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

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Letter #21

Peace. I bless you with peace. These are the words that were said in the baby blessing at church yesterday. It may sound like a strange thing to bless a new baby with but after our week it touched my heart to hear his words. A blessing of peace in today’s world is a wonderful blessing.

We were asked to go with the Elders to a downtown motel where they were bringing a Book of Mormon to a referral. We never know exactly what the circumstances are when we go with the Elders. I don’t know if they knew the circumstances, but the person requesting the Book of Mormon is a young, very pregnant woman with a 15 month old little girl. She and her husband moved into the motel two weeks ago and he took off, supposedly to work at Burning Man. She has been there alone and scared. She is a member but hasn’t attended since she was a teenager. I don’t know if she called because she was afraid and wanted someone in the church to come by or if she really wanted a Book of Mormon. We met with her over by the Riverwalk. She didn’t want us to come to the motel in case the number was bogus that she called. It was the first time she had ventured that far from the motel. She told us how she had a prostitute ask to use her phone and had seen drug deals going on in front of the motel. (lovely environment). Her little girl is darling. She was telling us about herself. She has gestational diabetes. The baby is due any day. She had called and they told her that she would need a car seat to bring the new baby home from the hospital. They will give her a new car seat but she had to bring a car to install it in. Let’s see, she can’t bring the baby home without a car seat and she can’t get a car seat because she doesn’t have a car. We told her we would come and get her to go get the car seat. This turned out to be quite an adventure! There is no parking in front of her motel so picture us trying to load a very pregnant woman, a stroller and a car seat with a 15 month old in downtown traffic, that was exciting. We took her to the hospital and the man installing the car seats was onery and cussed her out for the car seat she had the 15 month old in. It was unsafe. She was given two new, appropriate car seats. He was not happy about putting them in the Jeep. He kept telling us that our car wasn’t really made for two car seats and a passenger in the back. (we know) Finally we were done and ready to drop her off again but he had installed the car seats so tightly that we couldn’t get them out! We dropped she and the baby off, drove to a street with parking, undid the car seats, drove back and I carried the seats up to her room while Elder Hardman circled the block a few times. Her motel room was immaculate. (I don’t see that very often here) I was pretty bold about trying to see if she wanted out, her husband had lied to her about putting a deposit down on an apartment and she said he is always lying to her about some pretty big things, but no, she wants to stay with him. She cancelled her next appointment with the Elders, maybe she just needed help getting the car seats. When the father blessed his baby with peace I thought of this young girl. She is alone and afraid but she doesn’t know how to find peace, even when it shows up in a little Jeep.

We also received sad news last week that the lady we have helped so much, taking her to the store, the Pharmacy, the Doctors, died. We don’t know any of the details. Her health wasn’t good and she had been blacking out and falling a lot. The Elders had called her about an appointment and her sister answered and told them she was dead. We know she is in a much better place than her downtown motel. We know she was grateful to have been baptized. We did what we could to try to lift her burdens. I liked her and will miss her. We have looked for an obituary, there is no news about her. It’s so odd to think that she can be gone and really no one cares. She had never been back to church after her baptism so the ward doesn’t know her. The Sisters had asked us to help her and that is what we were doing. I wonder what will happen to her cat, he was her dear companion. I hope her sister finds him a good home. All of this is sad, but I have still felt at peace about her because I know she had a good heart and had a testimony of the hope and peace the gospel brings.

We also received news this morning that Sister Johnson, the mom of our membership clerk that has helped us so much, passed away. She was doing so well after she fell and broke her hip. She had even come to church last week. She was one of the strengths in this ward. She was so loving and accepting of us. We will miss her and the ward will definitely miss her. The contrast of her life and service to others and the feeling of peace in her passing are remarkably different from the other feelings we have had this week. A life well lived brings peace.

We did have fun this week too. We were able to give some training on the “Just Serve” program to the zone leaders at MLC on Friday. AND, we met Rulon’s family in Elko! We stayed in a hotel and the kids enjoyed swimming. We went to a park for them to play, we furnished them with some Nerf-type guns so they could shoot each other. We went to church and saw an Elder that was one of the cute Elders that helped us move in. We just found out that he is transferring back into our zone tomorrow. He introduced me to his companion like this, “Remember how I told you that Sister Hardman made us “CafĂ© Rio”? This is Sister Hardman!” It’s always about food! Asher bore his testimony in the meeting. He did such a good job! He has no fear. I hugged him a lot hoping that would rub off on me. We went for a Sunday hike. Don’t let Rulon pick the hike. It was beautiful but a tough hike! His children are amazing hikers. Next time I am taking the nature walk. We were introduced to “Killer Bunnies”. It is their new favorite game. We played but really didn’t know what we were doing. Sage told us that Paisley had won the game at the last family dinner but that she was clueless. We were clueless too. It was so great to spend time with them. The drive back to Reno today was a sad one.

I have had this hymn come to mind a lot this week.

“Sweet is the peace the gospel brings to seeking minds and true. With light refulgent on its wings, it clears the human view.”

“Its laws and precepts are divine and show a Father’s care. Transcendent love and mercy shine in each injunction there.”

I am so grateful for the peace the gospel brings. The Gospel’s true and we love you!

Elder and Sister Hardman