talk about finding pineapples. Finding a pineapple growing in Finland would be rare indeed. Golden investigators are pineapples.  The mission is doing all sorts of pineapple activities.  The A.P.s did a game where they had some missionaries go out of the gym and then told 5 other missionaries that they were pineapples and would accept the gospel as soon as the missionary talked to them.  The missionaries came back in and had to talk to all of us, trying to find the pineapples. It was fun. (Sister Gali was a pineapple)  Pineapple pictures are posted in the mission office.  There are pineapple pictures in the missionaries’ apartments.  Thursday, Elder Hardman and I took a pineapple to all of the new companionships in our zone.  Ha ha! We thought perhaps that we had found a pineapple of our own.  We have upstairs neighbors that we have talked to a few times.  They are a cute couple and have been cautiously friendly. Yesterday we got out of the car as he was going upstairs.  He stopped and said, “I have a question for you”. He asked us when and where church was. He is a return missionary, he grew up in Elko. We gave him our “welcome to the ward” bag because it has the address of the church, the Bishop’s number, and the meeting times.  We don’t even have their names on the ward list.  Sadly, they didn’t come today. Maybe they aren’t quite ripe yet. We will keep checking on them.

The work continues….

At the tour for the Food Bank our tour guide said, “Nothing runs on empty”. She of course was making a point about physical hunger. That phrase has stuck with me all week. We can’t run on empty spiritually either. We also can’t expect someone else to fill our tank.  I remember when one of our children started driving they would go out and take whichever car had gas.  When they brought the car home, it would be empty. We had a little talk about this habit and were told, “but gas costs money”! Yep, filling the tank costs something, there has to be effort on our part to fill the tank and you might have to give up something to get where you want to go. Sometimes we let the tank get dangerously low, thinking we can make it to the next station in time. Nothing runs on empty. How much gas in your tank? We are reminded daily how blessed we are, our tanks are full. We are so grateful for our family and friends. We knew we were grateful before, we feel it even more now.
The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman

The pictures are of the hot air balloon race and wild horses