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!