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!